Single Cause Fallacy

The fallacy of the single cause occurs when it is assumed that there is a single, simple cause of an outcome when in reality, it may have been caused by a number of only jointly sufficient causes.

If it is said that “A causes B,” it is rarely that B is caused only by A, but usually, there are other things that cause B simultaneously with A that are not explicitly mentioned. Assuming that only A causes B from the statement without further consideration is the single-cause fallacy.

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Newton’s Cannonball

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Newton’s cannonball was a thought experiment Isaac Newton used to explain the principle of orbital motion. It was the first explanation of an orbit and still the easiest to understand.

Newton visualizes a cannon on top of a very tall mountain where the air resistance is no longer a factor. As more charge is used with each cannon shot, the speed of the cannonball will be greater, and the cannonball will hit the ground farther and farther. Finally, at a certain speed, it will not hit the ground at all. It will fall toward the spherical Earth just as fast as the Earth curves away from it. In the absence of drag from the atmosphere, it will continue forever in orbit around the Earth.

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The Missing Apollo 11 Telemetry Tapes

NASA lost the telemetry tapes containing the recording of the raw video data transmitted by the Apollo 11 mission. However, all the data was also safely recorded elsewhere.

Flat-Earthers make a big deal out of this incident to discredit the Apollo mission. In reality:

  1. The only lost data was the raw video before the conversion to NTSC for TV broadcasting.
  2. Only the raw data was lost, but there are other recordings of the same footage.
  3. Apollo missions other than Apollo 11 were not affected.
  4. There is no lost video that has never been seen.
  5. NASA discovered high-quality recordings of the same video.

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Wind & Jet Stream Excuses

Flight durations are a useful proxy for the distances between cities and easily debunk flat Earth. Flat-Earthers invented the “explanations” that the discrepancies of the flight durations in the flat Earth model are caused by winds and jet streams.

In reality, the required wind speed in such a scenario far exceeds the typical jet stream speed. Furthermore, the wind does not affect similar routes the same way in the flat Earth model. And we can easily account for the wind speed differences by averaging the flight durations in both directions. Continue reading “Wind & Jet Stream Excuses”

(April Fools) Comparison the Sizes of Various Objects on the Flat Earth

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After a long deliberation about the sizes of various objects on the flat Earth model, we come to the conclusion that the sizes of these objects make sense and conform to observation.

The largest object in the entire universe is the brain of any flat Earther, allowing them to have an IQ of about 1000000. Due to their genius mind, they have the ability to know these facts, something that sheeples with their 1 cm brain cannot possibly do.

Visibility of Africa from Spain and Vice Versa

The Strait of Gibraltar separates the Iberian Peninsula and Africa. The two are separated only by 13 km (8.7 miles) at the narrowest point. We can easily see Africa from Spain as it is not that far away and that there are many highlands on both sides.

Flat-Earthers present the visibility of Africa from Spain as “evidence” Earth is flat. In reality, Africa is not that far from Spain. It is not far enough for the curvature of Earth to obstruct our view of Africa from Spain and vice versa.

Technobabble

Technobabble describes arguments that use the language of science without actually being in any way scientific. It uses scientific terms incorrectly to create a false sense of technical solidity.

Flat-Earthers often use technobabble to explain away the facts that cannot possibly occur if Earth is flat. They use these technical languages to overwhelm and confuse the audience, masking their dishonesty and give a false impression as though they are talking about actual science.

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Apollo Lunar Module Insulation Blankets

The Apollo Lunar Module needed to be as light as possible. It would also operate only in a vacuum and did not have to be sturdy or aerodynamic. To reduce weight, its hull was covered with various insulation blankets instead of rigid heat shields.

Flat-Earthers often ridicule the shape of the lunar module of being flimsy. In reality, there is no requirement to look pretty. The flimsy-looking things are just the insulation blankets. The actual hull underneath them provides structural support.

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Nikola Tesla Was Not Erased From History and Modern Education

Nikola Tesla was a very influential physicist, engineer, and inventor. Due to his influences, various things are named after him.

Many conspiracy theories hijack the reputation of Nikola Tesla, including flat-Earth. They claim Tesla was a flat Earth scientist, and his name was deliberately erased from history books and modern education. In reality, Tesla was a genuine scientist, and it is not hard to find out that many things today are named after Nikola Tesla.

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Sagnac Effect

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The Sagnac effect occurs to a pair of light beams traveling in a circuit in the opposite direction. If the circuit itself is rotating, then the beams will complete the circuit in different duration. The effect was first demonstrated by Georges Sagnac in 1913.

After discovering this effect, Sagnac incorrectly used the results as proof of the aether’s existence, and today’s flat-Earthers use it as “evidence” of stationary Earth. In reality, Sagnac was not aware that the effect is consistent with Einstein’s theory of relativity. And if the effect really proved aether, then optical gyroscopes are impossible.

The Sagnac effect is used as the basis of optical gyroscopes, including fiber-optic gyroscopes and ring-laser gyroscopes. In an optical gyroscope, a pair of light beams are made to travel in a circuit in the opposite direction. Because light travels at a constant speed, irrespective of the transmitter’s speed, then if the gyroscope is rotated, a beam of light will complete the circuit sooner than the other. From the difference, we can measure the rotating motion of the gyroscope.

