Debunking Strange Ideas about Our Planet
Published by: Red Lightning Books
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.
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
"Weird Earth is about the facts and the people who don't believe them. Don Prothero describes the process of science—and the process of not accepting it. If you're wondering if humans walked on the Moon, if you've wondered where the lost City of Atlantis went, or if you're wondering what your cat will do before an earthquake, check out Weird Earth. (They sure did. It was never lost. And, your cats won't do any more than they ever do.) Don Prothero lays it out for us Earthlings—and it's weird."~Bill Nye, CEO, The Planetary Society
"Written in a clear, readable style, Weird Earth is a science-based analysis of various dubious and 'crank' geological beliefs, and is especially useful to lay readers curious about these so-called unexplained topics."~Benjamin Radford, Deputy Editor, Skeptical Inquirer
"Geologist Prothero (Fantastic Fossils) offers a breath of intellectual fresh air with this amusing look at how to dispel endemic pseudoscience and conspiracy theories through rational thinking. . . . As Prothero takes on one crackpot notion after another, his writing is accessible and often wry. With its wide variety of topics and sharp insights, Prothero's latest delivers something weird for every reader."~Publishers Weekly
"Pairing convincing arguments with photographs and helpful diagrams, Weird Earth is lucid in applying common sense to everyday geological questions and passionate as it calls for scientific literacy."~Rebecca Foster, Foreword Reviews
"Prothero offers plenty of convincing proof that nonsense is nonsense."~Kirkus Reviews
"In his latest, science teacher and proud skeptic Prothero takes on a raft of pseudo- and antiscientific beliefs and handily debunks them: flat earth, hollow earth, young earth, geocentrism, moon landing conspiracies, faked fossils, flood myths, Atlantis, dowsing, and more. He briefly describes these schools of thought, where they come from, and summarizes the scientific evidence which shows that these beliefs are incorrect. But he wants to do more than just debunk. He believes scientists need to explain why and how they come to the conclusions they do."~BOOKLIST / Amer Library Assn
"I really enjoyed it, but part of me is also thinking, 'It's such a bummer that we're in a place where [the author] felt like this was a good thing to write.'"~Phil Ferguson, The Phil Ferguson Show
"If you have any interest in geology and the basics of skepticism, this is a good book for you."~Lee Moller, The God Con
"This book . . . is in a way a coming together of his years of study and analysis of scientific investigations of some of the most prevalent weird ideas from beliefs in flat earth, expanding earth, hollow earth and geocentrism to faith in the paranormal, aliens, UFOs, crystal healing, and even the controversy of the faked moon landing. Although written from the perspective of American realities, the ideas in the book hold true globally. . . . With vivid examples and scientific explanations, the book makes for interesting reading."~Hasan Jawaid Khan, Science Reporter
"Prothero writes well and knowingly. He patiently analyzes one wild claim after another and presents scientific evidence so that no questions remain unanswered. As one reviewer put it, "Prothero provides ample evidence that nonsense is nonsense.""~Kim Møller Hansen, Scandinavian UFO Information
"Prothero debunks conspiracy theories and pseudoscience relating to our planet, making for an entertaining slaying of geological fringe ideas. . . . Prothero ends by quoting Carl Sagan and I will steal that quote here. Call me dramatic, but I agree with the sentiment that science is our candle in the dark without which "clutching our crystals and religiously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in steep decline, unable to distinguish between what's true and what feels good, we slide, almost without noticing, into superstition and darkness" (p. 248). Weird Earth is one such candle in the dark and Prothero deserves praise for doing the ungrateful job that most people would rather not do: to patiently explain the reasons why certain ideas are wrong."~The Inquisitive Biologist
Michael Shermer with Donald R. Prothero — Weird Earth: Debunking Strange Ideas About Our Planet
Shermer and Prothero discuss: • flat earth theories and how we know the earth is round, • hollow earth theories and how we know it’s not hollow • and more