Proofs 29 to 42 of a Spherical Earth.
Are Flat Earthers Creating a Hoax?
The big debate: Is the shape of the Earth very
close to a sphere, is it as flat as a pancake? Or is it another shape entirely?
Proof 29 that the Earth is not flat: A live feed of the Earth's surface from the International Space Station (ISS):
Amazing Space once posted the live video signal from a NASA HDEV High Definition Earth Viewing Cameras aboard the International Space Station.
The curvature of the Earth was clearly visible as the Earth rotated below the camera. The Earth was seen to be clearly spherical in shape. However, most believers in a flat Earth probably assume that the video was an artificial creation by NASA that is continually being updated.
Unfortunately, NASA discontinued the live feeds from the ISS during 2017-SEP.
"As the Space Station passes into a period of night every 45 minutes video is unavailable - during this time, and other breaks in transmission, recorded footage is shown.
When back in daylight the live stream of earth will recommence."
The European Space Agency (ESA) provides a live map showing the path and current position of the International Space Station at: http://www.esa.int/. Also shown is part of the previous and next paths of the ISS about 90 minutes ago and 90 minutes in the future. A snapshot taken on 2016-DEC-03 at about 22 hours UT (5 PM ET) is shown below. At that time, the space station was just south of the western end of Australia as shown by the green circle and space station symbol:
Attribution: from Google Maps.
Are the Flat Earth followers sincere, or knowingly perpetrating a hoax, or just having fun?:
The many "proofs" that the Earth is not flat as listed in this web site are all reasonably easy to understand and are readily available on the Internet. Most people could replicate the proofs if they wished. In spite of this, many very lengthy You Tube videos and large web sites are available on the Internet that still promote a Flat Earth.
Webmasters of flat earth web sites seem sincere. But the more that I study their thought processes it becomes increasingly obvious to me that their efforts may actually be a hoax. That is, they secretly realize that the Earth is spherical in shape, but they enjoy pulling our legs. They feed into many people's love for mysterious conspiracy theories.
Some indicators that the Flat Earth movement is a hoax are:
The editor of the Cosmic Convergence Research Group accepts a spherical Earth and suggests that the entire Flat Earth movement is a CIA program, saying:
"There is no greater example on the Internet today of inciting people of every ilk toward ”throwing the baby out with the bath water” than the utterly ludicrous phenomenon known as the "Flat Earth Theory." What is truly shocking is the number of really smart and aware, well-intentioned, and spiritually oriented individuals who are supporting this transparent pseudo-scientific sham.. Truly, the CIA has outdone itself with this mind-scrambling endeavor." 3
Michael Wilmore, the vice president of the Flat Earth Society is quoted as saying:
"The question of belief and sincerity is one that comes up a lot. 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." 3
Karen Douglas, a psychologist at the University of Kent in the UK specializes in the study of of conspiracy theories. She commented:
"It seems to me that these people do generally believe that the Earth is flat, I'm not seeing anything that sounds as if they are just putting that idea out there for any other reason."
Eric Oliver and Tom Wood are political scientists at the University of Chicago. They have determined that about half of American adults support at least one conspiracy theory. Examples cited were the belief that the 9/11 terrorist attack was actually planned and executed by the U.S. government, and that President Kennedy was assassinated by a group of conspirators. Oliver has said:
"Many people are willing to believe many ideas that are directly in contradiction to a dominant cultural narrative."
He suggests that belief in conspiracies originate from magical thinking, when individuals believe that there are unseen forces at work. 4"
My guess is that a large minority of those in the Flat Earth movement sincerely believe that the Earth is truly flat, whereas a minority are really enjoying committing a hoax on the public.
Proof 30 of a spherical Earth:
Discovery Channel performed two experiments on a TV program called "Flat Earth CRUSHED by Discovery Channel." The first involved a horizontal laser beam directed across a lake. The team used a laser at the shore, about 30 inches (75 cm) above lake level . A small boat, located in the lake close to the shore intercepted the laser beam part way up the side of the boat, at about the same height above the surface of the water as the laser was set up on the shore. The boat then moved three miles away from the laser. If the Earth is flat, then the lake would be level, and the beam would illuminate the same spot on side of the boat. Instead, the beam was found about six feet above the deck of the boat. The surface of the lake was clearly not flat, but follows the curvature of the Earth.
The second experiment replaced the laser at the shore of the lake with a telescope. A helicopter flew six miles away to the other shore and landed. If the Earth is flat, then the lake would also be flat, and the operator of the telescope would be able to see the landed helicopter. But it went out of sight as it descended towards the ground. The helicopter later rose vertically and became visible at the telescope on the other shore when it had reached an elevation of about 24 feet above the far shore.
