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Flat Earth hypothesis is a joke

If there was ever a pseudo-science, this is it. In fact, not even that. It is as nonsensical as you can get, so any description of it that includes the word "science" is incorrect.

I am sorely tempted to compare this to the intelligent design movement, but there is a large, fundamental difference. Intelligent design has a religious basis. Flat earth is just a joke. A blatant, hilarious, senseless joke. There is no façade involved here. There is no purpose. These people are just plain stupid.

Let me explain. This hypothesis assumes the existence of aether and what I figure to be the absence of gravity, or at least, a very strange misinterpretation of gravity. About three-quarters of their argument relies on some idea that all gravity is parallel.

They start, however, by citing an experiment to attempt to calculate the earth’s absolute speed, which in essence, concluded that aether does not exist. Apparently, this is not correct. They say that, because light requires a medium to travel through, aether must exist, so the correct conclusion would have been that the earth does not move.

They also use centrifugal force as an argument: surely, everything on the earth would be thrown off because of centrifugal force. Furthermore, because a person standing on the North Pole and a person at the South Pole are being "pulled" in the same direction, one of them must fall off! And, if you are standing on the "top" of the world, and you go "down" it, there comes a point where you "fall off".

I feel no need to ridicule these arguments, for they ridicule themselves. But then, I looked at their current events page and began to wonder if it really was all a joke.

Even if it is, however, I did find a forum of "flat-earthers" and sceptics. Now, I admit, the flat-earthers on this forum seemed infintely smarter than the author of the above-mentioned page, or at the very least more serious.

Because this forum has sceptics involved, round-earth arguments are (attempted to be) retorted. This seems to be mainly in the form of "everything you ever learnt in science class is bullshit and the round earth is a government conspiracy". This is backed up by "pictures of the round earth are all manipulated". And, of course, "I’m not prepared to accept that theory, I’m a flat earther".

Admittedly, there are a few threads in the forum that make some sense on the flat-earthers’ part, those are the ones that provide no evidence either way. Most, however, are filled with personal insults, total denial and rejection of long-standing scientific concepts.

For example, I learnt on this forum that the flat earth is accelerating upwards at 9.8 m/s². It doesn’t reach the speed of light because the speed of light is not constant. Also, if you put sawdust on an orange, it falls off — perfect proof that the earth is flat, because the earth’s gravity is negligible. And, everything we learnt in school is a governemnt conspiracy.

For the flat-earthers to have their hypothesis accepted, they’re going to have to prove their statement scientifically. Of course, proving false statements has always been a field of difficulty, so the joke seems to be destined for joke status for the rest of its being.

Related links

  • The Flat Earth Society
  • The Flat Earth Society Forums
  • Wikipedia: Flat Earth

    For those who might actually have been convinced that the earth is flat, remember that gravity is that attraction of two object, e.g. the earth and a person; light does not require a medium for transmission, like all radiation; the speed of light is constant for a given medium (or vacuum), aether does not exist; and the earth’s pretty big so it’s gravity is pretty strong (at least strong enough to keep us on it without some massive effort to leave it, and certainly strong enough to overcome the attraction between sawdust and an orange).

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    One Comment Post a comment
    1. James #

      I acctually think the Flat Earth Society website is someone taking the piss.

      21 February 2006

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