Apr 06 2017

Flat Earth Rising

flat-earthInterest in the notion that the earth is flat has been increasing in recent years. I have to say, as much of a jaded skeptic as I am, this level of self-deception is still amazing to me. It truly demonstrates that there is no practical limit to the power of motivated reasoning or the absurdity of conclusions which it can defend.

Serious flat earth proponents actually do believe that the earth is not a globe, but a flat disk. When you think about this for even a moment, many problems arise, but they have an answer to all of it. Not a good answer, but enough of one to allow motivated reasoning to take over.

Space Exploration

Perhaps the most obvious problem with belief in a flat earth is that we have been to space. You can actually see the earth as a spinning globe. There is no other viable interpretation of this direct and dramatic observational evidence. You might as well tell me that a basketball is not round.

This is what the flat earth wiki has to say about this challenge to their position:

The most commonly accepted explanation of this is that the space agencies of the world are involved in a conspiracy faking space travel and exploration. This likely began during the Cold War’s ‘Space Race’, in which the USSR and USA were obsessed with beating each other into space to the point that each faked their accomplishments in an attempt to keep pace with the other’s supposed achievements. Since the end of the Cold War, however, the conspiracy is most likely motivated by greed rather than political gains, and using only some of their funding to continue to fake space travel saves a lot of money to embezzle for themselves.

In light of the above, please note that we are not suggesting that space agencies are aware that the earth is flat and actively covering the fact up. They depict the earth as being round simply because that is what they expect it to be.

The conspiracy theory, of course, is the last refuge of the hopelessly deluded. Any inconvenient evidence can be swept aside by making up a conspiracy theory ad hoc. What is the evidence for this alleged conspiracy? Zero. As they admit, this conspiracy would have to involve many nations in the world, not just the US and USSR/Russia. China, India, the UK, the European Union all have space agencies.

Why would the space agencies of all of these countries be engaged in the exact same conspiracy? You would think that, maybe, China would have noticed and called out the US for faking an entire space program.

This is the grand conspiracy of all grand conspiracies. Such conspiracies are untenable because they collapse under their own weight. You could never keep so many people in line for so long.

But we are just getting started deconstructing this extreme bit of nonsense. It is not as if the space program consists of faking only a few moon landings. The space program primarily consists of putting satellites into orbit. Satellites create the world-wide GPS system, monitor the weather, are used for spying, and establish our broadcasting and communication infrastructure. Google has mapped the world using satellite images.

Sorry, but NASA, the ESA, and other space agencies would have to be completely aware that physics and cosmology are dramatically different from what they think. All those satellites are in orbit, they follow orbital mechanics, and those orbits would not work if the earth were a disk instead of a spheroid.


The conspiracy would have to go way beyond just space agencies. Every astronomer in the world would have to be in on the conspiracy.

The first obvious problem they get into with physics and cosmology is that a disk shaped earth would collapse itself into a sphere due to its own gravity. No problem, say the flat earthers, we will simply get rid of gravity. It’s gone, it doesn’t exist.

“The earth isn’t pulled into a sphere because the force known as gravity doesn’t exist or at least exists in a greatly diminished form than is commonly taught. The earth is constantly accelerating up at a rate of 32 feet per second squared (or 9.8 meters per second squared). This constant acceleration causes what you think of as gravity.”

Problem solved. But wait – what about all those satellites? Being in orbit requires gravity. If the earth were just accelerating up wouldn’t they just come crashing down to the earth? But wait, this means the sun, moon, and actually the entire visible universe must also be accelerating together, in the same direction.

I have a telescope and I have used it to look at stuff. This makes me part of the vast conspiracy. I have seen Jupiter and its largest moons. You can see Jupiter as a spinning globe, showing a different face to us at different times. You can see the moons orbiting around Jupiter. Orbiting requires gravity.

The bottom line is that you cannot understand the universe without the notion of gravity. Galaxies are rotating, and they should fly apart unless they are being held together by their own gravity. We can calculate how much gravity would be needed, and in fact they need more gravity than what we observe, which lead to the theory of dark matter.

Gravity has also been directly measured in the lab, but those scientists must be part of the conspiracy also.

Earth’s Cycles

While your mind is reeling at the implications of this radical theory, you might consider the day-night and seasonal cycles of the earth. They have an answer for this as well.

“Day and night cycles are easily explained on a flat earth. The sun moves in circles around the North Pole. When it is over your head, it’s day. When it’s not, it’s night. The sun acts like a spotlight and shines downward as it moves.”

This just shows you how creative people can be. This is like Ptolmy’s epicycles – if you allow yourself the ability to rig the system with any new factors as needed, you can make anything sort-of work. The problems here are legion, the first of which is that the sun would be visible at all times from all parts of the earth. They try to dodge this obvious problem by saying the sun acts like a “spotlight.” This would have to make it invisible when the spotlight is not shining down on your part of the planet.

Their model also does not explain the phases of the moon. In their model the moon should be always full, if the “spotlight” sun shone on it, or always invisible, if it is in shadow (which is what they depict). There is no way to create the phases of the moon with their model. Don’t even get me started on lunar and solar eclipses.

