Flat Earth believers display self-confidence when they make contradictory claims. They are also required to investigate on their own. The Stochastic investigation tries to achieve order out of extreme confusion. Lots of different conspiracy theories are mixed together. Dotan Reiss joined the groups of followers of the Flat Land, and tried to understand from them how they think
"You stand on the beach and see a ship disappear over the horizon. The scientists of the sphere, NASA, say the reason is that the ship beyond the curvature of the sphere is like a person who descends over a mountain and disappears. […] The answer is simple: there is no curvature, and when a ship disappears, it does not disappear, but the eye does not see it, and when you look through special binoculars, you suddenly see the ship that has disappeared.'
That's what Nathan explained to me (all the names in the article are fictitious), in a nutshell, how does he know that the earth is flat. A claim that it is apparently easy to check this way: go to the sea with the same "special binoculars" and check if you see the ships that have disappeared. But this is an obvious trap: if you check and don't see the ships, this will only prove that the binoculars are not suitable.
It is common in the philosophy of science to talk about a concept of paradigm. The paradigm is the collection of axioms, data, research methods and practices that creates a scientific discipline, and it determines the boundaries of the field, how a scientific fact is defined, what can and cannot be claimed, and where the field will progress.
I entered the Israeli Facebook group of the Flat Land (2800 members) to understand what the paradigm they propose is in contrast to the accepted paradigm. After they approved my joining the group, I posted a question about the thing that I thought was the most improbable in this theory (although later I came across less improbable things), which is the fact that if the theory is true, there are inevitably a lot of people who know it and have proof, but none of them Speak.
A partial list: pilots, scientists, organizations that explore space for all of their employees, all the engineers who deal with satellite communication, all the engineers and scientists who work in the shadows to enable things like cellular communication in the absence of satellites, who finances all of the above, everyone who works in the industry of falsifying findings from space (including making live movies of satellite photos, photos from the space station, photos from telescopes, etc.).
The members of the group ("Stochists", as they call themselves) gave me many answers, which did not convince me that the earth is flat, but allowed me to get an idea of how their paradigm works.
Flatists and anomalies in science
When presented with a problem with the flat model, most flat earth men and women will deal with it head on. They will not avoid the question, and they may even be proactive in finding problems - a trait that deserves appreciation. The confrontation (minus the responses that attacked the questioner, which were not many) seems at first not serious. There are very anecdotal claims, or ones that seem unrelated to the topic. As we will see later, this is fundamental to the theory. But I came from a different paradigm, so I insisted on focused answers to my question, and tried to avoid drifting into other topics as they often tried to tempt me.
The targeted answers to the question fell into three general categories: (1) there are organizations strong enough to prevent people from speaking, (2) very few people know the truth and they control the rest who follow instructions and (3) people do speak. These are two representative examples of the answers I received:
Even if a person worked at NASA and spoke, then first of all those were his last words, and secondly he will never get attention because they simply won't let him, unlike their puppet celebrities for example, who if they open their mouths - they are eliminated (and not from Pfizer), that's why all kinds of celebrities die in the middle of life usually either suicide or overdose, why? Because they can really influence public opinion, and a thinking public is a dangerous public for them.
There are whole videos of pilots and people from the system who say out loud that the world is flat..
It has long been no secret.
You can easily prove with binoculars subject to the curvature formula and see that there is absolutely zero curvature, not even a little.
It didn't seem to bother anyone that these solutions were contradictory. The internal debates in group discussions, which are quite few, mainly revolve around how the questioner should be treated. Often the option that he is a troll comes up, so he should be ignored or removed from the group. On one of the occasions when we discussed this regarding me, Alon answered as follows: "I think he simply has a long and long way to go and a flat country is not the right place to start." In another case, when one of the commenters answered me in a disparaging way, someone wrote to him, "Why are you condescending, say? He asked a legitimate question.' But I have not seen a criticism of the body of an argument between two flatists.
