# Flat Earth

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It's basically this.
 The fault in our starsPseudoastronomy Adding epicycles Epicyclists v - t - e
 “”Tila Tequila also believes that the planet is flat and one rule of life is to believe the exact opposite of what Tila Tequila believes...I know that Neil deGrasse Tyson tweeted a lot of fancy science shit, but it's the "Duude" that got me. That's straight guy talk for "Bitch, I can't!" —Michael K.[1]

Flat Earth (also known as the Flat Earth myth, the Flat Earth theory, Globe Denial, flat-Earthism, less commonly platygeism, and intelligent geography for parodists of intelligent design) refers to the pseudoscientific belief that the Earth — which the vast, vast majority of the population imagine in their heads as this big spherical thing (or oblate spheroidal thing, pedants) — is actually a geocentric flat disk. Yes, people actually do believe this, although this belief usually involves some form of religious fundamentalism.

## Flatlining brain activity

Long-distance navigation would be impossible if we were wrong about the shape of the Earth. Either everyone involved with travel and international business is in on the conspiracy, or flat-earthers are stupid.

What must first be noted are the most obvious flaws with the flat Earth model. Flat Earthers have a tendency to talk very similarly to each other, and often cite the same sources and arguments.

First, for it to be true, we need to throw the majority, if not all, of our current knowledge of science clean out the window, especially physics, geology, and all of astronomy. When confronted about this, flat Earthers typically have their own explanations for the flaws in their model. The "evidence" they provide is entirely circumstantial and generally pulled out of their asses. Because of this, flat Earthers are almost exclusively dependent on the rhetorical tactic known as Gish gallop. You can put all of your energy into it, but you'll never find a prominent flat Earther who isn't regularly accused of being controlled opposition.

Second, the flat Earth model being true would require the most elaborate conspiracy in the entire world. It's obvious that we would need every existing government entity, whether it be a country or a tiny village, and if applicable anyone involved in their militaries and space agencies, to be involved, especially NASA, who for some reason is spending its budget on fabricating evidence of other celestial objects rather than actually exploring space. So we also need to assume that the Moon landings never happened. Heck, all the world's amateur astronomers would need to be in on it as well. Essentially, every astronomer, physicist, and scientist in the past few thousand years would have to be in on it. The Big Bang theory, along with most of physics, would go out the window as well. Who else would have to be involved? All shipping companies, all airline companies, any transnational company that moves their goods around the world, odometer manufacturers (who would be VERY DEEPLY involved), Satellite TV providers, and the employees of all of these companies. Oh, and let's not forget about cartographers. Further still, even something as basic as the way shadows behave at sunset can very easily disprove the model.

And finally, this conspiracy would also be completely pointless. There's no feasible way in which every day life for the vast majority of the human population could be changed by the based on whether or not the Earth is a giant hockey puck or sphere oblate spheroid. What would be the point of spending all of this time, effort and money into making people think that the shape of the Earth is different? If you tell this to a flat Earther, they'll usually say nothing in response. Some might claim that it is "to hide God", when there are clearly much simpler ways of accomplishing that, such as suppressing the Bible.

Considering all this, it really goes to show how big of a tinfoil hat you'd have to be wearing in order to block out that much of reality. It's really amazing how these people made it to adulthood.

### Relativity of wrong

See the main article on this topic: Wronger than wrong

Isaac Asimov used the idea of a flat Earth in his essay The Relativity of Wrong to make a point about the progress of scientific knowledge.[2] He pointed out that the notion of a flat Earth is wrong, but the idea of a spherical Earth is also wrong, as the shape of the earth is better described as an oblate spheroid (because the Earth is wider than it is tall, flattening out at the poles while bulging around the Equator). Asimov went on to say how these theories aren't equally wrong (and believing such a thing as a flat Earth is "wronger than wrong") but that they do have use.

An architect working on a small building site would have no use for "Spherical Earth Theory" and would assume the ground is flat, a designer of novelty globes wouldn't need to compensate for the oblateness of the earth, but those sending satellites into orbit do (in fact the distortion has quite a dramatic effect on inclined orbits).

Modern flat Earthery tends to be not even wrong, however.

## Flat Earthery is plane-ly false

Ship disappearing over the horizon. This happens because the ship is obscured by the curvature of the Earth.

One can falsify the flat-Earth concept on any clear night an hour or two after sunset by observing satellites in the sky,[3] provided one accepts either Occam's razor or common sense as valid stances. Plus sanity. Unless lots of people with lots of spare money are launching one-shot rockets every night to maintain the conspiracy, or using holograms to project satellites onto the night sky (or something equally insipid), a flat Earth simply won't support a constellation of orbiting objects. They'd fall right over the "edge" of the world, giving you nothing but blurry images of a stack of turtles.

Spherical trigonometry and astro-trigonometry are exact sciences, which only work in a spherical environment.[4]

Speaking of planes, airplanes will generally take the shortest path between origin and destination. However, on the curved surface of the spherical Earth, this is not a Euclidean "straight line", but a great-circle route. For long flights, this deviation from a "straight line" becomes quite notable when the route is plotted on a flat map; transcontinental flights often go near or through the polar regions, since that's the shortest route on a spherical Earth.[5] Ships also follow such routes when they can, but of course they have to adjust for land barriers, ocean currents and so on. All this is constant disproof of a flat Earth, since if Earth was flat these routes would be longer and take more travel time. Of course, that's what They want you to think. The only real Flat Earther responses to this are just flat-out denial, or assertion that every single pilot, ship captain, and so on is part of the massive conspiracy and faking all these itineraries and end up wasting tons of fuel and mileage.

And of course, there's the observation that first tipped off the ancients themselves: that ships sailing into the distance disappear hull-first.

## Flattening their arguments

Here's the situation: either all of established science is completely wrong, or all of time cube flat Earth theory is completely wrong. This isn't a false dilemma — the two mutually exclude one another!

So, which one could it be? Well, take a wild guess.

### Arguments for a flat Earth

Before proceeding, keep in mind that the following arguments are, in fact, quite real. Remember that for your sanity's sake.

#### But roads are flat!

Our first facepalm. A common trope in flat Earther literature is that roads, canals, etc. are built flat — not taking into account the curvature of the earth.[6] There are a number of issues with this:

• Surveyors ignore curvature when surveying a project with relatively short baselines because the error from ignoring curvature is minuscule. They do, however, consider curvature in creating small-scale maps.
• For a mile-long baseline, the drop will only be 8 inches. The length of the hypotenuse of a right triangle with one leg of 5280 feet and the other leg of 8 inches is 5280.00004209 feet. The error in length is 0.013 millimeters.
• This error is so small that if you built a road going all the way around the earth, using one mile long baselines, the total error in length would amount to 1.05 feet.
• Of course, those useless projects are all just designed by people in on the conspiracy. Checkmate, losers!

#### But water is always level!

This photo of the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway demonstrates the Earth's curvature by showing the bridge curving along the lake and going under the horizon, thus proving that "level" isn't the same as flat.

