Cycles of Cosmic Catastrophe
© Firestone et al.
The Scientific Establishment recently turned up the heat on scientist Allen West and the rest of the Younger Dryas Impact Event researchers by unleashing their attack dog, Rex Dalton, whose hitpiece is being used to smear West's good name and the Younger Dryas Impact Theory by proxy. While this is an unfortunate turn of events, we are not entirely surprised here given what we've seen of psychopaths in other quarters of society. If there is one overarching point that we wish SOTT readers to understand, it's that psychopaths do control our world - all of it. While this should be plainly obvious when it comes to corrupt governments, corporations and religious institutions, the world of science and academia is no exception to this fact.

The assumption of Uniformitarianism underpins many if not all scientific disciplines. Its proponents argue that the "present is the key to understanding the past," that the slow gradual processes we see in nature today have been constant throughout history. An enormous number of scientists across many fields have staked their careers (whether they're aware of it or not) on this fundamental assumption. This Uniformitarianist, or gradualist, approach is used to explain things like geological features, celestial events, species evolution, civilization advancement, technological progress and so on. When it comes to catastrophic events, the Uniformitarian-dominated sciences permit only consideration of those which may have happened on a timescale of millions of years, like the Cretaceous - Tertiary extinction event 65 million years ago that supposedly wiped out the dinosaurs. To admit that catastrophic impact events occur on the timescale of human history would mean surrendering the comfortable notion we live in a safe and stable world that has evolved in splendid isolation, shielded from cosmic intervention. Few people, even scientists, are prepared to examine the overwhelming data indicating the reality of cyclic catastrophism. The elite of our world have gone to enormous lengths to prevent the masses from knowing this, so it's not difficult to see how today's Uniformitarianist approach serves a lot of interests.

Just a little background: The group of researchers composed of Richard Firestone, Allen West and Simon Warwick-Smith (usually referred to as Firestone et al.) put forth the evidence in their book The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes for a significant impact event around 13,000 BCE. Such a timeframe would, of course, place the event well within the context of human history, an event that may be the source for myths about the destruction of an antediluvian civilization. If you've been a regular reader of SOTT, you'll know that we consider the evidence gathered by Firestone et al. to be of vital importance in understanding the reality and magnitude of impact events. Even if we may disagree with their stance on how the comets arrived in the Solar System courtesy of a supernova explosion (we assign higher probability to alternative hypotheses explaining the origin of comet clusters), the impact evidence they describe is very good. Rather than the present being the key to the past, as Uniformitarianists believe, understanding the past as described by Firestone et al. becomes the key to understanding our future.

Rex Dalton
© NatureNewsRex Dalton, former writer for Nature.
With Firestone et al. making waves in the scientific community, along comes establishment lackey Rex Dalton, a former writer for Nature, to attack Allen West, a retired geologist, co-author and field researcher of the aforementioned book, in a completely ad hominem manner. We published our own heavily commented version of this slimy article, pointing out how Dalton sought to kill the message by attacking the messenger. Dalton chastised West for not being a formally trained geologist (Dalton himself is only a journalist, mind you) and latched onto a little run-in West had with the California authorities over a decade ago, before negating the majority of impact evidence gathered by Firestone et al. by focusing on questions that have since arisen about a tiny sliver of evidence cited in their book. Unfortunately, many scientists won't see it this way, and instead spread Dalton's article around as if it were gospel (this is already happening). Dalton's piece is a perfect example of the disdain the Scientific Establishment has for real science - the kind of science that could help humanity escape from the shackles of history.

Now that readers understand a little bit of the background and context of this sorry tale, let's recap with some of the accusations made by Dalton in his original article. Here's how the article begins:
An elegant archaeological theory, under fire for results that can't be replicated, may ultimately come undone.

