The Men Who Believe The Earth Is Flat

Image: iStock

Let me tell you about John.

John says he's not crazy. I believe him.

"I am a normal person," he says.

But John isn't a 'normal' person. Not quite.

Well, he is and he isn't.

This article was originally published on September 12, 2016.

John is a Doctor. A medical doctor.

Actually, John is more than a doctor. John is the kind of Doctor who manages other Doctors.

John earns a substantial amount of money. John lives with his wife and three children in a large house in a well-to-do suburb in Sydney. John is comfortable. Comfortable enough to have a hot tub and sauna in his backyard. Comfortable enough that when he arrived home from a work trip to find his wife had spent thousands of dollars on a brand new tree house for their kids, John didn't blink. Barely even mentioned it. Went on with his day.

John is intelligent. Intimidatingly intelligent. When John talks he holds eye contact. You're afraid of saying something silly in John's presence. You want him to think you're smart. You make a clever joke; a sideways glance. Is John laughing? I hope John is laughing.

John is the kind of person you want to impress.

John is tall. His eyes tend to squint. He laughs infrequently but smiles easily. When you arrive at John's home the first thing he shows you is his Arcade Machine, a cocktail cabinet with thousands of video games installed. John is in his 40s. He'll school you at Street Fighter 2, but he prefers the classics. Asteroids, Pac-Man. John has an almost childish passion for things.

John is a great guy. A good Doctor. A loving husband and a great Father. John is all these things and more.

But one tiny detail, not evident. Not immediately.

John believes the earth is flat.

John absolutely believes the world is flat.

This not a joke. This is not irony or an exercise in intellectual curiosity. John is not playing Devil's Advocate.

Again: John believes the world is flat.

A common misconception: before Christopher Columbus circumnavigated the globe in 1492, people commonly believed the earth was flat.

Untrue. The concept of a spherical earth was posited as early as 6th century BC. By 3rd century BC Hellenistic astronomy established it as a physical given. Early Islamic astronomers believed the earth was spherical. In the 7th century the Armenian scholar Anania Shirakatsi described the earth as being "like an egg with a spherical yolk surrounded by a layer of white and covered with a hard shell".

We do our ancestors a disservice. By the time Christopher Columbus set sail human beings had been aware of a spherical earth for roughly 2000 years.

But there were dissenters. There's always been dissenters. The Greek philosopher Thales thought the earth floated on water like a log. Archelaus believed the earth sank in the middle, like a saucer. Early Christian dissenters argued for a flat earth. Passages in the Koran discuss the earth as being "laid out" during creation, which some interpret as a flat earth descriptor.

Image: Public Domain

1893, 400 years after Columbus went on his legendary voyage Orlando Ferguson, a Real Estate developer from North Dakota, drew this map. A combination of biblical and 'scientific' references, Ferguson called himself a professor and took this image (and an accompanying 92 page thesis) on tour across America. He believed the earth was flat.

1956, one year before the Soviet Union sent Sputnik 1 into orbit, Samuel Shenton formed the Flat Earth Society. One of his primary goals: reach children before they were of school age, before they had a chance to see globes in the classroom. After the launch of Sputnik 1 Shenton famously said: "Would sailing round the Isle of Wight prove that it were spherical?"

In 1961 the Soviets sent Yuri Gagarin into space.

In 1969 the United States put a man on the moon.

It's 2016 and there are still people who believe in a flat earth. Some believe Antarctica is a ring of ice that encircles the earth. Some believe there's undiscovered land beyond that wall. Many believe gravity literally doesn't exist. Fringe flat earthers believe the sky is actually a glass dome. Almost all believe that NASA faked the moon landing.

Flat earthers generally believe all photos of a spherical earth from space -- and there are thousands -- have been doctored.

"On the one hand it seems incredible that people believe this, on the other hand there’s a basic explanation."

That's Peter Ellerton, founding director of the University of Queensland Critical Thinking Project. Peter's written extensively on why people believe in a flat earth, but believes the answer is relatively straightforward. It's simply the narrative people write for themselves. Once that narrative has been established, it's near impossible to rewrite.

"The psychology of why they believe what they believe isn’t wildly different from the reasons why we believe what we believe," explains Peter.

"It just so happens that these people have written a strange story."

