Sacred Cows in Science?


I have noticed a tendency among many referring to themselves as freethinkers, to have perhaps too much faith in the pronouncements of renowned scientists.  This seems odd considering there are usually raging debates going on within the scientific community itself over most of the hypothesis that are accepted as conventional wisdom by the general population.  I would like to suggest a little mind expanding (pun intended) exercise for your consideration.

When I was a kid in the fifth and sixth grades, I lived at the base of Pike’s Peak near Colorado Springs.  It is seared into my memory that its elevation was 14,510 feet.  I also remember being taught that the Rocky Mountains are still growing at the rate of close to two inches a year.  I just checked, and its current elevation is listed as 14.515 feet.  Since that was a little over 50 years ago, I suppose they were in the ball park with the growth estimate.

When I was a yacht captain back in 1980, I took a fishing party to the Revillagigedo Islands, a couple of hundred miles south of Cabo San Lucas Mexico to fish for giant Yellowfin Tuna at Socorro Island.  I remember the date because when we returned we learned that Regan had won the election a few days before, and we were among the few who didn't know it.  After an unbelievable afternoon of Wahoo fishing, we spent one night anchored in the lee of San Benedicto Island, which is a volcano that erupted in 1952 .

The volcano comes up so steeply out of the abyss that even though Wahoo are pelagic fish usually found only in deep water, we were catching them two and three at a time every pass over a pinnacle I found with the depth sounder only 20 yards from the Northeastern shore.  By sunset, we were calf deep in some of the tastiest fish in the ocean, and the yacht owner’s personal airplane pilot and I were up past midnight cleaning fish for the freezer.

This was before I moved to Hawaii and became accustomed to volcanoes, and my previous experiences with tropical islands and deep sea sport fishing had been back in the late '60s when I lived in the Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean.  Those islands had been granite mountain peaks; here was a real volcano.  The huge lava flows into the sea still looked fresh and yet to be eroded.  It was a fascinating place.  Where does that stuff come from, and what makes it build up all the way to the surface of the ocean to create an island in the middle of nowhere?

Geology is an interesting subject, and most of us are rather ignorant of it.  So, we just assume geologists are on top of it, have worked out most of the answers to nature’s puzzles in this arena, and that what little we were taught about it in basic science class was correct.  Just as I assumed my science teacher knew what he was talking about when he taught me that electricity flows from the positive post of a battery to the negative post.  Years later, oops… no, it is the other way round.

Although not as popular among the general public as Cosmology, or much of a subject of science fiction since Jules Verne, there is actually much debate in the scientific community about what is happening in the core of the Earth.  One thing that is certain just from the evidence in volcanology, is that it is damned hot down there.  Have you ever wondered why?

Geologists speculate, and I have no reason to doubt it, that the age of the Earth is about 4 ½ billion years old.  Yet they also claim it is a molten mass of primordial stuff that is cooling, yet has cooled only to the point of a relatively thin crust.  I am not the only one that finds that incongruent.  A billion years is a very long time, wouldn’t you say?

Originally, they thought the mountains were wrinkles, similar to a prune, caused by the shrinking of the cooling of the Earth.  But then there are the little matters like finding petrified wood and maritime fossils high in the Rockies.  Clearly, they were once under sea level.  So now, it is plate tectonics that most use to explain mountains.

There are huge cracks in the crust, and the continents are supposedly adrift on the molten center and wandering around willy-nilly banging into each other, causing mountains to be pushed up by the pressure one plate exerts on another in the process.  They even speculate that one plate that is growing on one end through volcanic activity can be driven under another plate on the opposite end to presumably melt back into the magma.

My question would be what is causing anything to grow at all?  If the Earth is cooling, what causes the internal pressures that vent as volcanic activity?  Shouldn’t the opposite be happening?  While there is some outlying speculation that the Earth is hollow because some of the mass and gravity equations don’t add up, a more intriguing hypothesis is that there is actually an active nuclear reaction about five miles across similar to the sun in the very center.

