Thursday, June 9, 2016

Dave Murphy's Open Letter

There is a petition on asking the government to answer the twelve questions posed in the video entitled An Open Letter To Neil DeGrasse Tyson on YouTube by a fellow named Dave Murphy. Here's his "letter" in video format. I have not found a text version online.

Now, let me mention a couple of things before I even address the questions in the "letter." At the beginning of the video, Murphy calls himself a "former man of science." He has no background in science that I can see in his biography, and in fact he seems to specialize in pseudoscience of many kinds. So, this opening to the letter is, at least, disingenuous.

Murphy then goes on to criticize Dr. Tyson's out-of-hand rejection of the flat Earth. He thinks that the flat-Earth deserves the same respect as new ideas in real science. This is nonsense. You don't earn respect for you ideas for just throwing them out there; you earn it by presenting ideas with substance, that ask real questions about the world, and make predictions that can be tested. The flat-Earth crowd does none of this.

Further showing his ignorance of how science works, Mr. Murphy says "Nothing in science is ever settled." If that were true, no progress would be made in science. Facts are settled, laws are about as settled as anything gets in the world, and theories are settled for as long as they continue to be the best descriptions for observations.

Murphy also says "The scientific method demands that you treat each point of view with respect, as it has the potential to overturn the existing model." Only extraordinary evidence and theories of magnificent explanatory power can overturn established principles. It is through this process that we build on existing ideas to discover more about the Universe. But the flat Earth has none of this.

Lastly, Murphy uses the word "scientism." This is casting science as religion, and undermines Murphy's credibility, even before he poses his first question.

He also says he wants answers in simple layman's terms. Kind of lazy for a "former man of science," don't you think? Flat-Earthers often accuse others of not doing their research. If they have something so important to offer, shouldn't they at least do their homework?

But, of course, when he does get around to posing his questions, his credibility just flies out of the window. These are not legitimate scientific questions. These are attempts (and mighty poor ones) at "gotcha" questions,

Let's have a look at these twelve questions:

1. Why is there land at the equator?
Murphy is off to a bad start with this one. He's referring to the slight bulge of the Earth at its equator cause by the Earth's rotation, which makes the Earth slightly oblate. He includes a portion of an interview with Dr. Tyson in his video which explains this. But, like every flat-Earther, he omits the last, and most telling, part of the interview, meant to give its audience a sense of scale.

Here's a terrific video by the YouTube user fiverredpears on the interview with Dr. Tyson:

So, let's move on from that bit of flat-Earth trickery to his next point. He claims the equator should be covered in water because water is "easier to move" than rock. As if the Earth was made from nothing but water and rock. And if if a spin of one revolution per day has enough force to pull the seas out to cover all the land masses at the equator.

Look, Mr. Murphy, this oblateness, this bulging at the equator, has happened gradually throughout the four-billion-year history of the planet, and affects all of its components. Your out-of-scale diagrams (a favorite tool of flat-Earthers going all the way back to Rowbotham) don't change the physics involved.

Ultimately, it's just a very silly question.

2. Am I able to see the curvature or not?
I addressed this question myself in this blog entry.  But I'll say this much more. Murphy is making some very odd assumptions in the video about how we see, and more importantly how much we see, when we look at the horizon. If you see five miles out, do you see 10 miles across? Only with a 90-degree field of view, and though the total human view is nearly 180 degrees, we can only focus in the middle two or so, and our perception of both detail and color drops off quickly outside that area.

So the answer is, no, for the most part, unless you are very high above the Earth with a nice wide view, you will not see the curve from side-to-side even when you can detect it by watching ships go over the horizon.

3. Why haven't we ever seen curved water?
We have. Every time we can't see something—or even a portion of something—beyond the ocean horizon, we're looking at a curve in the water. Murphy alludes to a very large frozen lake in Siberia. Now, if he would like to travel there, it seems that it would be the perfect place to reproduce Wallace's version of the Bedford Level experiment, since, on top of the ice, you need not worry about your depth in the water.

The experiment can be performed with three tall ladders, some simple wood targets, and an inexpensive spotting scope. And lots of hot coffee. Next question.

4. How are we breathing right now?
This is Mr. Murphy confusing the vacuum of space, which is the absence of matter, with a vacuum cleaner, which actively pulls things into it. The vacuum of space doesn't pull the atmosphere away; it is not negative pressure. We have an atmosphere because we have gravity. If the gravity was stronger (because the planet was more massive) our atmosphere would be denser. Also because of gravity, the air is less dense as you get further from the surface. Because of this, Mr. Murphy's column of rising hot air will not escape the planet because it will eventually meet an area of less dense air through which it can not longer rise.

5. Is the Earth very very small, or is the sun very very near?
The video that accompanies this question is so rife with errors it's hard to know where to begin. No, the "official" explanation (as if there was some government-approved version, instead of a standard scientific explanation) of crepuscular rays (those seemingly divergent rays in the picture) is not light refracting around the Earth. Refraction only comes into play because that's what allows to see the rays in the first place; you can only see light rays that enter your eye, not from the side.

The explanation for crepuscular rays is that they are, indeed, parallel, are coming right at you (which is why you can only see them close to sunrise or sunset), and the angling is an illusion caused by perspective.

So much for refracting, divergent rays, which also pulls the rug under Murphy's little bit about Eratosthenes' experiment.

6. How does a convex lens make light diverge?
It doesn't, at least not between the lens and its focal point. But, since the light doesn't diverge, it's a silly question. So why is the shadow of the airplane Murphy shows appear larger than the plane itself? Perspective. The shadow is closer to the camera than the plane, and so appears bigger. This is really basic stuff.

