Can White Swans exist?

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MyMatesBrainwashed

Active Member
If a photograph of a refracted horizon is a "black swan" then surely every photograph ever taken is a "black swan".

Has flat earth ever found a "white swan"?

Can "white swan"s exist?
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Flat Earth has no white swan. There is not a single photograph showing a long distance that looks like it should if Earth was flat. Not. a. single. one.
 

MyMatesBrainwashed

Active Member
Flat Earth has no white swan. There is not a single photograph showing a long distance that looks like it should if Earth was flat. Not. a. single. one.
I'm not talking how things should look on a flat earth.

The black swan photograph sees too far.

I'm assuming that due to refraction then every single photograph of the horizon ever taken sees too far.

Refraction dictates that white swans cannot exist.

Globe earth understands that all swans must be black (because of refraction) and has never actually claimed the existence of white swans.

It would possibly be better to say that all swans are different shades of grey and flat earth turned up with a really dark grey one claiming it to be black while they thought all the light grey swans were white.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
I'm not talking how things should look on a flat earth.
Ah, I'm sorry. You asked whether FE had ever found a white swan, and they're not known for looking for globe proofs. (To be fair, most don't look for FE proofs either.)

Space-mounted cameras have provided pictures of the globe, which are uncontrovertible proof of Earth being a globe. That's why FEers are commonly also moon landing deniers and include NASA in their conspiracy theory.

The black swan photograph sees too far.

I'm assuming that due to refraction then every single photograph of the horizon ever taken sees too far.

Refraction dictates that white swans cannot exist.
No.

The "prediction conditions" are standard refraction, because it's consistent with established physics; a long-distance photo without regraction effects would be a true black swan. Compare https://www.metabunk.org/threads/de...does-not-matches-with-earths-curvature.12278/ where the prediction accounts for refraction, and the result is shown to match exactly: a white swan.

Standard refraction is the white swan, but weather conditions change refraction close to water on a sometimes hourly basis, which means that GE predictions for observations close to water (or close to the ground!) are unreliable.
 

MyMatesBrainwashed

Active Member
Standard refraction is the white swan
But standard refraction sees too far.

So any photo with standard refraction is a black swan (according to flat earth). It's just not as black as THE black swan.

Flat Earth's (version of the) white swan is a photograph without refraction.
 

MyMatesBrainwashed

Active Member
Standard refraction predictions are not "too far", they're exactly right.
Show me flat earth doing refraction predictions then.

6 foot, 3 miles. That's pretty much flat earth's prediction. They might bring out 8" per mile squared. Standard refraction sees too far for that.

Horizon will never be where flat earth thinks it should be in a photograph for a globe of radius x. Ergo every photo is a black swan.
 

MyMatesBrainwashed

Active Member
what would cause a flat earth to have a horizon at three miles? If the Earth were flat why would you not be able to see farther than that?
Flat earth doesn't claim a horizon at 3 miles.

A globe of size x does.

It's fascinating that people seem to think I'm arguing for flat earth here.
 

AmberRobot

Active Member
If by “white swan” you mean a photo that shows a horizon that lies at the distance predicted by average refraction conditions “I.e., sees just right far” then I’m sure those exist. However no one ever seems to look for those. Flat Earthers always look for the needle of evidence that supports their view while ignoring the haystack of evidence that doesn’t.

A6E8FFC9-5E27-4790-9689-70CA89A5D3FF.jpeg

Does this photo I took show standard refraction? I don’t know. I don’t have a good reference point to measure the distance to the horizon. But I do know this photo is impossible on a flat Earth and no amount of zooming in is going to bring the image of the Sun back up to the point in the sky that the flat Earth model implies.
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
Flat earth doesn't claim a horizon at 3 miles.

A globe of size x does.
I don't know why, but I am struggling too... I suspect too many mentions of swans as shorthand for something that I am not getting.
Are you asking whether Flat Earth proponents have pictures that show the correct horizon distance that would be predicted by refraction over a flat surface -- pictures that support their model, rather than those that they claim refutes the actual shape of the Earth?

Given that so many of them seem to think that refraction works in the opposite direction than it actually does, I'd guess "No, but maybe THEY would think they do, at least those who don't understand refraction."
 

MyMatesBrainwashed

Active Member
I don't know why, but I am struggling too... I suspect too many mentions of swans as shorthand for something that I am not getting.
I'll admit I'm surprised where this conversation has hit a snag. I've been flippant with swans and take some credit for the confusion but I also suspect arguments against the globe are confusing in themselves. Not too sure yet if that's by accident or design.

