Flat Earth Conference in Colorado

Look what we found in the Denver Post: Flat Earth conference in Denver adds to Colorado’s reputation as a hub for those questioning science. They have a comments section. Here are some excerpts from the news story, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

The organizer of the upcoming Flat Earth International Conference to be hosted in Denver next month has a few things he wants to clarify. “We don’t believe we’re on a pancake flying through space,” Robbie Davidson said. [No? Then what?] Instead, the flat Earth is stationary, and the sun and stars revolve around it, he clarified. [Ah yes, very biblical.] Further, flat Earthers don’t believe people can fall off the edge of the world. “When you first hear this topic you laugh at it and think it’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever heard of,” Davidson said. “But if you keep an open mind, it’s a really compelling topic.”

Robbie Davidson is a name we’ve encountered before. Where was it? Oh yeah, it was here: Creationism at a Flat Earth Conference. That was about his conference in Canada. Now he’s got one going in Colorado. The Denver Post says:

Davidson and his crowd are going against centuries of scientific evidence that proves the Earth is round. Ancient Greeks are given credit for the discovery, and it has been backed up by scientists ever since.

Indeed. Aristotle (who died in 322 BC) correctly referred to the Earth’s shadow on the Moon as demonstrating that the Earth is a sphere. His views are mentioned in Wikipedia’s article on Spherical Earth. And Eratosthenes, who died around 195 BC, accurately calculated the Earth’s circumference. The work of both men was widely known long before the New Testament was written, but like the Old Testament, the New Testament is also a flat-Earth book. See The Earth Is Flat!, in which we provide dozens of scripture quotes from both the Old Testament and the New.

After that, the Denver Post tells us:

Davidson said he has sold about 420 tickets to the Flat Earth International Conference so far and expects about 500 people to attend the two-day event on Nov. 15 and 16. [Mark your calendar!] … [T]ickets to attend the event range from $199 to $349. About 400 people attended the first conference held last year in Raleigh, N.C.

That’s a small price to pay for such an educational event. The news continues:

The conference is geared toward skeptics and long-time believers of the flat Earth theory alike, though Davidson said about 80 percent of the attendees will already be “on board” with a flat world. [That makes sense.] “The biggest reason people become flat Earthers is because they go out to debunk it,” he said.

And presumably they fail. Let’s read on:

But not all who investigate the shape of the world come to subscribe to the same alternate shape of the planet — there are variations on the flat Earth theory. Davidson believes in a Christian Biblical interpretation that teaches God created a flat Earth and his videos on YouTube point to scripture as the basis for some of his thoughts. He said that many who deny the world is round come from a religious perspective, but not all. “If hypothetically, you’re going to take the Bible literally, you gotta be consistent,” he said.

Amen to that! Another excerpt:

Last week, an advertisement for the conference went up along Interstate 70 east of Aurora. In large white lettering, the billboard asks passersby to use Google to search “flat Earth clues” and shows an image of the Earth overlaid with the word “FAKE” in red lettering.

The newspaper article has a nice picture of the billboard. Very impressive! And now we come to the end:

Flat Earth theory is becoming more popular in part because of social media and the internet, despite scientific consensus that the world is a globe, Davidson said. “We’re not anti-science,” Davidson said. [Hee hee!] “We support true empirical science and what we can observe.”

So there you are. We’d love to be there, but we have to stay home to take care of Miss Scarlett, our splendid Doberman, If you decide to attend, dear reader, tell ’em the Curmudgeon sent ya.

Copyright © 2018. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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45 responses to “Flat Earth Conference in Colorado

  1. Sadly I saw this in the Post this morning. Maybe we can get some crowd-funding to help pay my registration!!

  2. Michael Fugate

    For only $11.99 you can take the course. The comments are comic.
    https://www.udemy.com/flat-earth-clues/

    The videos on the website http://www.flatearthclues.com/
    are even more comic.

  3. Should I offer a course on how accounting is based on a mistake? Probably not, because I might be prosecuted for that by whoever regulates the accounting profession. What if I based it on the Bible?
    Anyway, has anybody ever brought up the time that it takes to travel on commercial airlines, say from Syndey to Johannesburg to Rio back to Sydney? Plot the shortest route on the “standard” flat-Earth map (the one that looks like the UN symbol). Compare that with the schedules which one can find online. Those shortest routes wil take you across the “so-called equator”, unlike the actual scheduled flight paths, besides being quite a bit longer. (It is pointless to do the calculations, because who knows what the flat-Earthers which dream up for measuring distance on their model.)

