Apparently I am a “scumbag” because I exposed some scumbags who believe we are living in “End Times”

Recently I wrote in bemusement about a certain End Times Facebook group. Well, somebody on the group found me out and screenshotted the Facebook share in a comment thread there, and called me a bunch of names, including “smug”, claiming I was taking advantage of suffering people. And one of them commented on the post, calling me a “scumbag”…

So listen up, nutjobs… You might be suffering but that’s on you. You’re not victims. If you so desperately need to believe the world is coming to an end, and you believe that you have “special knowledge” about it, and that everybody else in the world will die, I’m not the scumbag for exposing it. I’m not the smug one and I’m not the one who is arrogant. And it is not a case of schadenfreude, because you are not victims of misfortune, or anything else.

I am laughing at you. You got that right.

Amazingly I’m still in the group. I have been kicked out before, after I responded to photos of clouds that they claimed to show Jesus, with photos of clouds that looked like penises. (Pareidolia, loons.) But they let me right back in. So I will continue to mock them, “troll” them with facts, and share content outside of the group.

(I had another post about echo chambers in mind, but wrote this in response to the idiot’s comment.)

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The fascinating belief in the Nibiru cataclysm conspiracy theory

Have a look at these two screenshots I grabbed last night…

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Besides the fact that these people seem batshit crazy, there are a few things I find fascinating about this…

First, some background info for those who have never heard of the Nibiru cataclysm. (Read that Wikipedia link for the long version.) A man named Zecharia Sitchin left us with some fanciful mistranslations of Sumerian cuneiform (ancient carvings on stone tablets). And when I write “fanciful mistranslations”, what I mean is he couldn’t read the ancient glyphs at all, so he made up his own translations based on what he thought the pictures looked like. And… Tada! Ancient Aliens was born. He wasn’t the only one but let’s stick with him. So ancient mythical gods, the Annunaki, became aliens on a mysterious planet, called Planet X or Nibiru, which, on a 3600 year elliptical orbit, passes very close to us every once in a while and causes all kinds of chaos. Also the aliens were the ones who seeded life on earth, or something like that.

Of course all of that is pure bullshit, and real translations of the Sumerian cuneiform exist and are even indexed online so anyone can read them. (Start here.) No planets or aliens or any of that stuff can be found in the real translations but that doesn’t stop people from believing.

The basic premise of the cataclysmic conspiracy theory is that Nibiru has been on a collision course with us since the 1980’s and this was somehow covered up by [insert shady government or NASA or New World Order here]. And now, it is here, even though it failed to end the world in 2003 and 2012 and other dates. And even though nobody can detect it, and a rogue planet (or sun depending on which variant of the conspiracy you believe) would be easy to detect in the solar system. Note that the Nemesis sun theory, also mentioned in the screenshot comments, is another belief in a hypothetical companion or “twin” to our sun. Some people seem to have conflated the Nibiru and Nemesis conspiracies, so for some it’s a planet, while for others it’s a star, and then there are those who believe in an entire solar system.

Anyway, I became fascinated with the conspiracy back in 2012, and I thought that when the world failed to end, people would stop believing. But they didn’t. Instead, they adjusted their beliefs to explain why they couldn’t see Planet X (like the fake sun claims in the screenshot), or saw “signs” of it in other things. (Just like people who believe in Jesus/God, et al, see signs to confirm what they want to see.)

But there are a couple of interesting things to take out of this:

  1. Fundamentally, this is a conspiracy with a base of racism. White people who refuse to accept that ancient people built amazing structures such as the pyramids (because to them everybody who isn’t white is stupid, inferior, and incompetent), so therefore those structures were built by aliens.
  2. Aliens here is just a synonym for god/magic. It’s the same as any other magical thinking where the unknown gets replaced by a placeholder: God, aliens, magic… all amount to the same thing.

Thus what we have here is the birth of a new religion. It’s not called a religion… not yet. But it’s only a matter of time. Of course that means debating these people is pointless as they have an unfalsifiable hypothesis, just like god/Jesus, et al. But it is interesting to see a new religion forming before our very eyes.

