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Looking for life on a flat earth
By Thom Holwerda on 2018-06-12 00:34:45

For days now, I've been pondering whether or not to post a link to this story, but after a talk with my closest friends about how much we despise anti-vaxxers - they just had their first baby - I feel like the story in question highlights a very uncomfortable truth we have to face.

If we can agree on anything anymore, it's that we live in a post-truth era. Facts are no longer correct or incorrect; everything is potentially true unless it's disagreeable, in which case it's fake. Recently, Lesley Stahl, of "60 Minutes", revealed that, in an interview after the 2016 election, Donald Trump told her that the reason he maligns the press is "to discredit you all and demean you all so that when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you". Or, as George Costanza put it, coming from the opposite direction, "It's not a lie if you believe it".

This is an article by Alan Burdick, who decided to investigate the "flat earth movement" by going to a flat earth conference and speaking with the attendees and speakers. It's a revealing piece that makes it clear flat earth crackpots are deeply intertwined with virtually every other crazy conspiracy theory, with the "flat earth theory" serving as an umbrella to all other conspiracy theories. Add in large doses of antisemitism, creationism, and Christian extremism, and you've got the general feel of the flat earth movement.

The uncomfortable truth we have to face is not that the earth is flat - don't worry - but that insanity like this used to remain confined, isolated, and harmless. Thanks to the internet, however, this insanity is free to spread and infect others, causing real harm to real people. Whether it's believing that the government is spreading dangerous chemicals through the air in form of "chem trails" or abusing, harming, and even murdering your and other people's children by not vaccinating them - it's the internet that allows this dangerous insanity to spread and cause real harm.

The internet is one of the greatest inventions of mankind, but it's also having dark, unsettling effects on our society that we need to address. I don't have any solutions, but we better start doing a better job of arming ourselves against the constant barrage of attacks on science, or we risk our society descending into chaos.

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Let's send some of them to space
By jgfenix on 2018-06-12 21:15:28
If they only can trust their senses let's show them the naked truth.
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RE: Comment by model500
By jgfenix on 2018-06-12 21:28:40
I didn't know the last one, lol. It's funny that Earth is a popular destination for alien sexual tourism.
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Comment by Phloptical
By Phloptical on 2018-06-12 22:23:58
I wish the world was flat. There are many people who I’d like to push over the edge.
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"All the world's a VAX!" That Vial heresy..
By uridium on 2018-06-12 23:07:54
Oh! *Ahem* ..wrong anti-vaxxer.

On a serious note Thom, if you're that worried about publishing off-topic things, then perhaps the solution is to create a "Off-topic but still bugs me" or even a "Creaky soap-box" Linked magically "somehow" off the main site with a ticker down the side? I dunno.. at least you've have an avenue to vent on non-operating system things like anti-vaxxers .. or environmental muppetism .. or earth shattering things like *tongue in cheek* some phone O/S introduced thicker boarders and this is more important than anti-nuke talks with north korea, saving the spotted purple whale and ..friends? :) .. trying to be supportive here.
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RE[3]: again
By WorknMan on 2018-06-13 01:34:12
> It was especially the "christian extremism" and "creationism" being linked that caused my conclusion. Calling creationists "extremist" or "crazy" is nothing more than an ad homonym attack

Well, what would YOU call someone who believes that a cosmic Jewish zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because once upon a time, a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat fruit from a magical tree?

I mean, perhaps crazy isn't the proper description, but can you really blame people for rolling their eyes? It's 2018, for crying out loud. It's time to put the fairy tales out to pasture.
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RE: The power of soy
By woegjiub on 2018-06-13 01:34:46
You know that's not actually what leftists believe, right?

Nobody on the left supports ISIS or Al'Qaeda etc.

We merely point out that the US bombing the shit out of people makes enemies - they don't "hate our freedom", they hate being bombed.

