The Flat Earth Theory

People who belief in the Flat Earth Theory hold the conviction that the earth is flat and not round. This theory started to become more and more popular around 2009 and is growing ever since. It is considered one of the most controversial conspiracy theories existing. They claim the Earth to be flat because for them it feels like and looks like it is. The ones believing in this Theory call themself  “The Flat Earth Society” and the importance about this is that even though there is evidence to the contrary they claim those “to be fabrications of a ‘round Earth conspiracy’”(Wolchover).

The believers in the Flat Earth Theory think that the “Earth is a disc with the Arctic Circle in the center and Antarctica, a 150-foot-tall wall of ice, around the rim.”(Wolchover). Believers claim that the NASA guards protect those ice walls from people that try to climb over and fall from the disc. In their eyes they also believe that Earth’s gravity is an illusion and objects do not accelerate downward, they are “driven up by a mysterious force called dark energy”.

On the opposite end, there are countless photographs, videos, and imagery from astronauts and from the International Space Station that is enough evidence to show that the Earth is actually round, but the interesting part here is that even though there is evidence that prove their claims wrong in their eyes it is not considered real evidence and faked by the government.

Those who believe in it most likely misinterpret the evidence and are only looking for beliefs that would confirm their owns. This is also called confirmation bias. In this case they ignore the real evidence that the earth is round and label them as ‘fake’, whereas when something in any way would support their beliefs has to be correct. Another cognitive contribution is groupthink, which is a concept that people within a group “value harmony and coherence above rational thinking”(PsychologyToday). This often results in dysfunctional outcomes and irrational beliefs. In this case, Flat Earth Society members do not want to doubt or judge the others beliefs and therefore strengthen their owns.

The flat Earth model started in the ancient where many cultures believed in a flat Earth “until the classical period,the Bronze Age” (Wikipedia). It became more controversial again, because the moon landing in 1959 came with a lot of skepticism. Flat earth theorists  believe that the moon landing was fake and the pictures and audios recorded from that time were fabrications. They believe that GPS devices and maps are fake and that the International Space Station is a fake space station, believing it would be cheaper to promote a fake station rather than build a real one. The primary social influence that maintains their belief is groupthink. Social reinforcement form like-minded people allows them to feel sane when they speak of the topic and feel that their opinions are respected and justified.

Even though this theory can be proven wrong by a lot of evidence, the human brain and different psychological concept show how one can persists with their beliefs due to groupthink or biases. Human also love searching for meaning and drawing connections between things that sometimes have no tangible connection between them. It is simply human nature.



13 thoughts on “The Flat Earth Theory

  1. Hearing about the flat earth theory always makes me laugh a little bit, but it also concerns me. I want one of these flat earthers to physically get on a boat and go to the ice wall to see try and see it. They say that NASA is protecting the ice wall so that people don’t fall off of it, but there is no way that they can protect all of the “ice wall”?? There are tons of theories that we believed in the past because we didn’t know any better, but now that we have proof of a round earth there is no reason that we should be believing in a flat earth.

  2. The Flat Earth theory is a prime example of a false claim snowballing into a belief system. Because this claim goes against information backed by science, all of science has to be refuted in order to substantiate the claim. These people make these obtuse claims and and have severed their connections with both reality and the outside world, being consumed by this false worldview. I hope they actually take their cruise to the ice wall so they can move on from this.

  3. Hello!
    I was drawn to this blog post because of our conversation on the first days of class on this topic! I find this belief to be very interesting considering the amount of disproving evidence we have against it. Historically, it makes sense that people may have believed that the world is flat because we had such little information about Earth and its properties. Now that we know such abundant information, people who still believe that the world is flat definitely depict the idea of confirmation bias. These believers seem to be looking for anything that will prove them right and ignore the large amount of evidence that proves them wrong. I additionally think people who believe in flat earth can be skeptical individuals and maybe not trust the government. For flat earth to be such a secret, many lies would have been told by the government. Someone who is mistrusting of the government may feed into these ideas!! Overall I really enjoyed reading your post!

