It seems to be a hot topic at the moment. Is the world really flat? Are all photos from space a conspiracy from NASA? Well, I’ve decided to outline the arguments for and against this ‘flat earth’ theory because really, I do think it is pretty stupid. I know a lot of these arguments may make sense but listening to science, astronomy and physics, I think it’s difficult for these arguments to stand. If you still believe in the Flat Earth theory after hearing these arguments then I have to shut up, but from an earth science perspective, I couldn’t understand why you would actually believe this (though that won’t stop me from wearing the t-shirts).
The earth is surrounded by an ice wall
As the animation shows, the earth is seen to be a disc that is surrounded by an ice wall that manages to hold oceans back. According to conspiracists, explorers have traveled here but have not returned to tell the story and now travel is banned to Antarctica for these reasons.
This doesn’t make sense. They believe that if you reach the outside ‘wall’ you are magically transported to the other side (like in Pac man). Why would this be the case when people have traveled to Antarctica and have not experienced this ‘Pac-man’ sensation? Also, the theory completely changes the ACCEPTED world map view. This would imply that the southern continents are a lot further away than traditionally thought. If this were true, the quickest way to get from South America to Australia would be to fly over the North Pole. Enough said.
The bottoms of clouds are flat
This is one of the principle arguments from flat earth theorists. Yes, some clouds have a flat bottom so in theory, this is a major challenge.
However, this can be explained by simple meteorology. Cumulus clouds (the puffy clouds that you’d recognise from children’s drawings) are created from pressure and temperature changes in the atmosphere. As water vapour moves upwards, the air expands due to a larger volume and a pressure drop. This height where cumulus clouds form is very specific and would appear to form a flat bottom due to the changes in our current atmosphere.
The Movement of the Sun
It is thought that the sun moves in circles around the North Pole and that during the day, the sun is over your head but during the night, the sun is away from you (kind of like a torch). The sun setting and rising is purely the perspective effect that the vanishing point of the sun. If you climb a mountain, the horizon rises according to your eye level and this is thought to be relevant in terms of the sunrise and sunset.
If the world was flat, we would be able to see the sun at all times because the curvature wouldn’t be there to prevent us from it. The only way to explain it is that there must be a complete other side otherwise we would never truly be in darkness.
Photos from NASA are a Conspiracy
It is thought that all photos of the globe have been edited to make us believe that the Earth is round. Flat earth conspiracists are not 100% sure why governmental agencies want to hide this but they potentially think it’s for financial gain of some sort.
For starters, why would NASA want to do this? Secondly, normal people (such as the video below) can prove that the Earth has a curvature.
The Moon and the Sun are the same size
They believe that the sun and the moon are the same in size, are 32 miles in diameter, and orbit around the North Pole.
This, again, is another argument from empiricism so if you looked up, it could be true. However, as you can also see, the moon is not always a circle. It goes through a cycle whereby the Earth’s shadow prevents us from seeing the full moon. This occurs as the sun is behind the Earth thus causing the shadow effect on the moon. Therefore, empiricism and basic physics can explain why the moon and the sun aren’t rotating around the North Pole. The sun also appears to be the same size as it’s located 149.6 million km away whereas the distance to the moon is only 384,400 km away so will appear to be the same as the sun is further away.
Gravity isn’t real, objects simply ‘fall’
According to flat earth theorists, gravity is an illusion and objects really just accelerate downwards. Apparently, this force is called ‘Universal Acceleration’ and that the density of objects is the reason they fall down.
Okay, this really doesn’t work. The thing with gravity is that with a sphere, wherever you are, there is the same amount of the sphere underneath you. This means that the gravitational pull is to the same point in the sphere. If the earth was flat, the center would have to pull towards the middle of the plane. This means that on each end, gravity would pull you sideways instead of downwards whereas, in the middle of the plane, you would actually be able to stand up straight.
But I can’t see any curvature?
Surely because ships disappear on our horizon, that means that they’ve reached that ice sheet right?
You see, this argument is larger than just flat earth theory. If we relied on our senses when coming up with new theories and ideas, then most ideas would be completely unreliable. Our senses and empiricism would fail for flat earth theory because of how small humans are relative to the Earth itself. If we were to go on a hot air balloon ride, we would be able to see that our horizons literally expand. More scientifically, buying a high-pressure balloon and taping a camera onto it, you could see the ‘bigger picture’.
So, do not rely on your senses to deduce the shape of the earth because if that was the case, my current world is just my bedroom window?
Here’s the proof:
If after these arguments you still are in disbelief then okay, maybe you can’t be convinced and should go back to basic science classes. But if you’ve been laughing at flat earth arguments like me, then welcome to science and the world of normalcy. Comment or send me an email if you have other arguments (I’d love to hear them) and then maybe I could write a post replying to those.
Cover photo: Mic
Animation of day/night cycle: Flat Earth Society