Offline Pinky

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We know the "scientific method":
Theory -> Hypothesis -> Experiment -> Comparison of theoretical prediction and experimental data -> Decision whether to keep or to abandon the theory -> Repeat with a new theory

What exactly is this "zetetic method"? I have found a definition here:
http://rationaltheory.wikia.com/wiki/Zetetic_Method
Experiment -> Hypothesis -> Theory

Is this what Flat-Earthers are using?

Mysfit

I have been working on this for some time, but it appears to be a practice of disproving hypotheses again and again.
I don't have the slightest clue how this can lead to an outcome, but here we are on the flat theory forum.
I have never liked the term "Flat Earth Theory." Although I have used it in the past to refer to FE, I actually think this term should be abolished.

There is a chapter in Rowbotham's book on the contrast and comparison of Zetetic and Theoretic, but I am stuck on a few parts.
http://www.sacred-texts.com/earth/za/za04.htm
I have looked at the first paragraph.
https://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=10982.0

Anyways, there is a bit in the chapter where the zetetic method is described as natural, as a child uses it.
When they are asking "why?... Why?" again and again, that is zetetic. Annoying, but zetetic.
It appears to question, but not care for the answer.

Edit: For your model, this would go Hypothesis->Experiment->Hypothesis->Experiment (in a loop)
A theory cannot exist unless it is an absolute truth and no such thing exists beyond mathematics, and even then there is wiggle room.

Hope that helps.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2018, 12:59:16 PM by Mysfit »

Isn't Zeteticism more about

Experiment -> Form hypothesis to explain experiment result.

The idea is to remove bias which they feel is inherent in the scientific method where a hypothesis is defined first. The thinking being that if you define that first it can prejudice the way you design your experiment. The trouble is you can see from some examples on here that the conclusion from experiment results are heavily biased towards a flat earth.

There is also an over-reliance on what we can perceive - the flaw in that has been pointed out multiple times.

And a reliance on checking things out for yourself. Not in itself a bad thing, but it's not practical for everyone individually to check things out - I don't have the equipment of expertise to do that in all cases - and if we each have to start from scratch in the pursuit of knowledge then we can't build on previous people's work and don't advance.
If you are making your claim without evidence then we can discard it without evidence.

Offline edby

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There is also an over-reliance on what we can perceive
Perhaps change to

"There is also an over-reliance on appearance" As someone pointed out, we still perceive when we use accurate instrumentation, rather than the naked eye.

Fair comment. I meant an over-reliance on what we can perceive without instrumentation to help us.
So "the earth looks flat" and "the horizon looks like it's at eye level" are used as evidence that these things actually are the case.
If you are making your claim without evidence then we can discard it without evidence.

Offline JCM

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Fair comment. I meant an over-reliance on what we can perceive without instrumentation to help us.
So "the earth looks flat" and "the horizon looks like it's at eye level" are used as evidence that these things actually are the case.

That seems to be the Zetetic argument, as it throws out anything that the FE believer on the beach doesn't understand past their own eyesight.

Except I'd argue FE believers are not even Zeteticists as even simple observations are completely utterly ignored and replaced with fantastical magical celestial gears, UA, ether, extreme bendy light, spotlight sun, and the most massive conspiracy the world has ever seen.  Just making things up ("theorizing") isn't being Zetetic.  The early globularists 2500 years ago were Zetetics who mostly had only their observations.  They moved past Zetetics into actual science through experimentation which backed up and verified a spherical Earth. 

Offline Pinky

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Fair comment. I meant an over-reliance on what we can perceive without instrumentation to help us.
So "the earth looks flat" and "the horizon looks like it's at eye level" are used as evidence that these things actually are the case.

That seems to be the Zetetic argument, as it throws out anything that the FE believer on the beach doesn't understand past their own eyesight.

Except I'd argue FE believers are not even Zeteticists as even simple observations are completely utterly ignored and replaced with fantastical magical celestial gears, UA, ether, extreme bendy light, spotlight sun, and the most massive conspiracy the world has ever seen.  Just making things up ("theorizing") isn't being Zetetic.  The early globularists 2500 years ago were Zetetics who mostly had only their observations.  They moved past Zetetics into actual science through experimentation which backed up and verified a spherical Earth. 

This is what frustrates me most about Flat-Earthers: Whenever I try to have a fact-based discussion with them, they come up with evidence-free "what if"-scenarios. No matter how hard you try to confine the discussion to reality, evidence and fact, he simply invents a "what if"-scenario where his explanation would work and declares victory.



Edit: For your model, this would go Hypothesis->Experiment->Hypothesis->Experiment (in a loop)
A theory cannot exist unless it is an absolute truth and no such thing exists beyond mathematics, and even then there is wiggle room.

