Earth is round, so why have the flat-out wrong become so lively?
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Until the 17th century, the Fens—a broad, flat swath of marshland in eastern England—were home only to game-hunters and fishermen. Eventually, though, their value as potential agricultural land became too enticing to ignore, and the Earl of Bedford, along with a number of “gentlemen adventurers,” signed contracts with Charles I to drain the area, beginning in the 1630s. A series of drainage channels were cut, criss-crossing the wetlands of Cambridgeshire and Norfolk. The plan was a qualified success; a vast area was now farmable, though wind-powered pumps were needed to keep the water at bay.The most notable feature of the Fens is their pancake-like topography. It’s said that if you climb the tower of Ely Cathedral on a clear day, you can make out the silhouette of Peterborough Cathedral, some 30 miles to the northwest. Indeed, one could see even further if it wasn’t for the curvature of the Earth.
Enter one Samuel Birley Rowbotham, a 19th-century inventor and quack doctor who went by the name “Parallax.” Rowbotham believed that the Earth was flat, and that the Fens were the perfect place to prove it. In particular, he set his sights on the Old Bedford River, one of the 17th-century drainage cuts built under the tenure of the Earl of Bedford. The river—it’s really a canal—runs straight as an arrow for some 22 miles, from Earith, Cambridgeshire, to Downham Market, Norfolk, where it meets the River Great Ouse.
If the world were actually round, Rowbotham argued, its curvature should be plain enough to keen-eyed observers who positioned themselves along the length of the canal. In his view, the Earth was actually disk-shaped, with the north pole at its center. The sun, he reasoned, was about 400 miles from London; the stars were no more than 1,000 miles away. (Nor did he believe the Universe was as old as scientists were saying; he was also a young-Earth creationist.)
It’s one thing to believe the world is flat; it is yet another to convince the scientific establishment. One of Rowbotham’s followers, a man named John Hampden, sought out a reputable scientist that he could drag into the debate.
Oddly, that man ended up being Alfred Russel Wallace, the co-discoverer of natural selection. In 1870, Hampden wrote to Wallace proposing a £500 wager on the shape of the Earth (roughly £60,000 in today’s money). The plan was to carefully measure the curvature of the water’s surface on the Fens—assuming there is any—and settle the matter once and for all. Wallace, much to the chagrin of his fellow scientists, accepted the wager.
Wallace and Hampden met in early March, 1870, at Downham Market, at the northern end of the Old Bedford River, ready to perform the great experiment. A team of assistants erected six-foot-tall poles, with colored markers at the top, at one-mile intervals along a six-mile stretch of the canal, between Downham and the small town of Welney. If the Earth really was curved, the middle markers ought to be raised relative to the end markers by several feet; as Wallace wrote, “with a good telescope curvature will be easily seen if it exists.”
Having the accumulated knowledge of humanity over thousands of years at your fingertips isn't worth shit when you have the brain of a rock-fucking monkey, as it turns out.
i watched that flat earth doco on netflix, there are flat earth scientists who performed experiments that proved the curvature and rotation of the earth and were disappointed. instead of accepting that the earth is indeed round they decided to try and think up more experiments that could be used to prove the earth is flat.
when you are that deeply entrenched in your beliefs nothing can make you change your mind, the truth becomes subjective.
I think the Netflix documentary confirmed my suspicion that it's really all about the community. The way they talk about it, at its core it's not really a strong belief or a rigorous search for truth, it just lets them feel like a part of a tight-knit unique and special community against the whole rest of the world.
The truth doesn't matter when you're a fucking moron
And such communities were not possible before the age of the internet. Before the web these people were just the lone village nutcase. Now they can group together no matter how many thousands of miles they live away from each other.
See, if you're going about things day to day then a flat earth makes sense I guess because no matter how far you travel on the land, you won't feel the curvature of the earth.
My counterpoint is Occam's razor. With insurmountable evidence, a round earth actually makes sense. The only way it woulden't is if Nasa are actually a group of lizardmen, which at that point you're having to rely on complete magic to hold to your views.
