4 responses for flat-earthers; Facts over Fiction

in science •  6 months ago

So I'm having another fun flat earth debate, this time with the user @klevn on my video I re-posted the other day. There was an increasing amount to unpack so I thought I'd bring it to a full post rather than drowning out an old comments section and it might be enlightening either way. The debate can continue in these comments if need be.

Note, to those I am preaching to the crowd with here, feel free to keep the comments to a minimum level of condescension, and give some space for those who disagree to express their points!

1 - Why Doesn't the Earth's atmosphere get sucked out into the vacuum of space?

Nature abhors a vacuum. that is a saying. there is a reason for it, wherever there is a void, it will be filled.

I haven't heard of this saying, but it leads to the misnomer about a vacuum cleaner. When you associate a vacuum cleaner with a vacuum, you get this idea that vacuums create suction. But that's not how it works.

Here's the best way I can think to explain it.

If you look down on the round earth and cut out a square from the top of the atmosphere down to sea level, you get a big rectangular cube of air. The pressure of this air increases the closer to the surface you get? Why? Because the further down you go, the more 'weight' is piling on above it. The top 2 miles of air are essentially 'sitting' on the mile of air below it. The top 3 miles are sitting on the one below that and so on. By the time you get to the bottom of the earth, you have 62 miles of atmosphere piled on top of you, and this pushes or compresses the air to equal '1 atmosphere' of pressure.

The same can be found when you go into the oceans which is why the pressure at the bottom is so intense, barely any life can survive - most life tends to have air in them, and this gets crushed by the far more dense liquid around it. Some animals have special adaptations for this but even then there's a limit.

Public Domain

Ok, so if we understand this concept we can look at the vacuum. A vacuum doesn't actually produce a force whatsoever. No sucking, no blowing, pulling or pushing. It's just empty space (mostly). It's nothing. How can nothing have a force? This doesn't make much sense unless you create some mystery, magical force up that we haven't seen or understood.

What's actually happening is the air is the one producing the force, pushing itself into the vacuum to balance the pressure out, in the same way water at the bottom of the ocean crushes your soft human body to relieve the imbalance of pressure there. If you imagine you're in a glass box at the bottom of the ocean, the air inside the box isn't emitting some giant force outward into the water; the water is pushing onto the air. (Though, the air is producing a rather insignificant force).

The vacuum of space is like that glass box, just with a lot less air, and so even less effect. The air of earth is thus more powerful in this case and pushing into the vacuum.

So why isn't it going into space? Gravity. As I said above, the higher up you go, the thinner the atmosphere is. Gravity is a very weak force, the weakest of the four fundamentals in fact (it only takes a little magnet on a paperclip to completely overpower it), but its size is enough that it's pulling everything towards its core.

Since the top of our atmosphere is so thin, there is effectively no air pressure, just a few molecules of air bouncing around. Go even higher and there are even fewer molecules until, bam you're in air-less space. There is, at the top of the atmosphere, insufficient force to push the air outwards into space compared to the force of gravity.

[Public Domain](

2 - Gravity doesn't exist

as for gravity... there is no actual facts backing it up. only the watching of the skies and then cramming a theory that appears to fit the data. that is not the same as a scientific test. a scientific test controls the environment and performs an experiment under extremely controlled circumstances that require that 99% of the variables be known and we test the unknown. Yet gravity cannot be tested in this way. the 'force' of gravity is so weak to not be testable (if it exists at all).

What is fascinating to me is how little gravity is actually understood. Of the four fundamental forces, this is the only force without an opposite; gravity pulls, and only pulls. There's no push. There is a conflict between Relativity and Quantum mechanics and so on.

But this doesn't mean it doesn't exist. The word is simply acting as a placeholder name for a phenomenon that is happening. We understand how it works, we can physically observe it in all and every planetary and galactic motion in the Universe, every star and every black hole. The word describes the idea.

So to say there are no actual facts backing it up is absurd. When you look at a tree, you make a factual claim that it is a tree. Sure, it COULD be a secret weapon of mass destruction disguised for the last 70 years in your back garden, but for the most part, it's a tree, and that is a fact unless the entire world is pulling the wool over your eyes.

