Where and How could the Wallace Experiment Easily Be Repeated?

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
So if one section of ice is 1 metre thick, and another section 2 metres thick, does that mean the surface of the latter section is 10cm 'higher' than the first?
Only if they are not connected, and each have a uniform horizontal cross section (or a similar overall shape)
https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=iipHowMuchOfAnIcebergIsBelowTheWater
 

Mad Lord Snapcase

New Member
So if one section of ice is 1 metre thick, and another section 2 metres thick, does that mean the surface of the latter section is 10cm 'higher' than the first?
Rory, yes that would make sense. I guess as far as convincing people who believe that everyone in the world is lying to them it might not be the best experiment. As far as actually doing it goes, the ice thickness would be measured at several locations across the distance over which the experiment was done. First-year ice tends to form a fairly (not exactly) uniform thickness in the open sea, away from land and ice shelves (the latter can add thickness to the base of the ice from refreezing fresh water from the melting of the base of the ice shelf).

I suppose that GPS could be used to get a height above sea level, but that would be less accurate then simply measuring the thickness of the ice, which would be accurate to about 1cm. As in any scientific experiment, documenting how you accounted for inconsistencies and your degree of error would need to be taken into account.
 

edby

Member
I am interested in reproducing exactly the Wallace experiment of 1870. It has minimal scientific value but

* It would be fun

*It could attract considerable publicity if conducted on the 150th anniversary of the Wallace experiment (Q1 2020).

*It is simple to verify, involving no electronics, satellite images or complex technology apart from a few poles and a surveyor’s level.

*It would involve a prominent trusted member or members of the FE community to agree with the methodology and verify the observations. This is exactly what Wallace did.

*It should be a prize, not a bet (the idea of a bet went badly wrong for Russell, read the accounts). I will offer £1,000 of my own money.

*Could possibly attract sponsorship from equipment manufacturers, local tourist boards, local surveyors etc.


https://flatearthinsanity.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/old-bedford-level.html

I will be scouting out the land at Welney this winter to make sure it is all still there, and that the experiment would be possible.

I already have an old surveyors’ level which I found in the attic but any advice on instruments appreciated.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I already have an old surveyors’ level which I found in the attic but any advice on instruments appreciated.
A level is not an important instrument for this experiment — at least in terms of its levelling function. You need a powerful telescope (which some levels have) with a camera attached - or a powerful zoom lens on a camera, such a Nikon P900. Note a lot of this thread is about getting good photos. Much depends upon the weather.
 

edby

Member
Thanks. The advantage of the level is that it is cheap, also it closely replicates the original instrument used by Wallace. (Actually he first used a 'scope', then changed to a level after an irrelevant objection by the opposite side).

What are the prices of a good telescope?

Nikon P900 seems reasonably priced. Even better, if Nikon could lend a camera as a sponsorship.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks. The advantage of the level is that it is cheap, also it closely replicates the original instrument used by Wallace. (Actually he first used a 'scope', then changed to a level after an irrelevant objection by the opposite side).

What are the prices of a good telescope?

Nikon P900 seems reasonably priced. Even better, if Nikon could lend a camera as a sponsorship.
I'd imagine you could get a suitable telescope for a few hundred pounds (or under a hundred second hand), but you'd need to fit a camera to it. I'd recommend going with a P900 on a tripod. One huge advantage is that you can zoom in and out, and thus show your location, as well as the target, all in one video.

http://darwin-online.org.uk/converted/Ancillary/1905_Wallace_A237/1905_Wallace_A237.2.html

Note the images through the level telescope are significantly smaller (and upside down). Not that that's necessarily a property of a level telescope, but for this experiment I'd focus on image quality over having a level line. Of course doing both (as Wallace did) would be ideal.

You could probably get a sufficient quality image using a cellphone camera held to the telescope/level eyepiece, if needed.
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
My dream experiment here would be a permanent installation with the viewing location and the two targets set in stone, with a synchronized permanent depth gauge at each location. So the experiment could then be repeated by schoolchildren forever. A telescope would be nice too, but a "place your P900 here" platform would work.

