The flat Earth conspiracy seems to have gained a lot of attention over the past few years. Celebrities, athletes, and laypeople using the beacon of logic and philosophical discussion – Facebook – have somehow managed to garner an ever-increasing amount of interest and attention as of late.
Our favorite astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, is no stranger to this discussion. He regularly chimes in on the subject, including when the rapper B.o.B decided to share his insides on the shape of the Earth. Hilarity did ensue.
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Neil is back at it again, this time in a new video posted to his StarTalk channel on YouTube. With the help of co-host Chuck Nice, they debunk the entire Flat Earth Conspiracy in just about ten seconds.
While the Flat Earth Conspiracy itself is pretty funny to joke about, it becomes somewhat concerning when you think about its roots, and the fact that its popularity is increasing.
In the video, Neil explains ways that you, without any kind of equipment other than your own eyes, can tell that the Earth is spherical. This can be done during a lunar eclipse. The Earth is always casting a shadow into space, however we just aren’t able to see the shadow until something gets in the way of it. During a lunar eclipse, you can very clearly see the shadow of the Earth as it passes over the moon, showing that the Earth is, indeed, not flat. After all, if the Earth was flat, this is what a lunar eclipse would probably look like:
Joking aside, Tyson points out the underlying problem that Flat Earthers are symptomatic of.
The fact that there’s a rise of Flat-Earthers is evidence of two things. One, we live in a country that protects free speech. And two, we live in a country with a failed educational system.
… Our system needs to train you not only what to know, but how to think about information and knowledge and evidence. If we don’t have that kind of training, you’d run around believing anything.
Emphasizing the need to not just think about what you know, Neil also mentioned the need to test what you think you know.
It wasn’t until Francis Bacon, Galileo, and the 1600s that if you’re going to say something, and what you think you are saying is true, no matter how obvious you think it is, then you need to test it. There could be something fooling you in one way or another.
Watch the full video below, and be sure to check out Neil’s latest book: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry!