Occams razor according to Flat Earth
« on: June 04, 2020, 09:52:10 PM »
What's the simplest explanation; that my experience of existing upon a plane wherever I go and whatever I do is a massive illusion, that my eyes are constantly deceiving me and that I am actually looking at the enormous sphere of the earth spinning through space at tens of thousands of miles an hour, whirling in perpetual epicycles around the universe; or is the simplest explanation that my eyes are not playing tricks on me and that the earth is exactly as it appears?

If I was a bacterium or microbe walking over the surface of a beach ball (comparable size scale to a human walking on Earth) I could carry on walking for ever but I would never have any conscious awareness that I was walking on a curved surface. Nor indeed would it ever look curved to me. So no tricks here - just a matter of scale.

What's the simplest explanation; that NASA has successfully designed and invented never before seen rocket technologies from scratch which can accelerate 100 tons of matter to an escape velocity of 7 miles per second, and that NASA can do the impossible on a daily basis, explore the solar system, and constantly wow the nation by landing a man on the moon and sending robots to mars; or is the simplest explanation that they really can't do all of that stuff?

Why is it a more simple explanation to say they really can't do all that 'stuff'? Space flight is a very recent invention (spurred on my WWII and originated by the Germans). Just because some people consider something to be unbelievable that doesn't mean to say it is not true and real.  Unless of course that something counters a personal belief in which case you can choose not to believe it.

When I walk off the edge of a three foot drop off and go into free fall while observing the surface of the earth carefully the earth appears to accelerate up towards me. What's the simplest explanation; that there exists hypothetical undiscovered Graviton particles emanating from the earth which accelerates my body towards the surface through unexplained quantum effects; or is the simplest explanation that this mysterious and highly theoretical mechanism does not exist and the earth has just accelerated upwards towards me exactly as I've observed?

You can say the Earth appears to accelerate toward the person in freefall if you wish. Equally valid is the observation that the person is accelerating towards the ground.  How can you show for definite that it is the Earth accelerating upwards towards the stationary person?  You can claim it for sure but how can you show that the FE claim is any more valid than the conventional claim that the person is falling towards the Earth?  In fact the person and the earth are accelerating towards each other but because the Earth is so much more massive that the person, the amount of acceleration of the Earth towards the person is so small as to be unmeasurable.

What's the simplest explanation; that when I look up and see the sun slowly move across the sky over the course of the day, that the globe earth is spinning at over a thousand miles per hour - faster than the speed of sound at the equator - despite me being unable able to feel this centripetal acceleration, or is the simplest explanation that the sun itself is just moving across the sky exactly as I have observed?

Again why is it the simplest explanation? This is basically just saying that you should reach a conclusion based purely and exclusively on the directly available observational evidence. That is not the case in nature. The Earths rate of spin at a given latitude is constant. That is why you don't feel it. Also in relation to the Earths circumference the rate of spin is very slow (360 degrees over 24 hours) so you don't get any conscious real-time sensation of centripetal acceleration. If you were to sit on a roundabout in a kiddies playground and have it spin once every 24 hours you wouldn't feel that spinning either.

What's the simplest explanation; that the sun, moon, and stars are enormous bodies of unimaginable mass, size, and distances which represent frontiers to a vast and infinite unknowable universe teeming with alien worlds, black holes, quasars and nebulae, and phenomena only conceivable in science fiction; or is the simplest explanation that the universe isn't so large or unknown and when we look up at the stars we are just looking at small points of light in the sky exactly they appear to be?

Again another case where 'simple' and 'real' are completely different. I look up in the sky at Betelgeuse for example and I find it hard to imagine that if I were to replace the Sun with Betelgeuse then the whole of the inner solar system would be swallowed up. Can I prove that myself? No but astronomers have studied Betelgeuse using various techniques (all of which I know will be unacceptable as evidence from the FE point of view) and I respect and accept the results of their research. We know that Betelgeuse is a red supergiant from spectral observations. The FE response will be prove it! show it to be true! evidence please!  Well there is plenty of that out there so take a page out of your own manual and do your own research.

In summary the FE interpretation of 'Occams Razer' is simply that seeing is always believing.  Actually that is not true. Not by a long shot.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2020, 10:01:12 PM by IronHorse »

Offline somerled

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Re: Occams razor according to Flat Earth
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2020, 10:04:06 PM »
We don't need Occams Razor . All we need do is a simple geometric survey along a stretch of a few miles of canal . So easy and straightforward.

It's incredible that this isn't carried as part of junior school curriculum .

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Offline Tom Bishop

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Re: Occams razor according to Flat Earth
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2020, 10:31:21 PM »
How is seeing a flat earth not the simplest explanation for its flatness?

