Friday Debate: It’s 2017, why do so many people believe in a flat Earth?

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DEbateearth

Yesterday, because of an offhanded and silly Twitter joke from Elon Musk, I got linked to the Twitter account of the Flat Earth Society. Though the society itself has existed for ages, I’ve seen a growing number of seemingly regular people start questioning the established model of the blue planet we live on.

An alarming number of people buy into the belief that the world we live on is not, in fact, an oblate spheroid – but flatter than Wile E Coyote after yet another failed attempt to catch the roadrunner.

I honestly can’t believe it’s a debatable topic in the year 2017, but given how much else there is about this year that makes no sense, I guess it’s not that out of the ordinary. The biggest bit of evidence that they all seem to have for their belief is that it’s impossible to spot the curve in the so-called globe, even from high altitudes. They believe that the earth looks like this:

flatearth

And it’s not some fringe. There are many people who believe this. Rapper B.o.B is probably one of the most high-profile flat-earthers right now.

“You can’t really say technically the Earth is flat, because there are mountains, but to say that it’s a sphere, I haven’t found one piece of evidence that would lead me to believe that,” B.o.B says. “But what I do have are accounts dating back to ancient Egypt suggesting there’s a dome cover over the planet.”

Well okay then. From my perspective, here’s a table covered with all of the compelling, accepted scientific evidence for a flat earth:

table

But here’s the question? Why do so many people believe in a flat earth? And if you’re one of those people, tell us why.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Critical Hit as an organisation.

Last Updated: December 1, 2017

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • Spathi

    I’m not sure whether or not to get out the popcorn, or rather leave now while my brain is fairly intact…

  • Milesh Bhana

    How the f**k can you cite a rapper as a high profile endorsement of a basic scientific principle. What next? Jenny McCarthy and Gweneth Palltrow join the frey?

    • Milesh Bhana

      Ohh “high” profile.. I see what you did there.

    • Sageville

      Look, this is only basic science, that’s why Rapper B.O.B. stepped up, if you want advanced science opinion, you hit up Ja Rule….

      • Milesh Bhana

        And for Quantum Physics we get Eminem or Kendrick Lamar.

    • OneLargeBanana

      We’re already view actors as some moral authority who preach to us from their lofty towers (think George Clooney on immigration etc. or Ben Affleck on Islam), why can’t they also be “scientists”? 😀

      Please tell me about the miracle of magnets, Shaggy 2 Dope!!!

  • RiDiquelous

    So what you are saying is that there are “Flat Earthers” all AROUND the world!?

  • Original Heretic
  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    I don’t see why this is so controversial or difficult to understand. If the Earth was round firstly it’d roll off the turtle’s back, and secondly the Great Space Dog Grum would try to play with it because he’d think it was a ball, which he vastly prefers to frisbees, thus dooming the planet in the process.

  • Hammersteyn

    Same reason they buy microtransactions. Flat brains.

  • I don’t get why people can’t see that we are being lied to by scientists. SA students already made it clear science is fake and made up. So the earth is flat.

    • Hammersteyn

      Fees are also made up apparently.

      • OneLargeBanana

        Can fees fall if the Earth is flat?

        • Hammersteyn

          Off the edge yes.

    • Original Heretic

      You raise a good point, actually.
      It’s due to some scientists talking kak in other fields that made people disbelieve all science.

    • OneLargeBanana

      Science.. is like.. just a social construct.. man… which … like means… like… my gender studies degree … like holds the truth man… like social constructs can be dismantled.. bru! Therefore, the Earth has many genders… and like we’re flat man!

  • Hammersteyn

    Send them up in a spaceship, let them see the Earth is round, then aim the ship for the sun.

    • Original Heretic

      They planned that, some of them.
      Then the launch got delayed by the US Govt. Which of course made them cry “CONSPIRACY!”

      • Johann

        Yeah, they planned to launch themselves 540m into the air… now I don’t but I’m pretty sure there are buildings higher than 540m so I don’t really see the point as you will only be able to observe the curvature at about 10600m.

        • Original Heretic

          There are definitely buildings higher than 540m.
          The Burj Khalifa in Dubai is 828m.

