Priming: How Flat-Earthers Lead Their Victims to Believe Things That are not There

Priming is a manner in which exposure to early information influences the behavior of an individual later on, without them being aware of it. Flat Earth personalities employ this technique to instill specific biases and opinions in the mind of their targets, and for example, to lead them to believe all footage taken in space were faked.

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Remedy Drive’s “Commodity” Album Cover Image Confusion

In 2014, the Christian rock band Remedy Drive released the album “Commodity”. Its cover image is a small hole from NASA’s Solar Max Satellite that was caused by space debris. NASA first published the original photos in 2006.

In 2018, astronaut Chris Hadfield showed the picture to illustrate how space debris can do to a spacecraft. Flat-Earthers were happy to accuse Hadfield of stealing the cover image from the “Commodity” album. They were simply looking for any reason do discredit space flight and did not realize NASA published the image first before anyone else, including Remedy Drive.

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The ‘Destroyed Technology’ to go to the Moon

In an interview, Donald Pettit —a NASA astronaut— mentioned that he’d go the moon, but they no longer have the technology to do that. All the technology from the Apollo mission has been destroyed, and it is a painful process to build it back again.

Flat-Earthers interpreted the statement rather too freely and took that as “proof” we never had the technology in the first place. In reality, the word “technology” is polyseme. It has two different related meanings. Flat-Earthers misinterpreted Don’s statement as one meaning, while Don’s intention was another.

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The Antarctic Treaty Conspiracy Theory

According to flat-Earthers, the shape of Earth is a flat circle. In the center is the north pole in the Arctic Ocean and Antarctica is not a continent, but instead an ice perimeter surrounding the ‘flat Earth.’

The problem is that there are people who visited Antarctica, and their information about Antarctica does not fit the flat Earth narration. To ‘deal with the problem,’ they invented conspiracy theory and assumed every person who claimed to have visited Antarctica is a part of the grand conspiracy; and they spread the information to deceive us. This way, flat-Earthers’ narration about Antarctica is no longer falsifiable. If something stands against them, their ‘solution’ is merely to add more people to the list of persons that are part of the grand conspiracy.

The existence of the Antarctic Treaty System is convenient. Flat-Earthers use it to support their narration.

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NASA and Other Space Agencies

There are many space agencies from multiple countries. Some are from countries that are rivals or even enemies at some point in history. Even so, practically all their findings corroborate each other. Any made up claims or fabrications would have been noticeable and found very quickly.

Flat-Earthers accuse NASA of being part of the so-called globe Earth conspiracy, with the purpose of spreading “globe Earth propaganda” to the world population. However, there other space agencies, which are independent and employ thousands of staffs. And every one of them practically confirms NASA’s findings.

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White Alice and the Troposcatter Propagation

Troposcatter is a signal propagation method using the scattering phenomenon in the upper troposphere. As the signal pass through the upper troposphere, some of the energy is scattered back toward Earth, allowing the receiver station at the correct location to pick up the signal.

White Alice is a decommissioned troposcatter network in North America. Some flat-Earthers invented the “explanation” that the various satellite-based services we enjoy today are using White Alice. They are wrong. White Alice and other troposcatter networks cannot possibly replace all the services provided by satellites.

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Composite Photos of the Earth

NASA has published several pictures of the Earth that are composites. It means the pictures were the result of combining many images into a single picture. In most cases, the source pictures were taken from low-orbiting satellites to obtain higher resolution pictures of the Earth.

Flat-Earthers discovered the photos are composites and claimed to have exposed “yet another evidence” of wrongdoing. They would publish this “findings” everywhere to turn us emotional. They are wrong. Nobody is covering the fact the pictures are composites, and there is no intention to deceive. Information that the photos are composites can be readily found in NASA’s website, far before the claimed “discovery” by flat-Earthers.

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The Gleason Map

The “Gleason Map” is a map with the azimuthal equidistant projection, centered on the north pole. The Gleason Map is not a scaled-down figure of the Earth, but it is merely a projection of the actual, spherical shape of the Earth, like every other map.

Alexander Gleason —the creator of the map— claimed that the map depicts the shape of the ‘flat Earth’. The majority of the flat-Earth communities adopt this map as ‘the flat-Earth map.’ They are wrong. The map is merely a projection of the spherical shape of the Earth, just like every other map types.

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The Earth is Really Spherical, Not Because “NASA Told Us So”

The fact that the Earth is spherical was known since at least 3rd century BC, or about 24 centuries ago, far before we can send anything to space. We knew the fact from countless observations, and not merely from photos and videos taken from space, or that “NASA told us so.”

On the other hand, flat-Earthers often mention NASA or other space agencies because they don’t have a choice. If they insist on the wrong notion that the Earth is flat, then they would need to invent various excuses why there are photos and videos taken from space.

