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.
"In his latest, science teacher and proud skeptic Prothero takes on a raft of pseudo- and anti-scientific 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. He ends most of the chapters with a section called "How We Know," listing all the evidence supporting the relevant scientific conclusions. Also valuable is his introduction, in which he neatly summarizes how science works, how it evaluates evidence, the requirements for peer review and burden-of-proof, and how that process offers trustworthy understanding. Finally, he explores the reasons why some people reject science. Popular trust in science is eroding alongside decreases in scientific literacy; Prothero wants scientists to show their work to help earn that trust back."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"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. Prothero begins with an explanation of how science evaluates ideas based on evidence and peer review, and notes how believers in conspiracy theories and religious myths like "Young Earth" creationism trust emotions more than facts. Prothero examines an array of bizarre ideas, from the Flat Earth Society and theories that a NASA-Hollywood conspiracy faked the Moon landings, to "water-witching" (or dowsing) and healing crystals. Less-known groups include people who think the Earth is hollow, and Christians Against Dinosaurs, who insist that the field of paleontology, and all of its findings, is a lie created by "Big Paleo" to discredit creationism. 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. (Sept.)"
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|| [Place of publication not identified]RED LIGHTNING Books,2020