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

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
I understand this is "Rambles"....but really? "Flat Earth"??

Where is the "edge" edge??? Where you would "fall off"??

A massive body, such as Earth exerts a gravity, that we assign as 1G. Yes, it is large, for a rocky planet....but still, that is our basis,,,,1G

Go somewhere else? You will encounter various integers....our moon is approximately 1/6 G....Mars about 1/3 G....science is a great thing to keep in mind.....
 

Dan Page

Active Member
During a lunar eclipse the earth casts a round shadow over the moon, not a square/straight edged one, this is observable by anyone on the surface of the earth that is in the area where the eclipse is, well, observable. Of course this assumes that people understand what a lunar eclipse is. o_O
 

Hama Neggs

Senior Member
During a lunar eclipse the earth casts a round shadow over the moon, not a square/straight edged one, this is observable by anyone on the surface of the earth that is in the area where the eclipse is, well, observable. Of course this assumes that people understand what a lunar eclipse is. o_O
Well, in the early and later phases the shaded part of the Moon has a round form. It can be confusing for people who have never studied astronomy.
 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
Moderator Note - deirdre
this is a response to @Sam Hill 's post int he Welcome thread.


I'm happy to hear that, and welcome to MetaBunk!!!

I must admit, I don't bother with FlatEarthers...I don't see the point, really....Are they really that prevalent???

Reason is? As an airline pilot who has traveled around....the planet we live on is an oblate globe....quite obvious to anyone with experience....
 
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Hevach

Senior Member
For years its been hard to tell where the trolls stop and the serious begins with FE, but lately it has become the new face of Young Earth Creationism, and a lot of the obvious trolls left, the fun has been sucked out.
 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
For years its been hard to tell where the trolls stop and the serious begins with FE, but lately it has become the new face of Young Earth Creationism, and a lot of the obvious trolls left, the fun has been sucked out.
So Now? We have FEC? The nonsense never ends............

(sorry, was that rude? Flat Earth and 'Creationism' combined? Thought it was more humorous than rude. Of course, i wasn't directing my comments to the OP)...
 

Sam Hill

New Member
I do it more to catch and divert the kids who go looking for FE after hearing about it from one of the two most public [not so bright people], B.O.B and Tila Tequila. I know the religion-based FE types are unreachable.
 
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WeedWhacker

Senior Member
I do not know anyone in my immediate family, nor realm of colleagues who think that the earth is flat.

All I can say is? My studies of science, and my personal experience AS an airline pilot.....using
navigation tools to take around a globe...not a perfect "globe", as GPS has shown....the Earth
is slightly oblate....or "egg-shaped" (It bulges very little, but measurably at the equator)..
...which makes sense.

WE live on a medium-sized rocky planet that happens to have an atmosphere to sustain life
as we know it. It is WHAT we know (so far>>>).....
 

Jim Dorans

New Member
Hello, my first post here.

What I've found out about the flat earth belief is that the issue is not so much whether the earth is flat or not,
but all the fundamental laws of astronomy which need to be completely changed in order fit the model.

A simple example - if the earth was flat, and no laws were changed, it would be daylight all the time.

So, in order to support the model, a claim is made that the sun revolves around the earth - the flat earth,
around it's circumference, and above it, so that only one part of the earth is in daylight at any one time.

From there on, it descends more and more into absurdity.

It's difficult to debunk the FE, as for many it's a fact, not just a belief. Even looking at pictures from the
space jump in 2012, you can clearly see the curve on the earth - but the FEs claim that's the result of a fish-eye lens.

Sometimes you are arguing with people who are obsessed with conspiracy theories, and think the solar system is a complete fabrication.

They also claim that all the NASA pics have been doctored or photoshopped in some way, although they can't explain why none of them show all the continents in a single picture (which is what a FE model would show). Or, if taken at any other angle apart from face-on, would show the edge of the "disc".
 

NoTech64

Member
Hello, my first post here.

What I've found out about the flat earth belief is that the issue is not so much whether the earth is flat or not,
but all the fundamental laws of astronomy which need to be completely changed in order fit the model.

