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Old 17th November 2019, 08:55 AM   #1
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Flat earth conspiracy spreads globally

Does it hide a darker core?


Quote:
(CNN) - "I don't want to be a flat earther," David Weiss says, his voice weary as he reflects on his personal awakening. "Would you wake up in the morning and want everyone to think you're an idiot?"

But Weiss is a flat earther. Ever since he tried and failed to find proof of the earth's curve four years ago, he's believed with an evident passion that our planet is both flat and stationary -- and it's turned his world upside down.

"I absolutely freaked out," Weiss tells CNN in a phone interview. "It literally whips the rug out from underneath you."

Now, Weiss finds it tedious to associate with the majority of people -- though he "unfortunately" still has some friends who believe in a round earth. "I have no problem with anybody that wants to believe we live on a ball. That's their choice," he says. "It's just not something I resonate with."

Weiss' preferred community is those who share his life-altering belief.

And that community is vast.
The story of idiots who are immune to irony.
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Old 17th November 2019, 09:09 AM   #2
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Again the whole "Flat Earth" shtick in its current form is just one big piece of anti-intellectual performance art, a bunch of sad twatdonkeys who are being wrong for affect to rail against a world they see as too focused on being right.

The subtext is a sad little man jumping up and down screaming "Lookit me being proudly and stubbornly wrong about something so basically obvious you couldn't strawman a more ludicrous example and still functioning in my day to day life, don't you feel stupid for all that effort you put into being right about everything?"

It's the seeds of a new "I'm proud to be wrong because I live in a world where being wrong doesn't have consequences" movement.
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Old 17th November 2019, 09:50 AM   #3
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Some people really do get cracked out on it.
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Old 17th November 2019, 09:53 AM   #4
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Oh to be sure there's still some of the old classic religious based flat-eartherism and just plain old legit nutcasery around in the margins to be sure, but I think the driving force behind the more, almost meme based resurgence version of it we've been seeing in recent years is probably more in line with what I was saying.

An exasperated push back against the strawman version of people who "just have to be right all the time" is in there somewhere I think.
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Old 17th November 2019, 11:40 AM   #5
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I'm not sure that this "Flat earth conspiracy spreads globally" qualifies for a global spread. I do think that there is a part of them that don't believe the world is flat and are just trolling. Then there are the stupid, that believe what mankind disproved centuries ago.
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Old 17th November 2019, 01:33 PM   #6
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They might claim to not want to believe in it, but the reality is that if you give them the evidence that they are wrong, instead of going "Hey I was wrong, I don't have to believe it any more" they scream at you and call you names and declare you as a sheeple shill paid off by NASA.
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Old 17th November 2019, 01:59 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
It's the seeds of a new "I'm proud to be wrong because I live in a world where being wrong doesn't have consequences" movement.
There ought to be consequences for being wrong about flat earth. Frankly, I think the whole lot of them should be taken out to the edge and pushed off it.
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Old 17th November 2019, 02:43 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by PhantomWolf View Post
They might claim to not want to believe in it, but the reality is that if you give them the evidence that they are wrong, instead of going "Hey I was wrong, I don't have to believe it any more" they scream at you and call you names and declare you as a sheeple shill paid off by NASA.
This.

Flat earth is a gnostic cult for those who need to believe that they are among a small minority of truly clever people who are too clever to be fooled like the great masses of their intellectual inferiors. When you start dismantling their fantasy cosmos with things like junior high school geometry you get to see how insecure they really are.
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Old 17th November 2019, 02:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
And that community is vast.
Or, you know, half-vast.

