Critique of the Flat Earth FAQ

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Thermal Detonator

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Critique of the Flat Earth FAQ
« on: December 27, 2009, 01:38:37 PM »
Q: "Why do you guys believe the Earth is flat?"

A:  They think it looks that way up close, even though a massive sphere would look the same. Samuel Rowbotham et al. performed a variety of experiments over a period of several years that show it must be flat, however when these were repeated by others they showed the earth was not flat at all.  They are all explained in his book, along with a lot of other gross inaccuracies and misunderstandings of basic physics and optics.

Q: "What is the circumference and diameter of the Earth?"

Circumference: 24,900 miles
Diameter: approx 7926 miles at the equator.
The flat earthers believe different figures but are unable to explain where their numbers come from.
In John Davis's model, the Earth is an infinite plane and is 9000 kilometers deep. He has no evidence for there being anything beyond Antarctica and the 9000 km number is just a random number plucked out of nowhere.

Q: "What about the stars, sun and moon and other planets? Are they flat too? What are they made of?"

Now there's a can of worms. We'll start with the Sun:
Flat earthers have no explanation for how it generates its light and heat that is consistent with observation. They have no explanation that makes sense for its composition. They believe the Sun is at an arbitrary distance of 3000 miles up, but no evidence on why this distance is more viable than any other. Some believe it is a flat disc, even though it appears circular no matter where it's viewed from (there is no explanation for this). In the model of flat earth that has Antarctica round the rim, there is no explanation of how one sees the sun circle right round the horizon during the summer. In the flat earth model with Antarctica as a distinct continent, the path of the sun's illumination accounts for that but makes no sense from other parts of the world.

As for the Moon: They have no explanation for how it generates light that is consistent with observation. Some believe it is self luminous even though lunar eclipses disprove this. Some believe it is a flat disc even though observing its libration disproves this. Some believe it is covered with migrating luminous critters that scuttle back and forth to explain the phases, even though close observation of the moon through a telescope disproves this, as there are isolated lit patches that dwindle without moving anywhere (mountain peaks). Other FE'ers think the phases are due to weather patterns, despite the moon having virtually no atmosphere and no weather pattern anywhere ever being observed to be that predictable. There is no FE explanation of how someone watching the moon rise sees the same side of it as someone in another part of the world watching it set.

They think other planets are tiny and have no real explanation of what controls their movements.


Q: "Please explain sunrises/sunsets."

A: They can't explain them in any manner that fits with what is observed.

Q: "What about satellites? How do they orbit the Earth?"

A: Annoyingly for the FE'ers, satellites won't work on a flat earth so they have had to make up alternative explanations for where the signals come from. This is basically broadcast towers and invisible high altitude stationary aircraft. Nobody has ever seen these aircraft, even though there'd have to be hundreds of them hovering in the sky. See the section on the Conspiracy.


Q: "Do you have a map?"

A: Not one that works. It is impossible to produce a map of a flat earth without distorting some of the continents to shapes we know they do not have. Furthermore, the RE map is known to be correct as it can be used to predict viewing locations of solar eclipses with 100% accuracy. The RE map is incompatible with a Flat Earth: therefore any FE map has to be incorrect, and by extension, the earth cannot be flat.

The two most common maps advertised by the FES are one with Antarctica as a big ring round the edge, which is incompatible with both the measured distance round Antarctica and flight times between places in the southern hemisphere. The other has Antarctica as a seperate continent but that map is incompatible with how people navigate across such places as the Pacific Ocean.
Note there is no reason ever given with the first map why Antarctica is a ring round the edge and the North pole in the centre rather than vice versa.


Q: "Exactly what shape is the Earth if it's flat? Square or circle?"

A: Since the FE'ers claim nobody has any knowledge of an accurate map layout and that nobody knows exactly where the edge is, the flat earth could be a prism of any shape - hexagonal, square, triangular etc.

Q: "Why doesn't water run off the Earth?"

A: They claim there is an ice wall of an arbitrary height of 150 feet keeping it in. Nobody has ever seen this wall so the height figure is purely made up. There is no evidence of its existence.


Q: "Wouldn't the atmosphere be diffused into space?"

A: Yes.

Q: "What about Lunar Eclipses?"

