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General Discussions => Skepticism / Science Talk => Topic started by: skepticahjumma on February 28, 2019, 10:54:06 AM

Title: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: skepticahjumma on February 28, 2019, 10:54:06 AM
Anyone else seen this? It was fascinating. It both humanizes flat earthers and shows how crazy many of them are.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Ah.hell on February 28, 2019, 01:21:17 PM
I'll put it on my list.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Beef Wellington on February 28, 2019, 02:01:15 PM
Aside from a review on YouTube, I've only seen a clip of that Jaren feller proving himself wrong with a modern-day Bedford Level test. That alone makes me want to see the whole thing.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Tassie Dave on February 28, 2019, 02:24:51 PM
It is hilarious. Definitely worth watching.

Those tests they try and do towards the end of the film show how far they will go to prove themselves right.

They buy a $20,000 gyroscopic compass that amazingly shows 15 degrees of rotation every hour. (What we'd expect) Their solution, come up with a better experiment and don't release the results, because it will make them look bad. That we never see them pleased with the results means that they eventually gave up .

The laser experiment just shows how amateur they are.

The main guy is just deluded at his own fame. He also obviously is infatuated with his podcast partner, who doesn't feel the same way about him.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Beef Wellington on February 28, 2019, 03:32:40 PM
The main guy is just deluded at his own fame. He also obviously is infatuated with his podcast partner, who doesn't feel the same way about him.

I hate to say it, but I think the world needs a flat earth reality show...
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: skepticahjumma on February 28, 2019, 03:52:38 PM

The main guy is just deluded at his own fame. He also obviously is infatuated with his podcast partner, who doesn't feel the same way about him.

Totally right. And his podcast partner is a whole ‘nother level of crazy. You can see it oozing out of her.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: daniel1948 on February 28, 2019, 10:27:08 PM
About 3 or 4 miles off the coast of Maui is the island of Molokini. It's a small crescent-shaped island that was once a crater, but has eroded away. Tour operators take people out there to go snorkeling or scuba diving, and I've paddled there and back in a kayak when the weather is calm. The back wall of the crescent is lower in the middle, higher as you go outward, and then lower again as you continue outward.

If you launch your kayak from Makena Landing (as we most often do) or if you launch a canoe from anywhere in Kihei, and paddle out, you see Molokini as a single island, which it is.

But if you launch tour kayak from Olowalu, about 14 1/2 miles from Molokini, you see what appear to be two separate islands. In just those 14 1/2 miles, the curvature of the Earth is sufficient to obscure the bottom of the island, and all you see are the two higher humps. It's pretty cool to actually see the curvature so starkly.

In the video, Patricia Steare says that she believes no authority but herself. She says that if there were a bombing reported on the news, she would not believe it unless she was there and her own leg was blown off. IOW, she will reject all evidence beforehand.

What really surprised me was that Mark Sargent came off as the moderate and level-headed one in that pack of lunatics. Until now my impression of flat-earthers was taken from the Flat Earth Society chat board, where most of the posters are there to argue with the flat-earthers, some seem to be pretending to be flat-earthers just to be silly, and just a very small number seemed to really believe the Earth was flat, and most of those are so mentally ill that their posts are just word salad. It's also noteworthy that there are a dozen different and mutually exclusive versions of flat earth, and few of them seemed botherd by that other than the major proponents of the various versions.

And then one of them says, apparently not realizing he's being filmed and recorded, that if they released the results of their own experiments to date it would completely kill flat-earth. Though I suppose what would actually happen is that the rest of them would call him a plant and a shill, and ignore his experimental results and continue in their lunacy.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: brilligtove on March 01, 2019, 12:06:29 AM
So this is not like the Goop show? It's exposing the crazy?
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Tassie Dave on March 01, 2019, 12:13:24 AM
So this is not like the Goop show? It's exposing the crazy?

It is more about letting the crazies show how crazy they are.

There is the odd bit of skeptical commentary, but most of the doco is the flat-earthers talking and trying to justify their beliefs.

It has been edited from a normal view of earth as a globe viewpoint.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: brilligtove on March 01, 2019, 12:29:50 AM
I might be able to stomach it.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: daniel1948 on March 01, 2019, 10:18:04 AM
So this is not like the Goop show? It's exposing the crazy?

Some of it is hard to watch as they let the crazies rant. But, yes, basically the show exposes the crazies, especially when we see one of them saying flat-out that flat-earth would be dead if they revealed the results of their own experiments. OTOH, since the foundation of FE is that all contrary evidence has been fabricated by a mysterious "them," FE-ers will only see the pronouncements by their fellow crazies that "science cannot answer us" and believe that, even though such pronouncements are followed by scientists answering them.

