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.
The fallacy was probably because scale models are often used for educational aid. The model of the Sun, Moon & Earth used to explain how an eclipse occurs are only educational aid. They are not intended to prove how an eclipse occurs. Determining the mechanism of an eclipse is done by observing the actual phenomena themselves.
To demonstrate the absurdity of this flat-Earth “logic,” we can apply the same “logic” to any everyday situations. For example, if we want to determine the engine type of a Lamborghini, we can obtain the toy version of the car. The toy looks identical to the real car, only much smaller. From the observation of the toy, we know it uses batteries and an electric motor. From this fact, can we conclude the real car also uses batteries & electric motor? Certainly not.
Other cases of such “logic” we can readily observe in flat-Earth communities:
- Pouring water to a ball is used as the model of Earth. Water does not stay on the surface of the ball. They “conclude” if Earth is a sphere, water should not have remained on the surface.
- Dipping a circular shape of the Moon to a thick liquid in some ways gives us a similar form of the Moon phase. They “conclude” that is the mechanism of the Moon phase.
- Using a spinning wet ball to represent Earth’s rotation. Water does not stay on the ball; then it is “concluded” Earth must not be rotating.
All are only false analogies. The mechanisms of the natural phenomena were determined from observation of the actual phenomena themselves. We cannot use an analogy to dismiss the result of actual observation of the real objects themselves.
- Argument from analogy – Wikipedia
- False analogy – RationalWiki
- Weak analogy – Logically Fallacious