Sunday, December 9, 2007

It Makes Me Want to Tear My Hair Out, But I Can't Stop Listening

I've been listening to the The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe for about a year and a half now. A few months ago I decided to go through the archives; I really should have done this when I first started listening since they now have twice as many episodes as then, but such is life. One upside is that I know some good things are still to come (though there are also some very bad things).

Today I've gotten to my favorite episode: Skepticast 51. The Neal Adams interview. If you've never listened to the show, at least listen to this one. It's a classic.

Neal is a proponent of a plate-tectonic-denying expanding earth theory. He holds that matter is constantly being created inside the earth which expands as a result. A theory such as his more or less requires a complete rewriting of every branch of science, including but not limited to geology, planetary science, particle physics, astrophysics, cosmology, and even biology. Yes, Neal Adams seems to fancy himself as seeing basic facts that have somehow eluded every single working scientist for at least the past fifty years.

On the show you can hear his responses to several basic scientific challenges. The first one to jump out is the fact that matter can't be created, and you have to hear his response to believe it. But my favorite challenge is a different one, which I will quote here.

Bob Novella: Let me just try to see some ramifications here. If the earth had less mass in the past, therefore it was less massive and had less gravitational pull, correct? If that's the case, if the earth's mass is increasing, why is the moon moving away from us instead of coming closer to us as the gravitational pull inevitably increases?

Neal: (condescending) Be-cause the moon is getting bigger, too. They're all growing.

Bob and Steve, together: That would make it even worse!

Neal: Not really, no. Because... it sorta works like this. ... (sigh) ... You have to understand the whole theory. There's a whooole massive theory to this.

Bob: Gravity is gravity.

Neal: (condescending again) Well, gravity is not necessarily gravity, is it? Gravity could be electromagnetic in nature, couldn't it?

Bob: No.

It goes on, but you can get the gist of the interview from that passage alone. Trust me, it's worth a listen. Of course, in the wonderfully skeptical words of LeVar Burton, "You don't have to take my word for it!" Just listen for yourself!


Ben said...

I remember listening to this one over the summer. It drove me crazy for about three days. It was one of those things where you want to find someone who believes the same thing so you have someone to vent your frustrations to. The problem is, NO ONE believes this expanding earth crap. It was like listening to a schizophrenic talking about spiders on the walls.