After many hours at my computer, I have just finished reading Volume 1 of the Universal Model and it has been a significant journey in my life, I could even say it has been transformative because now I look at the earth differently. Although my academic background has not been in the sciences, I have always been fascinated by the various components of the natural landscapes that I have enjoyed where I have lived and travelled. Observations led to more questions than I could find answers for and so it was with some anticipation that I tackled this book. Dean Sessions contends that true scientific principles are easy to understand and if he could make them clear to me then I was all in. Sessions has helped me to understand some hitherto, for me at least, incomprehensible truths. He has achieved this by his clear, direct, logical, evidence-based and often beautiful, style of writing and the sensible and engaging organization and presentation of his data. It was a pleasure to work through the ideas, evidence and principles that he has developed through many years of thoughtful observation and hands on experimentation with the natural elements he has found and worked with. Sessions capacity to formulate the questions that have occurred to most of us and then to work through the lines of existing scientific theory, anomalies, new evidence and finally to put forward persuasive arguments based on viable evidence that responds to those questions, has resulted in a truly extraordinary achievement. Although there were times that I grew weary of Sessions frequent disparagement of modern scientists who have been misguided by incorrect theories, I recognize the frustration he must have felt when searching for support for his new way of looking at things. I wish there were a way of presenting this significant information in a way that invited scientists into the discussion so that there can eventually be a state of acceptance and consensus. These ideas will, after all, have to contend with the assessment and evaluation of the doubters, skeptics, the critics and peer reviewers.
Sessions is not alone in his frustration with modern science processes. As a Canadian I am a regular listener to the weekly CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) science show, “Quirks and Quarks.” Just as I was thinking about how to respond to the Universal Model, an interview was broadcast with Dr. John Ioannidis of Stanford University. Dr. Ioannidis is a medical biologist who bemoans the consequences of bad science citing a number of examples, which would be familiar to all. When asked why there is such a thing as ‘bad science’ he pointed out that the incentives and rewards offered contemporary scientists are often misaligned with “getting at the truth.” Fact-checking and re-producing results doesn’t get rewarded. Scientists are pushed to pump out results that make for a big story. The effect is unreliable studies with conclusions that are not supportable and this, along with inadequate efforts to clearly communicate the methodologies and evidence, adds to the confusion. Dr. Ioannidis offered a few ideas of how to fix the problem. The first is devising methods for intervening against cognitive biases; becoming more effective communicators; sharing scientific knowledge and rewarding high quality science. Sessions has applied these criteria admirably well to both his science and his book. I feel as though I have just emerged from a graduate program in geology. One of the side benefits of this new way of determining how the earth came to be is that the findings correlates so much better with my spiritual beliefs. I look forward to reading the next two volumes.
-Ruth Whidden Yates, M.A. M.Ed. Merritt, British Columbia