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WND Pimps Nonsense on Oil Again

Birtherism isn’t the only conspiracy that Jerome Corsi, the Worldnutdaily’s favorite loony, believes in. He also believes that oil is abiotic and has a new book out about it, with WND promoting it by asking the idiotic question “HOW DID DINOSAURS GET MILES UNDER THE EARTH?”

So a new book about oil, “The Great Oil Conspiracy: How the U.S. Government Hid the Nazi Discovery of Abiotic Oil from the American People” by New York Times bestselling author Jerome Corsi, asks how did the dinosaurs that died and became part of those “fossil fuels” get to be tens of thousands of feet under the surface?

Really, WND? Have you never heard of sedimentation? The dinosaurs didn’t live thousands of feet down in the earth, for crying out loud, but the land they did live on has been buried under lots and lots of sediments in the last couple hundred million years. This is pretty basic geology, guys. It’s really not that complex.

But Corsi goes a lot further than that into crazytown. He claims that the Nazis proved that oil was abiotic and was constantly being created, and is therefore limitless, but the American government hid that fact from everyone.

Corsi explains that at the end of World War II, U.S. intelligence agents confiscated thousands of Nazi documents on what was known as the “Fischer-Tropsch Process” – a series of equations developed by German chemists unlocking the secrets of how oil is formed.

He reports when the Nazis took power, Germany had resolved to develop enough synthetic oil to wage war successfully, even without abundant national oil reserves.

After the war, while the Russians saw through the technical equations and realized that the process for making synthetic oil is the same process that nature uses to make oil deep inside the earth, U.S. scientists buried the documents and hid them from the public.

For decades, the confiscated German documents remained largely ignored in a United States where petro-geologists and petro-chemists were convinced that oil was a “fossil fuel” created by ancient decaying biological debris.

Uh, yeah. Perhaps Corsi didn’t notice that this Nazi theory never actually worked. If it had, wouldn’t they have developed the ability to produce limitless amounts of synthetic oil? And he also hasn’t noticed, evidently, that no one has actually found any oil using this theory. Using the conventional explanation of biotic oil production, we’ve found all the oil in the world. If a theory can’t actually make predictions, it’s almost certainly false.

Chalk it up to yet another bizarre conspiracy theory believed by Jerome Corsi and pimped by the Worldnutdaily.

Comments

  1. Reginald Selkirk says

    but the land they did live on has been buried under lots and lots of sediments in the last couple hundred million four thousand years.

    Fixed it for you, WND style.

  2. says

    Chances are Crosi is into some form of creationism, which of course can’t acknowledge much of geology, since it’s incompatible with a 6000 year old Earth.

    “They hid the secret formula!” conspiracy theories are amusing. The unvoiced assumption behind them is that no one else is smart enough to find the secret formula through their own scientific research. It’s as if they think science just stops after a certain point.

  3. Michael Heath says

    Does Jerome Corsi attempt to explain the biological material we find in deeply buried oil if not from an old earth? Or is he instead counting on the ignorance of his audience not knowing that oil has bits of biological material contained therein? IIRC, some of which still remains in diesel fuel since it’s not filtered and processed as extensively as gasoline.

  4. slc1 says

    Actually, here are proposals raised by non-whackjob individuals, who argue that fossil fuels are primordial. The most prominent proponent of this hypothesis was the late Cornell physics professor Thomas Gold. This hypothesis by Gold has been at least taken seriously by George Mason physics professor Robert Erlich and skeptic Michael Shermer.

    IMHO, there is some possibility that at least some of the natural gas deposits are primordial. The likelihood of liquid oil deposits being primordial is far less and the notion that coal deposits are primordial is close to crack-pottery.

  5. marcus says

    Well, duh! Obviously the dinosaurs burrowed deep into the earth to escape Noah’s flood. Many would have been unable to find their way back out, and then “Presto Change-o” were transformed (the theory is a little thin here, just assume Goddidit)into light sweet crude over the next 4-5 thousand years. You guys should be able to figure out some of these things for yourselves, sheesh!

  6. Mr Ed says

    He claims that the Nazis proved that oil was abiotic and was constantly being created, and is therefore limitless, but the American government hid that fact from everyone.

