Posted by: Barry Bickmore | June 12, 2017

The Universal Clam Bake and Steam Bath

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.

I have a hypothesis I want to pitch to you, dear reader.  (Eventually it incorporates a giant, worldwide clam bake and steam bath, but you have to be a little patient and let me get to it.)  Are you ready?  Here it is.

Hypothesis:  One of the main reasons the Universal Model (UM) is badly flawed is that the author, Dean Sessions, lacks imagination.

No, really… I’m serious!  Let me take a step back and explain.

If you write fantasy novels, weirder isn’t necessarily more imaginative.  It doesn’t take much imagination, for instance, to write a story so ridiculous readers have trouble “suspending their disbelief”.  Rather, the real masters of fantasy like J.R.R. Tolkien or Brandon Sanderson excel at their craft largely because they create detailed fictional worlds that, while certainly weird, still follow a consistently applied set of rules and have characters who behave in understandable ways.

Similarly, scientists work with “hypotheses,” which are tentative explanations that allow us to ask, “What if…?”  That is, after we use our creativity to come up with a hypothesis to explain some observations, we try to imagine what other consequences might follow if we apply basic physical and chemical principles.  Some of these imagined consequences might be testable, so we might perform experiments, make observations, or perform calculations to see if the explanation still holds up under scrutiny.  (A few years ago I published a nifty essay on creativity in science.  Check it out if you’re interested.)

Dean Sessions, however, doesn’t seem to have the imagination to think through even the most basic consequences of his explanations.  In one of my recent posts, for example, I explained why his idea that the crust floats on a less dense substance because of centrifugal force caused by the Earth’s rotation can’t be correct, because there is no centrifugal force due to the Earth’s spin at the poles.  Centrifugal force, gravity, and buoyancy are all subjects covered in standard high school physics classes, so it wasn’t some great intellectual feat for me to come up with a way to disprove Sessions’ hypothesis.  I just quickly looked up a few things about centrifugal force and thought through how it would play out in the situation the UM describes.

The same goes for the UM discussion of the “Universal Flood” (aka Noah’s Flood) to explain nearly all the features on the surface of the Earth, including the miles-thick covering of sediments and sedimentary rocks.  This hypothesis isn’t based on nothing–at least some of the minerals involved actually can form under the kind of conditions the UM ascribes to the Flood–but once again Sessions has failed to think through all the implications of his model.  Implications like clam bakes.  (Wait for it…. I’m getting there.)

The Ginormous Hypresplosion

According to the UM, a comet passed close by the Earth a few thousand years ago, disrupting its rotation, so that gravity caused the denser crust to collapse down into the watery mush below, and water was forced upward past the crust through a bunch of “hydrofountains”.  The water covered the entire crust, to a depth of something like 30,000 feet.  All the friction caused by this flexure of the crust generated a lot of heat, causing what Sessions calls “hyprethermal” conditions at the bottom of the ocean and in the crust below. This is a word Sessions made up to describe a HYdrous, PREssurized, high-temperature (hyperTHERMal) environment he thinks existed at the bottom of the ocean for about a year during the Flood.  This environment could allow the formation of a number of minerals, including common quartz sand found in sedimentary rocks.  In fact, the UM specifically claims that this is “how the majority of crustal sediment was formed….”  (UM, Vol. 1, p. 531)  In other words, a bunch of minerals were formed in this heated, pressurized water, shot out of the “hydrofountains,” and spread out in layers over the Earth.

In the “hyprethermal” environment where these layers of “hydrosediment” were forming, the pressure would have been about 13,400 psi (92 MPa), and the temperature about 350-400 °C (see UM, Vol. 1, p. 494).  Under these conditions, the water would be under enough pressure to prevent boiling.

Of course, geologists agree that lots of minerals form from heated, pressurized water, but Dean Sessions claims that sedimentary rocks like sandstone COULD NOT be primarily made of broken-down remnants of igneous rocks (formed from molten rock).  In fact, he presents this as a new Natural Law!