  4. And you wonder Donald Trump got elected.

  5. Eddie Janssen

    If anyone is going to this conference I would like them to ask if a flat earth has a flat moon and is revolving around a flat sun.
    Is Betelgeuse flat? Are exo-planets flat? Are comets flat? Churyumov-Gerasimenko certainly did not look flat.
    Or is Priviliged Earth the only flat body in the universe?
    Questions, questions…

  6. Michael Fugate

    One can watch the flat earth videos and contrast them with this
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2018/oct/25/clever-crows-birds-use-tools-in-same-way-as-great-apes-and-humans-video
    Ask yourself, who is smarter?

  7. @Eddie Janssen
    I am no expert on the Flat Earth, but what I have read is that the Sun and the Moon are relatively small bodies. OF course, we can’t trust any of the space probes. All of your traditional astronomy is worthless, so there is no point in searcing for difficulties in their treatment of the heavens. For gosh sake, they are saying that the Earth is flat – don’r worry about what they think of exoplanets. You should be surprised if they accept that it is the same Sun and the same Moon that you see day after day.
    How do you know that you speak English? Maybe this post is written in English, but you are mistaken in your undderstanding of English, and what it is really proving that the web is an impossibiity.

  8. I wonder how attendees from the East Coast will account for the sun setting two hours later by their watches compared to back home?

    (Posted by RetiredSciGuy. Password …)

  9. “If hypothetically, you’re going to take the Bible literally, you gotta be consistent,”
    I can think of some manager of some LBGTQ propaganda disguised as a non-floating boat in Kentucky who really, really should pay close attention to this excellent advice. But so should Davidson himself – where is the Pi equals Three Society ?!

  10. @Anonymous
    They recognize the appearance of the Sun at different angles to the zenith at different places. As well as a load of other such effects, they are dismissed as an effect of refraction of light. The details are unimportant. We’re not dealing with geniuses, here. They are the kind of people who think that their intuitive grasp of science counts for more than work by actual scientists.

  11. David Hilbert is quoted as having said
    “f one were to bring ten of the wisest men in the world together and ask them what was the most stupid thing in existence, they would not be able to discover anything so stupid as astrology.”
    Now, realize that astrologers recognize the spherical Earth. Geocentrist creationists recognize the spherical Earth. Maybe even Donald Trump – maybe –

  12. It’s too bad there isn’t someplace like say, a 14,000 foot high mountain nearby that they could drive to the top of (or take the train) to get a really good view of curvature…….

  13. Michael Fugate

    This is good…
    https://www.newyorker.com/science/elements/looking-for-life-on-a-flat-earth

    “Science is really an excuse for people to be stupid.” Jeran Campanella

  14. Forget it, Kosh, that wouldn’t convince them either.

    https://forum.tfes.org/index.php?PHPSESSID=hl1gkuv4t748j8s85or9a73o15&topic=10165.0

    “If you are told the horizon is curved, and you expect to see a curved horizon … you’ll see a curved horizon.”

    @MichaelF: here is some footage.

    No, FETers are not going far enough. You guys have no idea how deceived you all are. It’s shocking:

    https://zapatopi.net/belgium/

  15. @Eddie, your questions give flat earthers far too much credit for having an otherwise rational worldview. They don’t think stars, planets, and comets even exist as astronomical bodies. They provide no coherent or consistent alternate explanation about what they are (I’ve heard everything from holographic projections on the dome to “sonoluminescence”), but they insist all astronomical knowledge gained over the past centuries is an elaborate conspiracy.

  16. @Paul D.
    Sorry to say, I think you’re right.
    I’d like to believe that there is some rational Flat Earth theory. The romantic in me would like to say something like this:
    Unlike creationism, there is a Theory of a Flat Earth, taking the Bible truly literally. Yes, it’s wrong, but at least it is sufficiently coherent as to be wrong. Unlike ID and YEC, which are both vacuous and self-contradictory.

  17. How does this kind of thing gain a foothold? We really do need to know.

    And didn’t some celebrity (who?) recently get a lot of headlines by coming out as a Flat Earther?

    Is it just yet another example of buying group membership by agreeing to subscribe to an absurdity? Or what?

