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Textbook theory about volcanos is wrong, apparently

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File:A small cup of coffee.JPG Hope no one’s career tanked opposing it. From

In the typical textbook picture, volcanoes, such as those that are forming the Hawaiian islands, erupt when magma gushes out as narrow jets from deep inside Earth. But that picture is wrong, according to a new study from researchers at Caltech and the University of Miami in Florida.

New seismology data are now confirming that such narrow jets don’t actually exist, says Don Anderson, the Eleanor and John R. McMillian Professor of Geophysics, Emeritus, at Caltech. In fact, he adds, basic physics doesn’t support the presence of these jets, called mantle plumes, and the new results corroborate those fundamental ideas.

“Mantle plumes have never had a sound physical or logical basis,” Anderson says. “They are akin to Rudyard Kipling’s ‘Just So Stories’ about how giraffes got their long necks.”

Goodness! What big theory in biology does the giraffe’s neck remind us of?*


But now, thanks in part to more seismic stations spaced closer together and improved theory, analysis of the planet’s seismology is good enough to confirm that there are no narrow mantle plumes, Anderson and Natland say. Instead, data reveal that there are large, slow, upward-moving chunks of mantle a thousand kilometers wide.

“What’s new is incredibly simple: upwellings in the mantle are thousands of kilometers across,” Anderson says. The formation of volcanoes then follows from plate tectonics—the theory of how Earth’s plates move and behave. Magma, which is less dense than the surrounding mantle, rises until it reaches the bottom of the plates or fissures that run through them. Stresses in the plates, cracks, and other tectonic forces can squeeze the magma out, like how water is squeezed out of a sponge. That magma then erupts out of the surface as volcanoes. The magma comes from within the upper 200 kilometers of the mantle and not thousands of kilometers deep, as the mantle-plume theory suggests.

Here’s the significance:

Lord Kelvin’s name is associated with the laws of thermodynamics and the cooling Earth hypothesis. The widely accepted mantle plume conjecture has been justified by experiments and calculations that violate the laws of thermodynamics for an isolated cooling planet. Hotspots such as Hawaii, Samoa, Iceland, and Yellowstone are due to a thermal bump in the shallow mantle, a consequence of the cooling of the Earth. They are not due to ~100- to 200-km-wide tubes extending upward from fixed points near the Earth’s core. Seismic imaging shows that features associated with hotspots are thousands of kilometers across, and inferred ascent rates are low. Plate tectonic-induced updrafts and a cooling planet explain hotspots and the volcanoes at oceanic ridges. (Abstract follows; public access)

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*Remember, Darwinism is not evolution. It is a theory of a mechanism for evolution. Natural selection is objectified as a force that creates complex, specified information from random mutations. That is the Darwinian creed. It’s false, but a vast academic science industry now depends on it (Besides, it is easy for TV presenters to teach.)

16 Replies to “Textbook theory about volcanos is wrong, apparently

  1. 1
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Natural selection is objectified as a force that creates complex, specified information from random mutations.

    Creationists objecting to a claim that is false is fine. Creationists creating a false claim, or misrepresenting it from other sources, in order to discredit it is lame.

    The only power that natural selection has is to increase or decrease the frequency of existing complex, specific information within a population. Any evolutionary biologists will tell you the same thing.

  2. 2
    Joe says:

    Acartia_bogart- Darwin posited natural selection as a way to get design without a designer. That said, if “the only power that natural selection has is to increase or decrease the frequency of existing complex, specific information within a population”, the evolutionism is in huge trouble as it doesn’t have a mechanism capable of producing the diversity of life starting from some unknown populations of prokaryotic-like organisms.

    Thank you

  3. 3
    Axel says:

    ‘Thank you.’

    Wonderful flourish, that, Joe! ‘… for nothing…’ being left unspoken.

  4. 4
    groovamos says:

    A_B: What is the definition of the “frequency of existing complex specific information”

    How can information have a “frequency”. And how do you know that any evolutionary biologist will tell us that information has a “frequency”? You should quote a major founder of information theory here, like Weiner, Nyquist, Shannon or Hartley to support information as having a “frequency”

    BTW labeling contributors here as “creationists” is lame, especially since you have been informed of the misnomer, maybe on multiple occasions. Spouting such labels is clearly the indicator of your intent which is brush your intellectual opponents with disrespect, short of name-calling but really kind of the same tactic.

  5. 5
    Acartia_bogart says:

    A_B: What is the definition of the “frequency of existing complex specific information”

    Sorry Groovamos, I invoke the Definition Deficit Disorder defence.

