Why do some insist Earth is flat despite thousands of years of evidence to the contrary? Dave Farina joins us for Skeptical Sunday to round up some answers!
On This Week’s Skeptical Sunday, We Discuss:
- Belief in a flat Earth rejects historical knowledge, distorts observations, denies gravity, and originates from a mix of misguided ideas and online interactions.
- Flat Earth proponents misrepresent scale and ignore basic principles of grade school science in their arguments against a spherical Earth.
- The origins of modern flat Earth belief are uncertain, possibly beginning life as a meme or a conspiracy theory and gaining traction among the gullible for the benefit of disinformation peddlers.
- Debunkers have exposed flaws in flat Earth belief with easily observable facts, thankfully contributing to a recent decline in its popularity.
- Flat Earth belief exemplifies the broader issue of science denial in modern society and reminds us to do our part to promote critical thinking.
- Connect with Jordan on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. If you have something you’d like us to tackle here on Skeptical Sunday, drop Jordan a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let him know!
- Connect with Dave Farina on YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram, and check out the Professor Dave Debates podcast here or wherever you enjoy listening to fine podcasts. Dave’s book, Is This Wi-Fi Organic?: A Guide to Spotting Misleading Science Online is out now!
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Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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This Episode Is Sponsored By:
If you want to hear more about how to debunk and dismantle conspiracy theories, make sure to listen to episode 363: Mick West | How to Debunk Conspiracy Theories here!
Resources from This Episode:
- Is the Earth Flat? (Featuring Billy Hubbard and David Huntsberger) | Professor Dave Debates
- The Earth is Definitely Not Flat | Professor Dave Explains
- Response to Globebusters: The Earth Still Isn’t Flat | Professor Dave Explains
- Professor Dave Humiliates Flat Earther David Weiss (DITRH Debunked Live) | Professor Dave Explains
- Five Worst Arguments in Flat Earth Debate: Analysis With FTFE | Professor Dave Explains
- The 10 Things That All Flat Earthers Say | Professor Dave Explains
- 10 Challenges For Flat Earthers | Professor Dave Explains
- Destroying Flat Earth Without Using Science – Part 1: The Moon | Professor Dave Explains
- Destroying Flat Earth Without Using Science – Part 2: The Stars | Professor Dave Explains
- Destroying Flat Earth Without Using Science – Part 3: Airplanes | Professor Dave Explains
- Destroying Flat Earth Without Using Science – Part 4: The Conspiracy | Professor Dave Explains
886: Flat Earthers | Skeptical Sunday
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Special thanks to Airbnb for sponsoring this episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show. Maybe you've stayed at an Airbnb before and thought to yourself, "Yeah, this actually seems pretty doable. Maybe my place could be an Airbnb." It could be as simple as starting with a spare room or your whole place while you're away. Find out how much your place is worth at airbnb.com/host.
[00:00:21] Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger, and this is Skeptical Sunday, a special edition of The Jordan Harbinger Show, where YouTuber and science communicator Dave Farina and I break down a topic that you might have never thought about, open things up, and debunk common misconceptions. Topics such as why the Olympics are kind of a sham, why expiration dates on food are a little bit of nonsense, why tipping makes no sense and maybe even kind of racist, recycling, banned foods, toothpaste, chemtrails, flat Earth nonsense, and a whole lot more.
[00:00:50] Normally, on The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people and turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you. We have long-form interviews and conversations with a variety of amazing folks from spies to CEOs, athletes, authors, thinkers, and performers.
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[00:01:35] Now, we live in a time that is ripe with science denial. We have people who doubt the validity of vaccines, people who are skeptical about human-caused climate change, but there is a small group of people who reject what is possibly the most trivial and elementary scientific fact in the history of humankind and that is the spherical shape of the planet we all live on. These people are called flat Earthers, and as their name suggests, they believe that the Earth is not actually a sphere, as we all have known for thousands of years, but rather, a flat plane. Why do they believe this? How do they explain natural phenomena we can all observe and understand in the context of modern science? Well, today, science communicator and honorary flat Earth sociologist, Dave Farina, is here to take us through the details of this bizarre fad or dare I say, cult.
[00:02:24] Dave, thanks for coming on the show.
[00:02:26] Dave Farina: Hi. Thanks for having me.
[00:02:27] Jordan Harbinger: So what drew you to this topic? How is it that you've come to know so much about flat Earth? Like, don't you have anything better to do, basically?
[00:02:35] Dave Farina: I have many better things to do, unfortunately, so I wasn't really drawn toward it so much as I was dragged into it.
[00:02:41] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:02:41] Dave Farina: Just to give a little bit of backstory on my YouTube channel I cover. I make a lot of academic tutorials and so I was making an astronomy series, basically Astronomy 101, which you learn, you know, freshman year of college. I wanted to cap it off with a couple of debunks, little fun pieces, so I did one on astrology and I did one on flat Earth.
[00:02:59] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:03:00] Dave Farina: And I didn't really look into anything that flat Earthers say, I just had heard that there are some people who think the Earth is flat, so I made a little piece about how we know it's a sphere using concepts that I had taught from earlier in the astronomy series. And so I just put that out, didn't think too much of it. But then, one of the more prominent flat Earth channels took it and they decided to do a live stream where they were going to debunk it and they were going to tear apart all the logic I used.
[00:03:26] And so they told me about it and I was there witnessing it and it was three hours of the most nonsensical claims that you've ever heard. It was just really completely absurd. And they were also extremely rude to me and I'm pretty vindictive. So I decided to just take their livestream, chop it up, just completely make fun of it and really embarrass them. And so I did that, and that is now the most viewed video on my channel, interestingly enough.
[00:03:52] And then, because of attracting all the flat Earthers to the channel in the comment section, I then started to get really intimately familiar with all the things that they do say, repeatedly, consistently. So I made a few more debunks just about all of those things that they say. So I've made a few of these now, definitely more than I intended to just because they're so popular and people really like watching them. But, yeah, I'm proud, I guess, to be, I suppose, the most viewed flat Earth debunker on YouTube at this point.
[00:04:19] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, you certainly come up and search well for that. You've SEO'd well for flat Earth, which is ironic and funny. Okay, so going back to the beginning, when you made this first video, you said you didn't check into any of their talking points, so you weren't really familiar with anything that they say?
[00:04:35] Dave Farina: Yeah, that's right. I mean, I just didn't see the point. You know, we know the Earth obviously isn't flat and so I just wanted to keep it academic. I was just using basic logic similar to what was employed when we first figured out that the Earth is a sphere several thousand years ago. So I was just treating it as like a fun thought exercise.
[00:04:53] Jordan Harbinger: So I want to be clear. This is something we've known for thousands of years, not just hundreds. And that's funny because I think when we first started talking about this topic, I was like, yeah, we've known this for centuries, and you're like, let me stop you. Dozens of centuries, actually.
[00:05:05] Dave Farina: Yes.
