Thursday, August 23, 2018

Scientistry in action

You will note that the self-correcting process of scientistry bears almost no resemblance to the ideal concept of science that is romanticized by the Bill Nye Fake Science brigade:
Where I looked out our van’s window at a landscape of skeletal cows and chartreuse rice paddies, Keller saw a prehistoric crime scene. She was searching for fresh evidence that would help prove her hypothesis about what killed the dinosaurs—and invalidate the asteroid-impact theory that many of us learned in school as uncontested fact. According to this well-established fire-and-brimstone scenario, the dinosaurs were exterminated when a six-mile-wide asteroid, larger than Mount Everest is tall, slammed into our planet with the force of 10 billion atomic bombs. The impact unleashed giant fireballs, crushing tsunamis, continent-shaking earthquakes, and suffocating darkness that transformed the Earth into what one poetic scientist described as “an Old Testament version of hell.”

Before the asteroid hypothesis took hold, researchers had proposed other, similarly bizarre explanations for the dinosaurs’ demise: gluttony, protracted food poisoning, terminal chastity, acute stupidity, even Paleo-weltschmerz—death by boredom. These theories fell by the wayside when, in 1980, the Nobel Prize–winning physicist Luis Alvarez and three colleagues from UC Berkeley announced a discovery in the journal Science. They had found iridium—a hard, silver-gray element that lurks in the bowels of planets, including ours—deposited all over the world at approximately the same time that, according to the fossil record, creatures were dying en masse. Mystery solved: An asteroid had crashed into the Earth, spewing iridium and pulverized rock dust around the globe and wiping out most life forms.

Their hypothesis quickly gained traction, as visions of killer space rocks sparked even the dullest imaginations. nasa initiated Project Spacewatch to track—and possibly bomb—any asteroid that might dare to approach. Carl Sagan warned world leaders that hydrogen bombs could trigger a catastrophic “nuclear winter” like the one caused by the asteroid’s dust cloud. Science reporters cheered having a story that united dinosaurs and extraterrestrials and Cold War fever dreams—it needed only “some sex and the involvement of the Royal Family and the whole world would be paying attention,” one journalist wrote. News articles described scientists rallying around Alvarez’s theory in record time, especially after the so-called impacter camp delivered, in 1991, the geologic equivalent of DNA evidence: the “Crater of Doom,” a 111-mile-wide cavity near the Mexican town of Chicxulub, on the Yucatán Peninsula. Researchers identified it as the spot where the fatal asteroid had punched the Earth. Textbooks and natural-history museums raced to add updates identifying the asteroid as the killer.

The impact theory provided an elegant solution to a prehistoric puzzle, and its steady march from hypothesis to fact offered a heartwarming story about the integrity of the scientific method. “This is nearly as close to a certainty as one can get in science,” a planetary-science professor told Time magazine in an article on the crater’s discovery. In the years since, impacters say they have come even closer to total certainty. “I would argue that the hypothesis has reached the level of the evolution hypothesis,” says Sean Gulick, a research professor at the University of Texas at Austin who studies the Chicxulub crater. “We have it nailed down, the case is closed,” Buck Sharpton, a geologist and scientist emeritus at the Lunar and Planetary Institute, has said.

But Keller doesn’t buy any of it. “It’s like a fairy tale: ‘Big rock from sky hits the dinosaurs, and boom they go.’ And it has all the aspects of a really nice story,” she said. “It’s just not true.”

While the majority of her peers embraced the Chicxulub asteroid as the cause of the extinction, Keller remained a maligned and, until recently, lonely voice contesting it. She argues that the mass extinction was caused not by a wrong-place-wrong-time asteroid collision but by a series of colossal volcanic eruptions in a part of western India known as the Deccan Traps—a theory that was first proposed in 1978 and then abandoned by all but a small number of scientists. Her research, undertaken with specialists around the world and featured in leading scientific journals, has forced other scientists to take a second look at their data. “Gerta uncovered many things through the years that just don’t sit with the nice, simple impact story that Alvarez put together,” Andrew Kerr, a geochemist at Cardiff University, told me. “She’s made people think about a previously near-uniformly accepted model.”

