By Phil Plait | December 15, 2008 4:46 pm

Here I am trying to write up my Top Ten Pictures of 2008, when I get an email from Carolyn Porco. Dreading what I’ll see, I open it. Sure enough, incredible new images from Cassini, just when I’ve finalized my Top Ten list! Arg! I peruse them anyway, and then find this:

Click it. I dare you.

Oh, man.

That’s Enceladus, a tiny water-ice moon orbiting Saturn. The ridges and cracks are ice floes, not too different from what you see on the Earth’s north pole. Note that there’s no solid land under our terrestrial arctic region, and for the same reason we think that Enceladus is actually a global ocean covered with floating ice. The lack of craters is because there are few old features on the moon. The shifting floes erase anything that isn’t young.

This image is spectacular (and a much higher-res version is at the Cassini CICLOPS site). It was taken as Cassini flew past Enceladus, creating a mosaic of incredible resolution. It’s composed of 28 separate images using seven different camera positions on the surface (called footprints), with four different filters used at each footprint. Cassini ranged from 30,000 – 48,000 km (19,000 – 30,000 miles) from the moon’s surface while the images were taken.

Near the bottom you can see the Tiger Stripes, cracks in the surface (called sulci) which are the sources of water geysers detected previously by Cassini. The cause of the geysers is still under debate, but it’s known that the geysers are noticeably warmer than the rest of the Enceladan surface. The material spewed out contains organic materials, too.

Yeah, water and organic materials, and a known mechanism (tidal heating) to keep the water liquid, and to help mix it. Provocative, isn’t it?

Someday, we’ll have to plumb the depths of this little moon. Until then, though, we have the Cassini mission still making its rounds of Saturn, and still patrolling its army of moons, returning gorgeous images and even more surprising science.

And as far as my Top Ten list goes… I will very reluctantly leave this one off, because I don’t want you to wait to see it. Think of this as "Number -1", a taste of what’s to come.

Image credit NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Cool stuff, Pretty pictures

Comments (102)

  1. Levi in NY

    Teh awesome! Thanks for the new desktop wallpaper, Phil!

  2. R.W. Thomas


    Thanks for linking this! I was unaware of the discoveries happening on Enceladus.

  3. BA said Yeah, water and organic materials, and a known mechanism (tidal heating) to keep the water liquid, and to help mix it. Provocative, isn’t it?

    Why BA, I do not know what on earth you are implying here? 😉

    I suppose the question is how long does life need to arise? On earth it was within a few hundred millions years, so has Enceladus been around long enough as it is now for life to form?

  4. Actually, I believe that the best we can say about Earth is that life took at most a few hundred million years to develop. It could have been significantly faster and not left any traces we’ve detected yet. (This could be because of the paucity of rocks that old or because the amount or type of life didn’t leave a lot of evidence. Or both.)

  5. Sean G.

    … and since both the Earth and Enceladus are heavenly bodies, this latest from the Onion seems relavent: http://www.theonion.com/content/news/scientists_warn_large_earth

    Ok, its not relavent, but it made me laugh out loud.


  6. Helioprogenus

    Why can’t you just raise it up to 11?

    “…but this thing goes to eleven”

  7. Here’s another amazing pic from Huygens. The first picture of liquid on another world:


  8. @Sean G. I LOL’d at that too.

  9. Charles Boyer

    Awesome photo and very indicative of the capabilities of our robotic missions. I grabbed the original size on Flickr and added it to my ever-growing collection.

    I have to say, when I was a kid, we used to dream of seeing pictures of the planets in such detail. Now if we could just build a craft that could survive a trip into the solar atmosphere and send back data…seems impossible now, but hey, in the early 1970’s we never imagined seeing 3-D hires pictures of Mercury and of places like Eneceladus.

  10. Ben

    Is there any official estimate on how thick the ice is over this ‘global ocean’?

    I am impressed by the size of that one large crevasse, about 7.5 km wide by my rough estimate, and must be at least that deep. That is a pretty big surface feature on a ball with only 4% Earth’s diameter. This made me wonder how much bigger it can get before it gets filled up by liquid water.

  11. Wildride

    That’s no space station!

  12. The Expansion Tectonics are so obvious even a child could see it.

  13. Davidlpf

    If child you a are thinking niave and untrained in science then I would say yes.

  14. I said a child could see it not a fundamentalist.

  15. David B

    @ Sean G. priceless. thank you.

  16. Furthermore, no ocean has ever been observed inside Enceladus and no experiment has ever been performed to test the hypothesis, so what’s the difference between saying there is an ocean inside it and saying there are invisible pink unicorns inside it?

  17. Hee hee, you made my day, Phil :) Glad you like!

  18. Davidlpf

    From wikipedia
    Thanks to data from a number of instruments on the Cassini spacecraft in 2005, cryovolcanism, where water and other volatiles are the materials erupted instead of silicate rock, has been discovered on Enceladus. The first Cassini sighting of a plume of icy particles above Enceladus’s south pole came from the Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS) images taken in January and February 2005,[2] though the possibility of the plume being a camera artifact stalled an official announcement. Data from the magnetometer instrument during the February 17, 2005 encounter provided a hint that the feature might be real when it found evidence for an atmosphere at Enceladus. The magnetometer observed an increase in the power of ion cyclotron waves near Enceladus. These waves are produced by the interaction of ionized particles and magnetic fields, and the frequency of the waves can be used to identify the composition, in this case ionized water vapor.[9] During the next two encounters, the magnetometer team determined that gases in Enceladus’s atmosphere are concentrated over the south polar region, with atmospheric density away from the pole being much lower.[9] The Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS) confirmed this result by observing two stellar occultations during the February 17 and July 14 encounters. Unlike the magnetometer, UVIS failed to detect an atmosphere above Enceladus during the February encounter when it looked for evidence for an atmosphere over the equatorial region, but did detect water vapor during an occultation over the south polar region during the July encounter.

    looks like a couple of experiments showed water.

  19. gopher65

    Ah, I see OilIsMastery is trolling over on this blog as well…

    Where do people get the time to troll this many blogs? 0_0

  20. Davidlpf

    The funny trolls are the ones that have the time to troll on somebodys website yet have no time for basic research.

  21. Where do people find the time to post troll twice in one sentence without any scientific counterargument?

  22. Davidlpf

    Since the wiki article seems to hard for you OIM let sum it up.
    -some of the surface appears newer then others(less craters)
    -something must be covering up the old craters
    -a number of instruments detect water in the E-ring in in which
    Eneladus occupys
    -detecters find water volcanoes near south pole
    -average density 1.61 g/cm^3 so less water then other satelites

    So there is a substance under the surface of the planets that can fill over large sections of the planet and there is evidence of water coming from the under the surface the moon.


