The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe: Just One More

In a previous post, I wrote about the first 50 episodes of the Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe. I enjoyed the podcast, but claimed I would be moving on instead of continuing to listen to their episodes in chronological order. Almost immediately after that I listened to episode 51.

In this episode, they interviewed Neal Adams. While I do not typically read many comic books, I was familiar with his name; he has illustrated comic books for some of the most well known characters. But that is not why they interviewed him on the show. Neal Adams is also a major proponent of the Expanding Earth/Expanding Universe Hypothesis—the idea that our Earth began as a much smaller object and has continued to grow over its lifetime.

Adams gives a brief history of the theory and offers what he believes to be supporting evidence. For each piece of evidence, the skeptics offer counter evidence or ask for more detailed explanations. Instead of defending any particular claim, Adams would just jump to another piece of evidence. As pointed out by the host, it was very similar to the “Gish Gallop“.

Steven Novella asked one particularly insightful question, “Is there a test or experiment that could prove your theory wrong?” This is a brilliant question that should be asked to anyone proposing a scientific claim. If a claim cannot be falsified, then it is not science. Adams stated that it could be tested in many ways, but only provided drilling to the center of the moon and finding it was not hollow as an example. While this is a test, it might not be feasible for the foreseeable future. It also ignores other methods of determining the composition of the moon and the earth.

Many of his claims were demonstrably false or could at least be tested. As an example, he stated that bones could not support the weight of dinosaurs unless the gravity of the Earth was less millions of years ago. His evidence was that elephants, the largest land animal today, are far smaller than the largest dinosaurs. It would be possible to test claims about bone strength, but Neil Adams does not consider this necessary.

His arrogance is staggering. His claims invalidate theories in a wide range of scientific fields. Somehow he has discovered the true explanation missed by generations of scientists. This coming from a man who does not read the scientific literature, let alone understand it. When asked if he considered publishing his theories in a peer-reviewed venue, he just states that no scientists would ever accept his work. Instead he wants to write a book and create television shows. To me, this is very telling, he wants to skip the process of proving his theories to other experts and instead wants to jump straight to disseminating his ideas to the public.

This interview took place nearly six years ago; what has he accomplished since this interview? No real research, but he has created a series of short animations and one unpublished paper. All are available for a price. Here is a man who claims to have ideas that revolutionize science and he hides them behind a paywall. Regardless of the validity of his theories, I find that disgusting.

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One Response to The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe: Just One More

  1. Pingback: Skeptics Guide to the Universe: Now only Two Years Behind | Between Zero and One

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