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No Growing Earth, But a Growing Problem with Science Journalism

by Steven Novella, Nov 23 2009

A recent series of articles in The Japan Times about the growing earth leaves me conflicted over the status of journalism. It seems that everyone acknowledges that we are in a  significant transition, and that the new media is playing an increasing role in news reporting and analysis. Meanwhile, traditional journalism is losing its business model and is downsizing, which is having an adverse effect on quality.

The very fact that the internet has exploded print media’s business model means that quality control is really all that traditional journalism has left. In the past the value of a large media outlet was partly its physical infrastructure and its ability to distribute the news – by printing papers or by owning transmitters or cable lines.  Now anyone  can get online and distribute information to the world for peanuts. We don’t need big media infrastructure anymore.

But, we are told, traditional media, with professional journalists and editors, provides a critical quality-control filter on information. The internet, meanwhile, is unfiltered, which results in a very high noise to signal ratio. So we still need professional journalists, and some way to pay them.

While there is some merit to this argument, when it comes to science journalism I am not sure if this is really true any more. When I look at science reporting by both traditional media and new media I see a wide range of quality, from very high quality reporting, to lazy superficial nonsense, to the outright promotion of pseudoscience as if it were news. The problem with the new media is that it is very bottom heavy – there is a lot of crap. But from my perspective, the crowd sourcing is working. The best science blogs are rising to the top, and new models are emerging that are not filtering out the bad stuff, but are at least pointing out where the best quality lies.

Traditional media, meanwhile, suffers from declining quality overall. While there is still high quality reporting, the public is still left with the need to filter the good from the bad. Even worse, bad reporting can benefit unfairly from the imprimatur of its big media reputation.

New media and old are also merging and playing off each other, so the relationship is becoming more complex. We’ll just have to see how it plays out, but I think, with regard to science reporting, if traditional media outlets are going to continue to justify their own existence, they will need better quality control.

Growing Earth

Case in point - three articles by reporter Jeff Ogrisseg in The Japan Times about the pseudoscientific notion that the earth is growing. I understand that The Japan Times generally has a good reputation as a serious news outlet, so that lends a high profile to the nonsense Ogrisseg is spreading.

I don’t expect science journalists to be experts – just to have a working knowledge of how science functions, and some idea how to figure out which ideas have merit and which are fringe.

Ogrisseg gets everything wrong, most significantly in how he misrepresents the process of science and how consensus is achieved in science.

He is defending a fringe idea, never taken seriously by the scientific community, that the earth has been significantly growing. Millions of years ago, some claim, when it was half the size it is today, the continents all joined together. As earth continued to grow the crust split apart, separating the continents and forming the oceans in between.

The growing earth community, small as it is, tends to ridicule the modern theory of plate tectonics and continental drift. Essentially their critique of robust consensus within modern geology is the argument from personal incredulity, belittling and ignoring the massive evidence based upon which plate tectonics is based.

For example, Ogrisseg writes:

Could this theory offer one simple explanation for the current distance between Earth’s continents, and the death of the dinosaurs — without involving a Hollywood-size asteroid — and turn the long-held notion of India smashing into Asia on its head?

and

So the “terrible lizards” simply did not adapt fast enough as the Earth grew, and that is what killed them off — not some CG-like impact from outer space.

Ogrisseg subtly ridicules the impact theory as “Hollywood” and “CG” – as if it is the fantasy of a special-effects artist. This gives the reader the impression that the asteroid impact theory is fanciful and speculative, and does not even attempt to address the overwhelming evidence for the impact. What about the Chicxulub impact crater, the K-T iridium layer,  the sudden disappearance of not only the dinosaurs but 90% of all species, including many small and aquatic species?

Ogrisseg also dismisses through ridicule the evidence for plate tectonics. He acknowledges that in the ocean there are spreading zones where new ocean floor is emerging from below the crust, and then spreading outward toward the continents. Growing earth advocates claim this is the actual creation of new matter, not just the movement of material from the molten depths.

Plate tectonics also holds that there are subduction zones – the ocean floor moves from the spreading zones and then dives beneath the continental plates at subduction zones. Again, Ogrisseg just dismisses subduction:

No need for giant rocks from outer space, runaway continents or credulity-straining subduction zones to consume and recycle epic masses of material.

He does not say what, exactly, about subduction zones strains credulity. What he does strain is the irony meter – claiming scientists are dismissive, while he himself dismisses massive amounts of evidence, and characterizing accepted theories strain credulity while claiming that new matter is being created by some unknown process.

Next up is the asking of questions that make it seem like there are unexplained anomalies – but not addressing the accepted answers for those questions: Ogrisseg asks:

In terms of mountain building, too, it’s interesting that none of the large, nonvolcanic mountain ranges on our planet, such as the Alps, Andes or Himalayas, are more than 100 million years old.

Mountain ranges are all less than 100 million years old because mountains erode over time – they don’t survive longer than that. So we only have mountain ranges that were created recently enough that they have not yet eroded.

Ogrisseg gives us the standard dismissal of solid scientific consensus as if it were nothing but dogma – we are used to this from creationists, HIV deniers, and every group that has an axe to grind with an accepted scientific theory.

Though much of the theory is routinely ignored or dismissed by mainstream scientists, as its specifics reveal themselves, a nagging awareness persists that “dismissed” does not mean “disproved.”

Then he gets to the most glaring problem with the growing earth theory (among the myriad of problems it has):

The problem with Growing Earth Theory, mainstream scientists say, is that it would require the creation of brand new matter — a mechanism for which they claim has not been confirmed and therefore is not accepted as happening.

Not only has a mechanism not been confirmed – there is no plausible mechanism at all. The growing earth theory has also been  “disproved” by the multiple independent lines of evidence for plate tectonics and the lack of evidence, despite accurate enough observations for decades, that the earth is, you know, growing.

Growing earth enthusiasts think they are solving “problems” with modern geology, but actually they are addressing non-problems by creating many more.

So where is all the new matter coming from? From particle-anti-particle creation from quantum fluctuations. Without getting into this in detail, the processes Ogrisseg is referring to does not result in the creation of new matter  – the matter/anti-matter particles annihilate each other almost instantaneously. They do not form stable matter (other than, perhaps, for black hole evaporation, which is not applicable to the earth).

The bottom line is that the lack of a mechanism or evidence for the creation of new matter is a far more significant problem than anything the growing earth theory claims to solve (but actually doesn’t).

And of course, when we begin to think about the implications of increased mass of the earth over time we get a cascading collapse of accepted scientific theories. The earth-moon system, and the solar system as a whole would not be stable with increasing gravity. So growing earth advocates have to chuck out our theories of gravitation and planetary mechanics.

If you want to see how truly bizarre this gets, read my e-mail exchange with Neal Adams beginning here. Of course, Ogrisseg praises Adams in another article.

The pattern is amusing and disturbing – ridiculing the scientific community for far-out ideas and lack of evidence, and then putting forward absurd ideas with no evidence. Then crying “dogma” and “conspiracy” when they don’t get the attention and accolades they feel they deserve.

Now they have a cheerleader at The Japan Times – leaving the science bloggers one more piece of damage control  to tackle.

Recommended Reading

122 Responses to “No Growing Earth, But a Growing Problem with Science Journalism”

  1. I don’t know. It would explain why every year it seems to take a little longer to get to Toledo . . .

  2. Daneel says:

    I was fascinated with your interview with Neal Adams on the SGU. His deattachment from reality is outstanding.

  3. gski says:

    I would love to see a debate, growing earthers vs. young earthers.

  4. Actually, I came across one paper that does disprove the expanding Earth hypothesis. It was published in 1984 (presumably when the hypothesis had not yet been thoroughly discredited) and involved measuring the moment of inertia of the Earth via lunar ranging lasers (thank you Apollo).

    • Steve Athearn says:

      James Maxlow, the geologist cited in Ogrisseg’s article, has excerpted and replied to these moment-of-inertia arguments, e.g. Keary and Vine’s (Global Tectonics, Blackwell, 1990) conclusion that “A very slight expansion, or, indeed, contraction, of the Earth could be tolerated by this analysis, but, certainly, the very large increase in radius required by the expanding Earth hypothesis can definitely be ruled out.”

      Maxlow responds as follows: The three tests proffered by both Clarke and Cook (1983) and Keary and Vine (1990) work because they all rely on plate tectonic premises to make them valid on a static radius Earth….Calculation of the ancient moment of inertia relies on the premise that the Earth’s mass has remained constant with time in order to conserve angular momentum. While the rotational history of the Earth-Moon system using fossil organisms and sedimentary rhythmites assumes the yearly cycle has remained constant or near constant. What the fossil and sedimentary epithecal banding represents is daily, monthly and yearly _cycles_ [emphasis Maxlow's] of growth, not time. Earth expansion studies have demonstrated that Earth mass may not necessarily be constant, hence moment of inertia and solar cycles are also not necessarily constant.”

      Maxlow also argues that the paleomagnetic and space geodetic arguments similarly covertly bring in premises which invalidate the conclusions against Earth expansion, and adds, “in addition to these three standard tests should be added a fourth, that of empirical modeling of global geological data without prejudice” – a reference to his own empirical modeling work.

      Source: James Maxlow, Earth Expansion: Myths and Misconceptions, New Concepts in Global Tectonics Newsletter, No. 13, December 1999, pp. 19-22, online at http://www.ncgt.org/

  5. Max says:

    Ogrisseg noted, “Indeed, the prevailing explanation of how the continents came to be where they are today — Plate Tectonics Theory — was also generally dismissed by mainstream science until well into the 1950s.”

    Continental drift was dismissed because there was no known mechanism for it, so Ogrisseg sees a parallel between that and the Growing Earth Theory.

  6. LovleAnjel says:

    Plate tectonics was well-dismissed until the late 60s, and from what I hear there were holdouts who didn’t retire until the 80s. But you know what? Scientists hypothesized & elaborated on plausible mechanisms, and evidence became overwhelmingly in favor of PT. In fact, PT explained evidence that the prevailing hypothesis– stable continents intermittently connected by land bridges– could not. It did not require new evidence (but using fancy new equipment helped).

    I sometimes feel like all the woo we get in geology comes from crystals and evolution. It’s nice to hear that we have some robust whackaloons out there.

    • Steve Athearn says:

      “…from what I hear there were holdouts who didn’t retire until the 80s….”

      “In fact, PT explained evidence that the prevailing hypothesis– stable continents intermittently connected by land bridges– could not.”

      Yes, but this does not necessarily mean that the evidence adduced by the “holdouts” – the reference here being to advocates of continental “fixism” – was satisfactorily accounted for within the new PT paradigm. Rather it may well have simply been set aside.

      A case in point is the evidence from seismic tomography for the existence of deep continental roots, presented by Gordon McDonald of MIT in the early 1960s and in other scientific reports up to the present.

      In an otherwise mostly celebratory volume on the pathbreaking work that led to Plate Tectonics, (Naomi Oreskes, ed., Plate Tectonics: An Insider’s history of the Modern Theory of the Earth, 2003), McDonald suggests that the issues raised by his early work still have not been adequately dealt with (while not denying the validity of the evidence on which the standard view is based):

      “Heat flow, gravity, and seismic observations available in the early 1960s strongly suggested that continental structure extends to depths of about 300 miles (500 kilometers)….

      “If the continental structure extends to a depth of hundreds of miles, it is not possible to imagine thin continental blocks carried along by a flowing mantle….

      “I participated in a number of these meetings [in the early 1960s], arguing that a deep structure for continents presented severe difficulties, perhaps fatal, to surface displacement resulting from mantle convection. My insistence that geophysical constrains must be discussed led many participants to dismiss me as a troglodyte who was slowing the convergence of thought… (p. 123)

      And in his concluding reflections on the present state of affairs, he asks,

      “Are plate tectonics for geologists the equivalent of Bohr’s theory of the atom for physicists, as has been claimed? I am certainly no longer a member of the herd of solid earth geophysicists, having switched herds in the mid-1960s [to research having no bearing on tectonics]. However, I note that a recent study using greatly improved seismic observations shows that subplate structures extend to depths of 150 miles (250 kilometers) or more. Moreover [Plate Tectonic] models of convection have not explicitly taken into account the complicated substructure of both continents and oceans.”

      “The theory of plate tectonics offers many more degrees of freedom for geologists than the concept of deep continental structures.” (p. 126)

      Sankar Chatterjee and Nicholas Hotton, in the introduction to their edited volume New Concepts in Global Tectonics (Texas Tech University Press, 1992) comment relevantly that “Although there is a consensus that some sort of thermal convection may drive the plates, the mechanism behind plate motion is still controversial and poorly understood. It is ironic that Wegener’s hypothesis of continental drift was rejected largely because it lacked a plausible driving mechanism, yet plate tectonics is widely accepted today despite a similar lack.” (p. ix)

  7. johnc says:

    I thought this was a no-brainer?

    I’m sure the continents appearing to join up on all sides could be a co-incidence, but gravity has been pulling in the same direction for like 4.5 billion years. That’s a lot of cosmic matter we’ve incorporated, the question is how much, and is it a significant amount?

    • Chris says:

      How significant is the infall from Space? Easy.

      Cosmic infall onto the Earth amounts to, and I’ve lost the reference for this (sorry), about 60,000,000 kg per year. Over 4.55 billion years would increase the mass of a planet with 5.97×10^24 kg (the mass of the Earth) by 0.000005%. So the short answer is, it’s insignificant and has been so since the end of the late heavy bombardment (3.8 to 4.1 billion years ago).

      Just to make that clear, the amount of mass increase as a result of the infall from space over the last 4.5 billion years is 8 orders of magnitude short of what EE requires for just the last 150 million years. That’s why Expanding Earthers (or EEdiots as many Geobloggers call them) have to resort to creating matter out of magic to make their idea work.

  8. SkepLit says:

    I was also introduced to GET through the SGU interview with Neal Adams. The skeptical lesson I took away from that interview was the notion of interlocking layers of evidence. It isn’t that GET doesn’t explain the “mystery” of continental drift. It does. However, it explains it by making throwing out our understanding of physics, chemistry, and geology. If GET is true then these other sciences are wrong. And if physics and chemistry are false then the computer I am typing on can’t be working since it relies on the same physics and chemistry that GET denies.
    And yet, here I am typing…

  9. CW says:

    I know that this probably sounds ridiculous, but I will admit my scientific ignorance here. What about the argument that the Earth is impacted with space matter and dust, therefore our planet is getting progressively heavier and larger?

  10. CW says:

    Woops, I just realized I skipped ahead in the article and missed where this is discussed. A scrolling hiccup in my IE browser. Sorry, my fault.

  11. johnc says:

    Plate movements are irrelevant, the earth is a bead of liquid in a massive vacuum. With other beads of liquid or particles of solid.

    Over time, one of two things will happen, either it will be swallowed up by another, larger object, or it will swallow others and grow in size.

    Anyone who thinks the earth co-incidentally manifested at exactly it’s current size should go buy a copy of the bible, there’s a chapter at the beginning they’d quite like.

  12. LovleAnjel says:

    “Over time, one of two things will happen, either it will be swallowed up by another, larger object, or it will swallow others and grow in size.”

