I made a few of these observations as an aside on a different post, but it seems like it deserves it's own conversation.

Earth Not a Globe



Certain FE members, notably Tom Bishop, repeatedly reference the writings of Samuel Rowbotham. Many literally refer to his writings as their "sacred texts". (I don't know if Tom actually feels that or has literally said that, but it sure seems to be implied.) If you haven't read it, "Earth Not a Globe" is a stupendously rambling, arrogant, flowery-worded tome - essentially a collection of nonsensical ad-hoc assertions devoid of support, verifiability, and falsifiability - all glued together with the most mind-meltingly preposterous "logic" and analogies you may ever read. You really should read the whole thing - whether you're FE or RE. Reading it word-for-word - and realizing this is literally the best they have and as far as they've progressed - should make a Round Earther out of anyone.

In this stupendous word-salad, Rowbotham asserts all manner of BS - often for no good reason and adding no value - for example, that the Oceans are supported by steam, created by the fires of hades. (The Zetetic Method in action.) And that's just "warming up". (More below. Wait 'till we get to "sinking ships".)

Tom repeatedly links to that work, in a vague and hand-wavy way, as "proof" - of nearly anything and everything (without specifics). Then in the same thread, will - with an apparently straight face - demand "proof" from others. (While rejecting any form of proof that could have possibly ever been associated with NASA, or the military, or any government agency, etc. When presented with direct personal observations - e.g. personal photographic evidence under controlled and documented circumstances - he's nowhere to be found. Consistently. It's the Zetetic Method.)

The notorious Bedford Level scam



For example, Tom offers up the notorious "Bedford Level Experiment", somehow as "proof" of a flat earth. Now, maybe there's legitimate proof of a flat earth, who am I to say otherwise. I'm open to seeing it. But the Bedford Level Experiment is literally the fucking opposite of FE proof, and a demonstration of the utter loathsomeness as human beings that are Rowbotham and his partners-in-fraud. That notorious incident was a contest that Rowbotham lost. (Or at best - a two-vs-two he-said-she-said tie, from his mentally ill cohort's perspective - all under a cloud of fraud and scandal.) The whole seedy and shameful affair turned out to be a rigged game involving an official "witness" that was actually in on the con (and who had written his own flat earth books, unbeknownst to his RE opponent, respected naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace).

Rowbotham's follower, the mentally ill man who set up the bet and perpetrated the con, John Hampden, wound up "going mad" and wound up in jail several times, in the process of nearly driving Wallace into bankruptcy over years of psychotic harassment.

And even though Rowbotham and cohorts lost the bet under a cloud of fraud and controversy, Tom references this criminally fraudulent "contest", as proof - with a straight face.

The Zetetic Method



That, my friends, is the Zetetic Method in a nutshell. Where did that word come from, you ask? Well like any true new-age snake-oil salesman/con-man, Rowbotham just invented it himself, hijacking a then-existing but archaic and obscure phrase to do so. In actual practice it was used to help justify one con-job after another. By Rowbotham's own contemptible actions and behavior in life related to preaching his mad ramblings and grifting, it is correctly defined as "To lie, cheat, invent data out of thin air, connect random ad-hoc together with preposterously inane logical assertions, and harass your opponents - in order to cram your predefined beliefs down the throats of unsuspecting marks."

Perspective lines, disappearing ships, and dirty secrets



Tom has repeatedly (at least in years past) referenced Rowbotham's nonsensical explanation of "Perspective lines" to explain why ships disappear hull-first while receding into the distance, and why the sun appears to "set". Over the span of ten years, I've asked Tom to decode Rowbotham's inscrutable, preposterous explanation and diagrams for me, with the honest plea that I couldn't make heads or tales of it but wanted to understand. Tom would not, still has not. And, it turns out, cannot - but pretends to understand.

Because, I've finally figured out over the years, that the whole thing is one big non-sequitur of a 19th-century con-man who was trying to sound smart, get laid, hustle some scratch, gain a following - and pull the wool over their eyes and rob them blind.

