The trouble with flatearthers.

Is their own ignorance. Which by definition is not an insult, Webster defines it as a lack of knowledge, understanding, or education. And in the case of flatearthers, it is indubitably true (even if it is only in science).

Misinformation, lack of critical thinking and conspiracy theories gone from awry to berserk…those are the main reasons for some of the trouble ahead with flatearthers, which have their own society to boot!

Flatearthers are just “regressed five centuries in reasoning”, as famed astrophysicist, Neil DeGrasse Tyson put it to a certain rapper.

Now said rapper, wants to raise one million US dollars to send a satellite to review that the Earth is flat (except for some reports claiming that Interorbital Systems, can with only $8,000 usd, send up a satellite briefly):

The point is that with all that goes on in the human world today like famine, disease, natural disasters, and lack of education, said person, wants to spend a great sum of money for an innoble cause: to prove that he´s ignorant (on science anyway).

However, I digress from Neil, because to me, it is not due to a lack of reasoning that flatearthers exist as such, it´s rather their lack of knowledge, since, if they had the knowledge necessary, they would reason correctly and not regress five centuries.

The real problem is that it doesn´t stop there.

I was talking about this to someone (a school teacher in fact), and I was astounded when she told me that she knew someone with a PhD, who taught (obviously not science), his pupils about flat Earth “because they had a right to know and choose the truth”.

I told her that it was her duty to take action* and report him to that school on the grounds that whilst having a PhD in the much softer humanities subjects, he was and is, clearly  unqualified to have that conversation in the classroom with young impressionable minds. Especially when science is neither his subject not his forte.

*”Those with the ability to take action, have the responsibility to take action”. -Thomas Jefferson.

Needless to say she scoffed at me, she also dismissed my remarks and would not give me the name of the ignoramus nor of the school either. She also said that I was too severe in calling him what he is, an ignoramus (which is certainly true if he´s a flatearther, and no PhD saves him from it).

First of all, we have the Shell theorem which Isacc Newton proved and which states that:

  1. A spherically symmetric body affects external objects gravitationally as though all of its mass were concentrated at a point at its centre.
  2. If the body is a spherically symmetric shell (i.e., a hollow ball), no net gravitational force is exerted by the shell on any object inside, regardless of the object’s location within the shell.

I donnot want to go into all the complex mathematics of it, needless to say that not knowing this, doesn´t exculpate an ignorant person from saying that the Earth is flat.

“That which can be ascertained without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” – Cristopher Hitchens.

“Extraordinary claims, require extraordinary evidence.” – Carl Sagan.

Basically, the Earth has gravity because it is a sphere, if it were flat, it would not exert a gravitational pull on the objects on it (including humans).

A solid, spherically symmetric body body can be modelled as an infinite number of concentric, infinitesimally thin spherical shells. If one of these shells can be treated as a point mass, then a system of shells (i.e. the sphere), can also be treated as a point mass. Consider one such shell:




More on the source:

In any case, the Shell theorem (and newtonian mechanics and calculus) also describes, measures and predicts this very familiar concept:

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Which just couldn´t happen with flat surfaces facing each other (for reasons already explained).

So, we have this:

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Versus this!

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Except, that the conical part underneath could not possibly exist, since it would only provide gravity on that upside down area, and not on the flat surface, as proven by the Shell theorem.

So how did all this come about?

It all started some 29 centuries ago (8 BC), when the ancients of Mesopotamia and Egypt (and through Homeric accounts), thought that the “Okeanos” -from which the word Ocean is derived- was a flat body of water from which the confines of the Earth dropped sharply off (which, if they really thought about it, it is an imposibility since then the entire ocean would fall off and empty, unless more sillyness kicked in, and they imagined that there would be a wall or a dam or a dyke holding it from dropping off).

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So the real question is why some people in the 21st Century are reverting to believing what ancients 29 or more centuries ago believed when they didn´t know the vast body of knowledge we now know as a civilization? It boggles the mind, that the minds of those are so boggled…

That´s why a good scientific schooling is of paramount importance early in life: to avoid the pitfalls of organised and utter ignorance.

It was Isaac Newton who wrote in a letter to Robert Hooke that “If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants” (originally attributed for the first time to Bernard of Chartres).

So what does this mean? That by taking off from where the last one left off, we have been able to advance in the name of science, which only seeks to know the truth by understanding how things work, not by saying something like: so, I don´t understand this, so I´ll invent a fantasy answer and stick by it and force others to believe it by using fear, guilt, violence and coertion.

Thus, enter religion, esoterism, folklore, and irrational fantasy, perhaps due to the lazyness of others to think critically.

Nowadays we have space satellites, space shuttles, space telescopes, space probes and space stations, offering unmistakeable views of the Earth as an oblate spheroid (a round object accentuated at the equator).