  4. After our documentary-viewing during class last week, does anyone think that eventually enough failures at obtaining scientific support for the flat earth theory will lead to people retracting this belief, or will flat earth theorists always exist, despite ANY proof to back up their claims?

  5. Hello!
    It’s unbelievable that some people still believe the earth is flat. The claims that the scientists fabricate that the earth is round, though various facts prove it is. But I don’t know what can they get from “fabricate” it. On the other side, flat earth believer cannot provide any credible evidence. They merely use some hard words to fool their believers, let them believe we have reliable evidence that can prove our science is wrong. Overall, it is really funny to hear these theories.

  6. when I was doing research for my most recent blog post about Antarctica, it kind of tied into some stuff about flat earth. I learned that a lot of Flat Earth proponents believe that it is illegal to go to Antarctica. Thats why many claim that proving the earth isn’t so simple as just sailing to the Ice wall. They claim that they will be arrested and that Antarctica is home to many secret government experiments.

  7. I find the Flat Earth Theory very interesting because a lot of people make jokes about it. I wonder if with technology advancing thats what made people believe that images from NASA were fake. Since landing on the moon was such a huge leap for spaceship technology. I think a lot of people don’t know much of the Flat Earth Theory like when I researched and realized that flat earth’s believe that there are two ice walls and one of them is protecting them hidden continents that the government is keeping secret but then I read this and it appears they only believe in one ice wall. So, I believe that the flat earth’s themselves come up of a lot of ideas on things they don’t know how to explain and they themselves get confused and don’t know what is correct. Except, of course that the earth is flat. I also find it interesting that we would revert back into such old thinking since people believed this 100 yrs ago. It kind of seems that flat earthers are like anti-vaxxers in the sense that the believe that old knowledge is better because its old.

  8. One thing that I’ve always wondered about Flat Earth Theory is, if NASA is guarding the ice wall, what kinda people are they sending? Does NASA have their own military? Is it just a militia made out of astronauts? Or do they just borrow soldiers from the U.S. military? And if so, why is the U.S. the ONLY country involved in protecting the wall? I would think other major powers (Russia, Britain, France) would want to be in on it.

  9. I did not know how big of a reputation the flat earth theory had until after watching the Netflix documentary with Mark Sargent in class. I knew there was the theory that the earth could be flat, but I didn’t think thousands of people actually believed it. You would think the photographs, videos, and astronaut images from the International Space Station would be enough evidence to convince flat earthers that the Earth is actually round, but of course people have to have conspiracy theories to back up their conspiracy theories until it’s a never ending tale.

  10. You touched on this in your post, but the amount of camaraderie and unity that has developed over the belief in a flat earth has become truly outstanding. After seeing “Behind the Curve” in class, I could not differentiate the flat earth society from a group of devout followers of a religious belief. I watched Mark Sargent zealously spread the “gospel” of flat earth to random strangers hoping they would accept his “truth.” This personally was eye opening to me as a follower of Christ. If I believe people will one day be eternally separated from God’s love, then how much more urgently should I be trying to share the Gospel of Christ.

  11. When discussing the Flat Earth Theory, at least for me, I get very confused when I hear other people believe the world is flat. I thought that was a concept disproven in the 1400s and the belief was that the world is round. This was the belief even before we had a government or the United States was established. It always amazes me that this is still a theory.

  12. I think what’s important is to have tolerant attitude for people who believe that. The principles of science are to embrace all theories and always ready to fix mistakes. Additionally, brutal comments or attacks for those people who believe flat earth theory may simulate them to believe that more deeply which make things turning into emotional layer instead of scientific discussions.

  13. I could not agree more with your last sentence, saying that it is just human nature. People seek for the shortest cut all the time. And one of the features that Flat Earth Theory would attract more believers is the simplicity. Compared to the whole scientific system and mechanism of earth movement and infinite universe, thinking the world is just a flat disc is much easier and would never drive people crazy. For me, the most difficult thing in the world is to admit my ignorance, but only by accepting that I could start to learn and explore this complicated beautiful world.

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