    You know, I think Barry had a good idea with this.

  6. 6
    HeKS says:

    @Acartia_bogart #1

    I think you should re-read the comment you’re addressing in the OP.

    It says:

    Natural selection is objectified as a force that creates complex, specified information from random mutations.

    This is exactly what we talked about it in the ‘$68,584 Question’ thread. You made this same comment over there and I clarified the point to you in a subsequent comment. Here’s a copy of the relevant portion of my response:

    [T]hose who view NS as playing the primary role in evolution [i.e. Neo-Darwinists] hold that it is NS that ultimately produces functional units of biological information from the raw mutational grist. The point is not simply to have an ongoing supply of random base pair substitutions, which overwhelmingly degrade functional information, but to have new units of functional biological information that actually do something useful. Those who hold NS to be central to evolution think that NS is what allows for an ultimately useful output from the random mutational input.

    Furthermore, in response to the post-Darwinian mechanisms that have been proposed (self-organization, natural genetic engineering, etc.) and that seek to dethrone NS from its central position as mechanism par excellence, the Neo-Darwinists have objected, saying that NS is the only physically possible process that can, from the input of random genetic mutations, produce a functional output that gives the appearance of having been designed for a purpose – even though it has never actually been shown to be capable of doing this.

    The statement in the OP is entirely accurate. So was the observation made by Joe in #2. If you are correct that the only thing NS can do is impact the frequency in a population of pre-existing functional units of complex, specified genetic information, then Evolution truly is a theory in crisis. And, the thing is, I agree with you that this is pretty much all NS can actually do. So do many of the people who are represented in the ‘Third Way’ movement. And that’s why Evolutionary theory really is in crisis, whether staunch evolutionists want to admit it or not. The Third Way proponents of various post-Darwinian mechanisms are correct in their assessments of the extremely limited power of Natural Selection. But the Neo-Darwinists are just as correct in their recognition that none of these other proposed mechanisms can, even in principle, offer a plausible explanation for the origin of functional biological information that gives the appearance of having been designed for a purpose. And so we find ourselves at the point where the proponents of “Evolutionary Theory” all have powerful evidence and arguments against the viability of the mechanisms proposed by their competitors, but little, if any, evidence and weak arguments in favor of their own proposed mechanisms.

    And yet, through all of this, Universal Common Ancestry remains a “fact” that no sane and well-informed person could possibly question, even though we have no real idea whatsoever what mechanism(s) could render that historical narrative even possibly true.

    Take care,

  7. 7
    Mung says:


    The only power that natural selection has is to increase or decrease the frequency of existing complex, specific information within a population. Any evolutionary biologists will tell you the same thing.

    Don’t have a heart attack. I agree with you.


    Any evolutionary biologists will tell you the same thing.

    If they are being honest, yes.

  8. 8
    Acartia_bogart says:

    HeKs: “The statement in the OP is entirely accurate.”

    I have to respectfully disagree. The statement says that it is natural selection that “creates” the complexity, which is not true. The complexity must already exist. It does not “create” stronger muscles, or better eyes, or killer sperm. If it has a creative force, it is that it tends to prevent the degradation of adaptive traits, leaving them available for mutational changes (or other changes) that may be more adaptive. But these improvements, for the lack of a better word, are not created by natural selection.

    To provide an absurd example that I’m sure others will ridicule, if I had a mutation that allowed me to read minds, was this increased complexity the result of natural selection? Of course not. It was caused by a “random” mutation. But if it increased in frequency in the population because myself and my offspring were able to have more children because reading minds facilitates this (and if it’s heritable), then its prevalence in the population was the result of natural selection.

    Now, before Mung and others jump all over me, I know that reading minds would cease to be adaptive if everyone had the ability.

  9. 9
    Collin says:


    That makes sense to me, but I’ve sometimes come across people saying things like “natural selection creates” such-and-such feature. I wish I could find an example. But if evolution happens, it only makes sense to me that it happens in the way you describe. So the question becomes, “can random mutations bring about the things we see?”

    I’m tempted to state all the reasons why I doubt this process can account for life, but I think I’d be derailing the thread.

  10. 10
    Andre says:

    Who is paying AB to entertain us?

    I’ve heard some lame things in my life. The bull Nick… uh sorry Dr. Matzke spews is some of my favorite drivel but AB sure does entertain almost equally. Perhaps AB will have lunch with Dr. Tour so he can explain to Dr. Tour how evolution works?

