A viewer of my video about the claim that viruses come from space noticed something I had ignored: the list of coauthors on the Steele/Wickramasinghe paper. Wickramasinghe always stacks on a long list of coauthors, which is probably one of the ways he manages to buy in support for his trash papers. Anyway, one of his coauthors is peculiar: a fellow named Robert Temple, who is affiliated with something called The History of Chinese Science and Culture Foundation, which appears to be nothing but a flashy website…an odd choice when you’re asked to list your prestigious associations. But then, Temple only has an undergraduate degree and exercises little discrimination in what he puts on his CV — I get the impression he’s one of those people desperate to get academic validation, but not so desperate that he’s willing to do the work.
His name seems to find its way on a fair number of Wickramasinghe’s papers, like this one, Growing Evidence against Global Infection-Driven by Person-to-Person Transfer of COVID-19, which tries to argue that you can’t get infected by contact with fluids from other people, so, by implication, everyone who has COVID-19 was directly infected by an infall of the virus from outer space. There may be some transmission through handshakes, he claims, but it’s primarily caused by a rain of viruses from space. This is irresponsible nonsense, and one could ask what the heck a guy with an undergraduate degree in Sanskrit is doing on the list of authors anyway. I guess if it also includes Brig Klyce, who my fellow old-timers from talk.origins will remember as the panspermia wackaloon who haunted newsgroups, they might as well chuck in any ol’ weirdo who voices support for their claims.
Jason Colavito has the full scoop on Temple. His claim to fame rests on a book called The Sirius Mystery: New Scientific Evidence of Alien Contact 5,000 Years Ago, in which he argues that “amphibious extraterrestrials from Sirius” provided advanced scientific knowledge to the Dogon people and to the Sumerians and to any random ancient culture he doesn’t believe was smart enough to actually have done the things they did.
Yeah, he’s one of those pseudoarchaeologists who believes in ancient astronauts. On the basis of those exemplary credentials, he’s now getting stuffed onto papers by the Panspermia Mafia. If you must, you can listen to him blather on for over an hour and a half on the Dogon people (I wasn’t able to listen to it — he’s one of the more goddamn boring and pretentious lecturers I’ve ever heard). Also, annoyingly, he calls himself “Professor Temple”, despite having no academic appointment anywhere. He obviously knows nothing about virology, epidemiology, or biology in general — he’s just a poseur who gets his name on papers he’s not qualified to critique. But then, I could say the same thing about Chandra Wickramasinghe.
When I tried to track down this coauthor, though, another discovery is that the Wickramasinghe group have gone on a disgraceful binge recently, taking advantage of legitimate concerns about the pandemic to flood various journals with bad papers about COVID-19. I’ll repeat what I said before: if a paper has Wickramasinghe’s name on it, it’s garbage. Use his name as a filter, and you’ll cull out a lot of dross. It’s too bad the scientific publishers haven’t figured this out yet and blacklisted him, as they should.