    That is exactly how the Earth formed. It just stopped growing after it had cleared its orbital path of debris.

  13. Shawn S. says:

    Sometimes I wonder if it would be fun to argue against pseudoscience with pseudoscience. Well the earth can’t be growing because the sun inside the hollow earth emits such force that it keeps the earth from growing. Really stand firm, too. No hint of ridicule or irony in your voice. Play it totally straight, and find a way to believe it at that moment as you say it. Be totally sincere as you argue that point.

    I know most of these people’s sense of irony is totally missing, but could that sort of response be useful at all? I know that at times my frustration level with pseudoscience makes me not care.

  14. Shawn S. says:

    OH, and when they tell you that the hollow earth theory is ridiculous you naturally accuse them of being dogmatic and closed minded.

    • LovleAnjel says:

      I often wonder what it’s like at woo conventions. Or maybe they are very polite to each other, since the enemy of my enemy is my friend…

  15. Jim Stunkel says:

    I wonder if this is just a publicity stunt just to garner attention for the the newspaper. It seems too absurd to be taken seriously by anyone, including Ogrisseg himself. Maybe he’s the “balloon boy” of journalism and just likes to draw attention to himself.

  16. No… It was no publicity stunt. What’s absurd is plate tectonics — there are no plates, and the plate map doesn’t even correspond with recognized data on the age of the ocean floors. It’s obvious that most of you have never really looked at this thing and thought it through.

    Such frightened immaturity displayed here. (“Balloon boy”? Oh, ouch… Didn’t read the sentence right, did you? Never wanted the word “balloon” anywhere in the story. Mercy of the editors, you know?)
    If however you are above that and wish to pose an actual question, I’m listening.

    Jeff in Tokyo

    • Max says:

      I assume you were outside the US during the “balloon boy” hoax.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balloon_boy_hoax

      But the double-meaning is delicious.

    • gerryfromktown says:

      Hi Jeff, welcome to the discussion. Nice start to the debate – do you really think most of us have “never really looked at this thing”?

      Sure, lets have some questions answered – thanks for offering. How about this one posed in the original post:

      Plate tectonics also holds that there are subduction zones – the ocean floor moves from the spreading zones and then dives beneath the continental plates at subduction zones. Again, Ogrisseg just dismisses subduction:

      “No need for giant rocks from outer space, runaway continents or credulity-straining subduction zones to consume and recycle epic masses of material.”

      He does not say what, exactly, about subduction zones strains credulity.

      We know that subduction zones are associated with deep earthquakes. We know that the seismic waves radiating from these earthquakes are consistent with subducting plate motion. We know that subducting oceanic crust gets dragged down to form the deep ocean trenches (offshore Japan and Chile, and numerous other places). We know that the subducted material gets heated, chemically differentiated and rises in the form of magmas (creating island arc volcanoes). But you say this “strains credulity”.

      Would love to have you answer this. I am sure you will have no problem turning 5 decades of peer-reviewed literature on its head.

    • MadScientist says:

      I have some very simple questions:

      1. what is the rate of growth of the earth?
      ancillary to that: what material is being deposited, where is it coming from, and how do you verify this?

      2. why do we not observe this growth affecting our orbit?

      3. how do you account for the interferometrically measured deformation of mountains and measured movement of markers which people deliberately place to measure lateral surface movement?

      • Steve Athearn says:

        Brief answers:
        (1a) According to the _record_ of the ages of the seafloor (isochron areas converted to radius and plotted against time, and assuming no subduction, the recent rate is 22 mm/yr (increase in radius) (James Maxlow).

        (1b) Composition of material extruded or deposited (rock and volatiles) is determined empirically.

        (2) See the Maxlow quotation in my response to post #4, above.

        (3) Note your revealing phrase “lateral surface movement.” Such is expected by both PT and EE, of course, but the assumption that it is the _only_ movement of interest the _can_ invalidate negative verdicts on EE, in Novella’s words, “the lack of evidence, despite accurate enough observations for decades, that the earth is, you know, growing.” That static radius assumptions _have_ invalidated at least some of these findings is suggested by the following quotations:

        “Consider the great circle through Tokyo, Hawaii, and the All-American Observatory in Peru. Nearly 8000 km of new crust has been inserted in the Peru-Hawaii segment during the last 100 million years, and the East Pacific rise is still spreading, whereas no new crust has been inserted between Honolulu and Tokyo in that time. According to the above rate of expansion, the great circle has increased by 17,600+-5000 km whereas the Honolulu-Tokyo segment of this great circle has remained constant in length, which means that the angle substended by this arc at the earth’s center has nearly halved. Hence if the analysis of the NASA measurements of this arc assumed constant radius, the Hawaii-Tokyo distance would _appear_ to be shortening by about 6 cm per year although in fact the distance had not altered” (S. Warren Carey, Theories of the Earth and Universe, Stanford, 1988, p. 171).

        And the following, extracted from a reply I posted in an earlier discussion on Astronomycast, after their PT show:

        The short answer here is that studies are equivocal, because analysis of this data has generally incorporated the assumption of a static-radius earth. Tellingly, Maxlow (pp. 130-31) cites a study which combined fifteen years of data from both sources:

        “When Robaudo and Harrison (1993) first combined SLR solution UT/LLA9101 (including all data from 1976 to the beginning of 1991) and VLBI solution GBL660 (containing data up to the end of 1990) data sets to determine horizontal motions for plate motion studies, they allowed all stations to have three independent X-Y-Z motion velocities. When these motion velocities were used to establish a global geodetic network, they calculated ‘a Root Mean Squared value of up-down [variation in Earth radius] of over 18 mm/year’ … In other words, the Earth was found to be expanding by 18 millimetres per year.

        “Robaudo and Harrison considered this increase in Earth radius to be extremely large. They obviously did not consider Earth expansion when making this judgement, but instead compared this to values that were expected from areas undergoing crustal rebound during glacial melting, estimated at less than 10 millimetres per year.

        “It is significant to note that Robaudo and Harrison ‘expected that most VLBI stations will have up-down [radial] motions of only a few mm/year,’ and they then recommended that the vertical motion be ‘restricted to zero, because [they considered that] this is closer to the true situation than an average motion of 18mm/year.’

        “Robaudo and Harrison were, in fact, faced with a daunting problem. When they calculated the global geodetic network from 15 years’ worth of observational data, they found, but failed to acknowledge, that the Earth was expanding by 18 millimetres per year. This value is very close to the value of 22 millimetres per year calculated here using oceanic mapping, especially when error margins are also considered.” (Terra Non Firma Earth, pp. 130-31, citing S. Robaudo and C.G. Harrison (1993) “Plate Tectonics from SLR and VLBI global data,” in D.E. Smith and D.L. Turcotte, eds., Contributions of Space Geodesy to Geodynamics: Crustal Dynamics, Geodynamics Series, Volume 23, American Geophysical Union.)

        Reposting from an earlier discussion I participated in over at Astronomy.cast (PT episode):

  17. Nah… I see where this is going. No matter what my reply, the collective “you” will say that my information has been debunked, that my source has been disgraced, that I’m unqualified to make a comment or that I am an out-an-out liar, need I go on? The collective “you” will then interpret my boredom with your antics as admitting that I’m wrong, and yadda, yadda, yadda…

    But, here you go: No, you don’t; No, you don’t; No, you don’t; And, no, you don’t. But you go ahead and follow all that peer-reviewed literature, OK?

    My mistake. I should have specified “intelligent question.”

    • Chris G says:

      Ah, the You Just Don’t Get It Fallacy. Always a favorite.

      Science thrives on debate, and you’re in the unfortunate position of choosing to defend a position that scientists have already rejected. The onus is on you to prove your position, to provide evidence for your claims. And by “evidence” I mean “hard data.” Or at least a testable hypothesis for how matter can be created inside the Earth (and why it should be confined to the inside of planets, rather than happening all over the universe at the same time) Not, “this doesn’t make sense to me, so it can’t be true.”

      The scientific community is under no obligation to give Growing Earth equal time unless you make it worth their while.

      This isn’t a dogmatic repression of new ideas. Plate tectonics had a hard time being accepted for a long time because the technology didn’t exist to provide solid evidence in its favor, and as long as scientists such as Wegener and Holmes didn’t have hard evidence, the scientific community was within its rights to disregard them. But they and their intellectual descendants persisted and added data to support their claims, and therefore the hypothesis won out. It wasn’t easy, or quick, but that’s science for you.

      If those early geologists had just said, “Pfft. You just don’t get it,” then plate tectonics would still be fringe pseudoscience today.

      It is YOUR job, therefore, to provide the evidence. If this theory matters this much to you, then you or your intellectual heirs should be able to convince us. Unless you do that, you have no right to complain that you’re being dismissed.

      • MadScientist says:

        See, YOU JUST DON’T GET IT! :P~

      • Chris G. says:

        *sigh* I suppose I don’t. It’s my dogmatic blinders, you see. I got them in freshman biology class and they’ve been there ever since. Poor me…. They’re all the rage at the Convention for Scientific Conspiracy and Innovation Squelching, though. Very fashionable.

      • tmac57 says:

        Aha!! I KNEW there was a convention! The alien farmers told me so when the abducted me. By the way, they said that their Earth crop was doing nicely, and should be ready for harvest around Dec. 2012. So lets get those Arks finished pretty soon.

      • Steve Athearn says:

        To be fair to Jeff, I note that he was evidently responding to gerryfromktown’s comment, not to the questions raised by MadScientist, which were posted later, and which surely qualify as intelligent. It is certainly revealing that, under the guise of merely asking to “have some questions answered,” he (or she) avers that he already “knows” the answers, and then closes with a sneering comment that “I am sure you will have no problem turning 5 decades of peer-reviewed literature on its head” – which again suggests that the questions at issue have already been settled.

        As for Jeff’s judgment that “the collective ‘you'” are prejudiced in the same way, that position also, unfortunately, is supportable – beginning with Steve Novella’s labelling of the growing Earth hypothesis in his first substantive paragraph as a “pseudoscientific notion” and as “nonsense.” Note that at least the former phrase is directed to the hypothesis itself, not the shortcomings of particular efforts to defend it.

        Finally, I note that Jeff did respond to Gerry’s “questions,” by way of denying that we do in fact “know” what Gerry claims we do. To be sure, these were merely flat denials in the face of Gerry’s flat assertions. A natural follow up would be to ask both writers about their reasoning here.

      • paul barry says:

        “To be fair to Jeff…”

        You’re joking, right?

      • gerryfromktown says:

        Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t see the thread was still going.

        If I “sneered” (OK, I did) then it was in response to the suggestion that “It’s obvious that most of you have never really looked at this thing and thought it through”. But no more sneering. I really want to know the answer to my question (which was posed by Steve Novella in the original post): Steve Athearn or Jeff Ogrisseg – are you going to explain why subduction strains credulity?

        Flat assertions: Everything I stated is based on scientific observation, and explanations are readily available in Freshman Geoscience Textbooks. Pick up, for example, “Fundamentals of Geophysics” (William Lowrie). Yes, the peer-reviewed literature for the past 50 years is replete with observational data consistent with subduction zones, and therefore, yes it is considered to be a settled issue. If you want to seriously question the issue – please provide evidence. As Steve Athearn implies, flat denials will fail to convince.

        In order to provide online references I’ll resort to Wikipedia and other internet sources here, but you will find plenty of reliable references within these links [unfortunately, I can't post all the links as WordPress software thinks its "spammy"] – the searches below will work though.

        [1.] We know that subduction zones are associated with deep earthquakes.

        [1.] Do a search in Wikipedia on Wadati-Benioff_zone

        [2.] We know that the seismic waves radiating from these earthquakes are consistent with subducting plate motion.

        [2.] Do a search in Wikipedia on Focal Mechanisms

        [3.]We know that subducting oceanic crust gets dragged down to form the deep ocean trenches (offshore Japan and Chile, and numerous other places).

        [3.] Do a search on Wikipedia on Oceanic trenches.

        [4.] We know that the subducted material gets heated, chemically differentiated and rises in the form of magmas (creating island arc volcanoes).

        [4.] A very clear can be found with a Google search on, appropriately, “Tectonics and Volcanoes of Japan”

        And for good measure one final assertion: Just as we can look into the human body with ultrasound, we can also look into the earth with seismic waves. We have many, many examples of seismic images that show subducting crust. Again, some of the best examples are from Japan, and you can find them nicely illustrated here, along with references to the literature: http://clasticdetritus.com/2008/11/14/subduction-denialism-part-2-subduction-zones-trenches-and-accretionary-complexes/

      • Steve Athearn says:

        I didn’t notice the duplication of Gerry’s post. My responses are given below under entry #33.

  18. LovleAnjel says:

    Not necessarily… I’m also curious as to why subduction strains credulity.

  19. Jeff – thanks for taking the time to comment.

    I would like you to answer what it is, exactly, you find less plausible about subduction than the new creation of matter.

    Also – how has the solar system been stable with the earth gaining so much mass over the years?

    Thanks.

    • Steve Athearn says:

      Steven,

      A few points..

      As a sympathizer with Earth expansion myself, I would like to point out that there has probably never been an adherent who became convinced that the Earth is growing because they thought creation of new matter would be a good idea. They would ask you to consider the arguments and evidence that _they_ have to offer, the kinds of evidence which convinced _them_. (See my closing quotation for a brief sample.)

      In this connection, I think Adams’ proposals regarding a mechanism are something of a diversion. I hesitate to contribute further to this diversion, but I have never heard Adams or anyone else suggest that new matter is created out of nothing. They are saying that matter is _formed_ out of _something_. Either the conversion of energy to matter or the transformation of particles _without_ mass to particles _with_ mass in the interior of the Earth. If this entails a modification of the conservation laws, it would be something along the lines of the modification which has already occurred, from the original idea that _mass_ can neither be created nor destroyed. True, there would also have to be some modification of current views of how higher elements are formed (it just might turn out that “we are not necessarily stardust”). Do you regard current ideas in that area as sacrosanct?

      I note nothing has been said by others in this whole discussion indicating that growing Earth proposals are taken seriously not only by journalists, comic book creators and assorted denizens of cyberspace but also by knowledgeable geoscientists. Or that there is a larger minority of geoscientists who dissent from plate tectonics to one degree or another. Perhaps you are not familiar with the New Concepts in Global Tectonics Group. If you peruse their newsletter a bit, you may realize that this statement seems quite unfair if applied to them: “Essentially their critique of robust consensus within modern geology is the argument from personal incredulity, belittling and ignoring the massive evidence based upon which plate tectonics is based.”

      See http://www.ncgt.org/newsletter.php. For example, you might be interested to learn that the original interpretation of Chicxulub as volcanic has been defended on recent drilling evidence – in #32. Or in Maxlow’s alternative explanation (in his book) of the extinction of the dinosaurs and 90 percent of marine life – a well-constrained proposal, compared to the one Ogrisseg got from Adams – that this extinction event corresponds to the merging of the primitive Atlantic-Indian with the primitive Pacific ocean. This occurred over an 8-10 million year period. Note Chris’ phrase “geologically speaking” in post 21, below. With the potential for different sea levels and different salinities prior to this time, one can easily see how it could have led to the mass extinction. Maxlow also found that an earlier mass extinction event correlated with the merging of the northern and southern Pacific oceans.

