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Messages - whatnewguy

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1
Flat Earth Debate / Re: Evolution
« on: November 21, 2011, 01:03:15 PM »
The Bedford Level Experiment.

An experiment performed with a poor understanding of the experimental conditions and a good chunk of the relevant physics.  Rowbotham's methods and results are based almost entirely upon cherry-picking the conclusion he desired and ignoring physical, mathematical and logical evidence that runs contrary to his claims.

The Bedford Level Experiment counts as an experimental observation about as much as reading EnaG counts as having met Rowbotham.

2
Flat Earth General / Re: There are no real believers.
« on: November 18, 2011, 10:29:33 PM »
You're just wrong.  There is evidence in favor of FE, and it's supported well by science.  Your bias is showing here.  Perhaps you should justify your apparent assumption that the Earth is round before throwing around the ludicrous accusation that there's no evidence that it's flat.  A flat Earth is what we see; prove to me that what I see is false.  Put up, or shut up.

Any evidence that exists in favor of FE is supported only either by zetetic principles or by pseudoscientific argument.  Both of these things, by definition, are contradictory to the methods of science.

As others have said, there are mountains of evidence that the Earth is in fact a globe.  It's publicly available and has been linked, posted, and discussed ad nauseum.  And it has been summarily dismissed by the FES almost entirely on the basis of a grand conspiracy theory that while technically possible, is incredibly implausible.  Satellite imagery, the impossible geometry of flight paths and the motion of the heavenly bodies are a few among the many things that disprove FET from any reasonable position.

The only possible ways to reject all of this evidence are either: believing in the grand NASA conspiracy, in which case the evidence is suspect and inadmissible; or holding a hard-line zetetic position in which case all empirical evidence not gathered by oneself is suspect and inadmissible.  In either case, an RE poster faces the impossible task of arguing against a position that has defined itself as unassailable. 

So how do you, the FE theorist, propose that RE theorists could provide some evidence that you would accept?  I would argue that it isn't our (RE's) responsibility to prove you wrong, when your position is arguably irrational and  runs contrary to hundreds of years of human endeavor and scientific investigation.

And yes, I realize this is your home turf so any REer posting automatically puts himself on the offensive.  My point about the evidence stands, though.  RE *has* put up -- FE has just summarily refused to accept any of the evidence that has been provided.  Instead you cling to a theory that any impartial observer would say has been thoroughly disproven, cobbling it together with more and more fanciful explanations that are supported by less and less evidence.

Any good scientific theory must be disprovable.  If your position is accurate and RET is false, then any round-Earther would agree that there are a number of things that could be provided as evidence falsifying RET -- satellite imagery, an documented expedition to the edge of the world, things like that.  So what magic bullet would it take to kill FET?

3
You are making the assumption we are "discovering" math, not inventing it.  This is a position that does need to be supported before assumed.

And how exactly do you propose we differentiate between the two?  Discovery implies that something exists before it was observed or known about; in this case, I would argue that mathematics *does* exist prior to our knowledge about it in the sense that it represents the physical and logical laws which govern the universe.  It is conceptual, to be sure, but no more so than an expression of Newton's laws that does not rely upon mathematics.  "Matter tends to maintain inertia" is no less conceptual than "2+2 = 4" and, as far as mankind is aware, both statements reflect reality.


I'd wager that it will not match exactly with predictions made using an abstract proof.  It is ridiculous to claim it will.  Perhaps you meant it will "match close enough for engineering and stuff."

How is it ridiculous?  If you measure out a right triangle using the most accurate methods available, its dimensions will exactly match the predictions made by the Pythagorean theorem and other relevant mathematical proofs.  The only limit on the degree to which these things can be verified against reality is the limit of our ability to measure things. 

The Pythagorean theorem, and other similar maths, are not empirically-determined approximations.  They are logical constructions based on the way we define the world around us.  Your argument implies that even simple things like distance measurements along a straight line are only inaccurately expressed by mathematics.  If I draw a line along the x-axis beginning at the origin and stop at x=6, then the line will be exactly 6 "units" long.  If I put a long piece of lumber on the ground and measure exactly 6 feet from one end then cut the lumber, the lumber will be exactly 6 feet long.  Further, I can accurately predict this result beforehand using the mathematical technique of drawing a line on a coordinate axis.

Simply put, mathematical results are accurate depictions of reality because the simplest axioms and definitions are derived from real concepts, and because deductive logic guarantees that a valid conclusion drawn from a set of true premises is also a true conclusion.  If you have beef with the veracity of mathematical representation of reality, then you have beef with deduction itself.

Now, if you're merely pointing out that sometimes mathematics is used as an approximation to reality, then that's a different story.  In this case specifically, it is clear that the haversine formula for calculating distances is perfectly accurate only for perfectly spherical surfaces.  If RET is correct and Earth is a globe, however, then it is also true that the Earth is only approximately spherical and is really a bit deformed.  Haversine calculations, then, are not going to be exactly precise -- but because the deformation is small relative to the size of the Earth, they will still be more accurate than straight-line calculations based on flat maps.

When one looks into hyperreality, similculcrum and Jean Baudrillard.  I imagine some of them are very pertinent to this discussion as well, however, like I said, I'll have to leave that to others to discuss.

I've never put much stock in Baudrillard's arguments.  I think he over-defines his notion of what constitutes reality, and ends up excluding a lot of things that I believe should be included as "real."  His position is only tenable if you accept the argument that the meaning of something (or our interpretation of this meaning) can never change without rendering it inaccurate or somehow less meaningful.

Kantian dualism, I think, is a little closer to the mark -- the actual physical manifestation of the universe is just as real as the conceptual framework that we use to describe it, in the sense that we interact with and are influenced by both.  The map and the territory may be separate entities, but both are real and each can be used to influence the nature and existence of the other.

That said, however, I do agree with Baudrillard that it is possible for representation to entirely overtake reality.  But I wonder, what would be the negative effects?  In Baudrillard's ultimate conclusion of a situation in which our representations of reality no longer are actually representative of reality, we would have interactions only with those representations and no longer would interact directly with reality.  In this case, I would argue that the representations themselves constitute reality and that it would no longer matter what the independent reality actually was.

If Neo had taken the blue pill and stayed in the Matrix, would it have mattered from his perspective?  In all honesty, I'm with Cypher on this one:  the Matrix (simulacra) can be just as real as the real world, and if there's nothing telling you the difference or no way at all to tell the difference, then from the point of view of someone inside there is in fact no difference at all.  The Matrix *is* the real world, and whatever Baudrillardan simulacra we create are, or eventually become, the truth of reality.

4
Flat Earth Debate / Re: What's the Gauss curvature of the earth?
« on: November 09, 2011, 12:14:15 AM »
How do you propose we calculate it?

Assuming we had such measurements, however, it would be trivial to demonstrate the curvature (or lack thereof) of the Earth.  If it is flat, you will find that standard x-y plane geometry matches and predicts measured distances.  If it is a globe, you will find that geometry based on the surface of a sphere will be an accurate predictor (such as the haversine formula for calculating distances, as seen in the other thread).

So I guess you are saying we should take people all over, say, France measure the distance it takes to drive to each others house and then we take all the triangles and try to fit them together and see if it lies flat or curves slightly.

Due to the difficulty in making accurate such large distance measurements and the supposed "extremely large circumference" of the earth, I imagine it will not be possible to carry out such a measurement program with small enough error such that the flatness/curvature of the final model would be seen as conclusive.

That would be one way of doing it, yes, but as you mentioned it would be pretty prone to error.  Like I said, though, there are better ways to do it and people who are trained in performing such measurements accurately.  Outside of a staunch adherence to zetetic principles, there really is no reason not to accept that modern professional training and modern measurement techniques would be able to come up with a conclusive result.

Another, more personal alternative would be to find someone who has a pilot's license and get them to fly you around for a bit.  It would be fairly straightforward to compare the route you take to various possible routes on either a flat map or a globe, and determine which of these matches the pilot's input log and environmental conditions. 

For example, on a flat map you can draw a straight line between any two cities and it would be possible to follow this line exactly (flying over every geographic feature the line covers) without steering left or right, assuming you allow for corrections to match crosswinds and the like.  When drawing a straight line on a flat map that is being used to represent a globular world, however, you would find that steering corrections are necessary to maintain the path.

And the other way around works, too.  If you fly parallel to the ground and do not steer left or right on a globe, you will follow a great arc path.  Drawn on a flat map representation of the globe, it will appear as a curved path rather than a straight line between two points.  Flying using this method on a flat Earth would yield a path that is a straight line on a map.  Marking the beginning and end points and charting the geographic features you fly over would give you sufficient data to plot your path and determine whether it matches a straight line on a map, or a great circle path on a globe.

