Well, OK then put aside the current model of celestial impacts, and elucidate another model of celestial phenomena and impact(Wood did not do that) that explains how a comet could cause the Chicago fire. If the current models fail to account for how a comet might do that, other then a direct hit above a certain size, what model does? That's not asking for much. Wood didn't provide it. Back in the 1700's , the poopyheads of their day said that peasants that claimed to have seen rocks fall from the sky were crazy, uneducated fools. They were not, as you observed. Eventually those rocks were recognized as solar system debris. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. It should be that way I think. It does make for generations of poopyheads at times, but just because the mainstream theorists and scientists parade out the current models does not mean those models are always wrong.uniface wrote:That's all well and good -- as far as it goes. Which, IMO, isn't far enough. This is why :
What you're doing is elucidating the current model of these celestial phenomena. It's what people do in nearly every case when some alternative possibility is broached. And, at great length and elaborate detail, what the conclusion boils down to is, "That can't be so, because the model doesn't allow it to be so."
But describing current theory, and taking the limitations of reality that imposes as being a description of reality itself rather than of people's attempts to model it regularly produces conceptual train wrecks when theory finally encounters reality in a form it's unable to evade.
An example from an author I've been finding fascinating but won't name because it would derail the discussion into the Stinky Old Poopie Head abreaction :
The scientific press at one time was full of ponderously learned explanations of why the very idea of manned, heavier-than-air flight was an absurd impossibility. Not a few journals of record classed it, along with perpetual motion machines, as a topic closed to discussion.Just before the end of the last century the US patent office issued a direction: “No more patents on electromagnetism will be accepted, for whatever is to be invented in electromagnetism, has already been invented.”
This seems worth noting as relevant to your post. Not on the basis of my being able to provide, detailed, quantifiable data that refute it, but because the pattern involved is a car that's been circling the block for hundreds of years, in plain sight. And almost always ending the same way -- with the quiet scuttling of theoretical models of reality (like that stones could not possibly fall from the sky because there are no stones in the sky that could fall) that, however satisfying, proved inadequate.
Everybody knows that paradigms are overturned. Science often works that way, as demonstrated long ago in Kuhn's "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions." Another way that notion has been put is that new ideas only take hold firmly when the last generation holding to the old ideas or paradigm dies. So, are you saying because anything is possible, the current models must be regarded as "well, OK, but there is probably something out there that will prove to be an exception to those models so not really good enough in probable reality"? (My words, not yours, and, actually, it's a good attitude to have, it's better then close mindedness, IMHO) You're familiar with Charles Fort. I love his collection of anomalies and events that seem to discredit accepted ideas.
But does that really mean every explanation for a phenomena is not good enough because there MIGHT be exceptions?
Please present an alternate model of how impactors behave, whether meteoric or cometary debris. Not incumbent on you, as you state, I don't really expect you to, but maybe someone can find a good model we're not aware of. But otherwise, you seem to be saying the current models aren't good enough in this instance because an unproven theory might be a better bet. I'm all for open mindedness, but without a convincing explanation of how the Chicago fire of 1871 was caused by a comet what good does an unproven theory make? It's not as if you can reproduce the alleged impact in a lab and then say, hey it must have been a comet! I have to believe if you were steeped in an understanding of these phenomena, you would not be suggesting a comet, anymore then Wood should have had he had a better education in the area. But I do admire your attitude regarding accepted "theorydom" in general. I share it, really. I know exactly the kind of people you are talking about. They are intelligent, yet they fail to understand they only think they know far more then they really do. They do not have the creative imagination needed to see beyond the accepted, to at least entertain the unaccepted as possible. They often rise to the top of the profession by playing the game "correctly" and debunking "crackpots" with a "sledgehammer" approach to debate. "He's a crackpot, we can ignore him now. It has been decided. he is a crackpot". What mainstream science did to Immanuel Velikovsky and his impact theories are a good example of how ruhless a response an idea viewed as "crackpot" can be. Or Wilhelm Reich and his "orgone energy" machine. or his cloudbusters. Ruthless supression, he ended up in prison for that matter. Poopyheads can be downright dangerous! Seems like every generation thinks they have reality all figured out. If people knew how much I think outside the box, well there would be plenty who would believe I belonged in a room with padded walls.
"Like studying the surface of a comet"
http://www.astrobio.net/exclusive/206/t ... meteorite-
I would never discourage a highly skeptical attitude in this or any other intellectual endeavor. I in fact feel sorry for people who cannot think outside the box. I try to do so constantly. God forbid I ever find myself elevated to "poopyhead" status.
If there were another explanation existing that could explain how a non extinction level comet impact could start a fire, I'm all ears for it. To the best of my knowledge, no one has come up with one. In and of itself, there is nothing really lacking in elucidating current models. Especially if it seems to make Wood's hypothesis untenable. If only for the time being.