A simple example - if the earth was flat, and no laws were changed, it would be daylight all the time.

So, in order to support the model, a claim is made that the sun revolves around the earth - the flat earth,
around it's circumference, and above it, so that only one part of the earth is in daylight at any one time.

From there on, it descends more and more into absurdity.

It's difficult to debunk the FE, as for many it's a fact, not just a belief. Even looking at pictures from the
space jump in 2012, you can clearly see the curve on the earth - but the FEs claim that's the result of a fish-eye lens.

Sometimes you are arguing with people who are obsessed with conspiracy theories, and think the solar system is a complete fabrication.

They also claim that all the NASA pics have been doctored or photoshopped in some way, although they can't explain why none of them show all the continents in a single picture (which is what a FE model would show). Or, if taken at any other angle apart from face-on, would show the edge of the "disc".
I met a really nice bloke, on YouTube, he said "I don't engage 'flat Earthers' To me they're the same as 'No planers'"
I have to agree with him
 

Rory

Senior Member
Interesting to contemplate the ever-shifting sands of the "what to do about flat earthers?" question, in light of recent developments.

In the beginning, Mick believed they were just trolls, and should be ignored. But lately he seems to have gone full bore on the subject, posting many excellent home experiments and investigations to show that the whole thing falls 'flat', adding serious weight to what should already be a great and convincing resource for those confused about the shape of the planet they live on.

What's perhaps most interesting about all this is how easily ignored it is by believers. Judging by the backlash in the comments sections regarding the Joe Rogan appearance, it really does appear that flat earthers are truly resistant to logic and reason. There may, perhaps, be no getting through to them.

Do others find this a bit scary? The movement is growing at rapid pace. No amount of evidence - plainly obvious and impossible to dispute to the rest of us - seems to have any effect on them. The belief is almost rabid. The opposition to cold facts which contradict the flat earth dismissed with a nonchalant and frequently aggressive casualness that is staggering.

I am at the point of 'give up'. There's nothing more that can be done. All the evidence is out there, for those who want it. But for those who don't...if what's been presented to them already won't help them see things rationally, nothing else will.

In the meantime, the numbers of believers will continue to grow, and I'm not sure if anything can be done to stop it.

I suppose the only question is: how big will this get?

And, if I can be optimistic about it, I suppose the answer is probably: "not that big".

Maybe I just need to not read the comments section on flat earth videos. Maybe I just need to remember that I've never actually met a flat earther in real life. Maybe I just need to remember that there are a ton of wild conspiracy theories out there - some of which have been around for a long time, and are directly related to flat earth (moon landings, NASA, etc) - and, though they have plenty of followers, it's not that many, in the grand scheme of things: a tiny percentage of a tiny percentage of a certain strain of the human species.

Maybe it'll peak. Remain irrelevant to real life. Merely occupy that part of "the weird bit of the internet" that never actually made any difference to my life, or the world, when I didn't know about it.

It's just a bit odd to know all those brains are out there, thinking that way, and there's nothing I can do about it, and nothing I can do about its spread and growth.

Let's just hope no one this irrational ever gets to run for president. ;)
 
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Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
Maybe it'll peak. Remain irrelevant to real life. Merely occupy that part of "the weird bit of the internet" that never actually made any difference to my life, or the world, when I didn't know about it.
I think that applies to a lot of things. Just imagine how much simpler your life would be if you didn't find out about stuff on the internet!
 
...In the beginning, Mick believed they were just trolls, and should be ignored. But lately he seems to have gone full bore on the subject, posting many excellent home experiments and investigations to show that the whole thing falls 'flat', adding serious weight to what should already be a great and convincing resource for those confused about the shape of the planet they live on. ...
It is a great resource. Whenever I see a flat-earth discussion on Facebook, I post a link to the Metabunk Flat Earth forum, along with gentle encouragement to come take a look if you're honestly not sure about the issue. I don't know whether anyone takes my suggestion, but I'm still very grateful to everyone who has put so much effort into the explanations here.

