Why flat earth?

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by Tralay, Jul 24, 2017.

  1. Tralay Registered Member

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    There has been an influx of people with little to no real understanding of our earth's properties claiming that this is a flat earth. It seems that trying to display a certain logic has no real effect on them. What is the reason in your opinion this phenomenon exists?
     
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  3. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    In the past, membership largely and unsurprisingly depended upon contrarians. Plus untypically subdued or inhibited conspiracists, and those merely wading in for novice epistemological acrobatics[*].

    To a lesser extent traditional forms of anti-intellectualism obviously played a role, too. A recent sub-species or specialized ripple of the latter, however, may be a major player in today's resurgence of Flat Earth Society and similar named communities. It's a blend of tribal narcissism and doxastic equality (radical democritization of personal opinions as well as group beliefs / thought orientations). Which receives labels like "the death of expertise" (courtesy of Thomas Nichols).

    The effects of "death of expertise" are far more ranging than just rising FES membership. More visible offshoots or celebrated manifestations occur in the political news landscape and assorted stripes of "respect the mythos of our culture" activism transpiring on campuses, streets, temple grounds, and other attention-getting platforms / stages.

    But curiously, Flat Earthers are reputed to be narrow in their passion and have less background attachment to "extraordinary affairs" in general. A broadness that supposedly often "afflicts" fringe or paranormal disciples, champions of ethnic folklore / customs, the ardently religious, secret cabal theorists, etc.

    • Natalie Wolchover: However, flat-earthers don't fit entirely snugly in this general picture. Most conspiracy theorists adopt many fringe theories, even ones that contradict each other. Meanwhile, flat-earthers' only hang-up is the shape of the Earth. "If they were like other conspiracy theorists, they should be exhibiting a tendency toward a lot of magical thinking, such as believing in UFOs, ESP, ghosts, the Devil, or other unseen, intentional forces," Oliver wrote in an email. "It doesn't sound like they do, which makes them very anomalous relative to most Americans who believe in conspiracy theories." --Are Flat-Earthers Being Serious? ... Live Science

      Lizzie Wade: [...] That, to me, is what makes #FlatEarth fundamentally different from climate change denial, creationism, or the anti-vaxx movement. It’s not really about exposing a supposed scientific 'fraud,' it doesn’t have a political or religious agenda, and it’s not out to stop professional scientists from doing their important work and applying what they learn to improve the world. It’s just a bunch of amateur theorists trying their best to feel at home in the universe... --In Defense of Flat Earthers

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    [*] Michael Wilmore (vice president of FES): "The question of belief and sincerity is one that comes up a lot. If I had to guess, I would probably say that at least some of our members see the Flat Earth Society and Flat Earth Theory as a kind of epistemological exercise, whether as a critique of the scientific method or as a kind of 'solipsism for beginners.' There are also probably some who thought the certificate would be kind of funny to have on their wall. That being said, I know many members personally, and I am fully convinced of their belief. My own convictions are a result of philosophical introspection and a considerable body of data that I have personally observed, and which I am still compiling."
     
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  5. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    say what you will about the flat earthers, but flat earth does make the cartographer's job easier
     
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  7. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    Some people believe in a round earth for the wrong reasons. My father used to say as proof of a round earth that ships disappear over the horizon. I tried to explain to him that that only indicates a curved surface, not necessarily a complete sphere.
     
  8. Tralay Registered Member

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    well a buddy of mine who has swallowed the flat earth theory hook line and sinker just asked me why space is black if there is sun shining through it.
     
  9. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    Many decades ago, there was a Flat Earth Society in the UK.

    I visualized it as a group of affluent Engishmen with a sense of humour who met at a Pub.

    They sent a prize of circa $100.00 for trick photography to an American astronaut who photograhed the Earth from orbit.

    They made the following remark similar to the following: "To the untrained eye, it is convincing & the naive might accept it as proof of a spherical Earth."​

    At one time they published or displayed an artist's sketch of the Flat Earth on the early Internet or in some other medium.

    It showed a circluar disk with Europe in the center. West Africa hung over the edge at right angles to the disk. There were black stalactites hanging underneath.​

    BTW: Humour is the UK spelling
     
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  10. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    From SideShowBob Post 4
    Since ships disappear over the horizon from the shore of all oceans, seas, or large lakes it seems to me to be convincing evidence of a spherical or spheroid shape for the Earth.

