Claim: Distant Objects Being Obscured Is Due To the "Mirror Blocking" Effect of Inferior Mirages


New Member
I thought this was a good one (it's a recent video and today is the first time I've heard this claim in a way that made any sense at all):


So, the guts of the claim are this: The guy sets up his table as such:

The table represents the water, and the mirror represents air particles in the atmosphere (side remark: flerfers still call it the atmosphere, maybe they will call it the atmoplane or something else in the future, but the word is just too common to replace). This gif shows what the mechanism he believes causes distant objects to be obscured is:


This might be a fun one for new debunkers to try. I believe the flat earthers intend for the mirror to be ghostly, as in you can walk through it like you can walk through a fluid such as the atmosphere. There seem to be a dozen different ways to debunk this one. A difficult part I find in any debunking of a flat earth claim is to figure out which laws/facts of science the flerfer is keeping, and which laws/facts he's discarding.

Questions we need answers to:
Where is the true horizon in relation to the "bending line" or whatever it is called in an inferior mirage?
What angle is that mirror ramp at, relative the (assumed) flat ocean.


Well, taking this demo at face value, then the amount of obstruction that you'd see with something like the CN tower would NOT really change as you moved closer or farther away since we have this solid mirror here. Imagine the mirror being left at the same place on the ramp and then you vary your observation point to be farther or closer. I don't think I need to draw out the geometry since everyone understands that if your eye elevation was at the same elevation as the top edge of the mirror, then the line that divides what can and can't be seen of the CN tower would not change as you moved farther away from the CN tower. In reality, the if you walked across Lake Ontario like Jesus on a day with a clear atmosphere, you'd see more and more of the CN tower as you got closer and closer. So that's one way to debunk the "Mirroring Atmospheric Obstruction" claim.


Problems with the claim before you even debunk it: Distant objects being blocked by the ocean needs an explanation that works everywhere. This guy was at ONE observer point, but he needs it to work for a VARIABLE observer point. This guy slid the mirror up the ramp, but he should left the mirror STATIONARY because the atmospheric is sort of unchanging. I would have to make too many assumptions about how he intended to explain these experimental results that we have collected so... I'll leave it here.


I'm not entirely happy with this but I blame the flat earther for not having thought about the implications fully and having dealt with them. I have questions I need to ask him before I can properly debunk his claim.

Mick West

Staff member
This might be a fun one for new debunkers to try.

Try what? He's using a setup that is not flat, and only loosely replicates some observations.

The mirror is obscuring the bottom half of the ship because it's rising up in front of the camera. It's like using a globe setup, but with a shiny mirrored globe.

It utterly fails to explain observations where there's no mirroring present (i.e. when the ocean surface is cooler than the air).
Three views of Catalina (contrast).jpg


New Member
Well I guess to try and get inside the minds of the flat earthers and fill in the missing information in their claims, or to see a demonstration that doesn't represent reality very well and try to figure out how to deal with it. The more I am typing, the more I'm happy to leave the claim alone haha. This "atmospheric mirroring" has been mentioned enough times on youtube that I was just happy to finally find a guy demonstrating what they might all mean by that.

Good point Mick. I was trying to be too empathetic with the flat earther that I completely forgot to point out in my post the fact that there isn't always an inferior mirage going.

Also yes, the video I linked in the first post is a merely a loose recreation of a real world observation. I was excited by it though, since finally I've heard this "atmospheric mirroring" claim articulated.

I'm not quite clear on what you mean by "It's like using a globe setup, but with a shiny mirrored globe."? Could you elaborate a bit for my benefit? :)
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Mick West

Staff member
I'm not quite clear on what you mean by "It's like using a globe setup, but with a shiny mirrored globe."? Could you elaborate a bit for my benefit? :)

The mirror in that setup is essentially forming a low hill which obscures the ship (and also reflects the visible part). So the mirror is blocking the distant object because that distant object is lower than the mirror. It's like this Cataline photo where the bottom 2/3 of the island is behind the ocean horizon,
Metabunk 2019-07-22 08-25-05.jpg
But like if the ocean were miraculously calm, forming a mirror
Metabunk 2019-07-22 08-27-57.jpg
So what he's demonstrating is that something can be hidden behind a solid object.


New Member
Good image! Now I get it. It appears that the flerfer "No Fanfare" has also created a demonstration of how a calm lake of a 10 mile (or so) width on a globe earth works. Oh well. Maybe "No Fanfare" will debunk the globe in his next attempt if he indeed makes a new attempt in the future. I'm a supportive guy, I'll help them on their path to reductio ad absurdum.
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Z.W. Wolf

Senior Member.
The mirror is on a ramp. It's a classic example of Flerspective. FE Believers are incapable of mentally converting the side view to the line of sight view.

What do I mean?

There's an apparent rise of the land/seascape toward the horizon in the line of sight view. This effect is entirely explained by the geometry in the side view. But because FE Believers have such poor visual spatial skills they are incapable of mentally converting the side view to the line of sight view. They think that apparent rise in the line of sight view is a mysterious optical effect caused by the eye of the beholder and is entirely unrelated to the geometry of the side view. So in the Flerspective version of the side view they add in that apparent rise.

Then, in a very muddled way, they then think the rise or ramp in the Flerspective side view somehow takes on some independent reality.

So this guy has put the mirror on a ramp. And of course the far edge of the mirror rises higher above the table as he pushes it away from the camera while the ship stays on the same level.

This illustration is from the 19th century. This is not an illustration of a grade but a perfectly level landscape. Note that the "rise" has been added into the side view.
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The simple debunk of the mirroring theory is that the tops and middles of objects drop down by 8in*mi^2 as well as the bottoms. For example if you're at the top of a mountain looking at another mountain in the far distance that has the same height above sea level as your viewing location, then the other mountain top will appear to drop down below eye level (as shown against a water level for example) by 8in*mi^2. So if you're at lake surface level looking at a far enough distant sky scraper, the bottom of the skyscraper will also appear to drop down by 8in*mi^2 below your eye level, putting it below the intervening water level and blocking your view of it. Soundly's pictures showing the tops of the power poles curving down, are a good example of things dropping down in the distance without being blocked by mirroring. Flat earthers don't need this mirroring explanation if they can come up with an explanation for why the tops of objects drop down by 8in*mi^2. They can just say the bottoms drop down out of view for the same reason the tops drop. But if they can't come up with a reason that the tops drop down, then they still have a major piece of globe evidence to contend with.

Z.W. Wolf

Senior Member.
Here is an explanation from the YT author in the comments section of his video.

This is my speculation on his thought process. I won't try to put it into a linear narrative; but here are some elements.

-He 's aware of the old trick of putting the camera below the level of the table edge. The table edge hides a coin as it is moved back from the edge. A FE sunset explained! But he's aware that this trick is now untenable.
-He's aware of the Flerspective side view with the "ramp" added in.
-An ad hoc idea about how specular reflection works on a water surface and how that relates to "the mirroring effect." Even he can't really explain it. I'm confident that he knows little or nothing about the physics of an inferior mirage. Looking at some other of his videos he does seem to understand that there is such a thing, but in this case he seems to think that the "mirror effect" is just specular reflection off the water surface.
(But an inferior mirage does not involve reflection. And as pointed out above, there isn't always an inferior mirage effect.)

After some experimenting and ad hoc theories he's come up with a new variation of the camera below the table edge trick. Now the far edge of the mirror hides the retreating object.
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