The Elusive Curve: A Modern Day Quest to Discover Another World by Billy Zig is every scientifically illiterate flat earth meme compiled into book form.
This is a story about Max, a scientifically illiterate flat earther who tries to convince his friend, Sam that the earth is flat. Max makes all the same mistakes that flat earthers make in his inability to understand middle school physics.
For example, Max claims “…evaporation can frequently create a lensing, or magnifying effect; often manifesting the Sun to appear larger over the horizon as it travels across a liquid condensed atmosphere.” This completely contradicts the known effects of humidity in the air where refraction is REDUCED, not increased. Also, “liquid condensed atmosphere”? This is nonsense.
Max goes through the same trite anti-science dogma that many flat earthers repeat:
- claiming science is scientism
- smart people are “mathemagicians”
- photos from space are photoshop, even the ones from before computer graphics
- claiming “level” means “flat” ignoring that level already has a definition: a curved surface
- getting confused between curve and elevation
- dismissing actual science without even looking into it
- using incorrect mathematical formulas
- quoting Nikola Tesla, who did not think the earth was flat
- completely misunderstanding Einstein’s Theory of Relativity in a hilariously naive way in chapter 16
- throwing around “perspective” as a gap-filling technique to explain things that could never happen if the earth were flat, while never actually calculating what should happen using perspective
- referencing the common flat earth map that embarrassingly misrepresents the size of Australia, where the characters live
- misunderstanding flight dynamics by claiming that airplanes would have to “dip their nose” to avoid flying into space
It’s basically every backward flat earth meme in book form.
Max follows the common flat earth not-science process to try to conclude the earth is flat:
- Select a conclusion: “the earth is flat”
- Search for anything that supports the pre-selected conclusion.
- Ignore everything that contradicts the pre-selected conclusion.
- Declare that the pre-selected conclusion has been unquestionably “proven”.
Step 3 is perfectly illustrated with this statement at the end of chapter 4 “The inability by mainstream scientists to offer verifiable scientific proof on the matter [of the earth being a globe].” This shows how aggressively flat earthers have to go to ignore evidence.
The shape of the earth was meticulously measured by George Biddel Airy, Alexander Ross Clarke, Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel, and Sir George Everest before 1850. Even though they measured independently, their results all agree. Not only is the earth spherical, but it is also slightly wider around the equator agreed upon by many measurements. By different people at different times at different places.
In the book do Max and Sam examine this evidence? No. They pretend it doesn’t exist.
Max simultaneously misrepresents gravity and claims that the human anatomy has the ability to feel near-constant velocity: “How the fuck can I be standing upside down in Australia – spinning almost twice faster than the speed of sound – and yet never feel a single motion?” Not only does Max misunderstand physics, but he also misunderstands biology.
As the story continues Max’s substance abuse issues start to reveal some personal problems in his life. It is also suggested that Max’s love interest, Zoe left him because of his obsession with flat earth. A common situation for many flat earthers. Maybe the substance abuse is meant to be an explanation for how Max was so thoroughly fooled by the flat earth lies? The book doesn’t complete this thought.
In Chapter 22 the dishonest characters fraudulently cherry-pick a quote from Einstein: ‘I have come to believe that the motion of the earth cannot be detected by any optical experiment’. This is a blatant lie because Einstein didn’t finish his sentence there. Einstein’s actual sentence concluded with this: “…though the earth is revolving around the sun.”
More lies and omissions from Max continues: “But let me remind you again, that there’s not one single experiment that proves that we live on a spinning ball.”
Max is simply repeating the real-life flat earther’s ignorant claims. The rotation of the earth has been measured many times with different methods. Here is a short list: Gravity Measurements
Chapter 24 is dedicated to failing to refute gravity. Max hand wave dismisses mass to mass attraction, giving this brain-donor quality explanation: “The ‘down’ is just the way the object moves to seek stillness, where it will then rest unconditionally; unless enacted again by another force.”
Never mind the laws of motion, the Law of Gravitational Attraction, and the thousands of empirical experiments that confirm mass-to-mass attraction. Max, with the power of not-understanding-things, makes it all go away.
Chapter 27 finally tries to provide some empirical evidence. And fails.
It’s basically a list of long-range observations where Max dishonestly ignores the known effects of refraction. It’s a review of the anti-scientific method.
Can Max get any stupider? Yes. In chapter 29 Max claims that the moon is recharged by the sun and then emits its own light. How can the moon emit light and cast shadows on itself? Excellent question. No answer is provided.
Max’s substance abuse gets highlighted more. Constantly drunk and using other drugs he makes less and less sense later in the book. he suggests there are extra lands and all the governments of the world are hiding it. As if a new exploration wouldn’t have immediately happened if this were discovered. In reality, every country would be vying to plant their flag on the newest newly discovered continent if there were more lands discovered.
Chapter 33 is where we are finally no longer subjected to the endless flat earth memes. A relief? No. This is where it transitions into a poorly thought-out and hastily written, low-rent sci-fi/fantasy. Max and his friends take a plane across the Antarctic ice wall. Where they discover the futuristic “Kushna”.
Yeah, the pot-head references make it to the name of the farcical country past the ice wall.
The entire expedition is thrown in a dungeon. But it was just a dream. Apparently, the author allowed a 3rd grader to write some content too.
Don’t worry, we get right back into brain-dead flat earth memes for a few more chapters.
-Incorrect claims about rail guns
-Incorrect claims about long-range shooters and Coriolis
-Hand wave dismissal of gravity
-Lies about artillery firing solutions
-Lies about the Antarctic treaty
Finally, in chapter 46 we get to the point: Odysseus, a solar-powered plane that is supposed to go beyond the ice wall. It takes photographs of lands beyond the “ice wall”.
Maybe Max could be informed that he could just go work at the South Pole station and find out that the earth isn’t flat.
If the earth were flat, the sun could never set. End of flat earth.