The point: The Flat Earth Society does exist…and their president assured me that they are serious.
The rant that goes with it:
In 2010, after hearing that “The Flat Earth Society” (yes, the same one that the great Thomas Dolby belongs to…do look them up, their history is fascinating) was not merely a parody of scientific clubs, but rather a group founded on and continues to preach their sincere belief that the Earth is flat (in spite of Eratosthones having successfully calculated its circumference 2,200 years ago and…well…pictures and whatnot) and that the “spheroid theory” is a conspiracy propagated by airlines to jack up fares, I found not only their website, but the email address of their president: Daniel Shenton…
(please note that as I am part of the spheroidist conspiracy, I changed my name to my web handle so that I can continue to spread such lies with impunity)
From: The Kazoo Sutra
Sent: Tuesday, March 03, 2010 12:25 PM
Subject: FES’s True Purpose?
I have come to your website www.theflatearthsociety.org independently (without referrals or prior knowledge of it) and as such I cannot immediately tell, even from the FAQ, what is it’s true purpose. Everything I see there says that it is sincere, but it could be so deeply tongue-in-cheek that I just can’t see the “tell”. Can you please confirm for me in no uncertain terms if the purpose of the society is to…
1 – Forward, promote and discuss a sincere hypothesis that the Earth is flat on the basis that it is a Scientific Theory.
2 – Table an alternate hypothesis to the Round Earth Theory for the purpose attempting to falsify it, thereby improving it (RET). From the forum posts, I can see that it has worked brilliantly for this.
3 – A long-running joke, in that the Earth is just as flat as Stephen Colbert is a Republican.
4 – Some other purpose I hadn’t considered
If it is indeed Option 1 (sincere), it seems less “tongue-in-cheek” than it is “foot-up-ass”. If otherwise, then I applaud you and swill join up ASAP.
The Kazoo Sutra – Doha,Qatar
Sent: Thursday, March 04, 2010 1:46 AM
To: The Kazoo Sutra
Subject: Re: FES’s True Purpose?
While I cannot speak about other peoples’ motives with absolute certainty, I do know that my own falls well within ‘1’ on your list. There are some people on the forums who probably follow ‘2’ or ‘3’, but the Society itself does exist (and always has existed) in order to investigate and promote Flat Earth Theory.
From: The Kazoo Sutra
Sent: Tuesday, March 09, 2010 7:25 PM
Subject: RE: FES’s True Purpose?
Thank you for writing back to me so quickly and clearly. I see that you are indeed sincere about your acceptance of Flat Earth Theory and that you also appreciate that not everyone who engages with the Society shares your world view. I do have some questions for you, but first one small matter that you may want to clear up with your fellow proponents…
I see on the website a number of references to “Round Earth Theory”. This is misleading in that…
1 – The scientific and popular consensus is not that the Earth is “round” but that it is “spherical” (if maybe bulging a bit along the equator).
2 – Flat Earth Theory (or at least your model of it) suggests that the Earth is a flat, circular disc bordered by a 150-foot tall ring of ice (what we call “Antarctic”). “Round” describes a circular flat object, like a wheel or the Earth as you describe it. As such, the term “round” describes your relatively two-dimensional model much better than it does the more universally accepted one, which is described by the more three-dimensional “sphere”.
…as such, I recommend that you encourage your fellow proponents to refer to the generally accepted model as “Spheroid Earth Theory” and perhaps you might capitalize on this confusion by referring to your fellows as “Round Earthers” when you want to get your foot in the door at otherwise elitist conferences.
Can you please answer some basic questions about Flat Earth Theory…
1 – Can you please explain why it is that you accept Flat Earth Theory over Spherical Earth Theory when the evidence for the latter (which many accept as empirical) appears to so far outweigh the evidence for the former (which many consider outdated)? The only thing that appears to “correct” this imbalance would be massive conspiracy. Is this the case or are there other factors?
2 – Scientific knowledge moves forward as faulty hypotheses are falsified and correct hypotheses survive falsification. In other words, one gets to the stature by trimming away the “non-statue” bits, leaving the statue bits undamaged. We consider Evolution to be “true” because all attempts by proponents and opponents alike have failed to falsify it or the deluge of evidence for it. From what I have read, the opponents of Flat Earth Theory have (in your opinion) failed to falsify or propose any executable experiment that could falsify Flat Earth Theory or the evidence for it. As a proponent of Flat Earth Theory, can you propose an executable (not too expensive, avoids the conspiracy angle and can be done using existing tools) means by which your theory could be falsified? For example, when asked what would disprove the fossil records of evolution, paleontologist JBS Haldane once said, “fossil rabbits in the Precambrian”.
The Kazoo Sutra – Doha, Qatar
Unfortunately, in the 2 years since, Mr. Shenton never replied to my questions. I can appreciate this because I must admit that although my initial email was written with the purpose of giving him as many possible options to chose from, I did already know what his position was and that must have come across as insincere. For that, I apologize…but I did give him some constructive advice in exchange (I’m quite proud of the “Round Earthers” PR bit). Perhaps he has a Google Alert set to bring this post to his attention and we might continue this conversation via this blog?
In the meantime, here is some of the “evidence” that the Earth is flat. If it’s not convincing or doesn’t make any sense, don’t hurt yourself trying to think about it:
- The United Nations unintentionally reveal the truth by way of their flag, which shows the Earth as a disc with the North Pole at the center
- The Nile only falls a few feet across it’s entire run
- Mariners don’t use globes for navigation
- Antarctica is uninhabited…because it doesn’t exist. The UN-flag model of the Earth shows that the coast of Antarctica at actually a wall of ice that runs around the edge of the disc
- Any evidence that contradicts the Flat Earth Theory is proof of a corporate & government conspiracy against the theory (a boiler-plate conspiracy-theorist rationalization that applies to all such nonsense)
Comments are welcome and encouraged. However, before you post, please read my Moderation Policy, which I’ve adopted to control Spam. Basically, if you link to another website AND you do NOT refer to some specific detail about my post or another commenter’s post, your comment will be trashed before it appears, even if you are kind enough to say only, “I like your blog”. Sorry ’bout that, but the spam-bots have wrecked it for all of us.