[00:05:05] Jordan Harbinger: It's been really commonly known that the Earth is not flat for a really freakin long time. So how did this all come about?
[00:05:12] Dave Farina: Yeah, just to echo what you were saying, it's true. Some people are not really aware of how long that we've known this. So some people will say, "Oh, Columbus proved the Earth is a sphere."
[00:05:20] Jordan Harbinger: That's kind of where I'm at. Yeah, I was like, didn't he prove it by sailing? No, you moron. He sailed what was already known for a long time as a round Earth.
[00:05:29] Dave Farina: Yeah, everyone knew it was a sphere, we just didn't know if it was possible to go from Western Europe to East Asia by sailing west. So no one had done that yet, but they knew it was a sphere, it was just sort of to see if that was a viable pathway. So then, obviously, people also bring up like Copernicus and Galileo and Kepler, but they did science pertaining to heliocentrism. So this was in like the 15th and 16th centuries, this was the development or the discovery that the sun is the center of the solar system instead of the Earth. So again, everyone knew that it was a sphere. It was just about what's in the center.
[00:06:01] Prior to heliocentrism, we had the Ptolemaic system, which was a geocentric system. So you have the Earth in the center instead, but it was still a sphere that had been used for like a millennium and a half. We're talking about like the first century CE is when that system was in place. And it was a finely tuned and really rigorous model. We already knew it was a sphere even before then, but this was the first, like, rigorous model where you could explain the motion of the sun and the planets and predict where they're going to be in a very quantitative way.
[00:06:30] But everyone educated has known that the Earth is a sphere since, like, the ancient Greeks. So, you know, empirical science started with Aristotle, it's not really an exaggeration to say that we've known the shape of the Earth since the birth of science. That's how basic and fundamental of a fact this is.
[00:06:48] Jordan Harbinger: Basically, even Jesus was like, "Dude, the Earth is not flat. What is wrong with you? Why would you think that?"
[00:06:53] Dave Farina: Correct.
[00:06:53] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, the Romans were walking around. Doing all their sort of barbaric, crazy kookiness believing that doorways had gods and they were like, but the Earth is round, still got you on that one flat Earthers.
[00:07:05] Dave Farina: Correct. Yes.
[00:07:06] Jordan Harbinger: Given that this was known thousands of years ago, they must've used pretty simple and reproducible methods to figure this out. I would imagine you don't need complex technology. Can you talk a little bit about that?
[00:07:16] Dave Farina: Absolutely, so yeah, at that time, there were no telescopes, there was no modern instrumentation, they didn't have anything modern to use, they were just using naked eye observations and basic logic. They were just looking at things in the sky and thinking. I mean, you can start with the sun, so everybody knows the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. And it retains the same angular size at all times, right? It doesn't change size when you're looking at it—
[00:07:39] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:07:40] Dave Farina: —as it goes, you know, in the sky through the day. This is what's funny, right? Flat Earthers say we live on a flat plane and you've got a sun that's kind of doing little circles over this disk, right? So how does that make sense? Does that work with observation? Well, it certainly doesn't, right? If you have a sun that's floating around above this orb, it would behave like any other object that we can see if it's far away, it will be very, very small. And then as it approaches, it's going to get larger and larger, and it's going to remain high in the sky at all times. Then it passes over you and then it gets smaller and smaller as it recedes, remaining high in the sky so it would not stay the same size and it would never ever approach the horizon. And furthermore, depending on where you're standing on Earth, the path would look different, right? You could be, you know, further north than it or further south than it or whatever. So this is just not compatible with what we see. We see something that doesn't change size and has the same path for everybody.
[00:08:36] So an easy way to imagine this, you know, if you consider yourself on a sphere that's rotating, that's analogous to like sitting in your desk chair and you're just like slowly rotating, you're using your feet to kind of push yourself around on your desk chair and make it rotate. The only difference is that you looking forward in your desk chair is the same as lying on your back and looking up in the sky as the Earth rotates.
[00:08:57] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:08:57] Dave Farina: So, as the Earth is turning, right, something could enter your field of vision from the far periphery, just like if you're on your desk chair and you can, you know, hold your finger out on the side and then your finger suddenly reaches your field of vision. And you can just hold it there and you can keep rotating your chair. Your finger's going to stay the same size as it's going to cross your entire field of vision. And then it's going to disappear beyond the other periphery where you can't see it anymore. So this is exactly like the Earth, right? The field of vision that's determined by your peripheries, that's like the horizon of the Earth.
[00:09:30] So the sun becomes visible as the Earth rotates and it enters the field of vision. It retains the same size because the distance to the sun doesn't really change as the Earth is rotating. Just like the distance from your eyes to your finger doesn't really change. And then the sun is no longer visible once the Earth turns away from it just like you lose sight of your finger after you rotate too far.
[00:09:52] I mean, this is really basic logic that children could understand. So, you know, the ancient Greeks were pretty smart. So this is the kind of stuff that they thought about.
[00:10:00] Jordan Harbinger: So this does make sense, but let me just clarify it. Do flat Earthers think that the sun is moving around the Earth and not that the Earth isn't moving or did I get that wrong?
[00:10:09] Dave Farina: Not around, above.
[00:10:12] Jordan Harbinger: Sorry, above the Earth. Yeah. Above the flat Earth.
[00:10:15] Dave Farina: It's doing little donuts. Yeah, doing little circles up there.
[00:10:18] Jordan Harbinger: So not only are they on the train that the Earth is flat and that the Earth is the center of our solar system and not the sun. So they just went crazy throwback.
[00:10:26] Dave Farina: Okay, but to be clear, they're just rejecting the concept of a solar system in general. It's all lies. It's all a fabrication. There's no solar system.
[00:10:34] Jordan Harbinger: Oh.
[00:10:34] Dave Farina: There's no planets, right? It's not like they think that, you know, that other planets are what science say they are, and then the Earth is flat. No, they're just rejecting literally all of astronomy.
[00:10:45] Jordan Harbinger: Wow, I didn't realize. I just thought they also thought Saturn was flat, or maybe Saturn was round, but Earth was flat. They just don't even believe that it exists or whatever.
[00:10:52] Dave Farina: No, those are not real things.
[00:10:54] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:10:54] Dave Farina: Anything in space is not a real thing. You've got a flat plane and then most of them think there's a dome, a firmament, right? It's very biblical.
[00:11:02] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, we're going to get there. Okay, so far this makes sense. What else? What about the stars, for example?
[00:11:08] Dave Farina: Yeah, so the stars are another thing, right? Just maintaining the theme of just the ancient Greeks, they would look at things in the sky. So, you know, you can see the stars at night.
[00:11:16] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:11:16] Dave Farina: The Greeks were in the Northern Hemisphere, so what they would see is apparent motion. As the stars rotate counterclockwise around a point in the sky, right, you've got the North Star, right, so they're rotating around that, or that's the apparent motion anyway, that's what they're seeing, when the stars move throughout the night.