      Regarding mountains, I note Australian geologist Cliff Ollier’s (coauthor of The Origin of Mountains, Routledge, 2000) conclusion that

      “The expanding Earth hypothesis does not explain all the fine details of mountain formation. It is not clear, for instance, why there would be extra uplift in some isolated mountains such as the Urals or the ranges of Central Spain, or why some passive continental margins have mountains but others have none at all. But in general the expanding Earth hypothesis has fewer problems than the other hypotheses, and Plate Tectonics in particular is fraught with many problems in trying to explain real mountains as the result of subduction” (in Giancarlo Scalera, ed. Why Expanding Earth, Rome, Instituto Nazionale di Geophysica e Vulcanologia, 2003, p. 156.)

      I could cite many criticisms of the large-scale subduction concept, but here I’ll close with a brief quote regarding the positive evidence for expansion. It’s from Dr. Stefan Cwojdzinski of the Polish Geological Institute, in his introduction to Maxlow’s book, Terra Non Firma Earth (Oneoff, 2005):

      “[T]he facts are striking. The real scientific discussion…must therefore concentrate on proofs based on facts, proofs which in fact directly show an expansion of the Earth. Examples of these proofs are:
      *The enlargement of the perimeter of the Pacific Ocean, which is univocal with the progressive development of the ocean;
      *The deep rooting of continental plates, proven by seismic tomography;
      *The lengthwise stretching of the oceanic ridges;
      *The ongoing increase in distance between hot spots.
      These examples are, of course, basic facts, the explanations of which we do not find in the plate tectonic model, or the explanations given are actually offensive by their artificiality. Similarly many other global and regional facts also exist to contradict the plate tectonic model, while instead they are easy to explain on an expanding Earth. These facts include: the existence of the so called triple junctions, the extensive development of the Arctic ocean (the so called ‘Arctic Paradox’), a progressive development of the Tethys zone, the passive origin of the rifts, the lack of a continuous ‘asthenospheric layer’ under the lithosphere, and many others” (pp.15-16)

  20. MadScientist says:

    Shall we class such nonsense as “cryptogeology”? Then we’d have a sciencey-sounding name for bullshit like the growing earth and creationism.

  21. Chris says:

    Jeff Ogrisseg: I’m a geologist, a cosmo-chemist (my MSc thesis looked at radio nuclides in meteorites) and a general science enthusiast. My job is processing geophysical data to generate accurate pictures of the lithosphere so companies can drill into specific areas and pump out the oil our modern world relies on.

    I have also had many, many, many wasted hours entertaining myself by debating (if you can call it that) Neal Adams. So I am in a very unique position – geologist, geochemist, geophysicist and very familiar with the claims Expanding Earthers make. So let’s have a look at a couple of the claims Steven noted in this post.

    “So the “terrible lizards” simply did not adapt fast enough as the Earth grew, and that is what killed them off — not some CG-like impact from outer space.”

    What about the other eighty-odd percent of life that went extinct at the K-T boundary? And what exactly about the Earth expanding would cause all of the dinosaurs to die out at once (geologically speaking)?

    We know for absolute sure that the Deccan Traps in India formed at and around the K-T boundary. This is what’s caused a large igneous provence (LIP). LIPs have been linked to more than one mass extinction (more on that later).

    We also know, for absolute sure, that there was a large meteor impact at 65 Ma at Chicxulub in what is now Mexico. Not only do we know where and when it impacted, we also know what type of meteorite it was – a rare carbonaceous chondrite (the type of meteorite I studied in my MSc thesis). So we have very good idea of what was going on at 65 Ma.

    So if you want to disregard all the evidence we have supporting those two major events occurring (neither of which required the Earth to be expanding and both of which, independently, would have caused mass extinction), that’s fine. But if the expansion of the Earth caused the KT boundary extinction, what caused the Permian-Triassic (PT) mass extinction, often called the “Great Dying”? 96% of all marine life died then, and it’s the only recorded mass extinction of insects. Please explain this extinction in terms of an expanding Earth. And please, again, how does an expanding Earth cause dinosaurs to become extinct at once?

    Onto another quote:

    “In terms of mountain building, too, it’s interesting that none of the large, nonvolcanic mountain ranges on our planet, such as the Alps, Andes or Himalayas, are more than 100 million years old.”

    No one with even the most basic classical geological training would need more than a few seconds to disprove the implication of this statement. There were mountains that existed before 100 Ma, we have evidence for them. Quick example: the Minnesotan orogeny occurred at 2.68 Ga. The geology doesn’t lie. Even if the mountains are long gone, the evidence they were there remains. All I did there was put “orogeny Ga” into Google and got dozens of examples of >1 billion year old mountain ranges. If you don’t know the basics of a science you have no place trying to overturn those basics. Mountains are very temporary structures (geologically speaking).

    I could go on.

    The point is, no Expanding Earther I’ve talked to yet has the basic knowledge to even begin to comprehend the literal mountains of evidence they’re opposing. it’s exceptionally rare to have a discussion with an Expanding Earther who has a grasp on the basics of plate tectonics. So here’s a basic question for you Jeff Ogrisseg; what causes the formation of new material at the mid ocean ridges? What mechanism causes the spreading? If you can’t answer that without using 40 year old concepts, you have absolutely no right to claim Plate tectonics is wrong. I await your answer.

    • Steve Athearn says:

      I regret that other comments, which have prompted reactions from me, have prevented me from acknowledging my appreciation for the facts and background information which Chris has brought to this discussion, and for Brian van Doren’s evident interest in discussing issues without prejudice. And while I find a number of things in Dr. Novella’s original post prejudiced and ill-informed, I agree with him (and Chris) on the need to address the generally accepted answers to the problems the alternative proposal claims to solve.

      Furthermore, I have to acknowledge that I am very much a beginner in terms of adequately assimilating the relevant concepts and literature. Much of the information I have presented in my posts consists of quotations from others who do seem to have knowledgeably grappled with the issues, contrary to the impression fostered in this discussion that _in general_ these issues have not been grappled with by EE proponents. And also contrary to the impression that other serious dissent from from PT premises – such premises repeatedly asserted to have “overwhelming,” “robust,” or “massive” evidence behind them – does not exist in the geoscience community. Excellent overviews, which I have not so far cited, are David Pratt’s articles for the Journal of Scientific Exploration, “Organized Opposition to Plate Tectonics” and “Plate Tectonics: A Paradigm Under Threat,” both readily available online.

      Regarding issues Chris raises here, I have indicated already that there exist proposals that deal address the info and questions he raises about the mass extinction events. I wonder what he, with his background, would think of Bridges article “The Volcanic Interpretation of Chicxulub, Mexico” which I referred to earlier. In addition to Bridges’ evidence, I wonder whether the link between the Deccan iridium at the K-T boundary, with at least a possible link to the volcanism that produced this LIP, does somewhat vitiate the “absolute certainty” that the contemporaneous iridium enrichment at Chicxulub had asteroid origin (though as I understand it, the Chicxulub impact, according to common ideas, could have been the source, through atmospheric transport, of iridium enrichment elsewhere in around the globe, including the Deccan province).

      As reasons why Maxlow’s proposals might be taken seriously, I note that his paleoglobe models are very well-constrained by his primary data (especially in comparison to PT reconstructions, which, he notes, are constrained latitudinally by paleomagnetic data, but not longitudinally, and are plagued by the existence of multiple fit options), and therefore subject to good comparisons with other data sets.

      With regard to mountain building, again I’m unsure how germane this is, but I wonder if Chris is assuming identity between mountain building and orogeny. As Ollier and Pain point out in The Origin of Mountains (Routledge, 2000), originally the latter term _meant_ mountain building, but it now technically refers to the folding of rocks. It is still often assumed that mountain uplift and the folding of rocks go hand-in-hand, but as they show, from “facts about mountain landscapes rather than theory” (in the words of the back cover), there is no necessary link between the two.

      About the conditions under which one has a right to claim PT is wrong, I would suggest, as a matter of principle, that evidence can be adduced against a prevailing theory, without reference to the existence or non-existence of an available alternative. Recall that Newtonian mechanics was basically overthrown about a decade before the emergence of Special Relativity.

      Secondly, I see the demand for cause and mechanism largely as rationalizations for the evasion of evidence. To be clear, I am not saying that this is Chris’ _intention_, or that, _in fact_, he has refused to consider evidence in his exchanges with EE proponents. But suppose someone comes along claiming to have evidence that the Earth has increased in volume or mass. She does not claim to have a theory about the cause of this increase. Isn’t the proper response, “Okay, show me your evidence” rather than “First, show me that you have a peer-reviewed particle physics theory which would explain such an increase, and only then I will agree to look at the evidence you claim to have that such an increase has occurred”?

      Finally, for the sake of those (e.g. Novella) who make much of the fact that if EE proposals were true, this would have a disturbing effect on other generally accepted ideas in science, should not the principled scientific position be that only facts, NOT other theories (what we _think_ is true) can legitimately invalidate any proposal that is made? And for the record, Novella’s fears seem to exaggerated. The serious supporters of EE (e.g. Italy’s Giancarlo Scalera), work with generally accepted orbital mechanics, in addressing the difficult question of what the effects of expansion should be.

      • Steve Athearn says:

        As a follow-up, I here excerpt from Cliff Ollier and Colin Pain’s list of “Difficulties with and objections to plate tectonics” (in their book, pp. 298-300) This will be my final contribution here, unless others join in, but if so, I will not be able to return to this discussion until the weekend:

        “1. The total length of spreading sites is three times longer than that of subduction sites.
        2. Plate tectonic theory does not explain why subduction is located almost entirely around the Pacific, while spreading is present in all oceans.
        3. The spreading sites are not static, but move away from continents. The circum-Antarctic spreading site is the best example. It was once just bounding Antarctica, but has moved away in all directions to its present position. Spreading is also symmetrical around most of Africa. As it moved towards the equator, the circum-Antarctic ridge also grew longer. Plate tectonics has not provided any mechanism for spreading sites to grow longer….
        6. After subduction the descending slab is supposed to return to the mid-ocean ridge as part of the convection cell. Mid-Ocean Ridge Basalt has a very consistent and rather odd composition. How can MORB, with such a complicated history, be so uniform in composition? Also eruptions at the mid-ocean ridge erupt helium, which is so light that it escapes from the Earth and is not recycled, and juvenile (new) water….
        8. Island arcs in the western Pacific are explained as the result of subduction of the Pacific plate. The collision might be expected to cause compression, but instead of compression we find further seafloor spreading on the other side of the arc, the back-arc basin. ‘Subduction roll-over’ is the special pleading in this case, but it is hard to apply in three dimensions….
        10. Subduction around curved mountain ranges. Subduction is invoked to explain curved mountain ranges such as the Apennines (p. 66) and the Carpathians (p.86). But if subduction is perpendicular to the mountain range, the subducted slabs must be converging at some place within the arc, which should cause accumulation of material and presumably uplift, but this area is always a relative lowland.
        11. A rock mass cannot move simultaneously in opposite directions. But the Po Plain appears to be subducted under both the Southern Alps to the north, and the northern Apennines to the south (Chapter 4). The Pelvoux Massif appears to be subducted to the north, south and west (Chapter 8)….
        13. Subduction fails to explain why there was a period of still-stand, when land was extensively planated before the period of mountain uplift on a global scale….
        15. Stocklin (1989) pointed out that subduction and spreading had to be equal at the same time, and objected to the plate tectonic concept of subduction of the Indian Plate under Tibet because of the lack of geological evidence for the existence of the vast Late Paleozoic Tethys Ocean supposed to have been available for Mesozoic subduction. He concludes, rather, that the excess of crustal expansion in the Indian Ocean over crustal shortening in the orogenic belt is evidence for expansion of the Earth.
        16. The real problem with subduction is that it can do everything. Plate collision may be invoked ‘to explain uplift (making mountains), or subsidence (making deep trenches). It may make folds by compression, but makes backarc basins by tension. The fact that the subduction hypothesis can account for both uplift and subsidence, compression and tension, means that it has too many degrees of freedom. It can account for opposite effects and it is not testable’ (Ollier and Pain, 1988).
        17. Plate tectonics as a general principle has been enormously helpful in many aspects of geology, but its practitioners have neglected the ground surface, and have often been uncritical in their time scales. The geomorphology of mountains and their recent origin make plate tectonics an improbable mechanism for mountain building.”

      • Carter says:

        Well, what an interesting string. Thanks one and all for every single comment or reply. Thanks especially to Steve and his post above. After a long day it’s nice to get some comic relief. You have never studied this topic, have you? It’s quite clear by what you have written that you have never gone out and done field work in the area, laid hands on evidence, or even thought about structural geology. Lots of laughs especially at your #11!

        Cheers!

      • Steve Athearn says:

        And _therefore_ my quotations from others who do have the geological training and extensive fieldwork experience, on matters germane to the topic at hand, need not be taken seriously.

        For the record, the list above comes verbatim from Cliff Ollier and Colin Pain, The Origin of Mountains (London: Routledge, 2000), pp. 298-300. Your dispute, if you have any which you can state (as opposed to merely indicating the appearance of bodily reflexes), is with them, not me.

        (Professor Ollier’s Wikipedia bio is available here:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cliff_Ollier )

  22. Seth says:

    “Yeah, come on! I’m ready for your questions!”

    SCIENCE!

    “…Guh…Uh…Durr…”

  23. Max says:

    Aren’t all the big phenomena discovered before their mechanism? Newton’s laws of motion (“I feign no hypotheses”), smallpox vaccine before germ theory, periodic table before electron shells, evolution before genetics before DNA, continental drift before plate tectonics, etc.

    • Shahar Lubin says:

      Yeah, but.

      If a new theory tries to reexplain what has already a pretty good theory for, offers little if nothing in new evidence, it should at least have some kind of probable or at least suggest a mechanism to support it.

      Newton’s laws of motion worked. The evidence supported it. They also worked better than any prevailing theories. And those laws of motion had been adjusted and improved upon later with a better understanding of the mechanism.

      Growing earth theory is superfluous and unnecessary. It does not explain anything better than existing theories, it does not give us any new predictions that had been observed. A lack of suggested mechanism does not disprove a theory but it definitely helps.

  24. LovleAnjel says:

    Chris– you said it very eloquently. Cheers.

  25. Brian van Doren says:

    Thank you Chris for supplying some real evidence. Content is extremely important when debating ideas, lest we become that which we fight against.

    I was genuinely interested in seeing some real discussion from the opposing theory. There are real questions that GET needs to answer:

    My first thought was “Where is the mass coming from?”

    Then came:

    Do other planets exhibit this feature? If not, why?

    Does the sun do this? If not, why? What about the moon?

    What is the rate of growth? How does it change with time? What evidence do we have for these rates?

    If the earth’s mass increases with time, the moon’s orbital period would decrease (revolve faster). Is there any evidence of this in our time, or can we sift through the history of earth to measure this? Did the moon ever leave it’s 27.3 or 29.5-day foot print on ancient history somehow?

    I could go on. The point is, what can we measure?

