Published in The Earth
Vol. III Nos. 33 & 34 April and May
Note: This is from a booklet that was written around the turn of the 20th Century. The grammar, spelling and style is kept the same. To a few readers out there: if you think a word doesn’t exist, look it up in an old dictionary.
Trickery has long been involved in covering up the flat earth – it didn’t start with modern space agencies like NASA, it’s that they have just refined how to fool the people.
The Three Poles Trick: A Canal Experiment
As the very foundation of modern astronomy rests on the assumption that we are living on a whirling globe, all sorts of devices are resorted to to support the idea of the earth’s sphericity.
After having demolished some of the best “proofs” it is surely not necessary to examine and review every statement offered in support of this modern and absurd fallacy. But we will briefly refer to one or two others before going on to examine the question of the Earth’s supposed motions.
We are informed that the Earth’s curvature could be “proved” by three poles placed in a straight line; and such an experiment was tried in a noted instance upon the Bedford Canal, Cambridgeshire. Our examination of this “proof” may thrown some light upon the “trick” which was then supposed to win a wager.
We shall, however, quote again from Mr. Gregory’s book, published in 1892, p. 110.
“If three poles of exactly the same height be placed in a line the middle one always appears higher than the other two outer ones. Let three poles be fixed in line with their tops cut off at exactly the same height above some level surface (level mind you!), such as the surface of a canal, then, if a telescope is sighted along the first to the third pole the top of the middle pole will appear above the line joining the tops of the two outer ones. The cause of this is the curvature of the earth’s surface, and if the experiment can be repeated (why cannot it?) in various parts of the Earth, and (“if”) it was found that the curvature was everywhere the same, this would prove that the Earth’s form is globular, and an approximate determination of its size could be obtained. It is found that the middle pole rises 8 inches above the line joining the two out when the distance between each pole is a mile.”
This is a very specious paragraph. It reads well, and an unsuspecting reader might easily be misled by it. But let us examine it a little, and it will be “found to be wholly hypothetical.”
The writer of the paragraph quoted does not say that such an experiment had been tried and that the result was found to be what he said it “would” be if so tried. But in the style of most modern astronomers he jumps from the subjunctive, or hypothetical, mood to the positive, or indicative mood, and says; “If” three equal poles “be placed in a line,” meaning I suppose in a straight line, “the middle one always appears higher than the other two outer ones.” Of course, “if the middle pole is higher, and if it be left in its position, it “always” will appear so; but this is not what Mr. G. meant to say. We may guess his meaning though his words do not express it. But were he to condescend to give particulars as to time and place others might try the same experiment, and the trick might be found out. But we think we can expose it as it is.
Three poles have to be “fixed in line with their tops cut off at exactly the same height above some level surface.” Now, mind their tops must be “cut off.” Good! It is, therefore, self-evident that if the equal poles are fixed on a “level surface” at “exactly the same height,” one pole cannot be higher than another; not even 8 inches. If they appear otherwise the poles could not have been fixed at “exactly the same height”! Yet the writer says: “If a telescope is sighted along the first to the third,” the middle pole “will” appear higher. The language is vague. The question is, does it appear higher, or does it no? Out scientist says it “will.” Well, we shall see soon whether it “will” or no; though 8 inches in a mile cannot appear much.
In the meantime we ask, what does he mean by placing the telescope “along the first” pole? This pole like the others, is upright and perpedicular to the horizon; how then can the telescope be sighted “along” the top of it? This is where the trick comes in! If you remove the first pole and put the tlescope in its place, so as to “sight” only the other two, or if you rest the telescope on the top of the first pole, the middle one may appear higher than the third; because the third being further away, looks perspectively less than the middle one which is a mile nearer. Without asking how there can be a middle pole of two, if you remove the telescope some distance away from the fist pole, and look over or along the tops of all the three poles then they will be “found” to be in the same straight line. And if the telescope be properly adjusted so as to prevent the “error of collimation” the middle pole will not be found 8 inches higher than the other two. This can be tested by experiment; but we shall proceed to prove it by the following diagram.
Let A, B, C, represent three equal poles placed at any convenient and equal distances apart, in a direct line upon the Earth’s supposed curved surface – A D. Then, according to the theory of our astronomical friend the top of the middle pole (B) will be “found” to be higher than either of the poles at A and C, as in the diagram.
Let us suppose for argument’s sake that the pole B has been “found” to be higher than the pole C. Now without removing any of the three poles A,B, C, let us add another pole – D – at exactly the same distance as the others. Ignoring pole A, let the telescope be removed to the pole B, and let it be placed in the same relative position to B as it was to A. Join the tops of B and D to represent their false line of sight. It will now be seen that C is the middle pole of the three, B, C, D; and by the same “line of reasoning” the top of the middle pole – C – will be “found to be higher than either of the poles D and B. but by this “line of reasoning” we have already “proved” that the pole B was higher than pole C, and now we “prove,” in the same way, that pole C is higher than pole B! That is, the pole B – the middle pole experimented upon, at the same time is both higher and lower than the other pole ( C ), which is absurd! Wherefore the pole B is NOT higher than the pole C, but exactly the same height above the same level surface”; and therefore this experiment does not “prove that the Earth’s form is globular.”
1) “The middle pole will (not) appear above the line joining the tops of the two ouoter ones,” if the experiment be properly conducted; and, 2) “the cause of this is (not) the curvature of the Earth’s surface,” for the mere assumption of the Earth’s curvature cannot be the “cause” of anything, that is of anything found in Nature.
But stop! It may be – yes, it is – the “cause” of otherwise intelligent men making mis-statements, false statements, and misrepresentations in support of an absurd theory, which its founder confessed was “feigned” for quite another purpose than for strict truth and integrity; for as we have now abundantly shown, the effort to support this superstitious system causes its advocated to depart alike from both.
This is further illustrated by their diagrams of ships at sea, and the way they make them climb over a supposed hill of water.
The foregoing diagrams are specimens of the false perspective given in astronomical works and school books. They are so flagrant as to need no refutation. The first ship is sledom placed on the “top” of the diagram, but a litle to one side, so that it will appear to rise first before it is made descending at once the awful decline. But then this would be to expose the “trick,” of which no doubt the better class of astronomers are fully aware; yet none of them hitherto have had the courage to denounce the deception practised by their supporters. This is left for others.
That it may be seen we are not alone in speaking thus plainly, we will quote, from Things to Come, part of an address by Mr. Thomas A. Edison, originally printed in Suggestive Therapeutics, he says:
“There are more frauds in modern science than anywhere else…Take a whole pile of them that I could name, and you will find uncertainty, if not imposition, in half of what they state as scientific truth. They have time and again set down experiments as done by them, curious out of the way experiments that they never did, and upon which they have founded so-called scientific truths. I have been thrown off my track often by them, and for months at a time. Try the experiment yourself and you will find the result altogether different.”
Such is the testimony of a practical scientist and experimenter, and we know his testimony is true as regards theoretical astronomy. We could quote other testimonies, but as we have already given proof that such “frauds” are practised, we think it unnecessary to do so here.