The thing I dont get about flat earthers is that they think the government is spreading lies that the earth is round
I would ask what benefits do they get from saying that and the obvious answer from a flat earther is that so they can sell more globes but its not like globes are made by a government owned factory and globes are worth stupid amounts of money that they have to lie
then again trying to think hard about flat earth logic is just a waste of brain cells so whatever
Mark Sargent claims it's because it would be embarrassing to the scientific community. I recommend watching "Behind the curve" as Sharo mentioned, it's actually a really interesting documentary (and it's on netflix).
Earth is (always has been) round, so why have the flat-out wrong become so lively?
I like how they feel the need to specify that it's not just round now but always has been.
Though technically a proto-Earth would've been flatter since it was a disc-shaped cloud of particles.
On the other hand you can physically see the curvature of the Earth if you have a wide open space. Even if you assume that their bullshit about those wide open areas randomly being curved is true, there's always the coasts where you can see that the water is not simply flat along the horizon.
There's tons of issues with Flat Earth Theory that your average person can easily prove wrong simply with a little bit of time and travel. Ie: Proving the starts aren't a mere 1000 miles away isn't exactly difficult. If they were then you can't actually account for not being able to see all stars at the same time no matter where you are. The only explanations Flat Earthers give is some bullshit about index of refraction that would have all sorts of issues of its own. And basically all of their points are like that where they only make sense in the very specific context they use it in and outside that context it clashes with all sorts of other ideas including other arguments they use to try and justify a flat Earth.
Conspiracy theories offer simple solutions to complex problems—but we embrace these alleged solutions, and other simplified world-views, at our peril. It would be “simple” to believe that immigrants cause crime, that Islam fuels terrorism, that Jews control the banks and the media, or that guns make us safer. But to embrace these falsehoods is to turn away from—to declare oneself uninterested in—the complexity of the real world.
It's Ars Technia so I sort of wondered how long into the seemingling uncontroversial article they'd start injecting shit like this. They just couldn't help themselves. Remember, if you're pro using firearms for self defense, you're "uninterested in the complexity of the real world." Because there aren't two sides to this issue, states an article that earlier lambastes conspiracy theorists for binary "right and wrong" thinking.
Dan Falk isn't even a regular writer for ArsTechnica, so perhaps you should calm your tits.
A majority of people in high media and banking positions are Jewish too, and as such it's not technically wrong to say they control the banks and media. The thing that legit white-supremacists and alt-right skinhead get wrong is that they assume that there's a big conspiracy here which, haha, no. There's too much divisiveness in the Jewish communities for a conspiracy to be a thing. Small example: You know the Hasidic Jews (the equivalent to dogmatic traditionalists in Christianity) actually dislike the idea of a Jewish state, right?
Much like moonlanding-hoaxers and 9/11 deniers, they eventually have to fall back on what amounts to magic to justify their beliefs. It's understandable that they haven't gone anywhere where you can begin to see the earth curve - they simply haven't travelled to those places.
I fucking swear, some of the answers they do come up with are nutty. Like, supposivly, there's an ice wall around a flat disc-shaped earth which is why you can't just fall off the earth when you go to the edge. An ice wall that hasn't been documented (because such a thing would look really cool) and somehow gravity works like this I guess.
Thought of the moment: If the earth is flat, what's on it's underside?
Sorry, that segment really pissed me off and I have an overall negative feeling or ArsTechnica that I don't even properly remember the exact reason for. I swear I remember seeing stuff like this in other articles from them.
I think that the ice wall is supposed to be Antarctica or some shit like that. And their explanation for gravity is some garbage about Earth accelerating upwards. Though to properly emulate gravity that means Earth has to always be increasing in speed meaning that there's a hard limit to how long it can actually emulate gravity since it would eventually reach the speed of light.
If you take their explanation of gravity into account, probably just nothing at all really. If you ignore their gravity explanation because it's one of their more unrealistic explanations, it's obviously Australia.
That part of this actually makes sense, at least in concept if not scale. Governments can be shifty things and occasionally they'll do stuff to push some agenda or goal to rally support or the like. Sinking of a cruiser to help spur support for Vietnam, for instance.
That part makes sense. But how the hell would you cover up the truth about the shape of the earth? More importantly, why? When a government acts shifty like that, they tend to do it for a reason. Sometimes maybe not the best reasons, but a reason nonetheless. The only reason I could think for covering up the shape of the earth would be along the lines of "For the lulz". Which I guess means the government is 2008-era 4chan or something. The fuck?
