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Episode 147 - The Hollow Earth According to David Icke

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Recap: After 139 episodes, a return to some of the claims that Earth is hollow, this time as presented by David Icke. An examination into how gravity works, the structure of comets, magnetic fields, icebergs, and muskox migration patterns wrapped in an atmosphere of conspiracy that everything in our lives is run by fourth-dimensional reptilian aliens from Planet X.

Additional Materials:

Correction: I incorrectly stated that if you're inside Earth, you would not be pulled to the inner surface of the shell, you would be pulled to the center. This is incorrect. The Shell Theorem holds that any particle inside of a perfectly symmetric sphere would experience an even force of gravity, everywhere, such that if you placed yourself anywhere inside the sphere, you would stay there. David Icke is therefore still wrong, but my explanation of what would happen was not correct.

Episode Summary

Claim: I recently appeared on the wildly successful and poplar "Cognitive Dissonance" podcast, episode 313. They even named the episode "Exposing PseudoAstronomy." I was on for about 25 minutes to discuss chapter 12 of David Icke's 1999 book, "The Biggest Secret." The hosts had offered me a spot to discuss any chapter they had yet to read, and I selected 12 because it seemed to have the most, beyond the introduction, to do with this podcast. However, we ended up focusing instead on Nazis and reptilians and stuff like that instead of the science part of the chapter, the hollow Earth.

And so, because I spent so much time reading David Icke's utter drivel, poorly phrased nonsense, and un-cited suppositions, I'm dedicating this episode to an in-depth look at the four pages where David Icke pretends he knows what he's talking about.

Usual Demeanor: Gone

Long-time listeners to the podcast may be wondering what happened to the normal calm and measured Stuart. I usually save my strong words like "drivel" and "nonsense" for private conversation. But, David Icke is among those very, very few that brings out angry Stuart, and you don't want to see me when I'm angry.

But perhaps a bit more seriously, David Icke is probably up there among the best-known peddlers of nonsense out there, and so I think that it's a reasonable assumption on my part that most listeners to this podcast have heard of him, and so I can forego the pretense of him being perhaps misguided in some aspects of his thought process and just get right down to it and say he's full of it. If you want to know why, listen to Cognitive Dissonance for the last few months because they've been going chapter-by-chapter through this 1999 book, or take a look at pretty much any skeptic-minded resource, such as RationalWiki, which I'll link to in the shownotes.

He's perhaps best known for thinking that the TV series "V" and its 2009 reboot are real, but in reality, David Icke has a trait that authors such as J.K. Rowling possess: They are able to take pretty much any fantasy, any fable, and somewhat seamlessly tie it into their mythology. I think that's one of the primary reasons that David Icke has risen to the level he has among the alternative crowd: He takes every bit of new-age, every conspiracy, every alternative idea and is able to work it into his broad mythological worldview in a "big tent" way so that no one is left out.

Hence, he was able to work in several of the different and disparate things that I've talked about on this podcast and my blog before, including such different topics as Planet X, the Anunaki, hyperdimensional physics and 19.5, and the topic of this episode, the hollow Earth. Somehow, all tied together by reptilians.

Method of Argument: Not Citing Sources

I want to begin this discussion by analyzing some of the way that David makes his arguments. As a research scientist myself, soon to be senior research scientist due to a pending promotion, I'm used to citing my sources. If a paper I write has fewer than 10 references, I get scared. One paper I'm currently working on has over 170 references which, according to David Wilcock is more than enough for a Ph.D. thesis. But that's a separate podcast.

This mentality is in marked contrast to David Icke's writing. Now, it's true that he has some references. But most of his outlandish statements are just made as though they're common fact, and he has no reference.

For example, he states, "A number of researchers report that [the Nazis] established an underground base in Antarctica." That statement is not cited. Who are those researchers? Where and when did they say this? What were their sources, or did they do the fieldwork?

