History of Geography Blog Post #2

So….as you might have noticed there’s been a recent upsurge in interest about the concept of a flat earth. Using the link below and any other conspiracy theory sites you can find, investigate the “proof” that is cited by these groups and then use your 500 words for this blog to discuss these ideas using all the math, science and geographic knowledge at your disposal. PLEASE DO NOT attempt to engage any of these individuals on their websites, both conspiracy theorists and biblical literalists are almost impossible to reason with and may become irate and abusive if you challenge them. At best you’ll end up in a circular, fruitless argument – and NO TROLLING (even though it may seem like fun)….

Flat Earth Science

28 thoughts on “History of Geography Blog Post #2

  1. People who believe the earth is flat have a lot of explanations for why they subscribe to this theory, most of which come from ignoring science in favor of simple observation. In fact the theory seems to revolve mainly around the idea that the earth looks flat and therefore it is. In this flat earth world, the earth is a round plane, surrounded by the antarctic ice wall and soaring upwards. The sun, moon, and stars all hover above the flat earth within a dome.
    The most powerful tool we have to disprove the flat earth theory is a massive database of images and videos collected by the United States’ own space program as well as those of other countries. We have cameras on the space station, orbiting the moon, and gliding through all different regions of outer space. In addition, a number of private companies have put satellites into orbit, which is only possible considering gravity and a spherical earth. The flat earthers naturally refuse to take NASA’s word for it and don’t seem to grasp the sheer number of cameras in space and images that have been taken of the spherical Earth from a number of different sources and distances.
    Luckily there is plenty of evidence for a spherical earth that can be observed by anyone. The phases of the moon are caused by the shadow cast by a sphere onto another sphere. This is possible because the earth falls between some of the light from the sun; this is not possible if the sun and moon are both hovering a short distance above a flat earth. Likewise this can be observed by viewing shadows on Earth, much like Eratosthenes did when attempting to measure the circumference of the earth over 2000 years ago. Two sticks of the same size at different locations will cast different shadows at the same time, this would not happen if the earth is flat. Eratosthenes measured the differences in these shadows to estimate the circumference of the earth with outstanding accuracy. In fact, the spherical shape of the earth can be observed by even simpler means. For thousands of years ships have been seen disappearing into the horizon, bottom first, not all at the same time which is what would happen on a flat earth. Likewise, ships sailing towards land will see objects which are at a greater height first.
    I understand the desire to want to trust intuition, and yes the earth looks flat when you’re on it. However, science is about providing evidence using the tools at our disposal and not just our eyes which can deceive us. There is mathematical evidence for the spherical shape of the earth, there is observational evidence, and there are literally pictures and videos showing the shape of the earth to be a sphere (an oblate spheroid actually), just like the moon and other planets, which we can see with our own eyes.

  2. The fact that people still think the world is flat is pretty sad. It is almost hard to know where to start analyzing the argument this website presents because it is so pitiful. The website starts talking about the three voyages of Captain Hook to Antarctica. Yes, the pirate from Peter Pan. There is no record of a real Captain Hook exploring the Antarctic “ice wall.” The bible verses mentioned do very little to support the theory besides talking about the earth, and that its foundations are “solid.” Some bible verses are taken very much out of context such as Job 37:18. The accusations that NASA is a satanic cult are very bizarre, and the image of 666 and sex spelled out in the clouds are a bit of a stretch to say the least. It is true that NASA imagery is “enhanced” but it not faked.

    There are a million places to start when trying to disprove this bizarre pitiful theory. I feel though, that the simplest explanations are the best when dealing with folks this crazy, and difficult to reason with. You can argue and bring all sorts of scientific evidence out but the simple fact remains that if you get on a plane and fly in a straight line, you eventually end up in the same spot. There is no wall, or no end. To ensure you are flying in a straight line and not just around a circle on the flat earth map, fly over Antarctica! You will see a continent that is not on that flat earth map, and not this 360 degree ice wall. To me the continent of Antarctica is the simplest way to completely discredit the flat earth map. Flat earthers can say that maps and imagery of Antarctica are faked. But what about all the people that work there on various scientific bases? What about the adventurers that have tried to walk from one side to the other. Talk to those people and they will tell you there is no “wall.” The website says that no matter how far a ship goes across the ocean you can see it using a telescope. This is not true, and it would be a pretty easy experiment to test. Furthermore use a telescope to look at our moon, and the other planets in our solar system! Are they flat as well—because they sure look round to me. It is easy to grab a telescope and observe other bodies in our solar system for yourself—without the influence of “Satanic Nasa.” A flat earth among round planets, stars, and moons just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. But then again, nothing about this idea does. The website tries to explain the sun and the moon and that they float above the flat earth and go around and around in circles. If this were true, you could always see the sun with a telescope from anywhere on earth regardless of whether it was night or day. I’m not even sure there would ever be total darkness at night. It also doesn’t do a great job of explaining what the driving force is for this circular movement, or how the sun and moon stay in the sky. All of it just simply does not make sense without gravity, orbits, and sound physics.

