Flat earthism: The GOAT Psy-op?

Discussion in 'The Pavilion' started by Man Against Time, Jul 9, 2017.

  1. Limelight Forum Veteran

    Member Since:
    Aug 23, 2013
    Message Count:
    791
    Location:
    Down the Bayou
    Reputation:
    10,920,072
    Ratings Received:
    +945 / 6 / -59
    The question shouldn't be if the Earth is round, the question should be why aren't we deporting muslims to the moon?
  2. Mandalore in recovery from sobriety

    Member Since:
    Apr 20, 2010
    Message Count:
    3,159
    Reputation:
    91,640,031
    Ratings Received:
    +5,454 / 38 / -88
    I still choose to believe that nobody around this place is truly stupid enough to believe in a flat earth. Even the ancients knew better than that.
  3. Bluto Drunken lout

    Member Since:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Message Count:
    13,264
    Reputation:
    257,592,572
    Ratings Received:
    +17,646 / 68 / -168
  4. fuz al-nufi Bar Regular

    Member Since:
    Apr 20, 2010
    Message Count:
    5,590
    Location:
    wonderland
    Reputation:
    110,780,971
    Ratings Received:
    +6,247 / 330 / -379
    billy is david icke level cray-cray.

  5. Man Against Time Black Hole Melchizedek

    Member Since:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Message Count:
    8,413
    Location:
    The wrong side of the tracks.
    Reputation:
    100,541,749
    Ratings Received:
    +9,012 / 126 / -271
    lol, sure seems that way. Look, it's hard for me to "hate on" someone for separating from the herd and thinking differently. Overall and in most instances, this is a positive inclination, if not a virtue. But the whole 'flat earth' thing reeks of a means to discredit unconventional thinkers by implicit association. Pretty soon, when you come to someone with an alternative narrative, they'll just laugh and say, "yeaahhhh, I bet you think the earth is flat, too, right?" A decade ago, this statement would just rank as sarcastic, but now a growing body of "awakened" people actually believe it! And these motherfuckers are loud and proud, at least on the Internet, churning out hundreds of videos about this shit by the week.

    Also, if you look at how this debate unraveled on the Daily Stormer, the belief has the evident ability to tear up 'alternative narrative' communities from within, as stated in the OP. If you think Sandy Hook was faked, how could you not see this as a possible psyop?
  6. fuz al-nufi Bar Regular

    Member Since:
    Apr 20, 2010
    Message Count:
    5,590
    Location:
    wonderland
    Reputation:
    110,780,971
    Ratings Received:
    +6,247 / 330 / -379
    ive been noticing them more and more in youtube comments, often attacking the video or person making the video for using terms like 'globe' and 'global' or 'solar system'.

    [IMG] - this guy is their spiritual leader.
    Latest Given Reputation Points:
    Angroid: 86,794 Points (Who are these freaks? lol) Aug 1, 2017
  7. Man Against Time Black Hole Melchizedek

    Member Since:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Message Count:
    8,413
    Location:
    The wrong side of the tracks.
    Reputation:
    100,541,749
    Ratings Received:
    +9,012 / 126 / -271
    Which one is that?

    He sure looks like a spiritual leader. In the p#do sort of way.
  8. Man Against Time Black Hole Melchizedek

    Member Since:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Message Count:
    8,413
    Location:
    The wrong side of the tracks.
    Reputation:
    100,541,749
    Ratings Received:
    +9,012 / 126 / -271
    "you still a ball earther? oh man. come to my youtube page to learn some fake scientific laws and get flat pilled"
  9. fuz al-nufi Bar Regular

    Member Since:
    Apr 20, 2010
    Message Count:
    5,590
    Location:
    wonderland
    Reputation:
    110,780,971
    Ratings Received:
    +6,247 / 330 / -379
    eric dubay. hes probably the most famous flat-earther.
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  10. Man Against Time Black Hole Melchizedek

