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Weird Science Wednesdays: Pseudoscience Edition

September 29, 2010

Who knows what lurks at the Earth's core?

I love a good crackpot scientific theory. Watching 2012 for the 20th time (a movie based on one such theory) got me interested in looking up more cranky pseudoscience. Here’s a short list of the most bananas theories I could find.

  • Earth Crust Displacement theory (ECD) – this is the theory 2012 is based on. It postulates that over a period of centuries, the entire crust of the earth (lithosphere) moved over the underlying mantle (asthenosphere) all at once, causing Antarctica (supposedly closer to the equator at this point) to move to the south pole and also ending the last ice age by moving the continents of the Northern Hemisphere to their current positions. This theory was conceived to explain the lost civilization of Atlantis, which the theory’s creator believed to be located on Antarctica before the cataclysmic shift of the crust doomed it to extinction. A variant of this theory is Cataclysmic Pole Shift Hypothesis. Awesome idea, not borne out by the evidence. Of course, Roland Emmerich doesn’t care–see The Day After Tomorrow, another movie based on pseudoscience (in the form of a book written by Whitley Strieber, the dude who got abducted by aliens and then wrote “Communion“).
  • Hollow Earth hypothesis. You have this hypothesis to blame for movies like At The Earth’s Core. Proponents of a Hollow Earth believe anything from Hades to, yes, a civilization of advanced lizard people exists inside a subterranean realm that may actually have its own atmosphere and could be reached by a hole in either the North or South Poles. Also see “Zion” from The Matrix Revolutions. As awesome as a race of subterranean super lizard beings would be, sadly the science is stacked against this hypothesis.
  • Time Cube. I say again, Time Cube. This probably doesn’t really qualify as a “theory”, but it is awesomely bad pseudoscience nonetheless. The idea is that one day is actually four days (hence the “cube”) but that we’re not aware of it because of some vast scientific conspiracy to hide the truth from ordinary people. The site kind of reminds me of the writing on Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap bottles. You’ve got to admire the out of the box thinking by this guy. Or is it “out of the cube”? How he became aware of the conspiracy I don’t know, but it’s nice that he’s taking ‘er easy for all us sinners and calling out those evil day-hiding scientists on their bullshit.
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10 Comments leave one →
  1. September 29, 2010 6:51 pm

    Tangentially related–The Phantom Time Hypothesis, which claims that the Early Middle Ages…never happened. Not exactly pseudoscience, but quite entertaining!

  2. evmaroon permalink
    September 29, 2010 7:04 pm

    I LOVE THIS POST!!! This is the kind of crap I think about on a regular basis, as in:
    Why do people continue to believe these things?
    Are they all just metaphors about what we as a species have lost in our collective memory?
    What if Dr. Bronner bottles were discovered 3,000 years from now? Would it start a new religion?

    How do you feel about the hazy sphere between pseudoscience and almost pseudoscience, like string theory?

  3. September 29, 2010 8:47 pm

    Oh man, 2012 and it’s science was amazing.

    Re: Hollow Earth–So that’s where the Sleestaks are….

    The TimeCube makes me think of a combination of A Wrinkle in Time and the Hellraiser series.

  4. September 29, 2010 9:46 pm

    @s.e. I’ve heard of that! I think I saw it on the History Channel–for once they actually discussed history.

    @Ev String theory is actually considered to be a pretty solid theory, it just needs to be integrated with gravity to form a complete theory of how the cosmos works and how the Universe was created. I mean, it sounds bananas, but the math is solid on most forms of string theory, specifically superstring theory.

    @eieioj Sleestaks! My favorite subterranean lizard people. That just caused me to flash back to the winter I spent a couple years ago watching all the seasons of Land of the Lost over and over again.

  5. evmaroon permalink
    September 29, 2010 9:58 pm

    Agreed that string theory is real science, I just wonder about where it meets up w/pseudoscience in that I see a lot of warped string theory precepts in sic fi.

  6. September 29, 2010 10:06 pm

    Hollow Earth hypothesis. You have this hypothesis to blame for movies like At The Earth’s Core. Proponents of a Hollow Earth believe anything from Hades to, yes, a civilization of advanced lizard people exists inside a subterranean realm that may actually have its own atmosphere and could be reached by a hole in either the North or South Poles. Also see “Zion” from The Matrix Revolutions. As awesome as a race of subterranean super lizard beings would be, sadly the science is stacked against this hypothesis.

    This reminds me of the China Syndrome. That theory is all kind of cheesy faux science. Love this post.

  7. September 30, 2010 2:31 am

    I wanted this to go deeper… all the way to the Land of the Lost!

    But seriously, Stephen Hawking just admitted that you didn’t need God to create the universe. So, I’m wondering where people will land after this revelation (pardon the Biblical word)!

    To me, the facts of things are so much more fascinating than any stuff people create to support their bogus tropes!

  8. September 30, 2010 7:27 am

    My guess is those of deep faith probably don’t look to Hawking for anything, except perhaps an example of God’s grace and goodness.

  9. October 1, 2010 6:16 am

    omg I love pseudoscience!!! this post is awesome. I had a book that was all about the planets aligning and ice taking over (a la Day After Tomorrow) that I bought a couple years before they predicted (03/03/03? 02/02/02? something like that), but never got a chance to read before the date passed with nothing interesting occuring. but I admired the amount of charts and graphs in the book. I like my pseudoscience to be as real sounding as possible!

    I saw 2012 in the theaters and loved it. I watched it again with friends on DVD and it’s totally a movie that if I flip by and catch it on, I get sucked in.

  10. Lani permalink
    October 1, 2010 2:34 pm

    This post is awesome. I had never heard of the Time Cube idea! That made my day.

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