Monday, August 25, 2008

God and Infinite Oil

I love this kind of post because nothing upsets the doomers more than throwing a little God into the infinite hydrocarbon mix: What God Thinks About Anthropogenic Global Warming.

One would think God would know of the alleged shortage of oil, and He would devise a way oil could be produced almost indefinitely. The 1970’s scientific theory called Hubbert’s Peak Oil predicted we would exhaust oil reserves by 2003. But counter intuitively, many oil fields have reported increased production.

Evidence for “abiotic” oil (Science) has been popping up in some strange places. “Abiotic” means formation of oil without biological decay over millions of years. Evidence such as finding oil at 30,000 feet, far below 18,000 feet where organic matter disappears; and some inoperative wells that are pumping significantly more barrels than earlier. But the oft-overlooked “coup-de-grace”: the amount of oil pumped to date, cannot be accounted for by matter from ancient forests and dinosaurs.

Oil from numerous sources has been verified to partially be from a geologically different age than the original sources. Scientists are finding the carbon-13 isotope associated with “abiotic” origin together with carbon-12 associated with biotic origin. Remarkably, as drilling techniques are allowing for deeper drilling, huge quantities of oil deposits are being discovered. Lately, huge finds are in the territories of Canada, Mexico, Bolivia, Venezuela, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Russia, and the US.


john a. bailo said...


HOUSTON — American natural-gas production is rising at a clip not seen in half a century, pushing down prices of the fuel and reversing conventional wisdom that domestic gas fields were in irreversible decline.

Quantum_Flux said...

Yeah, sure, maybe God's doing it. Maybe God works underground where he can't be seen. ;)

Anaconda said...


These days one of the favorite knocks on Abiotic Oil is that the reasoning and desires that support it are similar to creationism, i.e., anti-scientific and dogmatic.

This is said to cast aspersions on Abiotic Theory as "radioactive" to atheists and others that count themselves as hard headed scientists, uninfluenced by religios precept or dogma.

But the history is much different.

What is ironic is that mid-19th century christian sensibilities played a significant part in raising "fossil" theory to unassailable dogma.

Starting at the top with one of the most influencial leaders of mid-19th century geology.

Charles Lyell:

"Sir Charles Lyell, 1st Baronet,(November 14, 1797 – February 22, 1875) was a Scottish lawyer, geologist, and protagonist of uniformitarianism. He was the foremost geologist of his day, and an influence on the young Charles Darwin."

An influence, yes, but Charles Lyell never accepted the scientific basis of 'natural selection' because it contradicted the Bible, until the end of his life when he offered a tepid endorsement.

(Lyell wanted robust scientific discussion, and, yes, even financially supported a theory, natural selction, he did not agree with scientifically or religously -- that's called being open-minded and in direct contrast to today's "fossil" theory supporters.)

Another biography of Lyell states that Lyell wanted to reconcile christianity and geology.

"Geology soon became his [Charles Lyell's] forte and as member of the Geological Society, he took part in the lively debates in the 1820s about how to reconcile the biblical account of the Flood with geological findings."

Lyell's Uniformitarianism was an effort not to offend the Word of God: Earth was unchanging, the Earth as described in the Bible didn't change, hence Uniformitarianism's effort to cast all geological phenomena as related to what was visible on Earth in the present, and if there was any change at all it was very slow.

Another quote from the above second link fills out this contention:

"Lyell advocated what William Whewell later dubbed a uniformitarian view of geology. This assumed first of all the constancy of natural laws (except as regarded the origin of new species which was left rather vague). The kinds of causes which affected the earth in the past must be assumed to have been exactly those we see in operation today (such as erosion, sediment deposition, volcanic action, earthquakes etc.) Furthermore, these causes must be assumed to have been of the same intensity in the past as we observe them today."

And like Lyell's Uniformitarianism, which was partly based on a desire not to offend christian sensibilities, so was the "fossil" theory of hydrocarbon formation.

For obvious reasons, in the Bible, there is a constant focus on life. And while not explcitly stated, there is an idea that the "life-force" is the source of all energy and this force is under God's command. Life, therefore, energy, i.e., lightening bolts, exist at God's direction.

So, with a few loose observations of organic detritus producing methane, it was immediately picked up, by the majority of geologists, most God fearing christian men, that the energy of hydocarbons must be a result of 'vitalism', the idea that all energy is derived from life, even if it's only the dead detritus of life.

So now, today, we have the irony of "Peak" oil pushers trying to smear Abiotic Oil by associating it with creationism, when, in fact, at least in significant measure, "fossil" theory was developed with the idea of avoiding offending the christian sensibilities of mid-19th century Europe and America.

What strikes me about this debate between Abiotic and "fossil" theory is that so many times when I have closely inspected the scientific evidence or the history sourrounding this controversy, it turns out to be the exact, 180 degree, opposite of what the "fossil" theory proponents claim.

This is just another example.

When inspected closely, it turns out that Abitoic Theory rests more on verifiable scientific principles and less upon presuppositions than "fossil" theory.

It's the laws of physics and chemistry that determine the reality of Abiotic Oil.

Don't take people's word for it.

Verify the validity of any so-called scientific claim. You might just be surprised.

Anaconda said...

Great scoop, John, thanks.

HOUSTON — American natural-gas production is rising at a clip not seen in half a century, pushing down prices of the fuel and reversing conventional wisdom that domestic gas fields were in irreversible decline.

Quantum_Flux said...

I don't know about that Anaconda, biological molecules (especially fatty acids) often do strikingly resemble hydrocarbons, so much so that perhaps life arose in tar pits!? The existance of the first RNA and the arisal of life have been a major stumbling block for westerners, theologians or scientists alike. I know it's just mere speculation on my part at this point, but abiotic oil may be the starting point for life to occur.

Anaconda said...

To Quantum_Flux:
I have also mused that abiotic oil may have been the source of life on Earth. But to mid-19th century geologists, a process "beyond the reach of God" was a no, no.

My contention above is a comment on "fossil" theory's historical development, not on its present status.

Quantum_Flux said...

Faith in authority often times gets in the way of reason.

Anaconda said...