Cropped for size from the image at the via.
Reposted from 2020 to add some interesting material from The Fourth Part of the World, by Toby Lester:
"Thanks in large part to the labors of Arab astronomers and mathematicians, ancient Greek proofs of the earth as spherical had survived into the Middle Ages and were circulating in Europe... For centuries afterward the work would be taught and studied in schools and universities around Europe. 'If the earth were flat from east to west,' Sacrobosco wrote, 'the stars would rise as soon for Westerners as for Orientals, which is false. Also, if the earth were flat from north to south and vice versa, the stars that were always visible to anyone would continue to be so wherever he went, which is false. But it seems flat to human sight because it is so extensive.' Sailors certainly knew the world was round: a lookout at the top of a ship’s mast, Sacrobosco pointed out, always catches sight of land before a lookout standing at the foot of the mast -- 'and there is no other explanation of this thing,' Sacrobosco wrote, 'than the bulge of water.'"
Or see Ptolemy's third projection (1525):
For more regarding the modern "flat earth" hypothesis, see Kolo Jezdec's links in the Comment thread. Personally, I think a lot of the "flat earth" stuff online is just people messing around trying to be funny (cf Drabkikkers link to Birds Aren't Real). Although there are some really, really stupid people like the truck driver above.
Related: Falling off the earth nonsense
A couple other interesting excerpts from the book:
"Matthew [Paris, 13th century] drew his maps as a series of destination cities for pilgrims, often separated by the French word journee - meaning "day," as in a day's travel, a usage that gave rise to the English word journey...""The conquests led by Temüjin were legendary, and to celebrate them the Mongols posthumously bestowed on him the title Fierce Ruler, or Chingis Khan. Today, thanks to an imperfect Arabic transliteration of that name, he is widely known as Genghis Khan..."During the next four years, between 1237 and 1241, the Mongols swept through much of Russia, Poland, and Hungary, destroying entire cities, armies, and populations. After a rout in Silesia, one chronicler reported that Mongol soldiers had collected nine sacks full of their victim's ears and had sent them back to their capital, Karakorum, in the Mongolian steppe, as proof of their victory."
Ship image via NPR, Ptolemy figure cropped and brightened from the one at Wikimedia Commons.
Pretty well sums up 95% of the USA's population for the rest of the world.ReplyDelete
('Embrace the 5% for they are the thinkers, the doers, the leaders') (William 23:03)
I wish that "astronots" was spelled that way on purpose--it would be a great pun for those who hold these beliefs.ReplyDelete
Not sure about this particular person, but the pun is definitely used among flatties. As are "astronaughts" and "astronuts".Delete
Texas ,per chance ?ReplyDelete
Arizona (would have been your second choice, probably...)Delete
help me with this. is this supposed to be a single thought? the spelling & grammar are so tormented, i cannot make sense of what is trying to be expressed. beyond general anger at science & technology.ReplyDelete
It's supposed to read "They know [you're] stupid [and will believe anything, like the earth being round - note the yellow bumper sticker]. All NASA is [a] hoax; space is fake [especially the moon landing."Delete
"Astronots" could be a pun (astro - not).
The "200 proofs..." bumper sticker is apparently promoting a flat earth book -
I like to imagine the words in a different order.ReplyDelete
“They all know NASA astronauts. Your hoax is stupid.”
I don't personally ascribe truth to many conspiracies; this one in particular. But a few explanations for their existence and popularity that are often overlooked by those trying to understand their proliferation on the internet are...ReplyDelete
1: They can just be entertaining.
2: Many actual conspiracies have existed throughout history, and ALL of them were considered foolish or insane until proven true.
Those explanations often being the case, when considering the people that propogate them it's worth remembering that for the former they don't care about facts because it's just a bit of fun and for the latter it would take a considerable (or even impossible) amount of evidence and effort to change their mind which would be put to better use doing just about anything else with ones time. Simply, if one isn't interested don't dismay or get angry, just don't pay any attention, get on with life and nothing will come of it.
This one in particular? I don't take it especially seriously, it strikes me as people with too much time on their hands pursuing what is an essentially harmless and pointless hobby.
My questions to the believers if I actually knew any to interact with would be: What's the point? What would anyone gain from lying about the Earth being round? If it's flat, how does that meaningfully change anything, especially in your own life?
I often read what to me seems like dismay that people believe this stuff and act like it's some credible threat to society but really it all seems largely harmless in the grand scheme of things. The kind of people that think the moon landings were fake, that the Earth was sucked into a black hole in 2012 or that lizards secretly control us all with 5g aren't the kind of people you should really worry about having any impact on your life. It's always struck me as being about as harmless as trainspotting or whatever else activity people choose to pursue with their free time within reason.
While I agree that the majority of conspiracy theorists are probably harmless, it becomes a different story when their thoughts translate to actions that affect others. To cite Mick West's book Escaping the Rabbit Hole:Delete
"Beyond the harm that a belief in false conspiracy theories brings to the individual and those around them, it can also lead to harm to others. Scientists researching the climate have been harassed and threatened by people who believe that they are covering up a conspiracy, even to the extent of receiving death threats. Politicians have been heckled by 9/11 “inside-job” conspiracy theorists. The parents of murdered children have been stalked by people who think they are part of a hoax. One man fired a gun in a pizza parlor where he thought children were being held captive as part of a pedophilia ring involving the Clintons.