One of the evidences is that the Earth is not glass. Had it formed from a dry magmatic melt, the crustal rocks would have been amorphous (without crystal structure) and glassy. Instead, it is made of minerals that form only in an aqueous solution, which supports the Law of Hydroformation–all natural crystalline minerals formed in water.  (UM, Vol. 1, p. 263)

Nay, but it is not merely the “Law of Hydroformation”.  It is also the “Third Law of the Universal Concept of Water”!

Quartz is an example of the Third Law of the Universal Concept of Water, the Law of Hydroformation:

All natural crystalline minerals formed in water.

(UM, Vol. 1, pp. 253-254)

I already showed that crystalline minerals DO IN FACT form from molten material, and can even form from heated glass, so the “Law of Hydroformation”… ahem… doesn’t seem to have much support.  [NOTE:  This is such a great illustration of how Sessions always makes a big deal about how he’s discovered a bunch of New Natural Laws, but it’s apparent that he sets a pretty low bar for “evidence” before he pronounces he’s found one.]

I have decided to call the UM’s proposed sediment-making event “The Ginormous Hypresplosion,” because… well… basically I just like to make up new words, too.

Anyway, after all this newly minted sediment formed within the crust and shot out into the ever-growing ocean in The Ginormous Hypresplosion, the sediment was cemented into sedimentary rocks when subjected to the “hyprethermal” environment at the bottom of the ocean, which was then at least 30,000 feet deep!  (See p. 530)

Hydrosedimentary Minerals formed chiefly in a hypretherm environment, are crystalline in form and can be recognized as loose clay particles, sand or solid claystone, and sandstone.  They make up the majority of the sediment on the surface of the Earth…. Hydrosedimentary rock is formed when sediment is subjected to a hyprethermal environment.  (UM, Vol. 1, p. 277)

What If… ?

Okay, so the next step is to ask ourselves what else would be the case if the Ginormous Hypresplosion actually took place.  Can we think of any consequences that make the whole idea problematic?

Here’s one.  Why are there so often fossils of near-shore sea creatures like clams and trilobites (a family of extinct crab-like creatures)?  If layers of sedimentary rocks were formed in superheated, pressurized water, why do they have all those fossils in them?  Surely a clam wouldn’t set up shop in such an environment.  Oh, but maybe the clams and such were living somewhere else, and the flood washed them away and mixed them with all that “hyprethermal” sediment!  However, some of these layers have whole fossilized coral reefs in them.  Surely something that big couldn’t have done that.  And if all these organisms were being washed around and deposited randomly, what do we do with the FACT that the fossils in sedimentary layers in different locations appear in a a very reliable order from bottom (oldest sediments) to top (youngest)?  (See this article on the Law of Superposition if you doubt that older sediments would be on the bottom.)  It’s pretty clear that fossilized organisms lived in, or nearby, the sediments they are preserved in.  I don’t think a Universal Clam Bake is what Sessions has in mind, but that’s the clear implication of his ideas.

Here’s another.  Not only would The Ginormous Hypresplosion necessarily have resulted in the Universal Clam Bake, but it would have also resulted in The Universal Steam Bath and destroyed all life on Earth, including whatever happened to be floating in an Ark, somewhere.  That’s right–the oceans would have boiled.

I imagine Dean Sessions would reply that the UM only posits that high temperatures prevailed at the bottom of the 30,000-feet deep ocean, where the pressure would be high enough to keep the water from boiling, whereas Noah and the gang would have been leisurely floating on nice, cool surface water.  Here’s the thing.  He once again forgot about something called “CONVECTION CURRENTS“.

Remember how, in one of my articles on how the UM botches its arguments regarding heat flow, I pointed out three separate instances where their arguments depended on there being no such thing as convection?  Well, here’s another one.  Under “hyprethermal” conditions (350-400 °C and about 92 MPa pressure), the density of water would be about 70-80% of the density of room-temperature water at the surface, so the hot, less dense water would want to rise up above the cooler, more dense water above.  If the source of heat were at the bottom (e.g., in the Earth’s crust), the cooler water that sank to the bottom would begin to heat up, and the warmer water that rose to the top would start to cool off, until they would want to switch places again when the density on the bottom was less than that on top.  Thus, heat would quickly be transferred, and the water on the surface would soon heat up to the point that it could boil, because the pressure would be much lower there.