They are also silent on what force keeps the moon and sun moving in circles around the disk of the earth. It’s not gravity. They have to invent a new force unknown to science to explain this. But they appear to have no problem making stuff up as needed.

Perhaps most amusing is how they brush off the apparent rising and setting of the sun. Previously they appeals to our direct senses to inform their conclusions:

“The simplest is by relying on ones own senses to discern the true nature of the world around us. The world looks flat, the bottoms of clouds are flat, the movement of the sun; these are all examples of your senses telling you that we do not live on a spherical heliocentric world.”

But now:

“Although the sun is at all times above the earth’s surface, it appears in the morning to ascend from the north-east to the noonday position, and thence to descend and disappear, or set, in the north-west. This phenomenon arises from the operation of a simple and everywhere visible law of perspective.”

Believe what you see, except when we tell you. Most people have probably seen a sunrise or sunset, especially over the ocean. This is not perspective, the sun is occluded over the horizon.

Air Travel

The airlines of the world would also have to be in on the spherical-earth conspiracy, and be willing to go to great lengths to maintain this conspiracy. Airlines carefully calculate the optimal path to take to get from point A to point B on what they think is a globe. This is important in order to save time and fuel, which is critical to their often thin profit margins. If the earth were a disk, their calculations would all be off.

This discrepancy would be greatest in the southern hemisphere. Imagine flying from the southern portion of South American to Australia. On a sphere this is a relatively short trip, just past Antartica. On a disk you would have to fly to the opposite end of the Earth. The discrepancy in travel time, and therefore fuel consumption, and even range of the aircraft, would be huge.

Problems with geography would be greatest on Antarctica itself. Currently there are research stations from 30 different countries spread throughout the continent. On a spherical earth all these stations would be fairly close to each other. On a flat disk, with Antacrtica spread around the outer edge, they would be extremely far away. All 30 countries would have noticed this massive discrepancy. The conspiracy grows.


I know I am just shooting fish in a barrel here. The notion of a flat earth is patently absurd and collapse even under the slightest scrutiny. It is fun, and can be informative, to deconstruct even a nonsensical scientific claim in detail.

But more interesting is the psychological phenomenon at work here. It is fascinating that people have the ability to twist logic and evidence to such a degree that they can maintain a belief that is at direct and obvious odds with reality. That is the real story here.

You might be tempted to argue that no one really believes this, but you would be wrong. I happen to personally know people who are flat earthers. Do a little digging yourself before dismissing this phenomenon.


84 responses so far

84 thoughts on “Flat Earth Rising”

  1. BillyJoe7 says:

    Even more incredible than flat-Earthers are those who believe the Earth does not even exist. And not only the Earth, but the whole universe. There is just Ian Wardell and the rest is just a creation in his own mind.

  2. MWSletten says:

    The sun moves in circles around the North Pole.

    Why call it a pole if Earth is flat?

  3. DS1000 says:

    I love how in the map pictured, Brazil becomes larger than all of North America and Australia is bigger than Europe and Asia combined! Of course when you point that out, this map of the world becomes a hypothesis and the “real Earth” may be different. Just like with intelligent design, it’s everything you can say to “poke holes” in the mainstream without actually defending a coherent belief.

  4. SteveA says:

    I can never figure out what they have against gravity.

    The loops and twists they have to force themselves through to accommodate a lack of gravity are so tortuous and exhausting I can’t see how they think it’s worth the effort.

    ‘Gravity denier’ might be a better term than ‘Flat Earther’.

  5. Khym Chanur says:

    What you quoted about the Earth accelerating upwards at 9.8m/s^2 is just one “theory” Flat Earthers have about gravity. Another is something similar to Aristotelian gravity, where high density things (like rocks) go down and low density things (like hot air) go up.

  6. DrNick says:

    There has been a recent surge of flat earth sentiment among current and former NBA basketball players, including Shaquille O’Neal, as well as two of the league’s current stars, Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors:


    I wonder how much of this is a cultural phenomenon, driven by the fact that the African American community is often (quite understandably) more suspicious of authority and likely to believe that the establishment, whether political or scientific, cannot be trusted, and is actively attempting to mislead them or pull the wool over their eyes.

    There was another infamous recent incident where the hip hop artist B.o.B got into an epic Twitter exchange when he came out as a flat earther, although there was some speculation that it was all just a publicity stunt for his forthcoming album.

  7. Milbrandt says:

    One thing I’ve noticed is that all of their maps seem to have the north pole in the center and the south pole at the edge. Wouldn’t their explanations work just as well (i.e. bad) if it were the other way around?
    It seems arbitrary, and I wonder what their reasoning behind it is, if there is any. Maybe most flat earthers live in the northern hemisphere and it’s because of that.

  8. MaryM says:

    This one is really remarkable. What is the psychological benefit of believing this? That you are sticking it to Big Sphere? What?

    I kind of get why people hold CTs on pharma and the Illuminati. But this one is really baffling to me.

  9. mumadadd says:

    I saw something a couple of years ago about the resurgence of flat earthism (proably on bbc news as its all i watched at the time). They had a couple of on for interview and the impression I got was that they were just taking the piss. Seemed to be sort of a special club mentality – we must espouse this to belong to this counter cultural group – rather than deeply held and cherished beliefs about reality.

