Reader’s Request: B.o.B and the Flat Earth

Science Denier Hall of Shame's photo.Troy Lovett and John Davis both requested that we address B.o.B and his newfound belief in a flat Earth.
“Please for the love of science pin that idiot rapper B.O.B. to a wall for his idiot comments about the earth being flat.”

We will. Oh, indeed we will. Now that the flurry of activity has died down, we will analyze this public failure of logic.

But first, let us address why it is important that we do so. This particular artist has a rather large youth following. People of that age may have not yet developed the analytical skills necessary to be aware that an artist may not be the best source of scientific information. And they will vote, at some point.

Bobby Ray Simmons (B.o.B.) has made a fair amount of noise on Twitter regarding his belief that we exist on a flat Earth instead of an oblate spheroid. For simplicity, we shall address his tweets*, identified by bullet points, one at a time.
*NOTE: some of the tweets have since been deleted from Twitter. The Internet, however, never forgets.

• I’m going up against the greatest liars in history … you’ve been tremendously deceived
-Name the liars, please. You can’t possibly be saying that Pythagoras (yes, that Pythagoras), Plato, Aristotle, Eratosthenes, Seleucus of Seleucia, Posidonius, Strabo, Claudius Ptolemy, Hipparchus, Aryabhatta, Isidore of Seville, Beda Venerabilis, Anania Shirakatsi, Al-Ma’mun, Al-Farghānī, Biruni and Ferdinand Magellan were all members of the same club and decided to deceive the world with the same lie, even though they were separated by time, geography and culture?

• No matter how high in elevation you are… the horizon is always eye level … sorry cadets… I didn’t wanna believe it either.
-This ‘eye-level’ argument is annoying. We are to believe that, in my case, the horizon is 5’6” high? (the height of my eyes. I’m 6’ tall.) And OF COURSE the horizon appears to be at eye level… You are looking at it. It is in the center of your field of view. If it were 3 degrees lower, you’d never notice, because the feedback system in our neck and eyes are not designed to perform this type of measurement.

• The cities in the background are approx. 16miles apart… where is the curve ? please explain this
-One must take into account one’s own elevation, the elevation of the other city and the curvature of the Earth, plus some variable things most people don’t really think about, like atmospheric refraction. The following link explains this in great detail.

• y’all be like… “you’re not high enough to see the curve…keep going
-This is essentially correct. Show some appreciation for how large the Earth actually is.

• that awkward moment when you realize you’ve been indoctrinated into a heliocentric belief system
-Heliocentrism is not a belief system, it’s a model used to predict the motions of the planets and other celestial bodies that orbit good old Sol, our favorite star. It’s also the only model that works, because the math becomes unmanageable when predicting the movement of other planets and their moons if we use the geocentric model. It only works in the context of our solar system. For a larger context, a different model must be used in which our star, along with every other star in our galaxy, orbits the gravitational center of our galaxy.

• A lot of people are turned off by the phrase “flat earth” … but there’s no way u can see all the evidence and not know… grow up
-Evidence is precisely what tells us that we are on a relatively spherical Earth.

Science Denier Hall of Shame's photo.

It appears that he has also taken a liking to other tinfoil-hat theories as well.

• there’s wind on the moon ?
-This obviously refers to the hotly debated (and thoroughly debunked) claim that the flag planted in the lunar surface was ‘fluttering in the breeze’.
Sorry, Bobby, but the motion of the flag was exactly what one would expect from a flexible material in a low-gravity, near-zero friction environment. After the pole was moved, it oscillated around a point of equilibrium before settling into its final position.

• Remember when they “lost” to footage to the 1st moon landing
-Nothing was ‘lost’. Raw footage that was transmitted via NASA’s ‘slow scan’ format was converted in real time and broadcast. These are recorded. The issue with not having the original tapes, which, admittedly, were erased and re-used due to a shortage of blank tapes, only became an issue when a search for the clearest images possible was undertaken in the late ‘90s. Sorry, nothing conspiratorial occurring here.

Perhaps the best advice ever given during his career as science-denier:
• if my tweets are rattling the tiny little cages of your reality … the unfollow button is right there

And, of course, the most telling, from January 27th…
• just took my meds
Incorrect dosage, Bobby. Obviously incorrect dosage.

BONUS: Neil deGrasse Tyson Responds:

Thanks for reading!
– Jeff

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