    Member Since:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Message Count:
    8,413
    Location:
    The wrong side of the tracks.
    Reputation:
    100,541,749
    Ratings Received:
    +9,012 / 126 / -271
    Ohhh. Heard the name, never seen the photo.
  11. Mandalore in recovery from sobriety

    Member Since:
    Apr 20, 2010
    Message Count:
    3,159
    Reputation:
    91,640,031
    Ratings Received:
    +5,454 / 38 / -88
    Is there really a sizable community of these guys outside of snake-handler churches? Guess I figured they must number in the hundreds at best.
  12. Man Against Time Black Hole Melchizedek

    Member Since:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Message Count:
    8,413
    Location:
    The wrong side of the tracks.
    Reputation:
    100,541,749
    Ratings Received:
    +9,012 / 126 / -271
    Uh huh. Look at the number of subscribers to the most prominent Flat Earth YouTubers, and you will notice that there are at least tens of thousands. Some of 'em have close to 100k subscribers. And get donations. It's international now, too.
  13. angry asia man hatamoto 旗本

    Member Since:
    May 12, 2014
    Message Count:
    265
    Reputation:
    15,289,846
    Ratings Received:
    +367 / 3 / -5
    flat-earth is believed by idiots and fools who watch too many You-tube videos. imagine the earth is a giant dinner-plate floating in space!!! they are so stupid that it is insulting to even IQ 75 negros
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Funny Funny x 1
    • List
  14. Poète Maudit Decadent

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2012
    Message Count:
    507
    Reputation:
    2,269,124
    Ratings Received:
    +436 / 56 / -102
    Was not.

    Only Americans are so stupid that they would use a propagandistic legend spread by people who tried to denigrate the Catholic Middle Ages, namely that those backward Christians thought the Earth was flat until Modern Science TM proved them wrong, in order back up their claims of a flat Earth. Every educated person in the West from the Hellenistic period onward, with literally a couple of exceptions , believed in a spherical Earth. This is a fact of history, not of some hippie crank who also thinks that Wing Chun is the ultimate art of self defence.
    Latest Given Reputation Points:
    Man Against Time: 100,156 Points Sep 8, 2017
    Apocales: 107,356 Points Sep 8, 2017
    LastChanceArmada: 18,217 Points (Couldn't decide whether to click Funny or Informative so I'm giving you my meager reputation instead. Cheers!) Sep 29, 2017
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  15. Whitestmanalive Bar Regular

    Member Since:
    Sep 28, 2017
    Message Count:
    94
    Reputation:
    1,738,863
    Ratings Received:
    +81 / 4 / -2
    The flat earth idea came about because the kikes who wrote the Old Testament said the world was flat.
  16. LastChanceArmada Forum Veteran

    Member Since:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Message Count:
    459
    Reputation:
    30,901,240
    Ratings Received:
    +800 / 0 / -1
    I highly agree that the Flat Earth thing seems to be the latest way to discredit anyone who dares question Muh Six Million, the standard worldview promulgated by CNN, or anything not mainstream now that "you must be one of those people that believe we never went to the moon" seems to have fallen by the wayside. The weird thing is, this seems to have taken on a complete life of its own, and what's really strange is it seems like it just kind of came out of nowhere. I know a guy who sends stuff about this to me incessantly and I basically humor him because I've got some unconventional beliefs too (he's also one of these people "microdosing", an irony which is not exactly lost on me.)

    I even went so far as to say I'd investigate the matter objectively, but started to read (moron) Eric Dubay's book on the subject and he started it off with the whole "...everyone thought the world was flat until Columbus" sort of line, which is pure nonsense. The fact that he's not even versed in what Aristotle said about the subject (see the bolded italicized text below -- I've included the whole article though since I think it's a really good one) really made me realize he's not one to be taken seriously.

    So yeah, I dunno. It's really weird how this came out of left field and seems to have really gotten a hold of a lot of people though. In my more conspiratorial moments I tend to think that if I were running the modern day equivalent of MK-ULTRA or COINTELPRO, I'd certainly "float" some sort of things like this and just see how many people you could sucker in. It would, I admit, be an utterly and completely fascinating thing to do.