But I never expected there to be a dispute of what a white swan actually is. I shouldn't be surprised that flat earth turned up with a black swan without giving us white swans first.

Black Swan refers to an oil rig photograph showing the horizon beyond a rig that's about 10 miles out. I thought the flat earth argument is just "can see too far". Refraction (standard or otherwise) was never part of the argument. I'm just going with all photos "see too far", it's just not as obvious in most of them. They want a horizon at 3 miles for 6 feet and it'll never be that (could be 3.1 miles but difficult to tell from photo, looks 3 miles).

I don't see how an argument for "see too far" can accept refraction but maybe it has somehow I'm not aware of.
 
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JMartJr

Senior Member
I thought the flat earth argument is just "can see too far". Refraction (standard or otherwise) was never part of the argument.
In personal online conversations, I have had pictures of the Chicago skyline as seen from across Lake Michigan with the lower portion invisible to be consistent with flat Earth, with the missing bit due to refraction. Pointing out that this requires refraction to work in the opposite direction of how it actually works tends to result in protracted or permanent silence from the other end. In general, use of the word "refraction" as a hand-wave seems fairly common in explaining things like sunsets as well.

I'm just going with all photos "see too far", it's just not as obvious in most of them. They want a horizon at 3 miles for 6 feet and it'll never be that (could be 3.1 miles but difficult to tell from photo, looks 3 miles).
I think you are saying here that they want the horizon predicted by the globe model to be at 3 miles, am I still with you? I think you are not saying that they want the horizon at 3 miles in their model (where the horizon, I'd argue, would not exist as a clear line between sea/earth and sky, but instead would always be a blur in the distance - -barring backwards refraction, I guess. But that opens up another confusing can of worms, maybe.)
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
But I never expected there to be a dispute of what a white swan actually is. I shouldn't be surprised that flat earth turned up with a black swan without giving us white swans first.
You generally don't have to provide a white swan.

Article:
The phrase "black swan" derives from a Latin expression; its oldest known occurrence is from the 2nd-century Roman poet Juvenal's characterization in his Satire VI of something being "rara avis in terris nigroque simillima cygno" ("a rare bird in the lands and very much like a black swan").[4]: 165 [5][6] When the phrase was coined, the black swan was presumed not to exist. The importance of the metaphor lies in its analogy to the fragility of any system of thought. A set of conclusions is potentially undone once any of its fundamental postulates is disproved. In this case, the observation of a single black swan would be the undoing of the logic of any system of thought, as well as any reasoning that followed from that underlying logic.

However, in 1697, Dutch explorers led by Willem de Vlamingh became the first Europeans to see black swans, in Western Australia.[citation needed] The term subsequently metamorphosed to connote the idea that a perceived impossibility might later be disproven. Taleb notes that in the 19th century, John Stuart Mill used the black swan logical fallacy as a new term to identify falsification.[9]


You seem to imply that FEers don't accept that globers use standard refraction for predictions (I linked a metabunk example), which I don't think holds true in general, today.

It's also true that globers have come up with many "white swans", images that break any coherent idea of how Flat Earth works. Some examples are at https://www.metabunk.org/threads/beautiful-photographs-that-show-the-earths-curvature.11456/ .
 

Rory

Senior Member.
I don't know why, but I am struggling too... I suspect too many mentions of swans as shorthand for something that I am not getting.

I'm with you on that.

Maybe the OP could be posted again but rephrased so instead of swans it's just directly addressing the ideas that the swans represent?

These sentences I also find confusing and seemingly contradictory:

6 foot, 3 miles. That's pretty much flat earth's prediction.
Flat earth doesn't claim a horizon at 3 miles.
They [flat earthers] want a horizon at 3 miles for 6 feet and it'll never be that

And then:

They might bring out 8" per mile squared. Standard refraction sees too far for that.

8" per mile squared isn't measuring the distance to the horizon*, it's measuring the drop. So unless I'm misreading it that doesn't seem applicable to the ideas above.

*Unless they're doing the fancy version which (if I remember correctly) involves two calculations of 8" per mile squared (but I could be wrong on that; it's been a while).
 
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MyMatesBrainwashed

Active Member
You generally don't have to provide a white swan.
But that's because everyone knows what a (real, actual) white swan is.

