You may be aware of this already, but recently there has been a large uptick in the number and urgency of people who believe that the earth is flat. It may seem silly to you, but to Flat Earthers the evidence of our home planet’s flatness could not be more clear.
The image you see here is an actual rendition of the earth produced and published on the Flat Earth Society website. As you can see, they accept that the earth is in some respects “round” in the sense that they believe all the continents are lying on a flat circle. What they do not accept is the idea that the earth is somehow spherical.
The originator of the Flat Earth Society was a gentleman named Samuel Shelton, deceased since 1971. But the Flat Earth Society has persisted and grown like an intellectual zombie hoard ever since. Now the zombies of Flat Earth have ventured forth through the wonders of the Internet, and are happily consuming the brains of all those who don’t believe in rocket ships, moon landings or the curvature of the earth when seen from space.
If you thought the denial of creationists toward evolution was bad, they are nothing in comparison the Denial Zombies of the Flat Earth Society. Never the mind the fact that with a simple telescope in hand, we can gaze into the night sky and study the moons of Jupiter circling a very round planet. And using more powerful telescopes we can literally see the rotation of other spherical planets in space. Flat Earthers deny all this is relevant. They see no farther than the biblically-described dome they perceive above the earth.
Down to earth
But let’s connect on a more terrestrial level to ask a simple question: If the earth is genuinely flat, why has no one ever fallen off? This is what one responder posted on the Flat Earth Society website:
“Seeing the edge is not possible. The temperature drops violently to that of space, the pressure drops, it gets incredibly dark and magnetic distortions happen due to the aetheric wind rushing past the earth at its edges. In short, its impossible to navigate there.”
This is the same realm of argument given by creationists who disagree with the tenets of evolution. “Nature has irreducible complexity,” they argue. “Therefore we can’t know the mind of God. We can’t go there.”
Where we can go
You might be asking yourself, “Why does any of this matter? Can’t we just live and let live?”
That would be nice, if it were only so simple. But the Flat Earthers and creationists and intelligent design folks are not satisfied leaving well enough alone. They want to install their worldview in public education, public policy and the head of government. Vice President Mike Pence is a devout creationist. This is a very major problem. It signifies an eclipsed worldview of blocked intellect and broad intolerance for fact. He’s also a step away from the most powerful political office in the world.
And you still ask why any of this matters?
The answer is simple: It matters because big decisions get made around matters such as whether the earth is round or flat, or whether the theory of evolution should inform policy on ecological and environmental management.
Which would you trust, a coach who can show you the metrics of your last training session defined in empiric terms such as time, pace, heartrate and wattage outputs, or one who says that you should just leave your training to God, and let that be your guide?
We understand that training has measurable physical effects. That’s why we chronicle our training through metrics and plan our workouts in response to known factors such as oxygen uptake, delivery of food and hydration to our bodies, and building tolerance to heat, cold or other environmental factors. We train by principles formed around how the world actually works.
Round instead of flat
IN the same way, we understand that the earth is round instead of flat. It also matters in our lives that we comprehend the scope and function of evolution, the movement of the continents across the face of the earth, and the fact that human beings can affect the climatological conditions of the planet. These are empiric, not conjectural matters.
It matters just as much as the fact that gravity is real. Or course we can’t actually see it. We can only see gravity’s effects. We do understand certain elements of gravity mathematically. Certainly we can measure it’s impact on us every time we run, ride or swim. Gravity is a trusted scientific theory. But let us be clear: the word “theory” does not amount to admission of ignorance. It is instead a statement of known factors at work in the world.
People who run, ride and swim know empirically that gravity is real. We state our mile times with pride, and our mile time averages with purpose. We post in our journals: “Averaged 8:34 per mile on today’s run.”
To the point of a flat earth
We take gravity as a fact, but our dependence on material reality does not end there. The fact that we can record our pace and mileage by bouncing signals off satellites to measure our every step is critical to that knowledge. We know that satellites circle the globe at a fantastic rate, and that we can relay signals from earth to satellite and bounce it around the globe. We know this because scientists and inventors figured all that out long ago.
But people in the Flat Earth Society don’t buy such logic. There are also people who don’t believe in the moon landing because they think it was all a conspiracy of big government or mind control. Some of these people get earnest beyond reason. That’s why Buzz Aldrin was ultimately forced to punch one of those stupid bastards right in the face when he wouldn’t get out of Aldrin’s face with his accusations that the famed astronaut was a liar about traveling to the moon.
The End of the World
Punching that guy was appropriate response by Mr. Aldrin. People who deny fact as a practice of belief are literally cheating reality of its richness and purpose. Consider the likes of David Meade, a so-called “Christian Numerologist” who claims that the upcoming eclipse signals the End of the Earth as we know it.
As reported on the website http://www.express.co.uk/
“He believes Planet X, also known as Nibiru will appear in the skies on September 23 and then crash into Earth. Nibiru, which is also referred to as Planet X, is a hypothesised planet on the edge of our solar system.”
Meade thinks the End of the World is all going to be set off by the upcoming solar eclipse. “Such a solar eclipse has not occurred since 1918,” Meade says, “which is 99 years – or 33 times three.”Mr Meade has used passages from the Bible to back his theory, in particular Chapter 13 of the Old Testament Book of Isaiah.
Strange times indeed
These are strange times indeed in which people by the millions are putting denial before fact. We all have a shadow that grows longer as the earth rotates around its axis and even further, around the sun because the world on which we live is round, not flat.
We should not place our trust in people who paint themselves orange and require a daily combover of compliments to block out the plain facts of reality. We can do better than this. Those of us who live by the watch should be on the watch for those who lie about the nature of reality.