Peter's view: human beings like to tell stories. Stories are what allow us to understand and interpret the world we inhabit. Stories define our reality. These stories can be constructed based on scientific consensus or built upon existing narratives in religious texts -- either way, they're created in much the same way. And they're equally as rigid. It's difficult to convince a lifelong anti-vaccer to vaccinate their children. And it's difficult to convince flat earthers that the earth is round. It's tough to untie that knot.

But the knot that is Flat Earth Theory is unique: it involves the rejection of our most fundamental understanding of the world and how the universe works. The earth is a spherical planet that revolves around the sun: that's a belief most would consider absolute. Peter believes there's a cognitive dissonance at play; it takes a certain level of arrogance to reject scientific expertise, but there's also a simple pleasure in it.

"Flat earthers feel crappy because they don’t understand a lot of this stuff," Peter believes, "so they find a way to minimise the stuff they don’t understand."

By rejecting the established science, flat earthers place themselves in a position of power.

"Suddenly they feel like they’re the experts, and that’s a good feeling. Why wouldn’t you want to maintain that feeling?"

Image: Public Domain

"I can't sit near it. I can't sit near him. I don't want it near me."

That's Gemma. Gemma is John's wife and a Clinical Psychologist. She does not believe in a flat earth.

"The earth is round," she tells me. "It's bloody round. I've seen pictures."

In the beginning, flat earth theory was a mere distraction for John. He liked to argue about ideas, enjoyed conspiracy theories, watched a few videos here and there, had conversations with his wife. An amusing distraction. Six to seven months later, says Gemma, it became an all-consuming part of John's life.

"Every spare minute he’s lying on the couch," explains Gemma, "just saturating himself in this stuff."

In the beginning, Gemma tolerated John's discussions, even participated. Eventually, as those discussions increased in frequency and intensity, Gemma banned all flat earth talk from the house. If she finds John watching YouTube videos about the flat earth conspiracies, or any conspiracy for that matter, she simply walks out of the room.

John's tendency to approach ideas from unique perspectives, his ability to maintain an open mind to strange ideas and treat them with respect -- these are personality traits that attracted Gemma to John in the beginning of their relationship. But there's a dogmatism to John's flat earth obsession that repels her.

"It’s broader than him saying the earth is flat," says Gemma. "It’s more like, what kind of a person thinks that?

"It's the rigidity I can't handle. The idea that the earth is flat, that they won't hear otherwise. I'm not a layperson, I'm a clinical psychologist. That's madness."

Like Peter, Gemma believes there's a certain level of arrogance at play. But she also believes there's paranoia involved.

I ask Gemma if she's worried about John.

"Am I worried about him?"

She laughs. She laughs for a long time.

"Mark," she repeats, with emphasis, "the earth is round."

Image: Public Domain

"Once I believed it," John explains, "everything fell into place."

John didn't always believe in a Flat Earth, but he's always been curious, about almost everything.

One video in particular convinced him, on YouTube. One specific wrinkle: the earth and its apparent lack of curvature.

"I just couldn't disprove it," he says.

And he tried.

Using his own money, and his own spare time, John bought equipment, online, in an attempt to somehow check the curvature of the earth. In his own experiments, he claims, he could not not prove that the earth was round.

He looked at large scale photos of the earth and its horizon. Dead straight. Why? One video in particular: two men found the perfect spot. They stood 10 kms apart on opposite sides of a massive body of water. One shone a red laser towards the other: straight as a die. The figure opposite could see the beam of light. Same level. Same height.


John doesn't understand why. Shouldn't the curvature of the earth make that impossible?

He believes there's only one conclusion: the earth is flat.

John doesn't bring up the subject much, doesn't discuss it with his colleagues. He will occasionally broach the topic with friends, he says, but he's had mixed results.

"People get angry," John explains. "They don't want to hear it."

John and Gemma once had dinner with their next door neighbours. They were comfortable with one another, so John discussed his research into flat earth theory, asked a few probing questions. The mood, John says, switched almost instantly.

"He looked at me like he was going to hit me," remembers John.

"The first thing you get shown in school is a globe, that's your foundation. When you remove that, you remove the foundation. I think that scares people."

Gemma remembers that dinner. She has a different perspective.

What John didn't mention: his neighbour is an astrophysicist. His literal job description: ascertain the nature of objects in space. Suggesting the earth is flat doesn't just challenge his existing world view, it rebukes his entire life's work.

Gemma's says the neighbour wasn't angry, he just thought John was an idiot, similar to the idiots who called his institute on a weekly basis to tell him the earth was flat.

This concerns Gemma. She's embarrassed, not for herself, but for John. The idea her husband is being thought of in this way, dismissed for the strange belief he has allowed to define him.