7. Why doesn't the artificial horizon roll backwards during straight and level flight?
Murphy shows a shot early in this video of a meter labelled "Bullshit Detector." Mine pinned the needle in this segment. He talks of two conversations he had, one with airline crew members, and one with the manufacturer of the airliner's artificial horizon. I see two problems with this. It is doubtful that the crew on this jet knew who manufactured their horizon indicator, and it is doubtful that the commercial jet had a mechanical artificial horizon.

Modern avionics has moved to the AHRS, the Attitude and Heading Reference System which, as the pilots said (if this conversation actually took place), contains sophisticated electronics, including three-dimension accelerometers and magnetometers, and no mechanical rotors at all.

To be fair, though, older artificial horizons are, indeed, completely mechanical devices, which have, as a little research will show, completely mechanical gravity compensators installed.

8. Why is the Coriolis Effect so selective?
The Coriolis Effect does influence planes, just not as much as prevailing winds and the airplanes' engines. Pilots don't think about it because course corrections are made for all forces in play throughout the flight. Artillery gunners and (to a lesser extent) snipers have to compensate up front because they don't get to make course corrections once the projectile has left the barrel.

As is so often the case, the graphic for this is overly exaggerated; the plane (and the guns) are already moving with the Earth, and so the Coriolis Effect is, relatively speaking, quite small.

9. What is the International Space Station flying over?
The Earth. Murphy's evaluation of the change in speed of surface features is wrong; the features do move faster as they get closer, but not as much as the landing airplane, because you aren't as close to them. This is how perspective works, and Murphy's choice of video footage is extremely misleading.

10. How can microgravity be selective?
It can't. Why is it that flat-Earthers identify every little blurry blob of something that moves across the screen in a video shot in space as a drop of water? Murphy's "drop of water" is likely no such thing. And the ketchup bottle has Velcro on it.

11. Why are there craters on the moon?
This reflects Murphy's awful sense of scale. Yes, the Earth is four times the diameter of its moon. But it is more than 30 times its own diameter away from it. That leaves lots of room for debris to miss the Earth and hit the moon.

The Earth has craters, too, and was hit many times in its early formation. But having an atmosphere, and water, does much to erode those features over billions of years.

12. Why don't we see permanent hills, mountains, and valleys in the ocean?
Because the natural physics of fluids (not just liquids) make them tend to find their lowest-energy state. The path of least resistance is to go with gravity (something I keep having to remind my teenagers of when they put bowls in the dish drainer with the opening up) toward the center of the Earth. That results in a surface that tends to be (but isn't always!) perpendicular to the center of gravity.

Why not always perpendicular to the center of gravity? Because, as with everything else in the Universe, there are always other forces at play that have to be taken into account. That's why we have waves and waterfalls and raindrops and all of the other familiar water features that are not, for a time at least, perpendicular to the center of gravity.

The Petition
So, after posting this video, Murphy posted the petition on the White House site, asking the government to answer these 12 questions, despite the fact that he originally posed these questions to Dr. Tyson, who doesn't work for the US Government; he is the Director of the Hayden Planetarium, which is under the auspices of the American Museum of Natural History, a private organization.

As we can see here, it doesn't take a astrophysicist to answer these questions. Mr. Murphy, in fact, could easily have answered them himself if he were interested in the truth instead of "winning" an argument or convincing people of the "truth" of the flat Earth.

The petition, nine days old as I write this, has about 1,050 signatures out of the 100,000 needed to receive a response from the White House. So there's little chance that anyone in the government is going to have to waste their time on this nonsense.

Meanwhile, if Mr. Murphy or anyone else wants to probe the possibilities of a non-spherical Earth, I think they could start with some better questions.

And more than a little research.


  1. I am enjoying your posts very much, Went thru the whole blog :) So much silliness in this theory. When I first heard about it and watched the video, I was in complete shock. I mean how in Earth will anyone buy this? But they do :( The problem is that none of the Flat Earth believers are going to read it or if they do, they will not consider the facts. Their only "proof" is that every proof of the round Earth is fake. :/ Anyways :) Thank you for the good read!

  2. Well Gordon, seems to me as though you are very well 'educated' by the system and that 'education' has taken away your common sense and logic, which is, after all, the idea of 'education'.
    If it is scientifically proven that the earth is a globe, then why do you feel the need to criticise Dave for asking simple questions that science should have obvious answers to?
    If the laws of science are so flawless, then why do these questions need to be asked and why is it that science has yet to come forward with solid proof of our 'globe' planet.
    So many theories and laws are based upon speculation, impossible probabilities and personal opinions. This is not science. This is another form of trickery and deceit from the elite of this world, and I would urge you to open your eyes and take another look at the world and science and everything around you.
    I for one would love solid simple answers to Daves questions and I have signed the petition already. For me this is an incredibly important issue that needs to be addressed, I have grown my whole life looking up at the stars and imagining our globe earth and solar system, but if we have been lied to about this, then I want to know about it. I believe I already know the truth, and let's all pray that science can easily prove these questions to be foolish. I strongly doubt it, but I do know that the truth of this entire system will soon become very evident.

    1. How have I not answered these questions? It's as if you didn't read the post at all before commenting (seems to me I've encountered that problem before). It doesn't take an astrophysicist or a government official to answer these questions; anyone with a high-school science class and some research skills can manage it. That's why I'm critical of Mr. Murphy, because he's either being lazy or dishonest with these questions.

