Let us imagine for a minute that you were born onto this Earth having never been indoctrinated into a belief system, had no knowledge of celestial mechanics and no knowledge of astronomy or cosmology. Let us say then that I presented you with two scenarios to explain the the world in which you inhabited and they are as follows:
1) The material plane on which you exist is called Earth. The Earth is called a planet it is round and is just one of many planets that are being hurled around a thermonuclear furnace called the Sun. The sun exists at the center of our solar system, is itself spinning through space and is roughly 93 million miles away from us. The Earth has a heavenly object that revolves around it and it is called the Moon. We exist in a galaxy, a spinning mass of stars, that is just one of trillions of galaxies in the entire universe.
2) The material plane on which you exist is called Earth. The Earth is a flat immovable plane, surrounded by an enormous ice wall keeping in the salty oceans. The Earth is held up by four pillars and there is a firmament arching over the skies encapsulating everything within. The Sun and Moon, the Milky Way and all of the stars in the Heavens revolve around the Earth and the infinite space was created solely for humankind.
Now sit back and think for a second: You are told that either you exist on a flat immovable plate in the middle of infinity with the stars, the Sun and Moon revolving around you OR you are on a spinning blue marble coasting in the middle of a vast eternal sea of stars, spinning around a gigantic burning ball.
Both of these models are preposterous, outrageous, near impossible and for the most part, completely implausible. Both sound more like worlds created in the weird and wild imagination of some mad science-fiction writer on high doses of LSD than they do any sort of rational, understandable reality I can immediately grasp.
For those of you that are not aware (and for some of you, this is going to be quite a shock I suppose) there is a heated debate going on currently with a growing group of people who believe, and many who are absolutely convinced, that the Earth is FLAT.
Yes, this is an actual thing.
There are literally thousands upon thousands of people who are exploring this notion. There are hoards of independent researchers online who are posting videos with supposed evidence to support their claims. Blogs have been written, podcasts recorded, comments sections flooded. Hell, there’s even been a book or two written about it. These people are dedicated and very serious about supporting a new ‘Flat Earth’ model to replace our currently accepted heliocentric system.
“Who the fuck thinks the world is flat? What kind of moron believes such nonsense? Have you ever been up in a airplane and seen the curvature of the Earth, stupid? Shit is round, like the other planets. We have like a gazillion images of the Earth from space you douchenozzle!”
There are many people who ridicule the idea of even having such an absurd discussion or debate on the subject, or even questioning the rotundity of the Earth in the first place. Personally though, I am not the kind of guy who shuns this idea. Why? Why would I even consider engaging in such a discussion?
Because I believe in SCIENCE.
It is in my opinion that restating our assumptions and clarifying first principles is actually a REALLY GOOD THING to do every once in a while. What is so wrong with questioning fundamental and widely accepted ideas? How often have we ever even considered questioning the celestial mechanics of the world in which we live? How much does the average person even know about the movements of the planets, the sun, the moon and the Earth? Are we supposed to take, at face value, the promulgations made from self-proclaimed authorities of science?
A few weeks ago I posted something on my facebook account asking my friends a simple question, and it was essentially this: Does the moon rotate on its axis? This seems like it should be a very easy question, one that an educated populace would be able to answer without so much as a glance at a text book or looking the answer up online. Funny enough, the answers varied so wildly and completely that it made me realize that most people are going through life clinging, almost desperately, to models, ideas and paradigms that they really know nothing about.
And this is a serious problem.
And so do we live on a Flat Earth or a Globe Earth?
Through the blessings of the cyclical heavens, or by the hand of God, or by the grace of Mother Gaia, or by the shear cosmic accident that is this universe…we as a species have been given the greatest technology to communicate with one another that we have ever known with this little thing called the internet. If people are serious about having an honest, open, and true scientific debate, one that has the fullest of noble intentions, one whose sole aim is to get to the bottom of this mystery, one that is not stifled by over-arching ideological bases, belief systems and the restrictive paradigm of modern academia, one where all parties may take part in the study – all across the globe! (or Flat Earth, or whatever…) – then what better time than NOW to undergo such an experiment?
