Friday, December 8, 2017

Flat-Earth Politics

Flat-Earthers are real. They aren't (at least largely) just trolls "having you on." They aren't--at the core of them--celebrities who got hoodwinked by the Internet. Flat-Earthers are, it may (or may not) surprise you to know, increasing in volume and popularity.

Flat-Earthers are not crazy. They're also not stupid.

How can The Omnivore say this? Well, by being, you know, right about it: Flat-Earthers come from multiple walks of life and, by and large, hold regular jobs and relationships. About 15% identify as "scientists."

This is not to say that they are "okay." Flat-Earthers are people caught in the grip of a delusion so firmly rooted in non-logical foundations that they are psychologically captured by it. They are unable to use reasoning or argumentation to break out of it. Every piece of evidence against them is a conspiracy. Every piece of evidence "in their favor" is absolute truth (what evidence you ask? An astronaut describing a space-station briefly as a 'big airplane' becomes a SLIP-THAT-ADMITS-THE-TRUTH).

These are people who, for whatever reason (problems with authority, need to feel special, etc.) have wandered into a blind alley of emotionally-driven reasoning and have become trapped. While the necessary "suffering" element for actual insanity may not be present for them (which is why they are not crazy in what we would call the technical sense) they are severely socially limited by this belief (there is only so far you can go in society being a Flat-Earther).

The fact that this condition exists at all should scare you. Being a Flat-Earther is, effectively, a "drug" that you, if you are pre-disposed to it, get exposed to--and then addicted to. Withdrawal from conspiracy-theory is agonizing. Even worse: you are certain that you are not susceptible to it--after all, statistically, if you are reading this, you are not a flat-earther.

So you're kinda smug.

But: there are other similar memetic "drugs" out there--and their prevalence and social relevance is growing--rapidly. In fact, chances are: you know someone who is addicted to one.

Now The Omnivore Gonna Insult Some People

You voted for Trump--and, hey--shocker, you're not a racist. Right?

(If you didn't know The Omnivore was going here you haven't been paying attention)

Here is an exercise you won't do--but you should--if you are going to heap scorn or disregard The Omnivore for (maybe? probably? at least somewhat) calling you racist, you may want to at least try an experiment.

You'll learn something. Which is why you won't do it.

Here is the test: Go find a flat earther and talk them out of it.

This should be easy, right? Offer to have a discussion. Open a chat channel (or use the form) and then have-at-it. You have facts. You've got science. This should be easy. Right?

Oh--and one other thing: yes, yes, you know that you won't actually talk them out of it. The Omnivore knows it too. That's not the point of the exercise.

No--your learning here is for you to throw your best arguments at them and watch them have no answer to them. How can they? The earth--it is not flat.

That's where you're gonna get schooled.

They do have an answer--for everything you've got. They don't just "stone-wall you." They answer back. You have questions, they have answers. Even worse: they're pretty good answers if you are (a) willing to listen and (b) not well schooled in the flat-earth mythology / the right kind of scientist.

Worse: they're gonna ask you some questions you can't answer (again, unless you really know your stuff--but chances are, percentage wise, reading this, you do not).

In other words: you're gonna get schooled.

Now: you won't (The Omnivore hopes) be convinced--the evidence that the world is round(ish) is, absent a huge, super-weird conspiracy theory, not just overwhelming but whatever comes after overwhelming. Absolute?

But you'll discover that the, ahem, circular-logic of the flat-earther is pretty damn tight.

Your education in doing this will come painfully when you realize that their "basis" for their belief--that is, once you ignore everything the government and science says because they are biased--is, well, after that . . . the horizon looks pretty flat, doesn't it?

Psychological Capture

Here is a conversation, paraphrased, that The Omnivore had with a 9/11 Truther and Trump-Supporter. It is accurate (to the point where the guy will be more or less forced to agree this is what happened--The Omnivore has receipts).

Omnivore: I ask the experts about 9/11. They say it was airplanes.

Truther: Here is an ENGINEER on YouTube talking about the "dustification" of the buildings (the buildings turning to dust in a way that airplanes would not cause). "She is an ENGINEER. So, see? An expert!"

Omnivore: :: watches specific part of video Truther links to ::

Omnivore: :: notices something is 'off'' about the conference the ENGINEER is speaking at. ::

Omnivore: :: Googles ::

Omnivore: "Your ENGINEER believes the buildings were destroyed by orbital energy weapons."

Truther: "What??"

Truther: :: looks ::

Truther: "I don't hold with that. But look at her video--clear dustification."

Omnivore: :: Googles for the specific part of collapse in her video ::

Omnivore: "Here is another angle of the same part of the collapse. It's clearly just falling down."

Truther: "Nope. Don't see it. Dustification. From, uhm, bombs or something--NOT space-based weaponry."

Let's pay very close attention to the way the argument evolves here:

  1. Presents the ENGINEER as a counter-expert.
  2. When the ENGINEER turns out to be too crazy for him, he falls back on the specific video.
  3. When the video, shown from another angle, doesn't prove what he says it proves, he just doesn't see it. But in his first video, oh-boy-does he see it.
Remember: the ENGINEER was, originally, presented as an EXPERT to counter what The Omnivore was saying. By the time we are finished, we are done with EXPERTS--and are on to super-amateur video analysis of 9/11 shaky-cam.

