Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Stephen L. Carter — Have You Thanked a Flat-Earther Today?

(Bloomberg View)

When I was a freshman at Stanford, a physics instructor introduced the topic of relativity by exploding our brains with the following problem: Take a railroad car straight up 50 miles and then drop it. Given that the earth is curved, shouldn’t the ends of the car fall faster than the middle? Shouldn’t the stress this places on the railroad car cause it to break into pieces? And if we think all parts of the railroad car fall at a constant speed, why isn’t that evidence that the earth is flat?

That magnificent morning (I’ll explain the adjective shortly) came to mind in the wake of the brouhaha between the eminent physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and the rapper B.o.B. over that very question. To make a long story short, B.o.B. argues that the earth is indeed flat. He's asserted on Twitter that the rest of us have been “tremendously deceived” and that he is “going up against the greatest liars in history.” For what he seems to view as an act of heroic dissent, the rapper has been mocked endlessly.

Read the full article HERE.