Tag Archives: flat earth

Flat-earthers apparently believe in climate change — and nothing makes sense anymore

Here’s one thing that I never thought I’d be writing in 2018: the Flat Earth Society believes in climate change. “Certainly,” the group tweeted when quizzed about their thoughts on the matter. “It would be nothing short of irresponsible to question something with so much overwhelming evidence behind it.” Honestly, I’m not sure what to make of this. Let’s dig into it.

In case you have no idea what I’m talking about — first of all, I envy you. But on a more serious note, in recent years, the idea that the Earth is flat has gotten more and more popular. Yes, the belief is that our planet is actually flat and there’s one giant conspiracy to keep it a secret. Magellan is in on it, NASA’s in on it, and every piece of evidence that shows our planet from above is forged. They even have a society — you’ve guessed it, the Flat Earth Society.

The society is quite active on social media, and they also had a curious reply recently, telling Elon Musk that “Unlike the Earth, Mars has been observed to be round.” It’s a bit of a rollercoaster, but it seems that the Flat Earth Society believes Mars (and presumably, all the other planets) to be round — but the Earth is flat.

Well, to make things even more interesting, apparently they also agree that climate change is happening and that it’s a critical issue.

Why is this surprising? Well, if you have a chronic disbelief in scientists, you’d expect them to also doubt other scientific findings, like climate change. Also, people who tend to believe the Earth is flat are much more prone to other conspiracy theories, like climate change denial.

But this isn’t really as surprising as you might think. Conspiracy theorists will often contradict each other as well as themselves — being quite likely to get trapped in a state of cognitive dissonance. Furthermore, investing into a particular way of thinking requires significant investment in both time and energy. This means that once a conspiracy theorist has made up his mind, it can be extremely difficult to change those beliefs. This could also mean that it simply takes too much effort to get involved in more than one at a time.

But at the end of the day, we can only be happy flat Earthers are not climate change deniers. There are too many deniers in the world as it is, and, as ScienceAlert’s Daniel Nield points out, too many of them are in positions of power. So let’s welcome them to the world of evidence-based science! Let’s hope they enjoy their stay, and dedicate more of their efforts to understanding the science of our planet.

Astronauts put flat-earth rapper B.o.B. back in his place

As rapper B.o.B. continues to raise money to prove the Earth is flat, astronauts roast him on Twitter, telling him to save his money or even better — donate it to a noble cause.

The belief that the Earth is flat pretty much went extinct when we sent astronauts to space, and they returned with photos. But now, after all this time, it’s making an unlikely return. Credits: NASA.

In case you’re out of the loop on this one, last week we reported the hilarious and yet depressing campaign started by rapper B.o.B. Like disturbingly many people, he believes the Earth is flat and the entire world is in on a conspiracy to hide it. Yes, science illiteracy really is running rampant. But B.o.B. wants to take it to the next level. Not with his own money, of course, but with other people’s money. He started a GoFundMe campaign to send “one, if not multiple, satellites as far into orbit as [he] can” in order to “find the curve.” As in the curve of the planet, which he doesn’t believe exists, because he believes the Earth is flat. Somehow, that’s supposed to make sense.

NASA astronauts, of course, are having none of it. As one of the very few people who has actually seen the Earth from orbit, Terry Virts (who boarded the International Space Station as commander of Expedition 43) stepped in. If the Earth would be flat, Terry’s definitely one of the people you’d want to ask.

Next in line was the legendary Buzz Aldrin, one of the first two people to walk on the Moon (spoiler alert: the Moon also isn’t flat).

But the cherry on the cake was definitely this reply from recently retired Scott Kelly, who spent a year above Earth. Not only did he post a beautiful timelapse highlighting the Earth’s curve (real planets have curves), but he struck back at B.o.B., asking him to put his money to better use — like helping the people of Puerto Rico, who are struggling to recover after one of the most dramatic hurricanes in recorded history.

However, B.o.B. was unphased by all this. In passive-aggressive fashion, he wrote:

“People usually discourage you from doing something when they have something to hide.”

