- Business Insider UK spoke with astronomer Stuart Clark, author of “Unknown Universe,” about why people still believe in a flat earth.
- Stuart Clark theorises that flat-earthers could be doing it for “comic effect”.
- He then goes on to address other questions that would arise as a result of flat earth theory.
Full transcript below
Stuart Clark: It’s so clearly obvious that the world isn’t flat. We see when ships leave the harbour you can see as they gradually disappear below the horizon. You can see if you go up on top of a tall tower or a hill and you see more over the horizon.
All our physics is constructed now, the physics of orbits of things going around the earth is all constructed with this three dimensional world. And the pictures from space show our world as a globe and yet somehow there are some people that still seem to believe the earth is flat.
So as human beings we love stories because stories make sense of our lives, of our world, they endow it with meaning and they can be understandable. Science is a way of what we hope is a true story something that is demonstrably true through experiment.
But as we see throughout the ages of the day can be overturned as we turn to a more precise understanding of the universe around us.
And generally speaking those become more complicated. So there is a tendency for people to reject that reality, that science of the day, on comfortable myths. Things that make them feel at home things that make them much happier that they know what’s going on.
Maybe this obsession with the flat earth is one of those. Or maybe they’re just contrarian. I don’t know, it’s one of those things that I find so difficult to get my head around. I really do.
My own pet theory is that they’re doing it for comic effect.
Imagine for a moment that the earth was flat. Well, how much thickness does it then have? These are the kind of questions that you have to ask.
So you have an edge. Well, would things fall of the edge? How do you generate gravity to make the things fall? What is it that is actually causing the gravity to make things fall off the end? A flat surface is fairly unstable, the other forces it would be flexible and move around.
It’s hard to even begin what a flat earth would actually be like because it’s just so impossible.