Inevitable Result of GOP War on Science. Flat Earthers Resurgent

July 9, 2017

“They” want us to believe the Earth is round. And Warming.
Thank God for the internet.

Consider parallels to the climate denial movement.

The video above has 42k+ views. Head vise warning.

Denver Post:

Every Tuesday at 6 p.m., three dozen Coloradans from every corner of the state assemble in the windowless back room of a small Fort Collins coffee shop. They have met 16 times since March, most nights talking through the ins and outs of their shared faith until the owners kick them out at closing.

They have no leaders, no formal hierarchy and no enforced ideology, save a common quest for answers to questions about the stars. Their membership has slowly swelled in the past three years, though persecution and widespread public derision keep them mostly underground. Many use pseudonyms, or only give first names.

“They just do not want to talk about it for fear of reprisals or ridicule from co-workers,” says John Vnuk, the group’s founder who lives in Fort Collins.

He is at the epicenter of a budding movement, one that’s coming for your books, movies, God and mind. They’re thousands strong — perhaps one in every 500 — and have proponents at the highest levels of science, sports, journalism and arts.

They call themselves Flat Earthers. Because they believe Earth — the blue, majestic, spinning orb of life — is as flat as a table.

And they want you to know. Because it’s 2017.

“This is a new awakening,” Vnuk says with a spark in his earth-blue eyes. “Some will accept it, some won’t. But love it or hate it, you can’t ignore Flat Earth.”

The Fort Collins group — mostly white and mostly male, college-age to septuagenarian — touts itself as the first community of Flat Earthers in the United States. Sister groups have since spawned in Boston, New York, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Chicago.

In Colorado, Ptolemaic-science revivalists have lofty ambitions: raising $6,000 to put up a billboard along Interstate 25 broadcasting their worldview. A GoFundMe site quickly raised more than $400 but has recently stalled. Anyone can contribute funds or submit billboard ideas, and the group has promised $100 to the winning submitter.

“This is not something you can force down others’ throats,” Vnuk says. “They have to come to it on their own journey. A billboard is a nonaggressive way to introduce people to the idea.”

(All scientists and educators consulted for this story rejected the idea of a flat earth.)

At the Tuesday night meet-ups, dubbed “Flat Earth or Other Forbidden Topics,” believers invite fellow adherents to open discussions in which the like-minded confirm one another’s hunches and laugh at the folly of those still stuck in the Enlightenment.

“There’s so much evidence once you set aside your preprogrammed learning and begin to look at things objectively with a critical eye,” says Bob Knodel, a Denver resident and featured guest at a recent Tuesday meeting. “You learn soon that what we’re taught is mainly propaganda.”

Knodel worked for 35 years as an engineer and now runs the popular YouTube channel Globebusters, which has nearly 2 million views across more than 135 videos. “I’ve researched conspiracies for a long time,” he says. “I’ve looked very critically at NASA. Why is it that the astronauts have conflicting stories about the sky? Is it bright with stars, or a deep velvet black?”

His wife, Cami, shares his views. “Our YouTube channel gets people to critically think,” she said to the Fort Collins group. “The heliocentric model says that we’re spinning at 1,038 mph. They say you won’t notice it because it’s a continual motion. But you should be able to feel it. You shouldn’t be able to function allegedly spinning that fast.”

The weekly meet-ups also give forum to friendly lines of questioning. Some are straightforward (“What do you say back to people who call you stupid?”) and summon a ready-made answer (“You’re not stupid, period. They have to understand that there are deceptions going on at enormous levels”). Others stump even the experts. “How are we Flat Earthers supposed to explain to our friends the solar eclipse in August?” asked one attendee. The room fell silent. “We’ll have to do more research and get back to you on that.”

That research tends to fall on the shoulders of movement leaders, many of whom have backgrounds in related fields. Mark Sargent is the father of Flat Earth organizing in the United States. He worked as a software analyst in Boulder for 20 years before relocating to Seattle, where he sets up Flat Earth meet-ups through YouTube. His channel has amassed 7.7 million video views and almost 40,000 regular subscribers.


18 Responses to “Inevitable Result of GOP War on Science. Flat Earthers Resurgent”

  1. Bob Doublin Says:

    Great series of videos (5) taking apart the ravings of “flattards”. From CoolHard Logic

  2. Amongst the flat-Earthers mentioned in that Denver Post article are an engineer with 35 years of experience and a “software analyst”.

