Flat Earthers P4c

We continue to dissect the arguments put forward that the earth is somehow not a sphere:

So what evidence is given to prove that what I stand on is part of a spinning, orbitting, wobbling ball in a great and grand blackness, just one of many flying things?

Boats going over the horizon bottom first? All the heavenly bodies are spheres so the earth must be sphere? Eratosthenes and the wells or sticks? Eclipses? The Coriolis effect? Different constellations in different latitudes? Photos from space? Circumnavigation, going around the world? While I was making sure my little list contained all the normal basic proofs, I did a little search online. I’ll summarise them and see if they were or are good enough for me to leave experience aside and settle on the fact that I must be on a ball.

Boats going over the horizon bottom first. Ok. I’ve seen plenty of videos of something like this. So because some, not all, boats disappear from the bottom at certain distances, this is said to prove the ball earth. How? Because it is concluded that the boats are being blocked physically by earth curve, the boats going over the curve of the earth like going over a hill. Ok. The logical formulation of the argument is this:

Hesedyahu is about to present his ‘evidence’ and logical arguments. The bullet points are his, but for some reason I can’t alter the colour of the text in those sections.

  • If the earth is a ball, the ships should disappear from the bottom up due to earth curve.
  • Ships do disappear from the bottom up, so the earth is a ball.

I’ve already got a problem with this. I think it’s a logical fallacy called “affirming the consequent.” The formulation of the fallacy is this:

  • If p then q,
  • q therefore p.

This is a failure in logic because there may be other reasons for q. For example, “if I’m outside when it’s raining, I get wet. I’m wet, therefore I was outside when it was raining.” One thing doesn’t necessarily follow the other. There may be other reasons for this phenomenon if it actually happens.

Also there is a begging the question fallacy in the first part: “if the earth is a ball, the ships will disappear bottom first as they sail away due to earth curve.” The conclusion of ball earth is found in the premise: “earth is a ball” and “due to earth curve.”

The first part of the argument is that ships disappear bottom up as they go away from a person. This isn’t necessarily true. Sometimes they do simply fade into the distance. So that would contradict that claim right there. If they are going over some hill-curve of the earth, then they are being physically and visibly blocked, always. There can’t be a “sometimes.”

The second part of the argument states that they disappear bottom-up because of earth curve. But people have carried out tests on surfaces known to be flat and gotten the same effect. In fact, others have tested this claim with non-moving objects but altered the humidity of the place and things disappeared bottom-up as well. So this highlights the “affirming the consequent” fallacy that takes place with the “ships over the horizon” claim.

Also what makes this idea nonsensical is that once a sea vessel is beyond the horizon, if it’s a physical curve and obstruction, then no amount of zooming in on the ship with optical devices would bring it back into view anymore than me using a zoom lens on a camera focused on the top of a brick wall to help me see a tennis ball on the other side of that wall. Yet, there are videos of people zooming in onto the horizon and bringing back ships into sight.

For evidence of all this, see the following links.

So what’s a horizon? It’s where the sky appears to meet the earth. So it is only an apparent thing, not a real thing, because the sky doesn’t really meet the earth, only due to the way the human eye works. But the people using this as proof have turned what was only optical into something physical. It has now become the edge of a curve, a sphere with certain properties such as a radius and circumference. So some of those properties make certain arguments possible.

If the earth is a sphere with a radius of 3959 miles, then the horizon, that limiting aspect of a curve, can be no more than, in miles, 1.2 * √(the height of the eyes of the observer in feet). I’ve tested this calculation with the curve calculators of globe believers that mention horizon limits. But why is this the case? Because the horizon is supposed to be like the top of a hill. Things may be able to obscure it and make top harder to see, but as far as I know, nothing can make you see what is behind the hill, because it’s a physical obstruction and limit.

If a camera is 1ft off the ground, the horizon should be 1.2 miles away. This picture shows the horizon to be more than 10 times this value. I have heard of so-called “atmospheric refraction” and that light can bend. But the notion of it causing a magnification of 10 times beggars belief. Also, even if someone said “refraction can account for it,” the problem is that the ball earth is yet to be proved. There’s little point in invoking refraction if you’ve yet to prove the ball.

There’s another video where a person is on a plane of a certain height taking pictures of islands hundreds of miles away. The distance to that horizon is way off as well, too far beyond the mathematics and geometry.

To summarise, this proof is first a logical fallacy (maybe two), it claims things that doesn’t always happen, says that the effect is only caused by earth curve when there are multiple other possibilities, like how eyes work and the nature of air and humidity, and leads to issues that contradict the ball idea. Tell me, who would provide a proof wrought with so many problems? If this is supposed to be a reason for me to forsake my senses and experience, then, for me, it fails terribly.

Wow, if I deal with each issue in so lengthy a fashion, then this is gonna be a long post. Hmph. Whatever.

