The Earth is not round*

Black catBeliefs are a funny thing. I once believed, like many others, that a black cat crossing your path was bad luck. Of course I was rather biased, because of the unfortunate Panther attack. Nowadays I am older, wiser, and stay out of the big cat enclosure at the zoo.

Growing up I can recall Gypsy women in the street selling ‘lucky Heather’ (although Heather didn’t seem to feel it was so lucky, based on her expression) and some kids in my class had ‘lucky’ rabbit’s-foot keyrings – yuck.

Sports people are notoriously superstitious and many players and fans apparently wear the same ‘lucky’ socks, shirts or underpants to a match, imagining that this somehow mysteriously influences the outcome.

We humans are prone to some strange ideas and many old superstitions still hold sway over people’s behaviour. Put a ladder up over a pavement and many folks will walk into the road, risking actual harm, to avoid some imagined future harms that will result purely because of passing under a climbing device.

I sometimes wonder if it would still work if you put up a life-size picture of a ladder? Or a rather abstract sculpture of a ladder? What about a giant ladder, that went across the whole street, covering both pavements? Would people turn around and find another route? Could you trap people in their homes with a set of ladders? Oh the fun to be had with a vast fortune and some hidden cameras.

Whether it’s fearing ladders, broken mirrors or by naming your son Track or Trig, there are all sorts of ways we display our extraordinary dimness. Our brains are all too eager to accept all kinds of nonsense, as I have written about before.

For anyone who has spent time in online forums and Facebook groups, there are a special breed of oddballs, who dedicate much of their time to promoting pseudo-science and whacko conspiracy theories. From the anti-vaxxers to the climate change deniers, from 9/11 truthers to people who think Donald Trump is good presidential material, the legions of the paranoid, the misinformed and the plain batshit-crazy are everywhere. There’s probably one in your street, or in your place of work. If they approach you, don’t make eye contact, walk away quickly or pretend you are invisible. Works every time.

One group are especially fascinating – the flat-Earthers. I’ve encountered a few online recently and they are really quite special. It’s a bit like sighting a very rare species of primate, one thought to be extinct on the grounds of sheer stupidity.

Like other crazies, they have their ‘facts’ and internet video ‘evidence’. The fact that none of it is in the least credible makes no difference. Nor does the veritable Everest of evidence to show they are wrong. You can point out the facts and the science till the aliens come home, but the conspiracy nut cannot be cracked. If they say that NASA and all the world’s scientists and governments are in on a huge conspiracy, then that’s the story they’re sticking to. You can keep your evidence and rational thinking, ‘cos you’re just programmed by the new world order to believe it, you sheeple.

Of course they will say my post is just more pro-science propaganda, and I’m probably an Illuminati shill who is paid to mock and discredit them in order to protect the terrible truth. They will say all the space missions, satellites and millions of photos of Earth from space are fakes. Mathematics, physics, astronomy, it’s all just lies apparently. Even your own personal observation from a plane cannot be trusted. I guess when you inhabit your own alternative reality, anything goes.

You can claim the Moon is a spaceship and beams mind-control rays at the Earth. Luckily it doesn’t seem to affect David Icke though. He must have wall-papered his home with aluminium foil, the cunning devil.

Of course even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day and Icke got one thing right – the British royal family are alien lizard people. I’ve seen the video evidence! These monsters must be exposed! It’s all in my new book!

 
*The Earth, although constantly changing, is an imperfect oblate-spheroid. That is to say it’s a slightly squashed ball shape.
 
Copyright J.Lennick 2016 All rights reserved.
 
Picture from care2.com
 
 

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26 thoughts on “The Earth is not round*

  1. It is very odd how the human brain can go off on weird tangents. I can’t see the point of some of those you mention. At a everyday, personal level, does it really matter what shape the Earth is?

    Thinking on my feet, maybe because our brains are fundamentally all about ensuring survival and maximising mating success, we are constantly looking for things that may threaten those objectives? For many of us, modern life has eliminated many of those threats, so the brain instinctively heads off seeking weird and wonderful things to fear instead. After all, most of these ideas are about hidden threats, that most of us are failing to recognise. I’d guess strange phobias and things like ‘hypochondria’ are part of the same thing. Brain lag?