  11. 11
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Collin: “That makes sense to me, but I’ve sometimes come across people saying things like “natural selection creates” such-and-such feature.”

    Collin, I am sure that you will find people who have said this. I have probably said it at times as well. But it is definitely inaccurate wording, and it can lead to a misunderstanding of what it can actually do.

  12. 12
    HeKS says:

    @Acartia_bogart #8

    The problem, it seems to me, is that you’re failing to make a distinction between what NS actually does, as recognized by non-Neo-Darwinists of all stripes, and what NS is believed to do and is represented as doing by Neo-Darwinists and Neo-Darwinism.

    You are addressing, in a mostly accurate way, the former. The comment in the OP, on the other hand, is referring to the latter and it accurately captures the claim made by Neo-Darwinists themselves.

    If I have any issue with your presentation of how NS works, it is with the very aspect that seems to cause you not to see why it is that Neo-Darwinists speak of NS as they do. You describe various functional adaptions as mutations, such that “a mutation” might hypothetically give you the ability to read minds, or have stronger muscles, etc. But these kinds of complex adaptations are not reducible to discrete mutations. There isn’t a “stronger muscles mutation” or a “mind-reading mutation”, and there certainly isn’t a “muscles mutation” or a “mind mutation”. If these structures and complex adaptations are the result of random genetic mutations then they are the result of numerous random mutations that somehow build upon each other until something of use is produced from the random chaos.

    This is why the Neo-Darwinists insist so strongly on the necessity and unique power of NS. Unless you’re appealing to miracles, it’s obvious that these multiple mutations are not all simply appearing at once in a tidy package of functional genetic information ready to be deployed. The cobbling together of the complex feature from the random mutations must happen in steps, with no expectation that the correct mutations will simply show up in the right place, at the right time, and in the right order to bring about the feature, since that would smack of teleology. Instead we have to assume a stochastic process of random mutations appearing at random times, sometimes slightly helpful, sometimes neutral, sometimes detrimental, based largely on what environment an organism might, by chance, happen to find itself in. To arrive at the end result of a functional feature, the mutations that would be useful to that feature must be beneficial prior to the appearance of and without consideration for the feature, or else must at least be neutral in their effect, and must be preserved in the organism and get a foothold in the population. On the other hand, random mutations that would be detrimental to the ultimate appearance of the feature in any fashion must be eliminated, but again, this must happen without any consideration for the appearance of the feature, since nature has no foresight. At the end of this stochastic process, the random genetic mutations that came and went for no purpose must produce a complex and functionally specified unit of genetic information that results in a complex new adaptation or feature at the phenotypic level that looks as though it was intelligently designed for a purpose.

    Neo-Darwinists argue that NS is the only physically possible process that could account for this, and nobody else has proposed any natural mechanism that even sounds like it could plausibly bring about the origin of complex features that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose. I agree with the Neo-Darwinists that NS is the only mechanism that even sounds like a plausible candidate for achieving these requirements, but I would say that it doesn’t actually have the ability to accomplish this, that it has never been demonstrated to have the power to accomplish this, and that there is no evidence to support the claim that it could accomplish this.

  13. 13
    Tim says:

    A_B writes . . .

    The only power that natural selection has is to increase or decrease the frequency of existing complex, specific information within a population. Any evolutionary biologists will tell you the same thing.

    . . . as a defense of . . . what?
    . . . that natural selection does not “create”? . . . and therefore the OP is somehow off? Does the clarification add anything to the narrative? If it does, I’d like to add this: Natural selection has no power at all! And any evolutionary biologist who “tells” you it has power is, technically speaking, off his/her nut, ascribing to a statistical predicate some motive force that is not there.

    Follow the mind-reading example. Should A_B acquire this trait and his offspring also so that the trait increases in future populations, we say some such rot as the trait was “selected for.” But what has actually happened is the mind-readers have (in our story) a better chance to reproduce and so on. Individual by individual, The “power” lies in the trait, not in the statistical result, that thing many biologists call natural selection.

    Beyond such changes in traits, whose populations ebb and flow with them, is it too much to say that “nature’s selective power” is a complete fabrication.

    Or, put another way, why can’t we just say that the everyday “increase(s) or decrease(s) (in) the frequency of existing complex, specific information within a population” are simply natural.

    Further on A_B writes,

    I know that reading minds would cease to be adaptive if everyone had the ability.

    But, couldn’t it be restated like this?
    I know that reading minds would lose its power (to aid its population in reproductive dominance) if everyone had the ability.

