“Earth is a Sphere” Semantic Games

The Earth is spherical, but not perfectly spherical. Its diameter is longer across the equator than between both poles. The shape is called ‘oblate spheroid’. The difference between both diameters is tiny, only about 0.33%. It is perfectly fine to say that the Earth is round or spherical.

Some flat-Earthers take this issue very seriously. They think if that’s the case, then we can’t say the Earth is spherical. They are wrong. If we can’t say the Earth is a sphere, then we can’t describe every other spherical object as spherical, because nothing is perfectly spherical.

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The Distance to Polaris

Anyone who is in the northern hemisphere can observe the star Polaris, located very close to the north celestial pole. As a result, when observed casually, Polaris appears practically stationary in the same position.

Flat-Earthers claim that the fact Polaris appears stationary as ‘evidence’ that the Earth is stationary: if the Earth is in motion, then Polaris should appear in motion too. They are wrong. Polaris appears stationary because it is very far and its motion can’t be visually observed in the scale of a human life.

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The Fallacy of Statement of Conversion

The fallacy of statement of conversion is committed when someone is taking a statement of conversion as valid without actually hearing a reason for the conversion.

Flat-Earthers often tell others that they used to believe the Earth is a globe, but now they ‘know better’ and believe in a flat-Earth. All this only tells us they changed their mind. Accepting this as proof of a flat-Earth would be committing the fallacy of statement of conversion.

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Evidence of Curvature: Turning Torso Building, Malmö, Sweden

Turning Torso is a 190 m (623 ft) high building in Malmö, Sweden. It is situated near the strait of Øresund. At the other side of the channel lies the city of Copenhagen, Denmark, only 15 km (9 miles) away from Malmö. Turning Torso has a distinctive segmented shape that is easy to recognize from far. And more importantly for our purposes, the segmented form is making it easy to judge its height from far.

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Apollo Mission Profile

The Apollo missions really happened and humans have actually visited the Moon. If someone fell victim to the flat-Earth conspiracy, then it would imply that they also fell victim to the Apollo moon landing conspiracy. But they are wrong. 

Someone usually fell for the moon landing conspiracy theory because of emotional appeals and confirmation bias, but also because of their ignorance of the Apollo mission profile itself.

The following is a very brief description of the Apollo mission profile, numbered according to the numbers in the illustration.

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The Directions of Up and Down

The directions of up and down are determined from the direction of the Earth’s gravitational acceleration. Up is in the opposite direction, and down is in the same direction as the Earth’s gravitational acceleration.

Flat-Earthers are often seen making fun of this fact. They show us ‘upside down’ pictures taken in the southern hemisphere. They are wrong. To anyone in the southern hemisphere, down is in the same direction as the Earth ‘s gravitational acceleration, the same as anyone in the northern hemisphere.

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Neil deGrasse Tyson and His ‘Pear-Shaped’ Analogy

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In a talk show, Neil deGrasse Tyson explained the figure of the Earth. He told the audience that the Earth is practically round, but it is a little farther from the center near the equator compared to the poles. And that in the southern parts, it is a bit farther from the center than in its northern regions. To illustrate the fact, Neil used the analogy ‘pear-shaped.’

Flat-Earthers really love to ridicule the ‘pear-shaped’ analogy. But they are mistaken. If they watch the entire unaltered video, they will find Neil explained the fact very clearly.

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How Satellites Can Orbit and Stay Up There

If Earth’s gravity pulls everything towards the Earth, then how can satellites stay up there and are not falling towards the Earth?

The answer is that satellites orbit the Earth. They have the correct velocity with respect to Earth’s position and gravitational pull.

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The Cities of Punta Arenas, Dunedin, and Murmansk During the December Solstice

During the December solstice, on December 21, the Sun reaches its southernmost point. During this time, the northern parts of the Earth are experiencing the peak of winter, and conversely, the southern regions are experiencing the height of summer.

Most flat-Earth denominations picture the sun shining like a spotlight, and they can’t explain what is happening in the southern parts of the Earth during the December solstice.