    Given that some of the more prominent deniers like to trot out their Engineering/computer creds, we should “weaponize” that article to discredit them.

    It may not be nice, but this is not the time to be nice.

  3. Tom Bates Says:

    We all know the world is flat. All you have to do is look in your back yard, 90% are flat, a few go up or down but that is a tiny minority of the world , the rest is flat, always has been flat and always will be flat. The mother Ghia just turns off the sun every day and turns it back on in the morning as mother knows her children need sleep. As to the earth is warming thing, that is due to smoking, All those cuban cigars smoked by the terminator had to do something and that was to warm the world, since the terminator is now getting along in years and smoking less the world is cooling as shown by the STAR data set, the UAH data set and the RSS data set.

    If this bothers you, I suggest seeing your mental health professional as you really need meds if you believe this blogs silly statements.

    • Tommy Poo,

      When, oh when are you going to apologize for the lies you told about NASA/GISS well over a year ago? You know, the lies I was able to debunk by showing that data adjustments have only a small impact on global-average temperature results?

      • Tom Bates Says:

        Tommy Poo, the adjustments are 66 percent of all the data worldwide, That is not a small impact.

        • Repeating a lie is not retracting it.

          Once again, to show the shameless magnitude of Tommy Poo’s lie, here is a plot that shows 3 global temperature curves.

          (Apologies to those who have already seen these results, but in the past few months, surging Trumpism has brought about renewed attacks on the NASA/GISS global temperature work: claims thought long debunked and buried have come back from the dead, “Night of the Living Dead”-style. So a bit of repetition is called for to re-drive some important points home.)

          In the above plot, the green curve was computed by running *raw* data through a simple anomaly gridding/averaging algorithm. The blue curve was computed by running adjusted data through the same. The red curve shows the official NASA/GISS land-temperature results (included for comparison).

          Note that the green temperature curve runs a bit warmer than the blue and red temperature curves prior to 1950 or so. The primary reason is that many center city stations were moved to outlying airport (and other locations like water treatment plants/etc.) during the mid 20th Century.

          The blue and red curves were computed from data that incorporates corrections for those station moves (i.e. the adjusted data). The green curve was computed from data that contains none of those corrections (i.e. the raw data).

          Now, let’s focus in on the raw data (no station move corrections). To show the effects of the urban-center to airport station moves, I processed the raw airport and non-airport data separately.

          This next plot shows the “airports only” raw data results(green) vs. the official NASA results(red).

          Note that while the raw airports-only temperature curve lines up nicely with the official NASA temperature curve after 1950 or so, the raw temperature curve runs visibly warmer than the NASA curve prior to 1950. Also note something else about that green “airports-only” curve: it runs all the way back to 1880.

          Obviously, there were no airports back then, so those airport stations must have been moved at some point. And indeed they were, during and after WWII.

          It turns out that well over 400 airport stations have data records going back prior to the Wright Bros first flight. So we are talking about a *lot* of stations that were moved here.

          Now, let’s look at the *non-airport* temperature results vs. NASA — see the plot below:

          Note how the pre-1950 bias between the raw temperature curve and the NASA temperature curve has been greatly reduced. There’s still a bit of a bias — that’s because many city-center stations were also moved to non-airport locations. Those obviously weren’t captured by filtering out the airport stations.

          Also note that all the results above completely disprove Tommy Poo’s bald-faced lie, “the adjustments are 66 percent of all the data worldwide”.

          (Note: the GHCN monthly-mean metadata contains info about whether stations are located at airports, but not whether they were located at water-treatment plants or other popular station-move destinations. That info would be nice to have — I suspect that I could reduce the raw vs. adjusted bias even more if it were included in the metadata.)

          OK, I’ve gone on long enough: here are the take-home points:

          1) Raw and adjusted data produce largely similar results.
          2) Corrections for station moves explain a great deal of the difference between the raw and adjusted data results.
          3) Eliminate stations that were obviously moved and the raw data results line up pretty darned closely to the NASA adjusted results for the entire 1880-present time period.
          4) Tommy Poo is a compulsive liar; he just can’t help himself.

          Please excuse any typos — we don’t have a preview feature here, so I probably missed a few goofs.

    • webej Says:

      blogs silly statements
      Your statement is probably missing an apostrophe.
      Come to think of it, that is a good way to characterize your mind.

    • smithpd1 Says:

      “the world is cooling as shown by … the RSS data set”

      @Tommy Poo,

      Here’s your RSS “cooling down.” Also notice the similarity between RSS TLT V4 and GISS global average surface temperature. Both warming.

