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Old 28th July 2019, 03:53 AM   #81
Scorpion
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"Not only is the Universe stranger than we think, it is stranger than we can think.”

Werner Heisenberg
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Even in the valley of the shadow of death two and two do not make six.
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Old 28th July 2019, 04:41 AM   #82
Pixel42
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http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/27537.html

Quote:
Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.

Sir Arthur Eddington

English astronomer (1882 - 1944)
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Old 28th July 2019, 06:52 AM   #83
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Originally Posted by IsThisTheLife View Post
It's pitiful to see the usual, how-very-dare-you "what evidence do you have that <insert entity "theorised" by modern so-called physicists> doesn't exist?" spluttering. The child-like trust in authority is path ... heartwarming.

I thought one of the most unintentionally revealing "news stories" recently was the one about the "first ever image of black hole captured", the picture in question being a few thousand pixels forming a fuzzy oval glow. "Oooh!", "aaaah!", "we're so lucky to be alive to see this!", went the gullible masses.
Sputtering? I only asked you what specific issues you have. If you're right it would be nice to know. We won't find out if you won't tell us how you found out.
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Old 28th July 2019, 08:03 AM   #84
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He doesn't underatand it...so he thinks it is silly. Strangely enough I don't think he even tries to make an effort to read and find out.
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Old 28th July 2019, 11:21 AM   #85
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Does anyone recall the I-Ching? Back in 'the day'? Anyone ever use it?
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Old 28th July 2019, 11:53 AM   #86
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Berlitz and VonDaniken when I was a teenager, snapped out of it by BBC2 documentary that explored the reality of the Nazca lines.
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Old 28th July 2019, 01:16 PM   #87
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Erik VonD was prolific as a writer back then, but his line of reasoning was alwayss skidding sideways into stuff nobody can prove. Nobody had any solid anything to back it.

But what else could it be? ugh.... Why don't we check with mundane stuff stone age man could do easily? Nah...
They always ran from the mundane stuff. I didn't want to decide for them, I waited for archeology.
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Old 28th July 2019, 03:18 PM   #88
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Stuff I was never quite a believer in....

UFO's, as extraterrestrial. I read everything I could get my hands on in college, even went to a meeting or two, but in the end, no.
Cryptids. I'd still love for Nessie and Sasquatch to be real, but they aren't.
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Old 28th July 2019, 07:02 PM   #89
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Wink

Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I used to believe in all the 'mysterious world' stuff when I was a kid. That morphed into a fascination with real explanations. I love staying in haunted hotels. I visited the moving rocks 'racetrack' in Death Valley, been to the Bigfoot museum, the Roswell UFO museum, the Little A'Le'Inn at Area 51, and I tried to find the tortilla with Jesus' face in Eastern Oregon. In South America I flew over the Nazca Lines, sought out the ICA Stones, and went to see the meteor crater that supposedly made people sick.

I might think if a few more.
Curious why you included the Devi's Racetrack in your list, because it's a real phenomenon with a scientific explanation. I love Death Valley!

I was raised Catholic (Catholic school K-8), but I was never really a believer. My younger sister backs me up on this, because she was so afraid when we were kids that I was going to go to hell. Ha. She wasn't a full atheist until her late 20s. Better late than never.

However, I absolutely love fiction with supernatural themes. I just read The Bone Clocks a few weeks ago. I know a lot of people think it's Mitchell's worst book, but I really liked it (well, maybe not that Harry Potterish fight in the chapel).

As far as CTs, I used to work in a library for a government data processing department (yeah, waaaay back when it was still called "data processing"), and one of the magazines we subscribed to was Computers & Automation. Wow. Gradually over a year or so, it became about 90% devoted to JFK assassination CTs. It was fun reading, but very, very obsessive.
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Old 28th July 2019, 07:17 PM   #90
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Originally Posted by wasapi View Post
Does anyone recall the I-Ching? Back in 'the day'? Anyone ever use it?
Yes. Though I was given to believe that to use it properly required an immersion in Chinese culture and history which is difficult for a non-Chinese person to receive. I preferred runes.
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- xkcd Time (frame 1071-3)
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Old 28th July 2019, 09:14 PM   #91
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I had a colleague from India who always read the astrology column in the local newspaper, so he could comment on how stupid the description of 'something is in some house, and some other thing is on the cusp of whatever. And therefore people born today should do this.'