    By the way, I don’t believe the world is round either (it’s an illusion), but I don’t lose any sleep over it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • From what I’ve read there are at least two or three major factors that lead our brains astray – patternicity and the assumption of agency, for example.

      We see patterns everywhere ‘A type I error, or a false positive, is believing something is real when it is not (finding a nonexistent pattern)’

      Faulty agency detection – (you were close to this in your comment) the idea that all phenomena must have a cause – a rustle in the bushes might be a predator, so we react without thinking based on that assumption. A clear survival mechanism to our distant ancestors, but very problematic to modern humans. It leads us to many bizarre and irrational superstitions.

      See also ‘Teleological Thinking.’

      I assume your last sentence was a joke?

      Like

      • Not come across any of those terms, but I’m gonna start using ‘assumption of agency’ because it sounds well cool, and will make me appear intelligent.

        I still find it fascinating why our brains seem to work against us like this though, I suppose it’s a case of ‘better safe than sorry’, but the ‘assumptions of agency’ we create when we hear that ‘bump in the night’ can be so ridiculous sometimes, it’s embarrassing.

        No, wasn’t a joke. You know my views on the existence of Time, but I’ve come to the same conclusion with Space too – also an illusion. Einstein already got rid of Mass, so there’s only one thing left – ENERGY!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • We are all made of pure energy, man, and if we tune our vibrational frequencies correctly, we can travel across the universe as beings of pure quantum intentionality…

        Sorry, I was channeling Deepak Chopra for a moment there…

        So time AND space are just illusions? But where does that leave us? If they are just illusions, why can’t I fly like Superman, or travel back to last Thursday and play the Euro Lottery with the winning numbers? Why can’t I be George bloody Clooney??

        Liked by 1 person

  2. If you deconstruct the Earth down to its constituent immeasurable fractals then of course it is perfectly flat — in the same way as any island’s coastline can be proven to be infinite.

    This method of pseudo-reasoning is a very old one. After all, was it not Socrates himself who, annoyed by such quiddities, demanded of his pupils: ‘First, define your terms’?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It took me ages to get through your post, Jason. It wasn’t because I disagreed with your views. On the contrary, I was thoroughly enjoying your debunking of superstitious claptrap. About halfway through, though, I noticed some of your sentences had unlucky Feng Shui alignments with energy flows clearly out of harmony with the surrounding environment. I had to look up the appropriate books of mystical lore to work out what to do, and unfortunately my knowledge of ancient Chinese is a little rusty. Eventually, I was able to solve the problem by moving my computer screen three inches to the left and reading the remainder of your post while standing on my head.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Damn! I thought I had the feng shui nailed! First the sore throat and heavy cold (or possibly the plague) and now bad sentence alignment. It’s like I’ve been cursed.. I’m glad you were able to solve the issue with such smart thinking. I may write future posts upside-down and three inches to the left to avoid further problems.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I know you don’t want to be labelled this way, but your sense of humour is very wacky and zany (yes, I said it. Go fetch your fish). But honestly, this is a very entertaining blog and one that I look forward to reading more of. P.s. I still salute every time I see a magpie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I can live with zany, I’ve been called worse things… I hadn’t heard of the magpie superstition, which is odd since it appears to be well known in the UK. We get a lot of them where we live now, so maybe I need to start saluting them too. Who knows, perhaps we’ll win the lottery if we’re really nice to them.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ooh I love a good conspiracy theory / superstition / load of old bobbins story! I recently came across this flat earth lot too, mainly through a similar set of naysayers who believe the moon is covered in a blanket that causes ‘ripples’ across the surface. The blanket is to conceal the sinister operations going on at Starbase Moon (naturally!)
    I’d love to believe like Mulder, but I’m much more of a Scully!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Aaaah, this is such a great subject, damn you go onto it before me 😉 Loved and smiled at every single line of your superstition/conspiracy post.
    Actually with the black cat it depends whether it crosses from the left or right, for future reference: from the left is good luck and from the right, well I’d rather not go into it 🙂
    have a lovely week,
    Dagmar

    Liked by 1 person

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