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.

1 comment:

  1. It's nice to see a mature response to this 'worldview' question. I've noticed that when I 'believe' something it often blinds me to the other point of view. So it's nice to see open-minded debate. When we first hear of the flat earth idea, it sounds utterly ridiculous. But if we start sifting through the model, you can start to see why some think it is possible. One weak argument is that you can't feel spin or acceleration. We don't feel that on a plane when it's cruising along with no turbulence either! And a plane is just a little bigger than we are! The mass of earth is SO large, and we are SO small compared to it. So I don't even take that as evidence. It looks flat, even from a jet? Again, the earth is so large, and curvature is minimal from our tiny perspective. The sun's rays seem to triangle outward instead of coming in parallel? OK then, follow those rays to the point; how far up is that? Not 3000 miles, as FE-ers say. I think the atmosphere disperses them, and it's a matter of perspective. Also, the sun doesn't shrink at sunset or sunrise as it would in a flat model, showing the sun's route. Its size remains the same all day, and I don't see how that can work on a flat plane. Strongest arguments? The flight paths... esp in the southern hemisphere. I admit that's odd. The flat earth map makes those flights look more direct. And the NASA photos of earth, admittedly photo-shopped, and looking various sizes from the moon... even continents changing size. And ISS live feeds. One time I watched them and they stayed in sunlight over an hour. I thought they circled the earth in about 90 mins? So wouldn't they only be in sunlight for 45 mins? Maybe I'm ignorant about that, idk. Honestly, I can't imagine that a bunch of astronauts are in on a MASSIVE lie... how could they ALL keep it a secret? But even if they aren't honest, even if they never made it to the moon, that doesn't mean they're lying about the shape of the earth. Maybe they just can't get past lower earth orbit. But Russia, China, all the other countries lying too? No whistle-blowers? So, here's my strongest evidence for a globe: the stars rotate counter-clockwise from the northern hemisphere, and clockwise from the southern hemisphere. That, to me, is the smoking gun. Along with the earth's curved shadow appearing on the moon during a lunar eclipse. And I love that you mentioned the 'mile high city' Denver... great point! Can Colorado Springs see the city in the sky from 70 miles away? Hmm... Well, this is something only a few really want to think about, because if the flat earth is true, it's a paradigm shift that could cause psychosis... because we'd be facing a new reality about our very existence, not to mention the anger of betrayal by those who hid the truth from so many for so long. It's a collective punch in the gut somewhere between The Truman Show and The Matrix. It's no small matter, and I don't blame those who want to bury their head in the sand and not research it. The blue pill might just be the better choice for some. Hopefully, the Space Elevator or Virgin Galactic will bring space tourism to us (or the younger generations to come) -and finally, seeing will be believing.