"He's a highly intelligent person and worthy of respect, but this is fucking mental. It's crazy.

"I want to protect him," she explains.

Flat earth theory has changed Gemma's own perception of the man she fell in love with. The man she married. The father of her children.

"It’s affected our relationship," she says.

"I had a panic attack in the car thinking about it, just wondering, ‘is this the kind of person I’ve chosen to spend the rest of my life with’. It’s at that level. It’s a huge issue in my life."

Peter Ellerton said something during our conversation. He said: "these people aren't a mystery, they're just a little sad."

Gemma echoes the sentiment. This is a reality John has to live with.

She remembers one moment. John standing in the kitchen, telling Gemma he felt estranged from humanity, that he was "existentially lonely".

"He said: 'no-one thinks the way that I think. People aren’t comfortable with my ideas. There's no-one I can connect with and talk to'.

"That's sad."

But there's a dichotomy. Gemma recognises that. John feels lonely, but that loneliness makes him feel special. There's a comfort in that loneliness, in believing you're enlightened one.

"I love him," says Gemma, finally. "He's a highly intelligent person and worthy of respect, but this is fucking mental. It's crazy."

Image: iStock

John says something striking; something telling.

"When you look at flat earth theory," he says, "when you think about it, it's beautiful."

It's understandable. Relatable even.

On a certain level it's easy to be seduced by the idea of a flat earth. It draws you in; a tractor beam of alluring ideas and concepts. A flat earth: it all but confirms the concept of a creator, our collective hope for something more than this. It places us -- humanity -- back at the centre of the universe. No longer hurtling through the void of an infinite universe beyond our measure and comprehension. No longer at the mercy of physical forces beyond our control. No longer Carl Sagan's pale blue dot.

No longer insignificant. There's a comfort in that. John is correct: there's a beauty in that.

Because now John looks at the stars -- we sit in hushed awe, daunted and humbled by the scope of the universe and our place in it -- but John's stars move differently. He sits on his porch. He watches the sun set; a sun we no longer orbit. He is comforted, perhaps resolute.

In the place where he sits, in this precise moment in time, John's stars revolve around him.

WATCH MORE: Science & Health News


    It ceases to be a theory when we sent craft out of the Earth's atmosphere and took a photo. Case closed. To believe otherwise means that despite John's apparent normality, he is apparently suffering some kind of undiagnosed mental illness.

    Last edited 12/09/16 1:47 pm

      I wouldn't call him mentally ill, I'd say he's working from false foundations in his logic.

        I don't mean "mentally ill" to imply that he is deranged in any way. I mean mentally ill as an inability to objectively deal with available evidence in a logical manner.

        I think this failure is so profound, I would not want this person as my doctor because I would question his judgement.

          Oh, if I found out my doctor was a flat-earther, I'd question his judgement. I just think dismissing someone as mentally ill is a step too far.

          I mean, there are plenty of doctors who are Christian, and so believe in something that science suggests is not true. I don't think that lessens their skill at medicine.

          I do like @hungryhendo's question though

            The idea of a medical practitioner with that level of ignorance terrifies me.

            I literally stopped going to a hairdresser because he though the earth was flat. No one that 'blind' should be working with scissors.

              I like to think I'm a tolerant guy, I can accept others religious beliefs and won't start something until they push them onto me. But Conspiracy theorists and Flat Earthers who are telling you complete BS without any Proof annoy the hell out of me because they won't drop the subject they feel the need to lecture you on something.

              I had a friend in High School, saw him a few years ago and got into this argument about the Earth being Round or Flat. I asked if he'd ever been in a plane, the answer was no. I told him about a flight I took where the plane was flying North and on one side I could see the Sun coming through the windows, on the other I looked out and saw darkness, I could see the sunrise move across the water, and I could literally see the curvature of the Earth. He told me they faked it. I asked how and he said video screens instead windows. I asked the most important question about the governments of the world all working together to fool us. Why? He had no answer for that. I asked to change the subject since neither of us can move from our position but he wouldn't budge. I needed to learn the "Truth".

              What was meant to be a fun Lunch with friends became a huge pain in the arse. I no longer speak to him. I can't tolerate a conversation like that. I have a belief that for a Rational Conversation to take place all sides must accept the fact that there is a possibility that they are wrong. I can not accept the world isn't round, I've seen it, I've seen photos from space and more importantly I can't think of a reason to lie about it being round when it's actually flat.

