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Is the earth flat?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/7/2018 Category: Science
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 703 times Debate No: 116376
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (6)
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First round is for acceptance only. Come at me flat earthers.

Just one rule:If you want to forfeit just say so


I accept. I would say to my opponent that I am looking forward to this debate, and wish him/her well, but unfortunately the first round is for acceptance only. Well wishing will have to wait, I suppose...
Debate Round No. 1


I believe this link says it all:


I first wish to say that I am looking forward to this debate, and wish my opponent well (as I wasn't technically allowed to say so in Round 1). ;)

Con has opened with a link to website giving strong evidence that the earth is round. To that I say, "Of course the earth is round!". To claim otherwise is to ignore some very basic and provable facts. However, just because the earth is round does not mean that it is not flat. Over the next three rounds I will provide three arguments for how the earth can be round and flat at the same time, and show that the earth is, indeed, flat.

Argument #1
For this argument, I will be using the following definition of "flat" from the Merriam Webster dictionary:

- Having a relatively smooth or even surface (1)

Now, at first glance it may seem that the earth does not have a smooth or even surface. There are great mountains on earth which take months to climb with special equipment and expert guides, and even so the environment is so inhospitable that many people have died in the attempt. Yet, we need to look at these mountains in perspective. A mouse is huge from the perspective of an ant. To truly understand if the earth is flat, we need to compare it against like-sized bodies.

Earth vs. Itself
To begin, lets take a look at the tallest mountain in the world, Mt. Everest, and see how much it really sticks out from the surface of the earth. Mt. Everest has a height of just under 9 km (2), which seems to us very tall (as the mouse would to the ant). However this is very short when compared to the outer edge of earth, the Kármán line, which towers at 100 km. To put that in perspective, with the Earth's surface only achieving 9% of the Earth's total height, it would be like a typical human (avg. height roughly 170 cm) (3) walking over a surface that varied at most by 15 cms in height. This is similar to a farmer's field in the praries. By any account, we would call such a surface, flat ground.

Another way to look at it is to compare the largest mountain to earth's overall radius. Everest's 9 km height is just 0.14% of earth's mean radius of 6,371 km. If you held a beach ball that had a radius of 30 cm, the equavalent-sized bumps from Mt. Everest would measure only 4.2 mm in height, hardly enough to be perceptiable. In contrast a golf ball blown up to earth's size would have moutains as high as 75 km, or 8.5 times the height of Mt Everest (5). Earth is much more like a smooth, flat beach ball, not a bumpy ball like a golf ball.

Earth vs. Other Astronomical Bodies
Earth is pretty flat in comparison to its brethren. Olympus Mons on Mars is 26 km tall (6), over 2.9 times the height of Everest. Its height is 0.77% the radius of Mars, making Mars 5.5 times bumpier than Earth. Saturn's moon Iapetus has an equatorial ridge 20 km in height (8), which is 2.7% of the moon's radius of 734.5 km (9), making it over 19 times bumpier than earth. Finally, the miinor-planet Vesta has a mountain 22 km in height (10), 4.2% of its 525.4 km mean radius (11), making it 30 times rougher than earth.

I agree with con that Earth is round. But it is also flat, like the flat ground on a prarie farm or the flat surface of a beach ball. Especially when compared against some of the other known planets, moons and planetoids, the Earth is very flat.

This concludes argument #1.

5. Golf ball radius: 21.33 mm
Average golf ball dimple depth: 0.254 mm
0.254 *6371000000 (earth's radius in mm) / 21.33 = 75866752 mm or roughly 76 km
7. Mean radius of Mars: 3,389.5 km
26 km / 3,389.5 km = 0.0077

Debate Round No. 2


"I agree with con that Earth is round." By saying this I have very well won this debate. If you agree the earth is flat,you are in pro. But you agreed that the earth is round too which means you are stuck in the center of things and have pretty much no role in the debate. So I suggest in the next 3 rounds you explain why the earth is flat or I pretty much win this debate


You have asserted that by me saying the Earth is round, you have won the debate. I challenge this line of reasoning.

Here is your argument broken down:

Premise 1: The Earth is round.
Premise 2: Round things can't be flat.
Conclusion: The Earth can't be flat.

Your link in Round one provides much evidence to back up Premise 1. Furthermore, I have agreed with Premise 1. However, you have yet to provide any evidence of Premise 2. Why does something being round necessarily mean it cannot be flat as well? My admission of the roundness of Earth only provides you a win if you can prove Premise 2. And while I'm looking forward to your evidence in support of this premise, I'll be proactive and try to disprove it now, as that happens to be relevant to the argument I am making in this round.

A car tire is round. But we say the tire is flat when it is unable to maintain a normal circular shape. It is still round, on the top and sides, but it is also flat at the same time. Since a flat tire is something that is both round and flat simultaneously, it is an example which contradicts Premise 2. Which leads us to...

Argument #2
Just like a flat tire, some planets are unable to maintain a normal circular shape. The Earth in particular is not a sphere, but is an ellipsoid (1), where the equator bulges out into space and the earth is compressed between the poles. This is due to a phenomenon called "Flattening" (2), which is very nicely explained in this short YouTube video: .

