Shenton Daniel - The Earth is flat

Author : Shenton Daniel
Title : The Earth is flat
Year : *

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This is a belief I hold as the beginning of an ongoing search for truth and certainty. It is a starting point – an intellectual foundation on which I feel further knowledge can soundly be built. Much as Descartes did in his Meditations on First Philosophy, I wish to start from a place of certainty and build upon it. The Flat Earth is an obvious truth to me now. My senses show me and my reason confirms it. However, my belief that the Earth is flat is not a popular one and it is not a belief I have always held. Like most people, I was taught from an early age that the Earth is a rotating sphere which, along with a collection of other spherical bodies, revolves in an elliptical orbit around our Sun. To most of you, this will seem like an obvious and unarguable fact. It is something you have been told by teachers. Told by parents. Told by textbooks. It is something you are utterly sure of. And, more than likely, it is something you have never truly investigated. It isn’t surprising, then, that people believe so strongly that the Earth is a sphere. We are bombarded every day of our lives with information. Television, radio, books and the Internet all compete to tell us things. Society agrees that some ideas are worth debating and that others are not. The idea of a spherical Earth falls into that second category. At some point, our society decided with great certainty that the Earth is a sphere and, consequently, that further consideration is unnecessary and anyone holding an opposing viewpoint is unworthy of debate. That the Earth is spherical is a ‘fact’ and we are, from an early age, told to accept it without question and in the face of our own first-­‐hand experience. But as 16th Century mathematician Pierre-­‐Simon Laplace stated, "The weight of evidence for an extraordinary claim must be proportioned to its strangeness." The Spherical Earth model is truly extraordinary and runs contrary to all of our senses. Consequently, the burden of proof is extraordinary – and this burden has never been met. But, because the idea is so firmly ingrained in our culture, few of us bother to hold the Spherical Earth model to account. ...

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