That’s easy – vast numbers of people are friggen stupid. If you don’t believe me just check out Facebook.
Today’s rejuvenated flat-Earth philosophy, as promoted by rappers and YouTube videos, is not simply a recrudescence of pre-scientific ignorance. It is, rather, the mother of all conspiracy theories. The point is that everyone who claims the Earth is round is trying to fool you, and keep you in the dark. In that sense, it is a very modern version of an old idea.
As with any conspiracy theory, the flat-Earth idea is introduced by way of a handful of seeming anomalies, things that don’t seem to fit the “official” story. Have you ever wondered, the flat-Earther will ask, why commercial aeroplanes don’t fly over Antarctica? It would, after all, be the most direct route from South Africa to New Zealand, or from Sydney to Buenos Aires – if the Earth were round. But it isn’t. There is no such thing as the South Pole, so flying over Antarctica wouldn’t make any sense. Plus, the Antarctic treaty, signed by the world’s most powerful countries, bans any flights over it, because something very weird is going on there. So begins the conspiracy sell. Well, in fact, some commercial routes do fly over part of the continent of Antarctica. The reason none fly over the South Pole itself is because of aviation rules that require any aircraft taking such a route to have expensive survival equipment for all passengers on board – which would obviously be prohibitive for a passenger jet.
OK, the flat-Earther will say, then what about the fact that photographs taken from mountains or hot-air balloons don’t show any curvature of the horizon? It is perfectly flat – therefore the Earth must be flat. Well, a reasonable person will respond, it looks flat because the Earth, though round, is really very big. But photographs taken from the International Space Station in orbit show a very obviously curved Earth.
More here – The Guardian