      If you want to prove that the Earth is not a globe, you have to do a hell of a lot more than present things you don't understand as if they have some profound meaning, and as if no one has every thought about any of this before.

      And none of this is secret or hidden. It's all out in plain sight, and anyone willing to do the heavy lifting can verify the principles involved for themselves.

      Accusing everyone who disagrees with you of being indoctrinated, a liar, or a shill proves only that you have no valid argument and have to resort to ad hominem.

      Science is a process. A slow, often messy process that involves a lot of people over a very long period of time sharing information to get closer and closer to finding out how the Universe works.

      The flat-Earthers are Johnny-come-latelies to this party, more like gate-crashers, telling everyone what they're doing wrong while offering nothing of substance and refusing to pay dues.

      The evidence for a globe Earth is all around you. I have suggested many things in posts on this blog that flat-Earthers could do to falsify the globe model, but not one has reported back with any attempts to do so.

      Instead, I am called names, and linked to the same ignorant YouTube videos again and again. Any pointed questions I pose remain unanswered, except on occasion by insults, or a complete change of subject.

      If you want anyone to take you seriously, you have to work much, much harder at it. But flat-Earthers seem far more interested in declaring themselves smarter than the rest of the world, and almost no time at all actually getting smarter.

      You want answers to the hard questions? Then you need to actually ask hard questions.

      And listen to the answers.

  3. I have one question for Mr Gordon. How is it possible to detect the curvature of the Earth by watching a ship go over the horizon with the naked eye then by using binoculars being able to see the ship again? I would like to apologize about the writing, English is not my first language. Thank you.

    1. If you can still see the ship, it hasn't passed the horizon. Have you noticed that the videos done on this subject never have hard data on distance or camera height above current sea level?

      If someone wants to prove that objects just move away and don't go over the horizon, why not do something definitive?

      Like the moon. Watch the moon set with your unaided eyes. Then try to bring it back with those binoculars. You can't, because Earth is a globe.

    2. The wouldn't even BE a horizon if the earth's surface was flat!

  4. this is a very interesting answer Gordon as soon I have opportunity I will try

  5. One Question... What about the fake NASA photo's ? You think this is real, let me laught.

    1. I almost deleted your comment for being completely off-topic, but I decided that I wanted my readers to see this tactic. A complete change of subject, followed by the "you don't really believe..." canard. You fail to bring anything new to the table, and this is why no one in his or her right mind should ever take flat-Earthers seriously.

      Thank you for providing an example.

  6. Look mate I'm sorry to break this to you but the earth is flat and that's that, I know this because my mate Jamie Tripney has put in the leg work and spent hours on you tube "researching", if he says it's flat it must be so lol

    1. Hard not to buckle under the weight of such overwhelming evidence.

  7. Funny thing. Mr Gordon wants to say that Earth is not like we see, but like we do not see. Mr Gordon defends not what our perception is, but what what is wrong wit it. Finally Mr Gordon defends NASA, rich corporacy. If MR Gordon is so sure Earth is Globe without seeing Earth from Spacer I am sure MR Gordon believes so strong for JESUS? And Why nobody is allowed to go to Antarctica? Why Some mountains there called by ROCKEFELLER's name? MR GORDON defends rich people and simply serves them.

    1. Where did I say anything about rich people? I don't believe that the Earth is a sphere; I observe it, not in the superficial sense of someone who looks out at the horizon and says "looks flat to me," but as someone who has seen a lot of sunrises and sunsets, understands how light and shadow work from 50 years of photography, and someone who thinks beyond the obvious and digs for deeper answers.

      Flat-Earthers don't dig for answers. Like Dave Murphy, they don't even ask good questions.

    2. Where do Flat Earth folks get the idea NASA is some "rich" agency? During the Space Race it got funded very well, but after that was over, it was gutted and only stayed a viable agency because the rest of the world created their own Space Agencies. The budget was 5% of GDP in 1965 and is down to 0.7% and faces further cuts very soon. Get over it.

  8. Mr Gordon,

    It is your use of demoralizing language that speaks volumes about your character and intention behind this post and comments thereafter. Anyone who is fully conscious, fully awake, and fully aware when they do any research on this subject they can feel that something isn't right. You can throw your fake "science" at me all day but it all comes down to my intuition, my inner self, my inner knowing. You have lost this part of yourself.

    My intuition tells me that you so desperately want to believe everything you wrote in your post. That the reason why you are so emotionally charged by "flat eathers" as if that is a bad name is because it challenges what you have been conformed into believing as fact. Simply. It scares the crap out of you to think we don't have the world, universe, or meaning of life figured out. Being a slave in a monetary system is not our purpose. Consuming meat, dairy, proccesed sugar, processed everything, GMO this, and fake food that is not our purpose. Moving through life blindly excepting a short life span, sick immunized children, breathing chemicals, drinking chemicals, eating chemicals, creating more dangerous chemicals is not our purpose. Creating differences, fake barriers, and unimportant boundaries between other people, animals, and plants is not our purpose.

    You have to ask yourself why? For what? Why do they want you sick, in pain, medicated, weak, fat, and lazy? Because weak fat lazy sick people don't ask questions. Weak fat lazy sick people expect someone else to fix them, like their doctors or medications. Weak fat lazy sick people don't realize their inner power, they haven't acknowledge their inner knowing, they don't listen to their intuition this is exactly why they are weak fat lazy and sick!

    I encourage you and anyone reading this post to do some true soul searching it is only in the unknowing that the knowing becomes much less important. I encourage you to listen to you inner self. It is screaming the truth!