Let’s step back for a moment and contemplate the sheer insanity of all this. We’re talking about people trying to prove the Earth is flat. In 2017. The Spanish Inquisition was saying the same thing 500 years ago and burned people who said otherwise. Thankfully, that isn’t the case anymore, but the fact that we’re still discussing this is embarrassing. But let’s try to take something from this, because there’s an important bit to be learned here.

Within this crazy affair lies the key to knowing if your belief is a pseudoscience. If your belief would imply that the world’s researchers and experts are in on a big conspiracy theory, then it’s almost certainly pseudoscience. Simple as that.

Rapper B.o.B. wants people to give him $1 million so he can prove the Earth is flat

If you’ve been following some of our previous stories, you know that there’s a growing number of people who think that the Earth is flat. Not as a joke or as a protest, they seriously refute a mountain of evidence (as well as common sense) and believe the Earth is flat. There are some prominent personalities among them, including the likes of Shaquille O’Neal and rapper B.o.B. Now, the latter started a GoFundMe campaign to send a satellite to space and see whether the Earth is flat.

Image: GoFundMe, via QZ.

Now, I know what you’re thinking — “That’s stupid! We’ve already sent satellites.” Or at least that’s what you should be thinking. Well, like most flat-earthers, B.o.B. thinks there’s a massive, global conspiracy, which faked all the photos to make it look like the Earth is round because… reasons. So he wants to see for himself.

“I would like to send one, if not multiple, satellites as far into orbit as I can to find the curve,” B.o.B explains in an accompanying video: “I’m looking for the curve.”

As I’m writing this, the campaign raised $2908 out of its goal of $1M, but even so, B.o.B. can accomplish his goal (though he probably doesn’t realize it). In 2009, a group of MIT students sent a camera into the stratosphere for as little as $150. For a more complex project with a high-res camera, such as that started by a pair of Florida students in 2015, he’d have to pay $1,000 — so he’s way ahead of plan. Or you know, we could trust one of the 1,450 operational satellites in orbit. Who knows, maybe we’ll get lucky and find one that isn’t in on this global conspiracy theory. Here’s a video from a similar project, ran by University of Leicester students who weren’t trying to prove that the Earth is flat.

But make no mistakes here, these people want to prove the Earth is flat. In 2017. Let’s not expect top notch creative engineering.

The comments, as you can imagine, are glorious. For instance, one donator said that all technology is flawed so you can only really see the ear as it is with your naked eye — anything with a round lens would make the Earth seem round, so we can only rely on our eyes. Our eyes… which don’t have a round lens. Yikes!

Bro. I am totally with you on this. But we cannot trust anything but our senses. The technology you’re using will make it appear that the earth is round because of the curvature of the lenses mounted on your satellite. The only way to find out if the earth is flat is by going to outer soace yourself and ejecting yourself from the spacecraft, because the window glass would also have a slight curvature making the earth look round. Then you have to get out of your space suit, becayse the glass on your space suit will curve the appearance of the earth. So onky then you will see that the earth is in fact, flat.

Another went on a ramble, talking about finding gravity, which is weak but somehow manages to keep cars on the ground in Australia.

“Gravity is 10-40 weaker than electromagnetism” yet it holds cars and equipment and aircraft weighing hundreds of tonnes in the land down under Australia and manages to keep billions of tonnes of water attached to a globe spinning at 1024 miles per hour at the equator.

Others were just in it for the laughs.

“This is the dumbest shit I’ve ever seen and I’m giving this dumbass $5.00 simply because it’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.”

But whatever the reason may be, people are giving the rapper (who is a grown man by the way) a lot of money to send “one if not multiple” satellites into outer space and prove that the Earth is flat.

power lines prove curvature of earth

Power lines over Lake Pontchartrain elegantly demonstrate the curvature of Earth

power lines prove curvature of earth

Credit: Soundly, Meta Bunk.

