A Thomistic Proof of the Levelness Inherent in the Earth’s Structural Form
Objection 1: It would seem that the Earth is round. The Earth undergoes seasons and the cycle of day and night. According to NASA, the spherical Earth spins around a central axis causing the effect of night and day. Additionally, the sphere as a whole is on a tilt, so seasons are produced when one hemisphere is tilted more towards the sun than the other. Thus, the Earth is round.
Objection 2: Further, the Earth is bound to a fixed area in the Universe. Isaac Newton claims the Sun’s gravitational pull retains the Earth in orbit around it. The Sun’s pull also causes our other seven planets to remain in orbit, and all seven of these other planets are round. Thus, Earth is also round.
Objection 3: Further, Earth’s own gravity pulls the matter of the Earth equally from all ends towards the middle of the planet, creating a spherical shape. Thus, the Earth is round.
Objection 4: Further, all pictures taken from astronauts, space stations, and satellites from outer space depict the Earth as a sphere. Exemplary of this is the picture taken by the Apollo 17 crew on December 7th, 1972, entitled “The Blue Marble.” Thus, the Earth is round.
On the contrary, stands the Flat Earth Society whose members believe the Earth is flat, and that conspiracy is behind the illogical “round” argument.
I answer that, the flatness of Earth may be proved in two ways. First, In Rene Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy, Descartes states:
“I suppose therefore that all things I see are illusions; I believe that nothing has ever existed of everything my lying memory tells me. I think I have no senses. I believe that body, shape, extension, motion, location are functions. What is there then that can be taken as true? Perhaps only this one thing, that nothing at all is certain.”Rene Descartes
Cartesian doubt, or Cartesian skepticism, the uncertainty of the truthfulness of all things, leads us to question whether those promoting a round Earth are in fact correct in their analysis. This questioning of truth opens the opportunity for alternate discoveries, leading to the realization that Earth is indeed flat, contrary to popular propaganda.
Secondly, forces, such as the widely accepted gravity, are unseen. The common phrase, “I’ll believe it when I see it,” allows such a force to be challenged. Such inability to prove gravity permits the possibility of other forces as the cause for objects remaining on the surface of the Earth.
Additionally, the vast expanse of the Universe, in which Earth is located, creates an inability to explore its entirety, leaving much unseen, and thus much unknown about both the Earth and the Universe.
Response to Objection 1: All humans may attest to the fact that we neither feel the motion of spinning nor rotating in our daily lives, unless we ourselves produce these actions, or we possess some state of health; such as, vertigo, that create these same feelings. As rotating and spinning are qualities of a sphere rather than a plane, one can conclude the Earth is not round, and therefore flat.
Response to Objection 2: According to the philosopher Epicurus, the Universe is made of atoms falling in an unbounded void. Lucretius, a follower of the views of Epicurus, defends a boundless universe in his On the Nature of Things, arguing that if the Universe had a limit, all falling atoms would eventually collect on the bottom of the void. If the Earth was round, creatures of the Earth would fall to the bottom of the Universal void if located anywhere other than the top of the sphere.
Response to Objection 3: Staying faithful to Newton’s Law, the Earth accelerates at a constant rate of 32 feet per second squared, never surpassing the speed of light. Due to a limitless Universe, the Earth may accelerate indefinitely. The force of acceleration, not gravity, is the cause of items remaining, or always returning to, the ground of the Earth. Since gravity does not exist, the Earth is not pulled into a spherical shape by gravity.
Response to Objection 4: Cartesian skepticism, the uncertainty of all things, may be applied to photographs characterizing the Earth as round. Photographs may easily be altered, especially with modern technology. Additionally, certain lenses may produce optical distortion. Specifically, barrel distortion makes straight lines appear to curve inward, creating a false spherical effect.