It's worth a watch if you have 90 minutes to kill. It probably doesn't have much you don't already know. The in-fighting is interesting. Patricia Steare, who believes that everything is a conspiracy, comments on the fact that some FE-ers think that she's part of the conspiracy. The wackiest wacko shown in the movie thinks that Mark Sargent, one of the leaders of FE, is part of the conspiracy. The bit with the $20,000 gyroscope is interesting: the FE-ers got a commercial-airline-quality gyroscope to prove that the Earth does not rotate. The gyroscope showed exactly the expected 15 degrees per hour rotation. The FE-ers reasoned that, because they have "so much" other evidence that it does not rotate, the gyroscope must be measuring "rotational energy" from space, from the rotating sky, and tried to shield the gyroscope. It still shows the rotation. A great example of how pseudoscientists reject evidence that does not fit their model, rather than revising the model, as real scientists do. As of the end of the film, they are trying to figure out other ways to shield the gyroscope.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Beef Wellington on March 02, 2019, 04:47:06 AM
I just finished it. Holy Shit. Without direct spoilers, my 3 laugh-out-loud moments were a prominent flat-earther using GPS, another one staring at the 2017 eclipse with no glasses and a motorcycle with light-up crystals. I remember the guy harassing a Nasa employee at Starbucks making the rounds on Facebook a while back, and I was surprised to see he's featured in the program. This is the feel-good movie of the year. Not being one of these idiots feels good.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: daniel1948 on March 02, 2019, 09:21:00 AM
Were you referring to the guy watching the eclipse with those disposable paper eclipse glasses? Some of those kinds of glasses are certified safe. I have some of those back at home somewhere.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Gigabyte on March 02, 2019, 11:55:32 AM
It both humanizes flat earthers and shows how crazy many of them are.
Thanks to this topic I am going to watch it.  Years ago I knew of a prolific online poster (considered a troll) who was a flat earth believer (among many other crazy things), and I engaged over the flat earth with them.  For fun, I had no intention of changing their mind.  I just wanted to see how far down the rabbit hole things would go.  It was actually educational, and the sort of thing you just couldn't make up if you were trying to write a Sc-Fi story.

 
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Belgarath on March 02, 2019, 01:49:20 PM
I just finished it. Holy Shit. Without direct spoilers, my 3 laugh-out-loud moments were a prominent flat-earther using GPS, another one staring at the 2017 eclipse with no glasses and a motorcycle with light-up crystals. I remember the guy harassing a Nasa employee at Starbucks making the rounds on Facebook a while back, and I was surprised to see he's featured in the program. This is the feel-good movie of the year. Not being one of these idiots feels good.

Mine was:

(click to show/hide)

Oh and:

(click to show/hide)
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Beef Wellington on March 02, 2019, 02:31:10 PM
Were you referring to the guy watching the eclipse with those disposable paper eclipse glasses? Some of those kinds of glasses are certified safe. I have some of those back at home somewhere.

Yes, but there's a shot of him looking directly at the sun without glasses during the totality. I guess it was safe now that I think about it since he was in Oregon but when I saw it I burst out laughing.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Beef Wellington on March 02, 2019, 02:32:59 PM
I just finished it. Holy Shit. Without direct spoilers, my 3 laugh-out-loud moments were a prominent flat-earther using GPS, another one staring at the 2017 eclipse with no glasses and a motorcycle with light-up crystals. I remember the guy harassing a Nasa employee at Starbucks making the rounds on Facebook a while back, and I was surprised to see he's featured in the program. This is the feel-good movie of the year. Not being one of these idiots feels good.

Mine was:

(click to show/hide)

Oh and:

(click to show/hide)

I missed that last part!
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Belgarath on March 02, 2019, 06:09:16 PM
I just finished it. Holy Shit. Without direct spoilers, my 3 laugh-out-loud moments were a prominent flat-earther using GPS, another one staring at the 2017 eclipse with no glasses and a motorcycle with light-up crystals. I remember the guy harassing a Nasa employee at Starbucks making the rounds on Facebook a while back, and I was surprised to see he's featured in the program. This is the feel-good movie of the year. Not being one of these idiots feels good.

Mine was:

(click to show/hide)

Oh and:

(click to show/hide)

I missed that last part!

It literally caused me to spit water.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Beef Wellington on March 03, 2019, 12:12:29 AM
I just finished it. Holy Shit. Without direct spoilers, my 3 laugh-out-loud moments were a prominent flat-earther using GPS, another one staring at the 2017 eclipse with no glasses and a motorcycle with light-up crystals. I remember the guy harassing a Nasa employee at Starbucks making the rounds on Facebook a while back, and I was surprised to see he's featured in the program. This is the feel-good movie of the year. Not being one of these idiots feels good.