[00:11:32] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:11:32] Dave Farina: And then they could also travel, so if they traveled towards the equator, they would see that the stars were moving more simply, in just an arc, from east to west. And then they could even go to the Southern Hemisphere, they could go into Africa and other regions, and see that the stars were now rotating clockwise, not counterclockwise, but clockwise, around a different point in the sky, a totally different star. Now, on top of this, as you go from north to south or south to north, some stars become impossible to see and others become visible. So everything I just said on a flat plane is completely absurd.
[00:12:06] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:12:06] Dave Farina: The flat Earthers would have you believe that depending on where you're standing on this disk, the sky is rotating clockwise or counterclockwise. So that doesn't make any sense. And then also, why couldn't you see certain stars? Where all the stars are above you, you should be able to see any star from anywhere. There's no obstruction. It's just empty sky, but on a sphere, right on a rotating sphere, this makes perfect sense. Again, if you're sitting in your chair, you can imagine, let's say you put those like glow-in-the-dark stars that you can put in your room.
[00:12:34] Jordan Harbinger: Sure. Every kid had them.
[00:12:35] Dave Farina: Exactly.
[00:12:36] Jordan Harbinger: Put your name and stars or whatever on the ceiling, glow-in-the-dark stars.
[00:12:39] Dave Farina: Yeah, it's super fun. So put a bunch of them on your ceiling, right? And now, just spin around in your chair, stare directly upwards and spin around in your chair, and you can even do like a little time-lapse. And you'll get circular streaks as you're looking at them. But there's one star immediately above your head, right? Just right straight up. And that one won't appear to move. It's right above you. It's directly in line with where you're looking. So that exhibits no apparent motion because that's your line of sight.
[00:13:07] And so it's the same thing here. So the Earth is a sphere. It has a rotational axis. There's an axis around which it is rotating. And so extend that rotational axis up to the night sky in the Northern Hemisphere. And it's pointing roughly at a star called Polaris right now, currently. And so that star will appear not to move. It's directly aligned with the rotational axis. And all the other stars exhibit this apparent motion around that star. Then you travel down to the other hemisphere. You've got another pole, you've got the South Pole. And that's pointing at a totally different set of stars called the Southern Cross. And everything rotates the other way around that.
[00:13:44] And then, very obviously, the reason we can't see certain stars when we're in certain places is because we can't see through the Earth, right? If you're standing on the North Pole, you can see the stars that you have access to seeing, but you can't see through the Earth to see the ones in the Southern Hemisphere. And then, on the South Pole, it's the opposite, right? You have an entirely different field of vision, you're looking at a different region of space, you see different stars. So, yeah, again, even the ancient Greeks, I know they didn't have planes and stuff, but they were traveling around the world enough to notice these changes in the night sky, and this is one of the ways they reached the conclusion of a spherical Earth.
[00:14:19] Jordan Harbinger: Okay, I admit you're making a lot of sense here. Is there anything else from this time period?
[00:14:23] Dave Farina: Yeah, I mean, tons, it's all this looking at the sky and thinking stuff. So I mean, eclipses, right? They noticed eclipses. And this only makes sense with a spherical Earth, where celestial bodies are getting in between other celestial bodies. In fact, one of the things, I think it was Aristotle that saw this, they would look at the Earth's shadow on the Moon during a lunar eclipse, right? That's when the Earth is in between the Sun and the Moon. And so it casts a shadow on the Moon. And they saw the edge of the shadow was circular. And the shadow of a sphere is a circle.
[00:14:52] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:14:52] Dave Farina: So that made perfect sense. And then there's always, of course, Eratosthenes used the shadows to measure the circumference of the Earth and he did so with pretty impressive accuracy. It was actually, you know, within, I don't know, something like five percent accurate—
[00:15:05] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:15:05] Dave Farina: —what the true circumference is. Yeah, ancient Greeks—
[00:15:08] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:15:08] Dave Farina: —they're smart. They were smart with their geometry and stuff. So, yeah, almost any cosmology from like 400, 500 BCE or later involves a spherical Earth. Everybody understood this at that time.
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[00:16:46] Now, back to Skeptical Sunday.
[00:16:50] So, this is a good entry point into what flat Earthers believe. I think right now people are like, "Wait, I thought this was about flat Earth and you're explaining that it's round." I want to hear about these knuckleheads who—
[00:16:57] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[00:16:58] Jordan Harbinger: —think that it's flat. What is their rebuttal to these kind of obvious, trivial conclusions that you've just explained?
[00:17:05] Dave Farina: I mean, predictably, not much. I mean, mainly insults—
[00:17:09] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:17:10] Dave Farina: —and things like that. Okay, so for example, the sun, right, we're talking about the sun, right, it rises below the horizon, stays the same size all the way across, and then sets below the other horizon. Again, makes no sense in terms of thinking of it as a little orb that is flying around the top of it. But what tactic is they just use words they don't understand, like vocab words, like refraction. So they'll just say, "Oh, it's refraction." They know that they don't understand what refraction is. But they think that that means nobody else understands it either.
[00:17:39] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:17:39] Dave Farina: So they don't have to explain anything beyond that, but that's pretty much what they do.
[00:17:42] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. So how would refraction help them with the sun? What do they think they're trying to argue even if most of them can't articulate what the argument actually is?
[00:17:51] Dave Farina: Yeah. I mean, since they can't really articulate it, it's hard to decipher sometimes.
[00:17:55] Jordan Harbinger: What's like the steel man, what's the best argument—
[00:17:57] Dave Farina: Yes.
[00:17:57] Jordan Harbinger: —you can come up with on their behalf that refraction could possibly give them as a benefit here.
[00:18:02] Dave Farina: Let me steel man them here. So It's kind of like, you know how if you like put a pencil in a glass of water, the way that the light interacts with water, it causes a distortion in the apparent shape and orientation of the pencil. So it looks like that right where the water starts, it looks like there's like a break or a bend—
[00:18:18] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, yeah.
[00:18:18] Dave Farina: —in the pencil where it enters the water. You know what I'm talking about?
[00:18:20] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I remember that. And if you don't know what I'm talking about, stick a pencil in a glass of water and it'll look like half the pencil is broken, but it's still sticking out of the water.
[00:18:27] Dave Farina: Exactly. There's just a slight angle there. So that's due to refraction, and so they think that they can use this to explain something as dramatic as an object that should be very tiny and very high in the sky, being very big and below the horizon. So that's insane because the atmosphere is less than one percent water. Even over the ocean, it's less than one percent water. So, they wanted to elicit a refractive effect that is hundreds of times greater than actual liquid water. So that doesn't make any sense. But the other problem is that they have to then explain why it works for the sun only, right?
[00:19:06] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, yeah.