Another example is that he states, "The legends of inner Earth peoples and blond-haired, blue-eyed master races, can be found in countless ancient cultures including China, Tibet, Egypt, India, Europe, the Americas, and Scandinavia. ... Such stories abound in every culture." Okay, fine, you're talking about fairy tales, but I'd still like to see a source. None was given.

As a third example, he wrote, "Tom Rich, a palaeontologist at the Museum of Victoria, Australia, suggested this possibility [that dinosaurs survived by living within the Earth, particularly in the Southern polar regions] after he discovered the fossilised remains of a polar dinosaur in 1987 in an excavated tunnel on the Southern tip of Victoria state at a place known as Dinosaur Cove." Okay, that seemed really interesting and to be an objective claim I could look into. And he cited his source in footnote 14. Footnote 14 only states, "John Rhodes, Reptoid website."

The reason that this is a problem is that you can never check his suppositions. He states a lot of things as fact without backing them up, or in the example I did give, I think we can all agree that a "Reptoid website" is a questionable source for information about dinosaurs. When I did my own brief searching, I could find no legitimate source that discussed that claim.

This makes him somewhat untouchable, and it's something I have noted if I ever go rogue. By just putting a bunch of stuff out there and not citing it, it makes you appear authoritative and people can't question your sources to see if they come to the same conclusions based upon the data.

Evidence 1: Against Authority

The second method of argument that he uses is the argument against authority and argument from or appeal to ridicule. David Icke's writings and speeches are replete with effectively saying, "If someone in a position in authority says something, the opposite is true."

Here's one example:

"Humans have become such puppets of the official line that to suggest the Earth is not solid to the core is to invite enormous ridicule. After all, isn’t that at odds with what those highly intelligent scientists say? Yes it is, just as it was to suggest the Earth was round and not flat. When you research this subject you realise how little evidence the scientists produce for their indisputable ‘facts’. They have penetrated only a few miles into the Earth and their theories of what exists at deeper levels are just that - theories. When you ask a few questions of the official line, it is soon a stuttering wreck."

The translation of this is, scientists say Earth isn't hollow. Scientists have little evidence to back this up. If you start to probe them with detailed questions, they soon become a "stuttering wreck" despite their "indisputable 'facts.'" Therefore, everything they say is wrong, and you should believe me.

It's remarkably similar to at least one of the clips I played of Eric Dubay in episode 145, this argument that if an authority figure says one thing, you should believe the opposite.

Evidence 2: Conspiracy, Anecdotes, Popular Media

Let's move on to some of his stated evidence. About half of it is fully based on conspiracy, speculation, anecdotes, and fictional writings. For example:

"The writer, Jules Verne, was a high initiate of the secret society network with his connections to the Theosophical Society, the Order of the Golden Dawn, and the Order of the Oriental Templars. Therefore, he knew far more than the public are allowed to know. His science-fiction stories were based on fact."

In other words, by claiming that a fiction writer is part of a secret society - which David Icke does throughout his writings - he is then able to use that premise to say that the fictional writings are really based on fact. It's really quite clever, if remarkably trite. It also lacks any objective basis in fact, because even if he had a boatload of Nobel Prize winners in fields of science, all because they say something doesn't mean it's true. Just look at Linus Pauling and Vitamin C, which I'll link to in the shownotes.

As such, I'm not going to talk anymore about it, which throws away well over half his arguments.

Evidence 3: Earth's Formation and Gravity

One of the first sciencey pieces of evidence he claims is the very structure of how Earth forms and how gravity works, which is something that is common to many hollow Earth proponents:

"The very spin of the planet creates centrifugal force which throws matter to the outside, very much like a spin dryer in which the clothes spin around a hole in the centre. When the planet was in its molten form, spinning into existence before it cooled, how could it possibly remain solid to the core? It is against all logic and laws of force ... ."