5
Flat Earth Debate / Re: What's the Gauss curvature of the earth?
« on: November 08, 2011, 05:36:45 PM »
How do you propose we calculate it?

There are plenty of ways to calculate it, but they all require either personally taking measurements over long distances or taking the word of someone who is an expert in that activity.  Unfortunately, neither of these are really an option on this forum.  The first requires going out and collecting real-world data, an activity abhorrent to forum-goers and also one which both sides think is the responsibility of the other.  The second requires accepting evidence from a source outside oneself, which goes against the principals of zeteticism and consequently is generally inapplicable from the perspective of FE supporters.

Assuming we had such measurements, however, it would be trivial to demonstrate the curvature (or lack thereof) of the Earth.  If it is flat, you will find that standard x-y plane geometry matches and predicts measured distances.  If it is a globe, you will find that geometry based on the surface of a sphere will be an accurate predictor (such as the haversine formula for calculating distances, as seen in the other thread).

There is also the idea that a spherical surface can never be mapped directly to a flat surface without having some sort of scaling problems.  This is why, for example, a Mercator projection of Earth uses grid elements that are not all the same size.  Assuming mankind has somewhere charted accurate distances from place to place, it should also be possible to derive the Earth's curvature by making comparisons between these charted distances, the predicted distances and scaling distortions on maps, and the predicted distances on a spherical surface.

If the Earth is truly flat, it would also be possible to create an accurate map of a large region that satisfies the same scale across the entire map. 

Generally speaking, this means one of three things.  It could be that such a map does not exist because it is impossible, implying that the Earth is not flat.  It could also be that such a map is possible and exists, but nobody here has ever seen it.  Finally, it could be that the map is possible and does not exist because nobody has ever gotten around to making it.

Given the human race's long and robust history of long-range travel, I think option 3 can be easily ruled out.  If it is possible, surely somebody has made it by now.  That leaves the first two options:  either the map exists and the Earth is flat, or the map does not exist and the Earth is a globe.

It should be possible, then, to draw an accurate map of a large region that uses the same scale across the entire map.  The burden of proof in this case rests on those who defend the existence of such a map.  As Zogg has requested, the FE community must supply the map in this case in order to defend its claim.

6
Does anyone else find it ironic that PizzaPlanet's cited definition of 'curvature' uses the curvature of the Earth as a demonstration example?

That aside, I'm not really sure your proof is convincing from a FE point of view, momentia.  It relies on the assumption that two points designated at different latitudes and longitudes are actually points on a sphere in the first place, rather than say radial points on a disc.  The mathematics are rigorous enough to be sure, but the haversine formula is derived by considering points on a sphere -- not points on an arbitrary surface for which we wish to determine the curvature.  It simply doesn't apply if the surface is not a sphere.

Similarly, other methods for determining the Gaussian curvature of the Earth fail for this sort of proof.  Although the Gaussian curvature is an intrinsic property of a surface, we still must know something about the geometry of that surface in order to make any progress towards finding its curvature.  If we assume a totally arbitrary surface, there is no way to determine whether the Gaussian curvature is positive, negative or zero.  You could always assume the surface geometry then check predictions against reality, but without that data a purely mathematical proof isn't going to get anywhere.

Of course, if you accept that practical use of the haversine formula has shown that it yields accurate results in real life, I think you'll have a hard time arguing with that proof.  If it could be shown that it is accurate, then the whole issue would be resolved.  Demonstration of its accuracy would provide sufficient information about the shape of the Earth to follow through with the rest of the proof you provided and determine that the Earth is indeed spherical (or approximately so).

Unfortunately, I don't really count myself much in the navigation, cartography or surveying departments so I can't really vouch for the formula's results.  Now, if only there were some profession dedicated to the study and practice of making accurate measurements over long distances... (what ever happened to Theodolite?)

Alternately, it would be a pretty simple matter to try and travel in a triangle shape on the Earth's surface.  Travel some arbitrarily long distance, turn left by 120 degrees, travel the same distance again, repeat the turn, then repeat the distance once more.  If the Earth is in fact flat you should end up exactly where you started; if it is round you will be off by a distance proportional to the length of your travel leg.

Heck, you wouldn't even need to worry about trying to drive or walk in a straight line with this one -- you could do it with a protractor, some mirrors and a laser, mounted up on tall towers so you don't get things like trees or hills in the way.  But then, we've tried the whole "shine a laser over a long distance" proof before, and FE always rejects the notion either through semantic dissembling or bendy light.  I tried to make a similar point in a thread about the sun's path over a flat Earth vs. its apparent location, and the whole thing got lost in the notion of what constitutes travel in a straight line.



PizzaPlanet,

You might want to be careful about rejecting mathematics as entirely abstract.  While technically correct, your position neglects the fact that this abstraction is derived from real concepts and from ideas, shapes and properties that are grounded in reality.  From these things new truths about reality can be deduced.  As a FE supporter you should be especially sensitive to things like this, since the zetetic method is predicated upon the idea that a real concept can be analyzed using deductive logic in order to derive new truths about reality. 

For example, it is easy enough to find an entirely abstract proof of the Pythagorean theorem.  It's all geometry and algebraic relations.  But if I show you a rectangular object (say, a picture frame) and ask you to find the distance from one corner to the other, I'm pretty sure you would find that your measurement matches exactly with predictions made using that abstract mathematical proof.

Likewise, if it can be demonstrated that the distance between any two points on Earth can be calculated accurately using a particular method, then the mathematical properties of that method could be exploited to determine the shape of the Earth.  In this case, if the haversine formula accurately reflects reality then it can be conclusively demonstrated that the Earth is a globe, as momentia has shown.

7
Flat Earth General / Re: An idea for an experiment
« on: November 06, 2011, 02:38:41 PM »
jroa,

You're confusing velocity and acceleration.  An accelerometer measures differences in acceleration between some internal parts.  If it is sitting on the ground and affected by gravity (or UA) it will measure a positive value downwards because the force of the ground acting on the shell of the device will balance out the acceleration caused by gravity (or UA), while the internal measurement device will have to be accelerated relative to the outer shell in order to maintain static equilibrium.

So, if you look at the object sitting on the ground:  the ground is holding the shell up and balancing out gravity/UA; the shell is holding up the inner measurement device to balance out gravity/UA.  Thus everything is balanced and stationary, but the measurement device reads a nonzero value because there is a nonzero net force acting between it and the shell.

When you throw it in the air, in either case the object will have no relative acceleration between the outer shell and inner measurement device.  It will read zero whether gravity is acting or UA, and your test will be inconclusive.

8
Flat Earth General / Re: Lets go for the James Randi $1,000,000 challenge
« on: October 31, 2011, 10:00:53 PM »
Thanks, squevil.

And Tom, no response?  I'm disappointed.  You come and post this rebuttal to current theory about a well-understood feature of the universe and are content to argue about semantics and split hairs over nuances in phrasing, but aren't willing to engage in any kind of real debate on the subject?  I know there are cogent arguments you could make against my position, if you're willing to put in the effort.

If you're serious in your convictions, back them up.  I started reading and posting in this forum because it was an interesting exercise to consider opposing positions to something that's considered a "given" in modern society.  Whether I'm right or you are, it's no fun if you're only willing to debate points that are superficial or tangential to the heart of the issue.

9
Flat Earth General / Re: Lets go for the James Randi $1,000,000 challenge
« on: October 28, 2011, 01:45:35 AM »
Here we go again, making up our own definitions of science and explanation.

The problem with your claim, Tom, is that it's only right from the perspective of someone who doesn't understand how science explains things.  Gravity *is* scientifically explainable, and many different aspects of what it is and what it does have been explained, tested and confirmed.  If you wish to go deep enough then yes, your claim eventually gains merit.  There is little observed evidence on what exactly is involved in bending spacetime or graviton interaction.  Well, let me clarify that:  there is little observed *direct* evidence of these things.  By contrast, there is an overwhelming amount of scientific literature and observational data that match gravitational theory to a very high degree.

And that is what scientific explanation entails.  Hypothesis, tests, analysis, repeat.  It's an inductive method of proof and explanation, and phenomena are considered properly and scientifically explained when they satisfy this requirement of proof.  Is it always right?  Clearly, no.  Long ago fire was scientifically explainable using the theory of phlogiston, but newer tools and techniques have helped to update our understanding of this phenomenon. 

Just because our current observational technology hasn't been able to detect certain aspects of a phenomenon in-and-of themselves, doesn't mean that they aren't happening or that the theory is so inexplicable that it might be called supernatural.  If you want to take that route with gravity then fine, go ahead; but be aware that you're setting out on a slippery slope that ends in the conclusion that nothing at all is explainable and that nothing at all has ever been explained.  Nobody knows exactly what matter is, really, or energy, except in terms of how they interact with the universe. 