    I believe the technical term for a process like this is a perpetual motion machine. Reminds me of the people who want to run electrolyzers off their car’s electrical system to provide hydrogen to fuel the car.

  7. dingojack says

    Uh WND – oil isn’t made of dinosaurs, but from microscopic organisms called zooplankton and algae. But hell, don’t let actual facts get in the way of selling crap to suckers.

    Dingo

  8. Michael Heath says

    timgueguen writes:

    Chances are Crosi is into some form of creationism, which of course can’t acknowledge much of geology, since it’s incompatible with a 6000 year old Earth.

    If true he must then either explain away why we find oil with biological bits remaining, or hope his audience is too ignorant and idiotic to realize that such matter exists in oil. The WND article Ed links to suggests the con is the latter, though that wasn’t written by Corsi but instead a fellow wingnut.

  9. thomaspenn says

    It should be noted that the Fischer-Tropsch process certainly does work and was a Nazi innovation. But, Fischer-Tropsch is just a method for making “synthetic” liquid fuels (e.g., diesel or gasoline) from other hydrocarbons (typically coal, but natural gas and organic materials can be used as well). It’s certainly not some sort of secret. It’s a mature technology that receives increasing interest whenever oil supply issues come up. Fischer-Tropsch has nothing to do with abiotic fossil fuels, though.

  10. says

    What goes largely overlooked is that the source of oil and gas doesn’t make much difference to how much there is or what it takes to extract it. Even if geological processes make some gas, underground geography determines where it is trapped and accessible, and its possible renewal in geologic timeframe — 100s of millions of years — has no relevance to human economy.

  11. says

    Piezo-electric radioactivity from the weight of the floodwaters crushing the bedrock broke down the cellular structure of the dinosaurs during Noah’s Flood. The oil was washed down through the suddenly-porous rocks, then other rocks were deposited on top when the floodwaters receded.

    Checkmate, atheists!

  12. raven says

    He also believes that oil is abiotic.

    This is classic magical thinking. “I want something to be true so it is true.”

    The Nazis did manage to make synthetic oil by a well known process from coal. It does work but it is expensive. And they were always short on fuel during the whole war, part of the reason why they lost.

    The South Africans did the same thing during apartheid. And we may end up doing it someday. It will make $4/gallon gas look cheap.

  13. Michael Heath says

    thomaspenn writes:

    It should be noted that the Fischer-Tropsch process certainly does work and was a Nazi innovation. But, Fischer-Tropsch is just a method for making “synthetic” liquid fuels (e.g., diesel or gasoline) from other hydrocarbons (typically coal, but natural gas and organic materials can be used as well). It’s certainly not some sort of secret. It’s a mature technology that receives increasing interest whenever oil supply issues come up. Fischer-Tropsch has nothing to do with abiotic fossil fuels, though.

    The WND article reveals that Corsi’s argument is that the earth’s mantle is continually making oil, I think sufficiently similar to the Fischer-Tropsch method. So that’s Mr. Corsi’s argument, not that all oil is primordial; especially since his argument is based on a generous god making oil for us in a manner where he can justify his fellow wingnuts continue to both deny the facts of climate change and oppose moving away from a predominately carbon-energized global economy.

  14. anandine says

    As Dingo said, it’s not dinosaur carcasses. It’s layer after layer of algae and other tiny creatures that were left in a mat when the oceans dried up, over and over and over and then covered by layers of salt and sand.

  15. Larry says

    Only in the creationist/WND cartoon world do the inhabitants believe oil comes from burying actual dinosaurs like in that old Exxon TV ad showing a brontosaurus melting into the ground, turning into a pool of oil, and being extracted out by drillers.

    I guess one shouldn’t be surprised since the whackjobs tend to believe The Flintstones was a documentary.

  16. wheatdogg says

    From the execrable Fox special “Paying at the Pump”:

    Sarah Palin: “Bottom line is we need to drill more here where God seems to have dumped a storehouse of safe energy supply right underfoot. ”

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Palin bases her “knowledge” of petroleum and energy matters on the Creationist notion that God put a limitless supply of the stuff right under God’s own country, that is, the US of A.

  17. Skip White says

    So the WND has access to heretofore-unknown and/or classified documents from Operation Paperclip? Then again, perhaps this isn’t that surprising. It must be pretty easy to access secret documents when they’re hidden up one’s ass.