  23. IVAN3MAN

    “It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.” — Epictetus

  24. Davidlpf

    I know do play trolls but I am bored.

  25. Mick

    Kind of makes me worry in a sense when I think of it. Not because its not interesting or exiting, in fact I think its very interesting.

    No what I worry about when I see things like this. And not just things like this. Is that the age we live in is one of complete apathy.

    Scientifically great things are happening, worlds around other stars are being discovered, someone had a cloned version of her own windpipe transplanted in an operation. Stemcell research holds immense promises and some things should probably already be possible, there are people working to combine organic cells with microchips…. Well maybe some of my descriptions are off in the technical details. But in many fields of science the most amazing discoveries are made. And what bothers and worries me to no end is that in this modern society, overwhelmingly most people don’t seem to care in the least.

    So lets look at Enceladus, if it has a warm ocean underneath its surface who knows what might be there? A warm ocean could host, I think, in theory, lifeforms that are actually visible to the naked eye. (Although even microbes would be interesting, multicellular life would be even more so.)

    But this is the age where very few people care about anything that doesn’t have to do with celebrities.

    I blame reality TV, its the second leading cause of brainrot after religious fanaticism.

  26. Quato

    Say, some centuries down the line, couldn’t we make some sort of mega reactor that melts all the surface ice, thereby liquidizing the ocean completely while also providing Enceladus with a comfortable earth-like atmosphere for all to breathe?
    I believe this process was already demonstrated in the hit movie Total Recall, which by all accounts is 100% scientifically accurate.


  27. kuhnigget

    @ Mick:

    I think it predates reality TV. I remember as a kid a (ahem!) few years ago, when I was routinely dismissed for being interested in astronomy, and (gasp!) actually asking questions of my teachers because I genuinely wanted to learn.

    How many people go through life with the attitude that learning is a chore, something to be avoided, too taxing, or…irony of ironies…something that’s “dumb!”

    I’m probably way too cynical, but I honestly believe the majority of people probably haven’t a clue regarding the most basic features of the world around them. And the worst part of it is, with the resources of the internet and wireless communication, almost anyone can have instant access to amazing amounts of information, yet what’s the most popular wireless activity now? I suspect it’s “twittering” your friends all the inane minutiae of your life.

    I’d write more, but I have to update my facebook profile and send out a release to let everyone know I just had a fabulous bowel movement.

    And you rotten kids…get off my lawn.

  28. Phil, I do have one correction. You note that Enceladus may have a global ocean beneath its surface. Right now, the evidence is pointing more towards a localized pocket of water beneath the south pole, rather than a global ocean (or perhaps a global ocean with an overlying ice shell with varying thickness). This is evidenced by the much more heavily crater north polar region, which contrasts with the very lightly cratered south polar region (with no craters at all south of ~75 degrees South Latitude).

  29. Well, all is right with the world! I just finished waching Star Trek IV, Chekov, got his nuclear wessels, the whales got home. Now, it’s time to get in the Christmas/holiday spirit with Santa Claus Conquers The Martians!

  30. Even more amazing than this one mosaic was actually the news conference that the picture came with (free on the web a few hours ago): We learned about clear evidence for plate tectonics on Enceladus – and saw it actually demonstrated in amazing animations where parts of its surface were moved around to show their likely original locations.

  31. Ivan3man,

    Great quote. How do people expect to learn about Excess Mass Stress Tectonics (E.M.S.T.) if they already “know” Plate Tectonics and subduction mythology?

  32. Thomas Siefert

    @OilIsMastery: Because a few scientific theories were controversial to begin with but later redeemed, it does not mean that every single controversial theory will eventually be redeemed.

    I recommend you read ” demon Haunted World” by Carl Sagan.

  33. IVAN3MAN


    How do people expect to learn about Excess Mass Stress Tectonics (E.M.S.T.) if they already “know” Plate Tectonics and subduction mythology?


    1. The existence of Wadati-Benioff zones, elongated regions of high seismic activity within the crust and mantle that are explained as huge shear zones. These zones are located beneath oceanic trenches and seem to indicate a slice of crustal material is moving downward through the mantle. They form one of the best arguments for subduction.
    2. 3D models of the mantle made with seismic tomography show cold zones of sinking material exactly in the regions where plate tectonics predicts slabs of crust are subducting into the mantle.
    3. Petrological research of rocks from mountain belts has yielded countless pressure-temperature-time paths. Paths for the axial zones of mountain belts (the metamorphic core) show many mountain chains went through a period of “deep burial”. This is explained by plate tectonics (subduction followed by obduction). The existence of eclogite in many mountain-belts indicates material was “pushed” to depths far into the mantle (depths up to over 200 km are found). In plate tectonics this is explained by the slab pull force which occurs at mid-ocean ridges.
    4. The existence of major geologic shear-zones (sutures) in most mountain belts. Paleomagnetic and mineralogical studies show the rocks that are now lying next to each other were originally thousands of kilometers apart. In other words: a piece of the crust is missing. Structural geology has shown these missing pieces of crust are not located directly underneath the shear-zones or laterally. Instead, they seem to have moved along the sutures into the mantle (this is supported by shear indicators in the shear zones). This is again strong evidence that subduction took place and mountains form by the “continental collision” of tectonic plates.
    5. Rare earth isotope compositions of volcanic rocks that formed above subduction zones are similar to those of sediments on top of the subducting plate. If there are lateral differences in the isotope composition of sediments on subducting plates, these lateral differences are also found back in the composition of the magma that rose from the deeper part of the subduction zone.

    So, OilIsMastery, stick that in your pipe and smoke it!

  34. mo1016

    hmmm, very interesting. Is it like Jupiter’s Europa?

  35. Feeding trolls is the blogosphere’s analogy of reality TV (i.e., watching people do/say trivial, wrong, or inconsequential things), except that the possbility of direct interaction makes trolls much more hazardous time wasters.

    Having said that, based on my experience with social patterns in trolling, I now have a very strong suspicion that EMST is BS, even though I do not know what it stands for or purports to show. So one can argue that I learned something after all. :-)

  36. The results from Cassini really bring home just how much of a loss the Galileo probe’s main antenna was, don’t they?

  37. Ginger Yellow

    Easily my top astronomy photo of the year. Enceladus is my favourite planetary body (how can you not love ice volvanoes?) and that mosaic is just stunning.