[00:19:07] Dave Farina: There's other things in the sky, right? Watch a bird fly off into the distance over the ocean. It doesn't drift down and disappear below the horizon, right? It stays in the sky, gets smaller and smaller and smaller until you can't see it anymore. Planes, whatever, anything like that, so there's no logical consistency there.
[00:19:23] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, I guess if it flies really far, it goes over the horizon, the airplane could, right? I mean, it's going around the world.
[00:19:28] Dave Farina: Sure, but I mean, has anyone witnessed that? That's not something that we see.
[00:19:33] Jordan Harbinger: Certainly not.
[00:19:34] Dave Farina: I don't know. Some really try their darndest, so they have this dome. There's a dome encasing the Earth, so it's flat. And then it's like a little snow globe kind of a thing.
[00:19:42] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:19:43] Dave Farina: They use the glass. They want the glass in the dome or whatever material they say, I don't know what they think it is made of, but that's going to elicit this effect. But this is actually a really big problem. See, this is the kind of thing they have these ad hoc solutions to then create other problems because they'll do a little like middle school science experiment where they show a flashlight through a dome and it gives it something kind of like the effect they want. But then the problem is they need like the sun and the moon inside this dome because they use that as explanations for tides and like weather and all these other phenomena that require a spherical Earth. So it's like, is the sun outside of the dome or is it inside of the dome? You guys need to figure that out.
[00:20:24] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, interesting. So they simultaneously need the sun outside of the dome to get the sunset, inside the dome to get the tides and the storms and other weather stuff.
[00:20:31] Dave Farina: Yes.
[00:20:32] Jordan Harbinger: You can't have it both at the same time. So I assume that they're like, "Well, this moves over here and then that moves over there." I would love to see a physical model of what they are trying to do. And I've seen some attempts online and it's pretty crazy.
[00:20:45] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[00:20:46] Jordan Harbinger: Things are moving inside and outside and the light sources are moving around. And there's this other thing over here that's just like magic.
[00:20:51] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[00:20:52] Jordan Harbinger: And then there's like an ice wall. I mean, whatever, I'm sure we'll get to this. But what about the stars? You mentioned rotation around the poles in which stars are visible and things like that. How did those fit into the dome thing?
[00:21:03] Dave Farina: Anytime I bring this up with any of them, it's just silence. They have no answer for this. So some of them go so far as to try to escape by making up things like they call them personal domes. So everyone sees something different because magic.
[00:21:17] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, wow.
[00:21:18] Dave Farina: Everybody has their own little dome of stars. I literally have heard them say that, but then with like the apparent rotation of the stars, they just use their own poor spatial reasoning. They don't understand what I'm saying is an argument. So they like to say, "Oh, if you're facing South, it rises to your left. And if you're facing North, it'll rise to your right. So it makes perfect sense." But that's ridiculous, right? We're talking about clockwise and counterclockwise. In the Northern Hemisphere, it's counterclockwise around the pole. In the Southern Hemisphere, it's clockwise around the pole. So, go ahead and put a clock on the ceiling. And then, tell me which direction you can face that will make the hands spin counterclockwise. It's not going to happen, right? That's not what clockwise and counterclockwise mean. So, really the bottom line is every flat Earther, they're incapable of accepting that they can't understand this and they try to assert their own stupidity over basic logic because they are delusional narcissists. That's the bottom line.
[00:22:12] Jordan Harbinger: Okay, so I'm interested in this because I feel you on the delusional narcissist label I've talked to the few of these guys online and you're right It's usually like, "Well, if you're such an effing idiot, you're so educated, Mr. Lawyer that you would know this." And then some other people will start to be like, "You're just denying God. You're going to hell." And I'm like, whoa, I thought we were talking about science—
[00:22:32] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[00:22:32] Jordan Harbinger: —and Earth and suddenly, they'll quote a Bible verse and block me or say something really hateful.
[00:22:38] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[00:22:38] Jordan Harbinger: And I haven't really met anybody who's been able to sort of entertain these conversations Not that I spend a ton of time dealing with it, It's just that usually they devolve really, really quickly into stuff like that or they stop responding. Okay, so If we can move away from these basic observations that the ancients were able to make, and we fast forward to today, we have modern science, of course, we have satellites, telescopes, rockets. We've been to space, we've taken pictures of everything in the solar system, to some degree. We've sent probes to other worlds. What is their response to all that? Is it just all fake?
[00:23:12] Dave Farina: Yes. Yes, that's it. All of that is fake.
[00:23:16] Jordan Harbinger: Oh god.
[00:23:16] Dave Farina: Space is fake. The probes are fake. The pictures are fake. It's fake. All of it's fake. It's NASA. It's the government. It's a conspiracy. It's CGI. They like to say CGI.
[00:23:26] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:23:27] Dave Farina: Which I don't even think they really know what that means. But that's their only tactic. If they don't like something, it's CGI, it's fake. And this is idiotic. You know, again, as we just discussed, we knew Earth was a sphere thousands of years ago. We don't need pictures of the Earth from space. We don't need to send probes anywhere. We've known it's a sphere for so long. But it doesn't work anyway when they say CGI and things like that because, you know, images of the Earth in the Apollo missions in like the '60s and '70s, these are film photographs. There's no computer involved. They're not computer-generated images. These are film photographs. So that's number one.
[00:24:02] Number two, they like to talk about NASA. NASA does not have a monopoly on space travel. They're one of many space agencies in different countries. Other space agencies have also sent crafts to the moon and other things. So it starts to break down this narrative of one corrupt lying organization. It just doesn't work. We have space agencies all over the world, but to go even further, even if you were going to just talk about NASA, let's pretend that only NASA has ever been to space. It still doesn't make any sense. NASA staff, I don't know, 20,000 people, something like that. It's got an enormous staff to think of a conspiracy where you have to spend this much money.
[00:24:39] You have to give 20,000 people full salaries to sit in a room and do, what are they doing? They're not doing anything, right? I use this in one of my debunks. They're just George Costanza with the Penske file, right? They're sitting in the room waiting for the day to run out.
[00:24:54] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:24:54] Dave Farina: Who is going to spend that much money to propagate something like this? It's not how money works. If it's a conspiracy to maintain power and wealth and you're spending this much money to propagate it, it just doesn't make sense.
[00:25:06] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that's a good point, right? Because if they're not designing rockets because rockets are fake and they're not studying space because space is fake. You have to have those people, one, salary and benefits, but two, just not say anything. Not admit that they don't do anything all day.
[00:25:19] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[00:25:19] Jordan Harbinger: And that seems a little bit much, and that's just the one agency. It's like, man, so China, Russia, the United States, and what, North Korea are all in cahoots on this one—
[00:25:30] Dave Farina: Right.
[00:25:30] Jordan Harbinger: —like, Iran, I mean—
[00:25:32] Dave Farina: Yes.
[00:25:33] Jordan Harbinger: —it's a good point. There would have to be so many people, so much effort, such a monumental scheme. What is the payoff? It requires an even bigger conspiracy. Okay. So who do they think is doing this and why is it like the Freemasons, the Illuminati? What is it?