It seemed like such an elegant answer to an age-old mystery: the disappearance of what are arguably North America's first people. A speeding comet nearly 13,000 years ago was the culprit, the theory goes, spraying ice and rocks across the continent, killing the Clovis people and the mammoths they fed on, and plunging the region into a deep chill. The idea so captivated the public that three movies describing the catastrophe were produced.
So far, so good here. Now Dalton steps up and shows his real agenda:
But now, four years after the purportedly supportive evidence was reported, a host of scientific authorities systematically have made the case that the comet theory is "bogus." Researchers from multiple scientific fields are calling the theory one of the most misguided ideas in the history of modern archaeology, which begs for an independent review so an accurate record is reflected in the literature.
As we'll see below, many of these "researchers from multiple scientific fields" have only looked at isolated evidence gathered by Firestone et al. Some of these researchers Dalton quotes have no connection to any part of this area of study. Their biases seem to be just thrown into the mix just to give the impression of a united front against the Impact Theory. The researchers who do have expertise in this area of study don't appear to have looked at all the evidence; they instead seem fixated on isolated aspects of the theory with no consideration of the bigger picture. Could anyone from this crowd ever really give the Impact Theory an independent review? Notice the double-speak here too. The phrase "independent review" is implied to mean "Uniformitiarian bias" by Dalton. Further down Dalton states:
Yet, the scientists who described the alleged impact in a hallowed U.S. scientific journal refuse to consider the critics' evidence - insisting they are correct, even though no one can replicate their work: the hallmark of credibility in the scientific world.
This Impact Theory isn't a single experiment which can be readily "replicated" and quickly verified. Think of the theory as a long list of clues, or independent findings and data-points, all facing inwards at the likely culprit - that Earth did collide with some large space rocks sometime around 13,000 BCE. Reading the Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes is almost like reading a detective novel, you really feel the excitement of this team of researchers piecing together the clues to find out who (or what) 'dunnit.' Admittedly, parts of this theory can and should be verified or refuted by other open-minded researchers; it's possible that some pieces might have to be thrown out and others added in or explained in a different way. All healthy scientific theories go through modifications over time as new data comes in. But overall, there has been a lot of work put into this Impact Theory and there are many more groups besides this Firestone group working on similar problems which deal with geologically recent impact events. Despite Dalton's deceptive presentation of a 'united front' of scientists raising their 'concerns', none of these scientists have refuted all the facts in favor of the Impact Theory, and some haven't even looked at the data at all!
The primary authors of the theory are an unusual mix: James Kennett, a virtual father of marine geology from the University of California, Santa Barbara; Richard Firestone, a physicist at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in California; and Allen West, an unknown academic from the mining industry who lives in Dewey, Ariz.

"We are under a lot of duress," said Kennett. "It has been quite painful." So much so, that team members call their critics' work "biased," "nonsense" and "screwed up."

Such intransigence has been seen before in other cases of grand scientific claims. Sometimes those theories were based on data irregularities. Other times, the proponents succumbed to self-delusion. But typically, advocates become so invested in their ideas they can't publicly acknowledge error.
Perhaps instead of explaining away the Impact Theorists' duress as being "intransigence" and "self-delusion", it might be useful to give their side of the story fair play here? In other words, what sort of guff have they had to put up with from the other side? Dalton doesn't seem to be at all interested in that, however. That would be too much to ask of Dalton who has already revealed his agenda at this point.

Next Dalton moves in for the kill on one of the co-authors, Allen West:
...Indeed, the team's established scientists are so wedded to the theory they have opted to ignore the fact their colleague "Allen West" isn't exactly who he says he is.

West is Allen Whitt - who, in 2002, was fined by California and convicted for masquerading as a state-licensed geologist when he charged small-town officials fat fees for water studies.

After completing probation in 2003 in San Bernardino County, he began work on the comet theory, legally adopting his new name in 2006 as he promoted it in a popular book. Only when questioned by this reporter last year did his co-authors learn his original identity and legal history. Since then, they have not disclosed it to the scientific community.

West's history - and new concerns about study results he was integrally involved in - raise intriguing questions about the veracity of the comet claim...
Here Dalton makes West out to be a common crook and thus nowhere near the level of an 'objective' scientist. But does Dalton really have his facts straight?

In his defense of Allen West, George Howard of The Cosmic Tusk blog writes:
Allen West was employed 13 years ago as a consultant for a company in California that contracted with several cities for water studies. Geophysicists can work without a license in California under some conditions. He thought they were following the law, but in this case, he needed a license.

That inadvertent mistake led to a misdemeanor and a $4500 fine. The District Attorney acknowledged that there was no intent to defraud and allowed the misdemeanor to be reduced to a simple infraction that was subsequently removed from his record. Allen West's record in the State of California is completely clean, and he has no "criminal record," contrary to the claim by Rex Dalton in his article (see 1).

