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-   -   What is the point to flat earth? (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=827381)

eschereal 05-30-2017 07:57 PM

What is the point to flat earth?
 
Recently, I read of a guy who triumphantly proved that the Earth is flat by taking a carpenter's level on a plane flight to show that cruising was always level: if the Earth were not flat, the pilot would have to keep changing the attitude (dip the nose) to adjust for the curvature, which should show up on the level.

Now that you have finished cleaning beverages from you screen/keyboard, what I want to know is "so what?" For a picosecond, imagine that the FEs were correct, that the Earth is indeed some sort of flat thing: what then? What do they hope to gain or change by proving a flat Earth? Does turtle soup become a sin? I mean, I am just not understanding the why.

RealityChuck 05-30-2017 08:00 PM

People like to think they know more than the experts.

Machinaforce 05-30-2017 08:05 PM

I don't have to imagine because the earth isn't flat

DPRK 05-30-2017 08:13 PM

This is analogous to geocentric cosmology: that the Earth be flat is a theological or mythical cosmography, and/or the product of "philosophical" reasoning.

Fenris 05-30-2017 08:13 PM

The points are at the corners. The flat earth is shaped like a square not a circle, after all.

Kidding aside, there was some line in the Bible about something-something-four-corners-of-the-earth and some 1850s? Bible literalists took the "EVERY WORD IS TRUE" bit a little too seriously. Also, there was something about disproving various sciences (speed of light stuff, etc) by having a flat or hollow or bowl shaped earth.

Best source I've ever read about it (and I haven't read it for years, hence the fuzzy details above) is Martin Gardner's Fads and Fallacies In The Name Of Science which has a long chapter on hollow/flat earthers (and actually takes the time to explain what they actually believe, before getting snarky about it.) I highly recommend it. It's the best guide to kook science ever published.

Telemark 05-30-2017 08:15 PM

Here's the video mentioned in the OP, if anyone wants to waste 8 minutes of their lives.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nNUEU8gnf4

eschereal 05-30-2017 08:32 PM

You just had to. I deliberately left out the link.

Pixel_Dent 05-30-2017 08:44 PM

I suspect a good number of them don't actually believe it's flat but enjoy getting people really riled up arguing with them.

Derleth 05-30-2017 09:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fenris (Post 20242904)
Kidding aside, there was some line in the Bible about something-something-four-corners-of-the-earth and some 1850s? Bible literalists took the "EVERY WORD IS TRUE" bit a little too seriously.

Or, "If every word isn't true, does that mean hating the gays is my problem?"

I'm just about convinced that's relevant to at least some of them: They really, really need the "ritual purity" parts of the Bible to be "correct" in their sense of the term, which means that ritual purity is the same as moral rectitude, which means that their hatred of "abnormal" or "unclean" sexual behavior isn't just them, it's due to their inherent Godliness, as opposed to their exaggerated disgust response being inborn and the cause of their conservatism.

For that to be true, the Bible must be completely unimpeachable, or else someone would be able to poke holes in the whole thing, concluding that, while homosexual behavior is known in the animal kingdom and that plenty of historical cultures have been accepting of homosexuality, homophobia is a moral fad, something limited to a relative few places and times.

And if homophobia is just a fad, their hatred is on their own heads. Their obsession is on their own heads. They can't justify it by saying the Being What Is Who Am says being gay is wrong.

So. "Gays make me feel ooky, therefore the world is flat." Hey, it's just as reasonable as the idea that Jesus finds the inheritance tax a moral abomination.

John Mace 05-30-2017 09:51 PM

Well, if the earth were actually flat, and someone proved it to be so, that person would be the most eminent scientist in the world right now. He or she would have completely changed significant areas of scientific research. A Nobel Prize in physics wouldn't be out of the question.

Shagnasty 05-30-2017 09:58 PM

Some Flat Earthers are just trolling but others are deadly serious and truly insane. They aren't trying to prove anything. That is reality to them. It is hardly unique or even that rare. There are people that truly believe that the World Trade Centers were brought down by explosives planted by the U.S. government and the planes (and the passengers) either didn't exist at all or were in on it.