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://arantxa.ii.uam.es/~alfonsec/docs/end.htm

    The myth of progress in the evolution of Science

    Manuel Alfonseca
    This paper is an extension to the University end-of-year lecture, forwarded by the author in July, 1998.
    Although the word "myth" does not necessarily carry a connotation of falsehood, it is frequently attached to it. I am using the word in one of its classic meanings, as a synonym of "legend", "fiction", "fable", rather than the most recent that makes mythical an unnecessary synonym of "famous".
    The goal of Science has always been (at least in theory) the discovery of truth. The use of the word "myth" in a relation to Science may seem surprising, but human beings have an endless capacity to create and maintain myths. In fact, to be strict, the ideas mentioned in this paper have originated in peripheral disciplines, such as History or Philosophy of Science, and are not, properly speaking, scientific myths.
    The myth of Indefinite Progress can be summarized thus: Once we have entered the age of Science, scientific development cannot regress. Inventions and discoveries will follow one another at an always increasing rhythm, and the curve of scientific development should be approximately exponential.
    Before trying to refute this theory, let us take a look at a few other myths which still survive in spite of their evident falseness.
    Modern myths in the History of Science

    • In Antiquity and the Middle Ages everybody believed in a flat Earth. Columbus proved that it is round.
      Most informed people know that this statement is false, but many common people still believe it. Writing about this myth, Isaac Asimov said: "Columbus really proved that, if you are lucky, it doesn't matter how wrong you are".
      As every educated person in the Middle Ages and Antiquity, Columbus knew that the Earth is a sphere, but he estimated its circumference at 25000 km, against the Portuguese geographers, who thought 40000 a nearer value. (Of course, they didn't measure in km.) He thought that the western way to the Indias would be much shorter than the eastern, with a known length of about 20000 km. The Portuguese rejected his offer because a 20000 km voyage without stopovers was too much for the nautical state of the art at the time. Columbus tried his plan anyway with the help of Spain and had the luck to find a new continent at his predicted distance. He always thought he had proved his theories, but the Portuguese geographers were right, after all.
      The fact that the Earth is round was common knowledge several centuries before Christ. Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) used three main arguments to prove it:
      • When a ship moves away, its hulk disappears first, then the sails. This proves that the surface of the sea is curved. The effect does not depend on the ship's direction, therefore the sea (and thus the Earth) has the same curvature in all directions. The only geometrical body with this property is the sphere. Ergo the Earth is spherical.
      • During a Moon eclipse, the Earth passes between the Sun and the Moon, and its shadow falls on the latter. The shape of the shadow is always circular, whichever the relative positions of the Sun and the Moon. But a sphere is the only body that throws a circular shadow in every direction. Therefore, the Earth is spherical.
      • While travelling in a North-South direction, the visible constellations change. Some disappear, while new ones rise before the traveller. This proves that the surface of the Earth is curve. It does not prove it is a sphere, but the joint weight of the three arguments carries conviction.
      Eratostenes of Cyrene (276-194 B.C.) went further. Using the different angles of the Sun rays during the summer solstice in two Egyptian locations (Siene and Alexandria) he estimated the length of the Earth's circumference as 25000 stadions (39000 to 45000 km). The actual value is 40000 km. Eratostenes computations were the reason why the Portuguese geographers rejected Columbus plans.
      During the Middle Ages, only ignorant people believed that the Earth was flat, with a border where ships could fall. In The Divine Comedy, Dante assumes as a well-known fact that the Earth is round. He locates Purgatory in an island at the Antipodes of Jerusalem. Hell is a cone with its vertex at the center of the Earth. When Dante and Virgil arrive there, a surprising science-fiction effect is introduced: to pass to the other hemisphere, they must descend holding to Satan's hairs. At the exact center, however, they must turn around and start climbing, for the direction of gravity has inverted.
    • In Antiquity and the Middle Ages everybody believed that the Earth was huge. Modern Astronomy has proved that it is infinitesimal, compared to the universe.
      This legend is believed by some educated people. In fact, both are equally false.
      Two centuries before Christ, Archimed (287-212 B.C.) wrote a book, The Arenarius, where he computes the number of particles in the universe and the distance to the stars (all the stars were assumed to be at the same distance). To work with very large numbers, he had to develop his own number system. In our own units, the result is shockingly exact: the distance to the stars he got is equivalent to about one light-year. The nearest star (alfa-Centaur C) is at 4.27 light-years, which means that Archimed, in his first attempt, got the order of magnitude right.
      Archimed computations were common knowledge. Claudius Ptolemy (100-170 A.D.) wrote in He Mathematik Syntaxis (better known by its Arab name, Almagest): Compared to the distance of the fixed stars, the Earth has no appreciable size and should be considered as a mathematical point (Book I, Chapter 5). Almagest was the standard textbook in Astronomy during the Middle Ages. Therefore, the myth is clearly false.
    • In Antiquity and the Middle Ages everybody believed that the Earth was at the center of the universe and, therefore, the most important body. When Copernicus removed it from the center, he also took away its importance.
      This myth is generally believed, even by scientists or historians. In fact, all antique or medieval references disconfirm it. Contempt towards the Earth and the activities of its inhabitants appears everywhere in the literature. Let us look at a few examples:
      • Cicero, in Somnium Scipionis, sends Scipio in a journey through the celestial spheres. When he looks at the Earth from up high and sees it so small, Scipio is surprised at the importance given to things as ridiculous as the Roman Empire.
      • Lucan, in Farsalia, presents a similar situation.
      • Dante, in The Divine Comedy, performs another journey through Ptolemy's spheres, where he places Paradise. When he arrives to the sphere of Saturn, he turns to look at the Earth and, as usual, finds it small and contemptible (Paradiso, 22:133-135):
        Col viso ritornai per tutte quante
        le sette spere, e vidi questo globo
        tal, ch'io sorrisi del suo vil sembiante.