Your response of "could be an illusion...." says nothing about what is and is not the simplest explanation. In fact, you are adding more complexities to justify your position.
"The biggest problem in astronomy is that when we look at something in the sky, we don’t know how far away it is" — Pauline Barmby, Ph.D., Professor of Astronomy

Re: Occams razor according to Flat Earth
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2020, 10:46:51 PM »
How is seeing a flat earth not the simplest explanation for its flatness?

Your response of "could be an illusion...." says nothing about what is and is not the simplest explanation. In fact, you are adding more complexities to justify your position.


When you see the color brown, the simplest explanation might be that you are looking at one monochromatic color; brown. But. Brown is actually a combination of colors which you don't see (yellow, red, black).

When you look at a straight piece of oak wood, it looks like a flat straight piece of oak. But, when looking at the surface with magnification, you see all kinds of pores on the wood that you otherwise cannot observe with your naked eye.

Humans don't generally have the capacity to hear the high pitched sound of a dog whistle. The simplest explanation would be that because we don't hear it, that it must not exist. However, we know this is not the case.

When I look out of my window and observe a vast expanse of land or ocean waters, it looks like its continuously flat. That would be the simplest explanation. But, it isn't; the shape of the Earth is a round globe; observers such as astronauts have seen curvature from space, with some from the Apollo missions having taken pictures of the entire globe Earth.

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Offline Tom Bishop

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Re: Occams razor according to Flat Earth
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2020, 10:57:24 PM »
When I look out of my window and observe a vast expanse of land or ocean waters, it looks like its continuously flat. That would be the simplest explanation.

Great. I am glad that we agree that FE is the simplest explanation to this.
"The biggest problem in astronomy is that when we look at something in the sky, we don’t know how far away it is" — Pauline Barmby, Ph.D., Professor of Astronomy

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Offline JSS

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Re: Occams razor according to Flat Earth
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2020, 11:55:27 PM »
When I look out of my window and observe a vast expanse of land or ocean waters, it looks like its continuously flat. That would be the simplest explanation.

Great. I am glad that we agree that FE is the simplest explanation to this.

When astronauts look out their windows, they see the Earth is a sphere. That the earth is a sphere is the simplest explanation to this.

When the Apollo astronauts were on their way to the moon, they didn't see the stars rotate, but saw the Earth spinning.  That the Earth spins and the stars don't is the simplest explanation to this.

The OP says that there are a lot of complex observations that show the Earth is a sphere, and he is correct. But there are also some simple direct observations too. Simplest doesn't always mean correct, but the Earth being a sphere has both, and plenty of them.

Re: Occams razor according to Flat Earth
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2020, 11:56:24 PM »
When I look out of my window and observe a vast expanse of land or ocean waters, it looks like its continuously flat. That would be the simplest explanation.

Great. I am glad that we agree that FE is the simplest explanation to this.


You didn't include the rest of my quote. You snipped only the first half but omitted the second half, which was the point I was trying to make.

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Offline Tom Bishop

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Re: Occams razor according to Flat Earth
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2020, 11:59:50 PM »
When astronauts look out their windows, they see the Earth is a sphere. That the earth is a sphere is the simplest explanation to this.

When the Apollo astronauts were on their way to the moon, they didn't see the stars rotate, but saw the Earth spinning.  That the Earth spins and the stars don't is the simplest explanation to this.

The OP says that there are a lot of complex observations that show the Earth is a sphere, and he is correct. But there are also some simple direct observations too. Simplest doesn't always mean correct, but the Earth being a sphere has both, and plenty of them.

That invokes: Astronauts, space ships, the physical possibility of safe space travel, earth orbit, and technologies to reach space or escape velocity. That is pretty fantastic, and unfortunately a far more complex explanation for this. You are adding on more requirements and complexities to justify your belief.

As printed in the OP the simplest explanation is that NASA can't really do all of that stuff. And since the simplest explanation is that NASA can't really do all of that stuff, FE remains the simplest explanation.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2020, 12:04:58 AM by Tom Bishop »
"The biggest problem in astronomy is that when we look at something in the sky, we don’t know how far away it is" — Pauline Barmby, Ph.D., Professor of Astronomy

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Offline Tumeni

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Re: Occams razor according to Flat Earth
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2020, 12:03:06 AM »
How is seeing a flat earth not the simplest explanation for its flatness?

Simple observation and geometry shows it is Not Flat, though.

=============================
Not Flat. Happy to prove this, if you ask me.
=============================

Nearly all flat earthers agree the earth is not a globe.

Nearly?

