flat earth
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The Flat Earth Theory Is Spreading Around The Globe

Why do so many believe in the Flat Earth Theory?

In the modern age with significant scientific advancements, archaic questions about the shape of the Earth still get lots of attention. While the shape of the Earth has been established for over two millennia to be spherical, some people, including the members of the ‘Flat Earth’ society, believe that the Earth is flat.

The Flat Earth is the ultimate conspiracy theory that is spreading around the globe. A recent survey showed that one in six Americans don’t think that the world is round.

Many celebs are convinced that the Earth is flat. Basketball star Kyrie Irving stated in a podcast that the Earth is flat. The rapper Bobby Jay Simpson Jr. even wrote a track ‘Flatlike’, in which he criticizes astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson about the shape of the Earth.


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Kyrie Irving Flat Earth
By Erik Drost – https://www.flickr.com/photos/edrost88/27235940294/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56394361

Here we will take a close look at the Flat Earth theory from the skeptics’ eyes, those who reject the conventional theory about the shape of the Earth.

What Is the Flat Earth Theory?

The idea that the Earth may be flat can be traced to the bible in which the Earth is said to have four corners. Many Christian religious scholars were a strong proponent of the flat earth theory. In the medieval era, people believed that they would fall if they ventured beyond the horizon.

The flat earth theory was discredited after explorers had circumnavigated around the Earth. Many scientific scholars also proved the spherical shape of the Earth.

But the idea of the flat Earth began to resurface in the 19th century, especially from the people who wanted a return to the biblical interpretation of the world. The most famous flat earth theorist was the British writer Samuel Birley Rowbotham (1816-1884), who believed that the Earth was an immovable disk with the North Pole at the center and an ice wall replacing Antarctica that served as the outer boundary of the flat disc. 

The Flat Earth Research Society was established in 1956 by Samuel Shenton in the UK.

The idea of the flat Earth was thought to be limited to a few people, mainly in the UK. But the idea started to become popular worldwide with the advent of the internet and social media sites such as YouTube. The Flat Earth Society was relaunched in 2009 to purport the idea that the Earth is Flat.

Why Do Flat Earthers Believe the Earth is Flat?

1. Shape of the Earth is an Illusion

Flat earth theorists believe that the shape of the Earth is an illusion. Most flat-earthers think that GPS devices are rigged to make the pilots believe they are flying around a sphere. Instead, the proponents of the flat earth theory believe that the planes fly in circles above a flat disk.

People who believe in the flat earth theory also claim that the Earth feels flat when they walk around. They think that photos of the Earth sent from space are ’round earth conspiracies’ from NASA and the government agencies.

Flat Earth society’s FAQ section of the website asserts that faking the lunar program would cost much less for the space agency than an actual program.

2. Earth and Day-Night Cycle

Proponents of the flat earth theory rationalize that the day and night cycle occurs because the sun and the moon are spheres that move in circles above the Earth. They believe that the stars are moving in a plane above the Earth. The celestial spheres are believed to illuminate different parts of the plant in 24 hours.

3. Compensation for Curvature

Flat earth theorists sometimes use creative methods to prove that the Earth is flat. One flat-earther flew his plane from Charlotte, NC to Seattle, WA, to know if the plane’s nose would dip to compensate for the Earth’s curvature. He recorded a time-lapse of the flight using Spherical Trigonometry, which showed that there was no compensation for the curvature.  The air bubble remained centered, which proves that there was no compensation for the Earth’s curvature.

4. The Zetetic Method

The Zetetic method is an alternative to the traditional scientific method to prove that the Earth is flat. The method is attributed to Samuel Rowbotham, who conducted an experiment in 1938 on the Old Bedford River to prove that the Earth is flat.

Samuel claimed to have no gradient that means the part of the river was slow-flowing to a canal. He posited that if the Earth was curved, the pole or mast at one level might not be visible at the other. The British writer waded into the river using a telescope held inches above the water to observe a rowboat. He claimed to see the mast of the boast even though the spherical earth theory asserts that the mast must be below the horizon when viewed above the water. The findings was published in a pamphlet with the title Zetetic Astronomy in 1849 due to which the method to prove that the Earth is flat is called Zetetic method.

The Zetetic method used empiricism and rationalism to convince people about the shape of the Earth. Proponents rationalize the results by discrediting all photos from the space as fake.  They believe that the photos have been computer generators and that the moon landing was a hoax created by NASA to win the cold war against the Soviets.

Conclusion

Many scientific studies have disproved the flat earth theory. Most studies using empirical and observational methods have concluded that the Earth is spherical. But there are some people who are ardent adherent of the Flat Earth theory.

People who believe in flat Earth may have various motives behind their beliefs. They may be trying to rationalize the words of the bible that says that the Earth is “flat with four corners” (Revelation 7:1).

Some may be misguided by the use of a rational approach in trying to prove that the Earth is flat. Others may be doubting Thomas or Pyrrhonist, who refuses to believe anything with conviction without personal experience. 


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