Something along those lines seems rather plausible to me.  It would explain why the Earth hadn’t cooled off in billions of years, along with the internal pressures and processes evidenced by volcanic activity and the production of abiotic oil and natural gas.  Even the cracking of the Earth’s crust itself could be better explained by pressures from within pushing out, than by gravity pulling down.  Yet, most geologists, heavily invested in other theories, won’t even give it a second look.  Would you?

Now for the fun part.  I was sitting here one night a few months ago with the Coast to Coast talk radio program on in the background while surfing the internet.  The guest for the evening was renowned comic book author Neal Adams.  I wasn’t paying much attention and about to go to bed.  They were talking about classic comic books and he seemed like an affable guy, but I haven’t had any interest in comic books since my last subscription to Mad Magazine expired almost 50 years ago.

Then the subject changed; drastically.  I guess it should not be surprising that a comic book author would be interested in science, after all the subject of many of them is science fiction.  But here was a decidedly unsophisticated sounding guy discussing the hypothesis that the Earth is growing.  That’s right, growing; and his rationale sounded pretty intriguing.  The discussion was so compelling that I stayed up until the show ended at 2:00 AM.

The major “evidence” he presented for the hypothesis was threefold.  First, he discussed how it is obvious that the landmasses on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean could be fit together like a jigsaw puzzle, and the same could be said of the Pacific.  This, of course, I already knew; but then he pointed out that doing either one made the opposite ocean enormous.  Then the obvious - they could never have been one complete puzzle unless the planet was about one third its present size!

That, had never occurred to me, but it made perfect common sense.  Then, he pointed out that nowhere on the ocean floors have they been able to drill core samples of rock more than about 70 million years old!  Wow, now isn’t that intriguing?  He suggested that as the earth expands, the major cracks, which are now filled in by the oceans, grow wider with fairly recent “crust” material.

Finally, he had much to say about the dinosaurs.  How could they be found in fossils all over the globe unless they could have walked all over it back before the continents were separated?  Further, he discussed how a smaller planet would have had a weaker gravity, and the design of the T-Rex is such that it could not have moved at the speeds it is assumed to have done to be a successful carnivore, with such a large head in our gravity of today without it snapping off in a sudden turn.  Hmmm…

The next morning, I visited his website (which crashed the night before as soon as he mentioned it) to view some animations he has made from actual photos taken from space of our Earth, the Moon, and several other planets and their moons, all of which he demonstrates are growing.  Oh, my!  They were all interesting, but the one on Jupiter’s moon Europa, utterly convinced me that he was right.

A Google search on ‘Expanding Earth’ will reveal all manner of websites on the subject and the fact that the hypothesis was first introduced in 1960.  It has been rejected by most geologists for a lack of an explainable mechanism by which it could grow, even though they agree that the ocean floors are all newer crust material that welled up from the divergent boundaries between plates mid-ocean.

They favor a ‘Subduction’ theory that claims that as these oceanic plates bump into the continental plates they dive underneath and are somehow melted back into the mantle.  To me, that begs the question as to why they are welling up out of the mantle to begin with.  And, I would turn the tables on them and ask them to explain the mechanism they posit that would cause the purported subduction in order to keep our globe exactly the same size in perpetuity, and why that is so important.

Go watch them for yourself, and come back here to discuss what you think of the notion, just from a common sense perspective if nothing else.  And, if you are inclined to acknowledge the validity of the hypothesis, ask yourself what other sacred cows of the scientific community have you swallowed whole without chewing on them with your own mind first. 

Neil Adams website is:

If nothing else, view Clip#0 and Clip#2.  Even if you don't have broadband, they are worth the wait.  Then, if intrigued, read “The case against Pangaea” below the clip links.  You can then take your investigations as far as might interest you with Google, et al.

My point here is not so much the geology itself, as debunking the notion that the scientific community has all the answers to the puzzles of nature and that independent and less credentialed thinkers are not qualified to play among them.  They may not think a comic book writer a ‘peer’ worth reviewing, but I suspect he is on to something, and has advanced the hypothesis considerably with his graphic arts talents. -Dave


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