                Dude, next time you get the chance, look out the window of the plane and see if the horizon is flat or curved again. I am not a flat earther. I like first hand experience.

                  That is exactly what I did and the experience I described, Flat Earthers simply say it was faked.

                  Horizon is horizontal

                  Not at 40,000ft it isn't

                Mate your an idiot if you think your looking at curvature of the earth from a plane at a lazy 40,000 feet.Nasa claims that no one can see our curvature were too if you can see the curve,how about other people on the plsne seeing the curve,lol we would be one big fkn macdonalds sign.Csnt you tell all plane windows are convexed of some kind.Maybe we are flat,not to have 1 real photo of earth or nasas cgi paintings which they even tell you on their site thst all their so called photos are all cgi.Na you dont think this very damm strange.

                Dknight, you can not see the curve from a ✈ plane. Ihave flown to several continents and never have I seen the curve. I have seen the double window in the plane, inbetween the glass you can see one sheet curved, I always used to wonder why. I flew a few dozen times as a kid and many more as adult. I thought it was strange that the glass would be curved, you can see the space, and sometimes water collects inbetween. I assumed it had to do with pressure. But it will also give the illusion of a curve just like a fish eye lens. Look for it next time you fly. BTW NASA says you can not see the curve till 40k feet, most flights fly between 36k-38k techniquely NASA says you hadn't seen the curve.

              Your commenting on something you know nothing about terrifies me. Try research.

            "I mean, there are plenty of doctors who are Christian, and so believe in something that science suggests is not true."

            There is nothing in any field of science which disproves the existence of God or gods or ghosts or souls or anything like that. There is nothing in any field of science which, with a logical and evidence-based foundation, even suggests that such things are not true.

              Science doesn't disprove god, but it does disprove the things he did. For example Evoloution disproves he created everything. Historical records disprove Jesus.

                Actually historical records prove that Jesus existed and was an end-times prophet, mulitple sources from multiple cultures. He just wasn't magic.

                  "He just wasn't magic."

                  Again, that's outside the realm of what has ever been proven in any way. I'm not saying he was magic. I'm saying skeptics should stick to logic and evidence.

                  Historical records state that the Census which caused Joseph and Mary to go to Bethlehem never occurred, was never ever done by anyone at the time, before or since. Right so now the first part of the story is a lie. Krishna, Horus, Mishka and more are all stories that predate Jesus, all have the incredibly similar stories. Virgin Birth, Wandered the Desert, Tempted by evil, performed miracles, walked on water, healed the sick, raised the dead, got Crucified, died and came back.

                  Christianity was a religion that cherry picked and plagiarised other religions to build it's followers. It's why we have Christmas a Winter Solstace Festival and Easter a Spring Time fertility festival it's why Easter has Eggs and Rabbits. Both line up with popular Pagan festivals that where popular before being steamrolled by Christianity.

                  I can't disprove God, I don't have to the burden of proof isn't on me it's on those who say it's real. But what I can do is disprove Christians, and all I need is three Honest Answers. Does the Bible contain the word of God, unaltered by man? Does that include Leviticus? What's your favourite Pizza?

                  Here's a hint if you don't answer Yes Yes for the first two you're already out.

                  Actually, both Christmas and Easter were not defined in the Bible, and aren't actually accurate with Christ's birth, death, and "resurrection" (I put it in quotes because I am an atheist, although my father did lots of research and drove into me that Good Friday-Easter Sunday and Christmas are incorrect as a kid.)
                  The reason these holidays are recognized as Christian holidays is simple.
                  To get more pagans to convert, the early Church was more inclined to take pagan festivals and put a pro-Jesus spin on them. If their own holidays were celebrated by the Church, they are technically celebrating Christ when doing whatever pagan rituals were for these holidays (and yes, decorating the eggs is indeed older than the Church itself).

                  So really, Catholicism is to blame for these holidays, and good luck getting them off the books at this point, what with all the commercialization of every holiday today (even Veterans day parades are really just commercials with some troops and the occasional band thrown in, which is arguably a pretty bad reason to skip work for a day). Christmas and Easter don't really have all that much religious significance today; I've seen Muslims, Jews, and atheists exchange gifts that time of year. They're basically just selling us stuff, and for Christians, an extra long sermon about how Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary and 3 wise men and yada yada yada.

                  @churchofathiesm You realise you're giving me a longer explanation of the same thing I said. You're preaching to the choir here. Sorry couldn't resist.