  38. Nigel Depledge

    Thanks, BA, for another really cool pic.

    Cassini is a huge success, and I hope it continues for many more years.

  39. Charles Boyer

    @ Michael L “Now, it’s time to get in the Christmas/holiday spirit with Santa Claus Conquers The Martians!”

    Where in the world did you find that? Sounds like something fun to watch.

    Me, I am planning to continue the ‘Tripping The Rift’ marathon on Netflix-XBOX streaming. I know that it’s a sophomoric show, but it has some really funny lines in it.

  40. I can’t work today boss. Someone on the internet is wrong!

    Another great article Dr. Plait. Enceladus seems to be a popular subject today. :)

  41. kuhnigget

    @ ginger yellow:

    What was that about “vulvanoes”?

  42. Gary Ansorge

    Sean G:
    ,,,only 1/2 light speed? Wonkers! Go for the limit,,,hit em hard and fast. As V approaches C, Mass approaches infinity, so the impact on Earth would likely be ,,,minimal???,,,ooh, I forgot the frequency(blue) shift of incident radiation approaching,,,a really high frequency,,,(gamma ray sterilization of the entire planet),,OK then,,,never mind,,,

    Enceladus with hot and cold running water,,,cool! Plenty of reaction mass for our nuc powered space craft. A great place to skii,,,(longest down hill run in the solar system),,,of course, with a low surface gravity, you might only be able to skii at,,,ummm,,,12 km/hour???

    GAry 7

  43. Cheyenne

    Absolutely gorgeous!

    Let’s fling some probes at that thing and get some sample returns to be studied back here by teams of scientists in the best, most equipped labs. Wow, maybe even (hopefully, possibly….if they work really hard at it…) a sample from a probe that could melt its way down to the liquid subsurface.

    world wide web-msnbc.msn.com/id/28243232/

    More evidence of the water cycle on Mars from the Polar Lander! Puh-lease Nasa get a sample return from the little Red guy going! As a rough idea let’s say – 5 probes, one at each pole collecting the best samples (semi-autonomously driving around, drilling into rocks and the subsurface, etc), and 3 working in the best other spots on the planet (alluvial flood plains, whatever the PhD’s think is best). Rocket up their most interesting finds to an Earth return rocket.

    Or is that too ambitious of an idea?

  44. Todd W.

    @Gary Ansorge

    of course, with a low surface gravity, you might only be able to skii at,,,ummm,,,12 km/hour???

    Yeah, but think of the hang time you’d have off the moguls and ski jumps.

  45. You hold that picture for next December and then take a que from Scalzi and make a list of the top 10 from the last 12 months so you can include stuff at the very tail of December.

  46. Ivan3man,

    “In the oral session, except for one presentation that was clearly pro plate tectonics, and another one that did not address the issue of global and large scale geology specifically, there was general consensus that subduction, and therefore plate tectonics, is mechanically impossible.” — Stavros T. Tassos (seismologist/geoscientist) and Karsten M. Storetvedt (geophysicist), November 2007

    “Five propositions in Geology, namely Plate Tectonics, Constant Size Earth, Heat Engine Earth, Elastic Rebound, and the Organic Origin of Hydrocarbon Reserves are challenged as Myths because their potential truth is not confirmed by Observation, and/or Experiment, and/or Logic. In their place the Excess Mass Stress Tectonics – EMST, i.e., a Solid, Quantified, Growing and Radiating Earth and its implications, such as the Inorganic Origin of Hydrocarbons, claims to be a Comprehensive Proposition.” — Stavros T. Tassos, seismologist/geoscientist, November 2007

    “Around the lovely Ring of Fire we have what are commonly called ‘subduction zones’. Cue Disney ‘Rites of Spring’ music and animation. … Are we in some kind of hell where facts are thrown out, en masse, no matter how they accumulate? You know, when this blows up, there’s gonna be an awfully big splatter.” — Neal Adams, artist/computer animator, February 2007

    “Ganymede’s grooved terrain likely formed during an epoch of global expansion….” — Michael T. Bland and Adam P. Showman, planetary scientists, 2007

    “The idea of an earth which is constant and unchanging has been restated so often throughout history that it has now become established as a firm fact. It needs no proof — which is lucky since there is none.” — Stephen Hurrell, engineer, April 2006

    “Therefore the thermally controlled conveyor-belt subduction model, as well as any variants or hybrid models, should be discarded because they are in fundamental contradiction with direct observation and deny the obvious.” — Stavros T. Tassos, seismologist, 2005

    “Putting aside the insurmountable mechanical problems of subduction (a solid driven by the force of gravity penetrating into another sold), this is a gross violation of the obvious and of direct observation. Heat cannot be released instantly, because it is known from petrology that the cooling rate of rocks is about 50 degrees Kelvin per billion years!” — Stavros T. Tassos, seismologist, 2005

    “More realistically, the appropriate and credible physical metaphor for subduction would be of a wooden nail being projected very slowly into a cannon ball. This is, of course, impossible, even over infinite time….” — Stavros T. Tassos (seismologist) and David J. Ford (geologist), 2005

    “It is established fact, however, that there is not any physically observed discontinuity between deep crust and upper mantle at around 100 km depth, and the continents are observed to have continuous mantle rock roots extending as deep as 600 km (Grand, 1987; Grand et al., 1997). So the question is naturally raised: How is it possible for the upper 100 km of a continent, e.g., North America, to move horizontally by several thousand kilometers at all, under any circumstances, when global seismic tomography data indicate deep continuous roots from the surface down to 600 km depth?” — Stavros T. Tassos (seismologist) and David J. Ford (geologist), 2005

    “Freund’s (2003) experimental work confirms the infrared radiation emission nature of such geodynamic anomalies and processes. It is therefore logical that Earth’s geodynamics are driven by electro-motive force (EMF), or rather, electromagnetic anisotropic concentration processes, and surely not by the conventional physically inadequate heat-engine bulk convection formalism. In other words, volts and amperes control tectonism and all geodynamic phenomena….” — Stavros T. Tassos (seismologist) and David J. Ford (geologist), 2005