    In physics, we run around coming up with ideas and then disproving them with data daily. It’s only the ideas that people haven’t disproved that stick around (or we say “they only work under X circumstances” – e.g. Newton’s stuff).

    Too bad Jeff left: “Nah… I see where this is going.”

    Scientists love new ideas, but you can never get too attached.

    • Chris says:

      “If the earth’s mass increases with time, the moon’s orbital period would decrease (revolve faster). Is there any evidence of this in our time, or can we sift through the history of earth to measure this? Did the moon ever leave it’s 27.3 or 29.5-day foot print on ancient history somehow?”

      That’s a really good question. If only the EEdiots asked those kind of questions before making proclamations.

      Yes, there is geological evidence for not just bigger tides in the past (due to the Moon being closer to the Earth) but more frequent tides (it was a 20 day Lunar month 3.2 billion years ago).

      There’s an excellent article on Archean tidal deposits and what you can tell from them at Highly Allochthonous: http://scienceblogs.com/highlyallochthonous/2007/07/where_the_moon_was_at_32_billi.php

      “I could go on. The point is, what can we measure?”

      Also a very good question. Is there any way to measure the diameter of the Earth and the mass of the Earth? From the ground we can do both over time (the relationship between mass and weight can be measured to such ridiculous accuracies that any increase in the Earth’s mass should be measurable on a sub-annual basis). But we can, and are currently, measuring both from space.

      The GRACE satellites (http://www.csr.utexas.edu/grace/) are continuing to measure changes in the Earth’s surface gravity, for example, which should show increases if it’s increasing in mass and size, or decreases if it’s just increasing in size and not mass).

      We can also measure the diameter of the Earth down to mm accuracy, as mentioned in this article: http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/node/1428 (wherein the diameter of the Earth was revised from the previous measurement, down, by 5mm – hardly evidence for a growing Earth).

      So, in brief, yes, we can and are making the measurements that would show an increase in the mass and/or diameter of the Earth. And none of those measurements are showing an increase in either as described by the Expanding Earth crowd.

      • Steve Athearn says:

        It is important not to let stand uncorrected the assertions of the last two paragraphs. As I pointed out under entry # 16, it is not true that _none_ of the satellite laser ranging and very long baseline interferometry studies have found evidence of increasing Earth radius. Robaudo and Harrison 1993, combining 15 years of both types of data, and allowing x-y-z motion velocities to vary independently, found an average increase in Earth radius of 18 mm/yr, which is just in the range of Maxlow’s derivation from crustal isochron data. The study linked above (abstracted at http://www.springerlink.com/content/nu72841x1462k780/ ), was evidently not even another study of the same kind – one that attempts to analyze motion velocities (over time). Rather, as its abstract and keywords suggest, it involved a recalibration of the mathematical methods used to determine Earth radius at a given time. In other words, the “shrinking” resulted from a revision of the _methods_ used to calculate global “measurements” from the raw data, rather than a finding that the _data_ indicate an actual shrinkage of the Earth’s dimensions. Hence the study does not evidently contain anything to confute Robaudo and Harrison’s result.

      • Chris says:

        Robaudo and Harrison 1993, combining 15 years of both types of data, and allowing x-y-z motion velocities to vary independently, found an average increase in Earth radius of 18 mm/yr

        Are you referring to Robaudo, S., and C. G. A. Harrison (1993), Measurements of strain at plate boundaries using space based geodetic techniques, Geophys. Res. Lett., 20(17), 1811–1814? Or perhaps their 1992 report Plate tectonics from VLBI and SLR global data? Either way, neither of these publications concludes the Earth to be expanding by 18 mm/yr.

        I did find one paper from a group of Czech geodesy researchers who cite Robaudo and Harrison (1993) as claiming an 18mm/yr increase in diameter, but then fail to actually reference the paper in the references section (which is such a mind-blowing oversight in a scientific paper that it beggars belief). The paper, THE HYPOTHESIS ON THE EARTH’S EXPANSION IN THE LIGHT OF SPACE GEODESY RESULTS, states in the abstract:

        These results based on measurement interpretation lead us to
        rejection of the Blinov hypothesis, but considering measurement itself – if we use strict statistical criteria – we cannot decide if the Earth expands or not.

        and then concludes:

        [...]present results of the space geodesy methods cannot be used to prove if the Earth expansion appears or not!

        I won’t put any weight on the aforementioned paper, at it seems somewhat amateurish, but even so, my point still stands – no one has ever measured the Earth to be expanding.

      • Steve Athearn says:

        Glad I checked in again. Thank you very much for your response and the additional citations. I haven’t seen the paper you mention by the Czech researchers. My own information about the Robaudo and Harrison study comes from James Maxlow’s book Terra Non-Firma Earth (Oneoff, 2005, pp. 130-31), as previously quoted in this forum under #16. Presumably, similar information can be found in his doctoral thesis, which is freely available through his website. In the former book, the reference is cited in the bibliography as follows:

        Robaudo s and Harrison, C.G.A. 1993, Plate Tectonics from SLR and VLBI global data. In: Smith D.E. and Turcotte, D.L., eds. Contributions of Space Geodesy to Geodynamics: Crustal Dynamics. Geodynamics series, Volume 23. American Geophysical Union.

        The 1992 study was presumably an earlier version of this one.

        According to Maxlow, the 1993 study does not actually “conclude” that the Earth is expanding at 18mm/yr. Rather, as his discussion suggests, (1) this was a result that they did not expect, (2) they considered “glacial rebound” as an explanation, though apparently noted its inadequacy, (3) they did not even consider Earth expansion as an explanation.

        Says Maxlow, “It is significant to note that Robaudo and Harrison “expected that most VLBI stations will have up-down [radial] motions of only a few mm/year”, and they then recommended that the vertical motion be “restricted to zero, because [they considered that] this is closer to the true situation than an average motion of 18mm/year” (Robaudo and Harrison, 1993, p. 54)” [interpolations and citation Maxlow's, p. 131].

        From the way that the space geodetic data has been used by some to claim that “measurements” have already falsified Earth expansion, one would hardly know that published analysis of the raw data can hardly be described simply as “measurements.” As further discussion by Maxlow shows, those results incorporate various “correction factors” and assumptions – including evidently even the assumption of a static radius Earth. Maxlow cites some examples from published IERS solutions for specific observation sites:

        “In Figure 46 for instance, the chart suggests that there was either a severe earthquake near Canberra, located in eastern Australia, during 1993 to 1994, or there has been an arbitrary 71 millimetre adjustment to the vertical height of the observation site.”

        “Similarly, in Figure 47, the chart suggests that there were either two earthquakes at Roumelli in Europe during the period of observation, or there have been a number of regular downward adjustments to the vertical height. These adjustments amount to a total of about 60 millimetres irrespective of the direction shown by the motion vectors.”

        “There were no earthquakes of this magnitude at either of these sites during this period of observation.”

        “While it is only possible to show a selection of typical charts, the variance in the measurements shown would indeed suggest that the raw data is being routinely constrained to a pre-determined, idealized static radius Earth model. Unfortunately it is not possible or feasible to gain access to the enormous amount of raw observational data to verify this from an expanding Earth perspective.”

        “As previously noted though, precision within each individual space geodetic measurement technique is now routinely quoted to sub-centimetre accuracy. Yet the large fluctuations in Earth radii, shown in each of these figures, confirms that space geodetic solutions are certainly not as sufficiently well constrained in the vertical as they should be if the Earth radius was actually constant.”(pp. 133-34)

        Doesn’t this information make the contention that space geodesy has already disconfirmed an expanding Earth hypothesis wildly premature? I hope you will agree that the whole matter should be reopened for careful and unbiased investigation.

      • Florian says:

        You can’t use tidalites to calculate palaeorotations because the calculation is based on the assumption that the period of revolution is constant (about 8766 hours). Evidently, this assumption does not hold in the framework of the planetary growth theory.

        Regarding palaeorbits of the Earth or Moon or whatever. People forget that the “new” mass is not momentum free. So it is not possible to predict the evolution of the global momemtum without a good understanding of the phenomenon. This is again an irrefutable, thus not scientific topic.

        Regarding gravimetry, I expect better results from GOCE than from GRACE. Though GRACE showed clearly that mass was extruded and moved toward the indian ocean during the sumatra Earthquake: The arc is moving toward the ocean floor as expected for the margins of a spreading diapir.

        Still satellite can be useful at the regional scale (to avoid global bias due to constraint to a fixed radius). For example, asthenospheric flow are highlighted by GPS measurements. See for example the splendid case of anatolia and the agaean sea: http://tinyurl.com/p43dep

        The rate scale is at the top left corner. The migration front is clearly visible in this figure (crete, hellenic orogen). See, no Africa/Europa convergence. No plates. Only lithosphere driven by underlying flow as expected in the growing earth theory.

        And please show some respect by avoiding some terms like EEdiots. It is not what I expect from a serious scientist.

      • Chris says:

        Still satellite can be useful at the regional scale (to avoid global bias due to constraint to a fixed radius). For example, asthenospheric flow are highlighted by GPS measurements. See for example the splendid case of anatolia and the agaean sea: http://tinyurl.com/p43dep

        I don’t think that’s showing what you think it’s showing. Especially considering the interaction of the Arabian plate. What you’re seeing here is the European plate moving towards the African plate (at a great rate), while Turkey is being compressed from the east by the Arabian plate, as it obviously moves northward into western Asia (hence all the mountains in northern Iraq, Iran and Turkey).

        The rate scale is at the top left corner. The migration front is clearly visible in this figure (crete, hellenic orogen). See, no Africa/Europa convergence. No plates. Only lithosphere driven by underlying flow as expected in the growing earth theory.

        Really? No plates? No Africa/European convergence? Then riddle me this: how is the top of the Matterhorn a section of a small plate that broke away from the African plate, while the bottom half is from Europe (wikipedia link here). There’s absolutely no way you can say there’s no African/European convergence. Even the image you linked to shows this.

        And please show some respect by avoiding some terms like EEdiots. It is not what I expect from a serious scientist.

        I’ll try. My use of ad hominem is nothing more than an expression of frustration in discussing this topic.

  26. Jeff did a better job of discrediting himself with his brief appearance here then I ever could. It’s always nice when cranks oblige us by acting like such cranks.

  27. MadScientist says:

    Aww, you scared away the woo peddler! And I thought we’d have some fun. :(

  28. LovleAnjel says:

    I’m disappointed! I was looking forward to his arguments…

  29. Brian M says:

    I once had an argument with a “growing earth” believer. I went a little something like this:
    Me: “Interesting idea; if its true, you will be rich. What evidence do you have”
    Him: “The continents fit”
    Me: “Ok, what else?”
    Him: “I need nothing else, they fit.”
    Followed by an angry tirade about how I know nothing…

  30. Kitapsiz says:

    Ummmm, okay, there is that word again: “consensus”.

    WTF does scientific data need consensus for? Either the data represents the intended conclusion(s) of an hypothesis or theory, OR … the data refutes the conclusion.

    Argumentum ad populum is supposed to lend more validity to the data, than what is plainly apparent from the data itself?

    If the Skeptics ever wonder why science is struggling in the world community, I find this to be one direct reason. “Consensus” makes science look like a system of collusion and academic ostracization of the general populace, with willful intent.

    Data is data, facts are facts, conclusions are either supported or refuted. Black/white, on/off, 1/0, yes/no, correct/incorrect …

    Peer review ascertains the proper use of protocols, accurate and properly collected data from known/certified methodologies, and whether or not the data supports or refutes the conclusion. That’s discipline and error correction, not “consensus”; which is just unmitigated bullshit.

    Do you really wonder why a reporter like this can spew non-factual bunk and get away with it?

    I don’t.

    • Chris says:

      “WTF does scientific data need consensus for? Either the data represents the intended conclusion(s) of an hypothesis or theory, OR … the data refutes the conclusion.”

      Or, the data shows something unexpected, or the data is inconclusive, or the data shows one thing, the occurrence of which wipes out the evidence for another thing. The consensus is there to say “to the best of our knowledge, we interpret this data to mean x.” And that means the average Joe or non-specialist can effectively delegate the interpretation of data to the experts without having to be an expert themselves.

      “Argumentum ad populum is supposed to lend more validity to the data, than what is plainly apparent from the data itself?”

      No, you seem to have a misunderstanding of what the scientific consensus is. It’s not an Argumentum ad populum, it’s (usually) a conclusion drawn from a mass of convergent evidence from multiple fields of science. It’s not the most popular conclusion, it’s the most reached conclusion and thus the most supported model by hitherto gathered evidence.

      “If the Skeptics ever wonder why science is struggling in the world community, I find this to be one direct reason. “Consensus” makes science look like a system of collusion and academic ostracization of the general populace, with willful intent.”

      Now that’s bullshit.

      “Data is data, facts are facts, conclusions are either supported or refuted. Black/white, on/off, 1/0, yes/no, correct/incorrect …”

      If only it were that simple. Truth is, it’s not. For example in my own field of research there is debate as to the original concentrations of the radioactive isotope 26Al in the Solar System when planetary accretion started.

      Using a range of analytical techniques, a majority of labs say the 26Al/27Al0 (the ratios of 26Al to 27Al at time 0) is [5.00 +- 0.05] *10^-5. This seems to be accurate in all measured samples so far, except with a couple of groups who use a technique others shy away from (due to a range of issues and potential problems), and they get values of 6 or 7 x10^-5 on a minority of samples. The difference may seem small, but 26Al is very, very radioactive and hot, and effectively dictates the size planetoids could get to in the planet forming age of our solar system before differentiating into core/mantle/crust. The bigger the 26Al/27Al number, the smaller a planet needed to be to melt and differentiate.

      Now, the actual techniques involved require a thorough knowledge of geochemistry, crystallography, physical chemistry and analytical chemistry. None of which a journalist reporting on something will have (it’s a very specialised field after all). So, as this is an active field of research, who do you believe? The majority of research conclusions or the minority? That’s where consensus comes in.

      The consensus is that the 26Al/27Al0 = 5.00 +- 0.05 *10^-5. And until compelling evidence comes about to show the majority of analyses to be in error, that’s what we use, because that’s the best we have.

      It’s not a case of on/off, yes/no. It’s a case of “to the best of our abilities and techniques, the most likely case is x.” That’s the best you can do with science. If we find reason enough to doubt x, it’s subject to revision. No exceptions.

      This desire for absolute truths from science is totally unreasonable and fanciful in the extreme.

      “Do you really wonder why a reporter like this can spew non-factual bunk and get away with it?”

      No, people believe a whole lot of crazy stuff, and with the decline in science editors in main stream media, there’s no one around to say “that’s bullshit,” and refuse to publish.

      • tmac57 says:

        Score: Chris 1/ Kitapsiz 0.

      • Kitapsiz says:

        Keep trolling tmac, you’ll be nothing but a 0, regardless.

      • tmac57 says:

        Argumentum ad Hominem. -1.

      • Kitapsiz says:

        Trolling:

        “In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response[1] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.”

        Ad hom refuted.

