Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A shout-out for science

My buddy Dennis McCarthy just had a paper come out in Journal of Biogeography, and he's working on some videos that he'll soon be putting up on his website, www.4threvolt.com. Don't miss the revolution this time around.

13 comments:

Henry Thorne said...

I recommend people check this out. It's refreshing to see a shockingly different explanation of the laws of nature. And from such a reasonable guy. Really sets you back. (and in fact it would set me back a million bucks if he's right, stuff can't be true, can it?)

Justin R said...

It's sad to see when a guy like Dennis with everything going for him (beautiful wife, dynamic personality, one of the best backhand hucks i've seen), starts hanging out with biogeographers. These are the people that your 8th grade physics and chemistry teachers warned you about!!!

Justin R.
McGill University
BA Geography '91

Phil Price said...

The current standard theory of the exact motions of the continents over time could certainly be wrong -- I think there are struggles over it in the mainstream geologic literature. It can't be easy to figure out exactly what a given chunk of earth's crust was doing ninety million years ago.

But to suggest that the whole picture is bogus and that the earth has expanded by a huge amount...that just seems wacky. Every now and then a wacky idea turns out to be right, but those cases are really, really rare. Usually wacky ideas are just ridiculously wrong.

I know which way I'm betting.

michael lerner said...

The article lives here.

Dennis said...

Hey Henry and Justin,

Thanks for the comments.
Henry, I still have the cocktail napkin framed above my desk. It inspires me every time I think of slacking. ;-) I don't know if you remember, but during our talk at the bar a few years back, I think I harrassed you with the "ether sink" view of gravity -- pointing out how gravitational (as well electromagnetic systems) and black holes have very precise fluid dynamic analogies. Essentially, the fluid (or ether) is flowing toward a sink (gravitating object) from all directions -- and when the sink is strong enough and that fluid (ether) reaches the speed of sound (light), then sound (light) cannot escape. Well that exact theory and description just made the cover of Scientific American. Check out:

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa006&colID=1&articleID=000ADA62-D854-137C-962A83414B7F0000

Their tag-line actually reads:
"Sound waves in a fluid behave uncannily like light waves in space. Black holes even have acoustic counterparts. Could spacetime literally be a kind of fluid, like the ether of pre-Einsteinian physics?"
By Theodore A. Jacobson and Renaud Parentani

Your money is still safe, but you should start feeling the heat. ;-)

--Dennis

Dennis said...

Hi Phil,

Nice to chat with you again. I do understand completely. Whenever people tend to hear a new theory that goes against the conventional one with which they are familiar, they often find it disconcerting and are quick to dismiss it as wacky or crackpot. In fact, as I know you are aware, that's what people were saying about the ether theory, but it just made the cover of Scientific American (see above.) (So now perhaps it's moved from "crackpot" to an interesting minority viewpoint.)
But I hope you don't think that the argument of geologists, geophysicists, or myself who follow expanding Earth theory is simply that the past continental motions are a little off therefore the Earth must be expanding. (If you read my papers, and you felt this was my point, then I have done a terrible job of communication.) The expansion view is actually based on a significant amount of research in disparate fields of science (including biogeography, geology, paleomagnetism, etc.). If you haven't ready my papers they can be found here. http://www.4threvolt.com/Papers.html
And the second one in particular discusses some of that evidence.
Also, no one is claiming that "the whole picture [of plate tectonics] is bogus." In fact, back in the first half of the 20th century, when most mainstream geologists were dismissing the notion that continents could move as "wacky", expanding Earth theory was the other theory of continental mobilism. It differed from continental drift in that in expanding Earth the supercontinental break-up was theorized to have been caused by the formation of ocean basins in between the continents. Bruce Heezen the co-discoverer of seafloor spreading at the great global rift was in fact an expanding Earther. This seafloor spreading view of continental separation has now become completely conventional everywhere -- except in the Pacific.
After seafloor spreading was discovered and could no long be denied, plate tectonics was developed. Plate tectonics took the static-radius, continental-drift assumptions of Pangea and a Panthalassa super-ocean and combined it with the expanding Earth mechanism of seafloor spreading into the current meta-theory with which we are all familiar. So plate tectonics completely reproduces the exact paleomaps and mechanism and history of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans that were already a part of expanding Earth theory. The only location where the two theories differ is in the Pacific. In expanding Earth, the Pacific began forming at the same time and in the same way as the Atlantic and Indian oceans -- pushing continents apart. In plate tectonics, the Pacific began forming in the middle of the superocean Panthalassa.
Thus, expanding Earth assumes East Asia and Australasia were juxtaposed with the Americas in the Triassic -- while PT assumes they were separated by a superocean at its widest and that this superocean has since been entirely erased by subduction.
So while the theories are identical regarding the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans, the theories lead to remarkably different sets of testable predictions for the Pacific involving paleomagnetism, biogeography, plate-motion circuits, etc. throughout the Mesozoic.
Now, I know we have all learned plate tectonics and that's the theory that many of us feel more comfortable with, but I think we should look objectively and dispassionately at the different predictions for the Pacific and see which theory fits best. And I think this can be done respectfully.
Cheers,