    I find much knowledge in this statement:
    You don't need to "learn" you just need to "remember" We all know the truth you just can't be afraid to explore within.

    The more wisdom you attain the more conscious you become the crazier you will appear to others.

    1. You can ramble on about "they" all you want, but the shape of the Earth is not something established by elites and gatekeepers. It was discerned millennia by people with no special technology, just brains and a passion for the facts. The Earth will tell you her shape if you watch with your eyes and mind wide open, and are brave and determined enough to probe until all of the questions are answered. Those answers do not resolve to a flat Earth.

      All of the other stuff your talking about has nothing at all to do with the physical, demonstrable fact that the Earth is a sphere, and I am not going to even start such a discussion on this blog.

    2. Intuition is an extremely unreliable way of ascertaining the shapes of obects!
      Scientific observation and measurement proves the earth to be approximately spherical.

    3. You would be surprise what you can learn with intuition. You know guys I always loved science, I was watching video about the mars rover, I had the Hubble Space telescope App on my Ipad. I mean I was very amazed by the work NASA was doing. But once I raise to myself that question "If nobody told me earth is globe, could I have guess it by myself?" And the answer is no, we know it because we have been told to.

    4. Jonathon, of course we can see for ourselves that the Earth is a globe. That's why it was worked out thousands of years ago, by smart people using their senses and their brains. You can do it yourself just by honestly observing the sun and the moon. Honestly, though, is the key word.

      Flat-Earth people can make up all kinds of excuses that have nothing to do with observations and everything to do with confirmation bias, to the point of telling outright lies.

      But any honest evaluation of the world around us leads to the same conclusion: the Earth is a globe.

  9. "You can never win an argument with a negative person. They only hear what suits them, and listen only to respond" -Michael P. Watson

    My eyes and mind are and have been wide open and the earth tells me it is flat. It tells me this with no use of special technology just using my brain and having passion for the facts.

    You have not convinced anyone but yourself with this post that the earth is whatever it is you think it is. I am much more comfortable in the unknowing.

    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it" -Aristotle

    1. What does your brain tell you causes the visual phenomenon we call sunset? And if you say "perspective," then you're not using your brain, you're just parroting flat-Earthers.

      I don't need technology to tell me that the Earth is a sphere. I have proposed three simple tests that, if honestly performed, cannot be explained on a flat Earth. It doesn't take NASA to learn these facts. It takes honesty. Willing to try? Willing to challenge your assertions? Click the "Flat Earth Tests" tab on this blog, and we shall see.

  10. Your were extremely Biased in this article so I know there is no debating this topic with you, BUT...
    According to the formula for the curvature of the Earth, if I am standing at 6 feet tall and my friend sails out into the ocean he should begin curving around the Earth 2.99 miles out. So how could I see my friend's 20 foot long and ~12-15 foot tall boat 8 miles out? He should have been hidden behind 16.68 feet of curved Earth.
    This was done off the coast of Florida toward the Atlantic ocean.

    I know you'll say it's not a perfect sphere (as NASA portrays it) but there are multiple places across the world which refute the formula for the curvature of the Earth.
    *Pictures of Chicago from Michigan (not the upside down images; I know what a mirage is and the News guy LIED)** Scientists prove Kansas is flatter than a pancake. *

    1. You haven't supplied all the data. How do I know your friend's boat was actually eight miles away from your position? How do I know that you were standing with your feet at the water, and not up on the beach? What was the weather like?

      Because mirages are real, they don't alway (or even usually) invert the image, and it would do to read up before you go calling anyone a liar.

      You want to impress me? Either get me a picture of the Havana skyline from Key West, or perform one of the experiments in the "Flat Earth Test" tabs at the top of the page and publish the complete data where I can find them.

      And pretty much any part of the world the size of Kansas is flatter than a pancake; pancakes are not actually all that flat. At least, good pancakes aren't.

  11. Space is said to be a vacuum where light travels freely without any resistance or more specifically no measurable resistance. So when the Sun's light reaches Earth it still holds 100% of it's energy. Only ~22.5% of heat and radiation makes it to us due to reflection, transparency, and absorption of Earth's atmosphere. With the moon having no atmosphere at all, it is essentially as if an astronaut were standing under the sun subject to 100% of the Sun's rays while also being elevated 238,900 miles closer. They may have coolant systems in their suits but that means it protected them from 550+ degrees Fahrenheit for a duration of 4 hours twice? Plus not only must the person be kept cool enough to function but their electrical equipment must be sure to not overheat as well since their ship has been exposed to the Sun's rays since leaving and returning to the Earth's atmosphere.

    1969 Did we have the technology to allow a man to walk for 4 hours in 550+ degrees Fahrenheit? I say potentially!
    How much water would have been required to cool 2 men taking two 4 hour walks (just under 8 hours) as well as their entire ship (~8 days) in 550+ degrees? I say more water than the ship can hold!
    Shouldn't the astronauts suits show some signs of scorching from this continuous immense heat? I say definitely!
    Are astronauts scared of interviews due to the Fact they may give away damning information? I think so.

    1. Not sure why you posted this on this blog entry, since the 12 questions have nothing to do with the moon landing, and the moon landing is certainly not needed to prove that the Earth is not flat. But I'll attempt a brief address of your claims.

      The sun's light and heat might retain 100% of its energy, but we don't get nearly 100% of the sun's light and heat. That's because the sun is much bigger than we are. Given the distance between the sun and Earth and the size of the Earth, we receive only a tiny fraction.

