Saturday, January 21, 2017

Be Reasonable has returned with the flat Earth.

In the middle of the 1950s, the great 20th Century explorer Admiral Richard Byrd found something during his multi-decade explorations of Antartica that caused both the United States and The Soviet Union to abandon and then seal off the entire Southern continent.  Further, NASA was created to hide the new truth from people on the world.  What Byrd discovered was evidence that the Earth is flat, and we are living in a giant snow globe-type structure.  A few years after Byrd made his discovery, he died of mysterious causes for such a robust individual.  

The above is not something from a SciFi television program, but the gist of the beliefs of Mark Sergant as interviewed on Be Reasonable.  Be Reasonable hosted by Michael "Marsh" Marshall of the Good Thinking Society and Skeptics with a K has returned after a nine month hiatus.  The first guest is a proponent of the idea that the Earth is not a globe, but a flat land that is surrounded on the edges by the massive continent of Antartica.  

As Marshall's typical practice during a Be Reasonable interview, he generally has a hands off approach and allows the interviewee a generous amount of time to share their views.  Marshall does ask occasional questions, but not to trip up or confront the guest, but to tease out more of their views.

In this episode, Sergant shares the above noted view that in the 1950s science learned that the Earth was flat, and the governments of the world (or at least the major powers) determined to keep this from the public.  Therefore the public could be kept from learning that science was wrong, and if we live in a globe, then there must be a globe maker, and thus, a great intelligence.  Sergant contends that if people knew there was a "god," then the governments of the world could not motivate the people to kill each other in wars.  (I do not think this follows at all, but that is a discussion for a different day.) 

Sergant noted that he was skeptic of the flat Earth idea, and thought he could debunk it in a weekend.  He was surprised that he could not, and the answers to his simple questions were not forthcoming.  This is what I found frustrating during the interview is Sergant's contention is that science has no answers for any of his questions that reveal the true flat nature of the Earth.  Sergant rattled off a list of anomalies such as if the Earth is flat why can a telescope see ships at sea after it has gone out of view?  Why is moonlight allegedly cool and not warm like sunlight?  Why can't people see the curvature of the Earth from a tall structure.  Why are there so few pictures of the Earth from space, or any motion picture films from astronauts during spacewalks, etc. etc.  

A lot of these questions have been answered. (The cold moon light is a new one to me.)  I know I must read like a broken record, but Exposing PsuedoAstronomy has two episodes, 145 and 149, that deal with many of the issues raised by Sergant as well as other flat Earth "proofs."  This is just material I could think of off the top of my head.  One of the lines of evidence shared by Sargent was that we do not have any video of an astronaut leaving a spacecraft to go on an EVA with the Earth below them.  

Above is the first EVA by an American Astronaut Edward White II.  The first time this occurred in the U.S. space program, NASA thought enough to capture the exact event that Sergant claims does not exist on motion pictures.  It took me about thirty seconds of searching on YouTube to find it.  I know this is par for the course for a lot of more fringe or paranormal views, and this is just another example.  

I started the interview wondering if Sergant believes what he was espousing, and after listening to the episode, I will take him at his word that he does.  Sergant appears to be actually rather intelligent in a certain manner to maintain his world view.  Yes, Sergant shared near the end of the interview that he believes a lot of popular conspiracy theories, and most of them jive with his flat Earth beliefs. I found Sergant interesting, frustrating, and apparently provocative enough to cause me to author a blog post.  As was the case on previous episodes of Be Reasonable and even the old Righteous Indignation days, Marshall does a nice job interviewing people with view points that are often quite frustrating to hear. Sergant seemed to be a nice and, as I noted above, sincere enough guy.  Overall, it was entertaining and well done as long as one is aware what one's skeptical faculties are in for during the episode. The episode clocks in at a bit under an hour. 

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