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Earth Education Science

Geocentrists Convene To Discuss How Galileo Was Wrong 1027

Posted by timothy
from the when-did-britain-pull-ahead dept.
rollcall writes "'Galileo Was Wrong' is an inaugural conference to discuss the 'detailed and comprehensive treatment of the scientific evidence supporting Geocentrism, the academic belief that the Earth is immobile in the center of the universe.' The geocentrists argue that 'Scientific evidence available to us within the last 100 years that was not available during Galileo's confrontation shows that the [Catholic] Church's position on the immobility of the Earth is not only scientifically supportable, but it is the most stable model of the universe and the one which best answers all the evidence we see in the cosmos.' I, like many of you, am scratching my head wondering how people still think this way. Unfortunately, there is still a significant minority of Western people who believe that the Earth is the center of the universe: 18% of Americans, 16% of Germans, and 19% of Britons." I hope there is live blogging from the conference.
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Geocentrists Convene To Discuss How Galileo Was Wrong

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  • by Deathnerd (1734374) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @03:11PM (#33554272)
    Committee meets to discuss how light is actually extreme dark.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 12, 2010 @03:39PM (#33554598)

      I especially love the fake testimonials at the bottom of the page. Dr. Wilstonshire Oglethorpe XVIII, who has a degree in Super-Advanced Mega Astronomy says: "OMG You were totally right. Bad on us"

    • by Moryath (553296) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @05:25PM (#33555590)

      Maybe you need a proper education in darksucker theory [siliconhell.com].

      Also, the existence of magic smoke [wikipedia.org].

      And don't forget applied phlebotinum [tvtropes.org].

    • by Roger W Moore (538166) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @07:16PM (#33556496) Journal
      Next up on Slashdot 18% of Americans, 16% of Germans, and 19% of Britons hate being asked stupid questions in surveys.
      • Re:Correction... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by gophish (65390) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @10:18PM (#33557638)

        I know when people ask me questions in a survey, there comes a point in time when I begin to get bored, and another point in time very near to that when I begin to answer questions either randomly or in an intentionally absurd manner just so I can get some revenge over having them waste my time. If the writers of the survey know something about how to incur that attitude hey could be intentionally skewing the results by placing the questions in the portion of the survey guaranteed to have the most people answering randomly. Then again, maybe I should just not take surveys...

    • by the_womble (580291) on Monday September 13, 2010 @01:24AM (#33558388) Homepage Journal

      That is actually the closest I have seen to a sensible response to this. Slashdot needs a way of marking stories "flamebait".

      Follow the links throught to Robert Sungenis's site. He is a complete nut case. He is a creationist, probably anti-semitic,conspiracy theorist. The "news alert" links on the front page of one of his sites include one to a site that claims that the Vatican has been infiltrated by "satanic cults".

      Why is this even worth discussing?

  • ME! (Score:5, Funny)

    by bsDaemon (87307) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @03:11PM (#33554282)

    My mom says I'm the center of the universe.... or is that just the basement?

  • by s0litaire (1205168) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @03:12PM (#33554290)

    ...even they know the earth goes round the sun.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by bsDaemon (87307)

      That's because the Communists purged all the morons^Wreligious nuts.

      • by Haeleth (414428) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @03:45PM (#33554666) Journal

        Yes, truly religion is the root of all ignorance, and -- thanks to its staunch atheism -- Soviet Russia was a scientific paradise [wikipedia.org].

        Oh, wait ...

        • by Xtifr (1323) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @04:11PM (#33554880) Homepage

          "Atheism" is about the belief in god(s), which is not necessarily a required component of a religion. If Buddhism (which is neutral on the topic of gods) and Scientology (which believes in alien clams that build DC-10s inside volcanoes, or something) qualify as religions, I don't see why Soviet "Communism" doesn't.

          Of course, by this interpretation, the Communists (or "Communists", since the USSR had few actual Communists) didn't purge "all the morons^religious nuts." They merely purged the heretics.