 

edby

Member
Many thanks.

I have just got the level working, which has the advantage of being free (it was my late father in law's, who was a surveyor). I agree that photographic evidence would be good as well, but like the steampunk idea of using something like the original equipment and drawings.


I am also wondering whether FEers are deluded, ignorant, or just plain deceptive. I noticed here it says that Wallace had cheated.

Several protracted court cases ensued, with the result that Hampden was imprisoned for libel, but the court also determined that Wallace had, indeed, cheated.
This is completely untrue. Did the person who wrote that accidentally miss the fact that the court vindicated the result, but that the law did not allow such bets?

It goes on

In 1901 Henry Yule Oldham, a geography reader at King's College, Cambridge, conducted the definitive experiment described above.
Correct, but fails to add that Oldham reproduced Wallace’s result pretty exactly.

On the honesty of the original 1870 FE proponents, there are two of Wallace’s letters here, which make the position pretty plain.

Mr Carpenter's "argument" exhibits a total ignorance of the use of the spirit level, and of the simplest principles of optics and geometry.
However this does not settle the question of ignorance versus dishonesty. I have just started researching this subject, and the prevailing view is that FEers persistently ignore any evidence that might conflict with their view. That suggests intellectual dishonesty, at least. It suggests that they are conscious of a possible conflict. But if so, they are aware of it. So they believe that p, but are also worried that not p.
 

edby

Member
My dream experiment here would be a permanent installation with the viewing location and the two targets set in stone, with a synchronized permanent depth gauge at each location. So the experiment could then be repeated by schoolchildren forever. A telescope would be nice too, but a "place your P900 here" platform would work.

I love that. As I said, it has minimal scientific value, but tons of educational value, school projects etc.
 

Rory

Senior Member
I passed over the Old Bedford Level last year on the railway bridge and it certainly got me thinking. I may be in England this summer and might be up for something.

Similar to Mick, I've been thinking of a semi-permanent installation which people could view, investigate, and corroborate at their own leisure. Quite a few flat earthers went there a few years ago, so maybe they could be persuaded to do the same again. Perhaps I would set something up and camp there a week or two, and be on hand for discussions, etc.

A number of poles, with targets on, six to eight feet above the water should do the trick.
 

Rory

Senior Member
Q. What size would a target have to be that a P900 would see it clearly at 6 miles away?
 

edby

Member
Someone has just posted on the FE forum that Wallace’s methodology was flawed, and that the original Rowbotham one was superior. From what I can see, that is not true, and Wallace deliberately tried to address the defects (one of which was refraction).


This of course is the problem. To make the experiment convincing to all sides, we need to agree on a methodology. This would involve explaining carefully why Wallace’s method is better, but FEers in my experience have a limited attention span, or just refuse to listen
 

Rory

Senior Member
A lollipop [UK: school crossing sign] is exactly what I was thinking of - and maybe going beyond one at mid, but with targets at a quarter and three quarter points also, or perhaps even more.

I was also thinking targets could be laterally staggered; could perhaps be placed in pairs across the canal; their poles painted in brightly coloured stripes marking off each foot; and that the final target could be something like a large sheet or board, with each 1-foot high band painted in different colours.

Something semi-permanent would be interesting, as it would give the flat earthers time to check everything, make their objections, and suggest improvements.

Though it's such a simple and elegant experiment it really is hard to see a way out of it, other than intellectual dishonesty.

I also think a measured, varying height for the camera would be interesting - something it can slide up and down on, from near the water and up to the heights of the targets.

May make for an interesting video, and show how refraction works close to the water.
 
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Rory

Senior Member
Q. Anyone know the depth of the canal?

I'm thinking poles mounted in concrete blocks sitting on the bed.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Q. What size would a target have to be that a P900 would see it clearly at 6 miles away?
There's some discussion of this upthread, in ideal conditions a P900 can see a target of just an inch. This is about 3 miles away, and about as good as you are going to get.