...Do others find this a bit scary? The movement is growing at rapid pace. ...
I wonder how fast the growth actually is. There was a lot of it in the news media for a while, and there's still a lot of it in social media. But are the flat-earthers gaining more converts, or are there just more people willing to speak out about what they already believed? Probably some of each.

But yes, I do find it a bit scary.
 

Hama Neggs

Senior Member
Do others find this a bit scary? The movement is growing at rapid pace. No amount of evidence - plainly obvious and impossible to dispute to the rest of us - seems to have any effect on them. The belief is almost rabid.
Yes. This sort of thinking has gone beyond conspiracy-believers, as we have previously narrowly described them. It describes whole swaths of population which aren't traditional CTers. It seems to be based on emotional reactions instead of logical thinking. That which came to exist without use of logic cannot be dissuaded by use of logic. The key we usually count upon simply does not fit their lock.

Do others find this a bit scary? The movement is growing at rapid pace.
Yes.

And, if I can be optimistic about it, I suppose the answer is probably: "not that big".
I suspect it's already bigger than most of us have realized.
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Do others find this a bit scary?
I don't find the Flat Earth movement particularly scary. It's like an odd little religion. It's pretty sad for the people who are genuinely sucked in.

I am a bit concerned that it might be indicative of a more general trend towards embracing alt-facts. Perhaps it's on the rise because people feel more inclined to pick and choose their own version of reality.

However I think a significant portion of the trend is driven by a vicious cycle of trolling, non-believing promoters, and public mockery. I think the number of true believers is far less than with other theories like chemtrails - even if it's getting 4 times as much web attention.
 

Rory

Senior Member
I don't find the Flat Earth movement particularly scary. It's like an odd little religion. It's pretty sad for the people who are genuinely sucked in.

I am a bit concerned that it might be indicative of a more general trend towards embracing alt-facts.
I think that's what I mean too. And maybe "scary" isn't quite the right word; perhaps "unsettling" or "disturbing".

I guess I was living in a bit of a rose-tinted world before. One in which I imagined almost everyone was able to see what is self-evidently logical.

Yet here we are, sometimes debating even the angles of a triangle...
 

Crackton

New Member
IMO flat earth is stupid because it's like a 419 scam

You don't want to spend time on the 99.99% who'd never believe it. You want to spend time on the 0.01% who will pay you.

If I was some prominent flat earther making money off it, I wouldn't spend any time on metabunk, I'd just claim Mick West = retired game creator and NASA = CGI, so well duh.. Obvious connection or what?

It's the type of people who believe that is proof who you'd want to follow you.
 

Crackton

New Member
I did a comparison of a lot of CT search terms some months ago and even though it seem to get a lot of attantion, FE was actually still low compared to a lot of others
 

Hevach

Senior Member
The curve scales to fill the pic, so you can't compare 2 on different pics.. You have to put them in the same

See attached pic. Flat Earth is red.View attachment 27113
It's not just about scale but timing. You do tend to get overlapping trends of different bunk, since a lot of it ends up on the same sites, so you get natural Google chains dragging up all the rest when one in particular booms.
 

Rory

Senior Member
I did a comparison of a lot of CT search terms some months ago and even though it seem to get a lot of attantion, FE was actually still low compared to a lot of others
Which ones was it low compared to? I've tried a few, and the only thing I can find higher than "flat earth" was "September 11th attacks" - and that's in general, not specifically related to CT ideas:

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 18.45.34.png

Indeed, "flat earth" is sometimes a more popular search term than "9/11":

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 18.50.26.png
https://trends.google.co.uk/trends/...32dv,chemtrails,9/11,/m/05cqz4,Mandela effect
 

Crackton

New Member
Illuminati is still way more popular. Mandela effect was for a while. Pizzagate had a huge spike and died out fast.

Some theories are kinda hard, because too many words makes it too specific and too few makes it too broad.

