Special pleading is applying standards, principles, or rules to other people or circumstances, while making themselves or certain circumstances exempt from the same critical criteria, without providing adequate justification.
Flat-Earthers like to impose various unwarranted rules and conditions —that were invented spontaneously— to rule out evidence against flat Earth. However, when it comes to the things they regard as ‘evidence’ in favor or a flat Earth, they are more than happy to ignore the rules and conditions that they previously invented.
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A false analogy is a fallacy in which similarity in one respect of two concepts, objects, or events is taken as sufficient to establish that they are similar in another respect in which they are actually are not similar.
Almost all of what flat-Earthers happily claim as “experiments” are actually false analogies. They would take everyday objects and use them as analogies for actual objects. In reality, a shared similarity in both the analogy and the real thing is not sufficient to ‘prove’ both are similar in some other respect.
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A false dichotomy or false dilemma is a logical fallacy which involves presenting two opposing views, options, or outcomes in such a way they seem to be the only possibilities: if one is true, then the other must be false. In reality, there can be many in-between or other alternative options, not just two mutually exclusive ones.
Flat-Earthers like to ‘disprove’ spherical Earth using their own ignorance about various issues. Then they would regard their erroneous belief that spherical Earth has been disproven as “proof” that the Earth is flat. This is fallacious reasoning because the Earth can be in another shape instead.
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Albert Einstein used thought experiments as a tool for formulating his theories. His theories provided predictions that can be tested in observation and experiments. He did not perform the observation and experiments himself. Others did and confirmed his theories.
Some flat-Earthers dismiss Einstein’s theories —especially those about gravity— on the basis that they are founded on thought experiments and daydreaming. They are wrong. His theories have been repeatedly confirmed by various experiments and observation performed by many others, even to this day.
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A photograph alone is not sufficient to prove that the things or event in the photo is real. The reality of the things or event needs to be determined using inductive reasoning, where multiple information is considered and evaluated together.
Flat-Earthers often claim that we regard certain things or events as real only from photographic evidence. In reality, there is information other than the photographs themselves that was considered and led us to accept the things or events are real beyond any reasonable doubt.
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The fallacy of shifting of the burden of proof is committed when someone makes a claim that requires justification, failed to provide sufficient evidence, but instead demand others to provide the evidence of the opposite of their claim.
Most of the claims from flat-Earthers are bare assertions. They do not provide sufficient evidence. A false way for them to defend their claims is by shifting the burden of proof.
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The fallacy of appeal to possibility occurs when a conclusion is assumed not because it has been proven, but because it is possible that it is true, no matter how improbable. Flat-Earthers would often use this fallacious reasoning to prevent their theories from being falsified. In particular, to “disprove” photos and videos taken from space.
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The fallacy of “one single proof” occurs when someone rejects overwhelming evidence because of the lack of specific evidence and declare the entire argument invalid.
A common trick of flat-Earthers is to demand unrealistic evidence of spherical Earth. After their demand is not met, they would proclaim Earth is not a sphere, and conveniently ignore all the other evidence of spherical Earth.
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If we were to magnify the surface of any spherical object with large enough magnification, then at some point, it would appear flat. This can be easily demonstrated using a macro lens as the Redditor ‘Useless-Pickles’ did. He magnified the surface of a basketball using an extreme macro lens as a philosophical demonstration.
This shows that the surface of a spherical object can easily look flat if the object is large enough, or the observer is small enough. And the basis of all flat-Earthers’ belief that the horizon appears flat is insufficient to determine the shape of the Earth. By applying the same “logic” as these flat-Earthers, we can actually “prove” a basketball is flat, which, as we all know, is clearly wrong.
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Circular reasoning is a logical fallacy in which the proposition is supported by the premises, which is supported by the proposition, creating a circle in reasoning where no useful information is being shared.
Flat-Earthers often commit the fallacy of circular reasoning to defend the notion that the Earth is flat. Such reasoning is never useful, and cannot be regarded as evidence of anything, despite what they are claiming.
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The fallacy of style over substance occurs when one argue the way in which the argument is presented while marginalizing or ignoring the argument itself.
Flat-Earthers are often seen dismissing an argument only because of the way it is presented, and thus, committing the style over substance fallacy.
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Kettle logic is making multiple contradicting arguments in an attempt to support a single point or idea.
Kettle logic occurs very frequently in the flat-Earth community. If they meet a natural phenomenon cannot readily be explained using the flat-Earth model, they would often devise ‘experimental models’ to ‘explain’ how the said phenomenon can happen in a flat-Earth.
The problem? These models are in conflict with each other.
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The Hyman’s Maxim says:
“Do not try to explain something until you are sure there is something to be explained.”
We can apply this maxim to a lot of situations involving flat-Earthers, and avoid wasting our time.
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Something would ‘make sense’ if it appears to be correct according to our personal experience. But common sense can be deceiving. Common sense relies on our own experience which has a very limited scope. For a lot of things, our common sense is not a reliable indicator of truth.
Perpetrators of flat-Earth often exploit the shortcoming of our common sense. They would say something like “It looks flat, so it must be flat!” Some of us fell victim to this scheme and would make the conclusion out of a mere hunch in place of more thorough and exhaustive observations.
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The fallacy of statement of conversion is committed when someone is taking a statement of conversion as valid without actually hearing a reason for the conversion.
Flat-Earthers often tell others that they used to believe the Earth is a globe, but now they ‘know better’ and believe in a flat-Earth. All this only tells us they changed their mind. Accepting this as proof of a flat-Earth would be committing the fallacy of statement of conversion.
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Humans have cognitive biases that can affect our judgments. One of these cognitive biases is the confirmation bias. Because of the confirmation bias, we tend to seek the information confirming our preexisting beliefs.
Confirmation bias is a fact of life, and all humans have it. Confirmation bias can result in different subjective opinion from a different subject. A characteristic of any pseudoscience —like the concept of flat-Earth— is that they don’t try to minimize the confirmation bias, but they actually encourage it.
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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.
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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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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.
Continue reading “Appeal to CGI of the Second 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.
Continue reading “Appeal to CGI of the First Form”