Is it possible to nom a thread title?
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Old 17th November 2019, 03:34 PM   #10
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Maybe we should think of it as just another religion. With its own "revelations" for "the elect" and so on. They're like the Scientologists, or something. Maybe less organized than Scientology, but give it time.
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Old 17th November 2019, 03:52 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
There ought to be consequences for being wrong about flat earth. Frankly, I think the whole lot of them should be taken out to the edge and pushed off it.
You know that NASA wouldn't let that happen. They have thousands of troops stationed in Antarctica at the ice-wall.
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Old 17th November 2019, 03:53 PM   #12
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Every religion is silly. Doesn't mean everything silly is religion. Flat earth is just another CT. I certainly know lot more people who believe in chemtrails.
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Old 17th November 2019, 03:55 PM   #13
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People who believe in chemtrails tend to be the same bunch that believe in flat earth, fake moon landings, bigfoot, and UFOs. This mind-set goes with the territory and seems to know no bounds.
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Old 17th November 2019, 04:03 PM   #14
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Are people sincere about this? I had the impression a few years back that self professed flat earthers were entirely playing characters for lols. Are some of them sincere now?
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Old 17th November 2019, 04:09 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Dr.Sid View Post
Every religion is silly. Doesn't mean everything silly is religion. Flat earth is just another CT. I certainly know lot more people who believe in chemtrails.
OK, but what is the conspiracy? Also why? If the world is flat, why pretend otherwise? Seems like a conspiracy without an obvious motive to me.
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Old 17th November 2019, 04:27 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
Are people sincere about this? I had the impression a few years back that self professed flat earthers were entirely playing characters for lols. Are some of them sincere now?
It's hard to know, but I don't know if it really matters whether they're "sincere" or not. The effect on the rest of us seems to be same either way. That is, it doesn't really affect me. I can't reason them out of their belief either, any more than I could talk a sincere religious believer out of their religion using reason and facts.

If they aren't sincere, then engaging with them seems to be a waste of time. But even if they are sincere, it still seems to be a waste of time in the same way as arguing with a religious zealot is a waste of time.
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Old 17th November 2019, 05:13 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
OK, but what is the conspiracy? Also why? If the world is flat, why pretend otherwise? Seems like a conspiracy without an obvious motive to me.
This rather reminds me of Mitchell and Webb's take on the motive for faking the moon landings
"Wouldn't it be great to make everyone think we'd landed on the moon? That'd show the Soviets.

"What would it show them?"

"Well, they'd think we'd landed on the moon and they'd be all afraid. Do this right and the Cold War could be over by 1971."
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Old 17th November 2019, 05:18 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
It's hard to know, but I don't know if it really matters whether they're "sincere" or not. The effect on the rest of us seems to be same either way. That is, it doesn't really affect me. I can't reason them out of their belief either, any more than I could talk a sincere religious believer out of their religion using reason and facts.

If they aren't sincere, then engaging with them seems to be a waste of time. But even if they are sincere, it still seems to be a waste of time in the same way as arguing with a religious zealot is a waste of time.
I'm not sure it matters much.

But in a broad sense, I'm alarmed by rejection of basic science and logic. Climate denial, anti-vaxxers etc. The larger a foothold those things have, the more alarmed we should be as a society.
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Old 17th November 2019, 05:19 PM   #19
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Surely this belief can't spread globally?
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Old 17th November 2019, 06:26 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Ulf Nereng View Post
Surely this belief can't spread globally?
Yeah, “flat” Earth and a form of “globe” in the same sentence. Maybe they should have said it was spreading flatulently.

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Old 17th November 2019, 06:29 PM   #21
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I was convinced years ago that flat earth was satire.

It seems to have moved on from that nowadays.
looking at youtube recently, it's now a monetizable way for all the unscrupulous chancers to move in and feed off the flat earthers vulnerable.

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Old 17th November 2019, 07:16 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
I'm not sure it matters much.

But in a broad sense, I'm alarmed by rejection of basic science and logic. Climate denial, anti-vaxxers etc. The larger a foothold those things have, the more alarmed we should be as a society.
Yes, I agree. And whether the reasons for rejecting science and logic are sincere or insincere, the end result seems to be the same.
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Old 17th November 2019, 07:22 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
Yes, I agree. And whether the reasons for rejecting science and logic are sincere or insincere, the end result seems to be the same.
I mean, people playing a part aren't rejecting science. Daniel Radcliffe isn't rejecting science for magic when he pretends to be Harry Potter.