Oh, don’t get me wrong–Dean Sessions knows very well that convection currents would occur.  Consider, for instance, his description of some “hyprethermal” mineral-growing experiments he did.

The oven was heated to 400 °C at the bottom and about 350 °C cooler near the top.  This induced a natural convection or circulation of the liquid/gas mixture inside the pressurized vessel (the autoclave).  (UM, Vol. 1, p. 265)

So yeah, he does understand the principle.  But when it comes to thinking through the consequences of his own theories, this kind of high school physics doesn’t seem to make it into Dean’s stream of consciousness.  He lacks the imagination to test his own ideas.




  1. I wonder at your fascination with this topic; it isn’t even good science fiction. Perhaps more people are taken in by it than meets the eye. Good answer on there being no centrifugal force at the poles. If the spin was fast enough to invert the net forces outward the oceans would fly off into space was more my thinking.

    • That’s why it’s so fascinating. I’ve never seen so much utter BS strung together, that a significant number of people seem to actually believe. Page after page after page of not just unprovable, but verifiably false statements. How much would it take to convince any of these people that it’s nonsense? It’s an interesting experiment, at least.

      • Religion. It proposes that science has proven god and the bible because there was a flood.

        Though an atheist, I really don’t understand why there’s this problem with reality, though. What’s real is real. And if you find out your holy book is a load of BS, does that prove there is no god?


        Indeed when cornered by atheists in arguments about proof and disproof, the “but that’s lack of proof, not a proof of lack!” gambit is practically pavlovian. But all the proof of your holy book being wrong proves is about the book being false. Not god being false.It merely makes that book another lack of evidence, not evidence of lack.

        But as to why the claims are held despite so many clearly horrendous blunders and lies is because it is “proof the bible and god are true”.

        • Wow writes: “Religion. It proposes that science has proven god and the bible because there was a flood.”

          Religion proposes nothing. It is a container word; the things it contains might propose various things.

          Declaring yourself atheist says nothing. It only says what you are not “theist” whatever exactly that is.

          “I really don’t understand why there’s this problem with reality, though.”

          Your choices therefore are to ignore it or seek understanding. My daughter has a problem with reality; it requires paying rent, working for a living, suffering mosquito bites. Many people have problems with reality.

          “What’s real is real.”

          That’s profound. I wonder if this can be generalized to “What is X is X” for any X?

          “And if you find out your holy book is a load of BS, does that prove there is no god?”

          It depends on the causal order you have in place. If the book can only exist because of this particular god, and IF that particular god is defined as always creating that particular book, THEN you can assert with some certainty that if the book is false then so is that particular god.

          Obviously I cannot make your god disappear (or come into existence) by writing my own work of fiction.

          “Indeed when cornered by atheists in arguments about proof and disproof, the “but that’s lack of proof, not a proof of lack!” gambit is practically pavlovian.”

          Indeed. It’s like one of the obvious first moves in chess. It is a test whether you have at least an inkling of logical procedure.

          “But as to why the claims are held despite so many clearly horrendous blunders and lies is because it is ‘proof the bible and god are true’.”

          Perhaps someone other than an atheist could make a more credible attempt at explaining this phenomenon.

          • Bollocks.

  2. Alice in Wonderland is an example of a good story that is written to make no sense. But it does so well because it actively refuses to run on sense and the nonsensical IS its reliable and sensible narrative. It doesn’t even attempt to be valid or rational at any point in the entire story. And therefore it works.

    But it is like trying to play a piano tune with absolutely no correct key played (see Frank Dawson on youtube). you have to be a damn good player to manage that because there’s so many ways of accidentally getting a tune out, you have to work hard to avoid it.

    Consistent nonsense isn’t easy at all and CAN make a good story, but only if you’re really good at making stories.

    Dave can’t even keep to nonsense and tries hard to pretend that it’s coherent when it doesn’t, so fails on even being nonsense, it’s merely fractured rhetoric.

    • “Frank”??? FFS, Les Dawson. No idea who I was thinking of there to get the name wrong.

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