This is how logical capture works: Once you have established a TRUTH (9/11 was not done by airplanes) then everything else has to wrap around that truth--or else, it is part of the lie.

Flat-Earth Politics & Trump

Now we get to Trump.

To be on Team Trump you need a few specific Truths depending on which version you conform to. For example:
  1. The media is SO BIASED against Trump that his negative ratings are (if not the result of fake polling) generated by media lies by lying/super-biased reporters. PROOF of this is in the tons and tons of stories they get wrong! This is a 4th-Estate assault on the Executive!
  2. The allegations against Roy Moore are a clever mix of truth (he didn't do anything illegal or even really bad) and lies (for the 14 year old or the girl he beat up in the parking lot trying to put the moves on her). If you listen to Roy Moore's spokeswoman this is probably a team-up of the homosexuals, the GOP Establishment, and the Democrats.
These--among many, many other examples--are two clear pieces of flat-earth politics. How do you have a discussion with people who have conformed their vision of reality around a Truth to produce the above results?

The answer is: you can't.

The Media Is SO Biased

In this formulation there are plenty--plenty--of journalistic mistakes to help support the theory. This is absolutely true. It is also true that the reporters are biased--they are, largely, Democrats. They do, largely, dislike Trump. So what's the problem here?

Well the problem here is that the idea that Trump's problems--whatever they are--are the result of Media-Lies instead of the result of his own bumbling is the discussion that should be had. It can't be--because if the Trump-Supporter has to talk about Trump's own mistakes and their likely effects on his popularity or effectiveness, the conversation stops there.

The King, chosen by God, cannot be bad--so it has to be others that are making him bad/ineffective/etc. (This was Medieval Truth, by the way. Seeing it play out here with the non-ironic Jesus holding Trump's hands as he signs orders should be pinging your irony meters).

So how would you know? Well, it's easy--The Omnivore already did it: Go through all the 'fake-news' stories from major outlets and see what they said vs. what turned out to be true vs. what happened.

Compare this to the number of accurate stories published about Trump in the same time period. You will discover that the real news is hugely correct. That the fake-news-lies are often not even about Trump--and that when the media gets something really wrong, there are often consequences.

This is not the discussion the Trump-supporter wants to have so, of course, you'll have hysterical discussions about specifics.

Aside: The Omnivore was told "I've NEVER SEEN it so bad before." The speaker was wrong--she had. She just didn't realize it. In the aftermath of a disaster, take Sandy Hook, you do see tons of bad reporting as everyone struggles to get stories out first.

The fact that Trump's administration is, from the perspective of trying to write about it, a rolling disaster should be inarguable:

  1. Even the Trumper would have to agree that "palace intrigue" is at an all-time-high with the admin. This makes the media's job harder.
  2. Even the Trumper would have to agree that there have been more-leaks from the government (both the White House and other branches) than ever before. This makes the media's job harder.
  3. The Trumper would certainly agree that Trump ran as a disruptor--and is, in fact, disrupting. He makes decisions that are often surprising--if not shocking--to his staff (removal of Transgendered troops from military service, for example) and he often tweets what sounds like policy.
  4. Even the Triumper would have to agree that the Trump / GOP administration constantly makes fumbles and has to re-group (hiring and firing Flynn, firing Comey and telling different stories, failing to repeal Obamacare in several high-profile dramatic showdowns, etc.)
Even if everything he was doing was good--and working--and it is not--the conditions for solid reporting simply do not exist here. You don't need bad-actor bias to explain Trump's bad press and media screw-ups. In fact, if the media was doing what the Trumper believes they are (either making up stories or just doing things so badly that they will publish anything to "get him") the ratio or solid stories to fake ones would be far worse.

The Lies About Roy Moore

The Omnivore has an uncle who lives in Alabama and is voting for Roy Moore. He believes he has carefully examined the evidence and managed to--surprisingly--discount the stuff that he thinks would be a deal-breaker. The remaining evidence is true--but not quite bad enough to have him vote for the Democrat.

Amazing how that works?

When told he was buying into a conspiracy theory, of course he balked. The Omnivore just "wanted to call him a conspiracy theorist." Well, yeah. The Omnivore points to the tweet above: Moore's on spokeswoman is claiming an allegiance of the homos and the GOP Establishment to block Moore. Right?

Like the 9/11 Truther whose ENGINEER turned out to be an orbital-laser nut-case, The Omni-Uncle will simply discount his preferred candidate's own, damning, spin--in favor of small scraps of analysis (never mind the tons of people saying Moore was banned from a mall) that support his case.

The Truth These Hide
In the case of flat-earth people there isn't logic behind their absurd belief in the great earth-sphere. There's an emotional need and argumentation. The emotional-need is the glue. The argumentation takes the place of actual logic.