        Dante's cosmos has a dual structure: in the material world (Ptolemy's nine spheres plus the Earth), a body is less important the nearer the center. The Earth, therefore, has the least importance. In the dual world of the Empireon (God's abode), the center (God) is the most important, while the importance of the nine spheres around Him (corresponding to the nine angelic species) grows towards the center.
    • Science has proved that there is no God, nor a soul in man, nor life after death.
      Science cannot prove any of those things. They are outside the scientific method. This myth has been spread by religiously opposed people and is none other than wishful thinking.
      In 1917, a sampling of the prevalence of religious beliefs among scientists gave a result of about 50%. Commentators predicted the disappearance of all religious beliefs in this section of the population during the twentieth century.
      In 1997, eighty years later, a new sampling was performed, with more or less the same results: about 50% of scientists are still believers. The 1917 prediction has failed. However, analyzers still say that the new results predict the future disappearance of all religious beliefs among scientists during the twenty-first century. What they really prove is that man can fall twice in the same trap.
      A 50% division of opinions in a non-scientific question seems a reasonable, even predictable result.
    • We only use about 10% of our brain.
      This myth has been broadly publicized with the help of the Dale Carnegie foundation and such spectacular sponsors as Albert Einstein. It declares that our brain is underused and capable of performing ten times better than normal, which gives food to advocators of occult human potentialities, such as telepathy, clairvoyance or psychokinesia.
      The myth appeared as the result of a misunderstanding. During the thirties, neurologists discovered that the species with the most complex nervous systems (man, among others) dedicate less proportion of brain mass to sensory-motor functions. They applied the name silent cortex to the areas responsible for other activities, such as language and abstract thought. The use of the word silent brought some non-experts (as Einstein) to think that those areas are unused. Recent experiments performed with positron emision tomography have proved that the human brain has no underused areas.
    The myth of Indefinite Progress

