Similarities Between Flat Earthers and Gamblers*

* In the course of this article, a gambler is someone who guesses outcomes without recourse to probability theory. This can include beginner traders with bad models or experienced traders with broken models or who have experienced a bad run and who are pushing the boundaries of their models into negative expectation territory in an attempt to claw back losses. An investor is not a gambler and is one who wisely risks their wealth (based on the laws of probability) with positive expectation.

I have written all there is possible to write about sports trading and betting. To my knowledge the laws of probability have not changed. How sports trading video makers manage to make new videos week after week, year after year, I don't know. The video makers must have a need to be omnipresent. I don't. These days, I busy myself with other matters. I rarely watch television but I enjoy watching YouTube. In particular, videos on electronics and vegetable gardening (I like cooking and supermarket produce is always below standard). 

As a child and long before home computing started, I would often read my father's electronics magazines. It wasn't until the late 1970s that kit computers started to be seen in electronics magazines and then pre-assembled computers such as the ZX80 were advertised. My first computer was a ZX81, which eventually led to a degree in computing and a career in the financial markets.

Whilst watching YouTube I have seen the rise of the Flat Earther, a singular waste of a human life. For the lazy minded, the Flat Earth scam is easy to take onboard. No need to learn anything, just watch a video, believe it and there you are, a convert to a modern day religion. Nature loves a vacuum.

A large money making industry has sprung up to cater for the hard of thinking Flat Earther. Sometimes, I will try to engage with a Flat Earther in debate but you may as well be spitting into the wind. The Flat Earther has an answer (in the form of a YouTube video) for everything but that does not make them right.

A Flat Earther has to suspend all belief, except the belief that the Earth is flat. Flat Earthers must disbelieve in scientific laws to make the Earth flat. A dangerous activity because science is based on a foundation of knowledge. One scientific law either leads to or proves another scientific law. Eventually, all of science has to be disbelieved. Why not all the technology that follows from scientific laws that is used to disseminate the Flat Earth scam? No more visits to the hospital to take advantage of scientific knowledge there?

Flat Earthers come in a variety of forms. There are jokers who enjoy annoying scientists or who like to convince people that the Earth is flat and then laugh at them behind their backs. For certain groups of religious people, their book of dogma is the be-all and end-all of knowledge. Then comes the debilitated; those of low intellect, those with mental difficulties, those with traumatic experiences, the depressed and lonely. For this group the Flat Earth offers a club where they can continue not getting help for whatever ails them and feel they are still in control of their lives. Finally, there are the scammers who are more than willing to take money off anyone who will pay for their books, videos and conferences.

Does this all sound familiar? Where else do we see people who suspend their beliefs, who ignore scientific (and mathematical) laws and convince themselves that they are right when all the evidence says they are wrong? People for whom the laws of probability do not apply. A sphere of activity where there are those on YouTube showing  a never-ending stream of videos offering an easy path to the church of untold wealth. There is a lot in common between a Flat Earther and a gambler.