Posted by: Barry Bickmore | April 21, 2017

That Time I Met Dean Sessions

This is part of a series of articles responding to the claims made in Dean Sessions’ Universal Model.  Click the link to see the introduction to the series.

To hear Dean Sessions tell it, his Universal Model (UM) is such a massive “paradigm shift” that mainstream scientists generally can’t be persuaded to take it seriously.

As the director of scientific research and discovery for the UM, Dean continued investigations in the 1990s with the aid of several research assistants. Thousands of scientific journal articles were gathered from all the general fields of science, as  well as in-depth experimentation was conducted both in the field and in the laboratory, howbeit, on a modest scale so that duplication would be comparatively simple. Various scientists from a number of different fields were contacted in order to ascertain whether or not particular discoveries were important or previously known. As a result of these discussions, we generally found the scientific community to be unaware and unconcerned with the evidences presented. This is because the paradigm shift suggested was too large to contemplate. The new discoveries would create an entirely new science.

As a matter of fact, I was one of the scientists he contacted, but I have a somewhat different perspective on the encounter.  Here’s how I remember it.

It must have been about 15 years ago, when I was a fairly new assistant professor at BYU, when Dean Sessions and a friend of his knocked on my office door.  They politely asked if they could talk to me about their scientific discoveries, so I invited them in.

At first, they talked about the history and philosophy of science.  I minored in philosophy, so I’m familiar with the subject, and we had an interesting conversation about Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.  Kuhn maintained that scientists normally work within “paradigms,” or accepted theoretical frameworks that serve as the lenses through which they interpret empirical results.  So what scientists mainly do is flesh out the details of these accepted theories.  Given that theories are never perfect, some of the empirical results are bound to conflict with them.  However, scientists also know that there are a lot of ways to botch or misinterpret an experiment, and sometimes theories can be fixed with only slight adjustments.  So rather than immediately throwing out a theory, they will simply take note of these “anomalies” and keep working within the current paradigm.  Eventually, the anomalies might pile up too much for some scientists, who might then be motivated to create a new theoretical framework.  This is how scientific revolutions begin.  Of course, there will always be resistance in the scientific community to new paradigms, so it is not a given that they will prevail.

Apparently, they thought I was primed to consider the paradigm shift they wanted to lay on me, so they started talking about things modern science couldn’t explain.  (You know–“anomalies”.)  They began with… dark matter, or some such.  After a while I told them, “Look, I don’t know what to tell you, because I don’t know anything about dark matter.”

THEN, however, they started talking geology, which is my field.  Consider the mineral quartz, they said.  Geologists think it is formed from magma (pockets of melted rock underground), but we can’t go underground and observe this process directly.  Sessions and his buddy, however, had done some experimenting in the garage.  They obtained a quartz crystal and melted it under a blowtorch.  When it cooled off and solidified… drumroll… it wasn’t quartz, anymore! It was GLASS!!!  Therefore, quartz can’t grow from magma.

I said, “Oh, hey–I don’t know anything about dark matter, but I CAN tell you what’s going on here.  You see, when a melt solidifies, it takes time to form crystals, so if it cools off and solidifies too quickly, you just form glasses, which don’t have as orderly molecular structures as crystals.”

[NOTE:  I’ve edited what follows after the initial posting, because I remembered some additional details.]

He kept trying to say quartz can’t form from a melt, but I happened to know different, so I wouldn’t budge on that.  I could have dug out some experimental petrology papers in which scientists reported creating synthetic granite (which contains quartz crystals).  I could have pulled some mineralogy and crystal growth textbooks off the shelf that would have explained the whole thing.  However, Sessions brushed off everything I had to say.

Sessions then tried to get me to take some manuscript he had written (an early version of the UM?), but I told him I wasn’t interested.  Why should I waste my time on it, when it was clear he wasn’t interested in making his theories conform to all the facts?  He stalked out of my office in a huff, angry that I was such a closed-minded paradigm-hugger.

This encounter always stuck in my mind, but I never thought their project would move outside their garages.  Here it is 2017, and Sessions has just published an 800-page book with a section called “Quartz Is Not Glass” (p. 101).  I’ll write more later about why geologists’ response to Sessions’ statement is still a big, “No, duh,” but for now please consider the following question.

Is Dean Sessions really a genius leading a comprehensive scientific revolution, persecuted by closed-minded scientist-sheeple?  Or is he projecting his own failings on others?


Responses

  1. “Is Dean Sessions really a genius leading a comprehensive scientific revolution, persecuted by closed-minded scientist-sheeple? Or is he projecting his own failings on others?”

    Yes to both and more. I respect people that perform experiments and draw conclusions of their own. That takes some work. However, correctly drawing conclusions is something of an art and it may be that the observations don’t actually reveal much.

    When I was a teenager I made a very poor form of glass by an electric arc through ordinary southern Utah sand. It told me nothing about the center of the Earth but I greatly increased my appreciation for the fine art of making *useful* glass.