                  It doesn't take much study to look at Biblical Prophecies, the timing of when they were prophesied and when they actually occurred. This is not possible except the Bible is True and God is who He says He is.

              Well, if we're going by the standards of "what has been scientifically established" I would certainly put beings who can create others from ribs, speak to people through prayer, and intervene against the natural laws of the universe in ways that benefit individuals in the not category.

              Science may not disprove the existence of god (s) in a literal sense, but it certainly doesnt suggest any framework by which god (s) can exist either.

                Creating others from ribs or assorted genetical material is already on the threshold of human possibility. For sheep and cows it is already begun.
                Who else would intervene against the natural laws of the universe except the being that created them. Science only discovers what is already their a bit like plagiarism when they claim the adulation for their find. How little we know! A closed mind is always opened when the truth comes to them on a personal basis.

        Before bagging John too badly read this article on how 'smart' people (they mean educated) believe many seemingly impossible and counter intuitive things - it's because they must. It's all very well smugly including yourself in the smart-people club because you can chant something Einstein said, but be cautious *

        It's not surprising John is off , he's been taught to put pieces together not to take them apart and examine them critically - doctors are taught to memorize, not to question things.. plenty of natural history type sciences expect the same of their students. Few sciences actually adhere to the underlying philosophy of science which is to question, doubt and test hypothesis and when these hypothesis are offered up as theories or worse, facts - they just become part of the known without any conscious examination or testing. Open any medical advice website and you'll see the message not to use ice on burns.. the same website will advise people to use ice on injuries - the myth of not using ice came about because of confusion - but it''s now entrenched as 'fact'. A worthy quote from the New Guidelines for First Aid from the US - " studies have noted the paucity of scientific evidence to support many interventions in prehospital emergency care. Many first aid practices rest on an equally precarious scientific foundation" .. there we go - even the doctors themselves recognize that there's a lot of dogma and no factual backing to *many* of their first aid practices.

        The underlying issue is twofold - these guys get through their studies without actually understanding the things they're repeating, and secondly the courses are not teaching people to question what they're being taught. Challenging their authority is not good when your authority is founded on repetition of dogma. As they say, tell a lie often enough and it becomes fact..

        I have run experiments to determine the mass of an electron. I know everything supports the theory that electrons exist, I can demonstrate how they work in chemistry.. yet I have to take it on faith that it IS an electron I'm talking of as I've never seen one and never will. The average person would laugh at anyone who didn't believe in electrons but hey - If I were asked to prove the existence of electrons I'd be hard pressed to be able to convince anyone. I could do a demonstration using a couple of tall towers at differing latitudes to show the earth was round(ish) but if the person lacked the fundamental maths to understand what I showed them, I couldn't convince them.. (* science is not about finding supporting evidence, it's about pulling and plucking at things to find fault - if you can contradict a theory even once, the theory is insubstantial and wrong)

        Interestingly, the Flat Earth Society supports the theory of anthropological global warming (AGW). That doesn't surprise me.

          Nicely put @Karlos51 - though I find it funny that the Flat Earth Society support AGW when so many of the Instagram flat earthers say it's just another NASA conspiracy etc.

          I always find it fascinating that people are either full throttle "earth is flat, GMO is bad, vaccines cause autism, 9/11 was an inside job, moon landing is fake", or nothing at all... when was the last time you heard someone say 9/11 was an inside job and they DIDN'T hold a lot of other conspiracy beliefs?

          Well put Karlos51. Bit late to the party, but just been shocked to discover inadvertently that otherwise rational people can think the earth flat in this day and age. I just feel incredibly sorry for Gemma! The evidence is overwhelming and gathered in the same scientific method that gave us smart phones & commercial jets which presumably John is happy to use. Science works.
          In terms of personal experience, 'seeing with my own eyes,' which seems to be the central issue here; sitting watching the leading edge of the moons shadow hurtling up the coast towards me at the start of a full solar eclipse gave a real feeling that we are just on a ball of spinning rock. Sure keep an open mind and respect others beliefs but this is nuts.

      The mentality is that its all doctored. Have YOU witnessed it for yourself? Have YOU gone out of the atmosphere and taken a photo? I'd ask them the same - have THEY gone up high enough to prove the world is flat? Like most conspiracy theories though its self fulfilling, because most of us are never going to be in a position to do something like that.

      Ignore that there is proof on the moon that Man was there, and you can do your own experiment to bounce lasers off the mirrors up there, that apparently can also be proven to be fake.

