Anti-Science

Scientist Finds The Earth Isn’t Rotating

This is huge news, you guys. Huge! It was announced back in September but somehow I completely missed it. You see, one scientist by the name of fernieboy100, published his research in the venerable journal YouTube, showing without a doubt that the Bible is true and science is false because the Earth is most definitely not rotating.

OK, I know that it’s 30 minutes long and you have better things to do with your time like figuring out who you’re going to vote for in the Prezoodential elections at Franklin Park Zoo (um Stella the Red Panda, no duh), but this is important! Oh fine, I’ll try my best to sum up the entire video in one sentence:

“The Earth isn’t rotating because if it was, we’d all be motion sick from moving at 1,000 miles an hour.”

That is the argument, re-stated again and again, through all 30 minutes of the video. Go on, have a look. If you must skip most of it, at least don’t you dare miss the part around the 23-minute mark where it’s just a string of videos showing people falling off things.

fernieboy100 maintains that the Earth’s atmosphere is not a solid – it is a gas (note: this has been confirmed by godless heathen scientists). When a hot air balloon is hanging in the air, the Earth isn’t spinning beneath it. “Scientists” would tell you that this is because the Earth’s atmosphere moves along with the rotation of the Earth, but fernieboy100 proves conclusively that the gas around a solid does not move with the solid.

He demonstrates this using a remote control helicopter he procured from his local Sharper Image Scientific Supply Outlet. When the helicopter lifts off his non-moving pick-up truck, it moves (mostly) straight up into the air. When his pick-up is moving, the helicopter does not lift straight up. Because his pick-up’s atmosphere is remarkably similar to that of Earth’s, this proves that Earth is not moving. Get it? The gas around an object (which we apparently always call an “atmosphere”) does not move with the object.

Checkmate, science!

This research is not without it’s controversies, though. When reached for comment, a 12-year old astronomy enthusiast named Kaitlyn said, “What about Jupiter?”

In response, fernieboy100 issued a press release that read in full:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

What?

At a press conference held several days later in Mr. Andrews’ 4th period physics class, Kaitlyn clarified with the following statement:

Jupiter might have a small rocky core but it’s made of mostly hydrogen and helium, and we can see it rotating even though it’s pretty much all gas. Also, Jessica took my hairband and won’t give it back.

fernieboy100 took several months to consider this new information and run more RC helicopter-based calculations before finally issuing one final press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

I, fernieboy100, am now an atheist who renounces my lord and savior Jesus Christ and his Holy word the Bible.

Ah, well. It was a great theory while it lasted.

Thanks to Angel for sending in this tip!

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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39 Comments

  1. February 20, 2012 at 2:51 pm —

    What is this? I don’t even… wow.

  2. February 20, 2012 at 2:53 pm —

    Ummm

    ROFLcopter?

  3. February 20, 2012 at 2:55 pm —

    The ocelot is way more prezoodential!

    • February 20, 2012 at 3:13 pm —

      You take your pro-ocelot propaganda and you get it off this site god damn it

    • February 20, 2012 at 7:02 pm —

      The Ocelot as we all know is a Mischievous, Untrustworthy creature, The Ocelot promises habitat protection and wildlife conservation.No. Its merely a ruse, you put this cat in charge of the Zoo New England and I promise you the Ocelot will find a way get a Stella Luna’s baby’s. Its all happened before and it will happen again. But it dose not have to this time. Isidoro is not the Zoodential candidate for the civilized wild! I implore you good Sir, Vote! Just not for the Ocelot.

  4. February 20, 2012 at 2:56 pm —

    “Venerable journal Youtube” One of your best lines yet :)

  5. February 20, 2012 at 3:10 pm —

    This has to be the funniest article I’ve read in some time. Now I HAVE to watch the video when I have time later.

  6. February 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm —

    I just want to explain it to him in terms he can understand SO badly. I really just want to sit him down and make him get why he is wrong so that he KNOWS. But I know this would be futile. Just listened to a an episode of SGU from last year and one of the topics of discussion was the Biblical literalist mindset, and how no amount of logic or reason can dissuade someone like this, because they just know that the Bible is inerrant and therefore everything else must be wrong, no matter how much sense it makes.