Likewise, when we look at moons going around Jupiter, binary stars twirling around each other, black holes gobbling up gas clouds, and apples falling from trees, we notice that they're all under the same fundamental force - whatever it 'is' in the end when we manage to fully describe it.

In context, we also don't fully understand either the Strong or Weak nuclear forces that are responsible for binding our atoms together and causes radioactive decay. Do we deny that atoms are being held together by a force too? Do we deny that radiatiton exists? No, because there are generations of scientists rigorously testing and understanding these processes.

The same applies to gravity. The search for knowledge is not, and may never be complete - but that's ok. We still fully understand how gravity works in the Universe and can predict it with incredibly accuracy precisely because we understand it.

It fully explains why small rocks in space are little more than loose piles of rock and rubble; very little gravity, but enough to keep them together, and it explains why the sun is so hot. So yes, gravity can and is tested all the time, and whatever it is at the end of the day, it exists - even if it turns out to just be a natural outcome, a result of other forces interacting in the universe, like how putting a bunch of parts together creates the outcome of a motherboard. It's still gravity.

3 - i'm not denying, i am out right proving that space makes no sense

What the user was doing was indeed denying. The problem I raised was that flat earthers don't actually do their own experiments to provide a counter argument. They just dismiss, deny the work that has been done. That whale is a mammal? No, it's a reptile you can tell by its skin.

'Where's your research?'
'This YouTube video proves it'

This might arise from our liberal use of the word 'research' these days. Often when we write a post or have a debate, we 'researrch', as in, Google something or YouTube it. This iisn't what research actually is in the world of academia. Research is:

the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.

National Eye Institute, CC2.0

So where most people will stop at finding sources and using them, real research investigates, studies and establishes new facts, building on the shoulders of giants, not picking up the debris left behind and wafting it around like it's worth something. Until flat-earth individuals do actual research, the argument that they 'prove' anything is a moot point.

4 - Astronaut Contradictions

So the argument here is that Apollo astronauts said when they were in space they couldn't see any stars, but when Mike Massimino (sp) went to the ISS, they could see them all the time. Why is that?

Well the devil is in the details. The video provided was a list of astronauts contrardicting each other - but the video takes clips of interviews entirerly out of context. And it doesn't do a very good job of it either.

Apollo astronauts explain that they cannot see stars on the day side of the moon, in this conspiracy video. This makes sense. With all that reflective light, your eyes adjust and can't see the little stars, in the same way you can't see much in front of you at night when a car's headlights are blinding your face.

What the video fails to mention is, say Al Worden from Apollo 15 , who stated:

there was a little space around the far side of the Moon where I was shadowed from both the Earth and the Sun and that was pretty amazing. I could see more stars than I could possibly imagine. It really makes you wonder about our place in the Universe and what we’re all about. When you see that many stars out there you realize that those are really suns and those suns could have planets around them and all that kind of stuff.

The sky is just awash with stars when you’re on the far side of the Moon, and you don’t have any sunlight to cut down on the lower intensity, dimmer stars. You see them all, and it’s all just a sheet of white

The next point of contention was that Massimino (sp) said that he could even see the stars in the day. But this is picking hairs at this point. One has to understand that the Space Station doesn't even have day time like we do on Earth. There's no blue skies, nor is there a 24 hour cycle. They are whipping aroundd the earth at high speeds and they get to see sunrise 16 times 'a day'.

So there may be a time during this cycle, for a few minutes, where the sun is directly facing them and washing out all the visibility of stars, but if so, this passes in literally minutes, and the sky may be 'awash with stars' once more. I imagine you will see a lot more stars during the 16 'night times' than the day times, but we can wait for space tourism to take off to see for ourselves what it's like.

Another YouTube video came along (because likeminded people on YouTube seems to be the only source of information for flat earth), which was 20 minutes - they're always stupidly long. So I didn't watch it.

But the summar was apparently:

The 4th man to walk on the moon (supposedly) ... he says they had air conditioners to keep them cool. yet the apollo 13 astronauts claimed they almost froze

I'm going to go out on a whim and say one was talking about the daytime and the other was night time. With no atmosphere, there is no heat retention. As soon as the sun is gone, it gets cold, and vice versa. This is why Mercury reaches -173C on its far side, and 427C on its near side.


