Mark Twain’s Fake Quote

The following quote is often attributed to Mark Twain. But there is no evidence Mark Twain ever wrote this phrase, despite the fact his writings were very well-documented.

“It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled”

Flat-Earthers like to use the quote to ridicule & describe those who understand Earth is a sphere. In an ironic twist, by attributing the quote to Mark Twain, these flat-Earthers demonstrate that they are being easily fooled themselves.

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NCSE’s Satirical Article “Gravity: It’s Only a Theory”

The NCSE is an organization to educate the public & the press about evolution & climate change. They wrote a satirical article, “Gravity: It’s Only a Theory,” to demonstrate what might happen if a science denialist refuses the existence of gravity using the same “logic” that they use to reject the existence of evolution.

NCSE does not deny gravity & it is mentioned at the beginning of the article that it is a satire. Flat-Earthers failed to notice that, and it became a hoax that they use to support their false belief. The author probably did not expect there are far more extreme denialists that can go as far as to reject gravity & even beyond.

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Directions of Up and Down

“Down” is the same direction as Earth’s gravitational acceleration, toward Earth’s center. “Up” is the opposite, or away from Earth’s center. This applies to all observers on Earth.

Flat-Earthers like to question & ridicule about what would occur on the people “down” there. They just do not understand that to the people on the other side of Earth, “down” is still toward Earth’s center, like it appears to everyone else.

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New York Journal’s Article in January 31, 1897

On January 31, 1897, the newspaper New York Journal wrote an article about the astonishing fact that many people still believe in a flat Earth and are trying to “prove” it.

The article was illustrated with an image of a flat Earth and today’s flat-Earthers use it as “evidence” we knew Earth is flat since centuries ago. In reality, the article was about the phenomenon there were people who still believed Earth is flat. The article did not endorse the notion that Earth is flat.

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Sarcasm, Irony, Satire

Sarcasm, irony, and satire are figures of speech involving statements that are untrue in a literal sense. However, it is expected the audience should understand that the remarks are not true, and will consider them insulting or humorous.

The gullibility of conspiracy theorists is a popular subject of sarcasm, irony, and satire. But being so gullible means many of them are unaware that the remarks are not really true. Many of these people wrongly consider the sarcastic, ironic, and satirical messages as true, and the messages spread as hoaxes in their community.

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Hawaiian-Japanese-Buddhist Flat-Earth Map by Dr. Kobayashi

The lost world is a genre of fiction involving the discovery of an unknown world, popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s when the remnants of lost civilizations were being discovered by westerners. However, newspapers of the era often published such works in a way it might not be obvious that these are just works of fiction.

In 1907, the Hawaiian Gazette published one of such works titled “Was This World Map Made Ten Centuries Ago,” illustrated with the so-called Kobayashi map, for a more powerful story. Flat-Earthers fail to realize it was a work of fiction that was common in the era. The tale & the Kobayashi map spread in flat-Earth communities as a hoax.

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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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April Fools’ Day Pranks About Flat Earth

April Fools’ Day is an annual custom on April 1, where people play practical jokes and pranks on each other and have fun trying to make other people believe things that are not true. Some of these pranks involve the “endorsement of flat Earth.”

After some time, it can be less obvious that these are just practical jokes created for April Fools’ Day, and many flat-Earthers fail to realize that they are the ones being joked about. In flat-Earth communities, some of these pranks are incorrectly regarded as genuine and end up as hoaxes.

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7 Reasons Why These Uncritical Flat-Earthers Cannot Recognize a Clickbait Headline

Clickbait is a form of false advertisement which uses hyperlink that is designed to attract attention and entice users to follow that link and read to the linked article, with a defining characteristic of being deceptive, typically sensationalized or misleading.

Flat-Earthers fall into clickbait headlines rather too easily. They rarely bother reading the article contents, let alone verifying the primary sources — many clickbait headlines spread in flat Earth communities as hoaxes.

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Scientific Theory is not “Only a Theory”

The word ‘theory’ has several meanings and can be confusing. Its meaning in the scientific context can differ from that in the context of everyday communication.

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‘Flat’ vs ‘Level’

‘Flat’ and ‘Level can mean approximately the same thing in everyday conversation. But in the context of science and engineering, they have different meanings. ‘Flat’ describes a planar surface. ‘Level’ means at the same height or perpendicular to the direction of Earth’s gravity.

Flat-Earthers interpret the word ‘level’ as if it always has the same meaning as ‘flat.’ However, in the scientific context, the two words have different meanings. Insisting that both words to have the same meaning is the fallacy of appeal to definition.

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Buzz Aldrin’s Interview & the Quote-Mining by Flat Earthers

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In September 2015, Buzz Aldrin gave an interview at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. Flat-Earthers misrepresented and quoted it out of context as if Buzz was admitting that the Apollo Moon landings never happened.

The original interview was 17 minutes long, and there were other occasions Buzz clearly said the Moon landings happened, without any possibility of misinterpretation.

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Appeal to Definition

The fallacy of ‘appeal to definition’ is using the definition of a term to support an argument as if the term cannot have other meanings or even conflicting meanings. Flat-Earthers often use this fallacy, for example, over the word “theory.”

A communication problem can occur when a term gets misinterpreted to mean other than what was intended. A simple clarification should quickly correct the problem. The appeal to definition arises if the clarification is refused, and the person insists on using the wrong & unintended meaning of the term, and use it to support their arguments.

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News Satire

News satire is a type of parody presented in a format typical of mainstream journalism. Some satirical news outlets use satirical commentary to comment on actual, real-world news; while others offer wholly fictionalized news stories.

Satirical news outlets have produced some “reports” mocking the flat Earth belief. Unfortunately, some flat-Earthers failed to realize the satirical nature of the “news,” and that the “news” was created to mock them. Because they think it was real news, the “news” spreads in flat-Earth communities as hoaxes.

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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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Chang’e 4 and the Confusion About the Dark Side vs Far Side of the Moon

China’s Chang’e 4 spacecraft has successfully landed on the Moon. It is the first ever spacecraft to land on the far side of the Moon.

Unfortunately, some news outlets used the term “dark side of the Moon” which is inaccurate. The side of the Moon where Chang’e 4 landed is not always dark, but instead always facing away from the Earth. That part of the Moon has the same day and night cycle like the side that is facing us and is not always dark.

Flat-Earthers were confused that the spacecraft use solar panels. If the side of the Moon is always dark, then it should be pointless to use solar panels. They took these facts as “proof” of some sort of misconduct. They were simply confused about the term some news outlets were using. The correct term is “far side of the Moon.”

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Level, Higher and Lower

A higher position is farther up, away from the center of the Earth, relative to sea level. Conversely, a lower position is closer toward Earth’s center, relative to sea level. Two positions are level if they are at the same height from sea level.

Some flat-Earthers are unable to understand this. To them, ‘level’ means straight. They are wrong. In Earth sciences, height is measured from a plane of reference, usually the sea level.

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Sunrays are Practically Parallel, but not Perfectly Parallel

The Sun emits sunrays to every direction. But as the Sun is very far, the sun rays that reach us are practically parallel. To an observer on Earth, the rays of light coming from the Sun form a maximum angle of about 0.53°. They are practically parallel, but not perfectly parallel.

Flat-Earthers often question the fact we say sun rays are parallel, but in any diagram of an eclipse, they are drawn at an angle. They merely confuse practicality with perfection. Sunrays are practically parallel, but they are not perfectly parallel.

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