  18. Being a celebrity is no guarantee of intelligence or knowledge or having any interest in the worth of what one says.
    There is enough proof of that.

  19. @TomS, In this case, I thought at the time that it was just a cynical career move and, as such, completely intelligent and intelligible. But how did we come to a place where affecting such absurdity can actually enhance a reoutation?

  20. I wish it weren’t so.
    Not long ago, I thought that there was a limit to acceptance.
    Alas, it is not so.

  21. Michael Fugate

    Kyrie Irving?
    http://www.nba.com/article/2018/10/01/kyrie-irving-regrets-flat-earth-comments

    It ties in with the conspiracy theory line that SC covered a short time back.

  22. Yes, Michael Fugate, that’s the one. And continuing to have it both ways, milk the story, and talk about the two sides in the debate. Shameful

  23. Cnocspeireag

    @Ron, don’t spread the fake news that Trump was elected. The US people voted decisively for Hillary, the Electoral College ignored them and appointed Trump.

  24. @Cnocspeireag, don’t kid yourself. Trump was elected despite having received fewer votes. The Republicans control the House despite receiving fewer votes there. Likewise the Senate. In the case of the Senate, it could be argued that the intention of the constitution is to give more power to smaller states than their populations would justify, but putting Wyoming and New Mexico on the same footing as New York, California, and Texas is increasingly absurd. Such are the facts.

    The system is unfair. A Democrats would need to win despite such an unfair system. That’s how it is. There is no point in pretending that Hillary won, when in fact she lost, and little point in attributing the loss to a constitutional injustice that is not going to change any time soon, if at all.

  25. @Paul Braterman
    What is not understood by non-Americans about the USA is that there is a significant portion which does not have a democratic culture.

  26. By now, @TomS, I think we understand all too well

  27. It is Americans who are in denial, even as they wave their flags and rig their congressional districts

  28. Paul Braterman says: “The system is unfair.”

    You know history better than that. There had to be compromises between the big states and the small states, or the Constitution couldn’t have been ratified. All candidates know the rules. If you want to win the Presidency, you need to win the Electoral College.

  29. @SC, Yes I do know history and indeed in my reply to Cnocspeireag I was affirming what you just said, which is a factual judgment. The system happened for many powerful reasons. That is in no way incompatible with my view that it is unfair, which is a value judgment. However, we do agree (and this is crucial) that there’s no point the under-enfrachised just bleating about it, that Trump was elected by the only body empowered to do so (the Electoral College), and that the suggestion that College members should have been faithless to their charge, or that in some mystical way Tump wasn’t really elected, is frivolous

  30. Paul Braterman says of the electoral college: “it is unfair, which is a value judgment.”

    We can dance all night about this. Is it really unfair? When the Constitution was being drafted, the small states like Rhode Island and New Jersey didn’t want to join what would have been, in essence, the Empire of Virginia (and one or two other populous states). Recognizing this, the big populous states voluntarily agreed that the choice of a President wouldn’t be based on population alone.

    This is why, these days, a Presidential campaign isn’t waged entirely in California and New York. For some reason, Hillary didn’t spend much time, if any, in the smaller states. It was a flawed strategy, for which she is to blame.

  31. @SC: ” It was a flawed strategy, for which she [Hillary] is to blame.” I agree absolutely. She knew the rules, and should have acted accordingly, and the only useful thing she had left to say say in American politics is “goodbye”.

    You point to a very interesting problem with your Constitution, and perhaps written constitutions in general. The idea of “States’ rights” fairly represents the situation in the late 18th Century. The upshot, today, is to give a major advantage to one political party over another, which seems to me plainly unhealthy for democracy (you are unconvinced). But the Constitution can only be changed with the consent of those in power, so that the change process itself is biased in favour of those who have been unfairly advantaged.

    But without a written Constitution, there is (as we can see in the UK) little to restrain the power of the leading political party, as long as that party itself remains united.

    Ken Arrow, Nobel Memorial Prize economist, showed that there is no electoral system that can avoid paradoxical results.

  32. “States Rights” has, for a long time, cover for actions which has no other justification. For example, when northern states freed slaves on their territory, “states rights” was not honored by the southern states.
    (Note that I am not arguing whether the northern states had the legal right, under the contitution, but that “states rights” was not accepted by the southern states in this instance. )
    Similarly to other senseless slogans.
    One has to do some work to cut through the rhetoric employed by the anti-democratic culture. Having doe this with creationism, geocentrism, flat-earth, and Biblical literalism is instructive.