      Similarly, the moon, being even smaller than the Earth, gets an even smaller amount of its radiation. Also, your claim that the moon is 238,900 miles closer to the sun assumes a new moon at the time of the landings, which is not true, and really wouldn't make that much difference if it did, again given the vast distances involved.

      Then there is the claim that the astronauts were walking around in ambient temperatures of more than 500 degrees Fahrenheit. With no atmosphere, there are no molecules around the astronauts to retain that kind of heat. If we had been talking about Venus, then your comment would start to make sense.

      That's not to say that temperature control was a non-issue during the moon landings. In fact, here's a article that addresses that very issue:

      To assume that the scientists who sent people to the moon didn't know about or address these issues shows a lack of willingness to research on your part, something that flat-Earthers accuse others of all the time.

      And astronauts are not scared of interviews. Buzz Aldrin loves to talk. Neil Armstrong, a very shy man, never did. And, of course, not one of the wants to talk to Bart Sibrel because he's a complete jerk and a liar. Context matters. Stop getting your "facts" from flat-Earthers.

      If you really want to test the shape of the Earth, click on the "Flat Earth Tests" tab at the top of the page and experiment for yourself.

  12. Gordon you are a brave man for taking on these flat earth imbeciles and it needs to be done. People who believe in these ridiculous conspiracy theories tend to be those who have no control or power over their own lives. They do not bother to educate themselves to such an extent that involves any real work or proper research. They are flawed, paranoid people who are susceptible to these absurdities. More often than not you will find that if they believe in one conspiracy, then they believe them all: Fake moon landings, 911, freemasons and the global elite enslaving the masses and the best and most preposterous of them all - the flat earth conspiracy! Keep up the good work and good luck. Marius

    1. Man flat earth people doesn't insult anyone so no need to insult us, just because you are feeling so superior because of those "theory". Yea I agree flat earth seems crazy.. but man look closely is that so impossible?

    2. Flat Earth people don't insult anyone? Are you kidding? Have you paid any attention to the flat-Earth scene? Do you see the things they say about astronauts, scientists, and anyone who challenges them. That statement is as unsupportable as the flat Earth itself.

  13. Mr Marius,
    Flat Earth Imbeciles? really?. When was the last time someone insulted you for not being able to prove the curvature of the Earth? If you like to insult people by all means first go outside and try to measure the curvature of the earth, post a nice video on youtube that we all can see and then maybe then you'll be entitle to treat people like you are superior. In the meantime and as long as you contribute nothing to this debate you shouldn't be insulting anybody.
    I personally think we live on a flat plane for two main reasons, one is that no one can accurately measure the curvature and two is that no one is able to measure the rotation of Earth either (See the gyroscope tests).

    1. You can personally measure the curvature of the Earth. The easy way to approximate it is described in the third experiment on the "Flat Earth Tests" tab at the top of this page. If you want to be more accurate and thorough, study geodesy, which is literally the practice of accurately measuring the Earth's shape.

      The inability to measure the Earth's curve is a flat-Earth myth. And I have to agree with Marius on this one: maintaining that the Earth is flat in the face of overwhelming evidence that it is not qualifies one as an imbecile.

    2. Gordon, what about the gyroscope tests. why don't they detect the rotation of the Earth?

    3. Gyro tests that flat-Earthers do are plagued with several problems, the most obvious of which is that the rotor is nearly always oriented wrong, so that the movement is actually constrained in the direction of Earth's rotation. The gyros used also are not high-precision instruments; friction affects them far more than the very slow (.007 RPM) rotation of the Earth.

      It's also very important to remember that testing the rotation of the Earth is a completely separate matter from testing it's shape.


    1. I was tempted not to even publish this comment, just because of the ALL CAPS and the insult. Then, having published it, I was tempted to let it stand with no response as an example of flat-Earth intellect.

      But it's such a fine example that I have to point out at least a couple of things. First, this comment gives only one piece of actual observational evidence, and, as chance would have it, it's evidence that supports a curved Earth. Do the geometry and get back to me. And don't say "you can say anything you want with numbers, I trust my eyes," because you've made a claim that being able to see the sunset longer from higher up is evidence of a flat Earth, so if you can't back it up with numbers you should just shut up.

      I also want to point out the delicious irony of a commenter who types in ALL CAPS accusing me of having a "child [sic] mind." I wish I could say I was surprised, but I've been interacting with the flat-Earth crowd for too long. I've seen how childish their attacks can get.

    2. ...and why the NASA conspiracy? For what good reason would NASA and it's thousands of employees cook up this absurd secret and keep it from the public. I'd really like to hear a flat earther comprehensively explain this one.

  15. Hi I have a question, if the earth is not flat , if the earth is not a globe , if the earth is not a sphere, if the earth is in fact an oblate spheroid , why do we use a globe as a reference? Could we not have a more truthful and understandable model using a oblate spheroid

  16. The Earth is so close to being a perfect sphere that it would, if reduced to the appropriate size, be within the tolerance of a billiard ball. It's within 3/10th of 1 percent of being a perfect sphere.

    In fact, the misrepresentation most common in globes is the inclusion of mountains as bumps you can actually feel. The tallest mountain, measured from sea level, is only 5-1/2 miles tall. On an 18-inch globe, that would be a bump of .0125 inches, about a third of a millimeter.

    As Dr. Tyson said, cosmically speaking, the Earth is practically a perfect sphere.

    So why does it matter if the Earth is really an oblate spheroid? Scientifically it matters because it verifies a prediction made in the 1700s by Newton. On a more practical level, engineers, geologists, and gemologists, among others, must take the variations of Earth's shape into account locally for certain very specialized work. It even affects the orbits of satellites.

