In 1922, Albert Einstein gave the speech “How I Created the Theory of Relativity” at Kyoto University. Flat-Earthers took a sentence fragment from his speech and quoted him out of context. It became a hoax as if Einstein believed a stationary Earth.
By reading the entire paragraph to understand the context, it is clear that Einstein did not mean Earth is stationary. He understands that Earth is in motion around the Sun.
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The “Earth is a realm” quote is often wrongly attributed to Nikola Tesla in flat-Earth communities and incorrectly regarded as “evidence” that Tesla believed Earth is flat.
Someone wrote pseudoscientific drivel and added an actual quote by Nikola Tesla. Flat-Earthers wrongly assume both statements are by Tesla & it became a hoax claiming Tesla was a flat-Earther.
The quote by Tesla was taken from “The Problem of Increasing Human Energy,” in which Tesla mentioned the word “globe” 12×, “gravity” 4×, “planet” 10×. It is clear Tesla was not a flat-Earther.
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Quote-mining is the fallacious tactic of taking quotes out of context to make them seemingly agree with one’s position.
Quote-mining is a common flat-Earthers’ tactic. They take statements from scientists, pick a small part, and remove the surrounding context. The information no longer resembles the initial meaning, but then it is attributed to the original author or speaker to exploit or discredit their names and reputations.
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In 1931, Auguste Piccard went up in a balloon to an altitude of 15781 m, not far above the cruising altitude of an airliner. At the altitude, Earth’s curvature is still very slight and difficult to see, especially through the small portholes in his chamber.
In a Popular Science interview, Piccard was reported to have said that Earth “seemed a flat disc with an upturned edge.” Flat-Earthers quickly interpreted his statement as if he was telling us Earth is flat. In reality, in another interview, it is clear that he is convinced that Earth is a sphere. In his writings about his expeditions, the word “globe” was also mentioned several times.
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In the article “Radio Power will Revolutionize the World” in “Modern Mechanix and Inventions” magazine, July 1934 edition, Nikola Tesla stated:
“Today’s scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments and they wander off through equation after equation and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality.”
Flat-Earthers like to use the quote to discredit science and scientists, unaware that in the article, Tesla mentioned that Earth is a sphere multiple times.
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Neil deGrasse Tyson once incorrectly stated that it is still too close to the surface to see Earth’s curvature from the height of Felix Baumgartner’s jump. In reality, we should be able to see it using our eyes.
Flat-Earthers believe people take Neil’s remarks as gospel and use Neil’s incorrect statement to dismiss any observation of Earth’s curvature. However, we have no problem saying that Neil was wrong. It is OK to be wrong as long as we are willing to revise our views when faced with new facts, and we are certain Neil will.
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General Mirosław Hermaszewski is a former Polish cosmonaut. He gave an interview in late 2019 that flat-Earthers misrepresented and quoted his statements out of context as if he admitted in the interview that Earth is flat.
In the interview, he received some ridiculous questions, and he answered them with equally ridiculous answers in a joking tone, including the question at the end of the interview where he was asked if Earth is flat. The General was surprised by the question, but he decided to play along and answered “it is flat” for a hilarious ending.
Unfortunately, as with many other cases, flat-Earthers are not aware they are being ridiculed in the interview, and take the General’s statement as serious. That small part at the end of the interview is often seen in flat-Earth circles as a hoax that claims it as an endorsement of flat Earth by the General.
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In a Big Think Q&A, Bill Nye gave his opinion on why we cannot throw our trash into space. Flat-Earthers took Bill’s words out of context and used it to “disprove” space flight.
“Why we don’t throw trash into space? Because it’s too expensive. Lifting a ton of material into space takes an extraordinary amount of rocket fuel. And, by the way, when people want to send this much plutonium-238 which is not even the weapon’s plutonium, a baseball size, a grapefruit size, people freak out because the rockets sometimes blow up.”
“Now, one thing I really want your generation to embrace is that the Earth is a closed system. We cannot leave the Earth. There’s no place to go. There’s no place to throw your trash. And I wouldn’t be surprised if maybe not you but your kids develop ways to mine our landfills.”
Unscrupulous flat-Earthers took the specific part “Earth is a closed system. We cannot leave the Earth. There’s no place to go,” and presented it as if Bill was telling us we cannot go to space. From the complete video, it is clear that it is not what Bill meant.
Bill Nye is a space colonization skeptic. He does not believe space colonization is realistic. It does not mean Bill thinks we cannot go to space. In another Q&A, he said we need to have a presence on Mars for research purposes.
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