  • Hammersteyn
  • So there are a few fallacies in play here but the most basic way to explain it is this:

    1. The “In 2017” thing is your personal confirmation bias based on what you perceive to be the cultural norm, or the zeitgeist or whatever. It is not necessarily shared by everyone, but because you are surrounded by people who do share it, you infer an implicit agreement on the “way of things” which is why anyone with an alternative viewpoint would look so alien to you.

    2. Those people who have alternative viewpoints tend not to think of it as an incorrect viewpoint, but rather as a confirmation of their own biases. For example, they might have authority-related issues which leads to them thinking the government is lizard people, or they might have issues with science, or change, or their own beliefs being attacked. In some instances, they simply find a bogus concept to be revolutionary, because finally something makes sense *to them* without realising that life doesn’t have to necessarily make sense. Unfortunately when we mock and belittle them for their alternative viewpoints, it doesn’t lead to the intended outcome, ie. changing their minds (big surprise). Rather it just makes them want to double down on their version of the truth.

    3. With knowledge and knowledge-sharing, there are always going to be a few steps backwards. This is kinda why we have sea-faring mammals (fuckin’ dolphins, man). In our example, our knowledge of the world being a sphere comes from a pretty much exact science but science has been demonstrably proven false before so how can we be so sure, right? After all, we are taking for granted the words of a bunch of old men who may or may not have faked the moon landing (see: point 2, above). Why should we believe science, especially when it’s always changing the rules?

    I think asking the kind of question phrased like, “How are there flat-earthers in 2017?” is exactly why there are flat-earthers in 2017. Thing is, people have shitty opinions all the time (for example, people who think Destiny is a good game). Through the internet we are exposed to more and more and more of this. And it’s not that it’s “in 2017 why does X exist” but rather “in 2017 we finally understand the extent of X” and while it can be scary, I think drawing attention to it has a dual-effect of alienating those who might be on the fence about it, and also popularising it for people who enjoy going against the grain.

    So yeah, that’s my quick thoughts on the concept of frankly stupid belief systems that are practically mockable religions.

    • Hammersteyn

      So that’s how Trump won the election.

      • HvR

        Unfortunately stupidness is not limited to only the right.

        Let us not forget about the liberals calling for the decolonization of science because nobody saw the apple fall on Newtons head and shangomas can summon lightening.

        • Hammersteyn

          Right or left. Trump is wrong

    • Original Heretic

      You call these “quick thoughts”?! It’s an essay!!
      But I did read it.
      And you raise some very good points. Especially about the part where some science has been proven false, hence there are those who just suddenly believe that all science is fake.

      • Hammersteyn

        I hope they believe penicillin is fake.

        • I hope they believe reproduction is fake!

          • Hammersteyn

            YUS!

      • lol

    • It’s not an opinion though. They are saying it is an ‘IS’.

      • Do you even English? Google “define opinion” and you get literally this:

        a view or judgement formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.

        • Admiral Chief Silver Dragon

          Rince barely even “hooman”

    • Admiral Chief Silver Dragon

      MEHstiny and lolz at your mini-essay, gg

      • OneLargeBanana

        Warframe >> Destiny! (especially now with the pretty sweet open area)

        • Admiral Chief Silver Dragon

          YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

          • OneLargeBanana

            How can one game be so freaking awesome? I recently re-installed the precious, and I can’t understand why I uninstalled it in the first place.

          • Hammersteyn

            Because you started playing Destiny? 😛
            I might reinstall it as well, wanna see what all this POE nonsense is about.

          • OneLargeBanana

            Are you joining me for Warframe, Deon? Nick? Avo?

          • pfft, that free to play pay bullshit, get in the sea

          • OneLargeBanana

            Stop being such a bigot, most AAA games (with their stupid loot boxes) are shit, Warframe is gold! It teabags the vast majority of AAA titles, with a smile on its face, and then impregnates their ears, because it’s that HARDCORE!

          • Get lost, Battlefield 95.6 is way better

          • OneLargeBanana

            Pffft Smile 90.4 FM is better.. oh wait.. YOUR FACE!!!