Mine was:

(click to show/hide)

Oh and:

(click to show/hide)

I missed that last part!

It literally caused me to spit water.

Now that you mention it, the screen was getting a little discolored when he tapped it. Touchscreens don't normally do that :P
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Alex Simmons on March 03, 2019, 04:44:32 AM
I saw the film at a theatre a few months ago - it was part of the program at a local film festival.

It was introduced beforehand as being hilarious, but I just felt sad for the clearly deluded people involved.

The ending with the laser experiment was funny though. And the money wasted on the gyroscope tests!
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: daniel1948 on March 03, 2019, 09:21:18 AM
I just finished it. Holy Shit. Without direct spoilers, my 3 laugh-out-loud moments were a prominent flat-earther using GPS, another one staring at the 2017 eclipse with no glasses and a motorcycle with light-up crystals. I remember the guy harassing a Nasa employee at Starbucks making the rounds on Facebook a while back, and I was surprised to see he's featured in the program. This is the feel-good movie of the year. Not being one of these idiots feels good.

Mine was:

(click to show/hide)

Oh and:

(click to show/hide)

I missed that last part!

It literally caused me to spit water.

My first thought was, "How can they be so STUPID!?" And then I realized, "Oh, yeah: They believe the Earth is flat. <Sigh!>"
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Alex Simmons on March 03, 2019, 07:52:29 PM
My first thought was, "How can they be so STUPID!?" And then I realized, "Oh, yeah: They believe the Earth is flat. <Sigh!>"

I'm not sure I'd call them stupid considering the technology and systems they demonstrate they are capable of using, the organisational capabilities to arrange conferences, record a live narrow cast, conduct experiments with technology, etc.

The most intelligent humans who've ever lived have believed in all sorts of wacky stuff.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Bill K on March 04, 2019, 02:25:16 AM
My first thought was, "How can they be so STUPID!?" And then I realized, "Oh, yeah: They believe the Earth is flat. <Sigh!>"

I'm not sure I'd call them stupid considering the technology and systems they demonstrate they are capable of using, the organisational capabilities to arrange conferences, record a live narrow cast, conduct experiments with technology, etc.

The most intelligent humans who've ever lived have believed in all sorts of wacky stuff.

Aside from intelligence being a hard term to define, I agree, these are not stupid people. These are mentally ill individuals who have not been diagnosed, namely because they are capable of finding other mentally ill individuals who believe in the same nonsense. This echo chamber allows these folks to not even consider they're paranoid and delusional.  This is a side effect of social networks' ability to bring like-minded people together.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: arthwollipot on March 04, 2019, 02:33:36 AM
I would be extremely careful about remotely diagnosing mental illness on the basis of a single documentary.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Bill K on March 04, 2019, 07:12:34 AM
I would be extremely careful about remotely diagnosing mental illness on the basis of a single documentary.

Me too. Unfortunately, I'm not a doctor, so can say these things.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: arthwollipot on March 04, 2019, 07:55:42 PM
I would be extremely careful about remotely diagnosing mental illness on the basis of a single documentary.

Me too. Unfortunately, I'm not a doctor, so can say these things.

Non-doctors should be even more reluctant to perform diagnoses that should be performed by doctors.

If you want to call them "crazy", do so. Don't start trying to say that they have specific mental disorders unless you know what you're talking about. And don't use "mental illness" as a blanket term for "crazy". That does a disservice by stigmatising those with genuine diagnosed mental illness.

Okay, I've said my bit. How about those flat earthers, eh? Are they crazy or what?
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Soldier of FORTRAN on March 04, 2019, 09:04:34 PM
Great little documentary.  The main subject's love of merchandising reminded me of Space Balls.  Table, clock, bumper stickers, etc.  Merchandising, merchandising!  Where the real money is made
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: D'oh! on March 05, 2019, 01:39:09 AM
Overall an enjoyable watch. I was expecting more overt "crazy," though. The only one who fit the bill was the blonde guy who claims he used to work for NASA and had a falling out with the others. He was a little scary to watch, frankly. The others I just found to be "off."

Of course, any scientist watching this will probably want to tear their hair out.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Beef Wellington on March 05, 2019, 01:49:37 AM
Overall an enjoyable watch. I was expecting more overt "crazy," though. The only one who fit the bill was the blonde guy who claims he used to work for NASA and had a falling out with the others. He was a little scary to watch, frankly. The others I just found to be "off."