Dalton disparaged the quality of the work in question despite the fact that he is aware that West's California geophysical work continues to be referred to positively in 10 reports by four Federal and State governmental agencies, the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the California Department of Water Resources, and the California Energy Commission (see 2).

In 2005, seven years after Allen completed that work, he retired and contracted to write the Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes. Preferring privacy, he chose the pseudonym "West" instead of his given name "Whitt," and filed the name with the State of Arizona as a legal tradename under the designation "author" (see 3). He continued to use the new name in his scientific career and changed his name legally, meaning it is not an "alias" as erroneously reported by Dalton. People often change their names for various reasons, as for example, Isaac Asimov, who changed his name from Ozimov - nobody accused Asimov of deception.
Allen West
© Douglas J. KennettUniversity of Arizona anthropologist C. Vance Haynes and geophysicist Allen West look at the Black Mat Layer during a sampling excursion to the Murray Springs Clovis site in Southern Arizona.
As we pointed out in our original commentary on Dalton's article, documents show that West/Whitt had no intention of wrongdoing. In fact, it's pathetic that West even needs to defend himself here at all. Wasn't Dalton's article supposed to be about the shortcomings of the Younger Dryas Impact Theory and not West's bureaucratic tangles from his previous employment? The fact that Dalton, himself only trained as a journalist with no real science credentials, mockingly criticizes West's lack of credentials is the height of hypocrisy. This ad hominem attack really shows Dalton's true colors, especially when we consider that this attack forms the centerpiece of his article. Adding insult to injury, Dalton again hits West with this false accusation further down in his article. For a former writer of Nature, one might expect more civilized behavior. This is a desperate, underhanded attempt to tarnish the truly Earth-shattering findings of Firestone's and West's work.

The remainder of Dalton's article is mostly a hack job, giving the reader the impression that there is this 'growing concern' among scientists that Firestone and West are just making up all this impact evidence as they go along. Although still quite deceptive, it's really the only part of his article that touches on anything even close to actual science, albeit very selectively. He quotes a number of his buddy scientists who have attempted to refute some aspect of the Impact Theory, giving people the impression that all these 'scientists' should have some working knowledge of the Impact Theory itself (which doesn't appear to be the case). Here are their claims:

Wallace Broecker - 'Climate' Researcher: "Those who don't believe in human-produced global warming grab onto it [supposedly means the Impact Theory]." (Huh? What does "global warming" have to do with anything here? I love how Dalton tries to tie 'global warming' deniers together with Impact Theorists. Classic!)

Todd Surovell - Archeologist: "Couldn't find magnetic spherules at 7 clovis sites"

Tyrone Daulton - Materials Scientist: "Reported that supposed nanodiamonds formed by the impact were misidentified"

Mark Boslough - Physicist: "Reported that radio-carbon dating of a carbon spherule sample shows it is only about 200 years old - an "irregularity" that indicates is it not from the alleged 12,900-year-old impact time."

Vance Holliday - Archeologist: "Such mixing of spherules from different eras could invalidate any conclusion that higher spherule counts represented evidence of a comet impact." (Referring here to the finding by Boslough above.)

Nicholas Pinter - Geologist: "'[The Impact Theory] is so far beyond the pale - outside of normal experiences in conducting science - you can't ignore it'... Asked if he would collaborate with West, he said, 'I would run screaming away.'" (More defamation against West.)

Jeffrey Severinghaus - Chemist: "Asked if he would seek [a public inquiry of the Impact Theory], he said, 'Absolutely. It is really important to maintain the public trust in science. That means if there is a bad apple, it is rooted out and exposed.'" (If there should be any inquiry, they should look into the last 60 years of academia and root out all the bad apples holding up real progress in the sciences. It's very telling that these bozos want inquiries into Firestone et al., but were either too afraid or just downright arrogant to get to the bottom of 'Climategate'.)