Here's the fundamental error Rowbotham committed, which renders his whole vanishing ship "theory" meaningless: He attempted to overlay first-person "perspective lines" to a "vanishing point", on top of side view elevations.

But it doesn't work that way. It's a meaningless by definition, like multiplying the square root of two by RGB. "Perspective Lines" and "Vanishing Points" are 1) perceptual concepts, not real things, and 2) useful concepts used in art [and, say, first-person video games]. In both cases, they only have meaning when presented from a first-person perspective - not a third-person perspective side-view. The "vanishing point" is an arbitrary, imaginary point inferred by two or more parallel lines, receding infinitely, impossibly, into the distance in front of your own first-person view.

But, it should be noted, Rowbotham presented those as real, tangible, geometric truths that can be (and were) overlaid onto side elevation views.

(He also seems to have thought that vanishing points and the horizon are somehow interconnected. But they aren't necessarily related at all. If an artist draws a cube haphazardly oriented in the sky, for example - using one, two, or three-point perspective - none of the vanishing points will [necessarily] touch the horizon line. Only when an artist [or you] draws perfectly right-angle shapes perfectly oriented to [or sitting on] an infinite plane, do the perspective lines "touch" the horizon.)

Nobody thinks that the parallel lines of a train track magically, literally converge and touch after infinity on a plane. Similarly, nobody should think that first-person perspective lines, overlaying a side-view elevation of a scene, depicts an actual, physical point of convergence and "vanishing point" - that furthermore magically hides the sun, moon, stars, and the bottoms of ships.

Take these images, for example (and the full context):





The whole mashup of unrelated, incompatible concepts is breathtakingly stupid (and/or breathtakingly deceptive...or probably both). No wonder people approaching it with the assumption that it must be rational, can't make a lick of sense out of it.

But some of the true believers...they pretend to understand it.

And now you know their dirty little secret.

Other people have taken this moronic mashup to modern extremes, like this diagram below which attempts to explain that the sun literally sets below the infinite plane of the earth, by continuing down the convergence (then divergence) lines to below the Earth! Just sit for a moment and allow the multiple nested layers of stupid wash over you:



The only way Rowbotham was able to convince anyone of this nonsense, is with the confident, arrogant assertions of a con-artist, combined with layers of ad-hoc assertions on top of ad-hoc assertions, glued together with initially impressive sounding logic that, when you break it down into its core components, is utterly preposterous, circular gibberish, with every logical fallacy in the book committed. (Not to mention, a fair amount of aggressiveness, threats, and sheer con-artistry.)

Was Rowbotham evil, or just stupid - you may ask? Why should that be an either/or proposition? Weren't the most dangerous people in history both?

The Zetetic Method is the history of Samuel Rowbotham

So what else is Rowbotham's Zetetic Method? It is this:
  • Rowbotham went by many pseudonyms for the purposes of his con-artistry, including conning "good Christians" (who loved him) out of their money. You may have heard of the one that became well known, "Parallax"
  • He literally ran away from a lecture, after being unable to explain why the hulls of ships disappeared before the masts when sailing out to sea. (A problem he finally remedied later, by just asserting that they don't. And much later, with said "vanishing points")
  • He badly lost a challenge to spot all of a lighthouse from a beach 14 miles away, at which point he just told everyone he won the challenge! (Why didn't I ever think of that? Zetetic Method.)
  • Rowbotham then proceeded to spend the rest of his life literally as a snake-oil conman, selling cure-all tinctures and lotions to the sick and desperate. He also lectured on his book.
Someone a tad too close for comfort to me in my life, is a low-life, drug-abusing con-artist. He makes a decent living scamming people, and runs with a crowd of similar sociopaths. He also happens to be a hardcore Ufologist with a diagnosed mental illness, and has written voluminously about his schizophrenic episodes / alien encounters. Somehow, improbably, he's become something of a minor "leader" in the field. It's actually surprisingly compelling reading - it's like a glimpse into the mind of madness. You don't want to stay there too long. But his logic is all over the map, full of non-sequiturs, and random ad-hoc assertions, and tons of metaphorical "thought experiments" very much like Robotham's.

