Wednesday 3 February 2016

13 “In a 19th century French experiment by M. M. Biot and Arago a powerful lamp with good reflectors was placed on the summit of Desierto las Palmas in Spain and able to be seen all the way from Camprey on the Island of Iviza. Since the elevation of the two points were identical and the distance between covered nearly 100 miles, if Earth were a ball 25,000 miles in circumference, the light should have been more than 6600 feet, a mile and a quarter, below the line of sight!”

Hurray – a new point at last. Unfortunately… it makes little sense, because the numbers quoted are wrong.

First, a reference for this to a real science publication would help to check on the decidedly dodgy figures claimed.

Mr Dubay does not provide the elevation of the two points. It seems the height of the summit of Desierto de las Palmas is: 729 meters, or 2390 feet at Bartolo peak.

There is nowhere on the island of Ibiza that is particularly close to being 2390 feet high as the highest point on the island, Sa Talaiassa, is 475 meters, or 1558 feet, high. Oops, Mr Dubay has a real problem with facts.

The apparent source for this claim, Zetetic Astronomy Samuel Birley Rowbotham (1816–1884) seems to have messed up the mathematics more than somewhat.

See the following for more details and diagrams:

Stop Press! Dubay and his sources amazingly wrong again!

Since I posted the reply above, I've seen this, showing that almost everything in the claim is wrong. What a surprise...:

SPOILER ALERT: This post is very boring, and mostly pointless: not even flat earthers use this 'proof', and Dubay seems to have gone somewhat out of fashion, but I include it here because: a) I did the research already; b) others debunking his list on their blogs hadn't quite figured this one out; c) it's maybe good that it exists somewhere; and d) it's a great example of how Dubay has compiled, presented, and (not) researched his material.


At number 13 in his list (video/self-published book/website) of "200 Proofs the Earth is not a Spinning Ball", Dubay says that:
As usual, this is a fairly direct quotation from one of the Victorian flat earth texts, this time Samuel Rowbotham's "Earth Not a Globe" (1872):"In the account of the trigonometrical operations"&f=false
POINT 1: While almost repeated word-for-word, there are a few important changes to note. First of all, Dubay has chosen to call the "trigonometrical operations" a "French experiment" - probably to make it look like a flat earth test rather than the measuring of the globe that it actually was - and, rather than Rowbotham's "nearly the same" elevation of the two points, he has claimed they were "identical." This is a pretty amusing assertion, given neither he nor Rowbotham knew where the points actually were.

POINT 2: Another fun one. When reading the text out, he says, "M. M. Biot", as though these were the guy's initials. "MM." actually means "messieurs" - ie, "Misters Biot and Arago." Biot's first name was Jean-Baptiste.

TITBIT 1: Biot and Arago were two French physicists, astronomers, and mathematicians - and certainly not flat earthers - who, in 1806, took on the work of measuring the meridian arc which passes through Paris in order to determine the exact length of a metre. It was a pretty Herculean and adventurous task, taking many years and involved scaling mountains, being arrested as spies, and subsequent escapes from the Spanish authorities. Quite the dedication to science!

POINT 3: The Desierto de las Palmas is a mountain range in the Spanish province of Castellón. The highest peak is called Bartolo, and it is from here that Biot and Arago made their measurements, as recorded on page 20 of "Memorial du Depot General de la Guerre, Volume 7". The elevations given are between 726.36 metres and 728.29 metres (2383 and 2389 feet).

This demonstrates that Rowbotham clearly had no idea of the elevation of the summit of Desierto de las Palmas, since it would be impossible for the two points to be "nearly the same" - the highest point on Ibiza is 1558 feet, and this wasn't the point Biot and Arago were using.

TITBIT 2: From "Report of Observations Geodesic, Astronomical, and Physics" by MM. Biot and Arago (1821): geodesiques desierto de las palmas&f=false
POINT 4: While Biot and Arago called the point on Iviza (Ibiza) "Campvey", Dubay copies Rowbotham in calling it "Camprey": presumably because the original publication's "v" looks a little like an "r". Either way, I wasn't able to locate anywhere called Camprey or Campvey on Ibiza now - though, oddly, it shows up on some German sites as an Ibizan peak with an elevation of 396 metres. Handily, this matches the elevation reported by Biot and Arago, on page 9 of the aforementioned "Memorial du Depot" (and elsewhere), making it a good 1090 feet below the summit of Bartolo - ie, not exactly "identical."

Using the metabunk curve calculator, and a distance of 100 miles (Rowbotham got that much right) this shows us that at least 224 feet of Campvey should have been visible from Bartolo.

Claim #13, therefore, is debunked.


1. Where is Campvey exactly? A topo map of Ibiza locating a peak of 396 metres/1299 feet about 100 miles from Bartolo should do it.

Or, in the aforementioned primary sources, latitude and longitude are given for Bartolo as 44.54/+2.56 and Campvey as 43.4/+1.09, but I can't work out what these refer to. Did they have a different system back then? After all, these measurements were taken a good 70 years before the prime meridian was established

2. In the 1870 edition (Volume 7, 4th Series) of "Chambers's Journal of Popular Literature, Science and Arts" the story of Biot and Arago is told, and it's possible this is where Rowbotham took his information, given that he uses the journal in some of his other 'proofs'. The Chambers account seems fairly scientific and straightforward, though, but I can't read all of it, as the digitised google books version isn't available in full-view.

3. Will I do research like this on any more of Dubay's 'proofs'? Hell no! Thorough investigation of this and "#4: Rivers Flow Uphill" (link to metabunk thread) - plus glances at some of the others - has told me pretty much everything I need to know. Hopefully the same can be said for any other sane-thinking person too.

Sorry for the tedium! 

1 comment:

  1. Water covers 71% of the earth's surface......Water has to be contained and ALWAYS finds its own level.....A vacuum cannot exist next to an atmosphere......We can see objects far away that the mathematics of a globe dictate we shouldn't........The earth is flat.


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