      • tmac57 says:

        My “score” post was merely my opinion of who had the better argument. I found Chris’s more convincing. Now explain to me how a simple expression of support for a comment can be characterized as “trolling”. Do you consider someone disagreeing with your opinions as inflammatory, or off topic? If you found it extraneous, then everyone apparently trolls on these blogs, because you see many posts that essentially are just an agreement with another commenter.
        I think that you are just a little too sensitive about having your opinion challenged.

      • Kitapsiz says:

        “the data shows something unexpected”

        Errant hypothesis, wrong methodologies, or irrelevant data.

        “the data is inconclusive”

        Then further testing is required, new methodologies are required, or one of the previously mentioned issues has arisen.

        “the data shows one thing, the occurrence of which wipes out the evidence for another thing”

        Yes, that’s called discovery. None of which require “consensus”. Hence, your protestations amount to nothing.

        “No, you seem to have a misunderstanding of what the scientific consensus is. It’s not an Argumentum ad populum, it’s (usually) a conclusion drawn from a mass of convergent evidence from multiple fields of science. It’s not the most popular conclusion, it’s the most reached conclusion and thus the most supported model by hitherto gathered evidence.”

        Or …

        That’s a rather verbose trail of balderdash to support an instance of group think. Apparently, you haven’t been paying attention to recent trends in the scientific community; i.e. geneticists commenting as experts on matters of anthropology, geologists commenting as experts on meteorology, chemists commenting as experts on climatology, etc. The point being, a PhD. in specific discipline does not make one an expert in an entirely different discipline. Hence, I would go to a cardiologist for expert commentary on a heart condition, not an archaeologist. “Consensus” is academic hubris.

        “If only it were that simple. Truth is, it’s not. For example in my own field of research there is debate as to the original concentrations of the radioactive isotope 26Al in the Solar System when planetary accretion started.”

        That’s called speculation, conjecture, and debating opinion as there is not sufficient data to support a conclusion, even provisionally.

        ” It’s a case of “to the best of our abilities and techniques, the most likely case is x.”

        Speculation, which is induction, which is not scientific. Either you have the data to support a hypothesis, or it is just opinion; which is not only irrelevant, but poor discipline.

        “This desire for absolute truths from science is totally unreasonable and fanciful in the extreme.”

        Argumentum ad absurdum; no such claim was made by me. All scientific conclusions are provisional, predicated upon the current data. As science is continually pushing the boundaries, new methodologies and instrumentation become available and certified, error correction is part of the process and discipline ~ speculation, conjecture and group opinion, are not.

        “No, people believe a whole lot of crazy stuff, and with the decline in science editors in main stream media, there’s no one around to say “that’s bullshit,” and refuse to publish.”

        Which is because science has become a lobbying mechanism, and funding now has greater political ties than ever before. Scientists have in recent years, in egregiously greater numbers, admitted to giving the answers their funding constituents want; not necessarily the conclusions given by the data.

      • Chris says:

        “the data shows something unexpected”

        Errant hypothesis, wrong methodologies, or irrelevant data.

        Or new discovery.

        “the data is inconclusive”

        Then further testing is required, new methodologies are required, or one of the previously mentioned issues has arisen.

        Or, new discovery.

        “the data shows one thing, the occurrence of which wipes out the evidence for another thing”

        Yes, that’s called discovery. None of which require “consensus”. Hence, your protestations amount to nothing.

        Or the occurance of one phenomenon has the effect of masking or deleting evidence for previous phenomena occurring.

        That’s a rather verbose trail of balderdash to support an instance of group think. Apparently, you haven’t been paying attention to recent trends in the scientific community; i.e. geneticists commenting as experts on matters of anthropology, geologists commenting as experts on meteorology, chemists commenting as experts on climatology, etc. The point being, a PhD. in specific discipline does not make one an expert in an entirely different discipline. Hence, I would go to a cardiologist for expert commentary on a heart condition, not an archaeologist. “Consensus” is academic hubris.

        What the hell are you on about? It’s the experts and specialists that come up with the consensus. Cardiologists come up with the consensus relating to cardiology. Just because a chemist promotes themselves as a geologist, doesn’t mean what they say become the consensus.

        The one thing every research scientist wants to do is disprove the consensus. That’s what research is aimed at doing. If you come up with an answer that supports what everyone else is saying, i.e, the consensus, then what more can you say but that the consensus is right?

        That’s called speculation, conjecture, and debating opinion as there is not sufficient data to support a conclusion, even provisionally.

        You’ve clearly never done any scientific research.

        ” It’s a case of “to the best of our abilities and techniques, the most likely case is x.”

        Speculation, which is induction, which is not scientific. Either you have the data to support a hypothesis, or it is just opinion; which is not only irrelevant, but poor discipline.

        That’s potentially the stupidest thing you’ve written so far. All measurements (data!) so far, confirm general relativity is appropriate in its intended application. So, to the best of out abilities and with all measurements and techniques so far applied, general relativity works. Subject to change. Oh, but I forgot, that’s just speculation and opinion. If we applied your line of reasoning to science we’d never be able to say anything is true about anything.

        Argumentum ad absurdum; no such claim was made by me. All scientific conclusions are provisional, predicated upon the current data. As science is continually pushing the boundaries, new methodologies and instrumentation become available and certified, error correction is part of the process and discipline ~ speculation, conjecture and group opinion, are not.

        And the scientific consensus is derived from those conclusions based on the data we have so far! It’s not group think, it’s the statement of the best fit models.

        Which is because science has become a lobbying mechanism, and funding now has greater political ties than ever before. Scientists have in recent years, in egregiously greater numbers, admitted to giving the answers their funding constituents want; not necessarily the conclusions given by the data.

        You really are full of sweeping generalisations and misconceptions. “Scientists” aye? Which scientists? And in which fields of science? When was the last time a team of research physicists doing basic research skewed their results to fit with a funding request? You’re talking about a minority who are always, inevitably, found to be in error by other groups. It’s the marvellous self-correcting nature of science. One research program’s results do not a consensus make.

      • Kitapsiz says:

        Mea culpa gumba, you, sounding like such the expert, and with such validity through baseless ad hom, I would have thought to already be in the know.

        Let me help you out, as you seem to not be apprised of known facts in the scientific community, from their own:

        http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/career_development/previous_issues/articles/2008_01_04/caredit_a0800001

        P.S. I, personally, do not consider 33% to be minor, miniscule or irrelevant. Considering the base numbers for the study, and the base number of respondents, my anecdotal experience tells me, the problem is likely more broad.

      • Kitapsiz says:

        con·sen·sus (kn-snss)
        n.
        1. An opinion or position reached by a group as a whole

        2. General agreement or accord

        Usage: Since consensus refers to a collective opinion, the words of opinion in the phrase consensus of opinion are redundant and should therefore be avoided

      • Max says:

        A scientific consensus ought to be a statement of confidence in an objective claim, rather than a subjective opinion.

      • Kitapsiz says:

        Consensus means opinion; regardless of theatre/arena it is used in.

        Attempting to make a definition malleable to suit a particular group’s agenda, doesn’t change the definition; it just shows their piss poor logic, the fact they are engaging in the attempt to validate their agenda by any means and the hubris of the group’s mindset.

        Consensus is subjective, and nothing will change that fact.

  31. Chris G says:

    Huzzah! My letter to the Japan Times got published!

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/rc20091126a3.html

    I spent every free period between lessons working on that. Keeping it to under 300 words was quite the challenge….

  32. stu says:

    Hey Steve,

    Probably not the right place for this, but just wondering what your opinion is on the Hadley CRU email leaks re global warming?

    Thanks

  33. gerryfromktown says:

    Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t see the thread was still going. To reply to Steve Athearn’s brief swipe at my post above:

    If I “sneered” (OK, I did) then it was in response to the suggestion that “It’s obvious that most of you have never really looked at this thing and thought it through”. But no more sneering. I really want to know the answer to my question (which was posed by Steve Novella in the original post): Steve Athearn or Jeff Ogrisseg – are you going to explain why subduction strains credulity? I see you have cut-and-paste some EE stuff above, but why not address the major evidence for subduction as below:

    Everything I stated is based on scientific observation, and explanations are readily available in Freshman Geoscience Textbooks. Pick up, for example, “Fundamentals of Geophysics” (William Lowrie). Yes, the peer-reviewed literature for the past 50 years is replete with observational data consistent with subduction zones, and therefore, yes it is considered to be a settled issue. If you want to seriously question the issue – please provide evidence. As Steve Athearn himself implied above, flat denials will fail to convince.

    In order to provide online references I’ll have to resort to Wikipedia and other internet sources here, but you will find plenty of reliable references within these links [unfortunately, I can't post all the links as WordPress software thinks its "spammy"] – the searches below will work though. If you are new to plate tectonics and want to see direct evidence of subduction, there is plenty:

    [1.] We know that subduction zones are associated with deep earthquakes.

    [1.] Do a search in Wikipedia on Wadati-Benioff_zone

    [2.] We know that the seismic waves radiating from these earthquakes are consistent with subducting plate motion.

    [2.] Do a search in Wikipedia on Focal Mechanisms

    [3.]We know that subducting oceanic crust gets dragged down to form the deep ocean trenches (offshore Japan and Chile, and numerous other places).

    [3.] Do a search on Wikipedia on Oceanic trenches.

    [4.] We know that the subducted material gets heated, chemically differentiated and rises in the form of magmas (creating island arc volcanoes).

    [4.] A very clear explanation can be found with a Google search on, appropriately, “Tectonics and Volcanoes of Japan”

    And for good measure one final assertion: Just as we can look into the human body with ultrasound, we can also look into the earth with seismic waves. We have many, many examples of seismic images that show subducting crust. Again, some of the best examples are from Japan, and you can find them nicely illustrated here, along with references to the literature: http://clasticdetritus.com/2008/11/14/subduction-denialism-part-2-subduction-zones-trenches-and-accretionary-complexes/

    • Steve Athearn says:

      Please stay tuned.

    • Steve Athearn says:

      One point which I’ve been very keen to get through, thus far unacknowledged by others on this forum, is the existence of professional geologic literature in which key plate tectonic interpretations are challenged with data. This is not narrowly pro-EE literature, as Gerry suggests above, but a coming together of a broad array of scientists internationally who express dissatisfaction with the status quo in geology: dissatisfaction, such as that expressed in an article by David Pearcey in the August 2009 issue of AIG News (Australian Institute of Geoscientists): “maintaining this process [mantle convection] as the sole cause of geodynamics by the peer review system has resulted in a stagnation of geological thought”[1]; or that expressed by Warren B. Hamilton, (Distinguished Senior Scientist, Department of Geophysics, Colorado School of Mines): “Different rules of evidence apply to conventional wisdom (evaluation is not necessary) than to challenge of conventional wisdom (proof must be overwhelming before discussion is warranted)”[2]; or this from P.D. Lowman (of the Goddard Space Flight Center, Geology and Geomagnetism Branch): “The origin of continental crust [by lateral accretion] may have been solved by plate-tectonic theory. But if it has not, students raised on this theory will probably not do so, because they have been taught essentially that there is no longer a problem. They are confident that plate tectonics has answered not only this but most other great questions of physical geology.”[3] And on the constructive side, many would agree with Indian geologist Hetu Sheth, at the end of a long critical review of the common interpretation of Large Igneous Provinces as being the result of “mantle plumes”: In the present state of knowledge, “we would do well to have a multitude of working hypotheses and a critical as well as objective approach toward all of them.”[4]

      Now Gerry and Dr. Novella and the others on this site who are so confident in the “overwhelming” support for standard interpretations are evidently unfamiliar with this literature (skimming the linked refutation of “subduction denialism,” it undoubtedly contains much useful food for thought, but it evidences no acquaintance with professional sources of criticism of the concepts it defends, only with such criticisms as received informally online).

      The basic problem with Gerry’s four statements from his original post is that in each case, observational phenomena are conflated with the _interpretations_ of those phenomena, the interpretations which posit large-scale subduction. Now with respect to those sets of evidence, in their basic form, I would personally characterize the subduction interpretation tentatively as reasonable rather than credulity-straining. But even if reasonable on these grounds, the subduction hypothesis is not thereby raised to a status equivalent to fact. It is most definitely not something we _know_. For one thing, there may be _other_ lines of evidence, such as those adduced by McDonald and Ollier and Pain in the excerpts I have given previously, which seem to cast doubt on the hypothesis. Then again, it may turn out that closer examination of the _original_ lines of evidence – the very types of data given here as the strongest support for subduction – may uncover inconsistencies.

      Various claims are made in the critical literature that this latter has indeed happened. For example, with respect to the Wadati-Benioff zones (which, as an aside, we may recall were described long before the subduction hypothesis was invoked to account for them), David Pratt contends that instead of evidence for a continuous down-going slab, serious discontinuities have been discovered: “Many studies have found transverse as well as vertical discontinuities and segmentation in Benioff zones.”[5] With respect to the ocean trenches, he notes, for example, that “Scholl and Marlow (1974), who support plate tectonics, admitted to being ‘genuinely perplexed as to why evidence for subduction or off-scraping of trench deposits is not glaringly apparent.'”[6] Other studies note tensional features in situations which ought to be compressional, according to the logic of plate tectonics. See again, for example, Ollier and Pain’s comment on back-arc basins.

      Gerry asks me to explain why subduction strains credulity. I refer again to the arguments of McDonald and Ollier and Pain. I want to stress that they invariably refer to logical and empirical difficulties; they are not arguments from personal incredulity, as Novella characterized such arguments _in general_, based on a phrase that appeared in Ogrisseg’s article. In a follow-up post, I will excerpt arguments from the late S. Warren Carey, which also refer to to logical and empirical problems with the subduction hypothesis. But in addition to that, they may well inspire a degree of incredulity.

      (As with much of the material I’ve previously referred to, I will have to type them in by hand.)

      References:
      [1] David Pearcey, “New Ideas in Science – A Geologist’s Perspective,” AIG News, No 97, August 2009, pp. 10-13.
      aig.org.au/assets/244/AIGnews_Aug09.pdf
      [2] Warren B. Hamilton, “The Closed Upper-Mantle Circulation of Plate Tectonics,” in Seth Stein and Jeffrey T. Freymueller, Plate Boundary Zones, American Geophysical Union Geodynamics Series, Vol. 30, 2002, pp. 359-410, as excerpted in “Testimony of an Insider,” http://www.newgeology.us/presentation36.html [which happens to be a young-Earth creationist site]
      [3] Paul D. Lowman, “Plate Tectonics and Continental Drift in Geologic Education,” in Sankar Chatterjee and Nicholas Hotton III, New Concepts in Global Tectonics, Lubbock, Texas: Texas Tech University Press, 1992, pp. 3-9.
      [4] H.C. Sheth, “Flood Basalts and Large Igneous Provinces from Deep Mantle Plumes: Fact, Fiction, and Fallacy,” Tectonophysics, 311 (1999), pp. 1-29
      [5] David Pratt, “Plate Tectonics: A Paradigm Under Threat,” Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 14, No. 3 (2000), pp. 307-352 (p. 329). http://davidpratt.info/tecto.htm
      [6] Ibid., p.331.