I shudder to think that in 170 years or so, long after his inevitably near-future death, some credulous future Tom Bishop is going to be including links to preserved copies of his insane ramblings, as "proof" of alien abductions and meddling in everyday affairs.

Just say no

The fact that people - like Tom - keep pointing to that human parasite and the fraudulent experiment associated with him, as the ultimate authority on the Flat Earth (meanwhile disagreeing with him over anything remotely substantive such as what the fuck the earth looks like), speaks volumes.

I urge you, rational people of all stripes: By all means, entertain the notion of a flat earth. But do not accept 200 year-old piece of human excrement, Samuel Rowbotham - or his idiotic work of con-man fiction "Earth Not A Globe", as "evidence". Ever. For anything. If Tom brings it up, I suggest using the Zetetic Method: ignore everything he said, and con him out of his DL# and SSN.

And remember, Flat Earth - or at least this group's "council", is a self-admitted cult. In 2015, the so-called "Zetetic Council" (uh-oh) of this site, had a discussion that went in part like this: "Like all cults, we have been waiting for a prophet. A messiah. A new president to lead our society. I believe such a man now exists." Check it out for yourself in full context.

(But in fairness, as I commented elsewhere, maybe a cult leader wouldn't be a bad thing for them. Maybe it's what the Flat Earth needs for their own good, so they can get out of the ditch they seem to have been stuck in for the last ten - or 150 - years. They have literally made zero progress on any significant question since then, including what the flat Earth even looks like - two poles, or one? An ice wall, or not? Can you fly from LAX to SDY, or not? UA or gravity? What the hell are Celestial Gears and The Firmament? Etc. Believe it or not, I don't want to come back in another ten years, assuming I'm still alive, to see them still spinning their wheels in the same thick mud, with still zero progress made, still just content with making the same smug, dogmatic ad-hoc assertions as if their religion has been offended, to legitimate, honest queries and logical problems. Forever without end. I want them to succeed.)
« Last Edit: July 27, 2017, 08:51:34 AM by JoeTheToe »

Offline 3DGeek

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Re: Rowbotham, Zeteticism, and the fraudulent Bedford Level Experiment
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2017, 08:30:24 PM »

The part I find difficult about the whole Rowbotham thing is that people here (especially Tom Bishop) treat his writings as the gospel truth...unassailable fact.

Yet in all other cases, they demand much tougher standards of evidence.

Why believe this man - and not other men of his time - or people with a more modern perspective?

Bottom line for me is that even if you believe the Bedford Level experiment - you have to take into account the refraction of light through the varying layers of temperature and humidity right at the surface of the water.   Rowbotham didn't do that...so his results (while a good reason for further study) cannot be taken to be conclusive.

But - the view of the moon from different places in the world IS NEVER properly acknowledged by FE'ers.  Not never, not once.   Tom did once try to explain it by talking about arrows pointing in different directions depending on where you're standing relative to them - but when someone pointed out that this would make the moon look elliptical - the conversation fizzled out, just like it always does when the going gets tough for the FE'ers.


Hey Tom:  What path do the photons take from the physical location of the sun to my eye at sunset?

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Offline Merkava

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Re: Rowbotham, Zeteticism, and the fraudulent Bedford Level Experiment
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2017, 05:59:24 AM »
I made a few of these observations as an aside on a different post, but it seems like it deserves it's own conversation.

Earth Not a Globe



Certain FE members, notably Tom Bishop, repeatedly reference the writings of Samuel Rowbotham. Many literally refer to his writings as their "sacred texts". (I don't know if Tom actually feels that or has literally said that, but it sure seems to be implied.) If you haven't read it, "Earth Not a Globe" is a stupendously rambling, arrogant, flowery-worded tome - essentially a collection of nonsensical ad-hoc assertions devoid of support, verifiability, and falsifiability - all glued together with the most mind-meltingly preposterous "logic" and analogies you may ever read. You really should read the whole thing - whether you're FE or RE. Reading it word-for-word - and realizing this is literally the best they have and as far as they've progressed - should make a Round Earther out of anyone.

