The planet Earth is not round.
Yeah, I said it!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not agreeing with those crazy kids at the Flat Earth Society, but it has to be said, the Earth is not round.
It’s an oblate spheroid.
And it is most definitely not flat!
Now you might think I’m belabouring an obvious point, but the sad fact is that there are people living today in the 21st century, who truly believe that the Earth is flat. I’m not kidding. The members of The Flat Earth Society are genuine believers. It isn’t a joke, it isn’t steeped in irony. They honestly believe – in the face of overwhelming evidence – that the Earth is Discworld.
This is taken directly from their website:
“The modern age of the Flat Earth Society dates back to the early 1800s, when it was founded by Samuel Birley Rowbotham, an English inventor. Samuel Rowbotham’s Flat Earth views were based largely on literal interpretation of Bible passages. His system, called Zetetic Astronomy, held that the earth is a flat disk centered at the North Pole and bounded along its ‘southern’ edge by a wall of ice, with the sun, moon, planets, and stars only a few hundred miles above the surface of the earth. After Rowbotham’s death in 1884, followers of his Zetetic Astronomy founded the Universal Zetetic Society.
Flat Earth theory spread to the United States, largely in the town of Zion, Illinois where Christian Catholic Apostolic Church founder John Alexander Dowie and later Wilbur Glenn Voliva promoted Flat Earth theory. Voliva died in 1942 and the church quickly disintegrated. Flat Earthism remained in Zion, gradually becoming less popular into the 1950s.
The International Flat Earth Society was formally founded in 1956 by Samuel Shenton, a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and the Royal Geographic Society. Shenton died in 1971 and Charles K. Johnson became president of the International Flat Earth Society. Johnson actively and charistmatically promoted the Society and, over time, its membership increased to over 3,000. His wife Marjory took an active role in the Society as well, often contributing articles to the Flat Earth Society Newsletter.
In 1995, a fire destroyed the Johnson’s home as well as all of the Flat Earth Society’s library, archives and membership lists. Following a long period of poor health, Charles K. Johnson’s wife Marjory Johnson passed away in 1996. He vowed to rebuild the society. Sadly, Charles K. Johnson passed away in 2001 at the age of 76, leaving the Society’s future uncertain.
After several years of inactivity, the Flat Earth Society was resurrected in 2004 and remains active today at theflatearthsociety.org. The Society officially reopened to new members on 30th October 2009.”
I see in issue immediately… “based largely on literal interpretation of Bible passages“. Ah the Bible, the font of all scientific knowledge since the year dot.
I also note that the society dates back to the 1800’s. Completely ignoring the absolute fallacy that the Earth was considered flat by people of the Medieval times… It wasn’t. To be honest, I would suggest that the everyday folk of that era had more pressing concerns to occupy their time anyway.
Let’s ignore the folklore that Columbus had to lie to his crew about the distances travelled across the Atlantic because they were scared of hitting the edge and falling off the planet… They weren’t. Besides, as he was looking for a shorter passage to the Orient, why would he be travelling west if the general consensus of the time thought the planet was more pancakey than basketbally in character?
Ooh ooh! And let’s completely disregard Eratosthenes of Cyrene, who in around 240 BC not only proved the Earth was round, but also fairly accurately calculated its circumference as well as the Earth’s axial tilt. And he did all of that using his brain, a stick, a shadow and the known distance from Cyrene to Alexandria.
He also calculated the distance to the (spherical) Moon.
As a side note, Columbus didn’t have faith in Eratosthenes’ calculations and thought he was out by at least 30% (approx). As it turns out, if Columbus had used Eratosthenes figures then he would have known that the Orient was much further away than he thought.
Some Of The ‘Science’
They even have science to back up their claims.
Let’s have a look at it shall we?
“On the sinking ship, Rowbotham describes a mechanism by which the hull is hidden by the angular limits of perception – the ship will appear to intersect with the vanishing point and become lost to human perception as the hull’s increasingly shallow path creates a tangent on which the hull is so close to the surface of the ocean that the two are indistinguishable. The ship’s hull gets so close to the surface of the water as it recedes that they appear to merge together. Where bodies get so close together that they appear to merge is called the Vanishing Point. The Vanishing Point is created when the perspective lines are angled less than one minute of a degree. Hence, this effectively places the vanishing point a finite distance away from the observer.”
Basically, what they’re saying is that it is the limitation of the human eye rather than the curvature of the Earth that causes ships to ‘disappear’ over the horizon.
Really? Easily debunked. All you need to do is watch a ship pass out of sight over the horizon and you will see that it disappears from view from the bottom to the top. To get a clearer view of the effect, simply watch the ship through powerful binoculars.
If the Earth was flat, then the ship would merely continue to shrink until it was too small for the human eye to discern. But with binoculars, and the associated enhancement of one’s eyesight, you would see it for a great deal longer… But you don’t! You just get a much sharper view of the ship disappearing over the horizon… From bottom to top… Almost as though it was following a curved path downwards.