    But still, I really want to make him understand. I mean, maybe he’s the one guy in a thousand who can be made to see the error of his ways, and while he seems stupid to many of us, he is actually applying some skepticism here. This is physics that most people watching it don’t get. They may say: “well of course the earth is rotating, you nut”, but meanwhile they’re thinking, gosh, why don’t we feel it? If you could just get him to understand the physics, and accept science, you could then unleash his mind on real problems.

    Eh, I’m an optimist, I guess.

  7. February 20, 2012 at 4:00 pm —

    Ouch my Science hurts…

  8. February 20, 2012 at 4:03 pm —

    To quote an eminant philosopher by the name of Monty:

    Just remember that you’re standing on a planet that’s evolving
    And revolving at 900 miles an hour
    That’s orbiting at 19 miles a second, so it’s reckoned
    A sun that is the source of all our power
    The sun and you and me, and all the stars that we can see
    Are moving at a million miles a day
    In an outer spiral arm, at 40,000 miles an hour
    Of the galaxy we call the Milky Way

    So, Eric Idle? More of a scientist than this guy.

    Just saying.

  9. February 20, 2012 at 5:37 pm —

    The best parts of this video are the rather repetitive, mildly paranoid little snippets of text edited in post-hoc.
    That having been said, his entire hypothesis (and it hardly deserves that name, let alone the name ‘theory’) can be soundly disproved by imagining somebody juggling (or playing ping-pong, or whatever) on a moving train. Must one compensate for the motion of the train in order to function? Of course not.
    What does this mean? It means that the laws of physics hold true for all frames of reference (this phenomena is what led Einstein to his theories of relativity).
    The error that the nutcase who made this video makes is that he promotes one particular frame of reference to the status of an absolute frame of reference against which everything else is measured. This will inevitably lead to error, since there *is* no absolute frame of reference.
    Thanks for the share! I got a good chuckle out of the video. Keep up the good work there at Skepchick!

    • February 20, 2012 at 6:00 pm —

      The problem with using juggling on a moving train as your example is that the train is enclosed. If someone were to try juggling while standing on the roof of a moving train they would find exactly what fernieboy100 suggests, the atmosphere does not move with the train and they are trying to juggle in a 100 km/h wind.

      Yes, he’s a nutcase. No, the train analogy isn’t going to cure him. In fact it will probably just reinforce his mistake.

  10. February 20, 2012 at 6:27 pm —

    Nothing wrong with fernieboy that a suitable dose of Retcon wouldn’t cure. Just erase everything after he was about 3.

    P.S. Tito would claw the eyes out of any monkey-boy (or other mammalian) competitor and fly off with the lifeless corpse to his inaccessible aerie.

  11. February 20, 2012 at 6:30 pm —

    Well, we can take apart why he makes the mistake he is making easy enough.

    It isn’t just the reference frame problem.

    He assumes that air, being a gas, is frictionless and stationary. That is, when you drive a car you feel wind. The air is staying still (or moving with the same speed as the earth. And yes, if the air were a frictionless blob that the earth sat in, he would be right, you’d expect 1,000 mph wind.

    But air isn’t a frictionless blob. There is friction. The air, even if it were popped into existence instantly as a stationary blob, would eventually be brought up to speed, as it were, for the same reason you can stand up on a train without sliding to the back and splatting against the rear wall whenever it starts.

    Interestingly the fact that we have cyclones is proof enough that the earth rotates, but this guy doesn’t have the wit to get why I reckon.

    • February 20, 2012 at 10:36 pm —

      If the air was a frictionless blob, then yes, you would expect to be experiencing a 1000 mph wind, but because it’s frictionless, you wouldn’t feel it!

      Physicists used to think the entire universe is permeated by a frictionless gas, but that theory didn’t work and was discarded (more or less) over a 100 years ago. See the luminiferous ether and the Michelson-Morley Experiment (Cleveland Rocks!)

  12. February 20, 2012 at 6:40 pm —

    The reason why nutcases like this pop up every now and again, aside from religious dogma and stubbornness, is that we are told that the Earth is revolving, but we are never told WHY we know this to be true, and the physics behind it. This is translated to some kind of faith in the mind of people like the video author, and one faith is replaced with another (biblical faith).

