Vapourium Presents Science Tank | Issue 7

Flat Earthers

Flat Earthers believe that the world is flat, not spherical, and that the entirety of the scientific community, NASA, and the Government are hiding the truth. Yes, I know it seems ridiculous, but people all around the globe really believe this.

However, maybe we’re being biased. Let’s take a look at some of the proof that Flat Earthers have to offer. Here’s a gem of wisdom from that tome of knowledge known as “The Bible Does Say FLAT EARTH”. In a comment thread made by a bewildered man asking for proof of a flat earth, the great sage “Nine_eleven” lays all doubts to rest with the good word. “Anyone with a Brian knows no one ever went to the moon! any real thinking you’ll realize the earth is flat.”

To be fair, not all Flat Earthers were people dropped on their heads as babies like Nine_eleven. Most of them are people like you or me with perfectly good brains, who have just been brainwashed with phoney information. The problem with conspiracy theories is that they’re so compelling that people convince themselves of their truth despite the evidence. It’s much more comforting to think that we exist on a flat pancake made for our pleasure than to face the stark truth that we’re specks on a rock hurtling through space. 

Fortunately, there are many ways to prove that the earth is a sphere. My personal favourite goes all the way back to ancient Greece. A guy named Eratosthenes set up an experiment that showed that if you put two identical sticks far enough away on the globe, they would produce shadows of differing lengths because of the curvature of the earth. He used this technique and a bit of math to measure the circumference of the globe long before technology was around to help him. If the earth were flat then the shadows would be the same length, which they were not.

If this seems too obscure for you, there’s proof you can see with your own eyes. Next time there’s a lunar eclipse, take a look at the moon. Because the earth is in between the sun and the moon, it casts a circular shadow on the moon. A flat disk couldn’t do this—we know due to experiments like Foucault’s pendulum that the earth is constantly rotating, so only a sphere could cast a uniform circular shadow.

This article first appeared in Issue 7, 2017.
Posted 1:31pm Sunday 9th April 2017 by Ben Cravens.