    Your view would be reasonable if the only evidence were the view from the shore of one large body of water.​

    BTW: From the deck of a ship approaching land, the tops of tall structures & mountains are seen first, similarly indicating that Earth is not flat. The view of a tall mountain from the deck of a ship seems a bit more convincing than the view of a ship from the shore.

    I think Phoenicians concluded that the earth was not flat long before the Greeks. They were early seafarers.​

    From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flat_Earth
    I think his estimate was within 5% of our current best estimate.

    From the same source
     
  11. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    (sigh)
    'tain't no circle nor sphere
    'tis but a lumpy bumpy imbalanced roughly ovoid mass which throbs as it's imbalanced mass is effected by the gravitational pulls of the sun and the other solar satellites
    and, recently(> 3 million years) speeds up and slows down with the change in it's mass balance by the coming and going of the ice

    imagine precisely detailed cartography over time-----eg: at precisely 2 million 743 thousand 186 years ago?

    ...................
    or................?
     
  12. Tralay Registered Member

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  13. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    We would need to have accurate measurements of the local curvature at a large number of places (and the curvature would have to be the same everywhere) for the round-earth conclusion to be reliable. I don't know if that data exists.

    In modern times, you could construct a model which should be more-or-less spherical using air distances between a large number of cities.
     
  14. Michael 345 Valued Senior Member

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    Try blowing his mind by telling him light is invisible

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  15. Michael 345 Valued Senior Member

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    I would agree except the edges of the map seem lacking any distinctive features

    At least some cartographer's in the past I believe had either a belief or a wicked sense of humour when they wrote on the extreme sections of their maps

    Here be Monsters

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  16. Tralay Registered Member

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    I'm also inclined to believe that when they go to put down the lattitude and longitude lines they aren't going to match up to the actual placements as well either, could be quite the bother.

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  17. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Actually, the question of why space is black is far from trivial. See Olbers' Paradox: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olbers'_paradox
    If the universe were infinite and static, as was supposed at one stage, every line of sight from an observer would eventually reach the surface of a star, somewhere, at some distance, and thus be bright. The blackness of space is thus evidence that the universe cannot be both infinite and static. I was intrigued to see that even as early an astronomer as Kepler saw the problem.

    But of course it has nothing to do with the light from just the sun alone, as your friend seems to think.
     
  18. Michael 345 Valued Senior Member

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    Just that some Starlight beams get lost on the way here

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  19. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Why? If the star was far enough away, you would only get a photon an hour (or something similar) which we would perceive as black.
     
  20. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    From that star, yes. But this arises from the narrowness of the angle subtended between it and your eye. If every adjoining point in the sky were also the surface of a star, this would make for a compensating further supply of photons. At least, that is my uderstanding of the argument. It is explained more fully in the Wiki link.
     
  21. Tralay Registered Member

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    light only travels so far, that's why we have to put light bulbs in various places. I'm sitting here right now looking at dark areas where the lights in my house aren't reaching. I think that if there are enough of these same types of dark areas in space where the light just isn't reaching that they kind of build up after so many and it's hard to see through the dark areas, they just look black.
     
  22. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    On a flat plane the angles of a triangle always total 180 degrees. On earth using the pole as one angle of 50 degrees with each side down to the equator, you would end up with two 90 degree angles and the total adds up to 230 degrees. This has been proven.

    The earth is a sphere but it is so big that the curve can only be seen on an uninterrupted horizon, such as over the ocean. For most practical purposes using regular flat plane plane geometry is sufficient, but
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spherical_geometry

    p.s. surveyors on earth measuring large areas do have to make small corrections, to make up for the angular deviations and be able to close the measured area by a single marker.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2017
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  23. Michael 345 Valued Senior Member

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    Light will travel forever unless it hits something

    Light from the deepest part of the Universe

    has been traveling for about

    13 billion years before it hit earth

    Not much of it but a tenny weeny bit

    Most of it hits a lot of other stuff

    between the far distant reaches

    and tiny Earth

    You do not see the light going sidewise passed Earth

    and crisscrossing across space

    because light is invisible

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