Currently we have the ability to obtain first hand accounts across the world of what the star positions are, what the moon looks like and what phase it is in, as well as how its geography appears to us on Earth. We have the ability to see the ascension and declination of the sun and its path through our skies, the appearance of the pole star and what angle it is, where the planets are along the ecliptic, what is viewable at vast distances over the Earth, etc, etc. ALL of which could be procured and the data obtained without the use of Google Earth, Google Sky Map or any other GPS units or software. In other words, all of this could be done with naked eye observation and personal recording equipment.
A lengthy controlled test could be arranged, a website built, a series of dates across several months could be picked in which thousands of people go out in their particular time zones / geographic locations and collect data on 10 – 20 various phenomenon like the ones listed above. The evidence can be presented online, the entire thing mapped and once the test was completed, the results could be very carefully examined.
But let’s be honest, that’s not going to happen.
Unfortunately, a caring, open, honest, cordial and humanly-kind debate is not what we are going to have on this particular subject (and so many others) because we forbid ourselves to have it. So many people that are engaging in this discussion, on both sides of the fence, seem to be so adamant and staunch in their convictions. On both sides, the tendency is to resort to bickering, belittlement, defensive and argumentative behavior, ridiculing, and being flippant and dismissive about key points runs rampant in the comment sections, blogs and discussion boards of many online forums. And that is extremely sad, wildly unfortunate, and speaks volumes about the collective maturity level of our species.
Truth will never be found where care and compassion are lacking.
“The age old saying ‘ignorance is bliss’ withholds a mighty truth. This is not to say that a continued state of ignorance is blissful, it is rather to say that when one recognizes that one is ignorant of a subject it immediately puts them in the position to explore, with a childlike wonder, all the gems waiting to be found within the investigation.” — Claudia Pavonis
What do I believe? Do I believe the Earth is flat or do I believe it is round?
Personally I care not for beliefs. I only care about the truth and so my opinions on the matter are null and void. At the risk of sounding ignorant, I must say that I have a few key questions I personally would LOVE to see answered:
In regards to the Flat Earth / geocentric model:
• If there is no International Space Station, how can thousands of independent and amateur astronomers not only track the I.S.S. but also view and photograph it from their personal telescopes?
• In the Flat Earth Model, how do the retrograde motion of planets work? In a heliocentric model, this is understood perfectly.
• How do the phases of the Moon work? If the moon provides its own light as is suggested, then why is it so easy to model the phases of the moon with a simple ball and a flash light (or in other words, an opposing source of light)? If the moon is giving off its own light, why would there be shadows in the craters of the moon? This seems inconsistent with the model provided.
• If there is a literal dome or firmament that arches over us, how do you account for comets and asteroids that have pelted the Earth (of which there is an enormous amount of geological evidence and personal eye-witness testimony)? Do these extraterrestrial objects somehow manifest from the firmament themselves? If there is an explanation such as this, where is the evidence?
• If the Earth is flat, why is it that every other heavenly body we see in the solar system is round?
In regards to the Heliocentric Model:
• Why is it that when a ballon ascends into the upper stratosphere with a camera and takes video of the Earth no curvature is ever seen? How is it that the horizon continues up all the way as you ascend?
• Why are there hardly any photographs of Earth from space? Why is it that nearly everything we get from NASA is ‘composite images’ that are literally created in Photoshop? Is it really that difficult to just take a damn picture?
• How can a person, standing at sea level, clearly view an object only 6 to 7 feet tall that is roughly 5 miles away if that object, according to the inverse square law should be approximately 200 inches below the horizon following the curvature of the Earth? (I have personally experienced this)
• How can the pole star be photographed with the camera shutter open for extended periods of time if the Earth is spinning on its axis? It shouldn’t matter how far away the pole star is if the point of view from which it is photographed is turning.
This is, of course, just a smattering of questions that I personally find profound after researching this matter for quite some time.
I am fully at peace knowing that there is so much that I will never know about this world.
And that is ok because I know the most important thing…
I know myself.
Peace and love everyone,
“I know that I am intelligent because I know that I know nothing.” — Socrates