Flat stupidity

20 March 2017 | Lloyd Hughes

Shaquille O’Neal believes the world is flat.


Now, I appreciate he’s someone renowned for physical prowess rather than sharpness of mind, but still…


He’s joined a worryingly growing list of people that seemingly believe this empirically false theory.

In a world where FAKE NEWS is shouted about, it seems that every astronomer, cosmologist and scientist from Eratosthenes to Aristotle, Copernicus to Galileo, Hubble to Hawking – hell, even Brian Cox – can be added to CNN on the list of Trump’s peddlers of fakery.

In an interview, Shaq reasoned that because Columbus didn’t actually discover America as there were already people there, and because O’Neal himself regularly drives from Florida to California and doesn’t go ‘up and down at a 360o angle’ he simply can’t accept that ‘China is under us’ – his words.

That’s the general logic behind his thinking.


He doesn’t offer any explanation as to how no one, in the entire course of human history and throughout the supposed Age of Discovery, has ever happened to drop off the face of the earth.

If the earth is flat, what is at the end of the oceans? A Truman Show-esque wall that ships simply bounce off?

Is the knowledge of this massive obstruction hidden from us by the CIA? Is there some magical barrier that unbeknownst to us flips us round and, low and behold, we’re in New Zealand?

What the hell even is space? A pretty painting? The Sistine Chapel of the skies?

The mind boggles that someone who has lived to the age of 45 and is able to tie their own shoelaces (admittedly I am presuming that bit) can think we live on a pancake.

Then again, I have that view of organised religion, so my mind permanently boggles that in a (comparatively) scientifically advanced era people still accept the teachings of an old book as blind fact.

Kyrie Irving, another basketball player, and hip hop star B.O.B are two other celebrities citing the same lunatic belief. And don’t even get me started on Scientologists.

The number of people that question empirical evidence (or even pure logic) astounds and terrifies me.

When I was a child watching Tomorrow’s World, it seemed humanity, having shaken off the horrors of two world wars and with the thawing of the Cold War, was now set on a path of scientific enlightenment and advancement where discoveries and technology would help to soothe the ails of the earth. Now, if anything, things seem to be getting worse, with the world increasingly descending into chaos and division, with religion playing a worryingly large part.

If stellar names such as Shaquille O’Neal can believe such claptrap, then those living in the more shadowy sections of society could very well believe anything they’re told, which is a singularly terrifying thought.

Bad PR for Shaq here though, because, if he wasn’t being facetious, then he’s patently an idiot.