22 June 2009

Blowing up the Earth

Expanding EarthAs a skeptic and a scientist, I’ve been interested in fringe scientific claims for a long time, what makes people believe them, and so on.

I thought I had heard of most of them.

But this weekend, I came across one I had never heard before: the expanding Earth. The idea is that the continents are moving apart from each other because the Earth is getting bigger, like images printed on an expanding balloon. The amount of land has always been about the same, and that in ancient times, there were no real oceans, just shallow inland seas.

It is all quite odd.

I am no geologist, so I leave a detailed refutation to the Highly Allochthonous blog here and here. Though I will say that there seem to be way to many marine fossils for my taste to support the idea that at one point in the past there were only shallow inland seas.

Bonus skeptic article! New Scientist has a piece out today on AIDS denial. Next to the damage caused there, the expanding Earth idea has the advantage of being mostly harmless.

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