In fact, not only did the contradictions not bother people, there were many who held more than one position, and sometimes when I insisted on getting to the bottom of one answer, people deviated to another position, or someone else replaced them in the discussion. In some cases people expressed two opposing opinions at once, as in the following examples:
Millions of people don't lie
There are a few at the top of every body who know the truth
The millions in the so-called layers trust the information that comes from above
A pretty simple pyramid scheme to be honest
And it wasn't hundreds of years ago, even in schools they taught that the world is flat, there is a nice 102-year-old old woman who talks about it
Not everyone is supposed to know, only the people at the top know that everyone who works under them follows orders like a parrot
And by the way, there are a lot of pilots who say that the world is flat when they were photographed with a hidden camera
When I insisted that they explain to me how an organization works that silences so many people, but fails to silence the Facebook group in which we speak or prevent Flat Earth conferences, the answer was usually either a spillover to answer (2), or a deepening of the conspiracy and an invitation to learn about more conspiracies. Insisting that surely many people should know the truth has only led to digging into isolated cases (pilots don't need to know that the world is flat, because planes fly alone. So what about engineers? They just build what they're told, and so on). Insisting that there were actually no confessions from people who participated in the conspiracy was hopeless. I entered one of the videos posted in the group where pilots admit that the earth is flat. Below is a transcript of one of the "confessions":
Woman (behind the camera): "Did you notice any curvature while we were up there?"
Pilot (doesn't seem to understand what they want from him): "Uh... no"
Woman: "No? What did you see while we were up there?'
Pilot: "Ah... just blue sky, white clouds"
Woman: "So, it's flat, or..."
Pilot: "pretty flat/boring" (pretty flat).
One of the responses to the video says "The pilots signed if they expose the 'spinning ball' scam, they will be thrown out of work and prosecuted.. Dozens of videos are about it, only retired pilots started talking." It's worth noting that the scene I quoted, which is from the video he was commenting on, showed a young pilot in a cockpit, apparently right after landing.
Such claims, which are not only weak but also contradict each other, create the impression of confirmation bias extreme This impression is greatly strengthened when problems are proposed with the opposite theory, that of the flat earth.
One of the problems with this theory, is that if the earth is flat and covered by a transparent dome on which the sun rotates (so they believe), it is not possible for there to be night. The difference between day and night should be a difference in the angle of the sun in the sky. But of course our basic observation is of the sun setting in the west and rising in the east, and in between there is no way to see it.
Stochists do not believe this to be the case. For them, the sun simply "moves away", so it appears lower in the sky and looks like it is setting, and at night it is simply too far away to be seen. How can something so powerful that it makes daylight and supplies energy to the whole world be invisible right after sunset just because its angle changes and the distance increases? Below is a representative answer:
Be legitimate, the answer is that our vision is limited. If the sun was large in relation to the size of the earth, it would be seen from everywhere and it would always shine, on the whole earth all the time. But the sun is small, so it only shines on the area above which it is and is not visible from afar.
That is, just after sunset, the sun has simply moved away by a few degrees, so we can't see it anymore. We still have a direct line to her, and if our eyes were good enough we would continue to see her even at night. The whole illusion of day and night is created because of the limitations of human vision (up to 6 km, one of them claimed, another claims that vision works "like a cone" that we cannot see beyond its peak). These are things that can be disproved very easily, but as far as the stochists are concerned, they already have proof: if you just buy a pair of binoculars sophisticated enough, you will be able to see the sun even at night. (And you will also be able to see the feet of people standing on the beach in Cyprus, because the earth has no curvature at all).
The patience of the stochists inspires respect, and so does their depth. One of the proofs of the existence of the conspiracy was a long list of NASA articles in which it was written explicitly that the earth is flat. I have not found an explanation for the fact that an organization that is all fake and forgery issues official documents that reveal the same secret they are hiding, which has been buried for hundreds of years. Reading the documents revealed an even bleaker picture.
Indeed, the phrase "flat country" or something similar appeared in them. In one of the examples, it was some kind of calculation exercise, when in the line above the phrase "flat country" the phrase "simplifying assumptions" appeared. Despite my attempts, I was unable to reach consensus with the publisher of the documents regarding the meaning of the phrase "simplifying assumptions".
The conclusion of the Stochists from almost all the discussions they had with me is that "I still have a lot to learn." They directed me to learn about the Twin Towers (conspiracy), the Corona virus (as above) and the Holocaust (I preferred not to get to the bottom of their opinion on this subject). They attached a lot of movies and videos that teach their theory, and most of them testified themselves that they didn't believe it at first, and only after a long and significant research did they discover the truth. This is what Aviel said:
As if you think I believed in the flat world like that just in one day?
You need the entire spectrum of understanding of the history of shadow governments in the past and present and the total understanding and awareness that you don't have today to say and be sure that they have been working on us for decades. We approach this topic several times while at the same time researching the establishment and the unspoken history of governments and corporations. Read about Rothschild, Rockefeller and above all start with the ones that are appropriate.
Learn about Zionism! Enrich, expand, stretch, inflate, challenge your knowledge from non-institutional sources and not from Neil DeGris Tyson this dick
Jesus!! You are very behind in education. Of course I'm not sure you'll do it because I know people like you who are incapable and cannot contain the truth because you're looking for the "simpler explanation that will be the right one."
