What to do about the Flat Earthers? Debunk, or ignore?

snaphat

Member
After seeing how the balaton laser curvature experiment and subsequent discussion has gone, I'm of the opinion that it should be ignored. It seems that even when provided with reasonable critique and guidance, there's not much that can be done to convince them otherwise.
 

Bass In Your Face

Senior Member.
After seeing how the balaton laser curvature experiment and subsequent discussion has gone, I'm of the opinion that it should be ignored. It seems that even when provided with reasonable critique and guidance, there's not much that can be done to convince them otherwise.
I honestly still think that providing a clear base of evidence for any/all claims possible to be accessible by anyone who *would* be willing to be objective is still better than not having it available. Gullible people will tend to stay gullible, unless acted upon by an outside force.

Making things clear across the board is the only thing that can be done, imo.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
Does the recent influx of flat earthers here have precedence? Did it also happen with chemtrailers?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Does the recent influx of flat earthers here have precedence? Did it also happen with chemtrailers?

It's only a handful, and probably just due to Metabunk only recently starting to cover the topic. Chemtrail folk have been popping in occasionally since 2007.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
I know I speak for myself here, but does anyone else have concerns about how much time they're spending on flat earth stuff?

Debunking. Answering questions in forums. Researching and providing evidence.

It does take a lot of time, and time I could probably spend better doing other things.

I mean, at the end of the day, flat earth is a pretty ridiculous concept, believed in mostly by people who seem oblivious to reason, and almost impossible to converse with.

Question is: what's the point? Does it do anything?

I think even if the 10 most popular flat earthers were blasted into space and reported seeing a globe it probably wouldn't change a thing (apart from for them).

I need to stop. I guess I'm burned out by a recent foray into a flat earth facebook group that turned out as productive as trying to teach Shakespeare to an infinite bunch of monkeys (luckily, I'm banned from that now).

Really, there's no place like home. ;)
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I know I speak for myself here, but does anyone else have concerns about how much time they're spending on flat earth stuff?

I do. I think people do it in part because of the fun aspects you mentioned before:

What to do about flat earthers, eh? Now that I've been through a few stages with it, that's where I'm at.

Stages in no particular order:

- Disbelief that anyone could believe such a thing
- Incredulity that some of them actually seem quite smart (and are eloquent, likeable, etc)
- Interest at some of the points put forward
- Fun researching said points and finding out why they don't work
- Fun learning new things about science and space, and revisiting geometry

- A desire to address obviously mistaken youtube videos and comments with 'proper explanations'
- Exasperation that even the blindingly obvious and undeniable is met with...well, you know... ;)
- A desire to get angry and, rather than reason, just call them bleep bleep bleep bleeps
- A desire to forget the whole thing and wish I was still ignorant that people believed such a thing
- Renewed interest in research and learning
- More interaction with believers, but in a more gentle, questioning, respectful way (which actually feels really nice and like progress)
- Looking forward to the day when I get tired of the whole thing and forget all about it

But I also do it because I find their belief fascinating. I think studying this can also tell us something about beliefs that are lower on the spectrum, like chemtrails and 9/11 controlled demolition. The same psychology is at work in the different topics to different degrees. Blinding confirmation bias seems to be the most significant similarity.

So yes, probably spending too much time, but I try to get something out of it.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
It does take a lot of time, and time I could probably spend better doing other things.
that may be the case with all hobbies. you just need to find a balance between what is fun or productive and when your hobby starts interferring with other activities then it's probably time to pull back.

i think it's cool that people debunk. like your NY video was "odd" and interesting, so hearing an explanation is nice. i personally wouldnt read a long FB 'debate', i dont even like long threads here on MB. but if i see a video shared on fb or a meme i will read a few comments.

i think for non hardcores (i mean i'm really just guessing here as im not a non-hardcore on anything either) a short "what you are seeing is refraction" then a link to a "science for kids" video that shows me what refraction is, or a "that experiment has been debunked as it's measurements are no good" and a link to a MB debunk is good.*

*Not 18 pages of course!

