Peter J. Morgan via Canada Free Press: Oil is NOT a fossil fuel and AGW is non-science
We all grew up believing that oil is a fossil fuel, and just about every day this ‘fact’ is mentioned in newspapers and on TV. However, let us not forget what Lenin said – “A lie told often enough becomes truth.” It was in 1757 that the great Russian scholar Mikhailo V. Lomonosov enunciated the hypothesis that oil might originate from biological detritus. The scientists who first rejected Lomonsov’s hypothesis, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, were the famous German naturalist and geologist Alexander von Humboldt and the French chemist and thermodynamicist Louis Joseph Gay-Lussac, who together enunciated the proposition that oil is a primordial material erupted from great depth, and is unconnected with any biological matter near the surface of the Earth.
With the development of chemistry during the nineteenth century, and following particularly the enunciation of the second law of thermodynamics by Clausius in 1850, Lomonosov’s biological hypothesis came inevitably under attack. In science, a hypothesis is merely somebody’s attempt to explain something. It is merely that – an attempt. In the scientific method, a hypothesis is also an open invitation for somebody else to discredit it by using physical evidence to demonstrate that the hypothesis is flawed, or incorrect – that is how scientific knowledge is advanced. Einstein is reputed to have remarked that just one fact was all that was needed to invalidate his theory of relativity.
The great French chemist Marcellin Berthelot particularly scorned the hypothesis of a biological origin for petroleum. Berthelot first carried out experiments involving, among others, a series of what are now referred to as Kolbe reactions and demonstrated the generation of petroleum by dissolving steel in strong acid. He produced the suite of n-alkanes and made it plain that such were generated in total absence of any “biological” molecule or process. Berthelot’s investigations were later extended and refined by other scientists, including Biasson and Sokolov, all of whom observed similar phenomena and likewise concluded that petroleum was unconnected to biological matter.
During the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the great Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev also examined and rejected Lomonosov’s hypothesis of a biological origin for petroleum. In contrast to Berthelot who had made no suggestion as to where or how petroleum might have come, Mendeleev stated clearly that petroleum is a primordial material which has erupted from great depth. With extraordinary perception, Mendeleev hypothesised the existence of geological structures which he called “deep faults,” and correctly identified such as the locus of weakness in the crust of the Earth via which petroleum would travel from the depths. After he made that hypothesis, Mendeleev was abusively criticised by the geologists of his time, for the notion of deep faults was then unknown. Today, of course, an understanding of plate tectonics would be unimaginable without recognition of deep faults.
Soon after the end of World War II, the Soviet dictator, Stalin, realized that the then Soviet Union needed its own substantial oil reserves and production system if it was ever again called upon to defend itself against an attacker such as Hitler’s Germany. In 1947, the Soviet Union had, as its petroleum ‘experts’ then estimated, very limited petroleum reserves, of which the largest were the oil fields in the region of the Abseron Peninsula, near the Caspian city of Baku in what is now the independent country of Azerbaijan. At that time, the oil fields near Baku were considered to be “depleting” and “nearing exhaustion.” During World War II, the Soviets had occupied the two northern provinces of Iran, but in 1946, they were forced out by the British. By 1947, the Soviets realised that the American, British, and French were not going to allow them to operate in the Middle East, nor in the petroleum producing areas of Africa, nor Indonesia, nor Burma, nor Malaysia, nor anywhere in the Far East, nor in Latin America. The government of the Soviet Union recognised then that new petroleum reserves would have to be discovered and developed within the U.S.S.R.
Stalin’s response was to set up a task force of top scientists and engineers in a project similar to the Manhattan Project – the top-secret US program to develop the atom bomb during WWII – and initially under the same secrecy, and charged them with the task of finding out what oil was, where it came from and how to find, recover and efficiently refine it.
In 1951, the modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of deep, abiotic petroleum origins was first enunciated by Nikolai A. Kudryavtsev at the All-Union petroleum geology congress. Kudryavtsev analyzed the hypothesis of a biological origin of petroleum, and pointed out the failures of the claims then commonly put forth to support that hypothesis. Kudryavtsev was soon joined by numerous other Russian and Ukrainian geologists, among the first of whom were P. N. Kropotkin, K. A. Shakhvarstova, G. N. Dolenko, V. F. Linetskii, V. B. Porfir’yev, and K. A. Anikiev.
During the first decade of its existence, the modern theory of petroleum origins was the subject of great contention and controversy. Between the years 1951 and 1965, with the leadership of Kudryavtsev and Porfir’yev, increasing numbers of geologists published articles demonstrating the failures and inconsistencies inherent in the old “biogenic origin” hypothesis. With the passing of the first decade of the modern theory, the failure of Lomonosov’s eighteenth century hypothesis of an origin of petroleum from biological detritus in the near-surface sediments had been thoroughly demonstrated, the hypothesis discredited, and the modern theory firmly established.
An important point to be recognised is that the modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of abiotic petroleum origins was, initially, a geologists’ theory. Kudryavtsev, Kropotkin, Dolenko, Porfir’yev and the developers of the modern theory of petroleum were all geologists.
Their arguments were necessarily those of geologists, developed from many observations, and much data, organized into a pattern, and argued by persuasion.