More on Navigating a Flat Earth
by Thomas George Ferguson
The question is often asked: How can you account for ships sailing due East or West and returning to the place from which they started, or in other words, how is it possible to circumnavigate anything but a sphere?
The latter part of the question is absurd, although it is often asked by men of no mean intelligence in other matters.
The Isle of Wight has been circumnavigate some hundreds of times, but a man would be considered a likely candidate for a lunatic asylum who would say, therefore, the Isle of Wight is a globe.
It is self-evident, then, that a body need not be a sphere to be circumnavigated.
Again, on the face of this so-called proof of the suppose globularity of the world there is deception, part of the truth having been omitted. It stands thus in many books: “A mariner sailing due East or West returns to the place of “departure which could not be done on a flat surface;” but that he had attempted and failed to circumnavigate his supposed globe by sailing due North or South has been entirely omitted. Now, with regard to the former part of the questions we will ask the reader to consider for a moment the following diagram:
N represents the North Centre (popularly called the “North Pole”, and the outer circle S S S S, the southern circumference (erroneously called the “South Pole.”)
It will be seen that as the compass needle constantly points N and S the points, E and W will form a circle, and, following the circle to the right of the diagram would be travelling in an easterly direction, and following the circle to the left, a westerly course.
Again, it must be remembered that East and West are but relative positions and not fixed points, even according to globular teaching, for instance: we should not be correct in saying that America was West unless it was stated, or understood, that it was West of Greenwich, a line which passes through Greenwich (on maps only of course) being taken in this case as a standard, and all places, the relative positions of which are on the right or left of this line; are spoken of as East or West of Greenwich.
If a map of the Earth as a plane be obtained it will readily be seen that the circumnavigation of the world is easier according to the plane truth than it is according to the globular theory.
Why this supposed proof of the supposed globular shape of the world should be inserted in geography books is hard to understand, unless it is that the globular theory is so wanting in truth that it is glad to catch at even a shadow, and even this will be found to be against it, if examined by the light of common sense and practical fact.