  3. Ah… the flat earthers are back. Where to begin.

    It’s important to first acknowledge that if a flat Earth supporter believes in a God that can override physical forces, make exceptions, and sustain systems that are otherwise physical impossible, then any evidence you put forth is unlikely to be convincing. They are entitled to their opinion. However, there are many problems with the attempt to develop a flat earth model that is consistent. I’ll start by talking about several of the claims put forth on the website linked above. I’ll have to give them credit, there is at least an attempt to explain how a flat earth could work in theory. While my background is in geophysics, I’ll attempt to show why their model doesn’t work from a geographic perspective.

    1. Problems of Scale
    The flat earthers like to throw out statements like “Captain cook traversed 60,000 miles of the Antarctic coastline and never once found an inlet”. The problem? The Antarctic coastline is only ~11,000 miles around (The circumference of the entire Earth is only 25,000 miles). I haven’t found anyone who lays out the exact dimensions of the flat earth and its atmospheric dome. Scale is important because size impacts quantities like energy, volume, and density. The flat earthers claim the sun is much, much smaller than the earth and contained with in a dome, but they don’t acknowledge that the amount of heat energy the sun produces is related to its size. A smaller sun (if able to undergo energy production at all) would not produce temperatures we experience on earth. It’s not clear how close the sun is either, other than it is contained within the dome. If the flat earthers want to use scale to disprove a spheroid earth, then they have to be prepared to answer questions of scale for their own models.

    2. Problems of Reference
    Problems of reference are related to problems of scale, but are perhaps more relevant to the images the flat earthers typically use to show flat horizons. A spherical earth looks flat if the sphere is way bigger than the observation point. An image of the earth taken from space and one on the surface are (1) not taken from the same type of camera and (2) not comparable scales. To return to the ice shelf example for a moment. If the ice shelf is your only reference point, sailing around a roughly circular ice sheet would look exactly the same as sailing inside a circular ice boundary. This alone wouldn’t prove that either is correct, but would indicate that they are both equally probable. If the flat earthers took detailed measurements, or even just observations on a 60,000-mile journey around the ice sheet, it would show repeated trends in a cyclical pattern. These are not trends that can be observed from the reference frame of a ship sailing, just as the curvature of the earth’s surface cannot be seen from a single point (although even this is debatable depending on your camera….).

    3. Misrepresenting Ideas
    The geophysicist in me has to include a small section on the denial of gravity. According to the flat earth supporters, the sun and moon are contained within a dome and travel on horizontal planes above the Earth. It isn’t made clear exactly what the flat plane of Earth sits on, but we’ll ignore that for now. Because this model doesn’t work with our understanding of gravity, the flat earthers just deny gravity. They say things like “Why is gravity so strong to hold people, buildings and the oceans stuck to a spinning ball-Earth, but weak enough to allow balloons, birds, bugs, flowers, and smoke to easily rise against its awesome force?” These statements show a woeful amount of ignorance, as the equation for gravity specifically scales with mass. You have to understand someone’s argument before you can attempt to deconstruct it. Flat earthers going against gravity is a giant straw-man argument. They are trying to attack a version of gravity that doesn’t exist. Is their solution any better? The flat earthers claim that gravity is instead a combination of density and buoyancy. How does this combination allow for the sun and the moon to float in the sky? I have yet to figure that one out.

  4. The Earth is flat… I’ve run into a few of these interesting characters throughout my day, which includes my physics teacher in high school, who I knew had a few screws loose to begin with.
    For Flat Earthers to believe their nonsense, they must completely deny science in general, as a lot of forces within our world clearly are present due to a spherical Earth. The Coriolis Effect is a great example, it is a force directly caused by the Earth’s rotation. In weather, this causes areas of high pressure (generally associated with clear skies) to rotate clockwise in the northern hemisphere, and counter-clockwise in the southern hemisphere. Areas of low pressure (generally associated with storm systems (including hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons)) rotate counter clockwise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere.
    Ocean currents work in a very similar manner as to weather systems (High and Low pressure systems). The Coriolis Effect causes the “spinning” with a deflection to the right in the northern hemisphere, and left in the southern hemisphere.
    Lunar and Solar events also explain a spherical Earth. Basic day to day movements, seasonality, as well as the drifting of stars.

    During flights, airlines do not take a direct (straight) route to their destination, instead they must fly in an arc to take into account the Coriolis Effect, or they would end up significantly further south, or north of their intended location.
    For many years, the theory of a flat earth has existed, but even this can be disproved by looking at explorers who have sailed the oceans. The first explorers described seeing ships “sinking” on the horizon. The sails themselves would be at ocean level.