"Totally ridiculous, he would say.









"But Indian astrology! Ah, Indian astrology is different. That's the practice for getting real prediction and advice."
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Old 28th July 2019, 11:27 PM   #92
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Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
Logic and science may have answers to many things, but even though I have been on this forum for years, and been subjected to much critical analysis I am still a subscriber to the argument from design.

That is to say that science only observes what is here, and strives to understand how things work. But the fact we have evolved into intelligent beings in a universe that allows such a very long list of what might be called happy accidents which are necessary to bring this about, still seems to me to be unlikely without a guiding hand behind the scenes.
We'll have to agree to disagree on this one. I believe that where there are multiple possible answers, Occum's razor normally provides the right one.
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Old 29th July 2019, 12:00 AM   #93
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Authors I actually thought were research references when I was in High School: Colin Wilson, Eric von Daineken, Berlitz...used to read them vociferously and considered myself very knowledgeable about the paranormal. Had a huge scrapbook of magazine and "newspaper" articles about UFO sightings and ghost visitations. One reason why I never liked the X Files was because Mulder reminded me of my own gullible self in the late 70s and early 80s.
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Old 29th July 2019, 12:13 AM   #94
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Originally Posted by Greebo View Post
We'll have to agree to disagree on this one. I believe that where there are multiple possible answers, Occum's razor normally provides the right one.
Many people won't even try to understand, let alone accept, why their instinctive feeling for how likely coincidences are to occur is simply wrong. It's the root of most belief in the paranormal, IMO.
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Old 29th July 2019, 04:38 AM   #95
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Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
Many people won't even try to understand, let alone accept, why their instinctive feeling for how likely coincidences are to occur is simply wrong. It's the root of most belief in the paranormal, IMO.
...also how their natural confirmation bias contributes greatly to the perception of an event as coincidental.
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Old 29th July 2019, 07:14 AM   #96
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Yes. Though I was given to believe that to use it properly required an immersion in Chinese culture and history which is difficult for a non-Chinese person to receive. I preferred runes.
More useful too, since you could actually read stuff written in runes in the Ultima games
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Old 29th July 2019, 09:44 AM   #97
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Originally Posted by xterra View Post
I had a colleague from India who always read the astrology column in the local newspaper, so he could comment on how stupid the description of 'something is in some house, and some other thing is on the cusp of whatever. And therefore people born today should do this.'


"Totally ridiculous, he would say.









"But Indian astrology! Ah, Indian astrology is different. That's the practice for getting real prediction and advice."
I was in a car with a former colleague, listening to the aptly-named Radio4 programme "Beyond belief" when they were discussing how star signs affected the performance of athletes.

He said, "At least it's good old Western (or Egyptian) astrology and none of this oriental ********"

Unlike your colleague, he was being sarcastic.
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link is 2015 data (2013 Data below):
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US 16.4% of GDP of which 48.2% is public expenditure - 7.9% of GDP is public spending
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Old 29th July 2019, 07:56 PM   #98
arthwollipot
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
More useful too, since you could actually read stuff written in runes in the Ultima games
Many years ago I developed a runic alphabet derived from the Futhark that I could write in as quickly as I could in Roman letters. I used to write secret messages to myself.
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We can't go back. We don't understand everything yet.
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- xkcd Time (frame 1071-3)
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Old 30th July 2019, 02:22 AM   #99
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Oi! Allfather Odin sacrificed himself to himself on the world tree to bring us those runes. You don't just go modifying them for a lark.