  10. Tio says:

    You can, with a 500 Euro telescope, point at the ISS and see it in all of its glory. So, easy to test folks, there are satellites out there, there is the ISS. So, go ahead, test it with your own eyes. But I guess even that is not enough because telescopes are part of the conspiracy and maybe they project a hologram on your retina with the ISS. https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=iss+through+telescope

    I have a telescope and seen the Saturn’s rings and the way they cast a shadow (because of the Sun) on Saturn, and how that changes depending on the Position of Earth, Saturn, and the Sun. You can see Sunspots and how they move around the Sun. This is a short playlist with stuff I’ve seen through my telescope https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLGW2heHH7L3OvkEBSCB_gMQvWRiMVUcWj

    But I am a lizard and I work for the government so don’t trust me.

  11. tmac57 says:

    MaryM- I think the psychological benefit might just be that the “obviousness” of our everyday observation that the earth appears flat is taken as common sense, and if you cannot fully trust your common sense, then your whole world gets turned upside down…or flattened gets turned to spheroid.
    Things that are counterintuitive are the catalysts of argumentation. Just think of the ‘Monty Hall problem’ for example. Even when the explanation is shown in great detail, and can even be demonstrated in real life examples, you will have dead-enders who will never concede that their initial intuitive guess about it was wrong.

  12. Atlantean Idol says:

    What does the tails side of the Earth coin look like?

  13. rootsmusic says:

    A disc traveling upwards at a constant 32 ft/sec^2 suggests we’ve broken light speed many times over, and will conitinue to do so forever, so, I guess Einstein was clearly in on the conspiracy as well.

  14. mumadadd says:

    It sounds so ludicrous as to be a joke. I wonder how many professed flat-earthers are true believers.

    “The question of belief and sincerity is one that comes up a lot,” Wilmore said. “If I had to guess, I would probably say that at least some of our members see the Flat Earth Society and Flat Earth Theory as a kind of epistemological exercise, whether as a critique of the scientific method or as a kind of ‘solipsism for beginners.’ There are also probably some who thought the certificate would be kind of funny to have on their wall. That being said, I know many members personally, and I am fully convinced of their belief.”

    Earth Society vice president Michael Wilmore

  15. Jose says:

    So, wait, if the Earth is a disk, are all the other planets disks, too? Or are the other planets globes, but only Earth is a disk? Is the Sun a disk? The Moon? Or are the other planets part of the conspiracy, too?
    I knew we made the right call when demoting Pluto!

  16. michaelegnor says:

    “The earth is flat”: crazy.

    “Nothing caused everything”: consensus science

    “‘Survivors survive’ explains life”: consensus science

    “The genetic code just happened by chance”: consensus science

    “My SUV is changing the weather”: consensus science

    There’s a lot of crazy out there.

  17. MosBen says:

    Seriously, why haven’t we sent explorers to the other side of the Earth-disk? Is there atmosphere there, with it’s own orbiting sun and moon? Do all the people there have goatees?

    I would pay real money to watch a debate between flat Earth folks and hollow Earth folks.

    And, of course, Egnor shows up with his usual nonsense. The flat Earth theory is not crazy because it seems odd when stated as a single sentence. It’s crazy for the many reasons Steve discussed in the post, and the others that he didn’t get to. You can make anything seem unlikely if you put it in an incredulous short sentence: “Kites are held in the air by an invisible substance which we also breathe”: consensus science.

  18. chikoppi says:

    1) Yes.

    2) Not consensus science.

    3) Sad strawman. Evolution explains the change in heritable traits among reproductive populations over time. There is no scientific consensus on abiogenesis.

    4) Equally sad strawman. See 3 above.

    5) Nope. A typical passenger vehicle produces about 4.7 metric tons of CO2 per year. Global emissions in 2016 were about 10 billion tons. Road transport accounts for about one-fifth of that total.

    But thanks for playing!

  19. RedMcWilliams says:

    Wow, Egnor is a flat-Earther too.

  20. Patrick says:

    @ DrNick – I believe that Shaquille O’Neal later revealed that he was joking about that – see


    @ Dr. Novella – You’ve probably already seen this, but I thought it paralleled the difficulties governments would have in perpetuating their master conspiracies (Michell and Webb comedy sketch):


    It’s more about the faked-moon landing, but the absurdity is much the same.

    @ michaelegnor – Thanks for all your wonderful examples of straw-men arguments!

  21. FuzzyMarmot says:

    To echo what Patrick said, I think many (probably most) of the celebrity flat earthers are just pulling your leg. Shaq is an extremely intelligent guy– he actually holds a doctorate– and his specialty is brilliant deadpan humor. My guess is that most of the big names you hear on this are just being provocateurs, and laughing about how the media reacts.

  22. MosBen says:

    FuzzyMarmot, I really hope that you are right, though from what I understand comics icon Neal Adams really is a Hollow Earther, so you never know…

  23. Jay Lee says:

    I’m just curious; Where’s the edge and can we all go visit? Would the disk flip over? What does the edge look like? What keeps the air in?

  24. MosBen says:

    And indeed, checking to see if I was right about Adams I found that he had appeared on the SGU (before my time) and Steve wrote a blog post about a written debate that he had.