One of the participants in the experiment was a man who had started the experiment believing that the Earth was flat. He was forced to have his belief adjusted by the evidence as a result of the experiments.
One of the neat features of this experiment is that a single person or a small group could replicate the experiment at a low cost per person. Simply performing the first of the two parts of the experiment using a readily available laser would be sufficient to prove a spherical Earth.
Proofs 31 to 34 of a spherical Earth: Resources on You Tube:
You can go to http://www.youtube.com and search for: earth sphere proof. As of 2017-FEB-15, the first 11 videos listed give many proofs that the earth is not flat. One has over 1.8 million views.
A longer video -- 22:30 minutes long -- goes into great detail debunking the video: "Flat Earth in 5 Minutes:"
Also, consider the video by The Hub titled: "10 Things That Would Happen If The Earth Was FLAT:"
Proof 35 of a spherical Earth: An experiment by National Geographic:
The experiment is essentially a small scale repeat of one by Aristotle:
The test is quite simple to perform: On a boat, hold up a large sign that featuring six horizontal stripes of contrasting colors. Total investment is very small: only enough to make a sign, and rent a boat with an outboard motor. Send the boat away from the shore of a very wide lake and observe the stripes on the sign.
If the Earth is flat, then the surface of the lake will also be flat. As the boat travels to the opposite shore, you will continue to be able to see the boat, the sign, and ALL OF the stripes. However, if a wide lake is chosen -- as in this video -- the sign and boat will get progressively smaller over time. Thus, a telescope or binoculars will prove helpful so that you can count the stripes and verify that they are all visible.
If the Earth is spherical, and the lake is wide enough, then the surface of the water will also be spherical. The boat, as viewed from the shore, will go over the horizon. and appear to gradually sink into the water. If the boat continues toward the opposite shore, the bottom stripe will disappear from sight. Going further will cause more stripes to disappear.
In the video, there were many believers in a flat Earth present to observe the events. They observed the experiment that clearly showed the disappearing stripes and thus proved that the Earth is not flat. But when their leader, Mark Sargent asked them if they still believe in a flat earth, they seem to have all remained believers, in spite of the evidence before their eyes.
Proofs 37 to 41 of a spherical Earth:
Proof 35 is simple for a single person to test. Go to a place that has a clear horizon. Observe (with dark glasses to protect your eyes) the sun setting and fully disappearing from view. Then quickly go to the top of some higher ground nearby. The sun will reappear and set again.
A similar proof has been performed using a helicopter located at one side of a wide lake. Get in a boat and observe the helicopter as the boat travels to the other side of the lake. The bottom of the helicopter would be seen to disappear first, then progressively more would be drop out of sight. At the other side of the lake, it would be completely out of sight. Then radio the helicopter personnel and ask them to travel upwards. When it was high enough, you will see the top of the helicopter and finally see the full helicopter emerge above the horizon.
If you don't have a helicopter, then go to a city with skyscrapers that is on the shore of a wide lake. Chicago, IL is a good choice. Then observe the skyline of the city from, say, 33 miles away. Viewing from Michigan City, IN might be a good choice. You will only be able to see the top sections of high buildings. 10
These three proofs that the Earth is not flat is easy to understand. They prove that the surface of the Earth is not flat.
A final proof:
A little over 2 millennia ago -- about 240 BCE -- a surveying experiment conducted by the ancient Greek mathematician Eratosthenes verified that the Earth is round. He also was able to make the first scientific estimate of the circumference of the planet. Unfortunately, he measured the circumference in stadia, whose length had multiple definitions at the time. So we don't know precisely how accurate his measurement was.
His proof of the round earth was repeated by Kurtis Baute near Regina, Saskatchewan in western Canada during 2019-AUG. 12 His You Tube video has received over 2.3 million views by the end of 2020-JUL!
He flew to Regina because it has a highway that is straight for 138 km (85 miles) -- one of the longest strait stretches of any road in the world. He computed the circumference of the Earth to be 33,120 km.
Other, more accurate, values have been measured that agree the circumference is about 40,075 km around the equator and 39,941 km measured around the poles. The Earth is not a perfect sphere. It is closer to an oblate spheroid.
A Cruise to Antarctica is planned for Flat Earthers - not:
The Flat Earth International Conference (FEIC) traces its history back to the early 1800s. Rumors spread that they are planning a cruise during the early part of the year 2020 to what they believe is the ice wall at the edge of the Earth. They were reported as having called the cruise: "... the biggest, boldest adventure yet." 10,11 Details are to be released in the future.