    So while it's a very small, almost insignificant, variation when viewed on the scale of the entire globe, the differences do have meaning on a scale of human activity.

  17. You did not answer my question...and Are you stating that dr Tyson is right and sir Issac newton was wrong ? And the truth of the matter is , the earth spinning around the sun is a recent idea , it was not so long ago that everyone thought the earth was flat. However you seem adamant the earth is a perfect sphere or globe, which no matter how much you scale it down , it is not a ball , sphere or globe .

  18. I did answer your question. Actually it was Isaac Newton who first proposed that the Earth should be oblate, based on its rotation, though he didn't know how much since he didn't know the age of the Earth. It was geodetic surveyors who verified what Newton proposed. Dr. Tyson was just reporting known observations, not making anything up.

    Do you not understand how small a number .3 percent is? Would you like to make an 18-inch globe that is so accurately to scale that it is 1/20th of an inch wider just south of the equator than it is pole-to-pole? Good luck. As I said, even billiard ball manufacturers are satisfied with that level of accuracy. Can you tell that a billiard ball might be very slightly out-of-round just by looking at it?

    Furthermore, the idea that the Earth goes around the sun is not a recent idea. Aristarchus proposed it a couple of thousand years ago, but it took Galileo and Copernicus to provide observational support for it.

  19. I watched Mr Murphy's video on Youtube at first with incredulity, then a brief feeling of pity for someone so sadly deluded, but this was replaced with a growing irritation that somebody, whilst possibly genuine believing the complete nonsense that he was spouting, was employing all the dishonest chicanery of the snake-oil salesman to try and "prove" the flatness of the earth. He did nothing of the kind, in fact most of the "evidence" he presented was no evidence at all, just a distorted view of facts just as easily, in some cases better, explained by a spheroid earth orbiting the sun and rotating on a polar axis tilted so that it is not perpendicular to the plane of its orbit.

    To judge from his accent, Mr Murphy is English, just like me. In that case, he would not have to travel very far to conduct his own version of the Bedford Levels experiment, on a much bigger and therefore more conclusive scale. The coastal town of Dover is 33 kilometres from the French coastal town of Calais; at Dover,a hundred metres or so back from the shoreline there are sheer cliffs 110 metres high; at Calais there are low sand dunes and a very gradual rise in ground height as you travel inland. Now, if you stand on the beach at Dover, you can't see anything of Calais at all - it's over the horizon; if you then take yourself to the top of the cliffs then you can see it quite clearly, even though it is now ever so slightly further away. If you then hop on a ferry to Calais and stand on the beach there (so you're at the same level and distance as when you were looking from the beach at Dover), you can very clearly see the cliffs at Dover, but only the top fifty metres or so. I would like to see a flat-earther explain that one away.

    I have to say, Gordon, I'm impressed with the patience with which you reply to the flat-earthers' comments, even though I suspect that your chances of "converting" them are nil. I can only see three possible reasons for their belief: (a) that they don't really believe it at all, they are just playing games, (b) that they are easily led individuals who have bought the snake-oil on offer from Mr Murphy and his kind, or (c) they are, for want of a better word, mad.

    In passing, I was also initially puzzled as to why flat-earthers all subscribe to the "moon landings were faked" theory to the extent that it seems to be one of the pillars of their faith, whereas logically it's neither here nor there with regard to the earth's flatness. But, thinking about it, it's obvious; since the photographs of the earth taken from the moon clearly show the earth to be the spheroid that it is, the photos have to be fake and, if the photos are fake, then the moon landings must be fake as well: as must the video feed from space available 24/7 on Youtube.

    I would love to take Mr Murphy on a aeroplane ride due South from the North pole; imagine his cowering terror as we neared Antarctica; imagine his relief when we didn't hit the enclosing dome and eventually ended up safe and sound back where we started from.

    1. Odd, Murphy and a few friends did travel to the Bedford Level, performed their own experiment which failed to compare to either Rowbotham or Wallace (they never even got in the water), declared it a success and went home to wrap themselves in their safe little fantasy it was pretty pathetic, to be honest.

  20. Talking about Antarctic, why don't we have not even one video of a 24 hours sun in Antarctic during Summer? If we live on a globe it should happen.

  21. How about the stars, why do we see the same stars every night through the whole year when on January we should be seeing a complete different sky than on July?

    1. The night sky isn't the same in January as in July. Some of the same stars are visible all year, but many are only visible in certain seasons. I wish you people would at least try to do a little research from the real world.

  22. Gordon, did you say that we do have a midnight sun on Antarctic. Would post a video about it please?

  23. Hello Gordon,
    I've watched the 24 hours sun on Antarctic. Pretty convincing.
    Would you please give me your opinion about this video.

  24. I'm not a physicist, though I do notice that the little test with the 24-hour clock took place completely in the same plane as the ground which, unless this was conducted at the North Pole, doesn't line up with the Earth's rotational direction. And when the narration keeps referencing things like the "lost" Apollo tapes (not lost, re-used, with good reason) and Cavendish never being replicated, it's hard to believe that they've done any real research.

  25. The Earth is flat. There is no curvature. The sun is not 90 million miles away. The Earth is neither rotating nor spinning. Gravity is a myth.

    1. Blah blah blah. Prove it. Get off your ass, go out in the field, and prove it. You people make me sick.

  26. Nice article, you've answered all his questions although I'm sure he'd say you haven't. From watching a few of his videos he seems like a nice enough bloke, and then he starts with the conspiracy nonsense.