It’s mind-boggling that some people are still debating whether the Earth is flat or not. Ideally, such pseudo-science nonsense shouldn’t even be discussed — we’re just dignifying an absurd idea, giving the impression that there’s maybe a glimmer of truth to this Middle Age thinking. However, one video blogger made such an elegant demonstration of the curvature of Earth that it merits showcasing here just for the sake of science itself.

Soundly was driving on the Interstate 10 when he passed by the Lake Pontchartrain transmission lines in Southeast Louisiana and decided to make a live stream with the lovely sight. Using a telephoto lens, Soundly showed how the causeway and transmission lines go over the horizon just like ships.

This is actually one of the rare places around the world that the Earth’s curvature is perceptible with good optics, although you can plainly notice it with the naked eye as well.

Mick West explained over at Metabunk what’s going on with the curvature effect of the Pontchartrain transmission lines.

“A classic experiment to demonstrate the curvature of a body of water is to place markers (like flags) a fixed distance above the water in a straight line, and then view them along that line in a telescope. If the water surface is flat then the markers will appear also in a straight line. If the surface of the water is curved (as it is here on Earth) then the markers in the middle will appear higher than the markers at the ends.”

The line of power lines is straight, and they are all the same size and the same height above the water. They are also very tall and form a straight line nearly 16 miles long. Far better than any experiment one could set up on a canal or a lake. You just need to get into a position where you can see along the line of towers, and then use a powerful zoom lense to look along the line to make any curve apparent.”

transmission line lake curvature

Credit: Soundly.

Soundly was careful to record pictures and videos from multiple perspectives, and they all show the same thing: the transmission lines are curving. Just as anyone with sensible knowledge of nature and science already expects.

Of course, not everyone was convinced as hilarity ensued in the comment section of Soundly’s videos, who by the way has dozens of videos debunking flat-earth nonsense.

Flat Earth comentflat earth commentFlat Earth Comment 3These are only a few couple of the astonishing comments I’ve read and, believe it or not, the same sentiment is abundant across all social media channels. In a sense, these are textbook examples of entrenched dogmatic thinking: stubborn in the face of any facts or evidence you present. Their opinion is not based on science but some elaborate fantasy that borderlines madness. Nothing can sway them over. And while flat-earthers are, in a sense, harmless, the same can’t be said about another very similar sort of denialist — the climate change denier or the ideologically-brainwashed goof who constructs his life values and goal based on what a party says ought to be ‘true’.

A flat-earther brought a spirit level on a plane to prove the Earth is flat. Yeah…

A Youtuber and conspiracy theorist from the US has taken pseudoscience to the next level — literally. He took a spirit level onto a plane, hoping to convince people that the Earth is flat.

This is the Earth. Some people believe it is flat.

That people still claim the Earth is flat is simply stunning to me. It’s not just watching ships sail off in the horizon or looking at constellations, we have gone into outer space and looked at the Earth. Heck, we have a massive research outpost, the International Space Station, constantly revolving around the planet and snapping photos. In this day and age, this level of ignorance is simply not allowed, even if you’re one of the greatest basketball players of all time. But back to our guy.

D Marble decided to take his spirit level to a plane. In case you’re not familiar with a spirit level, it’s an instrument designed to indicate whether a surface is horizontal or whether it dips. It has a slightly curved vial incompletely filled with a liquid so that an air bubble remains. When the surface is completely flat, the bubble rests exactly in the middle.

A spirit level. Image via Wikipedia.

He thought this would show the Earth has no curvature and that it is essentially flat:

“I recorded a 23 minute and 45 seconds time-lapse, which by those measurements means the plane travelled a little over 203 miles. According to curvature math given to explain the globe model, this should have resulted in the compensation of 5 miles of curvature. As you’ll see there was no measurable compensation for curvature.”

It’s not just the flat Earth that he was trying to prove — he also took a jab at gravity…

“Understand that gravity is a still just a theory,” he goes on to say. “No more defending what we know to be true! Now we take the fight to the enemy! #FEOffensive.”

We’ll give him a lot of creativity points, but he scores a big fat zero on the science scale. Try to figure it out for a moment. You can come up with a number of valid arguments, ranging from middle school physics to simple, common sense.

