Amused (or not) by the will­ful ig­no­rance of flat-Earth be­liev­ers

The Denver Post - - OPINION - Re: John B. Lane, Josh Hop­kins, Robert J. Lorenz, Peter Lud­wig, Tom Rei­ley,

“Around here, they think the Earth is flat,” July 7 news story.

Now we know, it takes a two-di­men­sional mind to be­lieve the Earth is flat. But as amus­ing as the “Flat Earthers” on the front page may be, be­liefs are not facts, and facts are not be­liefs.

Mean­while, as the real world burns, we must hereby re­de­fine lit­er­acy to in­clude not only the abil­ity to read and write, but also the abil­ity to think crit­i­cally. That is, the abil­ity to de­ter­mine fact from fic­tion, and to care about the dif­fer­ence.

There’s noth­ing re­as­sur­ing about a so­ci­ety that en­ables such ca­sual, vol­un­tary ig­no­rance. If, as stated, one per­son in 500 is vul­ner­a­ble to this ob­vi­ous non­sense, then school dis­tricts, par­ents, opin­ion lead­ers and those who can ac­tu­ally think re­ally have our work cut out for us.


Your ar­ti­cle was a dis­ser­vice to your read­ers. By pre­sent­ing only one sen­tence of coun­ter­ar­gu­ment as the opin­ion of “sci­en­tists and ed­u­ca­tors,” you re­in­force the no­tion that this is a mat­ter of de­bate with “elites” on the or­tho­dox side. Can’t The Den­ver Post re­port even a ba­sic fact like the Earth’s shape sim­ply as the truth?

Earth’s al­most-spher­i­cal shape and ro­ta­tion rate were pre­cisely mea­sured many cen­turies ago be­cause they are fun­da­men­tal to un­der­stand­ing al­most any­thing in­volv­ing time or dis­tance. Ev­ery air­line pi­lot, ship cap­tain, ar­tillery of­fi­cer, map maker, back­yard as­tronomer, land sur­veyor, weather fore­caster, and satel­lite op­er­a­tor ac­counts for the spher­i­cal Earth to suc­cess­fully do their job.

Mean­while, the flat-Earth idea strug­gles to ex­plain ba­sic top­ics like why the sun comes up in the morn­ing, let alone why it hap­pens at dif­fer­ent times in dif­fer­ent places. Flat Earthers aren’t “per­se­cuted,” just wrong. ●●●

In­stead of gath­er­ing in a win­dow­less back room, mem­bers of Flat Earth Fort Collins should step out­side this evening and ob­serve the nearly full moon. In­stead of star­ing at their com­put­ers, they should stare at the stars and plan­ets.

Ob­ser­va­tion tells us day and night hap­pens be­cause we live on a globe turn­ing ma­jes­ti­cally on its tilted axis ev­ery 24 hours. Ob­ser­va­tion tells us sea­sons hap­pen be­cause our tilted sphere moves around the sun ev­ery 364-plus days. So­lar and lu­nar eclipses show us the shape of our Earth if we go out­doors and look up. Time to take a trip around the world and see how round it re­ally is.


What is dis­turb­ing about the Flat Earthers is not their will­ful ig­no­rance of ba­sic science. What is truly sad is the un­der­ly­ing un­hap­pi­ness and alien­ation that have caused them to seek so­lace in a cult of blind faith and con­spir­acy the­o­ries.


I’m dis­ap­pointed that you chose to fo­cus on The Flat Earth So­ci­ety, let alone fea­ture it on your front page. The ar­ti­cle spoke of a move­ment, “thou­sands strong,” with “pro­po­nents at the high­est lev­els of science, sports, jour­nal­ism and the arts.” Yet, au­thor Gra­ham Am­brose failed to name any of these pro­po­nents and stated, in paren­the­ses, that “All sci­en­tists and ed­u­ca­tors con­sulted for this story re­jected the idea of a flat earth.”

Our na­tion is be­sieged by on­line me­dia fake news. Shame on you for putting em­pha­sis, in print, on a mis­guided “move­ment,” old as time. No sane in­formed per­son could be­lieve such drivel. One must but look at the im­ages of Earth shot from the or­bit­ing space sta­tion. This is rocket science. Send let­ters of 150 words or fewer to open­fo­rum@den­ver­ or 101 W. Col­fax Ave., Suite 800, Den­ver, CO, 80202. Please in­clude full name, city and phone num­ber. Con­tact in­for­ma­tion is for our pur­poses only; we will not share it with any­one else. You can reach us by tele­phone at 303-954-1331.

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