Of course, any scientist watching this will probably want to tear their hair out.

I would add the feller what bothered the NASA employee to the crazy list. That incident and just about everything else he said in the picture was insane.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Bill K on March 05, 2019, 09:34:00 AM
I would be extremely careful about remotely diagnosing mental illness on the basis of a single documentary.

Me too. Unfortunately, I'm not a doctor, so can say these things.

Non-doctors should be even more reluctant to perform diagnoses that should be performed by doctors.

If you want to call them "crazy", do so. Don't start trying to say that they have specific mental disorders unless you know what you're talking about. And don't use "mental illness" as a blanket term for "crazy". That does a disservice by stigmatising those with genuine diagnosed mental illness.

Okay, I've said my bit. How about those flat earthers, eh? Are they crazy or what?

When did I mention a specific diagnosis? And I'm sorry but I'm not going to substitute "mentally ill" for "crazy" because that's your preference. Furthermore, I didn't stigmatize anything nor is that ever my intention. I'm sorry you feel I did.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: daniel1948 on March 05, 2019, 11:26:13 AM
Others may be reluctant to say it, but I will: People who seriously believe the Earth is flat (as opposed to people who join the movement for social validation or camaraderie or as a lark because they enjoy being silly) are completely bat-shit crazy. They are mentally ill. They are delusional. They imagine that their own "common sense" is more valid than well-established theories tested with scientific rigor. In addition they are stupid (even if they have competence in basic life skills and the technical use of equipment) because they imagine that any anomaly that fits their fantasy is a proof, while the mountain of contradictory evidence is all lies and fabrications. Even when their own tests disprove flat-earth and confirm round-earth, they reject those results with idiotic hypotheses about unknown "energies," effectively the universe itself conspiring to conceal the "truth." They are bat-shit crazy idiots. Or in polite terms, mentally-ill persons of below-average intelligence.

I joined the Flat Earth Society discussion board a while back, browsed randomly through it, and posted for a while (as a flat-earth believer, since that was more fun than arguing seriously with people who reject all evidence) and the number of completely incomprehensible posts was impressive. For about five years I worked in a homeless shelter, and a percentage of homeless people are homeless because they are mentally ill. And I've spent time listening to people who are clearly mentally ill. I'm not a therapist, but often these people just need someone to listen to them, and I believe that I did them some good just by listening. And, no, I did not tell them they were ill. I just listened. And I can tell you that I saw many of the same sorts of patterns on the FES chat board as I did at the homeless shelter. On the chat board I never told anyone they were crazy, but I'll say it here. Wackaloons of the first order.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Bill K on March 05, 2019, 03:53:33 PM
Stop stigmatizing mental illness! /s
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Alex Simmons on March 05, 2019, 05:27:46 PM
Would this then also apply?

Others may be reluctant to say it, but I will: People who seriously believe the Earth is flat there is a God (as opposed to people who join the movement for social validation or camaraderie or as a lark because they enjoy being silly) are completely bat-shit crazy. They are mentally ill. They are delusional.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Bill K on March 05, 2019, 06:42:06 PM
Would this then also apply?

Others may be reluctant to say it, but I will: People who seriously believe the Earth is flat there is a God (as opposed to people who join the movement for social validation or camaraderie or as a lark because they enjoy being silly) are completely bat-shit crazy. They are mentally ill. They are delusional.

I don't think the belief in a god is equivalent to the belief in a flat Earth, is it?
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Soldier of FORTRAN on March 05, 2019, 06:45:51 PM
Depends on the nature of their god.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: arthwollipot on March 05, 2019, 06:59:27 PM
I would be extremely careful about remotely diagnosing mental illness on the basis of a single documentary.

Me too. Unfortunately, I'm not a doctor, so can say these things.

Non-doctors should be even more reluctant to perform diagnoses that should be performed by doctors.

If you want to call them "crazy", do so. Don't start trying to say that they have specific mental disorders unless you know what you're talking about. And don't use "mental illness" as a blanket term for "crazy". That does a disservice by stigmatising those with genuine diagnosed mental illness.

Okay, I've said my bit. How about those flat earthers, eh? Are they crazy or what?

When did I mention a specific diagnosis? And I'm sorry but I'm not going to substitute "mentally ill" for "crazy" because that's your preference. Furthermore, I didn't stigmatize anything nor is that ever my intention. I'm sorry you feel I did.

That's a great non-apology, denial, and commitment to not changing. You might as well have not responded at all.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Bill K on March 05, 2019, 07:00:43 PM
I'm not sorry, you're right. Denial of what? And I don't find your responses very meaningful, either. I think you mean well, but while trying to make others less offensive (by your standards) you come off pretty insulting yourself, in my opinion.

