Psychological Projection

One reason a person can believe in conspiracy theories is the psychological projection. They attempt to deny their negative attitudes by assuming that instead, others have them, even though it is not necessarily the case.

Some people believe others are in a conspiracy against them because of their moral problem: if they were in the same positions of the people they are accusing, they would do the same thing they are accusing others of doing.

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Distortions of the Azimuthal Equidistant Map

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The azimuthal equidistant projection is a projection of the spherical Earth. As a result, a map using this projection has distortions in distances, shapes, directions, and areas. Just like the azimuthal equidistant map, all other types of maps have their distortion characteristics.

In the illustration, the eight yellow dots indicate a location 5000 km from the red dot, toward all the cardinal directions and the intermediate directions. We can see that the distances, shapes, directions, and areas are distorted in some way depending on the location on the map.

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Air Map of the World 1943/1945

Flat-Earthers discovered a map titled “Air Map of the World” from 1943, explaining the flight routes during the time. Because the shape is identical to the fictional “flat Earth map,” they incorrectly claimed that it is a flat-Earth map. In reality, it is an azimuthal equidistant map that has distortions, a flattened shape of the spherical Earth on a flat surface, and does not depict the true shape of the Earth.

The exact nature of the map is even explained in a very detailed manner in the map’s description. Unfortunately, in the flat-Earth community, the map is passed around in a very low resolution, and therefore, the explanations become unreadable.

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Map Projections and Distortions

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The Earth is a sphere, a three-dimensional shape. But in most cases, we work with two-dimensional media, including paper, computer displays, televisions, phone screens, whiteboards, etc. To represent the Earth on a two-dimensional medium, it is necessary to transform the curved shape of Earth’s surface into a planar form using one of the many map projections.

All map projections necessarily introduce distortion into the results. Some flat-Earthers think that distortions are ‘evidence’ of failure of modern science to explain the world. In reality, the distortions are simply a consequence of transforming the curved surface into a planar form. It is impossible to create a map without distorting it in some fashion, the same way it is impossible to perfectly flatten a ball without cutting it.

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Panorama Images and Horizon’s Curvature

A panorama image is stitched from multiple photos that were taken from different angles, forming a very wide field of view, even 360°×180°, covering every possible angle from the viewer.

Someone has taken a panorama from a high-altitude balloon and made available the results in various projections. Flat-Earthers saw a flat horizon in one of the panorama images and took the wrong conclusion. The horizon will appear flat in a cylindrical or equirectangular projection due to an effect of the projection. The panorama creator also has the panorama in other formats, including an interactive one in the general perspective projection, which shows how it would look from a human eye, and it shows the curvature.

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The Gleason Map

The “Gleason Map” is a map with the azimuthal equidistant projection, centered on the north pole. The Gleason Map is not a scaled-down figure of the Earth, but it is merely a projection of the actual, spherical shape of the Earth, like every other map.

Alexander Gleason —the creator of the map— claimed that the map depicts the shape of the ‘flat Earth’. The majority of the flat-Earth communities adopt this map as ‘the flat-Earth map.’ They are wrong. The map is merely a projection of the spherical shape of the Earth, just like every other map types.

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