I mean, I don't believe in him, 'cause that just encourages him, but that's no reason to make a mockery of it
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Old 30th July 2019, 05:44 AM   #100
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I went through a period where I was studying Asian philosophy/religion, particularly Taoism.

I decided to try out the I Ching, and even got “yarrow stalks” (bamboo barbecue skewers) to toss.
At first, I was impressed. I could read the “Hexagram” explanations and find some relevance to my questions.
However, pretty soon I realized that you could find some relevance in ANY of the hexagrams...They were so vague and ambiguous.... Just like astrology.
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Old 30th July 2019, 02:56 PM   #101
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Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
"Not only is the Universe stranger than we think, it is stranger than we can think.”

Werner Heisenberg
Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post

Well picked up Pixel.

Thinking versus imagining ..... yes there is some difference there. Some may be able to imagine a lot, without thinking about it too much.
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Old 30th July 2019, 05:55 PM   #102
arthwollipot
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Oi! Allfather Odin sacrificed himself to himself on the world tree to bring us those runes. You don't just go modifying them for a lark.

I mean, I don't believe in him, 'cause that just encourages him, but that's no reason to make a mockery of it
Well when I say "derived", it wasn't really changed significantly apart from making it more suitable to write with a pen. I also used bindrunes for common short words like it, and, and the. It was almost like a runic semicursive script.

Anyway, I asked first, and he said it was okay.
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We can't go back. We don't understand everything yet.
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Yeah. But that's what the first part of understanding everything looks like.
- xkcd Time (frame 1071-3)
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Old 30th July 2019, 06:10 PM   #103
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Originally Posted by wasapi View Post
Does anyone recall the I-Ching? Back in 'the day'? Anyone ever use it?
I tried it once, in my pre-skeptic days.

I had a friend who hadn't spoken to me for a while, and I asked the I-Ching why.

The answer was, "The Traveller", then by changing lines, "resuming contact."

A surprisingly meaningful answer. Also completely wrong, as I found out the next time we spoke.
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Old 30th July 2019, 06:13 PM   #104
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Originally Posted by Humots View Post
I tried it once, in my pre-skeptic days.

I had a friend who hadn't spoken to me for a while, and I asked the I-Ching why.

The answer was, "The Traveller", then by changing lines, "resuming contact."

A surprisingly meaningful answer. Also completely wrong, as I found out the next time we spoke.
It's a bit of a "the death card doesn't mean literal death" issue, as I understand it. But it's more like "The Traveller is a specific character from an epic poem written in 3,600 BCE in Shanxiang province who was estranged from his wife and lived on a mountaintop for forty years before finally returning to her and every Chinese person has heard this tale from childhood".
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We can't go back. We don't understand everything yet.
"Everything" is a little ambitious. We barely understand anything.
Yeah. But that's what the first part of understanding everything looks like.
- xkcd Time (frame 1071-3)
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Old 31st July 2019, 11:26 AM   #105
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I was never a hard core believer, but, during my teenage years, I used to be in the "there might be something to it" camp for psychic abilities, UFO's as extraterrestrial visitorsm and bigfoot. By college age, I had pretty solidly settled into the believing all of those were a load of nonsense

Also, I was brought up in a Prespbyterian church. I never totally bought it, but, as a child, I used to feel guilty about my doubts. By my late teens, I had pretty well become what I then called agnostici, but would now call atheist. I still think there is at least some possibility of something like a God, but acknowledge there is no evidence for this, nor is there much chance that there ever will be, and I really doubt that any God that might exist remotely resembles any religions's concept of him (her, it). I also think that it is extremely unlikely that there is any sort of afterlife. I had pretty well settled on all of this long before I came to this forum. I came here because I was looking for like-minded people.

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Old 31st July 2019, 12:06 PM   #106
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A death after long lingering sickness will kill faith in most. That big ugly hurdle at the end of " god is testing us, he did what is best for gramma, mysterious ways..." thing a lot of people won't accept.