You also didn't tell me what supposed diagnosis I made, nor how I managed to stigmatize mental illness.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: arthwollipot on March 05, 2019, 08:31:46 PM
I'm not sorry, you're right. Denial of what? And I don't find your responses very meaningful, either. I think you mean well, but while trying to make others less offensive (by your standards) you come off pretty insulting yourself, in my opinion.

You also didn't tell me what supposed diagnosis I made, nor how I managed to stigmatize mental illness.

Okay, let me break it down since you're clearly having trouble with it. You denied stigmatising mental illness, which you did (I believe unintentionally) by equating it with generic "crazy". If you say someone has a mental illness, you are implying that they have an actual diagnosed disorder that you could find in the DSM-5 or the ICD-10. By equating them, you're saying either that all people who have diagnosed mental illness are "crazy" or that all "crazy" people have diagnosed mental illness, neither of which are true.

Synonyms for "crazy" (https://www.dictionary.com/browse/crazy) include demented, unbalanced, unhinged and unstable, and it carries potential connotations of violence or mania. Most mental illness sufferers are none of those things."Crazy" is a perjorative. "Mentally ill" is not. By using the term "mentally ill" instead of the perjorative "crazy", you are making the term "mentally ill" into a perjorative, which stigmatises all people who actually do have diagnosed mental illness, most of whom are not "crazy" by any reasonable definition of the term.

I actually don't think that you should use the word at all, but if you really want to insult someone, you should use the terms "crazy" or "loony" or something similarly generic. Don't use the term "mentally ill" unless you know that someone actually has a mental health diagnosis. Otherwise, you perpetuate the myth that mentally ill people are all crazy.

I hope this has highlighted for you why it is important not to misuse mental illness terminology.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Soldier of FORTRAN on March 05, 2019, 08:42:14 PM
I'm not sure a thread regarding the spectacle of Flat Earth lunacy is the best place for an ableism derail
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: arthwollipot on March 05, 2019, 08:47:11 PM
I'm not sure a thread regarding the spectacle of Flat Earth lunacy is the best place for an ableism derail

Which is why I originally said:

Okay, I've said my bit. How about those flat earthers, eh? Are they crazy or what?

Bit Bill K doubled down.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Bill K on March 06, 2019, 01:44:30 AM
In using the word crazy, I was thinking more along the lines of "not mentally sound or marked by thought or action that lacks reason." Although, I nevertheless shouldn't equate the two (mentally ill and crazy), you're right.

I do still suspect the individual flat Eathers in this film probably do suffer from undiagnosed mental disorders. I don't think they're crazy.



Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: arthwollipot on March 06, 2019, 01:59:50 AM
In using the word crazy, I was thinking more along the lines of "not mentally sound or marked by thought or action that lacks reason." Although, I see why you were offended. I think it's clear these people (at least those featured in the documentary) are not crazy by the definition you are using. And I'm unsure that's the definition most people intend to convey when using the word crazy colloquially, despite it being the definition one might first find Googling the term. Nevertheless, I shouldn't have equated craziness with mental illness. I misread you initially and thought you were (not that even had you would it excuse me doing so).

I appreciate you saying that. Thanks.

I do, still, think the flat-Earthers in this documentary suffer from mental illness, for the most part. I don't think that they are deranged, nor demented, nor violent. I think they very clearly have some serious issues in cognition. How else can one arrive at such a conclusion?

Incomplete or insufficient understanding of science, mostly. Distrust of authority. Overactive agency detection. These are all reasons people believe in conspiracy theories. Combine that with a YouTube algorithm that has the effect of driving people towards conspiracy videos. Mike Hall has discussed this at length on a recent episode of the Skeptics With A K podcast, which I highly recommend.

Anyway, you're still dipping into mental illness territory. What you are suggesting is that flat earthers suffer from a mental disconnection from reality, fabrication and reification of fantasy. There's a technical term for that - psychosis. Psychosis can be a symptom of a number of mental disorders - schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, PTSD and others - but it certainly is not a symptom of all mental illness, so I would caution against hasty generalisation.