As history teaches us, a scientific paradigm is often wrong. At a certain point, more and more anomalies in science will accumulate, which will cause a growing dissatisfaction, until a situation of scientific crisis arrives, where it is not clear what the paradigm is. The solution to such a crisis is the rise of a new paradigm, around which the community aligns. So it was when the world of science passed From the geocentric model (the earth at the center of the universe) to the heliocentric model (the earth revolves around the sun).
Ironically, the geocentric model was brought up in the group several times as an example of how in the past people did believe in the flat earth, before the lies started. So it was, we argued, in ancient Greece. When I pointed out that even according to the geocentric model the earth is round, Dor answered me:
Okay, you demonstrate a proficiency in history that we have no way of knowing who wrote it and at what point. As far as I know the opinion in the ancient world was that the earth is flat according to the insight of Ptolemy.
Durr did not specify what his sources were, and how he obtained them before history was rewritten.
Many of the Stochists' proofs, like this one, are neither difficult to test nor difficult to disprove, and many times they are not proofs either. Such a proof works like Alice's rabbit in Wonderland. It's a bait that if you chase it you'll fall down an endless rabbit hole, which at the end is just more and more holes.
The "understanding" that is reached at the end of the "research" is a kind of state of dizziness in which everything makes sense. Including a picture of Putin wearing a shirt that allegedly betrays the conspiracy, a pilot who puts the phrase "it looks flat" into his mouth, the fact that the sun "looks close" when it is behind clouds, the residence of the CEO of NASA and the quote on his grave, graffiti in California and more.
As Mark Sargent, the hero of the film, said Behind the curve (on Netflix) and one of the leaders of the flat earth movement in the USA: "The advantage of the flat earth against science, and the reason we win, is that science just throws math at you. While we tell you: look! You can see Seattle from here."
One of the arguments I heard, which was heartbreaking, also came from a passage:
My father was an engineer in the aerospace industry and I used to ask him questions about gravity, 30 years ago when I didn't dare to doubt the ball. One day he stopped answering questions and was unwilling to talk about what he was working on. I guess he was instructed like that, and it turned out to stochists like me that there are secret brotherhoods that rule the world. They do not accept anyone who is willing to talk about them or who is not in a position where they can crush him at will. So the answer to how in your question [that is, how the conspiracy works - Dr.] is the exercise of mental terror, intimidation, consistent criticism.
Unlike the paradigm in conventional science, which can be in crisis, the stochastic paradigm seems immune to it. The constant state of swirling contradictory and anecdotal facts and the lack of trying to create an orderly, consistent and agreed upon theory creates an ephemeral structure that is not fragile, precisely because it is not rigid. The stochastic theory has no anomalies. When presented with difficulties (for example, the fact that the sun sets), the stochastics immediately pull out a host of contradictory and improbable solutions, and complain that these are beginner's questions that they are tired of answering.
Even in normal science, a scientific crisis does not start easily, and often a change of generations is necessary for it to take place, when the old generation clings to a familiar paradigm and is ready to accept the anomalies as things that will be explained in the future, while the new generation sees the anomalies as a real problem in theory. It is human and understandable that professionals would have difficulty admitting that a significant part of their work was wrong, and with stochists it is no different. Although they are not professionals and most of them do not make a living from their "research" (there are some who do, influencers of sorts like Sargent), but the theory provides them with meaning, respect and above all community. For example, Nathan says:
Some people are still afraid to speak up because they will be told they are crazy. I also tried to develop the topic at my job and received a flood of laughs and hints that I am crazy so that in a place of livelihood it is not pleasant to be thought of and it is better to keep quiet so that it doesn't reach your boss
Another strength of the stochastic paradigm is that the community does not operate like the scientific community, in the sense of peer review and discussions (in the aforementioned film there are examples of mutual suspicion and even internal conspiracy theories, but in the Israeli community I have seen no signs of this, except for the sporadic accusation of new people that they are trolls) . Stochistic inquiry is highly individual. Everyone has to research for themselves, and people ask each other for references or ways to "see for themselves" the facts. (An image that someone from the community uploaded of the sunset, which is supposed to prove some part of the theory, received responses that seek to understand how to exactly reproduce the image themselves).
This is how one of the commenters answered me when I asked him what his sources were:
Come learn an important rule for life, which always works - check it out. The more institutional/official/central your source of information is - the greater the amount of manipulation applied to you, respectively.