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Offline JSS

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Re: Occams razor according to Flat Earth
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2020, 12:15:30 AM »
When astronauts look out their windows, they see the Earth is a sphere. That the earth is a sphere is the simplest explanation to this.

When the Apollo astronauts were on their way to the moon, they didn't see the stars rotate, but saw the Earth spinning.  That the Earth spins and the stars don't is the simplest explanation to this.

The OP says that there are a lot of complex observations that show the Earth is a sphere, and he is correct. But there are also some simple direct observations too. Simplest doesn't always mean correct, but the Earth being a sphere has both, and plenty of them.

That invokes: Astronauts, space ships, the physical possibility of safe space travel, earth orbit, and technologies to reach space or escape velocity. That is pretty fantastic, and unfortunately a far more complex explanation for this. You are adding on more requirements and complexities to justify your belief.

As printed in the OP the simplest explanation is that NASA can't really do all of that stuff. And since the simplest explanation is that NASA can't really do all of that stuff, FE remains the simplest explanation.

Jet airplanes are pretty fantastic, and very complex. The idea that I have a billion tiny microscopic switches inside my phone flicking on and off a billion times a second is pretty fantastic. The idea that we have massive nuclear aircraft carriers and submarines is pretty fantastic. And huge space shuttles and rockets that go very, very high up, witnessed by thousands if not millions of people is pretty fantastic. But they are all true. The idea that those rockets actually go where they are going after getting all the way up there is a simple idea, far less complex than somehow making them vanish and land unseen somewhere and duplicates put up to land days later.

The only requirement is to believe people up there told the truth.

But in the end, rockets and guidance systems and all that don't matter.  We have pictures, and testimony from the people up there. The simplest explanation is that they are telling the truth, which is way less complex than fabricating all that evidence and having thousands of people keeping a massive conspiracy going. That is complicated and hard to believe.

As for FE being the simplest explanation, it needs to actually explain things first before it can count as an explanation.

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Offline Tom Bishop

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Re: Occams razor according to Flat Earth
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2020, 12:23:02 AM »
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Jet airplanes are pretty fantastic, and very complex. The idea that I have a billion tiny microscopic switches inside my phone flicking on and off a billion times a second is pretty fantastic.

Yes, and those things need to be widely available to people for acceptance and confidence that they exist. If you made such claims several hundred years ago you would be laughed at. Claiming "these people have this magic tech" would not really cut it.

That's what you are doing now, claiming that an exclusive group has a special technology. Doesn't cut it.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2020, 12:50:39 AM by Tom Bishop »
"The biggest problem in astronomy is that when we look at something in the sky, we don’t know how far away it is" — Pauline Barmby, Ph.D., Professor of Astronomy

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Offline JSS

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Re: Occams razor according to Flat Earth
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2020, 12:37:20 AM »
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Jet airplanes are pretty fantastic, and very complex. The idea that I have a billion tiny microscopic switches inside my phone flicking on and off a billion times a second is pretty fantastic.

Yes, and those things need to be widely available to people for acceptance and confidence that they exist. If you made such claims several hundred years ago you would be laughed at. Claiming "I know this person who had this magic tech" would not really cut it.

That's what you are doing now, claiming that an exclusive group has a special technology. Doesn't cut it.

That's not at all what I'm claiming.

Saying that people hundreds of years ago wouldn't believe you if you described a cell phone doesn't mean cell phones don't exist, that's a false argument. People wouldn't believe most of what we have to day, but we still have and use it.

That exclusive group is pretty big now, comprising of many countries and anyone with enough money to pay for a trip, or to buy his own rocket with a camera and launch it.

And it's not special technology. It's simply bigger and more expensive things that we already have and use. We have jets that fly people around the world every day, I have launched model rockets, the idea that we can make bigger rockets isn't exactly mind-bending.

Nothing NASA does requires magic, it's just bigger and more expensive versions of things I know exist.

And only some people need things to "be widely available to people for acceptance and confidence that they exist".  The vast majority of the world doesn't feel that way.  They believe the space program, they believe in the Large Hadron Collider Exists, though few have ever seen it. I've never been to the White House, but I'm sure it's real. I've never SEEN a microprocessor fabrication facility but I know my phone chips were made there and not in a witches cauldron.

Most people don't need to directly touch or see something to understand it's real. Who has seen a doctor perform open heart surgery in person? Very few, but does anyone think all those surgeries are fake and Doctors are liars?

What I'm claiming, is people have been to space and seen the Earth, taken pictures, videos, and come back to talk about it... and I have to believe either...

1. We used technology that I understand and seems quite reasonable based on everything else we can do.

Or...