Might as well go whole hog here.  What about something that seems so self-evident that it needs no explanation?  Causation itself is a pretty tricky concept if you want to go down this path.  Why is it that when the cue ball hits the 8 ball, the 8 ball moves away?  Oh sure that's easy, momentum transfers when objects hit each other.  Why is that?  Because two solid objects can't occupy the same physical space.  But why?  Well, the surface molecules repel when they come near enough.  But why?  It goes deeper and deeper, and eventually you end up at theory living at the deepest levels of quantum mechanics.  Stuff like multi-worlds interpretation of quantum behavior, and string theory.  As with gravity, these are things which agree to a high degree with observations of the universe but which are also unexplained in the same sense that you are using.

Clearly, then, science is unable to explain why we can play pool.  I suggest you submit billiards to the contest as a supernatural phenomena.  It's a sure bet!

Keep in mind, I'm not advocating we stop all scientific pursuit because we'll never get to the bottom of things.  The more you dig the more we can advance human knowledge and society.  But claiming that well-established scientific knowledge is supernatural or mysterious because it doesn't meet your arbitrary definition of "scientifically explainable" does nothing but provoke a debate over semantics (in retrospect, this is something that you seem to specialize in so nobody here should be surprised).

10
Flat Earth General / Re: Could Helen Keller have been zetetic?
« on: October 07, 2011, 06:37:38 PM »
Omnipinion,

This is an interesting thread of discussion.  Zeteticism to me is one of the most interesting parts of this site; trolling aside, it's a very alien point of view to try and understand for someone raised with a scientific background.  I think you'll find my discussion with Lord Wilmore in this thread interesting:

http://www.theflatearthsociety.org/forum/index.php?topic=49997.20

From my understanding, it comes down to an epistemological difference in what you can count as knowledge.  The key here is the acceptance or rejection of inductive proof as a path to knowledge; science accepts, zeteticism rejects.  From a strictly logical standpoint, zeteticism is in the right here -- induction is not guaranteed to lead to a correct result, it only helps to reduce impossible results and to approximate true results. 

With respect to the track of your discussion here, I would argue that from a zetetic standpoint it sometimes becomes redundant or simply unnecessary to attempt to access "facts...of every kind and form bearing on the subject".

For example, if I wish to demonstrate that something is a table I need only posit certain qualifiers such as a certain class of top surface shapes, having legs, and being strong enough to support something arbitrarily heavy that might rest on a table.  There are plenty of other facts that bear on the subject of "what is this in front of me," but they are not all necessarily relevant to proving that this object possesses a specific quality (being a table).  It doesn't matter its color, chemical makeup, or where it came from; these are all important qualities in defining precisely what the object is, but are not relevant when all we need to know is whether or not it is a table.

I would agree that it is certainly an impossible criterion to meet if you wish to exhaust the list of facts that bear on the subject whenever you wish to demonstrate the truth of a statement.  But I think it is important to put that criterion in context as well, and understand that it isn't necessarily a strict requirement for every statement.

With regards to unobserved or unobservable phenomena, I believe a truly zetetic response would be that they are irrelevant until observed.  The thing about zeteticism is that it claims to have access to statements that reflect absolute truth in reality, which it does -- given a certain set of background assumptions that are not always explicitly stated.  For any deductive logical argument, the most general form includes a set of background assumptions under which if the premises are true and the argument valid, then the conclusion must also be true.  But the background assumptions necessarily carry into the conclusion as well.

So for truly zetetic FET (not the forum trolls), the Earth is flat because [list of proofs] *assuming that unobserved or unobservable evidence does not show this proof to be contradictory or otherwise false.

*I regret stopping my argument mid-paragraph here, but I have to run.  I'll be happy to continue this discussion at a later date.[/list]

11
Flat Earth Q&A / Re: Universal Acceleration?
« on: September 14, 2011, 10:41:17 AM »
if we were going faster though wouldnt the force be greater? dont know why there is a question mark because we know it simply would. the force would not of been constant, however it would be constantly increasing.
i also notice there are no comments on the universal point.
im not asking to explain anything nobody has no clue about, thats reserved for the questions area. im debating the very name of Universal Acceleration

I'm not sure you understand the relationship between force and acceleration.  Check any physics text, you will find the equation: F=ma.  This means that for a constant mass (say, you/your body) experiencing a constant force (weight), acceleration must also be constant (gravity/UA).  Note that there is no component of velocity here -- regardless of how fast you are going in the first place, a uniform acceleration will continue to cause the mass to experience a uniform force. 

Your statement is (somewhat) correct when considering relativistic implications, however.  Increasing velocity increases an object's mass, meaning that a greater force must be applied in order to maintain constant acceleration.  There are some other things that are relevant as well, but I don't think (correct me if I'm wrong) that FET accepts Relativity as valid so it can be generally disregarded in cases like this.

As far as the universality of UA goes, I think the prevailing view of UA proponents is that the Earth somehow "shields" the things on or near its surface from the effects of the accelerator.  So it is still universal, just that there are things which can mask its effect (specifically, the Earth). 

12
Flat Earth Q&A / Re: Centripetal Acceleration and Weight
« on: September 02, 2011, 02:06:18 AM »
Even your beloved NASA can't figure out the data they allegedly collect.


Why do some places on Earth have higher gravity than others? Sometimes the reason is unknown.


How am I to tell which excuse the globularists will use this time to explain the constantly changing measurements of "gravity"? Centripetal acceleration? Gravity?

I think in this case it is the responsibility of FET to provide an alternative to gravity which explains the global variations in gravitational acceleration.  Taken in context and with an understanding of the nature of gravity (as proposed under RET), most people will reasonably conclude that the measured deviations in Earth's gravitational field are due to local changes in density of material in the Earth's crust around certain areas.

It is well documented that the Earth's crust is not homogeneous, so given an understanding of the law of gravitation we would expect to observe measurable differences in gravitational acceleration around the globe.  Now if you wish to reject the gravitational data posted by NASA in this case (but collected by other agencies), then that is another argument altogether.  But if you choose to accept the evidence, then the following paragraphs will necessarily be your conclusions:

We may not understand wholly the mechanism by which gravity operates, but we do know that it exists and that it is dependent upon the amount of matter in objects and square of the distance between them.  These things have been measured carefully and are known.  Gravity accelerates all massive bodies towards one another, and the rate of acceleration is dependent upon the masses of the bodies and the square of the distance between them.

By contrast, FET proposes a universal acceleration as the mechanism by which objects are attracted to the surface of the Earth.  Unfortunately, a surface accelerating indefinitely at a constant rate will yield measurements across its surface which are consistent and identical in space and time.

Therefore, we can conclude that the hypothesis of UA is incorrect.  Again, note that this has no bearing on the shape of the Earth; this argument relates only to the mechanism which causes everything on Earth to accelerate towards its surface.

13
Flat Earth Q&A / Re: Are you guys seeking to get to the edge of the earth?
« on: September 02, 2011, 01:51:11 AM »
The infinite expansion of the earth is more probable than the earth being infinite by itself.

If it is infinite, then it has always been, and it never was formed neither created. Creationist nonsense.

I have to say, as much as Agnostic seems to enjoy throwing out arguments that have very little actual meaning, I have to agree with him on this one.

The notion of infinity is a tricky one because we haven't evolved to deal with it cognitively; it isn't something that comes up very often (if at all) in the daily life of an evolving hominid, and so it isn't something that human beings can really make sense of without resorting to some pretty abstract thinking that often flies in the face of common sense.

In this case specifically, we have to consider the notion of something that exists which has an infinite size.  In order for a normal something to have a size, it has to form or be created to have that size.  For example, an apple with a certain size grows to that size on a tree; a car engine with a certain size is constructed part-by-part until it reaches that size; etc.  If something has an infinite size, then it is impossible to say that the thing could have been constructed from smaller parts.  It is impossible to say that the thing ever had a finite size, but grew to be infinite because there is no meaningful distance between infinity and any given finite number.

Thus, for something to have an infinite size it must always have been infinite in size.  An Earth which began as finite could never expand, no matter how fast or how long it grows, to an infinite size.  As Agnostic pointed out, the only possible bridge between a theoretical infinity and an actual infinity is deistic in nature. 

That is to say, if something is infinite it can never have reached that infinity by a finite means.  Thus, no natural effect could ever have created the infinite object, no matter how long it has been in effect.  There are only two solutions to this problem.  The first amounts to ignoring it: the thing is infinite because that is simply the way it is.  This is circular, and amounts to nothing more than the claim that the thing is infinite because it is infinite.  No explanatory power whatsoever.  The second option is that the object was derived from a similarly infinite source.  This is where a deist argument finds footing -- the infinite object must have been  created by an infinite god.

14
This is not a discussion forum.  If you want to discuss this topic, then open a thread in the appropriate discussion forum.

