The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine



Is the Earth Flat?

Mar. 20, 2018 by | Comments (70)

Recent news stories,1 celebrity endorsements, and Google search trends2 have highlighted an apparently growing conspiracy theory belief that the Earth is not a globe, but instead a flat disc. According to believers, government forces promote a completely fictitious model of the cosmos in order to conceal the true nature of the Earth. Are these claims true?

No. The Earth is Round

The evidence for a spherical Earth is overwhelming.3 Most obviously, there are many thousands of images and videos of the Earth from space, including a continually changing live stream view of the globe from the International Space Station—not to mention all the astronauts who have personally seen the Earth from orbit. Flat Earthers claim that all images of the globe are fraudulent inventions, and all testimony from astronauts is false. It is unreasonable to dismiss all of the evidence from the entire history of space exploration, especially when there is zero evidence for a decades-long “globularist” conspiracy. However, we do not need to rely on evidence from modern space agencies to confirm the roundness of the Earth for ourselves.

Junior Skeptic #53 (cover)

Portions of this article appeared previously in Daniel Loxton’s detailed history of the Flat Earth movement in Junior Skeptic #53, bound within Skeptic magazine 19.4 (2014).

The globe has been clearly understood for thousands of years. Indeed, this was one of the first cosmic facts to be worked out correctly by ancient people because evidence of a spherical Earth is visible to the naked eye.

By the time of the philosopher Socrates and his student Plato, many Greeks understood that the Earth could only be a sphere. Sailors would have noticed that the sails of approaching ships appeared before the hulls of the ships became visible because the surface of the sea is slightly curved, like the surface of an enormous ball.4 When you sail toward a ship, island, or lighthouse, their tallest points are the first thing to peek up over the curve of the horizon.

Plato’s student Aristotle offered further “evidence of the senses” to support his own conclusion that the Earth “must necessarily be spherical.” First, there was the evidence of lunar eclipses. When the Moon passes through the shadow of the Earth, that shadow is always the circular shadow of a sphere. Also, Aristotle argued, “our observations of the stars” make it clear “not only that the earth is circular, but also that it is a circle of no great size.” He pointed out that “quite a small change of position to south or north” significantly changes “the stars which are overhead, and the stars seen are different, as one moves northward or southward.” Just as ships can be hidden from view by the curvature of the horizon, so too can the stars.5

The debate about the shape of the Earth has been settled for over two thousand years. An ancient scholar named Eratosthenes—the head of the famous library of Alexandria in Egypt—even correctly approximated the circumference of the Earth using experimental measurements of shadows in two cities and some geometry.6

Despite modern legends about Medieval backwardness, there never was a time when educated people went back to thinking the Earth was flat. Once discovered, the true shape of the globe was too simple and useful a fact to be forgotten. Sailors were reminded of the planet’s roundness every time they climbed a mast to see further over the horizon or looked to the stars to determine their position. By the time of Columbus, his crew and even his critics understood that our world is a globe.7 It had been an established fact for centuries. For example, here’s a passage from the popular astronomy textbook On the Sphere of the World, published over 250 years before Columbus sailed:

That the earth, too, is round is shown thus. The…stars do not rise and set the same for all men everywhere but rise and set sooner for those in the east than for those in the west; and of this there is no other cause than the bulge of the earth.8

Diagram from a later edition of the early 13th century text On the Sphere of the World.

Diagram from a later edition of the early 13th century text On the Sphere of the World.

The Nature of Flat Earth Beliefs

Flat Earth beliefs vary, but usually involve a large disc-shaped world with a relatively tiny Sun and Moon circling above it like lamps above a table. Flat Earth maps rearrange the continents and seas to radiate outward from the North Pole, which is imagined to be at the center of the disc. Everything we think of as the Southern Hemisphere is spread out around the outer circumference. It is usually claimed that Antarctica does not exist at all. Instead, the entire disc is encircled by a vast wall of ice that we mistake for a frozen southern continent.9

The people who make these claims are not always sincere. There is a long tradition of humorous trolling by people who merely pretend to think the Earth is flat.10 However, genuine, passionate Flat Earth believers certainly do exist. They typically base their beliefs on two things: intuition and fundamentalist religious faith. The world seems pretty flat when we go about our daily lives. The Bible also contains passages that suggest that our world could be a flat surface covered by a dome (the “Firmament”).11

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, Flat Eartherism was primarily motivated by Biblical literalism.12 Believers saw the globe and astronomy as threats to faith. “No one can believe a single doctrine or dogma of modern astronomy and accept Scriptures as divine revelation,” argued 19th century Flat Earth author John Hampden.13

This remains the position of many Flat Earthers today (although the internet apparently also fosters a new more secular14 conspiracy theory strain alongside traditional Christian Flat Eartherism). Flat Earth believers have long occupied a fringe within the Christian creationism movement, and have been a source of embarrassment for other creationists. For example, the creationist ministry Answers in Genesis has published several articles correctly debunking Flat Earth beliefs,15 only to be accused of hypocrisy for accepting astronomy while rejecting geology and biology. “The Flat Earth position is first based upon Scripture,” shot back one Christian Flat Earther.16

Flat Earth beliefs almost require creationist faith because the Flat Earth could not be a natural object. If such a world existed, it could only be an artificial environment constructed on purpose and maintained by forces we do not understand. Left to itself, a disc-world would collapse under its own gravity, forming a sphere like other planets, large moons, and stars.

Since the dawn of the Space Age, Flat Earth beliefs have necessarily also entailed believing that a vast conspiracy deceives us about the nature of the world.17 “The space program is a scientific plot to hoodwink the public,” claimed Charles and Marjory Johnson,18 the most prominent Flat Earth advocates during the 1970s, 80s, and 90s.19 If they were correct about the shape of the Earth, it would follow that a conspiracy must exist to falsify evidence of Moon landings and images of the Earth from space.

However, this claim of a world-wide conspiracy suffers from the same serious flaws as other similar grand conspiracy narratives (such as the “chemtrails” conspiracy theory that aircraft contrails are actually part of a secret global spraying program designed to poison the Earth). First, there is no evidence that any such conspiracy exists. Second, it is implausible to suppose that a conspiracy could exist at that scale for decades without any of the countless thousands of conspirators ever leaking the truth. Third, if a conspiracy was so powerful as to hide itself successfully forever, it would surely also be able stop Flat Earthers from constantly blabbing about it on the internet, newspapers, and television. Finally, it is unclear what could possibly motivate the sustained world-wide effort and expense necessary to conceal the shape of the Earth.