[00:25:47] Dave Farina: Sure. It has to be a layer above all the national governments, right?
[00:25:51] Jordan Harbinger: Mm hmm.
[00:25:52] Dave Farina: But they don't have that. It's just the government. They don't even consider this in this like international scope, singular global government. I don't know. It's just the man.
[00:26:01] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:26:01] Dave Farina: It's essentially the man or lizard people, or I don't know, we'll just some nameless, faceless organization. Earlier, you said something about how some of them talk about God.
[00:26:10] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:26:11] Dave Farina: And so I have heard them say that the point is literally to hide God.
[00:26:14] Jordan Harbinger: Ah, okay.
[00:26:15] Dave Farina: Right. So they want biblical creationism and this is ridiculous because most people in the world believe in God, most people.
[00:26:23] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, I didn't know that.
[00:26:24] Dave Farina: And they know the Earth is a sphere. So it didn't work very well if it's trying to hide God. Everybody believes in God. So some try a little harder than that and they have like an actual objective. So earlier, you were talking about the Antarctic ice wall. So yeah, you've seen the thing, you've seen the little, the dinner plate, and you've seen—
[00:26:41] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:26:41] Dave Farina: —how Antarctica is the wall around, right?
[00:26:43] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:26:44] Dave Farina: They say that there's more stuff beyond that, right? So that's not the edge. That's not the end. And if you can trek past that, there's more stuff, there's more land, there's more resources. So like there's more oil that they can have.
[00:26:59] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:27:00] Dave Farina: So they're spending trillions of dollars a year. To staff millions of people and build rockets that don't go anywhere. So they can hide oil. I, that's like the best steel manning I can do—
[00:27:10] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:27:10] Dave Farina: —on this, yeah.
[00:27:11] Jordan Harbinger: So basically, the Arctic Antarctic is a giant ice wall around a flat Earth and supposedly there's more, maybe that's the end or maybe there's more behind it that the elite Illuminati lizard people are hiding because that's where they have their secret bases with unlimited amounts of resources.
[00:27:28] Dave Farina: Pretty much. Yes, that. Yeah.
[00:27:30] Jordan Harbinger: Apart from conspiracy, they've got to have something. They have to offer some kind of evidence supporting what they're saying. What did they bring up as evidence for a flat Earth? There has to be more than just the rumors, the assertions, right? They've got to have something where they're misinterpreting or showing something.
[00:27:45] Dave Farina: I mean, it's pretty light. Really, most of it is just pointing at real science and going, "Nuh-uh." They don't really offer any evidence. The best that they have, and honestly, it's not that bad. If you went thousands of years ago, it wouldn't be that bad, is they just go, it looks flat, right? If you're walking around or you get on a hill and look out there, it looks kind of flat, right? And that's honestly the best talking point that they have. It looks flat.
[00:28:10] Jordan Harbinger: I've gotten that talking point. I had somebody tell me that the Earth is flat. I interviewed Shaq, you know, because he was pretending to be a flat Earther for publicity and on my show, he's like, "It's not flat, you idiots. I'm joking," right? And somebody emailed and they were like, "No, the Illuminati got to him. He had to change his answer. He probably heard that it was flat at some high-level meeting where Shaq was and he accidentally spilled the beans." And I said, "Come on, man, what are you talking about?" He goes, "I'm a pilot. I've never seen the curvature of the Earth."
[00:28:36] Dave Farina: Mm-hmm.
[00:28:37] Jordan Harbinger: And of course, my next question was, what kind of planes do you fly? And the answer was, not giant planes that go up really high where you might see the very obvious curvature of the Earth that I see when I look out the window from my plane seats when I'm flying commercial aircraft to other places.
[00:28:52] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[00:28:53] Jordan Harbinger: Right?
[00:28:53] Dave Farina: Yeah. Or he's just lying about being a pilot in general.
[00:28:55] Jordan Harbinger: That's what I think. Yeah. So what is it that they think they should be able to see?
[00:29:00] Dave Farina: I mean, I don't know. It's like, remember, like, Le Petit Prince? Remember those, like, little books?
[00:29:05] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:29:06] Dave Farina: On the cover, you'd see the little guy, and it's that tiny little planet that's got, like, a house and a tree on it.
[00:29:10] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:29:11] Dave Farina: I think that that's what they think that you should just walk and, like, feel like you're walking downhill always or something. Like, it should be so obvious. But it's ridiculous. The Earth is really, really, really big. Like if you draw a circle on a computer with a graphic software, whatever, and then zoom in, zoom in, zoom in. And let's say you could zoom in 80,000 times or whatever, you'd have a line. You'd be looking at the edge of the circle. It'd be a line, right? You could not detect the curvature if you zoom in enough. So it's just the idea of scale. It's just completely lost on these people. But then on top of that, you have to sprinkle in all these lies.
[00:29:44] So they claim that there's pictures of things hundreds of miles away. I've heard people say, "Oh, somebody took a picture of something a thousand miles away," and you know, you've got YouTube videos, dramatic action movie soundtracks, "And look at this observation. I'm busting the globe. I took a picture of something a thousand miles." No, they didn't. No, they definitely didn't. They're always lying. They're lying about the altitude of the observer. They're lying about the height of what they're looking at, right? How tall something is. Obviously, if something's much taller, you're going to see it from further away. They're lying about how far away it actually is. They're often lying about what the object is. They'll say it's like such and such mountain that's 500 miles away, but it's actually a different, much closer mountain. They like to do the Chicago Skyline from across Lake Michigan, right?
[00:30:29] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:30:29] Dave Farina: And they'll say, "Oh, you shouldn't be able to see that. It's like 50 miles or something, but they're looking at tall skyscrapers, very tall skyscrapers. So they're taking something where they're looking up like a calculation of how far away you should be able to see something at sea level. And then, they're applying that to these tall skyscrapers and neglecting to acknowledge that you can only see the tops of them, right? You can't see the front door of them. You can see the tops of them. Well, why? Why would the bottom halves be missing, right? Why are the top halves magically floating? I wonder why. Maybe it's the curvature of the Earth. It's just the complete inability to apply critical thinking.
[00:31:06] Jordan Harbinger: This does seem like a rather weak argument, I guess. So what about their widespread science denial? What kind of science do they misrepresent to try and cobble together an argument? You touched on some of this, but it just seems like there's other incentives here and I want to get to those in a sec because there has to be some other reason why you would even bother dealing with this. But what other science do they say, "Look at this science that says that we're right," because I saw this documentary on Netflix, I think it was called Behind the Curve, and they're doing all kinds of stuff—
[00:31:33] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[00:31:34] Jordan Harbinger: —with lasers and everything. And they seem to have this science, but the science never works. And they've always got to do a different experiment because they're looking for a specific result, right? But what kind of science have you found that they're using?