You have mentioned this a few times, so i'm thinking it might be time for you to pull back a little bit. or concentrate on doing some OPs here. Just remember, get to the debunk early in your text. use simple graphics wherever possible to help visual learners and break up the text. basically write all your OPs as if they are for me who has no prior knowledge of scientific concepts. If your interest lies in debating only with the more hardcore that seem smart.. i cant help you with that. maybe set yourself time limits, or take a break for a few weeks in between (the FE theory will still be here when you get back from vacation)
 

Bass In Your Face

Senior Member.
I do. I think people do it in part because of the fun aspects you mentioned before:



But I also do it because I find their belief fascinating. I think studying this can also tell us something about beliefs that are lower on the spectrum, like chemtrails and 9/11 controlled demolition. The same psychology is at work in the different topics to different degrees. Blinding confirmation bias seems to be the most significant similarity.

So yes, probably spending too much time, but I try to get something out of it.

The "conspiracy' mindset is what I am most interested in.
Watching it work and make decisions is fascinating to me, enough that hearing them out (for the most part) is a learning experience by itself. You learn patience, how to be more articulate when discussing a topic, and you're forced to re-learn (or learn) a lot of information that you may have otherwise ignored.

I think I would probably not care so much if conspiracies (any) did not directly affect my personal life or people around me, but sadly, they do.... its 9/11 or Gov. hoaxes for the most part, but I have a friend who now (probably temporarily) is a Flat Earther.. which only draws my attention towards getting to the bottom of such nonsense.

Does it matter?
Depends.

In the near future when some sort of space elevator is built, or great heights are more easily accessible and cheap, the curve will be obvious, and the FE debate will pivot to adapt, claiming the curved horizon is from the edge of the disc.. and so on and so forth.. until its easier for humans to actually be in space, in which time maybe FE adapts the idea of space but still thinks governement's are together in on something major..

..so as exhausting as it sounds to continue to debunk something that will only pivot when confronted with impossibilities, I still think if you gain something from it personally, then it can only be a positive experience for everyone (given you actually lay out verifiable facts for people to compare and make their own choices)
 

SR1419

Senior Member.
flat earth is a pretty ridiculous concept,

^This.

This is why I have ignored all of it...selfishly I wish a topic of more interest to me would cause a spike like the FE has but if people come here and post bunk it needs to be addressed.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
other than maybe JFK and there maybe being a second shooter.. arent they all ridiculous concepts?

but here is an example of what you are facing @Rory . So... debunk, but work on not getting frustrated. From things like this i read i really think i'm in at least the upper 25th percentile of brains. which is a scary scary thought. No matter what you do or how hard you try, you will never be able to make the whole world "rational" or "nice". And remember the adage that 'you cant take care of/help others, unless you take care of yourself first.'

"As far as you know, does the earth revolve around the sun or does the sun revolve around the earth?" In the new poll, about four out of five Americans (79%) correctly respond that the earth revolves around the sun, while 18% say it is the other way around. These results are comparable to those found in Germany when a similar question was asked there in 1996; in response to that poll, 74% of Germans gave the correct answer, while 16% thought the sun revolved around the earth, and 10% said they didn't know. When the question was asked in Great Britain that same year, 67% answered correctly, 19% answered incorrectly, and 14% didn't know.
Content from External Source
 

Whitebeard

Senior Member.
I need to stop. I guess I'm burned out by a recent foray into a flat earth facebook group that turned out as productive as trying to teach Shakespeare to an infinite bunch of monkeys
I would say less productive, that production of Hamlet you organised had its moments. Seriously though I feel your pain. Thats why I've dropped off those threads at the mo.
 

Z.W. Wolf

Senior Member.
In the near future when some sort of space elevator is built, or great heights are more easily accessible and cheap, the curve will be obvious, and the FE debate will pivot to adapt, claiming the curved horizon is from the edge of the disc.. and so on and so forth.. until its easier for humans to actually be in space, in which time maybe FE adapts the idea of space but still thinks governement's are together in on something major..

This company is planning to give tourists balloon rides to near space - 100,000+ feet.

http://worldview.space/voyage/#overview

They say, "We are planning to launch our first flight towards the end of the 2016 calendar year..."

It's costly - $75,000
 

Bass In Your Face

Senior Member.
This company is planning to give tourists balloon rides to near space - 100,000 feet.

http://worldview.space/voyage/#overview

Thy say, "We are planning to launch our first flight towards the end of the 2016 calendar year..."

