September 17, 2012 | David F. Coppedge

Bob Ballard Throws Out Textbooks for a Living

An interview with oceanographer Bob Ballard shows him taking glee at proving the scientific consensus wrong.

Bob Ballard, the man who found the Titanic, is a proud maverick.  With his submarines and robotic vehicles, he has overturned at least three scientific notions long taught in textbooks.  Now working on another film series called “Alien Deep,” this “Carl Sagan with gills” was interviewed on Live Science.  He was asked about the deep sea vents he filmed for the show.

We found another world. What I like doing is throwing text books away.

When I was a geology student, I was taught the old school of geology. I had to memorize a whole lot of crap. I was part of the revolution in Earth sciences, where we knew more than the professors, which was dangerous because you didn’t want to embarrass them. How’d you like to defend your Ph.D. with a professor that doesn’t believe you?… They didn’t believe in plate tectonics, so you had to gingerly get around that. So, we threw the geology book out the window.

Then to biology: We were taught all life on earth was due to photosynthesis. Baloney. We found a life system that completely defied this. Instead of living off the energy from the sun, we found a system that lived in total darkness off the energy of the Earth.

We then found black smokers blasting off on the bottom of the ocean in 1979. We discovered that water actually goes into the planet. The entire volume of the ocean goes into and out of the Earth every 6-8 million years.

Of these black smokers, the interviewer described them as “vents on the ocean floor that spew out water from within the Earth, which wasn’t previously thought possible.”  Douglas Main, the interviewer, assumes this affected theories on the origin of life, but did not quote Ballard on that point.  Main said, “He has helped find new and unknown life forms around deep sea vents, which ‘threw out the textbook’ on biology and the origin of life, which was previously thought to have originated from energy captured from sunlight.”

Ballard’s maverick discoveries have not hindered him from a productive scientific career.  National Geographic lists his numerous awards and honors.   “By his own admission,” the interviewer said, “Ballard is a heretic,” a label he apparently wears with pride.

Ballard is no Carl Sagan.  Sagan protected the textbooks from criticism; Ballard is unabashed to throw them out the window when they’re wrong.  Professors of evolution today make students “memorize a whole lot of crap,” too.  A revolution is coming in life sciences.  Brave students are needed to lead it.  As Ballard himself knows, a grad student has to “gingerly get around” the problem of disagreeing with his or her adviser.  Get your Ph.D. and then turn the tables in your observational work.

Speaking of observational work, Ballard has not witnessed the ocean going through black smokers for 6-8 million years.  That’s an extrapolation from present rates.  Ballard is an evolutionist who has not yet learned to throw out that textbook.  Some bold student reading this, though, who knows how to call “Baloney” when he sees it, might be inspired to become the “heretic” to launch the revolution against evolution.  A generation of students are waiting to follow a leader, and give Darwin textbooks the heave-ho out the window.

Speaking of deep sea vents, consider this verse from the Book of Job.  God the Creator is questioning Job about his “scientific” knowledge of the earth and the cosmos: “Have you entered the springs of the sea? Or have you walked in search of the depths?” (Job 38:16).  Ballard may not have walked there or entered the springs, but he has done the next best thing: discovered them and observed them from a submarine, proving that the Bible was right all along, leaving consensus scientists mumbling about something they said “wasn’t previously thought possible.”  What do they know compared to eyewitnesses?



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  • Steve Drake says:

    I looked for a button or heading at the top, to your ‘Baloney Detector’ post after clicking on the word ‘extrapolation’ in the post about Ballard and found a wealth of great information on definitions, logical fallacies, smokescreens, etc. Is there an easy way from the homepage to get back to these great definitions, fallacies, smokescreens, without having to remember to type ‘Baloney Detector’ into the Search box?

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