2. Thousands, or millions of people are involved in a vast web of lies and deceit and all astronauts are actors and liars and it's a perfect conspiracy and massive amounts of data and observations are totally made up and nobody noticed.

Number one is the obvious choice for me.

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Offline Tom Bishop

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Re: Occams razor according to Flat Earth
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2020, 12:47:49 AM »
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Saying that people hundreds of years ago wouldn't believe you if you described a cell phone doesn't mean cell phones don't exist, that's a false argument.

If you were describing a cell phone to people hundreds of years ago it would mean that the burden of proof is on you. And claiming to someone that a group of people who you don't even know, are claiming to have this "magic" technology, leaves it as a pretty terrible and insufficient argument.
"The biggest problem in astronomy is that when we look at something in the sky, we don’t know how far away it is" — Pauline Barmby, Ph.D., Professor of Astronomy

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Offline JSS

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Re: Occams razor according to Flat Earth
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2020, 12:57:04 AM »
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Saying that people hundreds of years ago wouldn't believe you if you described a cell phone doesn't mean cell phones don't exist, that's a false argument.

If you were describing a cell phone to people hundreds of years ago it would mean that the burden of proof is on you. And claiming to someone that a group of people who you don't even know, are claiming to have this "magic" technology, leaves it as a pretty terrible and insufficient argument.

We aren't hundreds of years ago right now, and rockets aren't magic, it's just technology that isn't at all hard to understand the basic concepts of. I've never been on a nuclear aircraft carrier, it's amazing and awe inspiring how something that big can float and move around so fast, and I have no idea the details on how to build one. But I've been on boats. I understand the concept. I don't feel like all sailors are liars.

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Offline Tom Bishop

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Re: Occams razor according to Flat Earth
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2020, 01:07:56 AM »
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Saying that people hundreds of years ago wouldn't believe you if you described a cell phone doesn't mean cell phones don't exist, that's a false argument.

If you were describing a cell phone to people hundreds of years ago it would mean that the burden of proof is on you. And claiming to someone that a group of people who you don't even know, are claiming to have this "magic" technology, leaves it as a pretty terrible and insufficient argument.

We aren't hundreds of years ago right now, and rockets aren't magic, it's just technology that isn't at all hard to understand the basic concepts of. I've never been on a nuclear aircraft carrier, it's amazing and awe inspiring how something that big can float and move around so fast, and I have no idea the details on how to build one. But I've been on boats. I understand the concept. I don't feel like all sailors are liars.

You are claiming that because you think something is possible and based on 'simple concepts' that we should accept its truth and all incidental complexities which may follow.

Now apply your logic to the people who claim fantastic things such as magic powers and astrology prevailing in the past. You dismiss them instantly, even though many people think that those things are 'possible' and were prevalent. The people who believe in those things also have 'basic concepts' from which they justify the existence of those things. There is endless writings on how magics and energies can exist within us and the universe, and how someone can potentially harness that power, etc, etc. It is argued that these are very simple concepts, and so we should believe those past stories.

We find a totally invalid argument.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2020, 01:12:06 AM by Tom Bishop »
"The biggest problem in astronomy is that when we look at something in the sky, we don’t know how far away it is" — Pauline Barmby, Ph.D., Professor of Astronomy

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Offline JSS

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Re: Occams razor according to Flat Earth
« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2020, 01:10:48 AM »
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Saying that people hundreds of years ago wouldn't believe you if you described a cell phone doesn't mean cell phones don't exist, that's a false argument.

If you were describing a cell phone to people hundreds of years ago it would mean that the burden of proof is on you. And claiming to someone that a group of people who you don't even know, are claiming to have this "magic" technology, leaves it as a pretty terrible and insufficient argument.

We aren't hundreds of years ago right now, and rockets aren't magic, it's just technology that isn't at all hard to understand the basic concepts of. I've never been on a nuclear aircraft carrier, it's amazing and awe inspiring how something that big can float and move around so fast, and I have no idea the details on how to build one. But I've been on boats. I understand the concept. I don't feel like all sailors are liars.

You are claiming that because you think something is possible that we should accept it's true.

Now apply your logic to the people who claim fantastic things such as telepathy, magic powers, special knowledge of the future. You dismiss them instantly, even though many people think that those things are 'possible'.

We find a totally invalid argument.

I am not claiming that, you are putting words into my mouth.

I'm thinking that with everything I know of science and the current limits of technology and what I've personally witnessed and experienced, that rockets capable of reaching orbit seems very possible. Far more likely than the entire multi-national industry, and the whole world being a vast lie and globe spanning conspiracy. That's my personal belief. You may find that a totally invalid argument, and you are entitled to your opinion.