    With modern technology, specifically space exploration has proven how our Earth is truly shaped. Though, most if not all Flat Earthers don’t believe we ever made it to outer space and that it was all a conspiracy. Regardless, modern technology such as satellite imagery has scanned essentially every part of the Earth and has clearly shown its spherical shape.

    The fact is, some of these people will never change their minds regardless of the facts that you may present them.
    If the Earth is truly flat, wouldn’t there be an edge somewhere? Wouldn’t we eventually reach the end of the Earth and just fall right off? I haven’t heard that being a problem yet, but I’ll keep looking.
    Plus, why would anyone lie about the shape of the Earth? What would be the point?

  5. It baffles me that people in today’s time could honestly still believe the earth is flat. What is more astounding is the so called “science” they use to support such claims. Prior to reading this theory of flat earth I honestly had no idea there was such an elaborate clam against the notion of a round earth we have come to know in modern times. There is simply no reason to believe the earth is round this day in age, even the smallest mind can tell the earth is round when looking out a window of an airplane.

    The Earth is a dome… Who would have ever guess that we lived in a snow globe? The crazies that support this notion by even going as far as claiming the sky is glass. They believe the sun and moon are inside of this glass as well. The notion that Antarctica is a massive ice wall surrounding the earth is completely absurd. This would assume that Antarctica extends in all directions to the glass wall of our snow globe, I would be interested to see how these theorists explain the many journeys that have successfully traveled to the South Pole. The last time I checked none of these explorers found a glass wall on their expeditions.

    The Earth is photo shopped! Did you know that NASA creates the images of the earth in photo editing software? This is obvious if you just consider the facts that messages can be spelled out form the clouds, things such as “666” and the word “sex” can be clearly made out. This is an absolutely absurd argument. I cannot fathom how stupid an individual would have to be to claim the earth is flat because they spell out some words in the clouds. It is also obvious according to these theorists that images we see of the earth from space are stamped out by a computer program. This claim is supported by the notion that the land masses in the images always appear different and the clouds always appear the same as if they have been duplicated. Well I have news for these theorists, the land masses look different in every picture because the earth was at a different orientation for each image and the clouds follow a similar pattern because of patterns in the earth’s magnetic field, currents, and winds.

    This brings me to another point that needs explaining by these self-proclaimed know all scientists. How exactly would you explain the earth’s magnetic field if it is not round? There is no explanation for why a compass always points north if you take away the idea of a round earth. This is a fact that I see no way of possibly falsely explaining. There are some maps diagramming the way this works in a flat earth, these maps show north in all directions around the edge of said “snow globe” and south being directed toward what we consider the north pole today. The maps however do not make logical sense, and they appear as if drawn by a five year old. There is simply no way a flat earth could have a magnetic field that acts the way we observe it today. The idea that the earth is flat is absurd and simply not true, people will fabricate evidence to believe whatever they want to and in the process throw science out the window.

  6. So the flat earth theory is making a comeback and I just can’t with it. Though those who believe in this theory have what they believe to be evidence to prove it, taking from references in the bible, faked images, and the simple belief that the world looks flat so it must be.
    The flat earth movement holds the idea the earth is enclosed by a glass dome that harbors the sun and the moon. The world is circular and flat in nature, surrounded by an Antarctic wall. They pull this description from the bible to as to provide evidence for this idea and further elaboration on it and explain why certain things are how they are, such as the size of the sun and moon, seasons, day and night. They believe that the sun is close and this explains the reasons as to why the sun appears to change in size. The flat earther’s also believe that God can manipulate the physical forces, such as gravity and the magnetic field. The movement tries to poke holes in the theory of gravity, saying that it is a ‘magical’ force that the scientific community knows nothing of and that it makes no sense in larger scale, on neither planet nor solar system scale.
    Fake photos are key evidence in the flat earth movement. Countries and companies across the world have compiled numerous images of the earth, a spherical earth. They believe that NASA has been faking photos of the earth taken from space, in fact they believe that we have never made it into space. They pull from numerous photo and find similarities in cloud patterns and inconsistencies in land mass size. Though one must take into account the fact that imaging system are different on-board each satellite, each are at different heights above the earth and different angles, when looking at the differences in images. Inconsistencies can be attributed to many things, other than a bad CGI job, if NASA was really trying to hide something I feel like they would do a better job at it with the resources they have at their disposal.
    Many just see that from their eyes the earth looks flat, so it has to be flat. They can’t see the curvature in with their limited sight, so there can’t be a curve in the earth’s surface. The main argument to disprove this idea is that being the disappearing of a ship as it get further in the distance until it disappears completely, the ship will appear to sink in the water, will begin to disappear from the bottom up. Other evidence to show a spherical earth is that of the moon phases, which give the moon the appearance of an arc taken from the moon.
    The idea that the earth is flat is an arcane belief, there is too much evidence to prove otherwise, how can this still be a thing. They pull these beliefs from biblical texts and only what they can see, they don’t take into account the scientific evidence that is readily available. That there are aspects that prove a spherical earth, images, mathematical evidence, accounts from explorers, etc. that they dismiss as cover-ups and/or false accounts. Though one has to give them credit for sticking with their beliefs even with all the evidence that has piled up to disprove their theory.

