Iraqi astronomer goes on TV to explain why Earth is flat

Here's a video of Fadhel Al-Said, a "researcher on astronomy," sharing his surprising findings about the shape Earth and the physics of the solar system with Iraqi television viewers.

Picture 4-77

Statement by a round-earther physicist: When you watch a ship sailing towards the shore, all you see at first is the mast. Then you see the bow, and eventually the entire ship.

Fadhel Al-Said: When you stand on the beach and look into the distance, everything you see is in the visible distance. In the blurred distance, you cannot see a thing. Later on as the ship gets closer to the shore or the harbor, you see the upper part. How do you see it? The eye, as I have said, no doctor has succeeded in understanding how the eye works.



  1. Bush’s science adviser better watch out, this guy is a showing for this administrations top technical spot.

  2. “The eye, as I have said, no doctor has succeeded in understanding how the eye works.”

    Umm, ok. So what’s with the glasses?

  3. I’m a little shocked to see Justin Wilson back from the dead. I miss the red suspenders, though.

    “I gaa-ron-tee the earth is flat!”

  4. The Koran doesn’t say anything about LCD computer monitors either.

    Does that mean my monitor is false? I’m going to have to talk to Acer about this…

  5. We should get this guy a speaking engagement at one of those meetings where movement conservatives congratulate each other on their brilliance.

    Of course, he might convince them about the flat earth thing, and end up paying for a giant watch tower so Homeland Security can keep tabs on everybody.

  6. “Fdhl” mst b rq fr “fthd.”

    Hr ws, jst wtchng th nghtly nws nd sng ll th ftg f wld-yd rqs rnnng n ll drctns, frng mchn gns n sld strms ntl th mgs r mpty nd scrmng lk pnckd chckns.

    Nw s vn thr “scntsts” r brkng md. t’s ll jst t mch. Hw d thy vn fgr t whch hl t fd nd whch t wp, ch dy?

  7. Interesting to see Iraquis are catching up to Intelligent Design and Creationism. Very zeitgeist. Of course it’s the Koran according to which the earth is flat and not the bible and I might be wrong but wasn’t Galileo Galilei rehabilitated by the Catholic church only in 1992?

    And I’m too disgusted at what RJ had to say to comment it. Shame on you.

  8. So this is why we invaded… oh wait, like half Americans think this too… sorry.

    RJ are you making a joke, or are you being serious? what a ridiculous thing to say! Shame on him indeed, Teapunk!


  9. @Tpnk

    ‘m gssng y thnk bnch f ppl blstng wy t ch thr md th rbbl f thr hms s prfctly sn wy t lv, rght?

    Thn gss l’ Fthd p thr blbbrng bt hs flt-rth pphns s ls prfctly ccptbl nd prbbly dsrvng f Nbl, n yr wrld.

    thnk cn – smhw – cp wth yr dsgst.

  10. @RJ: Okay, here’s your cookie.
    Now start thinking about what you say. That’s a good boy. And neither of you gets a Nobel price.
    There are quite a lot of people “blasting away at each other amid the rubble of their homes” in the world. Some people even travel quite a long time to “blast someone elses rubble”, if you will.
    I think that’s insane.
    War is always insane.
    Mr. Fadhel Al-SaidWhen is just some sort of somehow charming weirdo, just like all these Intelligent Design guys. I find them rather amusing.

    I personally prefer my world to be flat, carried on the back of four elephants standing on the giant star turtle Great A’Tuin.

  11. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: American-Style Freedom and Democracy(TM) has been successfully exported to the Middle East.

  12. I feel so much closer to the Iraqi people all of the sudden! The poor “real” scientist was so frustrated with that religious nut. Fantastic

  13. Insofar as he is translated correctly, Fadhel Al-Said could be considered competition for some of the prime idiots we’ve seen on American TV; but he’s by no means an automatic champion.

    RJ, “I was joking” gets no one off the hook.

  14. Huh, turns out he is right. I just went outside and measured. The sun is just about the size of my thumb!

  15. This guy’s no sillier than those who insist that the world is only 10,000 years old, because they added up the “begats” in their King James Bible.

  16. Given that it’s from MEMRI, I’d wager that there was a good deal of selective editing involved to present an appositely backward view of those awful Arabs, and take it with an appropriate quantity of salt.

    Then again, if Damian Thompson’s “Counterknowledge” is to be believed, the Islamic world is rapidly overtaking the Christians in the creationism/intelligent design stakes, so it wouldn’t surprise me if the world centre of platygaean thought had shifted to somewhere in the Middle East.

  17. First: Death to the turtlists.

    Second: This guy needs his own show. I’d watch daily. So many questions… so many. I think the first thing I’d ask him to do is draw me a map of the earth and show me how I can fly east from Chicago and wind up in Japan and I can fly west from Chicago and wind up in Japan.

