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.”
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The Andromeda Galaxy is the nearest major galaxy. It is visible to the naked eye on dark nights and the easiest deep-sky object to capture even without special equipment.
There are many images of Andromeda on the Internet because it is not that hard to capture it. Flat-Earthers assumed the pictures are the Milky Way and immediately claimed those pictures as fakes. In reality, the galaxy in the photographs is the Andromeda, and it is not hard for anyone to take a picture of it. The “you are here” sign on some pictures of the Andromeda Galaxy is silly and an obvious spoof. It was merely an attempt on a joke.
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Many observations disprove a flat Earth, but flat-Earthers are powerless and incapable of letting go of their belief. We classify the various reactions exhibited by flat-Earthers when confronted with such observations into three broad categories:
- Type-A reaction: ad hoc rescue
- Type-B reaction: ad hominem
- Type-C reaction: willful ignorance
Continue reading “Taxonomy of Flat-Earthers’ Reaction”
Teaching aids are used by teachers to help students learn a subject more easily. A scale model of an eclipse is a teaching aid. It is not presented as evidence about how an eclipse can occur, but to help students to understand the mechanism of an eclipse.
Flat-Earthers often incorrectly consider a teaching aid is presented as if it is evidence of a phenomenon, then demand a similar thing as “evidence” of another phenomenon. In reality, a natural phenomenon is studied from the observation of the phenomenon itself. A teaching aid is there merely to help students learn.
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We often abstract complicated things into simpler models by removing unimportant and superfluous details so that we can focus on the aspects of greater importance. The abstraction of real things into models makes it possible and easier to work with. But they are still models and do not possess every single attribute of the real things they represent.
Flat-Earthers often commit the reification fallacy, where they treat models as if they are the real things and attack the tiniest discrepancy to discredit science. However, a model is not reality; it can never perfectly represent an actual thing.
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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.
Continue reading “7 Reasons Why These Uncritical Flat-Earthers Cannot Recognize a Clickbait Headline”
Humans knew Earth is a sphere since at least the 3rd century B.C., far before the first spaceflight and before NASA was founded. Flat Earthers have no choice but to slander NASA to defend the flat-Earth belief, but there is no need to rely on NASA to know that Earth is a sphere.
Continue reading “Mentioning NASA in Arguments About the Shape of the Earth”
Appeal to ridicule is a fallacy that presents opponents’ arguments as absurd, ridiculous, or humorous, making the opponent and their arguments the object of a joke.
Flat Earth lacks a scientific basis, and flat-Earthers have no choice and will usually end up committing the appeal to ridicule at some point. On the other hand, real scientific arguments are done without ridiculing arguments from others.
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The stolen concept fallacy is committed when someone requires the truth of something that they are at the same time trying to disprove. In other words, concept A is used to deny concept B, although A depends on B.
Many conspiracy theories are the results of a stolen concept, including many flat Earth claims. Usually, flat-Earthers would use a scientific concept to disprove science itself. On the other hand, the concept itself depends on science.
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Jumping to conclusions (also called the JTC bias or inference-observation confusion) is a psychological term referring to the failure to distinguish between observation and inference. In other words, “when I fail to distinguish between what I observed first hand from what I have only inferred or assumed.”
Many flat Earth “facts” are simply the results of jumping to conclusions. They judged something without having all the facts, to reach unwarranted conclusions.
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The canceling hypotheses fallacy occurs when someone defends their hypothesis by proposing a second hypothesis to explain the lack of evidence in support of the first hypothesis. In effect, the second hypothesis cancels or undermines the prediction made by the first hypothesis.
Flat-Earthers like to demonstrate what they regard as ‘evidence’ of a flat Earth. However, when it is demonstrated that the evidence is wrong, they would invent a second hypothesis to defend the original hypothesis against the evidence of the contrary. They do it without attempting to bring sufficient proof of the second hypothesis.
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Occasionally, some flat-earthers would 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 only with mutual respect, then it would enable everyone to understand and determine the actual shape of the Earth.
Such an attitude is what is expected by the general public. However, respect works both ways. If a flat-Earther starts respecting scientists, professionals & the general public, it would be no longer possible for them to retain their belief in a flat Earth. Unfounded slander to a lot of people comes in a package in the belief of a flat Earth, and can never be separated.
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The argument from persecution is a fallacy that asserts that if your ideas provoke others to vilify or suppress you, then you must be right. Note: this fallacy is better known as the Galileo gambit. However, in this case, flat-Earthers themselves are the ones defaming Galileo and his ideas.
Flat-Earthers commit the fallacy when they show off that their ideas are being mocked, censored, or deleted. They get such the treatment not because they are right. But because by believing in a flat Earth, they have to accuse a lot of people of being dishonest and part of a global conspiracy.
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The shape of the Earth can also be determined from the axiological standpoint. If knowledge of a particular shape of the Earth has many applications we use every day, while the other has none, then we can be sure the one with many applications is the correct shape of the Earth.
There is absolutely no technology that depends on the supposed ‘knowledge’ that the Earth is flat. On the other hand, there is plenty of technology we use every day that depend on the understanding that the Earth is a sphere. And therefore, we can be sure that the Earth is a sphere.
Continue reading “Axiological Analysis”
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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Flat-Earthers like to use scale models to represent an actual object. They would apply the facts they observe from the model to the actual object itself. It is the fallacy of false analogy. The two situations can be substantially different. Just because both the scale model and the real object looks the same, it does not mean they are similar in another aspect.
Observation of the real object is stronger evidence than any argument from analogy —like using a scaled-down model of the real object. Using an analogy to dismiss the result of direct observation of the real object is unreasonable.
Continue reading “False Analogy in the Use of Scale Models in Flat-Earth “Experiments””
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 fallacy of ad-fidentia is committed when someone attacks the opponent’s self-confidence instead of the argument or the evidence.
Scientific method is an empirical method of acquiring knowledge, which is an iterative, cyclical process through which information is continually revised. Flat-Earthers would often question their opponents if they are 100% sure about their claims. If we admit there is a possibility we are wrong or that our claims might be revised in the future, flat-Earthers will use that to ‘prove’ us wrong.
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Different locations on a comparable latitude can have some similarities. However, the latitude is not the only factor that decides seasonal changes, biodiversity, temperatures, and other conditions. The conditions can be vastly different even on places on the similar latitudes.
Flat-Earthers highlight the differences between locations on a similar latitude to the North and South of the Equator and conclude Earth must be flat. They are wrong. There are factors other than latitude that determine the differences.
Continue reading “Locations on a Similar Latitude and the Differences in their Conditions”
Red herring is a fallacious argument style in which an irrelevant or false topic is presented in an attempt to divert attention from the original issue, with the intention of ‘winning’ an argument by leading attention away from the original argument and on to another, often unrelated topic.
Flat-Earthers often commit the fallacy of red herring —often repeatedly one after another— because their claims are indefensible. For example, they will try avoiding arguments involving direct observations and derail the discussion to other arguments that rely on statements from third parties. Then, they would discredit the third parties and add them to their list of “collaborators” to “win” the debate.
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