In an earlier segment I showed a photo taken from a plane where the curvature of the earth is clearly visible. Anyone can climb a tree and see that their field of vision changes. With a clear line of sight we can see stars in the night sky, despite those objects being billions of miles away. We can see other planets that are millions of miles away. How is it then, that on a flat earth I cannot see the city of London, that I live only a few miles from, at night, when it’s all lit up?

There are many simple, easy means to determine the nature of the earth, using one’s own senses (if for whatever reason you decide that you will not trust anything or anyone else). The movement of shadows, among other things, is another way. None of the ‘arguments’ raised by Hesedyahu can stand up under even basic scrutiny.

Moving on…

So there’s the argument that all the bodies in the sky are spheres, so the earth too must be a sphere. Again, there’s a lot missing with this sort of reasoning. Why would I think the ground is like the sky? They don’t even look or act the same. So on what basis would I think that because some of what is above my head are spheres then what is below my feet is spherical?

Let me think how sturdy that logic is.

  • Everyone else at my school is black, so I’m black.
  • I’m surrounded by trees in a forest, so I’m a tree.
  • All the balls on the pool/snooker table are spherical, so the snooker/pool table is spherical.

The reasoning is stupid, to be blunt.

Again, I can’t seem to change the text colour on the bullet points, so apologies.

There is some funky reasoning here, but it’s on the part of Hesedyahu. Take his false analogies. A more appropriate one would be ‘why would one ball on the snooker table actually be a disc when all the others are balls?’

Added to that, I personally don’t see spheres all over the sky. From where I am, I see points of light except for the sun and moon, and I’ve never seen another side to them. So maybe the logic should be that everything in the sky is a shining light, so earth is a shining light? Except the earth isn’t.

Oh, oh wait. I can see it coming: the pictures we get from space agencies shows all the heavenly bodies are spherical. I can’t verify those pictures at all. And I have no reason to trust the source. Think about it. I have no clue about what something is because it’s out of my reach and a stranger says, “hey, it is x and it does this and that.” Can I prove a damn thing he’s saying? Nope. But he’s part of a group that thinks the same thing. So? There are others that think differently. So? What’s worse is that this group is part of the government. Not really a stamp of truth at all, more like the total opposite of truth.

What I find curious is that Hesedyahu wants us to trust only our own direct experiences, well in that case, what can we ever trust? There is no reason for space agencies to lie to us. Whether they are a part of governments or not is beside the point. The dedication to learning about the cosmos and the world around us does not have an agenda, unless you need to create one for the purpose of your own agenda.

But let me take off my total-skeptic hat since there may be amateur pics of the intangible heavenly objects. So all I have is that the brightest of the starry objects are colourful circles. Nice. Again, what does that have to do with where I live? The rationale is just weak, that’s all. As if I’d deny my experience for something so flimsy.

What Hesedyahu should be asking is ‘why, given all the images, would earth somehow be different to all the rest of the celestial objects out there?’ To assert that earth must be different, because he’s chosen to reject evidence out of what I can only describe as paranoia, is hardly, in my book, rational.

Eratosthenes. Now people can’t seem to get this story straight. Was it sticks or wells? Either way, the story that’s told is … Damn, each time I hear it, it sounds less like history and more like a children’s story or a myth with fuzzy and odd details. Check out this video to see why I say this. I’ll say my problems after the story.

So this guy from the third century BCE finds out one of two things, if any. He lives in one city and finds that, at midday, there is a well that has no shadow since the sunlight goes straight in, but in another well, there’s a shadow. In other versions, it’s a stick or buildings in one city that has or have no shadow at midday whereas there is a shadow in another. He purportedly has a guy pace out the distance between the two cities and gets a distance of about 800 km. So a guy walks 800 kilometres to measure it? Really? And he didn’t use kilometres but something called a “stadia.” A problem here is that some places suggest or outright claim that we don’t know how long a stadia is (see the video I previously referred to). He uses the angle made by a shadow in the well or one made by sticks and some assumptions to calculate the circumference of the Earth. This is said to prove that the Earth is a ball.

Again, it’s a story full of holes. Look at this statement by Wikipedia.

The key words in this statement are “Eratosthenes’ method to calculate the Earth’s circumference has been lost; …” (found at https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eratosthenes). Ok, so this is wikipedia, not a great source. Is there a more reputable source? What about the Encylopedia Britannica?

Key phrases include: “The exact length of the units (stadia) he used is doubtful, and the accuracy of his results is therefore uncertain.” But of course the writer comforts the reader by assuring me that “it was certainly in the right range.” Colour me convinced … NOT!

Where is that tight, nice little story?

And what did Eratosthenes assume? Let me quote.

Eratosthenes makes five assumptions which he will use as hypotheses in his argument [11, p. 109 ]. 

1. That Alexandria and Syene lie on the same meridian.

2. That light rays from the Sun which strike the Earth are parallel.

3. That the distance between Alexandria and Syene is 5000 stades.

4. That the angle formed by the shadow and the staff in Alexandria at the summer solstice is equal to 1/50 th of a circle.