Update: (worth mentioning) This is a right wing conspiracy, in much the same sense as evangelical Christianity is generally right wing or “conservative”. So belief in other conservative conspiracies is common. In other words, these are mostly white people, many are American and Donald Trump supporters, as well as fascists. Other conspiracies like chemtrails, New World Order, Obama “birthers”… are all thrown into the mix. Religion is often regressive, even this new one.

Update two: Confession… I believed in this conspiracy myself overnight some time in 2012. It was, after all, a year before I stopped using methamphetamine. I read about it while I was high on meth and in my paranoia, I believed it at first. The idea of a conspiracy and scientists knowing the truth but hiding it to avoid mass panic didn’t seem so crazy, until I came down. Then I read up about it properly, looking from all angles, but mostly with the hilarious realization that these people had about as much sense as I did while out of my mind on amphetamines…. except they are like that all the time. And thus my interest in conspiratorial belief was born. I was obsessed with it back then as it was something to “tweak” on, and I have remained fascinated, though no longer obsessed, ever since.

My fascination with people who have beliefs that defy reality

I just spent two days sick after getting food poisoning from a chicken, bacon, and cheese burger at Wimpy in Eastgate.  It was not a pleasant experience, especially the first day because apart from the obvious symptoms, my whole body went lame. It was the sickest I’ve ever been (and to be honest I seldom get sick) and I had no idea that food poisoning could be so unpleasant. But it also triggered an odd memory for me, which is why I’m writing this today…

For many years, I’ve been fascinated that there are people who hold beliefs that contradict reality. And I don’t mean Trump supporters or others whose beliefs are clouded by hateful biases and prejudices. I mean people whose beliefs are based on things that are not, were not, and never will be real in this universe. This applies to people who believe in doomsday conspiracies like the Nibiru cataclysm, those who insist the Earth is flat, and those who believe in conspiracy theories. So now I have remembered how my fascination began.

In 1990 to 1991, thanks to being a white male South African who could not decide what to study and an unfortunate law of conscription, I spent a year in the old apartheid army. It’s kind of ironic that this was still the apartheid government, because the only thing that our troops ever had to do was be deployed to protect various people from the AWB, which was a right-wing racist nutjob Afrikaner group that made various threats. I write “our troops” and not myself, because I was a chef in the army. If I wasn’t on duty when the “reaction force” was called for, I faked being on duty or hid away somewhere where they couldn’t find me. Just because I had to be there against my will wasting my time for a year didn’t mean they could make me go out and actually shoot anybody, or lay in some bushes for a whole night waiting for some spineless white dude to make true on his empty threat. (I can handle a rifle though, and I’m not a bad shot. But I haven’t done so for 29 years now and have no interest in ever owning a gun.)

Anyway, I discovered something interesting as an army chef… There was an urban legend about army food containing something that caused temporary male infertility, that was supposedly added to the army food. I’d first heard about it from a teacher in high school. The most common story involved washing powder being added to the food. (Yeah, it’s dumb. I don’t know how that would work either.) There was even a name for the stuff, according to the urban legend. Unfortunately my memory does not include whatever that name was. Something like “blue balls”? I’ll write the rest of this under the assumption that your balls were supposed to turn blue, preventing unwanted pregnancies while you went AWOL and partied with the local Afrikaner girls, who had a thing for idiots in uniform, every night at the local jol.

Needless to say, the urban legend was not based on reality. Food deliveries arrived in the army camp by truck, from wholesalers used by restaurants too, and the food was packed directly into large freezers in the two mess halls of the camp. (But not the third empty mess hall where I hid from reaction force. This was Intelligence school in Potchefstroom, by the way. Strange, it was called “Danie Theron Krygskool” or DTKS but Google is giving me a completely different place when I search on that name.) Then we, the chefs, would remove the frozen meat and vegetables as necessary according to the menus we worked from. The food was good, by the way, with each meal including a meat, a vegetable, and a starch of some sort, plus lunch always came with a dessert and a cool drink while supper included a warm drink such as coffee or hot chocolate. Dessert was a large tray with some kind of instant pudding and canned peaches, or banana and biscuits, or something like that, and more importantly, there was one such tray between 8 chefs, so we got a great deal more dessert than the rest of the troops. Also I could sneak into the mess hall in the middle of the night to make myself toasted bacon and cheese sandwiches (with a whole pack of bacon).

