Herndon's Earth and the Dark Side of Science
Herndon’s Earth and the Dark Side of Science
© J. Marvin Herndon, 2014 All Rights Reserved
as in ancient times, we share the common quest to understand our world and its
place and origin in the cosmos. Although we live in a technologically advanced
society, the origin and nature of our own planet has to a large extent been a
great mystery. On the one hand, we live for just a brief moment in time on an
ancient, complex, and largely inaccessible planet. On the other hand, scientists
are increasingly becoming more narrowly focused specialists. Beneficial as this
may be in terms of honing expertise via various disciplinary inquires, it
nevertheless limits our ability to understand the ever-important big picture. As
a consequence of this specializing tendency, fundamental advances, paradigm
shifts, despite their importance, tend to come about slowly and infrequently.
They have however been made, in the geosciences for example by Vladimir
Vernadsky (1863-1945) in Russia and Eduard Suess (1831-1914) in Austria, and
will continue to be made albeit not very often.
Many consider the continental drift theory of Alfred Wegener (1880-1930) to be the paradigm shift that eventually matured to plate tectonics theory. In setting forth that theory, Wegener used the title The Origin of Continents and Oceans [1, 2]. Why, you might ask, did he not use the title Wegener’s Earth? Perhaps, one might guess, it is that others before him since the time of Abraham Ortelius (1527-1598) had proposed continent displacement for a variety of reasons or perhaps because Wegener’s theory was incomplete, lacking a plausible mechanism and an adequate energy source. Possibly. But I doubt Wegener would have considered such a title as he was fully aware of the limitations of continental drift theory, and I might add plate tectonics theory, as indicated by his statement, page 167 :
The determination and proof of relative continental displacements, as shown by the previous chapters, have proceeded purely empirically, that is, by means of the totality of geodetic, geophysical, geological, biological and paleoclimatic data, but without making any assumptions about the origin of these processes. This is the inductive method, one which the natural sciences are forced to employ in the vast majority of cases. The formulation of the laws of falling bodies and of the planetary orbits was first determined purely inductively, by observation; only then did Newton appear and show how to derive these laws deductively from the one formula of universal gravitation. This is the normal scientific procedure, repeated time and again. The Newton of drift theory has not yet appeared.
Now, you might ask, why Herndon’s Earth? Humbly, I would say, this is the reason: For the first time ever, from Earth’s early formation as a Jupiter-like gas giant, I am able to derive virtually all of the geological and geodynamic behavior of our planet, including the origin of mountains characterized by folding, the primary initiation of fjords and submarine canyons, the origin of continents and oceans, seafloor topography without mantle convection, Earth’s internal composition, its previously unanticipated and potentially variable energy sources, its variable magnetic field, petroleum and natural gas deposits, and the non-anthropogenic basis of atmospheric carbon dioxide increases.
There is also another reason for the title Herndon’s Earth. In 1993, I demonstrated the feasibility of a natural nuclear fission reactor at Earth’s center, called the georeactor, one of the consequences of Earth’s early formation as a Jupiter-like gas giant. With confirmation of my calculations and with subsequent developments, other georeactors at places within the Earth other than its center were suggested and published. However, none of these “copy-cat” georeactors were potentially viable as, lacking confinement, they would melt down to Earth’s center, the location of, now probably better to say, “Herndon’s georeactor,” to distinguish it from these other impracticable reactors.
But what about the rest of the title, the Dark Side of Science? I didn’t wake up one morning with the idea of Earth having originated as a gas giant. In the 1970s I began to develop the necessary understanding, for example, by realizing that the inner core of the Earth, an object about the size of the Moon and three times as massive, might have a composition unlike the idea that had prevailed for 40 years. In 1979, I published the new idea in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London , but instead of engendering debate and discussion, it was ignored and its proposer was arguably “excommunicated.” In science one often makes discoveries, especially about the big picture that have many downstream consequences for individual studies by asking the question: “What’s wrong with this picture?” With respect to scientists’ behavior, I asked the same question and I share here what I have learned about the forces that have for decades been diminishing American science capability, corrupting individuals and the institutions they serve, and that have led geoscientists into becoming part of what I have named “the malevolent political agenda.” Now it should be said not all the participants in a malevolent political agenda are themselves consciously malevolent; they may be lazy, ignorant, or compromised by the need to protect their careers, funding, or social milieu. Nonetheless, we must recognize that the political agenda in which they are involved is itself malevolent, taking on a life of its own, to the detriment of the methods of science and the search for truth, not to mention the national progress and public safety.
Scientific specialization can be like an edifice built on a corrupt foundation or the proverbial house of cards; standing seemingly sturdily or precariously for a while but becoming increasingly unviable with each new wing or addition. This has been the case, in my not-so-humble judgment, with the growth of geoscience. Geoscientists have steadfastly been building upon a half-century old misunderstanding of Earth’s behavior which is considerably different from the behavior that is a consequence of Earth’s early formation as a Jupiter-like gas giant. The ramifications are all about us, but none are as ubiquitous as the idea that increasing amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are anthropogenic (human produced) and are causing global warming via the greenhouse effect. Rather, I would argue that variability of Earth’s major energy sources, not previously considered, is responsible for the observed increase over at least the last 40 years in the annual number of earthquakes of magnitude ≥6 and for changes in seawater temperature which is directly related to atmospheric carbon dioxide composition. The relationship between seawater temperature and atmospheric carbon dioxide is evident over a period of 800,000 years from measurements of an Antarctic ice core:
Correlation between local temperature and trapped carbon dioxide (CO2) over a time span of 800,000 years from an Antarctic ice core (see Figure 1.5).
Reproduced with permission of the
British Antarctic Survey.
One may now say, with regard to mainstream, increasingly strident, ideological, and politicized comments on anthropogenic (human caused) global warming, variability of atmospheric carbon dioxide content is related to variable Earth-heat production, a consequence of Earth’s early formation as a Jupiter-like gas giant. Human activity, I submit, is not to blame.
This all-too-brief introduction does not begin to reveal the connections between Earth’s origin and the basis of similarities and differences of other planets in our Solar System, or how stars including our own ignite, or the reason why the multitude of galaxies display just a few prominent patterns of luminous stars. So, please enjoy Herndon’s Earth and the Dark Side of Science.
1. Wegener, A., Die Entstehung der Kontinente und Ozeane. fourth ed1929, Braunschweig: Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn. 246.
2. Wegener, A., The Origin of Continents and Oceans. Translated by John Biram1966, New York: Dover Publications, Inc.
3. Herndon, J.M., The nickel silicide inner core of the Earth. Proc. R. Soc. Lond, 1979. A368: p. 495-500.