A: A celestial body, known as the antimoon, supposedly passes between the sun and moon. This projects a shadow upon the moon. However there is no evidence that this object exists other than the shadow, which is exactly what one would expect to see if the earth was round. The antimoon is completely undetectable the rest of the time. It is not clear how the antimoon "knows" when it needs to pop out and cast a shadow exactly when RE orbital theory predicts the earth would be between the sun and moon. One can only speculate it reads astronomy magazines.

Q: "How come the travel time by air from South America to New Zealand, via the polar route, is SHORTER than the travel time going North first and then South again?"

A: The FE explanation is that "airline pilots are guided by their GPS. Remember that satellites don't exist. The replacement data given from pseudolites deliberately throwing distorting all the paths to make it the flights take different times. The curvature of these paths can add or subtract great distances without the overall turning being obvious to someone traveling it."
This is wrong for the following reasons:

1. Airline pilots are guided by more than just GPS, and for most of aviation history GPS wasn't even invented. They still managed to navigate great circle routes pretty well without it.

2. Claiming GPS is fed false data leads to the Bilocation Paradox, where a GPS unit being used by someone in the air would be showing a different location to a GPS unit being used by someone on the ground who can confirm their location is correct. Despite the fact that the GPS units would be receiving the same signals. No FE explanation to the Bilocation Paradox has ever been suggested.

3. Pilots would likely notice the sun being in the wrong place as they turned.


Q: "When traveling in a straight direction, you will always reach the same point on the globe from where you started. How can this happen if the world is flat?"

A: It can't.

Q: "If you go directly south won't you eventually fall off the edge of the Earth?"

A: Yes, you will. In order to get round this very obvious hole in their theory, FE'ers come up with a variety of excuses, among which are: "Nobody has ever been to Antarctica", "The Ice Wall is guarded and anybody who tries to fly over it is shot down and killed", "The weather eventually gets so harsh that people are forced to turn back". Despite these convincing claims, the FE'ers have no explanation for where on the disc the location of the south polar bases actually is, or why nobody has ever managed to go further south than 90 degrees.


Q: "NASA and other world space agencies have pictures of the Earth from space, and in those pictures the Earth is clearly a globe; in this day and age, hasn't it been proven beyond any doubt that the Earth is round?"

A: Yes, but because this would be the final nail in the flat earth coffin, the FE'ers claim that every single image and piece of data from every space program in the world has been faked. This involves a massive conspiracy, who are also the ones operating fake satellite aircraft. It doesn't take a genius to work out that this conspiracy would have to involve hundreds if not thousands of people.

Q: "What is the motive behind this Conspiracy?"

A: The FE'rs say it is to make money by keeping the cash given to them to make a space program. However, this is flimsy because not only do you have the cost of building all the very real space shuttles, rockets and so on that can actually be launched (and their support infrastructure), you'd also have to be paying everyone in on the truth a great deal to keep quiet about it. Given the huge sums that could be gained from leaking the story to the press multiplied by the number of people who would have to be conspiracy members, it's easy to see that it would cost more money to keep the conspiracy going undercover than it would to run a real space program.

Q: "No one could possibly pull off such a conspiracy successfully."

A: Damn right.

Q: "Why has this site not been shut down by the government?"

A: Because the government are not really running a conspiracy.

Q: "Are there any other holes in FET that they cannot explain?"

A: They have no valid explanation for why there appear to be two celestial poles moving in sync with each other. They have no explanation for why some rocks from the moon are completely different to terrestrial rocks. They have no valid explanation for why ships appear to gradually sink down over the horizon.

Q: "Don't they use bendy light for that?"

A: Bendy light has never been independently detected. It is only assumed when using the earth's surface as a component of the measuring system and making the assumption that that surface is completely flat. All observations of light using controlled and known variables indicate it travels in a straight path. There are no experiments or observations of light using controlled and known variables that indicate any degree of bending. A good equivalent example would be saying something was ten inches long by measuring it with a ruler on which you had drawn the inch markings by guesswork.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2009, 12:14:45 AM by Jack »
Gayer doesn't live in an atmosphere of vaporised mustard like you appear to, based on your latest photo.

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skeptical scientist

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Re: Critique of the Flat Earth FAQ
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2009, 02:20:55 PM »
Q: "Is this site for real?"

