mkrnhr said:A quick look at Hoyle's biography (a book called "Fred Hoyle's Universe" by Jane Gregory) shows that Hoyle had big problems with the academic establishment around that time. It is possible that these kind of articles were a part of a character assassination dynamic towards him, still ongoing today.
I think that's a reasonable hypothesis. Hoyle was a big promoter of panspermia. Some interesting details from his wikipedia entry (with links to the sources)
[Hoyle asserted] that evolution on Earth is influenced by a steady influx of viruses arriving via comets. His belief that comets had a significant percentage of organic compounds was well ahead of his time, as the dominant views in the 1970s and 1980s were that comets largely consisted of water-ice, and the presence of organic compounds was then highly controversial
Hoyle and Wickramasinghe advanced several instances where they say outbreaks of illnesses on Earth are of extraterrestrial origins, including the 1918 flu pandemic, and certain outbreaks of polio and mad cow disease. For the 1918 flu pandemic they hypothesized that cometary dust brought the virus to Earth simultaneously at multiple locations—a view almost universally dismissed by experts on this pandemic. In 1982 Hoyle presented Evolution from Space for the Royal Institution's Omni Lecture. After considering what he thought of as a very remote possibility of Earth-based abiogenesis he concluded:
If one proceeds directly and straightforwardly in this matter, without being deflected by a fear of incurring the wrath of scientific opinion, one arrives at the conclusion that biomaterials with their amazing measure of order must be the outcome of intelligent design. No other possibility I have been able to think of...
Hoyle also supported the theory of abiogenic petroleum, held by Hoyle and by Thomas Gold, where natural hydrocarbons (oil and natural gas) are explained as the result of deep carbon deposits, instead of fossilized organic material. This theory is dismissed by the mainstream petroleum geochemistry community.