In the 21st Century, the term “flat-earther” is used to describe someone who is spectacularly – and seemingly wilfully – ignorant. Also known as Flat Earth Myth, Flat Earthism and Platygeism, there is a group out there who claim the Earth really is flat.
You will see me on twitter from time to time playing ping pong with these idiots, a momentary distraction on my part I assure you. It is impossible for a Flat Earther to explain away all the problems with their theory, mostly because the evidence they provide is generally pulled out of their asses. I begin to believe it is all a hoax…
FLAT EARTH A HISTORY
The Flat Earth model is quite simply an archaic idea of the earth being a flat disk. In Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia they believed the world was a flat disk floating on an Ocean. A similar account can be found in “Homer” from the 8th Century BC.
Several Pre-Socratic philosophers also believed the world was flat, Thales, Leucippus and Democritus to name but a few and we can add the historian Herodotus to the list.
In Ancient Hindu, Jain and Buddhist cosmology they held the Earth was a disc consisting of four continents grouped around a central mountain ( Mount Meru)
Ancient Norse and Germanic peoples believed the earth was flat with the earth surrounded by an ocean. In the Norse creation account it states
…And Jafnharr aid: “Of the blood, which ran and welled forth feel out of his wounds, they made the sea, when they had formed and made firm the earth together, and laid the sea in a ring round about her; audit may well seem a hard hang to most met to cross over it
In Ancient China, the belief was the earth was flat and square, while the heavens were round.There was no concept of a round earth in Chinese astronomy:
Chinese thought on the form of the earth remains almost unchanged from early times until the first contacts with modern science through the medium of Jesuit missionaries in the seventeenth century.
As early as the 4th Century BC however, philosophers and scientists realised that the Earth was actually a sphere. Aristotle was one such Greek philosopher who advocated the Earth was a globe This debate raged on in many cultures throughout the centuries. Most educated people from the 4th Century BC and on realised the earth was not flat, and that the belief that the flat earth theory was widespread is just a myth that took root in the 19th century.
- 330 BC – Aristotle provides evidence of spherical earth
- 240 BC – Eratosthenes of Cyrene accurately calculates circumference of globe
- 8th Century AD – work by Bede shows acceptance of Spherical world
Interestingly let me just add a note here, as on researching for this piece I came across a christian apologist website that stated:
The Flat Earth mythology flourished most between 1870 and 1920, and had to do with the ideological setting created by struggles over evolution. Russell stated the Flat Earth myth was an ideal way to dismiss the ideas of a religious past in the name of modern science
Isaiah 40:22 says God sits above “the circle of the Earth”
Luke 17:34-36 depicts Christ’s second coming as happening while some are asleep at night and others are working at day time activities in the field and indication of a rotating Earth with day and night at the same time
He went on to explain the Bible teaches the Earth is round, forgetting it seems the overwhelming passages that state otherwise. Here are just a few
Isaiah 40:22 “he sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy and spread them out like a tent to live”
Revelation 7:1 “and after these things I saw four angels standing on 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”
THE FLAT EARTH SOCIETY
The origins of the Modern Flat Earther’s can be blamed on ( and yes I use the term ‘blamed’) Samuel Rowbotham (1816-1884) who published a 430 page book , Earth Not a Globe, expounding his views based on his interpretation of the Bible. Under the model proposed by his book, the Earth is a flat disc with the North Pole at its centre and the South Pole extending all the way around the outer edge. This outer edge is also guarded by a 150 foot tall wall of ice ( No expedition to Antarctica had yet reached the South Pole.)
The Flat Earth Society was originally formed after his death, as the Universal Zetetic Society in 1884, after the Greek word ‘Zeteo’ meaning ‘to seek.’ The Society slowly declined after World War 1.
The Flat Earth Society as we know it today was founded in 1956 by Samuel Shenton. His most famous comment has to be , when he was shown satellite images of Earth he said :
It is easy to see how a photograph like that could fool the untrained eye
After his death in 1971, Charles K Johnson became president of the Society and under his leadership it boasted 3,500 members.
Famous arguments the fools like to use
- Roads are flat! – Yes I kid you not hahaha.
- Star trail photography proves the Earth doesn’t move
- Where’s the curvature?
A line from one of my favourite movies come to mind, Cool Hand Luke
What we have here is a failure to communicate (TIP: best said in a Southern accent)
The group have become a living metaphor for backward thinking and a refusal to face scientific fact. What we have is a group of people who see only as far as their perception affords them. (affords them, I’ve been reading far too much Jane Austen – but you know what I mean.)
I am of the opinion the flat earther society was set up as a social experiment to determine just how gullible people can be. Throw them something truly outlandish to believe in and see if they will follow