The Starburst Effect is not Proof of CGI

In photography, the starburst effect gives the illusion of light rays from strong light sources in an image. The effect happens when the lens’ aperture is not a perfect circle, and it gets more pronounced under narrower aperture.

Flat-Earthers often find themselves looking for any peculiarity —no matter how small or unbelievable— in order to discredit any picture they deem unacceptable to their misguided causes. One of this peculiarity is the starburst effect.

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Appeal to CGI of the Second Form

Another CGI related fallacy regularly committed by flat-Earthers has the general form of:

  • Observation: there’s no photo or video of the object ‘X’ that is not made with CGI.
  • Conclusion: ‘X’ does not exist in the real world

This is invalid for two reasons:

  1. A real object is still real even if nobody has taken a photo of it.
  2. The premise itself might be invalid because there could be someone who has a photo of the object, and the perpetrator of the fallacy is simply unaware of its existence.

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Appeal to CGI of the First Form

A logical fallacy commonly committed by the victims of the flat-Earth ideology is CGI related. CGI —or computer graphics imagery— is the use of computers to produce realistic images or videos.

Because this fallacy is very common within the flat-Earth circles, let’s give it the name ‘appeal to CGI’. Its argument has the general form of:

  • Observation: a photo or video of an object ‘X’ is made with CGI
  • Conclusion: ‘X’ does not exist in the real world

This is a fallacy because it is definitely possible to create a CGI image or video of a real-world object.

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The Philosophy of CGI

When a photo of spherical Earth is pointed out to flat-earthers, they would dismiss it as CGI in the blink of an eye; even if they haven’t done any analysis at all. They do this because their belief in flat-Earth is not evidence based, and any evidence contrary to their beliefs needs to be invalidated no matter how.

They are so used to doing it and sometimes they become confused by it themselves, to the point that they would take a slightest hint of digital manipulation of any picture of the Earth as an evidence of the flat Earth.

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