In fact, you don’t even need binoculars. It’s entirely possible to see the curvature of the Earth with your own eyes under the right circumstances.
Commercial airliners travel at a height of approximately 30-35,000 feet. If you are travelling over a wide body of water or an expanse of flat terrain such as a desert or the North American Prairies, if there is little to no cloud cover, the curve of the planet can been viewed quite easily.
The Lunar Eclipse
“A Lunar Eclipse occurs about twice a year when a satellite of the sun passes between the sun and moon.
This satellite is called the Shadow Object. Its orbital plane is tilted at an angle of about 5°10′ to the sun’s orbital plane, making eclipses possible only when the three bodies (Sun, Object, and Moon) are aligned and when the moon is crossing the sun’s orbital plane (at a point called the node). Within a given year, considering the orbitals of these celestial bodies, a maximum of three lunar eclipses can occur. Despite the fact that there are more solar than lunar eclipses each year, over time many more lunar eclipses are seen at any single location on earth than solar eclipses. This occurs because a lunar eclipse can be seen from the entire half of the earth beneath the moon at that time, while a solar eclipse is visible only along a narrow path on the earth’s surface.”
So to explain the lunar eclipse, the society requires another celestial body within our solar system positioned between the Earth and the Sun in order to cast the required shadow. Not only that, but is needs to be spherical in order to cast the required curve of the shadow as shown in the illustration on the left.
There are only three bodies within the solar system that can come between the Moon and the Sun. They are Earth, Venus and Mercury.
Neither Venus nor Mercury can be taken seriously as they are both too small and too distant to cast such a shadow. That leaves Earth and as the edge of the shadow is curved then it goes without question that the Earth is spherical. QED… Okay, oblately spherical, but let’s not split hairs at this point.
The only other idea that can be posited is that the ‘Shadow Object’ is a hitherto undiscovered satellite of the Sun. At least undiscovered to science, but not the Flat Earth Crazy Gang.
Several space agencies from around the world have placed satellites in heliocentric orbits, dating back to Helios in 1974, a joint effort of NASA and the West German Space Agency DFVLR. With several more in the pipeline, including Aditya, due to be launched in 2019-20.
Now don’t get me wrong, I know that these spacecraft all have their eye fixed firmly on the Sun, but I suspect they’d notice a brand new addition to the solar system on their way there.
Especially when you consider that the planet Mercury, which is tiny, has been known to exist since the time of the Babylonians and was first recorded in the MUL.APIN Tablets.
Leave it to those useless Babylonian fuckers to find Mercury, a spherical body with a mass of 0.0055 that of our planet that is 35 million miles away, but completely miss a body (also spherical) that is large enough and close enough to cast a shadow over the moon. The picture below shows the relative sizes of Earth, Mercury and the Moon.
The Ice Wall
According to those FE whackjobs, Antarctica is not the frozen continent at the extreme southern part of the globe, it is in actual fact an ice wall that surrounds the discworld.
“How far the ice extends; how it terminates; and what exists beyond it, are questions to which no present human experience can reply. All we at present know is, that snow and hail, howling winds, and indescribable storms and hurricanes prevail; and that in every direction ‘human ingress is barred by unsealed escarpments of perpetual ice,’ extending farther than eye or telescope can penetrate, and becoming lost in gloom and darkness.”
Erm… So nobody has ever travelled round it? Or flown over it? Or in fact famously travelled to the centre of it? Amundsen, anyone? As well as all of the thrill seekers and adventurers who followed in his footsteps.
It could be said that in the early 19th Century, that Antarctica was unmapped and it could be plausible for it to be seen as impenetrable and unnavigable. But only if one ignores Piri Reis, a 16th Century Turkish admiral with an interest in cartography. Thanks to him, we have this map of Antarctica, which clearly shows it is a solid land mass and not a circle of ice, somewhat akin to a frosty Ourobouros.
Also, don’t get me wrong, but we have several telescopes that could quite easily see all of the continent. I mean, Hubble could, if it wasn’t so busy looking at views like this one on the right. In case you don’t recognise it, it is the extreme deep field image of galaxies that are over 13 billion light years away. This is not a piece of technology that could be beaten by a few ice cubes.
Now whilst I understand that you could be completely fooled by the millenia old and worldwide conspiracy to hide the flatness of the planet from the worker drones. After all we only have thousands of years of mathematical calculations, observation of the solar system and actual photographs and films from space to back it up.
Then again, could it be that the members of the society are once again displaying the religious ability to have faith in a ridiculous idea in the face of mountains of compelling evidence?
After all, if religidiots can believe that:
- Muhammad flew to the Moon on a winged horse, or;
- Beheading is the only possible penalty for apostasy, or;
- Genital mutilation is the requirement of a loving god, or;
- Jesus saddled up a velociraptor, or;
- The Earth flooded and wiped out the population of the planet in 40 days
Then believing that the Earth is flat is but a small leap of faith.