    “Observations at certain points on the Earth’s surface, or very close to it, e.g., down mine shafts and from deep continental drilling projects, show that temperature increases by 20° to 30°C per kilometer. If that thermal gradient continues unchanged down to a depth of 40 km, the temperature would be from 800° to 1200°C, which is around the melting point of all rocks. Similarly, at the mantle-core boundary, at about 2900 km, it would be from 58,000° to 87,000°C. Nobody claims such absurd ambient temperatures exist in Earth’s lower crust or mantle. Actually, considering the amount of heat energy conventionally proposed to do the mechanical work, e.g. to motivate the supposed bulk convection of semi-fluid rocks, the thermal gradient and, therefore, the temperature inside the Earth, should be much greater than is physically reasonable.” — Stavros T. Tassos (seismologist) and David J. Ford (geologist), 2005

    “Below we will show some of the simple physical reasons why the present geodynamic and geotectonic paradigms are so dramatically wrong, and why continents cannot move like “rafts” on a “sea” of convecting semifluid hot mantle.” — Stavros T. Tassos (seismologist) and David J. Ford (geologist), 2005

    “Biogeography is really where the facts are — indeed the simplest facts of all. Wegener and du Toit faced ridicule for not accepting certain conventional geological assumptions, but no amount of authority can overcome the following elemental fact: Terrestrial vertibrates cannot cross oceans. That is why they do not appear on remote oceanic islands (>2000 km from a source). That is why we know they have not been able to cross an ocean in the last 20 million years. Their difficulty with wide marine gaps was obvious when Darwin used it as evidence for evolution; it was obvious when Wegener and du Toit used it as evidence for a closed Atlantic and Indian Oceans; and it still obvious today.” — Dennis D. McCarthy, geoscientist, 2005

    “Since planets and moons did not pop into existence at their current size, everyone agrees they must have expanded at some point in their history.” — Dennis D. McCarthy, geoscientist, November 2005

    “In fact, it is now widely accepted that the Jovian moon, Ganymede, has experienced significant, internally-generated, post-formation expansion. As Prockter (2001) writes: ‘The bright terrain formed as Ganymede underwent some extreme resurfacing event, probably as a result of the moon’s increase in size’. Collins et al. (1999) agree that the formation of the grooved terrain on Ganymede was likely the result of post-formation ‘global expansion’. ” — Dennis D. McCarthy, geoscientist, November 2005

    “The insinuation that we do not know a physical process responsible for an accelerated Earth expansion is not a scientific counter argument. The physical nature of many processes has regularly been recognized in science, long after they were first recognized as real phenomena.” — Stefan Cwojdzinski, geologist, 2005

    “The causal understanding of Earth expansion is not yet fully understood, but the empirical processes involved are confirmed by such numerous and different sets of data that this should be considered fact.” — Stefan Cwojdzinski, geologist, 2005

    “There is now a lack of reference or any factual basis in plate tectonic discussions.” — Stefan Cwojdzinski, geologist, 2005

    “When studying the history of the creation and formulation of plate tectonics one can come to the conclusion that it is, and was at best only a hypothesis. A hypothesis, which uses an assumption at its basis. This is the assumption that the Earth has retained a constant size during its geological evolution. This assumption however is not supported by facts.” — Stefan Cwojdzinski, geologist, 2005

    “At a conference on the expanding Earth in Sydney in 1981 Peter Smith did a test survey of people attending: sixty people interviewed expressed disbelief in the hypothesis, but none of them had read Carey’s book on the topic.” — Cliff D. Ollier, geologist, 2005

    “To date however, there is no direct unambiguous evidence that mantle convection and/or mantle circulation actually takes place; in fact, there is some evidence to the contrary. Moreover, there is no evidence that oceanic basalt can be repeatedly recycled through the mantle without being substantially and irreversibly changed. Yet, mantle convection/circulation and basalt recycling are fundamental necessities for the validity of plate tectonics. Furthermore, plate tectonics theory does not provide an energy source for geodynamic activity.” — J. Marvin Herndon, geophysicist, 2005

    “It is important to note that all the periods [Earth’s orbit and year] were likely of different duration in the geological past.” — Rajat Mazumder (geologist) and Makoto Arima (geologist) 2005

    “This implies that slow Earth expansion might have occured if G varies (Runcorn 1964, pg. 825).” — Rajat Mazumder (geologist) and Makoto Arima (geologist), 2005

    “Originally it was thought the Earth was flat. Then spherical but with the continents anchored in rock. When Alfred Wegener noted that continents fitted together like jigsaw puzzle and therefore had been pulled apart, it was violently rejected because geologists said they were anchored in basaltic rock. Finally it was found that the Atlantic trench between the Americas and Africa/Europe was opening up at a rate of just about right for the Earth’s estimated age (Kokus, 2002). So mainstream geologists invented plate tectonics where the continents skated blythly around on top of this anchoring rock!In 1958 the noted Geologist S. Warren Carey and in 1965 K. M. Creer (in the old, usefully scientific Nature Magazine) were among those who articulated the obvious, namely that the Earth is expanding. The controversy between plate tectonics and expanding Earth has been acrid ever since.” — Halton Arp, astronomer, 2005

    “It’s a mess out there. We are seeing that planets have a long, rocky road to go down before they become full grown.” –George H. Rieke, astronomer, October 2004

    “Currently, the moon is moving away from the Earth at such a great rate, that if you extrapolate back in time — the moon would have been so close to the Earth 1.4 billion years ago that it would have been torn apart by tidal forces (Slichter, 1963).” — Dennis D. McCarthy, geoscientist, 2003

    “All marine fossils from 200 million years ago or earlier are found exclusively on continental locations — just as expanding Earth theory predicts. That’s because all large marine environments pre-Jurassic were epicontinental seas — not oceans. Incredibly, if we deny expanding Earth theory, all the pre-Jurassic oceanic marine fossils must have vanished, along with all pre-Jurassic oceanic crust, as well as all of the fossils of all the trans-Pacific taxa that simply “walked” from one location to the other. Hmmm. Even your mainstream fixist geologist counterparts of the first half of the twentieth century didn’t have to accept that many miracles.” — Dennis D. McCarthy, geoscientist, October 2003

    “Biogeographic arguments for a closed Pacific (just like biogeographic arguments for a closed Atlantic and closed Indian) are based on evolutionary theory. Specifically, according to the theory of evolution, you can’t have a host of closely-related, poor dispersing taxa suddenly appearing on opposite sides of an ocean — when it is highly improbable for any of the ancestral taxa to cross oceans. So according to the referenced paper above, unless plate tectonic theorists want to rely on divine intervention, a slew of creation stories or a myriad of impossible trans-oceanic crossings of terrestrial taxa, their paleomaps are wrong. Panthalassa could not have existed between all of the hundred plus referenced taxa, which is to say, it didn’t exist.” — Dennis D. McCarthy, geoscientist, October 2003

