Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Disc world

A couple of days ago I did a post on a climate change denier who attempted to science and failed rather catastrophically by neglecting to consider in his calculations the fact that the Earth is a sphere.  "Flat Earther" has become a synonym for "nut," with good reason, and the climate change denier -- one Ross MacLeod -- let himself in for a good deal of well-deserved ridicule for the error.

The problem is, there are people who seriously believe that the Earth is flat, and they're every bit as fervent about it as Mr. MacLeod is about his denialism.  In fact, as I found out from a piece that appeared two days ago in The Guardian, the Flat Earthers' devotion to their particular brand of wingnuttery has in common with religion not only its zeal, but its fractiousness.  Because I learned from the article, "Flat-Earthers Are Back: 'It’s almost like the beginning of a new religion'" by Beau Dure, that there are almost as many sects of Flat Eartherism as there are of Christianity.

The schismatic nature of Flat Eartherism becomes apparent when you consider the heretical views of YouTuber TigerDan925, who shocked the absolute hell out his followers when he admitted that Antarctica was a continent, and not an ice wall surrounding the Earth's disk.  The backlash was immediate and vitriolic, as if he'd nailed a tract to the cathedral door saying that the Pope wasn't the true leader of the church or something:
You've jumped to an awful lot of conclusions based on very little evidence here, Dan. And now ALL flat earthers are liars?  Really.  You showed us nothing but people on/in ice and snow.  You showed us a red dot where a military base supposedly is. The clip with the people playing instruments is REALLY convincing that All Flat Earthers are liars, for sure!  What the hell are you doing?  I mean, other than cause useless dissension...  Shame on you, dude.  Seriously.
From there, it was only a short walk to his being accused of selling out:
They got to you didn't they bro?  I saw you uncovering truth, interviewing missionaries and I thought you were legit.  It seems like overnight, you changed your position, despite all of the evidence YOU gathered.  Now you're saying there's only one scripture and it's vague so you will leave it out?  If you know it or not, you just lost yourself so much credibility, and you have more thumbs down than up.  I understand changing your position when you find new CREDIBLE evidence, but that's not what you did.  You went from believing the bible to not believing the bible, seems like overnight.  Leads me to believe "SOMEBODY" made you change your stance.
But never mind him, one commenter said, because the Eternal Truth will win out even if one guy is spouting heresy:
Next he says the Antarctica is not governed and protected by the Illuminati, that somehow any group deciding to buy and invest in equipment is free to roam anywhere by plane or on land.  This is absolute rubbish...  2016 is the year it becomes common knowledge the earth is flat, just like 9/11 became common knowledge, no stopping the truth now.
Someone claiming that Antarctica isn't governed by the Illuminati!  If you can imagine.  Next thing you know, he'll be claiming that salvation is through faith and not through actions, or something.

I didn't realize, however, how deep the dissension goes.  According to Dure's article, this is serious stuff, with Flat Earthers like Eric Dubay of the International Flat Earth Research Society keeping "a lengthy Nixon-style enemies list, labeling... many other flat-Earthers 'shills' who deliberately poison the movement with flawed arguments."

You'd think there'd be enough flawed arguments to go around, wouldn't you?  No need to fight over them, really.

The whole thing reminds me of all of the sects and sub-sects and splinter sects in Rosicrucianism, which has led me to suspect that the number of Rosicrucian groups might exceed the number of actual Rosicrucians.  And the Rosicrucians and the Flat Earthers, honestly, have approximately the same grasp on reality, so the analogy is pretty apt.

Anyhow, I had no idea that a woo-woo belief system could have so many internal divisions.  Shouldn't be surprising, I suppose.  It reminds me of a bit of wisdom that a friend of mine picked up while working for the Peace Corps in Senegal: "There are forty different kinds of lunacy, but only one kind of common sense."

1 comment:

  1. What an epiphany! I had no idea the flat earthers were anything more than a social group who liked to kid each other around.