Christian Flat Earthers consider the conspiracy Satanic, which again places Flat Earth beliefs firmly within the sphere of religious fundamentalism. The assumed goal of the round Earth conspiracy is to lead believers astray from their salvation. This has a certain internal logic given their prior assumptions (on faith) of a Flat Earth, a conspiracy, and ongoing spiritual warfare between God and Satan. A round Earth conspiracy seems difficult to justify in secular terms. Why bother pretending the Earth is one shape rather than another? It stretches credibility to accept the motivation that one Flat Earth organization proposes: space agencies are “most likely motivated by greed…and using only some of their funding to continue to fake space travel saves a lot of money to embezzle for themselves.”20

Flat Earth Ideas Make No Sense and Explain Nothing

Like other creationists, Flat Earthers base their arguments on perceived flaws in mainstream science while ignoring major problems with their own claims. They do not provide scientific evidence for their radical alternative model. Nor do Flat Earth models explain the broad range of natural phenomena that are well-explained by the modern scientific understanding of the globe and its place in our solar system: planetary formation, volcanoes, tides, seasonal changes, the phases of the Moon, plate tectonics, earthquakes, the coldness of the poles, the magnetic field that compasses rely upon, auroras, and so on.

The Flat Earth model fundamentally conflicts with the things we see in nature. For example, why would the southern hemisphere’s stars be visible from the opposite edges of a Flat Earth, while people in the central region of the disc instead see the constellations of the northern hemisphere? Shouldn’t the same stars hang over everyone on a Flat Earth like a ceiling hangs over a kitchen table?

Why do the Sun and Moon and stars appear to rise and set? Most Flat Earthers believe that the Sun and Moon are fairly close objects, each just a few miles across, which always hang above the Flat Earth. Supposedly both objects circle around the North Pole on a plane parallel to the Earth’s flat surface while shining down like lamps to illuminate different parts of the disc. (The Sun and Moon are illuminated and kept moving by unknown forces; neither object orbits anything.) If so, the Sun and Moon should be visible all the time from every part of the Earth’s surface. How could such a world ever experience a sunset? We never see the Sun grow noticeably dimmer or smaller with distance as we would in this Flat Earth model; instead, as the globe turns, the Sun passes out of view over the curvature of the horizon.

Flattening the globe also would severely distort the shapes of oceans and continents and the distances between them. Most notably, all proposed Flat Earth maps greatly expand the distances between southern landmasses. Countries that are relatively close together on a globe would be repositioned many times further away on opposite sides of a flat disc-world. In reality, for example, the distance between the northern countries of China and the USA is similar to the distance between the southern countries of Australia and South Africa—and so are the flight times to travel between them. That would not be true if Flat Earth maps were accurate.

Flat Earth map from Samuel Birley Rowbotham’s book Zetetic Astronomy (1865).

Flat Earth map from Samuel Birley Rowbotham’s book Zetetic Astronomy (1865).

All routes for planes and ships would be different on a Flat Earth, especially in the Southern Hemisphere. According to many Flat Earth maps, the shortest flight route between South America and Australia would cross over the North Pole!21 A conspiracy to conceal the flatness of the Earth would therefore have to include hundreds of thousands of airline pilots and ship captains as well as governments, space agencies, mapmakers, and Antarctic explorers.

Gravity, Handwaving, and the Supernatural

Flat Earth advocates rely upon made up excuses and invented forces to explain away the problems of their model. They claim that light, perspective, and gravity work differently than we understand from the evidence of science and our senses. Many claim that gravity does not exist at all. This claim is necessary because everyone on every part of the Earth’s surface feels a roughly equal gravitational pull straight down toward their feet, which only makes sense on a globe: gravity pulls everyone down toward the planet’s center of mass. Gravity would feel very different on a Flat Earth. A disc-world’s center of mass would not be located straight down from most parts of the surface. People standing at the central North Pole would feel a vertical downward pull, but everyone further from the center of the disc would feel gravity pull at an angle. At the edges of the disc, the pull of gravity would be almost horizontal. This would pull the oceans and atmosphere inward toward the center of the disc, drowning the center and leaving the outer edges airless and uninhabitable. Standard gravity would also pull down the Flat Earth model’s tiny nearby Sun and Moon to crash into the North Pole. Since none of these things happen, we know the world is not flat.

Rather than confront the problem of gravity, Flat Earthers respond by dismissing gravity altogether. If the “traditional theory of gravitation” is “incompatible with the Flat Earth Model,” then gravity must be weak or nonexistent.22 But if that were the case, wouldn’t you be floating out of your chair right now? Why would objects fall when you drop them? According to one common Flat Earth claim, objects fall because 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.”23 This handwaving explanation doesn’t work. If our world is accelerating upward, why doesn’t the Flat Earth crash into the tiny Sun and Moon above us? What force could cause the Flat Earth—an entire world—to constantly accelerate at a perfectly even rate? How would the flat surface remain perfectly oriented with the direction of acceleration without ever tumbling (or even slightly wobbling)?

Flat Earth illustration by Daniel Loxton. Sun and Moon shown larger than imagined by Flat Earthers.

Flat Earth illustration by Daniel Loxton. Sun and Moon shown larger than imagined by Flat Earthers.

There are no coherent natural explanations for anything in the Flat Earth model. Even when presented in secular language, Flat Earth claims describe an impossible and necessarily artificial world created and maintained through unexplainable miracles. A Flat Earth could only exist through supernatural or technological forces beyond our comprehension.

The Bottom Line

Believing that the Earth is flat requires not only a world-wide conspiracy to fake decades of space exploration, but also the wholesale denial of many branches of science and the evidence of our senses. It requires the invention of new forces and laws of nature without evidence, and implicitly relies upon the actions of a deity-like being or beings.

Despite the rising prominence of Flat Earth ideas, there has never been evidence to suggest that the world could be flat. Advocates simply assume the “obvious truth” of a Flat Earth on the basis of religious faith, intuition, or humor, and then invent a reality to match.24 Although surprisingly frustrating, the rhetoric of Flat Earthers does nothing to change the simple fact, definitively proven for centuries: we live on the surface of a globe.