They say that one image is worth more than 1,000 words, thus, one only needs to look at the following youtube link with artificial satellite Earth-images from space, to know that the flat Earth myth is just that (as Earth´s curvature can clearly be appreciated):

You can easily find it in Youtube if you type:

Earth From Space – Nasa Live stream Video From the International Space Station

Or at the many NASA pictures of Earth from the Moon and from spatial probes:

The Earth (Apollo 11 photo)

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The Earth taken from Apollo 8

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Pale Blue Dot, a picture of Earth, taken from Voyager 1 as it leaves the solar system at a record distance of about 6 billion kilometers (3.7 billion miles, 40.5 Astronomical Units), in february 14, 1990

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More on that:

The Earth and the Moon

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Or, how about Felix Baumgartner´s record breaking straotspheric jump from over 39,000 metres (over 128,000 feet), where the Earth´s curvature is also appreciated:


Also check out:

Famed Harvard PhD astrophysicist, Director of the Hayden Planetarium in NYC, and science divulgator, Neil deGrasse Tyson, debunking the ignorant flat Earth claim on live TV:

More on Neil debunking the flat Earth non-sense:

So if rappers, politicians, actors, teachers, and laymen believe that the Earth is flat, it speaks ill of the education system, it speaks ill of themselves and it requires that they exert responsibility on their own ignorance (in other words, they should keep it to themselves, because to say those things and want to influence others, just says that they are very proud of their own ignorance, which is not something to be proud of at all).

Eratosthenes was the first person to measure the circumference of the Earth quite precisely circa 260-265 BC:

Eratosthenes’ method of measuring Earth’s circumference.By knowing the length of an arc (l) and the size of the corresponding central angle (α) that it subtends, one can obtain the radius of the sphere from the relation that the proportion of the length of arc l to Earth’s circumference, 2πR (where R is Earth’s radius) equals the proportion of the central angle α to the angle subtended by the whole circumference (360°)—i.e., l : 2πR = α : 360.

What he did, is realize that at the same time, the Sun cast shadows of distinct angles on two known places (Alexandria and Syene) which were separated by a known distance. So being the mathematician he was, he calculated the arc (angle) provided by the shadows at exactly the same time of day, and with the measured distance between the two places, he then covered the 360° spectrum in the known distance to calculate and rationalize that the Earth was aproximately 40,000 kilometres in diameter, and he was right to a high degree of accuracy!

Needless to say that you cannot measure the circumference of a flat surface!!

More on Eratosthenes and his breakthrough Earth-measuring method:

From then on, early scientists began to share the knowledge that the Earth was and is, indeed, round. Many others (the ignorant-uniformed), were still unaware.

It wasn´t until 1492 with Columbus´maiden voyage, and the subsequent circumnavigations of oceanic explorers, (like that of Magellan), that the general public (laymen), began to understand that the Earth was and is spherically shaped (an oblate spheroid to be exact).

What ignorant people thought in those days prior to the trip

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We now know that the Earth is actually an oblate spheroid

The Earth as an oblate spheroid with the equator bulging more than at the poles (meaning that around the poles, they have a narrower diameter than around the equator), due to the Earth´s rotation on its tilt axis, caused by its mass and its angular momentum (sustained acceleration).

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From then on, the mercator scale world map projections began to assume (quite correctly), that the Earth was and is, round.

Early Mercator map projection cartograph:

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Current Mercator map projection cartograph:

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Enter the ignorance and follyness* of Samuel Shenton (among others) who revived the ancient belief of a flat Earth:

Who believed in 1956 that the Earth was flat and not spherical, this was before the russians launched Sputnik 1 to circle the Earth. It slowly died and was revived by Charles Johnson in 1972, it slowly died and was revived in 2004 by Daniel Shenton (no relation to Samuel), who claims there is no proof that the Earth is round. What do these three have in common? You guessed it! Zero science knowledge and understanding.

 *Folly: lack of good sense, lack of understanding, lack of foresight. The greeks called it “scotoma”, meaning lack of vision, in other words, the mind sees what it wants to see, not what is.

So my guess is that this too will slowly die until it is again revived by some other ignoramus to suit his personal agenda filled with a few moments of glory by being in the limelight.

Just think of this:

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N.B. Any large object in space or the Universe, because of its great size will pull on itself due to gravity and the only object whose shape is able to exert enough reaction force to the action of  the collapse of itself, is a sphere (surface tension vs internal pressure, which is Netwton´s 3rd law of action and reaction). That´s why all stars and planets of a minimum determined size are spherical (more or less). For the  non-belivers in gravity, they are beyond help, so just ask them to take a long walk on a short pier, and when they splash, just yell at them “that´s gravity for you, you science blasfemers!”.

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So it´s all QED: “quod erat demonstrandum” (what was demonstrated). A quote very fittingly atributed to the greek mathematician of geometry, Euclid.

And this, not entering into topics like the fabric of space-time (Einstein),  and its causality which evinces the geodesic of the Universe (π), meaning more spherical forms of large objects in the Universe:

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