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Formation near Granger, WY. Photo by author


What’s There and What’s Not There
Jul 20, 2011

Did sediment build up gradually over millions of years, become pressure-transformed into rock, somehow get lifted a mile above sea level, and then get mostly eroded by wind and rain until only this tiny (compared to the original extent) mesa remains? Or did material with the consistency of wet-concrete slurry flow this far into a catastrophic global flood, sorting itself into layers and hardening some layers chemically or electrically?

The popular conception of the scientific method is that the scientist observes a phenomenon, develops or modifies a hypothesis to explain it, and then tests the hypothesis against further observations. The three steps are repeated until the scientist decides that accepting the hypothesis is more reasonable than not accepting it.

A deeper examination reveals that the initial observations are not performed by a mind that is a tabula rasa but by one that has many often unconscious preconceptions. Indeed, the data or sensations of observation are indistinguishable from the noise unless the observer has criteria with which to distinguish data from noise.

This is why the three steps of the popular method should be—and often are, although without it being remarked—supplemented by a fourth step, called by some “error probes,” in which alternative preconceptions and hypotheses are actively searched for.

In geology, one pair of these alternatives is what could be called the “figure–ground inversion.” Will we “see” geological formations as what’s left after gradual deformation and erosion of continuous slabs of rock, or will we see them as essentially undisturbed surficial catastrophic deposits?

Since we cannot travel back in time to observe the origin of formations, both alternatives leave us with an insoluble tension between seeing what is not there and not seeing what is there: In the first case, the gradualist vision sees “missing” material that has been eroded away; the catastrophist vision sees an episodic past of forces not present today. In the second case, the gradualist vision does not see sharply limited “dumps” of material; the catastrophist vision does not see remains of gradual sculpting over millions of years.

These visions are the preconceptions that enable geologists to distinguish data from noise. They translate undifferentiated data-noise into facts and irrelevancies. On these facts—now “observed facts”—hypotheses are constructed, and against similarly determined facts hypotheses are tested. The circularity (or, better, helicity, since the process is repeated with new facts) of the process is mitigated to some extent by its iteration and more so by error probes—by keeping alternatives in mind.

The final choice of hypothesis—or, rather, the temporarily popular choice, since by the nature of the process there cannot be finality—will depend on which one geologists find most useful in helping them to do what they then want to do. Because geologists are human, egotistical and political motives are an inseparable part of the process, and the science will always have to trickle around declarations of finality and conspiracies to dismiss alternatives. Acquiescence in pretenses of “secure knowledge” will lead only to a self-congratulatory sterility. Curious minds will wander off to see things with new visions.

Mel Acheson

The Lightning-Scarred Planet Mars

A video documentary that could change everything you thought you knew about ancient times and symbols. In this second episode of Symbols of an Alien Sky, David Talbott takes the viewer on an odyssey across the surface of Mars. Exploring feature after feature of the planet, he finds that only electric arcs could produce the observed patterns. The high resolution images reveal massive channels and gouges, great mounds, and crater chains, none finding an explanation in traditional geology, but all matching the scars from electric discharge experiments in the laboratory. (Approximately 85 minutes)

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"The Cosmic Thunderbolt"

YouTube video, first glimpses of Episode Two in the "Symbols of an Alien Sky" series.


And don't forget: "The Universe Electric"

Three ebooks in the Universe Electric series are now available. Consistently praised for easily understandable text and exquisite graphics.

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Authors David Talbott and Wallace Thornhill introduce the reader to an age of planetary instability and earthshaking electrical events in ancient times. If their hypothesis is correct, it could not fail to alter many paths of scientific investigation.
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Professor of engineering Donald Scott systematically unravels the myths of the "Big Bang" cosmology, and he does so without resorting to black holes, dark matter, dark energy, neutron stars, magnetic "reconnection", or any other fictions needed to prop up a failed theory.
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In language designed for scientists and non-scientists alike, authors Wallace Thornhill and David Talbott show that even the greatest surprises of the space age are predictable patterns in an electric universe.
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