There will always be things in the world that people simply won’t agree on. Politics, religion, whether or not pineapple should be on pizza. On the other hand, there are many other things that everyone seems to accept as truth. The sky is blue, two plus two is four, the earth is round. Actually, scratch that last one. Because while it may be hard to believe, there is a large group of people in the world who believe the earth is not round, but completely flat.
The Flat Earth Theory
No, it’s not a joke. Flat Earth theory believers are out there, and they’re as serious as you are about the earth being round. It may sound completely crazy, but flat Earthers have their reasoning. Here are a few of the Flat Earth Society’s main points.
1. Can’t See It, Can’t Believe It
The simplest way many flat Earthers explain this theory is simply through sight. Does it look like we live on a sphere? When you look at the horizon, do you see a curve? If you can’t see it yourself, why would you believe it?
Sure, there are pictures of the earth from space. But until very recently, all pictures of the earth were pieced together and edited from multiple photos at different angles. With the photoshopping technology of today, who’s to say NASA isn’t completely fabricating the round image we were always told is Earth? (1, 2)
2. Faked Space Travel
People say astronauts went to space, but Flat Earthers believe the whole concept of space travel is faked. During the cold war’s “space race” everyone became obsessed with trying to beat each other into space. Instead of actually accomplishing this, they faked it in movie studios. While many Flat Earthers believe we launched rockets into the sky, most refuse to believe anyone was every truly in them. (1, 3)
3. An Alternate Map
In order to explain circumnavigation and the sun’s movement across the sky, Flat Earthers present a different type of map than the one we’re used to. Most people believe the earth is a globe with the north pole at the top and Antarctica at the bottom. Flat Earthers argue that the earth is circular, like a pancake, with the north pole in the center and Antarctica like an icy wall surrounding the outer edges. The sun, rather than being the center of the solar system, circles around the earth like an ice skater circles the rink. (1)
Flat Earthers Debunk the Flat Earth Theory
If you’re a Netflix fanatic (like myself) you’ve probably come across the documentary Behind the Curve. The show follows popular Flat Earth Theory influencers on their journey to scientifically prove the earth is flat. As the documentary comes to an end, Bob Knodel, a Flat Earth YouTube channel host, spends $20,000 on a gyroscope and ends up debunking the Flat Earth Theory instead of supporting it.
A gyroscope is built to stay in one position despite the rotation of the earth. As the earth moves, the gyroscope appears to lean increasingly off-axis, demonstrating the earth’s curvature. Following the experiment, Knodel says, “When we turned on that gyroscope we found that we were picking up a drift. A 15 degree per hour drift.” This is exactly what a gyroscope would do were the earth a globe.
Even in the face of this potentially humiliating science experiment, Knodel and other Flat Earthers refuse to quit. “We obviously were not willing to accept that,” Knodel says, “and so we started looking for ways to disprove it was actually registering the motion of the earth.” (3)
What Is Science Without a Challenge?
All this Flat Earth Theory stuff may sound like a bunch of nonsense. And when even the Flat Earthers’ own science experiments seem to agree, it’s hard to say otherwise. But then again, people believed the earth was flat for centuries until philosophers and scientists began challenging the premise. Without people in the world to question what everyone else seems to blindly accept, we would never have gotten where we are today. If anything, Flat Earthers prove the scientific method works! So while we can appreciate a ‘don’t blindly accept anything, question everything’ mentality, we also probably don’t need to question scientific facts that have been proven time and time again.