    I’ll let you decide how much of this post was tongue-in-cheek. Totally up to you.

  14. 14
    bornagain77 says:

    As to the supposed ‘power’ of natural selection:

    “Natural selection does not act on anything, nor does it select (for or against), force, maximize, create, modify, shape, operate, drive, favor, maintain, push, or adjust. Natural selection does nothing…. Having natural selection select is nifty because it excuses the necessity of talking about the actual causation of natural selection. Such talk was excusable for Charles Darwin, but inexcusable for evolutionists now. Creationists have discovered our empty “natural selection” language, and the “actions” of natural selection make huge, vulnerable targets.”
    The Origin of Theoretical Population Genetics, 2001 (pp. 199-200) William Provine – Professor of Evolutionary Biology – Cornell University

    To the extent that Natural Selection does do anything, Natural Selection is found to be a eliminative force not a generative force:

    “…but Natural Selection reduces genetic information and we know this from all the Genetic Population studies that we have…”
    Maciej Marian Giertych – Population Geneticist – member of the European Parliament – EXPELLED – Natural Selection And Genetic Mutations – video

    From a Frog to a Prince – video (17:00 minute mark Natural Selection Reduces Genetic Information) – No Beneficial Mutations – Gitt – Spetner – Denton – video

    “A Dutch zoologist, J.J. Duyvene de Wit, clearly demonstrated that the process of speciation (such as the appearance of many varieties of dogs and cats) is inevitably bound up with genetic depletion as a result of natural selection. When this scientifically established fact is applied to the question of whether man could have evolved from ape-like animals,’.. the transformist concept of progressive evolution is pierced in its very vitals.’ The reason for this, J.J. Duyvene de Wit went on to explain, is that the whole process of evolution from animal to man ” ‘ . . would have to run against the gradient of genetic depletion. That is to say, . . man )should possess] a smaller gene-potential than his animal ancestors! [I] Here, the impressive absurdity becomes clear in which the transformist doctrine [the theory of evolution] entangles itself when, in flat contradiction to the factual scientific evidence, it dogmatically asserts that man has evolved from the animal kingdom!” —Op. cit., pp. 129-130. [Italics his; quotations from *J.J. Duyvene de Wit, A New Critique of the Transformist Principle in Evolutionary Biology (1965), p. 56,57.]

    “We found an enormous amount of diversity within and between the African populations, and we found much less diversity in non-African populations,” Tishkoff told attendees today (Jan. 22) at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Anaheim. “Only a small subset of the diversity in Africa is found in Europe and the Middle East, and an even narrower set is found in American Indians.”
    Tishkoff; Andrew Clark, Penn State; Kenneth Kidd, Yale University; Giovanni Destro-Bisol, University “La Sapienza,” Rome, and Himla Soodyall and Trefor Jenkins, WITS University, South Africa, looked at three locations on DNA samples from 13 to 18 populations in Africa and 30 to 45 populations in the remainder of the world.-

    Moreover, since successful reproduction is all that really matters on a neo-Darwinian view of things, how can anything but successful reproduction be realistically ‘selected’ for? Any other function besides reproduction, such as sight, hearing, thinking, etc.., would be highly superfluous to the primary criteria of successfully reproducing, and should, on a Darwinian view, be discarded as so much excess baggage since it would, sooner or later, slow down successful reproduction.

    Richard Dawkins interview with a ‘Darwinian’ physician goes off track – video
    Excerpt: “I am amazed, Richard, that what we call metazoans, multi-celled organisms, have actually been able to evolve, and the reason [for amazement] is that bacteria and viruses replicate so quickly — a few hours sometimes, they can reproduce themselves — that they can evolve very, very quickly. And we’re stuck with twenty years at least between generations. How is it that we resist infection when they can evolve so quickly to find ways around our defenses?”

    In other words, if evolution were actually the truth about how all life came to be on Earth then the only ‘life’ that would be around would be extremely small organisms with the highest replication rate, and with the most mutational firepower, since only they would be the fittest (i.e. ‘selected’) to survive in the dog eat dog world where blind pitiless evolution rules and only the ‘fittest’ are allowed to survive.

    As well, Natural Selection is grossly inadequate to do the work required of it because of what is termed ‘the princess and the pea’ paradox. The devastating ‘princess and the pea’ paradox is clearly elucidated by Dr. John Sanford, at the 8:14 minute mark, of this following video,,,

    Genetic Entropy – Dr. John Sanford – Evolution vs. Reality – video

    Dr. Sanford points out, in the preceding video, that Natural Selection acts at the coarse level of the entire organism (phenotype) and yet the vast majority of mutations have effects that are only ‘slightly detrimental’, and have no noticeable effect on phenotypes, and are thus far below the power of Natural Selection to remove from genomes before they spread throughout the population.