[00:31:45] Dave Farina: Yeah. Or in that particular documentary, you have the flat Earthers who accidentally prove the Earth is a sphere.
[00:31:51] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Like over and over again. And at the end, they go—
[00:31:54] Dave Farina: Yes.
[00:31:54] Jordan Harbinger: "Oh, man, we got to really figure out how to get to the Earth is flat here or we're done here." And it's all on the mic. Oops.
[00:31:59] Dave Farina: Those are the guys actually that did that live stream initially that got me into the—
[00:32:04] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, okay. Yeah.
[00:32:06] Dave Farina: I owe them a beer if I ever meet them because it definitely has been lucrative.
[00:32:10] Jordan Harbinger: For sure.
[00:32:11] Dave Farina: And I have them to thank for it.
[00:32:12] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:32:13] Dave Farina: So anyway, yeah. I mean, they have these like couple of little things that they latch onto. Like they like water, they love to talk about water a lot. And they have these little catchphrases, so they say water finds its level. They all say this—
[00:32:24] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:32:24] Dave Farina: Water finds its level. So what they mean by that is that like, okay, if you look at a glass of water, the surface of the glass of water, it appears flat, right?
[00:32:34] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:32:34] Dave Farina: If you look at a bathtub, it looks pretty flat. If you look at a swimming pool, it looks pretty flat. If you look at a pond, it looks pretty flat. So they extrapolate from that, that an ocean is also flat. Which is ridiculous, right? It's the not comprehending scale. It's about the amount of curvature that should occur over the length of these, right? How much of Earth's curvature should be visible in a glass of water? None, right? How are you going to see that there? But an ocean is really, really big, right? The Pacific Ocean spans a very sizable percentage of the circumference of the Earth, so there's going to be curvature. But they use this word level. They don't really know what level means, right?
[00:33:11] Level just means if you have a vector representing the gravitational force, so the gravity is pulling everything towards the center of Earth's mass. And so you have that vector going from wherever that object is to the center of the Earth level means perpendicular to that. So like a little T, that's all that level means.
[00:33:28] And so water molecules are individual objects. Every water molecule is getting pulled to the center of the Earth. And so an ocean isn't like a solid block of ice, it's like extending out into space, right? You've got, they're all separate water molecules, they're all getting pulled to the center of the Earth. So a very large body of water is going to exhibit curvature, because of how big it is.
[00:33:48] So, looking at a glass of water, or a swimming pool, or whatever it is, it doesn't translate, it doesn't make sense.
[00:33:53] Jordan Harbinger: Ah, this makes sense, right? So you're going to have curvature into that body of water as well, naturally because of, well, gravity.
[00:34:00] Dave Farina: Yeah, gravity.
[00:34:02] Jordan Harbinger: You know what you definitely want to bring on your journey to the edge of the Antarctica ice wall? Something from the fine products and services that support this show. We'll be right back.
[00:34:14] This episode is sponsored in part by Airbnb. Whenever we travel, we enjoy staying at Airbnbs for its home away from home type of feel, especially for extended stays. We've stayed in some pretty chichi lofts from New York to Melbourne, Australia, rustic countryside cottages in New Zealand where they had pet alpacas and sheep and stuff like that. We've also stayed in beachside villas in Ko Samui in Maui, as well as an artsy-fartsy apartment in Portland. It's fun to have that authentic experience, living as the locals do in real neighborhoods, experiencing the local culture, food, people. It also inspired us to set up a room and become hosts ourselves. Just so you super sleuths know, it's not available right now. My parents are living with us temporarily. A lot of people have asked. But hosting is fun and we meet incredible people this way. Maybe you have a vacation planned for the summer. When you're away, your home could be an Airbnb. Maybe a music festival or big tournament is coming to town and you want to get out of town. You could Airbnb your home and make some extra money, whether you could use a little extra money to cover some bills or for something a little more fun. Your home might be worth more than you think. Find out how much at airbnb.com/host.
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[00:35:26] Now, for the rest of Skeptical Sunday.
[00:35:30] How could everything be flat or level or whatever they want to call it on a flat Earth? How do they explain tides? You kind of said before they need the moon inside and outside the dome. That's not real. But how do they explain the tides?
[00:35:42] Dave Farina: Yeah, this is one of the funniest things to me. It's a perfect example of how it's all ad hoc. They try to explain one little thing, but then everything else falls apart. And when you point it out to them, they just get angry. So, they have this like, water is level, water is flat, whatever. But tides exist, right? Tides are a thing that undeniably exists. The water level goes up and down at the coasts. So if the Earth was flat, tides would be these little mounds, or like little hillocks of water that just kind of float around the world for no reason.
[00:36:11] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:36:11] Dave Farina: Something has to account for rising and lowering of the water level. And so, they don't even bother. It's just so funny to me that with tides, it means that even if the Earth was flat, the water would not be flat or level or whatever word that they're trying to use here. So the entire talking point is completely invalidated. All you have to do is look at tides. That is the thing that exists. But they love this water stuff.
[00:36:35] They have another catchphrase, and they love to go, "Show me water sticking to a spinning ball," right? So the challenge is that in order to substantiate the idea of oceans adhering to a sphere, a spherical Earth. They think we should be able to wet a ball, like a tennis ball, spin it really fast, and all the water should magically stay on it, and they think that that's a sensical thing to say.
[00:36:58] Jordan Harbinger: Okay, so I do understand the logic there, but I'm a little confused about what that has to do with anything, because there's obviously other forces involved on a tennis ball. That's in our atmosphere, subject to the Earth's gravity. It doesn't really relate to the point they think they're trying to prove.
[00:37:15] Dave Farina: No, it certainly doesn't. And you're right to be confused, there's a lot of stupid to unpack here. First of all, it's this thing, make it stick to a spitting ball as though the spherical shape of the Earth, the sphericity is what makes water stick to it—
[00:37:28] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:37:28] Dave Farina: —as opposed to some other shape. It has nothing to do with the shape. It's just gravity. It doesn't matter if you're holding a ball, right? It's just, the Earth is really, really huge. It generates a huge gravitational field, so things stay on Earth. They're complaining about a ball. It doesn't mean anything. It could be a cube. It could be any object, right? But then you have the spinning part. So the spinning part, they think that the Earth is spinning really, really fast. They go, "Oh, it's spinning a thousand miles an hour, blah, blah, blah. So everything should fly off. Or if you imagine like a merry-go-round that's spinning insanely fast and kids are just like flying off of it, right? The Earth spins once per day. That's literally what a day is. Think of the hour hand on a clock. You know how slow the hour hand on a clock goes?
[00:38:13] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:38:14] Dave Farina: So the Earth is spinning half that fast.
[00:38:16] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, that's a good point. I hadn't thought about that. Right. That's literally what a day is. Yeah.
