When people talk about “science deniers” whether they are climate change skeptics or people who are against GMOs, the common epithet that is applied to them is “flat-earther.” The vast majority of the human race know that the Earth, just like every other planet, is a sphere.

To be sure, the eccentric folks at the Flat Earth Society are convinced that the idea of a round Earth has been spread by a conspiracy that wants to hide the truth. One such person is a rapper named B.o.B, who has just opened a Gofundme page to raise a million dollars for a space satellite to prove once and for all that the Earth is flat.

The use of spacecraft to photograph the Earth from a distance is certainly an inspired idea and should clear things up conclusively. If not, maybe putting human beings into space to see for themselves might do the trick.

The famous rap battle with Neil deGrasse Tyson

B.o.B’s foray into astronomy resulted in the celebrity astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson to delve into rap a year and a half ago. With the help of his nephew, Tyson produced a video called “Flat to Fact” that should have settled the matter.

Apparently, it didn't.

The flat Earth vs. the round Earth

On one level it is understandable why people in antiquity believed that the Earth was flat. Just by looking at the landscape out to the horizon, the thing seemed to be self-evident.

However, the ancient Greeks concluded through detailed observation and math that the Earth is round.

The idea that educated people believed the Earth is flat during Columbus’s day is a myth. The people who Columbus approached to fund his expedition to Asia by sailing west objected because they believed, as the Greeks did, that the distances were too vast for sailing ships at the time.

No one knew that two massive continents were in the way,

Popular Science once published a piece that laid out a number of ways anyone can tell that the Earth is round. The existence of time zones and the fact that no one has fallen off the edge of the Earth, even on long plane trips, are among the proofs. Of course, contrary to B.o.B, satellites have been imaging the round Earth for decades.

Why would anyone believe that the Earth is flat?

The short answer to why anyone would think the Earth is flat is because they want to and they can. For some people, like B.o.B, it is easier to believe in vast conspiracies dating back thousands of years than it is to accept commonly accepted science and even common sense observations. For a public figure like B.o.B, being a flat-Earther also garners notoriety and maybe even boosts records sales.

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