Keller’s resistance has put her at the core of one of the most rancorous and longest-running controversies in science. “It’s like the Thirty Years’ War,” says Kirk Johnson, the director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Impacters’ case-closed confidence belies decades of vicious infighting, with the two sides trading accusations of slander, sabotage, threats, discrimination, spurious data, and attempts to torpedo careers.
“I would argue that the hypothesis has reached the level of the evolution hypothesis.”

Exactly. And if the scientific community is this upset over the gradual demolition of the Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid Theory, imagine how they're going to react when the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection eventually meets its inevitable conclusive demise.

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Blogger Mr.MantraMan August 23, 2018 7:08 PM  

I hate you, I thought I would point it out first over Mr. 5 standard deviations above a midwit but I see you caught the "evolution hypothesis" before I did.

Blogger Dave August 23, 2018 7:16 PM  

Yes, we all caught that.

“I would argue that the hypothesis has reached the level of the evolution hypothesis,” said Sean Gulick, sincerely and earnestly.

Blogger Doug Cranmer August 23, 2018 7:17 PM  

"Mr. 5 standard deviations above a midwit"

Ha. That's a keeper.

Blogger Al K. Annossow August 23, 2018 7:18 PM  

In other news, Gerta Keller has been doxxed by CNN for being an impact denier and Antifa is currently harassing her at a non-vegan restaurant for being a violent oppressor of those who believe in the settled science of falling skies.

Blogger My Dead Gramps August 23, 2018 7:26 PM  

Pfft. Everybody knows dinosaurs went extinct because they all moved to Jersey!

Blogger KBuff August 23, 2018 7:31 PM  

"The case is closed." - Famous last words for too many scientists.

Blogger AT August 23, 2018 7:35 PM  

Speaking of demolishing the evolutionary hypothesis I highly, highly recommend Genetic Entropy by John Sanford.

Blogger Brick Hardslab August 23, 2018 7:43 PM  

Good God that was painful. The Atlantic sure stuck to the story. No getting bogged down in repressive Swiss society of the 1960s for them.

The main story was interesting but one quarter to one third of the entire article.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan August 23, 2018 7:53 PM  

I said the above in jest, when I came upon that phrase I went into Horshak mode and ultimately I took a kick to the softies once I read the italicized portion at the end.

Blogger Al K. Annossow August 23, 2018 8:00 PM  

Keller keeps a running list of insults that other scientists have hurled at her, either behind her back or to her face. She says she’s been called a “bitch” and “the most dangerous woman in the world,” who “should be stoned and burned at the stake.”

I don't care that she is embarrassing the fake scientists. I don't like her. Despite the words in the article, her mission is mostly about her.

Blogger pyrrhus August 23, 2018 8:12 PM  

I have to disagree. There is no way that an iridium layer could form world wide without a giant meteor impact...And there is little iridium on Earth in the first place.

Blogger pyrrhus August 23, 2018 8:13 PM  

"Keller keeps a running list of insults that other scientists have hurled at her, either behind her back or to her face. She says she’s been called a “bitch” and “the most dangerous woman in the world,” who “should be stoned and burned at the stake.”"

Sounds like a drama queen to me...

Blogger Barbarossa August 23, 2018 8:15 PM  

In a similar vein, I had the temerity to point out at a recent astronomy club meeting that the near-universal acceptance of the "existence" of dark matter/energy by astrophysicists bore all the hallmarks of the "there has to be an ether to propagate electromagnetic waves" line of thinking in the 19th century.

For a moment, I actually thought I might have to resort to fisticuffs to settle down some of the more rancorous "science-minded" among the crowd. Funny thing was that I didn't even say that dark matter doesn't exist. Was just helpfully offering some historical perspective on "settled" science. Touchy, touchy.

