Pancaked: What Planet are they on?

Exploring the plausibility of Flat-Earthers’ beliefs ahead of their upcoming rally in Leeds.

You may think that the human race has come a long way since believing the earth is flat, what with satellites depicting images of a spherical earth, the visible existence of lunar eclipses and the general employment of common sense. Sadly, you are wrong, as is made evident by the existence of the Flat Earth Society – a group of thousands of people from across the world, who all unite in their belief that the globe-earth theory is all an elaborate ploy set up by NASA. Is this a blatant display of anti-intellectualism, or do Flat Earthers actually have reasonable ground of the credibility of their views?

To encapsulate a highly sophisticated theory in just a few words, Flat Earthers believe that the earth is a flat round disk, centred around the North Pole and surrounded at its edge by a 150 feet tall ice wall, which common Globe-Earthers would call Antarctica. Above the plane of the earth, the sun, moon and all other planets (which Flat Earthers can agree are spherical) are all in constant orbit.

So what scientific evidence is there for the earth being flat? Flat Earthers are likely to cite the Bedford Level experiment. The experiment, which took place in 1838, consisted of measuring the curvature of a six-mile stretch of water. The conductor of the experiment found that the water was indeed flat, and thus concluded that the earth must be flat. Good news for Flat Earthers. However, Flat Earthers fail to mention the minor detail that when a more refined and accurate version of the experiment was conducted in 1870, the earth was found to have a curvature exactly in line with the curvature expected if adopting a Globe-Earth view. So to clarify, Flat Earthers’ favourite experiment to quote is one that wholly disproves their theory.

So to clarify, Flat Earthers’ favourite experiment to quote is one that wholly disproves their theory.

It’s easy to see why there are literally no experts in this field who would conclude that the earth is flat. In 2016, BoB, rapper-singer by day and amateur cosmologist by night, entered a Twitter debate about the issue with Neil deGrasse Tyson who, seemingly trivially, holds a doctorate degree in astrophysics. It is apparent that Flat Earthers have a complete disregard for academia and research.

And, yet, Flat Earthers seem to have an answer packed away in their arsenal for every question they are confronted with. What about satellite images taken from space which literally show a spherical earth? Flat Earthers don’t like to pay much attention to images or videos, as they can all too easily be altered. Maybe the Instagram Generation could, in fact, learn something from Flat Earthers. What about astronauts who have travelled to space and have seen the globe with their own eyes? Of course, the Flat Earth Society are very much in agreement with our friends over at the ‘space travel is a hoax’ society. They believe that man has never left earth, and that all claims stating otherwise are lies. If asked ‘why doesn’t gravity pull the earth into a sphere, as it does for literally everything else that has a large enough mass?’, the answer is simple: gravity doesn’t exist. This may be the peak of flat earth intellect. We are not being pulled to the centre of the earth at the rate of roughly 10m/s^2, more so the entire earth is accelerating upwards at this speed.

Flat Earthers have an answer for absolutely everything, except their answers have no scientific foundations and directly contradict everything we’ve learned about our universe from rigorous testing.

Ultimately, Flat Earthers totally dismiss all logic and reasoning that doesn’t fit their own narrative. While it’s definitely important to question everything and come to your own conclusions, Flat Earthers take their scepticism too far by discounting literally every expert in this field and neglecting factual evidence.

The government may be lying to you about some things, but the earth being round probably isn’t one of them. However, if you’re still sceptical, join the Leeds University Flat Earth Society rally, happening on November 15th outside the Parkinson building, and join like-minded cynics in awakening the Globers of Leeds from their ‘spherical slumber’.

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