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I’ve written several blog posts documenting the Swiss / Chinese publisher MDPI’s practice of publishing junk science, articles that few, if any, legitimate publishers would accept and publish. Now the publisher has outdone itself and published a paper that is a monumental example of pseudo-science. The article’s author is J. Marvin Herndon.

Herndon’s paper is entitled, “Evidence of Coal-Fly-Ash Toxic Chemical Geoengineering in the Troposphere: Consequences for Public Health,” and it’s published in MDPI’s pretend journal International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Herndon uses the article to claim that “tanker jets” are spraying coal-fly-ash in the atmosphere, a substance he claims is toxic. He reports, “Coal fly ash is most likely the aerosolized particulate sprayed in the troposphere by tanker-jets for geoengineering, weather-modification and climate-modification purposes” (p. 12). He thinks that “Western governments/militaries” are behind the spraying, which aims to counter global warming, and he bemoans the toxic side-effects of the chemical application.

Herndon’s “evidence” of the aerial spraying includes a few pictures of clouds and contrails he shot in the skies above San Diego, where he lives. His descriptions and conclusions are highly implausible and will leave any reasonable person wondering how a supposedly peer-reviewed, scholarly journal could accept and publish such nonsense.

Herndon tries to legitimize his paper and to appeal to environmentalists by placing his work within the context of Rachel Carson’s 1962 work Silent Spring. I think he’s really just trying to elevate himself as an environmental hero.

The publisher MDPI, which is justifiably included on my list of questionable publishers, does not sufficiently enforce demarcation, the line separating science and pseudo-science, in my opinion, and this crazy article provides additional evidence of that.

MDPI is a Salon des Refusés that accepts and publishes fringe and junk science most legitimate publishers will not touch. This article may in fact be an example of “pathological science.”

Someone paid the firm PR Newswire to issue a press release promoting the article. Also, the website has picked up the story, announcing Herndon’s article with the headline “Ground-breaking, Peer-Reviewed Paper Confirms Coal Fly Ash in Chemtrails.”

Other blogs reporting on Herndon’s paper include State of the NationHealth Impact News, and Activist Post, among others.

Herndon, who is no Galileo, also has 35 preprints published in the preprint server arXiv, evidence he seeks out publishing venues without peer review (a preprint is the version of a paper before it’s submitted for peer review). The inclusion of Herndon’s work in arXiv devalues the entire database and the effort and resources devoted to it.

Publishing a paper in an MDPI journal only means that one is able to afford the author fee. It does not mean the paper represents valid, vetted science.

A PDF of the article is here: ijerph-12-09375

Hat tip: Dr. Marco Gerdol