Apologies, I did not intend to spark a debate on the merits of the bill posted here in the OP.  The discussion begun here can be continued in this thread in the FE General forum:

http://www.theflatearthsociety.org/forum/index.php?topic=50393.0

15
Flat Earth General / 1981 Flat Earth Bill
« on: September 02, 2011, 01:30:36 AM »
Discussion continuing from Agnostic's discovery of a proposed bill to teach FET in public schools, originally posted here:
http://www.theflatearthsociety.org/forum/index.php?topic=50305.0

You are wrong if you assume that the author of this bill tried to ashame the flat earth believers.

The author of this bill spent 5 years in learning zetetic astronomy and 3 years on theology.

His goal was to defend an equilibrated teaching of the sciences.

Despite any claims to invested effort in the construction of this bill, I think you are going to have a hard time arguing that the author meant anything but parody by its submission.  He specifically states that "it is impossible to parody something ludicrous," with context here implying that he intends to ironically argue from a FET position despite the fact that the scientific arguments for the position hold no more merit than those "scientific" arguments found in the Bible.

The author also notes his willingness and intention to re-write any creationist bill with FET/zetetic substitutions, further cementing the political motivation of the posted document.  I do not think that you can coherently argue that this bill was proposed for any other reason than the specific intent of parodying the creationist desire to be viewed as a legitimate scientific position.  The bill was designed to provide an alternative to mainstream science that simultaneously has the same scientific merit as the creationist viewpoint and has a greater likelihood of public scrutiny for its outlandish claims.

To anyone who actually reads the content of the bill, it is very clear that the author does not intend to argue for, support or teach a zetetic/FET cosmology.  He only intends to use the FET argument as a stepping stone by which he can strengthen his original position, which is that creationism does not deserve consideration as a viable scientific theory in public education.

Please be careful to note that I am making no claims to the validity or strength of the author's position; I am simply analyzing his work and interpreting what his position must have been, given the circumstances surrounding the bill's introduction.

16
An interesting find, though not one I'm sure belongs in the information repository.  If you actually read the text (specifically the intro), the bill was crafted as a means to demonstrate the ludicrousness of teaching creationism as part of the science curriculum in schools.  Presumably the author believed that other people reading his bill would protest its ridiculous nature, giving him leverage to deny the public teaching of creationist "science."

Much like the infamous flying spaghetti monster, it was proposed as an alternative viewpoint to mainstream science that equals creationism in its scientific merit -- that is to say, it has none at all in the eyes of the author.  The bill specifically states the author's view that FET is ludicrous.

I wouldn't really count this as information about FET, unless you wish to preserve the message that FET is as unsound and unsupported a theory as creationism.  Nonetheless it is an interesting find.  The only thing I've ever encountered of its like was the letter requesting that the flying spaghetti monster be taught in schools alongside science and creationism, and I doubt many people have heard of this bill.  It would have been interesting to see how this bill was received publicly if it had been introduced a couple decades later -- 1981 was well before the public embrace of the internet, a factor which I believe was key in the success of the spaghetti monster's debut.

17
Flat Earth Debate / Re: FLIGHT PATHS DISPROVE FE
« on: August 31, 2011, 12:07:09 AM »
There is no "up" in vectorized geometry.

There is an angle, and a distance from the origin. But there is no up.

Otherwise, show me how you add "up" with the vector AC = (-1; 5; 5) relatively to the origin.

Congratulations on your pedantic argument.  Is it really that hard to read posts and understand what this word intends from the context?

"Up" is generally accepted to be the direction perpendicular to Earth's surface at a particular location, and that is the sense in which it is being used here.  More specifically, it is the direction opposite the acceleration that we feel towards Earth.  If you wish to formalize the notion of "up" in a standard 3-dimensional Cartesian coordinate system, you can just think of it as a unit vector pointing parallel to the z-axis (where the x and y axes are horizontal, or found within the plane of the ground).

In the specific context of this thread, up is defined as the direction in which UA is proposed to be accelerating the Earth.  Because you propose that gravity is nonexistent in your models, UA necessarily provides the acceleration towards the Earth that we feel.  The Ferguson model necessarily fails because the water on the planet would see a component of this acceleration directed towards the low point in the bowl, hence momentia's argument that some parts of the world would be submerged on that model.

If Universal Acceleration is responsible for what we conventionally call gravity, then the Earth must be flat, and exist on a plane perpendicular to the direction in which UA is accelerating it.  If you wish to hypothesize that the Earth takes on a more exotic shape such as that in the Ferguson model, you must reject UA and either construct a model in which gravity explains our tendency to accelerate towards Earth or construct a model using a different explanation entirely.

18
I have to say, I agree with General Disarray on this one.  You say you know what you're doing, but your unwillingness to provide more than a vague logical basis for your work or any hint of your proposed methodology really doesn't speak much to your credibility. 

19
Agnostic,

I appreciate the prompt reply to the request I posted in the other thread; too often, such calls to action are met here with dismissal, or ignored entirely.

That said, however, I have a few comments.

First, you appear to be utilizing for your cause some scientific theory that is consistent with RET, but not with FET (or it is, but is not zetetically verifiable).  Specifically, you mention the inflation of the universe as a phenomenon that is explainable by the nonexistence of gravity.  While lack of gravity would theoretically remove the primary hindrance to universal inflation, it would also necessitate a competing theory to explain the current observed structure of the universe (UA does not fill this void).  You also link to literature about blackbody radiation from the Sun, the results and theory of which depend on a traditional universe with a round Earth.

You also have yet to provide any proposed experimental methodology, or what sort of results you expect to observe.  You have compiled a list of equipment that you have begun to collect, but have made no mention of what use it will be to you.  In all honesty, you have done little to advance your position from hand-waving and vague scientific jargon. 

You have begun to explain what you hope to accomplish -- commendable, to be sure -- but you still haven't provided any clue on how you intend to reach your goals.  You've provided a list of equipment for taking electric and magnetic measurement and a vague description of what you hope to gain by performing an experiment.

I understand that zeteticism is based on deducing results from observation, but if you want to accomplish anything meaningful you're going to have to have an experimental plan and a means by which to prove that your results are explainable only by your provided theory.  Without these, you will end up in the same boat as much of Rowbotham's work:  valid logical arguments and observationally verifiable premises, but unaccounted-for background assumptions that invalidate the conclusions.

20
Flat Earth Q&A / Re: So what the heck is this anti-moon?
« on: August 27, 2011, 01:40:26 AM »
Agnostic, maybe instead of going for sheer volume of posts you could go for quality?  You sound like you know what you're talking about, but there seems to be very little substance behind your words:

We will run an experiment on the Flat Earth Photoelectric Attraction System, maybe it will help in understanding such phenomenon, and we will see if it matches the mainstream model of Round Earth Theory.

Once the conclusions will be there, we will know for sure.
I am here to run experiments. I waited for decades people coming to the same conclusions I went on years ago.

If the earth is flat or not is to be demonstrated. If Round is Earth, we will know. If it's flat we will know. I will buy some electronical components to capture the photoelectric events occuring in the atmosphere and run my own experiments.

If we are in an Orlando Ferguson system, we should know too.

Perhaps you care to explain why you expect to observe a negatively ionized area in the atmosphere corresponding to the anti-moon, or how a cloud of negatively charged particles will cause the appearance of an eclipse?

Or give us some details on the experiments you plan to run, or the equipment you plan to use?  You clearly have a theory in mind of what kind of results you expect to get, so you must have an idea of what tools to use to measure them and how to set the experiment up to get conclusive results.  Making a vague statement about buying some electronic components doesn't really mean anything to anybody reading your post.

Why not share this with the community?  The OP asked a question and was answered with unsupported hypotheses and a bunch of meaningless hand-waving about waiting for the results of some unspecified experiment.  The least you can do is justify your position rather than just assuming that everyone will take your word on it just because you fill your sentences with scientific jargon.

21
Flat Earth Debate / Re: Zeteticism is the opposite of science
« on: August 26, 2011, 01:05:04 AM »
Granted, some have a sufficient grasp of the scientific method's location in the philosophical landscape. However, I think that much of the antagonism exhibited by Zetetics toward science stems from the acolyte majority. Ours is a scientific culture, and challenging science is often seen as dubious, whether you be a zetetic, a phenomenologist or an ethicist.

Agreed.  That is one of the reasons why I am enjoying this forum (and particularly this discussion) so much -- even though I disagree with your position, it is refreshing to engage in criticism towards things which are often taken as self-evident.


Granted, in situations where the experiment cannot easily be conducted again (through no fault of the experimenter), the description and details of said experiment are usually sufficient basis for scientific criticism. Nevertheless, such cases are the exception rather than the rule, especially in historical terms.

