Find Common Ground OR Call Out Woo Science?

Would you try to find commonality with Flat Earthers and Holocaust deniers? Sometimes woo science needs to be called out for the woo science it is. Science isn’t a democracy and all scientific claims aren’t equal or deserving of equal time.

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If I knowingly and willingly participated in a site where flat earthers and holocaust deniers also participated, then yes, I would. Not that that has anything to do with this conversation. That comment shows a great deal of unwillingness to converse with others; again, this is the exact reason why this site was created.

It’s much more effective if it is called out inline, as done here. See, before I responded, you actually spoke. That’s how conversation works. People dialog.

Well, then, you just made yourself the science dictator. Maybe it is a democracy in terms of what conversations we’d like to participate in. Not only did the founder of the site try to broker this conversation, he wrote about desiring to broker the conversation. It was so that the claims in question could be sorted out through dialog. That, again, is the purpose of this site. So, if you, or anyone else feels that in order to make a point, you must be rude or disrespectful, you should consider not making your post. It is terribly unbecoming to converse in that manner.

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@Timothy_Horton this is a false dichotomy. One does not have to choose. I would:

  1. Find common ground with Flat Earthers and Holocaust deniers.
  2. Call out the woo science for what it is (and the psuedohistory of holocaust denying too).

One does not need to choose between these things. Our goal is to do both. You are absolutely right that science is not democracy and that all scientific claims are not equal or deserving of equal time.

I encourage you to remember how a Woman Leaves the Westboro Baptist Church.

In the it is not enough to be right. We also have to be trusted. Trust grows with common ground. I’m not interested in grandstanding against bad science here. Instead, we want to be trustworthy and trusted voices, that build common ground with those with whom we disagree. We can be honest about what science does and does not say and also be tolerant of people at the same time.

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I could talk to a Flat Earther, it might be hard to find agreement, but there is no real harm in trying.

A holocaust denier … maybe not … only if there were some indication they could be talked out of it peacefully.

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Remember how a Woman Leaves the Westboro Baptist Church.

Ironically, many people in these types of groups see such criticisms as proof they are right. If they are attacked then they must be right. It also allows them to switch the conversation from facts to how badly they are persecuted.

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It’s another Vicious Cycle.

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The purpose isn’t to find common ground intellectually but as a society.
It does come down to truth. So you debate a flat earth and should win so easily before any audience that its a example you use of something unreasonable.
likewise with a holocaust denier. jUst bring the evidencve to what happened which should be easy.
These are cases where the evidence is persuasive to all. Possibly the holocaust is exaggerated in numbers but maybe its not or its more. Those are times in backward nations where stats are not trustworthy. Yet the evidence is clear that it was hugh and so rightly called a holocaust as also WWii.
IN origin issues, by definition of past and gone processes and events, it could only be that getting lots of evidence is difficult.
In fact I think biological/geological origins is more intellectually demanding then physics or technology etc.
They would say its physics or when its figured out completely
Then you have the issue that a claim of a creator and a claim he made a book dealing with origins.
This can’t be ignored.

I have never met a holocaust denier, but I have talked to a lot of flat earthers. I used to spent my time procrastinating at a flat-earth Discord server.

Surprisingly I found that a significant portion of flat earthers are logically coherent and know more physics than the average people. A lot of the times, their arguments come from the fact that they know enough physics to ask thought provoking questions regarding the shape of the Earth, but not enough to properly answer them. This is more knowledge than the average people who usually just believes what textbooks told them.

I agree with this sentiment:

I found that the best way to disabuse flat earthers of flat-eartherism is by appealing to the part of knowledge that we share (common ground) and showing them that it then follows that their conclusion is faulty (calling out woo science).

I don’t think it is possible to “call out the woo science” without engaging them in the common ground.

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Have you ever tried debating them @Robert_Byers? It is much like debating a YEC polemicist. Very hard to make progress when others are committed to not understanding they are wrong.