    Let alone how come I can fly pretty much north from Chicago… and wind up in Japan.

    It’d be an awesome moebius strip / klein surface map that I gladly embrace over our crappy spheroid.

  18. But the French agree with him (at least a majority of them).

    check at about 1:05:

    The French couldn’t possibly be wrong! They’re so much more sophisticated and intellectual than us! :)

  19. It’s nice once in a while someone deliberately goes against something you learned when you were young.

    Who knows? Perhaps in some weird fifth dimension, the earth is really “flat”. But then, for now with all the evidences provided during the debate, I would side with the scientists. :)

    Gotta show this to the Creationists in Kansas.


    This guy and the Time Cube guy should have a debate.

    Brilliant!!! I LOLed. I still have yet to comprehend the advanced science of the Time Cube!

  20. LOL @ 25. I like the multi-layering. It could either mean a) that we have injected them with our views^TM and now they’re stupid; or b) maybe our shit is contagious; or c) that it’s not actually us, and the whole world is stupid.

    Probably a combination.

  21. #10(Xenu): Thank you !!! This mad my night. Time Cube FTW!

    (Oh, dammit, #35 KID beat me to thanking you =) I should have commented before reading all the other comments)

  22. Can we get the Flat-Earthers and the Creationists to a fabulous celebration in an Adam & Eve Museum somewhere soon? Would it be too cruel and hypocritical to drop fifty tons of thermite on the place from a low earth orbit? Might the popular media be able to just ignore them, as we do ranting people on streetcorners?

    Can I stop being Socratic? Do they know who Socrates was? (AAAARGH)

  23. I have trouble deciding whether the Flat Earth Society is ironic.

    Especially when they propose theories like Scott of the Antarctic being murdered by ‘the Conspiracy’ because he discovered the Ice Wall at the edge of the world, proving once and for all that the Earth is flat.

  24. There’s no question that some one what MEMRI publishes verges on propaganda, but it’s ludicrous to assume that they would entirely fabricate a video or significantly change the meaning.

    The complaints against them have typically been that they have a selection bias: (only publishing views equivalent to those of Pat Robertson) and that they twist around certain words (e.g. when Osama Bin Laden uses the word “wilaya”, meaning a state or province, should it be translated literally, as MEMRI has, or should it be given a more archaic translation that makes the quote more sensible, but less provocative.

    It is worth pointing out that the proportion of TV commentators with extreme views on Arab TV is much higher than in the US, their Pat Robertsons are more prevalent and often worse. It is also worth pointing out that MEMRI does a pretty good job of highlighting reformers in the Arab world, such as Wafa Sultan or Irshad Manji – something its critics give it very little credit for.

    In short, I think it would be a mistake to dismiss this video just because of the source. It would be reasonable to want to see another translation, but my guess is that the BBC wouldn’t be too different.

  25. Irshad Manji isn’t Arab, and the only qualification she has to comment about Islam is that her parents were Ismaili Muslims – this isn’t a sect that’s had much in the way of conflicts with non-Muslims in the first place – they’re best known for their charity works – while non-Muslims are deeply impressed with Manji, most Muslims in Canada, her homeland, were nonplussed at her sudden embrace of a Muslim identity after 9/11, when for years she’d been best known as media personality, mostly on gay-themed shows, without any interest in Islam.
    Wafa Sultan is anti-Islam, and it’s her right to be so, but her promotion by MEMRI hardly will support reform among Arabs – I think MEMRI’s main goal is supporting Israel.

  26. #30. Thanks for my word of the day. Platygaean is fun to google. Yesterdays was bloviated. I’m on a roll.

  27. “The eye, as I have said, no doctor has succeeded in understanding how the eye works.”

    Somewhere, Ibn al-Haytham is crying. As are the great astronomers of medieval Baghdad.

    This entry even made my computer depressed. It crashed when I tried to enter the comments space.

  28. Let me tell you a joke. Somebody apparently once went up to the great philosopher Wittgenstein and said “What a lot of morons people must have been back in the middle ages to have looked everyday at the dawn, and to have thought that what they were seeing was the sun going around the Earth, when as every school kid knows the Earth goes around the Sun, and it doesn’t take too many brains to understand that.” To which Wittgenstein replied, “Yeah, but I wonder what it would have looked like if the Sun had been going around the Earth.” The point being, of course, is that it would have looked exactly the same. In other words, you see what your knowledge tells you you are seeing.
    What you believe the universe to be, and how you react to that belief in everything you do depends on what you know. And when that knowledge changes, for you, the universe changes. We all are the result of what we all know, today.

    James Burke, The Day the Universe Changed

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