On flat earth theory

(In response to this survey I’ve compiled my responses to Doompony, along with a couple of new connections. I dismissed his case because he was not able to provide a model of planetary motion which explained retrograde motion. You can read that forum thread here.)

Skepticism—real Cartesian skepticism, of the sort Dawkins would blush at—is the true impetus behind this movement. This is an emergent response to a complete societal loss of trust. If institutions, scientists, teachers, doctors and lawyers are all proven liars, then it makes sense that people will only trust what they can confirm to their own satisfaction. Keep in mind that human society is effectively our ecology at this point, because only farmers really have to be realists anymore (and that’s shaky). Therefore the deeper parts of our brains that govern desire and behavior, from which a subset of thoughts emerge as “rational”, conscious ideas, has formalized the dream association as universe = society. If you have a dream about the “world” in the scientific sense, it is probably a metaphor for the “world” in the biblical sense.

So, imagine that Descartes’ evil demon, of “utmost power and cunning has employed all his energies in order to deceive me.” Except it’s my entire society, because I’m a working class badwhite kid and they all secretly agree I deserve to go extinct. The new epistemology is best represented by ingenius artistic metaphor:


I.e. How can you prove you are self-aware if you can’t prove that you’re aware in the first place? Take a bow Jayden Smith, you’re not the hero we needed, but you’re the one we deserved.

A lot of people are claiming that the flat earth theory is 100% trolling. I say one generation’s joke is the next generation’s cliche, and the third generation’s culture. Please note that the punchline of the flat earth joke is “trust in nothing you can’t see”.

This perfectly distrusting epistemology is what causes the disbelief in belief itself that I keep complaining about in Generation Z. If everything is made of lies and snakes, then all knowledge is restricted by the limits of a person’s individual capacity for scientific reasoning. Therefore, scientific knowledge in the future will converge over time to the average person’s level of understanding.

We all expected this shift to pre-Christian paganism in response to the death of secularism (Science is dead and we killed him), but it is a bit alarming how quickly the zeitgeist is moving in that direction. I thought we would at least keep conservation of momentum around, but it appears we will be returning to Greek-era physics (best-case).

Others say the flat earth theory is 100% due to bad actors pushing FUD. I’d compare the emergence of this phenomenon to the Alt-Right. There are people consciously pushing it, but there are people pushing a lot of things and flat earth is the one that resonated with the social mood. That is, there are a lot of products being marketed, and flat earth is the one people bought. Before, in Glubb’s Age of Intellect, it was quantum field theory. I.e. “Believe only what you see with your own eyes” vs. “believe the most complicated-looking mathematics”.

This is a dark joke and it will end on a sour note. You can’t have clean water without basic scientific literacy. But, to end things on a bit of a lighter note, here’s a gallery of Jayden Smith memes:

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20 Responses to On flat earth theory

  1. Fox says:

    If you mean by “science” simply “expertise”/”knowledge”, you should say so. Equating both is a major justification mechanism used by the “i f*cking love science”-crowd.
    Science arose with the “scientific revolution”, a period usually dated from Copernicus to Newton (1543 – 1687). All historically known human endeavors before that are non-scientific.
    People had aqueducts, thermae (public baths), underfloor heating without science. They built cathedrals, pyramids, giant domes and astronomically-aligned sites (like stonehenge) without science.
    They built bridges which stood for many centuries (or even almost two millennia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ponte_di_Tiberio_(Rimini)), roads that can still be used today and all kinds of other stuff, like the Antikythera mechanism, without science. None of that required classical mechanics or thermodynamics or the philosophical basis of science (descartian dualism, materialism).
    If you look at the philosophical precursor (which isn’t necessarily its antecessor) of descarte’s demon, you’ll be shocked.

    Regarding flat-earthers:
    The flat-earthers are not anti-expertise/knowledge – they’re just tuned into alternative sources thereof. Just because someone distrusts the official experts doesn’t mean he has to distrust all experts (or expertise itself).

    • Mycroft Jones says:

      I’ve met flat earthers who distrust anyone who knows calculus or even trigonometry. So many disproofs of flat earth are easily performed with simple trigonometry. Dem der mathematics, that’s the problem! they say. Corrupts the mind, they say. The ignoranti.