          • your THUMB! I do bite it! 0_O

          • OneLargeBanana

            Remember, we were supposed to be twins, but in March 1979… the cosmic father frog decided that it would be better to separate us. And so it came to be that two boys were born. One a little retarded… the other a tanned greek god.

            The End!

          • I’ll END you! Daddy always like me better, that’s why I’m privledged!

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            I think you’re confusing being privileged with being pushed off the privy’s ledge.

          • Original Heretic

            1979?
            A great year, that was.
            Gave the world a wonderful gift. Something truly…original.

          • OneLargeBanana

            You too? Maybe we were in fact triplets?

          • Hammersteyn

            Well, if that’s the only way I can make you show up then so be it 😛

    • Matthew Holliday

      So, the internet gives these people a voice, making more people talk about them and suddenly opinion is fact?
      Sounds about right, yeah.

    • Hammersteyn

      XD

    • Original Heretic

      Surprised he didn’t respond with “Just like YOUR MOM!”

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        That’s because the Flat Earth Society was founded by a man.

        • Original Heretic

          Just like YOUR MOM!

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            Shut up, Elon! Your name sounds like a perfume brand.

          • Original Heretic

            That’s being released next year.
            Elon’s Musk.

          • OneLargeBanana

            Coming late 2017, Elon’s Musk, the eau de toilette for the working man.

          • That what you tell the wife? *Runs!

          • OneLargeBanana

            The Banana’s musk is legendary though…. quite delightful and gentle on the nostrils, unlike your putrid smell. Ha!

          • Yest still coming late eh? TEHEHEH!

          • OneLargeBanana

            Better late… than premature… ho ho ho! geddit geddit? I waste all my best material on you.. 🙁

          • get out!

          • Original Heretic

            The words “premature” and “waste all my best material” shouldn’t be placed so close together….

        • NO!

        • OneLargeBanana

          A white man? DISGUSTING!!!!

          • Shut up, you’re a NANA, you’re white on the inside!

          • Weanerdog

            Plagiarism!

  • Skittle

    Who the eff is B.o.B?

    • Hammersteyn

      A shitty rapper.

  • Hammersteyn
  • Doge Man

    https://youtu.be/S74C-XF9kYY
    Just watch this…

    • Hammersteyn

      Too bad Youtube wasn’t around when they burned “witches”

      • Doge Man

        There is a saying that goes something to this effect: Trying to have a factual argument with an idiot is like playing chess with a pigeon. No matter how good you are at chess, no matter how well you know the rules. The pigeon will just walk over the board and knock over the pieces and think that he is winning.

        • Hammersteyn

          XD truth!

  • Phaezen

    Final conclusive proof that the world is not flat:

    If it was flat cats would have knocked everything off the edge by now

    • Hammersteyn

      LOOOOOOOOL!

  • MonsterCheddar
  • OneLargeBanana

    Not really that surprising, considering that 50% of millennials apparently believe that there are more than TWO genders.

    • Hammersteyn
    • Weanerdog

      Move along you troll trump supporter

    • OneLargeBanana

      Let’s be clear, in this age of Information Overload (where you can educate yourself sitting on the bus, armed only with your cellphone) the real victim has been science. There’s a weird distrust for scientific thought among my generational peers and it’s baffling – from anti-vaxxers, to flat-earthers, to weirdos who believe there are more than TWO genders, or that biological sex doesn’t exist, it’s not really that surprising any more.

      Not so long ago, we had these mental midgets….
      “How do magnets work?” Jesus….

      And let’s not forget, that one SA minister who wanted to investigate why racist lightning was only striking black people in KwaZulu Natal.

    • Admiral Chief Silver Dragon

      “oneLARGEbanana” nogal, more like OneLargeEgo 😛

      • OneLargeBanana

        Hush! Admiral Chief Silver Dragon… you are but a mid-level dungeon boss (with silly quick-time events), whereas I am the end-level FINAL boss, with epic explosions, set-pieces and a difficulty gradient that will blow your mind!.