  1. See for example Sebastian Kettley. “SpaceX flat Earth SHOCK: Was Falcon 1 Heavy launch faked to conceal planet’s shape?”, Feb 7, 2018. (Accessed March 13, 2018)
  2. Google Trends suggest that Google searches for “flat earth” have been climbing since early 2015, with interest since late 2015 remaining consistently higher than any previous period back to 2004.
  3. “Spherical” is here used in an approximate sense. For a discussion of the finer complexities of describing the slightly irregular shape of the globe, see Isaac Asimov. “The Relativity of Wrong.” The Skeptical Inquirer, Fall 1989, Vol. 14, No. 1. pp. 35–44
  4. The curvature of bodies of water has also been demonstrated experimentally, most famously by Alfred Russel Wallace to settle a wager with Flat Earther John Hampden in 1870. See Richard Milner and Michael Shermer. “Wallace and the Flat Earthers.” Skeptic, 2015, Vol. 20 No. 3. pp. 34–36; and, Daniel Loxton. Junior Skeptic #53, “Flat Earth?! The Convoluted Story of a Flatly Mistaken Idea.” Skeptic, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 4. pp. 70–71
  5. Aristotle, translated by J. L. Stocks. On the Heavens. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1922.) As transcribed at
  6. Carl Sagan. Cosmos. (New York: Random House, 1983.) pp. 14–15
  7. Jeffrey Burton Russell. Inventing the Flat Earth: Columbus and Modern Historians. (New York: Praeger, 1991.)
  8. Johannes de Sacrobosco. Lynn Thorndike, trans. Tractatus de Sphaera (On the Sphere of the World). (c. Early 13th century, translation published 1949.) As transcribed at
  9. This alternative cosmos was fully developed by 19th century Flat Earth proponent Samuel Birley Rowbotham. “Parallax.” Zetetic Astronomy. Earth Not a Globe! An Experimental Inquiry Into the True Figure of the Earth: Proving It a Plane, Without Axial or Orbital Motion; and the only Material World in the Universe! (London: Simpkin, Marshall, and Co., 1865.) pp. 20–22, 79–80, 85–87
  10. For a prominent example, see the tongue-in-cheek Flat Earth Society of Canada founded by philosophy professor Leo Ferrari and other mischievous intellectuals in 1970. It would be best, schemed one founding member, if people were “not quite sure whether they should take us literally or not.” Christine Garwood. Flat Earth: The History of an Infamous Idea. (London: Pan Books, 2008) pp. 280–314
  11. Robert Schadewald. “The Flat Earth Bible.” Bulletin of the Tychonian Society, No. 44, July, 1987. pp. 27–39
  12. As skeptical scholar of Flat Earth ideas Bob Schadewald observed in 1982, “to my knowledge, every English-speaking flat earther who has ever lived has actually been a flat Earther because of the Bible.” Robert Schadewald. Lois Schadewald, Ed. Worlds of Their Own: A Brief History of Misguided Ideas: Creationism, Flat-Earthism, Energy Scams, and the Velikovsky Affair. (Xlibris, 2008.) 130
  13. Robert J. Schadewald. “Scientific Creationism, Geocentricity and the Flat Earth.” Skeptical Inquirer, Winter 1981–82, Vol. 6, No. 2. pp. 41–48
  14. For example, contemporary Flat Earth Society president Daniel Shenton evidently accepts evolution by natural selection. David Adam. “The Earth is flat? What planet is he on?” The Guardian, Feb 23, 2010. (Accessed March 12, 2018)
  15. See for example “They Think the Earth is Flat?” August 9, 2008. (Accessed March 13, 2018.) The article dismisses Flat Earth proponents as a “tiny minority of untrained, pseudoscientific hacks who—partially based on an overly literal interpretation of Scripture—buy into a disproven, centuries-old myth rather than accepting wellestablished modern science.”
  16. Philip Stallings. “The Biblical Flat Earth: A Response To Answers In Genesis.” (Accessed March 13, 2018)
  17. This became an especially dominant theme during the 1960s as the International Flat Earth Research Society led by Samuel Shenton struggled to rebut news of manned spaceflight into orbit and to the Moon. See Garwood. (2008.) pp. 219–279
  18. “Flat Earth Proponent Decries Shuttle Fake.’” The Vancouver Sun, November 6, 1981
  19. Schadewald. (2008.) pp. 111–112; Douglas Martin. “Charles Johnson, 76, Proponent of Flat Earth.” The New York Times, March 25, 2001. (Accessed March 12, 2018)
  20. “Frequently Asked Questions.” Flat Earth Society. (Accessed March 7, 2018)
  21. This would be the case, for example, if the influential maps published by Samuel Birley Rowbotham were accepted. See “Parallax.” (1865.) pp. 21, 35
  22. “Universal Acceleration.” (Accessed March 14, 2018)
  23. (Accessed March 7, 2018)
  24. As affirmed by Daniel Shenton in 2009, “The Earth is flat. This is a belief I hold as the beginning of an ongoing search for truth and certainty. It is a starting point—an intellectual foundation on which I feel further knowledge can soundly be built.” Daniel Shenton. “In Defense of the Flat Earth.” (Flat Earth Society, 2009.) (Accessed March 12, 2018)
Daniel Loxton

Daniel Loxton is the Editor of INSIGHT at and of Junior Skeptic, the 10-page kids’ science section bound within Skeptic magazine. Daniel has been an avid follower of the paranormal literature since childhood, and of the skeptical literature since his youth. He is also an award-winning author. Read Daniel’s full bio or his other posts on this blog.

70 responses to “Is the Earth Flat?”

  1. Viking Pete says:

    Well guys, I’m out of here “over the edge and out” thanks for the interesting read! May the invisible spirit in the sky bless you all, enjoy your pizza talk!

  2. Josh says:

    It’s Flat

  3. Viking Pete says:

    Good One Pete, no photos, no proof, I wonder if FlatEarthers are just wondering how many poorly educated people they can get to follow them…

  4. Pete says:

    J. Gravelle.
    How big would map books be if they were produced round, get real mate.
    why hasn’t anyone flown over the edge of flat earth to prove it

  5. Viking Pete says:

    Good advice Ivan… Thank You!

  6. Ivan says:

    The motto of the Flat Earthers is to do your own research. It reminds me of a story that happened to me once. I used to avoid certain radio shows because I regarded them as irrelevant, but a friend told me I should listen because it’s always good to know the mind of the opposition. I had originally thought the show was a conservative based interpretation of world events , but after listening I discovered that it was so out of touch with reality, I realized it could only be satire. I almost got tricked when the hurricane was approaching Texas and the host told people not to buy supplies or take safety precautions. I thought ” Well this is classic God’s going to save you stuff.” and I began wondering if the show was serious after all. Then the host jumped on his private plane and got out of Dodge. I became convinced once again that the show was comedy. Unfortunately, the host was clearly an amateur, since he should have remained in character and stayed put. I am now researching the possibility that he might be a POE as no one could possibly spew so much incorrect information and be serious. I am waiting for Snopes to get back to me. My point is, always do your own research, how could you possibly fail?