It's costly - $75,000
At least it's affordable for rich people, so for instance, the rapper B.O.B. who is currently making money off of his "flat earth" album, could easily pay that and see for himself, and given he has such a blind following, he could be a beacon of truth in a time where seeing earth's curvature from a far is a rare event in someones life, due to obviously, money, and time.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Fascinating look into the mind of a Flat Earther. :
http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2016/09/the-men-who-believe-the-earth-is-flat/

Using his own money, and his own spare time, John bought equipment, online, in an attempt to somehow check the curvature of the earth. In his own experiments, he claims, he could not not prove that the earth was round.

He looked at large scale photos of the earth and its horizon. Dead straight. Why? One video in particular: two men found the perfect spot. They stood 10 kms apart on opposite sides of a massive body of water. One shone a red laser towards the other: straight as a die. The figure opposite could see the beam of light. Same level. Same height.

Why?

John doesn’t understand why. Shouldn’t the curvature of the earth make that impossible?

He believes there’s only one conclusion: the earth is flat.

John doesn’t bring up the subject much, doesn’t discuss it with his colleagues. He will occasionally broach the topic with friends, he says, but he’s had mixed results.

“People get angry,” John explains. “They don’t want to hear it.”

John and Gemma once had dinner with their next door neighbours. They were comfortable with one another, so John discussed his research into flat earth theory, asked a few probing questions. The mood, John says, switched almost instantly.

“He looked at me like he was going to hit me,” remembers John.

“The first thing you get shown in school is a globe, that’s your foundation. When you remove that, you remove the foundation. I think that scares people.”

Gemma [his wife] remembers that dinner. She has a different perspective.

What John didn’t mention: his neighbour is an astrophysicist. His literal job description: ascertain the nature of objects in space. Suggesting the earth is flat doesn’t just challenge his existing world view, it rebukes his entire life’s work.

Gemma’s says the neighbour wasn’t angry, he just thought John was an idiot, similar to the idiots who called his institute on a weekly basis to tell him the earth was flat.

This concerns Gemma. She’s embarrassed, not for herself, but for John. The idea her husband is being thought of in this way, dismissed for the strange belief he has allowed to define him.

“I want to protect him,” she explains.

Flat earth theory has changed Gemma’s own perception of the man she fell in love with. The man she married. The father of her children.

“It’s affected our relationship,” she says.

“I had a panic attack in the car thinking about it, just wondering, ‘is this the kind of person I’ve chosen to spend the rest of my life with’. It’s at that level. It’s a huge issue in my life.”

Peter Ellerton said something during our conversation. He said: “these people aren’t a mystery, they’re just a little sad.”

Gemma echoes the sentiment. This is a reality John has to live with.

She remembers one moment. John standing in the kitchen, telling Gemma he felt estranged from humanity, that he was “existentially lonely”.

“He said: ‘no-one thinks the way that I think. People aren’t comfortable with my ideas. There’s no-one I can connect with and talk to’.

“That’s sad.”

But there’s a dichotomy. Gemma recognises that. John feels lonely, but that loneliness makes him feel special. There’s a comfort in that loneliness, in believing you’re enlightened one.

“I love him,” says Gemma, finally. “He’s a highly intelligent person and worthy of respect, but this is fucking mental. It’s crazy.”

Content from External Source
 

NoParty

Senior Member.
Fascinating look into the mind of a Flat Earther. :
http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2016/09/the-men-who-believe-the-earth-is-flat/

Using his own money, and his own spare time, John bought equipment, online, in an attempt to somehow check the curvature of the earth. In his own experiments, he claims, he could not not prove that the earth was round.

He looked at large scale photos of the earth and its horizon. Dead straight. Why? One video in particular: two men found the perfect spot. They stood 10 kms apart on opposite sides of a massive body of water. One shone a red laser towards the other: straight as a die. The figure opposite could see the beam of light. Same level. Same height.

Why?

John doesn’t understand why. Shouldn’t the curvature of the earth make that impossible?

He believes there’s only one conclusion: the earth is flat.

John doesn’t bring up the subject much, doesn’t discuss it with his colleagues. He will occasionally broach the topic with friends, he says, but he’s had mixed results.

“People get angry,” John explains. “They don’t want to hear it.”

John and Gemma once had dinner with their next door neighbours. They were comfortable with one another, so John discussed his research into flat earth theory, asked a few probing questions. The mood, John says, switched almost instantly.

“He looked at me like he was going to hit me,” remembers John.

“The first thing you get shown in school is a globe, that’s your foundation. When you remove that, you remove the foundation. I think that scares people.”