In this stupendous word-salad, Rowbotham asserts all manner of BS - often for no good reason and adding no value - for example, that the Oceans are supported by steam, created by the fires of hades. (The Zetetic Method in action.) And that's just "warming up". (More below. Wait 'till we get to "sinking ships".)

Tom repeatedly links to that work, in a vague and hand-wavy way, as "proof" - of nearly anything and everything (without specifics). Then in the same thread, will - with an apparently straight face - demand "proof" from others. (While rejecting any form of proof that could have possibly ever been associated with NASA, or the military, or any government agency, etc. When presented with direct personal observations - e.g. personal photographic evidence under controlled and documented circumstances - he's nowhere to be found. Consistently. It's the Zetetic Method.)

The notorious Bedford Level scam



For example, Tom offers up the notorious "Bedford Level Experiment", somehow as "proof" of a flat earth. Now, maybe there's legitimate proof of a flat earth, who am I to say otherwise. I'm open to seeing it. But the Bedford Level Experiment is literally the fucking opposite of FE proof, and a demonstration of the utter loathsomeness as human beings that are Rowbotham and his partners-in-fraud. That notorious incident was a contest that Rowbotham lost. (Or at best - a two-vs-two he-said-she-said tie, from his mentally ill cohort's perspective - all under a cloud of fraud and scandal.) The whole seedy and shameful affair turned out to be a rigged game involving an official "witness" that was actually in on the con (and who had written his own flat earth books, unbeknownst to his RE opponent, respected naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace).

Rowbotham's follower, the mentally ill man who set up the bet and perpetrated the con, John Hampden, wound up "going mad" and wound up in jail several times, in the process of nearly driving Wallace into bankruptcy over years of psychotic harassment.

And even though Rowbotham and cohorts lost the bet under a cloud of fraud and controversy, Tom references this criminally fraudulent "contest", as proof - with a straight face.

The Zetetic Method



That, my friends, is the Zetetic Method in a nutshell. Where did that word come from, you ask? Well like any true new-age snake-oil salesman/con-man, Rowbotham just invented it himself, hijacking a then-existing but archaic and obscure phrase to do so. In actual practice it was used to help justify one con-job after another. By Rowbotham's own contemptible actions and behavior in life related to preaching his mad ramblings and grifting, it is correctly defined as "To lie, cheat, invent data out of thin air, connect random ad-hoc together with preposterously inane logical assertions, and harass your opponents - in order to cram your predefined beliefs down the throats of unsuspecting marks."

Perspective lines, disappearing ships, and dirty secrets



Tom has repeatedly (at least in years past) referenced Rowbotham's nonsensical explanation of "Perspective lines" to explain why ships disappear hull-first while receding into the distance, and why the sun appears to "set". Over the span of ten years, I've asked Tom to decode Rowbotham's inscrutable, preposterous explanation and diagrams for me, with the honest plea that I couldn't make heads or tales of it but wanted to understand. Tom would not, still has not. And, it turns out, cannot - but pretends to understand.

Because, I've finally figured out over the years, that the whole thing is one big non-sequitur of a 19th-century con-man who was trying to sound smart, get laid, hustle some scratch, gain a following - and pull the wool over their eyes and rob them blind.

Here's the fundamental error Rowbotham committed, which renders his whole vanishing ship "theory" meaningless: He attempted to overlay first-person "perspective lines" to a "vanishing point", on top of side view elevations.

But it doesn't work that way. It's a meaningless by definition, like multiplying the square root of two by RGB. "Perspective Lines" and "Vanishing Points" are 1) perceptual concepts, not real things, and 2) useful concepts used in art [and, say, first-person video games]. In both cases, they only have meaning when presented from a first-person perspective - not a third-person perspective side-view. The "vanishing point" is an arbitrary, imaginary point inferred by two or more parallel lines, receding infinitely, impossibly, into the distance in front of your own first-person view.

But, it should be noted, Rowbotham presented those as real, tangible, geometric truths that can be (and were) overlaid onto side elevation views.

