Thursday, August 14, 2008

Meanwhile, In Flat Earth Land...

Amidst the controversies surrounding modern science, the Flat Earth Society continues undaunted. A story in Foxnews reports:

The BBC reports that the Flat Earth Society, thought to have been crippled by the death of its leader in 2001, is still hanging on, somewhat bemusedly.

"People are definitely prejudiced against flat-Earthers," Tennessee-based computer scientist and society member John Davis tells the BBC. "Many use the term 'flat-Earther' as a term of abuse, and with connotations that imply blind faith, ignorance or even anti-intellectualism."

But, Davis and his fellow "anti-globularists" insist, their beliefs are based in scientific fact.

"The Earth is, more or less, a disc," states James McIntyre, a Briton who helps run the Flat Earth Society's Web site. "Obviously it isn't perfectly flat, thanks to geological phenomena like hills and valleys. It is around 24,900 miles in diameter."

Yup. And it was created 6 000 years ago, too. The story continues:

The moon landings? Faked, say the flat-Earthers. Satellite images of the Earth? Fake, fake, fake.

So what does the flat Earth look like?

"The North Pole is central, and Antarctica comprises the entire circumference of the Earth," explains McIntyre. "Circumnavigation is a case of traveling in a very broad circle across the surface of the Earth."

McIntyre hopes the Flat Earth Society Web site's discussion forums will unite all discarians into a "global community."

"If you will forgive my use of the term 'global,'" he quips.

Discarians. Tongue firmly in cheek? One wonders. Here is their mock-up of the earth:

From Wikipedia Commons: A computer-generated image of the flat Earth. Antarctica forms an 'ice wall' preventing people from walking off the edge.


  1. Seems like that should be an easy model to test. Get five equally outfitted planes. Fly one around the arctic circle, one around the tropic of cancer, one around the equator, one around the tropic of capricorn, and the last around the antarctic circle. Have them fly at the same average speed, altitude, etc., and keep them refueled in the air.

    "Discarians" predict all five will take different times to complete. Specifically, the more southern the route, the longer the flight time.

    "Scientists" predict that the tropics will have equal flight times, as will the arctic and antarctic circles. The equator should take the longest to complete.

    How 'bout it, flat earthers? We'll even let you pilot!

  2. Somehow, I think that testing their models is the last thing that the flat earthers want to do. It is the same thing as the YEC supporters: they dare not look too closely at what they are saying.

  3. Isn't this all a marketing ploy by Terry Pratchett?

  4. Ah yes. Discworld. Sadly I have read very little by Terry Pratchett, who was recently diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's Disease.

  5. A simpler test: When the sun sets over the Pacific out my Oregon back door, it should be simultaneously setting over the Pacific in Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Manila. Since the sun rises in the "east" here in the U.S., it must surely rise in the "south" in much of Africa and Europe, and in the "west" in most of Asia, and in the "Northwest" in Australia. And, of course, Sunrise and Sunset will occur simultaneously everywhere. When it is night time here in the U.S., it will be night time everywhere across the flat earth.

    "Tongue in cheek?" you ask. Surely! I hope they are laughing at us for pretending to take them seriously. I hope.