Gemma [his wife] remembers that dinner. She has a different perspective.

What John didn’t mention: his neighbour is an astrophysicist. His literal job description: ascertain the nature of objects in space. Suggesting the earth is flat doesn’t just challenge his existing world view, it rebukes his entire life’s work.

Gemma’s says the neighbour wasn’t angry, he just thought John was an idiot, similar to the idiots who called his institute on a weekly basis to tell him the earth was flat.

This concerns Gemma. She’s embarrassed, not for herself, but for John. The idea her husband is being thought of in this way, dismissed for the strange belief he has allowed to define him.

“I want to protect him,” she explains.

Flat earth theory has changed Gemma’s own perception of the man she fell in love with. The man she married. The father of her children.

“It’s affected our relationship,” she says.

“I had a panic attack in the car thinking about it, just wondering, ‘is this the kind of person I’ve chosen to spend the rest of my life with’. It’s at that level. It’s a huge issue in my life.”

Peter Ellerton said something during our conversation. He said: “these people aren’t a mystery, they’re just a little sad.”

Gemma echoes the sentiment. This is a reality John has to live with.

She remembers one moment. John standing in the kitchen, telling Gemma he felt estranged from humanity, that he was “existentially lonely”.

“He said: ‘no-one thinks the way that I think. People aren’t comfortable with my ideas. There’s no-one I can connect with and talk to’.

“That’s sad.”

But there’s a dichotomy. Gemma recognises that. John feels lonely, but that loneliness makes him feel special. There’s a comfort in that loneliness, in believing you’re enlightened one.

“I love him,” says Gemma, finally. “He’s a highly intelligent person and worthy of respect, but this is fucking mental. It’s crazy.”

Content from External Source
Wow! Just :oops: wow.

That Gemma is a Clinical Psychologist is just one of the many intriguing details in the fuller story Mick linked to.

Literally shaking my head...just don't know what to make of it...
 

Z.W. Wolf

Senior Member.
I had my own lonely period. More than a year ago I started to tell people that there were people who believe the earth is flat. They thought I was at least half a crackpot. I was told that those FE folks were just giggling, self-aware Trolls or Poes playing around, and I was dumb enough to believe they were serious. I found a few other people who also believed that FE believers were real and we huddled together, but then I told them that eventually 15 to 20 percent of the population would be either FE believers or at least sympathetic to FE and was rejected again for not believing that this silliness would soon die.

I base the prediction on what I know about psychology and my decades long familiarity with Uforia, ESP, cattle mutilation, satanic cult hysteria, etc., etc. I'm an old guy and lived through the days when all of those were huge. In the 80's people went to prison after literal witch trials, convicted of crimes that never happened.

I'm familiar with the syndrome described in the article: a seemingly normal person becoming obsessed with a crackpot idea. Just one example:

Tim Edwards of Salida, Colorado saw and filmed a strand of spider web glinting in the sun and was convinced it was a miles long mother ship UFO. He was previously "normal" but then became obsessed with UFO's to the annoyance and consternation of family and friends.

By reading hundreds of YT comments I've also run into the bit about FE being very comforting and life changing. People often describe it as a revelation that has brought a religious calm. But I've also run into this over the decades with any number of other crackpot beliefs... and *whisper* mainstream religious belief. I think it's an end to analytical thought and uncertainty, to a state of mind in which analytical thought has been turned off and uncertainties have been put away. A state in which rationalization and perseveration of belief have become the dominant mode.

The compulsive behavior is a result of reward. Each new "discovery" brings a reward. And rationalization itself is rewarding. Each time the belief has been protected by a process of rationalization there's a rush. It's addictive.
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
It's related to the Mandela effect, an irrational rejection of the objective for the subjective in the form of pseudo-objective evidence and reasoning, which are really just semi-random rationalizations of subjective experiences.

The Flat Earth Wiki puts it like this:

https://wiki.tfes.org/Zeteticism

Zeteticism is a system of scientific inquiry. The word is derived from the Greek verb ζητέω (zeteo), which means "I seek; I examine; I strive for". A zeteticist is a person who practises zeteticism.

Zeteticism differs from the usual scientific method in that using zeteticism one bases his conclusions on experimentation and observation rather than on an initial theory that is to be proved or disproved. A zetetic forms the question then immediately sets to work making observations and performing experiments to answer that question, rather than speculating on what the answer might be then testing that out.