(He also seems to have thought that vanishing points and the horizon are somehow interconnected. But they aren't necessarily related at all. If an artist draws a cube haphazardly oriented in the sky, for example - using one, two, or three-point perspective - none of the vanishing points will [necessarily] touch the horizon line. Only when an artist [or you] draws perfectly right-angle shapes perfectly oriented to [or sitting on] an infinite plane, do the perspective lines "touch" the horizon.)

Nobody thinks that the parallel lines of a train track magically, literally converge and touch after infinity on a plane. Similarly, nobody should think that first-person perspective lines, overlaying a side-view elevation of a scene, depicts an actual, physical point of convergence and "vanishing point" - that furthermore magically hides the sun, moon, stars, and the bottoms of ships.

Take these images, for example (and the full context):





The whole mashup of unrelated, incompatible concepts is breathtakingly stupid (and/or breathtakingly deceptive...or probably both). No wonder people approaching it with the assumption that it must be rational, can't make a lick of sense out of it.

But some of the true believers...they pretend to understand it.

And now you know their dirty little secret.

Other people have taken this moronic mashup to modern extremes, like this diagram below which attempts to explain that the sun literally sets below the infinite plane of the earth, by continuing down the convergence (then divergence) lines to below the Earth! Just sit for a moment and allow the multiple nested layers of stupid wash over you:



The only way Rowbotham was able to convince anyone of this nonsense, is with the confident, arrogant assertions of a con-artist, combined with layers of ad-hoc assertions on top of ad-hoc assertions, glued together with initially impressive sounding logic that, when you break it down into its core components, is utterly preposterous, circular gibberish, with every logical fallacy in the book committed. (Not to mention, a fair amount of aggressiveness, threats, and sheer con-artistry.)

Was Rowbotham evil, or just stupid - you may ask? Why should that be an either/or proposition? Weren't the most dangerous people in history both?

The Zetetic Method is the history of Samuel Rowbotham

So what else is Rowbotham's Zetetic Method? It is this:
  • Rowbotham went by many pseudonyms for the purposes of his con-artistry, including conning "good Christians" (who loved him) out of their money. You may have heard of the one that became well known, "Parallax"
  • He literally ran away from a lecture, after being unable to explain why the hulls of ships disappeared before the masts when sailing out to sea. (A problem he finally remedied later, by just asserting that they don't. And much later, with said "vanishing points")
  • He badly lost a challenge to spot all of a lighthouse from a beach 14 miles away, at which point he just told everyone he won the challenge! (Why didn't I ever think of that? Zetetic Method.)
  • Rowbotham then proceeded to spend the rest of his life literally as a snake-oil conman, selling cure-all tinctures and lotions to the sick and desperate. He also lectured on his book.
Someone a tad too close for comfort to me in my life, is a low-life, drug-abusing con-artist. He makes a decent living scamming people, and runs with a crowd of similar sociopaths. He also happens to be a hardcore Ufologist with a diagnosed mental illness, and has written voluminously about his schizophrenic episodes / alien encounters. Somehow, improbably, he's become something of a minor "leader" in the field. It's actually surprisingly compelling reading - it's like a glimpse into the mind of madness. You don't want to stay there too long. But his logic is all over the map, full of non-sequiturs, and random ad-hoc assertions, and tons of metaphorical "thought experiments" very much like Robotham's.

I shudder to think that in 170 years or so, long after his inevitably near-future death, some credulous future Tom Bishop is going to be including links to preserved copies of his insane ramblings, as "proof" of alien abductions and meddling in everyday affairs.

Just say no

The fact that people - like Tom - keep pointing to that human parasite and the fraudulent experiment associated with him, as the ultimate authority on the Flat Earth (meanwhile disagreeing with him over anything remotely substantive such as what the fuck the earth looks like), speaks volumes.

I urge you, rational people of all stripes: By all means, entertain the notion of a flat earth. But do not accept 200 year-old piece of human excrement, Samuel Rowbotham - or his idiotic work of con-man fiction "Earth Not A Globe", as "evidence". Ever. For anything. If Tom brings it up, I suggest using the Zetetic Method: ignore everything he said, and con him out of his DL# and SSN.