Blogger pyrrhus August 23, 2018 8:17 PM  

Incidentally, the impact hypothesis was by no means accepted immediately, as many paleontologists were angry that Luis Alvarez and his son, the geologist, were poaching on their territory.

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother August 23, 2018 8:17 PM  


Good thing you didn't suggest they wash their hands after surgery. You might have been drawn and quartered.

Blogger Al K. Annossow August 23, 2018 8:23 PM  

Stg58/Animal Mother wrote:wash their hands after surgery
Seems sensible to wash ones hands after surgery and before peeing. Wouldn't want someone else's body fluids on one's willy.

Blogger MichaelJMaier August 23, 2018 8:23 PM  

Stg58/Animal Mother wrote:Barbarossa,

Good thing you didn't suggest they wash their hands after surgery. You might have been drawn and quartered.

I love you, man.

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother August 23, 2018 8:30 PM  

No homo

Blogger tz August 23, 2018 8:31 PM  

Dinosaur flatulence global warming.

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother August 23, 2018 8:36 PM  

But seriously it is amazing how shallow the scientody people are, and how quickly they turn into seething, brainless mobs.

Blogger ghostfromplanetspook August 23, 2018 8:38 PM  

Bruce Willis died for nothing then?

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother August 23, 2018 8:41 PM  

^^^thread winner^^^

Blogger Skyler the Weird August 23, 2018 8:41 PM  

Ignaz Semmelweis the Austrian doctor who suggested that Maternal Mortality could be reduced by simply washing hands between deliveries was ostracized by the medical profession, fired, and died in a mental institution.

Blogger Werekoala August 23, 2018 8:42 PM  

I don't think she said an impact didn't occur - the Iridium layer is pretty clear evidence - just that it didn't cause the overall extinction event. It may have contributed however.

Blogger Matthew August 23, 2018 8:47 PM  

@11 She's not saying no meteor fell, she's saying it's not responsible for the extinction. She's almost certainly correct.

Blogger Doktor Jeep August 23, 2018 8:48 PM  

From around the late 1990s I figured that we are more likely to get screwed by volcanic activity than some rock.

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother August 23, 2018 8:54 PM  

Skyler the Weird,

Excellent work, and I'll note that betwixt the Dread Ilk and among the august and storied halls and pillars of Vox Populi, obscure references are the fecund fodder for many a fait d'accomplit of frivolity.

Blogger English Tom August 23, 2018 8:54 PM  


Graham Hancock makes a compelling case for the clmet/asteroid impact theory and mentions the prevalence of irridium and nano diamonds in the impact area, which covers half the northern hemisphere.

Blogger English Tom August 23, 2018 8:57 PM  


Bruce Willis died for nothing then.

He got to die hard!

Blogger cyrus83 August 23, 2018 9:12 PM  

The Theory of Evolution is more religious dogma to the "scientific community" than a scientific theory, that one is probably going to take burning the heretics at the stake to eliminate.

Blogger peacefulposter August 23, 2018 9:19 PM  

Bruce Willis died for nothing then.

I cried when he died.

Blogger Weak August 23, 2018 9:23 PM  

The Deccan Traps were formed at almost exactly the same time as the Chicxulub crater. If something as big as the Chicxulub object hit, it makes logical sense that it could cause severe fracturing of the earth everywhere. So wouldn't both camps be correct?

Or was the point of the article that scientists are assholes, not about the extinction event? Because it seems like they're much more interested in catty in-fighting than science.

Blogger Unknownsailor August 23, 2018 9:26 PM  

If I recall my basic geology class correctly, plate tectonics also met much contentious and obnoxious doubt when it was first proposed.

Science as a process is at the mercy of humans, which are capricious, vain, and often convinced of their own superiority.

Most of the major theories I have studied in my time in post secondary education thus far have been similarly controversial, with much infighting happening before the zeitgeist in the relevant scientist community flips.

