Thursday 10 March 2016

130) “From “Earth Not a Globe!” by Samuel Rowbotham, “Take two carefully-bored metallic tubes, not less than six feet in length, and place them one yard asunder, on the opposite sides of a wooden frame, or a solid block of wood or stone: so adjust them that their centres or axes of vision shall be perfectly parallel to each other. Now, direct them to the plane of some notable fixed star, a few seconds previous to its meridian time. Let an observer be stationed at each tube and the moment the star appears in the first tube let a loud knock or other signal be given, to be repeated by the observer at the second tube when he first sees the same star. A distinct period of time will elapse between the signals given. The signals will follow each other in very rapid succession, but still, the time between is sufficient to show that the same star is not visible at the same moment by two parallel lines of sight when only one yard asunder. A slight inclination of the second tube towards the first tube would be required for the star to be seen through both tubes at the same instant. Let the tubes remain in their position for six months; at the end of which time the same observation or experiment will produce the same results--the star will be visible at the same meridian time, without the slightest alteration being required in the direction of the tubes: from which it is concluded that if the earth had moved one single yard in an orbit through space, there would at least be observed the slight inclination of the tube which the difference in position of one yard had previously required. But as no such difference in the direction of the tube is required, the conclusion is unavoidable, that in six months a given meridian upon the earth's surface does not move a single yard, and therefore, that the earth has not the slightest degree of orbital motion."

I didn’t know whether Rowbotham actually tried this. He doesn’t actually say he did, only that this is what would happen if we did. * See footnote  below

However it is another false claim. Pants-on-fire-false

"Let the tubes remain in their position for six months; at the end of which time the same observation or experiment will produce the same results - the star will be visible at the same meridian time, without the slightest alteration being required in the direction of the tubes"

Good luck with that. Because it's absolutely impossible. The only stars that will roughly be in the same position at the same time of night after six months are Polaris and Sigma Octantis. Any other star will be in a completlely different direction.

Anybody who ever bothers to look up and tries to repeat this experiment can verify this.

*(In any case, I’m afraid that Rowbotham, alias Birling, alias Parallax , is not a reliable source,. For instance he claimed that the earth was immovable because in fifty trials when he fired a gun tied vertically, the bullet had twice fallen back into the muzzle, which Proctor asserted was clearly a blatant lie.

Building on this point, he observed that throughout his book Parallax had utilized garbled quotations, which seemed to support his flat-earth doctrine, but in every case the reference to the original authority or scientific work stopped just short of where the passage began to bear the other way. ‘From this evidence,’ Proctor concluded, ‘I deduced . . . that as Parallax is manifestly not wanting in intelligence or even in ability, he advocates a theory which he knows to be erroneous.’

Garwood, Christine (2010-12-17). Flat Earth: The History of an Infamous Idea (Kindle Locations 2630-2636). Pan Macmillan. Kindle Edition.

Anyone who has every used 19th century firearms, as I have,  will know how incredibly improbably such a claim is. Even on a flat motionless Earth, it would require an impossible level of precision to get a bullet to fall back into the barrel, even ignoring issues of wind, vibration, wobbly fixing of the gun etc.  And anyway the bullet would have started off with a sidewise momentum because it was on a rotating Earth and within a rotating atmosphere, so it’s not clear how much difference the experiment would make to the flat/spherical argument.