  2. They have an idea, they found a reason for it and now everything, EVERY THING, has to comport to making that conclusion real or you’re a shill or part of the conspiracy.

    It’s how nutters become nutters in conspiracy theories.

    There’s some tiny miniscule fraction of reality that supports possibly their idea, or at least doesn’t fit as well with the standard explanation, and therefore their idea must be right.

    M2, of course, being a prime example. He’s convinced that he’s smart therefore everyone else who says otherwise must be wrong.

    • Wow writes “He’s convinced that he’s smart therefore everyone else who says otherwise must be wrong.”

      An impressive display of good logic.

      Your observations on Linux compare favorably to mine.

  3. “Kuhn maintained that scientists normally work within “paradigms,” or accepted theoretical frameworks that serve as the lenses through which they interpret empirical results”

    Which Dean, and every other “revolutionary scientist” does too. They have their paradigm which doesn’t match the accepted theoretical framework, and they look at everything through that lens, interpreting everything through it.

    Where kooks come in is they ALSO view the paradigm “the rebel is always right (at least for those who were right and therefore me too)”. That’s where the scientific method and automatic skepticism comes in for actual scientists, ones who haven’t gone emeritus or kook-land. They look at their own discovery and think “How could I be wrong? Can I prove to everyone that I’m almost certainly not wrong?”.

    Dean doesn’t.

    He looks through the lens of his new paradigm, and nothing is allowed through the tint that disproves his “new theory”.

    Much like those trying to XML-ize the config files in Linux,they see “XML==New==GOOD” and “Text=Old=BAD”, or Wayland et al (Where X11 does network transparency, but X11 is old, therefore their stuff won’t do network transparency, because to do so would be to accept that X11 did something right, making their reason for changing to their new paradigm null. That there could still be a good reason to have a new and different system is not thought of, it MUST be better, X11 MUST be worse).

  4. Modern “science” has been confining itself, and everything else that it can, to a self-imposed Dark Age for over one hundred years. During this time, modern “science” has built up one theory on top of another until a huge rotten tree has resulted, where theories are exalted over facts, subjectivity addiction has become a state-protected mental disease, and True Objectivity keeps being sidelined as far as possible.

    The bigger a rotten tree grows, the harder it shall fall, causing much collateral damage. That is why such a huge paradigm shift has become necessary, to try to avert impending disaster much greater than any “climate disaster or alarm” that can be dreamed up.

    The fact that you feel some kind of “need” to “contain the spread” of possible truth demonstrates how brittle a foundation you have been building on. How about putting your energies and resources into building something yourself rather than trying to tear down the accomplishments of others that are making you squirm?

    • Joseph, I’ve published many scientific papers, so I think I can honestly say I have been “spending energy and resources into building something” myself. And what have I done to “contain the spread” of the UM? I have publicly made arguments against it.

      It’s the mark of a fanatic to claim that the fact that someone makes an argument against a position they find to be stupid PROVES they don’t have a leg to stand on. Instead of playing the fanatic, why don’t you try to make a coherent, honest argument about something I’ve said?

      • Your use of the words “fanatic” and “stupid” show me again that your mind primarily operates outside the realm of science, no matter how much time and resources you have put into things. Modern science has spent billions or more is dead-end pursuits, still attempting to prove long-dead theories, being deathly (and needlessly) afraid of the obvious alternatives.

        Regardless of the low words you choose to use (such as “nutters” and “kooks” in your article, I shall still point out a thing or two:

        Modern science has been so long entrenched in its inference-based approach (for over one hundred years) that it has forgotten its roots in Real Science, which actually used to seek truth above all else. Modern science has become a tyrannical medieval-type religion that seeks to silence all those who challenge its dead theories in any way. More recently it has gone beyond that to destroying reputations and livelihoods. The Inquisition is alive and well again in a different form and under different labels.

        Much of your description of Dean Session’s behavior is uncharacteristic of him. I’ve not yet met him personally, but I have watched and listened to much recorded material of him in a variety of circumstances. I understand how difficult it is for a new paradigm to take root even in civilized humanity. You are proof of that.

        • Joseph, you are forgetting something. On this blog, I have not only called Dean Sessions a “crackpot,” and his ideas “stupid,” but I have also taken the time to make detailed arguments against a number of his most important claims. In fact, in several cases I’ve shown that the sources he cites to support his claims actually say the opposite of what he claims. In other words, I’ve actually done the work required to make an informed judgement about whether he’s a crackpot, and his ideas are stupid.

          Can you say the same? Have you actually gone to the library and looked up the sources Dean cites, or other sources on the same subjects? I sincerely doubt it.

          In a comment above, I invited you to make a coherent, honest argument against something I’ve said, but so far all you can come up with is 1) that you think I’m a big meanie for bluntly saying what I think about Dean and the UM, and 2) more unsupported assertions about how awful the state of modern science is.