It is an uncomfortable truth but a significant fraction of the population is truly mentally ill at any given time and you can find an example of almost anything. I have a wealthy aunt that is sweet but crazier than a march hare. She spends her time going to UFO and Bigfoot conferences. She isn't a flat-earther but she will fall for just about anything else. There are hundreds of thousands of people or more just like her all over the U.S.

ThelmaLou 05-30-2017 10:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RealityChuck (Post 20242883)
People like to think they know more than the experts.

"Someone has to stand up to the experts!" said by John Donald "Don" McLeroy, Republican dentist in Bryan, Texas, and former Chairman of the Texas State Board of Education, which establishes policy for the state public school system. Referring to teaching Creationism equally with the Theory* of Evolution in Texas schools.

He probably believes in the Flat Earth, too.


*After all, it's only a theory. :rolleyes:

Weisshund 05-30-2017 10:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by eschereal (Post 20242873)
Recently, I read of a guy who triumphantly proved that the Earth is flat by taking a carpenter's level on a plane flight to show that cruising was always level: if the Earth were not flat, the pilot would have to keep changing the attitude (dip the nose) to adjust for the curvature, which should show up on the level.

Now that you have finished cleaning beverages from you screen/keyboard, what I want to know is "so what?" For a picosecond, imagine that the FEs were correct, that the Earth is indeed some sort of flat thing: what then? What do they hope to gain or change by proving a flat Earth? Does turtle soup become a sin? I mean, I am just not understanding the why.

Tell the moron that if you tie a toy plane to a string by the landing gear and spin it around in a circle, the plane will always remain level with relative to the center of the circle, it will be RELEVELING itself constantly every point of the way so to speak.

And it is traveling a ROUND path, not FLAT.

The real plane tracks its attitude using a string called gravity, which pulls towards...

wait for it

The center of the round earth. :smack:

If you have the plane follow a laser beam, which has no normal choice but to be straight, the plane will fly off into space (granting said plane has the engines to do so)

Im old and tired and worked all day, if i can grasp that concept...
... well i will let you guys pick a catch phrase.

I'm heading for a nap on my flat bed on the round earth.

Isilder 05-30-2017 10:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by eschereal (Post 20242873)
If the Earth were not flat, the pilot would have to keep changing the attitude (dip the nose) to adjust for the curvature, which should show up on the level.

Thats so mental.

The airplane doesn't fly down its axis exactly, its not like a car...

well cars drift, so they don't even go straight.. well there is no front wheel that is "straight" as the front tyres are toed in, so its the average of the tyres, and the toe is set only somewhat close to being even, so the average isn't quite the direction either.

Same with the plane, if they put the brakes on, they pitch UP... so up can mean down anyway.

The spirit level is in no way accurate enough to show the variation between the pitch for a very slow ascent and a very slow descent anyway.

Why is someone so out of their element in declaring their belief in a flat earth ?
And how the hell do they explain circumnavigations of the earth ???

I think its more of a social thing.. there's this thing called "contrarian". They say that the authorities are wrong on everything. you know, water is a gas and glass is ionic. they tell you 1+1=3 the second after the government said 1+1=2

cochrane 05-30-2017 10:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pixel_Dent (Post 20242956)
I suspect a good number of them don't actually believe it's flat but enjoy getting people really riled up arguing with them.

Yeah. They're like moon hoaxers.

eschereal 05-30-2017 10:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Isilder (Post 20243098)
The spirit level is in no way accurate enough to show the variation between the pitch for a very slow ascent and a very slow descent anyway.

The reality is that a cruising airplane flies with a slight positive pitch of a couple degrees or so all the time. I believe this is probably in order to offset mach tuck, which affects subsonic airplanes. The level was registered to the cruise attitude, which does not correspond to ground plumb.