For example, in questioning the shape of the Earth the zetetic does not make a hypothesis suggesting that the Earth is round or flat and then proceed testing that hypothesis; he skips that step and devises an experiment that will determine the shape of the Earth, and bases his conclusion on the result of that experiment. Many feel this is a more reasonable method than the normal scientific method because it removes any preconceived notions and biases the formation of a hypothesis might cause, and leaves the conclusion up entirely to what is observed.

Samuel Rowbotham was the first to use the term in reference to Flat Earth research. He devised the Bedford Level Experiment to determine whether the surface of water is convex, reasoning that if the water is not convex the earth cannot be a sphere. This is how he came to the conclusion that the Earth is flat. The method has been a cornerstone of Flat Earth Theory ever since.
Content from External Source
or "do your own research!"

Missing for that descriptions is the rejection of existing science, but it's certainly implied

I can certainly see how people could get sucked into something like that, especially people who consider themselves to be very intelligent. It the type of thing that would have really appealed to me in my late teens and even early twenties.
 

Hama Neggs

Senior Member.
I have a hypothesis about this which I don't have the tools to express. Suffice it to say that I believe it's all related to the general Human condition of feeling "lost" in the universe and knowing, at some level, that grand truths are just outside our range of perception.
 

Leifer

Senior Member.
Joe Rogan podcast had Michael Shermer as a guest (excerpt from 9/14/2016)
The first 6 mins speaks of "flat earthers", and the possible motives or reasons for this boost in internet chatter......
\

....for the whole interview, see.....

 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
His account of Wallace's experiment/wager is a bit off. The "little sticks in the ground" version of the experiment was inconclusive (probably because the sticks were too low). And Wallace did get paid, quite quickly (experiment was March 5th, he was paid April 1), after an independent review. The subsequent problems were largely due to Hampden harassing him afterwards. Wallace took Hampden to court for libel, Hampden was jailed several times. Six years later Hampden won a court decision refunding his stake.

I learnt of this from the astonishingly fascinating book "Flat Earth: The History of an Infamous Idea", more on which later.
 

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
I learnt of this from the astonishingly fascinating book "Flat Earth: The History of an Infamous Idea", more on which later.
I have this book, and I remember finding it pretty interesting. I read it before I got involved with any Flat Earthers, though. Maybe I should re-read it.
 

c.eileen

Member
Generally speaking, I think that a lot of the science bunkum can be diminished by improved science education in elementary and high school.

Take the flat earth hypothesis, for instance: Yes, I was shown a globe in elementary school and told, "This is the Earth. It is round like a ball." Period. No explanations for how we know that, no history concerning the revelation that Earth is a sphere, no experiments to prove it (not that my 1960s elementary school could have done such experiments, but we certainly could have studied the work of those who did). That the Earth is a sphere was just this "thing that we all know," a given that needs no further exploration, nor explanation. I had never encountered the name Eratosthenes until I was in college and took a class in Physical Geography as part of a general science requirement!

There was a lot of science that was handed to us as a given...and still is. My feeling is that if we taught scientific inquiry earlier and more rigorously, rather than just handing out facts (givens) on which "we will be tested later," then students will be better prepared, as adults, to assess claims that are based on science, good or bad. For example, many of the chemtrail believers are straight up ignorant of how the atmosphere behaves not only because they were never taught what we know, but they were never taught how we know.

I recognize that it would be ill advised to expend precious classroom time repeating experiments and proving theories on matters that we already know, but somehow there must be a happy balance between critical thinking (specifically exploration of how we know something), and the simple regurgitation of facts as authoritative decrees. Too many people simply don't know how science works, how we find out things about the natural world, and this is why you have people not only falling for things like FE and chemtrails and climate denial, but being suckered by "breakthroughs" in bunk nutrition claims, miracle cures, and infomercial patent gadgets that don't and can't do as purported.

Of course, the psychology and sociology of bunkum is more complex than a simple deficit in education, and there will always be those who will believe no-matter-what. However, improving critical thinking and encouraging exploration into how we know something in science will have a positive impact on reducing belief in bunk. That kind of education needs to start early—in elementary school—and rigorously pursued in high school across not only science courses, but history, sociology, and philosophy as well. Note: The latter two areas of study would have to be introduced into American public high schools as general requirements and not just limited to advanced placement college-bound students.
 