  13. February 20, 2012 at 6:47 pm —

    Millions of (mostly) intelligent researchers teachers and students have studied this topic for many years, and they haven’t spotted the error which is so blatant and fundamental that you can explain it in 5 minutes. What are the odds that you made the mistake, not them?

    Different physics but same situation here: http://xkcd.com/675/

  14. February 20, 2012 at 7:45 pm —

    I think if I was fernieboy100’s drug dealer, I’d be rich.

  15. February 20, 2012 at 10:31 pm —

    I really really want a quad, a merry-go-round, and some unsuspecting neighbor kids.

    …for science.

  16. February 21, 2012 at 12:42 am —

    I made the mistake of commenting on the video. I mentioned that the formulas were not that complicated and are covered in first year university physics, plus it may require some knowledge of calculus and differential equations. I noted that these were required for engineers like myself. Plus that the courses are available at community colleges.

    I also told him to try his helicopter experiment inside of a train, ship or RV.

    He did not approve my comment, instead he sent me a message I need to watch a video that says (cut and paste):

    GOD DEFINES ATHEISTS ~ in the Bible:
    http://www.lifeishid.com 55 descriptions of Atheists in the holy Book: (1) Mischief is in their heart. (2) They disregard the works of the LORD (3) nor the mysterious operation of his hands (4) They do abominable works (5) they eat up the people …

    I then asked him if he thought all engineers and those who take math classes after high school were atheists, because that was just silly.

    Hmmm, I wonder if he thinks that his camera, computer, truck and toy helicopter are evil because engineers were involved in their design and manufacture?

    • February 21, 2012 at 12:45 am —

      Oh great. I forgot that there are no blockquotes here. The following bizarreness was supposed to be blockquoted:

      GOD DEFINES ATHEISTS ~ in the Bible:
      http://www.lifeishid.com 55 descriptions of Atheists in the holy Book: (1) Mischief is in their heart. (2) They disregard the works of the LORD (3) nor the mysterious operation of his hands (4) They do abominable works (5) they eat up the people …

    • February 21, 2012 at 1:34 pm —

      Yeah, I made the mistake of commenting and got a couple of bizarre messages from him. Hopefully it won’t be a cascade…

    • February 21, 2012 at 1:34 pm —

      Yeah, I made the mistake of commenting and got a couple of bizarre messages from him. Hopefully it won’t be a cascade…

  17. February 21, 2012 at 2:21 am —

    I most *FIRMLY* state that Jessica should give back the hair band.

  18. February 21, 2012 at 4:13 am —

    “Also, Jessica took my hairband and won’t give it back.”

    First the prayer banner, now this? That girl is trouble…

  19. February 21, 2012 at 9:00 am —

    That is the best vid I’ve seen in ages. I showed it to some visitors and and we cracked up ..min 23 is a highlight, but the whole damn thing is just so on the money.
    More proof is not needed… This guy should be on stage..if Ricky Gervais did this as a stand-up routine, he would bring the house down.

  20. February 21, 2012 at 11:04 am —

    Haven’t watched the video, but from the description it sounds like this guy’s problem is too much skepticism rather than not enough. After all, based on most people’s first hand, personal experience with gasses, what he says is true. Gasses don’t tend to “stick” to solid surfaces in our daily experience. Moreover, we usually can tell when we’re rotating. We can feel it, just like we can feel acceleration. Technically rotating and accelerating reference frames are “non-inertial” and the laws of physics aren’t the same in a non-inertial frame. That’s why we can detect rotational motion with gyroscopes, for instance, while there is no possible experiement that will tell you if you are on a train moving at constant velocity or not. “Motion sickness” is genertally a result of conflicting signals between our built in biological gyroscopes and the evidence of our eyes (that we are at rest relative to our surroundings), and in principle we should all be getting motion sick.

    It sounds like this guy even took it one step further and designed an experiment to test the hypothesis that air is dragged by surfaces moving under it. The results of his experiment confirm his hypothesis.