  7. The first argument made is from passages in the Bible, but the quoted passages can only be taken as an argument in the most stretched imagination possible. For instance, says the world is “firm and secure” and that the foundations are set, but every single passage is taken out of context to support the flat Earth theory. All of the passages, as a whole, just discuss God’s rule and position in the universe. No where does it even kind of discuss the shape of the Earth. In fact, the Bible is quoted a lot on this site in the most misconstrued ways possible, including taking a literal understanding of elementary school definitions of similes and metaphors and the like.

    The next argument is about the ice wall, which the website proudly proclaims as being 360 degrees, which is what you get if you have a circle, such as at the bottom of the Earth, so I’m not really sure what kind of argument they think they’re making with that.

    In a similar vein of misunderstanding basic geometry, they also claim the Sun looks big in the sky because it is as close as it looks. But you can have a small object close to you, or a large object far away and it looks the same. They also claim it is simply a matter of “vanishing points and perspective” as to why you can’t see the Sun all the time if the Earth is flat, but don’t ever explain why you can’t see the Sun if you’re on the ocean, where it should be flat. The simplest explanation is because the Earth is round. Such an issue can easily be simulated with a flashlight, ball, and piece of paper. As long as the flashlight is above, or in line with, the paper, the paper will be lit. On the other hand, you can simply move the flashlight around the ball and see that it is lit oddly similarly to how the Earth is lit by the Sun.

    Another argument made is that planes would simply fly off the Earth and into space if they didn’t constantly keep their nose down, so apparently gravity, and the related escaped velocity, doesn’t exist as we understand it either. Similarly, they claim we should be able to feel the Earth moving if it’s rotating, orbiting the Sun, and moving through the universe so quickly. Anyone who has ever ridden in a car knows that you only feel changes in velocity, not your current, steady velocity. Similarly, they claim that planes and ships only use planal calculations for navigation, which would result in massive miscalculations on a spherical planet, but they ignore an important detail. If you know the curvature of the Earth, you can adjust your planal calculations to take that into account. For instance, the Mercator map.

    Flat Earthers also believe that because the horizon looks flat, the Earth must also be flat because a sphere would look round, but they conveniently ignore any released pictures taken from above the stratosphere (because those are CGI) which would be the required height in order to see curvature on such a large sphere. An easy way to test this is to open up your favorite 3D modeling software and look at a large sphere up close and far away. It looks strikingly similar to the spherical Earth.

    More geography related, they claim the Sun creates hot spots underneath it because it is so close, yet we’ve never been able to measure such a hot spot on the planet and surely somebody would have found it by now if there was a small, concentrated area of extreme heat output.

  8. As others have said, it is difficult to even gather your thoughts enough to know where to start trying to analyze the arguments the website presents. I honestly considered typing “Tila Tequila believes it to be true.” Over and over again for 500 words. It is utterly pitiful that there is a current movement within our society today in which a percentage of the population blatantly ignores factual, scientific evidence. It is disrespectful to the countless hours of work done by professionals to understand what we know about the earth and the universe, both past and present. While free speech allows for this type of thinking and questioning to be examined, (as it should), the problem with movements like this one and the denying of our impacts on global climate change can become dangerous when they start to influence the misinformation of others solely for their own monetary or political gain. This becomes a geography issue when it leads to potential consequences to the space and societies in which we all occupy.

    The flat earth believers primarily use their reliance on human perception, out of context biblical statements and what they deem to be legitimate science to support their outrageous claims. Their “science” to support these claims however, is unfounded and nothing more than pseudoscience at best. The scriptures they quote as evidence to support the flat earth theory are taken out of context, and therefore nothing more than an example of subjective hermeneutics. A fairly common trend amongst evangelicals that use the bible as evidence to support or denounce an ideology or objective truth.

    To begin, this website states that they trust their own visual evidence as opposed to scientific proof. I find this hilarious because we all know the human eye is an easy target to manipulate. Regardless, the reason that “Horizon always at eye level is only possible on a flat plane.” is an absurd statement is simply because the size of a human relative to the size of earth will always result in the human eye not seeing the curvature of the earth. This is because our size is so minute in comparison to earth’s surface that our eyes couldn’t possibly begin to see far enough to distinguish the curvature of the earth.