The point is, there was no step along the way where anything to cause temporary male infertility could be added to the food. But do you think that anybody who believed in the conspiracy believed that? Noooooo. No, of course not. It didn’t matter that to those who asked me, I explained how it was impossible for it to be true. It didn’t matter if I showed them the sealed meat directly from the distributors in our freezers, and explained how the cooking worked. In fact, nothing I said mattered. They believed what they believed and that was that. In their eyes I was either a hapless pawn in the process of turning their balls blue and forcing their puny pee shooters to fire blanks, or I was an evil liar, part of the conspiracy, actively ensuring the toxins tainted their tiny testicles.

That was when I learned that those who choose to believe in a conspiracy will continue to believe regardless of any facts presented to them, so it’s been a while… 29 years have not shown me any different. I have never convinced anyone who believes in a conspiracy that they are wrong. It isn’t even worth trying. Don’t debate them – just mock them.

Aside… Imagine a world where men regulated the consequences of the actions of other men and actually tried to prevent unwanted pregnancies… just fucking imagine. This conspiracy about the old SA army is especially dumb. The officers knew that most (I can’t say all because I wasn’t one of them) of the troops went AWOL to local nightclubs every night and had unprotected sex, and instead of doing anything practical about it such as supplying condoms, they created rules to outlaw such activity, and then turned a blind eye to anyone breaking those rules. (I don’t remember anyone being punished for sneaking out of the camp at night. In fact I don’t recall anybody ever being caught. We, the same troops who snuck out at night, also took turns at guard duty.)

I hope you’ve enjoyed these anecdotes brought on by my diarrhoea and may you never have the misfortune of eating bad chicken…

I’m sick of fake news. Aren’t you?

Just a short one today as I don’t have much time but do want to see another post on this new theme. I hope you like it and hope that it’s easier to read on mobile. Changing from the WordPress 2010 theme was long overdue…

Fake news. It’s everywhere now. I can’t scroll through social media without seeing at least one post making a claim that’s not only untrue, but is as far the truth as any claim could ever be, and redefines truth as lies.

Case in point, today I see this article that describes how US president and world renowned idiot Donald Trump is claiming that Jews are carrying out anti-Semitic attacks on themselves in order to make him look bad. Sorry Donnie baby, nobody needs to try making you look bad.

Yes, I’m in Africa. Also yes, this is not the first time I’ve written about Donald Trump here. The man is a menace. His actions and those of his minions affect us all. So to clarify, when I write “fake news”, I am not referring to what he calls fake news. He calls genuine journalism fake news. But outright fabrications by the far right are fine… Tremendous… Huge! As are conspiracy theories. In his tiny brain, false flags are a real thing. And I don’t mean false flags as in wartime operations, but as in conspiracy theories. According to him, climate change caused by humans is not a thing, but childhood vaccines cause autism and Barack Obama is really an alien who was born on the moon. (OK, maybe not the last one, but he does believe Obama was born in Africa.) Here’s a list of some of the bullshit that moron believes in.

The influence of the far right, and far right rhetoric, is here too. I guess it always was – this is the country that’s infamous for bringing the world the word “apartheid”, and racism didn’t disappear here, it just went underground. But it isn’t any more. It’s out in the open thanks to the US president. One can not criticize racists without someone playing the reverse racism or white genocide card; call out misogynists without the anti-feminists crawling out from under their rocks; share memes about punching Nazis without some twat suggesting that people who wave an actual Nazi flag and treat their fellow human beings as subhuman are not actual Nazis. And according to these very stable geniuses, Nazis were really socialists anyway. (Wrong.)

Meanwhile Trump supporters seem to live in their own alternate universe where the man can do no wrong. They laugh at their straw man, conspiracy theorist, and often outright propagandist version of the left, while credulously sharing the real fake news consisting of gushing accolades giving credit to Trump for things that other people achieved.

I truly am sick of it. What a fucking mess it is. Better men than him have been assassinated, you know…

P.S. There is no white genocide in South Africa. Donald Trump believes in that too though. Of fucking course.

Chemtrails version 2 are coming to a city near you!