Shagnasty 05-30-2017 10:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cochrane (Post 20243118)
Yeah. They're like moon hoaxers.

Don't underestimate moon hoaxers. Most of them are completely serious in my experience.

Obligatory link of Buzz Aldrin punching one of them out because he is still the ultimate baddass.

eschereal 05-30-2017 10:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cochrane (Post 20243118)
Yeah. They're like moon hoaxers.

Interesting side question: as I listened to Neil step onto the surface of the moon, everyone in the world at the time had been born before men had walked on the moon; as I watched the rover's camera show the Apollo 17 lunar module blast off, everyone born thereafter was born after men walked on the moon; are there now more people alive born after the end of the Apollo moon program than those born before it?

MichaelEmouse 05-30-2017 11:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Derleth (Post 20242994)
They can't justify it by saying the Being What Is Who Am says being gay is wrong.

BWIWA!

Is that the translation of 'yod heh vav heh"? BWIWA commands that you answer!

Richard Pearse 05-30-2017 11:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by eschereal (Post 20243132)
The reality is that a cruising airplane flies with a slight positive pitch of a couple degrees or so all the time. I believe this is probably in order to offset mach tuck, which affects subsonic airplanes. The level was registered to the cruise attitude, which does not correspond to ground plumb.

It is more simple than that. The wing needs to fly at a positive angle to the relative airflow (angle of attack), otherwise there is no lift. The angle of the fuselage then is the wing angle plus or minus any rigging angle between the wing and fuselage (angle of incidence). You can design a plane that has zero body angle but it will only be level at one speed, any faster and it will be angled down, any slower and it will be angled up.

Derleth 05-30-2017 11:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MichaelEmouse (Post 20243196)
BWIWA!

Is that the translation of 'yod heh vav heh"? BWIWA commands that you answer!

I Am That I Am And That's All That I Am, I'm Yahweh The Four-Letter Man, Toot Toot!

MrDibble 05-31-2017 12:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by eschereal (Post 20243140)
Interesting side question: as I listened to Neil step onto the surface of the moon, everyone in the world at the time had been born before men had walked on the moon; as I watched the rover's camera show the Apollo 17 lunar module blast off, everyone born thereafter was born after men walked on the moon; are there now more people alive born after the end of the Apollo moon program than those born before it?

Definitely.

Banksiaman 05-31-2017 12:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Weisshund (Post 20243091)

Tell the moron that if you tie a toy plane to a string by the landing gear and spin it around in a circle, the plane will always remain level with relative to the center of the circle, it will be RELEVELING itself constantly every point of the way so to speak.

And it is traveling a ROUND path, not FLAT.

The real plane tracks its attitude using a string called gravity, which pulls towards...

wait for it The center of the round earth. :smack:

If you have the plane follow a laser beam, which has no normal choice but to be straight, the plane will fly off into space (granting said plane has the engines to do so)

Im old and tired and worked all day, if i can grasp that concept...
... well i will let you guys pick a catch phrase.

I'm heading for a nap on my flat bed on the round earth.

Yet wherever you position your bed on this so-called 'round earth' it remains flat!!!

I'll bet if you had a spirit level in there with you it would show exactly the same thing.

sbunny8 05-31-2017 02:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by eschereal (Post 20243140)
Interesting side question: as I listened to Neil step onto the surface of the moon, everyone in the world at the time had been born before men had walked on the moon; as I watched the rover's camera show the Apollo 17 lunar module blast off, everyone born thereafter was born after men walked on the moon; are there now more people alive born after the end of the Apollo moon program than those born before it?

Heck yes. We passed that milestone around 2001, when the median age of humans on Earth was 26, ergo half of them were born in or after 1975. Now in 2017 the median age is around 30. More than half of humans alive right now were born after Bart Simpson first appeared on television.