    “The most reasonable mechanism for planetary expansion, in my opinion, involves fluid-sink views of gravity which involves the collection (not the spontaneous generation) of ultra-mundane matter at the cores of astronomical bodies.” — Dennis D. McCarthy, geoscientist, October 2003

    “There is no known physical principle, no known physics law, no known physics theory, and no known physics equation which remotely suggests that planets and stars cannot gain mass via collection of sub-sub-sub atomic particles. None. There is no violating regarding known laws of physics. Indeed, the Earth does gain some mass (a small amount) due to being pelted with solar wind, neutrinos, etc. Does this change all of physics? It does not change or alter basic physics — or even modern physics. It merely reinterprets the equations of general relativity. It is consistent with mass conservation and energy conservation. I really can’t state this any more simply.” — Dennis D. McCarthy, geoscientist, October 2003

    “[Bruce C.] Heezen interpreted the medial rift as evidence in support of the expanding earth hypothesis.” — Naomi Oreskes, historian, 2003

    “Researchers now believe that Ganymede’s more youthful-looking half could be due to a crust that stretched–as has happened in the past few million years on Europa–rather than any sort of icy volcanism, as many had assumed.” — Richard. A. Kerr, physicist, 2001

    “The bright terrain formed as Ganymede underwent some extreme resurfacing event, probably as a result of the moon’s increase in size.” — Louise M. Prockter, physicist, 2001

    “When plate tectonics was first elaborated in the 1960s, less than 0.0001% of the deep ocean had been explored and less than 20% of the land area had been mapped in meaningful detail. Even by the mid-1990s, only about 3%-5% of the deep ocean basins had been explored in any kind of detail, and not much more than 25%-30% of the land area could be said to be truly known (Meyerhoff et al., 1996). Scientific understanding of the earth’s surface features is clearly still in its infancy, to say nothing of the earth’s interior.” — David Pratt, natural philosopher, 2000

    “The implications of employing the present rate of tidal energy dissipation on a geological timescale are catastrophic. Around 1500 Ma the Moon would have been close to the Earth, with the consequence that the much larger tidal forces would have disrupted the Moon or caused the total melting of Earth’s mantle and of the moon.” George E. Williams, geologist/geophysicist, 2000

    “No evidence whatsoever of subduction has been found on any other planet or moon of the solar system.” — David J. Ford, geologist, 2000

    “No longer a rebel – they now believe it! At least, they all will eventually. It takes some people a while to catch up.” — Samuel W. Carey, geologist, 2000

    “The nebular hypothesis is completely false and one day will be recognized as one of the greatest errors in the history of science, possibly surpassing the centuries-old dogma of geocentrism overturned in the 16th and 17th centuries by Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler. However, the prevailing dominance of religion in that era makes that error less egregious than the adoption of subduction in the 20th Century.” — Lawrence S. Myers, cryptologist/geoscientist, 1999

    “Subduction is not only illogical, it is not supported by geological or physical evidence, and violates fundamental laws of physics.” — Lawrence S. Myers, cryptologist/geoscientist, 1999

    “My research, based on irrefutable evidence of constant accretion of meteorites and meteor dust, concludes that Earth began as an asteroid remnant of an earlier comet captured by the Sun. The proto-planet then grew over uncountable years (possibly many more than the 4.5 Ga now believed) in an accretion process that is still underway and will continue into the future at an accelerating pace because of Earth’s constantly increasing mass and gravitational power.” — Lawrence S. Myers, cryptologist/geoscientist, 1999

    “The greatest disturbance of traditional geological views came from the concept of oceanic seafloor spreading. By now, this has developed into a well-balanced theory which is in agreement with the results of geological and geophysical observations.” — Yury V. Chudinov, geologist, 1998

    “Now that the subduction concept has been developed for almost 30 years, it can be said that it has not been fruitful geologically.” — Yury V. Chudinov, geologist, 1998

    “There is no doubt that the subduction model constitutes the weakest link in the construction of plate tectonics, as has been repeatedly pointed out.” — Yury V. Chudinov, geologist, 1998

    “About twenty years ago, when I expressed my reservations about the plate tectonics theory to one of its supporters, I got the answer, ‘You either believe in it or not.’ Unfortunately the religious mentality of the supporters of plate tectonics did not change in the years to come.” — Stavros T. Tassos, seismologist/geoscientist, 1997

    “The many geophysical and geological paradoxes that have accumulated during the past two or three decades are apparently the consequences of forcing observational data into an inadequate tectonic model.”– Karsten M. Storetvedt, geophysicist, 1992

    “There is nothing more contentious in global tectonics at this time than the expanding Earth concept.” — Hugh Owen, geophysicist, 1992

    “Subduction is a myth.” — Samuel W. Carey, geologist, 1988

    “The most likely site for error is in the most fundamental of our beliefs.” — Samuel W. Carey, geologist, 1988

    “I have no doubt that our own orthodox dogma still has falsities within the self-evident axioms we believe we know to be true.” — Samuel W. Carey, geologist 1988

    “The balance of evidence seems to require an expanding Earth.” — Derek V. Ager, biogeographer, 1986

    “The hypothesis of an expanding Earth is inescapable.” — Derek V. Ager, biogeographer, 1986

    “The Expanding Earth Hypothesis goes back to at least 1933, a time when the Continental Drift Hypothesis was accorded the same sort of ridicule. Now, Continental Drift is enthroned; and ironically many of its strongest proponents are vehemently opposed to the Expanding Earth, ignoring the lessons of history.” — William R. Corliss, physicist, 1985

    “The geological and geophysical implications of such Earth expansion are so profound that most geologists and geophysicists shy away from them. In order to fit with the reconstruction that seems to be required, the volume of the Earth was only 51 per cent of its present value, and the surface area 64 per cent of that of the present day, 200 million years ago. Established theory says that the Earth’s interior is stable, an inner core of nickel iron surrounded by an outer layer that behaves like a fluid. Perhaps we are completely wrong and the inner core is in some state nobody has yet imagined, a state that is undergoing a transition from a high-density state to a lower density state, and pushing out the crust, the skin of the Earth, as it expands.” — Hugh Owen, geophysicist, 1984

    “I have been continually amazed that the simplicity with which Earth expansion answers so much of the Earth’s evolution has been so delayed in universal adoption.” — Klaus A. Vogel, engineer, 1983