      The whole flat earth theory falls flat (no pun really intended) for a couple of reasons. Firstly, circumnavigating the globe. To accomodate that, the theory is that we're in some kind of saucer, but that brings back curvature. The second thing is the sun and moon. Why would they be perfect spheres and us not? Every other celestial globe, notably the ones you can go view yourself with a telescope of even middling power, is spherical. So why is Earth the sole exception to that?

      It scares me that otherwise brilliant and intelligent people make such a judgement that despite everything saying otherwise, they're convinced the world is flat, just because a light doesnt show curvature over a 10km range.

        I'm curious, have they actually calculated what the light deflection would be over such a small distance if the Earth was indeed the dimension round Earthers claim? Maybe it's so small you couldn't detect it "by eye".

          Would have to be some, and I think thats what they latch onto. Even 1mm would be measurable with basic surveying equipment, but it might come down to the accuracy of the people doing the measuring.

          My calculus was forgotten in the 80's, so not much chance of me being sure about an answer, but with a 12,000(ish) km arm a 100km length at the end is a 0.1 degree arc. Cut that back to a 10km arm, and a 0.1 degree arc is still going to be a few meters. You're talking about a 1/1200th of 10,000 meters, which is about 8 meters.

          As I said, its been nearly 30 years since I did that sort of math so could be way off, but if its that basic, thats something you'd expect to be able to measure.

            You are spot on. I just did a back of the envelope calculations using Earth's radius at 6371km, at a distance of 10km, the height difference of a laser will be 7.85m. This doesn't take into account the laser's deflection via gravity, but I assume it to be too small and be negligible.

            When bridges are built, architects have to take into account the curvature of the earth, such that the tips of the towers are further apart than they are at the base.

              I think its a bit of a fluke if I got that close :) I have a feeling my basic assumptions, while possibly accurate, have little to nothing to do with the curvature of the earth. Was more trying to show that any deviation should be enough to pick up. Go me I guess...

              But refraction does strange things. You can use it to peek over the horizon if you have a clear enough line of sight, so what does that mean for a laser?

              The atmosphere plays a part, as does gravity, but can it account for something that should be 88 ft above sea level being seen at 15 ft? That was a California experiment, where the curvature was 66 ft, the origin was 45 ft, and the receiver was 15 ft. The angle from the origin to the peak of that curvature, if it kept going in a straight line, would have been 88 ft high at the receiving end.

              At the end of the day, the common person is going to have no idea how and why that happened, so the conspiracy theorist is going to stay convinced that 66 ft bulge from curvature just isnt there.

              Its like saying cancer doesnt exist, because your mate the carpenter cant explain where it comes from...

            No calculus needed, just Pythagoras. Earth's radius is 6371km, so a triangle with sides 6371km and 10km will have a hypotenuse of 6371.007848, thus would pass 7.85m over the receiver, as you say - *if* the beam is an exact tangent, aligned perfectly perpendicular to the line to the centre of the earth.

            And that's the core issue: what makes them so certain their alignment is that precise? The difference in angle is a mere 0.045 degrees, difficult to be precise even if you assume your plumb bob is perfectly vertical, and not thrown off by nearby mass or underground geological formations etc.

            Surveyors have been correcting for the earth's curvature since Snellius in 1615, and I'm sure a professional surveyor could've told them exactly what they were doing wrong (like e.g. using an modern instrument that automatically corrects for curvature based on distance).

              Also the Earth is not a perfectly smooth sphere. How do they know the receiver isn't 8m higher from where they fired the laser (ie due to local topology)? How do they level the laser if they don't believe in gravity?

              Turns out the rough curvature/refraction correction is well known: delta H (in m) = 0.067 D^2 (in km)

                You use a topology like a salt flat that should be dead flat

                Totally off topic, but I remember hearing once that the Earth is smoother than a comparable sized ping pong ball.

                  what if you drained out all the water from the earth? Still smoother? ;)

                  Probably. The argument is based on something like the height of Everest at 9ish kms being essentially undetectable when the circumference is 40,000 kms. I'd imagine the same would apply with the lowest point in the ocean being 11kms.

                  20 kms (top of Everest to bottom of Marianas Trench) compared to 40,000 is an incredibly small variation. The seam of the ping pong ball is considerably wider than the grand canyon for example when compared to scale.

                  Was just one of those silly random things thats stuck in my head over the years.

