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Demon Haunted Times from Skeptic magazine Vol. 10 No. 4

This column was also translated into Danish.

New "Isn't Round" Theory Demands Equal Time

LANCASTER, CA—Supporters of a new theory concerning the Earth's shape are demanding equal time in the classroom. Currently, schools teach that the Earth has a round shape, but a new theory is challenging that idea.

"We are not flat-earthers," emphasized lawyer Jill Swanson at a recent Lancaster school board meeting. "We are not saying the Earth is flat. We are simply saying it is not round." Swanson is author of Pythagoras on Trial and one of the founding members of the new movement called "Isn't Round" theory or IR.

Proponents of IR claim their theory is scientific and should be taught alongside Round Earthism.

"Both theories should be taught," said Swanson. "Go ahead and tell students the Earth is round. But to be fair, they should also be told that it's not. Let them vote for which makes more sense. The most votes wins. That's how science works."

"Children are taught Round Earth science as though it's fact," complained geometrist Mike Bailey. "But it's just a theory."

Bailey's book Pythagoras' Black Sphere introduced a new term into the debate: "indeterminate geometry," the idea that some objects have shapes geometry cannot determine. He believes that Earth is one of those objects.

"Even mousetraps and watches are too complex to be fully explained by geometry," stated Bailey. "Say you found a watch on the ground and tried to figure out its shape. Is it square? Circular? Of course not. No shape can adequately describe a simple watch. Now think how much more complex the Earth is!"

"Science has been hijacked by scientists with a round bias," added Will Shempski during the open forum. "They have an evidentiary worldview that leads them directly to Round Earthism by precluding centuries of common sense, anecdotes, and myths." Shempski, a mathematician, says Round Earth theory is a theory in crisis.

"Many scientists are becoming courageous enough to point out fatal flaws in Round Earth theory," claimed Shempski. "Pythagorean orthodoxy maintains that the Earth is a sphere. However, some scientists say Earth's an ellipsoid, others say it's a geoid, while still others claim it's an oblate spheroid. They can't even agree amongst themselves! Obviously, there is a fundamental problem with the theory of a round Earth."

While IRers are adamant about what shape the earth is not, they are silent as to what shape the Earth might be. Round Earth advocates claim that IR is just Flat Earth theory in disguise.

"IR makes no claim as to the actual shape of the Earth," answered Swanson. "We even have a member who doesn't believe the moon landings were hoaxed. You can't get more open-minded than that. How can anyone accuse us of being flat-earthers?"

One flat-earther who attended the meeting, Henny M. Mortis, argued that only by embracing a flat Earth can human civilization survive.

"Round Earthism has led to overpopulation, deforestation, and abortion," announced Mortis as the meeting ended. "Before Flatless heathens forced their round agenda into schools, people were careful where they walked because they were afraid of falling off the edge. Now kids are told there is no edge. If the Earth is round, we can go anywhere and do whatever we want because there are no consequences. Anything goes!"

Mortis, founder of the Flat Earth organization "It's Clearly Flat" or ICF, doesn't understand why IRers distance themselves from what the Bible literally teaches.

"The Bible declares the good news of a flatness," Mortis said. "But if you demand scientific evidence, look no further than the boundaway beetle. It escapes its enemies by running away. If the earth was round, it would run all the way around and right back into its attacker! Since that doesn't happen, we know that the Earth is flat. And you can stake a tent on that!"