  18. raven says

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Palin bases her “knowledge” of petroleum and energy matters on the Creationist notion that God put a limitless supply of the stuff right under God’s own country, that is, the US of A.

    And the gods are refilling the oil reservoirs while no one is watching.

    More magical thinking. Michele Bachmann says the same thing. “God won’t let us run out of oil because we are his very special snowflakes.” Which doesn’t explain why US oil production peaked in 1973.

  19. MikeMa says

    Energy from hydrocarbon sources is finite and conversion between forms is lossy. Is Corsi proposing we dump sand, water & dirt in one end of his magic nazi machine and oil drips out the other? Perpetual motion indeed. Madness lies this way and Corsi & Farah love crazy people as their livelihoods depend on them.

  20. zentrout says

    “So what are the geological processes?

    Corsi explains that when hydrogen and carbon are added to coal, with various catalysts under intense pressure and heat, hydrocarbons are produced.”

    Abiotic coal?

  21. Chiroptera says

    “HOW DID DINOSAURS GET MILES UNDER THE EARTH?”

    Hahahaha! Run that one by the atheist Dawkins! I’d love to see the look on his face as it dawns on him how he’s wasted his entire life!

  22. raven says

    Corsi explains that when hydrogen and carbon are added to coal,

    I hope he didn’t say that. It makes no sense.

    You don’t add carbon to coal. Coal is nearly pure carbon!!!

  23. Reginald Selkirk says

    The most prominent proponent of this hypothesis was the late Cornell physics professor Thomas Gold. This hypothesis by Gold has been at least taken seriously by George Mason physics professor Robert Erlich and skeptic Michael Shermer.

    Yes, Thomas Gold did promote abiogenic petroleum origin. He was wrong.

    … it allegedly fell out of favor because it never made any useful prediction for the discovery of oil deposits. Most geologists now consider the abiogenic formation of petroleum scientifically unsupported.

    Gold was one of those scientific mavericks who gained respect by being right once or twice, then put more effort into being mavericky than in being scientifically sound. Others of this stripe include Lynn Margulis and Fred Hoyle.

  24. slc1 says

    Re Reginald Selkirk @ #26

    I would agree relative to liquid petroleum and coal. However, with respect to natural gas, given the discovery of hydrocarbons such as methane in the universe (for instance, there are lakes of liquid methane and ethane on Titan), it is not off the wall to suggest that at least some of it may be primordial.

    Gold was also a fierce critic of the big bang theory and once signed a petition that denied it.

    To the list of being mavericky, we might add Peter Duesberg, noted HIV/AIDS denier.

  25. KG says

    Funny Hitler apparently never got to learn this Nazi secret either, and put all that effort into trying to conquer the Caucasian oil fields.

  26. The Lorax says

    And 70 years after WWII, with dozens if not hundreds of companies worldwide trying to create cheap synthetic fuel, not a single one of them has been able to match the prowess of those darn Nazi scientists. Woe be the human race, for the secrets are forever lost, burned and buried by the evil US Government.

    Because it’s not like the US used German technology after the war, nosiree. And it’s not like we could have used an obscene fuel-based boost to our economy during the Korean War, Vietnam, the Cold War, the space race, and so on. Nope, those crafty intelligence agents just noticed a veritable mountain of gold scribbled onto a few pieces of paper and promptly buried them.

    Makes perfect sense.

  27. matthewfedder says

    Thanks thomaspenn for getting in quickly to put out the facts behind the process.

    It does exist, it does work, but anyone who thinks it’s a source of abiotic oil is… Nuts. Typically it has only been used by rogue regimes isolated from global oil markets but who have abundant coal to use as a feedstock.

  28. jimmiraybob says

    “HOW DID DINOSAURS GET MILES UNDER THE EARTH?”

    As a geologist – and because I have a master’s degree … in science – let me take a crack. They took the DINOSAUR ESCALATOR!

    Waka! Waka! Thank you. Thank you very much.

    Man, I can hardly wait for my nieces to get old enough to ask me this question. They’re starting to catch on to the “Guess what? Chicken But!” routine.

    Wait a minute, this guy was serious?