    • Steve Athearn says:

      From S. Warren Carey, Theories of the Earth and Universe, Stanford University Press, 1988, p. 178:

      “Eastward from Africa, only ocean-floor spreading is postulated between Africa and Australia and between Australia and the Kermadec trench, which stretches from New Zealand to Tonga… So the eastern part of the African enigma has to be accepted by this trench. Unless the earth expands, the Kermadec trench would have to swallow 6000 km of oceanic lithosphere to compensate for the widening of the Indian Ocean between Africa and Australia, plus 2000 km of Australia’s allotment of the Tasman Sea, plus 5000 km coming from the East Pacific Rise on the other side of the trench. Thus the Kermadec trench would have to subduct 13,000 km of lithosphere (one-third of the circumference of the earth!) during the last 150 million years.

      “Here again, where are the 13,000 km of oceanic sediment scrapings? With no associated continent to hide them under, even that implausible evasion is denied. Most of the floor of the Kermadec trench is bare rock, with no sediment whatever. Indeed the nature and volume of trench fills generally are correlated with the supply of sediment from nearby land, not with the alleged amount of subduction. The Chile trench is empty adjacent to desert lands. The Kermadec trench is empty because there are no lands to feed it.

      “Where are the colossal andesitic volcanoes resulting from the processing of so much alleged subducted lithosphere? Is this really credible? Lest it be claimed that the above 13,000 km of subduction … is an exaggeration, let me point out that the Plate Tectonic Map of the Pacific Region, issued in 1982 with the support of the leading plate tectonicists, shows the subduction rate into the Kermadec trench as 10 cm per year, one of the highest anywhere, and only marginally less than the Japan trench (10.5). The south Pacific and Indian Ocean spreading goes right back to the Early Cretaceous, which would mean 14,000 km of subduction, if the 10-cm rate were uniform.”

      From S. Warren Carey, “Creeds of Physics,” in Michele Barone and Franco Selleri, eds., Frontiers of Fundamental Physics, Plenum Press, 1994, pp. 241-255 (p. 247):

      “The Zodiac fan … is a million-sq. km submarine delta off the Gulf of Alaska which accumulated during the Eocene. Plate-tectonics workers assert that this region of the Pacific has been subducted down the Aleutian trench at 7 cm per year. Hence to reconstruct the late Eocene position of the fan (paleomagnetic anomaly 17), the fan must have been formed more than 3000 km south in the Pacific Ocean, some 2500 km from the nearest landmass with no possibility of its silt reaching it (Stevenson, Scholl, & Vallier, 1983). But according to the earth expansion model, subduction is a myth, and seafloor inserted since anomaly 17 was not there in the Eocene; removing it brings the fan back to the Alaskan coast, with ample source for its three million cu. km of silt. The Zodiac fan _indicates earth expansion_.

      “Plate-tectonicists agree that Africa is surrounded by mid-oceanic spreading ridges where the new crust has been added continuously for the last hundred million years. According to the plate model, Africa’s share of this growth should have been subducted within Africa – which is clearly not so, as Africa has suffered extensive rifting throughout the relevant time. So they assumed that Africa must have been stationary, and that its share of subduction must be accepted by the trenches flanking the Andes, implying 7000 km of thrusting there. But seismic profiling and some sampling, shows that some parts of the trench are empty, and other parts have accumulated as much as 6 km thickness of sediment, which should have been obviously crumpled and overthrust if 7000 km of foreshortening had occurred there. But they show no sign of this. Besides, the sediments are mainly turbidites, derived from the erosion of the Andes, not a vast accumulation of pelagic sediments which should have been scraped off the ocean crust if 7000 km of it had been dragged down the trench. _The subduction hypothesis is wrong_ [emphasis Carey's].”

  34. Patrick says:

    There has always been a problem with the quality of journalism. Nothing has changed. These people are trained writers, not experts in the fields on which they report. Quality will improve as journalism democratizes with technology. Experts will move in and become the reporters of their respective fields. Quality will be regulated by intense competition sine the barriers to entry will be very low –it’s the internet after all.

    • Max says:

      People want sensationalism, even if they say they want quality.
      Would you rather read an article on the growing earth theory or some development in plate tectonic theory?

  35. Neal Adams says:

    Dear Steve and Minions,

    How incredibly sad for you, as you lash-out in your frustration and rage, against this Japan Times article, while at the same time, chewing your leg off, to get out of this bear-trap of public awareness and reality. I can almost hear your howling and spitting. I hate to admit that I take a small amount of pleasure in your bitter vitriol. Cowards and backstabbers like you, deserve everything they get. This article won’t be the end of it either. It’s going to be much worse before you cry uncle. The shame is, Steve, that you demean the boobs that you have there, dragging them into your anti-intellectual non-thinking. You are first on the list Steve, when I point to examples of people, who at the beginning were so blind that they could not see the truth. It’s traditional, that when the wind changes, the new believers in the new system, are merciless to believers in the old theory.
    “Do you believe that there are actually people who thought the continents were all gathered together on one side of the earth, in a giant, magical continent? And they even had a name for this continent. They called it Pangea.
    No, no, many of them actually had an education. Physics and geology, and all that, but, somehow, it didn’t occur to them that for continents to move together, they would have to buckle-up tens of thousands of square miles, of basaltic, oceanic crust, into mountains upon mountains, as the unsubducted side of the rifts, had to buckle-up. No, some people explained it to them, they were just too stupid to get it, even though not one square inch of earth’s oceanic plate is older than 180MYO.
    Sure they were shown the oceanic plate that was 180MYO, was untouched by subduction. They just never got it, even though all the ancient fish fossils on earth are found on the continental plate, and there is nothing older in the deep oceans than 70MYO. I know, how could they be so stupid? These sad, religious people had no idea that mountains on earth began rising up between 200 and 300MYA, and in fact, that 80% of earth’s mountains rose up in the last 60MY. Common sense made no difference to these acolytes of old, rapidly disappearing theory.”

    Neal Adams

    • Thomas says:

      Neal, if you want people to take your ideas seriously it’s not a good idea to write a post that can only adequately be described as deranged. Your strange fantasies of revenge doesn’t really add anything to a discussion, you know.

    • tmac57 says:

      Well, Neal, at least you are poised and gracious in the face of criticism. I guess, the ad hominem attacks are just evidence of your security in your theory. After all, it is well known that when confronted with opposition a GOOD scientist will not bother to rationally educate his detractors, but to attack and denigrate them, because, that is a sure fire way to win them over. Good job!

  36. gerryfromktown says:

    This is priceless.

    A few days ago I wrote:

    I am sure you will have no problem turning 5 decades of peer-reviewed literature on its head.

    and was shortly taken to task for “sneering”.

    Neal Adams in this one temper tantrum you have just earned every bit of sneering, jeering and disdain ever sent your way now, in the past and in the future.

    I’ll enjoy discussing this post with some of the 16,000 participants at next week’s meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco – will you be there Neal?

  37. Impleston says:

    Is the “Expanding Universe Theory” analogous to the “Expanding Earth Theory” how are they similar/different?

  38. Florian says:

    Steve,

    You did a nice bibliography work. I’ve been personally working on this theory for 3 years. Regarding Subduction zones, people should go back to the original Benioff paper. These zones are simply the margins of a rising diapir with lateral injection and spreading outward. This is striking when one plot the hypocenters in 3D: http://tinyurl.com/y8m6gdx
    The extrusion and outward spreading is also very clear in regions like the Philippe sea (color represents the age of seafloor): http://tinyurl.com/ny4d56

    The structures are very similar to salt domes with lateral injections liek the Heide Salt Dome: http://tinyurl.com/mvzk2n

    This also explains the specific magmatism.

    And guess what? Carey understood this 50 years ago.

    • Chris says:

      These zones are simply the margins of a rising diapir
      with lateral injection and spreading outward.

      Both of these areas are regions of convergence, not divergence. Have
      you tried doing your 3D plots without any vertical exaggeration? You
      may find the seismic events look remarkably like a subducting plate.

      Furthermore, the geochemistry of the Tongan islands and Indonesia are
      exactly what you’d expect were wet basaltic oceanic crust being
      subducted, partially melted, and then erupted. It is not like Hawaii
      or Iceland, where there’s most likely mantle plumes causing the
      eruptions (which is obvious geochemically, due to the high
      concentrations of mantle materials in both of those cases).

      Also, if you actually look at the seismic velocities through those
      areas of seismic activity, you’ll find they’re fast (seismically),
      cold (geologically) regions of the mantle, hardly the kind of physical
      properties you’d expect for a rising diapir.

      The structures are very similar to salt domes with
      lateral injections liek the Heide Salt Dome: http://tinyurl.com/mvzk2n

      Except the salt dome you have here is only 2 km deep at most. With the
      subduction zones we’re dealing with a structure that goes down to at
      least 800 km (that’s when the seismic activity stops – either through
      heating resulting in the lack of the friction required to generate
      quakes, or melting/mixing of the subducting plate with the mantle –
      that’s an active area of research). And why would you expect this kind
      of deep seismic activity denoting a rising structure here at a
      convergence zone, rather than at the mid ocean ridges which are
      spreading? (seismic activity stops at ~50 km at the MORs).

      I’ve been personally working on this theory for 3 years.

      If you’re willing to commit so much time to this topic, might I
      suggest you enroll in an introductory geology course at a university?
      You can learn an awful lot from reading stuff online and the odd book,
      but you can miss some absolutely essential basics. And I don’t mean
      this to be an attack, but you’ve got a lot to learn about geology
      (basic geochemistry, volcanology and petrology, for example).

  39. Florian says:

    Chris,

    The margins of diapirs are evidently region of convergences as the rising material get emplaced along existing lithosphere and spread. Sole the hearth of the diapir (at the back arc) displays divergence features as it is spreading due to gravity. Note that most orogens follow similar rules: extensional at the heart, compressional at the margins (often forming nappes).

    Regarding the spatial distribution of hypocenters, it has a filamentary structure dressing a characteristic inverted spoon-like shape that has nothing to do with what we expect from a subducting plate. The filamentary structure is especially striking at the carpathian arc and under the messinian strait regardless of the vertical exaggeration.

    The geochemistry of Tongan island and Indonesia are exactly what you’d expect were wet basaltic oceanic crust is metasomatized at the margin of a rising diapir, partially melted, migrate surfaceward and then erupted. The tectonics deformations of the arc and the arc shape itself are also characteristic of the migration front of such diapir which is spreading outward (think to a glacier).

    The deep seismicity is related to phase changes at the margin of the diapir. MOR are purely tensional features, hence the Earthquakes at no more than 100 km in depth.

    Thank you for your advice about an introductory course, but I’m a skeptics and I prefer first-hand sources. I only read peer-review papers and reviews published in EPSL, GRL, JGR, Tectonics, more general journals like Nature, Science, PNAS, plus a few textbooks like Geodynamics (Turcotte and Schubert), Theory of Earth (Don Anderson), Global tectonics (Kerrey Klepeis, Vine).

    Now my turn to give you an advice. You should read some classics like “Theory of Earth and the Universe” by Sam W Carey and Kuhn’s “The structure of scientific revolutions”. And I don’t mean this to be an attack, but you’ve got a lot to learn about geology, geophysics and the history of Science.

    • Florian says:

      Oh, and one more thing,

      Examine carefully this figure that represents GPS measurements in the Mediterranean region: http://tinyurl.com/p43dep

      This is a beautiful illustration of a “lithospheric glacier” driven by underlying asthenospheric currents. No subduction here, but a lithospheric flow overriding the Mediterranean seafloor, with Crete and the Hellenic orogenic arc being the migration front.
      Of course, this concept is totally stranger to plate tectonics as it does solely belong to the planetary growth theory.

  40. Peter Hent says:

    There are a small, but well educated group of exponents of the Expanding Earth hypothesis, and it is these folk who should be engaged for debate, not egomaniacal cranks like Neal Adams (see above). Florian, Steve Athearn, Giancarlo Scalera, and others are just those people to challenge, and ought to be challenged in return.

    As an aside, a few dedicated online cohorts and myself collated a list of Neal’s claims made on his old YouTube channel onto a forum. His wacky, scientifically bankrupt and baseless delusions can be viewed here:

    http://growingearthdebait.mybb3.org/nealʹs-core-arguments–t12.html

    • Florian says:

      Neal is both the best and worst advocate of the Growing Earth theory. The best because he manages to popularize the theory, but the worst because any rational people not willing to dig beyond his cranky arguments will immediately disregard this beautiful theory.

  41. Peter Hent says:

    In response to Jeff Ogrisseg’s defense of the expanding Earth *HYPOTHESIS*, if you read his appalling ‘article’ (a journalistic travesty in my opinion), you can see very clearly it is chapter and verse the party line of Neal Adams’ hypothesis.

    The reason he jumped onto this forum, tore up everyone’s papers, pushed a few desks over and jumped out of the window (metaphorically speaking) is because he is all too aware that he does not have the education, the scientific background nor the intellectual capacity for debate with those who actually know the science (above and beyond a highly fudged and manipulated cartoon).

    I have investigated the expanding Earth hypothesis for many years now, and to be quite frank, I couldn’t care less if the earth was expanding, shrinking, or wobbled about a mean. I have yet to see any ‘data’ that the Earth is expanding (including Maxlow’s much vaunted 22mm/year conspiratorial claim).

    The arguments from the EE camp take a worryingly similar form to the ‘god of the gaps’ / christian creationism arguments:

    Where PT has not yet explained, EE did it!
    What PT already explains through multiple independent lines of scientific inquiry, EE takes 1 slender sliver completely out of context, whilst ignoring the rest of the framework, and says: “A-ha! EE proof!”
    What diverse interconnecting mechanisms PT has elucidated from decades of intensive research, EE liberally applies a strained 1-size-fits-all argument (such as the bizarre diapirism argument that attempts to square the circle of explaining wildly different tectonic scenarios such as mid-ocean ridges AND subduction zones with the same mechanism)
    Where PT explains existing data, EE often explains the opposite and only with the aid of an impressive array of epicycles

    Each of its principle exponents has vastly different mechanisms and methods to shore up the claim (an often strong indication of an incorrect hypothesis). A little subduction here, no subduction there, subduction is impossible, limited compressive subduction must exist… these arguments are identical to the creationist arguments of ‘micro evolution happens, but not macroevolution…’.

    No, the expanding / growing earth hypothesis is a conceptual framework in total disarray. It is only a ‘beautiful theory’ in the sense of the Keystone Cops being ‘beautiful community policing’.

  42. Florian says:

    Ogrisseg’s paper is biased by Neal, but it is not the worse paper I’ve read on the subject.
    You probably know that Robaudo and Harrison points that SLR and VLBI show a 18-mm increase in average per year before any correction is applied (1): “a Root Mean Squared value of up-down [variation in Earth␣ radius] motions of over 18 mm/year”. And Blinov calculated an increase in circumference of 120 mm/year (2).
    The rate of 22 mm/year is not magic. It is supported by hard data as it is the result of a calculation based on ocean and continental floor expansion/extension. And I remind you that this is an average over millions years.
    On the other hand, PT is REFUTED by evidences like the localization of the Zodiac fan, the pattern of isochrons in the Pacific, the existence of consecutive Rifts and MOR (from South Am to Austalia), growing great circles, the increase in distance between hotspots with time, the increase in length of MORs, the absolute displacement of matter on both side of Wadati shear zones, the outward spreading hightlighted to the convexity of arcs and trenches and so on. Besides, the Growing Earth theory is much more powerful than plate tectonics, because it is an appropriate theory to explain the tectonics of most solar system bodies. Any guy with a brain and no prejudice, looking at the dichotomy of surface of Ganymede or Miranda or EUropa, or enceladus… can only conclude that these moons have been growing. Even Prokter wrote in Nature that the surface of Ganymede is the result of a growth. But she did not go further because she’s likely prisoner of her beliefs, much like most people are.