Z.W. Wolf

Senior Member.
It's not just a matter of trying to convert FE believers. When FE believers make basically flawed arguments even well meaning people often can't respond, due to holes in their understanding of basic physics.

One example: No basic understanding of inertia. I've seen all these arguments.

-When an astronaut steps out of the ISS, going 17,000 mph, he wouldn't just float next to it. He would be left behind. (How stupid do they think we are?)

-When a baseball is hit, if the earth were really moving 1,000 mph, as soon as it left contact with the earth the earth would move underneath it and we would see it whip away at 1,000 mph. It would fall miles away.

-The classic hot air balloon rising up and waiting for the earth to move under it.

-A common misconception is that Science says: That things like baseballs and balloons follow the earth's motion because the atmosphere is pushing them... and why does the atmosphere follow the earth's motion? Because it's being dragged along by gravity. And why do the earth and planets follow the sun on its galactic orbit? Because they are being dragged along by the sun's gravity.

-If you throw a ball in the air inside a train or car or plane it keeps up because the engine is pushing it. (I think the idea is that the air inside is pushing it forward and the air is being pushed by the engine.) But if it went up through a hole in the roof it wouldn't be a part of the "closed system" and it would fall behind the vehicle.


Related:

- If the earth were really spinning 1,000 mph the centrifugal force would be enormous. One YT commenter offered to put me on a windmill spinning at 1,000 mph and see if I could hang on.

This is not at all limited to FE believers but is common. Because of that they have no rejoinder to these FE arguments.

I've also found to my surprise that a lot of ordinary people think that the dark part of the moon as we see it in the sky is a shadow of the earth. Not a lunar eclipse. Just an ordinary moon.
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Well, given that the education system is not going to change any time soon, I really don't think there's much to be gained in bemoaning it.

The question here is what should we (debunkers/skeptics) do?

I'm uncertain, but I don't see much harm from polite engagement.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
If you throw a ball in the air inside a train or car or plane it keeps up because the engine is pushing it. (I think the idea is that the air inside is pushing it forward and the air is being pushed by the engine.) But if it went up through a hole in the roof it wouldn't be a part of the "closed system" and it would fall behind the vehicle.
what if the window was cracked? kids throw baseballs up on school buses and they dont (always) bean the kid behind them.

I think sometimes just introducing a crack in their (science fiction) armor might be more effective than trying to teach actual science. especially with complex science.

I've also found to my surprise that a lot of ordinary people think that the dark part of the moon as we see it in the sky is a shadow of the earth. Not a lunar eclipse.
i had to read this 4 times because i was like "lunar eclipse?" huh? and i know what the dark area we see on the moon is from.But as you can see i'm not super in tuned to "lunar vs solar" eclipses. Actually i still dont know what you mean by "lunar eclipse". i thought a lunar eclipse was shadow of the earth.

So you also have to be careful about describing things in ways that only further confuse the issue.
 

c.eileen

Member
Well, given that the education system is not going to change any time soon, I really don't think there's much to be gained in bemoaning it.

The question here is what should we (debunkers/skeptics) do?

I'm uncertain, but I don't see much harm from polite engagement.

Well, improved education would be my response to what we should do. Admittedly though, it is more of a long term solution that doesn't really address what to do about current FE adherents (and other conspiracy theorists and bunk believers).

I'm not sure what one should do. Personally, I feel that such erroneous thinking needs to be fought against, but it is hard to convince or educate someone who holds a strong belief. With FE, one would almost have to sit them down at the kitchen table and school them in basic physics before even attempting to show them how their evidence is flawed. With chemtrail believers, you would have to give them lessons in meteorology and atmospheric physics. The list goes on…

…and in the end, they may not believe you. It seems that, though some true believers use "science" to back up their claims, they seem inherently suspicious of the scientific establishment and academia. I've been called a "sheeple" because I accept the findings of conventional good science which happens to contradict what the believers' (bad) science supports. So, it's like you can't win, y'know?

FE? Should we ignore them? Perhaps. After all, their beliefs seem to be inherently harmless, and if, as has been noted, many/most don't actually believe in FE and regard it as an interesting intellectual exercise, then there is no need to get ker-fluffled about them. There are far more dangerous bunk beliefs out there to combat—such as chemtrailists who threaten pilots and climate-deniers who choose to do nothing to stem global warming.
 

