Editorial: Flat Earthers, please show us the edge

In September Astronaut Scott Kelly posted this video tweet showing a full orbit around the Earth:

https://twitter.com/StationCDRKelly/status/913079786066526209

Terry Virts, four times in space on NASA missions and former commander of the International Space Station, shared this:

https://twitter.com/AstroTerry/status/913008843570991105

Even Buzz Aldrin got involved:

https://twitter.com/TheRealBuzz/status/913020664386392064

In the entire history of the planet there has not been one documented case of someone falling off the edge of our flat earth. How can that be? Shouldn’t someone have fallen off by now?

Also, there’s never been one photo taken of the edge of our flat earth. You would think someone would risk sailing up the edge just to get a photo that would make them both rich and famous.

And yet, no one has.

A quick visit to the Flat Earth Society’s webpage tells us that there is no edge, because a giant 150-foot tall ice wall surrounds the continents and keeps people from falling off. Seriously.

Well, then why are there no photos of this giant ice wall? And where, oh where, on your flat earth map did Antarctica go? How could people have traveled there, taken photos there, conduct scientific experiments there? Are they in on the NASA conspiracy too?

And how is it all the astronomical bodies in the sky that anyone can view with a strong enough telescope are round, but our earth is flat? When there is a solar eclipse, why is the shape of the earth clearly round?

We would love to say this is a joke, however, flat earthers seem to be growing in numbers. The Economist tracked how often Americans searched the words “flat earth” through Google over a four-year span and the numbers are rising.

Part of that is because of some high-profile “role models” who believe the earth is flat, including NBA superstar Kyrie Irving and rapper B.o.B.

It’s easy to write this all off as a joke. The fact satellites circle the planet and bring us television signals is a pretty obvious one. Several NASA astronauts have taken up the cause to restore sanity, sharing videos and photos on social media.

However, some flat earthers are raising funds from the gullible to try and prove the earth is flat. You should wonder where that money will really go.

What is not funny is the growing instances of people denying basic science and now say higher learning is a detriment, not an asset.

Opening a book, reading, educating yourself is never a waste of time.

Believing in fantasies and ignoring basic, proven truths because they don’t conform to your world view is harmful.

We worry for our species if people start thinking ignorance and conspiracy theories are something to be proud of instead of attending college and proven science.

We are capable of greatness, we have proven that with some of the greatest minds this planet has ever seen. They should be celebrated. We as Americans should regain our cynicism and start calling phony baloney exactly what it is (which we won’t because this is a family newspaper).

When someone starts offering boat tours to the great ice wall that keeps us from falling off the edge, we’ll be the first to sign up. Until then, can we all just assume that the scientists got this one right?

by Scott Kelly