References

Disaster Conspiracy Theories and Crisis Actor Hoaxes

Conspiracy theorists often make false and cruel accusations that some disasters are staged and that the victims and their families are being played by what they call crisis actors. Their “proofs” are just that persons resembling the victims or having similar names are still living. They will even go as far as harassing these people in real life.

Flat-Earth is an extreme conspiracy theory, and its followers are also susceptible to making the same claims about crisis actors for related disasters, like the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.

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Apparent Motion of Planets

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Planets appear to move near the ecliptic —the line that marks the annual path of the Sun against background stars. From these motions, it is obvious that Venus and Mercury are in motion around the Sun. And the motion of the other planets can only be explained if Earth is in motion around the Sun.

Flat-Earthers claim that Earth is stationary. In reality, from observing the planets’ motion, the most plausible explanation is that all planets, including Earth, are in motion around the Sun.

ISS Size Compared to an Airplane in a Photograph

Flat-Earthers compared the apparent size of the ISS and an airplane that appeared in photographs and then incorrectly concluded that the ISS could not be 410 km above us. Their mistake was equating altitude with distance and failing to account for both the ISS’ and the airplane’s downrange distance.

If an airplane is at an altitude of 12 km, it does not mean its distance from an observer is also 12 km. Its altitude and distance are equal only if the airplane is directly above the observer. If the plane is not directly above, then its distance is greater than its altitude.

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Misconception and Strawman Arguments About Foucault’s Pendulum

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The Coriolis effect acts on objects moving closer to or away from Earth’s axis of rotation. A swinging pendulum does that continuously while staying in the same place. Foucault’s pendulum is built very large to swing for a very long time so that we can observe the slow precession of the pendulum caused by Earth’s rotation.

Earth’s rotation does not cause a pendulum at rest to begin swinging, and flat-Earthers use that as “proof” that Foucault’s pendulums are manipulated. In reality, nobody claims the swinging motion of Foucault’s pendulum is caused by Earth’s rotation. The fact that Earth’s rotation does not cause a pendulum to swing does not disprove Earth’s rotation or the Coriolis effect.

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Usage of Animation to Visualize Space Missions

Many space missions use animations to visualize the state of the missions because it is impossible to record a video of the event. Spacecrafts continuously send telemetry data to Earth informing the status of their mission, and from the data, an animation can be constructed to illustrate the spacecraft’s current situation.

Flat-Earthers accuse that the animations are “proof” that the missions are faked. In reality, the animations are faithful depictions of the missions and are made to visualize the real state of the mission. Animations are used because it is not viable to send another spacecraft only to record a video of the mission. Furthermore, in the cases where the video is available, it is still too difficult for these flat-Earthers to accept reality.

Location Crowdsourcing

In addition to satellite navigation, mobile phones can also use crowdsourced cell sites and WiFi access points location data. Phones help each other by creating a centralized database of the locations of cell sites and WiFi access points. If satellite navigation is unavailable, then the phones can utilize this database to determine their positions.

Some documentations explain how a phone or device without GPS can determine its location. Flat-Earthers incorrectly use these documentations to “prove” GPS does not use satellites. In reality, there are various methods of determining location, not just GPS. These documentations explain location service using cell & WiFi crowdsourcing, which is different from GPS.

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Appeal to Ancient Wisdom

The appeal to ancient wisdom is a fallacy where someone assumes that concepts and knowledge from ancient times are superior to modern ones. In reality, just because they are from ancient times, it does not mean they are better than modern ones. On the contrary, in practically all the cases, we know a lot more than our predecessors.

Flat-Earthers often show us that in the past, people from various cultures believed that Earth is flat. Using it as “evidence” of a flat Earth is the fallacy of appeal to ancient wisdom.

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Curvature App

Curvature App is a web application we can use to create a simulation of the horizon’s shape and the visibility of distant objects on a flat and spherical Earth. Curvature App is available at walter.bislins.ch/Curve.

When determining a distant object’s visibility, flat-Earthers often use wrong calculators that fail to account for all the important variables and give them incorrect results. Curvature App accounts for all of these variables, and not only it gives us the numbers, but also the simulated view.

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ISS Construction Video

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The International Space Station (ISS) was not constructed overnight. It is built gradually, and new components are still arriving after more than 20 years since it was first launched.

The ISS is one of humankind’s greatest achievements, but there is no video showing its construction from start to finish. Flat-Earthers use the fact to “disprove” the existence of the ISS. In reality, the ISS was constructed gradually in years. There is no such video the same way there is none for New York City, for example. It does not mean New York City does not exist. On the other hand, we can find plenty of videos showing the assembly of its specific modules on the Internet. Continue reading “ISS Construction Video”

Beyond Horizons: World Records of Farthest Pictures Taken on Earth

We can see an object farther over Earth’s curvature if we and the object are higher. Mountain peaks are the highest points on Earth. As a result, from a mountain peak, it is possible to observe another peak very far away, even over hundreds of kilometers. The website Beyond Horizons discusses these records of observation.

Flat-Earthers use some of the world records of the farthest peak to peak observation as “proof” of flat Earth. In reality, these observations are possible because the peaks are very high, and atmospheric refraction helps the observation. These observations agree with the expectation if Earth is a sphere.

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