This is how the world works in the Discworld series right?
The part where those guys were talking about using a $20,000 optical gyroscope to measure the 15 degrees of rotation per hour of the earth, getting results they didn't like and rejecting them, then constantly adjusting experiment and rejecting the results almost made my brain implode into a strange-matter quark star. It's incredibly funny, but also saddening. These people aren't stupid at all. They know how to do things. The guy that built that electric motorcycle is smart as fuck. But they have their heads so far up their own asses that the scientific method is backwards to them. Instead of asking "Is the Earth really flat?" they're asking "How can I prove the Earth is flat?" If they would just forget about the flat-earth shit and focus their intelligence on real issues, they'd be far more productive.
My question is why people seem to care so much about flat earthers. What's the harm in just letting them be wrong and living with their own delusions? Seems like articles like this just signal-boost flat earthers more than anything and all they accomplish for everyone else is confirmation bias and back-patting.
Because if you're stupid enough to believe the Earth is flat, chances are you also believe much more harmful lies.
Because they spread and corrupt more and more. They raise new generations who believe nonsense and distrust science. This is how anti-vaxxers exist. This is how we get disbelief in global warming. Letting sleeping dogs lie in situations like this is like leaving an infection to fester
While it's nowhere near as extreme, I'd ask the same of anti-vaxxers.
This comic never stops being relevant:
Because they're sheer stupidity is infectious and easy to fall into.
The internet is designed to atomize and regiment us into self contained bubbles; for 'convenience' and for better 'search results'. Conspiracy Theorists are at an all time high, and we're now dragging in people with college educations; that's how powerful the algorithmic solutions are at creating fucking rabbit holes on the internet.
In the past; it was easy to live and let live, you could easily just tell your kids and neighbors, "That's Crazy Steve, he believes aliens have taken over the government. He's harmless really; just don't touch his fence." Because our media was far more controlled, notions like this were often ridiculed if they ever got screen time at all. With no way to find people who identify with him, Steve is left to his own devices and unable to connect with anyone but those around and even the most delusional need social contact eventually.
With the internet? He's not only able to find like minded people within seconds, he's now able to cluster himself in a puckered domain getting Social Contact Lite(TM) to feel like he's getting along with people. There's a vindication in finding people who agree with you; and if the systems of social media that demand your full attention for clicks, data trolling and ads through addictive skinner boxes, those previously hard to find communities are now huge rabbit holes that become cult like and almost impossible to escape.
This modern phenomena isn't due to human stupidity, these are symptoms of a malicious intent for profit by social media corporations.
Is this Facepunch's biggest stretch yet to switch a topic over to gun control? The answer will shock you!
tbh most likely not
That's a fair point, letting something fester on the internet is a surefure way to let it grow out of control. Still, something doesn't sit right with me about all the flat-earther ridicule, to me it just seems like most of this news (especially the thread article) aren't meant to convince or persuade anyone but are purely for making round-earthers like you and me feel better about themselves while oversimplifying the problem to "flat-earthers are just dumb idiots haha just point and laugh at the morons!".
To be clear I don't think you're a monster or anything for laughing at flat-earthers but it's just getting redundant and not doing much to change peoples' minds in my opinion.
Something I only barely understand is that Flat Earthers are also devoutly religious like 99% of the time.
The government is lying to you, the scientists and schools are lying to you, be skeptical of gravity, be skeptical of the shape of the world, be skeptical of basic math and observations.
but an ancient book telling you to put infinite devotion into it and to never question it, with the only evidence supporting the book being incredibly vague and often deliberately mistaken interpretations, yeah you can trust that, how dare you be skeptical of that
I understand their intense skepticism comes from their intense faith somewhere else, I just can’t comprehend such levels of cognitive dissonance.
I sincerely wish I could be so blissfully ignorant. Life must be be so much easier to these people.
Being this ignorant can cause misery out of nothing.
I'm sure it's stressful constantly believing the government is pranking you and that no one believes you and can always win the argument. I've seen stupid get very worked up defending incorrect facts, and I imagine it's even more stressful being schizophrenic and thinking that NASA is taking the moon down for maintenance and the government and scientists are trying to silence you
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