Flat Earthers

by Abigail Kent

Flat earthers are people who believe that the earth we live on today, is flat. They believe that the sphere, or globe, that we have always known our Earth by, is not the actual reality or truth. The way a lot of people know our world by today is a massive rock orbiting through the atmosphere and around the sun. We know the Earth as a sphere, with a top and bottom axis, showing the planet on a tilt, and an equator, showing the middle, and outermost part of our planet Earth. Flat earthers see our planet far differently. They see Earth as being flat, with the north pole in the middle. These believers say that the bible even has supporting evidence, stating the earth is flat. The truth is the truth to them, and they believe that just because humans have been able to provide other evidence showing the earth is the sphere, they still think that their truth should not be set aside for this reason. They see their truth as far greater than humans, so why would they believe the evidence that is readily available.

These beliefs have been supported for quite some time. This theory has been around since the early 1800’s. It was a very popular belief back then, mainly due to the lack of resources, like space exploration or pictures. They obviously were not able to send a rocketship into space in the 1800’s. The belief of the earth being flat has never really gone away, but it has definitely made a comeback over the last couple of years. Hundreds of people gather for conferences hosted by the International Flat Earth Research Society. People gather from all over and listen to speakers and share their thoughts and evidence about their belief. Information is readily available, almost anywhere, on the flat earth theory, especially with the comeback it is making. There are websites after websites, books, magazine articles, news segments, etc., that all cover the flat earth theory. A lot of them meet and gather for online events, too. For example, the youtube channel for flat earthers.

The information that can be found from all of these different resources looks at it from all angles. There is obviously a lot of information that shows the earth is a sphere. All of the things we were taught growing up, whether it be learning about our round earth in grade school science, or seeing pictures from a spacecraft in space, we have just always known the earth as round. A lot of evidence for the earth being flat, is subjective. They rely heavily on their senses to know that the world they live in is not a sphere. One lady explained how you can go down to the ocean, look from left to right over the horizon, and see that it is a straight line, meaning the earth is flat. One of the most concrete forms of evidence for flat earthers is the Bedford Level Experiment. Basically what this consisted of was monitoring a straight line of moving water for about a six mile stretch. There were three poles along this path. The poles were there to show any difference in water level at any point. If the earth were really round, then there should have been some sort of water level difference because of the natural curvature in the earth, but the water was in fact the same level among all three poles. This experiment was done in the early 1800’s. They also use the bible as evidence, too. They take words from the bible very literally and that supports their belief in a flat earth.

A lot of these believers are probably not misinformed, especially based off of the amount of evidence there is out there proving the earth is a sphere. The evidence is possible misinterpreted. A lot of flat earthers see evidence supporting a round earth as a lie and see it to be very deceiving. Many have expressed that they are offended and appalled that they had been lied to and deceived for so long about the shape of our earth. I feel like pseudoscience is big in flat earthers, seeing as the rely on things like their senses, or what is visible to the eye, which those things obviously can not be disproven. They hear all of this opposing evidence or thoughts from others, and it makes sense to them so they also jump on the flat earth train.

Flat earthers come from all over. It is not specific to just one area. Hearing people interview about the flat earth society brought to light the variety in people that support this theory. A lot of the people come to have these beliefs from reading articles or sites, or being involved in discussion posts on websites. Anyone has access to the internet, so anyone is capable of starting to believe the earth is flat. When numbers start to rise in online groups, or a video goes viral, it dramatically increases the likelihood of someone seeing or involving themselves with this belief. The world we live in today is very technology reliant, and has a very heavy influence on people. They are able to gain and sustain these beliefs by having the support of their community of other believers. It is extraordinary because it is such a strongly supported theory, even with the amount of evidence against it. These people believe in something that others may see as impossible.

Flat earthers are a great example of a community of extraordinary beliefs. It is a theory and belief that has been around since the 1800’s. It has stood its time and still stands strong, despite overwhelming evidence against it. They believe things based on their senses, and taking things very literally from a religious book. The number of people who believe this theory is growing. They have taken full advantage of the technology world, and have gained believers, followers, and support and strength in this way.


14 thoughts on “Flat Earthers

  1. This belief has always been perplexing to me. Reading your post, I started thinking about a few issues I have. Firstly, how do the believers feel about the immense imaging we have of space explicitly showing the shape of earth? Perhaps, they don’t care. Also, was there a continuous group of believers since the 1800’s or was there something that sparked a new wave of belief. Thirdly, if the earth were to be flat, wouldn’t there be peaks and folds transitioning from each side?

    • I had all of these thoughts, too! From what I found and researched, they take the immense amount of proof and imaging we have and they get offended by it! They see it as a lie and a way to get people to believe the earth is round. They believe we have been brainwashed to believe the earth was round. This has been a continuous belief. There have been influxes of popularity throughout time, but it is on its upswing again, as they continue to grow in numbers. See, we would expect to see folds and peaks, and see the end of the earth. Their belief is that the middle of the flat earth is where the core of the gravity is, so the closer you get to the “edge” of the earth, the gravity would inhibit you from ever making it to the true end. I saw a few interviews of believers, and one lady went and looked at the horizon where the ocean met the sky and she said it was clearly a straight line with no curvature, so the earth had to be flat. lol.