          So what’s it going to be, Joseph? Can you do it? Can you take an argument I’ve made, pull it apart, and show where I’ve gone wrong? If not, maybe you’re not the best representative to be complaining about science on the internet.

          • I remember, when I was very young, being driven by my dad once a month to the Pitt Library where he had a family library card. I would take home about as many books, mostly non-fiction, as I could carry. I remember that I read at least most of them. So I am a bit familiar with libraries.

            Have I ever called YOU “stupid” or “crackpot”? Has Dean Sessions ever referred to anybody using such words that you know of?

            I remember when the idea of evolution was first imposed on me, that I decided to begin my own ongoing research into this and related subjects. Besides attempting to discover why evolution was being taught at all (who knows, there might be something to it), I asked myself various basic questions:

            1) Where did the universe come from and WHY is it here at all?
            2) Where did life come from and WHY are there living things?
            3) Was the human race actually created in the likeness of God, and, if so, WHY would God do such a thing?

            I basically set up my own curriculum in addition to the one imposed upon me at school. And I still made an effort to spend time with other kids. I was known as the fastest runner and the smartest kid my age in my neighborhood and at school.

            My challenge is not primarily against any of your supposedly intellectual claims. I’m continuing to call you out on your behavior and attitude. I have personally found over the decades that folks who use your basic confrontational vocabulary are not interested in truth but in having their own way at all costs. Prove me wrong.

            • The only way I can think of to “prove you wrong” about whether I’m interested in truth is to marshal as strong arguments as I can about ‘whatever subject I’m talking about. I’ve done that, and I’ve invited to do the same, but so far you refuse.

              Thank you for taking the time to “call me out” for using impolite words like “crackpot,” “stupid,” and “fanatic.” However, you should know that I’ve actually looked these words up in the dictionary, and it turns out that I meant every one of them, without exaggeration. I don’t even feel the tiniest twinge of remorse for saying exactly what I meant, even if it makes you feel bad to read it. Perhaps a “trigger warning” would be appropriate, in the future.

              If, for whatever reason, you are too frightened to try to make cogent arguments, or you simply are incapable of it, then by all means keep trying to police others’ language on the internet by playing the victim and taking offense. After all, it’s a time-honored strategy that has garnered a certain amount of success. Transgender activists even succeeded for a while in Ontario to make it illegal not to use someone’s preferred pronouns (like ze and zir, instead of he/she and him/her). Maybe you guys can make it illegal to call someone a crackpot because, after all, the most important thing is that nobody feels bad about what other people think about their scientific competence.

            • I never allow any of your words or ideas to offend me. No matter how much you attempt to justify your use of certain words, I’ve never seen the use of them associated with the love of truth. I constantly see them used by intellectual bullies.

              Stop acting as if you are worried about my feelings. I’ve never required safe spaces. I respect the honesty that you are displaying, but I’m also aware that it’s possible for a person to be honestly wrong. There are many ideas being pushed on humanity today that are foreign to reality. No generation has believed more myths that our present one does. But publicly challenging any of these myths can result in loss of status, tenure, or livelihood. Like I said before, the modern “scientific” establishment is the present-day Inquisition.

              What do gender confusion and preferred pronouns have to do with science? These are clearly mental-health issues. And not even the word “health” has escaped being redefined again and again to which ever way the wind is blowing.

              You don’t have to be polite to be right. You don’t have to respect others’ feelings in order to develop a love for truth. I’m not the mental weakling that you suppose I am. You can continue to fling around your vocabulary and your dead ideas all your like. I’ll go on my way appreciating all of creation as it really is, in spite of modern science’s demands.

            • Joseph, if you don’t want me to think you are using your criticism of my word choice as a labor-saving device that allows you to avoid any intellectual struggle, then… pick one of my specific criticisms of the UM, and make an actual argument against it.

              Otherwise, you’ve made your point about playing nice. Let’s move on.

            • You shoved our conversation out of science and into personal a long time ago. Dean Sessions and I are “friends” on at least one social-media platform. I have recently finished reading volume one of his Universal Model. Have you read it yet?

              Every idea you address in your article is clearly addressed in the Universal Model, and a whole lot more that you’ve never heard of.

              Intellectual struggle? I discovered long ago that such struggles are futile. The only struggle worth enduring year after year is that of striving to more perfectly DO The Ten Commandments, diligently and cheerfully. Thus my intellect has been maintained with respect to appreciation, not with respect to vanity.

              No I don’t play nice. You should realize that by now.

              (By the way: Are you THE Barry Bickmore of BYU?)

            • Yes, I’m at BYU. Yes, I’ve read UM vol. 1. And this particular article is just a reminiscence about “That Time I Met Dean Sessions.” Click on the Universal Model tab above, then pick one of the articles that goes over substantive issues. Then, in the comments of that page, make an argument about why you think my perspective is wrong.

            • Thank you. Now I know you more in context.

              Yes, I’ll look at your other material. Whether I comment on any of it, I’ll know when I get there.

              Later . . .


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