Earth not Flat but Universe May Be

by David Solomonoff

Despite being discredited long before Columbus, flat earth belief lives on. The Flat Earth Society,  originally formed in the early 1800s by Samuel Birley Rowbotham, continues today with a website and a growing community. They justify their alternative cosmology as follows:

Occam’s Razor asks us which explanation makes the least number of assumptions. The explanation which makes the least number of assumptions is the simplest explanation. Occam’s Razor works in favor of the Flat Earth Theory.

What’s the simplest explanation; that the sun, moon, and stars are enormous bodies of unimaginable mass, size, and distances which represent frontiers to a vast and infinite unknowable universe teeming with alien worlds, galactic civilizations, black holes, novas and nebulae, and phenomena only conceivable in science fiction; or is the simplest explanation that the universe isn’t so large or unknown and when we look up at the stars we are just looking at small points of light exactly they appear to be?

While this view has been rejected by the scientific community, physicists and astronomers still struggle to explain a number of anomalous phenomena.

Physicists at Fermilab are now building a device they call a Holometer to test a theory that will explain some of these anomalies. The holographic theory states that the universe is a hologram, and that the appearance of three dimensions is actually an illusion:

About a hundred years ago, German physicist Max Planck introduced the idea of a fundamental, natural length of time, now known as  the Planck length. Light travels one Planck length in the Planck time. The physics of space and time is expected to change radically on such small scales.

If there is a minimum interval of time, or a maximum frequency in nature, there is a corresponding limit on the fidelity of space and time. …. The Holometer seeks to detect the equivalent blurriness or noise in reality itself, associated with the ultimate frequency limit imposed by nature.

More recently, theoretical studies of black holes, and later in string theory and other forms of unification, have suggested that physics on the Planck scale is holographic. It is conjectured that space is two dimensional, and the third dimension is inextricably linked with time. If so, our three-dimensional world is a kind of approximate illusion that emerges only on scales much larger than the Planck length.

Of course the flat earthers would dispute the existence of astronomical phenomena like black holes in the first place. But perhaps the possibility that the “vast and infinite unknowable universe teeming with alien worlds” only appears three dimensional because of the perspective from which we view it would be a small consolation.

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