[00:38:21] Dave Farina: Yes. There is a centripetal force though. There is an outward force due to the rotation of the Earth, but you can calculate it. It's a very easy calculation to do and I did it in one of my debunks. It's something like 300 times weaker than the gravitational force. So, nothing is flying anywhere due to the rotation of the Earth. But, the third part, this is the most hilarious part. So, they think that if you wet a tennis ball and the water drips off, "Oh, look at that, the ball didn't hold on to the water, right? Well, why did the water drip off? It falls to the Earth because of the gravity of the Earth." So this demonstration of Earth's gravity that they're looking for fails in their eyes because of Earth's gravity. That's how incredibly clueless these people are.
[00:39:06] Jordan Harbinger: All right, let's talk a little bit more about gravity because this is, again, confusing to me. We were all taught that planets are spheres because of gravity. Really big things crush themselves into spheres because of huge gravitational force. So how do they explain the fact that a flat Earth just isn't doing that? Do they not believe in gravity?
[00:39:25] Dave Farina: Surprise, surprise. They deny the existence of gravity as well. Just like all the CGI photos, blah, blah, blah. Gravity doesn't exist.
[00:39:33] Jordan Harbinger: There's no gravity. Okay. Okay. But then, why do things fall down in their model of the world? I mean, certainly, they can't deny that. I mean, we've all fallen down. We've all dropped things.
[00:39:42] Dave Farina: It's true. Yeah. Amazingly, they don't deny that things fall to the ground, but they have no way to explain this. But they try, bless their little hearts. So one of the things they say, it's density and buoyancy.
[00:39:54] Jordan Harbinger: Okay, density and buoyancy. I've heard those two terms, especially with fluids, but what does that have to do with anything here?
[00:40:00] Dave Farina: Yeah, not much. I mean, buoyancy is a reactionary force to gravity. Like, if you try to calculate buoyancy, there's an equation for calculating the buoyant force. It contains gravity in it. There's a G for gravity.
[00:40:10] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. The thing that doesn't exist, they need it to calculate the thing that they say does exist. Okay.
[00:40:16] Dave Farina: Correct. But of course, they don't know equations and physics and things like that. So get rid of buoyancy, that doesn't make any sense. But density is even worse because things fall down, right? Things accelerate towards the ground, right?
[00:40:29] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:40:29] Dave Farina: And so something is causing objects to accelerate. Density is a scalar. It's just mass per unit volume. It's just how much mass is in a certain volume. It's not a force. It doesn't accelerate anything. It doesn't cause motion. You just, you weigh it and you go, oh, it's this many grams per cubic centimeter or whatever. It can't make things move in a certain direction, right? You know, the acceleration due to gravity at Earth's surface is 9.8 meters per second squared. This is irrefutable. You can demonstrate this with any object. And this is calculated using Newton's law of universal gravitation. So you plug in Earth's mass, you plug in Earth's radius, or, you know, essentially where you are and you can get this value for G and then you can see if you change altitude, this value will change even latitude. There's an equatorial bulge, right? So actually the radius of the Earth is not constant. It's a little bit larger at the equator and a little bit smaller at the poles.
[00:41:22] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:41:23] Dave Farina: So actually, the acceleration due to gravity is slightly different. As you change latitude, you can measure this. So this is all very flawlessly consistent. This model is everything works perfectly with it. They can't explain it away, but they bring up density because they need something.
[00:41:40] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:41:41] Dave Farina: Gravity destroys everything for them. So they, they say density. And the reason they do this is because they know that denser things displace less dense things. So like a rock falls through the air because the rock is more dense in the air, the rock sinks in the water because the rock is more dense than the water. So this is an observation. It's a very simple observation, but they think that that's the end of the story, right? That's all they need, but they can't explain why down. They're saying that something that is more dense displaces things that are less dense. But if you drop a rock, the air around the rock is less dense everywhere. It's not just down that's less dense. Why doesn't it fall up? Why doesn't it fall sideways?
[00:42:19] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, yeah. I never thought about that. That's a good point.
[00:42:21] Dave Farina: I mean, honestly, the air becomes thinner with altitude. So technically, the air above the rock is less dense than the air below the rock. So, by their logic, everything should fall up. Why don't things fall up, right? It's almost as though there's this force pulling everything to the center of the Earth. And that's why things fall down. They cannot grasp this.
[00:42:42] Jordan Harbinger: So how do they then explain the fact that the atmosphere thins as you go up? Do they just deny that as well?
[00:42:47] Dave Farina: Most of them do. I mean, I think that they just don't know that. And then they don't want to like learn anything. So this is actually one of their other little gotchas is they go, "How does an atmosphere exist next to the vacuum of space?" And so what I imagine is in their heads is that they think that science proposes that you have this thick atmosphere, right? You've got this gaseous atmosphere with no variation in density. It's just the same everywhere. And that goes up and up and up. And then there's an arbitrary line where it stops and then space. They know that space is a vacuum, but they don't know what a vacuum is. So they think a vacuum is like a vacuum cleaner.
[00:43:22] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:43:23] Dave Farina: Space should be sucking all of the atmosphere up into space. There's a lot to unpack with that.
[00:43:29] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I just remember learning all of this in like elementary school and middle school. Okay. So gravity keeps the air here just like everything else. The atmosphere thins as you get higher. I mean, it's so painful because I've tried to come out this with an open mind. Because I watched a bunch of flat Earth videos thinking like, okay, I don't want to get one side of the story. A lot of what they say is even more ridiculous than I expected. We didn't even necessarily cover some of the stuff where they're just like, "Welp, God. Welp, magic." It's weird. Because I don't care if you're an atheist, a lot of my very religious friends are not like, "Yeah, there's a magic dome above the Earth and there's angels above that. And the stars are just little holes in the firmament where divine light shines through." It's like, that's just kooky. So, how does the fad even exist right now? Why are people falling for this? Why is this revived or was it always around and we just didn't pay attention to it?
[00:44:20] Dave Farina: It's a very good question. It's very hard to answer, especially with the internet. I mean, it is a revival. This isn't like a new thing. There was actually a wave of this in the 19th century. There was this guy called Sam Rowbotham, I think is what his name was. He wrote this book, Zetetic Astronomy, and he was peddling all, really kind of the same stuff that they all say, but he would kind of travel around and peddle this stuff and like sell things and just be kind of like a snake oil salesman with this stuff. But then, I can't quite pinpoint when it was, it might've been around 10 years ago or so. This started resurfacing on the internet.
[00:44:54] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:44:54] Dave Farina: And so there's a lot of people who are like, oh, this was like a meme on 4chan and people were like trolling with the dumbest thing that they could think of. And then some people took it seriously and started running with it. Some say it was a PSYOP by the CIA to like, see what the dumbest thing is that they could get people to believe. I mean, that sounds like a lot. It's actually not that ridiculous. I don't know if I believe that or not, but whether it is people actively trying to manipulate the masses in accepting outrageous falsities, like to see what they can get away with in the future, or if it's just grifters, it got a little bit of traction. It's not that popular. It's not that many people who fell for it. But you now have like this little community of flat Earth priests that are vying for supremacy, right? You know, each of them wants to be like the top flat Earther and have like the most accolades like the most respect—
[00:45:42] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:45:42] Dave Farina: —in their little community and they have their little videos and their livestreams. They even have like a little conference that a couple of hundred people go to. And they make money off of this. They sell apps, they sell shirts. They have like this little bit of celebrity status in the community. So they're not going to give it up. I mean, the main ones, they know that they're full of it. They know it's crap, but it's their social circle. It's their self-worth. This is all they have. So it's very sad, but I think that's the case.
