Weird Earth
314 pages

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314 pages
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Aliens. Ley lines. Water dowsing. Conspiracies and myths captivate imaginations and promise mystery and magic. Whether it's arguing about the moon landing hoax or a Frisbee-like Earth drifting through space, when held up to science and critical thinking, these ideas fall flat.
In Weird Earth: Debunking Strange Ideas About Our Planet, Donald R. Prothero demystifies these conspiracies and offers answers to some of humanity's most outlandish questions. Applying his extensive scientific knowledge, Prothero corrects misinformation that con artists and quacks use to hoodwink others about geology—hollow earth, expanding earth, and bizarre earthquakes—and mystical and paranormal happenings—healing crystals, alien landings, and the gates of hell. By deconstructing wild claims such as prophesies of imminent natural disasters, Prothero provides a way for everyone to recognize dubious assertions. Prothero answers these claims with facts, offering historical and scientific context in a light-hearted manner that is accessible to everyone, no matter their background.
With a careful layering of evidence in geology, archaeology, and biblical and historical records, Prothero's Weird Earth examines each conspiracy and myth and leaves no question unanswered.

Modern Flat Earthism
In fact, flat-earth beliefs were a rare fringe idea with few followers until relatively recently. In the 1800s, the most famous flat earther was Samuel Rowbotham (1816-1884). In the 1860s, he pioneered the modern flat-earther notion that the earth was a disk centered over the North Pole (Fig. 2.2), bounded on its outer edge by a wall of ice (instead of Antarctica over the South Pole, which cannot exist in their version of geography). The skies above were a dome of fixed stars only 5000 km above the earth's surface, consistent with the old medieval notion of the heavens before the birth of modern astronomy. His ideas were first published in a pamphlet called Zetetic Astronomy, followed by a book called Earth is Not a Globe, and another pamphlet The Inconsistency of Modern Astronomy and its Opposition to the Scriptures, which revealed the Biblical literalist roots of most flat-earth thinking. According to Rowbotham, the "Bible, alongside our senses, supported the idea that the earth was flat and immovable and this essential truth should not be set aside for a system based solely on human conjecture". He is correct in saying this, because there are at least 16 places where the Bible says the earth is flat or talks about the "four corners of the earth" or talks about the "ends of the earth" or the "circle of the earth" or suggests that you can see the entire earth from a high place. Rowbotham and later followers like William Carpenter and Lady Elizabeth Blount kept promoting the idea and founded the Universal Zetetic Society, even after the death of the Rowbotham in 1884. This incarnation of flat earth thinking died out some time after 1904.
After about 50 years of virtually no organized activity, the rebirth of flat earth thinking occurred in 1956 with the founding of Samuel Shenton's International Flat Earth Research Society, based in his home in Dover, England. It was always a tiny group, with a very limited membership corresponding with a primitive homemade mailed newsletter, yet every once in a while they managed to get a short burst of publicity in the newspapers. In the 1960s and 1970s, when Gemini and Apollo astronauts first began to produce images of the earth from space, Shenton dismissed the images as hoaxes (the common belief among flat earthers ever since), saying, "It's easy to see how a photograph like that could fool the untrained eye". Later, he attributed the curvature of the earth seen in NASA photographs as a trick of the curvature of wide-angle lenses. "It's a deception of the public and it isn't right".
After Shenton's death in 1971, Charles K. Johnson picked up the mantle, and inherited Shenton's library from his wife. He reorganized the group as the International Flat Earth Research Society of America and Covenant People's Church, where they maintained their lonely quest at his home in the town of Lancaster in the Mojave Desert. They reached a membership as large as 3500, scattered around the world, paying annual dues of $6 to $10. The society communicated via the quarterly Flat Earth News, a four-page tabloid written and edited almost entirely by Johnson and sent in the mail. As hard-core Biblical literalists, they emphasized all the passages that state that the earth is flat. Every few years, they would get smirking coverage in the newspapers, but their membership declined during the 1990s, especially after a fire at Johnson's house in 1997 destroyed all the records and contact information of the membership. Johnson's wife died shortly afterwards, and then the society itself vanished when Johnson died on March 19, 2001.
Flat earth thinking might still be a tiny fringe belief with no organized leadership were it not for the internet and the ability of believers all around the earth to find each other and organize a virtual community. The Flat Earth Society was resurrected in 2004 by Daniel Shenton (no relation to Samuel) as a web-based discussion forum, then eventually relaunched as an official society, with a large web presence and their own wiki. As of July 2017, they claim a membership of 500. Based the publicity from all the celebrity entertainers and musicians discussed at the beginning of this chapter, however, it appears that flat earth ideas are much more common (see Chapter 18), even if the believers are not official members of the Flat Earth Society. There are a number of other flat earth societies on the internet not affiliated to Shenton's group. The first Flat Earth International Conference met in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Nov. 9 and 10, 2017, with about 500 attendees. In May 2018, there was a three-day flat earth convention in Birmingham, England, with several hundred attendees who traveled all the way to England to hear a spectrum of speakers with a common belief in the flat earth. Even more alarming, about a third of millennials are not convinced that the earth is round (discussed in Chapter 18). And there are calls on the internet for a reality show to let the flat earthers test their ideas and actually try to travel off the edge of the earth!

1. Science and Critical Thinking
2. The Flat Earth
3. Ptolemy Revisited
4. The Hollow Earth
5. The Expanding Earth
6. Did We Really Land on the Moon?
7. Magnetic Myths
8. Earth-Shaking Myths
9. Quacks and Quakes
10. Was There a Great Flood?
11. Are Dinosaurs Faked?
12. Is the Earth Only 6000 Years Old?
13. Mysteries of Mount Shasta
14. The Myth of Atlantis
15. The Mysterious Ley Lines
16. Crystal Con Artists
17. Water Witching
18. Mysterious Earth: Why People Want to Believe Weird Things



Publié par
Date de parution 14 juillet 2020
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781684351367
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 6 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0050€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


weird earth
D O N A L D R . P R O T H E R O
hîs book îs a pubîcaîon o
Réd gnng Booŝ  Eàŝ  séé Boongon, ïndànà  UsA
©  y Donàd R. Poéo
A rîgs reserved
No pà o ŝ oo ày é époduçéd o uzéd n àny o o y àny éànŝ, ééçonç o éçànçà, nçudng pooçopyng ànd éçodng, o y àny noàon ŝoàgé ànd éévà ŝyŝé, wou péŝŝon n wng o é puŝé. Hé pàpé uŝéd n ŝ puçàon ééŝ é nu équéénŝ o é Aéçàn Nàonà sàndàd o ïnoàon sçénçéŝ—Péànénçé o Pàpé o Pnéd ày àéàŝ, ANsï Z.–.
Manuacured în e Unîed Saes o Amerîca
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ày Coo é Wooduné é upy éwŝ Coén
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Pàu Ronŝon
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Wàé Pàn Rç sçwéçé ày Déo Déwéy ooé Bo Do
 Foreword îx  Preace xîîî  Acknowedgmens xv
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