    The quote: “The sun looks close because it is close!” is yet another absurdity of many that reside on their web page. Flat earth believers believe the sun and moon to actually be within our atmosphere. In fact, they believe both sun and moon to only be 33 miles in diameter and a mere 3000 miles away from earth because of a “hot spot” directly underneath the sun. They use the projection of a flashlight beam to support this claim. They are confident enough to believe that a common household item is sufficient enough to mimic the behavior of a star that has a diameter 109 times that of earth, and has been proven to be nearly 100 million miles away from our planet. In turn, flat earth believers accept that this ‘experiment’ provides enough evidence to continue believing this illogical fallacy. The fact that they choose to trust a $5 Rayovac in place of spatial imagery and precise geometric calculations using much more sophisticated tools such as radar just goes to show how disconnected with reality one has to be to discount various proven discoveries.

  9. Paranoia and superstition have long been the founding tenets of fundamentalist religious belief. So it is not surprising that it is at the root of The Flat Earth Society’s proposition for their unusual views. The bottom line, always, is “because God made it so.” And to prove the irrefutability of this phrase, it is repeated over and over.

    But let’s start before that, before we get to the bottom line of things that cannot be answered by the “society.” It’s a short run. The entire tome of literature supporting the beliefs of one of the largest group of adherents consists of 81 pamphlets, probably written by no more than a half dozen people, maybe closer to two.

    Basically, according to the original link provided, the story goes like this: There is no gravity. Then why do things fall to earth? Because they are denser than air. What is density, then? Because: God. There are no satellites in space. But we can see them. No you can’t. And if you can, it’s NASA trying to fake us out. Well, why would someone go to such trouble to lie to us? Because: God. The sun is tiny and moves in a spiral around the flat earth. But then why?… God. What about perspective? God.

    The H. A. Alexander who seems to be the only person writing and defending the website we were given, picks and chooses his pseudo-scientific references with wild abandon. At one point we hear of Captain Cook encountering the much touted great wall of ice. Yet the real James Cook, while having crossed the Antarctic circle latitude, never even came within sight of Antarctica. We are also treated to a lengthy quote by Captain Greely, notwithstanding that Captain Aldolphus Greely traveled in exactly the other direction, north to the Arctic, and in describing the Antarctic could only have been quoting some other explorer.

    Then, quick as a wink, the technology of an entire century is glossed over without so much as a mention. What about airplanes? What about hot air balloons? What about early photography from hot air balloons? What about wind? A charlatan from the 19th century is held up as definitive proof, despite that his “work” was refuted in his own lifetime within mere years of his exultant proclamations. Rockets, satellites, space travel reported from numerous countries around the world~ all bosh. Fake. Big fat lies. Why? “God.”

    But then we are pointed to a computer animation showing the theoretical path of the tiny sun as it spirals over the face of the flat earth. Even the animation only serves to raise obvious questions about blatant discrepancies. For instance, if the tiny sun only covers a small segment of the earth as it washes past creating night and day, then where the sun is not, would have to be night. Therefore, one could travel south out of the sun’s purview and, on the same day, experience darkness. Yet this does not happen.

    No explanation is given for the fact that the sun slows down as the spiral gets tighter (contrary to the laws of physics or the observation –since we are asked repeatedly to rely on observation- of a spinning top.) But this is the only way that can account for an even day length, otherwise days would get shorter and shorter (not just sunlight, but the number of hours in a day/night cycle.)

    No explanation as to why computers and computer animation is an acceptable technology, when airplanes are clearly ignored in the world of this iteration of the Flat Earth Society. As they are ignored by other versions as well. Currently there are numerous Flat Earth Societies. A recent group had a following of up to 3500, led by Charles K. Johnson in California until his death when the group dissipated. The idea was resurrected in 2004 by a Daniel Shenton, utilizing the Internet.

    Invariably the groups in the past were led by charismatic men full of their own “genius” and most of the followers were women, like many other cult scenarios. However, today with the advent of the “inter webs” even charisma is no longer necessary. Just a computer in your mom’s basement and lots of time on your hands.