  25. MosBen says:

    Correction, I guess Adams doesn’t believe that the Earth is hollow, just that it is growing due to the creation of new matter.

  26. Beamup says:

    Seriously, why haven’t we sent explorers to the other side of the Earth-disk? Is there atmosphere there, with it’s own orbiting sun and moon? Do all the people there have goatees?

    The government (singular – kind of bleeds into Illuminati territory) has, but nobody knows what they found because there are sharpshooters perpetually stationed around the entire perimeter of the disk to kill anyone who gets close enough to see anything they aren’t supposed to. That perimeter is a massive wall of ice – which both helps them economize on manpower since a single person can cover more territory from such a vantage, and proves that George R R Martin is in on it.

    And yes, I’m serious. I spent some time perusing the Flat Earth Society forums a while back out of curiosity. One of the active threads at the time was trying to work out how many people would be needed to form that security force, what its likely funding would have to be, and which parts of the federal budget were that money creatively mislabeled.

  27. gaslight troubadour says:

    People can and will be ridiculous.

  28. MosBen says:

    I really, legitimately wish that Flat Earthers would band together for some kind of big dig to the other side.

  29. bachfiend says:


    You’ve given Michael Egnor as much attention as he deserves. Point (5) should have noted that global emissions of carbon in the form of CO2 in 2016 were 10 billion tonnes (which is the equivalent of around 30 billion tonnes of CO2).

  30. NOTaFlatEarther says:

    Look at the UN flag, that is the map they base it on

  31. NOTaFlatEarther says:

    Look at the UN flag and The azimuthal equidistant map THEN look at the flat earth map…hmmm

  32. chikoppi says:

    [bachfiend] Point (5) should have noted that global emissions of carbon in the form of CO2 in 2016 were 10 billion tonnes (which is the equivalent of around 30 billion tonnes of CO2).

    Quite right. Cheers!

  33. msfletcher says:

    “The earth isn’t pulled into a sphere because the force known as gravity doesn’t exist or at least exists in a greatly diminished form than is commonly taught. The earth is constantly accelerating up at a rate of 32 feet per second squared (or 9.8 meters per second squared). This constant acceleration causes what you think of as gravity.”

    Obviously there’s a whole lot more people involved that we first suspected.

    1. At a constant acceleration of 1G the solar system would have be travelling at close to light speed within the first year. Who’s covering up where all the energy is coming from? Einstein was in on it too, as clearly relativity is fake.
    2. The blue/red shift of observed starlight due to this acceleration would be readily apparent, as would time dilation. Chemtrails must be being used to change the sky so we don’t notice that.
    3. The energy of impacts with dust and meteorites would be likewise increasing, with the kinetic energy of the impact proportional to the square of the relative velocity. Is this what happened to that Malaysian airliner that just disappeared? Hit by a grain of sand travelling at light speed? Or maybe all that extra energy is what is heating the atmosphere, and climate change is just a story to distract us from the truth!
    2. As the sun and other planets are accelerating at 1G (so they stay close to us), then the gravity at their surface must be 1G as well. NASA and other shills say that when they ‘landed’ spaceships the gravity on the moon, Mars, several comets and Titan the gravity was different to earth’s. This proves they were faking everything.

    Wake up sheeple!

  34. Phoreal88 says:

    Has anybody considered the Michaelson-Morley experiment, in which light is used to prove that the earth does not move?

  35. MosBen says:

    This topic has been bugging me all day. I mean, forget space, if you go to any part of the Arctic or Antarctica, it will curve away from the direction of the other continents because it’s not a ring around then, but a separate land mass, seated on a sphereoid. There’s no ring around the outside of the rest of the world. Ouch, my brain, or mind for the non-materialists out there.

  36. Culverwell says:

    I’m in no way a flat earther and think their model of earth with the sun and moon rotating around a disk is ridiculous but the flight paths that aeroplanes take in the southern hemisphere do baffle me. The planes from south america to australia do not go over antarctica like you would expect but instead go into the northern hemisphere and then come back to the southern hemisphere again. You can see why they would do this on the flat earth map but it does not make any sense at all on the globe

    Can anybody shed any light on this?

  37. Kawarthajon says:

    “As they admit, this conspiracy would have to involve many nations in the world, not just the US and USSR/Russia. China, India, the UK, the European Union all have space agencies.”

    Canada, having a space agency as well, wants to be in on the conspiracy too! How do we apply? I’m only asking because Chris Hadfield wants to know! 😉

  38. ursa202 says:

    I might be wrong (at least according to the flat earthers) but wouldn’t this notion, that some of them have, of a type (or any type) of gravity, inevitably result in a spheroid earth, rather than their pancake version?