    “Well if you say it took a long time to abandon it, it took a long time for people to accept it.” — Samuel W. Carey, geologist, 1981

    “People don’t want to see it. They believe in subduction like a religion.” — Samuel W. Carey, geologist, 1981

    “I had taught subduction for more years than any of the present generation of people had been with it. And when they have been in it as long as I have they’ll abandon it too.” — Samuel W. Carey, geologist, 1981

    “Subduction exists only in the minds of its creators.” — Samuel W. Carey, geologist, 1976

    “The plate-tectonics advocates have produced a concept based on well documented expansion criteria and complemented by a hypothetical subduction process.” — Hugh Wilson, geologist, 1973

    “American thinking has now arrived pretty much at where I was twenty years ago.” — Samuel W. Carey, geologist, 1972

    “The sea erupted. Often the sea and land changed places. The immutability of contours of continents and seas, a dogma in geology, has no basis in fact. And immediately there is the problem of the climate. There were ancient climates that were very different from what they are today. If those corals grew where they were found, certainly the Earth was not travelling with the same elements of rotation and revolution which means not in the same orbit, not with the axis directed in the same position as it is today. If you don’t believe it, try to cultivate corals on the North Pole.” — Immanuel Velikovsky, cosmologist, 1966

    “The continental drift may be explained by an expanding Earth only.” — Laszlo Egyed, geophysicist, 1960

    “The theory of isostasy was conceived in 1851 when J. H. Pratt found that the Himalayas do not deflect the plumb line as expected considering the mass of the mountains. It was assumed that the crust is thin and lighter than the magma and that every mountain has a mirror image protuberance immersed into the magma, thus the excess of the mass of the mountains is counterbalanced by a defect in the mass (difference between the lighter granite of the crust and the heavier magma). This, however, would signify that in order to move the crust over the very dense magma (twice the weight of granite) the isostatic protuberances (besides the equatorial bulge) will present obstacles that cannot be overcome by an asymmetric position of polar ice. If, moreover, the crust is 2000 miles thick, its mass represents a very substantial part of the globe. ” — Immanuel Velikovsky, cosmologist, 1954

    “We have to be prepared always for the possibility that each new discovery, no matter which science furnishes it, may modify the conclusions that we draw.” — Alfred L. Wegener, astrophysicist/geoscientist, 1928

    “Every well ascertained fact tended to show that the Earth was increasing in size, and at the same time was also increasing it’s orbit.” — Alfred W. Drayson, natural philosopher, 1859

    “Upon examining the records of former measured distances, it appeared that the later operations showed this same distance to contain more feet and inches than formerly. My first idea was, that the measuring metals had contracted, but the great care which each operator had taken to guard against such a contingency, very shortly induced me to search for another cause. After many months, it was suggested to me, that possibly the earth was expanding, instead of the metals contracting; but no sooner did this idea present itself, than it was almost instantly rejected, for I hastily concluded that such a fact could not have escaped observation had it existed. I have always been disinclined to reject any suggestion, however novel, until I had closely examined its various phases. I therefore proceeded to reason upon the possibility of the growth of the Earth.” — Alfred W. Drayson, natural philosopher, 1859

    Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

  47. Cheyenne

    OIM- Do you have any more quotes? Your brief snippet is interesting but I would like to read (with an open mind) what the experts in the field have to say about the issue. So please, a more extensive list of quotes if you can.

  48. I knew it. Quantity is quality!

  49. Todd W.


    So, if the Earth is increasing in size, then if we take several points around the globe, they should be getting further and further away from each other, which we should be able to measure, thanks to all the satellites floating about. If, rather, the plates are moving around laterally, then some points should be getting further away from each other in one direction, but closer to each other in the other direction. Admittedly, I’m not a geologist, but I think that makes logical sense as a simple way to figure which idea is more likely.

    Is there any data that shows that two points on the Earth’s surface are getting futher away from each other in every direction?

  50. Todd W.


    Oh, and if the Earth is, indeed, getting bigger, where is the extra material coming from to do this?

    And, if you could, rather than just providing a (tediously) long list of quotations with who said them and when, please provide the source of those quotations (e.g., the article title, journal, issue, page, etc.). And, for the love of sanity, keep it brief.

  51. Egaeus

    Look, guys! Hoth!

  52. Todd,

    In answer to your first question, the answer is yes but the data has been ignored.

    “The relative motion of Hawaii and Arequipa is 80±3 mm/yr from our solution compared to the geologically predicted 66 mm/yr.”

    Therefore the Pacific is growing and the Nazca Plate cannot possibly be subducting.

    Smith, D.E., et al., The Determination of Present-Day Tectonic Motions From Laser Ranging to LAGEOS, Developments in Four-Dimensional Geodesy, Volume 29, Pages 221-240, 1990

    For more information you can see here:

    Shields, O., Geodetic Proof of Earth Expansion?, New Concepts In Global Tectonics, Volume 4, Pages 17-18, 1997

    Scalera, G., Paleogeographical Reconstructions Compatible With Earth Dilation, Annali di Geofisica, Volume 41, Number 5-6, Pages 819-825, 1998

    Scalera, G., The Global Paleogeographical Reconstruction of the Triassic and the Paleoposition of India, Annali di Geofisica, Volume 44, Number 1, Pages 13-32, 2001

    Maxlow, J., Quantification of an Archaean to Recent Earth Expansion Process Using Global Geological and Geodetic Data Sets, Curtin University of Technology, Department of Applied Geology, 2001

    Scalera, G., Relations Among Expanding Earth, TPW, and Polar Motion, Annali di Geofisica, Proceedings of the International Symposium on New Concepts in Global Tectonics, Pages 137-50, 2002

    Vita-Finzi, C., Monitoring the Earth: Physical Geology In Action, 2002

    Scalera, G., The Expanding Earth: a Sound Idea for the New Millennium, Why Expanding Earth? A book in Honour of Ott Hilgenberg, Pages 181-232, 2003

    Scalera, G., Are Artificial Satellite Orbits Influenced By An Expanding Earth?, Annals of Geophysics, Volume 49, Number 2/3, Apr/Jun 2006

    Shields, O., Geodetic Proof of Earth Expansion?, New Concepts In Global Tectonics, Volume 4, Pages 17-18, 1997

  53. Todd,

    In response to your second question, the excess mass is coming from Birkeland currents, cosmic ray hot spots, cosmic rays, plasma, and the sun via electromagnetic flux transfer events every 8 minutes, solar flares that send atomic hydrogen to the Earth, and solar plasma, so-called solar wind.