And if he pretended to be Harry Potter on online discussion forums instead of in front of movie cameras, it wouldn't change the way he votes, the fact that he takes his kids to the doctor when he gets sick, the fact that he's on some level teaching those kids to accept reality.

Performance is annoying, but it isn't a threat to society the way that sincere beliefs are because it's confined to creating an image for an audience, not the decisions that matter.

It's a little different for people who are playacting for an audience that's adopting it for real, like the Anne Coulter and Rush Limbaugh's of the world. But it's only a problem to the extent that sincere rejection of logic is spreading.
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Old 17th November 2019, 07:25 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by p0lka View Post
I was convinced years ago that flat earth was satire.

It seems to have moved on from that nowadays.
looking at youtube recently, it's now a monetizable way for all the unscrupulous chancers to move in and feed off the flat earthers vulnerable.
Yes. The first time I ever heard of the "flat earth society", I think my 7th grade social studies teacher mentioned it in passing, saying that it was all just a silly joke, and nobody actually believed the earth is flat. This would have been in the 1980s. The humor in it, if there is any, seems to elude me. I guess that pretending to be more foolish than one really is has always been a kind of humor though. The court jester was also known as "the fool" and The Three Stooges were admittedly pretty funny.
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Old 17th November 2019, 07:33 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
I mean, people playing a part aren't rejecting science. Daniel Radcliffe isn't rejecting science for magic when he pretends to be Harry Potter.
OK, but this is clearly in the realm of fiction and doesn't pretend to be anything else. The Harry Potter books can be found in the Fiction (or Fantasy, a genre of fiction) section of the bookstore.

Quote:
And if he pretended to be Harry Potter on online discussion forums instead of in front of movie cameras, it wouldn't change the way he votes, the fact that he takes his kids to the doctor when he gets sick, the fact that he's on some level teaching those kids to accept reality.

Performance is annoying, but it isn't a threat to society the way that sincere beliefs are because it's confined to creating an image for an audience, not the decisions that matter.

It's a little different for people who are playacting for an audience that's adopting it for real, like the Anne Coulter and Rush Limbaugh's of the world. But it's only a problem to the extent that sincere rejection of logic is spreading.
If Anne Coulter and Rush Limbaugh are merely playacting, they never seem to go out of character though. And I suspect that the main portion of their audience doesn't believe that it's all just a satire either.
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Old 17th November 2019, 07:46 PM   #26
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I wonder if religion is at least partly to blame. "Blessed are those who believe without seeing." Not only is it fine to believe without evidence, you are especially good if you do!

Someone once said that to believe without evidence is to believe frivolously. Or wrote it, actually. I think I read that in a book of philosophy. One of those things that stuck in my memory.

Many of the things that people just up and believe don't matter. Want to believe in Bigfoot or Aliens? Fine. Go ahead and do that. You can do that in your sofa without harming anyone. It gets worse when people believe that vaccines are harmful or that thousands of scientists are conspiring to make us believe in climate change. And really, really bad when they believe that those people over there are minions of Satan who need to be killed.
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Old 17th November 2019, 08:03 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
OK, but this is clearly in the realm of fiction and doesn't pretend to be anything else. The Harry Potter books can be found in the Fiction (or Fantasy, a genre of fiction) section of the bookstore.
Let me put it another way, because I'm not sure if I got my point across.
If flat earthers are pretending they have this belief, then when they get done making their flat earth video, they act like normal critical thinking (to some extent) people in every aspect of their life except their pretending time.

Their net negative effect is the annoyance of having to hear their playacting.

If they're sincere, then they go and live their real life in the same way as they talk about the earth being flat, that's the stuff that concerns me. Voting, teaching kids, getting vaccinated etc.