Blogger dvdivx August 23, 2018 9:30 PM  

I believe it was more then one event that clustered together. A literal cluster f*ck. An asteroid, a disease that dinosaurs near that period were fighting that showed up in their bones and global scale volcanic activity.
One thing not discussed as often is the Permian–Triassic extinction which was much larger in scope and just written off as volcanic in origin. 96℅ of all life vs 76%.
Of course it could be God pulling their plug. If so I always though of early man then as the control group for humans to make sure everything is good to go.

Blogger Unknownsailor August 23, 2018 9:33 PM  

Vox, I'm a Kotaku In Action regular, and the title of this post twigged something: Had the thought ever occurred to you to create a Scientistry In Action reddit? :D

Blogger Avalanche August 23, 2018 9:40 PM  

Been struggling my way through Icons of Evolution; Science or Myth by Jonathon Wells (2002), spurred by starting his 2017 "Zombie Science: More Icons of Evolution." The first chapters of his new book recap his original.... and I had to go dive deep!

I'm mired up to my eyeballs in "standard" evolution science... and oh hell! SO much of it jes' ain't so! Strongly recommend, if you're still a solid evolutionist, you go struggle your way through these three books!

"Zombie Science: More Icons of Evolution."
In 2000, biologist Jonathan Wells took the science world by storm with Icons of Evolution, a book showing how biology textbooks routinely promote Darwinism using bogus evidence—icons of evolution like Ernst Haeckel’s faked embryo drawings and peppered moths glued to tree trunks. Critics of the book complained that Wells had merely gathered up a handful of innocent textbook errors and blown them out of proportion. Now, in Zombie Science, Wells asks a simple question: If the icons of evolution were just innocent textbook errors, why do so many of them still persist?

Icons of Evolution; Science or Myth
How would you react if told that you and your children have been lied to in science lessons at school and university? Yet this is exactly what has been happening for decades, as Icons of Evolution' demonstrates.

The author, a Berkeley Ph.D in Biology, is not a creationist, but his book describes many serious misrepresentations of facts commonly found in biology textbooks, which are used to perpetuate belief in evolution. The main part of the book describes ten of these icons', devoting one chapter to each, and shows what is wrong with them in the light of published scientific evidence. The chapters are all fairly brief, and each is divided into short sections, to make the material easier to assimilate. The author's thesis is amply documented with 71 pages of research notes at the end of the book.

Heretic: One Scientist's Journey from Darwin to Design by Matti Leisola, Jonathan Witt (What happens when an up-and-coming European bioscientist flips from Darwin disciple to Darwin defector? Sparks fly. Just ask biotechnologist Matti Leisola.

It all started when a student loaned the Finnish scientist a book criticizing evolutionary theory. Leisola reacted angrily, and set out to defend evolution, but found his efforts raised more questions than they answered. He soon morphed into a full-on Darwin skeptic, even as he was on his way to becoming a leading bio-engineer.

Blogger pyrrhus August 23, 2018 9:41 PM  

@25 The meteor definitely impacted, and its consequences would have been catastrophic world wide...Maybe other important things were going on at the same time, I don't know.

Blogger Al K. Annossow August 23, 2018 9:46 PM  

dvdivx wrote:I believe it was more then one event that clustered together.
Woah now. How am I suppose to remember more than one thing causing the end of the real life versions of my favorite plastic play toys? Sure I can understand the multiple causes WHILE you explain it to me, but by the morning my head will have to simplify it to a single idea. I can only do one-to-one associations. Many-to-one connections - sorry, no can do.

Blogger Skyler the Weird August 23, 2018 9:59 PM  

Stg58/Animal Mother

Are we not all in essence Cliff Clavin?

Blogger Jack Amok August 23, 2018 10:00 PM  

...researchers had proposed other, similarly bizarre explanations for the dinosaurs’ demise: gluttony, protracted food poisoning, terminal chastity, acute stupidity...

Are we talking about dinosaurs, or feminists and MRAs?

Blogger Daniel Babylon August 23, 2018 10:01 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Damelon Brinn August 23, 2018 10:05 PM  

According to the movie Pumaman, the dinosaurs went extinct because they forgot how to love each other. Scientists probably haven't even studied that possibility.

