I just watched a debate between two professional Apex Legends players about whether or not the Earth is flat, and I feel like my brain is leaking out of my ears.
On April 10, two Apex pros livestreamed a friendly discussion about the shape of the planet we live on. Esteban “NanoFRYS” Gomez, a player with Counter Logic Gaming, represented the flat Earth viewpoint, while Will “TeQ” Starck, currently with FURIA Esports, bravely stood up for the theory of a round Earth. The two went at it for almost two hours, which is incredibly impressive to me. If I had to debate a flat Earther, I’m pretty sure that I would have crumbled much sooner than that.
This all started when Starck tweeted, “Do any flat earthers follow me?” and someone tagged Gomez in the replies. Starck told Kotaku that he thought taking their convo to Twitch would be good content because of his background. You see, in addition to being a professional Apex player, Starck is also an aerospace engineer at MIT.
At first, I thought that perhaps the Twitch debate that ensued between the two of them was a bit, and that Gomez was just pretending to believe in a flat Earth. But Starck believed that Gomez was sincere. Sometimes the stream got emotionally heated, and the participants were talking over each other in an effort to get the last word. Starck told Kotaku that “I knew that there would be no convincing Nano with real facts and math [and] physics.” Gomez confirmed to Kotaku that they were both genuinely advocating for their respective Earth theories.
During the debate, Gomez stated that he was “exposed to the lies and corruption of the government at a young age.” While he had once believed in the existing science that tells us our planet is round, he was converted to belief in a flat Earth by a two-hour documentary he saw promoting the notion when he was 18.
Starck tried to induce doubt in his opponent by asking why he found these documentaries more persuasive than aerospace engineers with years of academic experience. Gomez countered with the idea that space does not exist.
Some of the exchanges were truly pain-inducing. Gomez stated that he didn’t believe in other planets, and he proposed the theory that the moon is a light inside of the atmosphere (thus making it impossible for astronauts to actually land on it). However, he took matters too far when he claimed that gravity is an unproven theory.
Starck became very animated when he tried to explain that the trajectory of a falling object would be different on Earth compared to the moon because of gravitational differences. Unfortunately, his scientifically sound argument proved useless in the debate, as Gomez responded that humans have never been on the moon.
Eventually, Gomez ran out of patience for this Euclidean geometry nonsense, stating:
“This theory [of a round Earth] only works if the sun was thousands of light years away, and if space existed. So you’re not proving anything to me. Because the sun is local. And it’s not as far, and not as big. So this theory does not work. You can’t prove that the sun is as far as you say.”
In the end, both Apex players agreed to disagree. Starck tweeted that Gomez was “a great guy,” and did not deserve hate for his beliefs. Gomez also asked his followers to respect those who believe that the Earth is round.