As soon as David Icke gets a degree in physics, his claim that this is against all logic and laws of force. Until then, I'm perfectly confident stating that he's wrong. That's not how things work when a large source of gravity is involved. But, he thinks he knows how gravity works, as per this quote:

"People live on the other side of the very land that we live on. If you think that is impossible then ask why people in Australia don’t fall off the Earth even though they are on the opposite side of the surface to those in the northern hemisphere. The answer is that they are pulled to the land by gravity. So are those who live inside the Earth. The force of gravity pulls towards matter and so those on both sides of the planet’s landmass, inside and outside, will be pulled by gravity towards the land and neither will ‘fall off’. The centre of the Earth’s gravity is not at the core of the planet, but at about 400 miles down... the centre of the outer land mass and so gravity pulls equally on both sides."

The 400 miles refers to the idea that he thinks the Earth is a shell 800 miles thick.

So let's get back to the big picture idea for how he thinks Earth formed and how gravity works. He thinks that Earth formed and it was spinning, and it was spinning so fast that mass pushed outwards to form a sort of shell, creating a hollow cavity inside because the gravity of the shell kept pulling things to it.

He's wrong. For a couple of reasons.

First, let's take his scenario to its logical conclusion. He pictures a spin clothes dryer or washing machine that flings clothing to the outer part of the cylinder. If Earth formed that way, what's keeping things together? Why would Earth form at all in the first place instead of just flying apart? Put another way, the only reason that clothes in a clothes dryer stay in the dryer is that it is enclosed by something that is substantially stronger than the force of the spinning clothes. But if Earth is forming and spinning so fast that it somehow gets all the material inside pushing against the shell, what keeps the shell in place? Why wouldn't the planet just cease to exist?

Another reason that he's wrong is that clothes spinning in a clothes dryer have pretty much zero mass relative to the centrifugal force. And, they have no chemical or material bonds holding them to each other, and if you put a dryer sheet in, they won't even have electrical bonds in the form of static cling.

Earth is completely different. It has a huge amount of mass relative to its spin rate. The rocks and metal that make up the majority of the planet also have material strength that keeps them together. You would have to spin the planet, completely, in under an hour, to get any sort of centrifugal force overcoming the force of gravity and material strength. And just for funzies, if we were to scale the clothes dryer analogy up based on mass, assuming your average washing load weighs a very heavy 10 kg, Earth weighs 6*10^23 times more, but it's maybe 13 million times bigger than a spin dryer, and a spin dryer spins around 1000 times per minute ... doing a rough calculation that may be off by a bit, assuming I'm reading the equations correctly, you would need to spin Earth at roughly a few quadrillion times PER MINUTE to get the same effect as a clothes dryer, given its mass and size. Something like that.

The third reason that David Icke is wrong is that he doesn't know how gravity works. Think of it this way: You are on the inner edge of Earth's hollow, 800-mile-thick shell. You look up, and in the distance, you see the inner surface of the shell, all around you, much like the nethersphere in the season finale of Doctor Who in 2014.

But here's the problem: You would not be sticking to the surface under you due to gravity. Relatively speaking, there is almost no force of gravity under your feet. All the material that you see above you may be much farther away, but there's a huge amount of it compared with what's right under you. In fact, there's so much more above you that it immediately overwhelms anything from right under you, and you'd be pulled "up," towards the center. And when you get to the center point, there would be an equal amount of material all around you, and so after some oscillation back-and-forth and dissipation due to friction with air, you would settle at that center point.

That's how gravity works. That's why Earth is not hollow and would not form like a shell and that even if it did, nothing would stick to the inner surface of that shell, it would all be pulled to the center. It's a huge misunderstanding but pretty much a core component of every flat Earth version that I've seen, so it's certainly not unique to David Icke, which is compounded by the fact that pretty much nothing is unique to David Icke because, as I explained earlier, he pretty much steals all his material from other people.

Evidence 4: A Drawing of a Comet from 1853

A follow-up piece of evidence that he presented is a picture of a comet. Actually a drawing. The comet is Donati's comet which you probably have never heard of because it's from 1858. Interesting that he didn't use a more recent one where we have real, decent pictures.

