Tuesday, April 12, 2016



I have a Face Book friend who posted that he has decided that the Flat Earth theory is correct. I could say everyone is entitled to believe whatever they choose. But that would be the lazy man’s answer. Here is my answer to him:

I will defend your right to listen to arguments and decide for yourself. However, I’ve gone to the link you posted and watched the videos and listened to the arguments and, in my opinion, they are all based on ignoring a lot of facts and believing that for some reason, there is a global conspiracy to make people believe the earth is an oblate spheroid. But I will refrain from saying what most scientists might say about the videos. A blunt astrophysicist will tell you that all of the 200 arguments are completely bogus and call them “pseudoscience”, and call those who peddle them stupid, or at the very best, delusional and misguided. Yes, some NASA photos are re-touched, but not for the reasons implied by the video maker, i.e. to hide the supposed ‘fact’ that the earth is flat.

As an aside, I think the name ‘pseudoscience’ is misused by many people claiming to be scientists. Scientists do not know everything. Science is always incomplete. See my post on the incompleteness theorems proved by Gӧdel. So calling an idea ‘pseudoscience’ just because it doesn’t fit the current model is a sure sign that the name-caller doesn’t really understand science. On the other hand, some ideas are easily disproved. Those can legitimately be called pseudoscience. The flat-earth theory is one of those.

My friend asserted that there is no evidence of a curved horizon even at 100,000 feet altitude. 100,000 feet sounds like a long way up, but it's only seven one-hundredths of one percent of the circumference of the earth. The curvature of the horizon is very small, virtually indiscernible at that distance above the earth. 100,000 feet is less than 20 miles. Compare that with the distance from New York to San Francisco. It is about seven-tenths of one percent of that distance. At 100,000 feet you can't see both SF and NY at the same time because of the curvature of the earth, even though the horizon appears flat.

I’ve flown polar routes personally, and I can tell you that direct observations absolutely refute the flat earth theory. I could point out the fallacies in most of the 200 arguments, but my time is valuable so I’ll just prove to you in a direct manner that the earth is approximately spherical:

1. Standing on our eastern shoreline at sunrise, the sun appears to come up out of the Atlantic Ocean, but we know England, Ireland and Europe are on the other side. If the earth were flat, how do you explain this?

2. Sunrise tomorrow, April 13, 2016, in New York City is at 6:20 AM. Sunrise tomorrow in Denver Colorado is exactly 2 hours and 5 minutes later. The elevation of New York City is only a few feet above sea level. Denver is about one mile (5,280 feet) above sea level. That’s why it is known as the ‘mile-high city’. The highest mountain between Denver and New York is the highest point in the Allegheny Mountains, Spruce Knob at 4,863 feet above sea level. If the earth is flat, on a clear day, people in Denver would be able to see the sun come up east of New York City, as the New Yorkers see it, not 2 hours later. Even accounting for haze, someone on Lookout Mountain, just west of Denver at 7,377 feet above sea level would see the sunrise over the Atlantic at the same time it is seen in New York.

You can check this out for yourself: Ask someone in New York, and someone in Denver to call you when the sun comes up tomorrow morning. If you are in Oklahoma, you’ll get the call from your friend in New York about 40 minutes before you see the sun, and you’ll get the call from Denver about 35 minutes after you see the sun rise. Based on the difference in sunrise times, and the distance in miles between New York and Denver, you can calculate the curvature of the surface of the earth, and from that its circumference, proving that the surface of the earth is curved, and refuting the flat earth theory for yourself.

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