    The concept of Progress is relatively modern. During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, it was assumed that the great thinkers of Antiquity were unsurpassable. New theories had to be justified with the argument that Aristotle, Euclide or the appropriate authority (possibly misunderstood) had said the same thing before. Thus, medieval thinkers were not interested on being original, or what we now call the "copyright". New philosophical works would frequently be falsely attributed to the old masters.
    Francis Bacon (1561-1626) was one of the first to launch the revolutionary idea that the great men of the past did not necessarily know more than we do. This opened the way to the concept of Progress, successively promoted by René Descartes (1596-1650) and Bernard de Fontenelle (1657-1757), who was the first to state that, from the biological point of view, antique and modern people are essentially equal.
    The theory of Indefinite Progress appeared during the eighteen century. It is the inverse of the medieval idea, and affirms that the future is always superior to the present. Abbé St. Pierre (1658-1753), Turgot (1727-1781) and Condorcet (1743-1794) may be considered its fathers. Condorcet divided History into ten successive steps. The tenth (ours) is the age of science, rationalism and revolution, and will open the way to an age of prosperity, tolerance and illustration (Utopia is always just around the corner).
    The theory of Indefinite Progress gained general acceptance during the nineteenth century. Auguste Comte (1798-1857) proposed a different succession of steps, the last being the age of science and industry. As always, back turns are forbidden. Our arrival to the scientific era is final.
    The discovery of evolution in the nineteenth century gave new expression to the principle of Indefinite Progress, which came to be redefined in biological terms: Biological evolution is a process towards more and more complexity. Comte's ideas blended with Darwin's in the work of Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) and Karl Marx (1919-1903), who assert that social evolution is automatic and unavoidable. As those before him, Marx divided History in several successive and progressive eras (tribalism, slavism, feudalism, capitalism and socialism). The coming of the latter would be unavoidable through the dictatorship of the proletariat and a society without classes.
    In a parallel but strictly biological direction, we have Orthogenesis, a theory formulated initially by Karl Wilhelm von Nägely (1817-1891), for whom biological evolution is a process with a direction, pushed by an internal or external action (something similar to Henri Bergson's élan vital). This theory gained acceptance until the nineteen thirties, and influenced the work of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.
    In its evolutionary form, the principle of Indefinite Progress took shape, at the beginning of this century, in an attractive mythical expression which, although outside the scientific world view, has gained the popular imagination. In its literary form, commented by C.S.Lewis, the myth appeared in George Bernard Shaw's Back to Metuselah (1922) and H.G.Wells' The outline of History (1920). Evolution is presented as a permanent struggle for existence where the apparently weaker survive against monster enemies. Who could foresee the success of prochordates during the Cambric explosion? Or that of crossopterygian fishes (the ancestors of all the terrestrial vertebrates) against the teleosteans? Or that of mammalians against the giant reptiles? Or puny man against a hostile environment? But in all these cases, intelligence (progress) dominated brute strength. Man takes his place in the summit and opens an indefinite era of scientific progress. However, at this point, the myth introduces a surprising grandiose finale: the twilight of the gods, the Germanic epic of the Edda and the Nibelungs. The unavoidable increase of entropy carries us towards the final catastrophe. The cosmos will end either in fire or ice. Nothing we can do will stop it. Indefinite Progress is bound to final destruction.
    Reactions against Indefinite Progress