          • by Vintermann (400722) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @04:50PM (#33555214) Homepage

            "Atheism" is about the belief in god(s), which is not necessarily a required component of a religion. If Buddhism (which is neutral on the topic of gods) and Scientology (which believes in alien clams that build DC-10s inside volcanoes, or something) qualify as religions, I don't see why Soviet "Communism" doesn't.

            Fair enough, but then I don't see why atheism (as practiced in OT discussions on countless bulletin boards, if you prefer) shouldn't qualify as a "religion" as well.

            • by NoOneInParticular (221808) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @05:02PM (#33555340)
              Because not collecting stamps is not a hobby?
            • by chrb (1083577) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @07:11PM (#33556452)

              Fair enough, but then I don't see why atheism (as practiced in OT discussions on countless bulletin boards, if you prefer) shouldn't qualify as a "religion" as well.

              Religion [google.com]: a strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny

              Atheism [google.com]: a lack of belief in the existence of God or gods

              These are contradictory - you can't believe in gods and at the same time lack belief in gods. Hence atheism is not a religion.

          • by chrb (1083577) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @07:06PM (#33556400)

            Buddhism (which is neutral on the topic of gods)

            Buddhism has Devas [wikipedia.org]. They are not creators of the universe or omnipotent or immortal, but are considered "supernatural gods" [wikipedia.org].

            and Scientology

            Some countries do not accept Scientology is a religion. [wikipedia.org].

          • by Artifakt (700173) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @09:40PM (#33557442)

            Buddhism as a whole isn't particularly neutral on the subject of gods. Theravada Buddhism is all about ethical actions and meditation. Theravada doesn't really support anything supernatural, but they also insist on there being one and only one Buddha and his always being a little above even the most enlightened modern practitioner. By them, no one else gets to be a Buddha, just off the wheel of Karma by meditation. So while they claim not to have any gods involved, some of us feel they are making the historical Buddha into one. Mahayana Buddhists mostly believe in gods and lots of other things, but the goal isn't becoming a mere god, it's enlightening yourself and then all sentient beings. You can theoretically become a god in some Mahayana traditions, but you shouldn't want to, as that god may still be as far as you are right now from the real goal of enlightenment. Some Mahayanists also believe in demi-gods (who are in cool afterlives but often too busy being jealous of the full gods to seek enlightenment), and hungry ghosts, who by some accounts are descending to splinter into animal spirits and start the climb back. Then there's Vajrayana, which I can't describe much more succinctly than to say it holds the goal is enlightenment, but you will have to become Dr. Strange first. If Mahayana is supernaturalist with gods and 'other planes', Vajrayana is taking the gods and dimensions and psychic powers stuff to an ongoing TV series, with half a dozen successful spin-offs and lots of special guests and plot cross overs, and you have to learn the names of all the particles of the week to progress.
                    Zen, by the way, is mostly based on Mahayana teachings.

        • by fyngyrz (762201) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @09:23PM (#33557356) Homepage Journal

          Yes, truly religion is the root of all ignorance, and -- thanks to its staunch atheism -- Soviet Russia was a scientific paradise.

          Oy. Not this again. Look. Theism consists of dogma, rules for behavior, and often enough, a strong and well solidified political agenda, for instance, as with Islam or the Christians that are constantly attempting to fiddle with the sayings on money, messing with the pledge of allegiance, praying in congress before making laws, seeing to it the rest of us can't buy beer on Sunday, etc. They do these things because they think this is the way to "bring" their religion, and its dogma and rules, to the rest of us. Speaking generally, theism is a belief in a god or gods, and it carries, in a very official and intentional manner, a great deal of imposed behavior and canned rules with it.

