Flat Earth Theory

by Donovan Condon

Flat Earth Theory is generally the belief that the earth is flat despite all evidence to the contrary. The people who believe in this theory are referred to as “flat-earthers”, and there are still many people who believe in it to this day. The origin of this theory dated back ages before technology could disprove it. It was originally a widespread knowledge that the earth was flat because it seemed flat, and that was the easiest explanation. With new technology, we found that the earth is a sphere along with other planets. The theory is popular with many people including some celebrities like B.O.B. It is important because with the knowledge we have now, it would disobey the laws of nature if it were flat, but conspiracies about governments and NASA prove to be a leading factor in many conspiracies and points flat-earthers make.

Along with the general consensus that the earth “seems and feels” flat, there are other points they use to prove it. One theory is that, with distrust in government and NASA leading it, is that the earth is a circular disc with a huge wall(Antarctica) surrounding it. The wall is guarded by NASA employees to make sure no one climbs it and falls off. They also believe that gravity is an illusion. Rather, they say that instead of objects accelerating downward, the flat earth disc accelerates up using the force of “dark energy.” Despite the theory of gravity never being disproven, the theories they hold true to do not have much, if any, evidence to support them. Flat-earthers also believe photos of the globe are photoshopped, GPS systems are faked and handled purposefully, and that faking a government agency like NASA is for the financial gain of governments. They believe all this in despite that the majority of people believe in gravity, satellite photos, orbits, and all the other profound evidence.

There is not really a certain cognitive contribution to this belief but rather a skeptical view of the government. As do many conspiracy theories, flat earth theory builds off of the reasons why people would cover it up, rather than establish better data on the issue itself. If there are events and actions that seem to cover it up, it only encourages the disbelief in a spherical earth, and in turn, proves the flat-earth theory.

As mentioned before, some celebrities believe in flat-earth theory as well, which can strengthen the beliefs of others due to the platform given to those celebrities. B.O.B has a song called “Flatline” in which he discusses the fact that no matter how high in elevation a person is, the horizon is always eye level. This in truth is just an illusion of the eyes, but regardless the people who listen to his song and don’t do the research are being misinformed. This type of platform that B.o.B has can influence a great deal of listeners and fans into believing the earth is flat as well. This and a general mistrust of the government and agencies such as NASA are some reasons why the flat earth theory is popular and why it has not been eradicated.

The theory of earth being flat is a popular debate among many, but some psychological explanations as to why people believe in it, or why it has not been eradicated are minority influence, vagueness, and magical thinking. Minority influence is a large factor with this theory because the majority feel there is nothing to prove and that it is a fact that the earth is round, while flat-earthers have a strong willed and sometimes educated argument as to why it is not. A huge part of flat earth theory is that it is vague. Going into to detail could disprove their claims about the earth, so stating general ideas is easier and can’t be proven wrong as easily. The last explanation is magical thinking. Humans have a tendency to perceive unseen forces causing an event rather then realizing the obvious solution, and this is the basis of all conspiracy theories.

Natalie Wolchover and Live Science Staff. “Are Flat-Earthers Being Serious?” LiveScience, Purch, 30 May 2017, www.livescience.com/24310-flat-earth-belief.html.



6 thoughts on “Flat Earth Theory

  1. I liked reading your post and was interested to learn some new things about the flat earth theory. I like how you pointed out the relation of the government and this theory because I think this is what most believers have at the core of this belief. I also think the role of the celebrities play a big part. It’s sad how much influence celebrity’s can have over laypeople’s beliefs and I think this definitely has an effect on the popularity of this belief.

  2. I think what’s most interesting about flat earth theory is how it was able to captivate celebrities into believing in it. When we listened to B.o.B.’s song Flatline in class, I was astounded that he was serious about his beliefs. As you mentioned, he has a huge platform and can influence a ton of people, especially his fans. Believing that the earth is flat isn’t essentially harmful, however the premise behind the belief can be. I recall from our discussion in class that a lyric in B.o.B.’s song is anti-Semitic, referencing a conspiracy that Jewish people control the media and the government. He also rapped in praise of David Irving, one of the most infamous Holocaust deniers.

  3. Wow this is aushc a popular theory on our blog! While I can usually see some side of or have some understanding for the reasoning behind most conspiracies, I simply do not understand this one. The government is trying to fool us into believing the world is round; what do they gain by doing so? They want people to accidently sail off the side of the earth due to ignorance? I think the real conspiracy pushing this movement are people who are so anti-government that they will refute anything the government says at all. It certainly seems like an insane belief.

  4. I also wrote about the flat earth theory. I find it wild how many people believe the earth is flat. There are a lot of conspiracies that have very minimal evidence proving either side of the case, so it makes sense for those people to fill in the blanks on those things. With the flat earth believers, though, I just do not get it. There is more than just evidence that the earth is a sphere. The evidence is so abundant and real, that it almost seems like these people are just looking for things to not believe in, or they just really mistrust the government to the point that their reality is distorted, thinking everything around them is made up from government lies.

  5. I think having people in the media such as B.o.b and Kyrie Irving brings attention to this extraordinary belief. I’m not sure if their status would be enough to change anyone’s opinion on this subject or if people would recognize this as an extraordinary belief. Either way, I am still surprised that so many people believe in this even with all the evidence we have to disprove it.

  6. I agree with Hannah, in that when celebrities broadcast their beliefs in extraordinary things, it gives it legitimacy and more people begin to believe it. I feel like many of the people that believe in things like the flat earth theory might get some kind of mental reward for thinking “different” and not following the crowd maybe?

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