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No. Yet they must care about a audience they wish to persuade. They know they are less then a minority(thats not easy). That guy doesn’t matter. iTs the audience that matters.
People were first persuaded to christianity, from roman paganism, then to protestant (for a good percentage0 and that into numerous sects. People are persuaded.As a biblical creationist i’m confident , in my time, evolutionism will die as a mechanism for biological change. Yet they will not agree with genesis.
Something else will come.

That is true. I do really well with YEC audiences. Did you know this?

Then why are there still Flat Earthers and still Holocaust deniers? Surely they have seen such debates and been faced with the evidence.

Let me answer this question for the case of Flat-Earthers. It is because the typical debaters from the Round-Earth side are underprepared. They come in thinking that it is going to be an easy win and did not research arguments/counter-arguments from the other side. On the other hand, the Flat-Earthers did exactly that.

Look at this recent debate between three physics graduate students and a panel of Flat-Earthers at a Flat-Earth conference.

I commend these students for their willingness to do agree to this debate, but with all due respect they are extremely under prepared.

The typical Round-Earth advocates are even worst. Most barely have any physics knowledge, and predictably their arguments boil down to Flat-Earth is wrong because so-and-so scientist/textbook said so.

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I’m very sympathetic to ID and YECs on this point. It is not reasonable to answer skepticism with an appeal to authority. We have to do better. Engaging with out a solid basis in the science and an ability to communicate it can do much more harm than good.

We have pictures of a round Earth. All flat earthers are aware of this. Their response is to pretend there is a conspiracy. Where do you go from there, when any evidence you present is thought to be a conspiracy?

Photos are always hand-waved away as being Photoshopped. Here’s a few sure fire ways to shut up the flat Earth woo-mongers:

  1. Ask them how GPS works in the middle of the ocean thousands of miles away from the nearest land. The usual hand-wave answer when asking about GPS is “the signals come from cell towers” but there are no cell towers in the middle of the Atlantic.

  2. Ask them how geostationary communication satellites (like the kind used by Dish TV) manage to stay over one spot on the Earth without plunging straight to the ground. The usual non-answer is denial “there are no such thing as satellites!”.

  3. Ask them why virtually all satellite launches are done in a west-to-east direction. The answer is because the Earth’s rotation gives the rockets an additional 1000MPH boost towards achieving orbital velocity. But I still get the usual “there are no such thing as satellites”.

  4. Ask the what causes the empirically observed Coriolis Effect on a flat Earth. The only answer is denial “there is no such thing as the Coriolis Effect!”.

Of course there is no reasoning with Flat-Earthers who have already checked their minds at the door. :slightly_smiling_face:

I mentioned this on the other thread on Flat-Earth: A Flat Earther Tried Convincing Her School Board to Teach the Controversy

Their main problem is not with science per say but with authority. They found inadmissible proof relying on authority, but it does not mean that there is no scientific common ground between them and mainstream science (most of them, for example, believes in electromagnetism). This common ground should be the launching pad for arguments that disproves the Flat-Earth, not evidence like pictures from space which inherently have argument to authority baked into it.

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As you answered yourself in your post, there are wiggle room against these arguments, even if they sound silly to us. In debating a Flat-Earther, it is important to be able to answer their “there are no such things as satellites” or “there are cell towers in the middle of the Atlantic” arguments.

Also, in a debate against them often we don’t have the initiative. It is well and good if you can start the debate by listing your arguments that the Flat-Earthers have to respond to, but a lot of the times they will start with their arguments and we are the ones who have to respond.

In such a debate - especially if it’s done orally, it is important to be well informed of their arguments to be able to answer them succinctly, clearly, and within the time limits. This is very hard to do cold, which is what I see most people do when they try debating Flat Earthers.

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Any discussion of electromagnetism will also have the same authority baked into it. Perhaps it would be worth pointing out the hypocrisy of their position.

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