The Earth is hard to figure out. Atheists behave like they know everything but it’s just pretense, they simply lull themselves into a false sense of security and devotees, sorry to say, aren’t much better. When we come across some mysterious phenomenon we all try to explain it away with utmost confidence, we all try to preserve the authority of our chosen ideology, be it atheism or Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The video I was discussing for the past couple of days is a prime example of that.
So far it looks like it was an extreme case of “atmospheric refraction”, it’s certainly not the proof that the Earth is flat in a sense that flat Earthers claim it is but there’s no adequate scientific explanation either.
The video has gathered quite a lot of comments, btw. The latest one smugly tells us that we’ve just been schooled in the atmospheric effect called “looming”. Yeah, I heard about that, too, but it doesn’t explain anything. Next time these Australian guys might get a real telescope, look due East, and see Chile. How? Because “looming”? What is it? A magic word that answers all questions, pretty much like “God”? That would make atheism awfully convenient. It’s just a not so clever way to walk away feeling superior without actually saying anything.
Does it prove that the Earth is flat? No, it only demonstrates that in that particular case Earth’s curvature was not observable. It doesn’t prove curvature’s non-existence. Here’s a thought experiment to demonstrate what might be going on.
Imagine the Earth was as dense as a black hole but not quite. Imagine that light going parallel to its surface would be bent by Earth’s gravity to follow its curvature, pretty much like our conventional satellites that stay in orbit without falling down. Our satellites are much slower than the light, of course, but if the Earth had much greater mass it could require the speed of light to stay in its orbit.
The observers in such a case would be able to see any object on Earth’s surface no matter how far it was, provided they had good optics in their cameras. They would never see Earth’s curvature and they probably would not even suspect it’s there. For them light would propagate in the shortest and quickest route and that’s what they would consider “straight”. To the observers outside of Earth’s gravitational pull, however, it would be seen as curved. They would look at laser beams on Earth, for example, and clearly see how they bend to follow the surface.
I don’t know what would happen if the observers on the Earth got optics powerful enough to see the light making a full circle, they would see the back of their own heads then. It’s interesting to speculate what they would imagine their Earth’s shape would be then but I’m not going to engage in it now.
Back to the video – what we see is that due to some freak of nature the light got bent and we got to see an island that would normally be 1 km below the horizon. Does it really matter why it happened? To us it looks like the Earth is flat in this case, it’s what we observe. We can speculate whether its gravity, contortions in time-space continuum, or perfect conditions for extreme atmospheric refraction. The point is that the Earth looks flat to us but not to observers who are outside of the influence of that particular effect just as observers in space would see lasers bending around the Earth in my hypothetical example.
How should we react to that? I know how atheists react and I know how dissenters react in such cases, too. It’s all the same – they trot their favorite theory and claim to have explained everything. In flat Earthers case they completely re-imagine the world as a flat disk surrounded by a wall of ice, otherwise known as Antarctica, which keeps oceans from spilling over. Honestly, people in that camp are flat out mad.
I don’t know what their individual reasons for believing in flat Earth are, some might be in just for the fun of it, like members of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, but most, I suppose, look for an explanation to some real life phenomena that science fails to provide, like in case of this video, for example.
They think that because they see Earth’s flatness on one particular occasion then it must be true for all observers all the time and then they accuse everyone who has a different experience of lying. Now they are just stubbornly deny everything that is scientifically rooted in Earth as a globe, starting with satellites and space travel. They honestly think that the entire job of NASA and all other space agencies around the world is to sit and produce tons of fake footage purporting to show results of their otherwise non-existent space exploration.
Just like with atheists, they refuse to open their minds to other possibilities and insist on their selected theory being totally adequate. In our case we also have Śrīmad Bhāgavatam and I would expect devotees to settle on what is said there even if we can’t comprehend Bhāgavatam model of the universe in full but no, they have to go out and engage in that Flat Earth nonsense.
Yesterday I mentioned part 2 and said it was disappointing but I didn’t mention the real reason I felt so let down. After the segment with flyover the author went into incomprehensible rant about some art installation that showed a model of a flat Earth with masonic Mount Meru in the middle. Yes, someone might have made a model of a Flat Earth, the idea isn’t exactly new, or it could be a replica of United Nations’ flag and emblem. Or it could, indeed, be some shady Masonic monument. It doesn’t matter. It shouldn’t matter to us and watching that devotee go out of his way to talk about it was a huge let down. He destroyed any credibility he might have had after his part 1. He was completely mental.
Nevermind that, though, his heart is in the right place and he IS Kṛṣṇa’s devotee, that’s all that matters. We are not after intelligence or even coherence, as long as people see themselves as Kṛṣṇa’s servants they ARE perfect despite any idiosyncrasies.