  10. Paranoia and superstition have long been the founding tenets of fundamentalist religious belief. So it is not surprising that it is at the root of The Flat Earth Society’s proposition for their unusual views. The bottom line, always, is “because God made it so.” And to prove the irrefutability of this phrase, it is repeated over and over.
    But let’s start before that, before we get to the bottom line of things that cannot be answered by the “society.” It’s a short run. The entire tome of literature supporting the beliefs of one of the largest group of adherents consists of 81 pamphlets, probably written by no more than a half dozen people, maybe closer to two.
    Basically, according to the original link provided, the story goes like this: There is no gravity. *Then why do things fall to earth?* Because they are denser than air. *What is density, then?* Because: God. There are no satellites in space. *But we can see them.* No you can’t. And if you can, it’s NASA trying to fake us out. *Well, why would someone go to such trouble to lie to us?* Because: God. The sun is tiny and moves in a spiral around the flat earth. *But then why?…* God. *What about perspective?* God. And, etc.
    The H. A. Alexander who seems to be the only person writing and defending the website we were given, picks and chooses his pseudo-scientific references with wild abandon. At one point we hear of Captain Cook encountering the much touted great wall of ice. Yet the real James Cook, while having crossed the Antarctic circle latitude, never even came within sight of Antarctica. We are also treated to a lengthy quote by Captain Greely, notwithstanding that Captain Aldolphus Greely traveled in exactly the other direction, north to the Arctic, and in describing the Antarctic could only have been quoting some other explorer. No explanation for ignoring the fact that a geography professor, Edgeworth David, exploring with Earnest Shackleton actually traversed a portion of Antarctica in that same era and actually did reach the magnetic South Pole, which Alexander claims does not exist.
    Then, quick as a wink, the technology of an entire century is glossed over without so much as a mention. What about airplanes? What about hot air balloons? What about early photography from hot air balloons? What about wind? A charlatan from the 19th century is held up as definitive proof, despite that his “work” was refuted in his own lifetime within mere years of his exultant proclamations. Rockets, satellites, space travel reported from numerous countries around the world~ all bosh. Fake. Big fat lies. Why? “God.”
    But then we are pointed to a computer animation showing the theoretical path of the tiny sun as it spirals over the face of the flat earth. Even the animation only serves to raise obvious questions about blatant discrepancies. For instance, if the tiny sun only covers a small segment of the earth as it washes past creating night and day, then where the sun is not, would have to be night. Therefore, one could travel south out of the sun’s purview and, on the same day, experience darkness. Yet this does not happen.
    No explanation is given for the fact that the sun slows down as the spiral gets tighter (contrary to the laws of physics or the observation –since we are asked repeatedly to rely on observation- of a spinning top.) But this is the only way that can account for an even day length, otherwise days would get shorter and shorter (not just sunlight, but the number of hours in a day/night cycle.)
    No explanation as to why computers and computer animation are an acceptable technology, when airplanes are clearly ignored in the world of this iteration of the Flat Earth Society. As they are ignored by other versions as well. Currently there are numerous Flat Earth Societies. A recent group had a following of up to 3500, led by Charles K. Johnson in California until his death when the group dissipated. The idea was resurrected in 2004 by a Daniel Shenton, utilizing the Internet.
    Invariably the groups in the past were led by charismatic men full of their own “genius” and most of the followers were women, like many other cult scenarios. However, today with the advent of the “inter webs” even charisma is no longer necessary. Just a computer in your mom’s basement and lots of time on your hands.

  11. My first thought after perusing this charming website was that they must have been really enchanted with George R. R. Martin, as the description of a massive wall of ice surrounding the world seems rather Game of Thrones-esque. It seems that these people are so invested in their religious belief, that they then seek to marginalize other scientific theories such as heliocentrism and a spherical earth, which I had never before had reason to espouse as a theory, given that it at this point should be considered common sense. Apparently, as NASA is a major perpetrator of spherical earth images, and as the concept of traveling to the moon through the magical firmament of the heavens would no doubt poke literal holes in their theory of a flat earth, they are a group with a known satanic cult background! Wow! This website is possibly the most amusing website ever.
    Scientifically, I feel like the argument that the universe is infinite could find useful backing in the number of arguments against insane theories like the concept of a flat earth. That being said, I can think of several arguments against a flat earth off of the top of my head.
    Firstly, the moon provides a large amount of evidence for a spherical earth. During a lunar eclipse, the shadow on the earth is round, and that alone would seem evidence for a spherical earth? In a continuing astronomical vein, the varying constellations between the north and south hemispheres and varying latitudes would indicate varying viewpoints from different places on earth, an eventuality rendered impossible by the farce of a flat earth. Additionally, we can see with telescopes other planets in the solar system, and can easily observe their spherical nature and the spherical nature of their orbiting bodies, clearly showing that the remainder of the solar system is composed of spherical bodies. Simple gravity-related physics would also indicate that the obvious method of stellar body formation would be a gravitational coalescence into a spherical shape, but I suppose that is easily ignored by preaching the concept of a divinely created flat earth thing.
    These individuals seem to also be ignoring the perceptive fallacies inherent in the analysis of a world that is a very LARGE sphere. In arguing that water “always returns to its level” and the like, they are ignoring the fact that water levels will indeed appear linear to the non-instrument assisted eye instead of curved when the subject matter provided as evidence is the water surface of a freaking coffee cup. However, just observationally, the curvature of the earth can be observed in watching ships coming and going, as they appear to sink below the surface and rise up out of the surface, depending on if they are going away or approaching, respectively. The same concept can apply to flying a plane in a single direction, and eventually appearing, sans fuel loss related crash, in the same place that you left. None of this would be remotely possible given a flat earth scenario.
    In the end, this argument is appalling ridiculous, to the point that I have difficulty knowing where to begin or how to properly organize my thoughts. Hopefully anyone sane can comfortably ignore this, and anyone insane enough to buy this is also insane enough to be unable to find the voting booth come November.

