Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

The Sciences

Flat Earth? Really?

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitAugust 11, 2008 10:00 PM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

The world is filled with dumbosity, and it's all we can do to fight it. But sometimes an idea is so ridiculous that you have to wonder if it's a joke. Yeah, I mean the Flat Earthers. Can people in the 21st century really think the Earth is a flat disk, and not a sphere? When I see their claims I have to wonder if it's an elaborate hoax, their attempt to poke a hornet's nest just to see how reality-based people react. The media will sometimes talk to these goofballs, and I'm glad to report it's almost always tongue-in-cheek, which is probably more than they deserve. The BBC News site recently covered this topic, and, well, you just have to read it. I pretty much lost it around this quotation:

"People are definitely prejudiced against flat-earthers," says John Davis, a flat earth theorist based in Tennessee... "Many use the term 'flat-earther' as a term of abuse, and with connotations that imply blind faith, ignorance or even anti-intellectualism."

Well, duh. Why do you think that is, Mr. Davis? It's because you need blind faith, ignorance, and anti-intellectualism to think the Earth is flat. I was thinking of writing up a definitive post debunking this silliness, but decided I have better things to do, like clipping my toenails. It's like trying to disprove solipsism; why bother? I don't see this as being a particularly infectious bit of antiscience (like, say, the Moon Hoax or the antivax movement), and it's pretty limited in its scope. Maybe someday if I'm particularly bored -- like say locked in a room with just water, bagels, and an internet-connected computer -- I'll write something up. It would be a fun mental exercise, but not terribly useful against the Flat Earthers. If someone showed them my page, they'd probably just deny the existence of the internet.

    2 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 70%

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In