From my own knowledge of science and its history, I get the impression that the option to duplicate an experiment really only gets exercised when a result is controversial (and therefore prone to greater scrutiny) or when an experiment is discovered later to have missed some source of error.  They are definitely the exception, but building repeatability into the method helps to ensure that it is needed less frequently.


I suppose what this comes down to is that I and many other zetetics don't consider the disarming adjective "practicality" to be a simple matter if it has the potential to interfere with truth-seeking.

...

To my mind, you're making a jump here that does not follow from the zetetic's actual position. To pursue the Wittgenstein analogy, zetetics do not argue that other people's beetles are "irreconcilably different". That itself would be an ungrounded assumption. All the zetetic does is acknowledge his ignorance of the beetle's nature or existence. That which we do not know cannot serve as a basis for knowledge. The zetetic is therefore not making assumptions about other people, as you suggest.

The further I get into this discussion, I think the more I begin to understand the rules you play by, so to speak.  Having read these responses I can see now why my argument fails from a zetetic standpoint.  It is not really a matter of rejecting another person's observations because he might be wrong or deceitful; instead, it is a simple matter of an inability to zetetically verify his observational capability and state of mind.  The mind of the other is unobservable and therefore cannot be leveraged to acquire zetetic knowledge.


I grant much of the above, but it's important to note that zetetics only claim that Zeteticism is a firmer base for truth-claims than science when practised correctly - it is not a step-by-step guiding to absolute knowledge. Simply put (bearing in mind this is a point of controversy among FE'ers), Rowbotham constructed a sound logical argument upon false premises. I do not intend to enter into a discussion of Rowbotham here, so I will simply say that though a zetetic may not accept the reported experiences of other people as evidence, he/she is free to consider their arguments and/or criticisms. If a zetetic's premises come into question, he/she can consider the force of the argument presented without violating the principle of 'self-verification' (as you describe it).

Agreed, this is not really the place for a discussion of Rowbotham's work.  I simply meant to use him as a relevant example for my argument, since there is another thread that highlights the point I was making. 

As far as the bit about examining another's argument goes, I see no reason why a zetetic shouldn't be able to make a judgment on validity so long as soundness calls are saved until premises can be verified.  In fact it seems that this sort of thing should be encouraged -- looking at the work of another is often one of the best ways to become inspired.


Yet people like trig problematise perception, declaring that its fruits are often rotten. Nevertheless, it too is "built-in to our conscious experience", so why should induction be acquitted on such grounds, while perception remains in the dock?

I can't speak for trig or others on this one, but I would argue that perception ought to be acquitted to the same degree as induction in this instance.  That said, however, the two remain different animals entirely and beyond their prevalence in our conscious experience they probably need to be treated very differently.

As I am writing this, I realize that they do in fact get treated differently -- this is pretty evident in looking over the history of this discussion, especially the highlighted differences between science and zeteticism.  I think it would be interesting to do an analysis comparing the function of the two (induction and observation) with respect to knowledge.  I suspect they have strong epistemological similarities.  My philosophy is a bit rusty these days, so towards that end I might spend some time this weekend reviewing Hume's criticism of induction (which if I am not mistaken, is one of the primary drivers behind its rejection by zetetics).


Not sure why, but I am reminded of a passage from Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception:


[. . .] science succeeds in constructing only a semblance of subjectivity: it introduces sensations which are things, just where experience shows that there are meaningful patterns; it forces the phenomenal universe into categories which make sense only in the universe of science . . . I may be familiar with a face without ever having perceived the colour of the eyes in themselves. The theory of sensation, which builds up all knowledge out of determinate qualities, offers us objects purged of all ambiguity, pure and absolute, the ideal rather than the real themes of knowledge (Merleau-Ponty 12-13)


Of late I have been considering the implications of phenomenological discourse on the Zetetic method, and I hope to write some small essay on the subject in the next year. Whether I'll actually get round to it is another question.

Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. Phenomenology of Perception. Oxon: Routledge, 2002. Print.

I must admit, I have somewhat of a gap in my knowledge when it comes to the specifics of phenomenology.  Perhaps another reading topic if I can get some spare time in the weeks to come.

Just reading that passage, however, I get a somewhat metaphysical feel from Merleau-Ponty's take on perception and knowledge.  His point about freedom from ambiguity and object qualities strikes me as an argument from the metaphysical position that all objects are composed of properties and that there is no such thing as an object that exists in-and-of itself with no properties (instead, those things we observe are to be understood as a particular arrangement of properties). 

Because such properties are largely defined in terms of their effect on our observational senses, it might be possible to argue that the observation of the various properties of an object could lead to an unambiguous understanding of that object. 

At any rate, I'm kindof flying by the seat of my pants on this one.  I guess this particular essay would probably be a good place to start before I make myself look too much the fool by analyzing it out of context.

22
Flat Earth Debate / Re: Zeteticism is the opposite of science
« on: August 25, 2011, 12:59:45 PM »
Yes, but you have to draw the line somewhere.  Descartes' Meditations in which he puts forth that argument were designed with the intent of providing an infallible foundation of truth and logic on the basis of which the rest of scientific argument and other human knowledge could be constructed. 

He chose not to draw the line anywhere and deliberately examine all possible sources of knowledge or truth and eliminate every one which admitted of even the slightest possibility of fallibility.  The problem with this, as you have noted, is that we end up eliminating everything except the fact that we know we are thinking because everything else comes to us through our senses, and our senses are clearly not perfect.  He proceeded to rebuild what he had destroyed, but even a moderate critical analysis of his work can find a number of holes in his logic.

In all honesty, I don't think it is possible to accept anything at all as knowledge or truth if you take such a radical skeptical position (except self existence as Descartes discovered, and even that is suspect on deeper analysis).  So unless you want to live in a terrible world in which you know nothing or almost nothing, you have to draw a line somewhere.

From a strictly philosophical standpoint, there is not really a definitive argument for drawing that line in any particular place.  What do you decide to accept as justification for that which you hold as knowledge?  On a First-Meditation-Cartesian standpoint, I only know that I exist.  Relaxing skepticism a little, I can say that I know I see my computer screen in front of me.  A little more and I can say that I know that my computer screen is in front of me.  A little further and I can say that I know that if I drop it, it will fall.  Still further and I can say that I know that my wife liked the birthday present I bought her.  On and on, until I can say that I know that Tupac and Elvis are still alive, and meet weekly for a rowdy game of Scrabble.

The point being, zeteticism is really only a choice of where to draw that line.  It draws the line a little more strictly than science, based primarily on concerns about the rigor of induction as justification for knowledge.  Zeteticism chooses to accept only direct observation as evidence on which to base claims of knowledge, and only deduction as a method for generating new knowledge from that evidence.  Science extends the first criteria to other types of experimental evidence, and extends the second criteria to include inductive proof.

To me, the strongest argument in favor of accepting science's structure rather than zeteticism's is the fact that induction is built-in to our conscious experience.  It's less philosophically sound than deduction, but it is such an important part of how we understand and interact with the universe we live in that it doesn't really make sense (to me, at least) to reject it on the grounds that it is possible for it to produce falsehoods. 

The same argument applies to acceptance of reported evidence from other people.  Unless you assume that either you are unique among humans (aside from "I am me and they are not") or that everyone is always trying to trick you, there isn't a good philosophical reason (to me, at least) to reject all evidence provided by others.  There's certainly reason to examine it in many cases, but it seems like quite a leap to me to justify total rejection.

That said, it still seems to me that zeteticism could be used as an investigative tool in much the same sense that science is used in this way.  It has a structure for determining acceptable evidence, for generating claims based on that evidence, and for testing those claims.  All of this mirrors science.  The main differences are only the acceptable sources for evidence, and the fact that science strives to make predictive claims where zeteticism can only make claims about what currently is and never about what will happen.  Zeteticism's claims have a stronger epistemological foundation than science's in that there are fewer possible sources of error in both the logic and evidence, but these gains come at the cost of a reduced scope of usefulness.

23
Flat Earth Debate / Re: Zeteticism is the opposite of science
« on: August 25, 2011, 01:01:09 AM »
Sorry for the delayed response; I've been pretty busy this week and haven't had time to do more than briefly browse these forums and write a couple small replies.  Also, let's try to keep a discussion thoughtful and meaningful for once.  I'm a bit disappointed to see that while I was away the thread seems to have regressed to one-word rebuttals.


I have to disagree regarding the bolded point; in my experience, this is not the case. Scientists respect the conventions of their own methodology, but I do not think the philosophical weaknesses of the scientific method are recognised by most scientists. This is not a serious argument, just my own experience and sense of scientific discourse.

In all honesty, there's a good chance that your experience is indicative of the majority.  While most scientific education covers thoroughly the methodology and various practices and standards involved in research and theoretical investigation, I doubt very many scientists have a deep enough understanding of epistemological issues to see where the root of the weakness lies.