--Dennis

PS, here's an expanding Earth bibliography:
http://www.4threvolt.com/Bibliography.html
If you notice, this view has a long history and has been discussed repeatedly in mainstream journals --
including Science, Nature, Modern Geology, etc.


PPS. I have a spelling mistake in my previous post: harassed has one "r".

PPPS. Phil, I assume Jim doesn't want his forum to become part of a scientific debate, so if you have specific concerns about the theory, I would be more than happy to address them either over Email or on my website (in the FAQ.) Hope all is going well.

parinella said...

No, go right ahead. It'l only show up on the comments page, not the main page, so it's no bother.

Justin R said...

WARPED DISC!

Dennis, maybe it takes an EE guy posting on a frisbee website to solve the worlds problems. But have you ever thought about the implications of a pangaea type world? Woldn't it wobble like a taco'd disc? All of the world's continents sticking out on one side spinng at the earth's (then higher) rotational velocity would lead to quite a shake up, I would think.

That's my one constructive thought for the day. Back to the dishes (yeah 14 people over for dinner yesterday, where were you?).

-Justin

Phil Price said...

Dennis,
Nice hearing from you, too.

I did look at a few of your papers, but there are a lot of very basic things about the "expanding earth" theories that I'm missing. I guess the big ones are: (1) is more matter supposed to have been created inside the earth, or is the earth supposed to have become much less dense while it expanded? (2) if there were no oceans, then where did all of the aquatic dinosaurs live? (3) Where did all the water come from, and when?

As for the tendency to dismiss theories as crackpot if they contradict conventional ones, you're right, and that's generally a good thing! Most theories that seem crackpot are crackpot. There are a lot more wackos than Galileos...not that those are the only two choices.

Sometimes reigning scientific theories are really in trouble: they can't explain the Michelson-Morley experiment, or why aquatic fossils are found on tall mountains, or why there's not an infinite amount of energy in ultraviolet radiation. When current explanations just can't be right, then yeah, you need to look for a revolutionary new theory, and you should keep in mind that that theory might look, well, wacky, if you're used to the old one. That might be the situation with reconciling gravity with quantum mechanics; can't be done with the current explanations, so we need to be open for something "crazy," though any particular crazy idea is still unlikely to be right, of course. As far as I know, though, plate tectonics isn't in this kind of trouble.

Meanwhile, the expanding earth theory relies on, well, an expanding earth...if the surface area has gone up by about a factor of 4, then that means the radius has gone up by a factor of 2, and the volume by a factor of 8, and all within the past few hundred million years. I can think of many seemingly ridiculous implications. (E.g.: Gravitational acceleration was twice as strong as it is now, as recently as a couple hundred million years ago). Maybe all the laws of physics have changed with time in exactly the right way to mitigate those? Or maybe the PT explanations are more or less correct and can be fixed with a bit of tinkering. To me, the latter seems far more likely.

Suppose I would like to find out more, but without becoming an expert. How can I dip my foot into the waters, and find out just the basics of the expanding Earth theory (including answers to my questions, above?) I'm interested, but...sorry, I still think it's wacky.

Phil Price said...

Oops, of course I meant "gravitational acceleration at the earth's surface was half as big" (not "twice as big"), if we assume m was lower by a factor of 8 and r was lower by a factor of 2. Of course, if we assume m was the same that it is now, and r was lower by a factor of 2, then g would have been 4 times bigger (rather than 2 times smaller).

