# Need help understanding what an alleged physicist is saying about Flat Earth

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Hi. I've been in discussion with somebody and he claims to be a physicist/mathematician. I've asked him if he believes in a Flat or Sphere Earth (i don't btw).. and I honestly do not understand his answer (and it is leading me to suspect that he is lying about his career).

This is what he says:

Quote

Right. This is why knowledge always peaks - simply because the truth (or even an idea that is contrary to status quo) is too much to handle. And, even if it is manageable our collective short-sightedness and minute attention span won't allow for the possibilities of it to be anyway.

By the way, I did answer you straight; I told you exactly what I thought the shape of this plane of existence was - a manifold covered by an octahedral geodesic thermodynamically "hard" dome made of electromagnetic energy and light matter. Terra firma is not flat; it is a manifold.

The "Flat earth" discussion is an exercise in myopia: mathematically, "flat, sphere, ball" and such have specific meanings - it isn't just water-cooler nomenclature for the purposes of pointing at those who don't agree.

I respond that I don't know what he means and if he can just answer with a yes or no, he replies:

Quote

Right. This is why knowledge always peaks - simply because the truth (or even an idea that is contrary to status quo) is too much to handle. And, even if it is manageable our collective short-sightedness and minute attention span won't allow for the possibilities of it to be anyway.

By the way, I did answer you straight; I told you exactly what I thought the shape of this plane of existence was - a manifold covered by an octahedral geodesic thermodynamically "hard" dome made of electromagnetic energy and light matter. Terra firma is not flat; it is a manifold.

The "Flat earth" discussion is an exercise in myopia: mathematically, "flat, sphere, ball" and such have specific meanings - it isn't just water-cooler nomenclature for the purposes of pointing at those who don't agree.

So i give up having to ask for a clarification and instead  ask for an academic source/citation of some kind because I'll understand it if I see the source of his claim. He then scolds me that asking for a citation shows I can't comprehend what he saying.

I'm suspecting he is lying about his profession but before calling him out any further, I think consulting a science/physics forum would be a better thing to do first.

Edited by Phi for All
swapped "an alleged" for "a claimed" to avoid confusion

Was he drinking?

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6 minutes ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

Was he drinking?

I don't know. Do you think this is nonsense?

Edited by cisjd.del

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5 minutes ago, cisjd.del said:

I don't know. Do you think this is nonsense?

I do.

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I never trust anyone who DEMANDS I trust them by refusing to provide a citation. Regardless of whether or not he knows what he is talking about, when someone speaks to me that way my first thought is "pompous ass".

There is nothing wrong with not understanding what he is saying. It is either because it is beyond your current understanding (EVERYONE has things beyond their current understanding), or because what he is saying makes no sense. Scolding you for trying to get to the heart of the matter makes him untrustworthy and a pompous ass.

I also can't comprehend what he is saying. I suspect he is throwing together lots of concepts in an attempt to appear superior.

All my opinion of course.

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8 hours ago, cisjd.del said:

I respond that I don't know what he means

Because that is meaningless “word salad”. I would be very sceptical about claims this person is a physicist or mathematician.

Edited by Strange
Spelling

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I ask flat earthers what part of the Keplerian Elements (orbital parameters) they don't understand.

When they respond with "huh?", I have my answer.

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As a professional  physicist I can accurately state that individual isn't.

This statement is garbage. The quoted section below contains nothing that complies with mainstream physics.

By the way, I did answer you straight; I told you exactly what I thought the shape of this plane of existence was - a manifold covered by an octahedral geodesic thermodynamically "hard" dome made of electromagnetic energy and light matter. Terra firma is not flat; it is a manifold

Edited by Mordred

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Thanks for the replies.

It's really sad.. I was smelling something was wrong, but just to make sure.. i'm not a Physicist by profession, but I never heard of any claimed academician being that weird with his replies with his flat earth stance and much more not citing sources. This is a normal thing anybody would do try to back up what they say.

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Any physicist would readily back up any personal claim with either research papers or the applicable mathematics.

I would love to see how you can possibly get an octahedral geodesics equation roflmao.

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5 hours ago, cisjd.del said:

The "Flat earth" discussion

There is no discussion about this in the scientific world; we know what the shape of this planet is, because we have to take it into account in countless everyday and not-so-everyday applications. There is only FE adherents talking at (not with) everyone else - they like to cultivate an air of there being some kind of serious debate about this, as if Flat Earth was a viable concept that needs to be confirmed / ruled out. But of course it isn’t, and it doesn’t; this debate was settled centuries ago. FE is not a concept that can work, unless of course you reject pretty much all of known physics; of course there will always be people who are prepared to do just that.

I wonder what will happen once private commercial space travel becomes a thing, and anyone with the necessary cash will be able to travel into orbit purely for touristic purposes, and see for themselves? What spin will the FE community put on this, I wonder? It sounds like sci-fi right now, but I think we are only a few decades away from the beginnings of that.

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I agree it's nonsense. While there are some physicists who just don't seem to be able to engage on simpler levels, there's no real reason why one can't have a discussion of this subject using basic Newtonian physics, and first-order approximations, in which case, a non-rotating planet is a sphere and there's no need to invoke any of the word salad to try and masquerade the nonsense.