1. See above.

2. Flat earthers wrongly asume that a "level" surface is the same as a "flat" surface and they often use a dictionary entry as evidence for it. But of course, just like creationists (which they often are) misusing the word "theory", flat earthers ignore the context in which they are talking (basically physics, topology and surveying). The thefreedictionary.com defines a "level surface" as: "(Physics) an equipotential surface at right angles at every point to the lines of force". As in civilengineeringx.com is explained: "a surface parallel to the mean spheroid of the earth is called a level surface and the line drawn on the level surface is known as a level line. Hence all points lying on a level surface are equidistant from the centre of the earth." So yeah, water is indeed level and not flat. This point has been understood for centuries that this Universal Cyclopaedia from 1894 put it this way:

A level surface is ordinarily conceived as plane, but it really represents a certain equilibrium of attractive and rotational forces, and is always carved. As the surface of the earth is rugose, and as the bodies of rock immediately beneath the surface vary in density, and therefore in attraction, the level surface has local irregularities, undulating gently in every part. When account is taken of these undulations the level surface is called a geoid, to distinguish it from the ideal terrestrial spheroid to which it approximates.[10]

One common escape hatch that flat earthers would do is claiming that "water can't bend or stick on a sphere"; more on that here.

#### But star trail photography proves that the earth doesn't move!

Star trail photography done in Chile, where stars revolve clockwise. A phenomenon that can't be explained on a flat Earth.

Although the theory isn't necessarily geocentrist (as one can technically still adopt a heliocentric worldview while holding to a belief in a flat Earth), flat Earthers almost always fall into that camp.

One particular claim is that long-duration star trail photographs do not show any movement of the stars other than that caused by the Earth's rotation, the flat Earther's reasoning being that, if the Earth is moving so fast around the Sun, the stars should appear smudged. This claim is symptomatic of all flat Earthers' false assumptions about the distance between us and celestial objects, or their inability or lack of willingness to perform basic math.

• Assume a star trail photograph of the nearest star is taken for 12 hours on a 10,000-pixel-wide camera. The Earth would travel about 1,287,000 km during that time. The nearest naked-eye visible star is Alpha Centauri, which is 4.34 light-years (41 trillion kilometers) away. The star would appear to move 0.018 pixels.
• Round-Earthers are just trying to pull the wool over the eyes of thinking people with math!
• There are 2 points to capture star trails and see a star that appears to not move in the sky. These are the famous North Star and (though it is not perfectly aligned in the center of the pole) Sigma Octantis (which is also not perfectly aligned with the center of the south celestial pole). All the stars in the sky rotate around these 2 points which are completely opposite of each other. These are called the Northern and Southern circumpolar stars. This further debunks the flat earth claim when you can witness Sigma Octantis (which doesn't appear to move in the sky) in Australia and New Zealand while you are facing south. On a flat earth map, this would simply be impossible!
• Astronomers have been compensating for the curvature of the earth in the form of equatorial mounts since the late 1700s. Equatorial mounts are used for polar alignment in which the axis of rotation of the telescope is aligned with the axis of rotation of the Earth, and rotated in the opposite direction to eliminate apparent movement. On a flat Earth, the polar axis would always be directly perpendicular to the plane of the planet - but a round Earth requires it to be tilted at an angle equal to the latitude of the observer.
• Over longer time periods astronomers can observe the apparent movement of nearby stars caused by Earth's orbit, though it is quite small. In astronomy, the parsec is defined as the distance where a star will appear to move back and forth by one arc-second over the course of a year.

Ironically, star trails prove the sphericity of the Earth as it is impossible to explain the different movements of the stars by hemisphere on a flat Earth. While star trails in the northern hemisphere show that stars revolve around Polaris counterclockwise, in the southern hemisphere they revolve around Sigma Octantis clockwise. Also, if the camera is looking at the celestial equator, the stars move in parallel straight lines. All of this can be easily explained by the rotation on a round Earth, but it is impossible in a flat Earth "dome". (Even Answers in Genesis admits this much![11])

#### But the horizon is always at eye level!

Pilots need attitude indicators or "artificial horizons" (the blue display) to account the relationship of the aircraft relative to the actual horizon.

Rather, it looks like it is. Ignoring for a moment the fact that an eye-level horizon would have to rise two meters over the distance between itself and the observer, the thing about Earth is it's actually quite big (no, seriously!).

There are two kinds of the horizon: Astronomical horizon (the horizon at the eye level) and true horizon (the line that visually divides the Earth and the sky). Because the Earth is a sphere, the true horizon always lies below the astronomical horizon, or the eye-level. The angle between them is the dip of the horizon. The higher the observer, the larger the dip of the horizon.

Actually, if you're ever out at sea, you can quite easily observe that it is, in fact, not at eye level. From your eye, point an object toward the horizon, then keep it stationary and look along it the other way. You should be looking at a point slightly above the opposite horizon, demonstrating that it really is slightly below eye level.

Indeed, from a height of 3 metres above sea level, assuming an Earth radius of 6371 km, the horizon is about 0° 3′ 20″ (0.0556° if you don't speak arcminutes) below eye level.[note 1]

If we are at a significant altitude from the surface (like on top of a mountain or on an airplane) we can observe the dip of the horizon with a precise instrument like a theodolite (or even a bottle of water for crying out loud!).[12]

### Arguments against a round Earth

Photo taken from an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER window compressed vertically to exaggerate the curvature of the horizon.

#### So where's the curvature?

A lot of flat Earthers attempt to disprove the globe model by using pictures taken from high above the earth with a flat horizon, thereby "proving" that the earth is flat: after all, if the earth is round you should see the curvature of the earth.

The problem, once again, is that Earth is really big, at least compared to us tiny human beings. The pictures that flat Earthers tend to provide as evidence are "only" captured from high altitude balloons that are barely, if at all, even considered to be in "outer space" (and in some cases, possibly even lower than that). Such heights are almost negligible compared to the radius of Earth, which is why the horizon still appears mostly flat.

However when we provide pictures of a curved horizon, they make unfounded claims like that the gear used to take the picture warps the horizon, causing it to look curved. Throwing their logic right back in their face by claiming that their pictures are the faked ones typically results in — as when this is done to any conspiracy theorist — the old Windows error ding emanating form their cranium.

Really, the fact that there even is a horizon to begin with should prove the earth to be round by itself, since if the earth were truly flat, a sufficiently advanced telescope ought to be able to see all the way to Madagascar from Alaska. But don't get started on that track in a debate, otherwise, you're going to spend your whole afternoon talking about perspective, light refracting from air, the parallax effect, mirages or GoPro cameras, or how even something as basic as a video of a ship disappearing bottom-first beneath the horizon is supposedly faked.

#### "X object" shouldn't be visible, yet it is!

Pythagorean proof of curvature for a ball with a radius of 3,959 miles (using AutoCAD 2015 with 15 digit precision). This chart, while technically not entirely inaccurate, is often abused by flat earthers to calculate the expected amount of obstruction when it is unsuitable for such purposes and takes into account neither the observer's height nor atmospheric refraction.[13]
The skyline of Toronto is often cited by flat earthers because it can be seen from miles away in lake Ontario. The fact that half the city is underwater is, apparently, lost on them.[14]

Perhaps this might be one of the best shots flat earthers have used to try to disprove a globe. According to them, there are objects like buildings or mountains that should be hidden under the horizon due to curvature, yet they are still visible. Unfortunately, since this is a verifiable claim, it can be examined and it falls apart because they often either fail in using the correct formula or miss an important factor in their "calculations".

Flat earthers use the formula "8 inches per mile squared". This formula describes a parabola, not a circular surface, so it is not accurate for long distances but fine for practical use. One more accurate formula from earthcurvature.com h = r * (1 - cos a) where (h) is the drop in curvature over the distance (d) and (r) is Earth's radius. While technically not entirely inaccurate, these two formula fail in two things. Firstly, as it was stated in the latter, it measures the drop in curvature over a determined distance but not the height of an object hidden by the curvature, which is bigger since they "tilt" over distance. This is visually represented on the chart in the right made by a flat earther “using AutoCAD 2016 with 15-Digit precision”, where the red lines are what the real obscured object height. And secondly, this formula ignores the observers height. This the most important factor that makes the huge difference but flat earthers often ignored. This is the reason why ancient sailors climbed the masts to see ships and lighthouses in the distance, or why the sun sets later the higher you are (two phenomenons that flat earthers can not explain). A more accurate formula used in omnicalculator.com takes this factor into account.