A: This site is real. There are about 4 members who seriously believe the Earth is flat. However, there are also members who pretend to believe that for their own amusement, and are trolls. The rest of the forum posters are Round Earthers either trying to make the FE'ers look stupid or hammer sense into them.
You are forgetting the rather substantial portion of people who may not believe that the Earth is flat, but who dismantle the many flawed arguments provided by REers trying to show the Earth is not flat. (For example the many threads where people claim that the UA model doesn't work because the Earth would eventually go faster than the speed of light, or planes and birds would crash, or whatever.)
-David
E pur si muove!

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Thermal Detonator

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Re: Critique of the Flat Earth FAQ
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2009, 02:46:43 PM »
Yep, that's a good reminder.
Gayer doesn't live in an atmosphere of vaporised mustard like you appear to, based on your latest photo.

Re: Critique of the Flat Earth FAQ
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2009, 03:20:26 AM »
The truth,
it has been spoken.
When I was 5 years old my mum always told me that happiness was the key to life.
When I went to school they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.
I wrote down "happy."
They told me I didn't understand the assignment.

Re: Critique of the Flat Earth FAQ
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2009, 04:43:54 AM »
Of course they won't touch this topic...

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parsec

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Re: Critique of the Flat Earth FAQ
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2009, 07:44:45 AM »
I will just point out some numerical data for you for now, since you quoted so many points in one thread.

Q: "Why do you guys believe the Earth is flat?"

A:  They think it looks that way up close, even though a massive sphere would look the same. Samuel Rowbotham et al. performed a variety of experiments over a period of several years that show it must be flat, however when these were repeated by others they showed the earth was not flat at all.  They are all explained in his book, along with a lot of other gross inaccuracies and misunderstandings of basic physics and optics.
SBR performed experiments that did not agree with the model that the Earth is a sphere with an approximate circumference of 40,000 km as claimed by the REers. No one said it is a large sphere. It was assumed exactly as big as claimed by REers. Where did this magic figure come up? The meter was defined as the ten millionth part of the length of the meridian passing through Paris from the North Pole to the Equator. The only logical conclusion that SR could come up with after his experiments was that the Earth was flat.

It is my belief that, even a positive result in Bedford level-like experiments is not inconsistent with FE. However, the apparent curvature of the Earth is due to light rays propagating along curved lines (Bendy Light Theory - BLT). This theory is in its infancy mainly because of two reasons:
1) There are no reliable quantitative data for distances between fixed points on the Earth, since those distances were essencially measured by using light propagation (telescopic methods) and assuming straight-line propagation;
2) The math is rather involved.

This has serious repercussions on other questions you posed below, but you might use the Search function and see what has been said about these issues before.

As a grand project, I plan on devising methods of measuring distances by using flexible measuring lines. However, I want to take into account the specific shape of the lines when hanged over large distances as well as their dilation due to strain. I had troubles of mathematical nature even here, so I did not post anything on this issue.

Q: "What is the circumference and diameter of the Earth?"

Circumference: 24,900 miles
Diameter: approx 7926 miles at the equator.
The flat earthers believe different figures but are unable to explain where their numbers come from.
In John Davis's model, the Earth is an infinite plane and is 9000 kilometers deep. He has no evidence for there being anything beyond Antarctica and the 9000 km number is just a random number plucked out of nowhere.
See the above definition of the meter. Since the Equator is exactly half between the North and the South Pole, and in FE, the South Pole is actually a circular rim, the diameter of this rim must be 40,000 km. Do the conversion between kilometers and miles (1 mi = 1.609 km) and you will get 24,860 miles, or with 3 significant figures, exactly the number stated above. Please note that you misquoted the FAQ on this, erroneously quoting this number as the circumference of the Earth. The circumference is obtained by the formula (C = d*π) and it turns out to be 78,100 miles.

In JD's model, the grav field is caused by ordinary Newtonian gravity. Using Gauss' Law, one can prove that in order that the g-field near the surface of a slab with thickness H is to be equal to the g-field near the surface of a sphere with radius R, when both of them have the same density, we must have the relation:

H = 2*R/3 = C/(3*π).

Using the above mentioned value for the RE circumference, we get 4,240 km. This is about half the value given by JD. I believe that it is because he mistakenly ommited a factor of 2 when using Gauss' Law for a slab.