Sir Laurence Dudley Stamp (my previous post) must be turning in his grave. It's ironic that, shortly after my modest proposal on the inspirational potential of a book for young scientists, I came across a different kind of inspiration - and this book, sadly, is definitely in print. You would think that a browse of Amazon's list of bestsellers in the category Professional Sciences - Earth Science - Geology might be the place to discover some gems of geo-writing, suitable for inspiring young minds. And, even allowing for the mysteries and opacity of Amazon's ranking system, it is. But, high up there in the company of John McPhee, Steve Gould, Richard Fortey, and Simon Winchester is, incredibly, the book illustrated above, In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood, now in its eighth glorious edition. Walt Brown, Ph.D (in mechanical engineering) is the father of "hydroplate theory" - a lunatic explanation for everything, the main proposal being that monumental volumes of water erupted out of "the mid-ocean ridge" to form the earth as we know it today. And this happened - you've guessed - 6,000 years ago. Here's a graphic illustration of this event:
New evidence shows that the earth has experienced a devastating, worldwide flood, whose waters violently burst forth from under the earth’s crust. Standard “textbook” explanations for many of earth’s major features are scientifically flawed. We can now explain, using well-understood phenomena, how this cataclysmic event rapidly formed so many features. These and other mysteries, listed below and briefly described in the next 11 pages, are best explained by an earthshaking event, far more catastrophic than almost anyone has imagined......
And here's the introduction to one chapter:
The Origin of Ocean Trenches and the Ring of Fire
SUMMARY: Deep folds, up to thousands of miles long and several miles deep, lie on the floor of the western Pacific Ocean, in an area centered directly opposite the center of the Atlantic Ocean. The plate tectonic theory claims that plates drifting on the earth’s surface dive into the earth and drag down the folds. Fifteen reasons will be given that show why this idea cannot be correct.
Now this is unfortunate, since supporters, wanting to have their cake and eat it , have latched on to recent reports in the scientific literature that de-watering of subducted material leads to large volumes of hydrated mantle to interpret this as evidence of subterranean oceans and thus proving hydroplate theory; they are clearly unaware of what hydrated minerals are - there is, after all, a lot of water in gypsum, but gypsum sure as hell (oops) is not water.
There are, of course, many well-considered detailed refutations on the web of hydroplate theory - let's face it, it's not tough. I will simply leave this by saying that I have no objection to anyone self-publishing complete rubbish, but this stuff should never be listed under "science" of any kind unless it's a subcategory titled "fantasy." I'll leave you, without comment, with the words of one "editorial review" of this fine book, and I promise to return calmly to my usual theme in the next post.
The single most useful resource I know of on origins, bar none .... If I had to send my child off with only two books, they would be the Bible and In the Beginning. (Dr. Kent Davey, Senior Research Scientist, The Center for Electromechanics, University of Texas).
[p.s., the subtitle of this post derives from my wife's habit of going on a random walk in a supermarket - she describes herself as going "off-piste" and her husband as becoming "piste-off"]