Sometimes flat earthers do take observer's height into account and still use this point. This is of course a form of a desperate "black swan" case argument but it ultimately fails because (surprise surprise) they missed one last factor (*drumroll*): Atmospheric refraction, which happens when light hits a pocket of cold air or a hot draft of rising air, bending the light from the object that would usually hit the ground, going around the Earth's surface and reaching to the observer's eye. This cases can be easily distinguished because they look incredibly distorded.[15] In the end, Walter Bislin's online curvature simulator accounts for both these factors.

#### So why are there no REAL photos of the earth?

Original "Blue Marble" photo of the Earth as seen by the Apollo 17 crew on December 7, 1972. No Photoshop or CGI in the 70s son.

One argument used frequently by flat Earthers is that there are no real photos of the earth. Despite being so certain, they never quite explain why is this so, as it is an argument from incredulity. It is also circular logic, as it presumes the globe supporters are already in agreement that the photos are fake in the first place, which would make no fucking sense.

This is simply false; there are many photos of the earth including photos which predate the equipment required to create fake images. For example the famous photo of the Earth "Blue Marble" from 1972 (which often flat earthers confuse (because flat earthers can't differentiate between two pictures) with the fake (again, flat earthers can't differentiate between a composite and a fake picture) of 2002 (which NASA never claimed it was a photo taken from space in the first place)), long before Photoshop even existed and CGI was worse than Tron. You can even see the scanned negatives (and many other hundred of photos) in the Apollo image archive.[16]

Of course, they also use this argument while all their flat earth pictures are claimed to be real, even though they were either computer generated or edited themselves.[17] Hence, as with the above argument, the best way to demonstrate its problems is to turn it around and use it on them yourself.

Animation of 13 images, March 9, 2016, by NASA’s DSCOVR satellite showing the Earth's rotation, weather and lunar shadow in motion.

#### So why did Neil DeGrasse Tyson say the earth was pear shaped?

This argument is used often by flat Earthers to claim that the scientific community is lying. Neil deGrasse Tyson has been quoted saying, "Earth is not only oblate — wider at the equator than pole-to-pole, but pear shaped — slightly wider just south of the equator."[18]

But in reality, Tyson was describing the fact that just as the earth is technically not an exact sphere, it is also not technically an exact oblate spheroid either. For most purposes, it is perfectly fine to think of the earth as a sphere (or an oblate spheroid, or a pear-shaped oblate spheroid), but in some contexts, such as when searching for oil deposits, it becomes important to account for even tinier gravitational anomalies.[19] In such cases, a world map called a geoid is used.

The reason the earth appears as perfectly spherical in most photos is that the difference is extremely small.[20] Nevertheless, careful pixel measurements of images from space show that Earth's equatorial diameter is about 0.3% wider than its polar diameter.[21]

#### So why don't rivers flow uphill?

Another argument used by the flat Earthers is — believe it or not — that if the earth was actually round, rivers would have to flow uphill. No, really, they actually say this.[22]

In reality, "up" on a spherical planet, where gravity is accounted for, actually means "away from the core" — and due to gravity's effects on water, it actually flows downhill.[note 2]

#### So how can water stick to a spinning ball?

This is a surprisingly common question, and reveals how unwilling flatties are of doing a single mathematical calculation. On a rotating sphere, all points in a longitude have the same angular velocity, but as the latitude tends to 0, the tangential velocity increases to its maximum, and so does the centrifugal force. A point on the equator travels 40,075 km (Earth's circumference) in 86,164 s (a sidereal day), yielding a linear speed of 0.465 km/s, or 1,674 km per hour! Everything should fly into space, right? No.

Kugel fountain in Bottrop, Germany. Look flat earthers! Water sticking to a spinning ball!

Centrifugal acceleration can be derived to be:

${\displaystyle a=r\omega ^{2}}$

where ris the radius and ω is the angular velocity. With an equatorial radius of 6.3781×106 m and rotational period of 86164 seconds (ω = 7.292×10-5 s-1), an object at the equator must be accelerated 0.0339 ms-2 downwards to stay on Earth. Although gravity varies from place to place, this is far exceeded by the approximate 9.8 ms-2 provided by gravity.

For anything to fly upwards, either gravity would need to be ${\displaystyle {\tfrac {1}{290}}}$ of what it is currently, or a (sidereal) day would have to be shorter than 5066 seconds (1 hour, 24 minutes and 26 seconds) long.

But really, perhaps the best way to demonstrate the stupidity of this one is to ask the flathead to dunk themselves in water and then slowly spin in a circle.

#### So why is travel banned to Antarctica?

Daniel Burton, paid shill and first person to bicycle from the coast of Antarctica to the pole

This argument is used by many flat Earthers as "proof" that Antarctica surrounds the Earth, and that the Powers that be, Illuminati, New World Order bad government people don't want us to know about it.[23] And once again, it relies on circular logic.

In reality, this is downright false: travel is not banned to Antarctica, and there are even commercial cruise ships that travel there,[24] and people travel by land across Antarctica surprisingly frequently.[25][26] So much so that there is an entire wikipedia pages about it,[27] world records[28][29] and even various travel websites (maybe they should book a ticket and leave their basements for once).[30][31][32] They often claim the Antarctic Treaty System prevents regular people from entering, thus proving that they have actually never read the treaty.[33]

#### So why don't people on the Southern Hemisphere fall off?

This illustration is from about 1170. People understood this concept in the fucking Middle Ages.

We kid you not, flatheads actually use this argument enough to warrant us mentioning it. (Lady Elizabeth Blount (1850-1935), returning from a trip to Australia, stated in a sworn affidavit that the people there did not hang by their heels. QED: The Earth cannot be a globe.) It truly says a lot about the level of education of flatheads that use this argument, because this is something that most people get taught in freaking kindergarten.

The reason people in the southern hemisphere don't fly off into space in the direction defined by the Earth's south pole is the same reason people in the northern hemisphere don't fly off into space in the direction defined by Earth's north pole. "South" does not equal "down" any more than "north" does. "Down" means "in the direction gravity is pulling," and thus "up" and "down" are meaningless concepts outside of the context of some object's gravity well. What is "down" for someone at the south pole is "up" for someone at the north pole. Most maps and globes are just printed with north always facing the top because it's easier for everyone using them if the four cardinal reference points always go in the same direction, and they just picked north because the trend was started by those egocentric pricks that were historical Europeans.

Your mind isn't playing tricks on you, we just got done taking the time to explain this to people who, evidentially, don't get it.

#### How can a pressurized atmosphere exist next to a vacuum?

Apollo Command/Service Module in Space Environment Simulation Laboratory Chamber for a full mission duration manned vacuum test.

