Letters

Letters

Flat-earthers’ furrowed brows raise readers’ eyebrows

Has our mistrust become so pervasive that we’ll doubt anything?

Re “The point of no turn” (Page A1, Nov. 29): Dugan Arnett, describing the thought processes of those in the flat-earth movement, writes, “And how, if Earth is spinning at a rate of 1,000 miles an hour, are we even able to function?” Really?

Most children reach a point where they wonder if the Earth will spin out from under them if they jump in the air, and, upon daring to do so, start to learn about things such as relative motion.

Sit in the back seat of a car going 60 miles per hour. You can comfortably toss a tennis ball up and down while you sip a cup of water with the other hand, and neither the ball nor the water flies back and becomes plastered on the rear window: relative motion.

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The oceans don’t “stick to a ball.” Gravity attracts and holds them on the Earth’s surface.

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This would all be quite silly if it wasn’t so sad. Has our mistrust of science and accumulated knowledge become so pervasive that we’re revisiting concepts that were deciphered in the Middle Ages?

Ask the flat-earthers how the magic little pictures they study appear on the little box they hold in their hand — that thing they call a smartphone. How’s that for irony?

Rick Cutler

Arlington

Fanatical theories add to efforts to discredit science

The increasing number of people who believe the Earth is flat is quite disturbing, as they contribute to the many attempts, seen around the country, to discredit science. Equally disturbing is the fact that The Boston Globe chose to devote nearly a full page of its front section to this group of irrational fanatics. Are there no more relevant things to report, at a time when the world seems turned upside down? (Oh dear — is “world turned upside down” an expression that proves Earth is flat?)

Hint to Jason Torres: Tomorrow at noon, call someone in Tokyo and ask that person what time it is. If the answer is not noon, try to explain that in a flat earth.

Joe Megerman

Waltham

Nothing to see here

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I have long respected the Globe for its high standards of journalism, but I was dismayed to read the front-page article about Jason Torres and his obsession about flat-earth evidence.

First, it was a sad waste of valuable print space about a topic — flat-earth conspiracy advocates — that is not news by any measure.

Second, it was mean-spirited to put Torres up for ridicule in front of a huge audience. If the article was intended as a piece on mental illness (obsessive-compulsive disorder?), then it failed. Other than the few quoted words from a psychology professor, there was no science (of mental illness) in the article, and there was no input from mental-health experts.

I hope the Globe will focus more on what we desperately need these days: helping to preserve our democracy by reporting real news.

Irving J Bigio

Chestnut Hill

Now, about that horoscope . . .

That some deluded and disturbed individuals believe the Earth is flat is perhaps worthy of a news article. But will you run another article on people who believe your daily horoscope? I note that you moved it adjacent to the daily weather forecast. It used to be on the comics page. Are you making an editorial statement?

Carl Wunsch

Cambridge

The writer is a visiting professor of physical oceanography and climate in the department of earth and planetary sciences at Harvard University.