    Fun fact: when I was a kid, we had a children’s show on Swedish TV that would translate to “lost in the pancake” where characters actually lived in a flat world. It’s also widely known to be the most angst/anxiety inducing show ever, with many accusing the creator of the show to have ruined their childhood

  39. ursa202 says:

    Actually the majority of human beings live in the Northern Hemisphere, with only about 10% living in the Southern Hemisphere. I don’t know if that explains why they place the North Pole at the center though, but Antarctica would obviously be less accessible to most people, so it’s probably easier to make up a conspiracy theory about that. Also I think there’s considerably more pictures of those steep “ice walls” from Antarctica that they could use to make their point that there’s an edge of sorts. I’m quite sure there are neither as high nor as far reaching and almost straight ice walls in the arctic regions. Also some 2 million native people actually live in The Arctic, whereas very few people live in Antarctica. But most certainly, a lot of odd discrepancies would not be noticed to the same extent in the Northern Hemisphere, which is rather convenient when most people live there. Still it’s impossible for me to understand how anyone could believe in the flat earth nonsense, and it seems like a lot of “evidence” in the videos they post online have been manipulated to fit their agenda. Many times they skew images to make the horizon look straight from the ISS, but then parts of the space station look like they’re bent instead, and when arguing that the sun is just moving further away and not appearing to move down below the horizon because of the spheroid earth spinning around it’s own axis, they even tend to skew the horizon so it’s extremely bent like a U shape, probably to give the impression of the sun actually moving further away on a constant altitude above the pancake earth. I’m thinking that anyone manipulating their evidence must be aware that they’re not being honest, right?

  40. baseerhk says:

    Conspiracy or not, NASA had been involved in lying to the world for decades and this is a FACT. Globe or not, how about dinosaurs? They are just one example of scientific conspiracy on GLOBAL scale.

  41. SteveA says:

    ursa202: “Fun fact: when I was a kid, we had a children’s show on Swedish TV that would translate to “lost in the pancake” where characters actually lived in a flat world. It’s also widely known to be the most angst/anxiety inducing show ever, with many accusing the creator of the show to have ruined their childhood.”


    I just caught some of this show on YouTube.

    I won’t sleep tonight.

  42. TheFriendlyTarg says:

    One of the most obvious reasons that flat Earthism is nonsense is to start by looking at the map of the flat Earth shown at the start of this article. It’s very easy to test out the accuracy of the map. It’s quite clear that according to that map, the distance from Sydney to Buenos Aires should be around double the distance from New York to Shanghai. Pinpoint them on that map and there should be no doubt about this. Yet, when we look at verifiable demonstrable measurements of the distances between these places, this is what we find:

    Sydney to Buenos Aires: 11,794km
    New York to Shanghai: 11,851km

    Almost identical. Oops?

  43. Mike I says:

    All flat earth debunkers will omit the following:
    1. Island visible at 30+ miles that, with the assumed earth curvature, should be well, well sunk behind the horizon.
    2. Sunrise illuminating the horizon fully from left to right (as it must if the sun is 93 mil miles away), yet the pic/vids of the real sunrise show but local illumination. Ergo fake NASA vids.
    3. Experiments with gyros showing lack of precession when they must if the earth is rotating.
    4. A copter or a balloon rising up but the earth underneath is not moving. Here, the skeptics ignore angular mo from Highschool.
    Bottom line: Time’s up.

  44. RedMcWilliams says:


  45. Rogue Medic says:

    Michael Egnor – the man who calls Pope Francis a criminal and a fraud for being honest about the human causes of climate change,

    “The earth is flat”: crazy.

    The scientific consensus is that the Earth is not flat.

    If you have some evidence to defend the flat Earth common sense, provide it.

    “Nothing caused everything”: consensus science

    A magic man with a wand caused himself, then caused everything else.

    Enough people think this, that it is as much common sense as the flat Earth common sense.

    If you have some evidence to defend the magic man with a wand common sense, provide it.

    “‘Survivors survive’ explains life”: consensus science

    It has been demonstrated that poorly adapted life does not survive as long as well adapted life.

    The longer you survive, the more you reproduce.

    Even the popes over the past 60+ years have not argued against this.

    They appear to understand Augustine of Hippo – We must be on our guard against giving interpretations [of scripture] which are hazardous or opposed to science, and so exposing the word of God to the ridicule of unbelievers.

    As science advances, superstition has to retreat to where ignorance is more easily defended.

    “The genetic code just happened by chance”: consensus science

    “The genetic code Gods just happened by chance”: consensus science religion.

    You assume that everything started with a perfect God, who has been corrupting himself by creating imperfection.

    That seems to be reasonable, until you realize that we have evidence of the evolution of information in DNA, while we do not have evidence of any gods.

    We used to believe, and many still believe, that the gods sent the weather as punishment for sins and the gods just had really bad aim, because the true believers always seem to be hit the hardest.

    DNA confirms that all species are related, but some people are so arrogant about their believed superiority to other animals that they refuse to believe it.

    The guys who wrote the Bible told us that we are not animals.

    We are dirt.

    Ergo Egnor’s ego.

    You dirty, dirty boy.

    “My SUV is changing the weather”: consensus science

    Massive pollution is a good thing – as long as it is defended by logical fallacies that appeal to Michael Egnor’s politics.

    Why defend pollution?

    Would you do the same thing to your home?

    Why do it to everyone else’s home?

    Even the pope recognizes that your arguments are nonsense, so you appear to be one proud heretic.

    Aren’t you glad that the Catholic Church stopped killing people for heresy.

    What progress we are making. In the Middle Ages they would have burned me. Now they are content with burning my books.
    Sigmund Freud (1933)

    Unfortunately, Freud’s four sisters were not able to escape from that Christian nation (Nazi Germany). They all died in concentration camps.