Yet here we are with a Black Swan (photograph of oil rigs) but I don't know what the proponents of the Black Swan photograph deem as white swans.

No one here seems to know what a White Swan is (in reference to the Black Swan photograph). And if you don't know what one is how can you have seen one?

If the Black Swan photograph is a Black Swan because it shows a horizon further out than 1.2 miles at 1 foot observer height then every photograph ever taken must be a Black Swan because the horizon is never at the distance that that calculation was made from (I don't know the exact calculator used but I suspect an earth curve calculator that ignores refraction was used). The Black Swan is just an extreme example where it's easy to see it.

In the meantime the argument is clever enough that its easy to get distracted from the lack of proof of white swans provided by the globe denying side. No one has ever addressed the White Swans. Therefore the Black Swan holds up despite how many times you might ask how a flat earth can have a horizon. That's nothing to do with the Black Swan argument because it's just about denying a globe of radius x. But there are no photographs that would support a globe of radius x given the criteria that the Black Swan is judged by.
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
But that's because everyone knows what a (real, actual) white swan is.
no, it's because a black swan is merely a counterexample
you don't need to provide examples if you use a counterexample to make a point

the "black swan" oil rig picture is a counterexample to both a geometric and a standard refraction prediction; however, the oil rigs are so strongly distorted that it's obvious "standard" conditions do not exist in that picture, which invalidates the prediction it's supposed to be a counterexample of

standard conditions (swan)nonstandard conditions (duck)
(images via https://answersingenesis.org/blogs/danny-faulkner/2021/05/27/flat-earther-proves-earth-is-a-globe/ )

it's like they went looking for a black swan and produced a black duck: who cares?
Article:
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Rory

Senior Member.
Yet here we are with a Black Swan (photograph of oil rigs)...

What I really want to say is: enough with the swans already. ;)

But how about: you tell me what a white swan photograph would show and I'll find you one.

Or maybe: that oil rig photo isn't a photo of a black swan, it's a photo of a white swan in unusual lighting.

But perhaps most pertinent is the question of what you are referencing "black swan theory" to describe. Is it:
  • a set of conclusions that are potentially undone once any of its fundamental postulates are disproven
  • something impossible
  • a perceived impossibility that might later be disproven
  • an outlier outside the realm of regular expectations with retrospective predictability that makes an extreme impact (Nassim Nicholas Taleb's definition)
Whichever one it is though, I don't think the oil rig photo or other similar ones match any of those definitions.
 

MyMatesBrainwashed

Active Member
the "black swan" oil rig picture is a counterexample to both a geometric and a standard refraction prediction; however, the oil rigs are so strongly distorted that it's obvious "standard" conditions do not exist in that picture, which invalidates the prediction it's supposed to be a counterexample of
That's kinda what I'm getting at.

No one's ever said we see standard refraction all the time.
 

MyMatesBrainwashed

Active Member
What I really want to say is: enough with the swans already. ;)
I'll calm it down but still need to reference swans to comment on the rest of your post so I apologise for that...
But how about: you tell me what a white swan photograph would show and I'll find you one.
I don't know what a white swan is. I assumed it's a photograph without refraction but that's been disputed in this thread and now I don't know.
Or maybe: that oil rig photo isn't a photo of a black swan, it's a photo of a white swan in unusual lighting.
I've gone with all swans are different shades of grey.
But perhaps most pertinent is the question of what you are referencing "black swan theory" to describe. Is it:
  • a set of conclusions that are potentially undone once any of its fundamental postulates are disproven
  • something impossible
  • a perceived impossibility that might later be disproven
  • an outlier outside the realm of regular expectations with retrospective predictability that makes an extreme impact (Nassim Nicholas Taleb's definition)
Whichever one it is though, I don't think the oil rig photo or other similar ones match any of those definitions.
Again, I don't really know. I wasn't really aware of so many swan arguments.
 

MyMatesBrainwashed

Active Member
I'll go with the original argument ignored refraction completely.

Can find references of 1 foot and 1.2 miles (still being used today).

Simple calc from https://dizzib.github.io/earth/curve-calc/?d0=30&h0=10&unit=imperial produces 1.225 miles for 1 foot.

Walter Bislin's http://walter.bislins.ch/bloge/index.asp?page=Advanced+Earth+Curvature+Calculator with standard refraction says 1.345

Not that this helps with anything. But I'm fairly certain that the argument started out not even bothering with standard refraction.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
Thanks for those, I think that explains things.