It has come to my attention that our Reptilian Overlords™ have finally realized the folly of spraying us with their mind-controlling chemicals from 30 000 feet and higher. Oddly, the very persistence of these chemtrails, often touted as evidence that they exist, is one of their key problems. Namely that chemicals sitting up there at 30 000 feet are not being inhaled by anybody. And when they eventually do dissipate and reach the ground in some random place at the whim of the winds, all the chemicals have been broken down anyway. This is indeed an ineffective delivery system.

Fortunately for us, the lizards aren’t as smart as they could be. They haven’t realized that all they need do is modify some ordinary vehicles and attach the chemtrail dispensers to their exhausts, which would totally work. This would remove the need to somehow hide the chemtrail tanks in commercial airplanes and the logistical issues with moving, refilling and maintaining them, and they would also no longer need to compensate for the added weight and the unhappiness of commercial airline executives who are more concerned with the number of passengers they can squeeze into planes because that’s how they make money.

Instead, we proudly present Lizzie the humanoid chembreath dispenser. Lizzie is short for “Lizard”. Clever, eh?

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Image stolen from Facebook meme. Source unknown. You know she is evil because her hair is red.

No longer confined to the implausible 30 000 feet, Lizzie is still bound by the same rules that apply to chemtrail dispensers. So just as their trails can only occur in places where you would find contrails caused by condensation of jet fuel water vapor byproducts in the cold air after burning jet fuel, Lizzies will only appear where water vapor in breath condenses in cold environments. But ground environments. That’s the plus. So these chemicals might actually reach somebody.

Next generation Lizzies will also be able to infiltrate smoking and vaping areas near you. You thought smoking was bad for you? Wait ’til you get exposed to the evil chemicals that control your mind, pushing you to think that you don’t matter and there is nothing you can do to make a difference in this cruel world. Even though you you don’t matter and there is nothing you can do to make a difference in this cruel world anyway. Apparently our Reptilian Overlords™ haven’t figured that out yet either.

Patents don’t mean what you might think they mean

Yesterday somebody tried to convince me that a conspiracy is real, and even though I did not read her whole comment since it was a single long run-on paragraph, I noticed a link to a patent at the end. So, let’s consider what patents are, shall we…

Although patents might originally have been intended to protect the intellectual property of inventors, that’s not what they came to be used for. Patents protect ideas, which may or may not represent inventions or innovations that actually exist.

Let’s say I somehow managed to file a patent for the “electronic distribution of messages which facilitate receiving responses” and got away with it. I could then go to every company that does now or ever did develop any kind of email or messaging system. I could go after Microsoft, Google, Apple, every internet provider, the makers of Slack, even Mxit. I’d claim all of them had violated my patent since their inventions, that they came up with themselves, were my intellectual property (even though I only ever patented the idea and did nothing to implement it). I could sue them for a lot of money. That would make me a patent troll. You can look it up… It’s a real problem and is quite common. In fact, the email example has already been done, but this is why the large corporations buy piles of patents in advance, just in case clever crooks try to exploit them using patents.

In practice, patents only represent ideas. That’s all. Just like the Bible being written does not proves Jesus is god, but rather proves only that the Bible was written, the existence of a patent does not prove that the idea was implemented or even that it makes sense or will ever be implemented. It proves only that somebody filed that patent.

So if somebody filed a patent for the delivery of toxins or vaccines via jumbo jet, what does it mean? It could be a joke. It could be a patent troll, someone who thinks that one day this might be possible, and then he or she can rake in the money when a company tries to implement it and have to pay for the rights to the patent. It could be someone who wants to exploit conspiracy theorists who believe in chemtrails, knowing that they most likely do not understand what patents are. Or it could be a crackpot. You never know and there is really no point in speculating. The existence of a patent is evidence only that the patent exists.

And there are some truly wacko patents out there… Like this one…

Apparatus for facilitating the birth of a child by centrifugal force

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It’s real. Does this mean that there is a conspiracy to strap pregnant women to spinning discs and fling their babies to Satan waiting in the wind?

Mind control isn’t real because nobody cares about you, among other reasons.

Recently there were some comments on this blog (starting here) asserting that mind control is a thing because meth addicts are tuned in to the government frequencies (or something)… Don’t pay attention to the original comment too much as I’m more interested in those by the person who replied to him, who believes in those things even though she knows meth voices are only in her head. (Edit: This post isn’t directed specifically at that commenter. It’s for anyone who believes in mind control and other conspiracies about the “elites”.)

