A Flat-Earther Took A Spirit Level On An Airplane To Try And Prove His Movement’s Theory Correct

Image: YouTube/D. Marble

In May 2017 a man known as D. Marble took a spirit level on an aircraft. Why? Well, his intention was to prove that Earth is flat. “This and past generations have been lied to about almost everything,” he has written in the description to a YouTube video depicting his experiment. “No more lies!”

Image: Camille Flammarion

Debunking a major scientific convention is always going to be a stretch – especially when an enormous body of physical evidence supports it. Nevertheless, Marble, a self-proclaimed truth-seeker, claims to have done so.

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“This is a new experiment for the scientific community,” Marble says in a YouTube video published in May 2017. “Grab a spirit level and take it on the plane with you… We’ve been living a lie all this time, and the planet is actually completely flat.”

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Image: NASA/GSFC/Reto Stöckli, Nazmi El Saleous, and Marit Jentoft-Nilsen

Yes, Marble is a flat-earther. As such, then, he is part of a fringe group of theorists who believe that the world is composed of a single horizontal plane, and that photos and video footage depicting a blue sphere floating in space are fake. Generally, many flat-earthers also claim that the educational establishment, governments, scientists and the media are lying about the true shape of our planet.

Image: Mike_Kiev

The notion of Earth being flat can be seen in early civilizations including ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and Greece. Indeed, several cultures once conceived of Earth as flat – as a disk floating on the surface of an ocean, say. However, the idea of Earth as spherical began to be discussed in ancient Greece in around 5,000 B.C. And by the third century B.C., the concept was accepted within Greek astronomy.

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Today, contemporary beliefs in a flat Earth are generally associated with 19th-century English writer Samuel Rowbotham. Rowbotham formulated the theory of “Zetetic Astronomy,” in which the sun and moon are only 3,000 miles from Earth and the stars just 100 miles further. In his book Zetetic Astronomy: Earth Not a Globe, Rowbotham also claimed that the world is a floating disc encircled by a wall of ice.

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Image: Twitter/Flat Earth Society

Rowbotham and his disciples’ cause was fundamentally religious, and it used pseudoscience to promote their ideas. In a pamphlet titled The Inconsistency of Modern Astronomy and Its Opposition to the Scriptures, the Englishman set out his basic argument. “The Bible,” he wrote, “alongside our senses, supported the idea that the Earth was flat and immovable, and this essential truth should not be set aside for a system based solely on human conjecture.”

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Today, flat-Earth theories have seen somewhat of a resurgence on social media. Perhaps in an era where some reports are deemed as “fake news,” public trust in institutionally recognized reality is lacking. And for those seeking simple answers to complex problems, conspiracy theories such as that of a flat Earth may be a safe harbor in stormy times.

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Image: Twitter/Flat Earth Society

And if anything, support for the flat Earth theory may be growing. The Official Flat Earth and Globe Discussion Facebook group was founded in 2016 and now has more than 115,000 members. The group describes itself as “a serious scientific page about… misinformations being pushed on the masses by the globalist elite.”

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Image: YouTube/D. Marble

Recent high-profile converts to the flat Earth cause include reality TV personality Tila Tequila and the rapper B.o.B. Meanwhile, Marble, a self-described realist, is making a name for himself as a talking head for the flat Earth cause. In fact, the transportation technician and one-time Army non-commissioned officer from Arkansas has more than 47,000 followers on YouTube. His spirit-level experiment has been viewed more than one million times, too.

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Image: YouTube/Jim Adlington

As for Marble’s method of spreading the word? Well, the website for The Flat Earth International Conference 2018 has described his approach as “common sense” and “no-nonsense.” The site went on to claim that Marble “has played a role in awakening a wide variety of individuals” through his so-called “Flat Earth Offensive.”

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Image: YouTube/D. Marble

And according to Marble, an aircraft would need to continuously adjust the angle of its nose if the world is indeed a sphere. “If we’re living on a spinning ball,” he says in his YouTube video, “or a globe that’s 25,000 miles in circumference around the equator according to curvature math, the plane should be constantly tipping its nose forward to compensate for the curvature regularly during flights.”

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Image: YouTube/D. Marble

Marble’s experiment sought therefore to determine if a plane really does dip its nose during flight. “I’m going to take my spirit level onto the plane and prop it to a point where it’s level. And I’m going to record the fact that the bubble stays perfectly center,” he says in the YouTube clip.

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Image: YouTube/D. Marble

During the footage, Marble is seen having rested the spirit level on the armrest of his seat, after which a time-lapse video of the device is shown. According to the flat-earther’s calculations, the plane traveled more than 203 miles during the 23 minutes the spirit level was on the armrest, which according to Marble “should have resulted in the compensation of 5 miles of curvature.” He adds in the clip. “As you’ll see, there was no measurable compensation for curvature.”

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Image: YouTube/D. Marble

In other words, the spirit level stayed constant for 23 minutes. And according to Marble, this proves that Earth is flat. “Once altitude is reached, the airplane flies at a constant altitude,” he has written in the description to his YouTube video. He added, “Pilots have come forward to testify that there is no compensation for curvature during flight.”

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Image: YouTube/D. Marble

However, Marble’s audience don’t appear to be wholly convinced by the experiment. Indeed, while some 2,600 viewers have liked his video, 16,000 viewers have voted it down. And the most popular comments on the YouTube page appear to be those that have ridiculed Marble and his experiment.

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Image: YouTube/D. Marble

“This is why you need to stay in school, guys,” wrote one user in response. Another suggested that Marble didn’t quite understand how planes – or levels – actually worked. And one other person simply wrote, “This guy is going places. Not university, but places.”

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Meanwhile, a detailed rebuttal of the experiment has been put forward by Mick West, administrator of Metabunk.org – an online forum dedicated to “the art and pastime of honest, polite, scientific investigating and debunking.” According to West, Marble detected no adjustment in the angle of the plane because practically none was required. “It’s essentially the same as if you were in a car driving along a road that has a very slight curve to the right,” West wrote in 2017. “All you would do is turn the steering wheel very slightly.”

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A senior member of the site called Spectrar Ghost added that planes don’t need to dip their noses because their lift allows them to stay airborne. “I think it’s a mistake to imply that the pilot needs to nose down at all,” he wrote. “[Aircraft] need not ‘correct for curvature’ at all, because their altitude is determined by a dynamic equilibrium in which their lift cancels out their weight.”

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Image: Giuseppe Bertini

So, is Marble trolling the world, or does he really believe that we are the victims of an enormous conspiracy? The mechanics that keep a plane in flight – or enable it to travel without compensating for Earth’s curvature – are indeed complex. But the scientific method has taught us how to engineer flying machines; pseudoscience, by contrast, has not.

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