I guess the starting point for us needs to be in ensuring we're on the same page with terminology. Those definitions were taken from the wikipedia page:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_swan_theory

No doubt if we're all meaning different things by black/white swan then it's going to be difficult to communicate. That's why I'd rather just skip the analogy and head straight to what we're actually talking about.

I don't know what a white swan is. I assumed it's a photograph without refraction but that's been disputed in this thread and now I don't know.

Yeah, I would say a white swan is a photograph with any degree of refraction (including zero).

Depending on what we mean by white swan. ;)
 

AmberRobot

Active Member
This is all just a red herring anyway, because even if we lived on a planet the size of Jupiter and it would be hopeless to ever see the effects of curvature by looking at the horizon we could still tell the planet was round from the way the celestial bodies move (starting with the Sun). The flat earth model predicts movements of celestial objects that are in direct conflict with observations that any human being on the planet can make and understand with middle school level math skills.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
even if we lived on a planet the size of Jupiter and it would be hopeless to ever see the effects of curvature by looking at the horizon we could still tell the planet was round from the way the celestial bodies move (starting with the Sun).
This is how the Greeks knew the Earth was a sphere, over 2000 years ago (and probably the Egyptians and others, too).
 

Rory

Senior Member.
Sure. But if we follow that logic we come to a place that translates as "don't ever post any flat earth claims because we can say with 100% certainty that the Earth isn't flat."
 

Rory

Senior Member.
Sounds good to me. ;)

What about things like 9/11 and chemtrails and UFOs that we're 99.99999999999999999999999999999999999% (or more) certain have completely mundane explanations?

Just pack up metabunk and find something more useful to do instead? ;)
 

AmberRobot

Active Member
What about things like 9/11 and chemtrails and UFOs that we're 99.99999999999999999999999999999999999% (or more) certain have completely mundane explanations?

Just pack up metabunk and find something more useful to do instead? ;)
Those things are extremely (if not infinitely) more likely to be real than the earth being flat.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
True. But infinitely more likely than 0% can still be, for all intents and purposes, 0%.
 

MyMatesBrainwashed

Active Member
No doubt if we're all meaning different things by black/white swan then it's going to be difficult to communicate.
While not particularly interested in the actual colour of birds I am more interested in this aspect of globe denying arguments. Because there's got to be something in that in how to tackle them. How can something so "simple" be so absurd and so difficult to discuss?
 

MyMatesBrainwashed

Active Member
I'm going to try to hunt down globe deniers interpretation of the black swan theory.

The first one I found is as follows (taken from https://odysee.com/@mitchellfromAustralia:d/flat-earth-school-the-australian-black:5 )...

The black swan analogy is as follows;
If all swans are claimed to be white, proof of only 1 black swan is needed to disprove that statement.

So if all horizons are claimed to be the geometric limitation of a spherical earth, ie physical earth curve, that ships go over, that physically blocks objects and causes things to disappear bottom up, it only takes one observation of a horizon not being physical to disprove the geometric horizon.
I kinda wish I hadn't cos what the frick is physical and geometric about?

I'm probably more at a loss as to what the statement ever was that just 1 black swan is required to disprove it.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
I kinda wish I hadn't cos what the frick is physical and geometric about?
Physics and geometry say that the FE horizon should't look the way the actual horizon looks. Therefore the FEer reasons that physics and geometry can't be trusted, and all it takes is a good photo to prove it to the globers.

I've seen the same thing with the sky: Polaris's elevation corresponding to observer latitude doesn't work for FE, so they stop trusting the sky. It's the exact opposite of "believe your own eyes".

The fact that they then can't explain how it works is just one of these things: they can't explain how a smartphone works either, or whatever other complexities modern life entails. It's no cause for discomfort.
 

MyMatesBrainwashed

Active Member
Physics and geometry say that the FE horizon should't look the way the actual horizon looks. Therefore the FEer reasons that physics and geometry can't be trusted, and all it takes is a good photo to prove it to the globers.
I don't see how that applies. For one it's about Flat Earth and this isn't about that. Second they are using geometry in the argument (earth curve calculator) so it's not about trusting that.

"it only takes one observation of a horizon not being physical" makes me think it's more about there not being a clearly defined horizon in the photograph. That it's a photograph that looks much more like a horizon on a flat earth should look.