Flat earthers, like creationists (which they often are) love to misrepresent the second law of thermodynamics, claiming that Earth's atmosphere violates it if it is not contained by some "dome". What they're asking basically why the Earth's pressurized atmosphere doesn't equalize with the vacuum of space without a protective barrier. This is due to the scientific illiteracy of flat earthers who can only imagine the vacuum on space as a literal vacuum cleaner. It does not “suck” the air. Flat earthers associate the word “suck” with “vacuums” but it’s a misnomer. That’s not what actual vacuums do. That’s what vacuum cleaners do. What they really do is present an empty space and then air pressure forces the air into the vacuum. However, gravity pulls the air back down, so we can breathe air.[34]

We'll answer this question with another question: where's the barrier between high pressure sea level air and low pressure mountaintop air? As height increases, air pressure and concentration decreases, approaching zero after a certain height. Meaning, even if the earth was flat, the atmosphere would have to end at some point.

It's odd. Nobody with even a microgram of sanity would deny that things fall, not even flatheads. But all of a sudden, when atmospheric pressure and the vacuum of space are being discussed, that "things fall" aspect of reality suddenly doesn't exist to flatheads.

A nuclear fusion reactor has plasma (ionized gas) inside a vacuum tube. The plasma is held by a force, electromagnetism in this case. No barrier needed. Similar thing happens with the atmosphere and gravity.

#### Gravity does not exist

Yes, Flat Earthers are gravity deniers, and for a good reason: it would make their world collapse into a sphere and the trajectory of falling objects would become increasingly tilted inwards in the "Southern latitudes" (i.e. if we keep traveling to the edge). Hence, they must attribute falling to other causes.

The most wrong explanation they have come to is that things fall due to density and buoyancy, which is as good as to saying that they fall due to color. Density is the amount of mass within a volume, it's not even a force and cannot even cause acceleration as a result; and buoyancy it is indeed a force but requires gravity on its very formula, so that's a non starter. Alternatively, considering that acceleration towards the ground is a function of density is at odds with empirical evidence: a feather and a bowling ball reach the ground at the same time in the vacuum.[35] Without air resistance, everything experiences the exact same acceleration when it falls. Also notable is the fact that they rarely give an explanation for why being denser should make an object move at all, let alone why it should always do so in the same specific direction. The density of the air above an object is the same is the density below it. They fail to acknowledge that density doesn't have an inherent direction. They also fail to realize that if this was the case, and density does make things fall, then the sun, moon, and stars would all come crashing down to Earth. But don't worry, those objects are held in the sky by M A G I C K.

The Flat Earth Society has proposed that gravity is the result of the earth accelerating at ~9.8 m·s-2 in the "upwards" direction. However, this fails to account for the variation of gravitational acceleration across the surface of the earth from the mass distribution within. There's also no explanation as to what energy keeps this motion going as said required energy tends towards infinity the longer it goes on. All celestial bodies would have to be comoving as well, to avoid doppler shift and all the other quirks of relativistic motion.

Some flat earthers, such as the YouTube channel GlobeBusters,[36] have suggested that it is the electromagnetic force that causes people to fall to the Earth. This is quite similar to hypotheses posited by Electric Universe cranks. This runs into multiple problems, however. For one, if it was the electromagnetic force pulling objects to the ground, then objects of different charges would react differently to this force – for instance, neutrally charged objects would not be affected by the electromagnetic charge of the Earth. Another fact that casts doubt on this suggestion is the fact that the acceleration due to gravity g is constant for all objects in a vacuum at sea level, regardless of mass. However, this would not be the case if the electromagnetic force was the force that pulled objects towards the Earth. Let us consider that, the electric force exerted on an object of charge q that is within an electric field E is:

F=qE

It can be shown that the electric field of a uniformly-charged flat disk (which is what flatheads think the shape of the Earth is) is dependent solely on the distance from the disk z, the surface charge density σ, and the radius of the disk R.[37] The important thing to note here is that the electric field is not dependent on the mass m of the object.

Newton's Second Law states that a=Fnet/m, where a is the acceleration of the object, m is the mass of the object, and F is the force exerted on the object. Thus, it stands to reason that if the electromagnetic force was the force that pulled objects towards the Earth, the acceleration of an object in free fall would be ae = Fe/m. Thus, we would get:

F=qE/m

However, this would mean that that acceleration of an object in free fall would depend on the mass, even in a vacuum. This is blatantly false, as we know from experiments dropping objects in vacuum chambers that the acceleration of all objects in free fall in a vacuum is the same regardless of the object's mass.[38] Thus, the electromagnetic force cannot possibly be the force pulling objects to the Earth.

From Newton's law of universal gravitation Fg=Gmearthmobj/r2 for an object on the Earth. Since g=Fg/mobj, mobj would cancel out in our law of universal gravitation, and thus g=Gmearth/r2 is a constant at sea level that is not dependent on the mass of the object. Thus, the acceleration due to gravity is the same for all objects at sea level.

## Flat Earth memes and propaganda

Don't worry, we're not so sure, either.

## Why the confusion?

The typically accepted model of the Earth’s surface among flat Earthers, directly based on the azimuthal equidistant projection map. Another simple debunk; the land-masses near the “ice-wall” appear insanely distorted. This is due to the fact that whenever the Earth is mapped 2-dimensionally, it becomes distorted.[42] Hilariously, this means the flat Earth map is meant for a round Earth.
14th-century copy of L'Image du monde (ca. 1246) depicting a spherical or cylindrical Earth.

On certain length scales, the earth certainly is flat — the ground on what we like to call flatland certainly doesn't look like it has any significant curvature in everyday life. In a mountainous (or even just hilly) region, the local geography is so variable that discerning a curve would be even more difficult. As a result of this, a common sense interpretation of a flat Earth can be reached pretty quickly.

A Mathematician might explain this appearance with the statement that "the earth is 'locally' flat". This may be the reason that Cockney Mathematians coined the term 'local yokels' as rhyming slang for platygeists.

### In ancient history

Very early Egyptian and other Middle-Eastern civilisations portrayed the earth as flat land suspended in an ocean, and with a "roof" of some kind over it. This is particularly reflected in some of the prose that made its way into the Bible and has been used to justify flat-Earth beliefs today.

Ancient Chinese astronomy makes no mention of any roundness of the earth; indeed some depictions even made it square. In Siam (now Thailand), the flat-Earth idea was part of Buddhist scripture until the 1800s, as part of the Traiphum cosmography.[43] However, most religious scholars considered it as a metaphorical description. It's unlikely that this was ever taken painfully literally in Siam, even before King Mongkut (the one of The King and I fame) officially introduced more modern geography during his reforms and westernization of the country.

In Western science and theology, the notion that the entire world really was flat was discredited the moment it was properly considered and looked at, and it had faded by the time of classical Greek philosophy. Pythagoras suggested that the earth was round, and Aristotle provided convincing evidence for it in Ancient Greece, although the main source to suggest that Greeks before Aristotle thought the world was flat is Aristotle himself. Around 240 BCE, Eratosthenescalculated the circumference of the earth to an impressive degree of accuracy. By the Roman Empire the sphericity of Earth was not in serious dispute (however some rejected it, like the epicurean poet Lucretius[44] and the christian apologist Lactantius[45], which they both used the "upside down people" argument). By the Middle Ages, even the Catholic Church's most beloved of scientific theologians, Thomas Aquinas, was advancing the earth's roundness as a fundamental of logic.[46]:19,45

#### In ancient pseudohistory

A c. AD 50 roman fresco of a globe found in the Boscoreale villa near Pompeii (and there are more samples of globes in roman art).
Illustration of the method used by Eratosthenes to calculate the circumference of the Earth
Erdapfel, the world's oldest surviving globe was made in Germany and completed in 1492. This was independent of Columbus's voyage and finished just before his return.
See the main article on this topic: Pseudohistory

The idea that everyone used to believe that the earth was flat until only very recently, mostly due to the influence of religion, is essentially a complete myth. A Greek Egyptian by the name of Eratosthenes not only proved the world was round, but calculated its circumference with an error of less than 2%, and even did it in the third century BCE. This is often brought up as an example of how secular enlightenment has triumphed over unfounded religious dogma; indeed, some theories state that this is the reason the myth is so popular.[47] Another possible reason for the myth may be the existence of various Flat Earth Societies in the 19th century.