      • Aeoli Pera says:

        Just knowing math is hard enough. Understanding it requires a vanishingly rare fascination with the subject.

      • Fox says:

        I don’t think that trigonometry is incompatible with flat-earth (without further assumptions which are likely not shared by most flat-earthers), but I’ll have to take a closer look.
        Calculus is the mathematical center piece of modern science. I think that there are alternatives to it, I think there are better kinds of mathematics which can make calculus obsolete.

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      >If you mean by “science” simply “expertise”/”knowledge”, you should say so.

      When I say scientific literacy, you can take that as interchangeable with institutional knowledge of the natural world. I understand this is not necessary for technology, but it is historically a prerequisite for disease reduction and the loss of this, combined with weakened immune systems, will be a bad time. Hence the ending of the post.

      >Regarding flat-earthers:
      The flat-earthers are not anti-expertise/knowledge – they’re just tuned into alternative sources thereof. Just because someone distrusts the official experts doesn’t mean he has to distrust all experts (or expertise itself).

      But that is, in fact, what they’re doing and why.

      • Fox says:

        Ok, so according to this definition, a roman or medieval guild had scientific literacy because it was an institution which collected, preserved and transmitted knowledge of the natural world.
        Transmitting knowledge of herbs and other cures within a family isn’t institutional, yet this was what people did before institutions existed. There was the village healer. I think you underestimate traditional healing and overestimate modern “institutional” medicine.

        Regarding sanitation, well, in non-urban, low population density settings, no sanitation infrastructure is required. It is only when the population density goes up that you start to need complex arteries flushing shit out and clean water in.

        The whole traditional healing – alternative medicine topic is a rabbit hole as big and deep as racialism and edenism combined. You can’t assess diseases or the value of institutions for human health without researching at least the superficial levels. Ask ken or write me a pm for further info.

        “But that is, in fact, what they’re doing and why.”
        If you ask a fl4t-earther why he believes the earth to be flat, he’ll likely send you a ton of links to various texts and videos. He will not base his argument entirely on his own observations, instead, he’ll refer you to some “fl4t earth expert” who made this or that experiment (or talks about this or that theory). If he didn’t trust aforementioned expert, he wouldn’t refer you to it.
        You’re right that they base their worldview more on direct observation and that they discard more institutional knowledge than normal people.
        There’s a spectrum between “Believe only what you see with your own eyes” and “believe only what the m4instream experts tell you”, and fl4t-earthers are much closer to the former than normies, but they’re far from its end point.

  2. Mycroft Jones says:

    I claim the Flat Earth was triggered by bad actors pushing FUD. The timeline supports this. Once triggered, the zeitgeist took over. Geocentricity was too calm and rational and cautious; a lot of people wanted some in-your-face “fuck you” to The Man. This is how intellectual dissidents are isolated from their natural support base. People know they are being lied to, but they aren’t smart enough to separate truth from lie, so they fall for whatever tickles the ear.

  3. Scott Baculalia's Implicitly Schizophrenic Interstellar Pride Parade says:

    Everyone who’s actually bothered to look into it knows that the Earth is flat. Nah, I’m just kidding. It’s actually an 88-dimensional hyperpyramid, which only appears to be flat from our perspective.

    Anyway, there’s something to be said for using flat-Earth claims to scare away ideologically driven normies, but I can’t remember what it was. Plus, you know, it’s funny watching people try to disprove it.

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      There’s value in skepticism.

    • Mycroft Jones says:

      Yes, but unlike geocentricity, flat earth is so easily disproven. Why do they even bother. Send normies on a wild goose chase for nothing? If you are digging into a proposition, there should at least be a reward at the end of it. Flat earth is poop buckets all the way down.