This has been your "Arth talks about mental illness" hour. Thanks for coming.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: fuzzyMarmot on March 06, 2019, 03:25:10 AM
They imagine that their own "common sense" is more valid than well-established theories tested with scientific rigor.
Almost like an untrained person remotely diagnosing people on the internet with mental illness.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: fuzzyMarmot on March 06, 2019, 03:32:15 AM
Thanks, Arth, for providing fact-based and sensitive context for discussions of mental illness. I think we all need to exercise more care in how we describe these conditions and more restraint in making untrained diagnoses. Props to Bill K for being open to learning on this topic. Hats off to you both.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Gigabyte on March 06, 2019, 07:06:24 AM
I'm watching it right now.  I actually came across a flat earther in the wild a few weeks ago. I know this because he reacted to a comment I made about Space X sending people back to the moon.  He flat out also believed nobody ever went to the moon.  But that is another topic.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Belgarath on March 06, 2019, 07:51:50 AM
Are some flat earthers mentally ill?  Probably.  But that's because there are likely mentally ill people holding virtually every possible belief.

Are the people shown in the documentary mentally ill?  No, I highly doubt it.  Completely reasonable people believe all sorts of silly things.  I imagine if you encountered a normal every day Scientologist on the street, you wouldn't identify them as mentally ill or crazy and their belief system is even more crazy than just believing in Flat Earth.

One thing that I heard very briefly in the documentary, but which seems to bear itself out quite well is that by the time you get to believing in Flat Earth, you believe in pretty much every other conspiracy theory out there.  There is one famous youtube Flat Earther that recommends drinking your own urine to cure virtually any disease or infection.

Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: daniel1948 on March 06, 2019, 11:20:24 AM
Would this then also apply?

Others may be reluctant to say it, but I will: People who seriously believe the Earth is flat there is a God (as opposed to people who join the movement for social validation or camaraderie or as a lark because they enjoy being silly) are completely bat-shit crazy. They are mentally ill. They are delusional.

I do think it's nuts (in the colloquial use of the term) to believe in God. But there is a big difference between belief in God and belief in a flat Earth: God in the western monotheistic religions is defined as being outside of nature and not subject to any of its laws. While I think this is "crazy," it is not a proposition for or against which there can be evidence. The shape of the Earth, OTOH, is a matter concerning which there is overwealming evidence all around us and easy to obtain. I mentioned an example up-thread: the island that at a remove of a mere 14 1/2 miles appears to be two islands because its bottom portion is hidden behind the curve of the Earth as viewed from a kayak on the water.

They imagine that their own "common sense" is more valid than well-established theories tested with scientific rigor.
Almost like an untrained person remotely diagnosing people on the internet with mental illness.

If a trained psychologist or psychiatrist were to examine these people and pronounce them mentally healthy, I would defer to their professional diagnosis. However, it would surprise me, as many of them exhibit pretty clear signs of mental illness.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Gigabyte on March 06, 2019, 12:29:46 PM
One thing that I heard very briefly in the documentary, but which seems to bear itself out quite well is that by the time you get to believing in Flat Earth, you believe in pretty much every other conspiracy theory out there. 
I stopped watching after 10 minutes.  I rarely waste my time with unrewarding nonsense. 
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Soldier of FORTRAN on March 06, 2019, 12:36:00 PM
What do you usually look for in a documentary?

I liked this one as a small window into a bewildering and utterly foreign worldview and culture. 
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Gigabyte on March 06, 2019, 01:48:58 PM

I liked this one as a small window into a bewildering and utterly foreign worldview and culture.
That's how I feel about most of the internet
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Bill K on March 06, 2019, 03:20:55 PM

I liked this one as a small window into a bewildering and utterly foreign worldview and culture.
That's how I feel about most of the internet

This documentary really contains no new information pertaining to Flat Earth Theorists. It's more just a year-in-the-life of a few pillars in their community, revealing their thinking, possible motivations, and so on. I enjoyed it. But yeah, nothing new, and I understand not wanting to spend an hour on it.

I do think for the laymen who possibly have never encountered this fringe belief, that, nowadays seems impossible to exist, is a good primer. Some folks on Twitter who really aren't science enthusiasts at all really liked this.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: arthwollipot on March 06, 2019, 09:05:31 PM
Are some flat earthers mentally ill?  Probably.  But that's because there are likely mentally ill people holding virtually every possible belief.

One of the issues is that conspiracy theories can affect the symptoms of mental illness. For example, someone with schizophrenia who experiences auditory hallucinations might interpret those hallucinations as the voices of aliens, or orbital mind control technology, or God. But you can't tell without them voluntarily undergoing a mental health assessment.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Tassie Dave on March 07, 2019, 01:51:15 AM
Are some flat earthers mentally ill?  Probably.  But that's because there are likely mentally ill people holding virtually every possible belief.