Work *with* local communities to make their countries wonderful places to live. You'll completely stop terrorism (and immigration, if you're opposed to that).
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RE: You are totally right to post it
By Mx9001 on 2018-06-13 02:11:03
I'd say the Christian right wing went off the rails when they started using the Old Testament to REFUTE the actual words of Jesus. That's a step too far for me. Just like going to flat-earth land.

But, this is not only about sub-cultures expanding on the internet.
A few points:
-When the government forbids you from testing your whole herd to prove it doesn't have mad cow, where you could sell your beaf at a premium price giving the small ranger a competitive advantage.
-The radical reduction in autopsy's across the country.

In other words it could be a medical emergency, especially in the red states, that's undiagnosed. And won't be.

Then there's the pollution from coal, mercury and arsenic pollution in every lake and stream in America from the massive coal burn. Again, no studies on the health effects of coal, and mountain top removal on the surrounding towns. ( Except there now is new information about the increased risk of cancer. ).

And the aging of the baby boom generation. The generation most exposed to pollutants for the longest time. Reduced cognitive ability from environmental effects explains a lot.
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The internet has made us dumber
By FuriousGeorge on 2018-06-13 02:22:59
I think it's time to admit that, collectively, we are dumber than we were 20 years ago.

Sure the advancement of science and technology may march on, but the laymen are becoming increasingly intellectually bankrupt.

Sometimes I wonder if this is an over-correction of the self-esteem movement of the 70s. Every child is so "special" now, and then they turn into science illiterate adults who have strong opinions on climate change and evolution and vaccines. Can you blame them? For 40 years they've been told how "special" they are. They grew up singing songs about it -- songs that ended with the words "special me" -- and now "special me" is a fool, who knows not he knows not.

I'm not suggesting we scream at our kids when they s**t the bed, but at least we should call it what it is, rather than award a 17th place medal for non-bed s**tting.

I try to avoid hyperbole, but if there is not a course correction in the next couple of years, starting in the US, then I can't help but think that this is the dawn of a new Dark Age.

I'm actually an optimist. I think within ten years we will rid ourselves of these bums entirely. But what if I'm wrong? What if this is just the new normal?

The author of the original article was more charitable then I am about to be. Let's just call it what it is: fascism. Sure, there are other reasons people undermine institutions and spread vile propaganda, etc, but our problem right now, world wide, is the faschies.

It doesn't seem a stretch anymore to think that our grandchildren will still be suffering their renaissance, assuming they are not one with the movement by then.

"Ignorance is the mother of all disgraces"
--Uncle Joe

Edited 2018-06-13 02:38 UTC
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RE: relative truth
By Wondercool on 2018-06-13 11:51:16
I really don't understand why parent's comment is downvoted into oblivion.

Of course truth is relative! This is because ultimately humans are the last step in trying to make sense of the universe. All the reactions sofar argue the case that a tree that falls in the forest will make a sound, no matter if a human is there to observe it.
But from a perspective of a human, it only made a sound if you were there.

Many moons ago I studied political science and I distinctly remember 2 studies that argued opposite cases: the first one argued that discrimination in the Netherlands was higher in Amsterdam than elsewhere in the Netherlands. The other "proved" the opposite using statistical methods.

This is extremely common. For instance Donald Trump is one man's clown and another man's hero. Most questions in life can't be answered with a straight answer and will differ from person to person.

And this can happen too with seemingly 'straightforward' observational questions like what colour does this dress have:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The...

Last: if you don't agree with a comment but the comment is to the point and an honest opinion (not a troll), why down vote the comment? Just don't upvote. There is no need to silence the opionion.

Edited 2018-06-13 11:53 UTC
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RE: The power of soy
By Thom_Holwerda on 2018-06-13 12:52:57
> creationism, and Christian extremism
...Is bad, but (radical) Islam is a-ok, right.


Keep your whatabouttism for Facebook memes, please. There is no mention of islam of muslims being part of the flat earth insanity as described in the article.
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