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother August 23, 2018 10:09 PM  

Skyler, sure. And then I make solid gold records, baby!

Blogger Chris McCullough August 23, 2018 10:24 PM  

The dinosaurs died due to the mass immigration of Getter Rays.

Blogger KPKinSunnyPhiladelpia August 23, 2018 10:25 PM  

pyrrhus wrote:I have to disagree. There is no way that an iridium layer could form world wide without a giant meteor impact...And there is little iridium on Earth in the first place.


The Iridium layer is a fact.

It is highly likely, but not 100% certain, that it was laid down just about the time the dinosaurs disappeared.

It is highly likely that the crater was made also at the time the dinosaurs disappeared.

Are both those facts, when coupled together, sufficient to explain the disappearance of dinosaurs?


To use Aristotelian terms, it's an inductive argument. Inductive arguments have to be understood in terms of a strength-weakness continuum. Some inductive arguments are quite strong, but never totally definitive...some are weak but still plausible.

The "meteor killed the dinasours" is a pretty plausible inductive argument. But, absent a time machine, there is no way you can definitively PROVE it.

That's why when someone says, "the case is closed" it irks me no end. There are so many more reasonable ways to address the degree of likelihood, versus certitude.

Because we haven't experienced the past, and because in most instances we can't replicate the past, the past is never certain. You can't repeat one off past events to test hypotheses -- especially ones that are globally catastrophic -- given that replicable tests of hypotheses are the gold standard of science. Oh, sure, you can model, but models depend on inputs and inputs are generated by flawed humans.

Anyway, we have some facts, and the facts do point to a certain set of actual events. In other words, it's a guess...a good guess, but a guess nonetheless, a guess that can never itself move into a realm of fact, like truly provable claims do.

Blogger Lazarus August 23, 2018 10:30 PM  

It all depends on the translation of Genesis 1:2

Blogger Statureman August 23, 2018 10:45 PM  

I saw that it too.

Blogger Stickwick Stapers August 23, 2018 11:09 PM  

Barbarossa: ...the near-universal acceptance of the "existence" of dark matter/energy by astrophysicists bore all the hallmarks of the "there has to be an ether to propagate electromagnetic waves" line of thinking in the 19th century.

Oh, sweet child, yes. That's because they all exist.

I can't write my dark universe book fast enough.

Blogger DBSFF August 23, 2018 11:14 PM  

Read that one a few days ago at Ace's, and thought, "Man, Vox is gonna love that evolution line if he sees this article."

Blogger David The Good August 23, 2018 11:20 PM  

Damelon Brinn wrote:According to the movie Pumaman, the dinosaurs went extinct because they forgot how to love each other. Scientists probably haven't even studied that possibility.

(singing) "Puma-man, he flies like a moron!"

Blogger Rough Carrigan August 23, 2018 11:25 PM  

#32, for more confirmation of this, I recommend The Hockey Stick Illusion by Montford. It follows the efforts of Canadian mining engineer Stephen McIntyre to simply try to confirm the supposedly settled science of the theory of anthropogenic global warming.

The mining engineer behaves like an actual scientist while the professional scientists behave with all the ethical rigor of a hysterical group of junior high school girls.

McIntyre found that the vaunted peer review of climate science articles never actually included a review of data or its processing. One obscure journal let him review some submitted articles and McIntyre asked for copies of the data sets and the program used to process the data. The editor told him no one had ever requested those before.

One scientist based his supposedly conclusive proof of global warming on the rings of a single tree in northeastern siberia.

Another based his conclusive proof and layers of sediment in a norther European lake. Unfortunately, it was found that he had "accidentally" turned the chart of the layers upside down in order to fit his thesis.

A third "scientist", Michael Mann (sadly not the director who would have surely done a better job) was the creator of the famous "Hockey Stick" graph circa 2000 showing that mankind's evil trespasses against Gaea were just about to result in a huge and catastrophic rise in temperatures. Mann absolutely refused to share his data and program. Refused. But we should re-order all economic life on earth based on it. Trust him. Eventually McIntyre got some of his data and showed that Mann was clearly fudging the results. You notice they quietly dropped the hockey stick graph.