    I doubt that you read the appropriate literature to forge your opinion about the Growing Earth Theory.
    If you want, we could progress step by step to figure out why Earth growth is the correct theory. For example, let’s first look at the scotia sea and arc:

    http://tinyurl.com/y9hncqe
    http://tinyurl.com/ydgqynm

    Could you tell me if this corresponds to an increase or decrease in surface?

    (1) ROBAUDO S. and HARRISON C. G. A. 1993. Plate Tectonics from␣ SLR and VLBI global data. In: Smith D. E., and Turcotte D. L. eds.␣ Contributions of Space Geodesy to Geodynamics: Crustal Dynamics.␣ Geodynamics Series, Volume 23. American Geophysical Union. p53

    (2) BLINOV V. F. 1983. Spreading rate and rate of expansion of the␣ Earth. In: Carey S.W. ed. Expanding Earth Symposium, Sydney, 1981.␣ University of Tasmania, 297-304.␣

  43. SDP says:

    Mars “continents” fit.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/nealadamsdotcom#p/u/4/JeUEzM7hsmY

    Moon “continents” fit.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/nealadamsdotcom#p/u/13/tBT8KyWVxj8

    Planets grow. It’ll be exciting when we discover how or why, until then modern scientists are following the same dogma they think they’re expelling.

    It’s a waiting game.

    Like everything, planets are either growing or shrinking.

  44. Ken says:

    Whilst all this scrutiny be invested into PT as should be done for any proper scientific analysis, let’s not think to apply similar standards on the aspiring alternative hypothesis.

    So uh, this matter that is spontaneously creating itself within the Earth…exactly why and how does this happen? Seeing as such a phenomenon isn’t observed anywhere in the universe and there is that thing about violating the laws of physics. But hey let’s say this matter is magically creating itself as claimed…any particular reason we are supposed to expect it will be created having the exact same speed and trajectory to allow Earth to orbit the Sun exactly as it has done for billions of years? And then simultaneously the Moon must be altering its physical properties in just such a fashion that it somehow retains a relatively unchanged orbit (actually slower, opposite of what you’d predict)? And why is this phenomenon so scientifically sound in comparison to subduction zones which, you know, are all over the place? Doesn’t Japan deal with enough underwater earthquakes and resultant tsunami’s that you’d think a resident of the country would be able to acknowledge its existance? I myself spent most of my life growing up on one. It’s geological features were easy enough to identify just driving up and down the thing, and then of course there were the local Earthquakes…

    I’ve only been introduced to this GE idea just today, and I can’t say all the criticisms of the grade-school level renditions of Pangeia idea are off-base. The fact that it would have been largely underwater for example as the oceanic water would have redistributed as a result of the Earth’s displaced center of mass is something that occurred to me in grade school. Although I doubt it’s taught that way at the collegiate level.

    The sad thing is there is always the possibility that some components of their observations could eventually bear out to constructively modify established theory, but there’s no way to intelligently analyze it when in the big picture such sweeping and whimsical rules are literally made up to support their central premise.

    With regards to dinosaurs, it has in fact been studied extensively how they were able to functionally evolve to such large proportions, both in terms of simpler allometrics as well as microstructural adaptations within their bones. The fact that they had such adaptations as expected by scientists who have always assumed an Earth of essentially constant mass should be self-explanatory in its application here. Mammals will likely develop similar features eventually if the emergence of man ever stops impeding the survival of large land animals.

  45. Florian says:

    Ken:”So uh, this matter that is spontaneously creating itself within the Earth…exactly why and how does this happen?”

    We don’t know, and we have no data yet to buil a theory about that.

    Ken:”Seeing as such a phenomenon isn’t observed anywhere in the universe and there is that thing about violating the laws of physics.”

    Whatever, if you had some clues, you would know that the growth of planets is very common in the solar system. Every planet with a surface dichotomy has experienced a growth. I let you find which one for your homework.
    You can’t prove that there is violation of any laws of physics, because you can still make the hypothesis that Earth receive energy/matter by an unkown phenomenon. This is a clear case of irrefutability: claiming there is a violation is not scientific. Which make me think as well that you have no clues of what is scientific or not.

    Ken:”But hey let’s say this matter is magically creating itself as claimed…”

    No my dear. YOU claim that it is MAGIC. That’s what ignorant people claim when they face an unknown phenomenon. Yep, they say it’s magic… Go figure…

    Ken:”any particular reason we are supposed to expect it will be created having the exact same speed and trajectory to allow Earth to orbit the Sun exactly as it has done for billions of years? And then simultaneously the Moon must be altering its physical properties in just such a fashion that it somehow retains a relatively unchanged orbit (actually slower, opposite of what you’d predict)?”

    Jeez… then you don’t know either that we can’t know if Earth’s orbit remained the same during billion years, because calculations based on tidalites assume that earth revolution period remained unchanged. Actually, you ignore a lot.

    Ken:”And why is this phenomenon so scientifically sound in comparison to subduction zones which, you know, are all over the place? Doesn’t Japan deal with enough underwater earthquakes and resultant tsunami’s that you’d think a resident of the country would be able to acknowledge its existance? I myself spent most of my life growing up on one. It’s geological features were easy enough to identify just driving up and down the thing, and then of course there were the local Earthquakes…”

    Why I’m not surprised that you don’t know that subduction zones are actually the front of a mantle flow… want to see a beautiful mantle flow? then look at the scotia sea. This flow invade the atlantic. And there is, as expected, a beautiful Benioff zone at the front with the associated island arc (sandwich islands).
    Here is a figure with the age of seafloor (young red, old blue) hightlighting the flow:

    http://nachon.free.fr/iso5/Scotia.png

    Ken:”I’ve only been introduced to this GE idea just today, and I can’t say all the criticisms of the grade-school level renditions of Pangeia idea are off-base.”

    LOL! Then you truly believe that you can seriously dismiss a sientific theory that you know for just one day? Give me a break, you’re just another crank.

  46. Liam Scheff says:

    Hello Pretend-Skeptic magazine blog,

    I’m sorry, are you pretending to care about the state of ‘science journalism?’ Why is that, because the sciences are in such a terrible state of disarray?

    I think so.

    Look, before you denigrate Neal Adams for presenting S.Warren Carey’s work, or the journalist Jeff Ogrisseg at the Japan Times, for covering the many failures of Plate Tectonic/Subduction theory, why don’t you go back to square one, ‘look at the man in the mirror,’ and first,

    Have at the ‘creation ex-nihilo’ Big Bang absurdity, (I mean, wow, come on, you gotta be freaking kidding me. You guys rewrite Genesis and call it ‘proven science?’)

    Then, follow that up with any analysis at all of the 18th Century “Kant-Laplace” dust-bunny accumulation model of the galaxy, planets and stars – “The sun formed when some dust bunnies really got piled up” – and try me. That’s the approved NASA explanation, so really – try me.

    And then proceed directly to the Wegener theory that the continents happen to look like they fit together.

    What’s that? You sort of ‘believe’ that’s true? But only SOME continents, sometimes.

    But you didn’t always believe it, scientific elite, did you? Tell the truth…

    It’s an old idea, and a hypothesis for which poor old Alfred Wegener was beaten about the head and drummed out of academic priestly scientism..er ‘science.’ He died, by the way, on a lonely hill in Greenland, where he’d gone to take actual field measurements that would show the stuffed up elite that their Uniformitistic-tastic philosophy aside, the Earth was not always as it is now.

    “Screw you, Alfred,” was his epitaph, signed by the scientific elite.

    (What a bunch of honking so-and-so’s, by the way – yeah, I’m talking to you gravy-train Ph.D’ers. You’re stand in the way of the pursuit of knowledge, wherever it threatens your bloated egos and hopes for a well-funded future. So, go screw, with my compliments. And get out of the way of your honest peers who are trying to publish on what you won’t allow them breathing room to even think about).

    But, we were talking about how the scientistic elite buries its own….Alfred Wegener…right.

    So it was 50 years later that ‘science’ decided that Wegener might have been right, after all! The spreading ocean floor (which registered a much much MUCH younger general age than was entirely confortable for anyone to think about), demonstrated ably that…wow, look at that…Africa slides right into North and South America. And so does Europe. (Never mind the Pacific, which closes in fits and starts, back into the East Rise….Never mind how nicely the Indian ocean slams shut into its spreading zone, when winding the clock back…never mind the growth areas there, and Wow…never mind the sea-floor age problem)!

    We’ve got a solution! Uniformitarianism!!!

    Everything still was always the same SIZE! Even though the continents moved around like silly putty, with no rhyme, reason, nor respect for gravity, density, solidity, or geology. It all just slid and slid, and we “know” this because … The Earth was ALWAYS the SAME SIZE!!!

    It had to be. It HAD TO BE!!

    And there you are.

    That’s the end of the discussion. And in 50 years, when you’re telling someone that they’re arsehulls for not believing whatever theory you’ve finally come around to accepting, after you’ve disgraced and buried the originator of said idea, well, the young pups and Popes of scientism will most certainly not remember how it’s already happened…

    Damned cyclons were right. It’s all happened before, and damn it. It all happens all over again.

    Ciao, “skeptics!”

    PS – why not just be researchers? Why not let go of the pre-ordained, and see what really works? Why not?

    Oh, yeah. You’re mostly a bunch of cowards. I tend to forget that. Also, money. Don’t forget the money. And the group think.

    And that quasi-religious crap you guys get into in your little academic hierarchies.

    There’s that to keep you warm and safe from the actual critics and skeptics and independent thinkers. So bully for you, nerds.

    PPS – And I can’t tell you exactly what’s happening on planet Earth, and how and why and since when. But you know, when the phony WIkipedia dots it’s “i’s” on this topic with the line:

    “Earth is the ONLY PLANET where subduction is known to occur. Without subduction, plate tectonics could not exist.”

    Hey, I don’t need to see the clowns to let me know the circus is in town. You freaking phonies.

    “Only planet.” Holy crap. Quasi-religious BS. It’s the same old religious geo-centrism and special case pleading that you people claim to HATE, except when you do it. Freaking phonies.

    PPPS – and on a serious note… Florian, love your stuff. Followed your posts on ‘subduction denialism pt. 3′ – wonderful responses and info you provided. Ganymede, Miranda – fascinating stuff. Please drop me a note at my website, via the contact page.

    Most splendid regards,

    Liam

  47. rickard says:

    If anybody want more info on scientific research and scientific proponents of the Growing/ Expanding earth theory you’ll find it on this web site: http://www.worldsci.org/php/index.php?tab0=Topics&tab1=Expansion_Tectonics

  48. kerry says:

    well already the impossible has happened at the beginning of time,By our laws of reality. Something either came out of nothing or something had been around for ever,so i think its possible but not proven. either way does it really matter,not to mention we grow and thats possible, and the moon does move away from the earth which means one day we wont have one.

  49. That a meteor would hit the earth and only kill the large animals, is totally idiotic. It does not compute. That continets are floating, and moving in different ways, suggests different movement of the magma beneath the crust. This also doesn’t compute, that there exist circles in the magma, caused by fluctuations in the magnetic field … ok, plausable. But a stable iron core, does not cause different movement of the magma … that is simply not acceptible explanation. Before you can create a theory like that, you need to provide the mechanism … it is not scientific to start with the theory, and then search for a mechanism to support it. That is NOT science, plain and simple.

    In the beginning there was only plasma, and we know already that the universe is neither growing nor contracting. That space does not really exist, thus we are inside the same amount of plasma as we were in the beginning. The creation of planets, galaxies and stars, is made from fluctuatins in the e-field of this plasma, that allows for local fields, which rotate and gather energy into materia.

    So, in the beginning the stars and everything that exists, was created by things slowly entering and the stars slowly growing into form. Plasma didn’t blow up, and become matter … and the energy that is being emitted from the sun, is what is turned into hydrogen and later helium during it’s travels towards the earth. In the beginning, none of this matter existed, and the sun is not creating them … the earth is therefore a recipient of energy and matter, and this energy and matter is accumulative.

    The energy and matter that enters the earth is turned into different matter, within the earth itself. A common demonitator here, is we, the living organisms on this planet. We use the energy to create molecules and matter, and use energy from the sun to do this. The matter that we create, is larger and takes up more space, than the original one. Every year, any man with half an eye, can see for himself how sediment is created from falling leaves. We go and dig several feet into the earth for our forefathers lodges … which were not burried there by time, because time is not a force, but an idea. Space-time, is ideology, not an actual demoninator. We use time, to show that things change … so will we, our sun, and our planet. None of these are constants, neither in form, position, matter or size.

    The idea of tectonics is ONLY supported by the fact that mountains form. The idea is that two plates collide, to form a rising, that makes mountains. But there are no mechanisms, that provide such movement. However, an expanding earth can provide precisely that mechanism … if looked upon closer. An outward preassure, can cause plates of different thickness, to slide sideways and even collide.

    An expanding earth is also the only theory that comes up with answers, that are sufficient to explain all the missing link questions in our existance. Why did we have to increase the day? Why did we have to adjust the calendar? How could we move stones so large, as evident, to create buildings? How could such animals grow, to such size?

    The ONLY valid explanation to these questions, is a varying G force. Any other explanation, is religious psycho babble, and hollywood fantasy. Dreams of giant races, that enslaved mankind … or planet X … or god knows what.

    We are living in a logical universe, where the answers lie in varying parameters, in a mathematical formula that makes up the universe we live in. Not in Hollywood fantasy, and religious psycho babble over how god made fallen angels, that violated fair young maidens. The answer to our history, and why people stopped making the large statues at easter island, and how people created stonehenge in England, or the pyramids at Gasa .. the answer lies in that the G force has not been constant. This fact, should be blatantly obvious to anyone of scientific mind.

    In the same way, the only plausible answer to the continents is an expanding earth. And the only giant size object that hit the earth in the past, would be a giant comet that brought ice and water to this planet, and neither a comet nor an asteroid. An apolyptic event, would not scrutinize between men and dynosaurs … it would evenly kill every living thing on the planet, whatever size or form.

    The evidence support it … both historical events, human written evidence, and sediments of the earth also support it.

    It is long due time, to throw away the hollywood dogma, provided by religious fanatics. And theories, such tectonics plates that have absolutely no mechanics provided to support the theory.

    As said before, to provide a theory and then search for evidence for it, and mechanisms to support … is not science. Just because you have a lot of religious minds, that want to believe, does not make it science. You have to have some meachinism to suggest the theory … for tectonics, there is none.