That's not quite true. Scientific theories are ALWAYS handled with the caveat that they are the best-possible explanation AT THE MOMENT. This caveat of fallibility, that's a pillar of the scientific method.

Offline Pinky

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The idea is to remove bias which they feel is inherent in the scientific method where a hypothesis is defined first. The thinking being that if you define that first it can prejudice the way you design your experiment. The trouble is you can see from some examples on here that the conclusion from experiment results are heavily biased towards a flat earth.

The problem goes deeper than bias.

The problem is that you can only make a statement with 100% certainty if you have 100% of all of the possible information. If you do a limited measurement, e.g. whether Earth is flat in a certain area, you cannot make a statement with 100% certainty that Earth is flat. That's basic statistical math.

The Flat-Earther-method of determining the shape of Earth by measuring it once in one place, that simply cannot work for fundamental mathematical reasons. Their whole research is doomed, useless and futile.

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Offline junker

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The idea is to remove bias which they feel is inherent in the scientific method where a hypothesis is defined first. The thinking being that if you define that first it can prejudice the way you design your experiment. The trouble is you can see from some examples on here that the conclusion from experiment results are heavily biased towards a flat earth.

The problem goes deeper than bias.

The problem is that you can only make a statement with 100% certainty if you have 100% of all of the possible information. If you do a limited measurement, e.g. whether Earth is flat in a certain area, you cannot make a statement with 100% certainty that Earth is flat. That's basic statistical math.

The Flat-Earther-method of determining the shape of Earth by measuring it once in one place, that simply cannot work for fundamental mathematical reasons. Their whole research is doomed, useless and futile.

Since you are on 3 warnings already, have a few days off to review the rules. If you have nothing to add other than complaining about how you don't like FE, keep it in the Angry Ranting forum.
Wait, is Thork gay or does he just have a thing for lipstick?

Mysfit

Edit: For your model, this would go Hypothesis->Experiment->Hypothesis->Experiment (in a loop)
A theory cannot exist unless it is an absolute truth and no such thing exists beyond mathematics, and even then there is wiggle room.

That's not quite true. Scientific theories are ALWAYS handled with the caveat that they are the best-possible explanation AT THE MOMENT. This caveat of fallibility, that's a pillar of the scientific method.
You misunderstand. I was saying how the model would work for Zeteticism. It is the pursuit of absolute truth, which would require infinite work for even a basic concept.
Admirable, but blatantly impossible. All it needs is someone from a different perspective to poke holes (round earthers) then the flat theory has to start over.

The scientific method allows for more of a porous truth, whereby "these are the results we expect" and "in 9 out of 10 cases" are fairly common phrases in any scientific study. Never an absolute truth, but truth enough with the constant acknowledgement of more needing to be done.

I am hoping I will one day understand zeteticism, but I will never have an ultimate understanding, just my interpretation of what I research and things told to me.
My discovery of the french word 'zetetique' is worrying.

Offline JCM

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Can it be said that a Zetetic looks at the world as if through the eyes of a child? That child would see the world with no outside information of any kind and need to make sense of it in their mind.

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Offline RonJ

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If the zetetic definition is Theory - Hypothesis - Experiment - Comparison - Decision - Repeat, then I'm only seeing a partial success.   What you can see with you own eyes severely limits your outlook.  Isaac Newton has been attributed with saying 'I and only see so far because I'm standing on the shoulders of Giants'.  The other saying of 'No man is an Island' applies here.  Everyone must depend on someone else.  The Zetetic is only polluting it's own waters by trying to claim 'fake' for all the things that are purported to show something that goes against their standard theory.  If there is a claim, counter that claim by citing a long accepted and verified law or show a new equation that explains why the claim must be false.  Of course any equation will have to be backed up in all kinds of other circumstances, but it will hold up if it's a good one.   
For FE no explanation is possible, for RE no explanation is necessary.

Mysfit

Can it be said that a Zetetic looks at the world as if through the eyes of a child? That child would see the world with no outside information of any kind and need to make sense of it in their mind.
Again, not quite what I meant. The example of a child's unending questions is what is zetetic, not the fresh/untainted perspective. Literally the asking "why?" countless times until the adult yells at you and you run off giggling.

Zeteticism is simply a method of inquiry and it matters only how the experiment is set up and what is being tested.
Beyond that is Rowbotham's texts, but it's hard to read.

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Offline RonJ

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A child can take a fresh look at the world and try to make sense of what is being seen.  Unfortunately, if that same child is watching a magician those senses can be polluted.  Even and older person who only sees things with a limited world view can get the wrong impression of how things really are.  Many facts are very subtle.  Unless it's your intention to make sense of those very subtle things by close and focused observation you will miss them.   
For FE no explanation is possible, for RE no explanation is necessary.