Colophon 05-31-2017 05:35 AM

This meme sums up the position, as I see it. Flat Earthers think that having the Earth at the centre of all creation, designed for humans, makes them special, whereas having humans evolve by chance on one small planet circling a frankly rather mediocre star in the unfashionable western spiral arm of a rather dull galaxy etc etc, means they are not that important.

Princhester 05-31-2017 07:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by eschereal (Post 20242873)
For a picosecond, imagine that the FEs were correct, that the Earth is indeed some sort of flat thing: what then? What do they hope to gain or change by proving a flat Earth?

Dude. Think about us Dopers. We will spend hours posting to show that someone who is wrong is wrong. If one imagines what you ask us to imagine, ie that FE's are correct, then it isn't the slightest bit surprising they would advocate for it.

watchwolf49 05-31-2017 08:48 AM

The Earth looks flat on paper ... notice all the photographs they took of Earth during the fake Moon landings show it to be just a flat disk ... every one ...

Haha ... carpenter's levels don't work in orbit ...

EAT: Flat Earth has no points ... you're thinking Tetrahedral Earth ///

CurtC 05-31-2017 09:56 AM

This guy was off-base in trying to do this experiment with a level, but it could be done with a gyroscope.

Chronos 05-31-2017 10:06 AM

Colophon, that might be the thinking, but really, you could swap any of the sentences in those two "arguments" and the whole thing would make just as much sense.

Weisshund 05-31-2017 12:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Banksiaman (Post 20243227)
Yet wherever you position your bed on this so-called 'round earth' it remains flat!!!

I'll bet if you had a spirit level in there with you it would show exactly the same thing.

Level is a relative term.
it is level in relation to a line from it to the center of the earth.
it is level in relation to gravity.

and if the idiots understood as much about gravity as i do (which is probably less than zero) they would see that gravity does not make flats, it makes rounds

Weisshund 05-31-2017 12:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CurtC (Post 20243781)
This guy was off-base in trying to do this experiment with a level, but it could be done with a gyroscope.

No, it could not.

What i mean by that is HIS experiment was to prove the earth is flat

The gyroscope would show that the plane is actually changing attitude with reference to a fixed point in space, which would show that the plane is traversing a sphere (or at least a cylinder) and would show the earth is NOT flat. This is not Narnia, and we don't float to the edge off into Aslan's country to visit the Emperor beyond the sea.

That wouldn't make his day

jasg 05-31-2017 01:07 PM

I like the argument that the earth cannot be flat because if it were, my cat would have knocked everything off it by now.

Saint Cad 05-31-2017 01:47 PM

I was going to make a point that this is no proof as an plane in orbit making one rotation per revolution will always have its floor parallel to the tangent line(s) directly beneath it thus it is always level.

But then I read this quote from the guy in the video
Quote:

Originally Posted by Flat Earth Idiot
The bubble doesn’t stay centered due to gravity. Understand that gravity is a still just a theory. Consider how gravity supposedly comes about…a molten metal core which somehow becomes magnetized. If that is the case, then metal foundries should all be magnetized…should they not? Also, how does magnetism effect an air bubble inside a glass cylinder containing a liquid more saline than water?


FoieGrasIsEvil 05-31-2017 01:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by watchwolf49 (Post 20243646)
The Earth looks flat on paper ... notice all the photographs they took of Earth during the fake Moon landings show it to be just a flat disk ... every one ...

Haha ... carpenter's levels don't work in orbit ...

EAT: Flat Earth has no points ... you're thinking Tetrahedral Earth ///

No, no...the Earth is round and flat!

DrFidelius 05-31-2017 02:02 PM

Like a tortilla not like matzos

DPRK 05-31-2017 02:13 PM

Claiming the earth be flat has to do with mythology, not science. A person could be sincere in his or her beliefs, but one should suspect anyone conducting a "scientific" test of the curvature of the earth to be not so. After all, such experimentation smacks of heresy and witchcraft. If it is written in scripture that the earth is flat, that's it, there is nothing to check.

DieselkW 05-31-2017 02:15 PM

Flat earth proponents should not try to use airplanes to prove their assumptions.