5. That the Earth is a sphere.

Eratosthenes and the Mystery of the Stades – The Basic Problem, found at https://www.maa.org/press/periodicals/convergence/eratosthenes-and-the-mystery-of-the-stades-the-basic-problem

I saw something scarily familiar in this quote as I wrote this post, so I kept looking and found a similar quote.

Eratosthenes made a few assumptions. One was that the earth was a sphere and the other was that the sun’s rays were parallel. Neither assumption is true, but both were close enough.

Eratosthenes Measures the Earth, found at https://www.themathdoctors.org/eratosthenes-measures-the-earth/

Do I need a third witness? What about a third and a fourth from hostile witnesses? Wait, aren’t they all hostile witnesses?

It has been noted that Eratosthenes made two important assumptions:

1. That the Earth was a perfect sphere.
2. That Alexandria was 5000 stadia away from Syene/Aswan.

Eratosthenes Measurement of the Radius and Circumference of the Earth, found at https://www.projectglobalawakening.com/eratosthenes-circumference-of-the-earth/

Eratosthenes made two assumptions here: that the earth is a globe and that the sun is distant enough that its rays are essentially parallel. Eratosthenes’ experiment alone does not prove that the earth is a globe because his assumptions must be true in order for his conclusions to be valid.

How To Disprove The Flat Earth, found at https://takethisskepticalblog.wordpress.com/2015/10/21/how-to-disprove-the-flat-earth/

So the claim is that Eratosthenes proved that the earth was a ball; that was the conclusion. However, he also assumed that the earth was a ball. Even when things say “he assumed the two cities were in the same meridian,” the term “meridian” necessitates a ball. So he assumes a ball and looks at shadows on the ground and then proves a ball using maths. It appears we are back at two logical fallacies: affirming the consequent and begging the question. At best, all he did was have a game in his head: plug in assumptions, get some numbers and do maths. Do those maths have anything to do with actual reality? Not a clue. Maths isn’t reality, just a language.

(emphasis mine)

Then I have more of his assumptions. He assumes that the sun is far enough away for the light to be parallel. Where’d that come from? So he didn’t know the distance to the sun and he assumed its light to be parallel. But even I’ve seen sunlight isn’t parallel. There’s plenty of pretty photographs with sunlight spreading out as if from a central source flowing outward. That’s not parallel. Some of the defenses that globe-believers give necessitates that light being able to bend and be distorted due to humidity and the medium of air, making claims of parallel light questionable. So this Eratosthenes “proof” necessitates that I assume what is not real. And this is meant to be convincing? This is part of the grounds upon which flat-earthers are ridiculed? In fact, it gets worse.

What makes this “proof” worse is that it doesn’t eliminate flat earth! It doesn’t disprove flat earth! Why? Because it’s just a mind game where you plug in assumptions and make the maths work. So all one needs to do is change one of the assumptions, that the sun is far away, and it still works. According to another hostile witness, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, the observations would also work for a flat earth with a local/closer sun. In fact, there’s another video that shows that different characteristics of the atmosphere could still have a flat earth. So Eratosthenes isn’t even a disproof of the flat earth! How worthless is that?

So this Eratosthenes “proof” is based on a logical fallacy, has faulty assumptions, may not even prove the ball earth and doesn’t even disprove flat earth! Colour me convinced … NOT!

At the end of all of that on Eratosthenes, it’s worth noting that Hesedyahu quotes briefly from this page, but in an intriguing twist does not address the mathematical arguments put forward regarding shadows, line of sight etc that are put forward by one of his own links – a bit of selective quoting, combined with a derision of maths (see the emphasised text above), is quite interesting. Maths (as much as I loathed the subject at school) underpins much of how technology works – try programming a computer without it.

Also, whatever the apparent flaws in Eratosthenes’ work, his work, taken with that of many others, combined with some straight-forward experiments and simple observations, all rubbish the notion that the earth is not a sphere.

There is still more, including stuff on lunar eclipses and other stuff, but I may leave that for a while. The ‘arguments’ put forward by Hesedyahu thus far require a wholesale rejection of evidence, based on an apparent distrust of the ‘establishment’, and he summed his thought processes with this reply to a comment:

So no, you’ve already shown that we can’t have a beneficial conversation about this. I don’t understand why you would focus on my article as well. The globe religion is the mainstream religion. There are already a plethora of videos and article showing flat earth to be stupid. There is no job for you here. There is no response required or wanted.

Emphasis mine. Hesedyahu sees the notion of a globe earth as a religious one. In my experience, framing this matter in such terms speaks of a reliance upon pseudo-science and appeals to ignorance. I cannot help but think of this quote:

Flat-Earthers seem to have a very low standard of evidence for what they want to believe but an impossibly high standard of evidence for what they don’t want to believe. Lee McIntyre, Boston University

I have no idea if our paths will cross again, but I can only hope he offers better arguments if we do.

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