And remember, Flat Earth - or at least this group's "council", is a self-admitted cult. In 2015, the so-called "Zetetic Council" (uh-oh) of this site, had a discussion that went in part like this: "Like all cults, we have been waiting for a prophet. A messiah. A new president to lead our society. I believe such a man now exists." Check it out for yourself in full context.

(But in fairness, as I commented elsewhere, maybe a cult leader wouldn't be a bad thing for them. Maybe it's what the Flat Earth needs for their own good, so they can get out of the ditch they seem to have been stuck in for the last ten - or 150 - years. They have literally made zero progress on any significant question since then, including what the flat Earth even looks like - two poles, or one? An ice wall, or not? Can you fly from LAX to SDY, or not? UA or gravity? What the hell are Celestial Gears and The Firmament? Etc. Believe it or not, I don't want to come back in another ten years, assuming I'm still alive, to see them still spinning their wheels in the same thick mud, with still zero progress made, still just content with making the same smug, dogmatic ad-hoc assertions as if their religion has been offended, to legitimate, honest queries and logical problems. Forever without end. I want them to succeed.)

Their silence is deafening.  Great work.
Is it really too much effort to visualize in your head a light rolling around the middle of a plate isn't going to be "east" or "west" of anything it touches EVER?

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Offline Tom Bishop

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Re: Rowbotham, Zeteticism, and the fraudulent Bedford Level Experiment
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2017, 07:34:22 AM »
tl;dr

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Re: Rowbotham, Zeteticism, and the fraudulent Bedford Level Experiment
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2017, 04:32:46 PM »
tl;dr

Funniest answer I've heard for a long time Tom!   Well done!
Hey Tom:  What path do the photons take from the physical location of the sun to my eye at sunset?

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Offline Rounder

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Re: Rowbotham, Zeteticism, and the fraudulent Bedford Level Experiment
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2017, 01:34:19 AM »
tl;dr

It's shorter than Earth Not A Globe, and it's worth a read.
Proud member of İntikam's "Ignore List"
Ok. You proven you are unworthy to unignored. You proven it was a bad idea to unignore you. and it was for me a disgusting experience...Now you are going to place where you deserved and accustomed.
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Re: Rowbotham, Zeteticism, and the fraudulent Bedford Level Experiment
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2017, 03:45:59 PM »
tl;dr

It's shorter than Earth Not A Globe, and it's worth a read.

I can't believe I'm admitting this but I read Erath not a globe.   Not an easy read as it's so poorly written, but it's not short on comedy.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2017, 10:18:38 PM by TomInAustin »
The distance from New York to Paris is unknown.

de·lu·sion
noun
1.   an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument, typically a symptom of mental disorder.

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Offline Rounder

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Re: Rowbotham, Zeteticism, and the fraudulent Bedford Level Experiment
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2017, 06:46:22 PM »
I can't believe I'm admitting this but I read Earth not a globe.   Not an easy read as it's so poorly written but it's not short on comedy.
I read it too, and return to it regularly.  I have likely spent more time reading ENaG than most FE people have. 

In order to understand the viewpoints and assumptions held by the other side of a discussion, it is helpful to read the supporting documents they offer.
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Re: Rowbotham, Zeteticism, and the fraudulent Bedford Level Experiment
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2017, 04:16:31 PM »
I some times wonder if Tom Bishop is really a "round earther" who posts just to make flat earth look even more nonsensical than it already is.

IMHO, if this is so, he is doing a jolly good job of doing it !  ;D

I don't think we should speak ill of Saint Sir Samuel Birley Rowbotham. After all, he was a skilled orator, a writer of Earth Not A Globe, and a revered person also known as "Parallax" and "Doctor S. Golden", the inventor and marketer of a magic elixir known to cure all the diseases known to man or beast. To say nothing of his academic achievements of possessing  the Degrees of Doctor Of Philosophy (PhD) and Doctor Of Medicine (MD).
« Last Edit: August 10, 2017, 04:34:24 PM by geckothegeek »
Stick close to your P.C's and never go to sea
And You All may be Rulers of The Flat Earth Society

Yes, Never, Never, Never go to sea
Just look out your windows,
Flat ! Flat ! Flat !
Is all that you shall see !