My first thought was that the FEIC cruise would sail to the "ice wall" and then travel along the full extent of the wall until they reached their starting point. But this made no sense for two reasons:
According to most Flat Earthers' maps, this would be a distance of about 78,000 miles along the ice wall. Cruise ships average about 20 knots to 23 miles per hour. That would mean that the organizers would expect that part of the cruise to take about 140 days. Assuming no stops. This would make the cost very high.
If the cruise were to cover the full coastline of Antarctica, which has actually been measured to be about 14,600 miles in length, it would only take about a month. Most flat earthers who took such a trip would have hand calculators and would realize that something is wrong with their beliefs about the size and shape of Antarctica. The organizers of the cruise would not want to provide proof to their membership that their beliefs about the shape of the Earth are wrong.
So I assume that the cruise would only travel from South America, South Africa, Australia or New Zealand to a point on the "ice wall" and then return. Also, it would have to start at a location that does not have any skyscrapers or other tall buildings, because their guests would then be able to see the bottoms of the buildings dissapear as the ship left port. They might realize that the Earth is not flat.
Sadly, FEIC founder Robbie Davidson later clarified that a cruise to the Antarctica is not planned. The group will sponsor a cruise, with a Flat Earth conference on board, but it will probably start in North American and travel to a different place than Antarctica.
Note to any believers in a flat earth who read this section:
If you have any arguments that would disprove any of proofs of a spherical earth listed in this section, please email them to us. You can use the "Contact Us" icon at the bottom of this essay. We would like to clear up any ambiguities and refine the proofs on our site to make them more convincing. Alternately, if you know of any solid proofs of a flat earth -- other than suggesting massive conspiracy theories -- please pass them along to us as well.
As of 2020-JAN, this request has been online for over three years. Although we typically receive millions of visitors a year to our web site, we have not received any responses from flat earth believers to this request. Pity. We would like to engage with some of them.
RELATED FEATURE ESSAYS on Cosmology, the study of the origin & structure of the universe:
Part 1: Overview about cosmological beliefs. The Ancient Pagan view originating in Sumer.
Part 2: The revised Pagan view, as generally accepted within early Christianity.
Part 3: Greek Pagan cosmology (Continued). Modern view of the solar system. Church taught an Earth-centered system. The big hoax: that the church taught a flat Earth during the Middle Ages.
Part 4: A modern-day return to the belief that the Earth is flat, and that there is a massive, false conspiracy teaching that the Earth is similar to a sphere
Part 5: Three more proofs that the Earth is more or less spherical and not flat.
Part 6: Five more proofs that the Earth is more or less spherical and not flat
Part 7: Arguments about the Earth's shape. A weak proof of a spherical Earth. More Old Testament passages about the Earth's shape.
Part 8: Passages from the New Testament about the Earth's shape. Proofs 13 & 14 that the Earth is not flat.
Part 9: Proofs 15 to 22 that the Earth is not flat.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
"NASA ISS live stream of Earth as seen from space," You Tube, at: http:/// (Discontinued in 2017-SEP).
"Where is the International Space Station?," European Space Agency [ESA], at: http://www.esa.int/
"Flat Earth Hoax: Began As a Ridiculous Farce to See How Gullible People Would Be," 2016-JAN-06, at: http://beforeitsnews.com/
"NASA Got Sick of Moon Landing Conspirators and Released 10,000 Photos From Apollo Mission," Before It's News, 2016-AUG-12, at: http://beforeitsnews.com/
Frame grab from the following video: "Flat Earth vs. Round Earth," National Geographic video on You Tube, 2019-JAN-15, at: https://www.youtube.com/ This video received over 1.8 million views by 2019-AUG-07.
Mindy Weisberger, "Flat-Earthers' Cruise Will Sail to Antarctica 'Ice Wall' at the Planet's Edge. Right." Live Science, 2019-MAR-22, at: https://www.livescience.com/
C Stuart Hardwick, "Chicago is 59 miles from the opposite shore of Lake Michigan. Given the earth’s curvature, it should be 2320 feet below the horizon. How can it be seen?," Quora, 2017-AUG-12, at: https://www.quora.com/
Bryan Clark, " 'Flat Earthers’ are embarking on a bizarre journey to Antarctica to prove that YouTube makes you stupid," The Next Web, 2019-MAR, at: https://thenextweb.com/
Kurtis Baute, "How I Proved the Earth is Round (with my Bike and Two Sticks)," You Tube, 2018-JUL-17, at: https://www.youtube.com/