Anyway. I recommend The Hockey Stick Illusion. It will disabuse you of any lingering affinity for the image of -gasp- scientists as some sort of priest class.

Blogger Didas Kalos August 23, 2018 11:26 PM  

Did you mean "gamma" rays?

Blogger Didas Kalos August 23, 2018 11:28 PM  

God told me that a world wide flood killed everything land dwelling that was not on the ark. I believe God over any scientist. Especially this type. Scientistry LOL

Blogger pyrrhus August 24, 2018 12:13 AM  

@45 Yes, while it is 99.99% certain the iridium layer came from a huge comet impact, we certainly don't have that level of certainty about the dinosaurs. They may have been dying or dead before the impact, for example..But we can also be extremely certain that such an impact would have had a devastating effect on life on earth...Still, birds and small mammals evidently survived....

Blogger Crunchy Cachalot August 24, 2018 12:14 AM  

@42 - Pumaman also posited that there were Aztecs in the Andes, so we'll have to take any of their "science" with a asteroid of salt.

Blogger Nostromo August 24, 2018 1:03 AM  

I saw Raquel Welch bopping around in a fur bikini while some jackoff white knighted for her against a dinosaur. You can't get anymore sciency than that.

Blogger Nostromo August 24, 2018 1:05 AM  

Tits. My point was tits killed thedinosaurs.

Blogger Revelation Means Hope August 24, 2018 1:24 AM  

nothing preventing all three events happening in the same 40 day time period, around 4,000 years ago.

Waters of the deep exploding upward with tremendous force, simultaneous with volcanic eruptions, and who knows what was falling from the skies in addition to rain.

Of course the dinosaurs drowning world wide about 4,000 years ago would explain why there is still protein in their bones and even a few cases of other biological materials. Oops. I hear crickets chirping about that leeetle mystery.

Blogger InformationMerchant August 24, 2018 1:31 AM  

"Case closed" people suck.
Luis Alvarez is admirable.

Suicidal deathwish feminist that keeps a list of insults is annoying.

The media being only capable of writing about science by wrapping it up in a human interest story is sad. (Whether the fault lies with the readers or not, it's still sad.)

The accusations of rock stealing and predictable situation where both sides use the same rock to come up with opposite results could only surprise someone that thought scientists weren't partisan.

It reads quite a bit like an SJW attack:

Blogger Snidely Whiplash August 24, 2018 2:05 AM  

Watch your language, no one here will listen to a thing you say if you use the word "tits", unless, of course, it is preceded by the word "sugar".

The proper word is "boobs".

Blogger Azure Amaranthine August 24, 2018 2:22 AM  

"the hypothesis has reached the level of the evolution hypothesis"

So they have a bunch of separate concepts under the umbrella of a vague, oft misunderstood term, most of which haven't legitimately risen to the level of hypothesis in over a century?

Well I guess the man is at least more honest than average. He said "hypothesis" rather than theory, law, or the forever-mutilated "fact".

"a series of colossal volcanic eruptions in a part of western India known as the Deccan Traps"

Thaaat sounds like it could potentially have a tie-in or two of Biblical significance.

""The case is closed." - Famous last words for too many scientists."

That the understanding and mental-flexibility of people vitrify as they age has long been known. Add in the intuitive sunken-cost-fallacious logic, and there you have the quote:

"Science advances one funeral at a time." -Max Planck.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine August 24, 2018 2:50 AM  

"obscure references are the fecund fodder"

That's obscure by our standards?

"The proper word is "boobs"."

These guys:

Alternatively, quite irritating bores or dullards.

"Woah now. How am I suppose to remember more than one thing causing the end of the real life versions of my favorite plastic play toys?"

Think like Michael Bay. It's easy. Explosions everywhere.

"I can't write my dark universe book fast enough."

Still on my buy list.