One of the issues is that conspiracy theories can affect the symptoms of mental illness. For example, someone with schizophrenia who experiences auditory hallucinations might interpret those hallucinations as the voices of aliens, or orbital mind control technology, or God. But you can't tell without them voluntarily undergoing a mental health assessment.

My aunt said her voice was a Native American who gave her advice. My sister's voice was a demon who kept telling her to harm and/or kill herself.

Both were diagnosed schizophrenics. My sister's voices were eventually silenced with medication before she did any permanent harm to herself.

She does still have weird thoughts, which she has constant need to tell everyone in the family. Much to our shared annoyance. She has no filter of what is and isn't acceptable to be shared  ???
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: arthwollipot on March 07, 2019, 02:17:49 AM
Are some flat earthers mentally ill?  Probably.  But that's because there are likely mentally ill people holding virtually every possible belief.

One of the issues is that conspiracy theories can affect the symptoms of mental illness. For example, someone with schizophrenia who experiences auditory hallucinations might interpret those hallucinations as the voices of aliens, or orbital mind control technology, or God. But you can't tell without them voluntarily undergoing a mental health assessment.

My aunt said her voice was a Native American who gave her advice. My sister's voice was a demon who kept telling her to harm and/or kill herself.

Both were diagnosed schizophrenics. My sister's voices were eventually silenced with medication before she did any permanent harm to herself.

She does still have weird thoughts, which she has constant need to tell everyone in the family. Much to our shared annoyance. She has no filter of what is and isn't acceptable to be shared  ???

It can certainly be hard to have someone diagnosed with mental illness in the family.

Incidentally, just so it's out there, my knowledge of mental health comes from a 15-year close relationship with a person who has been diagnosed with Bipolar II and PTSD. She works in mental illness education, is on the board of several independent bodies, and speaks regularly at mental health conferences. She is studying for her Master's in mental health policy and is writing her thesis on the failure of the NDIS to cater for the needs of mental health patients. I've read her preliminary essay on this and it's fascinating. So now you know where I'm coming from. :)
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: skepticahjumma on March 07, 2019, 12:50:25 PM
I'm not sure a thread regarding the spectacle of Flat Earth lunacy is the best place for an ableism derail

Lunacy.

I see what you did there. Nice one.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Beef Wellington on March 08, 2019, 11:36:21 AM
I’m comfortable saying Mr. Thompson needs help.

https://youtu.be/vma-sgLUKeU
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: The Latinist on March 08, 2019, 03:01:30 PM
Were you referring to the guy watching the eclipse with those disposable paper eclipse glasses? Some of those kinds of glasses are certified safe. I have some of those back at home somewhere.

Yes, but there's a shot of him looking directly at the sun without glasses during the totality. I guess it was safe now that I think about it since he was in Oregon but when I saw it I burst out laughing.

I’m not sure what his being in Oregon has to do with it; it is always safe to look at the sun without protection during totality.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Beef Wellington on March 08, 2019, 03:42:31 PM
Were you referring to the guy watching the eclipse with those disposable paper eclipse glasses? Some of those kinds of glasses are certified safe. I have some of those back at home somewhere.

Yes, but there's a shot of him looking directly at the sun without glasses during the totality. I guess it was safe now that I think about it since he was in Oregon but when I saw it I burst out laughing.

I’m not sure what his being in Oregon has to do with it; it is always safe to look at the sun without protection during totality.

Oregon was in the totality's path, therefore he could look w/o shades.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Bill K on March 15, 2019, 03:39:26 PM
Were you referring to the guy watching the eclipse with those disposable paper eclipse glasses? Some of those kinds of glasses are certified safe. I have some of those back at home somewhere.

Yes, but there's a shot of him looking directly at the sun without glasses during the totality. I guess it was safe now that I think about it since he was in Oregon but when I saw it I burst out laughing.

I’m not sure what his being in Oregon has to do with it; it is always safe to look at the sun without protection during totality.

Oregon was in the totality's path, therefore he could look w/o shades.

Yeah, but he didn't know that.  :D
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Beleth on March 26, 2019, 02:53:45 PM
I watched it. I came away thinking that it was more romcom (Boy conspiracy theorist meets girl conspiracy theorist, they start a podcast, boy falls for girl, girl doesn't quite fall for boy) than it should have been, but hey.

I want to see a follow-up, where the guys with the gyroscope try harder to incorporate their findings with their beliefs, and where the guys with the lasers on the lake do the same. It could become very inspirational.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: seamas on March 26, 2019, 03:20:29 PM
The only thing flat-Earthers need to fear is sphere itself!
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Beef Wellington on March 26, 2019, 06:44:43 PM

I want to see a follow-up, where the guys with the gyroscope try harder to incorporate their findings with their beliefs, and where the guys with the lasers on the lake do the same. It could become very inspirational.

