I get e-mail (Son of Bride of Abiotic Oil) 3

I swear to god, this is the post that keeps on giving. By which I mean that it keeps me supplied with random comments and e-mails like this one. (Though in Mr. Alli’s defense, he was quite coherent and not frothily paranoid, counter to the norm.)

Hello Rachel Acks, this is Shawn Alli. I came across your article about abiotic oil: “4.5 Billion Years of Wonder.” If the abiotic oil theory is a laughable then so is the fossil fuel theory indoctrinated to everyone in the West as a child, a student, a young adult and by the time they’re an adult, there’s no need to question it all at. As a philosopher everything can and should be questioned, no matter how long a current theory has been in practice. The day we stop questioning scientific theory and current ideologies is the day humanity dies. Hopefully it will never come to that even though it’s moving in that direction.

Your small attacks on Thomas Gold’s status as an astrophysicist not being a petroleum geologist would be called a low blow, below the belt in reality. You’re attacking his credibility as a scientist believing that he can’t or anyone else for that matter can have a justified view of a topic outside the norm of their research. Your attack is similar to global warming advocates. If a meteorologists says man made climate change is bunk, the standard scientific dogma reply is “he’s not a climate change expert.”  If someone is an arctic research scientist and refutes man made climate change…”he’s not a climatologist, clearly he knows nothing.”  A paleo-climatologist refuting man made CO2, “clearly he’s being paid by oil corporations.”  These attacks on credibility need to stop despite the fueling of the media to people wanting a showdown.  Stick to attacking the arguments, not the credibility.

While I condemn your sarcasm to the abiotic theory I thank you for bringing in Richard Heinberg into the mix, doing so shows a more objective point of view, different from your starting laughable position. Heinberg’s paper makes a good point about nothing in science being conclusive, but that’s the crux of the problem as well. While nothing is objectively conclusive in all scientific disciplines, mainstream science/media/schools push the dominant findings into the norm of common knowledge, thereby taking away the concept of objective science being unfalsifiable with absolute conclusion. While this can be said to be a problem, the real problem (so many now…) is when scientists are funded based on their research, and not objective uninterested research, but massive bias that goes on to produce corporate science. And this is where almost all scientific discipline is. If large stakes of money are involved in the research, if status and reputation is in the pot, corporate science will be the result….(What was my point again?…what a tangent…but I’m a philosopher, so it’s allowed).  Ah yes, Mr. Heinberg’s point about abiotic oil being impossible to prove with absolute certainty. Good point, but absolute certainty is not what science is about nor what people need.  They think they need absolute results from science only b/c they’re conditioned to from society’s garbage institutions called schools and universities. By the way, congrats on your thesis defense coming up.  While I could care less about any higher education in the current archaic educational system (as if real knowledge is being obtained…sound of philosophers laughing), I understand why people go onto MA’s, MSc and PhD’s; for status, jobs and money. All of which are necessary to live a comfortable western lifestyle in the cities/suburbs.

I believe I’ve taken up enough of your time Rachel and wish you all the best while attacking your views on abiotic oil. I’m sure we could get along with respectable conversation. But feel free to read my book for more info. Hmm…I wonder, if I just said that at the beginning of the sales pitch would the end result have been the same?

“Oil, The 4th Renewable Resource”




Shawn Alli

P.S. Forget about kungfu with fixed styles. Look more into Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do where movement is free and flowing. So when it’s necessary to use, it won’t be dependent on the other person’s style.


Hello back atcha, Shawn Alli:

Having done my thesis on one tiny bit of paleoclimate, I have a lot of respect for what kind of bulk exists in the research literature. And you are darn right I’m skeptical about people making wild claims outside their field of expertise precisely because they do not generally prove they have a good grasp of current research – and often make claims that a simple literature search will show are false. I would also point out there is a fine but very important distinction between questioning conclusions (good) and wasting someone’s time with unfounded claims that are not backed up with good research (bad).

I do find it curious that you spend an entire paragraph scolding me about my rather throw-away mention that Thomas Gold is an astrophysicist and not a geologist (literally a single sentence in a much longer post) as an attack on his credibility… then spend your lengthy next paragraph attacking the basic credibility of research and educational institutions. You similarly complain about people questioning the motivations and funding of climate change deniers and then turn around and question the motivations of scientists based on their research funding.

The congratulation on my defense is appreciated, by the way, though it would have been much more congratulatory if not preceded by a paragraph tearing down the entire concept of higher education and the presumption of entirely mercenary motives on my part.

Feel free to read my book when it comes out on April 5th. It’s a steampunk murder mystery, a topic that is, to my mind, far more interesting than diving further down the crackpot rabbit hole of abiotic oil, and probably about as fictional.

Rachael Acks

PS: I like my kung fu style just the way it is.

PPS: The end result of my complete lack of interest in reading your book would have been the same, but without the added bonus of me thinking you’re a patronizing jerk.

PPPS: I have posted your e-mail with links intact on my blog at https://www.katsudon.net, as well as my answer. Seems fair to me.

3 thoughts on “I get e-mail (Son of Bride of Abiotic Oil)

  1. Reply Janiece Mar 5,2013 11:04

    We sure can pick ’em, can’t we?


  2. Reply Emily Mar 5,2013 12:58

    from his amazon page: “Shawn is a philosophical researcher educated at York University in Toronto. He’s also worked with Aboriginal youth in the Northwest Territories of Canada.” read: i’m an uneducated hippie from BLAME CANADA!

    actually, the uneducated part should be blatantly obvious for anyone who attempted to read that awkward-monster of an email.

    AD HOMINEM ATTACKS, AHOY, MATEY! but, you should read my book, anyway!

    btw, i detest when ppl write outside of their specialty. lay-ppl go, “oh, this person is SMRT! they know what they’re talking about!” *cough*jared diamond*cough* when they know absolutely nothing but bullshit pop culture info bites they learned off oprah. *cough*richard dawkins*cough*

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