Quote:
If Anne Coulter and Rush Limbaugh are merely playacting, they never seem to go out of character though. And I suspect that the main portion of their audience doesn't believe that it's all just a satire either.
I'm not sure whether or not they're sincere. Out of the whole collection of crazy right wing talking faces, some percentage of them are at least a significant chunk playing a character. But I pointed them out as the exception to my rule that playacting is harmless compared to sincere belief, because their followers sincerely believe. But if more or less ALL the flat earthers are playacting, then there are no sincere followers to worry about.
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Old 17th November 2019, 08:23 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Ulf Nereng View Post
I wonder if religion is at least partly to blame. "Blessed are those who believe without seeing." Not only is it fine to believe without evidence, you are especially good if you do!
Well, it could be. I recommend reading further into the article from the OP:

Quote:
For Davidson, a born-again Christian, the most logical explanation for the conspiracy of the millennium goes like this: "Let's just say there is an adversary, there is a devil, there is a Satan. His whole job would be to try to convince the world that God doesn't exist. He's done an incredible job convincing people with the idea that we're just on a random speck in an infinite universe."

The reality, says Davidson, is that the flat Earth, sun, moon and stars are contained in a "Truman Show"-like dome. From there, pitfalls can be easily dismissed -- like photos of the Earth from space, which flat Earthers believe are photoshopped. "This all goes away if they put a 24/7 camera feed on the moon," he adds.

And Davidson quickly found a large online community believing the same thing. "I thought doing a conference would just take it to the next stage where the media and the world will look at it and say, 'wait a minute -- something must be going on. This is not just some internet fad, or a bunch of crazy people online. They're now meeting in buildings.'"

He has a few things he wants to make clear to a flat-Earth novice. Firstly, and most importantly -- "none of us believe that we're a flying pancake in space." The community merely believes that space does not exist, the world sits still and the moon landing was faked. The jury is out on gravity -- but as Davidson notes, no one has ever seen it.

Secondly -- no, you won't fall off the edge. While flat Earthers' views of the world vary, most believe the planet is a circular disk with Antarctica acting as an ice wall barrier around the edge.

And thirdly, modern flat Earthers have little in common with the Flat Earth Society, a group that has existed for decades and has more than 200,000 followers on Facebook.

That organization, some speakers told CNN, is a government-controlled body designed to pump out misinformation and make the flat-Earth cause sound far-fetched to curious minds. Davidson calls their theories "completely ridiculous."

The Flat Earth Society has not responded to CNN's request for comment.
So apparently these particular flat-earthers are opposed to the Flat Earth Society and see them as controlled by the government to make flat earthers appear ridiculous! They think we live in a dome, like in The Truman Show, and outer space doesn't exist. And ultimately round-earthism is just misinformation spread by Satan to fool us into not believing in God.

Sounds to me like, at least for this particular flat-earther, that religion plays a big role in shaping his beliefs about the shape of the earth.
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Old 17th November 2019, 08:34 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Ulf Nereng View Post
I wonder if religion is at least partly to blame. "Blessed are those who believe without seeing." Not only is it fine to believe without evidence, you are especially good if you do!

From the CNN article:
Quote:
When Davidson first heard that people really do believe in a flat Earth, "I just laughed and said, 'they've got to be the stupidest people ever.' Who in their right mind could believe something so dumb?"
A couple of years later, Davidson was setting up the first international flat Earth conference. Like most of the speakers at the event CNN spoke to, he was convinced after he decided he couldn't prove the Earth's roundness.
For Davidson, a born-again Christian, the most logical explanation for the conspiracy of the millennium goes like this: "Let's just say there is an adversary, there is a devil, there is a Satan. His whole job would be to try to convince the world that God doesn't exist. He's done an incredible job convincing people with the idea that we're just on a random speck in an infinite universe."

Quote:
Someone once said that to believe without evidence is to believe frivolously. Or wrote it, actually. I think I read that in a book of philosophy. One of those things that stuck in my memory.

Many of the things that people just up and believe don't matter. Want to believe in Bigfoot or Aliens? Fine. Go ahead and do that. You can do that in your sofa without harming anyone. It gets worse when people believe that vaccines are harmful or that thousands of scientists are conspiring to make us believe in climate change. And really, really bad when they believe that those people over there are minions of Satan who need to be killed.