          Atheism is the lack of such a belief. It embodies no dogma; no rules; no political agenda, no morals, no ethics. Atheism contains no guides in any particular direction as to science, politics, etc. No atheist will burn a scientist because atheism presents an alternate worldview, because atheism doesn't present worldviews at all. If an atheist has a particular worldview about a scientific issue, it is a 100% guarantee that the worldview did not arise from the atheism (although it is possible that the atheism came from the worldview.)

          Your line "thanks to its staunch atheism" is completely wrong and misleading. The soviets were a highly corrupt -- meaning, far from core principle -- communist society and the things they did, they did in the name of active dogma, rules and outlooks that came from communism, socialism, and so forth. Not as any kind of consequence of atheism. Think about it: "I don't believe in god, therefore you can't go to a scientific conference"??? "I don't believe in god, therefore we'll build a ground-based laser"??? I mean, really... WTF?

          The thing you theists need to get through your heads is that atheism is not the opposite of theism; it does not present or espouse mirror outlooks to theism. The 'a' up front doesn't mean "the devil's minions", it means "without." It is a lack of belief in religion's core idea, the existence of a god or gods. That's all it is. There is no atheistic mirror to religion's constant, dogmatic, intentional interference with society and law. And there is not one single thing in it that tells us what we should do WRT politics or science. When you see an atheist taking action in some area, you can be sure they are basing those actions upon something other than atheism.

    • by Romancer (19668) <[moc.roodshtaed] [ta] [recnamor]> on Sunday September 12, 2010 @03:23PM (#33554400) Journal

      A compendium of bible quotes loosly supporting this:

      http://hypertextbook.com/eworld/geocentric.shtml [hypertextbook.com]

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @03:14PM (#33554302)

    Unfortunately, there is still a significant minority of Western people who believe that the Earth is the center of the universe: 18% of Americans, 16% of Germans, and 19% of Britons."

    ...And assuming that they aren't working in astronomy, there really is no loss.

    If your mechanic thinks that "The Little Mermaid" was a Shakespearean drama, that really doesn't affect his ability to fix your car. Same with this.

    • by catbutt (469582) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @03:18PM (#33554346)
      As long as he doesn't have the right to vote.
      • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @03:22PM (#33554392)
        ...Which is one of the flaws in democracy rather than true self-government and is why democracies need to transition to self-government with a tiny government to protect people from force and fraud.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 12, 2010 @03:43PM (#33554644)

          ...Which is one of the flaws in democracy rather than true self-government and is why democracies need to transition to self-government with a tiny government to protect people from force and fraud.

          You're right! Galileo is attempting to subject us all to the gravitational force, and as an American I am against that. My feet stay on the ground because I am bound to this country by patriotism, not because some namby-pamby Eurotrash fraud is trying to force me to. Don't tread on me!

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Ironchew (1069966)

          How would a tiny government protect its citizens if they did whatever they wanted?

    • by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @03:44PM (#33554656)

      ...And assuming that they aren't working in astronomy, there really is no loss.

      "No loss?" What a monstrously stupid statement.

      This kind of ignorance may be "no loss" to society until it becomes widespread enough to perpetuate itself... which is exactly what happens when these people vote. Then, we'll end up having to "teach the controversy" of heliocentrism in the schools.

      Have you ever seen Idiocracy?

    • by Stormy Dragon (800799) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @04:14PM (#33554912) Homepage

      [Sherlock Holme's] ignorance was as remarkable as his knowledge. Of contemporary literature, philosophy and politics he appeared to know next to nothing. Upon my quoting Thomas Carlyle, he inquired in the naivest way who he might be and what he had done. My surprise reached a climax, however, when I found incidentally that he was ignorant of the Copernican Theory and of the composition of the Solar System. That any civilized human being in this nineteenth century should not be aware that the earth travelled round the sun appeared to be to me such an extraordinary fact that I could hardly realize it.

      "You appear to be astonished," he said, smiling at my expression of surprise. "Now that I do know it I shall do my best to forget it."

