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Thursday, March 17, 2005

Thy Name is Mud

The abiotic theory of fuel creation will keep resurfacing as long as people have a hyperactive imagination. Recently, on DailyKos and elsewhere, somehow a Cornell colleague of the late Thomas Gold, chemical geologist Larry Cathles, has been implicated in promoting the same abiotic theories. I read this article and don't see any explicit connection to abiotic genesis. Instead, I venture that of the huge amounts of petroleum and natural gas leaking out from current reservoirs (as Cathles describes), most of it leaked out over a long period of time. ... Let us all repeat: No use crying over spilled milk.

Moreover, the latest articles from the abiotic faction read like Guiness Book of World Records bids for the longest stream-of-consciousness paragraphs -- for amusement, see serious rambling here or here.

On PeakOil, threadbear wrote:
Anyone who reads (Thomas) Gold's book, "Deep Hot Biosphere" should be impressed.
True, gullible people (by definition) get impressed quite readily. I find it very revealing to point out other scientific theories that Thomas Gold has been totally disproven on:
Steady State Theory
Holy Smoke! points out that the Big Bang theory has superceded precursor. theories
Moon is DEEPLY covered by very fine dust or similar crumbly material
Apparently, when Neil Armstrong and company touched ground at moonbase alpha, the lunar lander did not sink into the quicksand after all! You can believe NASA's official history, but then again why not the Capricorn One version?
Solar sails break laws of physics
CalTech scientist seriously disagrees.
Nice track record there. Apparently, Gold practiced a kind of "shotgun" approach to physics, spewing various theories in random directions.

The shotgun approach works to some degree -- throw enough mud at the wall and some will eventually stick. Unfortunately, like many of Gold's other ideas, the abiotic theory has not stuck. Scientists more than anyone else realize that their credibility suffers when they get proved wrong one too many times. Unfortunately, other professors within proximity of Gold at Cornell will have a hard time desoiling their reputations. Too bad that the crap that Gold flung ended up sticking on them.

15 Comments:

Professor Blogger Big Gav said...

I love abiotic oil theorists - they make everyone else look quite sane by comparison.

Here's another one for your list :

http://www.vialls.com/wecontrolamerica/peakoil.html

3:09 AM  
Professor Blogger Phila said...

Somehow, these abiotic oil guys have gotten past my radar...I don't really know anything about them, but they certainly sound daft!

Since I'm in my science-bashing mode (a phase I go through every so often, just for the sake of balance), I have to say that scientists can be wrong an awful lot before anyone takes notice, especially if they're famous. A Francis Crick or Stephen Hawking can pretty much say anything, and no matter how crazy or wrongheaded it is, it'll be lapped up. By the media, at least.

12:18 AM  
Professor Blogger WHT said...

You can start reciting some of these scientists from memory: William Shockley, Linus Pauling,... They all have in common that they reached some level of notoriety, and then continued to gather interest because of their name. On the other hand, a young guy like Bell Lab's Jan Hendrik Schön (google "Bell Labs" and "fraud") has absolutely no future in peer-reviewed scientific circles.

9:16 AM  
Professor Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scientific analysis doesn't start off by name calling -- that's politics, and ad hominem to boot. But I realize you are invested in "Peak Oil" theory.

In reality, scientific inquiry rests on treating competing theories the same. They start at the same "starting" line and are held to the same standards of scientific proof.

There is actually more scientific proof for abiotic oil theory than "fossil" fuel theory.

There are no scientific models that explain "fossil" fuel theory. There has never been any scientific lab experiments that have been able to replicate "fossil" fuel formation.

On the contrary, there are both theoretical and lab experiments that support the abiotic model of oil formation in the mantel of the Earth.

"Fossil" theory violates the second law of thermodynamics (diminishing entropy). There is no organic/sedimentary model of oil formation because organic detritus has never been theoretically or experimentally shown to be converted to oil in the lower pressure and temperature existing in sedimentary deposits. In contrast to the scientific, mathamatical computations that support abiotic oil formation in the ultra high pressure and temperature of the Earth's mantel, backed up by lab experiments, replicating the temperature and pressure of the mantel, which did create a hydrogen-carbon (petroleum) system.

Interestingly enough, this lack of scientific scrutiny for "fossil" theory, exists in the face of the fact that the theory was first postulated in 1757, in the dark ages of science.

Meanwhile, abiotic theory has had over 50 years of rigorous scientific analysis and scrutiny. And, conforms to field observations and has been employed to recover commercial quanities of oil.