I mean, what if the flight path got him from NY to Tokyo by way of the North Pole? Little hard to explain that sudden and immediate direction change from North to South without knocking over his level.

What does a flat earth look like? A disc? If it's a disc, is all of the known earth on one side of the disc, or can you take a shortcut from Omaha to Shanghai by digging?

You know why a soap bubble is a sphere? Because it's the most efficient shape it can be.

LSLGuy 05-31-2017 07:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DPRK (Post 20244446)
Claiming the earth be flat has to do with mythology, not science. A person could be sincere in his or her beliefs, but one should suspect anyone conducting a "scientific" test of the curvature of the earth to be not so. After all, such experimentation smacks of heresy and witchcraft. If it is written in scripture that the earth is flat, that's it, there is nothing to check.

This is the real answer.

Any FE adherent proposing an experiment to prove it has already surrendered to what he thinks of as the Dark Side.

"Believe because Bible" is the only internally consistent FE position. Accept no substitutes.

x-ray vision 05-31-2017 08:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LSLGuy (Post 20245067)
"Believe because Bible" is the only internally consistent FE position. Accept no substitutes.

No, there are conspiry theorists out there that are flat earthers who pride themselves on not falling for what suckers fall for and aren't particularly religious. Ever listen to the Joe Rogan podcast? Eddie Bravo is a seemingly intelligent guy that is a flat earther, Moon theory conspirathist, JFK conspirathist, chemtrail believer, Illuminati believer, etc. The rest of us fall for what we're being fed.

It's pretty entertaining, though.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8X9pszVRucs

Weisshund 05-31-2017 08:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Saint Cad (Post 20244372)
But then I read this quote from the guy in the video


Quote:

Originally Posted by Originally Posted by Flat Earth Idiot
The bubble doesn’t stay centered due to gravity. Understand that gravity is a still just a theory. Consider how gravity supposedly comes about…a molten metal core which somehow becomes magnetized. If that is the case, then metal foundries should all be magnetized…should they not? Also, how does magnetism effect an air bubble inside a glass cylinder containing a liquid more saline than water?

Wait what?
Molten core is Yes, how we generate a magnetic field that saves us from being microwaved, but it has little to do with gravity.
If our core cooled and went solid, we might all be fried alive by radiation, but no one would float off the earth

Mars has gravity, it has no molten core it went solid eons ago, same with the moon.
Any object of sufficient mass will display appreciable gravity, even a cosmic ball of play-doh.

And a flat earth can not have a molten core, not the way the explain it existing :smack:

And iron foundries do generate magnetic fields.

And magnetism does not affect the bubble (Not in the sense of what this guy is saying)
The "Theoretical" gravity does. :smack:

Im not sure if these people are frustrating or funny?

Richard Pearse 05-31-2017 08:39 PM

You are surprised that the flat earther is profoundly ignorant?

eschereal 05-31-2017 09:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Weisshund (Post 20245147)
Wait what?
Molten core is Yes …

More like maybe. The core has two layers. The inner core appears to be not fluid. It is not clear whether it is solid or some other phase, like a proto-degenerate plasma. Some really interesting shit is going on down there, which has far reaching effects, but no effects that would show up in an air bubble in a tube of antifreeze (I doubt that level juice is saline).

LSLGuy 05-31-2017 09:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by x-ray vision (Post 20245104)
No, there are conspiry theorists out there that are flat earthers who pride themselves on not falling for what suckers fall for and aren't particularly religious. Ever listen to the Joe Rogan podcast? Eddie Bravo is a seemingly intelligent guy that is a flat earther, Moon theory conspirathist, JFK conspirathist, chemtrail believer, Illuminati believer, etc. The rest of us fall for what we're being fed.

It's pretty entertaining, though.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8X9pszVRucs

Good point. I should have said there's two broad strains: the Bible literalists, and the full-on CTers.

They may both end up at FE, but they take very different routes to get there.