    The twentieth century, that witnessed the epic formulation of the evolutionary myth, saw the birth of the first reactions against it.
    • Biologists of the neodarwinist school rejected the idea of a directed evolution and introduced randomness and Statistics as the fundamental element and tool for this science. Evolution is not a process toward ever greater complexity. There are too many regressions, halts and contingency. In the words of the British biologist J.B.S.Haldane, to every case of progress, there are ten of degeneration.
    • A philosopher, Oswald Spengler (1880-1936) announced the stop of the indefinite progress of our civilization. His work The decline of the West (1923) was very influential during the depressive years after the first world war.
    • A historian, Arnold Toynbee (1889-1975), in his monumental A Study of History, saw civilizations as entities that are born, grow, stabilize and die (or become living fossils), although they may leave descendants. Indefinite Progress becomes a statistic phenomenon, difficult to measure except at a distance, similar to the advance of a car as a consequence of the movement of its wheels.
    • An anthropologist, Alfred L. Kroeber (1876-1960) suggested, in his Configurations of Culture Growth, that people of genius are not born alone, but form configurations preceded by precursors and followed by declines. Again, not Indefinite Progress, but a succession of ups and downs.
    • A sociologist, Pitirim A. Sorokin (1889-1968) accumulated quantitative data in his Social and Cultural Dynamics, suggesting that intellectual and cultural activities (science and philosophy) go through long cycles of about two thousand years alternating intuitive phases (with a predominance of philosophy and religion) and sensitive phases (dominated by science). We are currently in the middle of one of the latter, but sooner or later this phase will end, as its predecessors.
    Current situation of modern Science

    Can we see any inklings suggesting that the evolution of modern science, after progressing triumphantly for five centuries, will shortly stop or even regress? Are the critics of the theory of Indefinite Progress right? A few quantitative and qualitative analyses may throw some light on these questions.
    • A simple quantification shows that greco-roman and medieval science went through several successive independent configurations during the twenty centuries from the sixth B.C. to the fourteenth A.D., with three well-marked peaks at the fourth century B.C., the second and the thirteenth A.D. These peaks were followed by clear declines, confirming the oscillatory theory of scientific development against Indefinite Progress. The quantification has been computed by assigning a weight to every individual scientist, as a function of the number of lines of their biographies in several encyclopedias of different countries.
    • A similar quantification computed on modern western science shows a parallel situation: the continuous advance towards ever more and more scientific discoveries is illusory. There have been well-marked peaks in the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, followed by clear declines. The huge wave of scientific development in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries has affected our historical perspective. The future is not predetermined.
    • If we separate by countries, the oscillatory character is even clearer. Germany has passed through no less than five peaks since the fifteenth century. Great Britain shows another five maxima, France four. The United States have become the dominant country during the twentieth century. More than half of the total scientific effort comes nowadays from its scientists.
    • The Nobel prizes provide an interesting measurement of the evolution of scientific progress during the twentieth century. These prizes award the most important advances in the fields of Physics, Chemistry, Physiology and Medicine. Statistics show a few worrying trends, such as the progressively higher age of the scientists who have received the Nobel prize: the average age has gone up from 47 in the first decade to 60 in the last. The number of Nobel prizes awarded to people below 40 has gone down from nine in the thirties and fifties to zero in the nineties. Not one person born after 1950 has yet received a Nobel prize.
    • In modern science, there is a clear trend towards the disappearance of the genius. In previous centuries, certain scientists were generally known, their names became bywords: Copernicus, Galileo, Descartes, Newton, Linné, Franklin, Gauss, Darwin, Pasteur, Edison, Freud, Madame Curie, Einstein, Heisenberg, among many others. In the last fifty years, this is no longer happening. The only modern scientist comparably famous today is Stephen Hawking, due in part to nonscientific reasons. The same trend can be observed in the distribution of Nobel prizes to a single individual, which has gone down from 25 in the first decade to 6 in the last. Scientific development is getting polarized around integrated work groups, rather than great personalities. It is not clear what we can deduce from this. It may have nothing to do with a future stop in the development.
    But we can see additional worrying symptoms in other places.
    Mistrust in Science