Like 9/11. By itself it doesn't have to have anything to do with a CT, but you don't know if people are searching for 9/11 truth, 9/11 inside job, 9/11 false flag or whatever..

Still fun to play around with :)
 

Rory

Senior Member
"Illuminati" is indeed way more popular a search term than "flat earth":

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 20.41.36.png Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 20.41.51.png
And, interestingly, in the last week "Bilderberg" has gone from being about level with "pizzagate" to just above "flat earth".

Have they got another meeting coming up? ;)

Still, you did say flat earth was "low" in comparison to "lots" of other CTs. Curious to know which ones.

Cheers! :)
 

deirdre

Moderator
Staff member
I'm not so sure about that...
that's weird your graphs are different than mine. (and mine was a bit different than Ridlen's) and you can't search 9/11. just like you can't search sandy hook. because there's a sandy hook, nj which is a tourist, summer thing.
 

Crackton

New Member
that's weird your graphs are different than mine. (and mine was a bit different than Ridlen's) and you can't search 9/11. just like you can't search sandy hook. because there's a sandy hook, nj which is a tourist, summer thing.
In the first pic he has "flat earth" on topic instead of search term.

@Rory I don't remember all the terms I used, maybe it wasn't "a lot". But it also seems flat earth has gained more popularity lately, while other are dropping.
 

Rory

Senior Member
In the first pic he has "flat earth" on topic instead of search term.
Good point. If we change Bigfoot to "topic" it puts it back on top:
Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 21.41.21.png Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 21.41.36.png

I think the main reason our graphs appear so different, though, is that I used a shorter time span.
 
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MikeC

Closed Account
Never mind all that graph nonsense.... why do FE believers all seem to think the North Pole is the center??


This is much more sensible an arrangment -

 

Astro

Senior Member
Bellingcat have published an article on the subject. Quite interesting how some on the Alt-Right are pushing the theory.

https://www.bellingcat.com/resources/articles/2017/06/07/flat-earth-online-communities/

One guy is attempting to gofundme a "Flat Earth Meme Factory" :)

View attachment 27194
I see a picture of "Kyle MacDonald's" room in that article. He was complaining about SpaceX launches and landings being fake while I was at the launch.
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_q40IJzq_c

Was he the one that started that Fepe meme?

I'm always a bit unnerved by these hardcore flat earthers. I film a lot of launches and SpaceX landings next to Reds Rhetoric who is quite hated by their community. Kyle even mentioned Red in his video, and then while I was at the launch I happened to run into someone who had seen my launch videos on youtube. Fortunately he was friendly and just someone interested in my tracking software, not a flat earther. I watch the landings from the closest possible spot on public property which has a clear line of sight, and that pretty much narrows down where I'm going to be for the launch. If one of these hardcore believers shows up to a launch/landing they could at least destroy my equipment in short order if they feel I'm a threat to their beliefs.
 

Crackton

New Member
That dude think spacetravel is CGI, but they still use a fisheye lens to give earth curvature.................
 

Z.W. Wolf

Senior Member
I was wondering if the flat earth billboard pics that have been showing up recently were CGI fakes (lol), but apparently it is real. I think this is near the Philadelphia Airport.


A scandal in the making: This guy is using the name Math Powerland, but he's not the original one. The original is Matt Boylan. This is the guy who has the Infinite Plane Society Channel on YT. Whether it's a society of one...
 
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Rory

Senior Member
Is flat earth stagnating? Or is that just a symptom of my having lost interest in it?

It seems like, going back a year or two, flat earthers were 'discovering' things and presenting 'proofs', and debunkers had lots to learn and get their heads around. The curvature calculators were embryonic. We didn't know how certain things work. There was tons to research and it was fun and educational. But now it seems like everything is known, on both sides, and nothing new is emerging.

Then there were the psychological aspects of it - and, probably like many, I initially went into it with the charming and naive belief that simply presenting evidence and facts would be enough for believers to see where they had gone wrong. It wasn't, of course, and nor was presenting even more and better and tailor-made facts and evidence, and that was a whole other journey in itself. I went through many stages - several of them recorded here - and now I seem to be at this place where I just don't care. It seems basically impossible to reason with a true-believin' flat earther, and the return on investment is poor.