Even more significantly, conspiracy theories can lead to major acts of terrorism, both domestic and foreign. Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City Bomber, was a conspiracy theorist who thought a cabal of international Jewish bankers was taking over America. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon Bomber, was part of a wave of radicalization of young Muslims, driven in large part by conspiracy theories spread via online videos.
The practical harm is very real, very tangible. But there are less tangible aspects of the harm conspiracy theories leave in their wake. Truth matters in a society. The more that public discourse is based on falsehoods, the harder it is to make constructive progress. Science is harmed when there are millions of people who think that scientists are corrupt corporate shills. The democratic process is harmed when people vote based on their belief in conspiracy theories. The nation suffers when policies are enacted based partly on false claims. The international standing of our country is harmed when conspiracy theories are increasingly accepted by the general population."
I definitely don't disagree and I probably should have emphasised the "within reason" that I closed my original reply with but for me responses to anything in life are all about proportionality and my own perspective (and I certainly won't claim it's the only one) is that overall we give far too much oxygen to these things proportional to what they actually represent. It's one of those topics I have great interest in and it's very difficult for me to sum up that interest in a way that doesn't involve writing an article or having a very in-depth conversation with a person. Some are harmless, some are not, some are ill-conceived, some are not. Like most things with someone of my personality type, it's complicated. I dislike simplistic answers to things that are complicated.Delete
I think another thing to remember with conspiracies is that like anything in vogue they wax and wane in popularity over the decades and have been with us throughout all of recorded history, even the Romans had their share, the first Triumvirate being a famous one, and the topic will always have it's fans. I remember in the 90s an entire genre of entertainment rose up around catering to that crowd of which many popular shows and movies rode the wave (X-Files to name one). We really didn't worry about these things as a whole back then, the difference today is the internet and the nature of sensationalised media that amplify and propagate these views and profit off the interest one way or another. Honestly for someone like myself I can enjoy reading plausible scenarios that potentially explain the faking of the moon landing but I don't take any of it seriously to the point where I'm harassing Buzz Aldrin about it. Like almost everything on the internet especially it can, and mostly is just entertainment. In 5-10 years time the pendulum will swing as it always does and most people will be worrying about the next popular thing corrupting the public's mind.
If I have to speculate, I'd say that a lot of conspiracy folks are deeply unhappy with their lives for reasons they feel they can't control, so they dive into the creation of a different world that they can control.ReplyDelete
On the other hand, I've learned from this pandemic that even some very smart scientists simply believe what they want to believe instead of what the data promises. And that is very sobering.
Where can I get a SPACE IS FAKE bumper sticker? I like this idea as a stand- alone concept. But I guess I'm contradicting myself.ReplyDelete
Here is a modest collection.Delete
Thank you. My favorite: https://www.redbubble.com/i/sticker/Straight-Outta-Photoshop-Earth-by-oliveribanez/28110768.EJUG5Delete
The conspiracy theories that bother me are the ones where I can’t figure out who is making money from it.ReplyDelete
It's a bit disheartening how dismissive you and your commenters are about FE and its followers. (By calling them "really, really stupid," you do realize that you've just repeated and magnified the insult painted on the tailgate, right?) I don't mean that their claims should be taken seriously, but the formation of an active, organized community around a "ridiculous" premise is a pretty common historical phenomenon, and one that can have a non-trivial impact on the rest of society.ReplyDelete
This is an excellent video on FE and other conspiracy movements:
It includes a homegrown experiment confirming the Earth's curvature. The video's punchline? That FE community forums have largely withered as followers have migrated to QAnon.
By calling them "really, really stupid," you do realize that you've just repeated and magnified the insult painted on the tailgate, right?Delete
In general, I'm for civility. However, there is no point in pretending that people who deny common verifiable facts aren't idiots. The problem is that they're knowingly acting in bad faith. So you can't really have a civil debate with them.
Idiot is an insulting descriptor (as in, stupid) and/or simply an insult (as in, jerk). A smart person may be an idiot (jerk). And a not so smart person may be an idiot (not so smart). A not so smart jerk is probably most accurately labeled an idiot, given the compound application.Delete
We might just stick with "asshole" and entirely avoid any embedded intelligence-isms. On the other hand, in these times, there's therapeutic value in having many, many such terms in our quiver.
Bottom line: The only thing worse than a stupid-jerk-idiot is a smart- jerk-idiot.
So what synonym of "stupid" would be acceptable to use here?Delete
Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish between stupidity and mental illness.ReplyDelete
"Space is the place!" - Sun RaReplyDelete
My favorite way of dealing with flat-earthers is to ask them to explain how their GPS works. After all, it's not 'Planar Positioning System'; 'global' is right there in the name. You can see the steam coming out of their ears when they try to process that.ReplyDelete