I say "decent" pictures because the comet was the first-ever that was photographed.

What I find interesting is that he selected a drawing of the comet made from Cambridge Observatory on October 1, 1853. What's interesting about that is the comet was closest to Earth five years later, in 1858. The drawings of the comet from 1858. The drawings from 1858 look COMPLETELY different from the one from 1853. And, when I was searching for a high-resolution digital scan of the image, interestingly, the top internet hits I found were all from hollow Earth proponents. Interesting ... it's almost as though he looked around to find the one out of dozens of images that best supported his idea and used that.

I'll have some of the images in the shownotes, so I'm not going to describe it in this podcast.

What's important is what David Icke says about it:

"... if you look at Figure 23 you will see from the drawing of Donati’s Comet from 1853 how matter is hurled to the outside to spin around the bright core or ‘sun’. The Earth is basically the same."

Pretty much based on what I just discussed with how gravity works, no, Earth is not basically the same. Plus, I don't think the picture of the comet that David shows depicts what he thinks it does, and even if it does, he cherry-picked the one image out of at least dozens that showed what he wanted, and even if it does, a sketch based on how people at the time thought that a comet looked and what its structure was does not mean that it reflects reality or that a model for a comet works as a model for the planet.

Visions of a Sunset: Structure

Which I think is a good time I think to take a pause from going through his evidence and discussing what he thinks the Earth's structure looks like.

Perhaps the most basic part is that he thinks Earth's shell is about 800 miles thick, which is why he said that the center of gravity if 400 miles down. As I explained in episode 8 when I discussed the hollow Earth, that would pretty much require the entire planet to be made of material denser than the densest atoms we know of, and we know that isn't the case. Again, refer to episode 8 for more on that math.

The second-most basic part of his model is the planet has two holes, one at the south pole and one at the north pole, through which you can enter the hollow interior. This doesn't create a problem for water because remember, he thinks that gravity pulls things to the shell rather than the center of the planet, so the water just circulates outside to inside and back again. Of course, we track ocean currents and there is zero evidence for this. He also said:

"The alleged openings at the poles make sense because the power of the centrifugal force in the period of formation would have been far less in those areas."

Except, if the force is far less, then you wouldn't have any outward force, so you would never make a hole. So even if he were correct about how these forces work, he would still be wrong about a hole forming.

As for the size of these holes?

"These openings are an estimated 1,400 miles across and around them is a magnetic ring."

Okay, there are two things there. First off, 1400 miles. Assuming that these holes are centered at ±90° latitude, that means the openings are at ±79° 54.8'. Which means that a large chunk of Greenland shouldn't exist because it goes up to 85°N, not to mention Antarctica.

And 1400 miles?! That's huge! That's just over half the length of the United States! It should be obvious on any map, any satellite image. How does he answer that? Conspiracy:

"The entrances are covered by clouds most of the time, advocates claim, and the airspace is restricted by law."

That's just wrong and dumb. It's almost as if he's literally making up whatever he wants and saying it as though it's fact. This is also a case where there should be some citation to back up such a claim, at least the one about a law. But, nothing. Not even a "Hollow Earth Conspiracy 101" website.

The second part of two quotes ago was that he claims there's a magnetic ring around the holes. He adds to that:

"When explorers searching for the North or South Pole reach this magnetic ring their compasses point straight down and they believe they are at the pole."

This is a man who clearly doesn't care about the intelligence of his readers. Nor does he seem to know how a compass works. Nor does he show any evidence of knowing anything about Earth's magnetic field. Even if you're at a magnetic pole, your compass wouldn't point "down," it just wouldn't point anywhere. You're supposed to hold a compass parallel to the ground for it to work. It moves on an axis then parallel to the ground. Holding it vertical is not how you use a compass.