Dalton's only science arguments, based on the claims by this aforementioned bunch, boil down to evidence from sediment samples gathered at a certain layer that Firestone and West refer to as the 'black mat'. This is a black layer in the sediment which indicates the boundary where Clovis culture artifacts appear. Just below this layer one can sometimes find tools, implements, discarded animal bones from an ancient people dubbed the 'Clovis people'. Above this layer one typically finds nothing, at least not for quite some time. This is also the layer where mammoth fossils and other animal remains of the Holocene era end, at least in North America. All this implies that this 'black mat' layer may hold some clues about how the Clovis people and all their animal friends suddenly disappeared. (It's amazing to us that geologists and archeologists have never made this connection, at least not officially.)

In fact, that's exactly the line of reasoning which Firestone and West follow in their book. They hypothesize that this 'black mat' region is the leftover remains of charred vegetation and other burnt matter which was buried after 'something' caused a massive conflagration on the North American Continent. They describe many other sediment and chemical anomalies from this 'black mat' layer which indicate something more than your typical uniformitarian, gradualist processes at work during this time period. So when the folks above quoted by Dalton talk about nanodiamonds and magnetic spherules, they're talking about the sediment anomalies that West discovered in this 'black mat', the place where all Holocene life met an abrupt end. These anomalies are what Firestone and West believe are the result of an extra-terrestrial impact. The theory behind why and how nanodiamonds, magnetic spherules could form during an impact is beyond the scope of this article, but the Cosmic Catastrophes book does a good job of explaining it in layman's terms.

While these sediment anomalies are certainly interesting evidence and should be taken into account, they by no means represent the entire Impact Theory as presented by Firestone et al. in their book. The big picture of Earth being impacted by comets really doesn't change with or without this evidence of sediment anomalies. This is just the "icing on the cake", one could say. Even if this sediment evidence can be refuted, as Dalton and the other detractors claim, this still does not invalidate the mass of other evidence for impacts gathered by Firestone et al. It's an obvious obfuscation on Dalton's part to imply that the evidence he's pointing out is 'all there is' to the Impact Theory.

Dalton cites Mark Boslough's radiocarbon dating of micro-spherules in the black mat sediment layer to just 200 years old, when they obviously should have been much older to refute Firestone et al.'s theory that they could only have formed in super-heated conditions. But the authors relate several times in their book just how precarious relying on radiocarbon dating can be. Dalton must have missed this section, otherwise he would have realized just how weak any dated evidence is when attempting to confirm or refute the Impact Theory.
Exploring the radiocarbon issue further, Bill discovered that some Paleo-Indian radiocarbon dates were laughably wrong. For example, dates from the Paleo-Indian sites at Leavitt and Gainey, in Michigan, came from layers that scientists knew were 13,000 years old; and yet the radiocarbon date came back suggesting that, inexplicably, the long-vanished Ice Age Indians were still hunting extinct camels when the Egyptian pharaohs were building the Temple of Karnak 2,800 years ago.

Another 13,000-year-old site, at Thedford, Ontario, Canada, seemed to show that the long dead Indians miraculously came back to life and lived up until about the time of Jesus. In addition, the most astounding Clovis-era site of all was at Grant Lake in Nunavut Province in northern Canad, where the long gone Ice Age Paleo-Indians had apparently been hunting mammoths during the time of the Battle of Gettysburg in the U.S. Civil War!

[The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes p12]
So much for Dalton's nitpicking of incorrect dates of sediment samples to give the impression that the Impact Theory is maligned by inconsistency! Any evidence that relies on radiocarbon dates needs to be taken with a lot of salt. Radiocarbon dating might work well for the last 6,000 years or so, but beyond this the assumption about the rate of cosmic radiation (which determines the amount of C14 isotope in living things) gets a bit sketchy. It's clear that Dalton is going after a capillary and pretending it to be the jugular with his obsessing over sediment sample dates, all the while relying on his readers' ignorance of the overall evidence for the Impact Theory to fill in the gaping holes that he leaves in his logic.

So what other evidence do Firestone et al. provide, which Dalton has so conveniently omitted from his article?

The Story of the Carolina Bays

The Carolina Bays are the elliptical depressions concentrated along the Atlantic seaboard. Typically these are not viewable from the ground; people only begun to notice them after the advent of flight. There are an enormous number of these 'bays' (over half a million, in fact), each one rimmed with a layer of sand.