[00:46:06] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I think this makes a lot of sense. And I saw again, the documentaries about this, not least of which is Behind the Curve, which we'll link in the show notes, they sell books, they sell models. They give talks that are probably paid, or at least they gives them a chance to shill their books and yeah, they're getting online clout. They've got their social circle or their fame from that little niche that they've carved out where like they're the guy who came up with a way to explain the tides. So they're like the Nobel Prize-winning scientist in their little corner of nonsense, non-science because they're the ones that came up with a way to explain something that everybody else knows is false. And it's just—
[00:46:42] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[00:46:42] Jordan Harbinger: It is a grift is where I'm leaning. Like if I found out podcasting was killing puppies every time I released an episode. I would feel bad for a second and then cognitive dissonance would kick in. And I'd start saying, well, there's too many damn puppies anyways. I'm doing a public service getting rid of the extra puppies because I can't stop podcasting because this is how I make my living and I don't want to stop podcasting. The thing is I can podcast about whatever I want. I don't have to pick something because I know someone's going to go, "Aha, he admitted that he's biased because—" No, I can podcast about rainbows if I want to. I don't have to podcast about flat Earth just to burst this bubble. But I really think the social angle is interesting because this is the grift, this is how they're making their money, this is how they're getting their ego stroked, and so their incentives are spread this far and wide so that they get more members of this kind of ridiculous goofy cult.
[00:47:30] Dave Farina: Yeah. No, that's true. And in fact, many of them end up moving on to like QAnon—
[00:47:35] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:47:35] Dave Farina: —or Antivax or other like NWO stuff.
[00:47:38] Jordan Harbinger: What's NWO?
[00:47:39] Dave Farina: New world order and like shadow government—
[00:47:42] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, okay.
[00:47:42] Dave Farina: —and stuff because they have this flavor of global conspiracy. But any flat Earther that starts doing this within six months starts to quickly realize, "Oh my god, this is totally indefensible." There's no way to peddle this without sounding like an idiot so some of them hang on to it some of them kind of start to move on but It's just really weird. It definitely seems like it's fading. At best, it's holding steady. It's definitely not growing I mean you can look at like the numbers on these channels because they have their little live streams weekly or some of them do it daily—
[00:48:17] Jordan Harbinger: Geez.
[00:48:17] Dave Farina: And the numbers are abysmal. They'll get like less than a thousand people on the live stream so it's like if there were millions of people waking up to the truth, this is their identity. They'd be watching this stuff. And I do think that content from myself, there's other debunkers as well. I think it does help because there are people who are vulnerable and might fall for some of this stuff. And if they can see somebody in a very articulate manner, just break down the ridiculous things they're saying and show how idiotic they are, it can help people kind of come back to sanity. I've definitely had people email me and just be like, "Wow, dude, I'm a little embarrassed, but I almost fell for that. Thank you. You showed me how ridiculous it is." But you know, again, it's a gateway conspiracy.
[00:48:56] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:48:56] Dave Farina: So every flat Earther is a climate denier and a moon landing denier and an anti-vaxxer and into chemtrails. And it's the bottom of the barrel. So there's no such thing as a flat Earther who doesn't subscribe to some other conspiracy. They subscribe to all of them because it's the most preposterous one at all. So, you know, I don't fixate on flat Earthers anymore. I mean, I did my fair share of debunks because it was fun and silly. But, you know, I have moved on, you know, it is all intertwined, right? We can't really ignore any flavor of science denial. It's all a rich tapestry and it is doing tremendous damage to society. So it's good to keep it on the radar, I guess. Yeah.
[00:49:33] Jordan Harbinger: Thank you so much. We're going to be doing more Skeptical Sunday episodes with you, with Andrew Gold as well. So I really appreciate it. And thank you for sharing some insight into this bizarre pseudo-cult, Dave.
[00:49:44] Dave Farina: Absolutely. Thanks for having me.
[00:49:47] Jordan Harbinger: Thanks everyone for listening. Hope you enjoyed this one with Dave. We're going to have more with Dave and from Andrew Gold. Don't worry, we got a good rotation of Skeptical Sunday coming here. All suggestions are always welcome. email@example.com. We always get something wrong in each of these episodes. I know you want to let me know and I always appreciate it when you do. When you do, try to leave us a suggestion for a future episode as well. firstname.lastname@example.org.
[00:50:09] A link to the show notes for the episode can be found at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts in the show notes. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on Twitter and Instagram or connect with me on LinkedIn. You can find Dave at Professor Dave Explains on YouTube. Of course, we'll link to that in the show notes as well.
[00:50:24] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogerty, Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, and Gabriel Mizrahi. Our advice and opinions are our own, and I'm a lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer. Do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show. Remember, we rise by lifting others. Share the show with those you love and if you found the episode useful, please share it with somebody else who needs to hear it, like somebody who thinks the Earth is flat. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on this show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
[00:50:57] You're about to hear a preview of The Jordan Harbinger Show about why people believe and want to believe conspiracy theories.
[00:51:04] Mick West: Pretty much anybody can fall for these theories. Pretty much anybody can start watching a YouTube video. And because a lot of these YouTube videos are very, very compelling, then they get sucked into it and they start believing one thing and then they start believing another thing. It becomes very understandable that they would believe these things. It's just regular people who have just kind of got sucked down a rabbit hole. It may seem ridiculous to everybody else, but from their perspective, it makes perfect sense. They're doing it because they think they're on the side of good. So that's one of the reasons why I debunk. I want people to focus on real issues and not on the fake issues.
[00:51:40] When people start to make significant life decisions based on their conspiracy theories is where it becomes a problem. Getting out of the rabbit hole isn't just like casting away all these false beliefs. It's kind of climbing up into a world that's composed of all these new real beliefs into the light the actual real things that are going on and you can see more clearly what's going on in these other areas because you've got the light of reality helping you there.
[00:52:05] There's harm done to the world, I think, if a significant number of people are making decisions based on things that are entirely false things that are anti-science. My whole reason for doing this is based around increasing the amount of truth in the world, increasing the amount of facts and science in the world. But if things are left unchecked, and if conspiracy theories continue to rise, there is this growing division within the country. So that could be a dangerous thing.
[00:52:34] Jordan Harbinger: To learn how to help our friends and family escape the conspiracy theory rabbit hole, check out episode 363 with Mick West on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
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