  7. Viking Pete says:

    It is clear that some are very passionate about what they believe and rightly so, as free speech is alive, now all this talk about seeing ships sailing off into the distance and over the horizon and then being able to see it again through a telescope, have flatearthers actually tried this for themselves? I have lived near the ocean and have had a good telescope, but when ships sail past that horizon, they do go out of sight and past the horizon! I keep asking for photos taken from the edge, why aren’t there any? Now with God, you don’t see it, but you do believe it and with round earth, you see it, but you don’t believe it… What can one say? OH, just one question, so the North Pole is actually the Centre Pole, then where is the South Pole or Outer Edge Pole?

  8. Unplugged says:

    You people are truly pathetic! Have you ever seen the earth from space with your own eyes? No! You can go to places on this plain and see beautiful star lit skies and what we claim is the milky way… but yet, NOT ONE image from nasa, the joke of a moon landing or anywhere else shows ANY stars! Not one video, image , looks into space, the moon or towards the sun (93 mill miles away lol) while they are up there. Why?? Oddly, we can only view the moon from here or go back in time and watch the production version. I understand you have been fooled since birth, in school and beyond… but you are puppets. Not one live feed from the “south pole” shows a 24 hours day! NOT ONE!! It’s odd how a ship sailing off over the “horizon” can suddenly be seen with a telescope, at sea level… I guess they can not only bend light but see around corners from many many miles away. You say how can you believe what was written in a book about a God and what a man tells you about it… what is science doing?? There is way more evidence for a flat earth than a ball. Curious that our great space agency is slowly shutting down. No more trips to the moon. No more shuttle runs, the space station shutting down. (by the way, are there still people up there? How are they getting home?) Anyway… Don’t be afraid and open your eyes.

  9. Viking Pete says:

    The Matrix theory is worthwhile considering! It is very sad though, that people in this day and age still believe in a flat earth and God! Like I said previously, PHOTOS of the edge please!

  10. Know It All says:

    We live in a matrix. A simulation. Big Bang Voo-doo science says that in the beginning, there was nothing, and from nothing, came the big bang. And the irony, rocket scientists believe that illogical fantasy! I, on the other hand, being a Know-It-All, and computer engineer that works on a D-Wave computer for Google, know that the programmer who programmed our simulation most certainly did not create it out of thin air! He used a well-defined algorithm that I and others can now manipulate to change material events from the past to whatever the hell we want. Does that make me god? No. That makes me a hacker to gods creation perhaps, lol. Back to flat earth. It seems to me that back in the day, the folks who didn’t want people to believe in the bible version of creation created flat earth, dinosaurs, and evolution to trick them. Silly pranksters! Well played, well played.

  11. big nibba says:

    the earth doesn’t exist idiots

  12. Raymond Babcock says:

    I think the earth is flat. In the bible it speaks of the four corners. There are no corners on a globe. The earth is self powered. They earth is set on a foundation. Water all ways takes the shape of the object it is in. For my self if I accept the globe the bible is out the window. You know the windows of heaven. I can not prove every thing about the flat earth nor can I explain it.

  13. Robin DaBank says:


  14. indio007 says:

    “The evidence for a spherical Earth is overwhelming”
    So what? that is not how the scientific method works. Falsification is how science works not the sum of the affirmations.

    Karl Popper is rolling in his grave

    BTW Ships “disappearing over the horizon” is because of the angle of view the the bottom of the boat combined with the angular resolution of the optics.

    Make we wonder why you use such fallacious evidence.

    Unfalsifiable unrepeatable images from space are not scientific evidence. Science deals with substance not images. Especially when they depict physics known to be impossible to replicate on earth. The authenticity of ANY space image can not be made by anyone, You have no reference other than other space images that purport to be real.

    What are we left with? Trusting roughly 500 people out of the trillions that have lived to shape an entire world view on. More people have seen bigfoot. More people have seen aliens on earth than claim to have seen space!

  15. Viking Pete says:

    Hey, I would like to see some photos taken from the edge, as you know, Vikings have sailed the oceans, but have never gone over the edge? Pancakes and Pizzas are flat and they all have edges…

  16. Flat Earther says:

    Just another uneducated, inaccurate, and intentionally incorrect “on purpose” explanation of flat Earth beliefs. You say we don’t back anything up? I can shoot down every one of your garbage half ass twisted claims about this subject. See the sun at all times? Perspective and distance. Stars being different at different locations, distance and angle. Why don’t be float out of our chairs? Density retard. Read a book that wasn’t written by the government and you might not come off stupid, and thats coming from a at earther.
    Jackass author.

  17. Dirk says:

    Question. Why do NASA logo use the FLAT earth map?
    Just wondering. Is it to show the world the most obvious truth. Just copy paste this to you-tube and just look at it with open mind and eyes. Don’t believe just ponder on it. Let it sink in.

    Finally Scientists Prove Earth Is Not a Globe – Checkmate!

    These are people that tried to prove the world is NOT flat.

  18. Tom says:

    actually, that may be wrong, it would be about 355 days

  19. Tom says:

    I suppose another consideration would be if earth was accelerating upwards at 32ft/s squared, in about 2.2 hrs it would reach the speed of light…. just a thought

  20. Ironian says:

    The southern hemisphere direct flight routes from South Africa to Australia is pretty compelling evidence..

    I would be more convinced of a flat Earth if the above could be false..

  21. Sam James says:

    The Earth is Flat since its creation by the creator. It can be proved by real science and facts.
    Check out the video I will be releasing in a couple months for which you wouldn’t have an answer.


    Because spherical paper is really expensive.

  23. C. Meisenheimer says:

    In reading the postings many are questioning, why debate this? My answer is because its an insult to those who were persecuted, tortured and executed for questioning biblical beliefs. Real science forces us to change our comfortable beliefs if evidence fails to support them. The reason people stick to flat-earth beliefs regardless the contrary evidence, is that it takes more energy to change a direction than continue in the same comfortable direction. The more time and energy a person spends on something the more of a loss there is in abandoning it. My belief, with no evidence to support it, is that the organizers of the flat earth group don’t believe this any more than l do and are doing it for money or the perverse pleasure of seeing how dumb people are. Like others who love real science l struggle to understand how anyone can choose blind faith over real science when real science has done more good than harm compared to religious faith. It’s taken the blinders and rose coloured glasses off the human race so that we can see the wonders of ourselves and the universe we occupy, but the price tag is that we can no longer see ourselves as the centre of that universe but a small possibly temporary part of it.

  24. Jiggs long says:

    They use lies and and made up bullshit from Flat earth society,which has nothing to do with the real flat earth movement.Any flat earther knows flat earth society is a Government ran web sight to discredit the actual flat earthers.

  25. SDeemer says:

    This is what a flat earth believer looks like: An amateur rocket-maker finally launched himself off Earth. Now to prove it’s flat …

    Unfortunately, he hasn’t killed himself yet.

  26. Howard says:

    Globe believers suffer from Cognitive Dissonance.