A circular target of about 1 or 2 foot diameter for the midpoint target would probably be about right. That's what Wallace used. Something nice and visible, like:
Metabunk 2018-05-12 10-13-40.jpg
 

edby

Member
Wallace used a barge. A boat would do. The key thing is that all three points (observer/camera, pole on barge, marker on the other bridge, must be the same height from the water.

'From the water' is key. It is a fundamental tenet of FE that water is level.

it really is hard to see a way out of it, other than intellectual dishonesty
Lol.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Someone has just posted on the FE forum that Wallace’s methodology was flawed, and that the original Rowbotham one was superior. From what I can see, that is not true, and Wallace deliberately tried to address the defects (one of which was refraction).


This of course is the problem. To make the experiment convincing to all sides, we need to agree on a methodology. This would involve explaining carefully why Wallace’s method is better, but FEers in my experience have a limited attention span, or just refuse to listen
It hard to explain refraction to anyone, regardless of if they are flat Earthers or not. I've been working on a refraction simulator that I hope to use to illustrate some of the more common misunderstandings - like with the lasers-across-a-lake experiments.
https://www.metabunk.org/mirage/
Eventually I'll include the Wallace experiment setups as preset, perhaps with animation. Currently is in a rather messed up state.

The key point is that the air and the water are different temperatures and the gradient near the water, even if very small, like 1° is still a lot greater than normal. So you need to get away from the water.
 

Rory

Senior Member
The key thing is that all three points (observer/camera, pole on barge, marker on the other bridge, must be the same height from the water.
True dat - but because the poles themselves would be marked with measurement indicators, it would mean that the height of the camera could be varied.
 

edby

Member
The Wallace experiment does not involve a long chain of reasoning, which in my experience makes it difficult for some. His logic is simple:

1. Take any three points A, B and C, and place the observer at A. Then if the three points lie in a straight line, B and C will appear to coincide.

2. If three points lying in a straight line X are parallel to another line Y, then X and Y are parallel, and Y is also straight.

3. If Y is the water line, then according to the FE model, Y is straight.

4. Hence, if A, B and C are the same distance from the water, and the eye is at A, B and C will appear to coincide.

Wallace found that B and C did not coincide, thus falsifying the FE model

Actually even this reasoning was difficult for Carpenter, as Wallace explains:

Mr Carpenter's "argument" exhibits a total ignorance of the use of the spirit level, and of the simplest principles of optics and geometry. We have three points taken, at equal distances, above what Mr C. maintains to be a true horizontal straight line--the surface of standing water. The eye is placed at one of the extreme points, and, looking at the other two points, they do not coincide, as they must do if in a straight line with the eye.

But it would be useful for a school experiment or project, as it illustrates the scientific principle of building models of reality, then confirming or falsifying them through precise and controlled (and replicable) observation.


Refraction is an slight issue, but Wallace deals with this.
 

edby

Member
I am discussing this in the other forum and I wonder if FEers are trolls after all (here, if you like). They really have difficulty in grasping optics.


The example is three points A B C, where my eye is placed at A. It immediately follows that I cannot see A itself, for that is where my eye is!


The claim is then that if B and C are superimposed, my eye and B and C lie in a straight line.


You could object that if light travels in a curved line, this is wrong. Certainly, but that is not the problem. People have difficulty in understand that my point of view is not visible to me. (Although it is shown to me, by the position of other objects, such as B and C.

[edit] Think of rifles. C is the target, B the sight, and A is you, your point of view. Line up B with C, i.e. get them superimposed, and you may hit the target.
 
I am discussing this in the other forum and I wonder if FEers are trolls after all (here, if you like). They really have difficulty in grasping optics.


The example is three points A B C, where my eye is placed at A. It immediately follows that I cannot see A itself, for that is where my eye is!


The claim is then that if B and C are superimposed, my eye and B and C lie in a straight line.


You could object that if light travels in a curved line, this is wrong. Certainly, but that is not the problem. People have difficulty in understand that my point of view is not visible to me. (Although it is shown to me, by the position of other objects, such as B and C.