    Common people experiment a growing mistrust toward scientists and their discoveries. Fifty years ago, science-fiction literature usually foresaw a future society governed by scientists, as a modern version of Plato's Republic. This idea has all but disappeared. Mistrust in science is generated by several causes which, acting together, have made the situation worse:
    • Ignorance. Scientific education is insufficient. Statistical studies in the United States estimate that about 5% of the adult population can be considered scientifically alphabetized. Science in the classroom is divorced from real life and rarely used in day to day application, such as the detection of the statistical fallacies with which governments and the press bomb us every day (see 200% of nothing, by A.K.Dewdney, Wiley, 1993.)
    • Little communication between scientists and the public. Science popularization in the media had a "golden decade" (the eighties and the first nineties) which seems to have slowed. Scientific supplements of newspapers are dwindling or disappear. There is not much on TV, apart from documentaries about wild animals.
    • Scientific discoveries and their practical applications are usually separated by long delays. Big headlines announcing spectacular scientific advances to cure cancer or genetic ailments later disappear completely from the media, giving the impression that those discoveries are useless. There are incessant changes and contradictions in Medicine: what yesterday was bad for the health, today is what we must do and vice versa. The current eagerness to publish is also a factor. Many scientists make their discoveries public prematurely and in nonstandard media.
    • Science has dangers. During the twentieth century, it has lost its appeal as the panacea that will solve all our problems, becoming one of the monsters threatening our survival. First was the arms race, with the accumulation of massive destruction weapons sufficient to put an end to life on Earth. Next came the threats of genetic engineering: manipulation of human beings, cloning, patenting, genetic discrimination. Science also got a bad name from experiments on animals and, above all, human beings, performed in unacceptable conditions.
    Threats to Science

    We are now facing an unfavorable state of opinion towards Science which is leading to different attacks on the fundamental bases of knowledge. The following are only a few of the most spread:
    • Radical Ecologism, which opposes scientific advances and wants to give up all our technical discoveries and regress to a more natural life style, forgetting that those discoveries made the increase in world population possible. If we were to go back to the technical level previous to the industrial revolution, the Earth would be incapable of supporting us. The result would be total war.
    • Radical feminism, which sees Science as a male chauvinist undertaking and wants to destroy everything to start all over with a more balanced viewpoint. Parallel to this are the many forms of political correction that apply the same ideas to races or minorities and seek destruction, instead of integration.
    • Constructivism, a philosophical doctrine developed during the second half of the twentieth century, which denies the existence of objective truth and declares that all scientific discoveries are mere social constructions: in different circumstances, opposed results could have been obtained. Although this doctrine is based on a valid principle (the influence of society on the direction taken by scientific research), it becomes dangerous and fallacious when the principle is applied to facts and the existence of truth is denied.
    • Democratic epistemology applies the principles of democracy to scientific research. But Science has never been and cannot be democratic. The opinion of the majority is worth nothing per se, because it can be changed by reason. A thousand examples in history prove that single persons, against all their colleagues, may be finally right.
    Some of the aforementioned movements and similar ones oppose reason and the scientific method, which has been used with spectacular results since the beginnings of the seventeenth century. Many pseudosciences have taken over the popular imagination, receive the massive support of the media and are introducing their tendrils even in universities:
    • Parapsycology, in its two main versions: extrasensory perception (ESP, clairvoyance, precognition, telepathy) and psychokinesia.
    • Astrology, which is now flourishing as during the Roman empire.
    • The UFO extraterrestrial hypothesis.
    • Antievolutionary creationism, fortunately almost unknown to the east of the Atlantic Ocean.
    The future of Science

    Predicting is risky. It may be proved false by waiting enough time. During the sixties, I saw in a newspaper a prediction of the future of space exploration, attributed to Arthur C. Clarke, which may be considered a clear application of the principle of Indefinite Progress:
    1970 Man in the Moon
    1980 Manned trips to the planets
    2000 Colonies on the planets
    2020 Unmanned trips to the stars
    2070 Near-light speeds
    2080 Manned trips to the stars
    2100 Encounters with extraterrestrials