That said, however, most (professional or academic, not amateur) scientists that I have encountered at least have a thorough enough understanding of their subject and its methods to recognize the weakness if not its philosophical underpinnings.  There are certainly plenty of people that (wrongly) hold scientific theory as infallible though, behaving almost as if it were a religion rather than a methodology.


First, the reasoning is never made clear by Rowbotham in Earth Not a Globe. My own view is that your own sensorial experiences are the only experiences one can truly verify. Even scienctists acknowledge this, which is why they put such great emphasis on the repeatability of experiments.

From my understanding, the issue of personal verification is not the reason why a proper experiment must be repeatable.  If this were the case, there would be lots of scientists around who find fault (beyond the previously-discussed induction issue) with many modern experiments.  In modern experimental physics, experimental apparatuses are often extremely specialized and expensive; for this reason, much of the time experiments are never duplicated by other scientists. 

Instead, the reason is because it is always possible that an experimenter incorrectly interpreted a result or was unaware of a potential source of error.  A repeatable experiment means that someone who is reviewing the literature and the first guy's research has opportunity to spot the mistake and test the hypothesis again with his improved understanding of the experiment. 


As for your second point, I think the slippery slope lies between "at least some other people's senses are acceptable evidence" and "everyone's senses are acceptable evidence". Where would you draw the line? In contrast, there's a clear difference in verifiability between your experiences and anyone else's.

With regard to the slope you suggest, I agree that it exists but I don't really think it is much of a problem.  It seems to me that resolution is a simple matter of practicality in who you choose to accept.  There is probably not a clear-cut line between trustworthy and untrustworthy here that applies in all cases, but I think in general someone who is sufficiently like-minded to oneself and who utilizes similar methodology and has similar research goals might be an acceptable candidate.

With regard to the slope I suggested, yes I agree there is a clear difference between my own and anyone else's experiences.  I suppose I should have elaborated, but as I mentioned I think that accepting one's own sensory experience while rejecting all others requires an important assumption. 

In order to hold this position, I must assume that I am unique amongst humanity in a sense other than "I am myself, and they are not."  This is somewhat akin to Wittgenstein's beetle-in-a-box argument about the conscious experience, only rather than assuming that everyone else's beetle is the same or similar to mine I assume that they are all irreconcilably different. 

They may be other people, but blanket rejection of all others' observations seems to me to have no stronger logical foundation than outright rejection of one's own senses.  It is always possible that they made a mistake, but then again it's always possible that oneself has made a mistake as well in an observation.  If we accept that not everyone is trying to deceive us at all times (a reasonable proposition, I think) then we must also accept that at least *some* people have observational abilities akin to our own, and can therefore be trusted at least some of the time to provide observational evidence that is as correct as our own.*


*As I re-read this, it strikes me that a zetetic actually cannot accept this premise precisely because he is a zetetic.  It is not possible to directly observe the mental states of another, so we cannot make assumptions about their condition.  I feel like there is a zetetic way around this problem lurking just around the corner, but I can't quite grasp it.


Not quite. Zeteticism is still a tool for investigating the world around us. However, its focus is on explaining how the world is. Science posits theoretical explanations about how the world may work, and uses predictive power to assess whether those explanations are sufficient. Zeteticism draws incontestable logical conclusions from experiences, which amount to certain knowledge. If experience conflicts with the conclusions drawn, clearly there has been a logical misstep along the way.

I guess I can see how zeteticism could be understood as a tool rather than just as an epistemological framework.  I still find myself having trouble with its claims about certain knowledge drawn from deductive logic. 

It's not that I dispute the rigor or worth of deduction or observation, mind you.  Rather, it seems to me that there are an awful lot of assumptions that end up backing any observationally-based statement about the world.  It's one thing to construct a valid deductive argument from data that has been observed, but verifying the argument's soundness is another thing entirely because the complexity of the universe makes absolute verification of observational premises a very difficult task. 

All it takes is a look at the currently active Bedford Level Experiment thread to see what I mean by this statement.  Rowbotham constructed a valid deductive argument to prove the world was flat, and set out to verify his premises with the experiment.  From the observational data he collected, it follows that his argument was also a sound one -- that he was, in fact, correct about the Earth's flatness.

The problem is, there are a ton of other assumptions lurking behind his observations in this case.  It's not as simple as "If the Earth is round, then its curvature will obscure objects at a distance.  Objects are not observed to be obscured in this manner.  Therefore, the Earth is not round."  The veracity of his observation that objects are not obscured lie assumptions about the path traveled by light between observer and observed and the behavior of water flows in open channels, among other things.

These background assumptions ruin his deduction, but from a zetetic standpoint he has not really made an error in his argument or experiment.  His only mistake was to trust the accuracy of his observations, a principal which lies at the very foundation of his method.  It is very likely that what he reported is actually what he observed, but his bias towards acceptance of only self-verified evidence necessarily precluded him from accounting for the hidden assumptions in his logic.

24
Flat Earth Debate / Re: Bedford Level Discrepancy
« on: August 24, 2011, 04:55:05 PM »
What are you talking about?  No one even hinted that your wanting to do a new experiment is unreasonable.

Apologies, I mistook your post as sarcasm.  It's just that there are often FE community responses similar to yours whenever one of Rowbotham's results is criticized.  The people who post these often use the tactic of requesting the details of the new experiment to imply either that the arguments for the new experiment are wrong, or that any proposed replacement experiment would be impossible or redundant.

25
Flat Earth Debate / Re: Bedford Level Discrepancy
« on: August 23, 2011, 10:52:41 PM »
In other words, some other experiment cause we don't like Rowbotham's?  Let us know the particulars of your new experiment, especially those of the water bed's perfect flatness.

It's not a matter of whether or not somebody likes the experiment, on either side.  The problem is that the experiment is based on incomplete knowledge of the experimental environment and that it does not account for a number of things which could skew the result. 

The problem is much more complicated than Rowbotham anticipated, and his results are inconclusive because there are several unaccounted-for phenomena which could easily cause his observed result even if the world is not flat.  It is not unreasonable to suggest that the experiment be revised in order to eliminate or otherwise account for the possible sources of error in the original.

26
Flat Earth Debate / Re: Bedford Level Discrepancy
« on: August 23, 2011, 02:17:28 AM »
Only an hydraulic engineer can tell us whether such a narrow stream of water follows mostly the Earth's shape or the shape of the canal's bed, since any place that is relatively high will make the water even more shallow and will make the flow of water even slower, creating a high point on the canal's surface.

This is really an interesting problem trig, and one that I doubt has been seriously considered in the discussion of this experiment.  I did some work to try and reason out what might happen:

The first step, I think, is to consider the nature of a flow such as this.  Assuming that we are looking at the canal during a period of steady-state operation, the principle of conservation of mass requires that the mass flow rate of water through any given cross-section of the canal will be identical with that at any other cross-section. 

To help visualize this, consider drawing an invisible box around a section of the canal.  Unless the volume of water in that box is changing (it is not, because we are working during steady-state), then the amount of time it takes for 1kg of water to flow into the box must be identical to the time it takes for 1kg of water to flow out.


To properly explain what comes next, I must introduce a few concepts related to fluid flow analysis. 

The first is mass flow rate.  In SI units, this is given in kg/s -- it is the quantity discussed above:  the total mass of water that flows through a cross-section of the channel in a given time interval.  Again, this quantity remains constant.

The next is the concept of an incompressible fluid.  For 99% of all fluid flow applications involving liquids, fluids can be treated as incompressible.  This means that density remains constant across all parts of the flow.  There's a lot of unnecessary math that goes into the proof of this; the short version is, it takes an extreme amount of pressure to compress most liquids to a degree that will have any impact at all on measurements taken.  For this application, we're talking a change in density that is many orders of magnitude below what relevant tools can measure (thus, negligible).

Finally, the concept of volumetric flow rate.  This has several mathematical definitions, which will be discussed later.  For now, it can be understood as the volume of water that flows through a given cross-section over a specified interval.  This is separate from the mass flow rate, although similar and related.  It is generally given in units of cubic meters per second, or m^3/s.

MATH TIME!
----------------------------------------------
It take a bit of math to relate these three concepts in a way that is useful to the present inquiry.  First, some relevant equations:

MF = m/t                (mass flow rate = mass / time)
d = m/vol               (density = mass / volume)

VF = vol/t               (volume flow rate = volume / time)
vol = A*L                (volume = cross-sectional area * length)
v = L/t                    (flow velocity = length / time)


Solving the density equation for volume and substituting this result into the volumetric flow rate gives the following:
vol = m/d
VF = (m/d)/t = (m/t)/d

Since we know that MF = m/t, we can again substitute and demonstrate that:
VF = MF/d

This is a very important result.  Because both mass flow rate and density are constant, we now know that volumetric flow rate is constant.  Again, we can use this to get some more interesting results.  Combining the equations for volume and volumetric flow rate, we can relate the volumetric flow rate to the channel's geometry:
vol = A*L
VF = vol/t = A*L/t

Further augmenting this, we can mix in the equation for flow velocity:
v = L/t  --> L = v*t
VF = A*L/t = (A/t)*L = (A/t)*(v*t) = A*v

It is important to note here that the time term drops out.  This makes sense mathematically, but it also should make sense intuitively; because we are working at a steady state, none of the properties of the flow are changing with time.