In the case of Trump-support, what is it? It's the need to "win" the Culture War. Being a culture-warrior at the expense of your country is painful. Being a culture warrior on the same side as the literal Nazis is awful--especially when you realize that, at the bottom of things, you and they are fighting for a lot of the same culture. So you dress it up as economics.

You dress it up as media lies. If the media was telling the truth, after all, you'd be voting for some pretty evil stuff along with your corporate-rate tax-cut and repeal of the estate tax that you really, really wanted.

In the case of Roy Moore, it's even clearer. Moore the "anti-liberal." Specifically, The Omnivore thinks, anti-gay marriage. The Omni-Uncle told The Omnivore he would vote for "a gay Republican." The Omnivore, sorry, calls bullshit--Omni-Uncle's definition of a "gay Republican" is probably less likely to appear in politics than a unicorn.

No--Omni-Uncle is going to vote for someone who feels a kinship with Putin:
And thinks the last time America was great was when we had slavery--and will go on believing he's a Reagan Republican (check the original Republican charter for added irony) and that these reports are, well, they're like those "round Earth pictures." They're out of context. Don't tell the whole story--or they're unimportant.

Arguing that Moore obviously believes and said those things? Well, that's what earned him his vote.

You just can't go and say that.


  1. It's sad that you don't
    recognize your bias. You are always a Obama/Democrat apologist and it does get pointed out to you but you refuse to see it.

    1. It's almost like you could make a counter-argument . . . and then never do.

      -The Omnivore

    2. I could easily. All anyone has to do is look at your Twitter conversations. Rob nails you constantly. You are what you accuse others of. I'm still amazed you don't see it. I mean that sincerely. You're a good guy but so blind to your bias.

    3. No--the opposite: Rob makes false analogies. I call him out. He backs off. Try an experiment for yourself: outline one of our discussions in your own words and see what the result is.

  2. To be human is to be biased; it's unavoidable. Those who insist on their absolute objectivity are not merely biased, but delusional as well. Ommie's got your number: "you could do this experiment... but you won't." (paraphrasing).

    -- Ω

  3. I am the "9/11 Truther and Trump-supporter." Omni's recreation of our conversation is generally accurate. Omni's follow up talking points are retarded.

    I did not present anyone as an expert. I don't care if she was a literal flat-earther--this wouldn't take anything away from the validity of her fact-based presentation. I didn't cite her for her expertise in anything, I cited the video merely for the raw data presented therein. Omnidouche apparently doesn't even understand the basic difference between citing evidence versus an appeal to authority.

    I presented a piece of video from a long presentation, which to my eye, clearly shows "dustification." Omni said it does not unambiguously show dustification. I disagree. Whatever. Omni showed a shittier quality video wherein scarcely any dustification can be seen. Big deal.

    I finally conceded that, okay, since Omnidouche insists he cannot see dustification, I guess my video is not *unambiguous* as I suggested. Then I said, but if he watches the rest of the video, he will nevertheless be convinced the official story is impossible. Not because of her *expertise* or any *argument* the presenter makes, but because of the *evidence* she presents.

    I'm not gonna recite said evidence here, because Omnidouche is so retarded such that he apparently believes this woman's raw data is somehow magically invalid because she allegedly believes in orbital lasers.

    Omnidouche must apparently also think calculus is erroneous because Isaac Newton believed in Biblical prophecy...

    Rest assured though, if Omnidouche actually watches the entire presentation as I have urged him to do many times, he will be singing a different tune. He won't though. Because he is the Omnidouche and apparently will not view a *purely evidence-based* presentation if he prejudges the presenter to have an erroneous belief. Here is the video if anyone is interested:

    1. Actually, your paraphrasing of our conversation isn't that accurate at all. I see now that you emphasized me calling her an ENGINEER. I did no such thing. Not in the slightest. I called your attention to a few seconds of video. I didn't even reference the woman or anything she said.

      But I just went on and on about that above... You get the point.

      Really shoddy work here. And why are you saying flat-earthers "are severely socially limited by this belief." You are making this shit up out of thin air. Now, I don't doubt that many flat-earthers are socially limited, but the causation would surely go the other way--their hyper-introvertedness or autistic tendencies probably help lead them to flat earh and also caused their limited social life. But being a flat earther itself wouldn't severely limit one's social life; any socially adept flat-earther would not go around announcing their FE belief freely.

      Nor are FEers caught in the "grip of a delusion so firmly rooted in non-logical foundations." They make many perfectly logical arguments, if albeit, their knowledge and understanding of certain scientific and counter-intuitive concepts is limited. And you know damn well their "evidence" goes far beyond a mere astronaut slip of the tongue.

      And what was that jab up there about racism? Trump supporters are racist? Is that what you were saying? The writing was so tortured I'm not even sure if that is what you were trying to say. If it is what you were trying to say...fucking pathetic and disgusting.

      You grossly misconstrued the content of our conversation, unnecessarily and erroneously shat on FE'ers, and called all Trump supporters racist without evidence (how original). And delivered with a heap of smug self-satisfaction.

      Be right before you get smug. Try harder.