    I've been wondering what the flat earth people are really on about for a little while now. Seems to be more about being anti-intellectual and continuing a frivolous argument than anything else.

    My favourite line was "How can microgravity be selective? ... The ketchup bottle has velcro on it." Haha

  27. Here's some fairly convincing proof that Dave is not someone who really needs debunking:

    1. Yeah, I know, and he's apparently got a lot of company among certain flat-Earthers. Yet flat-Earth people keep sending me to his video, so I had to do something.

    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    3. I have deleted Dave Murphy's reply to this comment. While I feel one has the right to respond, his reply was filled with self-serving links and I will not be the vehicle through which he spreads his quackery.

  28. Just one question for you Mr Ali. Have you seen the curvature?

  29. I am Dave Murphy and I made the video in question, how cowardly of you to make this post without making me aware of it, it's not as if I have made it difficult for anyone to contact me. I certainly hints at the weakness of your position if you resort to sneering at me behind my back.

    I called myself a former man of science because I have almost exclusively followed a technical career path and have always been a keen follower of all things scientific, particularly computing and physics.
    I built my first computer in 1976 at the age of 13, and taught myself to program it in Dartmouth BASIC, and by the age of 18 I could program in various flavours of BASIC, Assembly, C, Pascal and Fortran. I later became a Research and Development Technician, an Elecronic Engineer (specialising in computer/telephony interfaces built from 4000 series logic circuits, bespoke microprocessors and PLC's), I was a Software Engineer in British Telecom's Research & Development Laboratories (Where I designed an RF tracking system that calculated and triangulated the realtime positions of upto 64 targets based on time-of-flight response times of RF Tranceivers) and a Computer Programmer for Fortune 500 companies on Wall Street (Where I designed interactive mapping software (before Google Maps) and 2D and 3D Graphics Engines), and in my spare time I studied Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. (Which is how I know that LIGO detection of so-called Gravity Waves is contradictory bullshit)
    So while I have no real experience in theoretical science, I am absolutely well versed and grounded in the practical application of a wide range of scientific topics.

    If you listened to what I stated in the video, you will note that I said that "All science exists as a theory, that stands until a better theory comes along that more closely follows observation" and as such all views and challenges should be considered for if they are dismissed out of hand, then the scientific method is not being observed. The precedence for my assertion here is Gravity itself, the Newtonian view of gravity stood as established LAW for 200 years until Einstein challenged and overturned it.

    Contrary to your statement that flat earthers do not ask real questions about the world, and make predictions that can be tested, we actually do this all the time. For example, we ask:

    "How is it that we do not see any evidence of curvature when we stand on the beach and look at the wide expanse of the sea and yet we supposedly see boats go over the horizon as they sail away?"

    So we make the prediction that when we see a boat disappear over the horizon, we should be able to bring it back into view if the earth were flat.

    And indeed when we test this and look through binoculars the boat comes back into view, and then when it appears to go over the curve through binoculars we can fire up our trusty Nikon Coolpix P900 camera, zoom in on it and bring it back once again.

    And from this simple experiment, repeated and verified multiple times, we can determine that the curvature of 8 inches multiplied by the square of the distance cannot be detected.

    Let's move on to your 'debunking' of my questions shall we?

    1. Coward? Really? I am not in the habit of informing people mentioned in my blog of the existence of any post they might appear in. Edward Hednrie found my first blog post in fairly short order. If you can't be bothered, that's your own problem.

      Your technical background does not impress me. Your statements show that you do not, in fact, understand the process of science, or even the history of science. And so I stand by my assertion that you are not a current or former man of science.

      I will respond to your other replies in a separate blog post, so as not to bury them in the comments (or lose them when I migrate most of these posts to my new website), but I am not going to contact you when I do. You'll have to figure it out on your own.

    2. What are your credentials then sir?

    3. Oh and yes, your actions are indeed cowardly. You write a hit piece about me, by name and you think that the onus is on me to scour the web looking for cowardly trolls slagging me off behind my back?

      Call me old fashioned but if you were certain of your position and possessed a set of balls in your underpants, you would have made me aware of your sad little blog sneering at me from your dark dingy corner of the web and expected this rebuttal.

    4. My credential aside from having also been a software engineer, and in addition to having 50 years of experience as a photographer, about 45 as a filmmaker, and more than a decade as an animation director, I am also a much better researcher than you, sir. And I have never claimed to be a "former man of science."

      And you don't want to get into a pissing contest with me, sir. Learn the lesson of the sad life of John Hampden.

      As far as expecting this rebuttal, such as it is, I expected you'd find it on your own, on a blog with close to 100,000 views with little effort on my part to publicize it. I am unimpressed with your research skills or your dedication.

      Let's see what you have in your pants after my most recent post. Because so far you've shown more balls than brains.

  30. 1. No trickery here sir, Mr. Tyson has stated repeatedly that the amount of oblateness away from perfectly spherical is higher than Everest, and yet you seem to be saying that earth's supposed one revolution a day can affect dense rock over 4 billion years but does nothing to water? Perhaps you can show how applying a force too weak to affect water can move rock to a height greater than Mount Everest even over 4 billion years?
    Even Mr Tyson used the analogy of pizza dough, if it was wet pizza dough that was being spun are you saying that the water would stay on the pizza as it alone bulges?

