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Sierra Daily

Jun 23, 2011

Before Climate-Change Deniers, Flat Earthers

The anti-scientific, anti-intellectual approach favored by today's myriad climate-change deniers (latest is Rep. Dana Rohrabacher [R-DeNile] attacking Al Gore as "Looney Tunes on the issue of global warming") has a long history in this country. Yesterday the cartographic world was abuzz with the news that one of two known U.S. maps showing the earth as flat had been donated to the Library of Congress. (Click to expand.)

The "Map of a Square and Stationary Earth" was drawn by Prof. Orlando Ferguson of Hot Springs, South Dakota, and first printed in 1893. "Send 25 Cents to the Author, Prof. Orlando Ferguson, for a book explaining this Square and Stationary Earth," says a note at bottom. "It Knocks the Globe Theory Clean Out. It will Teach You How to Foretell Eclipses. It is Worth Its Weight in Gold." That "Globe Theory" would be the prevailing view that, uh, the earth is a globe. It's wonderfully lampooned in this detail cartoon:


Ferguson's rhetorical style is oddly reminiscent of that deployed by Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) in ridiculing the notion that carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases are leading to the warming of the earth's atmosphere:

Carbon dioxide, Mister Speaker, is a natural byproduct of nature. Carbon dioxide is natural. It occurs in Earth. It is a part of the regular lifecycle of Earth. In fact, life on planet Earth can’t even exist without carbon dioxide. So necessary is it to human life, to animal life, to plant life, to the oceans, to the vegetation that’s on the Earth, to the, to the fowl that — that flies in the air, we need to have carbon dioxide as part of the fundamental lifecycle of Earth.

That Bachmann--she knocks the warming theory clean out!

--Paul Rauber





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