    I believe the earth is flat. If you wish to convince me otherwise, I would need you to give me a couple things.

    One example other than the earth model, where water is held in place on a ball or sphere.

    Gravity you say? So does gravity get to pick and choose what it holds down? Billions of steel from sky scrapers, and billions of tons of water held in place but I can jump off the ground only weighing 160 pounds?

    There have been several test proving the earth does not move. There has never been one to prove the earth moves. If so please show me.

    Stop using science fiction, and get back to science fact.
    Pictures and people saying something prove nothing.

  27. Awc says:

    A nice history lesson.

    I often wonder who are these articles directed at?
    1. Flat earthers- not likely the reasons they believe are not evidence based the facts do not support the claim. It’s social psychological as belief in god is.
    2. Open minded to the belief, they ain’t reading this article.
    3. Non flat earthers- justify their position.
    4. Skeptics – to debate with flat earthers. Like debates about gods existence (see 1) the debates are about the facts and a waste of time. When they should be social psychological in nature. In the words of Mark Twain “it is easier to fool someone, than convince them they have been fooled”

    All in all science should plough forward and not waste time on debating subjects crushed by overwhelming evidence. If the belief causes harm address the aspect from the appriate position.
    If someone want to be deluded and it is “harmless” leave them alone and let the science continue to overwhelm them with facts.


  28. TWON says:

    We are not spinning on a ball moving faster than the speed of sound! We are on a stable earth as found in the scriptures. Unmovable and on a SOLID foundation. There is no gravity holding us to a spinning ball. How unreasonable can you get?
    There were no moon landings and there is no such thing as Santa.
    And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending upon him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth. – Acts 10:11

    And after these things I saw four angels standing on the 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. – Revelation 7:1

  29. Flat Earth Flat Beer says:

    I recall seeing a posting about the flat earth being part of a much larger planet, big enough in fact that oceans would be flat while the separation would be explained by the Antarctic ice wall. The common suspension of disbelief that the universe is endless then why not the same suspension of disbelief of a near infinite or infinite plane of the earth.

    If the sun and moon are repelled similar to magnets with the same polarity this could easily explain both being suspended above the earth plane.

    The climate at the South pole is reportedly far colder and supports less life forms than the North yet the North receives equal distribution and angle of the suns rays on an annual basis. If the Antarctica is the barrier to the rest of the planet which is theorized to be near absolute zero then this could all make sense.

    If gravity is determined by the mass of the apparent object then this would also explain gravity for the flat earth.

    The direct flights from Australia to South Africa and South America within a specified time and distance is pretty much the most compelling argument to debunk flat earth theory.

    This being said the lack of star positional movement over thousands of years also makes the spinning globe expanding universe argument hard to believe.

    If the science comes down to what can be faked and what can be proved, the heliocentric model definitely has the upper hand.

    If it is proven that the earth is in fact flat then essentially they will just need to let all the loonies out of the insane asylum to make way for the global earth believers, so not much will change.

    Like energy that cannot be created or destroyed, it just changes form. Same for crazy people they cannot be created or destroyed just replaced.

    Since we really have no idea where we came from or where we are going it is not fair to ridicule or insult people for a theory that seems out in left field.

    If people are afraid to try and express an original thought for fear of persecution then how are we going to come up with new ideas?

    Good luck with your quest for the truth…

  30. mfundo shoyisa says:

    when a lie is told for longer time it become a truth that generations will believe, but when you take your mind and think you will see that we leaving in the world of conspiracy, but lucky we can prove all conspiracy with our mind… and thinking, ask yourself why did NASA delete the original tapes of the Apollo missions, why they can’t go back to the moon, and why is the Marine using flat earth maps on mission not the round earth, is there a person who said i have round the earth and come back to my original position? why is so important for the Web Administrators to delete site that have prove that the earth is flat but keep those site that believe the earth is round, don’t we have the mind as humans to think for ourselves? i have read all sights of the round earth, and i never find an answer that Samuel Rowbotham asked and proved. let us debate this with sobber minds, if NASA or all the space agencies in the world say they did went to the moon, why can’t the produce evidence by going to the moon now and keep the original tapes of them there so we can analyze them, and why in the 21st century NASA is still using a satellite that is using less than 5 Mpixels while they can develop easily a satellite that can be more than 100000 mega pixels. let wake up, someone is selling us lies. please read this book “The Greatest Lie on Earth: Proof That Our World Is Not a Moving Globe
    By Edward Hendrie” it a summary of all the researches conducted on the flat earth by scientist and by ex Astronauts well known to us. and please i wouldn’t mind to get some references of researches conducted and proof as for me i’m still digging more

  31. Barbara Harwood says:

    I remember the complicated system that was devised to try to support the view of the flat Earth at the center of the universe and the epicycles that were necessary to explain how it worked. For the sake of those people who still believe in it, the Roman Catholic Church has ceased burning heretics. You will note that The Pope, when he gets off of the plane, kisses the Earth. This is not because he does not believe in science; Otherwise he would never have gotten into it in the first place.

  32. Awana Black says:

    Let me just say, if there are any women in this group of nuts, they must be flat-chested. Gravity is real.

  33. BethKCZ says:

    A few decades ago, a small group of my fellow engineers and scientists would get together to debate “flat earth”. We didn’t know until we got there which side we would be on for that evening. It was fun and it honed debating skills. NO ONE there believed for one second it was true, nor that any semi-educated person living in an industrial society could actually believe such nonsense. Still, many of us could force-fit scientific theories and observations onto a flat-earth view, even if in some cases we had to come up with a conspiracy why “they” want us to think the world is (approximately) a globe.

    We stopped doing this, or meeting in public to debate “flat earth” when people started coming, wanting to join, who actually seemed to believe the flat earth. We thought that the first few were joking. Sadly, we found that they weren’t. As not to give them any more ammo for this odd-in-the-20th-century belief, we stopped debating it. Too bad. It was a lot of fun while it lasted, and it was worth the time and effort we spent on it.

    Why the current batch of flat earthers seems to spend as MUCH effort as they do clinging to the belief that the world is flat is part of their anti-intellectual, anti-science agenda, of insisting that things were “right” in the past, that humankind cannot know or learn anything, and, more dangerously, it’s wrong to support *science education*. That is what the real “war” is about. The anti-science agenda is what’s going to doom us in this.

  34. Bruce Robinson says:

    To me, the best indicator that the Earth is close to a sphere is that when a person who lives in the Northern Hemisphere goes on a trip to the Southern Hemisphere, the moon is seen upside down.

