By Madison Kellogg
The concept of questioning and challenging so called set-in-stone facts, has become increasingly popular with the help of modern media advances like YouTube and Wikipedia. It seems the more information people are granted about certain subjects, the greater the desire becomes to prove these events or facts false. These people, commonly referred to as conspiracy theorists, have collected evidence in hopes to prove some of the biggest historical discoveries to be false, but one group has taken the spotlight over the past few decades- The Flat Earth Society. This is a real and thriving group that contains members from pretty much everywhere. The Flat Earth Society has taken the world by storm with their convincing theories, models, and evidence to back up their claims.
Going back to the very begging of civilization will help to support why these ideas became so appealing. The original Flat Earth Society began thousands of years ago and had tons and tons of members. More specifically, it was commonly known that the first people thought the world was flat, there was simply no reason for them to think otherwise. All their senses led them to believe this, since they had no science to distract them. This is primarily what the Flat
Earth Society does today, they use something called the empiricist approach, which is using the senses to evaluate information provided (Crouton). This approach seems extremely inconsistent and unreliable, but by looking at a theory and model taken from the most well-known book in the world, the Bible, this might help to ease the impassibleness of this way of thinking.
This Ancient Hebrew Theory of the flat earth is widely accepted by flat earthers because all the evidence needed is gathered into one book, starting at the very begging (Benner). In Genesis 1:6-8, the Bible refers to the earth as a dome that includes a sky that has been separated from the waters below. This type of writing is used in the entirety of chapter one with other various phrases mentioning the dome and the lights in the dome, commonly referred to as stars, never once mentioning anything that would lead the earth to be considered round (Stern). Another place where this idea of a dome earth is seen in the Bible, is in the book of Joshua. In Joshua 10:13, the author says that the sun stands still along with the moon (Stern). For some context, this natural phenomenon is happening to give the Israelites more time to defeat their enemies, essentially time is standing still. There are two reasons why this passage is particularly interesting. One is that for the sun to stand still, the sun would have to be moving in the first place, leading to the conclusion that the sun is moving around or across the earth, which makes the most sense in a flat earth model. Secondly, the context that this event was written down is a historical one. This means that the author would not have used metaphors or symbolism to tell what happened, they would have stated the event exactly how it happened.
Both evidences come from the Complete Jewish Bible, which of course leads room for interpretation, bias, etc.. For this reason, flat earthers get much of their evidence from viewing everyday events, leading back to the empiricist approach. For example, the Antarctic Treaty, signed in 1959 by leading nations, forbids nations to claim or develop land in the arctic. Many flat earthers believe the flat earth is encircled in a ring of ice and the nations know this to be true, so they signed a treaty to stop the truth of a flat earth from spreading (Benner). This final theory of evidence gets the most back lash since it deals with an event close to many people’s hearts. As stated above, many flat earthers believe the earth is in the shape of a dome, like a snow globe, they also believe that because of this, space has never been explored and the moon landing is fake. They go on to explain that the whole event was a stunt and all the photos are simply photo shopped (Benner). These two theories may seem impossible to dwell on, but it is important to remember who is being dealt here, the government.
In conclusion, theories, models, and evidence have all been provided to better explain who these people are that believe in a flat earth, but from who’s perspective? A flat earther, a round earther, or just a student questioning reality? For the moment, the later will have to do, but that does not mean this student will stop searching. Just like those in the Flat Earth Society, this quest for truth will not stop. Hopefully by bringing light to this somewhat controversial topic, more people will question everything and everyone. In the meantime, there is already an important question that must be answered- Is flat where it’s at?
Header photo from BBC.
Benner, Jeff A. “The Flat Earth Theory: Fact or Fiction?: AHRC.” The Flat Earth Theory: Fact or Fiction? | AHRC, Jeff A Benner, https://www.ancient-hebrew.org/studies-interpretation/flat-earth-theory-fact-or-fiction.htm.
“Flat Earth FAQ.” Flat Earth FAQ – Please Read!, Simple Machines, 18 Dec. 2018, http://www.theflatearthsociety.org/forum/index.php/topic,1324.msg1312141.html#msg1312141.
Stern, David H. “BibleGateway.” Genesis 1 CJB – – Bible Gateway, 1998, https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+1&version=CJB.