  12. Oh gosh, where to begin…I guess I’ll format most of this in a series of questions that I believe Flat Earthers can’t really explain adequately.

    I guess lets starts with the Sun and Moon. I don’t understand how flat earthers are going to explain moon phases. At a full moon, the earth, moon, and sun are in approximate alignment, just as the new moon, but the moon is on the opposite side of the earth, so the entire sunlit part of the moon is facing us. The shadowed portion is entirely hidden from view. The first quarter and third quarter moons (both often called a half moon), happen when the moon is at a 90 degree angle with respect to the earth and sun. So we are seeing exactly half of the moon illuminated and half in shadow. If the moon cannot change position relative to the sun and earth (via revolution around the earth independent of sun location), how do the moon phases or lunar eclipses occur? Also, if the sun can light up such a large area at once, why can’t it always be seen at least to some extent from everywhere on the planet (even if we need to use a telescope) at the same time since the horizon can’t get in the way? Also, if the earth was flat, why does the moon appear upside down from the southern hemisphere? It would make sense if the earth was spherical, but not if the earth was flat…?

    Example: http://guanolad.com/stuff/moon_orientation.jpg

    Next I guess I’ll question how they explain being able to see further from higher up. For example, you can observe the sun setting while you’re standing at the bottom of an office building. The second that the sun dips below the horizon, you can ride the elevator quickly to the top of the building, and are able to watch the sun set again as it dips below the horizon. This is also observable when a ship sails over the horizon. No matter what kind of telescope you’re using, you won’t be able to see the ship (or whatever the object may be) over the horizon. But, if you change your altitude, you’ll be able to see the ship again.

    Example: http://www.smarterthanthat.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/flatroundvision22.jpg

    The next thing that I would question them on is an airplane’s ability to continually fly in a straight line and end up at the same starting point. If the earth was truly flat and surrounded by Antarctica, wouldn’t the plane run into Antarctica and not be able to make it back? Actually, wouldn’t that also mean that a plane could fly in any direction and end up running into Antarctica since the entire earth is surrounded by a wall of ice (in their view)?

    Another thing that doesn’t make much sense is their map. If the earth was perfectly flat, why do they (flat earthers) have so many different maps (just google image search flat earth map) with different amounts of distortion? The only reason we really have distortion on our (real) maps is because of the curvature of the earth and us trying to display a spherical object on a flat surface. If the earth was really flat and we’re displaying the flat earth on a flat piece of paper, then why do they have so many different maps with different amounts of distortion even though they’re all centered on the same point??

    Finally, I’ll just mention the Coriolis and Eötvös Effects (specifically when shooting a gun). If the Earth was flat and not rotating, why is it that when shooting east versus shooting west with a gun from the same distance at long range (~1,000 yards), the bullet doesn’t drop as much when shooting in one direction compared to the other (Eötvös Effect)? Also, why is it that when shooting directly north and south the bullet curves slightly to the right or left of the target depending on if you’re shooting north or south (Coriolis Effect)?

    Example: https://youtu.be/jX7dcl_ERNs?t=3m32s

    There are so many problems with their arguments; it’s really hard to even know which ones to question.

  13. I was so afraid to start writing about this report… I thought that my face will need reconstructive surgery from all the facepalms. Generally speaking, conspiracy theories on the internet are a source of much fun, at least when you manage not to take them too seriously, otherwise they might make you really angry, and engage you in a war against human stupidity. A war that will surely have as victor stupidity. After all, as Mark Twain said:” Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience”.
    Ten years ago if someone wanted to present his conspiracy theory to the world would have to wear or hold a sign, get to the streets, and start preaching. No one from the passing crowd would ever stop even if he or she would be interested to hear about what the preacher was saying, for they might be stigmatized by everyone around them. Internet however changed that. Everyone is anonymous and all alone when they write and agree so passionately about “the lies that they have been feeding us”. That is the common denominator for every conspiracy theory: a collection of powerful people, organizations or agencies that have been lying to everyone. In the majority of those conspiracy theories the purpose behind those lies is obvious: the control of the masses for specific purposes. However, in some cases there is absolutely no reason behind the lie, it serves no purpose, no logic, and no reason, as it happens in the case of the flat earth “science”. Why would someone invest and waste so much money, time, effort, and human resources to keep this lie alive? Compared to this theory, the conspiracy that the Illuminati (or freemasons, or the Rockefellers and Rothschilds, or whatever else you want to put here) are trying to control the world makes perfect sense, it is a group of people seeking power and world domination, there is a clear purpose.
    In all seriousness the main problem with the flat earth science and other similar theories is education, and more specifically sciolism. There is no reason to argue with the defenders of such claims and theories, since they have received some education, and a basic understanding of science, unfortunately though, with no awareness of the superficiality of their knowledge. This obliviousness along with a firm belief on their conclusions, which often reaches the levels of religious faith, is what makes them stand out and in some cases even dangerous to common sense. They think and believe that they know what is to be known, and there is no reason to try to educate and elucidate them, since you are one of the “others”, the ones who have been led astray from the lies of the system. That is the reason why the only tool and weapon for the champions of common sense and science is education, but not for the “believers” but for everyone else and especially every new generation. Crazy theories and claims are always going to be around and seek followers, they have done so all throughout the history of humankind and there is no reason to believe that they will vanish. This reality makes imperative that every person should have the necessary knowledge, sense and critical thinking to simply debunk them and move on.