    See an essay “Proofs 15 to 21 that the Earth is not flat,” at:

  35. Dr. Latero sidethink Hp. D. says:

    It is about the same as it was 60 years ago
    Antiscience is still being Trumped by NewAge flapdoodle of all sorts

    Evidence ?
    Evidence ??
    We don’t got to show you no steenkin’ evidence !!

    We still need Jazzbeaux guys

    Dr. s.

  36. Colin Hall says:

    No, let’s take a look at a really interesting social phenomenon: large numbers of people believing tenaciously in unscientific, demonstrably false, theories for centuries so that we can begin to understand why belief can still triumph over evidence. If we don’t understand this, then we deserve to be taken over by the next snake oil salesman who comes along and promises us heaven on earth. (Or to make America great again…)

  37. Joe says:

    Hey! Let’s debunk a really ridiculous “conspiracy theory” so we can then sit back smugly and proclaim how ridiculous all “conspiracy theories” are!

    I swear, reading this Skeptic newsletter sometimes makes me convinced that it’s published by the editors of “The Onion”. Oops, is that a “conspiracy theory”?

  38. charles brill says:

    If the earth is flat, why is the north pole the center of the disk.
    Why not the south pole? Or any other site?

    Also, wouldn’t the ocean waters flow off the edge of the disk? Where would it go? Wouldn’t the earth have been dehydrated long ago?

  39. Steve Kist says:

    We know the world is not flat because we have Cats! If the world was flat, all the cats would be at the edge pushing things over.

  40. tpaine says:

    Expected to skim a few sentences because this topic is so……uninteresting.
    But the historical perspective provides and interesting read and it doesn’t even have get into the psychology to do so.
    Expectations exceeded.
    Nicely done Daniel

    • Daniel Loxton says:

      That’s kind of you to say. I found the topic much more intriguing than I expected myself, especially when reading original sources from the 19th century Flat Earth movement for my longer Junior Skeptic treatment. (The story of Alfred Russel Wallace’s long battle with Flat Earther John Hampden is an especially interesting bit of weird history.)

  41. OldNassau67 says:

    1. What puzzles me is that most Biblical inerrantists rely on translations. At least learn the Aramaic (OT) and Greek (NT).

    2.Then comes the problem of multiple Bible manuscripts – the Silver Scrolls, the Dead Sea scrolls etc. (OT), and more than 25,000 manuscripts for the NT – resulting in hundreds of varying Bibles, often contradictory, all purporting to be The Bible.

    3. I wonder what the fundamentalists of other religions – Wiccan, Zoroastrian, etc. – believe to be the shape of the earth?

  42. OldNassau67 says:

    As with/in world globes, solar system orreries, or planetariums.

  43. William Winkelman says:

    This article does nothing but shoot fish in a barrel. Debunking flat earth is very easy to do. I was hoping to see something about why there are people who invest so much in it that they form a Flat Earth Society. It’s not enough to explain that it conforms to some mistaken ultra-literal interpretation of the Bible, where much poetic imagery is used, as, for instance in the Book of Job (especially God’s speech to Job) authored by someone of obviously great intelligence.
    Flat Earthers have an emotional investment in a flat earth. One man recently was ready to launch himself in a home-made rocket to go up and prove the earth is flat, but he was thankfully denied permission to do so by the FAA, probably for his own safety and that of others. Another has gone high up in a helium balloon to prove the earth to be flat, but from the view from the module swaying slowly back and forth like the pendulum of a large clock, we can see a gentle curvature of the earth. Nevertheless he’s presenting his video as evidence of a flat earth, I don’t know how. Other desperate efforts to prove the earth flat include citing Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton, of all people, somehow force fitting their physics into a flat earth worldview.
    When someone holds a view that is easily demonstrated to be irrational but holds onto it anyway, rational argument won’t work on him (or her). Something else is going on. Finding that something else was what I hoped the writer would do, but he didn’t give me that.

    • Daniel Loxton says:

      Flat Earthers have an emotional investment in a flat earth. … Something else is going on. Finding that something else was what I hoped the writer would do, but he didn’t give me that.

      Yes. Explaining what people say and asking whether they are correct are the easy tasks; finding out what’s really going on is harder. This particular article barely touches on that harder question. It wasn’t really my purpose here, but I strongly share your interest in understanding these topics more deeply. I’ve written about that at various times in various ways, such as here, here, here, and here. I’ll certainly be reflecting on this topic again in future posts.

  44. A reader says:

    If you’re interested in flat earth debunking, this Victorian experiment may be of interest:

  45. Raf Ollivierre says:

    Mark Perrault . Thanks for the edit. Now I’m sure everyone understands perfectly what you were yammering about in the first place. It is now as clear as mud.

  46. Bad Boy Scientist says:

    I agree that we Skeptics tend to focus on the ‘low hanging fruit’ of intellectual folly – and we use hollow excuses. I think much of debunking is done to make the debunker feel good rather than benefit the audience.

    As a professor of Astronomy and Physics, I have heard too many colleagues claim that Astrology is a huge drain on the economy and leads people to make very bad decisions. They act as if the economic meltdown of 2008 was based in Astrology rather than dishonesty and willful irrationality about economics.

    The trouble with spending an entire lecture on Astrology is that limited class time could have been spent on something inspiring like curved spacetime.

    Years of arguing with people who hold silly beliefs has trained me to build a bridge across the silliness and then carry such knowledge as I can across. Maybe, one day they’ll recognize the silliness for what it is.

  47. ACW says:

    Kevin Brady: ‘near death’ is not ‘death’ any more than ‘near Manhattan’ is ‘Manhattan’. My home is in northern NJ, the former. But not the latter. I’m not going to bother to recap here the voluminous evidence and explanations rebutting the supernatural explanations for ‘near death experiences’ and providing physiological explanations for the phenomena. There’s something poignant and sad about the desire for immortality … which, I think, strikes to the same psychological hubris as the flat-earthers’ beliefs: an insistence that we are the centre of reality, so important that we are the special care and concern of a supremely powerful being. (I’m sure if fleas think, they believe The Supreme Flea created Dog just for them. And at every dose of flea powder or scratch throws their world into havoc, just as humans’ worlds are thrown into havoc by earthquakes, floods, plagues, etc., they offer prayers of repentance to Supreme Flea begging to know what sins It is punishing them for …. ;) ) We as individuals are not important sub specie aeternitatis, and to refuse to accept that diverts energy and focus from the far more important fact that our evanescent lives are important to us, and to the other similarly temporary living creatures (human and otherwise) around us. I’m perfectly content to face eventual oblivion knowing my life, and the lives of a certain circle of friends and cats and birds and other fellow creatures, made a difference to each other. :)

  48. dj says:

    so is the earth flat or no

  49. Mark Perrault says:

    Sorry for the editing. We are NOT in 3D when we move. We stick to the 2D surface.