          There are also other factors that affect light. Gravity and atmosphere.
          In fact the Earth's Atmosphere affects the light from the sun so much that we can still "see" it when it physically passes below the horizon.

            QI covering this topic of sunset.

          There is no way to know how horizontal the laser was - if the levelling device was out by 0.1 degrees, the laser would be missing its target 10km away by 17.4m. That is a useless test.

          What they needed to do was adjust the height of the laser and target above the ground. If the lake is dead calm and the water depth is following the curvature of the Earth, then half way between the laser and the target, the water would be 2.0m taller than a flat surface would be. Again probably not a reliable test.

          A more reliable test would be to take a ship out to sea, fitted with a kite say 200m above the ship. The kite would have a very bright light. A second very bright light would be on the ship itself. As the ship approaches land from a distance, first one and then both lights would become visible. A telescope would be used to view the ship on approach.

            My laser level is flat to 0.003°
            Diligent surveyors check that calibration at the start of each survey by sighting horizontally, then flipping 180°, then rotating 180°, then checking they're sighted on the same point.

            You can use such tests as proof if the target believes in trig, but you're right, it's easier to use large bodies of water. :)

            Honestly, I don't think many flat-earthers are influenced by external proof. I instead suggest imploding them: Use the Socratic method to get clear claims, draw trigonometric sketches and/or use math to help them quantify their claims, then test their claims with experiment. They'll generally retreat at some stage in a state of cognitive dissonance, but the further you can get them to go, the deeper the thought-worm has burrowed.

        Haha so they also believe that multiple governments and organisations have been working together to provide fake photos of the Earth for decades?

        We have the technology to look at the Earth from space. Just youtube that video on the people who essentially strapped an iPhone to a weather balloon and launched it into the atmosphere then recovered the phone after it fell back to Earth.

        Bam proven... unless the Round-Earth society managed to get to the phone first and throw a doctored video on there.

          See its all a conspiracy though. Until YOU go and do it yourself, how can you trust THEM? All those videos from cameras strapped to balloons are conveniently only a recent thing, when computer effects can do anything.

          This is one of the fundamentals - you didnt do it youself, and until you do, the evidence is no more than a fairly standard TV show.

          Which, obviously, is a far more convincing argument than the simple belief that it actually happened...

          The rationale is something you cant turn on them either, because to break it down you need to convince them to do that very same thing themselves, which they wont do because they have all the proof they need. Fully circular logic.

        Why didn't we fall through the bottom of the earth when we mined down 4 - 5k's I wonder... I mean besides the fact the worlds a goddamn sphere.

      Some humans only believe what they can see with their own eyes I guess.

      Has he never been in a plane? You can see the earth's curves from there? Or does he believe that the windows are actually TV's showing a doctored image too?!

        When I look out of the plane window, I see a wing. The aircraft wing.
        Because I have good eyes with a perception of depth, I can see the wing shifts in perspective as my head moves.
        Go to another window, the perspective shifts some more.

        If that's a TV outside of the window, then it must be bigger than an IMAX.
        They must have a lot of IMAX screens for all the aircraft in the world!

          I guess anything is possible if you believe the earth is flat?

      A composite Image is no proof at all.

      "sent craft out of the Earth's atmosphere"?
      thus by-passing the 2000° + Thermosphere and the micro-wave oven-type radiation of the Van Allen belts?

        You don't have to go through the van Allen belts to get outside the atmosphere, and a 2000 degree thermosphere does no harm because despite being thousands of degrees the gas is so rarified that there are almost no gas molecules bouncing around at that 2k deg temp (so the specific heat of the gas, and thus its capacity to contact heat an object, is almost nonexistent.) This is basic math and physics.

      ODD reality on utube look at flat earth five minutes to review all the globe discrepancies that the flat earthers have looked and and continue to find.

      Science would have you be lie ve they have photographs taken of the earth from space. Turns out when you look for those photographs, all you find are composite graphic images or cgi. All photos of earth show land masses growing and shrinking. Time lapses show clouds in the same place. I can look out from Birkdale QLD and see almost 43km to Bribie Island across the Moreton Bay. Where on a ball earth there should be ~ 400 ft of curvature. Water levels, we use this quality to plant rice. Where does water suddenly not hold to this property. Gyroscopes are used on planes, why if the earth is a ball would knowing what the ground plane was where you took off be relevant anywhere else you were going? However if you are on a plain, travelling over a plain on a plane, knowing where the ground plane be is relevant.