"A third "scientist", Michael Mann"

Also did a "single-tree-proof" hockey-stick graph. "A Disgrace to the Profession" is another fun expose.

Blogger Paul M August 24, 2018 3:07 AM  

As I understand it, it is true that the Chicxulub crater happened at about the same time as a massive string of volcanic eruptions. In fact, if continental drift is taken into account, at the time of the impact those volcanoes would have been diametrically opposite Chicxulub.

Blogger Phillip George August 24, 2018 3:20 AM  

Dinosaurs aren't dead. Expert say they were, in fact, the first life form to evolve a digestive system that absorbs dark matter which eventually replaced all conventional empirical periodic table matter in their bodies, and further went on to develop by random mutation a type of photo synthetic skin cell that absorbs dark energy. They live on in hyperdimensional space with strong gravitational interactions with our own.

Having survived billions of years longer than any equivalent life forms they spend most of their leisure time laughing at Crop circle investigators and musing over contemporary Human Art.

Blogger John D Alden August 24, 2018 3:27 AM  

When I studied the K-T extinction (reading all the literature) for a paleontology class in college I also concluded that the impact theory is bunk. The die offs happened over too long a period and do not correlate well enough in local fossil records with the impact ejecta. And knowing what we know now---that greenhouse gas theory is largely a bunch of bullshit---the Deccan Traps don't seem a likely cause either, though that was what I pointed to at the time as the possible culprit.

It seems most likely that the K-T extinction was caused by something we just can't see in the fossil record. Reduced sun activity for a few hundred thousand years, maybe. Or maybe it was God pushing a patch to Earth's biosphere and it just took about a million years to finish propagating.

Blogger Rikko August 24, 2018 3:30 AM  

Science fascinates me. It 'succeeds' despite itself. For a discipline built as it is upon a long chain of failed theories and human vanity here we are now with our smart phones and our social media... that is why science will never do anything other than obfuscate the road to the Truth and why the scientist should always be looked upon with the eyes of a true 'skeptic'.

Blogger Phillip George August 24, 2018 3:56 AM  

Rikko, your post is why Engineers invented the euphemism of "mechanic" to describe an assassin as someone sent to kill a person who mistakes an engineer for a scientist.

Blogger VD August 24, 2018 3:59 AM  

Had the thought ever occurred to you to create a Scientistry In Action reddit?

It has literally never crossed my mind to create a reddit of any kind.

Blogger Phillip George August 24, 2018 4:00 AM  

In anycase the hypothesis that dinosaurs are extinct is ridiculous. They successfully evolved into everything we see today, butterflies, bats, dung beetles, toucans and zebras, politicians and humans.

Obviously Clintons contain more reptilian traits, but Dinosaurs they are, there is no doubt about it.

Blogger NewAnubis August 24, 2018 4:05 AM  

Sometime soon Sarah 'me hate you long time' Jeong will attribute the dinosaurs' demise to evil whitey. Because privilege.

Blogger Phillip George August 24, 2018 4:15 AM  

Also consider the extraterrestrial hypothesis, that the dinosaurs did become extinct when some advanced alien civilization were conducting experiments in our Solar System for explanations as to what caused extinctions in their own.

It's been dubbed the "Panterminatius Hypothesis". Check it out on GoogleScholar - the tor.2 dark web inversion of the other one.

Blogger James Dixon August 24, 2018 6:21 AM  

> From around the late 1990s I figured that we are more likely to get screwed by volcanic activity than some rock.

Considering the relative percentage chances of each event, that seems like a safe bet.

Blogger pneutral August 24, 2018 7:05 AM  

My preferred theory.
The dinosaurs had more porous shells than the egg laying reptiles. Oviparous mammals had developed an acute sense of smell allowing them to easily sniff out and consume the dinosaur egg caches.
ie. there are no more dinosaurs because their eggs stinked.

Blogger English Tom August 24, 2018 7:36 AM  


Thank you for keeping Nostromo abreast of the situation.