      "To forget it!"

      "You see," he explained, "I consider that a man's brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skilful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones."

      "But the Solar System!" I protested.

      "What the deuce is it to me?" he interrupted impatiently; "you say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my work."

      --- A. C. Doyle, A Study in Scarlet

      • by vadim_t (324782) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @04:49PM (#33555204) Homepage

        That seems a bit short-sighted.

        One of the nice things about knowing things like that is that you can derive other things from them. For instance, from knowing the motions of the planets a sufficiently clever person would be able to figure out moon phases, eclipses, seasons, the position of the sun in the sky on a given day and the times of sunrise and sunset. I don't think it's very hard to imagine those being used in a Sherlock Holmes story.

        A bit of knowledge can go a long way. If you have a good starting point you don't necessarily need to keep volumes of related things in your head. All you need to know is enough to know where to look for the rest.

      • by Mr. Slippery (47854) <(tms) (at) (infamous.net)> on Sunday September 12, 2010 @06:08PM (#33555966) Homepage

        Let us remember that Doyle was a dupe of Spiritualism and believed in the physical existence of fairies. His stories and characters are probably not a good example.

  • 18% (Score:5, Funny)

    by Spazmania (174582) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @03:15PM (#33554312) Homepage

    there is still a significant minority of Western people who believe that the Earth is the center of the universe: 18% of Americans

    In other news, 17% of Americans were found to exhibit a sense of humor when called by pollsters while most of the rest just get upset.

  • by rrohbeck (944847) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @03:15PM (#33554314)

    Now if you take the Bible as the literal truth, as so many do, this is to be expected.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Ironsides (739422)
      Nope. The Bible doesn't says so.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Really? Because I'm rather familiar with the bible and no where does it say the earth is the center of the universe. Just created first.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rakuen (1230808)
      As some have said, the Bible doesn't make mention of the Earth being the center of the universe. To expand a little more though, Job referred to the Earth as "hanging upon nothing." (Job 26:7). Isaiah described the Earth with the Hebrew word "chugh", which can mean "circle" or "sphere". (Isaiah 40:22) How to take these observations is an exercise for the reader, but they do agree with astronomy.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 12, 2010 @03:15PM (#33554320)

    In the rest frame of the Earth the entire universe revolves around it.

  • by Arcady13 (656165) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @03:15PM (#33554322) Homepage
    Why do the websites of lunatics always seem to be based on the same template from some horribly awful site made for Mosaic in 1995? Does crazy dictate design? Or does each wackjob just copy the code from the previous wackjob? Or maybe these sites are all made by the same escapee from the insane asylum? Maybe they are still in the asylum, and the computer in there is running Windows 3 on a dialup modem?
  • Evidence (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tgd (2822) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @03:22PM (#33554388)

    90% of the world believes in God(s), and there's nothing but imaginary evidence for that, too.

    But by all means mock the fringe dimwits who don't actually negatively impact society.

    • Re:Evidence (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Insightfill (554828) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @03:46PM (#33554682) Homepage

      But by all means mock the fringe dimwits who don't actually negatively impact society.

      Ah, but they do cluster, and vote, and then take over boards of education.

      Actually, it just takes one of the nutters in your kid's district to bring education to a stand-still. Our local school official policy, luckily, is that you can contest a book, but the teacher can go on using it until the process has completed. And they've got librarians in at every step of the way. Don't mess with librarians.

    • Re:Evidence (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Coolfish (69926) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @03:49PM (#33554698)

      I think it's far fewer than 90% actually "believe" in deities, rather a good chunk of them profess belief in deities - that is, they say that they do to fit in.
      When pressed on the details of their beliefs, I think that only a few people will actually say that yes, they truly believe in transubstantiation (after that
      term is defined for them, after all I've talked with a lot of people who claim to be catholic who have no idea what that meant), or that jesus was of virgin birth, or any other number of ridiculous notions in any of the current day mythology texts.