If her cancer were to be cured, it could as well been avoided. But since it wasn't just what were we praying to all this time?
Its not always the afflicted but those close to him or her. I have seen this in my own family a few times.

If one cannot accept those " mysterious ways " the damage is done.
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Old 31st July 2019, 01:02 PM   #107
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When I first came to the JREF forum, I was already in the process of losing some of my woo beliefs, and in fact that's how I found it. I was researching one particular bit of medical quackery.

I was raised an AoG/Evangelical Christian, my parents were heavily into a lot of alt.med woo (particularly "food science" and herbology), and I also tended to believe in, or at least wanted to believe in, a lot of other stuff like cryptozoology, aliens, and so on. Some of which I was on the fence about, some of which I believed in to a moderate extent. Especially the "prehistoric animal relic population" theory of cryptozoology; despite the fact that it didn't really explain much.

Alt.med was the big one for me. At one point, I was even flirting with the idea of studying to become a naturopath, and was doing a lot of reading on the subject. I think I had already started to reject a lot of it before showing up here, the really woo stuff like aromatherapy, light therapy, reflexology, and so on; but still believed that there was serious value in chiropractic, acupuncture, and some herbology. Reading the various threads on the subject here, and most importantly the references provided in those threads, pretty much cured me of any interest in all that quackery.

I still consider myself a Christian, but definitely not even remotely the same kind I was. I've discarded a lot of the more whackjob stuff I was raised with, which admittedly I started to do before I got into this forum. Especially the "Prosperity Gospel" theology, faith-healing, end-times prophesy, and similar theatrical garbage. Also dropped all of the homophobia/transphobia that I was raised with.

I've also gotten into Discordianism, but that's all just a big joke. (Or is it?)

Cryptozoology pretty much went the same way as the alt.med; seeing the various experts in the field dissect the problems with relic population survival; and of course the more woo-ish stuff I didn't really believe in anyway. Learning more about the science behind interstellar travel here has pretty much cured me of ever expecting to encountering extraterrestrials.

I've also changed or moderated many of my political beliefs since joining up here. I was raised in a staunchly Reaganite religious-right family. I'd dumped a lot of that been a libertarian for quite some time by the time I got here, although I had already broken with the mainstream of libertarian politics, as even by the mid-'90s they were already leaning hard to the anarcho-capitalist fringe. Funnily, most people tend to get more politically and socially conservative as they get older, I find myself increasingly going in the opposite direction..

I've changed from being a strong proponent of capital punishment to being an equally strong opponent. My stance on firearm ownership has moderated somewhat as well, and I support much stronger controls than I would have even five years ago. Mostly due to the debates over the issues I've had here, particularly with regard to guns in other stable cultures. Of course, it goes without saying that the old American Exceptionalism I was raised with is long since gone. Quite a lot of that was not only due to positive examples here, but observing the more negative examples of the hard-right posters on the forum.

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Civility in political debate. This forum absolutely cured me of that belief.

Funny, I'm able to have a civil conversation about politics and social issues with many people in many places. I've even had some here.

"If you find yourself encountering the same result every time, ask yourself what the most consistent factor is."
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Old 31st July 2019, 03:05 PM   #108
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by 8enotto View Post
A death after long lingering sickness will kill faith in most. That big ugly hurdle at the end of " god is testing us, he did what is best for gramma, mysterious ways..." thing a lot of people won't accept.

If her cancer were to be cured, it could as well been avoided. But since it wasn't just what were we praying to all this time?
Its not always the afflicted but those close to him or her. I have seen this in my own family a few times.

If one cannot accept those " mysterious ways " the damage is done.
Well, I was already over the woo myself, when grandma died of brain cancer, but what I found the best argument against the supposed usefulness of religion was having some of her "friends" call months afterwards and go, "I prayed for her." And I'm thinking, "but hopping on a train to visit her at the hospital would have been too much effort, eh?" (And no, much as it pains me to admit I'm sometimes not a complete ass hole, I didn't actually say it.)