Offline edby

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Some other characteristics that I have seen:

Extreme scepticism for any form of measurement that requires complex instrumentation. Naked eye preferred, or an instrument whose working parts are evidence, such as Bobby’s contraptions used for the eye level experiments.

Lack of trust in the concept of ‘scientific community’. Much of scientific progress consists in scientists trusting the results of other scientists, using a division of labour. Zeticists don’t (yet) have a peer reviewed journal for articles about the subject.

Apparent refusal to accept of Ockham’s razor, i.e. the principle that of two explanations for the same thing, you choose the one with fewest assumptions.

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Offline RonJ

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The problem is you can learn more & more about less & less until you understand everything about nothing, or you can learn less & less about more & more until you understand  nothing about everything.  The caveman could understand just about everything that was needed to know about the club that was used to obtain supper for him & his family.  These days people understand a lower & lower percentage of the technology of the everyday things in your life. There's nothing wrong having a healthy degree of skepticism, but mostly you just have to go with the opinions of the specialists who do a particular thing day in and day out.  To me it's almost like slavery, because I've always tried to 'know everything'.  These days I just know that I can't.  If you really want to dig into it, there are some reasonably priced MEMS accelerometers out there that you can buy that will allow you to measure the rotation of the earth.  Sure, the actual reading will be hidden in some noise, but after some filtering will be reasonably accurate.  Can you trust it?  You won't be able to see the actual insides of the chip.  You won't be able to understand a lot of the technology in it's construction.  You might not understand a lot of the math behind the filtering algorithm.  But does all this mean that the results are wrong?  There's nothing at all wrong with using some simple 'duct tape' and 'bees wax' tests where you can see and understand most everything.  I've certainly used that approach myself countless times for certain things, but you also have to believe in the serious limitations they impose as well.
For FE no explanation is possible, for RE no explanation is necessary.

Since we can debate, I'd like to offer a globist standpoint.


I was surprised that nobody said it. The zetetic method is the scientific method. There's no difference between them. That's because modern science is based on zetetic.

It started with Descartes, genius mathematician and philosopher, father of rationalism. His main principles were logic and reason. He seeks the truth of knowledge through strict analysis. He rejects all faith and preconceived notions in science, although he is a fervent believer.

The need for a rigorous method to acquire evidence, the falsifiability of hypotheses, the reproductibility of experiments, the skepticism against everything that isn't fully demonstrated: all of this is from Descartes 'Zététique'. Which greatly inspired and allowed Newton to develop mechanics.

His most famous result is probably 'Cogito ergo sum': I think, therefore I am. This single thought experiment kick-started the age of knowledge we live in, by putting doubt at the base of all science.

Recognizing that everything must be doubted, including his own intelligence, his knowledge and his senses, which are mere representations of the world in his brain, he searches for one undeniable truth of fact. This truth should serve as a foundation for a new kind of knowledge, acquired exclusively through reason, after this thought experiment.

And he finds that no matter if his intelligence and sensations are false, he can always feel his own mind talking inside himself, which implies that 'himself' must somehow exist: he thinks, so he exists. From the truth of his own existence, he then goes on to recover knowledge, by analysing his previous ideas and keeping only those rationally demonstrable from the Cogito.

As such, zetetic is an important course taught in many reputable and scientific universities worldwide. It's a tool for mental hygiene. In fact, it should be in the toolbox of every self-respecting scientist to regularly get back on track. What are my assumptions? How strict is my method? Are my results sufficiently demonstrated? Am I not influencing the experience with my own bias?


Flat Earthers don't use the zetetic method but a parody of it. They don't use doubt to gain knowledge. If that was the case, they would perfectly accept scientific findings, precisely because scientists are the most skeptical persons in the world.

Instead, they use doubt to remain forever in doubt. They refuse to leave the Cogito and build further knowledge. Which results in the perpetual demands for more evidence, meanwhile rejecting all evidence presented.

Pseudoscience groups, along with paranormal, spiritual, and all kinds of alternative groups, have appropriated zetetic to mean: 'we doubt science'. Forgetting that science is the method of doubt.

What they mean by zetetic depends on each group. They don't always replace rationalism with empiricism, but this seems to work for Rowbotham's business as a reason to distrust technology.

If proof was needed that Flat Earthers don't practice the zetetic method: they're seldom skeptical of each other. Any evidence against science triggers a confirmation bias, whether the actual belief in this evidence is shared or not. Meanwhile scientists spend their lives attempting to destroy each other's theories.


Whatever definition these modern groups give to zetetic in pop culture has little influence on the academic world, which still relies on the zetetic method.

I know some will disagree and hopefully I don't appear aggressive. It's a shame to read that Occam's Razor isn't a part of zetetic. In the real world, it is.
Where does Earth Not a Globe say that all beliefs contrary to the Scriptures are necessarily wrong?  ???