Of late, there's been an explosion of people either believing or claiming to believe the world is flat, even though we've known for centuries it isn't.
There are conferences where people from around the globe come to discuss everything from "what happens when you get to the edge" to what they reckon happens during a solar eclipse. Some of the conferences even take place on ships that navigate using nautical charts that are based on a round Earth. The attendees could also look out to sea on these ships and prove to themselves the Earth is round.
The flat-Earth belief is, for the large part, harmless. However, when people take it seriously it can be harmful or even fatal. In February 2020, one flat-Earther attempted to prove the Earth is flat in a homemade rocket and ended up dying in the attempt, while another man was threatened with a crossbow in August 2019 in a bet about the shape of the world.
No matter how many times images from space show the Earth to be round, some people are still not convinced. A lot of you are Googling questions about a flat Earth, so let's answer a few of them before you end up being sent to YouTube.
While there are true believers in the flat-Earth "theory", a lot of people are just pretending they believe the Earth is flat for fun or as a wind-up.
Some of the memes are, admittedly, quite funny.
Most are clearly designed to mock flat-Earthers themselves.
Some of them are about seven layers deep of baffling.
In short, there are people out there who believe the Earth is flat, even though a lot of flat-Earth content (online at least) appears to be a competition to see who can come up with the funniest or weirdest belief and then pretend to believe it for a meme.
Does the Bible say the Earth is flat?
The belief in a flat Earth is somewhat tied to being religious. According to a YouGov poll, 20 percent of round-Earth believers (or "globe cucks" as they're known in the flat-Earth community) are very religious, whereas a whopping 52 percent of flat-Earth believers say they are very religious, with 23 percent saying they are somewhat religious.
For some flat-Earthers, their belief comes from passages in the Bible.
“I thought the idea of a flat Earth was ridiculous,” Robbie Davidson told the Guardian at the second annual Flat Earth International Conference, which he himself had founded.
“I’d first heard it in the Bible and thought ‘this can’t be true,’” Davidson said at the conference. “I mean, I believed everything else, that the Earth was created in six literal days, but what about [flat Earth]? To be consistent as a biblical literalist, I can’t pick and choose.”
One religious flat-Earther at the conference claimed they had found over 200 scriptures referring to the Earth being flat and stationary. But does the Bible actually say the Earth is flat? Yes and no.
There are passages in the Bible that appear to refer to the Earth as being stationary on pillars as well as either a circle or square in shape:
- “He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S, and he hath set the world upon them” (1 Sam 2:8, KJV).
- “And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day” (Josh 10:13).
- “He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in” (Isa 40:22).
- “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” (Rev 7:1; 20:8).
However, it is argued in most Christian circles that these aren't to be taken literally. Even Jehova's Witnesses – who believe the Earth is only 6,000 years old – say the "four corners of the Earth" quotes are just figures of speech.
Those who believe the Earth is flat are taking these passages more literally than perhaps they were intended, as the Earth has been talked about as being spherical in nature for over 2,000 years.
What does a flat-Earth map look like?
The flat-Earth maps, much like actual Earth maps, do vary. For instance, one proposed on the Flat-Earth Society website show the world as a circle.
"The North Pole is at the center," they wrote of Charles K.Johnson's map, president of the International Flat Earth Research Society. "At the outer edge lies the southern ice, reputed to be a wall 150 feet [45 meters] high; no one has ever crossed it, and therefore what lies beyond is unknown."
In this version of Earth (not real), the Sun and the Moon are about 32 miles (51 kilometers) across and circle above the Earth to give the illusion we are spinning. The Moon provides its own light, and lunar eclipses are "caused by an unseen dark body occasionally passing in front of the moon."
Other flat-Earth maps show a square Earth, meant to be based more literally on passages in the Bible that refer to "the four corners of the Earth" (Isaiah 11: 12). This one by Orlando Ferguson in 1893 went the extra mile in trying to square the circle by including a square and a circle in order to satisfy references to the Earth being a circle as well, including "it is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth" (Isaiah 40: 22) at the bottom of the map.
Other maps include a bubble above the Earth, with rock stretching out below. Those who believe this map say the bubble stops us from being able to get to space, raising the question of why they were so enthusiastic about Mike Hughes going there in order to find out if the Earth was flat.
Celebrities who believe in A flat Earth
Celebs, bless them, are not immune from falling for conspiracy theories despite traveling a lot around the Earth on planes.
In 2016, B.o.B came out strongly in favor of the flat-Earth theory in a number of tweets. In one tweet, he took a photo that was nowhere near wide enough to show the curvature of the Earth and said "The cities in the background are approx. 16 miles apart... where is the curve? please explain this."
The simple explanation is that the Earth is B.I.G, B.o.B.
"A lot of people are turned off by the phrase ‘flat earth’ ... but there’s no way u can see all the evidence and not know... grow up," he also said, and "No matter how high in elevation you are... the horizon is always eye level ... sorry cadets... I didn’t wanna believe it either.”
In a series of tweets, Tila Tequila asked similar questions that could easily be answered with "the Earth is big". These included "Why are all the buildings in NYC standing straight up? If earth was round then some of the buildings would have a slight tild. #FlatEarth" and "If the earth was a spinning globe then how come airplanes can still land w/out crashing? Because the face of the earth is flat. Not a globe." and "I WILL STOP MY #FLATEARTH TALK IF SOMEONE CAN SEND ME A GOD DAMN PHOTO OF THE HORIZON WITH A CURVATURE!"
Draymond Green and Sammie Watkins might
In 2017, basketball player Kyrie Irving came out and said he believed the Earth was flat. He later said it was a joke. However, Draymond Green defended his colleague by saying he couldn't be sure either way. "Who’s to say that picture [of Earth from space] is telling the truth? I can make a round picture with my iPhone today, on the panoramic camera, and make it look round. So, I don’t know. I’m not saying I think it’s flat or round, I don’t know, but it could be.”
Sammie Watkins then disclosed he too believed the Earth is flat.
James Buckley just believes the last sentence he heard on the subject
Clearly getting a little too into character as Jay from The Inbetweeners, actor James Buckley said in a 2019 interview: "First of all I thought it was round, then I was told it was flat. Then when I started thinking it was flat it’s now round again."
"So I’m looking into the theory that Earth is actually lumpy and bumpy. I imagine it to be as if a bowl of porridge had a gravitational pull."
How can you prove the Earth is round?
There are many ways to prove the Earth is round, but perhaps the easiest method is to merely go to the seaside, look out to sea, and locate a boat. As you'll observe if it's distant enough, it appears to dip below the horizon. Or save yourself the trouble of going to the seaside by looking at this image of wind turbines.
This wouldn't happen if the world was flat – you would be able to see the boat clearly on the horizon. Unless you caught the boat during the precise moment it fell off the edge of the Earth, of course, which nobody in the history of our species ever has.