Of course not. That would make Earth a dinner plate circled by globes.
Columbus and the Spaniards knew the Earth was round—Columbus’s plans to sail to Asia were questioned because the ocean was thought to be too vast to sail across, not because anyone thought the Earth was flat, Gould writes. Even the religious authorities of the 15th century knew better. So why on Earth have so many schoolchildren been taught otherwise?
The fault lies with 19th century writers such as Washington Irving, Jean Letronne and others. Letronne was “an academic of strong anti-religious prejudices… who cleverly drew upon both to misrepresent the church fathers and their medieval successors as believing in a flat earth, in his On the Cosmographical Ideas of the Church Fathers,” published in 1834, Russell writes.
Irving also penned a “history” of Christopher Columbus in 1828 that was treated as fact, but was largely fictional, and Russell credits him with inventing “the indelible picture of the young Columbus, a ‘simple mariner,’ appearing before a dark crowd of benighted inquisitors and hooded theologians at a council of Salamanca, all of whom believed, according to Irving, that the earth was flat like a plate.”
These falsehoods were picked up and amplified by historians such as John Draper and Andrew Dickson White, and “perpetrated in texts, encyclopedias, and even allegedly serious scholarship, down to the present day,” Russell notes.
Why bother perpetuating falsehoods? Russell and Gould suggest the flat-earth myth was used to demonize Christians and religion in general, and to lionize scientists. More.
So, after decades of accepted misrepresentation, why would Newsweek see the need for accuracy? Maybe they’re aiming at a smarter audience now?
Bit late out of the starting gate …
See also: Coffee! Flat Earth Award
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Note: Added and appended as Comment 3:
The main thing to see here is that Newsweek allowed all the damage that widely distributed lies can do to be done until after they ceased issuing a print edition and the Internet made it much harder to just conceal the truth.
When evaluating legacy media, never lose sight of that fact.