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The Saros Cycle and Prediction of Eclipses

A long time ago, Babylonians carefully maintained records of the occurrence of eclipses and used these records to predict future eclipses. To honor that, in 1691, Edmund Halley named the interval in a cycle of eclipse using a Babylonian unit of time: the “Saros.”

NASA explained the Saros in a web page titled Eclipses and the Saros, and the unscrupulous flat-Earthers were quick to devise a conspiracy theory. They invented the scenario that NASA —a space agency with billions of dollars of a budget— are somehow using ancient technology to predict the occurrences of an eclipse. They are wrong. NASA does not use the Saros Cycle to predict eclipses.

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The Long Chains of Ad-Hoc Hypotheses to Defend the Flat-Earth Model

The flat-Earth model survives not because the Earth is flat, but because every time a problem is found, its proponents would quickly invent an ad-hoc hypothesis to explain the problem away. In turn, if they discover another problem in one of these ad-hoc hypotheses, they would be happy to invent another ad-hoc hypothesis to explain the problem away. And so on, and so forth.

These ad-hoc hypotheses are there to save their core belief —that the Earth is flat— from being falsified.

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Orion EFT-1, Apollo and the Van Allen Radiation Belts

On December 3, 2014, NASA published a video describing the Orion EFT-1 mission, narrated by a NASA scientist, Kelly Smith. The mission was the first unmanned flight of the Orion spacecraft.

Some unscrupulous flat-Earthers decided to turn the video into ‘evidence’ that NASA never went to the moon. They cut down the video to the ‘important’ parts and added in prejudicial narration and subtitles. There are countless of such videos on YouTube, and at some point, it was nearly impossible to search for anything educational about the Van Allen radiation belts on YouTube.

They are wrong. There are, in fact, two Van Allen radiation belts. Apollo traversed the outer belt that has lower radiation level in a hurry, while Orion was deliberately sent into the far more dangerous inner belt. They are named ‘belts’ precisely because they are like the real belts. It is possible to bypass the most dangerous parts of the belt, just like Apollo did.

Orion EFT-1 is not ‘evidence’ that the Apollo mission didn’t happen.

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The MH370 Disaster and the Inability of the GPS System to Locate It

The GPS system is one-way. The satellites broadcast signals. GPS devices receive and process the signals to determine their location.

Flat-Earthers often point out the fact we were unable to locate the ill-fated MH370 as ‘evidence’ GPS doesn’t work and therefore doesn’t exist. They are wrong. GPS satellites never receive any signal from GPS devices, and it is not possible for them to locate MH370.

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The Mockumentary ‘Dark Side of the Moon’

The film ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ is a mockumentary. It is fictional but presented as if it is a real documentary. The film features guests like Donald Rumsfield, Henry Kissinger, Alexander Haig, Vernon Walters, Buzz Aldrin, and Stanley Kubrick’s wife. In the film, they all pretend that the Moon landings were faked, and created in a studio by Stanley Kubrick.

There are many doctored versions of the film circulated on the Internet. Usually, the ‘giveaways’ are cut to make the film more believable. Then, the film is presented as ‘evidence’ that the Moon landings did not happen. Unfortunately, many believe these edited versions of the film and don’t realize the events in the movie are entirely fictional.

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‘The Principle’: A Documentary Without Principle

‘The Principle’ is a pseudoscientific documentary that promotes geocentrism, that the Earth is stationary and the center of the universe. Despite the fact that the film has almost nothing to do with flat-Earth, some flat-Earthers decide to use this film to bolster their beliefs. Because after all, in the flat-Earth model, the Earth is stationary and the center of the universe, right?

This actually gets more complicated than that. We are dealing with two forms of pseudoscience, that sometimes even goes against each other.

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Global Conspiracy Smoke and Mirrors

Some flat-Earthers use the so called global conspiracy as an ‘escape hatch’ in order to abandon a losing argument without having to appear to lose face.

When unable to defend the flat-Earth hypothesis, some flat-Earthers will tell you the ‘flat-Earth theory’ is a work in progress, it is normal for it to be incomplete, for now. “But, ” it is inevitable they would say this, “the most important thing is to uncover the global conspiracy and save the world from these unscrupulous few!”

But, the global conspiracy theory itself is simply an invention.

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Psychological Projection

Why do we believe in conspiracy theories? According to research, one reason is the so-called ‘psychological projection’.

‘Psychological projection’ is a phenomenon where someone denies their attitude or traits and assumes instead that others are doing so. They see their negative qualities in others, even when the negative characteristics are not present in the others being accused.

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Missions to the Moon, Post-Apollo

“After Apollo, there was never another mission to the Moon. It means that the Apollo missions were faked, and we never actually went to the Moon.”

That’s how flat-earth believers think about Apollo missions, and missions to the Moon in general. Because they think there was never any missions to the Moon after Apollo, then they conclude that the Apollo mission was staged, and never happened.

Is that so? Apparently not. Although by the time this article was written, Apollo is still the only mission to the Moon that brought humans up there, doesn’t mean there are no missions to the Moon after that.

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