[edit] Think of rifles. C is the target, B the sight, and A is you, your point of view. Line up B with C, i.e. get them superimposed, and you may hit the target.
Perhaps you should have three markers, as well as an eye/camera. The advantage is that you can have three similar marks and scales, and film them from some distance behind. The problem would be that they would not all be in focus at the same time. The actual circular disc parts could be scaled according to their range from the camera, so that they all appear to be the same (angular) size.
 

Rory

Senior Member
I am discussing this in the other forum and I wonder if FEers are trolls after all. They really have difficulty in grasping optics.
I think we've all been through the phase of thinking that they're trolling. ;)

Try diagrams instead. And, if you're able, simplify the language.
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I am discussing this in the other forum and I wonder if FEers are trolls after all (here, if you like). They really have difficulty in grasping optics.
I think you have to assume that some are, some are not, and it's very difficult to tell the difference. I tend to treat them as if they are being serious, but try hard to to waste too much time on it.
 

edby

Member
I think we've all been through the phase of thinking that they're trolling. ;)

Try diagrams instead. And, if you're able, simplify the language.
Right now, I am struggling to explain what 'parallel' means. I wrote:
There can’t be any such experiments to prove that parallel lines can meet. Parallel lines by definition do not meet. I.e. they are defined as lines which are equidistant at every point.

If, by experiment perhaps, you find a pair of lines that meet at any point, then they cannot be parallel, for the definition rules that out.

By analogy, there is no point in an experiment to find a married bachelor. If you find any married men at all, then they are not bachelors. They lost that status when they got married. Likewise, lines which join at any point have lost the status of being parallel.
Let's see how that goes.
 

edby

Member
Comment from YouTube "If they think the earth is flat what makes you think they’re smart enough to understand maths?"
 

DavidB66

Active Member
I was just searching Google Images for 'Old Bedford Bridge', in the hope of identifying the 'target' bridge in the Wallace experiment. I didn't find it, because (surprise!) a search for 'Old Bedford Bridge' tends to mainly get results for old bridges in Bedford, which is not the same thing at all.

However, I did find something possibly more useful, namely a web article by a couple of local historians from the Welney area, which discusses the various experiments by Rowbotham, Wallace and others at some length. One point of interest is that Rowbotham gave apparently contradictory accounts of his experiments in different editions of his book, Zetetic Astronomy: Earth not a Globe. The article is here: www.welney.org.uk/fens-rivers-washes/flat-earth/experiments.htm

It is evident from this that observations in the area could be taken from several locations, and in different directions. It is not entirely clear from Wallace's own account where his observations were made. He says that they were between Welney Bridge and Old Bedford Bridge, six miles distant. (The observations with a telescope were taken from WB to OBB, the observations with a surveyor's level were taken in both directions.) There is only one bridge at Welney, but I have not yet been able to identify Old Bedford Bridge. However, Wallace does refer to the town of Downham Market, which is just over six miles to the north-east of Welney, which perhaps makes it more likely that the view was from Welney to the north-east, the target bridge (OBB) being at the hamlet of Salters Lode, just outside Downham Market. Photographs of the bridge at Salters Lode, e.g. here http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/685667 seem a fair match for Wallace's illustration of the target bridge.

The view from Welney in the opposite direction (south-west) would also run straight for about six miles, to Welches Dam, where there is also a bridge, but there is a railway bridge crossing the canal/river at about half way. If this was already in existence in 1870 I doubt that observations for six miles in that direction would have been possible. Certainly one would expect the bridge to be shown in the illustrations. The bridge (or at least a bridge in that location) must be as old as the railway, so it should be possible to find a date for it. The relevant route seems to be the Ely-Peterborough line, which was running well before 1870: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ely–Peterborough_line .
 

edby

Member
Thanks David. I am also struggling with this. Rowbotham states that his 1838 experiment was on six mile stretch from Welney Bridge looking towards Welches Dam, i.e. South West from Welney.

Wallace says only of the 1870 experiment that it was between Welney Bridge and 'The Old Bedford Bridge'.