    The Birkeland currents enter the Earth’s magnetosphere causing an aurora and head to the core via positive holes (p-holes) discoverd by Freund and thus cause an earthquake.

  54. Todd W.


    Can you provide a hyperlink to the Hawaii and Arequipa figure you quoted? Second, is that distance changing by that amount in both the ESE line across the Pacific and the WNW line that wraps across Russia and around to Antarctica, over the southern Atlantic, and across much of South America?


  55. Daniel Fisher:

    “We learned about clear evidence for plate tectonics on Enceladus”

    I’m not aware of anyone claiming plate tectonics on Enceladus. Jason can probably set me straight if I’m wrong there (he’s more of an expert than I am), but not all tectonics are plate tectonics. Last I checked, Earth is the only body known to have plate tectonics, but all four terrestrial planets, plus a bunch of moons, are known to have have tectonic features. (Many are fossilized relics of a more active past, of course, but still.)

  56. Todd,

    Here is the link that shows Hawaii and Peru are moving away from eachother: http://www.springerlink.com/content/fu556100534867t6/

    And here are measurements from the very same Smith showing that Yagadee Australia and Arequipa Peru are moving away from eachother: http://www.expanding-earth.org/images/pacific1.jpg

  57. Todd, I cannot provide the links because links provide moderator approval.

  58. Todd W.


    Try them without the “WWW” at the beginning. Or, you can put the link in the “Website” box and have people click on your name.

  59. OIM, from your springer link (emphasis mine):

    Over twelve years of laser ranging to the LAGEOS spacecraft have enabled the motions of the Earth’s crust to be determined at approximately twenty laser tracking sites around the world. These motions show the surface of the Earth to be moving in general accord with the theory of plate tectonics and to deviate from the principle of rigid plates only in regions near plate boundaries. In western North America, along the Pacific and North America Plate boundary, the motions of the individual sites move considerably less than the full plate motion, primarily since motion is spread over a series of faults across a relatively broad boundary zone. Between Quincy (in northern California) and Monument Peak (40 km east of San Diego) the relative motion determined in our solution is only 26±2 mm/yr compared to the AM0–2) of Minster & Jordan (1978). In Australia, the relative motion of Yaragadee with respect to Hawaii is, from our solution, –89±2 mm/yr compared to the AM0–2 predicted value of –103 mm/yr. The motion between the South American site at Arequipa, Peru and Greenbelt on the North American Plate, is in close agreement with the geologic model; having only a few mm/yr compression. The motion across the Mid-Atlantic Ridge between Greenbelt and Wettzell (on the Eurasian Plate) is, from our solution, determined to be 14±2 mm/yr compared to an AM0–2 predicted rate of 21 mm/yr. The relative motion of Hawaii and Arequipa is 80±3 mm/yr from our solution compared to the geologically predicted 66 mm/yr.

    Isn’t that what you argued against?

  60. Todd W.

    @Pieter Kok

    Now, why’d you have to go an poke a hole in his argument by providing the full context of the quote he mined? :)

  61. Pieter, that sentence (hypothesis) contradicts the data provided (observation).

    In what way is 80mm yr expansion between Hawaii and Peru consistent with the hypothesis of plate tectonics?

  62. Todd W.


    You still haven’t answered my question about the direction of measurement for that figure. Is it only in the direct line across the Pacific? Or does the measure still fit for the line that wraps in the other direction around the Earth?

  63. Todd, even plate tectonics fundamentalists agree the Atlantic is expanding. What they don’t want you to know is that the Pacific is also expanding as the data I have provided you shows conclusively.

    Have a look at the National Geophysical Data Center map I have linked above.

  64. Todd W.


    You still didn’t answer my question. The article cited did not specify which direction that measurement applies to. My assumption is that it is only the line running ESE from Hawaii, and that it does not represent the change in distance in the line running WNW from Hawaii.

  65. Michelle

    You know, one thing that amazes me about the solar system is how unique most of the items are. Sure, lots of them are just plain rocks, but if you look at the big thingies they all have something fancy. Io spews stuff in your face and Enceladus is full of them pretty ridges…

    Can’t be bored here!

  66. IVAN3MAN

    @ OilIsMastery,

    Gordon Bennett! It is easy to “copy & paste” opinions, OilIsMastery, but not so easy to back them up with concrete evidence, isn’t it?

    Let me explain to you the Ten Commandments of the Scientific Method:

    1. Thou shalt base thy conclusion on evidence.

    2. Thou shalt measure objectively, not guess subjectively.

    3. Thou shalt back up thy statements with evidence — claiming something is a fact does not make it so.

    4. Thou shalt use large sample numbers, not large opinion numbers.

    5. Thy tests shalt be blind.

    6. Thy tests shalt have controls.

    7. Thou shalt cite thy sources of information for full scrutiny.

    8. Thy sources of information must be reliable, verifiable, and backed up by evidence.

    9. Opinion(s) is NOT fact.

    10. Thou shalt not bear false witness — don’t be a J.A.M.F.

    As both Pieter Kok & Todd W. have pointed out above: you, OilIsMastery, have shot yourself in the foot by quote-mining from that SpringerLink article.

  67. @Charles Boyer:

    I got from Wal-Mart last year, it’s in the “50 Movie Pack of Sci-Fi Classics”

    It has some real gems…
    Queen of the Amazons, She Gods of Shark Reef, Atomic Brain, and tons of others.

    Santa Conquers The Martians ranks up there with Plan 9 From Outer Space

  68. IVAN3MAN

    I’ll try that again because it didn’t come out right…

    @ OilIsMastery,

    Gordon Bennett! It is easy to “copy & paste” opinions, OilIsMastery, but not so easy to back them up with concrete evidence, isn’t it?

    Let me explain to you the Ten Commandments of the Scientific Method:

    1. Thou shalt base thy conclusion on evidence.

    2. Thou shalt measure objectively, not guess subjectively.

    3. Thou shalt back up thy statements with evidence — claiming something is a fact does not make it so.

    4. Thou shalt use large sample numbers, not large opinion numbers.

    5. Thy tests shalt be blind.

    6. Thy tests shalt have controls.

    7. Thou shalt cite thy sources of information for full scrutiny.

    8. Thy sources of information must be reliable, verifiable, and backed up by evidence.

    9. Opinion(s) is NOT fact.

    10. Thou shalt not bear false witness — don’t be a J.A.M.F.

    As both Pieter Kok & Todd W. have pointed out above: you, OilIsMastery, have shot yourself in the foot by quote-mining from that SpringerLink article.