    This is the behavior of a true skeptic, inclined to trust the evidence of his own eyes and the results of his own experiments over what he is taught be authority figures. This is exactly how scientific progress is made, by people doubting what “everyone knows.” Once upon a time, it was just as wacko to believe that the earth did move.

    All he’s missing is the advantage of a community of other skeptics/scientists, who could tell them about the results of their own experiments, which conflict with his. If he was on good terms with other people like himself who were really dedicated to solving these mysteries, he would try to reproduce those results, and presumably if he was patient and honest, he would reproduce them, and then he would have to modify his hypothesis.

    Probably he hasn’t done this because 1) he doesn’t know/trust any other skeptical thinkers like himself that are interested in these questions (ie, doesn’t know any scientists) 2) he hasn’t gone to college or to a rich high school, and so hasn’t had access labs designed for testing some of these basic ideas of physics (I used to tell my lab students that they were there to demonstrate Newton’s laws to themselves experimentally, and that they shouldn’t really believe them unless they could) and/or 3) he isn’t really sincerely intersted in understanding these mysteries at all, but only in rationalizing his preconcieved ideas.

    But if he didn’t have any interest at all, would he really be doing RC helicopter experiments and engaging with the science of fluid drag and inertial sensing? Most religious nuts don’t bother. I think he’s just taken “don’t trust arguments from authority” too far and doesn’t trust anyone else at all who has studied these things to report their experience accurately, where it conflicts with his own.

    • February 21, 2012 at 12:09 pm —

      Not exactly. You should watch some of the video. Though I would highly recommend you do it without sound, the captions are inane enough.

      Plus, the errors in his logic have been pointed out to him several times. Including simple ways to do an experiment. He now just responds with “You are a bad atheist.”

    • February 21, 2012 at 3:19 pm —

      It’s #3, he is seeking to justify the literal inerrancy of the Bible.

      There might be inklings of the scientific method there, but he is missing the hardest and most important part. When you do an experiment and the results don’t confirm your hypothesis, you need to carefully check both your hypothesis and your experiment to determine if either (or both) are incorrect. This is what scientists do all the time. But just as important, when the experiment does confirm your hypothesis, you still have to do this careful examination (and listen to peer review), to avoid confirmation bias. He is not doing that at all.

  21. February 21, 2012 at 11:29 am —

    As for Jupiter, if you don’t believe the Earth is rotating, why would you possibly accept that Jupiter is another planet, made of gas, orbiting around the sun? I’d have to say the “Jupiter” argument completely begs the question, since it assumes the solar-system model that it seeks to prove.

    I’d rather ask him why I can ride a convertible with the top down and hold a piece of paper on my lap and not have it blow away. (I’ve done it! He can too!)

  22. February 21, 2012 at 1:38 pm —

    Heh. You guys all fell for it! This isn’t a real video; it’s a viral marketing campaign for the new Ram 1500 SXT truck!

    …or maybe for tiny helicopters. Or black dogs.

    Whatever, fuck it. I want to go spend money.

    In any case, if this guy is for real, we may have stumbled onto the antidote for TimeCube guy. They need to compare their lab notes and work together on a unified theory of Bat-shit.

  23. February 22, 2012 at 11:35 pm —

    I’ve seen one of those Sharper Image helicopters in action, and they are pretty cool. Just saying.

  24. February 24, 2012 at 3:26 pm —

    He’s wrong; the Earth obviously rotates. As the learned Dr. cub. Gene Ray has discovered, in a single rotation of the Earth sphere, each Time corner point rotates through the other 3-corner Time points, thus creating 16 corners, 96 hours and 4-simultaneous 24 hour days. (Believing otherwise means you are educated stupid singularity evil.) ;-)

  25. March 10, 2012 at 2:49 pm —

    Why are you calling us ‘you guys’, Rebecca? I’m not a guy that I know of so…

    And yes, this d00d is scary. That’s why I’m starting to think democracy is really not the best solution.

  26. February 5, 2016 at 6:57 am —

    Whether Jupiter is moving or not has nothing to do with the Earth’s lack of movement. Jupiter can do what it likes, the Earth will just be here, full of life, tranquil and still.

    The boy was 100% correct.

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