The image above shows a view of Earth as most, if not all members of the Flat Earth Society believe it to be. In this view, Earth is a flat disc on which the continents are embedded in a single ocean contained within a wall of ice that is at least 150 feet high, beyond which no person has ever ventured, if indeed, it is at all possible to travel beyond the huge ice structure.
While this view is decidedly anachronistic in the modern scientific age, the roughly 3,500 members of the Flat Earth Society have ready answers for everything that questions their beliefs. The purpose of this article, however, is not to attack or discredit the Society; doing so would require many volumes of contrary arguments and proofs. Instead, we will merely point out some of the more obvious fallacies of the theory, and leave it up to the reader to draw his or her own conclusions.
The Flat Earth Conspiracy Explained
To draw valid conclusions, the reader needs to understand the fundamental logic used by the members of the Flat Earth Society when they defend their theories. In the view of the Flat Earth Society, everything that does not agree with their perspective is a conspiracy, and they use either one, or both of the following arguments to “prove” it:
– If personally unverifiable evidence contradicts an obvious truth then the evidence is fabricated. Thus, if there is personally unverifiable evidence that contradicts the Flat Earth Theory, the Flat Earth Theory is an obvious truth.
– If there is a large amount of fabricated evidence that seeks to contradict the Flat Earth Theory, there must be a conspiracy against the Flat Earth Society, simply because the body of contradictory evidence is so large. It should be noted, though, that the two arguments above are the boiled-down versions of convoluted lines of reasoning that are based on (among other deviations from the scientific method) philosophical distortions, historical half-truths, the misapplication of mathematical rules, the misinterpretation/manipulation of natural phenomena and the laws of several scientific disciplines, including physics, optics, astronomy, and meteorology.
Moreover, die-hard Flat-earthers believe that the conspiracy against them is a consequence of the existence of their views. Put in another way, Flat-earthers believe that the only evidence they require to prove that Earth is flat is the evidence that they can personally collect, observe, and verify. Any evidence that is contrary to the evidence they have personally verified is therefore part of the conspiracy against them; ergo, the vast body of contrary evidence is evidence of the vast extent of the conspiracy against them. Below are three examples of this reasoning:
Eratosthenes was wrong
According to the Flat Earth Society, it is a common misconception that Eratosthenes was measuring the radius of the earth when he performed his famous shadow experiment with two sticks stuck in the ground.
In truth (according to the Society), Eratosthenes was actually measuring the diameter of the flat earth, and his experiment showed that while the Sun was directly overhead at one city, it was 7°12′ south of the zenith at the other city. Given that the distance between the two sticks was exactly 500 nautical miles, the measurement of 7°12′ translated into 1/25th of the flat earths’ longitude between 900N and 900S, which represents the radius of the flat earth.
Therefore, by multiplying 500 (the distance between the two sticks) by 25 (the distance of the Sun’s movement across the sky), the flat earth’s radius comes to 12,250 nautical miles, which if doubled, yields the diameter of the flat earth, i.e., 24,500 nautical miles.
However, to explain the difference between this value and Earth’s actual 6,880.1- nautical mile diameter, the Flat Earth Society argues that the 24,500 nautical mile diameter is the area being illuminated by the Sun, and that since we cannot see beyond the limits of the Sun’s illumination, their value represents the extent to which our world can be known.
High-altitude pictures prove that Earth is flat
While the Flat Earth Society readily concedes that photographs taken from high altitudes are generally not tampered with, and that elliptical curvature of the Earth actually exists, the Society maintains that high altitude pictures actually proves their point, despite evidence of curvature in these images. Here is how they explain it-
Since the observer is looking down on a circular area (the area being illuminated by the Sun), some curvature is inevitable, since circles are always curved in two dimensions. Therefore, the curvature results from the fact that the observer can only see to the extent of the Sun’s illumination- nothing beyond this limit can be resolved by the human eye, and is moreover merged with the horizon. In practice, according to the Flat Earth Society, this fact proves that Earth is flat, and in no way suggests that the curvature seen in high altitude images is the result of Earth being spherical.
Again according to the Flat Earth Society, the only high altitude images that show Earth as being spherical are those taken by NASA but since the Flat Earth Society considers NASA to a be fraudulent organization, the Society has gone on record as saying that nothing NASA does or says should be trusted or believed.
Tides on Earth are caused by the stars
While the Flat Earth Society denies the existence of gravity, it does concede that something they call “gravitation” exists, and that it causes measurable tidal effects on Earth. However, according to the Society, tidal effects on Earth are not caused by the combined influence of the Moon and the Sun on Earth, but by the slight “gravitational” pull of the Moon and stars.
In fact, according to the Society, what others experience as gravity is actually the effects of the “Universal Acceleration” of the flat earth, which is caused by the constant upward push of Dark Matter against the disc of the Earth. In simple terms, this is what causes us to experience our own mass, just like the acceleration of a car pushes the car’s occupants back into their seats when the car gathers speed.