Exposing PseudoAstronomy

September 5, 2016

Podcast Episode 145: Modern Flat Earth “Thought,” Part 1

“Modern Flat Earth Thought”
Might be a contradiction
Of terms, but let’s see!

Back from hiatus, a roughly 45-minute episode on a few ideas promoted by the very new (since about 2014) breed of flat-Earth proponents. I go into depth on human perception and then focus on both Earth’s curvature and the overall shape of the planet. This Part 1 exclusively features clips from Eric Dubay, but future episodes will include other luminaries in the movement.

There are three other segments beyond the main one: Logical Fallacy (focusing on the False Dichotomy), Feedback (from James F. related to the Ringmakers of Saturn by Norman Bergrun), and a brief announcement.

For those returning listeners, thank you for sticking with the podcast through the very long hiatus. For those new listeners, thanks for checking it out.

I hope that you enjoy this episode.



  1. Hooray! A new episode! I can hardly wait to listen to it.

    Comment by Rick K. — September 5, 2016 @ 10:06 pm | Reply

    • Nor can I. Imagine letting things like real science and real life getting in the way of my entertainment (and enlightenment), even if only for a little while.

      Comment by Stan Rogers — September 6, 2016 @ 12:13 am | Reply

  2. I know this might be off topic, but I also figured you might be more inclined to respond via the blog. Can you detail the system you use and general steps you perform to access and manipulate image files revived from interstellar camera platforms? The reason I ask I want to get and play around with the same material you do. I’ve been reading through this site http://www.planetary.org/explore/space-topics/space-imaging/data.html and I think I’m on the right road. Pardon my ignorance, but I’m new to your skeptic podcast and coming from a videography background, your talks on image analysis really piqued my interest.

    Comment by Sam — September 6, 2016 @ 7:29 am | Reply

    • “…revived from interstellar camera platforms?”

      Stupid iPad, I meant “received”, not “revived”!

      Comment by Sam — September 6, 2016 @ 7:31 am | Reply

    • The-software-that-shall-not-be-named these days.

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — September 6, 2016 @ 9:44 am | Reply

      • Good Lord, thanks, not what I was expecting, but better than I thought! Thanks again, Dr. Robbins.

        Comment by Sam — September 6, 2016 @ 5:14 pm

      • Everything worked out all right. Due credit to the blokes who wrote the documentation for everything.

        Comment by Sam — September 7, 2016 @ 6:47 am

      • (Ouch. Poor team members. They will be flagged on every NSA wiretap…)

        Thanks for the link. I will enjoy perusing the code and documentation.

        Sorry to hear about wasting time on the reversed image transform. At least you didn’t have a hard to fix error like the Hubble reversed mirror test jig.

        Comment by johanges — September 8, 2016 @ 5:21 pm

      • I didn’t, but one of the team members was on Hubble and responsible for a lot of the de-blurring efforts at the time.

        Comment by Stuart Robbins — September 8, 2016 @ 5:23 pm

      • Sorry to keep harping on this, but have you ever had one of those moments when your attitude and/or mindset gets completely revamped because you got to experience something first hand? Mine sure did. I had a bit of a smartass notion of what you did (“you really need a PhD to count circles in the ground?”). But after playing around with the ISIS3 and VICAR Open Source Release code, as well as plowing through the endless material on that site…, I can see why the Hoaglands, Baras, and what have you of the world are always so pissy. It’s not necessarily they’re mentally incapable of comprehending what you do, it’s they’re so…friggin…lazy…

        Comment by Sam — September 11, 2016 @ 12:45 am

      • It’s ridiculously obtuse software to use. Send me an e-mail (stuart at sjrdesign dot net) and I’ll send you a PDF of a presentation I gave that was meant to be a tutorial.

        Comment by Stuart Robbins — September 11, 2016 @ 12:47 am

  3. If the Earth were flat there would be no horizon. Only atmospheric diffraction and absorption, and intervening objects, would limit the distance at which you could see something. …. As for the guy who refers to ” a magical force, gravity”, what does he think makes stones fall to the ground?

    Comment by Daniel Anthony Gautreau — September 6, 2016 @ 8:06 am | Reply

    • Horizon: They explain this with “haze.”

      Gravity: I don’t remember if this particular guy had an idea about gravity, but I remember two other peoples’ ideas. One is constant acceleration up through space of Earth, and the other is that this is all a simulation environment and there’s a “molecular gravity” or some such think put under the ground like they do in computer games.

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — September 6, 2016 @ 9:46 am | Reply

      • How could Earth stay at the center of the universe if it moves? The folks talking about “molecular gravity” have watched too many movies. Very fertile imaginations, though. Wish they would use such to make video games or write fiction or something.

        Comment by Rick K. — September 6, 2016 @ 8:30 pm

    • Haze cannot account for the geometry of sight-lines. Has any flat-earther proposed that light emitted parallel to the ground bends upward, giving the illusion of a downward-bending earth?

      Comment by Daniel Anthony Gautreau — September 12, 2016 @ 9:43 am | Reply

      • I think an older-generation flat earther has. The kind who thinks gravity = Earth accelerating through space says this also bends light. I think.

        Comment by Stuart Robbins — September 12, 2016 @ 10:12 am

  4. Welcome back Stuart. Quite enjoyed listening to the episode. Definitely looking forward to episode 2.

    Comment by Graham — September 6, 2016 @ 9:10 am | Reply

    • Thanks!

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — September 6, 2016 @ 9:46 am | Reply

      • Stuart, if you ever run out of material to discuss, I’ve just got my hands on some early (1982/83) writings by Richard C. Hoagland about Saturn that I think are episode worthy in the same way that the Pioneer Anomaly was. You have a wild claim that I think was resolved by science, but both the claim and the refutation have fallen into obscurity.