Blogger ace August 24, 2018 8:00 AM  

When I went to college (relatively recently), the Deccan traps hypothesis was under discussion. I don't think anyone I met ever claimed it was case closed for the asteroid.

A more healthy concept of science would acknowledge that most of it doesn't proceed formally and never has, the Method is more of an a posteriori description or idealization than something in actual use. That scientists themselves, even the noblest, want recognition and don't want to be humiliated, and that drives most of their decision-making. The scientist we venerate for standing up for the truth was exceptional then and is exceptional now.

I would point out various things I saw as problems with AGW predictions--like the fact that the models couldn't run in reverse and reproduce past climates--and usually was met with a sort of quiet hatred rather than any attempt to understand. At the same time, each and every one of them was convinced he or she was Galileo.

Blogger Didas Kalos August 24, 2018 8:28 AM  


Blogger Desdichado August 24, 2018 10:46 AM  

To be fair, part of the problem is the journalist's unquestioning assumption that the asteroid hypothesis was so monolithic, when in reality that is not the case. The vulcanism hypothesis has just as much evidence to support it, and the two have long crystalized as the two main competing hypotheses out there. Clearly, it's not really questioned that an asteroid DID hit the earth at right about that time, but it's also not questioned that there was extreme vulcanism at that time either, that rivals only the vulcanism that created the Siberian traps (which are timed to coincide with the Permian extinction event.)

The idea that there's just this acceptance of the asteroid hypothesis is a just so story that the journalist likes because it adds more drama. But it's not really true.

Blogger ace August 24, 2018 11:24 AM  

It also helps that the brave "dissenter" is a woman. You go girl!

Blogger Seth S August 24, 2018 11:39 AM  

It's not just the Iridium but also the shocked quartz which combined are strong evidence of impact.

Blogger ZW August 24, 2018 12:15 PM  

The bolide impact theory of the K-T extinction event was originally deprecated, not only for the above-mentioned reasons, but also because it was a catastrophic single event. The then-fashionable thinking in the narrative sciences was that every explanation needed to be gradualist and not catastrophist. Gradualism was seen as more scientific and materialist, whereas catastrophism stank of "acts of God".

Also, Alvarez started out as a petroleum geologist, which was offensive to the powers that be in the field.

Blogger lynnjynh9315 August 24, 2018 12:36 PM  

Natural Selection, Sexual Selection, Evolution, etc.

All I know is if you don't have kids... your values, religion, culture, and society are dead.

Blogger Haxo Angmark August 24, 2018 3:16 PM  

whatever happened, it has to have been something

very specific to dinosaurs,

and non-flying ones at that.

something that would kill off large, warm-blooded aquatic dinosaurs but not large, cold-blooded aquatic reptiles.

in fact, none of the scientivists have a clue what "killed off the dinsaurs".

I do, but

I'm not saying. Because

it would frighten us all to death.

Blogger MrNiceguy August 24, 2018 3:28 PM  

Dinosaurs aren't extinct. I read a scientific paper recently that said that velociraptors are not only still alive, they have a successful space program. The paper was up for some sort of award, as I recall...

Blogger Lucas Evans August 24, 2018 4:20 PM  

So, did anyone ever explain lactose persistence in a non-evolutionary framework? Cuz I thought evolution by natural selection was still going strong...

Blogger Phillip George August 25, 2018 1:53 AM  

@82. Nods and winks. I'm on the inside too.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine August 25, 2018 5:20 AM  

"I thought evolution by natural selection was still going strong..."

The word "evolution" is vague in use, often applied to multiple different concepts.

It's more like a vs-degeneration race by natural selection. Occasionally there is flex-lossy damage that allows for a temporary advantage, but that becomes an even more significant weakness if/when the opportunity it's exploiting eventually disappears.

Alternatively, epigenetic changes, which can revert, but in that case it's not really evolution at all in the first place, merely variable expressions of the same information to fit circumstances.

Blogger Ryu238 June 03, 2019 9:14 PM  

Um, testing compeating hypothesis is how science works.

Look at the evidence for the asteroid:

Now where is your evidence?

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