In the Anglophone world, the myth is believed to originate with the novel The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus by Washington Irving, which perpetuated the false idea that Columbus sailed around the globe to prove that it was round and not flat. In reality, all that was at stake with Columbus' journey and those of his contemporaries was the size of the earth — it was Columbus' egregious underestimation of the earth's size in combination with an overestimation of the length of Asia by 5,000 miles (8,046.72 km) by Paolo dal Pozzo Toscanelli in 1474[48] that led him to theorize that reaching the Indies from the west was feasible. The Spanish Court's reluctance to fund his voyage was based on an estimate of the earth's circumference that much more closely agreed with modern measurements, but was substantially larger than the figure Columbus had come up with. In other words, it was the King and Queen who were right, and Columbus who was wrong.

To be fair to Columbus even with the earth the correct size Toscanelli's map put Cippangu (Japan) near where the western part of Mexico was in the real world; so even with the earth the correct size, Columbus was still working from erroneous data. It was only by a stroke of luck that Columbus found a "New World" where he had thought Cippangu was; otherwise, he and his crew would have died of starvation. Umberto Eco paradoxically summarized this point in his essay "The Force of Falsity": because Columbus's critics were right, they were wrong, and because Columbus was wrong, he was right—but only thanks to the serendipity of America.

It was widely known that it would be physically possible to get to Asia by going west (disregarding the then unknown Americas), if you could carry sufficient supplies. What prevented anyone before Columbus from trying to go around the world was uncertainty regarding the circumference of the earth and Toscanelli's measurement of Asia. If either of those calculations were off in the wrong direction, the ships were not large enough or fast enough to get from Europe to Asia by traveling west before the food and fresh water supplies on board ran out. Furthermore, with Bartolomeu Dias sailing around the tip of Africa in 1488 the Europeans already had passage (albeit a long and tedious one in a region known for fearsome storms) to Asia.

### In modern history

Logo of the modern Flat Earth Society. Note their apparent lack of belief in Alaska, the British Isles, Cuba, Florida, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Panama, and the Philippines.

Given this history, it should come as a surprise to anyone that any human being existing in the developed world right now should still consider the idea of a flat Earth probable. Since the mid-1800s, notably via the Flat Earth Society, modern pseudoscientists have been trying to prove that the earth is flat. As evidence continues to mount, even in modern times, against the flat Earth (such as the fact that we can now orbit the planet and view it from a distance or circumnavigate the globe ourselves in an aircraft), the idea is beginning to take a turn for the silly.[49][50]

English inventor Samuel Birley Rowbotham (1816–1884), under the pseudonym Parallax, published a 16-page pamphlet, which he later expanded into a 430-page book, Earth Not a Globe, expounding his views based on his literal interpretation of several Biblical passages. Under the model proposed by this book, the earth is a flat disc with the North Pole at its center and the south "pole" extending all the way around the outer edge (in other words, there was no true south "pole"). However, the alternate theory that the North Arctic is the surrounding ice wall is a similar idea. This outer edge is also guarded by a 150-foot-tall wall of ice. (Remember, at the time this was written, no expedition to Antarctica had yet reached the South Pole.) After his death, his followers founded the Universal Zetetic Society which published a magazine Earth Not A Globe; however, the society slowly declined after World War I.

The Flat Earth Society (also known as the International Flat Earth Society or International Flat Earth Research Society) was founded by Englishman Samuel Shenton in 1956.[51] Shenton initially accepted the globe theory of the earth, and indeed suggested his own innovation on how to make use of the earth's rotation.[52] This involved raising an airship into the sky and then holding it stationary. After a few hours of the earth's rotation, the airship would be over America. It could then be lowered, making transatlantic transport extremely fast and cheap, in one direction at least. He went as far as to write to the British government, urging them to use this method. The ridicule and indifference that he received persuaded him that perhaps the atmosphere might rotate with the planet, as suggested by the lack of constant thousand-mile-an-hour winds at the equator, or at any altitude above it.

No, only kidding. Actually, Shenton concluded that the earth could not be rotating, and that there was a conspiracy (for no defined reason) to hide this fact.

This conspiracy blossomed to include everyone in every government, civilian pilots (post-war) and/or GPS manufacturers (1960s), everyone in every telecommunications industry, everyone in the southern hemisphere (the difference between the currently-accepted globe and flat Earth map are so massive below the equator that they would be difficult to ignore) and anyone using an odometer on a trip between any four landmarks. Also included in the conspiracy are thousands of supersoldiers keeping ordinary citizens from witnessing the Ice Wall, which surrounds the flat Earth (one begins to wonder if Shenton felt that the best way to change a lightbulb was to hold it in place and get 300 other people to spin the building). As for what lies beyond the Ice Wall, the Flat Earth Society has this to say:

Beyond the 150 foot Ice Wall is anyone's guess. How far the ice extends; how it terminates; and what exists beyond it, are questions to which no present human experience can reply. All we at present know is, that snow and hail, howling winds, and indescribable storms and hurricanes prevail; and that in every direction "human ingress is barred by unsealed escarpments of perpetual ice," extending farther than eye or telescope can penetrate, and becoming lost in gloom and darkness. Some hold that the tundra of ice and snow stretches forever eternally."[53]

The FES is now defunct, but was still active in 1980 under the leadership of (the now deceased) Charles K. Johnson.[54] There is another modern Flat Earth Society with Daniel Shenton as its president, mainly notable for having its first member be synthpop musician Thomas Dolby, whose chief/only real qualification for such is that he made a rather good album called The Flat Earth. In fairness, unlike anything else one might provide to support the notion of a flat Earth, at least the album exists.

Current FES president Daniel Shenton on the other hand accepts modern science such as evolution and global warming, yet somehow reconciles them with his flat earth beliefs.[55][56]

### Questions that Flatheads can not answer intelligently

Composite of pictures taken of the sun once a week on the same day for 52 weeks. The movement of the sun (called a sun analemma) is caused by the Earth tilting on its axis, shifting the position of the observer relative to the sun

Q: "How can satellites and GPS be explained by flat-thinkers?"[57]
A: They are hung on balloons.

Q: "Aurora Borealis OK but please explain the Aurora Australis?"[58]
A: They are projected holograms.[note 7]

Q: "Explain annual meteor showers please?"[59]
A: They are just fireworks.

Q: "Heard of Coriolis force?"
A: Nope. Alt: It's caused by currents in the Aether

Notice how the sun remains fairly the same size over the course of a year. Because of this (if we accept the laws of perspective as real), any cosmological model in which the distance between the sun and the observer changes over the course of a 365 day period cannot be accurate. This refutes most flat-earth explanations for the seasons.

Q: "Are the other planets flat?"
A: No. Alt: Would you expect the fifth of the several pieces of furniture in your room to be a chair even when the other four are?

Q: "But weren't they all formed in the same way?"
A: Ummm...... Well, nobody knows how everything was created. Alt: Well weren't all the pieces of furniture built in the same way?

