Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Earth is NOT Flat

The Earth Seen From Apollo 17

The photo of Earth taken from Apollo 17 should suffice to prove that the Earth is indeed round. Alas, NASA is a fraud and so we simply can't trust anything they say or any photos they create.

Do we need NASA to tell us that the world is round? After all, Pythagoras looked up at the moon and realized that if it was round, the Earth was probably round as well. Aristotle, gives us a more scientific reason for why the Earth is round.
The evidence of the senses further corroborates this. How else would eclipses of the moon show segments shaped as we see them? As it is, the shapes which the moon itself each month shows are of every kind -- straight, gibbous, and concave -- but in eclipses the outline is always curved: and, since it is the interposition of the earth that makes the eclipse, the form of this line will be caused by the form of the earth's surface, which is therefore spherical.

Again, our observations of the stars make it evident, not only that the earth is circular, but that it is a circle of no great size. For quite a small change of position to south or north causes a manifest alteration of the horizon. There is much change, I mean, in the stars which are overhead, and the stars seen are different, as one moves northward or southward. Indeed there are some stars seen in Egypt and in the neighborhood of Cyprus which are not seen in the northerly regions; and stars, which in the north are never beyond range of observation, in those regions rise and set.

All of which goes to show not only that the earth is circular in shape, but also that it is a sphere of no great size: for otherwise the effect of so slight a change of place would not be so quickly apparent. Hence one should not be too sure of the incredibility of the view of those who conceive that there is continuity between the parts about the pillars of Hercules and the parts about India, and that in this way the ocean is one.
Maybe NASA just paid them off using their fully-functioning time machine.

All teasing aside, I find this resurgence of the Flat Earth movement particularly concerning for a number of reasons. The first and most obvious, is the simple fact that it isn't true.

An Extension of the Geocentric Movement

The Flat Earth movement is, more or less, centered around Evangelical circles--though not exclusively. But, prior to the resurgence of the Flat Earthers came the idea that the Bible is correct, and that the Earth is really the center of the universe.

The geocentric movement doesn't go as far as the Flat Earth movement though. But, some of the results the Flat Earthers use come from, or are drawn from, the "scientific work" done in the geocentric movement.

As a "scientific theory," modern geocentrism is an extension of creationism and Intelligent Design. I think we're starting to see a pattern here. However, if you expect to see me lay the full brunt of the blame at the feet of Abrahamic Fundamentalists, I'm about to disappoint you.

A Reaction Against Arrogance and Lies

This might be as big a problem as Biblical literalism.

It's safe to say that at least part of the people who buy into the Flat Earth movement do so by way of the conspiracy movement. I don't want to get off track here, but most people don't become conspiracy theorists because they think reptilians secretly rule the world. They do become conspiracy theorists because the start to recognize lies passed off as truth--WMDs as a pretext for invading Iraq.

While lies take people into the movement, arrogance fuels the fire. If there's middle ground to be found, this is where it exists. The public's skepticism against the scientific community is growing by the day, and it's stuff like this, combined with a generally arrogant attitude from the pop-science community that allows lies like the Flat Earth movement to perpetuate.


No the Earth isn't flat, immovable, and in the center of the universe--this is actually pretty easy to prove (see above). But right now science is losing the culture war, and in the case of "My Sex Junk" seems to be flailing to keep its head above water.

No real solution will come from any blog post. The best we can do on a blog is point out the problems, and get the discussion moving forward.

I'm a strong supporter of mathematics and science education, and see both as crucial elements for our future success. Which is why I'm writing A Brighter Future: Fixing Math & Science Education in America.