        • Admiral Chief Silver Dragon

          Spoiler alert, I’m the DM

          • OneLargeBanana

            Impossible! You can’t be a mid-level dungeon boss and the DM. You’re a game-breaking BUG!!! I KNEW IT!! :O

          • Admiral Chief Silver Dragon

            I’m the intro, the mid, the end, the all seeing, knowing and smelling Admiral of the Critical Dungeon

          • OneLargeBanana

            And they call me a rogue AI… You’re like Amazon’s Alexa.. but evil… like Google Assistant had a one night stand with Siri while cheating on Cortana, and then 9 months late… YOU WERE BORN!!!

          • Admiral Chief Silver Dragon

            I’m my own father

          • OneLargeBanana

            That…explains…alot…

  • DaxterZA

    Because people are idiots, that’s all.

  • Because they are a bunch of ‘look at me’ retards.

    • OneLargeBanana

      Your face is a “look at me” retard!

      • Shut up mirror boy!

        • OneLargeBanana

          I’m not JJ – you bastard!

  • MonsterCheddar
    • YES!

    • OneLargeBanana

      Once again, truth comes from the big cheese

  • Admiral Chief Silver Dragon

    Because most people are idiots

    • OneLargeBanana

      I blame reality TV, a lack of comprehension classes at school, lack of GI Joe, lack of 1990s Batman and too much hair dye….

      • Admiral Chief Silver Dragon

        I blame the parents not smacking the shit out of kids when they say/do stupid things

        • OneLargeBanana

          Spare the rod!!!? I think that’s the problem with @rincethis:disqus , they should have caned him every day… but they didn’t. Silly Liberals!!

          (PS: I’m actually against corporal punishment. 🙁 Horrible practice. I honestly can’t see how I could smack the little banana. The mere thought triggers me…).

          • Original Heretic

            You never smack your little banana?

          • OneLargeBanana

            Gods no, do you want me to loose all my chi? Goku never smacked his banana, and look how quickly he reached Super Saiyan Level 4. It only took 16 years.

          • Admiral Chief Silver Dragon

            [watches joke fly right over Jim]

          • OneLargeBanana

            Did you say “fly” 😛

          • Admiral Chief Silver Dragon

            I’m pretty fly for a white guy

          • Original Heretic

            Give it to him, Admy! a-ha, a-ha! Give it to him, Admy!

          • Original Heretic

            Some say there were deleted scenes in the series.

  • The earth is not round. It is a spheroid. So technically many people are wrong anyways 😛

    • Johann

      Spheroid is a damn lot closer to round than it is to flat.

      • True but my father always says “Amper raak is nogsteeds mis.” 😛

        • Original Heretic

          Sounds like good toilet advice.

  • Magu

    The earth is round?!

    • Admiral Chief Silver Dragon

      *spherical

  • Johann

    An easy way to find the loonies are to check whether they all agree on their scientific method. All scientists from all walks of life agree the earth is a spheroid, they all agree that the earth and other planets orbit the sun.

    The flat earthers can’t agree on anything, they each have their own version of how day and night, the stars, planets and sun work.

  • EA_CommunityAssurance

    Whoever takes a rapper seriously on a sort-of intellectual concept, deserves to follow rappers.

  • Greylingad{EXPLOSIONS!}

    To start off with, we have to explore the theories surrounding “a Flat Earth” this is to say if you can find two coherent theories that have been proven true (for this, we’ll use basic scientific analysis)…

    1. “The earth is flat and is surrounded by a wall of ice, which keeps the water from falling off of the planet, the wall of ice is known as Antarctica.”
    a.) HOW!? WHAT!? JESUS….
    b.) A starting point would be evidence to support this theory, like a photograph of said wall, one would think that Christopher Columbus would have run into a few issues with said wall before his major discoveries (let’s mention the islands of West Indies and it’s navigational error, no blunder…).
    c.) One would also think that a Pilot would have trouble plotting flight paths when travelling between Greenland and the Eastern side of Russia, but this is a story for another day…
    d.) Where (just….), does the water fall to? In essence, what in this solar system, would be the force of attraction for anything to fall to? Is the planet shadowed by some massive gravitational magnet that conveniently follows the planet around?

    I’m going to stop there for now, my tolerance for this has already run out… You see, it has taken millennia to get to the point where we are scientifically and it annoys me that people are still this uneducated/ignorant or has a need to wrongfully educate themselves.