Mavic Chen 06-01-2017 05:54 AM

Instead of playing about with the level, he should have just looked out of the window to see if the Earth is spherical or not.

Colophon 06-01-2017 06:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mavic Chen
Instead of playing about with the level, he should have just looked out of the window to see if the Earth is spherical or not.

You really can't see the curvature of the Earth from the height of an airliner. Not with the naked eye anyway.

The diameter of the Earth is almost 42 million feet. An airliner cruises at about 42,000ft maximum, that's only one thousandth of the diameter.


Slight tangent, but of course the horizon is totally flat on a globe. The "curve" you see from higher up isn't the curve of the Earth, it's just the curve of the perimeter of the flat circular horizon: same reason that a round kitchen table has a curved edge, even though it is flat.

watchwolf49 06-01-2017 09:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Colophon (Post 20245669)
You really can't see the curvature of the Earth from the height of an airliner. Not with the naked eye anyway.

The diameter of the Earth is almost 42 million feet. An airliner cruises at about 42,000ft maximum, that's only one thousandth of the diameter.


Slight tangent, but of course the horizon is totally flat on a globe. The "curve" you see from higher up isn't the curve of the Earth, it's just the curve of the perimeter of the flat circular horizon: same reason that a round kitchen table has a curved edge, even though it is flat.

But at 42,000 feet, we can see further than 42,000 feet ... I'm not saying it's easy to see the curvature of the Earth from altitude ... but I believe we can ...

Not sure what the "round table" analogy means ... put our eye at table level and the table top looks flat ... like the Earth ...

RobDog 06-01-2017 09:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mavic Chen (Post 20245656)
Instead of playing about with the level, he should have just looked out of the window to see if the Earth is spherical or not.

Pretty sure I could see the curvature of the earth from Concorde's window. Mind you, I had to wind it down and stick my head out for a proper view.

Leo Bloom 06-01-2017 10:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by eschereal (Post 20242873)
...What do they hope to gain or change by proving a flat Earth? Does turtle soup become a sin?...

:) Excellent. Great rhetorical question, to be saved and used in any number of situations, stupid conversations, etc.

LSLGuy 06-01-2017 10:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by watchwolf49 (Post 20245902)
But at 42,000 feet, we can see further than 42,000 feet ... I'm not saying it's easy to see the curvature of the Earth from altitude ... but I believe we can ...

Not sure what the "round table" analogy means ... put our eye at table level and the table top looks flat ... like the Earth ...

It's pretty marginal at that height. You can convince yourself you're seeing it. You can also convince yourself you're not. When it comes to "evidence" gathering by CTers and cranks, that's too ambiguous for them or the rest of us to rely on.

I have been to 50,000 feet exactly once for about 30 seconds. I've spent many, many hours at 42,000 in various conditions of sky and cloud and haze and day or night.

IME/IMO the difference between 42,000 and 50 is significant. At 50 the sky above is much darker and the horizon has a very distinct band of brown at the bottom, then light blue shading to dark blue, and not black, but a very late twilight deep blue above. The appearance of curvature changes, at least for me, from maybe 50/50 yes/no to more like 65/35. IOW I don't recall that it was utterly unequivocal, but it was strongly more likely than not.

I went up there specifically looking for the color and the curve, knowing it was probably a nearly once in a lifetime opportunity. So I was paying careful attention to what I saw.

Chronos 06-01-2017 11:51 AM

At any height, from earthworm-level to the Moon or beyond, the horizon will form a perfect circle (assuming a perfectly spherical Earth). What changes is the angular size of that circle. From ground level, the circle is 180º across. From the Moon, it's only a couple of degrees across. At any height in between, it'll be somewhere in between those. How high you would have to be, then, to "see the curvature of the Earth" depends on how small a deviation from 180º you're able to discern. 42,000 feet or 50,000 feet is either one probably not enough. On the other hand, at 50,000 feet you'll definitely see some difference from being above so much of the atmosphere.


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