    In the Bible, the chosen race was the Jews.

    In almost entirely Christian Nazi Germany, the chosen race was the nationalist Christians.

    There are people (Christians and Muslims, but the brand names do not provide significant distinctions) trying to bring that crazy back again.

    You claim to know more than the people who know what they are doing.

    You claim it is an impossibly large conspiracy.

    You wonder why scientifically literate people do not take you seriously.


  46. Culverwell,

    “[…] the flight paths that aeroplanes take in the southern hemisphere do baffle me. The planes from south america to australia do not go over antarctica like you would expect but instead go into the northern hemisphere and then come back to the southern hemisphere again. You can see why they would do this on the flat earth map but it does not make any sense at all on the globe

    Can anybody shed any light on this?”

    It might be an ETOPS (Extended Operations) safety thing, minimizing the time/distance to a viable emergency landing option (diversion airport).

    ETOPS limits for airplanes are why transocean flights generally aren’t the shortest distance between the two endpoints. A typical transatlantic flight might depart an east coast airport and flight northeast along the coast for a while before heading off across the Atlantic for a minimal flight time across the open ocean.

    There’s no place for a 767 to land in the middle of Antactica, and no quick or easy way to rescue anyone from a crash landing in that frozen wasteland.

  47. Creeping Malaise says:

    There was a flat-earther at my workplace a few years back, who insisted that Antarctica doesn’t exist and that all the maps are faked. I invited him home with me to see my great-uncle’s collection of photographs from the time he went to the South Polar Plateau with Earnest Shackleton in 1907-9, but he declined.

    The thing that flat-earthers never seem to consider is this: If all the photos of the South Pole are fakes, and all the countless thousands of photos of the earth from orbit are fakes, where are all the real pictures of the edge of the flat earth?

  48. ^^^
    “[…] a typical transatlantic flight” -from the US to a European destination.
    “[…] before heading off across the Atlantic” – to a European destination.

  49. If the Earth was flat, spacetime would have to be curved to explain the various ways you can get from one point to another on the Earth. Travel long enough in a supposedly straight line, and you arrive back at your destination. Either the line is not straight in all three physical dimensions, or space itself is curved.

    We must live in a real life version of the Defender video game.

  50. zorrobandito says:

    I encourage everyone to go to YouTube and search for “flat earth,” there are numerous films, many of them quite entertaining. I think the whole thing is an indictment of the education system.

  51. Randy B says:

    Culverwell: “I’m in no way a flat earther and think their model of earth with the sun and moon rotating around a disk is ridiculous but the flight paths that aeroplanes take in the southern hemisphere do baffle me. The planes from south america to australia do not go over antarctica like you would expect but instead go into the northern hemisphere and then come back to the southern hemisphere again. You can see why they would do this on the flat earth map but it does not make any sense at all on the globe
    Can anybody shed any light on this?”

    First, I’d like an example of the flight paths you mention. (It only needs explanation if it’s real.) I’ve only seen things similar to this in publicity “maps” of international flight routes of major carriers, and those are drawn not to show where the airplanes actually fly, but to separate the overlapping routes into curves your eye can easily follow. I also found a drawing of a north-curving flight path in a widely reported aborted flight from Sydney to Buenos Aires in 2010 that clearly contradicts the text (the flight turned back over the Pacific Ocean, while the “flight path” was drawn to go westward over the Indian Ocean and Africa).


    Second, see the following pages for discussions of the routes airliners actually fly between these points:



  52. Mike I says:

    Cr Ma
    It’s about credibility. I know it’s Saturday but here is the thought:
    Mercury and Venus are always between us (Earth) and the sun. We cannot see stars/planets during the day because they are all washed out. So we cannot see Mercury and Venus at all. Continue with the heliocentric model and you cannot see Mercury and Venus at night because at night you are facing away from the sun. But of course you can see the two planets at night.
    Thank you, but I am not interested in your pics.

  53. Nitpicking says:


    Why call it a pole if Earth is flat?

    It’s a pole of rotation, same as the real North Pole on the real globular Earth. They believe the flat disc-shaped Earth rotates around a pole, which is the North Pole. (This is necessary to explain away the Foucalt pendulum effect–that is, the Coriolis pseudo-force.) The South Pole would presumably be on the flip-side of the Earth in this system, but because of the constant 1G acceleration you couldn’t get there — if you cross the edge of the disc you just fall off–that is, you get left behind by the constant acceleration, which looks like falling off. Note that Terry Pratchett’s Discworld had a similar phenomenon, but it’s meant to be silly.

    MosBen, Neil Adams believes that the MOON is hollow, but not the Earth.

    Culverwell, as you can see here (http://www.mapsofworld.com/world-airroutes-map.htm) flights from Brazil to Australia do NOT go through the Northern Hemisphere. The one illustrated stays entirely in the Southern Hemisphere, crossing South Africa and Mauritius.

  54. nelsonw says:

    There’s some people who circunavigate the Antarctica. The latest is Amyr Klink. But, yes, He’s freemason and part of the conspiracy.