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The Reason We Cannot See Earth’s Curvature When Standing on a Beach

We can’t directly observe and subjectively perceive the curvature of the Earth from a position close to the surface. And this matches the expectations in the spherical Earth model.

Flat-Earthers often take the fact we can see the curvature by standing on a beach as ‘evidence’ the curve doesn’t exist. They are, once again, wrong.

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Fisheye Lenses Can Make Curved Lines Appear Flat

A fisheye lens distorts images. It results in images having barrel distortions. In a fisheye lens, a straight line can appear curved. But some flat-Earthers don’t realize that the opposite is also true, a fisheye lens can easily make a curved line look straight.

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The Non-Correlation Between Salinity and Tides

Seawater salinity does not have a correlation to tides. Just because seawater has a higher salinity than lake water, it does not mean salinity causes tide.

Some flat-Earthers claim tides are the result of salinity. They are wrong. There are bodies of water that do not have tides as large as seawater, but their salinity is much higher than seawater.

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Contextualism and Flat Earth

Contextualism is treating what we know as context-sensitive. We can use the epistemic contextualism as a philosophical tool to explain the Earth is spherical, and bypass all the scientific explanations.

Flat-Earthers love to shift the context to where we would no longer function as a normal human being because only in this context, most of us cannot possibly know the shape of the Earth.

But in the context where we all act like normal human beings, there’s no problem to know the Earth is spherical, even if we don’t know all the scientific details.

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Curvature Calculators and Atmospheric Refraction

Atmospheric refraction causes a distant object to appear higher than its actual position. As a result, the object can be physically behind Earth’s curvature but is still visible because the light coming from it is refracted by the atmosphere.

There are many curvature calculators and simulation tools that don’t account for refraction. They would give us the correct results indicating the object’s physical positions but fail to show us the correct apparent position of the object when visually observed.

Flat-Earthers are often too happy with the calculator showing them the results they want to see and fail to see the reason for the discrepancy.

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The Lack of Stars in the Pictures of Space

In many pictures taken from space, stars are not visible, even with a dark sky. The reason is that stars are very dim compared to the primary object in the pictures. If the camera is set to take a correctly exposed image of an object that is much brighter than the stars, then the stars would not be visible in the picture. The same thing would happen everywhere, in space, or on the surface of the Earth.

Flat-Earthers often take the lack of stars as fakery. They are wrong. This is simply a limitation of any camera.

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Ice Shelf: Not the Giant Ice Wall Surrounding the Earth

An ice shelf is a thick floating platform of ice. Ice shelves are found not only in Antarctica but also in Greenland, Canada, and Russia in the north polar region.

Flat-Earthers often show off pictures of an ice shelf as ‘proof’ of the existence of the mythical giant ice wall surrounding the Earth. They are wrong.

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Sextant: Determining Latitude from The Positions of the Stars

Long before GPS, navigators used a device called ‘sextant’ to determine the angle of a celestial body. From that data, the latitude of their current location can be determined.

This can only happen if the Earth is spherical.

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The Long Chains of Ad-Hoc Hypotheses to Defend the Flat-Earth Model

The flat-Earth model survives not because the Earth is flat, but because every time a problem is found, its proponents would quickly invent an ad-hoc hypothesis to explain the problem away. In turn, if they discover another problem in one of these ad-hoc hypotheses, they would be happy to invent another ad-hoc hypothesis to explain the problem away. And so on, and so forth.

These ad-hoc hypotheses are there to save their core belief —that the Earth is flat— from being falsified.

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The Earth is Spherical and The Mississippi River Never Flows Uphill Anywhere

The Mississippi River never flows uphill, or in other words, ascend to a location farther from sea level anywhere in the Mississippi River basin.

Flat-Earthers often claim that if the Earth is spherical, then the Mississippi River will have to flow uphill to overcome the curvature of the Earth. They are wrong.

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Atmospheric Refraction and the Position of the Sun in the Flat-Earth Model

If the Earth is flat, then the Sun would have been visible from the entire Earth, but that’s not the reality. So, to rescue the concept of the flat-Earth from being falsified, they invented an ad-hoc hypothesis that the Sun appears to set because of perspective and refraction.

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