For starters, the spirit level requires a lot of stillness for the bubble to align, which plane travel can’t really ensure. Twitter was quick to point this one out.

If you want a more elegant approach, you could say that even if (theoretically) the plane would have been perfectly still and moved in a perfect way, the experiment still couldn’t have worked because that’s not how gravity works — his entire premise of curvature compensation is flawed. Twitter was all over this one as well.

Lastly, for crying out loud, the man was traveling on a plane, you’d expect he’d at least look out the window.

This really sums up perfectly the anti-intellectual and anti-scientific trend so prevalent in the US and the world: a man using a plane (developed with science) uses an instrument (developed through science,) then shares his opinion on an Internet platform (made possible through science) from a device built through science, to share anti-scientific opinions. He uses a badly-devised experiment and can’t even understand basic principles but hey, people are buying it so why not?

His initiative was well-received by other flat-Earthers — which doesn’t even come as a surprise by this point.

Take a moment and think that in the 21st century, when we are sending shuttles to the Moon and to Mars, when we are toying with the genetic make-up of the human body, when we are zooming closer towards understanding the fabric of the Universe, people are saying the Earth is flat on Youtube. What a world we live in.

Here’s the whole video, already with over 200,000 views, having been shared by several flat Earth societies, including Flat Earth ActivismGod’s Flat Earth and various other globe-deniers. Yes, there are societies like these all around the globe (heh).


Ingenious flat earth theory revealed

It was 1893 when Orlando Ferguson, a real estate developer based in South Dakota combined religious beliefs with some scientific theories and a big chunk of creativity to create this square map of the stationary earth. The map was accompanied by a 92 page lecture delivered by Ferguson, who referred to himself as a professor, and was delivered town after town in the US, with the point of promoting his theory, especially the fact that the Earth was flat. Looking at today’s people, I’d say his efforts weren’t quite unsuccessful.

Ferguson’s map portrays the Earth as a giant, rectangular slab with a big dimple in its center. The map, which is very fragile, was donated to the Library of Congress.

“It’s very fragile. It’s printed on tissue paper and hand-colored with watercolors,” Homuth said. He got the map from his eighth grade history teacher in Fargo, N.D., who got it from his grandfather, who lived in Hot Springs, S.D. — Ferguson’s hometown.

“Now, I’m 67. I don’t want it to fall into the hands of relatives, for God’s sake! And I don’t particularly want to sell it. So we thought we’d send it to the Library of Congress,” Homuth said.

Ferguson was trying to fit in religious beliefs with scientific theories, which is quite impossible, most of the time at least.

“Ferguson was trying to make an updated version of the flat Earth theory to fit the biblical description of the Earth with known facts,” Bingham said. Typical of flat Earths, Ferguson’s Earth is a rectangular slab, the four corners of which are each guarded by an angel. “What makes his flat Earth different from other theories is his theory holds that the Earth is imprinted with an ‘inverse toroid.'”

An inverse toroid is a mathematical figure similar to what would happen if you were to push a ball into some wet cement and then pull it up again.

“It’s pretty clever because it explains the Columbus phenomenon, where you see ships coming in over the horizon and gradually the mast gets taller and taller until you can see the ship,” Bingham said. “By 1893, most people knew about horizons so he had to come up with some way to explain that.”

Even more striking, the map portrayed a picture of a man holding onto the Earth for dear life, with an inscription that reads: “These men are flying on the globe at a rate of 65,000 miles per hour around the sun, and 1,042 miles per hour around the center of the earth (in their minds). Think of the speed!”. Ferguson made some damn subtle statements.

What people have to learn from this is that people believed this only some 100 years ago ! People tend to forget these things and take the round globe as granted, but here’s a man portraying a flat earth in the same time Henry Ford began making his cars.

Hey, do you want to see something even better ? Some people still believe the Earth is flat today; founded in the 1950s, the flat world society has 265 members today, all of which are devoted to convincing the world that our planet is flat.