The iron parapet of Welney bridge was thirteen feet three inches above the water of the canal. The Old Bedford bridge, about six miles off, was of brick and somewhat higher.http://darwin-online.org.uk/converted/Ancillary/1905_Wallace_A237/1905_Wallace_A237.2.html
However Rowbotham also mentions the 1870 experiment, saying

On the western face of the Old Bedford Bridge, at Salter's Lode
FYI a YouTube video using a P900, both directions from Welney Bridge.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2dXoxu_Ua0
 
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DavidB66

Active Member
Thanks David. I am also struggling with this. Rowbotham states that his 1838 experiment was on six mile stretch from Welney Bridge looking towards Welches Dam, i.e. South West from Welney.

Wallace says only of the 1870 experiment that it was between Welney Bridge and 'The Old Bedford Bridge'.



However Rowbotham also mentions the 1870 experiment, saying



FYI a YouTube video using a P900, both directions from Welney Bridge.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2dXoxu_Ua0

The history of the railway line is quite complicated, but the earliest date given in the Wikipedia article is for 1847, so Rowbotham could well have had an uninterrupted view to Welches Dam in 1838.

However, I wouldn't take Rowbotham's reliability as given! There are some other odd discrepancies between the different editions of his book which might arouse the suspicion that he made up the details as he went along. Notably, in the first edition he describes experiments with bullets fired straight upwards from an air gun, but in the 1881 edition the corresponding passage refers to experiments with a 'strong cast-iron cannon'. (See around page 67 here: http://www.sacred-texts.com/earth/za/za21.htm ) . For practical reasons (not least the horrendous safety aspects) one might well find the 'cannon' version of the experiment implausible in itself. To be fair, Rowbotham doesn't actually claim that he performed the experiment himself, but he doesn't give any other authority for it either.
 

Rory

Senior Member
Very interesting: I'd always assumed that the original experiments were done between Welches Dam and Welney Bridge - but you're right, the stretch NE out of Welney is also a six-mile straight shot - and with no railway bridge over the canal.

The railway bridge on the SW portion is much more modern than the original set of experiments; I guess it replaced an earlier bridge, though I'm not sure what that looked like, or what impact it might have had, if any.
 
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edby

Member
Right, both stretches are almost exactly 6 miles. However, I've only just noticed that the bridge at Salter's lode is on the wrong bit of water.
 

Rory

Senior Member
Right, both stretches are almost exactly 6 miles. However, I've only just noticed that the bridge at Salter's Lode is on the wrong bit of water.
This bridge here?

Screenshot_20180513-072559.png

Looks on the right stretch to me. And also not seeing "the modern bridge to the SW" that David mentioned.

Interesting that, as it looks, Wallace may not have actually used the same stretch of water as Rowbotham.

How about Blount and the others? Anything clear on where that was done?

This does raise questions about which stretch we should use. Rowbotham's has the obstacle of the railway bridge - but also, I think, better access along the canal.

I've also noticed a potential flaw in Wallace's diagrams - his targets are the same size! Surely the distant one should have been much smaller? ;)
 
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edby

Member
That bridge is the right location, but not the old brick bridge in the picture. http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/685667. The picture corresponds to the crossing just below the text 'The Lane'.

As a further complication, there is this:
A mile and three-quarters north-east of Old Bedford Bridge, and just a short distance north of Cock Fen Pumping station, is a house that is unique.
That equates Old Bedford Bridge with Welney Bridge, yet Wallace says they are different bridges ☹
 

edby

Member
And for completeness

https://maps.nls.uk/view/101583038 Old Bedford Sluice

https://maps.nls.uk/view/101571187 Welches Dam

‘Old Bedford Sluice’ would have been an older bridge than the modern one. Perhaps Wallace confused that with Old Bedford Bridge. And Old Bedford Bridge being at Welney, he thought was Welney Bridge. Which it is now so-called, how confusing.

Note the bridge in David's picture is called 'Salters Lode Sluice' in the 101583038 map. I.e. 'Sluice' is a common name for that kind of bridge, or whatever a sluice is.
 
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