Posted by: Barry Bickmore | April 21, 2017

The Mass of the Earth is a MASSIVE PROBLEM for the Universal Model

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.

UM Claim:  The Universal Model claims that instead of a core made mostly of iron, the Earth has a core made of ice.  But if so, that would mean the Earth has a much different total mass than scientists believe, and all the standard measurements of Isaac Newton’s Universal Gravitational Constant (G), starting with Henry Cavendish’s torsion balance experiment in 1798, must have been wildly inaccurate.

One of the indirect evidences used in determining the Earth’s core composition is density. From where did the inferred average density of 5.52 g/cm^3 come? The answer comes from one experiment described in subchapter 18.4 [not yet published], the Cavendish Experiment. In 1798, Henry Cavendish constructed an apparatus similar to a pendulum but designed to measure the faint gravitational attraction between two large lead balls and two small lead balls. The two sets of balls suspended independently allowed Cavendish to obtain accurate measurements of the twisting suspension wire as the balls oscillated back and forth past each other. The whole process of this experiment, fascinating as it is, gets duplicated and retested by others in physics labs today. However, there is one major flaw in the experiment leading to the Cavendish Error. Unlike the Earth, the lead balls are not in outer space, and thus, the balls, restricted by the air and influenced by the Earth’s gravity rendered incorrect data. Their attraction should have been measured in a vacuum, in low gravity. Air, a denser medium than the vacuum of space, along with the attractive gravitational force of the Earth, slowed the balls’ oscillation rate. Cavendish neglected to account for the reduced oscillation in the original experiment, leading to an incorrect gravitational constant and errors in the Earth’s density estimates.

As we will learn in subchapter 18.4, the New Mass of the Earth, the Earth’s density, recalculated to approximately 2.3 g/cm^3 using the physics of gravitational attraction and the new geological discoveries outlined in this and other chapters, renders a truer density of the Earth that aligns with empirical observations. We next examine the geological nature of the Earth’s density.  (Universal Model, Vol. 1, p. 107)

Issue:  Way back in 1798, Cavendish’s careful experiments implied a value of G = 6.754×10−11 m^3 kg^−1 s^−2, which is within about 1% of the accepted value today.  And guess what?  Dean Sessions wasn’t the first one to wonder whether air resistance affects these measurements.  So not only have Cavendish-type experiments been done many times in a vacuum–they have also been done in both a vacuum AND during freefall to negate the effects of gravity!  Many, many experiments have yielded about the same value for G, whether or not such corrections are made.

There probably have been experiments done that yielded wildly different values of G, but as Dean Sessions pointed out, rigorous experiments are hard to do, and lots of things can go wrong!  If things could go wrong with the Cavendish experiment, why couldn’t they have gone wrong with whatever experiment Sessions set up in his garage?  Replication of important experimental results is a hallmark of science, and the vast, vast majority of G measurements have been very close to one another.

When this point was made on the UM internet forum, the UM team eventually responded with this stunning admission.

The “appreciable effect on the pendulum” stated by Carter in regards to UM experimentation was a faulty test of a continuing experiment that will not be finished until the release of the Universal System – Volume III of the Universal Model.

That’s right.  After the publication of Volume 1, the UM team found out that their garage experiment was faulty, but they seem quite confident that by the time they roll out Volume 3, they will get the result they need to save their model.

To be blunt, if the accepted value of G is even remotely accurate, there is no way the UM “hydroplanet” model can be right, or even in the ballpark.




  1. Satellite orbital mechanics are another strong hint

  2. […] is liquid.  Both solid and liquid metals are conductors.  (In fact, the overall mass of the Earth is powerful evidence that the core must be made of something dense like iron, rather than something like ice, as Dean […]

  3. […] His arguments (spoiler alert: he screwed up royally) in this regard rapidly fall apart when asked about the major problems a new mass of the Earth poses to orbital mechanics (personally, I was a little encouraged to hear that he doesn’t completely decry satellites as a government hoax). And Barry Bickmore extensively covers Sessions’ false claims about the Earth’s mass in this blog post. […]

  4. […] that this application of fundamental physics leads us to a conclusion that is supported by 1) the measured mass of the Earth, 2) the measured moment of inertia of the Earth, 3) the evidence of seismic wave velocities in the […]

  5. A bit on gish gallop and the above G value story and people in general (disclaimer: IMO):

    — Imagine a large puzzle. After working it for a while without the main picture to guide you (ie, you don’t know the final answer for sure), you develop a decent idea of what the big picture might be. Imagine that you so believe (for whatever reason this might be the case) that you weaken critical thinking at every turn since anything you can’t figure out at the moment might have an answer that is revealed as you progress further. [A hypothesis in science is similar, but tends to be a simpler thing that can be tested in a moderate amount of time.. so a hypothesis would be more like a small puzzle subsection guess.]

    — How do you put together such such a puzzle? Pieces at a time, being guided by where you are going. Same as how you might write a story or mold a statue. You start and you know where you are headed. Mind you, this isn’t how things are put together all the time, but a lot of times this is the basic way when we have a strong feel/hope of where we will end up.

    — Imagine the final picture is enticing to get to because it seems other people have missed it.

    — Now what happens if apparent inconsistencies are pointed out? Well, if you have enough confidence in the big picture, you can put some of those sections on the side to continue elsewhere.

    — What if in the end it turns out the puzzle pieces came from different similar puzzles of even different cutouts of the same picture? Well, you can’t really know that for a while. I mean if things are that near good, you might be led for a long while. It won’t be easy to be convinced otherwise, at least not for a while.

    — This is all natural thinking from normal people.

    — Further: We don’t know in someone else’s life what facts they might cling onto really hard and be unwilling to release that easily or to untangle from many other beliefs (eg, from presumed political links, which individually might be linked to other things, making it difficult to accept components without accepting the whole or shunning similarly), so as a person possibly in that position, it makes sense to resist at least for a while. We all go through that to some degree and some more than others depending on the rolls and tumbles your particular life has presented to you from .. some time before birth.

    • This description (ie, the parent posting) is one way to describe a running theme of this series, which is almost told explicitly in this next part

      > But…they haven’t released Volume III yet, so we will have to take it on faith that they will be able to rework modern physics to fit their claim (I guess starting with conclusions and working backwards is the new science). However, my bet is that Sessions cannot provide the mathematics necessary to prove his biased, ill-conceived conclusions.

      Three very true sentences in that quote.

      Science is set apart from arts (arts: where we can fudge the story as necessary) because the final answer exists, reality, and we have found a useful tool, mathematics, that helps identify if the fiction can be passed for the non-fiction (until better fiction comes around) or if it already fails or is worse than some existing competing story.

      Judging from this series, the UM is a great story and could be an early bit of science, but today its flaws are very visible to someone with experience in the field and a competing story already exists with fewer/smaller flaws.

      So too it is with a cornucopia of denier climate story lines I have seen littering the blogsphere, no consistent mathematical improvement over climate science and instead lots of tidy sections of “some” whole with lots of fudge (non-mathematical) thrown it to keep these all sticking together. If you don’t pay attention to detail and are wowed by math in general, it’s hard to spot the problems. But science is for a reason a product of people dedicated to the particular problem and with a subgroup well-versed in mathematics.

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