Wednesday, November 10, 2010

#96: John Davis

Brace yourself for the utterly unhinged: John Davis, originally Canadian, is a Tennessee-based flat earth, well, scientist. Yup. John Davis believes the earth is flat, and complains that "[p]eople are definitely prejudiced against flat-earthers". Poor John. You can read an interview with him here.

Of course, flat earth is the ultimate conspiracy theory (it obviously entails the moon-landing conspiracy theory as well), which can be seen from this exchange from the FAQ on their website:

Q: "Why do the all the world Governments say the Earth is round?"
A: It's a conspiracy
Q: "What about NASA? Don't they have photos to prove that the Earth is round?"
A: NASA is part of the conspiracy too. The photos are faked.
Q: "What is the motive behind this conspiracy?"
A: The motive is unknown although it is probably money
Q: "If you're not sure about the motive, why do you say there is a conspiracy?"
A: Well it's quite simple really; if the earth is in fact flat, then the governments must be lying when they say it isn't.
Q: "How are the world governments organized enough to carry out this conspiracy?"
A: They only appear to be disorganized to make the conspiracy seem implausible.
Q: Why hasn't this site been shut down by the government?
A: Doing so would prove that the government is hiding something.
Q: "What's underneath the Earth?" aka "What's on the bottom?" aka "What's on the other side?"
A: This is unknown. Some believe it to be just rocks, others believe the Earth rests on the back of four elephants and a turtle.

This has “Poe” written all over it, but it is apparently genuine.

"I came to realize how much we take at face value," Davis says. "We humans seem to be pleased with just accepting what we are told, no matter how much it goes against our senses." In other words: wishful thinking and intuition triumphs scientific evidence and authority, and that, according to Davis, is a principle of good reasoning.

Davis currently believes "the Earth is flat and horizontally infinite - it stretches horizontally forever. And it is at least 9,000 kilometres deep". Thus, there is apparently some scientific disagreement within the society, insofar as fellow flat-earther James McIntyre (who will have his own entry) believes it is disc-shaped and 24,900 km in diameter. I am sure the discussion is backed up by carefully conducted experiments and meticulously obtained data. The disagreement is touched on here.

Diagnosis: Unnecessary; Davis is totally lost. He’s probably perfectly harmless, however.

(ed. note - I don't know if that image is actually of John Davis. I couldn't find any other images, and he uses that one as a profile photo, so it will have to be good enough for our purposes here, at least for the time being.)

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