The flatness of planets can vary widely. (3) Saturn, for example, is the flattest planet in our solar system, being almost 10% wider around its equator than it is tall, pole to pole. Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune round out the top four, which makes sense, as the huge gas giants have gigantic rotational radiuses, resulting in extremely large centrifugal forces pulling out at their equators. To properly do a comparison for Earth, we'll need to look at its more similar-sized neighbors.

Mars has a flattening ratio of 0.65%, but Earth comes in second at 0.34%. After that, Venus, Mercury and Pluto (still considered a dwarf planet (4)) all have a flattening of 0%, meaning they are perfectly spherical. So, in comparison to planets of its size, the Earth is rather flattened. This point is further supported when you compare Earth against the moon which, at only 0.12%, is about a third as flat at Earth.

Like a flat tire, the Earth is round. But it is also somewhat flat, with the equator bulging out and the poles squished towards each other. Compared to its spherical cousins like Mercury, Venus and the recently demoted Pluto, the Earth is certainly flatter, a round-yet-flattened ellipsoid spinning in space.


Debate Round No. 3


"But we say the tire is flat when it is unable to maintain a normal circular shape." Its still round but not completely.

Although I agree somewhat that the phenomenon called flattening does occur,one question for you:How fast does the earth spin till it flattens that much? Plus has anyone actually seen the process of flattening actually occur from space?

Question:If the earth is like a flat tire and if flattening occurs to all planets,explain why the moon or the sun doesnt look like a flat tire if flattening really does occur? Also,in the youtube video,god knows how fast the example was spinning. Does the earth really spin that fast?


To answer your questions, yes the Earth spins very fast. It may not seem so at first, because it takes almost a full day to make one rotation, but the distance it has to travel within that one day is huge. Specifically, the earth has to rotate over 40,000 km in that time, meaning it is travelling at 460 metres per second (or 1,000 miles per hour) (1). Now, the woman in the video is spinning her model really fast too. Which one is going faster? There's a pretty easy way to tell:

The earth's rotational speed, as I mentioned is 460 m/s. The model in the video seems to have a circumference of roughly 1.5 metres, but we'll round it up to 2 metres just to be sure we're not underestimating it. In that case, to have a rotational speed of 460 m/s, the model must spin 460 / 2 revolutions in a second, or 230 revolutions per second (rps). Now let's compare that to something else that rotates. An airplane propellers' spin rate tops out at around 2,700 revolutions per minute. (2) Divide that by 60 and you get a maximum spin rate of 45 rps. So, for her to get her model to rotate as fast as the earth, she would have to spin her model 230 rps or over five times as fast as a propeller blade on an airplane. I don't care how much muscle she has in her arms, there is no way she is spinning it that fast.

That said, her model is made out of paper, with nothing in the middle, and so it compresses easily. The earth is full of rocks, lava and molten metal, and doesn't compress easily. The earth certainly doesn't flatten nearly as much as her model does. But that's okay, because we're not comparing the Earth to a couple strips of paper. We're comparing Earth to other planets. As I mentioned, the Earth compresses much, much more than Venus, Mercury or Pluto. Furthermore, it compresses three times as much as the moon, which doesn't compress much at all (and thus why it doesn't look compressed). The sun is barely flattened, experiencing only a 0.005% compression, which is 1/67th compression of Earth. (3)

So again, relatively speaking, the Earth is pretty flat in comparison with its neighbours.

With those questions answered, it's time for...

Argument #3
We say an instrument is flat when it is playing a note at a frequency lower than the normally accepted notes in a scale (C, D, E, F, G, A, B) and their semi-tones between. In an orchestra, if an instrument were flat, the conductor would instruct the player to tune the insturment up so as to raise the frequency of notes it plays to match the notes of the scale, so it can play in harmony with the rest of the orchestra. The french horn, banjo and timpani drum are examples of round instruments that can also be flat at the same time.

Well, just like an instrument, the Earth produces notes as well. In particular, the Earth's atmosphere is continuously resonating at a frequency called the Schumann Resonance. (4) This hum is produced by lightning interacting with the cavity between the Earth's surface and the ionosphere, much like how one can produce a note by blowing across the top of an empty bottle or jug. The note is always the same, sounding the strongest at 7.8 Hz (the fundamental Schumann Resonance) and subsequent weaker resonant freqencies.

So, since the Earth plays a note like a musical instrument, let's see how that note compares with our scale. Middle C is roughly 261.6 Hz. (5) You can get the frequency for the next C an octive down by dividing that fequency by 2 (130.8 Hz). Continuing to divide by 2 keeps moving us down octaves, always on the note of C. Eventually, we can determine that a *very* low C note is at 8.2 Hz. (6) Although this is extremely low, there are in fact some instruments in the world that can play it! Specifically, the Sydney Town Hall Grand Organ and the Boardwalk Hall Auditorium Organ have 64' stops specifically designed to play this 8.2 Hz sub-sub-contra-C note. (7)


We have now established natural C is 8.2 Hz. The Earth plays a constant note of 7.8 Hz, the fundamental Schumann Resonance. The Earth is playing a note slightly under natural C (by 0.4 Hz), which means the Earth is flat. If anyone wants to use the Earth in an orchestra, they'll have to come tune it up first.

