There Really is a Flat Earth Society

There Really is a Flat Earth Society July 16, 2013

…and like all dedicated crazy people they have an answer for every obvious thing that immediately springs to mind when you wonder, “How can they believe such hogwash?” The capacity human beings have for staking out a claim for virtually any crazy idea and then defending it with every ounce of intellectual firepower they have amazes me.

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  • Rachel

    wow, just…wow…..

  • John Médaille

    I don’t know any flat-earthers, but I do know people who are geo-centric (because the Bible says so!)

    • Newp Ort

      Robert Sungenis is geocentric, egocentric, and antisemitic. You can’t disprove that Satan told the Jews to manipulate the Masons into making heliocentrism into the dominant world view.

      And Helios is a Pagan god.

    • Well, geo-centrism is simply a perspective choice, under relativity. It just makes the astronomical calculations a lot harder.

      • chezami

        Joke’s on you. Bob Sungenis also insists that relativity is false and Einstein was the harbinger of the gay priest scandal. (Relativity=relativism=moral laxity=priest abuse. The logic is ironclad.)

        • Thank goodness it’s not iron-naked!

        • jpaYMCA

          this coming from the Mark P. Shea who knows so much about astronomy and Einstein: ironclad, for sure. One must admit, however, that chezami is second to none at caricatures, false dichotomies, and straw-man …oh, what did you call them…syllogisms.

  • John Russell

    I think the lesson to be learned from this is that people who believe falsehoods do not necessarily lack the power of reason. Reason has no particular value when it is used in defense of a false premise, and it has no particular ability to select a true premise upon which to reason. Reason is useful for identifying and eliminating inconsistencies within a given system of beliefs. That’s it – no more. It’s important, I think, to remember that those who disagree with one’s premise are not therefore necessarily unreasonable or less intelligent. As long as their system of beliefs is internally consistent, it is as reasonable as any other.

    The truth is reasonable, but not all that is reasonable is true. Therefore, unaided reason fails to reveal the truth.

    • chezami

      I don’t think Reason and the ability to create pseudo-syllogisms is the same thing. “If she weighs as much as a duck, she is therefore made of wood and thus a witch” is a syllogism (of sorts). It’s not Reason though.

    • Dan C

      I think you are talking about Logic in this.

      • John Russell

        This is an interesting point. Can a logical idea be unreasonable? If so, how? It seems that reason includes logic, but also other forms of rational thought. It that right?

  • Tim Canny

    Skeptoid is always good for a reasoned look at such things:

  • Mariana Baca

    Er, do they realize their map makes Antarctica like super long? even if it were a thin strip (to conserve area) it would still be really long, something easily disproven by circumnavigating it (not to mention that the coastline is not *convex!*). Plus, wouldn’t there be an obvious border? Also, it makes the ocean between South America and Australia HUGE! Do they think Lan Chile or Quantas just have super fast planes? These are things they can prove to themselves — they can book a flight from Chile to Auckland, they can see Antarctica out their window throughout the flight and time the length of the flight. So much for empiricism…

    If they change the layout of their “flat map” suddenly modeling the behavior of the sun becomes awfully complicated.

    • Rebecca Fuentes

      Stop trying to confuse the purity of belief with your ridiculous reason and science!

      • Mariana Baca

        Not to mention their obviously North-centric (literally!) view of the Earth. 🙂

  • Procopius

    Its funny, because belief in a flat earth died out in late antiquity (Lactanius was the last ancient intellectual figure who actual argued against a round earth. Otherwise all other figures such as Boethius and Bede refer to the earth as a globe or sphere. And Aquinas uses the roundness of the Earth as a normative example of a scientific fact in Part 1 of the Summa). It was only on the 19th century that figures such as Washington Irving invented the flat earth as a calumny against the Church. There is actually a book on this subject by a real historian “Inventing the Flat Earth”

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    Fun factoid:
    Pop musician Thomas Dolby, who had a hit in the ’80s with “She Blinded Me With Science,” is a member of the Flat Earth Society. How can you not love the irony of that?

  • Rebecca Fuentes

    And the flat earth is resting on the backs of four elephants, who are standing on the back of the giant turtle . . . oh, wait a minute . . .

    • wlinden

      It’s turtles all the way down.

      • Rebecca Fuentes

        It the one on top named Yertle?

        • Diana

          No, A’Tuin.

          • Rebecca Fuentes

            Depends. If the elephants are involved, it’s A’Tuin; if it’s a giant stack of turtles, I’m voting for Yertle. (Of course, the elephants would explain my grandmother’s uncanny attitude resemblance to Esme Weatherwax.)

  • Despite the very first Q in their FAQ, I’m not completely convinced this isn’t an elaborate hoax.

    • Mariana Baca

      Im pretty sure it must be all done for the laughs. Like the belgium does not exist theory or the Bielefeld Conspiracy.

    • wlinden

      I am convinced it is not. There are numerous references to previously existing literature, and to “predecessors”. The list of the latter is just as interesting for who it does NOT include. (E.g., Kosmas and Voliva.)

  • Stu

    Shea is clearly a “rounder” using this blog to promote his agenda.

  • This interests me because it deals with a part of human nature I deal with for a living in terms of fact finding (problem solving/troubleshooting).

    Facts that support a favored theory are noticed quickly, over emphasize with little or no scrutiny. Facts against a favored theory are ignored (even subconsciously), understated or explained away, or given extra undue scrutiny.

    We deal with this by tracking the assumptions needed to make something true; we literally write them out and discuss each one. The theory that requires the fewest assumptions, most reasonable assumptions and overall simplest assumptions becomes what we go forward with.

    I’d love to see the list of assumptions needed to say the world is flat.

  • John Schaefer

    My favorite…it’s the inward looking everything revolves around us!

    “How do you explain day and night cycles?
    Day and night cycles are easily explained on a flat earth. The sun
    moves in circles around the North Pole. When it is over your head, it’s
    day. When it’s not, it’s night. The sun acts like a spotlight and
    shines downward as it moves. The picture below illustrates how the sun
    moves and also how seasons work on a flat earth”

  • Brian Sullivan

    This is my favorite inane Society.

  • Stephen J.

    It is not the shape of the earth that matters, but whether you are willing to help a man up from lying in it.
    (Of course, I can say that because I’m not a cartographer or the person in charge of flying the air ambulance. But still.)

  • David Elton

    Since they claim to be empiricists, I would suggest that these folks march right up to the edge and jump off. Their theory would then be verified. Case closed.

    • Stephen J.

      They’ve been trying; they just haven’t found the edge yet. But absence of edginess need not edge one towards absence. Or something like that.

  • Christopher Burd

    The earth is spherical, but hollow, and we live on the inside.