The majority of the world’s population stopped believing the world was flat hundreds of years ago. Theories about the spherical earth have existed since antiquity, but a true understanding of the round earth didn’t come until the age of discovery, where explorers were able to circumnavigate the globe.
It’s impossible to know who the first person was to discover that the world was in fact round. Several prominent thinkers were coming to these conclusions independent of each other. In 400 B.C., Plato stated that the earth was round. “My conviction is that the Earth is a round body in the center of the heavens,” he wrote in his dialogues. In 240 B.C., Eratosthenes was able to measure the circumference of the Earth with only rudimentary tools, and he wasn’t far off.
These ancient figures were able to come to the conclusion that the Earth is indeed round. So, it’s a bit frustrating that thousands of years later, we still have flat-earth believers in modern society.
D. Marble is a conspiracy theorist and “flat-earther” who posts videos on his YouTube channel trying to disprove the earth being round. He’s got 1,850 followers and his videos have gotten hundreds of thousands of views. He recently posted a video trying to “prove” that the earth is flat, and it went viral.
D. Marble took a spirit level onto a flight from North Carolina to Seattle to “monitor whether or not the pilot would dip the nose of the plane to compensate for curvature.”
“I recorded a 23 minute & 45 second time-lapse which by those measurements means the plane travelled a little over 203 miles. According to ‘Spherical Trigonometry’ given to explain the Heliocentric model, this should have resulted in the compensation of 5 miles of curvature. As you'll see there was no measurable compensation for curvature,” he wrote.
He concluded that because they stayed centered throughout the 23 minutes of recording, the Earth must be flat. He also brushed off that the bubble remains centered due to gravity, which he believes is just a theory.
“This and past generations have been lied to about almost everything. NO MORE LIES!!! No more defending what we know to be true! Now we take the fight to them! Spread the Truth, Expose the Lies, Demand Answers! #FEOffensive,” he wrote.
Surprisingly, and sadly, there were a lot of comments on the video showing support for D. Marble’s findings. “Such a great job on this!! Congratulations on all the deserved attention. Changing and healing minds is a noble thing. Keep it up D,” said one commentator. “Awesome job, man. Keep it up, Earth is flat,” a woman commented on the video.
While he did have some supporters, the majority of people had a good laugh at him. Some people just directly attacked his person, saying that he has a low IQ, etc. Others said that this was the reason Trump was elected president. While others tried to school him on why the bubble in the level stayed centered.
A few commentators mentioned the role of gravity (which D.Marble dismissed) in keeping the level center. This was the most eloquent comment:
“Your experiment relies on the assumption that if there [sic] Earth were spherical, gravity would still act as though it were flat, pulling downward toward a plane, as opposed to pulling inward toward the center of the sphere. If the Earth is spherical and gravitational pull is toward the center, then in order to maintain a constant altitude you must remain aligned perpendicular to the pull of gravity. Thus the expected result is that the center bubble would remain centered in straight and level flight. So this demonstration in no way proves that the Earth is flat."
While this may be a funny story for us to laugh about, sadly, there is a whole society with thousands of members across the globe who believe in a flat-earth. This is the goal of the Flat Earth Society:
“The Flat Earth Society mans the guns against oppression of thought and the Globularist lies of a new age. Standing with reason we offer a home to those wayward thinkers that march bravely on with REASON and TRUTH in recognizing the TRUE shape of the Earth - Flat.Come join us in our forums and get started learning about the greatest lie ever told.”
If you try to tell a flat-earther that astronauts have gone into space and seen (and photographed) the round earth, they will tell you that those photos are fake. They believe NASA just spews out false information to keep the population blissfully ignorant. Well, what about falling off the edge of the earth then? If the earth was flat, that would happen, no? Well, they’ve got an excuse for that too.
"A cursory examination of a flat earth map fairly well explains the reason - the North Pole is central, and Antarctica comprises the entire circumference of the Earth. Circumnavigation is a case of traveling in a very broad circle across the surface of the Earth,” said James McIntyre, a British moderator for the Flat Earth Society.
NBA star Kyrie Irving had questioned the roundness of the globe during a podcast. He then got a lot of backlash for it.
“Out of all the podcast, that’s what you took out of it, the flat Earth?” Kyrie asked during a press conference. “The fact that it’s a social phenomenon, that Kyrie thinks the world is flat, is hilarious. … Does it matter to you that I believe the world is flat?”
Shortly after Kyrie made his flat Earth claim, Shaquille O’Neal said in his own podcast that he believes the Earth is flat:
“It’s true. The Earth is flat. The Earth is flat. Yeah, it is. Yes, it is. Listen, there are three ways to manipulate the mind — what you read, what you see and what you hear. In school, first thing they teach us is, ‘Oh, Columbus discovered America,’ but when he got there, there were some fair-skinned people with the long hair smoking on the peace pipes. So, what does that tell you? Columbus didn’t discover America. So, listen, I drive from coast to coast, and this (expletive) is flat to me. I’m just saying. I drive from Florida to California all the time, and it’s flat to me. I do not go up and down at a 360-degree angle, and all that stuff about gravity, have you looked outside Atlanta lately and seen all these buildings? You mean to tell me that China is under us? China is under us? It’s not. The world is flat.”
Well, the joke is on us … cause he was totally kidding. Shortly after that statement, he said, “I’m joking, you idiots.”
“Listen B.o.B, once and for all, the Earth looks flat because one, you’re not far enough away at your size. Two, your size isn’t large enough relative to Earth to notice any curvature at all,” he said.
But, then Tyson made the very good point that, thinking like B.o.B’s is actually symptomatic of something much more worrisome.
“There’s a growing anti-intellectual strain in this country that may be the beginning of the end of our informed democracy,” Tyson said. “In a free society, you can and should think whatever you want, and if you want to think the world is flat go right ahead. But if you think the world is flat and have significant influence over others, like successful rappers … or presidential candidates, then being wrong becomes being harmful.”