  55. Sarah says:


    …what about dinosaurs? no one’s lying about them

  56. Charon says:

    How do Flat Earthers explain seasons? There is some kind of perverse fascination in hearing their reasoning – such intense intellectual effort going utterly nowhere (kind of like reading theology).

    But it’s worth those of us with a strong scientific background keeping in mind just how mysterious the world is to most people. If they know the Earth is (approximately) spherical, it’s generally only because they’ve been told. At best, they might refer to a picture of the Earth from space, but many of them won’t even get there. An expert in science recognizes this whole glorious structure of thought and experiment that hangs together marvelously – but someone with no understanding of science sees merely a random collection of unrelated purported “facts”.

  57. Charon says:

    @Culverwell, do you have any examples of this? Looking at Qantas routes ( http://www.transport.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/Air/Documents/Annexure-C2-Qantas-International-Route-Map.pdf ), I see no routes that randomly have excursions into the northern hemisphere.

    Probably the reason none cross over Antarctica is that most places in the southern hemisphere really just aren’t that far south. Santiago and Buenos Aires, for example, are only about as far south as Los Angeles is north (all of Europe is further north). And most of South America is further north (some of it is in the northern hemisphere).

  58. Mike I – read a basic astronomy book Seriously.

    Venus are Mercury are only visible shortly after sunset or shortly before sunrise. This is because they are closer to the sun, so from our perspective their orbits hug the sun. If you look at them through a telescope (and I have) you will see the phases of Venus quite clearly in a way that makes perfect sense from a heliocentric point of view.

  59. mink says:

    Culverwell, Karl, Randy B,

    You may find this site interesting — although clearly the author of this site is on on the conspiracy… 😉 I’ve loaded the URL with a flight from Perth to Joburg with 180 minute ETOPS calculation. You can see the normal great circle route calculation would take it into areas that are beyond the 180 minute rule. Some planes can go longer than 180 minutes, by the way, but, I think 180 minutes is reasonably typical.


    You can play around with other cities and ETOPS settings. A really fascinating one is to look at the routes from places like DFW to SYD — which is one of the longest routes in the world. You’ll see exactly why it’s so hard to fly across the south pacific, not only because of the distances between end points,, but because of the distances to airfields for emergencies.

    Having flown many, many times around the world as a passenger, I’m either in on the conspiracy or the airlines have really tricked me. But, on flights between places like Chicago and Delhi, I’ve approached as close as 1 deg of north latitude according to the pilot — who thought that was interesting enough to actually make an announcement. As a side note, apparently many planes have challenges navigating that far north or south as the heading is constantly changing just to fly straight.

  60. Sarah says:

    Don’t you see, man? The windows are video screens, the pilots and flight attendants and techniciansand designers and aviation sales agents and the random IT person who debugs the occasional bad connection are all in on it!


  61. Sarah says:

    @Mike I “4. A copter or a balloon rising up but the earth underneath is not moving. Here, the skeptics ignore angular mo from Highschool.”

    Except – they totally are experiencing inertia. It’s not even really in question. Not to mention that the atmosphere is moving, too. If it weren’t, we’d all be blasted by increasingly powerful gales the closer we got to the equator.

  62. bachfiend says:

    Ever since Copernicus in the 16th century, a rotating orbiting spherical Earth in a heliocentric system is the best explanation for diurnal and seasonal cycles, but it wasn’t until the 19th century that Foucault proposed his pendulum as a simple means of demonstrating that the Earth is rotating. Something that flat Earth proponents can’t explain.

  63. Mike I says:

    Body such as a balloon are aware of their inertia? Sorry, that means nothing. If you know that the angular momentum must be conserved, you can figure it out. Balloon or a helicopter do not add angular momentum and then…

  64. bard3188 says:

    Why didn’t you mention their motivated reasoning is religious? i.e. if the Earth is round the Bible is wrong and therefore religion is man made fakery. Every flat earther I’ve heard is religious (or pretending to be to protect their career).

  65. GingTho says:

    @Mike I, balloons and helicopters follow the same laws as you do if you were to jump up in a moving bus and land in exactly the same spot, not instantly being splattered against the back window of the bus. If you’re right, then in my example, if said bus was travelling at 40mph, you would have to jump forward 40mph in order to keep up with the bus and land in the same spot.

    Can you jump forward at 40mph or would you end up splattered against the back window?

    I think you know the answer and are just trolling us.

  66. Mike I says:

    +Steven N
    Oh my. You saw Venus with a telescope and didn’t see it is but a light? Transparent one at that? Back to YouTube for you. Find one with the sun crossing. Why, you can do it from your armchair. (I hear skeptics do everything only from their armchair.)

  67. RickK says:

    Mike I

    Oh my, another victim of a YouTube education.

    Please post pictures of the edge of your flat Earth, and then we can talk.

    Oh, and there are these things called telescopes. Go find one and you’ll see planets are more than specks of light.

  68. Mike I says:

    Not so. Pendulum changes its angular momentum at every swing. Furthermore, a gyro doesn’t precess in response to the presumed earth rotation.

  69. Mike I says:

    +Rick k
    Why are you giving me condition before you and I can talk?
    I like your ignorance where it is.

  70. roadfood says:

    This is a Poe, right?

