Flying Over Antarctica: Airliner vs Private Flight

Commercial passenger airliners are similar to public transits. The operator determines the route, and passengers take them if they fulfill their needs. On the other hand, a private flight is similar to a taxi. The passenger determines the origin and destination of the flight.

There is currently no airliner providing a route over Antarctica, and flat-Earthers use it to “prove” that it is impossible to fly over Antarctica. In reality, the airliners simply decide not to provide such routes due to commercial or other reasons. Not because it is impossible to fly over Antarctica. We can take private flights if we really want to fly over to Antarctica, just like we take taxis to go to a location not serviced by public transit.

Determining the Authenticity of a Photo

It is impossible to positively prove the authenticity of a photo beyond any doubt unless we take the photos ourselves. Instead, we gather as much information as possible related to the photo, evaluate the information, then use inductive reasoning to determine if the photo is real. And the conclusion will always be a probability, not a certainty.

Flat-Earthers like to demand us to prove that a particular photo is real, and if we cannot, they will conclude the photo is fake. In reality, while we might be able to prove a photo is not real, at the very best, we can only say there is no reason to believe the photo is not real from all the available information. This applies to practically all photos and also plenty of other things in everyday life.

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Inflation of Conflict

Inflation of conflict is reasoning that because scientists appear not to agree precisely on an issue, the entire field is assumed not credible, and no conclusion can be reached.

Inflation of conflict is a common flat-Earthers’ argument. They will look for scientists that appear to have conflicting opinions, blow the fact out of proportion, and conclude that both sides are wrong. In reality, the difference in opinions is likely not that fundamental or not even a difference in opinion. They will still agree that Earth is a rotating sphere in motion around the Sun.

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False Premise

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A false premise is an incorrect proposition that forms the basis of an argument. Since the premise is not correct, the conclusion may be in error.

The idea of flat Earth can spread because its followers failed to verify if the premises of the arguments are correct. If they bothered to check the truth of the premises, it is not difficult to understand that these arguments have no basis in reality.

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Mutual Respect

Sometimes flat-earthers ask nicely and demand that the scientific and professional community treat them with respect and take them seriously. They ask everyone to respect them because, they say, only mutual respect can enable everyone to understand and determine the actual shape of the Earth.

In reality, it has been the wish of the general public the whole time. However, respect works both ways. If a flat-Earther starts respecting scientists, professionals & the general public, it will be no longer possible for them to retain the belief in a flat Earth. It does not matter how politely they make their demands, it cannot change the fact that disrespecting others is an integral part of the belief in a flat Earth and can never be separated.

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CGI Argument

Computer-generated imagery (CGI) is the application of computer graphics to create or contribute to images. Some astronomy and Earth images were made with CGI, and flat-Earthers incorrectly use the fact as “evidence” the objects in the images are not real. In reality, it is possible to use CGI to create images of real objects, and therefore, CGI is not evidence that the objects in the images are not real.

For example, most images in IKEA’s catalog were created using CGI. If we were to use the same flat-Earthers’ “logic,” we can conclude that IKEA products do not exist, but we all know they exist.

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Appeal to the Minority

An appeal to the minority is a logical fallacy that occurs if something is regarded as true just because it is against the view of most people.

Appeal to the minority is common in flat-Earth communities. They think they are right because of their smug “bravery” to resist the majority view. They incorrectly claim that people believe it like a dogma, with no scrutiny, and belittle them with remarks like “sheeple.” In reality, a good argument —like Earth is a sphere— stands on its own and does not rely on the number of the supposed “believers.”

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Just Asking Questions / JAQing-Off

Just asking questions is influencing the audience by framing the assertions as questions rather than statements.

Just asking questions is a common flat-Earthers’ ploy. These are not questions being asked out of genuine curiosity but statements disguised as questions. They are not seeking the answers and expect nobody will be able to answer them. If someone can give the answers to the questions, they will not appreciate it.

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False Balance

False balance is a bias in which journalists present an issue as more balanced between opposing viewpoints than the evidence supports. False balance spreads misinformation because it gives the impression as if the two sides are worthy of consideration.

Flat-Earthers often complain that the media does not give them equal treatment as they do to scientists. In reality, presenting proponents of pseudoscience as being on equal footing misrepresent the reality of the situation and will only spread misinformation.

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Far-Fetched Hypothesis

Far-fetched hypothesis is a logical fallacy that occurs when someone offers a bizarre and far-fetched hypothesis as the correct explanation without ruling out more mundane explanations.

Every time flat-Earthers “discover” a natural phenomenon that they feel “strange,” they will act as if they are the first humans to know about it and then try to find ways to use it as “evidence” of flat-Earth. In reality, it is far more plausible that other people already know the phenomenon and its scientific explanation, and these flat-Earthers are just unaware of it.

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Fallacy of Appeal to Worse Problems / Relative Privation

The fallacy of appeal to worse problems (or relative privation) occurs when someone argues that efforts spent to solve a specific problem are a waste by pointing out that there are bigger problems that need to be solved.

Space research is a common target of appeal to worse problems. Flat-Earthers use it to discredit space research and to make people emotional. In reality, it is possible to care about multiple problems simultaneously, and solving the supposed smaller problems does not mean the bigger one is considered unimportant.

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Flat-Earthers like to mention an astronomical event or a specific celestial geometry and insist it cannot possibly occur if Earth is a rotating sphere orbiting the sun. They would incorrectly proclaim it as “evidence” of a flat, stationary Earth.

We can ask them the time of the event and the observer’s location, then use Stellarium or a similar app to simulate the event. If it produces the same result as the actual observation, then they have nothing to complain about. And the problem was just caused by their failure to understand and to create the correct model.

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Shill Gambit

The shill gambit is a fallacy where someone dismisses another party’s arguments by proclaiming them to be on the payroll of some conspiracy without having evidence other than the arguments themselves. The shill gambit is a type of ad hominem and poisoning-the-well fallacy. It shifts from addressing the substance of the argument to attacking the person and their credibility instead.

Flat-Earthers would usually commit the shill gambit when they feel cornered. They would accuse anyone outspoken against flat Earth of having been paid by the global conspiracy. We at get these accusations a lot.

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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.

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Single Cause Fallacy

The fallacy of the single cause occurs when it is assumed that there is a single, simple cause of an outcome when in reality, it may have been caused by a number of only jointly sufficient causes.

If it is said that “A causes B,” it is rarely that B is caused only by A, but usually, there are other things that cause B simultaneously with A that are not explicitly mentioned. Assuming that only A causes B from the statement without further consideration is the single-cause fallacy.

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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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