If we examine the equation we just derived (VF = A*v), there are a couple of other important conclusions that can be drawn.  First, we can break down the 'A' term.  For simplicity, I will treat the channel as rectangular.  The precise equations derived might change a bit with different channel geometry (i.e. trapezoidal), but the result will be the same because we are dealing with a channel that is the same at one end as at the other.

A = w*h               (area = width * height, where height is the height of the water from the bottom of the channel)

Going back to the previous equation to substitute, we now have our final result:

VF = w*h*v

------------------------------------------------

This equation is extremely important in applications of open-channel flow.  Because we know that the shape of the channel is constant and the volumetric flow rate is constant, the equation demonstrates that there are two possible variables that can change and that these variables are inversely proportional.  As flow velocity along the channel increases or decreases, the height of the flow must do the opposite.  If the flow speeds up the height of the water will decrease, and if it slows the water will get deeper.


Now, things are finally starting to look like somewhat of a useful result when considering the question that was asked in the first place.  All we need to do is decide whether the flow is faster in the middle or end than at the beginning, and we can make sense of what is happening.

To decide this, we can look at what forces are acting on the fluid.  Most significant to the inquiry at hand is gravity.  Because we are trying to discover the (potential) effect of a round Earth on this system, it is useful to draw a picture to visualize how gravity changes along a flat channel on a round Earth:

http://imgur.com/GBPwc               (please excuse my poor MSPaint skills)

Now we must make a big assumption for this analysis.  This *must* be checked before actually performing the experiment, or none of this is meaningful.  We are assuming that the entire length of the channel (not the water) is flat.  If you take a laser and shine it parallel to the channel at one point, it will remain parallel at every point.

we can see that along any distance the direction of gravity's pull will gradually change.  Because most (or all) of the channel will not experience a gravitational pull that is exactly perpendicular to the channel floor, the gravitational acceleration of the water will have at least a small horizontal component.

Depending on what section you pick, the component will vary from with the flow to against it.  It is easy to see, however, that as you move downstream in any case the amount of horizontal pull that is "helping" the flow will decrease.  If it is initially positive it will become smaller or eventually become negative; if it is initially zero or negative, it will continue to become more negative.


The important part of this is that we have demonstrated that for any flat (as discussed above) channel, two possible cases exist.  The flow will either have a positive acceleration at a downstream location, or it will have a negative acceleration.  The relation here to the acceleration of the flow at the observer's location is unimportant, only whether the fluid downstream is accelerating or decelerating.

In the first case, because positive acceleration always means that the fluid is speeding up, the fluid flow downstream will have a greater velocity.  As we discovered earlier, greater velocity corresponds to lower flow depth.  Thus, in this case the flow downstream will actually be shallower than the flow at the observer's location.  Because the fluid's acceleration is changing, its change in velocity will be nonlinear.  Specifically, a graph of velocity vs. distance would have a positive slope, but a negative curvature.  This means that the change in velocity (and depth) between two points near the observer will be greater than the change between two points downstream.  Thus, although the fluid will be growing shallower it will be curving towards level with the channel (curving upwards, towards the observer but still getting shallower).

In the second case we see something similar happening.  The flow's depth will be increasing because it is slowing down, but it will be getting deeper at an increasing rate because gravitational acceleration will have a growing horizontal component against the flow.  Thus, we will again observe a flow that curves upwards toward the observer (and getting deeper).

-----------------------------------------

So here we have very interesting results.  Although in neither case does the flow actually follow the Earth's curvature, observation of either one would demonstrate that such curvature exists.  Without a variation in the gravitational pull (such as on a flat Earth) the forces acting on the flow would be uniform throughout, and the entire expanse would be perfectly even.  Depth might change if the channel is slanted, but the rate of change in depth would be linear and no curvature would be observed.

It is interesting to note that the height of the water relative to the center of the Earth -- and correspondingly, the strength of gravity -- at any point along the canal doesn't really affect the results in this problem.  In a stationary fluid situation this would be significant because the weight of the heavier fluid in the center of the canal would have to balance the combined pressure from the ends and we would likely observe a curvature that matches a round Earth (assuming the Earth is round).  In this case, however, the more important factor is the direction of gravity's pull relative to the plane of the canal.




Finally, it should also be noted that I neglected friction throughout this analysis.  Considering that three sides of the flow are in contact with a solid surface, friction will likely be a significant factor in the actual shape of the flow.  Consider also, however, the sort of effect it would have.  Friction will slow the flow and cause it to get deeper.  In fluid applications, friction between the fluid and a containing surface is directly proportional to the velocity of the fluid.  Thus, as the fluid slows the frictional losses will decrease and the rate at which the fluid slows will correspondingly decrease. 

This will yield an observation that is quite opposite to our two previous results.  The observed effect of this frictional loss will be a flow that is increasing in depth but at a decreasing rate, appearing to curve downward from the observer (though never below horizontal).  If you wish to research this, a good place to start would be to google the Darcy-Weisbach equation.

This is a very complex problem, and the specific interaction between the frictional forces and the gravitational forces would likely have to be measured carefully to determine the net effect.

It is an unfortunate truth, but the nature of fluid dynamics is such that most interesting problems are too complex to solve analytically; instead they must be done experimentally, or computationally using a highly specialized simulation that would probably have to be specifically coded to work for your application.  Oh, and you'd need one heck of a computer because to get the degree of accuracy needed here would require simultaneous computation of thousands, if not millions of tiny fluid elements.


Visualization:
http://imgur.com/OBaLi
note: Greatly exaggerated.  The actual effects would be extremely small over the distances discussed in this thread.

27
Flat Earth Debate / Re: Zeteticism is the opposite of science
« on: August 22, 2011, 11:55:52 PM »
Wilmore,

Allow me to first say that I appreciate the effort you're putting forth to have a civilized discussion on this topic.  Seeing as how it seems to be a subject you have studied for some time, I'm sure you've also spent some time answering similar questions from the uninitiated.  This has been a topic of interest to me since I found this forum, and I'm glad to finally find someone from the FE side who is willing to help me properly understand it.

Simply put, you say that "[the rejection of inductive reasoning] is where Zeteticism's major shortcoming (from a scientific point of view, at least) lies . . . [this] hampers[s] the practicing zetetic by crippling his ability to reason in the manner to which humans are naturally accustomed." The problem is that implicit in this criticism is the assumption that because humans are naturally accustomed to reason inductively, any theory that does not embrace inductive reasoning is faulty. However, one of the key tenets of Zeteticism is that (following Hume's criticisms) inductive reasoning is not a sound basis for seeking truth.

...

Your post was well articulated and in no way hostile or disparaging. However, I am compelled to point out that the conclusion that Zeteticism is flawed compared relies on the premise that inductive reasoning is sound. As a central tenet of Zeteticism is that inductive reasoning is not sound, the value of inductive reasoning is precisely what is being contested.

I think perhaps I wasn't quite clear in the way I framed my criticism.  My argument wasn't meant to find flaw with zeteticism for its rejection of induction in general; as you already mentioned, Hume (and others) have found fault with induction as a logical process and for my part the argument there appears sound.  It should be noted that implicit in the scientific method and the formulation of scientific theory is an acknowledgement of this weakness.  As someone with experience in this aspect of human inquiry, I think many would agree that the acknowledgement of this epistemological weakness is one of science's greatest strengths.  It humbles the practicing scientist, and enables those who understand it to work towards improving humanity's understanding of the natural world.

Instead, what I meant to accomplish was to demonstrate that zeteticism cannot be used to accomplish the same sorts of things that science accomplishes (though by the same token, science is lacking in the opposite sense).  Considering your comments to follow, I think we both agree on this point.


In my opinion this is likely to be a matter of debate among Zetetics in much the same way as philosophers of science have requent disputes about falsifiability. For my part, I believe that direct sensorial evidence is a strict but sound criterion, and that rules out using the observations of others as a basis for Zetetic reasoning.

From my understanding of zeteticism, this seems like a pretty reasonable position to hold.  I do have to ask though, what is the reasoning behind drawing the line at observations made by others?  I can see why one might have cause to doubt the word of some (probably most, in truth) people in their observation, but it seems to me that a sufficiently like-minded individual who is as careful in his experiments as oneself might provide an acceptable source of observational evidence. 