    2. Funnily enough we also have cameras that approximate our field of view and do not suffer from the limitations of rods and cones, and when you draw a line on the horizon of the pictures they take they are always perfectly flat.
    So you are trying to say that the earth curves quite sharply in one direction and not another, because if you lose the height of a boat in 3 miles, if it goes another mile then you would lose the height of the boat squared, another mile and that resulting height is squared again and so on.
    So, I made a mistake right there, you shouldn't see enough curvature to hide two ships, you should see enough curvature to hide four ships.
    3. No we have never observed curved water, you are mistaking the action of perspective and ocean waves as some kind of hump of water, if your eyeline is 5 feet from the ground and 6 miles out to sea there are 6 foot waves, even though those waves have been forshortened to a hard horizon by perspective and so are invisible to you, they are still higher than your eyeline and so will obscure the bottom of the buildings 12 miles away... simple perspective.
    Regarding Lake Baikal one need not use ladders, targets and scopes, but just look at the perfectly flat reflection that the lake makes of the sky, any curvature whatsoever would produce a distorted image but one always sees a perfect reflection.

    4. Try not to put words in my mouth sir, vacuum does not pull but a region of high pressure will always move to a region of low or zero pressure, and I note that you did not address my thought experiment, if you evacuate a container to a fraction of the perfect vacuum of space, turn it upside down and puncture the bottom, why doesn't the much stronger gravity at the surface prevent the air from rushing into the much less perfect vacuum?
    Regarding the rising column of air, how can a column of air heated by the sun meet less dense air above it? Does the sun only heat air molecules at the surface? or would the air at the top of the atmosphere be the first to be heated and rise and disturb the boundary condition?

    5. Crepuscular rays were debunked by the images that I showed on the video, neither parallel light rays nor perspective will produce the warped and magnified shadow of the plane passing over thin cloud, nor does it produce radiating shadows of clouds when viewed from above. Perspective works when viewing objects along ones field of view, like a line of telegraph poles receding away from you, but not across your view, the skyscrapers of the manhattan skyline aren't affected by perspective when you view them from across the river in New Jersey. Since warped or radiating shadows aren't created by illusions my observations regarding Eratosthenes stand.
    6. As I said, the airplane's shadow is not only magnified but it is also warped as a result of the diverging light rays (or do you think they mount the jet engines pointing outward at a 15 degree angle?)

    1. Perfect examples of misconstruing numbers as the author states. On #1, what part of 0.31% fails to penetrate? Even the difference from the Challenger Deep to the peak of Mt. Everest is still only 13 miles. And the rotation of the Earth doesn't create mountains. Tectonic Plate movements do. And in #7 it becomes painfully obvious you have never actually used or studied a Mechanical Horizon indicator. Wow... nice try, however.

  31. 7. Actually most commercial jets have the good old mechanical Artificial horizon as a backup in case their electronics go down... I mentioned that gyros have the property of rigidity in space, but I didn't mention the other perculiar property, precession, that is when a force is applied to the gyroscope to correct its orientation the result of the force appears 90 degrees away from it, thus making it impossible to correct some imaginary "mechanical gravity compensator".

    8. Gosh you are so knowledgeable about so many things, why is that? Please show me the calculation for determining the effect of coriolis on bullets or artillery shells from a particular latitude and longditude, shooting toward a particular latitude and longditude.
    And while you are at it, please show me a pilot who will state that they make constant course corrections because of the coriolis effect or have ever had to take it into account for any reason... I'll wait...

    9. The ISS is supposedly 250 miles from the surface, however the field of view spans thousands of miles, if the photographs taken from the ISS are anything to go by, more than enough to observe a parallax effect that is nowhere in evidence on that blue and white thing pretending to be the earth.

    10. From my days producing animations, I know how difficult it is to realistically simulate something dropping to the floor. It was undoubtedly a drip which accelerated toward the ground as it would do on earth... I trust that you are familiar with Newton's first law of motion, i.e. "An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the SAME SPEED and in the same direction unless acted upon by an external force."
    So, if this object was not a drip, what force propelled this object? what external force acted upon it to cause it to ACCELERATE at 9.81 m/s/s so that it would drop as if on earth?
    The ketchup bottle had nothing on its bottom, there was only a light reflection that moved as the bottle tumbled in the air, and when struck, it did not move as if it were velcro'd to the table.

    11. It's true what you say about the scale, it was for illustrative purposes only, however, the earth has apparently 6 times the gravity, so any large body aiming to hit the one side of the moon that we see will always have its path affected by the earth's gravity... so why don't we see any elliptical craters?
    In order to produce the circular craters that we see, the incoming body must strike the moon perpendicular to its tangent, which would be impossible in the presence of a large gravitating body like the Earth.

    12. Again you seem to speak with authority but what do you know about everything else in the universe? Why did you avoid the point of my question?
    Of course water finds its own LEVEL, but it nonetheless deforms under a constant force, swirl water around and it will dip in the middle as long as the force is applied, place a stack of powerful neodynium magnets underwater close to the surface and the water will deform as long as the force is applied. The Mariana Trench is 7 miles deep, that is 7 miles closer to the centre of the earth thus the force of gravity should be much stronger at that point, a CONSTANT force that should deform the water significantly and if that is the case then water around your globe should be deformed into peaks and troughs proportionably according to the seabed's distance from the centre of the earth.

    It is apparent from your elementary attempt to answer these simple questions with erroneous suppositions and desperate contrivances that perhaps it does take an astrophysicist to answer them, and not some anonymous bod on the internet who thinks he is one.

  32. You give them the facts and explanations and then you quickly realize that you're talking to the mentality and behavioral reactions of an unruly 8 year old in a grown up body. It's disheartening (among other things!).