  69. Todd W.


    StevoR rubbing off on you?

  70. Nemo

    Why do so many threads have to get derailed by kooks?

    Enceladus seems very like Europa, only on a smaller scale. What if they both harbor life? And, what if this kind of body — a world ocean within a shell of ice — turns out to be the most common abode of life throughout the Universe? It would dispense with the need for habitable zones.

  71. IVAN3MAN

    @ Todd W.,

    Yeah… contagious, isn’t he? Seriously, I have access to a HTML test ‘sandbox’ and my comment tested O.K., but when I submitted my comment here it did not turn out as expected. We seriously need a preview/edit facility here, man! 😐

  72. IVAN3MAN

    Nemo: “Why do so many threads have to get derailed by kooks?”

    Probably the same reason why goddamn pigeons crap on your newly washed/waxed car!

  73. Indeed almost all pre-Space Age so-called “science” is wrong.

    The only things we’re keeping are elliptical orbits (Kepler), eletromagnetism (Oersted, Faraday, and Maxwell), and plasma (Birkeland, Velikovsky, Alfven, Bostick).

  74. Davidlpf

    Velikosvky mister cosmic pinball, HAHAHA.

  75. Davidlpf

    So it cherry picking science, OilIsMastery does not like/understand it so OilisMastery will not include in science.

  76. IVAN3MAN

    Common Characteristics of Cranks

    1. Cranks overestimate their own knowledge and ability, and underestimate that of acknowledged experts.

    2. Cranks insist that their alleged discoveries are urgently important.

    3. Cranks rarely if ever acknowledge any error, no matter how trivial.

    4. Cranks love to talk about their own beliefs, often in inappropriate social situations, but they tend to be bad listeners, and often appear to be uninterested in anyone else’s experience or opinions.

  77. kuhnigget

    5. Cranks do not appear to have a sense of humor, particularly about their own crankiness.

  78. kuhnigget

    Oops! Forgot to close the bold. Hope this does it…

  79. Thomas Siefert

    Sorry, I know BA has a jerk policy on his blog and everybody here is trying to be very nice and polite about a certain person here. But I can’t stand this idiocy any more, somebody have to say it.

    OilIsMastery Said: “Indeed almost all pre-Space Age so-called “science” is wrong.
    The only things we’re keeping are elliptical orbits (Kepler), eletromagnetism (Oersted, Faraday, and Maxwell), and plasma (Birkeland, Velikovsky, Alfven, Bostick).”

    OilIsMastery, you don’t have a clue what science is about, I suggest you go away and get an education.

    I fully expect BA to delete this comment, but that’s fine by me.

  80. Jacquie Meade

    Why do some people — mostly men, such as that individual who calls himself “OilIsMastery” — embrace wacko pseudoscience ‘theories’ with such passion? I think that their mothers’ must have dropped them on their heads’ when they were babies.

  81. Jacquie, I think there are deeper psychological reasons for crackpottery, but I do not know what those are (not being a psychologist). Nevertheless, I suspect there may be room for several doctoral dissertations on this topic, and I for one would be interested in reading them.

  82. Todd W.

    I’m still waiting for OIM to answer my question about those measurements that supposedly show the earth is getting bigger.

  83. Nigel Depledge

    Thomas Siefert said:

    OilIsMastery, you don’t have a clue what science is about, I suggest you go away and get an education.

    I fully expect BA to delete this comment, but that’s fine by me.

    Thomas, I think you should be OK with this. After all, the BA’s policy is, basically, “don’t be a jerk”, and your statement is entirely factual. OiM has clearly demonstrated a severe lack of anything remotely resembling an understanding of science.

    Next thing you know, (s)he’ll start posting in ALL CAPS, because that will obviously convince people where lower-case text does not.

  84. ND

    An elevated level of narcissism is most likely involved in said cranks. I’m not a psychologist but I’ve known and read the diatribe of such people as OiM and there is quite a bit self-absorption going on. There is a certain high they get from their little ego trips.

  85. DrFlimmer

    “Indeed almost all pre-Space Age so-called “science” is wrong.”

    But the pencil is still falling down and it does according to Newton’s basic formula F=ma. Strange. And even more: no plasma involved. I don’t get it. What the hell happend since 1950? And Schrödinger’s equation is wrong, too. And Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. And, and, and…. all wrong. *sniff*

    …Phil, I need your picture with that chocolate from your trip to the Galapagos island:


  86. kuhnigget

    @ Jacquie, et al:

    Check out pretty much any of the UFO/aliens threads on Dr. BA’s blog and you’ll see the exact same behavior. Certain traits seem to be common:

    – a fervant belief that they are right and all others are wrong
    – little or no evidence to back up their beliefs, other than copious quotes from flako websites or books (which in turn have little or no evidence backing them up)
    – a tendency toward paranoia (people don’t just disagree with them, they are out to get them)
    – they are lone voices of sanity in a sea of misguided “scientists” or “skeptics” (which are terms of derision)
    – there is a conspiracy to hide their “truth” (see paranoia)
    – they eventually come to the conclusion that “you will never get it” and thus leave, usually right after they’ve been confronted with evidence counter to their beliefs, or have been pressured repeatedly to deliver evidence in support of their beliefs
    – a tendency toward cultish hero worship focused on an individual and their ideas: Velikovsky, Billy Meiers, et al

    I don’t know if these traits come about because their mums dropped them all on the head, but something definitely seems off-kilter.

  87. kuhnigget

    Oh, and one more, which Alan has pointed out:

    – They apparently expend great efforts to master their particular bugaboo, but cannot be bothered or are incapable of mastering even the basics of real science. Evidently it is much easier to become an instant expert in quackery than to toil away at being even an average scientist.

  88. Todd W.


    a tendency toward cultish hero worship focused on an individual and their ideas: Velikovsky, Billy Meiers, et al

    Don’t forget Halton Arp, though I guess the et al catches him.

  89. kuhnigget

    …bowing down before the great god, Arp. May the lifegiving plasma electrify us all!

  90. I wiki-ed Halton Arp because I had never heard of him: Misguided as he may be about the big bang, I would not put him in the same category as your run-of-the-mill crackpot. He seems more like Fred Hoyle: old and no longer able to make major adjustments to their world view .

  91. Todd W.

    @Pieter Kok

    What I’ve gathered from other discussions on here, in his time, he was perfectly fine, but he kinda stayed put while the rest of the scientific world marched on without him.

  92. Quato



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