2.;(see Maximum RPM Restriction)
6.;(Choose Note C and Ocatave -1)
Debate Round No. 4


For the sake of having convincable arguments,here are a few more links to show you the earth is round(some of the points might be the same):

Argument 2:

Heres a question for my opponent regarding his last few arguments:If the earth is indeed like a flat tire,does that make the rest of the planets look like a flat tire? If so,explain the shape of the sun or the moon.


"The Earth is playing a note slightly under natural C (by 0.4 Hz), which means the Earth is flat." No it just means its playing a different note. Have you not heard of the B note which is always under natural C?Stop trying to fool a pianist and an oboist(I play both fyi) Besides,who said that it MUST be a natural C?



I'll start with addressing your rebuttal. Yes, B is certainly below natural C, but the Schumann Resonance is above that note. B-1 is 7.7 Hz, (1) while the Schumann Frequency is 7.8 Hz. So, if the Earth is a B natural insturment, then the Earth is sharp. Even the link you provided shows that 7.8 Hz is 18.54 percent sharper than natural B. (2) Thus, the Earth certainly isn't playing B.

So now the question is, should the Earth be a B natural insturment or a C natural insturment? Is the Earth sharp or flat? Well, looking at the convention for insturments, there are at least 31 non-rare modern day instruments that are in the key of C natural. There are zero that are in the key of B natural. (3) C natrual is one of the most common keys for insturments, while B natural is simply not used. Therefore, it is much more likely that the Earth would be considered C natural instrument instead of a B natural one, meaning that the note the Earth is playing is flat.

Next, yes, some of the other planets' flattenings can be seen by the human eye. For example, Here is an image of Saturn:; You can very clearly see that it is more wide than it is tall. As for the sun and the moon, I have already explained that due to their composition and rotation, they are not nearly as flattened as the Earth (See Round 4).

Finally, regarding to your links to arguments for the world being round, that's interesting but not relevant to the debate. We are not debating whether the world is round. You don't win by showing the world is round and I don't win by showing that the world is not round, because that's not the statement of debate. The statement of debate is: "Is the Earth flat?". As Pro, I bear the burden of proving the statement, "The world is flat". However, in the absense of any pre-set definition for the word "flat", I just need to prove the Earth meets any one definition of that word. If we were debating that "Woody Allen is hot", I wouldn't have to prove he is attracitve if I could prove that he is currently sitting in a sauna.

Voters, so far I've given three arguments showing how the world is flat:

1) Like a beach ball, the world has a relatively smooth or even surface
2) Like a flat tire, the world is unable to maintain a full circular shape
3) Like an out-of-tune instrument, the world is producing a note at a slightly lower frequency than what it needs to play with other insturments.

Con has provided some counter arugments to #3, and has questioned #2. I've provided my responses. Con hasn't addressed #1 at all. Even if you feel that two of my arguments failed to prove their cases, I only need to convince you that the Earth meets any one definition of "flat" to have succeeded in this debate. And, on the off chance that you feel all three are false, here's one more to consider:

Argument #4 *
We say a bubbly drink is flat when it has lost most of its effervescence. Well, the Earth is bubbly too. The Earth releases gasses into the atmosphere by a process called "Volcanic Outgassing". (4) When Earth was in its infancy, volcanoes where everywhere (5), spewing gasses outward to create our early atmosphere. In comparison today, volcanoes on Earth are few and far between, and many of the ones that are still around are dormant. The Earth has lost most of its effervescence, much like a can of Coke that was left out overnight. I have to say, this is one instance that I am very glad that the Earth has become flat. I would hate to have the alternative.

1.;(Choose Note B and Ocatave -1)
2.;(Enter 7.8 Hz)

* Note: Normally I wouldn't post new aruments in Round 5, however Con did, so I feel justified in being able to do so in kind. If you think that it's unsporting, feel free to ignore it.

Debate Round No. 5
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by sillydebater 3 years ago
One thing I want to bring to light is that the majority of Con's arguments were not laid out in the debate, but were instead just links to other people's arguments. I think this kind of debating is a degradation of the quality of debate here. IMO, arguments should be spelled out in the argument text itself. Having someone else argue for you is a cheap shortcut that serves as a crutch for the one posting the link, and an annoyance for the person on the other end. Personally, I'm interested in debating the person I'm challenging, not some other random person in the world that doesn't even know the debate is happening and can't respond to anything.

And that's my two cents worth.
Posted by sillydebater 3 years ago
I hope you're being sarcastic. If not, basketballs become flat all the time; so much so that Disney make a song about it:
Posted by Percivil 3 years ago
A basketball doesnt tho haha
Posted by sillydebater 3 years ago
A soccer ball is ball, yet it can become flat.
Posted by Considerthefollowing 3 years ago
This is silly. Earth is a ball, end of story
Posted by mhk220 3 years ago
Look at the ISS live streams on YouTube. All I gotta say.
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