Author Topic: Modern Flat-Earthism  (Read 1635 times)

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Offline Brookster

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Modern Flat-Earthism
« on: November 15, 2015, 04:41:43 PM »
So this thread was inspired by a couple of things. The first was Christine Garwood's excellent book Flat Earth: The History of an Infamous Idea. The second has been the recent rise in modern flat-earthism.

At least on YouTube and in podcast-land, the modern flat-earth movement seems to have grown, over this year, from nothing to something that's hard to ignore (at least by geeks like me). Modern proponents include Eric Dubay, Mark Sargent, Rob Skiba and Patricia Steere (you can find their YouTube channels quite easily).

To save you all the trouble, I'll try and summarise the main arguments:

1. The Earth is flat. Antarctica is all around the edge, which is guarded by a huge ice wall. A bit like this. You are not allowed to go to Antarctica
2. Everything done by NASA (and all other national and private space agencies) has been faked. Satellites do not exist; GPS and satellite TV are all ground-based. The ISS is a projection and the interior filming is done in Hollywood
3. Flights over the southern hemisphere are either fake or are diverted
4. Gravity does not exist
5. The sun and moon circle around a flat plane. They are both about 30 miles across and 3,000 miles in the air. Stars revolve around the flat Earth, which does not move
6. Based on the equation 8" x miles^2 (for the earth's curvature), many objects are visible that should not be
7. Flat-earthers disagree on the existence of a firmament
8. Eclipses are the result of the passing of a 'black sun'
9. The moon generates its own light

Now clearly, this is the fringiest of hypotheses, both in terms of pseudoscience and conspiracy theories.

But to be honest, physics and maths aren't my strongest suits and I can imagine how some of the arguments appear superficially convincing. It took me some reading to fully understand the mechanics of the solar system, to understand where they're coming from (and I used to be a science writer).

And there are a few valid points hidden under the conjecture. Go Pro cameras do exaggerate curvature and, even very high up in the atmosphere, the earth's curvature isn't obvious.

Conversely, I'm still unable to find a convincing explanation for the phases of the moon, or the fact that different stars are visible in different hemispheres. Or that you can fly from Sydney to Santiago in about twelve hours (this should be one of the longest flights on a flat earth).

So I'm wondering if flat-earthism is on the verge of creeping into the mainstream debate. In some ways, it's an appeal to 'common sense' and trades off a general distrust of authority and scientists. In many ways, it's a creationist argument; the authorities are covering it up because of some sort of atheist, freemasonic or satanic agenda. And I expect, among followers, there's an attraction in possibly uncovering the biggest cover-up of them all.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2015, 05:51:21 PM by Brookster »

Offline H. Drummond

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Re: Modern Flat-Earthism
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2015, 08:46:16 PM »
Great googly moogly!  That is quite the robust conspiracy theory.  I hadn't heard more than the faintest glimmer of flat-eartherism (which doesn't mean it isn't turning into a "thing" -- I don't hear about "things" until they're practically past being "things").  I don't have a barometer on the popularity of these sorts of conspiracies, but it definitely seems to me that as social media allows people of like-minds to gather in a virtual space, it allows people with these sorts of ideas to gather as well.  What I'm trying to say, and am saying badly, is that there may not really be more of them, they may just seem more prominent because they're easily accessible, and feeding off one another.  Have they always been there, in the dark corners of alt.net. sorts of spaces?   

This would be an interesting anthropological study, were one of a mind to do it . . .

Thank you for a summary of the arguments, by the way.  It really is interesting.  I'm not following #6, though.  What equation is this?

Offline JuniorSpaceman

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Re: Modern Flat-Earthism
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2015, 11:34:40 PM »
Like the other, more 'out there' conspiracy theories, this one is better examined through psychology, rather than physics. This isn't a slam on the believers in the flat earth idea, but is rather the result of the inability for any evidence to be convincing to somebody who has decided that a conspiracy involving almost every person on earth is more convincing than the idea that we live on a round planet.

Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Modern Flat-Earthism
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2015, 12:28:58 AM »

Offline The Latinist

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Re: Modern Flat-Earthism
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2015, 06:59:17 AM »
I wonder what incentive these people think there is to engage in such a conspiracy to hide the true geometry of the universe.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline Brookster

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Re: Modern Flat-Earthism
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2015, 07:10:15 AM »
I wonder what incentive these people think there is to engage in such a conspiracy to hide the true geometry of the universe.

Like I said, it's very difficult to be a flat-earther and not believe the flat earth is the product of a creator. The powers-that-be—with their masonic and satanic agendas—are covering this up. Some of it is anti-science; beliefs that don't match up with experience and common sense must be wrong.

Offline EvilNick

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Re: Modern Flat-Earthism
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2015, 09:27:14 AM »
I enjoy a good conspiracy theory--for the entertainment purposes of course.  But I just can't even take these people seriously.  It's just way too stupid.  I keep looking at Flat Earthers like Flying Spaghetti Monster proponents--they know it's a joke and are using it as an ironic commentary on something else. 
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Offline Shibboleth

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Re: Modern Flat-Earthism
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2015, 10:06:00 AM »
This is one where I think that most members know that the Earth is round but enjoy being part of the group and talking about crazy crap.
common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

Offline Ah.hell

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Re: Modern Flat-Earthism
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2015, 10:29:40 AM »
I've been aware of this since high school, one of my teachers played a video of theirs as an example of pseudo-science.   I've never quite decided if they are for real or an elaborate joke. 

Online Mr. Beagle

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Re: Modern Flat-Earthism
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2015, 10:43:16 AM »
I've been aware of this since high school, one of my teachers played a video of theirs as an example of pseudo-science.   I've never quite decided if they are for real or an elaborate joke.

I had a high school science teacher acquaintance a few years ago who was really into the "Hollow Earth Theory," and I had to sit through a presentation he had put together on this. He was serious. He would say that the Hollow Earth Theory is MUCH more plausible than the Flat Earth Theory, which is obviously bogus.
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Offline Dan I

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Re: Modern Flat-Earthism
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2015, 12:37:31 PM »
I've been aware of this since high school, one of my teachers played a video of theirs as an example of pseudo-science.   I've never quite decided if they are for real or an elaborate joke.

I had a high school science teacher acquaintance a few years ago who was really into the "Hollow Earth Theory," and I had to sit through a presentation he had put together on this. He was serious. He would say that the Hollow Earth Theory is MUCH more plausible than the Flat Earth Theory, which is obviously bogus.

Well he isn't necessarily wrong there. A hollow, but spherical, Earth seems far more reasonable than a completely flat Earth.

Offline Brookster

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Re: Modern Flat-Earthism
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2015, 01:00:40 PM »
Well he isn't necessarily wrong there. A hollow, but spherical, Earth seems far more reasonable than a completely flat Earth.

Not if we're all living on the inside of it, which is a tenet of hollow earth. Or we're on the outside and another species is living on the inside.

Offline Shibboleth

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Re: Modern Flat-Earthism
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2015, 01:24:45 PM »
There are probably Dark Elves in the bowls of the Earth.
common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

Offline Dan I

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Re: Modern Flat-Earthism
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2015, 01:49:26 PM »
Well he isn't necessarily wrong there. A hollow, but spherical, Earth seems far more reasonable than a completely flat Earth.

Not if we're all living on the inside of it, which is a tenet of hollow earth. Or we're on the outside and another species is living on the inside.

Have to disagree.

A spherical, yet hollow Earth, is objectively closer to reality than a flat Earth. Regardless of the rest of the craziness, hollow Earthers at least have the basic geometry right.

Offline Brookster

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Re: Modern Flat-Earthism
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2015, 01:55:48 PM »
Have to disagree.
A spherical, yet hollow Earth, is objectively closer to reality than a flat Earth. Regardless of the rest of the craziness, hollow Earthers at least have the basic geometry right.

Well, marginally. Both a flat and a hollow earth would collapse under gravity (although the flat-earthers will tell you gravity doesn't exist, and it's density keeping us on the ground).