Whatever. The point is, g would have been very different, with all kinds of ramifications for things like erosion, retention of earth's atmosphere, skeletal evolution, and on and on.

Dennis said...

Hi Phil,

Excellent and understandable questions. And I will get to each point over the next few posts:

Phil: I can think of many seemingly ridiculous implications.

Dennis: I can understand why you feel that way. But in an effort to help suspend disbelief, please remember I provided references to papers in mainstream journals over the last 40 years that have discussed and advocated EE theory – including journals like Science, Nature, Modern Geology, Tectonophysics, etc. Although not necessarily true, it is still pretty likely that any first-glance implication that you think would immediately falsify the theory has already been put forth by untold peer-reviewers and has been overcome.

Phil: "if there were no oceans, then where did all of the aquatic dinosaurs live?
-- Where did all the water come from, and when?"

Dennis: This is one of the important questions regarding the theory – and it is explained both in my latest paper and the FAQ here:

http://www.4threvolt.com/EEFAQ.html

Click on links to questions 2 and 4.

In summary, pre-Jurassic marine fossils – and the question of seawater origination actually lend more evidence to EE theory and cause problems for the assumption of fixed-radius.
As I write about the fossils (in my paper and on the FAQ):

"Briggs (2004) also suggested that Precambrian and Palaeozoic marine fossils provided evidence
for 'extensive oceans'. But all pre-Jurassic marine fossils are found in continental regions; none occur
in the Pacific or any other ocean (Kious & Tilling, 1996). This is consistent with the EE prediction that
all deep marine environments were epicontinental seas and that all ocean basins were closed pre-
Jurassic. Mainstream geologists account for the lack of pre-Jurassic crust and fossils in the ocean
basins with the hypothesis that every square metre of pre-Jurassic ocean crust has been subducted in
the last 200 my years (e.g., Oliver & Isacks, 1967; Isacks et al., 1968), taking the marine fossils with
them. This is not evidence for a pre-Jurassic superocean; this is simply a post-hoc supposition for
why we do not find such evidence for a pre-Jurassic superocean."

On closer inspection the question of the origination of all of the global surface seawater also casts doubt on fixed radius assumptions. We have an obvious source (the mantle) and conduit (hydrothermal vents, systems that leak into groundwater and other volcanic processes) -- which explains where oceans came from and why sealevel continues to rise at the rate it does today (thermal expansion cannot explain it all). Again check out here:

http://www.4threvolt.com/EEFAQ.html

The problem is with conventional theory – which not only must explain where seawater came from, they also have to explain – and this is what's important – why it would stop. If there's no mechanism to stop the process that originally flooded the Earth's surface then we should have seen a drastic increase in amount of surface seawater over the last 200 million years – and that would falsify static radius assumptions.

I will respond to your other posts later today.

Thanks for the interest!

Dennis said...

Phil writes:
"The point is, g would have been very different, with all kinds of ramifications for things like erosion, retention of earth's atmosphere, skeletal evolution, and on and on."

Dennis: Exactly. In the Mesozoic, surface gravity may have been 65% - 75% what it is today.
And this would have definite consequences for skeletal evolution and the biomechanics of taxa since then. One would expect the maximum size of all types of taxa to be significantly smaller today than in the Early Tertiary and Mesozoic -- and this is what we find. Assuming constant surface gravity, there are numerous biomechanical paradoxes -- like that T-Rex was too massive to run.
http://www.4threvolt.com/Evidence/GravEvid.html

Likewise, we know from the lunar orbit that tidal forces are much greater today than they were in the past. (Check same web-site.)

All again are natural expectations of expanding Earth theory.

Anonymous said...

Dennis,

I will be donating to you soon, but I wanted to tell you you have definately changed my perceptions. Just looking at the ocean fllor age causes you mind to go "Thats not right"...

That alone is impressive.

The Ether Sink idea, makes sense, but it seems that perhaps Ether itself, generally massless, would no assist well. Perhaps it is replenishing the "Dirac" shells of electrons, allowing the thesis of "The Electric Cosmos" Theory to be powered.

Just a thought...