        Comment by Graham — September 9, 2016 @ 6:31 am

  5. Eric Dubay: So this modern atheist big-bang-heliocentric-globe-earth-chance-evolution-paradigm spiritually controls humanity by removing god or any sort of intelligent design, and replaces purposeful, divine creation with random haphazard cosmic coincidence.

    Speaking as one who has read and heard a LOT of extremely stupid spiritual ideas over three decades, that is one of the truly great sentences of modern psuedo-science. I’m impressed.

    Comment by Yakaru — September 6, 2016 @ 4:18 pm | Reply

    • As was I, glad you liked it.

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — September 6, 2016 @ 6:56 pm | Reply

    • Sorry, but he has taken the ”whole package” informal fallacy to the extreme. Eric Dubay has taken a lot of independent ideas and treated them as intrinsically connected. I have seen a lot of Young Earth Creationists repeat this error over and over and over without learning anything from NON-Creationists. However, this guy is even worse. I want to point out the following:
      ¤ The Round Earth idea arose among the Ancient Greeks maybe 2,500 years ago. These seem to have been the first to reflect on the shape of the Earth at all.
      ¤ Heliocentrism was first formulated after the concept a Round Earth had been established among the Ancient Greeks. It was always more or less controversial until the late 17th century.
      ¤ Atheism is really only denial of the existence of the Monotheist God. Although there has long been people believing in reincarnation without thinking there is any gods, Atheism in the Western sense seem to have arose in the 18th century.
      ¤ Evolution Theory was first formulated by Charles Darwin in 1859. It has developed enormously since then but really only deals with lifeforms.
      ¤ Big Bang Theory developed during the 20th century independently of biological evolution. The man who first came up with it was in fact accused for being motivated by Christian belief since he was a priest.
      About “chance” Eric Dubay appear to believe that coincidences don’t exist. Simultaneously, he claims to work as a Yoga teacher, does he believe that every error his pupils do is intentional? If not, why would the people he accuses of conspiring to make people think the Earth is round be any different? You may think what you like about organised religion. Yet it typically does not involve belief in a 2,500-year-old world wide conspiracy.

      Comment by Lena Synnerholm — September 23, 2016 @ 4:14 am | Reply

      • I want to point out Charles Darwin never denied the existence of God. Like me he thought it was impossible to know. What I do know is that people contributing to the scientific world picture has varied enormously in their degree as well as content of religious beliefs. Would they all have been part of a world-wide conspiracy that “spiritually controls humanity”!? Eric Dubay must be seening evil intentions everywhere!

        Comment by Lena Synnerholm — November 23, 2016 @ 4:52 am

  6. I am not sure why you chose to cover this topic since it is obvious the person refused to believe anything except what he wants to believe, If you want to disbelieve in rockets and satellites, then you are in special territory. I wonder what the person would say if it was suggested that he travel directly East (via boat or aircraft if he needs to) until he ended up where he started. What manner of topology would enable that? But that would be getting out of the armchair. I suppose he disbelives in maps too, thus making it awkward for aircraft to travel.

    Comment by James F — September 7, 2016 @ 11:02 am | Reply

    • I cover topics that I think can be used to learn something from. I sincerely doubt anyone who listens to the podcast thinks Earth is flat, but they may not know about the absolute shape of the planet, or they may wonder why they can see so far in some places but not others.

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — September 7, 2016 @ 11:10 am | Reply

    • I’m amazed at how some people can take the same things I see and interpret it so differently. There is much to learn of the workings of the human brain from this.

      Comment by johanges — September 8, 2016 @ 5:30 pm | Reply

      • I am more concerned with certain individuals arguing as if something could not possibly be interpreted in any other ways than they own, personal one. Did those individuals spend virtually their entire upbringing on a lone farm, miles from their closest neighbour? Growing up as part of a modern Western society, how can one NOT learn that others actually have other points of view, interpretations and opinions? One might not consider any of those for oneself. But one should at least know that such differences exist and are common enough to be worth taking their existence in others into consideration. If you don’t have the mental facilities to learn such things I can’t see how you can learn the communication skills needed to neglect or sometimes outright deny them. Considering the upbringing conditions existing in the Western world in modern times I find such expressions paradoxical.

        Comment by Lena Synnerholm — November 23, 2016 @ 5:17 am

  7. It’s about time you got back bro.
    This podcast and Expat’s blog are a couple of the things that keep me sane here in China.
    Speaking of China. I can eat anything now. Even my own cooking. 🙂

    Comment by Jamie Derek Eunson — September 10, 2016 @ 9:12 pm | Reply

    • Thanks. And, eating … is that a good thing or a bad thing?

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — September 10, 2016 @ 9:13 pm | Reply

  8. Something that I overheard on a bus, but thankfully have not been able to confirm by searching online was the following:

    “The spherical nature of the Earth was discovered by a White Man (Eratosthenes). Therefore the spherical nature of the Earth is Racist and as ‘everbody knows’ that racist statements are inherently incorrect, therefore the Earth is flat, QED.”

    The overheard conversation featured much railing against ‘political correctness’ and claimed that the above was being taught at ‘universities’ because it ‘did not offend’ minorities. As I have stated I can find no confirmation of the above online but i have no doubt that someone else has come up with this idea.

    Comment by Graham — September 20, 2016 @ 1:20 am | Reply

    • I don’t know if it is a parody or the fruit of someone’s imagination mistaken for real.

      Comment by Lena Synnerholm — November 23, 2016 @ 5:19 am | Reply

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