There's more details about this simple situation based on a lie you can read more about here which involves insulation, the shared body heat, machinery and so on involved, but nobody was in danger of freezing, this has apparently been overstated.

So what now?

Well, What has just happened is that I addressed some points with knowledge, a little bit of googling for specific numbers. I put forth an argument with real facts in an attempt to answer some queries.

The response is likely to be quite different. It is not often that the response is to actually disprove with facts and data, but to show you YouTube videos carefully cut and edited to deliberately mislead you, then follow this up with questions meant to demean a point, denial and conclude with 'wake up sheeple' or a similar variant of opening one's mind.

But I don't need to open my mind to YouTube videos if I have an actual thorough understanding of the Universe around me, even if 'thorough' just means 'enough to not be constantly confused by everything'. I'm not believing in this stuff because it's what I have been told and taught. I believe it because I get it. I understand air pressure and it makes sense to me, it fits the experiences I have in my physical body when I go swimming or get on an airplane and my ears pop, or I start feeling dizzy when I hike up Annarpurna in Nepal because I got a little hypoxic. The experience matches the facts.

The only alternative is to accept there's an evil global government organisation working overtime to trick me into thinking air pressure is a thing when really it's just super fast centripetal forces as we whizz through space, and all those rotary motions of planets we can physically observe through our own telescopes are just tricks built into the telescopes from tthe government's evil manufacturing company that designs lenses to manipulate reality so that the same planets are circling around a star.

Evidence? Check out this YouTube video.

Actual References

Gravity Theory | The Problem with Gravity | Graviton Theory | What causes grarvity | The Strong Force | Astronauts seeing stars from space | Apollo accounts of stars on the moon - and photos | How Apollo 13 astronauts survived the cold | Mercury | Atmospheric Pressure | Vacuum

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Nice work @mobbs. It feels impossible to change the mind of a flat earther but its hard to argue with facts like this.


i did argue the facts, and we found that he gave up the debate, not because he was right, but because he couldn't defend it anymore. perhaps you could read it and find out that what you think are facts are a bit more slippery than you'd imagine.

all i'm looking for is things verified by independent sources outside our governmental entities.

and remember, globe earth theory predicts a curvature of the earth that can't be found anywhere by anyone other than those that claim to see ships going over the horizon (they don't, see video starting at 3:04 for examples of this)

we also have the Suez Canal that is 100 miles as the crows flies and is completely level (accounting for just a few inches of change between the two ends...) globe theory predicts an 80+ feet of drop or 640 feet of drop (it is very hard to find the curvature of the earth equation... quora but 80 feet is a minimum.)

this is what stars look like thru a p900 . . i really want to do this myself, but it appears many others are getting the same results.


Read through the debate. Sounds like mobbs got tired of arguing with someone who couldn't accept basic facts. Here's a tip: Grainy clickbait youtube videos aren't going to convince anyone that a worldwide conspiracy theory involving thousands of pilots, scientists, politicians, GPS engineers and whatnot really exists.


grainy clickbait? you mean source materials?


"Why Doesn't the Earth's atmosphere get sucked out into the vacuum of space?"

Why wouldn't the same happen to a flat earth? And is the moon (sun, Jupiter, youranus etc) flat too in the flat earth theory?


Huh I never thought of applying things from the logical point of the flat earther...

Apparently the earth is the only flat one, the rest are round. Not sure why

It's all a conspiracy by the evil government to hoodwink us into believing the earth is nothing but flat :)

...says a flat-earther.

The thing is that these guys are still stuck in their ways that there is no proving it to them that the beloved earth is nothing but flat.


I've not yet read about why the government would fool us. I think eventually they end up going into this idea that there's some secret underground thing in the hollow earth they're trying to hide from us? But I've ever heard the motive for the traditional flat earth belief...Just for a laugh maybe?


The government are evil set of people, so it becomes more apparent that they may try to do everything in their power, including making people believe the earth is roundish when all along it's flat.