Here’s the thing… The “elites” are not who you think they are. They’re just people born rich. Depressingly, that’s the way it goes these days. The Middle Class is falling away as the cost of living increases. The poor stay poor, most of us are joining them, and the rich get richer because money makes more money. Most of us will never be rich, no matter how hard or how many hours we work. Those exceptions you hold up, like Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey, and Bill Gates… are just exceptions. They got lucky.

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Rich countries are rich because in the past, colonialism was a thing. They stole gold and other resources from poor countries. That’s why the British royal family is rich. That’s why they have those famous jewels; because they stole the minerals from Africa. Almost everybody who is rich, is so because their ancestors ripped off poor people. And almost the only people who will get richer are those who are already rich. With few exceptions, the only time elected officials (who got there because of their background being rich people) care that you exist at all, is when they are making promises pandering to your needs so that you can elect them.

So, if you believe in mind control by the elites, I have to ask… What would be the point?

They don’t need to control you. You are not an issue. Your circumstances, the circumstances of your birth, already put you in your place. You don’t matter. This applies to ordinary people, almost all of them. I’m not even considering the tweakers who may or may not think the voices and other sounds in their heads are real.

Why in the sweet fuck would anyone care what a tweaker does? Whether you’re tweaking on making a plan to get your next hit, or making the perfect case for your meth pipe, or finding the perfect hidey hole for packets of meth in your car, or rearranging your fucking socks, nobody gives a fuck about you. What would be the purpose of controlling you? To see how long it takes on average for tweakers to hide under the bed? Get a fucking grip.

I can see how conspiracy theories like the ones about chemtrails and other mind control conspiracies might be comforting. If the conspiracy were true, it would make you important. If someone were calling the shots and controlling you, even if that someone was evil incarnate, it would mean someone cared that you exist. It would mean that you matter. But you don’t. At least, not to those so-called elites. They’re just rich people, and they’re doing whatever rich people do, without even the shortest fleeting thought about people like you and me. So pull your head out of your ass and get on with life in the real world. Focus on what is real and what does matter, not your conspiratorial fantasies.

Coincidences happen more often than you think

Another short post due to lack of time. Today I was reminded of how often coincidences can occur. I’ll write about my coincidence later, but first, here’s some interesting related reading…

  1. Dr Steven Novella on anomaly hunting.
  2. Cherry-picking similarities between the deaths of John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln.

So it seems that a common thread in conspiracy theory culture is to search for anomalies, where anomalies may be things that seem out of place, or coincidences which seem to be too good to be true. As can be seen when you read Dr Novella’s articles (He has written several on that subject – I only linked one), such things happen all the time. If you look at any event or situation too closely, you’ll find those “inexplicable” coincidences. They don’t really mean anything, but they help somebody who already wants to form a narrative in which the event is untrue, to begin to piece together their conspiracy.

Examples of conspiracies are the Sandy Hook school shooting conspiracy and of course the 9/11 conspiracies. For reasons unknown, some people want to believe in conspiracies rather than believe that certain tragic events have really happened. And all they need to do is look at anything they don’t want to believe closely enough, and they will find anomalies… little things that on close inspection seem out of place, which can then be used to question the truth. (But of course they’re always wrong.)

Now onto my own strange coincidence: I went for a smoke break at work today. When I returned, as I got to my computer, the screen went blank. So the time I was away from my desk was exactly enough time for the computer to enter stand-by mode as I returned and looked at the screen again. Furthermore, this has happened often in the last two years. It must have happened about ten times. What are the chances of that? Isn’t it astounding that at that exact moment when I returned, the screen went blank? And this has happened several times. I mean, if I were even one second sooner, the screen would not go blank at all; whereas if I were even one second later, the screen would already be blank and I would not see the transition. For me to arrive at that moment must mean something, right?

