The topic of tide come up frequently in the flat-Earth community. Let’s examine some of the ‘issues’ they brought up about tides in Q&A format.
Flat-Earthers think there hasn’t been anyone who has circumnavigated the Earth by traversing both the north pole and south pole in the process. All we have are explorers who have circumnavigated the Earth to the east or west, parallel to the equator; explorers like James Cook or Ferdinand Magellan. They don’t really have the choice, because if polar circumnavigation is possible, then the flat-Earth assumption falls flat.
But, like a lot of assumption in the flat-Earth community, it is simply not true. There are in fact many people who have done a polar circumnavigation, and the information can be easily found on the Internet.
Eötvös effect is the change in perceived gravitational acceleration when moving eastward vs westward. An object will weigh more when moving westward than when it is stationary or moving eastward.
The effect was discovered by Loránd Eötvös in the 1900s after noticing the difference in gravity measurement on moving ships. He noticed that the readings were lower when the boat moved eastwards, higher when it moved westward. He identified this as primarily a consequence of the rotation of the Earth.
Van Allen Radiation Belt is a zone of radiation encircling the Earth. To flat-Earthers, Van Allen Radiation Belt is ‘evidence’ of the impossibility of space travel. To the rest of us, the Van Allen Radiation Belt is one of the challenges which is not impossible to overcome.
Lake Pontchartrain is a lake in Louisiana, United States. There are power transmission lines about 24.27 km (15 mi) across this lake. They are practically straight, and each tower is uniform and has the same height, making these towers ideal for observing the curvature of the Earth.
They were first popularized by Soundly who presented evidence of Earth’s curvature using a series of photos and videos of the power lines in June 2017. As of now, the towers and other objects on the lake are probably the most popular Earth curvature tourism spot in the world.
Flat-Earthers often commit the fallacy of moving the goalposts. When their claim has been proven wrong, they would revise their claim and demand another evidence that is harder to fulfil. They would do this repeatedly until they present an unfalsifiable claim, a claim that is impossible to prove.
Some flat-Earthers consider crepuscular rays as evidence that the Sun is not far. In their mind, the Sun is only about ±5000 km circling above us. In reality, the actual distance of the Sun is ±150 million km.
“The Sun and the Moon have been observed to appear in the sky at the same time during a total lunar eclipse. This cannot happen if the Earth is round because the Sun, Earth and Moon are supposed to be in a straight line during a total lunar eclipse. So, the globe Earth model is wrong!”
Some flat-Earthers observed the Sun and Moon appear at the same time during a total lunar eclipse. Predictably enough, they pick the most far-fetched explanation, and conclude the Earth is not round. But in reality, this phenomenon is well documented and clearly explained.
“Looking at the pictures of the progression of a lunar eclipse, the Moon turns red, but there’s no apparent change of brightness of the Moon as it progresses from full moon to total eclipse. Therefore, a total lunar eclipse cannot be the result of the Earth casting its shadow on the surface of the Moon.”
Some flat-Earthers —presumably never seen a total lunar eclipse in person before— actually claim that.
The Moon turns red during a total lunar eclipse. But if the Moon is completely in Earth’s shadow, then how does it turn red?
The atmosphere of the Earth acts like a giant lens and refracts some of the sunlight into the surface of the Moon.
Apparently it is a very common misconception that the phases of the Moon is caused by the Earth’s shadow. Not only among flat-Earthers, but the general public as well. The difference is that flat-Earthers will usually jump to conclusion, and have some outlandish interpretation about this.
In reality, the phases of the Moon happen because we see a different sunlit part of the Moon at different time. Not because it is over the shadow of the Earth.
Practically every illustration showing the Sun, Earth, and Moon is drawn not to scale. The reason is that the sizes of celestial bodies are far too small compared to the distances between them.
Flat-Earthers sometimes use this fact to point out the alleged “failure of modern science” to describe celestial bodies, or even “a mean to deceive us all.” However, the real reason is just that it is practically impossible to create a model of the solar system in the actual scale, using static images, that still effectively describes the objects it is trying to explain.
There are many non-stop long-haul flight routes between two locations in the southern hemisphere, all without crossing the northern hemisphere. These routes can only exist if Earth is a sphere.
Some flat-Earthers claim there is no non-stop long-haul flights between two locations in the southern hemisphere. Flights need to make a stop in a location in the northern hemisphere because the distance will be too far and such flight will traverse the northern hemisphere, or more accurately, the center of the Earth according to their model. They are wrong. There are many such flight routes.
Flat-Earthers often commit the fallacy of ‘hasty generalization’. They would draw the conclusion from limited sample that fail to represent the entire population. Sometimes they would even draw the conclusion from a single case, and it becomes the fallacy of ‘lonely fact’.
Furthermore, they would deliberately cherry-pick cases that support their position, and use those to disprove the other cases that are against their position.
If we walk by pushing our feet against the ground, birds fly by flapping their wings against the air, and fish swim by pushing their fins against water; then how can possibly a rocket move in a vacuum?
Rockets are able to move in space by making use of the law of nature described in the Newton’s laws of motion, and the law of conservation of momentum.
A lot of misconceptions within the flat-Earth circles are present only because of the lack of understanding on how forces work on an object.
Some flat-Earthers claim that if the surface of the Earth is curved, then a building far away from us should look slanted away from us. But we never actually see this, so they conclude the Earth is flat.
Their deduction is somewhat correct, but let’s see if it is realistic to observe the slant of a building that is caused by the curvature of the Earth.
In the northern hemisphere, if we look at the sky to the north, we can observe stars rotate counter-clockwise around a point. This axis of rotation is not visible from observers in the southern hemisphere.
On the other hand, in the southern hemisphere, if we look at the sky to the south, we can observe stars rotate in the opposite direction. Conversely, this axis of rotation is not visible from observers in the northern hemisphere.
This motion of the stars cannot possibly happen in a flat-Earth. The motion of the stars is a proof that the Earth is round and rotates around its axis.
Another CGI related fallacy regularly committed by flat-Earthers has the general form of:
- Observation: there’s no photo or video of the object ‘X’ that is not made with CGI.
- Conclusion: ‘X’ does not exist in the real world
This is invalid for two reasons:
- A real object is still real even if nobody has taken a photo of it.
- The premise itself might be invalid because there could be someone who has a photo of the object, and the perpetrator of the fallacy is simply unaware of its existence.
A logical fallacy commonly committed by the victims of the flat-Earth ideology is CGI related. CGI —or computer graphics imagery— is the use of computers to produce realistic images or videos.
Because this fallacy is very common within the flat-Earth circles, let’s give it the name ‘appeal to CGI’. Its argument has the general form of:
- Observation: a photo or video of an object ‘X’ is made with CGI
- Conclusion: ‘X’ does not exist in the real world
This is a fallacy because it is definitely possible to create a CGI image or video of a real-world object.