      Not surprisingly, people get quite defensive when you do actually ask them about this stuff - and often resort to the "well, a lot of it is just stories, but I do believe in the CORE stuff" response, leaving to question what is actually core to a mythology. Dan Dennett wrote a great book about this stuff, Breaking the Spell, worth the read!

      • Re:Evidence (Score:4, Informative)

        by williamhb (758070) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @06:18PM (#33556064) Journal

        When pressed on the details of their beliefs, I think that only a few people will actually say that yes, they truly believe in transubstantiation (after that
        term is defined for them, after all I've talked with a lot of people who claim to be catholic who have no idea what that mean

        I suspect you don't truly know what it means. I suspect you think it means that the bread physically transforms, whereas it turns out the original Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation does not claim that. It claims, if you read a translation of the original doctrine, that the bread retains the aspect (ie, physical properties) of bread, but is transformed in essence (ie, spiritual properties) as Christ. The confusion comes from a change in common language idioms -- a modern reader would see "essence" and assume atoms (ie, that the doctrine claims the physics of the bread changes), whereas a religious spiritual writer would regard matter as mere aspect and things of eternal significance (the spiritual nature) as being "essence".

        I'm not Catholic, but I did have to stop making fun of that doctrine when I found out it was my misunderstanding of the Catholic doctrine that was the issue, not their doctrine misunderstanding physics after all.

    • Re:Evidence (Score:4, Funny)

      by equex (747231) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @03:56PM (#33554762) Homepage
      I'd say that 90% of the world are _convinced_ they believe in some god because they where brainwashed with it from early age. It's simply culturally accepted child molestation of the mind which is harder to prove than physical harm. If there was a law that prohibited people from influencing children with these outrageous ideas, religions would see a rapid decline in membership. It would be hard to convert someone who thought for themselves for 21 years, then to be presented with the idea that there is a man in the sky that designed this world. Religion needs an age of consent.
  • by pariah99 (1899388) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @03:31PM (#33554494)
    Pick a lagrange point between the sun and the earth as the center of the universe so that neither one moves.
  • by Fished (574624) <amphigory@gmail.ELIOTcom minus poet> on Sunday September 12, 2010 @03:33PM (#33554528)

    There's no preferred point of reference, so you could just as well say that the Sun revolves around the Earth as vice versa. It's not like the Sun is a fixed immovable point around which everything revolves either, at least once you get beyond the solar system. Nor is there any other single fixed immovable point. You can pick any fixed immovable point you like and construct a model to match it. (The big problem with a geocentric model is retrograde motion--that is, the planets appear to go backwards from time to time.) The thing is that it's a lot simpler to look at it from the point of view that that the Earth goes around the Sun--both conceptually and mathematically, which is why astronomers do so when they are looking at the solar system. But it is possible to construct a description of the universe in which the opposite is true that is consistent, just damned inconvenient and not very useful.

    So, in that limited since, Aristotle was as right as Galileo. Galileo just happens to be more useful.

    • by bkpark (1253468) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @03:53PM (#33554742) Homepage

      Furthermore, the question isn't "are we at the center of solar system" The question here is "are we at the center of the Universe", and the scientific answer to that is an emphatic yes.

      Case in point: red shifts of far-away supernovas (so-called "standard candle") show that every astronomical objects are moving away from us, as if we were in the center of the universe.

      Perhaps I should clarify this point by saying, yes, we are moving relative to the rest frame of the Universe (i.e. the inertial frame where cosmic microwave background radiation is isotropic, not red-shifted one way blue-shifted another), but not very fast. And yes, every observer in the inertial frame of the Universe will see himself at the center of the Universe, but so what—we still see ourselves at the center of the Universe and that's what counts.