    “Selection Threshold Severely Constrains Capture of Beneficial Mutations” – John Sanford – September 6, 2013
    Excerpt of concluding comments: Our findings raise a very interesting theoretical problem — in a large genome, how do the millions of low-impact (yet functional) nucleotides arise? It is universally agreed that selection works very well for high-impact mutations. However, unless some new and as yet undiscovered process is operating in nature, there should be selection breakdown for the great majority of mutations that have small impact on fitness.,,,
    We show that selection breakdown is not just a simple function of population size, but is seriously impacted by other factors, especially selection interference. We are convinced that our formulation and methodology (i.e., genetic accounting) provide the most biologically-realistic analysis of selection breakdown to date.

  15. 15
    bornagain77 says:

    Here are a few more notes on this insurmountable ‘princess and the pea’ problem for natural selection:

    Evolution vs. Genetic Entropy (Kimura’s Distribution) – Andy McIntosh – video

    The GS Principle (The Genetic Selection Principle) – Abel – 2009
    Excerpt: The GS Principle, sometimes called “The 2nd Law of Biology,” states that selection must occur at the molecular/genetic level, not just at the fittest phenotypic/organismic level, to produce and explain life.,,, Natural selection cannot operate at the genetic level.

    The next evolutionary synthesis: Jonathan BL Bard (2011)
    Excerpt: We now know that there are at least 50 possible functions that DNA sequences can fulfill [8], that the networks for traits require many proteins and that they allow for considerable redundancy [9]. The reality is that the evolutionary synthesis says nothing about any of this; for all its claim of being grounded in DNA and mutation, it is actually a theory based on phenotypic traits. This is not to say that the evolutionary synthesis is wrong, but that it is inadequate – it is really only half a theory!

    Moreover, as if that were not devastating enough as to undermining any credibility Natural Selection might have had, ‘dimensionally’ speaking, Natural Selection is now known to not even be on the right playing field in the first place:

    The predominance of quarter-power (4-D) scaling in biology
    Excerpt: Many fundamental characteristics of organisms scale
    with body size as power laws of the form:

    Y = Yo M^b,

    where Y is some characteristic such as metabolic rate, stride length or life span, Yo is a normalization constant, M is body mass and b is the allometric scaling exponent.
    A longstanding puzzle in biology is why the exponent b is usually some simple multiple of 1/4 (4-Dimensional scaling) rather than a multiple of 1/3, as would be expected from Euclidean (3-Dimensional) scaling.

    “Although living things occupy a three-dimensional space, their internal physiology and anatomy operate as if they were four-dimensional. Quarter-power scaling laws are perhaps as universal and as uniquely biological as the biochemical pathways of metabolism, the structure and function of the genetic code and the process of natural selection.,,, The conclusion here is inescapable, that the driving force for these invariant scaling laws cannot have been natural selection.”
    – Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piatelli-Palmarini, What Darwin Got Wrong (London: Profile Books, 2010), p. 78-79

    Here is, what a Darwinist termed, a ‘horrendously complex’ metabolic pathway (which operates as if it were ’4-Dimensional):

    ExPASy – Biochemical Pathways – interactive schematic

    And remember, Darwinian evolution has yet to explain a single gene/protein of those ‘horrendously complex’ metabolic pathways.

    “Charles Darwin said (paraphrase), ‘If anyone could find anything that could not be had through a number of slight, successive, modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.’ Well that condition has been met time and time again. Basically every gene, every protein fold. There is nothing of significance that we can show that can be had in a gradualist way. It’s a mirage. None of it happens that way.
    – Doug Axe PhD. – Nothing In Molecular Biology Is Gradual – video

    The reason why a ‘higher dimensional’ 4-Dimensional structure, such as a ‘horrendously complex metabolic pathway, would be, for all intents and purposes, completely invisible to a 3-Dimensional process, such as Natural Selection, is best illustrated by ‘flatland’:

    Flatland – 3D to 4D shift – Dr. Quantum – video

    Verse and Music:

    Psalm 147:6
    The Lord lifts up the humble;
    he casts the wicked to the ground.

    Greater – MercyMe

  16. 16
    bornagain77 says:

    Greater – MercyMe – ‘official’ music video

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