Why should you trust your own senses but never those of another?  As I said, I can understand ruling out some/most people on this issue, but a blanket statement including *all* other people requires some pretty strong assumptions.  Such a position might stem from a sort of ultra-skeptical Cartesian inquiry, but it's a fairly slippery slope that lies between "my senses are acceptable evidence" and "at least some other people's senses are acceptable evidence." 

Predictive power is not as important for Zeteticism as it is for the scientific method. Zetetic theories live or die based on their logical consistency and validity. Scientific theories live or die based on their predictive power. In other words, predictive power is the standard by which scientific theories measured, but it is not the standard by which Zetetic theories are measured.


Nobody is saying that inductive reasoning is useless and that we should reject it outright. Simply put, predictions are necessarily inductive and therefore necessarily uncertain. Zeteticism is about seeking the truth, and determining what is incontestably true. If we wish to make predictions, we are forced to leave the realm of truth and enter the realm of doubt and uncertainty. So long as that is acknowledged, it is not a problem.

I think this gets to the heart of my confusion on the subject of zeteticism.  From this comment it seems that I should conclude that the practice is not intended to function as an investigative tool geared towards understanding the world around us, but is instead an epistemological framework for judging what we might count as knowledge.  Does this sound like a fair assessment to you?

Where I got hung up on the issue was the usage of "zetetic" and "zeteticism" common to some of the more vocal personalities on this forum.  It often appears in a context implying that when attempting to understand the universe we should substitute zeteticism for science, which clearly contradicts your own exposition on the subject and the discussion we have had to this point.  I realize that several of these people are simply trolling, but given their extended exposure to the subject I mistakenly believed that they properly understood it.

Much of my previous commentary has been from the position of a scientifically-minded individual.  As you properly noted, scientific theory lives or dies largely on the basis of its predictive power; from the standpoint of a critical analysis of zeteticism, it seemed only natural to search for this similarity when I had taken the practice to be intended as a substitute for science.

Again, thank you for taking the time to discuss this topic.  It is really helping me to understand the position of the FE theorists (the serious ones, not the trolls).

28
Flat Earth Debate / Re: Zeteticism is the opposite of science
« on: August 21, 2011, 11:37:13 PM »
There's a lot of question-begging going on here, frankly, and precious little justification. Incidentally, the cogito as written above is taken from the Discourse on Method, though a different expression of the same concept constitutes the turning point of the second meditation.

I admit I may have engaged in a bit of reductio, but I don't really think I did any question begging (or if I did, could you please elaborate?). 

I also freely admit that my understanding of zeteticism is somewhat limited; my primary source on the subject has been your own Discourse on the Zetetic Method, appearing in this thread:

http://www.theflatearthsociety.org/forum/index.php?topic=48821.0

The post you quoted was not intended to disparage zeteticism per se, but instead was more aimed at demonstrating why it cannot completely replace the function of science.  It is certainly useful in its own right and has its strengths, and science definitely has shortcomings.

The main point, I think, of the difference between the two is in the acceptance or rejection of inductive logic.  Science is founded on it, zetetecism rejects it.  And I suppose this is where my own confusion steps in. 

Scientific knowledge is based strongly on argumentation from both inductive and deductive logic, but anyone versed in the scientific method knows that the weakness of induction is accounted for in the type of conclusions that are reached.  Science never says, "this is absolutely true," because it is acknowledged that a conclusion drawn from an inductive hypothesis can be infallible.  Instead what we get are results that amount to a best guess based on collected evidence and analytical effort.

Again, pardon my confusion, but it seems like zetetecism takes the opposite approach.  Deductive logic is applied to observations, and the conclusion drawn is necessarily infallible if the logic is done well and if the premises are correct.  Barring a rejection of deductive logical structure, the only thing that really has a problem here is the verification of the premises (the observations).  It is well known that sensorial evidence is prone to inaccuracy; following this thought train, however, leads us down the primrose path that Descartes already traveled before us.  To this end, your citation and points about Rowbotham's solution to the problem of solipsism is well-taken and it seems reasonable to accept that the zetetic can extend his reality beyond himself.

My real problem, I think, is where a zetetic draws the line on what constitutes acceptable evidence.  I can obviously count observations taken with my own eyes, but can I accept observations taken through a telescope?  What about if I watch someone else make an observation with their own eyes that I could have made, but chose not to?  What if I receive a data sheet detailing observations that someone else made?

On a similar vein, what does zeteticism have to say about prediction?  A large part of the merit of a scientific theory is based on its predictive power, but again this is rooted in the inductive logic employed by the scientific method. 

It seems to me (please, correct me here if I am misinterpreting things) that it is impossible to make a zetetic, predictive statement.  If I drop a ball a thousand times and observe a high degree of consistency in its motion, I might zetetically argue that this ball tended to fall consistently during my tests; when asked about what will happen the next time it is dropped, however, there is no possible chain of deductive logic that leads from "this ball fell at approximately the same rate over the last thousand tests, therefore it will fall at the same rate during the next test."  There is certainly an inductive method by which to reach this conclusion, but I am at a loss to see the deductive method by which zetetecism can make predictions.

29
Flat Earth Q&A / Re: sunrise, sunset
« on: August 21, 2011, 10:07:30 PM »
Some kind of optical phenomena produce the apparent movements of the celestial bodies. We do not have a complete theory of light, but there are some rough working models.

Wilmore, can you give us any idea (even a rough one would be great) of what is involved with the related optical phenomena here?  I've done some digging and the best I can come up with is the aforementioned heresay and rumor regarding Aetheric Edification.  Nothing at all on what sort of mechanism might be at work.

This subject is honestly one of the biggest sticking points to me for the whole FE worldview.  There is a lot of other things that can tentatively be explained away with various methods that provide an alternative to the currently accepted scientific model, but this is the one major topic I've seen which has had virtually no serious treatment (that I can find) from the FE community.

30
You cant see equally in every direction. You assume you can because your eye is round, but each eye has part of its vision blocked by your facial features such as nose and brow. Unless your eye is on a stalk or you are grotesquely deformed, these areas are permanently vignetting your sight. The lateral side of your vision has the greatest periphery, the superior part the least. The medio-lateral axis has greater coverage than the supero-inferior axis (in laymans terms you can see more side to side than you can up and down).
You would think this would be noticeable but it isnt very because your eyes are used to it throughout your life. You also are almost unable to see colour at the edge of your vision but your brain fills it in for you without you realising.

And here I thought Thork was the resident expert on semantic derails.

The point of the original comment about line of sight had nothing to do with eye/face anatomy and the relative extent of your peripheral vision in various directions.  I think we can all fairly agree that the video in question was shot using some sort of camera, which presumably has a symmetrical lens system for capturing images and a symmetrical boundary restricting outside light.

In such a device, the field of vision is indeed circular (or approximately so).  If a camera can only see (hypothetically) objects 40 yards directly in front, then barring any major defects we can take this to be the radius of its field of vision.  Said another way:  if a camera pointed along the x-axis can see objects up to 40 yards away along that axis, then it will not be able to see objects 40 yards along the x-axis and 1 yard along the y-axis; it will, however, be able to see objects within the circle defined by x^2 + y^2 = 1600 (within the left/right bounds of its vision of course).

The original comment about line of line of sight was meant (I think) to imply that for objects receding into infinity we will observe a circular shape over a large enough area, presumably because we can only see to a certain distance.  Thus, for a flat Earth that extends infinitely along its plane, any observer sufficiently high up will note a circular boundary to the portion of Earth that they can see.

If you really want to find flaw with the argument, ask instead about the reasons which might limit the distance that we can see.  Without obstruction, light will travel into infinity.  In this case, observing blackness beyond a certain radius indicates that either there is nothing in that direction at all to emit/reflect light, or that there is something that is obstructing the light.

If it were the first case, then there would not even be a question of the shape of our line of sight.  Since the poster (Hazbollah, I think?) made the comment, we must therefore assume that he believes something is obstructing light from traveling after a long enough distance. 

The only thing possible to obstruct light in this case is the atmosphere (a reasonable candidate, to be sure).  The problem with this, however, is that such an observation of a very regularly-shaped circular section would require an extremely homogenous chunk of atmosphere between the observer and the horizon.  Without this homogeneity, different amounts of light will be obstructed over different areas, and the horizon that we see here would not be very regularly shaped. 

It is well known that the atmosphere is far from homogenous.  It may contain a fairly regular mix of gases, but it varies greatly in density, moisture content, temperature, etc. (hence, weather happens).  All of these things would affect the transmission of light through the medium.  The clouds alone in this video are enough to demonstrate that no such homogeneity is being observed.

So the question becomes:  If you expect your observations from limited field of vision to imitate a circle, then you must also expect the limiting factors to be regular along the field; when no such regularity exists, what else could be an explanation for the observed circularity?

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