  2. I found your blog post interesting to read because I have always been intrigued by this belief and those people who call themselves “Flat Earthers”. I was at first appalled that people would believe such a thing, but after recalling all the crazy conspiracies out there, I was not surprised this was one of them. I think the fact that this theory began in the 1800’s plays a role in the fact that it is still around today. You would think people would learn from new advancements and improve on our current knowledge, but some people like to cling to the past knowledge. I also enjoyed reading about the Bedford Level experiment done in the 1800s, which seems like a silly experiment nowadays.

    • Thank you for the reply! I have also always found this so intriguing, mainly because of how obscure it is to me. I agree that the fact its been around for so long really plays a huge part in the strength of the theory. A lot of the believers have a really deep rooted fear of the government lying about everything. Some even think we live in a world of lies and a reality that they want us to believe.

  3. One of my favorite extraordinary beliefs! Recently, on a trip to Brazil, when we were standing on top of a cliff, one of the people I was on the trip with said, “See how far you can see? It’s because the Earth is flat. How could it look that flat and be curved?” I was shocked, and all I could do was laugh becasue I wasn’t prepared to argue it. What blows my mind is first of all, don’t people realize how huge the Earth is? The curvature is so slight for short distances that of course it isn’t noticeable to the human eye. Second, just becasue you see something doesn’t make it true. How often does our visual system fail us? As if our visual system is perfect and can’t be fooled. Third, how can you argue scientific evidence? I late found out that same person also was anti-vaccination, which sealed the deal for me, I would never try to discuss that with him cause he was full of extra ordinary beliefs.

    • Oh wow you had a first hand experience of a believer! I can not say that I have heard anyone speak their belief on this, but I know I would have been shocked the same as you. Thank you! Our earth is massive, and people think that from standing on a beach or coast somewhere, that they expect to see that curve of the earth. If they could see the curvature, that wold mean we were on one tiny planet. This guy really believes all that good stuff! It would be interesting yet frustrating to carry on a conversation about extraordinary beliefs with someone like that for me.

  4. It’d be interesting to see flat earthers actually try and prove the earth is flat, like sending them to the point where they think the earth just ends and provide real evidence. I’ve read that flat earthers believe there’s an ice wall that surrounds the perimeter of the earth which holds the oceans back. They say the reason why we cannot travel to the edge of the earth is because the ice wall is Antarctica and it’s too cold for people to travel to and come back to tell their story. It seems that flat earthers will defend this theory to the death so no matter how much disconfirming outside evidence there is, flat earthers have some sort of counter argument as to why that evidence is invalid.

    • I would also find that interesting. I feel like with the overwhelming amount of evidence and knowledge we have about the earth being a sphere, even if they were to see for themselves, they would still find a way to counteract the truth. I mean that’s basically all they are doing already, ignoring the blatant reality of it and making sense of it by making something up or believing in something with zero evidence.

  5. I find it interesting that people who believe this come from all over the world. I know that many people who believe this in the U.S. is because they think there is a conspiracy with the government. I wonder if people from other places in the world believe for similar reasons or if they are simply misinformed.

    • I also think it’s interesting to think about other cultures and if they believe in government conspiracies like people in the United States. I would assume that people around the world do believe conspiracies like the earth is flat because the government brainwashed them, but maybe they don’t have such a hardcore following as conspiracies do in the United States.

    • That is a good question! I feel like the fact that it is a global belief could be tied in with the fact that it is a belief from the 1800’s, so it has been around for some time. This could mean other countries may have very different reasoning for believing the earth is flat compared to a lot of people here in the U.S., who feel its done by the government that a lot of people do not trust.

  6. I just don’t understand the point of this conspiracy. If the earth is truly flat, then we are being lied to so that we sail off the end of the earth? I also love how no matter how much evidence is presented to these people or what kind of evidence you have, it is immediately dismissed. There is no possible way to convince these people of the truth. Even if we shoot them into space in a rocket with a clear view, they would claim the experience was faked.

  7. Abigail, I liked your comment about how they believe that just because they have been able to provide other evidence showing the earth is the sphere, they say that their truth should not be set aside for this reason. Why do you think this is something that people are still so strongly debating about, considering this is something that has been around for some time?

    • I also found that statement very interesting. It really encompasses the dedication they have to their own truth. I feel like it may have to do with people and their needs and satisfaction with things. For some, maybe they have a deep mistrust of the government. They could maybe find comfort in feeling that they know the deepest secrets, like that the earth to them is flat. They could feel as if they were giving in to being brainwashed or lied to. When they deny the earth is a sphere, it is their way of sticking it to the man saying they know the “real truth”.

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