Reply To: Private: Quartz CAN Form in a Melt!

Home Forums General Discussion Private: Quartz CAN Form in a Melt! Reply To: Private: Quartz CAN Form in a Melt!


Hi UM Team,

Thank you for confirming that quartz can, in fact, form from a melt, contrary to what you say in your book (see p. 105, for instance). As you point out, it can also form from hydrothermal solutions and from the vapor phase. But since no geologist would dispute that, I fail to see how it addresses the problem I brought up.

Anyway, I also want to thank you for clarifying a few other issues. Here are the points I got out of your reply above.

1. You know full well that quartz and other minerals can form from a melt, but you are able to rationalize your explicit false statements to the contrary by noting that experimental petrologists haven’t been able to grow the crystals in synthetic granites as big as they occur in natural granites. And since crystal size is controlled by (among other things) cooling rate, and granites are thought to cool over long periods, you probably never have to worry about experimental petrologists ever producing evidence that meets your high standards.

2. You are allowed to ignore your high standards of evidence whenever it’s convenient for you. For instance, you cite the UM Identity Principle, “Identical results come from duplicating processes found in Nature.” Then you point out that you can use your autoclave to grow gem-quality quartz crystals that are essentially identical to natural, gem-quality quartz crystals… you know… the kind that geologists think are made by a similar process. But what you haven’t done is simultaneously grow quartz, two types of feldspars, micas, and so on all together in one mass in your autoclave. Before you start claiming that you have demonstrated how quartz grows in granitic rocks, don’t you think you ought to be able to produce a synthetic granite that is indistinguishable from natural granite? And if geologists actually think that granites come from hydrous granitic melts, why are you so insistent that experiments with pure silica melts disprove what geologists think?

3. You think that because you are able to string together “around 6,000 quotes from peer-reviewed journals, scientific textbooks and websites,” you are obviously able to understand the science explained there. Nope.

4. I didn’t know about some of those discoveries of water in space. I actually think that’s pretty cool (although I think you take that information and extrapolate FAR beyond what anyone has ever demonstrated, or even argued for.)

5. You have a ready-made excuse to dismiss almost any argument someone like me can make. That is, no single person has ever replicated every important experiment every scientist has ever done. So if you cite a scientific book to bolster your argument that quartz can’t form from a melt, and then I point out how the same book, in the same paragraph, explicitly talks about people forming quartz from a hydrous granitic MELT, you can just brush it off because I didn’t personally do those experiments, and neither did the author of the petrology textbook you cited. Of course, you don’t give me any reason I should think those scientists were lying about what they reported, and you cite plenty of experimental work you haven’t replicated yourself, but…. But nothing.

6. When you read scientific literature, you are really just browsing for keywords, rather than trying to comprehend. If you find the word “hydrous” with the word “melt”, then obviously it must be talking about hydrothermal growth like in your autoclave, and they must be using the word “melt” loosely, to mean something like “not a melt”.

7. You aren’t even willing to look up words you don’t know when you read scientific literature. You say, “Anhedral quartz probably means it was not Alpha quartz, which is what is found almost exclusively in Nature.” Um… no. Anhedral means it doesn’t have nice crystal faces, which often happens when crystal growth is diffusion limited, and occurs over a short time period. The crystal structure is still the same. Incidentally, you also don’t seem to understand that it’s impossible for beta-quartz to exist at Earth-surface conditions. You might have picked that up if you had read my article, “Quartz is not Glass. So What?”, on my blog. I tried posting a link to it on your forum, but you guys deleted it.

8. Whenever geologists try to reconstruct something that happened in the distant past, or happens in a place (like deep inside the Earth) that can’t be directly observed, you take that to mean their conclusions are “not scientific because [they] cannot be observed or proven.” And yet, when you try to reconstruct something that happened in the distant past, or happens in a place that can’t be directly observed, it’s really, really scientific.

9. When scientists look at the work of someone like Norman Bowen, figure out that it can’t explain all their observations, modify their theories to better encompass all their observations, but still hold on to some ideas from the previous work they think are still valuable… you take that to mean they are basing all their current theories on something that was proven false. Funny, I thought it showed that those guys were open-minded enough to recognize flaws in theories and try to correct them, but try not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Also, I do not agree with your definition of science, but it’s not that I don’t think there’s such a thing as truth. Rather, I think it’s harder to prove you have the Absolute Truth than you seem to want to believe. If you really, really want to know exactly how I think science works, take a look at an essay I published in BYU Studies Quarterly, called “Science as Storytelling”. I hope you will not use the title of that essay to falsely claim that I think science is all a bunch of fiction. Even if I did believe in your definition of science, it’s clear that you don’t follow it yourself.