I don't believe magic powers because I've never seen any evidence that magic exists. Now, if faeries or baby dragons were something I had seen, if magic was something I could touch and was all over the world, then I'd be likely to believe in people having magic powers too. But they don't. Rockets however, do exist. It's much less of a stretch to believe that bigger ones exist too, especially with an entire world of evidence out there. I've touched those rockets with my own hands, and you can claim they are models or fakes, but I know that yes we can build such things, and see no evidence to believe they don't work as claimed.

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Offline Tom Bishop

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Re: Occams razor according to Flat Earth
« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2020, 01:18:57 AM »
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I'm thinking that with everything I know of science and the current limits of technology and what I've personally witnessed and experienced, that rockets capable of reaching orbit seems very possible.

That's nice. But how is this any different than the legions of people who believe that magics are possible, based on endless and substantial old stories of magics and mysticisms being performed?

They believe something is possible, and justify their belief on those third party stories which they did not witness themselves. It is, of course, easy to say how simple it is to believe that magics and energies can exist to allow those stories to be true. So why not? Energies exist within us and the universe that need only be manipulated. Maybe we should believe the compelling stories and compilation of evidence for those things.

Again, we find that it is extremely fallacious to believe in something just because you think it's 'possible' and 'everything I've seen suggests...' and the litany of other fallacies which have been employed. Leaps of logic and faith isn't really acceptable evidence at all.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2020, 01:21:31 AM by Tom Bishop »
"The biggest problem in astronomy is that when we look at something in the sky, we don’t know how far away it is" — Pauline Barmby, Ph.D., Professor of Astronomy

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Offline JSS

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Re: Occams razor according to Flat Earth
« Reply #17 on: June 05, 2020, 01:20:26 AM »
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I'm thinking that with everything I know of science and the current limits of technology and what I've personally witnessed and experienced, that rockets capable of reaching orbit seems very possible.

That's nice. But how is this any different than the legions of people who believe that magics are possible, based on endless and substantial old stories of magics and myscicisms being performed?

They believe something is possible, and justify their belief on those third party stories which they did not witness themselves. It is, of course, easy to say how simple it is to believe that magics and energies can exist to allow those stories to be true, so why not?

Again, we find that it is fallacious to believe in something just because you think it's 'possible'.

If dragons flew around and breathed magic fire, then if someone said they had magic powers I wouldn't just dismiss it. It's all based on evidence, observations.

I never saw the Nile, but I am sure it exists.  I never saw The Emerald City, but I'm just as sure it doesn't exist. Why? Because the Nile has a vast amount of evidence that it exists, and the Emerald City has a vast amount of evidence that it's just a movie.

You are saying that we should believe absolutely nothing at all. I disagree. There are limits to what we can personally experience. Nobody has seen an atom, but I have no doubt they are real.

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Offline Tom Bishop

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Re: Occams razor according to Flat Earth
« Reply #18 on: June 05, 2020, 05:27:45 AM »
Atomic theory is a good one, because it's not really clear that subatomic particles exist. It is possible that matter is made of waves. It certainly would explain why some particles can 'act as waves'.

Have you ever seen a subatomic particle?

An argument for atoms would need to be self evident, rather than on faith. An argument founded on "I can believe that they can possibly exist, and so that's why I believe it" is rather irrational.
"The biggest problem in astronomy is that when we look at something in the sky, we don’t know how far away it is" — Pauline Barmby, Ph.D., Professor of Astronomy

Re: Occams razor according to Flat Earth
« Reply #19 on: June 05, 2020, 07:15:03 AM »
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How is seeing a flat earth not the simplest explanation for its flatness?

So Tom are you suggesting that you can reach a formative conclusion that the Earth is flat based on what you can see directly? 

From the window of my house I cannot see any mountains, oceans, forests or deserts directly but I know they are all out there beyond what I can see.  So should I assume that none of those well known features of the Earth actually exist?  If I limit my acceptance of what exists and what is real to what I can see directly then I would suggest that I am going to put a severe limit on what I accept as real and true.

There is a common saying that we see what we want or expect to see and not what we don't.  So as a flat Earth believer Tom you see a flat horizon and naturally conclude that is evidence enough (for you) that the Earth is flat. But then do you ask yourself ''is there any other possible explanation for what I see?'  And the answer to that is yes there is. We can only see a very, very small part of the Earths surface and so on a sphere the horizon is an equal distance away in all directions. Hence it appears flat.  That is true regardless of where you are.

This something that has been pointed out over and over and over again. FE have their own explanations to suit their belief and that is that.

« Last Edit: June 05, 2020, 08:48:39 AM by IronHorse »