    On the surface life can STOP falling down an incline, not get blown over by wind.

    That can only be if Carbon is 2D hexagon. Then yes, carbon on 2D surface will STOP and balance in 60° crossing magnetic fields.
    Try it with wind
    Why oxidization?
    On 2D O 8 is an octagon and 45° sides would spin forever in 60° crossing fields.
    Only works on 2D

    Plantstake in CO2 868 gear and do not move from XY seed location.
    Moving life in surface takes inO that plants give off and release C02and defecation of carbon fiber

    GOLDEN RATIO angles seen in nature 45° and 60°



  50. Bronco says:

    There a thread in a forum I frequent where we have one of these flat earth moonbats arguing against the recent accomplishments of the SpaceX program, and yeah, said moonbat has admitted to both fundamentalist religious and conspiracy theorist par excellence underpinnings. But it’s fun to mock him, so I and the other participants can be a bit merciless.

  51. Tzindaro says:

    O.K., you’ve convinced me: the earth is not flat.

    But this article misses the real point. Most conspiracy theorists are not motivated by the evidence of their senses. They are into conspiracy theories because, as small children, they could not figure out, what Daddy and Mommy were up to in the bedroom with the door locked.

    This got forgotten and they never did find out, at least not in any way they could process and accept. So later, as adults, they still are sure Big People are up to Something Bad in Secret. The particular conspiracy is not important; the important thing is they have a drive to find out what the Big People are doing in Secret.

    Evidence refuting the details of a particular conspiracy theory does not convert them because they have an emotional need to find out the Truth.

    This unresolved childhood experience lies behind all sorts of conspiracy theories, most of which tend to be more common in the part of the population with the most sexual repression and the greatest tendency to fail to tell children honestly what Daddy and Mommy are up to.

    This segment of the population is usually religious, though some people raised in secular families, especially conservative ones or in the more conservative regions of the country, can also grow up to be conspiracy theory prone.

  52. Mark Perrault says:

    Both are right
    Descartes says we are part of the universe
    Myself I only operate on 2D surface plane XY we represent our thoughts.
    Computers work flawlessly on our logic and are part of the universe.

    GIS 3d printing – think about it.

    2D layers of data points, XY ,row columns and each Z axis represents another layer or record

    I go left or right and or forward or backwards or stay still and THINK before moving

    Never 90° from surface

    Law of original Horizontality all matter laid flat and laid in3 d

    Universe is FLAT – Hawking

    Earth is Centre of the universe, Ptolemy proved it and match it with the Smithsonian image for the Hubble Data.

    And for fun put a 2D Gold atom over it too.

    No wonder humans stare at Gold

    Gold is a reflection of the structure of the universe

    2D layers that SPIN 3 ways giving us our 3D universe just like Hollywood produces movies.

    It is a surface world. And Carbon Life can STOP reacting to binary forces.
    Stickiness of the universe

    2D hexagon, we use because stable.

    Oxygen is the cause of the spin, getting centred and spit 2222 around XY00 and compression caused the string of HCHO to spin.

    Golden ratio

    HCHO 3399
    6H2O CO2 and COC


    181 x6 868 and 686 I’m center
    360° rotation, 3+3+9+9 24 hour

    3000 +2 /(1+6+1+8 =16 *200% compression) =8

    Earth rotates the universe, stickiness that slowed the electrostatic buildup of +2-1 quarks on c2 (.9 billion billion) with a +1 x c2 resistance overall

    All movement , spin and linear

    All elements are movememt in patterns caused by the original HCHO strings deflection of the particle without mass slowing down H layers buildup OUTSIDE our Universe keeping it PERFECTLY FLAT!

    Our universe spins inside the flat open disk now stretch out so our protons are now spread out and the Higgs fields inbetween are filled with repeating patterns of the particle without mass as it picks up speed every pass though the 3 quarks, 10 to 27th times each proton per Planck second buy layer by layer, bottom up and out 90° from XY00

    Like the elevator up across and up, CPUniversd of ONE per c2 protons times layers Z or Time

    Bottom XY layer is Time or Z minus ONE
    M= c2 protons +1 overall

    E=Mc2 +p=c2
    Mass =1

    1*3*0? + 3×0?
    +1 0-1 x + +1 0 -1 Y
    Two sets of 3 Possibilities
    Just X or Y then 0 is certain

    We exist

    Two X and Y and crossed 60° forming our 2D existence.
    Just two dimensions stacked just like our minds created GIS and 3D printing, 2D layers laid then spun around to from 3D

    All matter is laid flat.


    You cannot react in 3D only on surface

    Time is just the sime to complex movememts, chain reaction broken down like MUSIC Ito parts, beats, timing.

    Chopping up one CONTINUOUS process of movement on surface that had a start but no end.
    Singularity is illogical
    Hell is being isolated, alone
    Intelligence exists, and WE KNOW we would never want to be alone.
    Life does not KILL but bonds or is neutral highest life is cooperation synergy.
    No biodiversity is the singularity was the goal. One species would have emerged a long time ago if all life tried to kill each other.
    Eat yes, decompose and take O to add movememt, but just not kill life around it for no reason.

    Two to start and never ONE to end. Entropy, seeking and Love gravity knowledge.
    Carbon life exists because it made the universe happen.
    Without 365.25spin over 360° the reactions would have never slowed enough for matter to form in patterns other than just endless disks of electrostatic resistance.

    2D XY data layers of 2+-1 SPI. Quarks making ONE distance, around XY intercises, data point.
    Fixed at when created all protons represent Prime Numbers Xa Yb at Tc.
    No two things same place same time.
    Deductive logic, and works. Epochs in geology.
    Stand at bottom of Grand Canyon and you see events happening on the surface and it goes 90° up with what we call time.
    Just chunking up a process according to markers or repeating patterns.

    Not a Dimensíon but it and Z axis are the same # of 2D layers.
    Base, the Time Event Horizon, is T minus one.

    T=c2 = one billion layers as each layer thinkness = empty space at centre XY,00, == lengthe particle without mass that enters it, is 1/c2.

    .9 biliion billion +point .1 billion biliion

    Remember 3399
    1000s and billions

    And a billion galaxies spun out when the spin caused the a vacuum, more compression till H layers above caused the whole spinning ball to be pushed up like a pin ball into layers of Hydrogen and each amount vaccumm.
    Billion galaxies spun out as the string hit the H buildup and ripped out spinning and building galaxies with empty space between.

  53. Jack Feldman says:

    re: Mr. Happen’s comment
    1. It’s easy.
    2. It makes them feel better about themselves by giving them someone to look down on.
    3. It creates a social group who can congratulate themselves on superior intellects, elevated morality, and not coincidentally reinforce their political beliefs. ( See #4 above.)
    4. It takes no courage whatsoever.