When there is no peer review and common thought, even if one person changes their mind, it will not move anything in the entire community, no matter what the reasons are. If you weren't convinced, it's because you didn't study enough and didn't go down enough rabbit holes. The fact that one person, or a million, are not convinced, and it doesn't matter who they are, is in no way indicative of a problem with the theory.
One of the advantages of a scientific paradigm is that it defines rules for what counts as proof and what counts as refutation, and it defines practices of testing, experimentation, and peer review. These are not self-evident mechanisms, as is evident from situations like this one where they are missing. They were developed and perfected over thousands of years by many people for whom this was their main occupation. The flat earth paradigm does not have all these mechanisms, and this does not allow knowledge to develop and progress, and ironically this is probably what keeps the theory alive.
In the absence of any control mechanisms, the paradigm can continue to operate as long as there is a large enough population to come up with speculative solutions to any difficulty that arises. Once this basic condition is met, there doesn't seem to be any outside influence, whether it's data or people, that can collapse the paradigm. On the other hand, there is no stopping any individual from abandoning the paradigm, and completely changing his mind about the people who believe in the flat earth, but only on the condition that he is willing to lose his place in the community.
The stupid person
It's hard to believe that stochastic inquiry is a marginal hobby. The more it leads to more radical insights about the world, the more it seems to reflect part of the character and self-concept of man.
As mentioned, the Tokhis investigation is trying to achieve order out of extreme confusion. Lots of different conspiracy theories are mixed together, and as many people say themselves, it is difficult to impossible to understand one, certainly not the flat earth (which is a theory for the advanced), without understanding and believing in many of them. The stochastic tries to create order out of a collection of tiny pieces of information that he has collected in the huge flow of information that comes to him, in which he gets lost. The investigation is a stubborn rebellion against the feeling of helplessness and powerlessness, which the stochist wants to shake off and prove his power over.
In my opinion, it is not by chance that this is the reality they created for themselves in the community - it is a reflection of how they felt in the world even before the community.
This sense of uncertainty creates antagonism and anger towards everyone else, those who supposedly "understand" and to whom the world seems to make sense (remember what Durr tells about his engineer father), and this allows stochists to easily dismiss entire populations, such as scientists, pilots, engineers and more, as stupid, innocent and/or liars. One of the rarest expressions in the community is "I don't know", and the biggest insult that a Tokhist can throw at someone is "innocent". Tamim is someone who is weak, whose thoughts are dictated by external forces. The Stoicist strives for independence and control. It is an individual-libertarian project: a complete lack of reliance on the institutions and people who, from the Stochist's point of view, blocked him, probably with malicious intent, access to knowledge and power.
The individualism of the stochastics expresses a rebellion against the institutions of society, and this is what repeatedly thwarts their investigation. They are tired of people telling them that they don't understand and they are not ready to accept facts that are dictated to them "from above". That's why they have to believe that one person who is not a professional can understand the entire theory by himself based on facts he saw with his own eyes - without a scientific community and without relying on others. Stochists understand that knowledge is power, but they don't have access to conventional knowledge, so they create unconventional knowledge, and draw their power from there.
The argument with the stochists is not only about facts and theories, it is also about respect. They are not interested in hearing a lecture from you that explains to them that they are wrong. They want to be heard and receive respectful treatment, and a factual reference to the difficulties they raise. If you ignored their point, it proves that they are right, and positions you as part of the establishment, or, as Michal told me: "You are being brainwashed so that you suppress the truth yourself." Trying to convince a single flatist that he is wrong is a Sisyphean endeavor with slim chances of success. Is it worth the effort? Or maybe the problem should be solved not through the stochastic paradigm but through the accepted paradigms, which more and more people feel the need to rebel against, be it flatists, climate deniers, or vaccine opponents?
Sargent, quoted above, likens himself in his youth to Truman, who discovers that the world he lives in is a TV show set, and exits it through a door in the "sky" which is actually a set. When asked why other people, for example scientists, don't get out of the fake world, he says that "when you are the mayor of the fake city, and you have money and respect, you have no interest in getting out." Personally he sympathized with Truman and did not feel he had anything to lose by leaving. Although for Truman, leaving means saying goodbye to everyone you knew and loved, your community and your home, and your identity. And it means something, that for Sargent all these things are not a motivation to stay: when you are angry and feel that you have been cheated and pushed aside, it is much easier for you to leave.
When you find the door in the sky, but your world gives you meaning, appreciation and community, like the community of stochists gives them, you think twice before you open the door.
More of the topic in Hayadan: