If a piece of information requires us to accuse others of malice before it is possible to believe it, then there is a high probability it is not true. Such information is usually highly emotional. It can be very tempting to believe it, and we need to be cautious.
Saros is a period of 6585⅓ days separating the occurrence of two eclipses. One Saros after an eclipse, a similar eclipse will occur. The eclipses that belong to the same cycle are grouped in a Saros Series.
Flat-Earthers claim that we can only predict eclipses using the Saros Cycle. In reality, it is impossible to determine many characteristics of an eclipse from its Saros Cycle alone.
These are the seven traits of conspiratorial thinking: contradictory, overriding suspicion, nefarious intent, something must be wrong, persecuted victim, immune to evidence, reinterpreting randomness. Flat-Earth is not a scientific problem, it is a conspiracy theory. Like other conspiracy theories, these traits also apply to flat-Earth.
Doublethink is the holding of contradictory beliefs or opinions in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting all as true or correct, failing to recognize the contradiction.
Doublethink is prevalent in conspiracy theories, including flat Earth. They would believe the different concepts that individually appear to support a flat Earth but cannot realize that these concepts are in reality in conflict with each other.
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.
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.
Flat-Earth communities around the globe are separated by country borders, language barriers, prominent religions, the leading figures, etc. As a result, they form several loosely-knitted but distinct denominations. Because flat-Earth is believed, not based on facts, each of the different factions invents and endorses different sets of “explanations” and talking points. All of them only agree on a single thing, that Earth is flat, but they cannot agree on practically everything else.
Many flat-Earthers would incorrectly dismiss our explanations as a strawman. In reality, we address flat-Earth misinformation from all denominations, and we might address ones that do not exist in their specific denomination. These are, however, still flat-Earth misinformation that people might fall for and worth debunking.
People can believe scientific hoaxes —like flat Earth— not because of their sheer stupidity, despite the appearances; but because they are being misled into believing it emotionally. In another matter, these people can still function just like normal human beings.
If the concept being presented requires us to accuse others of malice before we can accept the concept, there must be something wrong with it, and we must be careful. Real science does not depend on such accusations to be true. And thus, we can rule out many of the things being presented as science, but actually not, without having to delve deep into them.
Conspiracy theories — like flat Earth — exists on a spectrum, from the fringe to the mainstream. Each of us has a different demarcation line where we divide the spectrum into the reasonable and the ridiculous.
Flat Earth lies on the extreme end of the spectrum. Anybody who believes in a flat Earth also has its demarcation line on the far extreme, too, and as a result, tends to believe all sorts of other conspiracy theories. However, less extreme conspiracy theorists might find flat Earth ridiculous. By learning how people can believe in a flat Earth, we can avoid believing other, baseless conspiracy theories.
Pareidolia is the tendency for the incorrect perception of a stimulus as an object, pattern or meaning known to the observer, such as seeing shapes in clouds, inanimate objects, or abstract patterns.
Flat-Earthers like to find shapes, patterns, or meanings in random natural phenomena, abstract figures, or figures in an unrelated context. Then, they would use them as “evidence” of some wrongdoing. In reality, it is just an effect of pareidolia, giving them false ideas. They are not evidence of anything.
After the Apollo moon landings, we continue launching missions to the moon, but with uncrewed spacecraft. The Apollo program was not entirely a scientific mission. It also served as a political mission due to the Cold War. We can research a lot of things about the moon without risking human lives by sending them to the moon.
Flat-Earthers claim that there have not been any missions to the moon after the Apollo missions, and they conclude that the Apollo missions were fabricated. In reality, we continue sending spacecraft to the moon to this day.
In the early 2000s, an unscrupulous Moon landing denialist lured Apollo astronauts into an audience with him under false pretenses. Then he insulted them as liars and pressed them to swear on the Bible that they went to the Moon.
Flat-Earthers use this incident as “evidence” that we never went to the Moon. In reality, the offender did not meet the astronauts with the best of intentions. This incident tells us more about the offender than it does about the astronauts.
Some flat-Earthers use the so-called global conspiracy as an ‘escape hatch’ to abandon a losing argument. When being cornered, some flat-Earthers will tell us that flat Earth is a work in progress; it is normal for it to be incomplete, for now. “But the most important thing is to uncover the global conspiracy and save the world from these unscrupulous few!”
In reality, the global conspiracy theory is only one of so many concepts invented to prevent flat Earth from being falsified.
In the video of the CRS-19 mission of the SpaceX Falcon9 rocket, flat-Earthers noticed something is moving near the exhaust of the second stage rocket. Creatively, they interpreted it as a “mouse, ” and then use it to discredit spaceflight and the people involved in it.
In reality, it was merely crystallized waste from the rocket engine. To know this, we only need to see the part of the video after the one cherry-picked by flat-Earthers. The “mouse” slowly disappeared by evaporation.
The big lie is the propaganda method where an outrageous lie —like flat Earth— is said and repeated as if it is true, hoping people will assume it is true for granted rather than critically questioning it.
Even though anyone can easily verify that Earth is a sphere from simple personal observations, many still fall for the notion of a flat Earth. The reason is that it is such a big lie and does not fit their model of modest deception, so they think “it must be true.”
One reason a person can believe in conspiracy theories is the psychological projection. They attempt to deny their negative attitudes by assuming that instead, others have them, even though it is not necessarily the case.
Some people believe others are in a conspiracy against them because of their moral problem: if they were in the same positions of the people they are accusing, they would do the same thing they are accusing others of doing.
Flat-Earthers claim that the Apollo 11 astronauts were gloomy and uneasy at their press conference. They allege this was due to their guilt of faking the Moon landing. In reality, the press conference was full of jokes and laughter.
Unscrupulous conspiracy theorists cherry-picked a single photo from the press conference video in which the astronauts were serious. They abuse the picture to ignite our emotions and lead us to believe the hoax they created that the Moon landings did not occur.
To believe a flat Earth, it is necessary to accuse impossibly large amount of people from all over the world, spanning more than 20 centuries, to conspire together to deceive the rest of the human population.
On the other hand, to understand that the Earth is a sphere only requires simple observations that anyone can do themselves. In accepting that the Earth is a sphere, there is no need to throw a single baseless accusation to another person.
In 2006, astronaut Tim Peake from the UK was tasked to perform some physics demonstration on the ISS for the National Space Academy. Tim performed the demonstrations in front of a gridded background specifically made for the purpose.
One of Tim’s video appeared during the former US president George H.W. Bush’s visit to NASA’s Mission Control Center. Flat-Earthers discovered the footage and quickly claim that it used a green screen background for CGI purposes. Such allegation was only from their ignorance and the eagerness to accuse others of lying. Tim’s videos are published in the National Science Academy’s web site as is, proving the background in the videos was merely an ordinary background, not a green screen for CGI.
High-altitude nuclear explosions (HANE) are the results of atomic weapons testing, conducted by the United States and the Soviet Union between 1958 and 1963. In these tests, nuclear warheads were launched and deliberately detonated at a high altitude, between 23 km and 540 km.
Flat-Earthers claim that HANEs were produced by attempts to penetrate the mythical dome enclosing the supposed flat Earth using nuclear weapons. They are wrong. The warheads were deliberately detonated at a high altitude, and the mythical dome does not exist in reality, only in their imaginations.