Q: "Why is the southern jet stream so similar to the northern one, speed and shapes?"[60]
A: Oh, sure, you give a government source. There's no real evidence for a southern "hemisphere" jet stream.[61]

Q: "Is Space Junk a myth?"[62]
A: Yes, invented by the world's space agencies to discourage people from trying to get into space and prove their lies!

Flat-earthers have to maintain that the sun dipping beneath the horizon during a sunset and the invisibility of the sun at night are just elaborate optical illusions (we're not sure how they manage to convince themselves of that). However, sunsets occasionally illuminate clouds from underneath. This is only possible if the sun is actually physically dipping beneath the horizon, and the source of sunlight is actually beneath the clouds. This upside-down shadow alone debunks most flat-earth maps

Q: "There are many space agencies[63] in the world. Do they all lie?
A: Yes, because the New World Order secretly runs every single one of them, either directly or indirectly.

Q: "Why does Antarctica get twenty-four hours of sunlight during December if the earth is flat?"
A: Another hoax. Have you ever been to Antarctica?

Q: "What about non-stop southern hemisphere international flights, like LATAM 801 from Santiago Int'l, Chile to Auckland Airport, NZ, or Qantas 63 from Sydney Kingsford, Australia to Johannesburg O.R. Tambo Int'l, SA? They take roughly the same amount of time as northern-hemisphere flights going similar distances."[64]
A: They don't actually exist.

Q: "But—"
A: They don't exist.

Q: "Then where do they take me when I buy a ticket for such a flight, dumbass?"
A: THEY. DO. NOT. EXIST. IT'S. ALL. FAKE.

Drawing and description of Aurora Australis from 1909. Clearly they actually saw a hologram projected by NASA or whatever.

Q: "Isn't this an awful lot of mental hurdles to jump over just to insistently back up the idea of a disc-shaped Earth, when assuming a ball-shaped Earth answers all the above questions in a much simpler manner, and with much more scientific evidence to back it up?"
A: You tell me.
Reply: Ok. You are a baldface liar.

Q: "So what causes the various seasons?"
A: The Sun gradually moving north and south.

Q: "Then why does the sun remain exactly the same size over the course of a year?"
A: Uhh...

Q: "Okay, then why does Christchurch, New Zealand get more than 15 hours of sunlight a day during December?"[65]
A: Um, refraction?

Q: "Shouldn't it be trivially easy to demonstrate a flat disc-shaped Earth exists by showing any one of the "Southern" latitude lines is vastly longer than its companion line in the "North?"
A: Err...

Q: "Speaking of which, if we assume a flat Earth, then why would the Australians and South Africans get an entirely different set of stars in their night sky like they do in a round Earth, and which can be demonstrated to be the case simply by flying there? After all, looking at the model of the world which you folks present would indicate that every star in the night sky would be in line of sight to nearly everyone on Earth, no matter where they stand."
A: Wait, what?

Q: "Oh, and haven't you ever seen a shadow climb up the side of a tall building as the sun sets? How the heck does that work if the sun never actually dips below the Horizon?"
A: "Uh... I have to go, um, iron my, um, dog. Bye."

## Online resurgence

Sadly, the flat Earth model is gaining popularity — or at least more vocal proponents — via the Internet, especially on various nutcase-enabling platforms like YouTube. It seems to be rooted in complete and active suspicion of all authority and an assumption that Mainstream Science™ is just one big, faceless monolith — spreading lies to keep the public in the dark about, er... Some nefarious end!

NASA, being part of the Illuminati according to the flat-earthers, is possessed of infinite money and control while at the same time being so incompetent they leave easily-spotted mistakes in their propaganda that expose the whole thing. Flat-earthers like Jeranism make videos filled with a mix of Gish Gallop and creative misunderstanding, willful ignorance, and flat (hah!) denial of facts and evidence to the contrary.

The flat earth movement shares many of the same beliefs and goals as the Alt-right, and have even adopted Alt-right memes into their online presence. They created a variant of Pepe the Frog called "Fepe," or "Flat Earth Pepe."[39]

### Fundamentalist endorsements

Map of the Square and Stationary Earth by Orlando Ferguson (1893).[66] He did not specify what prevents water sinking into the equator or keeps Canadians from seeing Argentina.

Motives for advocating a flat over a round Earth despite evidence to the contrary vary. Many young-earth creationists who think it's 6,000 years old don't go so far as to say that it's not round.[67] However, there are some particularly nutty evangelical flat earthers.[68]

Modern geocentrists make a point of distancing themselves from the flat-Earth belief. Charles K. Johnson based his flat-Earth belief on a hyper-literal interpretation of the Bible (asserting that Jesus' ascent "up" into Heaven is proof of a flat Earth, since a round Earth would have no "up" or "down").[69]

A flat-Earth movement also exists within fundamentalist Islam, based on a literal interpretation of several Qur'anic verses (see the "Religious views" section below).

While we're on the subject, a common claim by people who arrive at flatheaddery from the Religious Fundamentalism direction is that the globe is a lie propagated by the Satan-controlled media in an attempt to draw people away from the Bible. Although one would think that if Satan had that kind of power, then they'd simply ban Bibles outright.

To demonstrate the error in thinking of these people (who have apparently never heard of metaphors or hyperbole), let's look at a passage likely very near and dear to their hearts: God setting his bow in the sky after Noah's flood to celebrate his promise never to do that again. According to Hyperliteralist logic, this means that every rainbow ever (even ones produced from garden hoses) is actually all the same specific object, an actual warbow that might potentially be seized by human hands and used to fire arrows one day.

### Celebrity endorsements

See the main article on this topic: Appeal to celebrity

The rapper B.o.B., who has had several hits including "Nothin' on You" and "Airplanes", outed himself as a flat-Earther in 2016 and released a diss track called "Flatline" aimed at astronomer Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Tyson's nephew, who is also a rapper, released a counter-diss track in response.[70] Astrophysicist Lawrence Krauss wrote in Slate such views can be useful — even if grotesque — when they can be used to check our assumptions. He proposes three clear reasons why the Earth is round: the time zones, the seasons, and the Global Positioning System.[71]

Confusing their ball game proficiency with an understanding of spheres in general, four NBA players also come out as flat-Earthers, including Shaquille O'Neal.[72] (He was joking.)

Tila Tequila has also endorsed flat Earthery[73] — which seems contradictory, considering she's also endorsed Hitler,[74] whom we don't think was a flat earther.

## Christian flat Earth apologetics

The universe according to the Old Testament.
 “”Even a layperson today can observe that the earth is not flat. —Answers in Genesis (even they look smart next to flat Earthers!)[75]
 “”When I first became interested in the flat-earthers in the early 1970s, I was surprised to learn that flat-earthism in the English-speaking world is and always has been entirely based upon the Bible. —Robert Schadewald[76]

Many Biblical literalists claim the Bible disproves evolution and other scientific theories prima facie. Since there is no real debate about the shape of the Earth, these passages call Biblical literalism into question. The irony of flat Earthers encouraging people to stop blindly accepting what they've been taught and do their own research has not gone unnoticed, considering that the primarily cited origin of flat earth ideas is indeed the Bible.

In numerous passages, the Bible claims that the earth is a flat disk and/or rectangular, usually implicitly. Whether or not the Bible "really" says this is often debated — but if the Bible was written by people who lived in societies who were unaware that the earth is a more or less spherical object which orbits the Sun, then we would expect this view to be reflected in their writings. Presumably, God's concern would be the salvation of their souls, so it's difficult to see why clearing up the true shape of the Earth would be important for that endeavor.