    • by Xylantiel (177496) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @04:04PM (#33554836)

      Um, no. It was possible to construct an earth-centered model that matched the data available in the 1600s. Today we have radar-ranging that can tell you exactly where the planets are located and how they are moving within a few hundred kilometers or better. The planets move around the sun. There's also the whole thing that a sun-centered model is based on universal laws of physics, while earth-centered models were constructed just to describe the motion of heavenly bodies and had no universality.

      More generally, there are preferred reference frames. They're called inertial frames.

      Please mod this guy into oblivion.

    • by selven (1556643) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @04:10PM (#33554870)

      So, in that limited since, Aristotle was as right as Galileo. Galileo just happens to be more useful.

      Science is not about figuring out what's "right". That is, in fact, the domain of religion. Science is about creating a model that's useful.

  • by silverpig (814884) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @03:40PM (#33554604)
    The Earth is pretty much at the center of the observable universe...
  • by David Greene (463) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @03:48PM (#33554694)

    The summary should read:

    Catholic] Church's historical position on the immobility of the Earth was not only scientifically supportable, but it was the most stable model of the universe

    The Roman Catholic Church long ago accepted our current scientific understanding of the organization of celestial bodies.

    Oh, and evolution through natural selection as well.

    And one of its greatest thinkers [wikipedia.org] believed that reason and faith were both equally valid ways to truth and not in conflict at all.

    These nuts are in no way affiliated with official Roman Catholic Church positions. So let's just halt the Church bashing before we begin, ok?

  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @03:59PM (#33554798) Homepage

    What does the claim that 17% of the population believe in a geocentric earth mean? Even assuming that there's no one in that population that is simply saying that for kicks, it seems probable that a large part are simply answering that way because they don't know anything either way and are just guessing. At some level that's not as bad as having people who actively believe in geocentrism. But at another level, that means that one should expect that around 34% are really ignorant and have of them just got lucky when asked. That's not good. However, I suspect that some of these answers really are just people messing with the polsters or not bothering to thing.

    But one thing to note is that many of the geocentrists are religious. Not only is geocentrism common among Christians but there's a substantial fraction of ultra-Orthodox (charedi) Jews who are affirmatively geocentrist. This is especially common among the chabad chassidim who are often geocentrists because their guru, the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, made pro-geocentrist comments and because they want to preserve the word of Maimonides as inerrant (of course some of these are the same sort of people who refuse kidney transplants because the Talmud says that one kidney is the seat of your good instincts and the other is the seat of your bad instincts. So we're not talking about highly enlightened individuals). There are however, some very disturbing studies by Alexander Nussbaum showing that even among modern Orthodox Jews, anti-science views are disturbingly common. See for example http://www.skeptic.com/the_magazine/featured_articles/v12n03_orthodox_judaism_and_evolution.html [skeptic.com] .

    However, one thing to note is that although the conference in question in the top post is Catholic, affirmative geocentrism is not nearly as uncommon among evangelical Protestants as one would hope. Indeed, it is common enough that Answers in Genesis, one of the world's largest young earth creatonist ministries, feels a need to have essays that talk about why Christians don't need to be geocentrists. http://www.answersingenesis.org/tj/v15/i2/geocentrism.asp [answersingenesis.org] . Incidentally, There's some evidence that anti-Copernican sentiment actually started in Protestants and only spread to Catholics a few years later. Thomas Kuhn discusses this in his excellent book "The Copernican Revolution" although my understanding is that more modern historians disagree with him on this point and many don't think that there is a strong case for anti-Copernicanism as an originally Protestant ideology.

    Finally, note that there are still some flat-earthers out there although they are very rare. They aren't as uncommon in the Islamic world. See for example this segment on Iraqi TV http://haha.nu/interesting/iraqi-tv-debate-is-the-earth-flat/ [haha.nu] . In the West there is still some flat-Earthism but it is often more conspiratorial than religious in nature. See http://www.theflatearthsociety.org/forum/ [theflatearthsociety.org] although some of the people there are trolls, some are quite sincere.

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