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.

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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Our understanding of gravity explains a phenomenon clearly and directly. It is one idea, easy to understand, explains so many phenomena, can account for a large amount of data, and answers many questions. In other words, we can say that gravity is elegant.

In contrast, each of the different concepts in the flat Earth model requires a separate explanation and often in conflict with each other. We can say it is ugly. It is why flat-Earthers cannot accept that a single idea of gravity can explain so many phenomena.

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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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Balloon Satellites

In the context of spaceflight, a satellite is an object that has been placed into orbit. A few of these satellites are balloon satellites. These are satellites that are inflated with gas after they have been put into orbit. Other human-made objects are also called satellites, only placed at a much lower altitude and with a very different operating method. These are, in fact, regular high-altitude balloons but providing services traditionally provided by orbiting satellites.

Flat-Earthers deny satellites’ existence, and after they discovered the existence of balloon satellites, they started to use the fact as “proof” that orbiting satellites do not exist. It is a fallacy of proof by example. By the same “logic”, we can use the existence of trucks to “prove” buses do not exist.

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“Stuff is Flat”: Incorrect Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Claim About the Observation of Earth’s Curvature

Neil deGrasse Tyson once incorrectly stated that it is still too close to the surface to see Earth’s curvature from the height of Felix Baumgartner’s jump. In reality, we should be able to see it using our eyes.

Flat-Earthers believe people take Neil’s remarks as gospel and use Neil’s incorrect statement to dismiss any observation of Earth’s curvature. However, we have no problem saying that Neil was wrong. It is OK to be wrong as long as we are willing to revise our views when faced with new facts, and we are certain Neil will.

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Education vs. Propaganda

In our education, we are taught that the Earth is a sphere because it is really a sphere. It would be wrong if our educational system were to teach us that the Earth is flat.

Flat-Earthers claim we know Earth is a sphere from years of propaganda in our educational system. In reality, it is precisely how they themselves can believe something that can be easily shown wrong, like a flat Earth, except that it did not need years to deceive them.

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Photoshop Trolling

Photoshop trolling is prevalent in flat-Earth communities. The most common form involves finding a suitable landscape photo and using Photoshop or a similar app to turn it reddish as though it was taken on Mars. Then, the result is placed next to the original with a caption added to imply that the “Mars photo” was from NASA, and they faked it from the original.

Flat-Earthers will not bother confirming if the image was really from NASA. They cannot realize that they are being trolled —many memes containing such images spread in flat Earth communities as hoaxes.

Refraction and Water

Refraction is the change in the direction of light due to the change in the medium’s refractive index traveled by the light. It is convenient to use water in a demonstration of refraction. But water alone is not the cause of refraction.

Flat-Earthers falsely claim that just because our atmosphere has water vapor in it, it will produce the same effect as any demonstration of refraction involving water. In reality, it requires far more reasoning than just that water is involved.

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Sealioning is a type of trolling or harassment which consists of pursuing people with persistent requests for evidence or repeated questions while maintaining a pretense of civility and sincerity. The sealion feigns ignorance and politeness so that if the target is provoked into making an angry response, they can then act as the aggrieved party. Flat-Earthers and adherents of other pseudoscience often employ sealioning to harass others.

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Incitement: How People Can Believe Scientific Hoaxes, Even a Blatantly Wrong Ones, Like Flat Earth

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.

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Anthropocentrism is the belief that human beings are the most important entity in the universe. Real-world evidence does not support many of the anthropocentric notions.

Anthropocentrism can be very emotional. Proponents of pseudoscience —like Flat-Earthers— exploit it to emotionally discredit science. However, scientific knowledge is gained from real-world evidence, not from what we prefer to be true. Science remains true whether or not we believe in it.

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Regress Argument and Infinite Regress

Flat-Earthers like to invoke the regress argument. They would keep asking “what is causing it?” on every statement in an attempt to turn the argument into an infinite regress. If they meet a question that gets unanswered, they would incorrectly declare the initial statement wrong.

In reality, we can know something exists even if we do not know what is causing it. Keep asking “what is causing it?” on pretty much anything will eventually give us an unanswerable question. But it does not mean we do not know it exists.

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2001 Mars Odyssey Launch Video

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Flat-Earthers often challenge us to provide a video of a rocket launch that was taken from the rocket itself, without interruption from launch to reaching space, as if it would convince them to accept that it is real and the Earth is a sphere.

The launch video of the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission easily fulfills their demand. But whether they can manage to accept the reality that Earth is a sphere is entirely another matter.

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Simulation and Observation

To determine if an observation is consistent with the spherical Earth model, we can create simulations to understand the expected result, and then see if they match the actual observation.

Flat-Earthers like to reject the results of simulation as being unreal, not real-world observation. In reality, the simulations are presented not to dispute their observation, but to demonstrate that their observation is consistent with expectation if Earth is a sphere.

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Subjectivist or Relativist Fallacy

The subjectivist fallacy occurs when someone claims that something is true for some people but not for someone else, when, in fact, it is true for everyone, as demonstrated by empirical evidence.

The shape of Earth is not a matter of belief or preference, but an objective truth from observations that applies to everyone. It is impossible Earth is both spherical and flat at the same time, depending on what we prefer or believe.

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Human Senses

Human senses have limitations and cannot detect beyond a certain threshold of external stimuli. However, we humans possess intelligence that enables us to create instruments and allow us to perceive beyond the limitations of our senses.

Flat-Earthers argue if our senses cannot perceive a thing, then it does not exist. In reality, the instruments we made enable us to detect many things that our senses cannot.

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Conditions in School vs Science & Professional World

In an exam in school, students are expected to solve problems with limited references and tools to assess their knowledge. On the other hand, in the science & professional world, there are no such limitations. We are free to use any resources available to us to solve the problems at hand.

Some flat-Earthers become annoyed every time we use some things like computer simulations and other tools to solve problems, especially when they help us prove spherical Earth. They would proclaim because they feel they can solve their own specific problem with pen and paper, they think they are more right than these “cheaters” with computers and other technology. In reality, the tools being used do not decide which one is more right. These flat-Earthers are merely unfamiliar with real-world cases beyond school.

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Coriolis Effect Misconception & Strawman Argument

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The Coriolis effect acts on an object that is launched to another location closer to or farther from Earth’s axis of rotation. The object retains the inertia from the surface it was launched from, but it no longer matches what is required to keep it moving in a straight line, according to an observer on the surface.

On the equator, Earth’s surface is moving at a speed of 465 m/s. Flat-Earthers assert that if that is the case, then an object launched upward should move away from the observer at the same speed. It does not happen, and they use it to disprove the Coriolis effect and Earth’s rotation in general. In reality, the Coriolis effect is not what they describe.

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Argument from Incredulity

The argument from incredulity occurs if someone refuses to accept an argument simply because he cannot personally understand it. Flat-Earthers very frequently use this logical fallacy.

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