A rather healthy way of procrastinating an upcoming exam is looking up conspiracy theories, which is exactly what I was doing when I stumbled upon this video. It’s about a certain modern Flat Earth Society, that is dedicated solely to promote the idea of the earth being disc-shaped rather than a round ball as we know it.
Now in this age, if someone comes up to me and tells me, that all that we’ve been taught about the earth being a sphere, is part of some global hoax meant to keep locals in the dark, then I would gladly label them insane. And that is exactly what this group of sceintists believes to be true.
I mean the earth is a sphere, right? We’ve seen the satellite images printed in our textbooks; the laws and forces all conform perfectly to a round earth, and all the physics makes sense. But then what drove these brilliant scientists to dig up an archaic thought, and present it with such unwavering confidence, to a world made to believe in the comfortable thought of a spherical planet? Did the thought ever cross their minds that they could be easily proven wrong or become the laughing stock, just like their predecessors?
Of course it did.
If you are a science student then you will know that a theory cannot be called so unless it can almost (if not completely) justify/explain the situation or activity at hand. And here’s the thing, this theory can eerily explain everything that happens on a spherical earth as it would on a flat one.
The Flat Earth Theory cannot be proven wrong…if you’re using the right assumptions.
The day and night cycles can be explained by assuming the sun is also a disc that’s 32 miles in diameter and only a few thousand miles away; and that an “anti-moon” exists which would explain lunar eclipses. The pull of gravity is justified by considering the flat earth to be constantly moving up with a speed of 9.8 m/s. And these are just a few of the suppositions for a disc-like earth. No matter what phenomenon you throw at them, they will find a way of justifying everything and anything.
However, some explanations are actually absurd and often created on the spot to solve one problem while completely disregarding the others. But this does not at all mean that the theory is falsifiable. The theory, as crazy as it may sound, cannot be proven wrong.
Imagine you are in outer space moving at a speed that is close to the speed of light. As you increase your speed, you will realize that your entire life has been a lie, because the earth would emerge as a flat plate-like disk less that 20 miles thick.
Let that sink in.
To the human standing in Karachi, the earth would be a rounded mass. But to an outside observer traveling as fast as light, earth would be as flat as a plate. This has to do with the mass, length and time variation with the increase of speed (cue Einsteins famous Theory of Relativity). Ignoring all the calculus stuff, here’s the long story short: If you speed up enough to approach the speed light travels in, then the objects around you would seem to change form. They would appear to you longer and having less mass, even though in reality the only thing that has changed is your speed. The only change was in the obsever’s (in this case, your) perspective.
So if you look at the earth from the eyes of a bored super-advanced alien species, sitting at the window sill of a super-fast spaceship, looking upon our fragile planet, Earth would look like just another planetary disc in space. But if you look at it from a human astronaut’s perspective, who has successfully orbited our majestic earth, while being clung to a satellite moving at the humble speed his/her body can bear, Earth would look like a huge ball of transcendental revelation.
Which brings us to this question: is everything we perceive through our flimsy brains actually real? Or is it just a mere illusion, a projection of comfortable and believable thoughts, differing for every differing perspective?