  54. Kevin Brady says:

    I agree it’s not even worth a study, but well written nonetheless.

    I’m interested in Shermer new book about afterlife believe- saying “ no one has returned” is not true if you investigate the many thousands of near death experiences that stand up under scientific inquiry. (I agree one can argue my last point but there is significant evidence pointing to the validity of these experiences)

  55. jack happens says:

    First, let me say that I am not directing this at the author of this current article. He deserves to enjoy every rant he desires. He has done an absolutely incredible job addressing the most important audience and the one that is our only hope, and done so in a masterfully effective manner. We need a hundred Daniel Loxtons.

    That said, why is it that we skeptics waste so much time flailing away at the nonsensical beliefs (or scams) of such tiny minorities. Are we satisfying some vigilante component of our human nature? Are we just seeking attention and rallying the troops? Pure feel-good efforts?

    Bigfeet, ghosts, Moon landing, Pentagon missiles, flat earths, Noah’s Ark, … the list goes on. We seem to spend 50% of our time and effort worrying about 2% of people with a zero percent chance of changing the way they believe, or in some cases the lead proponents, pretend to believe.

    There are many serious issues that need to be addressed, especially when those issues have serious negative effects on the education and lives of others.

    I am indeed skeptical of the point of much of our skepticism.

    • Daniel Loxton says:

      That said, why is it that we skeptics waste so much time flailing away at the nonsensical beliefs (or scams) of such tiny minorities. Are we satisfying some vigilante component of our human nature? Are we just seeking attention and rallying the troops? Pure feel-good efforts?

      It’s a good question which I believe has good answers. I’ve addressed this theme in a number of previous articles including:

      In brief:

      Here’s the thing: virtually the entire population of the planet holds paranormal or pseudoscientific beliefs. Those beliefs help shape the daily lives of billions of people. That’s interesting.

      It is the case that believers in a Flat Earth or Bigfoot are minorities (though not so small as one might suppose). Other paranormal, pseudoscientific, and fringe beliefs are much more widely held. Taken in aggregate, paranormal-type beliefs are an almost universal and traditionally understudied part of the human condition. That feels worth my attention, though others’ mileage may vary.

  56. Pete says:

    Bruce, how about listening to the students? It isn’t hard to discern someone’s intellectual ability and education from listening to them, assuming there is no speech or other disability involved. They are some of the most well-spoken kids of that age that I’ve heard in a long time in this country. I heard it said that they are noteworthy for living in a wealthy district and having received a “1950’s-style education”. Makes me glad that I was in elementary school then and in California, known (at least then) for high-quality education.
    Js, I love your “Step 3”!

  57. Robert Cooper says:

    I firmly believe that the Freemasons are behind this – after all they are responsible for nearly every other conspiracy, why not this one!

  58. Chris Sirola says:

    Hi, Daniel. I’m also thinking most of this is Internet trolling. But there may be some sincere folk out there anyway. A few comments:

    * I’m surprised no Flat Earther’s used a “Ringworld” concept, like the science fiction novel of the same name by Larry Niven. In this story, aliens constructed a giant ring (about 100,000 miles across and 90 million + miles in radius) centered about a star. Effective gravity is generated via rotation of the ring and the ring has sloped edges to contain the air. Fun concept, though not workable in any practical sense.

    * I wish people would avoid saying that the Earth is “round” instead of flat. As you described, flat Earthers have a round Earth – it’s called a disk or circle. Instead, focus on the 3D nature of the Earth.

    * If you haven’t seen it yet (it’s not mentioned in your article), check out the videos & pictures about Lake Ponchartrain (the big lake north of New Orleans) in Louisiana. It’s a great visual showing the curvature of the Earth, as seen from the ground. A search for “Lake Ponchartrain” and “debunking flat Earth” should find it pretty quickly.


    Chris Sirola
    (a.k.a. Associate Professor, Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, University of Southern Mississippi)

  59. Terry Moseley says:

    Why are you even bothering to write this? The Flat Earthers are so crazy they don’t even warrant a rebuttal.
    Even rebutting this nonsense gives it some degree of respectability, as if it was a matter for debate.
    Would you bother writing an article to prove that a fire is hot and ice is cold?

    • Daniel Loxton says:

      Would you bother writing an article to prove that a fire is hot and ice is cold?

      If I were aware of a movement to promote a “fire is cold” theory, yes, I would certainly write about it. In the past I’ve frequently discussed reasons to devote energy to seemingly preposterous fringe topics, but my core feeling is simply that weird things are interesting.

  60. bruce says:

    “Also, that young people who show themselves to be smart and articulate (Stoneman-Douglas High students) are now the exception.”
    What causes you to think that those students are smart, articulate and exceptional?

  61. js says:

    Flat Earth people:

    Step 1- make a friend in India, China, etc; somewhere on the other side of the world.

    Step 2- Skype with them at noon. Notice behind them it’s pitch dark. If this is all a big disk, where’s the sun for them?

    Step 3- Get sterilized, quickly, please.

  62. kenneth kirby says:

    After reading this article, I went to the Flat Earth Society website in order to join up. Membership only costs $12, and they claim that part of the funding goes toward animal welfare. How could anything be bad that gives money to poor animals. I don’t know about anybody else, but I’m going to join. There are slightly less than 600 members, and apparently the society needs to grow its membership. This Society needs to make a greater impact on those ‘evil’ scientists who actually believe the Earth could be round. Let’s all help out in precluding this insidiuously misguided belief that the Earth is round. Ha! All I know is that I’ve got flat feet, and they fit nicely on this nice flat surface we call ‘Earth’.

  63. Pete says:

    What’s next, gravity is a hoax?!? I bet most of these people deny climate science, voted for Trump, and believed everything they saw on the internet about Hillary. The tragedy of all that foolishness is only beginning to unfold. How pathetic that this country can be so dumbed-down that what used to be a joke about stupid people (“the Flat-Earth Society”) is now a reality. Also, that young people who show themselves to be smart and articulate (Stoneman-Douglas High students) are now the exception. Part of me thinks this isn’t even worth rebutting but I thank Skeptic for their continuing good work supporting science.

  64. Michel Latreille says:

    Do you really have nothing to do at your work?
    I cannot believe that in 2018 someone would devote so much effort to debunk the “Flat Earth theory”. To me it is just a joke meme on Facebook that I smile at and ignore.
    That you would go to such lengths to research and write this article with a long list of references is totally beyond me!

  65. J. Gravelle says:

    Then why are all our maps flat?

    Checkmate, round-Earthers…


  66. David says:

    You left out the most famous flat world, Terry Pratchett’s Discworld.

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