    Some of these predictions have already failed, and it is obvious that those for the twenty-first century are too optimistic.
    But this does not mean that we are nearing "the end of Science", as several books and papers assume, notably one by John Horgan under just this title. They suggest that Science is reaching its theoretical limits. Rather than important advances, the future will bring us the solutions to questions of detail or what Horgan calls "ironic science" (theories that can never be tested).
    This idea is not new. At the end of the nineteenth century, similar views were offered: "Physics has reached its limits. Everything that could be discovered is already known. We have stable theories. We only have to solve or explain very small details, such as the radiation of the black body or the negative result of the Michelson-Morley experiment".
    We know what happened with those "details": in just five years (1900-1905) the black body radiation spawned quantum Physics and the Michelson experiment relegated Newton's Mechanics from the standard theory to an approximation. Physics started another century of discovery.
    I don't think that Science has reached its limits and doubt those limits can ever be reached. But our civilization could have created its own scientific boundaries, which do not have to be intrinsic, just practical. It has happened before. The greco-roman scientific development stopped when scientists got stuck with several dead-ends and dedicated centuries to fruitless attempts, such as squaring the circle. There is nothing to prevent us from falling in similar dead-ends. We are probably stuck in several at this point.
    One of the main principles of the scientific method is the preponderance of experiment on theory. When the predictions of a theory and the results of an experiment disagree, the experiment takes precedence and the theory should be replaced by another that correctly explains the perceived results. Human perception is the key factor: the anomalous result of the Michelson experiment was the failure to perceive interference figures where the theory said they should be.
    Some scientists think that there is a fundamental flaw in current Physics as regards the treatment of time. From Newton to now, physical theories have clutched to the assertion that time is reversible. The only time-irreversible physical law (the second principle of Thermodynamics) has been considered a freak, an exception, a pain in the neck, something best little spoken about. However, time is perceived as essentially irreversible. This is explained away as an illusion, a perception not to be believed.
    A similar situation has arisen in human Biology. We have a clear perception of the existence of free-will, but prevalent deterministic theories explain this perception away as just another illusion. It does not fit the theory.
    All theories, however, are based on perceptions. How do we decide which are illusions and which are not? Those that fit the theories are OK, those that don't are not? But then we are in the unscientific position of giving theories prevalence upon experiments. What if nineteenth century physicists would have decided that the inability to see interference figures in the Michelson experiment was an illusion?
    Current science may have gone into such or other dead-ends, and this may put a practical end to its advances. In two thousand years, the scientists of another civilization could be laughing at us for our inability to reckon with time's irreversibility or free-will, in the same way that we snicker at Plato for his belief that "similar seeks similar" or at the mathematicians who tried to square the circle. Maybe there are additional dead-ends that we can't even imagine.
    Figures



    [IMG]
    Figure 1: The quantification of scientists in the greco-roman civilization and the medioaeval period makes clear that the development of science was not continuous. There was a summit in the V to III centuries B.C., followed by a downturn and a recovery in the II century. Then science disappears in practice until it comes to a new summit in the XIII century.

    [IMG]

    Figure 2: The quantification of scientists in the modern western civilization shows a continuous ascent with a few ups and downs, as the two that took place in the XVII and XVIII centuries. The apparent descent in the XX century could be an artefact due to lack of perspective.

    [IMG]

    Figure 3: The ups and downs in scientific evolution are even clearer when the evolution of different countries is separated. The three european countries with a greater scientific development show up to five successive maximum points. Sometimes, but not always, these summits are simultaneous.

    [IMG]

    Figure 4: Starting in 1950, the scientific Nobel Prizes are progressively given to older people. In the nineties, their age average has reached 60, compared to 47 at the beginning of the XX century.

    [IMG]

    Figure 5: The number of young scientists (less than 40 years old) awarded a Nobel Prize has gone down progressively from nine (in the thirties and fifties) to zero (in the nineties).

    [IMG]

    Figure 6: The number of individual Nobel Prizes has gone down during the XX century, which seems to mean that "genial" scientists are being replaced by team work.
    Latest Given Reputation Points:
    Georg Schoenerer: 35,587 Points (dysgenics in action or the only thing worth microdosing is mushrooms) Sep 30, 2017

Share This Page