If scientific truth is your highest ideal, you should hold up each theory to the same standards of proof and rigorous analysis.

Have you done that?

3:23 PM  
Professor Blogger WHT said...

Last comment -- a prime example of an Occan's pinhead.

One who doesn't understand the principle of Occam's razor.

3:30 PM  
Professor Anonymous Anonymous said...

WHT: You pose as some intellectual, but any real intellectual can engage a good faith offer of debate, while pseudo intellectuals employ arrogant dodges and actually think their being smart.

Too bad really.

5:27 PM  
Professor Blogger WHT said...

Hey Deluded, do you think anybody is reading these comments at this point in time besides myself?

9:26 PM  
Professor Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not very often, but occasionally, there will be folks like me, trying to get to the bottom of the truth. Willing to follow where the evidence leads.

Because there is scientific evidence for abiotic oil theory, even if you disagree with its conclusions.

And I'll tell you something else I've found.

Scientific disputes can be everybit as nasty as any run of the mill political dispute.

In that sense, the abiotic oil controversy is even more nasty because it involves politics and the central commodity of this age:

Oil.

And, whether you agree or disagree with abiotic theory, and contrary to your opinion, reasonable men can disagree on its validity.

There is a powerful constituent of "Peak Oil" believers that would rather not have it discussed in any fashion at all.

Just like you.

1:30 PM  
Professor Anonymous Anonymous said...

FACT:
Organic detritus is made up of low stored energy potential chemical molecules.

FACT:
Petroleum is made up of high stored energy potential chemical molecules.

The second law of thermodynamics (diminishing entropy) proscribes the conversion of a low stored energy state molecules to a high stored energy state molecules in a low temperature and pressure environment (sedimentary/crustal).

If you have come to this site, and are interested getting to the bottom of this controversy, I urge you to google the name J.F. Kenney, Gas Resources Corp., Houston, TX. On that website you will find a body of science that explains abiotic oil theory and is unchallenged by "Peak Oil" advocates.

Dogma means nothing.
Mathametical formula that conforms to accepted chemical and physical laws mean everything.

Good luck on your journey and quest for the truth.

4:59 PM  
Professor Blogger WHT said...

Occam says to look for the simplest explanation. Fossil fuels exhibit a continuum of forms. From the lowly peat to lignite coal to more concentrated energy anthracite coal and on to petroleum, biological matter produced this entire range. Different amounts of compression over different ranges of time transformed the organic matter into different types of hydrocarbon fractionated material. What are known as fossil fuels. And this is all that made sense when we learned about this in the 6th and 7tth grades AIR.

Can't have it both ways.

7:16 AM  
Professor Anonymous Anonymous said...

You use a 14th century maxim postulated by a monk, to prove a theory put out in 1757. A theory 250 years old from the dark ages of science.

My goodness you have gotten desperate, haven't you.

6:22 PM  
Professor Blogger WHT said...

What a fucking charlatan. I do enjoy using the calculus invented by Ike Newton a few years prior to this for much of my mathematical discourse.

9:04 PM  
Professor Anonymous Anonymous said...

But you can't use mathematics for "fossil" theory, because there is no recognized scientific proof.

The language of Nature, mathematics, actually proves "fossil" theory false.

You are like a shaman asked to explain his magic. You get angry that anybody would challenge your "BIG" magic. So you dance, stomping you feet, strangely mute, except for some mutterings of a 14th century monk.

Who's the charlaton, here?

And I'm the little boy who pointed out the emperor has no clothes.

Are you cold?

10:13 AM  
Professor Anonymous Anonymous said...

CORRECTION:
Besides the mutterings of a 14th century monk, WHT offers "coal as proof of 'fossil' fuel theory."

Readers, please go to Mobjectivist, "Wingnut Oil" comments 1:43p.m. and 1:11a.m. for a criticism and argument against "coal as proof of 'fossil' fuel theory."

Thank you.

And, I apologize for omitting reference to the "coal" argument, when comparring WHT to a witch doctor...er..I mean shaman.

10:34 AM  
Professor Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoever stated:

FACT:
Organic detritus is made up of low stored energy potential chemical molecules.

Total rubbish. The strongly reduced, highly aliphatic
polymers which form oils have Delta G of formation
miles above any of the dominant molecules in natural crude.

Please stop repeating the what the Scam artist
Jack Kenney is polluting the net with.
Rather ask him were his 20-60 billion barrels of oil he claims he has found in Ukraine is !

4:10 PM  

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