The follow-up is YouTube drama, as usual...
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: daniel1948 on March 26, 2019, 08:43:14 PM
I watched it. I came away thinking that it was more romcom (Boy conspiracy theorist meets girl conspiracy theorist, they start a podcast, boy falls for girl, girl doesn't quite fall for boy) than it should have been, but hey.

I want to see a follow-up, where the guys with the gyroscope try harder to incorporate their findings with their beliefs, and where the guys with the lasers on the lake do the same. It could become very inspirational.


It was really a bit of a rom-com. I think you got that right. But one with an unhappy ending. Poor Mark Sargent. Even his mother didn't seem particularly convinced that he has all his marbles. By all accounts, he's a nice enough guy.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Beleth on March 28, 2019, 01:07:16 PM
On a side note, I'd really wish that "How many straight lines does it take to make a circle?" guy at the beach would ask me.

Because the answer is "one", and the beach is the perfect place to prove it.

"Go to a long beach and look out at the water to the horizon. The horizon is straight, right? Look as far left as you can and still see the horizon over the water. Now slowly turn to the right and keep looking at the horizon until something gets in your way. The horizon stays totally straight and flat that entire time.

"Now imagine you're on a tiny island way out in the middle of the ocean, like one of those desert islands cartoonists draw. Look straight out in front of you. Straight, flat horizon still, right? Now slowly spin in place. You will see the entire horizon, perfectly straight and perfectly flat, all the way around until you have made an entire rotation. 360 degrees of straight, flat horizon.

"So what shape does that horizon have to be in? A circle, right? There you go. You only need one straight line to make a circle."
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: Billzbub on March 28, 2019, 02:17:38 PM
On a side note, I'd really wish that "How many straight lines does it take to make a circle?" guy at the beach would ask me.

Because the answer is "one", and the beach is the perfect place to prove it.

"Go to a long beach and look out at the water to the horizon. The horizon is straight, right? Look as far left as you can and still see the horizon over the water. Now slowly turn to the right and keep looking at the horizon until something gets in your way. The horizon stays totally straight and flat that entire time.

"Now imagine you're on a tiny island way out in the middle of the ocean, like one of those desert islands cartoonists draw. Look straight out in front of you. Straight, flat horizon still, right? Now slowly spin in place. You will see the entire horizon, perfectly straight and perfectly flat, all the way around until you have made an entire rotation. 360 degrees of straight, flat horizon.

"So what shape does that horizon have to be in? A circle, right? There you go. You only need one straight line to make a circle."

Can the island be called Flatland?
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: daniel1948 on March 28, 2019, 04:03:00 PM
The horizon doesn't look like a straight line to me. It looks curved. That curvature is even more pronounced when I was looking out from the summit of Humphrey's Peak, at 12,633 feet above sea level, one of only two times I have stood on a point from which everything visible on a clear day is lower in elevation. (Ben Nevis, in Scotland, was the other, but it's only 4,400 feet above sea level.)

The whole "ship disappearing bottom-first" thing is hard because a ship is small and the horizon is far away. I've never been able to discern the disappearance of a ship on the horizon. But I'd love to take a flat-earther to Molokini to see the whole island, and then take him to Olowalu, 14 miles away, from where Molokini looks like two islands because you can only see the two humps which are the highest parts of the island.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: seamas on April 08, 2019, 10:41:47 AM
I finally watched this.

One thing I really appreciated was how charitable the scientists were and how they shared Steve Novella's frequent comment about just how bad science communication and journalism has been over recent decades--taking the blame a bit.
It was great that they didn't make wholesale "stupid" "crazy" criticisms but mostly went after underlying causes of these weird pseudoscience beliefs.

Mark Sargent was interesting, as unlike the other flat earthers, seemed to have much more of an easy rapport and clear communication, which I think is part of what made him (rather than that screaming guy Matt) the "leader' of the movement.

Sad that any of the experiments that they use that shoot down their theory are immediately explained away.  A good illustration on how bad science is created.

On what basis was Mark Sargent claiming that one shouldn't see Seattle from his vantage point? Is he thinking the globe as described by science is very small?

Of course he was making this claim with zero danger of someone explaining it to him.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: PANTS! on April 08, 2019, 02:46:23 PM
You Are Not So Smart just interviewed the documentary makers of Behind The Curve.  It's pretty good.
Title: Re: Behind the Curve - flat earth documentary on Netflix
Post by: brilligtove on April 09, 2019, 12:01:19 AM
In my queue after two eps of The Life Scientific.