Flat Earth? Really?

Flat Earth? Really?

Flat Earth? Really?

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Aug. 11 2008 1:00 PM

Flat Earth? Really?

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.

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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.

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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.