  29. tassilo says

    Abiotic oil is entirely plausible. Its generated from a whole bunch of failed kimberlites which deposited their diamonds, in broad, thick layers, at some horizon below the surface. Then, by a process only understood by creation geologists, it turned into oil. Oil from diamonds, its a simple enough concept.

  30. Crudely Wrott says

    “HOW DID DINOSAURS GET MILES UNDER THE EARTH?”

    They started digging immediately upon birth because they knew it was part of the plan?

  31. escuerd says

    Uh WND – oil isn’t made of dinosaurs, but from microscopic organisms called zooplankton and algae.

    If television has taught me anything, it’s that all of history is about World War II, and all of pre-history is about dinosaurs.

  32. otrame says

    You know, when Carter started talking about running out of oil in 200 years (an estimate that did not take into consideration the increase in oil use by India and China) I paid attention. At the time I said that we will end up mining land fills for plastic, because though converting such hydrocarbons into other forms is energy expensive, it is nothing like as expensive as starting from scratch.

    I imagine we will also be mining the methane “Ice” on the sea floor as well. But even those are limited sources. Meanwhile, there are FSM knows how many square kilometers of rooftops across the country that could be producing electricity. Solar panels used to generate electricity pay currently for themselves in 8-12 years and last about 25-30 years (though with increasing efficiency you’d probably want to replace them sooner). Solar panels used to generate heated water can be paid for within a couple of years. Every time I drive by a Wal-Mart or equivalent I think about the amount of electricity they could be creating. The panels would even serve as some insulation for the building as well, saving heating and air conditioning costs.

    Of course, I live in South Texas, where sunny days are the norm year-round, but even in the cloudier north, we should be covering our roofs with solar panels. Every kilowatt would be electricity coming from a renewable resource.

  33. Chiroptera says

    …while the Russians saw through the technical equations and realized that the process for making synthetic oil is the same process that nature uses to make oil deep inside the earth….

    …and so by providing cheap petroleum to both the Third World and to the Industrialized and Industrializing nations in Europe and East Asia, the USSR was able to win the Cold War.

    Oh, wait a minute….

  34. nimsudo says

    As noted earlier, Fischer-Tropes is a real thing. It combines a carbon rich material with hydrogen to form long-chain hydrocarbons. Simply put, it allows you to turn coal into gasoline, which is what the Nazis used it for, or natural gas into gasoline, which no one has really done but is more efficient than using coal as the natural gas provides its own hydrogen.

    For Fischer-Tropes to work you need five things: a source of carbon rich material, a source of elemental hydrogen, and a catalyst, a pressure vessel, and enough energy to run the process. Such conditions do exist naturally. They’re called volcanoes. That’s why volcanoes out-gas methane. Volcanoes typically won’t build hydrocarbons more complex than methane. This is thought to be the process that Titan uses to replenish the methane in its atmosphere, as UV light degrades methane.

    If volcanoes had produced any of the hydrocarbons we use, we’d need to use wells in igneous rock. We don’t. We find it in sedimentary rock. Because the oil and natural gas we use were produced by phytoplankton and cyanobacteria; the coal we use was made by peat bogs and swampy forests.

  35. andrewlephong says

    @23:

    Abiotic coal?

    Apparently, that’s what the man believes. He never actually states in the article where he believes coal comes from, but he insists that Fischer-Tropsch on coal to make oil is inexhaustible, doesn’t involve bio-matter, and is accomplished by the earth’s mantle somehow.

  36. says

    The bottom line is that the Nazi’s synthetic fuel program is irrelevant unless Corsi thinks the 1st law of thermodynamics doesn’t hold. Energy doesn’t come from nothing. You can certainly make synthetic oil, but doing so requires an energy input greater than what you get out of it, given what gets lost to waste heat during the conversion. This is mostly useless.

    But Corsi seems to be saying that the Fischer-Tropsch process is evidence that the abiogenic theory of oil formation is correct. If so, you can test that directly by looking for all the successes of having drilled for it, of which there are none. So he pulls a bait and switch by digging up irrelevant documents about the Nazi’s synthetic fuel program, then declares that there are massive pools of untapped oil deep underground that no government or oil company has seen fit to extract. Which, lack of evidence aside, makes no sense at all.

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