Not to Scale: Depictions of the Solar System

Practically every depiction of the Sun, Earth and Moon is drawn not to scale. Flat-Earthers sometimes use this fact to point out the alleged “failure of modern science” to describe motion of celestial bodies, or something like that.

But in fact, the reason is simply that it is practically impossible to create a model of the solar system with real scale, using static images, that is still effectively describes the objects it is trying to explain.

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Flat-Earth Ideology and The Fallacy of Lonely Fact

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.

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Star Trail: Proof That The Earth is Spherical and Rotates Around Its Axis

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.

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Appeal to CGI of the Second Form

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:

  1. A real object is still real even if nobody has taken a photo of it.
  2. 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.

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Appeal to CGI of the First Form

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.

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Water Surface and Communicating Vessels

If the Earth is round, and it pulls water to its surface; why a ball does not pull water, even though both are round?

Because gravity is not caused by the shape of an object. Gravity is caused by mass. Everything with mass have gravity. The larger the mass of an object, the greater its force of gravity.

The ball has much smaller mass than the Earth, it is not even close. Correspondingly, its gravity is also much smaller.

Besides, the experiment is obviously done in Earth environment. The Earth —that has much larger mass than the container of the water— has much bigger influence on the shape of the water surface, than the container itself.

The surface of the water will form a spherical shape, with the same center as the center of the Earth. As the center of the Earth is too far away, the curvature is not perceptible. According to our calculation, in a container 10 cm wide, the bulge of the curvature is only about 0.0000002 mm.

It is a very small bulge, and impossible to perceive. Other forces —like adhesion and cohesion— will have greater influence on water in such small container.

Reference