      Latest satellite data, TLT V4.0
      slope since 1979 = 0.184C/decade

      Global average surface temperatures, GISS
      slope since 1970 = 0.17C/decade.

      Can you see the upward trends?

  4. stephengn1 Says:

    At every turn, today’s Republican Party favors the dark ages

    Increasingly Republicans say higher education hurts the US and more religion helps it.

    Less than half of Republicans believe a free press important for democracy

    College-Educated Republicans Most Skeptical of Global Warming

    30% of Republican Primary Voters Support Bombing the Fictional Country from the Disney Cartoon Movie Aladdin

    Nearly half of Republicans saw truth in the ‘Pizzagate’ theory

    Putin’s favorable rating among Donald Trump voters Is 35%. Obama’s favorable rating among all Republicans is 9%

    Only Six Percent Of Scientists Identify as Republicans

    • greenman3610 Says:

      gotta believe this reflects, at least in part, a change in the composition of those who self-identify as Republicans. Hard to believe they all suddenly started to hate nigher education – at least, that’s what I’m telling myself. They have attracted a much more ignorant and bigoted crowd in recent years. Now they have to live with it.

  5. redskylite Says:

    Thank god for sanity, photography, learning and the ISS

  6. Similar-but-different story for comparison: Years back, I was in an 1860s era house museum where the guide was dressed in period costume and was speaking of the place as though the present time was 1860. She asked one person whether the person’s arrival there was by horseback or wagon. Failing to ‘get’ what was the intended response was supposed to be, the person replied “motorhome.” The guide continued on, speaking on how she had performed a variety of tasks that morning using the items on display. The one person in the audience then asked, “You mean you really do live in this house and use these antiques like this every day?” You should have seen the look on the guide’s face and the collective facepalm reaction of the rest of the people in the little audience.

    Guys, if the whole Flat Earth thing needs to be explained to you, or other similar things such as the “Procrastinator’s Club of America” announcing their concern over the spread of global cooling, you will NEVER get the joke.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Apples and oranges with your basically irrelevant “similar-but-different story”, Russell. It is NOT a “joke” that so many Republicans have lost their collective minds, which fact may lead to the destruction of the country and the planet.

      I have no doubt that many of them ARE sincere in their belief that the Earth is flat. It goes hand in glove with their rejection of science and reliance on beliefs rather than facts. You need only look at who they elected president to understand they are not rational.

      Take a look at the links in stephengn1’s comment to see how far the madness has progressed—-you can easily find many more pieces of evidence like those.

      • Friend, you can believe all day long in whatever you want to believe. And you are free to continue to compare science ignorance to belief in the Flat Earth Society, but if you were to go into a major Republican gathering to poll how many of ’em believe in a flat Earth, you are either going to be genuinely surprised (I doubt that), or you won’t bother because you know from the start that this was yet another of your literally unsupportable assertions.

        Once again, you fail to dispel the appearance that a hallmark of the far-left is the psychological projection of their own problems – e.g. their rejection of the other half of the global warming science, and reliance on beliefs rather than facts – e.g. the wacko Russians hoodwinked Americans vs the fact that not enough Democrats were impressed enough with Hillary to put her over the top of the required electoral vote count.

        The truth is what it is, and imagine how much happier you will be when you stop fleeing from it in pursuit of beliefs that only give you nightmares.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          More bullshit from Russell, as he keeps spewing Heartland propaganda. His aim, as it is with all deniers, is to confuse and disrupt. He thinks he is so clever here with his attempt at tarring the truth seekers with the “projection” label and talking about the LEFT relying on beliefs rather than facts, which we all know is a feature of the Republican Brain (see Mooney’s book).

          The only thing that one need look at to see how very FOS Russell is is his BS about “rejection of the other half of the global warming science”—-LMAQ! There is no OTHER HALF of the global warming science—-it’s 97% versus 3% at best, and the 3% are whores like Russell (who doesn’t do science anyway because he is totally science-ignorant) and Heartland stooges that have been bought off by the fossil fuel interests.

          And now he’s defending REPUBLICANS? In spite of the ever-increasing evidence that they have in fact lost their collective minds and no longer have the best interests of the country in mind?

          I will repeat my earlier advice—-“Take a look at the links in stephengn1’s comment to see how far the madness has progressed—-you can easily find many more pieces of evidence like those”.

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