I was curious to learn about the Whole-Earth Decompression Dynamics (WEDD) theory developed by J. Marvin Herndon after I discovered that Lynn Margulis had edited and recommended his work several years ago. After purchasing Herndon’s Earth and the Dark Side of Science and reading the foreword by Dorion Sagan, whom I respect as an excellent science writer, I began to see Herndon as a scientist who is attempting to shake the foundations of more than three distinct subject areas – Geoscience, Planetary Sciences, and Nuclear Science. Whether or not you personally think his WEDD theory is right or wrong is irrelevant to the truth. If someone thinks his theory is incorrect, then they can refute the theory with substantive evidence by publishing a paper which details the inconsistencies in logic or facts. But remember, as Feyerabend and Kuhn note repeatedly, facts are always theory laden.
Science is not a religion; scientists are not priests who defend a fixed doctrine. Scientists who simply ridicule or resort to name calling are doing a disservice to science in a time when science is being attacked on many fronts – by religions, governments, and corporations. Scientists who forsake truth for tenure, personal prestige or their own beliefs are just as dangerous to science as any external threat. And this does not exclude Herndon himself.
As a reader of science subjects, I find the ideas of Herndon to be a fresh and fascinating departure from the status-quo. This is what science is all about, proposing preposterous ideas and then proving them right or wrong. His theory is nothing short of a revolution in the subjects previously mentioned. Even if it turns out to be false, they still provide food for thought and may even perhaps result in a more developed and better understanding of the true nature of natural phenomenon.
In light of all the exoplanet discoveries of the Kepler Space Telescope there is even more reason to seriously consider investigating the theories presented by Herdon. Of the thousands of exoplanets discovered thus far, there is a large fraction of Jupiter type planets which lie within the orbit of Earth. In fact there are so many such exoplanets that the question should not be: “Why are there so many Jupiter type planets in such close proximity to their host star?” but should rather be: “Why does our Solar System not contain Jupiter type planets within Earth’s orbit?”
Even if Herdon’s theory is incorrect regarding the history of our Solar System, his proposed theory is a physical possibility, i.e. there is at least one planet or moon which has had its atmosphere stripped away in the universe. It would therefore be silly not to study the theory. Don’t mathematicians study topics which have no current application? What is the issue with studying situations that did not occur in our Solar System?
I suggest first reading: A New Basis of Geoscience: Whole-Earth Decompression Dynamics
and then reading his book mentioned earlier (his book also contains this paper, among others).
For a list of his papers – J. Marvin Herdon on arXiv.org.