    For a growing earth … there is plenty … the sun is bombarding us with cosmic rays. Cosmic rays is not “nothingness”, as some seem to believe … there is no “nothingness” in the universe. The space, is not a vacuum … and nor do we float in space. The earth is constantly being bombarded by external materia, and none of this materia can be ignored or thrown away as nothing. That sort of activity is not science, but religion.

    Saying that the energy from the sun, does not enlarge the planet … is denying the formation of the planets to begin with. The sun does not spit any molted lava out of it, to form planets. Such mechanism does not exist, nor ever has existed.

    • David says:

      “The solid Earth is not expanding within the measurement accuracy of 0.2 mm/yr”

      “Here, we use multiple precise geodetic data sets and a simultaneous global estimation platform to determine that the ITRF2008 origin is consistent with the mean CM at the level of 0.5 mm yr−1, and the mean radius of the Earth is not changing to within 1σ measurement uncertainty of 0.2 mm yr−1.”

      Citation: Wu, X., X. Collilieux, Z. Altamimi, B. L. A. Vermeersen, R. S. Gross, and I. Fukumori (2011), Accuracy of the International Terrestrial Reference Frame origin and Earth expansion, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L13304, doi:10.1029/2011GL047450.

      • Florian says:

        Non sense. The center mass shifts with every earthquakes. More than 10 cm, verily likely more than 20 cm during the japanese quake.

  50. tmac57 says:

    Wow! I guess the most economical thing that I could say here is “That’s fantastic!”

  51. Dr. Subhasis Sen says:

    Not only earth but many other planets show plenty of evidences that these are expanded objects. I am a geologist and have seriously pondered over these problems for nearly 30 years and have dealt these in details in my books ” Earth – the Planet Extraordinary” (Allied Publishers, New Delhi, 2007) and “Decoding the Solar System”( AuthorHouse,U.K., 2011). Because of expansion, cracks (which with further expansion turned into mid-oceanic ridges) were developed over the crustal surface throuh which widespread outpouring of basaltic lava took place associated with extensive degassing of volatiles chiefly constituted of water resulting increse in global dimension, formation of oceans etc and due to escape of volatiles from the mantle,the mantle medium turned in to a rigid body as it stands today. Since the small globe of pre-expansion period was devoid of oceans, the ocean-forming water initially must have been associated with the mantle rendering the medium considerably fluid and suitable for expansion. The cause of expansion apears to be strong extra-trrestrial gravitational pull, possibly from the moon.

  52. Dr. Subhasis Sen says:

    The cause of extingtion of dinosaurs is sudden depletion of oxygen content over the global surface. Due to extensive photosynthesis caused by coal forming glossopteris and gongomopteris flora of the Lower Permian period, the earth’s surface became very rich in oxygen content which was suddenly depleted by extensive volcanism as well as by increase of earth’s surface area caused by expansion. Eventually, depletion of oxygen caused selective extinction of only large size animals (Earth expansion and consequent volcanism – their relation to mass mortality of dinosaurs, Subhasis Sen, Gondwana Geol. Mag., Spl.Vol.2, 1996, p. 543; Earth – the Planet Extraordinary, Subhasis Sen, Allied Press).

  53. Dan Werts says:

    I’ve been wondering why people continue to believe in this stuff. The lines of evidence in favor of EE seems to collapse on their own. I’ve noticed that for some reason when earths circumference is brought up, nobody seems to touch on it. Especially when you dig into James Maxwel and his stuff. He asserts that the earth is expanding at a rate of 3/4ths an inch a year (Based upon his claimed measurement of 20Km per million years) Yet, when one checks the Geodesy results since the 70s, this growth seems to be missing.

    I wonder, is there a good reason why this tends to get ignored? Other than the fact that it is evidence that the earth has not been expanding these past years?

  54. Subhasis Sen says:

    Earth is a planet that has over the past millions of years has experienced enormous expansion. This can be easily perceived if one carefully examines the globe showing eastern part of South America and western part of Africa, apparently exhibiting matching coastlines. But if one tries to fit the two distantly placed continents perfect matching would not be possible since fitting of northen part would form a void in the southern part and vice versa. However, if one tries to fit the continental blocks after suitably reducing the dimension of the globe, perfect snug-fit of the continents would result as shown by the pioneer scientist O.C. Hilgenberg in 1933.

  55. daniel says:

    @Subhasis Sen

    I was unaware of an expanding Earth theory until I went looking for one. I noticed using Google Earth that there are anomalies in the Pacific Ocean floor and I mentally tried fitting Asia and North America together, something we are told was never possible. Not only did they fit, but the Pacific Ocean clearly has a mass that is similar in shape to South America and Central America. With a bit of photoshop and some maps, I noticed all continents fit together, but they would fit together even more on a tinier Earth. That’s when I searched for it and saw that the theory had already existed.

    Now I’m not saying that there isn’t another explanation or that I fully believe it. But it sounds saner than continents floating around as they do in continental drift. Talk about dogmatic theories.

    The problem with scientific consensus IS that they dogmatically hold on to old theories. It’s called group think. Virtually no radical new idea ever came from a group, it came from individuals. Modern science even fails to use it’s own scientific method all too often.

    In a group, all it takes is one person to disagree. It’s like a little club. If you do disagree, you might find yourself out of a good paying job. Humans are greedy and far-too-often care more about money than dignity. Humans also hate being wrong. Collectively humans hate new things. In science, they potentially have funding and credibility on the line which are also very important reasons to disagree.

    IMHO, scientific consensus is absolutely worthless in the world of theoretical science. The big bang theory is an absurd theory because it is founded on the principle of something created from nothing. That’s impossible unless nothing is ‘something else’ we don’t know of. Unfortunately, their biggest critics are religiously minded folks so people often believe if you are a critic, it’s for religious purposes.

    Perhaps there is a half-way answer explaining the Earth. I won’t hold my breath for one anytime soon. The ‘truth’ is what a majority people believe to be true. Group think. The reason why mainstream journalism is going down hill and the old media is a joke is because it was always this way. More people are beginning to realize it. An educated scholar can be challenged by anybody in possession of more facts than them, even if they don’t have an expensive piece of paper and a cabal of important friends like the scholar does. Doesn’t mean the internet isn’t full of garbage and tough to weed through. But if you possess the brain and don’t religiously devote yourselves to everything you read (believe nothing) you come to find out that we live in a world run by fools. The blind (mis)leading the blind.

    Skepticism is important. No doubts their. Now if you are in a building with no windows and you no that it is daylight yet still require evidence that the sun is out (cloudy or not), that’s left-brain skepticism. If the educated fool tells you it’s not, while you’re uneducated colleague tells you he is wrong and it is, belittling the colleague for a lack of credentials and evidence for something common sense is ridiculous. That’s the world we’ve been reduced to though. Left-brain skepticism is the mark of a fool.

  56. Matt the granite guy says:

    Why can the earth not expand due to atomic reaction when the sun can? Isn’t the sun predicted to envelop the earth in billions of years and is it not fusing?

    Also, there might be one way to explain how things increase volume, decrease density, but maintain static mass and gravity, but it goes contrary to another accepted theory. Could neutrons be converting to protons under pressure and temperature in a planets core? In essence turning, “on” and emitting a force we interpret as an electron?

    I’m not saying I’m a subscriber to any of this, PT or Expansion, which is why I’m asking questions. Anyway, am I late in the game, is anyone still there? Cricket?

  57. Subhasis Sen says:

    I have developed a global tectonics termed ‘unified global tectonics’ essentially based on Hilgenberg’s (1933) model of earth’s expansion which endorses that if the radius of the planet could be reduced to two-third of its present thickness, all the continental fragments would be perfectly adjusted in the resultant small and ocean-less globe. A brief outline of the concept of unified global tectonics is given below pointing out the major changes that took place over the surface and interior of the primordial ocean-less earth:
    1. In the primordial small ocean-less earth, as deduced by Hilgenberg, the entire amount of ocean-forming water must have been associated with the mantle thereby rendering considerable fluid or semi-fluid characteristic to that medium which, therefore, was extremely suitable for expansion. The view is based on the results of experimental studies conducted by Roy and Tuttle (1961) confirming depression of melting point of silicate rocks under hydrothermal and high pressure condition.
    2. As evidenced by the tidal pull of Moon, it is rational to conclude that the reason of earth’s expansion is the gravitational pull exerted by the Moon causing periodical bulging of the semi-fluid mantle. However, with progress of the process due to escape of volatiles consisting chiefly of water, the ocean basins would be filled up, simultaneously reducing the fluidity of the mantle which would eventually turn into a rigid geosphere.
    3. As explained above, the Moon – responsible for causing earth’s expansion by exerting tidal pull – was originally an independent small planet which was captured by the earth when it was approaching the latter. Initially due to the Moon’s magnetic influence exerted over the magnetic core of the earth, the latter’s spatial orientation was altered, causing major change in earth’s climatic features.
    4. Due to tidal bulging of semi-fluid mantle – caused periodically by the Moon’s gravitational attraction -, the solid sialic crust was cracked forming a number of continental fragments of sialic composition. Through the expansion cracks basic and ultra-basic magma emitted which with further bulging or expansion of the planet continued to spread over the gap developed between the segregated continental fragments. In this manner ocean formation took place while the expansion cracks eventually turned into mid-oceanic ridges.
    5. In case of expansion, the continental fragments would move away from one another thereby expanding the ocean basins and, hence, one continental block colliding with another can not take place. A number of evidences, nevertheless, confirm that such incidences of collision of one continental fragment with another indeed occurred, especially during the relatively younger geological periods.
    6. Apart from expansion that caused bulging of the planet, ocean formation, and various other major changes of the planet, there is another redoubtable force caused by rotation of the planet along its axis of rotation which is maximum around the equator and minimum near the poles. While due to expansion, continents were separated from one another with formation and enlargement of ocean basins, rotation of the planet caused certain broken fragments to come closer or even to collide forming lofty mountain ranges.
    7. Seismological studies along with information derived from meteorites confirm that the silicate part of the earth is composed of a thin sialic crust and a thick geosphere of basic mantle while the inner-most metallic geosphere is constituted of solid magnetic iron. In between these two solid geospheres there is a thick fluid geosphere, termed outer core, precise composition of which is not known. The author considers that since the thickness of the fluid outer core and extent of expansion perfectly matches, it would be rational to consider that the so called outer core is a virtually void zone which was opened up owing to expansion of the planet. Hence, it is considered that before expansion of the planet, its mantle and iron core were juxtaposed to each other.
    8. Under such disposition of occurrence of a silicate mantle and solid iron core separated by a virtually void zone, both mantle and iron core would exert gravitational attraction on each other. In consequence of such incidence of both geospheres attracting each other, depending upon the magnitude of the forces an oppositely directed force of gravitational attraction or reverse gravity would occur at great depth including the core sustaining low temperature and low pressure condition at the earth’s deeper parts. This is evidenced by solid nature of iron core and its magnetic characteristics as well as occurrence of condrules in the deeper part of mantles.
    Subhasis Sen

    ssennagpur82@yahoo.com

  58. herpa says:

    You know all those super earths we have been finding.. They were once our size…

    Did you know the moon, mars and most likely every normal planet seems to obey this expansion law….

    IT is incontrovertible. Scientists may lie by geology doesn’t.

  59. Subhasis Sen says:

    Yes, most likely every planet has obeyed expansion law, provided congenial condition was prevailing. What are these conditions or essential prerequisites for planetary expansion? The mantle of the planet must be sufficiently fluid so that mobilistic phenomena can take place. In case of solid and rigid state of the mantle, features like plate movement or expansion would not be possible. Only expansion theory conceives that that because of expansion ocean basins were developed which were concurrently filled up with water that degassed from the mantle associated with lava emission. Hence, prior to expansion, the mantle was sufficiently fluid or congenial for planetary expansion due to incorporation of water. The second essential prerequisite for planetary expansion is some external force like gravitational force from the Moon that causes tide, especially affecting the planet’s fluid bodies.

    • Xakiz says:

      Plate movement and creation of ocean basins do not explain present situation.
      Distances between continents are huge and oceans in relation to earth radius are water paddles (11km in deepest point if I remember correctly – compare it to 6370km long radius).
      Try joining continents together mate – if you do that, you will see there is no room left for the water.

  60. Andrew says:

    The only problem in science journalism, is blindly accepting consensus theories as fact, and dismissing sound theories as pseudo-science. Sure, there are crackpot theories out there, but growing Earth is not one of them. Plate Tectonics is a story that is full of contradictions. Growing Earth is based on observations, with no contradictions.
    The oceans are much younger than the continents. The continents all fit together, but only if you reduce the size of the globe. South America and Africa do not fit together on today’s Earth. The easiest fit, that even a child can see, doesn’t fit unless you shrink the globe. Pangaea hypothesis falsified. Sure, some of the crust may be missing, but really, if you find a broken vase, and fit it all back to make a complete vase, why assume it was a bigger vase, with missing pieces? Apply Occam’s Razor. If you later find some missing pieces, then you can make a case for Pangaea, but not until then.
    Fossils match across all oceans, at the same time, not just the Atlantic. Paeleomagnetism fits better on a smaller Earth, with no scatter of poles. Spreading is confirmed on other planets and moons, but no subduction has been found, and it has nowhere to hide. Space geodesy is used to “prove” the Earth doesn’t grow, but it is biased to confirm PT, at the expense of accuracy, and has wasted billions. We have a precedent for “creating” matter, we exist, all the matter in the universe came from somewhere, and it wasn’t a Big Bang Instant Universe.
    The thing I don’t understand is, if Plate Tectonics is using Multiple Working Hypothesis, why do none of their hypotheses actually work? They have been shown to be based on false assumptions. They don’t even include the growing Earth hypotheses, which do work.

  61. rick eriksson says:

    In an article in Science Daily GPS results show the Earth is expanding at the rate of .004 inches per year.

    “The expansion of the Earth is claimed to take place over the life span of the Earth, which is five billion years. In just 100 million years expanding at the rate of .004 in, the Earth will increase its radius by 6.313 miles. In five billion years that would amount to 315.657 miles. The Earth is only 4000 miles in radius.”

    (quote from terracycles.com)

  62. Subhasis Sen says:

    Its not that simple, the planet earth has enormously expanded but the process of expansion has not undergone following an uniform rate. The expansion was possible since the mantle of the small earth was devoid of oceans and the ocean-forming water was originally associated with the mantle turning that geosphere considerably fluid. At the initial stages of expansion, the process was rapid whereas at later stages, as the mantle was increasingly becoming more rigid due to degassing or escape of ocean-forming water, the rate of expansion gradually diminished and, eventually, when the mantle turned into a rigid body, as it stands today, the process of expansion was stopped.

  63. Xakiz says:

    Alright, plate tectonics theory fans :D
    You are not denying that all continents were joined together at some point? I assume you do not, cause if you look at coast lines, they fit together. Now, next thing – if continents were one, big land, then how do you imagine our planet back then? One land and big water around it? :D And then what – the land cracked and spread over time? That wouldn’t be natural, nature doesn’t function like that, I believe that the process was gradual, I believe that our planet was much much smaller and lighter, with lesser gravity (that would perfectly explain the size of dinosaurs). I have no doubt that the Earth is growing, what I can not understand is where all of this mass is coming from… THIS IS THE QUESTION! Maybe another dimension – who knows.