Wow, it's hard being a flat earther :)

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Will those idiots ever crawl back under their collective rocks from where they spawned so intelligent people wouldn't have to waste their time repeatedly debunking them.


Eh, I enjoy it from time to time. I don't think we have to debunk. They'll never be more than an outlier group, to be honest, and they won't stop scientific progress so it's just a bit of fun


We ignore them at our own peril. Ask the librarians of Alexandria.

I enjoyed your points... Just like you, i like debate because you all learn from the opposing and proposing parties... No knowledge is a waste


Exactly, even if it serves as a refresher for things we already know - 'No knowledge is a waste' - great quote =)


Terry Pratchett had it right all along!

My respect that you haven't given up speaking with those guys. I usually just ignore them. Everything you say will be dismissed as meaningless anyway, while smoke grenades and completly illogic arguments are thrown at you as if they were the holy grail and you'd be the only person to stupid to see it.


Oh I know. But I know they think the same about us, too. So I like to break down that belief whenever. Besides, I enjoy the debate =)

The centre of gravity in a flat Earth system would be near the middle of the large plate. All of the water would pool around the centre of the plate forming a large spherical ball of water. All of the land would also feel titled at an angle because of the gravitational field which will be spherically symmetric.

Kind of like this image from my cube Earth post:



Lol you're obsessed! You should push it to your country's leader to do more research. But as I said, the idea is gravity doesn't exist so your ideas are bunk

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Hello @mobbs..

You really tried by taking your time to treat these contentious concerns one after another in a very clear and logically acceptable way! With fact citations, objectivity of your arguments and display of knowledge, I wonder who won't agree with this.....


@eurogee of @euronation and @steemstem communities


Anyone who doesn't want to agree, won't disagree! This is the way of the world now; Feelings over Fact =)

I honestly can't believe that this topic is discussed so much in 2018. What is even more disturbing is that flat earth supporters are gaining popularity and I think this is a great example of how living in the era of the strongest weapon we've known - the information, could harm, instead of help people.

This phenomenon is really interesting in psychological aspect :)


It's kind of a sign of good times though. People are free and living a life so privileged that they have all this free time to start questioning the things they take for granted. I mean it's horrible, but better than the days where people had to mix their horses blood with their horses milk just to survive on any given day... It's a stretch I know


I know, it's one of my biggest curiosities. We can't give access to information to anyone without giving education also. Creating functional illiterates is very dangerous for any community.


Functional illiteracy
Functional illiteracy is reading and writing skills that are inadequate "to manage daily living and employment tasks that require reading skills beyond a basic level". Functional illiteracy is contrasted with illiteracy in the strict sense, meaning the inability to read or write simple sentences in any language.
Foreigners who cannot read and write in the native language where they live may also be considered functionally illiterate.

we can physically observe it in all and every planetary and galactic motion in the Universe, every star and every black hole

Really? How you could phisically observe all that? As far as I know, you read lectures of gases, expectrum of light and things like that, you do not actually see any of this stuff, phisically talking (with your eyes), btw I could argue that "gravity force" is just a difference in density but ...

Of the four fundamental forces, this is the only force without an opposite

If you want to go against the 3rd law of Newton that say for any action will be a reaction with the same force maybe ...

Also I can ask about the artifcial horizont in planes, how ships navegate, or the point of view of the plane pilots, how limited our vision works, and some others thing ... honestly I do not care if the earth is flat, or round or a disc, it does not make any difference to my life actually but I preffer to believe in my senses and not in what someone with a paper who say he is scientist tell me I have to believe withou questioning ... looks a lot to religion in that way and I am not a religiuos man

Btw, sorry for may bad writted english

Pd: any time I see people loosing time with this kind of theme that does not bring anything to humanity, just division ... I have to intervine, sorry about that.


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So much to say but I will just bite my tongue....I think I have to flag this post cause I can’t believe you spent so much time and effort on this topic lol

You write well by the way as far as conveying information.


I'd appreciate a symbolic flag to keep me in line =)

And yeah it's just a bit of fun while learning what the other side thinks, ut'll be useful down the line, maybe