These guys appear to believe in all of it:

Quote:
Still, most adherents demonstrate plenty of anti-scientific tendencies. It's hard to find a flat Earther who doesn't believe most other conspiracies under the sun; a flat-Earth conference is invariably also a gathering of anti-vaxxers, 9/11 truthers and Illuminati subscribers, to name a few.
It's that hyper-skeptical mindset that helps flat earthers answer the big questions -- like who's hiding the true shape of the planet from us?
"The ruling elite, from the royal family to the Rockefellers, the Rothschilds ... all of those groups that run the world, they're in on it," says Weiss.
But "once you get into flat earth, the other (conspiracy theories) get knocked down into another tier," says Mark Sargent, a filmmaker and stalwart of the movement who was featured in the 2018 Netflix documentary "Behind the Curve."
"Everybody here, they've got their top 20 conspiracies -- and you could walk around door to door and those top 20 would differ from person to person. But everybody's number one is always flat Earth," he tells CNN.
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Old 17th November 2019, 08:44 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
Let me put it another way, because I'm not sure if I got my point across.
If flat earthers are pretending they have this belief, then when they get done making their flat earth video, they act like normal critical thinking (to some extent) people in every aspect of their life except their pretending time.

Their net negative effect is the annoyance of having to hear their playacting.

If they're sincere, then they go and live their real life in the same way as they talk about the earth being flat, that's the stuff that concerns me. Voting, teaching kids, getting vaccinated etc.

I'm not sure whether or not they're sincere. Out of the whole collection of crazy right wing talking faces, some percentage of them are at least a significant chunk playing a character. But I pointed them out as the exception to my rule that playacting is harmless compared to sincere belief, because their followers sincerely believe. But if more or less ALL the flat earthers are playacting, then there are no sincere followers to worry about.
OK, I get your point. I suppose that the most likely thing is that both kinds of flat-earthers exist: those who are merely trolling the rest of us for the lols, and those for whom it is a sincerely held belief. And the trolls may be just as effective, perhaps more so, at spreading this belief as those who hold it sincerely.

With vaccinations, I think we can be pretty sure that some people really do act on their stated belief that vaccines are harmful, because they don't vaccinate their children.
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Old 18th November 2019, 12:20 AM   #31
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If the earth was flat like a table cats would have pushed everything off by now.
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Old 18th November 2019, 12:30 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Again the whole "Flat Earth" shtick in its current form is just one big piece of anti-intellectual performance art, a bunch of sad twatdonkeys who are being wrong for affect to rail against a world they see as too focused on being right.

The subtext is a sad little man jumping up and down screaming "Lookit me being proudly and stubbornly wrong about something so basically obvious you couldn't strawman a more ludicrous example and still functioning in my day to day life, don't you feel stupid for all that effort you put into being right about everything?"

It's the seeds of a new "I'm proud to be wrong because I live in a world where being wrong doesn't have consequences" movement.
What makes you think these self-absorbed half-wits don't really believe the Earth is flat?
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Old 18th November 2019, 12:33 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Oh to be sure there's still some of the old classic religious based flat-eartherism and just plain old legit nutcasery around in the margins to be sure, but I think the driving force behind the more, almost meme based resurgence version of it we've been seeing in recent years is probably more in line with what I was saying.

An exasperated push back against the strawman version of people who "just have to be right all the time" is in there somewhere I think.
Could this be a case of wishful thinking on your part?
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Old 18th November 2019, 12:38 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Foster Zygote View Post
This.

Flat earth is a gnostic cult for those who need to believe that they are among a small minority of truly clever people who are too clever to be fooled like the great masses of their intellectual inferiors. When you start dismantling their fantasy cosmos with things like junior high school geometry you get to see how insecure they really are.
Correct. The trolls among them are few and far between.

For the most part, they believe it for the same reason most people believe things. It makes them happy.
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Old 18th November 2019, 12:42 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
Maybe we should think of it as just another religion. With its own "revelations" for "the elect" and so on. They're like the Scientologists, or something. Maybe less organized than Scientology, but give it time.
I wonder how strong belief in flat Earth correlates with Pizzagate and Sandy Hook denial.
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Old 18th November 2019, 12:45 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by trustbutverify View Post
What makes you think these self-absorbed half-wits don't really believe the Earth is flat?
I think the reasoning goes something like this:

Nobody could really be that stupid, and therefore

They're pulling our legs.



Unfortunately I'm not optimistic enough to have much faith in that premise.
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Old 18th November 2019, 12:46 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by trustbutverify View Post
I wonder how strong belief in flat Earth correlates with Pizzagate and Sandy Hook denial.
Just a guess, but I think there's a lot of overlap in the Venn diagram.
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Old 18th November 2019, 03:04 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
OK, I get your point. I suppose that the most likely thing is that both kinds of flat-earthers exist: those who are merely trolling the rest of us for the lols, and those for whom it is a sincerely held belief. And the trolls may be just as effective, perhaps more so, at spreading this belief as those who hold it sincerely.
I have a friend who started falling for flat eartherism, and I'm pretty sure you're right. Virtually 100% sure.

My friend is NOT stupid when it comes to most things, but he has an "authoritarian" personality type, where he does not believe he has the ability to troubleshooter ideas completely on his own. In his mind, everything comes down to someone nefarious with LOTS of power manipulating something, if it seems controversial to him. He thinks there's some central authority out there behind every hypothesis.

When I explained to him that these people making the videos are probably creatures of 4chan who like trolling, or something like that, he was a bit embarrassed for having not considered that before, and opened his mind.

He let it all go after we talked through some "thought experiments" on transcontinental air travel, and universal time, and how you can talk to people on the phone in the other locations who will tell you if the sun is out, and things like that.

Now, he used to believe in chemtrails, until I forced him to look at a discussion forum I found full of pilots, some commercial airline, mocking contrail denialism.

There's a chance the resurgence of flat eartherism is an outgrowth of chemtrail theory, I think, since all the pilots and airline workers being "in on it" is kind of a necessary part of the ideas that all the contrails are really a chemtrail conspiracy.

I'm not sure, just speculating based on my friend's tendency to fall for such conspiracies.
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Old 18th November 2019, 03:43 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by trustbutverify View Post
What makes you think these self-absorbed half-wits don't really believe the Earth is flat?
There are certainly a number of the "Leaders" that clearly know that they are pedaling BS, and others that are trolls, but there are also those that have been sucked into and either don't want to know the truth because it's now their community and they don't want to be excommunicated, or because they simply don't have the education to be able to combat the lies being told to them.
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Old 18th November 2019, 04:03 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by PhantomWolf View Post
There are certainly a number of the "Leaders" that clearly know that they are pedaling BS, and others that are trolls, but there are also those that have been sucked into and either don't want to know the truth because it's now their community and they don't want to be excommunicated, or because they simply don't have the education to be able to combat the lies being told to them.
They're not all or even usually self-absorbed half-wits, either. They just don't know HOW to think about these things. They don't have the self confidence to try to debunk it on their own. The idea that they can debunk things by themselves and form their own completely independent opinion is totally alien to them, but they're not averse to it once you show them how, if you can get through.

There's just some element of this going on with them, too, I think:
http://sk.sagepub.com/reference/the-...vior/i1482.xml
Quote:
The authoritarian personality describes an individual who has a need for security and order. The authoritarian personality is characterized by adherence to a conventional set of values, rigidity, conformity, and unquestioning obedience. This construct is clearly a highly relevant issue in prejudice and cross-cultural studies. This entry introduces the concept of the authoritarian personality and its characteristic elements, provides an overview of the history and development of the construct, and outlines how the construct has been applied by reference to one of its core elements, intolerance of ambiguity.
Some self-identifying skeptics are the same way, just one the other side, and they believe what they believe about the earth's shape because NASA says so, and their teachers told them it was true as kids. They've never put a moment's thought into how to debunk it themselves, but they know people who disagree with them are sheep, or stupid.
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