  71. Creeping Malaise says:


    “Mercury and Venus are always between us (Earth) and the sun. We cannot see stars/planets during the day because they are all washed out. So we cannot see Mercury and Venus at all. Continue with the heliocentric model and you cannot see Mercury and Venus at night because at night you are facing away from the sun. But of course you can see the two planets at night.”

    Er . . . no. Venus is highly visible just after sunset or just before dawn when it’s not occluded by the sun. During dawn or dusk periods it’s the brightest object in the sky apart from the moon. (In fact, on very rare occasions it’s possible to observe Venus during daylight in perfect atmospheric conditions, as I once did in the Australian outback). Mercury is a little trickier to spot because it orbits close to the barycentre of the solar system, but a basic stargazing guide will tell you where and when it’s visible.

    “Thank you, but I am not interested in your pics”

    You’re not interested in physical evidence? That’s fine, but don’t try to claim any scientific credibility.

  72. Geekoid says:


    How did the Japanese get to Pearl Harbor so quickly if the world is flat?

    How would we have been able to fly a bomber to Japan?

    Where is a picture of the edge?

    Why don’t you build a model rock with a camera an launch it high into the atmosphere?

    Have you been in a plane?

    You could, pretty easily, prove the earth is flat. It would be trivial.

    But you don’t provide data, just ad hom attack and science denial.

  73. bachfiend says:


    A pendulum isn’t spinning. It doesn’t have angular momentum. It’s swinging, so at the lowest point of each swing it has maximum momentum, maximum kinetic energy which is converted into potential energy as it swings towards the highest point of each swing, which is converted back into kinetic energy as the swing is reversed.

    There’s no conservation of momentum, but there is conservation of energy. Kinetic energy + potential energy + heat energy due to friction is constant.

    The direction of the swing relative to the Earth does change though as the underlying Earth rotates beneath the pendulum over period of hours or a day.

    A gyro, such as a spinning top, doesn’t precess because they’re not spinning over hours or a day. Or they’re set up so that they’re spinning stably – always in the vertical axis not tilted.

  74. Mike I says:

    The earth is flat. The North Pole is at the center and it is a magnetic Pole. Not related to Polish (felt I had to clarify it for you).

  75. Mike I says:

    Nice, except the flat earth is not spinning. Need to use the gyro to prove that. Everything issues from flat earth. Every consequent model must have its author behind it because no org speaks for flat Earth. Politicians refer to the flat Earth Society only because this org is a farce, aka controlled opposition. Cheers.

  76. Mike I says:

    You reach a narrow conclusion only to make a judgement on my motivation. Sorry, kid, you didn’t read my note. I said angular momentum but you talk about linear momentum/speed. After all, a ball shaped spinning earth is the assumption here. I even helped you when I said it uses Highschool math. What does it make you? I love to have dupes as my competition. Now, pay my taxes.

  77. Mike I says:

    Good yet irrelevant questions. Flat earth is established first and then everything issues from that. One uses but experiments to do that. Binoculars, superzooms, lasers and/or a gyro are the instruments of choice. A typical experiment is seeing an island 30+ miles away, which should be well below the horizon. After that all other conclusions must support flat earth. Sun being local is one of them.

  78. Mike I says:

    +batch fiend
    Nope. Pendulum angular momentum flips with each swing and it doesn’t contribute to angular anything. Please get up on the gyroscope. It can be spun up to point in any direction. Gyro can be continuously powered up. Gyro proves there is no earth curvature AND also that the earth is not spinning.

  79. GingTho says:

    @Mike I,

    Why can’t I see Polaris from Australia?

  80. RickK says:

    I’m really curious, Mike. Do you believe this stuff or are you trolling? What is your motivation for taking such a silly position?

  81. BillyJoe7 says:

    GingTho, you can’t see the north pole from Australia because it’s too far away.

    RickK, because I’m trying to show how silly I can be and still get a response.

    Bachfiend, the silliness has caught you proclaiming that a pendulum has no angular momentum. 😀

    Geekoid, the flat Earth is a given, so if you can’t see the edge you must be blind to the silliness.

    NWSletten, we don’t call it a pole because there’s no actual pole there.

    SteveA, the general theory demonstrates the equivalence between acceleration and gravity.

    Atlantean Idol, for your info, the tail side of the Earth coin looks just like the outside of the universe.

    rootsmusic, light speed is not exceeded. Here’s a hint that should be right up your alley: Shepard tone.

    MSFletcher, you can’t even count (1. 2. 3. 2. really!), so you can’t possibly have an argument.

    I Mike

  82. RickK says:

    Poe’s Law falls too short.

    It states that for absurd beliefs (like YEC, Flat Earth, religious fundamentalism or various flavors of Egnorian-style science denial) there’s no parody so extreme that somebody won’t think it is real.

    What it should say is there’s no parody so extreme that somebody doesn’t already believe it!

  83. mumadadd says:

    Erm, have none of you clicked the link embedded in Mike’s username? Not clickable from mobile version of the site so you’ll need to use a desktop PC. Let’s just says his site is… cranky… Marcus Morgan level cranky.

  84. mumadadd says:

    Sorry — my point is that one doesn’t go to the trouble of writing all that if one’s merely a Poe.

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