Planet Earth is not flat, and it’s a scientific fact. For most people, this doesn’t come as new and why should it? The Earth’s spherical nature has been known since the time of the Ancient Greeks. And many photos and videos have been shown that Earth is not flat like a Frisbee. Man has gone far into outer space and also proved that the other planets in our system are not flat.

It’s kind of funny and bewildering that in this age of advanced technology and science that there a number of people believing that the Earth is flat. It’s also bewildering that some celebrities declaring online that Earth is indeed flat and claims that NASA has been keeping this secret from everyone for decades.

Just recently, reality and porn star Tila Tequila, American rapper, B.o.B. and NBA player Kyrie Irving have been claiming on social media that the Earth is flat. Famed astrophysicist and science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson was quick to respond to the celebrities’ claims.

One group of people who have been claiming the Earth is flat is the International Flat Earth Society. To support their claim, members have stated that walking around the planet looks and feels flat, thus all evidence like satellite photos of Earth as a sphere are hoaxes and fabrications of a conspiracy that is orchestrated by NASA and other government agencies.

Flat Earth Society Beginnings

Many modern Flat Earth Societies based their claims from the flat Earth hypothesis formulated by the English writer Samuel Rowbotham. Based on the conclusion from the Bedford Level experiment, the writer published a pamphlet titled the “Zetetic Astronomy” which he later expanded into a book titled “Earth Not A Globe”. He proposed that Earth is flat disc centred at the North Pole. The southern edge of the disc is bounded by a wall of ice, Antarctica, with the Sun and the Moon are only 3,000 miles or 4,800 km above Earth and the cosmos or the universe is 3,100 miles or 5,000 km above Earth.

Rowbotham also published a leaflet entitled “The inconsistency of Modern Astronomy and its Opposition to the Scriptures!” The leaflet argues the Holy Bible alongside the human senses supported the idea that the Earth was flat and the immovable and the essential truth should not be set aside for a system based on human milestone.

Samuel Shenton founded the International Flat Earth Society in Dover, England in 1956. Shenton died in 1971 and Charles K. Johnson became president of the International Flat Earth Research Society of America. Under his leadership in the next 30 years, members grew to 3,500. Johnson’s beliefs were all Bible-based and considered scientists pulling hoaxes which would replace religion with science.

Daniel Shenton re-established the Flat Earth Society in 2004 based on a web-based discussion forum. This led to its formal launch in October 2009 and the creation of their website that features a large public collection of literature supporting their theory and a user-edited encyclopaedia.

Flat Earth Further Arguments

Flat-Earthers also believe that since the flat Earth is surrounded by 150-foot wall of ice around the rim, NASA employees guard the ice wall to prevent people from climbing over and falling off the disc. They also explained Earth’s day and night cycle: the Sun and Moon are spheres that measure 32 miles or 51 km across, that move in circles 3,000 miles above the Earth’s plane. Just like spotlights, the Sun and the Moon illuminate different portions of the planet in a 24-hour cycle. Flat-earthers also believe that there is an anti-moon, which obscures the moon when lunar eclipses happen.

They also say that earth’s gravity is only an illusion. They truly believe that objects do not accelerate downward but instead, the Earth disc accelerates upward at 32ft/sec squared.

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Flat-Earthers also believe that all photos of the planet were manipulated or photoshopped; that GPS devices are rigged to make aeroplane pilots think that they are flying in a straight line around the sphere when they are “actually” flying in circles above the Earth disc.

These theories can be said to be so elaborately absurd that they almost sound like a very funny joke, but many flat-earth supporters truly consider it to be a more credible model of astronomy than any found in many science and astronomy textbooks. So, folks, they are not joking.

The Psychology of Conspiracy Theorists

According to University of Kent Psychologist Karen Douglas, in which she studies the psychology of conspiracy theories, she stated that flat-earthers belief connects with those of other conspiracy theorists that she has studied. She said that all conspiracy theorists share a common trait – they present an alternative theory on an important issue or event and make an uncertain claim or explanation for why anyone or someone is covering up the “true” version of events. These people explain a big or important event but without going to the full details and a lot of the power lies in the fact that they are unclear.

According to Tom Wood and Eric Oliver, political scientists at the University of Chicago found in their study that half of Americans believe or endorse at least one conspiracy theory. Many of them are willing to accept and believe many ideas that contradict the dominant cultural narrative. Oliver added that conspiratorial belief results from a human tendency to perceive any unseen forces at work, which is known as magical thinking.

However, flat-earthers don’t entirely fit in this general description because some of them believe in established scientific theories like evolution and the Big Bang Theory.

Why Is The Earth not Flat?

Many scientists have seized the opportunity to explain why we know that the earth is a sphere and not flat. Below are some solid reasons why we know the Earth is round and not flat.

Gravity

The theory of a flat Earth is based on an outdated understanding of gravity. The present understanding of gravity is not compatible with flat earth theory because physics states that gravity with a spherical mass pulls an object towards the centre. Flat-earthers propose that the disc-shaped earth is accelerating upward, thus giving the illusion of gravity. And of course, they have no explanation why the planet is accelerating upwards.

Earth’s Curvature

if planet Earth is flat, then we would stand on an equal and level playing field. Anyone who has stood on top of a mountain or any high ground knows that the higher you are, the more you see. And at certain heights, people will actually see Earth’s curvature. High altitude planes, satellites, space crafts and people jumping off in Earth’s stratosphere can actually see earth’s curvature.

The Moon

Whenever there’s a lunar eclipse. The earth casts a round shadow on the moon and since the earth is rotating and consistently casting a round shadow on the moon every lunar eclipse, this means that the Earth is round. And also, the moon is not made of cheese.

Different Time Zones

Because the Earth is an orbiting globe, there are different time zones in different countries. When the sun shines on a specific spot, the other side is obviously dark. That’s night and day and it also creates time differences. Also in some countries, there are four seasons, while others have two. This explains that the earth is orbiting around the sun and not the other way around.

Shadows

Anyone standing under the sun will have shadows and its length changes through the day. Now if earth is flat, anyone at two different places will have the same shadow length. But the fact is, it doesn’t work that way and the Greek philosopher and mathematician Eratosthenes, took note of this and calculated the earth’s circumference 2,200 years ago.

The Planets

All planets in the solar system and thousands of exoplanets discovered beyond the solar system and the galaxy are roughly spherical. It’s a fundamental feature of physics that celestial bodies of a significant mass are spherical because of gravity, which acts in all directions pulling objects towards the centre of the mass.

Science presents facts and not conspiracies and anyone denying the existence of gravity is welcome to jump off the roof of their house and then deny gravity after hitting the ground….face first.

About Author

Jon specialises in research and content creation for content marketing campaigns. He’s worked on campaigns for some of Australia’s largest brands including across Technology, Cloud Computing, Renewable energy and Corporate event management. He’s an avid scooterist and musician.