I decided some months ago that it would be best if I just quit. But I don't find it easy to let go of such things, so I figured that making a video and presenting all I had learned on the subject - in a nice, sympathetic, straightforward way - would help make the break. I seem to be one of those guys who has to take his compulsions through to some sort of logical completion - or bitter end - before they're truly flushed from my system. So I began writing a script and making a start on the whole pain in the butt process - and then, as luck would have it, I came across a video that was 80%+ what I would have made myself:


It's a bit harsher than I would have done, and quite a bit longer - two and a half hours! - but basically encapsulates what I might have hoped to achieve, and is no doubt quite a bit better too. Don'tcha just love it when somebody else does the thing you've had an idea for, and saves you the hard work? And - even better than that - you get to see that all that hard work probably wouldn't have been worth it, and disbelievers and believers alike would have carried on much as before. I mean, good for this guy for doing that - and for other tireless debunkers such as Sly Sparkane - but...I think I've got better things to do with my time than devoting the hours I have to attempting to fix others' wrong beliefs (so many others! so many wrong beliefs!).

It's really dawned on me in one-on-one conversations that, for those who want to believe in flat earth, nothing actually gets through to them. Also, that even the most patently logical and simplest of experiments and pieces of evidence are actually way too complex for those whose brains are functioning in a way that has allowed something like flat earth to get in there in the first place. It's been staggering to try and get my head around that, but also completely useful - for I see now that many of the explanations that have been presented here and elsewhere are actually far beyond the comprehension levels of almost all flat earthers, including many who have been engaging in discussions on this site and appearing to at least have a basic understanding of the content, even if they disagree with the conclusions.

With this in mind, I've come to what I feel is something of a breakthrough - and that is to roll it right back and forget all about satellites and the ISS; forget about GPS and aeroplane and shipping routes; about angles and elevations and hidden amounts and refraction; the size and appearance of the sun and moon; orbits and planets and the impossibility of the disk and variances in the earth's gravitational field and mountains - for all that really matters is this:

Source: here - but feel free to cut and paste and see what happens in your own flat earth discussions

In a way, there's no real need to go any further than that, and any future discussions I might have with flat earthers will start (and probably end) there. It immediately tests the water as to whether we're dealing with someone capable of intellectual honesty and a basic level of understanding, as well as illustrating whether they're really on a quest for truth, or whether they're actually wedded to a preconceived belief. Many, of course, will know what looking objectively at the above will mean for their model, and will go no further. Unsurprisingly, the few I've tried it on have completely dodged the question and refused to engage - which instantly shows me what I'm dealing with, and saves me the rigmarole of getting bogged down in the kinds of discussions I'm sure we all know only too well

I feel good about this. I feel good about the simplicity and the straightforwardness of it, and how quickly it cuts to the chase. I really feel like that's about it for me, as far as looking to educate others goes - and though I'd previously felt good about certain things like 'the north star test' and 'the mountain ranges experiment', it's become clear that, simple though they are to most, they're clearly way over the heads and capabilities of flat earthers, and necessitate a level of intellectual honesty that it's perhaps been a little naive of me to expect them to bring to the table.

Sticking to the horizon/eye level observation, however, is using their rules, their terminology, their understanding, and presenting it in a way that really ought to be simple and clear for anyone with a basic grasp of reality - and if that's lacking...well, again, there's really no point going further.

If, however, they realise that 'Flat Earth 101' is deeply and obviously flawed, and truly understand the implications for the model, then of course I'd be happy to take the time to talk them through some of the more puzzling points, or direct them to where they can find the answers. But that's a whole different ball game, played with someone exhibiting a whole different mind.

So that's my current plan for 'what to do with flat earthers' - and as for worrying about the growth of the movement: meh. The world is full of nutty beliefs, and this is just one of them. Who has time to fix them all? C'est la vie. :)
 
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