  4. Salvatore says:

    Oh boo hoo hoo hoo hoo they’re questioning the heliocentric theory but the heliocentric theory as WE all know comes from Our Sacred Qabalah, Oh sure, they don’t know that butt WE do and they’re questioning what is from Our Qabalah and that’s scary that’s ANTI-JEWISH of them what’s next!!!??? They’ll want to throw us into suzy bake ovens and turn us into apple strudel pastry desserts for their cannibalistic pleasure!! WE mustn’t allow them to question anything in Our Qabalah, even if what they question they don’t know it’s from Our Qabalah! Even if their questions about Our Qabalah Heliocentric theory make perfect sense from a cold, hard, objective, Empirical Science standpoint and are legitimate Scientific questions WE MUST nip this questioning of what’s in Our Qabalah in the bud before the questioning gets out of hand and WE get ¡HOLOCAUSTED!!! Tell them to convert to Transhumanism and tell them they are transmutating into gods like WE are transmutating into gods and tell them to stop being ANTI-JEWISH and ANTI-JEW-QABALAH and to shut the f*ck up!!! I can’t sleep at night anymore with more and more of them going to YouTube to watch the “How They Hide God” video!!!!! The Science Mafia really needs to step-in and start bumping them off!!!! They’re getting out-of-hand, they’re getting TOO uppity for comfort! WE’RE giving them AI intelligence what the f*ck more else do they want!!!!?????

  5. Patrick says:

    This is all correct, but it’s so 7 years ago. I enjoyed Jaden Smith’s foray into philosophy. It’s pretty much the philosophical level of your average corporation give or take (probably take) 1 SD.

    The good news is that it’s not on you. The writing is on the wall, run away and save yourself. So just do that. Then you can study the swamp from a safe distance. But while you’re in it, you’re not being totally rational about it.

    • Patrick says:

      The way I began to see it was also similar. White people are reverting to animism. Trying to speak to them about rationality is like being a missionary in the Amazon rainforest basically. They’ve gone feral, reverted to type and now the vampires are out hunting down the strays. That’s what it is, it’s just nature. It’s not illogical, it’s actually perfectly logical Natural Science. The show goes on. Predators gonna prey on prey.

      People go to hell, heaven all the places in between, civilisations collapse, new ones spring up in their place. It’s the song that never ends. You just need to find your own home in all this, free from the pestilence and disease. Because you’re smart enough to at least save your own damn self.

      • Patrick says:

        Trungpa Rinpoche talks about an interesting concept whereby those who misuse the secret occult teachings of Vajrayana and Shambhala set off a nuclear chain reaction in themselves and society. He explicitly describes it as a ‘nuclear bomb’. He was also very critical of hippies, I’m sure because he could see that their whole movement was agenda driven. That spiritual atom bomb is responsible for all this.

        For me something like this has happened here. You speak to people higher up the chain and the more it sounds like your speaking to the extended consciousness of a single individual or a small group of them. Tie this into the money system and an advanced understanding of psychology, technology and economics and you have a literal monster here. The Berias, the Rothschilds, the Soroses et cetera All this stuff is just this monster running amok, warping people’s minds.

        And the principles upon which they are acting are unsound. It’s egos run wild and everything below is supporting that. But everything below just falls apart because of that. It ends up reverting to type. This Flat Earth stuff a lot of it is trolling, but trolling of people who are panicking trying to ascertain how fucked up the collective consciousness has become. It’s like bat sonar, seeing what pings back. If the ping back makes sense, then it’s possible to do entrepreneurial activity that makes sense. If not then just time to lock the hatch and wait out the zombie apocalypse.

        Jaden Smith himself was probably just pinging stuff out and seeing what people would say. Getting a sense of how far out he can go. It’s a melon tactic I think.

        All the cities feel like they’re being occupied by weird Amazon rainforest tribes worshipping the supermarket anyway. I think because the value of disseminating truth has vanished to nothing, the value of the language itself has sort of buckled under the weight of the bullshit. English itself is probably a broken language at this point.

        Anyway a bit of a ramble, but the main thing for yours not to internalise what’s going on so much. Even what seems like people going crazy is them just reverting to the baseline and acting in quite rationally egoistic ways, according to their knowledge of the situation and time preference. So it’s, again, not beyond you to save yourself first.

        • Patrick says:

          I repeat… to labour the point… there is nothing in this world that can ever negate or change one tiny bit your responsibility for your own mind and your own compassion. Whatever illusions Satan throws up… all that’s just noise. That’s the game itself in a nut shell.

          Now you can go out and tool up and do things about it. But first crawl, then stand, then walk, then run. You can’t crawl at the pace of a runner without severely injuring your whole shit. So just be rational, whatever else is going on be more of an aristocrat about it. Manage your own space.

  6. Pingback: On the Mandela Effect | Aeoli Pera

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