  33. Michael Fugate

    Ah, the TINA argument. It sounds convincing on the surface, but in reality is just a baseless justification for what one already believes.

  34. Aka Fallacy o Falso Dilemma. The argument which pervades creationsm.

    I am thinkig more like the argument from the literal meaning of Scripture against science, when the arguer does not accept the literal meaning of Scripture when it comes to, say, Ancient Near Eastern cosmology.

    Long-time exposure to Creationism has the effect of immunizaton against simple-minded fallacies with the superficial appearance of an idea.

  35. Michael Fugate

    I was thinking of the structure of the US system, that somehow the compromises were necessary to secure the government, that accepting slavery, that accepting that some humans aren’t actually humans was a requirement. Is it a failure of will or imagination?

  36. I am not pretending to have any expertise on that.
    What I can tell you, which is obvious, that there is a substantiantial part of the United States which has a culture contrary to democracy, and has been for generations. To argue against that culture is like arguing against creationism.
    There is a deep emotional commitment to denying the obvious. One must be prepared for the fine-tuned rhetoric, not being like the first scientists who “debated” creationism.

  37. Michael Fugate

    Given that the US is not a democracy, then why would they? If we lived in a democracy, all other things equal, Clinton would be president. If we lived in a democracy, we would probably vote out every bit of the Bill of Rights. Even with the Bill of Rights, we have rarely lived up to its compromised standards. Most people are for democracy only when they are in the majority.

  38. Our Syllogistic Curmudgeon: “We can dance all night about this. Is it really unfair? When the Constitution was being drafted, yada yada.

    Dude, don’t fool yourself into thinking that you have logically refuted Paul Braterman‘s judgment that “the [Electoral College] system is unfair.”

    You have merely explained WHY an unfair system was incorporated into the Constitution.

    Everything else, I agree with you both on.

  39. Random says: “You have merely explained WHY an unfair system was incorporated into the Constitution.”

    There has never been a “fair” way to select a chief of state. They’ve all been tried: military takeover, hereditary right of succession, mass democratic appeal, priestly rule, etc. There are horror stories to go with all of them. So what’s the “fair” way? The way chosen by the US, with lots of checks and balances, isn’t perfect, but it has generally worked fairly well. We’ve had some bad Presidents, but they don’t stay in office forever, and the republic survives.

  40. Problem with the Electoral College — it pretty much makes a third party or independent run for office virtually impossible.

  41. Mark Germano

    Sure, but imagine the 2000 election but with a nationwide recount.

  42. @Our Sensitive Curmudgeon

    LOL.

  43. @Mark Germano
    In the case of the 2000 election, there wuld have been no need for the fiasco of the Florida recount and the Supreme Court intervention. The winner of the
    popular vote was undisputed. You seem to be suggesting a imaginary scenario, in which the nationwide popular vote was disputed. With the Eletoral College system, there have been at least two real cases in which the Electoral College system was a basis of dispute about the winner: 2000 and 1876. I think that there were other elections in which there was a dispute about the resuts of a state which did not cal into question the final result.

  44. (Accursed premature launch.)

    @Our Sensitive Curmudgeon) —

    LOL.

    “Least Unfair” = “Unfair”. You cannot abnegate or alter that equation.

    SC: “So what’s the ‘fair’ way?”

    Ranked Choice Voting with Instant-Runoff in the General Election from among “qualified” candidates — winners of Political Party Primaries, self-sponsored Independent candidates and Organization-sponsored candidates ($1 M non-refundable “grubstake”), and others (TBD).

    (“Organization” — corporations, advocacy groups, religious organizations, etc — Political Parties could validly be subsumed under this category.)

    (“Grubstakes” are intended to cover the administrative costs of including their names on the ballot, but not a share of the total cost of administering an election which is properly borne by the people; the actual amount should be adjusted to reflect that administrative cost; and should probably also apply to Political Parties.)

    (“Others (TBD)” is included in recognition of the limits of my imagination, and would need to be particularized.)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranked_voting#Instant-runoff_voting

  45. @Random
    I tend to agree.
    Yet, even if there is no perfect system, that is no reason to remain with a system with easily corected major flaws.
    Of course, all of this is purely speculative when it is up to politicians to change a system which got them elected. If one lives in an undemocratic culture, one cannot expect democratic reform.