  14. To start with, I have to say that I personally do not think an argument with a flat earther can be circular since they do not seem to understand how anything curved works. It is very clear that they neither understand the mechanics of gravity, mass, or pressure. Perhaps the core problem is that they do not seem to believe anything they cannot clearly see or experience for themselves. Eratosthenes may have used logical, scientific principles to prove the earth was NOT flat centuries ago, but I doubt a flat earther would be convinced by such simple logic as the difference in shadows from solar position comparative to two different points on the planet, much less than be convinced by the more complex proof of synchronous satellites orbiting the planets taking pictures. It is hard for humans to think beyond their own experience. I would, as a biased individual, attribute religion to being things made up to account for what science has yet to explain. One might as well pray away inclement weather rather than listen to a forecaster who uses expensive software to analyze mass amounts of aggregated data. The main ‘proof’ as I see it on the flat earth website seems to be that the flat world is surrounded by ice which is merely a projection where the south pole is distorted outward to be the ‘wall’ much like it is a ‘wall’ along the southern border of a Mercator projection. I find this amusing because it would have been impossible for flat earthers to use a north pole projection (where the north pole was the ‘edge’ of the flat world) because one could simply sail to this ‘edge’ and not fall off or hit an invisible wall. It’s much harder for anyone to disprove flat earth when it involves going into a frozen ice desert where very few people can go much less do so because of the expense. The bland landscape also lends itself well to ‘fake’ claims; how would you prove that you were indeed walking ‘through’ the wall of ice and not just walking around on it without landmarks? I highly doubt it possible to convince anyone of scientific fact if so clearly blinded of such simple truth already. As for their claims that the sun is a small, local object, it is absurd, but their blindness towards the mechanics of gravity, light, and celestial movement is clearly the cause. If they don’t believe the earth is round it stands to reason (albeit an absurd basis for the reasoning) that they can’t comprehend eclipse mechanics and parameters. Telescopes are possibly the easiest way to upstage a flat earther, but if they don’t believe the earth is a spheroid it isn’t likely they’d believe any other planets are anything but flat disks facing the earth. I do wonder how they would explain axial wobble to someone like Bill Nye. The nice thing about scientific fact though is that an explanation is not needed, only an understanding of these facts. Flat earthers on the other hand try to explain away nearly 2000 years of science.

  15. The thing that bothered me most about the Flat Earth was the light from the sun. I get how they think that the sun moves in and out in a spiral pattern which is why they do not get the same light in Australia that we do in North America on any given day. This helps the Flat Earth believers explain the seasons and also explains the angle at which we see the sun or in other words, why the sun is lower in the sky in winter. I don’t really understand the anti-moon concept I read a few brief explanations but kept coming back to the sunlight. I read a number of descriptions, looked at cross section diagrams, and even watched some badly made videos on YouTube which attempted to explain the concept. The problem that I saw in each case was that the sun did not project beyond the North Pole. When the diagram or overhead view had the sun closer to the North Pole because it was summer in the north, the light never extended beyond the pole to the other side of the world. Often in the overhead view the light was more kidney shaped or pointed on one side because the natural circle or cone of light would have extended beyond the pole.
    I read a number of posts and saw other diagrams that seemed to agree with me that this cannot be possible. What finally convinced me that I was thinking correctly about this problem was a computer model where the Flat Earth dimensions were built in 3D. The model placed the sun in the sky at the elevation described over a flat earth. It then set the sun in motion with a virtual camera following its spiral path. If the sun is at the height described and at the diameter described than when it travels along this spiral it makes an obvious arc in the sky. Even when the modeler kept the camera stationary it showed an obvious arc. This was unexpected because I had not considered it from the point of view on the ground. What I did expect and confirmed in viewing this model is that the sun would always be visible day and night if the earth was flat. It would be faint when it was on the far side of the disk but it would still be visible.
    A second fact that bothered me slightly less than the light was the inability to see far off features. If this planet is a flat disk, then I should be able to stand on the tallest building in downtown Miami and see all of the Caribbean mountains and if I bring a powerful enough telescope I should be able to see the western coast of Africa or maybe even the rock of Gibraltar. They want to discount any possible curvature but I have not heard a reasonable argument for why we cannot Canada when standing on the southern shore of Lake Michigan looking to the north. If the earth is as flat as they think it is and water really only lays flat, then I should be able to watch Canadians fish.

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