Essentially what I had was illustration of how religion lets people feel like they've done something when essentially they couldn't be bothered to actually put any real work or effort in. Just pass a note to Jesus that you want X helped, now the ball is in his court, job done, you can feel better about yourself.

Edit: and really, how was that supposed to go? I mean, from the point of view of the helpful person doing the prayer. What exactly was their personal theology there? That Jesus, who's got omniscience and all, would not give a flip about an old woman in agony, but if person X puts in a brief good word, yeah, that changes everything. THAT'll get Jesus off his ass.
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Old 31st July 2019, 03:58 PM   #109
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Civility in political debate. This forum absolutely cured me of that belief.
Originally Posted by luchog View Post

Funny, I'm able to have a civil conversation about politics and social issues with many people in many places. I've even had some here.

"If you find yourself encountering the same result every time, ask yourself what the most consistent factor is."

Bulls eye!
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Old 31st July 2019, 05:15 PM   #110
luchog
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Essentially what I had was illustration of how religion lets people feel like they've done something when essentially they couldn't be bothered to actually put any real work or effort in. Just pass a note to Jesus that you want X helped, now the ball is in his court, job done, you can feel better about yourself.

Edit: and really, how was that supposed to go? I mean, from the point of view of the helpful person doing the prayer. What exactly was their personal theology there? That Jesus, who's got omniscience and all, would not give a flip about an old woman in agony, but if person X puts in a brief good word, yeah, that changes everything. THAT'll get Jesus off his ass.

That's one of the big things that got me out of the church, if not necessarily out of the faith. One of the most consistent and frequent and emphasized imperatives given throughout scripture is to go out and do. Second only to "love others". "Faith without works is dead," and so on. When I heard them reacting to the usual tragedies with "thoughts and prayers", I just kept increasingly thinking "Well, but what are you actually doing? All this stuff you were commanded to do, what are you actually getting off your ass and doing"?

That's the big thing that eventually got me out of the Prosperity Gospel crap. Not the fact that I kept giving money without ever getting any of the promised return (because I always "knew" it would happen eventually), but how no one would actually do anything of what they were commanded to in scripture: heal the sick, feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, comfort the imprisoned, and so on. Not even the churches themselves would do that, they had no programs for those purposes, all the money went into the facilities, the "seminars", and the preachers' pockets. Every single penny.
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Old 9th August 2019, 10:40 AM   #111
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The pointless notion that the Earth is round. It clearly isn't.
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Old 9th August 2019, 11:12 AM   #112
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Originally Posted by rockysmith76 View Post
The pointless notion that the Earth is round. It clearly isn't.
The common scientific explanation is the Earth is an oblate spheroid, generally a sphere but a little wider at the equator than a perfect sphere and slightly flattened at the poles.

What is your opinion on the shape of the Earth? A pancake, like Discworld? A cube or polyhedron?
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Old 9th August 2019, 12:52 PM   #113
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It's a Disdyakis Triacontahedron.
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Old 9th August 2019, 01:28 PM   #114
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Originally Posted by rockysmith76 View Post
The pointless notion that the Earth is round. It clearly isn't.
Sarcasm yes?

Please tell me you are joking?
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Old 9th August 2019, 03:43 PM   #115
luchog
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Originally Posted by Blue Mountain View Post
What is your opinion on the shape of the Earth? A pancake, like Discworld? A cube or polyhedron?

Banana-shaped.
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Old 9th August 2019, 04:04 PM   #116
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Originally Posted by rockysmith76 View Post
The pointless notion that the Earth is round. It clearly isn't.
Right. It's flat but not a disk, because those are round. It's a flat square. Actual geography is left as an exercise for the student.
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Old 9th August 2019, 04:08 PM   #117
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Originally Posted by luchog View Post
Banana-shaped.

You've been watching Ray Comfort.
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Old 9th August 2019, 04:38 PM   #118
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
You've been watching Ray Comfort.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail, actually.
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