Thusfar, I have only heard people interested in the subjects of our "world" (which I am defining as the physical continents, physical oceans, physical atmosphere, observable sky and observable heavenly/cosmic objects) within the context of two major parties:
Group 1. Those who accept NASA's model for our world (solidified from hot gases, Earth formed a ball, is presently spinning at a tilt and orbiting around the sun, in the arm of the Sagittarius Brown Dwarf galaxy as it's absorbed by the larger Milky Way galaxy, in turn being absorbed by the Andromeda galaxy, in a universe of galaxies amongst a family of other dimensions that only can effect us in extreme realms of outer space — such as the event horizon of black holes — and which human beings are now exploring the vast expanse of using specially designed crafts and devices that are capable of mostly floating and/or flying safely there).
Group 2. Those who (for a variety of reasons) question any aspect of NASA's model.
My intent in addressing Simon's concern about everyone — which is a concern that encompasses potential allies in both Group 1 and Group 2 — is to actually refute the notion that we do not benefit from discussions of Group 2 when those discussions focus on Flat Earth.
Instead, I would propose the strategy of the zealots and followers of Group 1 is to mischaracterize the entirety of Group 2 as a single type who believe in a particularly designed, as-yet-unnamed and particularly weak argumentation which describes itself as a Flat Earth Theory, but which is, in fact, a cheap and pacifying rhetoric. In other words, it is akin to a playground bully who declares a child outside of its gang a special species of weakling in order to target them and make them feel the need to embarrass themselves with an emotional reaction or join the gang. Group 1 is bullying Group 2 by claiming Group 2 associates with weak arguments, in order to provoke. Simon (and others) may be falling for the bait if they retort by saying, "I am not a weakling Flat Earther!" endorsing Group 1's strategy to associate weaklings with alternative world shape theories in one fell swoop.
As Xious pointed out recently, the stronger position can be one which hardly even responds to such jockeying. I disagreed with the particular case of the rocket question, which I think I had the right to say seemed laughably absurd to me. However, in the case of a "Flat Earth" DBA strategy, I would agree with Xious. In fact, we shouldn't even accept that the DBA strategy has anything to do with real Flat Earth studies whatsoever.
Without curmudgeonly comments from passersby with no real interest in those excited by curiosity and discovery, and which actually can match the tone of NASA's dismissals of intelligent questions, let us identify what the DBA strategy of Group 1 (and even some minor aspects of Group 2, which match Group 1's extremism) really is.
My first question to attempt to answer this would be:
Q. What do the most embarrassingly bad "Flat Earth videos" resemble most closely, in terms of other derailments of controversial topics?
A. My answer is that the videos that begin with an evil conspiracy as the very premise and prima facie bias of the whole theory, and which also combine arbitrary uninvestigated beliefs in the authorities that they are also claiming are the most untrustworthy, are extremely problematic.
In fact, such types of arguments demonstrate a complete dismissal of the main, largely unspoken philosophies of CluesForum, as I have observed them to be. Though, naturally, since we are so amorphous and I may not be able to pin down how everyone feels, here're what I think the public might largely feel those are, when they appreciate what we do:
Yin. Who to trust and who not to trust is an ongoing responsibility and power of the individual — and there isn't an easy way to dismiss this problem unless you simply become an adherent to a dogma, which we generally do not tolerate due to our strong individualism.
Yang. That ongoing responsibility and power greatly involves the personal effort of each individual towards compassionate and thoughtful investigations in the interest of the whole population of the world — including all peoples and all species and all forms of life.
An antagonism toward these values is clearly demonstrated when one philosophy is pitted against the other rather than being taken as a part of the whole. For example, when there is discussion about a primary evil in someone's life (such as the U.N. or The Jews or The Jesuits or a particular Government/State, etc.) which becomes the basis for the public investigation. This means that it robs the individual of their power and their responsibility to conduct their own investigations into who to trust or who not to trust. This often spirals into a lazy form of investigation due to the loneliness of focusing on personal enemies. It leads to paranoia and conspiracy theories. The other imbalance that triggers my warning flags is when someone's interest in a subject overtakes all personal sense of trust or mistrust. When one is too eager for fast friends in a subject just to gain information and support, they will seek their own TOE (Theory of Everything) and descend into networks and gangs that have nothing to do with the value of treasuring our safety and health. Hence, it might be described as the opposite of a conspiracy theory — a religious fervor.
"Flat Earth" is just a theory. That is all it is, with its merits and numerous problems, just as all TOE have. Just as "Ball Earth" theories and "Concave" and "Geocentric" theories or theories which combine aspects of different theories have.
Therefore, the DBA strategy — to me — is not a "Flat Earth" DBA but a "Conspiracy Theorist" DBA and "Dogma" DBA.
We are meant to be divided against ourselves — unwilling to investigate subjects on the one hand, but contrarily too eager to push our own TOE on the other. This will be characterized by people coming into our forum promoting our own beliefs with poor information and poor reasoning. It will be characterized by an intolerance for and dismissal of questions that we, ourselves, happily subjected other theories to.
If we are going to ban discussion of certain topics to avoid this problem, as brianv and nonhocapito sagely advised, we should do that. If we are, however, going to avoid this problem by pushing forth with the CluesForum tool into the deep subjects of world theories, let us not be hypocritical and demand of ourselves a TOE that condemns us to the pyrrhic victories of dogma.
If we ban the subjects which Simon finds distasteful, I am alright with taking my explorations of these topics elsewhere and continuing moderation of other topics here at CluesForum. However, if these conditions apply, we should also hope that Simon doesn't insist his model is the ultimate model which is not subject to questions whereas other models are. (And of course, we must, if we are still sane, entertain the idea that Simon's model will not be perfect, will have as many unanswered questions as the old one — if not more — and that its strength will largely rest on the power of the public to gain its own ability and willingness to conduct investigations and confirm the observations he makes.)
If we are confident, however, that other models will be accepted should they prove compelling to the reader, and fair questions can be thrown at all strong models (without their complete collapse by showing an inability to admit unknowns), I would be happy to dive into the true "Flat Earth" discussion as I see it, and not the one that has been set up for us with the "Conspiracy Theory" and "Dogma" DBA strategies.
To be short, my second (less rhetorical) question is: would it be alright with everyone if I posted my thoughts on points from various world theories in a separate thread under our own "Apollo, and more space hoaxes" forum, such as the "Our Universe that isn't" topic — or should we stay away from it and thereby also avoid Simon's insights with his latest model — or something else?