Edit: I realise my statement is actually pretty much what you've said so please ignore the not applies but I'm leaving it in.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
For one it's about Flat Earth and this isn't about that.
I don't get your meaning. What is not about Flat Earth?

Second they are using geometry in the argument (earth curve calculator) so it's not about trusting that.
They use the calculator to show what they want to disprove—as "white swan", if you will. If you want to prove geometry wrong by counterexample, you go "geometry says X, but my photograph shows NOT X", but the "geometry says X" part doesn't mean they trust it.

I agree that the line about the "horizon not being physical" is weird, but I think it's just an expression of rejecting physics as explanation for what they see. (Kind of like how practitioners of alternate medicine reject medical science.)
 

MyMatesBrainwashed

Active Member
I don't get your meaning. What is not about Flat Earth?
Just that it's an attack on the globe and makes no claims about a flat earth. It seems to be a tactic by globe deniers for an easy win in an argument. That someone will question a flat earth from it and the globe deniers can just say "never claimed that" because it's not claimed in the Black Swan argument.

I don't think they are trying to show geometry is wrong here. "it only takes one observation of a horizon not being physical" suggests that the win is having a photograph showing the horizon isn't physical. I don't really know what that means though other than there's no clearly defined horizon in the photograph. Or where the White Swan of all horizons are physical comes from. Not that horizons aren't physical. Holy moly...

Utterly baffling. I don't know what I'm talking about anymore.
 

AmberRobot

Active Member
Doesn’t the argument go like this:

If the Earth is a globe then all swans are white (I.e., photos of the horizon should be consistent with curve calculator).

Here’s a photo of a black swan (photo of object seen farther than distance calculator horizon)

Therefore earth is not a globe.

What they miss (or simply deny) is that the curve calculator includes a variable in the refraction that allows a range of horizon distances to be seen.
 

MyMatesBrainwashed

Active Member
Doesn’t the argument go like this:

If the Earth is a globe then all swans are white (I.e., photos of the horizon should be consistent with curve calculator).

Here’s a photo of a black swan (photo of object seen farther than distance calculator horizon)

Therefore earth is not a globe.
That's pretty much how I originally thought it was presented but I don't think that's the case now.

Or maybe that's how it was originally presented but it's morphed into something more complicated to deal with refraction, maybe.

I should probably look for some more definitions of the argument from the globe denying side. It's a shame that most of it will be in video form though which I really don't want to sit through.
 

Ann K

Senior Member.
While not particularly interested in the actual colour of birds I am more interested in this aspect of globe denying arguments. Because there's got to be something in that in how to tackle them. How can something so "simple" be so absurd and so difficult to discuss?
If you are dealing with the many people who selectively dismiss all globe earth photos that don't fit their narrative as "CGI" or "wide-angle lens effect", I'm not sure any illustration will sway them. The excuses are many and variable, but what they boil down to is a belief, not evidence. Tackling them with evidence is seldom useful.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
I don't think they are trying to show geometry is wrong here. "it only takes one observation of a horizon not being physical" suggests that the win is having a photograph showing the horizon isn't physical. I don't really know what that means though other than there's no clearly defined horizon in the photograph. Or where the White Swan of all horizons are physical comes from. Not that horizons aren't physical. Holy moly...
Look at the two oil rig pictures in my post (#17). The curve calculators predicts a horizon closer than the platforms, which is where it normally appears. On the "black swan" photo, the horizon appears behind the platforms (due to strong looming), which contradicts the calculator.

Just that it's an attack on the globe and makes no claims about a flat earth. It seems to be a tactic by globe deniers for an easy win in an argument.
Yes, that's how most of their arguments work. "Here's something I don't understand, therefore the globe is wrong; if you don't understand it either, you must now trust me when I say that the Earth is flat."

I've seen no FE proof for "water seeks its level" aka that large bodies of water are flat; given that tides exist, it seems to be a proposition that's impossible to demonstrate, yet FEers believe it religiously. Same with "Earth does not move".

But then I already pointed that out in post #2. ;)
 

MyMatesBrainwashed

Active Member
The best I can do at the moment is along the lines of...

Globe needs (physical) horizon.

Horizon moves. It's apparent, therefore not physical (it's optical). I think they use physical to mean geometric and therefore apparent cannot be geometric.

Maybe.

No calculations can be done on a horizon that's not physical/geometric.

I think that's what The Black Swan is used as an argument for. Or at least something like that. This is making my head hurt.
 
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