NoParty

Senior Member.
Well, improved education would be my response to what we should do. Admittedly though, it is more of a long term solution that doesn't really address what to do about current FE adherents (and other conspiracy theorists and bunk believers).

I'm not sure what one should do. Personally, I feel that such erroneous thinking needs to be fought against, but it is hard to convince or educate someone who holds a strong belief. With FE, one would almost have to sit them down at the kitchen table and school them in basic physics before even attempting to show them how their evidence is flawed. With chemtrail believers, you would have to give them lessons in meteorology and atmospheric physics. The list goes on…

…and in the end, they may not believe you. It seems that, though some true believers use "science" to back up their claims, they seem inherently suspicious of the scientific establishment and academia. I've been called a "sheeple" because I accept the findings of conventional good science which happens to contradict what the believers' (bad) science supports. So, it's like you can't win, y'know?

FE? Should we ignore them? Perhaps. After all, their beliefs seem to be inherently harmless, and if, as has been noted, many/most don't actually believe in FE and regard it as an interesting intellectual exercise, then there is no need to get ker-fluffled about them. There are far more dangerous bunk beliefs out there to combat—such as chemtrailists who threaten pilots and climate-deniers who choose to do nothing to stem global warming.
I get your point.
I just worry that--besides wasting class time that should be better spent--the fact that
pro-oblate spheroid material was being dwelled upon, would likely lead to accusations of
"See? They're worried about the new generation figuring out their lies,
so they're spending extra time to indoctrinate the kids against flat earth!!"
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Flat earther's generally subscribe to a "zetetic" philosophy, where you believe things only if you can verify them yourself. So it would seem a good approach would be to create a series of simple ways that people can verify from themselves.

Now this is harder than it seems, as every single step needs to be verifiable. How do we know, for example, that light travels in straight lines? Or that the square of the hypotenuse equals the sum of the squares of the other two sides? Or that Venus seems to have phases?
 

NoParty

Senior Member.
Flat earther's generally subscribe to a "zetetic" philosophy, where you believe things only if you can verify them yourself. So it would seem a good approach would be to create a series of simple ways that people can verify from themselves.

Now this is harder than it seems, as every single step needs to be verifiable. How do we know, for example, that light travels in straight lines? Or that the square of the hypotenuse equals the sum of the squares of the other two sides? Or that Venus seems to have phases?
Absolutely. If something as basic as the (almost) roundness of the earth is considered sketchy,
the principles of virtually any approach you could use for verification, would be as sketchy or more so...

I really have never heard anyone use "zetetic" who wasn't a flat earther...
it reminds me of solipsistic, in an unflattering way...though I assume a flat earther would claim
that zetetic is better or purer or something. I don't know. Feels narcissistic to me.
 

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
i had to read this 4 times because i was like "lunar eclipse?" huh? and i know what the dark area we see on the moon is from.But as you can see i'm not super in tuned to "lunar vs solar" eclipses. Actually i still dont know what you mean by "lunar eclipse". i thought a lunar eclipse was shadow of the earth.
A lunar eclipse is the shadow of the Earth on the moon. His point was that some people think the dark part of the uneclipsed moon is the shadow of the Earth, rather than just the part of the moon that is facing away from the sun.
 

Hama Neggs

Senior Member.
With FE, one would almost have to sit them down at the kitchen table and school them in basic physics before even attempting to show them how their evidence is flawed. With chemtrail believers, you would have to give them lessons in meteorology and atmospheric physics.

And convince them that what you are telling them isn't lies born of the vast conspiracy. THAT is the hard part.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
A lunar eclipse is the shadow of the Earth on the moon. His point was that some people think the dark part of the uneclipsed moon is the shadow of the Earth, rather than just the part of the moon that is facing away from the sun.
:) i was trying to demonstrate a point, although i admit i didnt do a great job. i was trying to show that you shouldnt use [possibly unfamiliar] science terms to explain a science phenomenon. and/or, you need to be attentive to wording. Unless you said something like "if it was a shadow of the Earth, the shadow would move across the face of the moon pretty fast, just like it does in a lunar eclipse." (although i know Bass was talking to MBers, not shadow believers)

edit:
just like it does in a lunar eclipse."
Content from External Source
i take that part back, that part is assuming they watch Nova on teh Discovery channel or have seen Deloris Claiborne.
 
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