There might very well be a few physicists out there who believe in a flat earth, just like there have been some who reject relativity or quantum physics. Not everybody is good at what they do.

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7 hours ago, Markus Hanke said:

Minor nit to pick. It’s sometimes discussed in the domain of psychology and/or sociology

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11 minutes ago, iNow said:

Minor nit to pick. It’s sometimes discussed in the domain of psychology and/or sociology

Mostly bc this is first time in history anyone seems to have thought this, I’d immagine.

Sir Terry Pratchett has allot to answer too.

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3 hours ago, swansont said:

There might very well be a few physicists out there who believe in a flat earth, just like there have been some who reject relativity or quantum physics. Not everybody is good at what they do.

How is this possible though. I'm not a physicist by any means, but doesn't the diameter or the shape of the earth in general factor in specific equations?

BTW, I'm glad i went to this forum because I was suspecting this guy to be lying just based on how he was answering.

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40 minutes ago, cisjd.del said:

How is this possible though. I'm not a physicist by any means, but doesn't the diameter or the shape of the earth in general factor in specific equations?

That's a tough question to answer. It isn't always obvious how a misconception gets affixed in someone's mind. But this is such fundamental physics, and we have the obvious word salad, which is what leads me (and others) to conclude that this is not a physicist.

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52 minutes ago, cisjd.del said:

How is this possible though

Why do clever people, holding down responsible jobs, hand over their credit card/bank details when someone rings them up as says I'm from Amazon, even when they haven't got an Amazon account?

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59 minutes ago, cisjd.del said:

How is this possible though. I'm not a physicist by any means, but doesn't the diameter or the shape of the earth in general factor in specific equations?

BTW, I'm glad i went to this forum because I was suspecting this guy to be lying just based on how he was answering.

Yes it involves the most efficient arrangement due to gravitational force.

For example take some irregular planetoid of low mass. If it's mass increases. That planetoid will gradually become more spherical.

Recall the formula for gravitational force and then think of the implications of a centre of mass.

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56 minutes ago, swansont said:

That's a tough question to answer. It isn't always obvious how a misconception gets affixed in someone's mind. But this is such fundamental physics, and we have the obvious word salad, which is what leads me (and others) to conclude that this is not a physicist.

Wow. I don't understand how they can get even a Bachelors Degree with such views. I can assume even the most basic equations in dealing with things in our earth involves it's shape. If they have the shape of the earth wrong how can most of their equations be correct?

People who believe in flat earth usually do so because of

a) misconception based on observance

b) conspiracy theorists (they just don't believe anything the government tells them)

Even Physicists' who are religious don't deny a sphere earth because regardless of these 2 factors, these math equations should be absolute evidence.

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There are biologists out there who believe in creationism. Probably geologists, too, who think there was a worldwide flood.

I think perhaps you can answer the exam questions by knowing the answer "they" want without actually believing it, or perhaps not understanding the ramifications, and still get a passing grade — and with it, a diploma.

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18 hours ago, cisjd.del said:

Hi. I've been in discussion with somebody and he claims to be a physicist/mathematician.

!

Moderator Note

I hope you don't mind me changing your title. "... a claimed physicist..." looks and sounds too much like "acclaimed physicist", which is not your intent, I'm sure. I'm substituting "an alleged" for "a claimed", but if you object I can change it back.

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1 hour ago, swansont said:

There are biologists out there who believe in creationism. Probably geologists, too, who think there was a worldwide flood.

I think perhaps you can answer the exam questions by knowing the answer "they" want without actually believing it, or perhaps not understanding the ramifications, and still get a passing grade — and with it, a diploma.

There are mathematicians out there too of similar caliber. Which ought be more astounding, given the fact that in the experimental sciences like biology and physics, maybe chemistry to a lesser degree, the student is usually told second-hand about experiences. Whereas in mathematics, all the student has to do is make a look-up in a book to see that the crackpot is not telling the true story.

The question is how as a student you will get equipped to answer the questions convincingly if you both know the actual answers, and you also know the different answers that they will want.

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Well in this case a high school physics formula can explain stars and planets are spherical.

$F=\frac{GM_1m_2}{r^2}$

Take a 3d graph set the central potential force of attraction at coordinate 0,0,0. Draw vector lines at every angle toward that coordinate.

Then visualize a cloud of dust, they will all move to 0,0,0. The obvious resulting shape will be spherical.

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10 hours ago, swansont said:

There are biologists out there who believe in creationism. Probably geologists, too, who think there was a worldwide flood.

I think perhaps you can answer the exam questions by knowing the answer "they" want without actually believing it, or perhaps not understanding the ramifications, and still get a passing grade — and with it, a diploma.

I am aware of that. I guess I can understand when it comes to a Biologist and Geologist.. but with a Physicist, it seems like a majority of their job is affected  by the belief of a sphere earth.

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8 hours ago, Mordred said:

Well in this case a high school physics formula can explain stars and planets are spherical.

F=GM1m2r2

Take a 3d graph set the central potential force of attraction at coordinate 0,0,0. Draw vector lines at every angle toward that coordinate.

Then visualize a cloud of dust, they will all move to 0,0,0. The obvious resulting shape will be spherical.

Not even to mention that you’d be standing at an angle to the surface of a disk-shaped Earth, unless you are right at its center! I’d be a funny world.

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