Biblical flat-Earthism is very rarely accepted. Wilbur Glenn Voliva even offered \$5000 as a prize for anyone who can prove that Earth is not flat. Of course, his predictions about Earth ending in 1923, 1927, 1930, and 1935 also failed.[77] Teaching about spherical Earth was banned in the schools of Zion, Illinois, at that time.

Former President of the United States Jimmy Carter mentioned flat-Earthers in passing (though he was actually speaking against mandatory teaching of creation science):[78]

 “”There can be no incompatibility between Christian faith and proven facts concerning geology, biology, and astronomy. There is no need to teach that stars can fall out of the sky and land on a flat Earth in order to defend our religious faith.

### Appeals to the Bible

What the Bible actually says about a flat Earth is clearly a matter for debate amongst Christians. But it is certainly both instructive and amusing to read how some Christians clearly see a flat Earth while other Christians attempt to dismiss their claims as poetry, dreams or something which is "obviously" not to be taken literally.

#### The king seeing all the earth

• "Daniel 4:10-11. In Daniel, the king “saw a tree of great height at the centre of the earth… reaching with its top to the sky and visible to the earth's farthest bounds.” Only with a flat Earth could a tall tree be visible from "the earth's farthest bounds" — this is impossible on a spherical Earth, or is the tree a rocket?

Theological rebuttal: The strength of Daniel 4:10-11 as an argument for a flat Earth is considerably reduced by the fact that this part of the Book of Daniel recounts a dream experienced by the Assyrian king of Babylon. Thus, it does not necessarily refer to an actually existing tree or make any statements about real cosmology. This interpretation would seem to indicate that biblical literalists do not even know how to read the Bible properly.

#### Jesus seeing all the kingdoms

Shows why you couldn't see all the kingdoms. To be fair, you can suggest that those outside of lines of sight are not kingdoms.
• Matthew 4:8: "Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain [spaceship?], and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world"
• Luke 4:5: "And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time."

Theological rebuttal again: The strength of using Matthew and Luke as flat Earth claims is reduced by the fact that "kingdom" is a human construct. If you classify all the places on Earth that you can't see from that particular location as "not kingdoms", such as barbaric tribes and non-monarchies, it can be fitted within that description. However, how the devil knows that those places are not ruled by kings (again, the concept of "king" is also a human concept) is not exactly clear.

You could also go with the idea that Satan simply showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world over the course of a trip around the equator or in sequence, because the text does not imply that they were shown together.

Yet another possible interpretation is that only kingdoms in the then known world (southern Europe, northern Africa and western Asia) are meant, which could be seen from a point in space not far above the surface of the Earth. Take your pick, flatheads.

#### The earth is a circle

• Isaiah 40:22: "He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth (Earth’s orbit?), and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy (map), and spreads them out like a tent to live in."

Jews and Christians use this quote to "prove" that the Bible implies that the earth is spherical, although the word is "circular", and may refer to the perception of a 360 degree panoramic view. Some scholars point out that Isaiah never uses the Modern Hebrew word for sphere Kadur, anywhere.[79] It is not clear to Theists whether this is relevant, because the interpretation of the word Kadur in the Bible is disputed by Theists. This line probably does refer to a flat model of the earth, since an alternative translation is "He sits enthroned above the vault of the earth," a reference to the firmament.

The passage describes the Heavens as like a canopy, not the Earth. This interpretation would seem to indicate that Biblical literalists do not even know how to read sentences properly.

It's also worth mentioning that some non-flat-earth Christians maintain that this entire text is intended to be poetic in nature, as it talks about God holding the dust of the earth in a basket. Either this, along with everything else, is meant to be a metaphorical description, or God has a really big basket.

#### "Four Corners"

• Isaiah 11:12 "And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners [north, south, east and west] of the earth."
• Revelation 7:1 "And after these things I saw four angels standing on four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree."

As with the Daniel quote, modern Jews and Christians, who have been educated by Science, don't take this literally; to them the events described in Revelation are a series of visions, rather than an accurate description of the world (which would indicate that you shouldn't take the Holy Bible literally). Another interpretation of this verse is that four corners of the earth don't refer to literal four corners but to cardinal directions, which is further supported by the description of the four winds which are commonly referenced by their cardinal direction. An additional consideration is that Leviticus 19:27 refers to the "corners of the head"; this means that either A)the authors of the Bible had no problem with using the word "corners" non-literally while discussing round things (which would give the absurd implication that they used idioms and figurative speech just like everyone else ever), or B) The Ancient Israelites had heads like Minecraft Characters (in spite of all fossil evidence to the cont-- Oh wait...). Take for example the modern idiom "The Ends of the Earth." If Isaiah or Revelation had been written today, then this would be the phrase used, and then thousands of years later fundies would take this as proof that the earth is shaped like a string or rope.

Even ignoring all the above rebuttals and debate amongst Christians about what the Bible "really" says, there's still the issue that if we are indeed meant to read the Bible this hyper-literally, then that would imply that when Jesus said we were to be "like doves," that he meant we were to grow feathers, eat mostly seed and fruit, regurgitate crop milk, and make mostly cooing noises.

The problem, of course, is that the very people who insist the Earth is flat because of (their) literal interpretation of the Bible, when pressed on the above points, retreat to a non-literal interpretation of those points, thereby undermining their whole argument that the Earth is flat because the Bible literally says it is. Essentially, they can pick and choose what parts of the Bible are hyper literal or not.

## Islamic flat Earth apologetics

Some Islamic fundamentalists possibly believe the earth is flat, using a literal interpretation of several Qur'an verses. In fact, medieval Muslim scholars, like Christians of the same era, readily accepted Greco-Roman astronomy and used a Ptolemaic geocentric model of the universe with a spherical Earth.[80][81] This would make modern Islamic flat Earth apologetics a step backwards. In 1966 the supreme religious authority of Saudi Arabia, Sheik Abd al-Aziz Bin Baz, is rumored to have declared "The earth is flat. Whoever claims it is round is an atheist deserving of punishment." However historians such as Robert Lacey believe that this quote was misinterpreted (and that Ibn Baaz was actually asserting that the Earth doesn't orbit around the Sun — but not that the earth was flat).

Mohammed Yusuf, founder of terrorist group Boko Haram, stated that the Theory of Evolution as well as spherical Earth teachings should be rejected because they are against Islam.[82] In a 2007 TV debate, an Iraqi Astronomer, Fadil Al-Sa'd, tried hard to push the ideas that the earth is flat and Qur'anic verses also support that the Sun (also flat) is much smaller than Earth and revolves around it.[83]

As in all cases of proof-via-scripture, it's just a question of making flat Earthery fit by cherry picking the most vague translation.

### Appeals to the Qur'an

And (remember) the Day We shall cause the mountains to pass away (like clouds of dust), and you will see the earth as a levelled plain, and we shall gather them all together so as to leave not one of them behind.

The Muhsin Khan and Shakir translation seem to use "levelled plain"; other translations, apart from Yusuf Ali, which says "level stretch" rather than "levelled plain", which clearly suggests that God is f@#king punching mountains flat like the badass he is the Earth is a disc.

Who has made earth for you like a bed (spread out); and has opened roads (ways and paths etc.) for you therein; and has sent down water (rain) from the sky. And We have brought forth with it various kinds of vegetation.

Translations again disagree on this. Like a "carpet" and like a "cradle" are also popular.

Who has made for you the earth like a bed, and has made for you roads therein, in order that you may find your way.

Other translations of this "like a bed" indicate that it's metaphorical, with "resting place" being the most popular use. The Dr. Ghali translation still uses "cradle" in place of bed.