Besides this, Earth's magnetic poles do not correspond with its geographic poles. I covered this in episode 25 on a magnetic pole shift where I explained that Earth's magnetic poles not only move around, but they rarely have and rarely will coincide with Earth's spin axis poles. And along with that, we've mapped Earth's magnetic field. Really well. It's kinda important to know about. We've mapped it from the ground, from planes, and from satellites. It doesn't have a ring of magnetic north and ring of magnetic south, it has points. A ring of magnets is not how a planetary magnetic field works. Anywhere in the solar system. It's just wrong.

Evidence 5: Gish Gallop of "Unanswerable Questions"

Okay, deep breath.

Moving on, let's get back to his evidence. In one half of one paragraph, he Gish Gallops his way to concluding scientists know nothing, therefore Earth is hollow. Here's the quote:

"Some other questions for the solid-to-the-core advocates: Why are icebergs made of fresh water when the only water available at the poles, according to the conventional view, is sea water? Where does all the vegetation come from that is found inside these icebergs? Why is it that explorers who have ventured beyond the magnetic poles have found that the weather gets warmer and the seas become ice-free? Why do some animals and birds in the north polar region, like the musk-ox, migrate north in the winter? The conventional scientific view cannot answer these questions, but the hollow Earth view can."

This is really the same type of tactic used by young-Earth creationists of just throwing stuff out and seeing what sticks. Main-stream science has perfectly reasonable answers to every single one of his questions, if he had bothered to ask someone or spend less than a minute searching.

First: Icebergs made of fresh water. Simple: Icebergs are not made of frozen ocean water. They are made from glaciers that break off into the ocean. Glaciers are made from solidified snow that falls on land. Snow is fresh water. Therefore, icebergs are made of fresh water.

Second: Vegetation inside icebergs: See First. Plus, his explanation makes no sense: He wrote that freshwater rivers carry plants to the exterior of the planet where they freeze in the salt water making freshwater glaciers ... to do this, he seems to completely ignore the idea that water kinda all mixes together really well, so it wouldn't be fresh water anymore.

Third: The statement of explorers going beyond the magnetic poles. Not only is it kinda meaningless to go "beyond a magnetic pole," or even Earth's spin axis poles, but they could easily have been going "beyond" the poles towards the south or towards a warmer region of a continent.

Fourth: Muskox migration north for the winter. I had to look this one up, but after 30 seconds on The Googles, "Contrary to many species, the musk ox migrates from sheltered, moist lowlands in the summer to higher, barren plateaus in winter. The primary reason for this is food - the exposed plateaus do not accumulate show due to the high winds, therefore making food easier to find."

Hmmm... makes sense to me, and no hollow planet with giant holes in it constantly covered by clouds needed.

Wrap-Up

I understand why Tom and Cecil didn't want to go into David's ridiculous hollow Earth fantasies. Every bit of it is just unsubstantiated crazy, couched in scientician, double bubble toil and trouble, pseudo quasi alternative nonsense.

But, as always with this podcast, it's not necessarily the source material that's important. What I've tried to do is use the material to point out why it's wrong to teach or demonstrate some aspect of science which you may not have known before. And hopefully in at least a mildly entertaining way.

Provide Your Comments:

Comments to date: 1. Page 1 of 1.

abeslaney   Location unknown

12:58pm on Friday, September 23rd, 2016

Podcasts 145 and 147 make an interesting pair. I write of both.

Many of the "arguments" for a flat or hollow Earth remind me of Carroll's:

But I was thinking of a plan
To dye one's whiskers green,
And always use so large a fan
That they could not be seen.

Do you think Mr. Icke actually believes in what he writes? Or is it a scam? Does he believe it because he is, pardon the bluntness, stupid, uneducated or delusional? Is it impertinent to ask how he gets through life if his worldview fits reality so poorly?

Wouldn't it be interesting to have a cage match between the Flat Earthers and the Hollow Earthers, winner take all (whatever that means)?

I always wonder how people who think the Earth is flat get their cell phone signals and watch the Super Bowl on their flat screen TVs from half a world away, indeed, use the internet. Unlike the rest of us, do they have some other telecommunications system which does not rely upon satellites circling the entire s... read more »

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