Former basketball player jokes about anti-science belief
by Meredith Mclaughlin
The country as a whole had a big scare this week concerning the scientific views of national icon Shaquille O’Neal. On March 20th, during Shaq’s podcast, the former basketball player said some risque things that made it seem he had joined Kyrie Irving, Draymond Green, and Wilson Chandler in their belief that the Earth is flat. Thankfully, O’Neal came out three days later to clarify that he was simply joking, but in light of the weird resurgence of the Flat Earth Theory, the public was more than ready to accept the fact that another basketball star had turned away from modern science.
At any other time, Shaq’s joke would have been seen as just that: a joke. However, the flat Earth conspiracy theory has been thrust back into society ever since Kyrie Irving first announced that scientists were lying to us this past February.
“If you really think about it from a landscape of the way we travel…can you really think of us rotating around the sun and all planets aligned? There is no concrete information except for the information they’re giving us. They’re particularly putting you in the direction of what to believe and what not to believe.” Irving had declared on the Road Tripping with RJ and Channing podcast. Following this, Green and Chandler soon voiced their support of Irving’s opinions. Despite being disputed by mountains of concrete evidence that the Earth is, in fact, a sphere, Irving has held his ground against even the most basic scientific facts, like how the Earth is circumnavigated on the daily by planes. And these basketball players aren’t alone; rapper B.o.B. has long supported the Flat Earth theory, leading to a twitter spat between him and physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.
So what do these stars mean when they say that the Earth is flat? Well for starters, a flat earther believes that the Earth is actually a flat disc, with the North Pole in the center, and a 150 ft. ice wall forming the circumference of the disc. This ice wall is patrolled by NASA to prevent people from climbing the ice wall and falling off the disc. Flat earthers also deny the existence of gravity and believe that things fall to the ground when you drop them because the Earth-disc is constantly accelerating upwards at 9.8 m/s^2. And because gravity doesn’t exist to them, they can dispute the idea that our oceans can stick to a planet that’s constantly spinning on its axis. To them, on a globe model, the water would just fly off the earth. They also dispute any and all photographic evidence as being doctored by NASA in order to keep the sheeple complacent in believing the earth is a sphere. One of my favorite Instagram accounts, flatearthtshirtco, asks why, in 2017, NASA has yet to place a Hi-Def camera on the moon to show earth’s rotation. Clearly, the answer is that the Earth is actually a disc.
But why is this archaic belief making a comeback in our modern era? I would honestly chalk it up to a backlash against science and the government. Some people want to wage a war against intellectualism, and this is taken to the extreme when denying that the earth is a sphere. No real scientist would say the earth is flat, that’s why we’re hearing it from a group of celebrities with no scientific background. But this weird paranoia has created a world where we take jokes about flat Earth as a confession of faith in the “theory.” I really want to go back to a point in time where the flat Earth wasn’t considered a serious scientific belief.