November 3, 2018
There are a lot of crazy ideas out there in the world, and let’s face it: we’re a generally crazy species.
Why do we even have money? Why do we need money? Sure, there are practical reasons for money, but why can’t our species just accept trade and only take just what we need? Does this seem all ‘pie in the sky’ to you? Yes, some people lie, cheat, steal, and try to take and acquire as much as they can in a vain quest to possess and control as much of the universe as they can. Some call this greedy while others say it’s just being practical.
In this crazy world there are a lot of crazy ideas and one of them is that the world is flat. A few videos on Youtube caught my eye and I had about an hour to spare so I watched them. Hilarious!
Now, I know it seems an easy task to shoot down flat earthers and show their idealogy exactly for what it is. However, how do you know the world isn’t flat? For that matter, can you prove the world is round? Many people are afraid of science and are content to accept the world is round, but how do they really know? This question extends to other areas of pseudoscience and conspiracies. What about climate change? What about spending money preparing to destroy asteroids that might collide with the Earth?
So, first off, ignore the common sense stuff that a potential conspiracy theorist is saying. They’ve usually gone to a lot of hard work ensuring that the simple aspects of their hypothesis actually matches the facts. If they haven’t, then they’re crazy and you’re never going to have a rational discussion with them. All you can really do is ask them to watch this Weird Al video and then run.
If something seems like a crackpot idea take a look at the extreme example of it. For example, flat earthers have so-called maps of their flat Earth such as are found on this website.
A quick look reveals that the northern hemisphere isn’t really that different from the northern hemisphere on a globe. So, as crazy as the idea sounds nothing really jumps out at you as proof their hypothesis is wrong.
However, take a look at Antarctica. See how it rings the world? We have some problems there, things that just don’t match up with actual eyewitness testimony and facts.
First, people have walked across Antarctica. Sure, they haven’t crossed it at its widest – they’re not crazy, but they have crossed that continent. How in the world did they do that in the reported time if the flat earthers are correct? There is no way any of them could have. So, either the eyewitnesses are lying or mistaken or the flat earthers are wrong.
Second, both poles experience a midnight sun in their summer, and a twenty-four hour night in their winter. If the Earth is a globe then this is easily explained. The planet is tilted toward or away from the sun and gets either the full day of sunshine in the summer or the full day of no sun in the winter. In fact, the globe hypothesis fits the observations at both poles exactly.
Not so for a flat Earth. Yes, the flat earthers discuss the angle between the sun and the horizon and some notion that the sun becomes invisible or appears to pass below the horizon when it really doesn’t, but how do you explain not being able to get twenty-four hours or sunlight at the south pole in the southern summer?
You see, flat earthers believe the sun travels in a circle, roughly over the equator, at a height of perhaps 4 800 kilometres. So if you’re on a flat Earth near the south pole the sun can never provide twenty-four hours of daylight, ever. This doesn’t match observations, so what’s going on?
The simple answer is the flat Earth hypothesis is wrong. Done.
Perhaps I’ll examine another conspiracy theory in my next blog.
If you wish any further discussion on flat Earth beliefs and their critiques, feel free to search the internet. There’s a lot there…some of it downright insane.