To put it into perspective… Going for a smoke break involves the following:

  1. Get up from my chair and walk a few paces out the room. Push button to open the office gate.
  2. Walk out of the office, to the elevators.
  3. Push the down button and wait for an elevator. There are six; often two are faulty, and often the ones that stop are full, so I have to wait for another. Worst of all, sometimes the elevators go right past this floor, even though I pressed the button. It can be highly annoying. So the duration I wait is random.
  4. Swipe my tag, walk out of the offices section and into the shopping mall, then make my way to the closest exit.
  5. Find a place to stand and smoke.
  6. In the time I’ve worked there, I’ve got to know a few other smokers, so I might chat to somebody I know, or I might not. That’s quite random as well. So I don’t always take exactly the same time to smoke.
  7. Walk back inside, make my way to the office block, swipe my tag.
  8. Push the up button and wait for an elevator to go back up. Again, this is random. And it’s even worse than going down. There are eighteen floors, and there may be several other people waiting on the ground floor.
  9. Sometimes I stop off at the toilets, which are situated beside the elevators on each floor; sometimes I don’t.
  10. Walk back to the office. If the lady who works in the front is there, she pushes the button to let me in; otherwise I must get my keys and let myself in. The gate’s lock is faulty… sometimes it unlocks but remains closed – then I have to take the key out and put it back in, wiggle the lock and try again. So this time is also random.
  11. Walk in, and walk to my desk in the next office.

And despite all the random lengths of time, somehow it has worked out many times that my computer enters standby as I look at it. Isn’t that bizarre?

Of course, it isn’t really bizarre at all. It’s rather mundane. The simple truth is, I don’t normally take note of the state of my computer when I return to my desk. I couldn’t tell you if it is normally in stand-by or not. But I do notice when the screen goes blank as I look at it, because the transition itself is something noticeable. Maybe it is normally still on; maybe it isn’t. I don’t know. I have about four smoke breaks every day at work, five days a week, so it isn’t unusual that all those random lengths of time work out to be roughly equal often enough anyway, on those rare occasions that I took exactly long enough to see the moment of the blank screen transition. But the truth is, as amazing as the coincidence might seem to me, the fact that I don’t normally notice the state of the screen when I sit down makes everything in the numbered list above, and most of this paragraph, irrelevant. I included all that as a red herring and because the building of a narrative is the way human memory works. That moment when I sat down and saw the transition, my brain constructed a narrative where the coincidence was given more significance than it warranted. So this was really a meaningless coincidence.

We all have those kinds of coincidences all the time, and if we are so inclined, we might impose meaning on them. What matters here is that the meaning, attached to coincidences that have no meaning at all, is imposed. We put it there because our brains have evolved to find patterns and that has been a survival advantage for millions of years. What that meaning might be varies… You might see a conspiracy of some sort, or it might seem that the stars are aligned just right to indicate that the decision you were unsure of should be made after all, or maybe you believe that you have seen signs from god. So a reborn Christian who says that God speaks to him isn’t necessarily out of his mind. He may be that type of person who finds patterns where none exist, and because of his faith that God will speak to him, when he finds meaning in the meaningless, the little coincidences and “anomalies” in his life amount to messages from god.

So the next time you experience a bizarre and inexplicable coincidence, think a little deeper, approach the issue with some scepticism, and maybe you will realize that it isn’t so bizarre or inexplicable after all.

Conspiracy theorist sees end times warning in Justin Bieber video

There’s nothing left for me to say. Just listen to this madman make connection after connection as he watches a video that included random submitted fan art. It created the perfect medium for someone looking for meaning in the meaningless to find it as he watches the video frame by frame. How fascinating is the human mind, that it can come up with such nonsense?

Welcome to the flat and hollow Earth

It’s time for a nightly giggle. Check out the best comedy on YouTube, which also serves as a fine working example of Dunning-Kruger in action.

 

This poor fool, let’s call him Captain Oblivious, has an educational video that proves (in his miniscule mind) that man never went to the moon. You’ve just got to love the way he takes shit so far out of context it could almost make sense, at least after some serious drinking and drugging… Actually nope. Sorry. I never did manage to get that high. Some people just aren’t meant to go full retard.

Also, he believes that the Earth is flat. (And satellites are a hoax!) Since it has been documented that people can believe in conspiracies that contradict one another (called cognitive dissonance and it’s more common than you think and not confined to conspiracy theories; for example addiction is a disease that you treat spiritually; God is an unfalsifiable entity that exists outside of the physical, yet He created it), I was unable to resist commenting, and asked if he believes in both the flat and hollow Earth.