Qur'an 43:38
Till, when (such a one) comes to Us, he says [to his Qarîn (Satan / devil companion)] "Would that between me and you were the distance of the two easts (or the east and west)" a worst (type of) companion (indeed)!

One presumes that this is a tacit admission that there is an absolute point marked "east" and a point marked "west" which isn't possible on a globe because it wraps around. It's not entirely possible on a flat Earth, either as there is no fixed reference. In Terry Pratchett's Discworld, set on a flat disc, they use radial co-ordinates of "hubward" (meaning toward the centre) "rimward" (towards the outside) and "turnwise" and "widdershins" for clockwise and counterclockwise respectively. Analogous with east and west on a globe, there are no fixed points on this reference frame.

Have We not made the earth as a bed,

Only Muhsin Khan says "bed". The rest are "expanse" or variations of it. Dr Ghali continues with "cradle". One has to ask, if someone walked up to you and said that the Earth is like a bed, wouldn't one usually think they meant it was a small, warm, and comfortable thing you sleep in and which a parent lovingly prepares for their child? "Flat" is usually quite far down the list of words associated with beds, and indeed if one wanted to describe something as flat, they usually pick something much closer to two-dimensional, such as parchment.

And after that He spread the earth;

Ironically, the flat Earthers would have been better off with Dr Ghali here, as he is less ambiguous about it: "And the earth, after that He flattened it (for life)."

## The irony strikes back

See the main article on this topic: Irony

### Faking photos

And the original Mars photo can be found where?

Some Flat Earthers, who dismiss all photographs of space as fake ― without giving any criteria for what would constitute a genuine one, other than incredulity ― have been known to use deceptive means for making their case. Essentially, they have done the very same thing that they accuse others of doing. The image at the right is among the first that one finds upon searching for “flat earth” in Google Images.

Convincing, right? Not so fast. The alleged photo cannot be found in the NASA archives, because it was done by YouTube user Danny Wilten. It just showed how the Martian landscapes captured by spatial probes could be photoshopped from one taken in Ireland, not that such a thing actually had taken place.[84] To date, no photo of Mars has been shown to correspond to one taken on Earth,[85] which would be the relevant proof. But it also raises the question, what exactly do these space deniers expect to see on other worlds? Do they expect other rocky planets to be radically different from barren places on Earth? But more importantly, if these photos are so evidently fake, why bother lying? And even if they are fake, it doesn't necessarily mean that the earth is flat. Absence of evidence doesn't mean evidence of absence.

### Antisemitism

 “”Do your research on David Irving Stalin was way worse than Hitler That’s why the POTUS gotta wear a kippah —B.o.B - Flatline[86]
Antisemitic poster used in Eric Dubay's YouTube video 200 Proofs Earth Is Not a Spinning Ball.

Flat Earthers have often complained that NASA had ex-Nazi collaborators working for them, such as Wernher von Braun. This was indeed true (see Operation Paperclip)[87] but ultimately this is a poor reductio ad Hitlerum argument in the end: "Why should I trust a space agency on its topics of expertise, if it also has antisemites in it?".[note 8] Fortunately, almost all of those scientists are dead or retired now, so that worry is unsubstantiated. The irony is that, bizarrely, many popular flat Earthers have spread some kind of antisemitic conspiracies themselves.[88] So if they were really worried about Nazism, they could excise the ones in their cult community. Here are some examples:

• Answers in Genesis (in an astounding stopped clock moment) shows various examples. Edward Hendrie, who in his book The Greatest Lie on Earth: Proof That Our World Is Not a Moving Globe constantly blames Jews, "communists" and "Zionists" for everything, who "control the mass media, which they use to propagandize the people into pushing the politicians into doing their bidding against God and his anointed"[89] (he may as well have titled his book Mein Kampf 2.0).
• Yoga instructor Eric Dubay's infamous YouTube video 200 Proofs Earth Is Not a Spinning Ball features literal "Grand Anti-Masonic Exhibition" propaganda posters.[90] He also posted a blog where he claims "Jewish-controlled mainstream media" has "painted an evil picture of Hitler".[91]

In some way, this is unsurprising too, since a flat Earth would require some kind of New World Order conspiracy theory. They often land not far away from the oldest grand conspiracy in the book: the International Jewish / Judeo-Masonic conspiracy theory.[94] After all, "if a spherical Earth is fake, what else is fake? Maybe the Holocaust? Am I right B.o.B.?"[95] (See also Peter Sweden).

## Common counterarguments that do not refute Flat Earther claims

Just because the thing you're trying to prove happens to be correct doesn't necessarily mean that the "proof" you're trying to use is valid. As such, some of the arguments people use against flatheads have almost as little thought put into them as the ones the flatheads themselves use. Stay away from these arguments. Inverse stopped clocks will be handed out at the ticket booth.

### The shadow the Earth casts on the Moon is round!

"This is how a lunar eclipse would look like on a flat Earth!"

This one is based on an inaccurate understanding of the solar system. The dark side of the moon is not the Earth's shadow, it's simply the side of the moon facing away from the sun; in fact, when the Earth does cast a shadow on the moon, it's called "a lunar fucking eclipse".

But even if you're aware of this and instead phrase your argument as "the shadow that the earth casts on the moon during a lunar eclipse is round," it still makes no sense. Lunar eclipses are only visible at night, meaning that the sun is "beneath" the Earth during the event, its rays perpendicular to the plane defined by the horizon. Grab a coin and a flashlight, and orient the coin so that Heads faces directly towards the flashlight. Now turn the flashlight on. What shape does the shadow on the opposite wall take? Yeah.

### Eratosthenes's shadows proved a round earth!

Eratosthenes's experiment assumed a sun sufficiently large and distant that its rays are near-parallel when they reach earth. Guess what happens when you swap that for a small and near sun?

### Gravity would pull a disk that big into a spherical shape!

If someone is dumb enough to deny a fact as basic and demonstrable as the shape of the Earth, then do you really think they're going to accept a concept as advanced as an intangible cosmic force that even scientists don't fully understand yet? People knew that things fell long before Newton, and those who thought to ask why came up with their own explanations. As it is, the most popular flathead explanation (that actually makes sense anyway) for spilled milk not hovering midair is that the earth is constantly accelerating upward at 9.8m/s^2.

## Reverse Flat Earth conspiracy theory

Another crank belief that is gaining just as much, if not more, momentum in the tubes as the flat Earth itself is its mirror image conspiracy: the Reverse Flat Earth Conspiracy Theory (lame title, but we'll think of something else later). As you may have guessed, the idea here is that the flat Earth theory isn't merely false, it's actually a fake conspiracy that was made up by the powers that be to make "genuine" truth seekers look bad.[96] Unsurprisingly, however, said clowns who make this unfounded claim often believe in other sorts of crankery that are almost as moronic as the flat Earth itself. Actually, if you haven't guessed, this is the whole point. The point is to knock down the flat Earth as "obviously" wrong to give their own form of crankery credibility. At least one conspiracy loon who rejects the flat Earth even says space itself is a hoax![97]

In short: no, you do not get any bonus points for rejecting the flat Earth if you regurgitate other sorts of crankery and conspiracy bullshit. Looking cute like the kitten near the dinner table doesn't cut it, so don't try it.

## Further Reading

### Rebuttals of flat earth conspiracies

• Weird Earth: Debunking Strange Ideas about Our Planet, Donald R. Prothero (2020, Red Lightning) ISBN 978-1684350612