An interesting feature of these 'bays' is that the angle of their elliptical shapes all point to one of two general locations. Tracing these locations back towards the west, one finds that the lines seem to converge on two central points: one point is at the bottom of Lake Michigan, and the other is at the lower part of Huron Bay in Canada. It was later discovered that 'bay-like' depressions exist in the American West, South-West and around the Great Plains regions too. Many of these 'bays' form 'crater chains', again pointing back to the same two central locations to the north. It's likely that these locations in Canada and Michigan were covered with thick sheets of ice at the time when these 'bays' were formed, so an impact at these locations would probably have caused an explosion of ice.

Carolina Bays
© The Cosmic TuskShowing the two general locations where the Carolina Bays and similar crater-like depressions converge.
This is exactly what Firestone and West propose, that these central points where the tips of the Carolina Bays converge was once covered with thick glaciers prior to 13,000 BCE. An impact at these ice-covered locations would have sent massive chunks of ice along Southwestern and Southeastern trajectories hundreds of miles long, resulting in a veritable blitz of overhead explosions as half a million pieces of debris exploded on re-entry into the lower atmosphere to form, thanks to atmospheric explosion ablation, all these 'bays' we see along the entire Eastern seaboard and in the Southwest too. An impact might also explain the washed-out features or sand drumlins found in certain parts of North America, like the area around Northern Minnesota and Central Canada. Such an event would have likely caused a sudden surge of melted freshwater to reach the oceans too, followed by rapid cooling of sea temperatures, and thus plunging the Earth back into an Ice Age. It might also explain the sudden rise in sea level around this time, as shown in studies of coral reefs. There are still a lot of points to be worked out in this theory, but the general idea of a sudden impact leading to immediate geological and climate changes is pretty solid.

Black Specs in Mammoth Tusks

It might seem strange to some that evidence for cometary bombardment could exist in ancient mammoth tusk fossils, but here is another interesting fact which Firestone et al. uncovered. After digging through boxes of mammoth tusks, they discovered tiny black specs, some slightly red, indicating embedded iron in some of the tusks. Upon closer inspection, it became clear that something had sent tiny shards of iron zipping through the air at high velocities, likely killing these animals instantly. They also discovered the same black, iron specs in mammoth skulls as well, indicating that these animals did indeed die by some sudden, explosive event.

Mammoth Specs
© UnknownShowing the black specs found in some mammouth tusks, indication of an explosive impact event.
The same micro-bullets of iron turned up in mammoth tusks as far away as Siberia, and in antlers and flint pieces from North America as well. Whatever caused this blanket of micro-sized iron bullets to spray across the Northern Hemisphere continents at such incredible speeds must have been an enormously explosive event. Mammoths have also been found buried in ice from Alaska to Siberia with undigested food in their mouths. It's pretty clear that whatever killed these creatures did it instantaneously. The same event seemed to have frozen them instantly as well, since many of their remains were discovered in an well-preserved state. No gradual process can account for this.

These are just some of the major clues followed by Firestone et al. in their book. Dalton's article mentions none of these points.


Rex Dalton really doesn't have a leg to stand on when refuting the Younger Dryas Impact Theory put forth by Firestone et al. The question is, why would he sink to such low-ball tactics and risk exposing himself with such shaky scientific reasoning? We've published other articles by Dalton on SOTT prior to this one and most seemed fairly balanced and informative (although you can be sure we will be reading with a very careful eye from now on). It's interesting that another topic which Dalton focuses on is Neanderthal research, an area in which we've also taken an interest in due to its implications for research into the origins of psychopathology. What twists of the truth are in store for us from Rex in this other area of study, we wonder? Is Rex getting paid for services rendered to the Cult of Uniformitarianism, or is he merely seeking recognition as an attack dog, licking his masters' boots, if you will? We realise these are strong words, but we feel strongly about such double standards that prevail in corrupt science. We should also note that Rex is not unique; there have been many of his ilk to come along playing the role of disinformation peddlers in the world of science, and we do our best to point them out here on SOTT.

Whatever his motives, the end result of his efforts is an attack on catastrophism, at a most sensitive time in history; a time when more and more people are waking up to the reality that Earth might not be as safe a haven in the cosmos as we once thought. How will the people look upon the Rex Daltons of the world when they understand not only that the Scientific Establishment have no ability to protect civilization from incoming comets, but that they knew about the threat and covered it up in service to the elite? Only time will tell...