      Flat earth the ulitmate litmus test is a good documentary to find on utube
      and if you haven't seen thru the moon landing hoax, find 'a funny thing happened on the way to the moon' on utube. Where u see Armstrong n Buzz in low earth orbit faking their distance from earth with a picture over their window of earth.

      And question everything you thought you knew, if they can get away with telling us lies about where we live its only because we've been trained to trust in others and not think for ourselves
      But not any more ...

        Foucalt's failure....gyroscopes do not work the way they are supposed to on a spherical Earth;
        If any-thing, they support a flat, stationary Earth.....

        Oh.. my.. god..

        I always thought people in birkdale were iffy, but damn!!

        You cannot see Bribie Island at sea level from Birkdale. This is simply not true. Go to Google maps and look at street view from the tip of Wellington Pt (which is closer), you STILL can't see it.

        EDIT: Even better view from the beach

        Last edited 14/09/16 7:30 pm

        The only space photos that are shown to be composites are the ones that the producing agency says are in-fact composites. There are plenty of real photos of the earth from space, with one of the first being the 'blue marble' photo from Apollo 17 (not to be confused with the 2000 and later composite images with the same title...) There isn't a single shred of evidence that this high resolution photo that was published in the early 70s was 'photoshopped' or otherwise faked.

        Every single one of the 'flat earth movement' 'proof' photos or videos turns out to be 100% consistent with a round earth model and mainstream science. After watching dozens and dozens and dozens of them they ALL hinge on the fact that the observations don't agree with what the narrator thinks they *should* see based on their (poor) understanding of mainstream science, but it's always their mistake including math errors, erroneous assumptions, ignored factors, and quite often willful distortion of both the data and their description of the methodology used. In short these videos only work on the ignorant.

        If you want to see someone systematically dismantle the most common flat earth proofs one of my favorite sites is Most flattards won't have the courage to take the time to examine this 'debunking the debunkers' content because they far prefer their current worldview which tells them that they aren't as ignorant as they thought, that they are special and ahead of the curve, and that they are a special inhabitant of God's magic terrarium and that he has a plan for everlasting life for them after they die. The cold truth that they are just one particularly dim and gullible member out of billions in one primate species that happened to evolve on this one ball of rock orbiting one unremarkable main sequence yellow star in one tiny corner of one arm of one nondescript spiral galaxy which is itself very much like the billions of other galaxies, that they are deep down just as uncertain and scared of what it's like to no longer be alive, and that they truly aren't smart enough to understand the universe as it in-fact is just isn't appealing to them. You've picked your religious truth and it's that the world is flat and logic, evidence, and reality itself be damned! Now if you'd only stop pretending it has anything to do with science and reality...

          No wonder we cant get to the edge of the earth you're hogging it all. Does that realisation not bring you to some sort of empathetic understanding of the people you mock. They are animals that know they are going to die. Shouldn't you be questioning why inherent meaning matters for some and others it doesn't. I'd bet most flat earthers have experienced the death of someone close to them. And accepting the mainstream view of earth being meaningless is difficult for the psyche. A psyche that throughout history has sought solice from the thing that the average flat earther wants to believe in. GOD

          I know this is an old thread but I had to congratulate you on your post. Your explanation for flat earth thinking was brilliant. You put my thoughts into words better than I ever could. I have no problem believing that I'm as insignificant and ordinary as anything or anyone else. Thanks

      unless all those photo's from outer space are infact fake.

      Lunchbox, when's the last time you went into space? Never? Oh okay. Well then you surely must have other first hand evidence. No? Hmm. You know, when people start asking questions about official records and national achievements and then suddenly all the evidence we had (the original moon landing film) is discovered to be missing and eventually found to have been "accidentally taped over" it leads one start asking more questions like how can we believe anything you say type questions. Now this agency is run by the same "Greatest government in the world" America. If you look at America's declassified dark secrets and false flags as well as leaked cover-ups and officials of the highest order being caught in lies at congressional hearings prior to being promoted then you might start to wonder yourself what is true and what is not. And if not then you're an idiot, my words hold no meaning to you and you're likely beyond help. There is your undiagnosed mental illness right there, sir.

        Spot on Peter, well said mate. Its flat as farrrkkkk : )

        You must not have done much flying. When you are at 11km cruising altitude on a commercial flight you can clearly see curvature of the earth.

          No you didn't see curvature. It isn't there. Maybe your windows were distorting it. On all my overseas flights, I never saw curvature and some flights were before I was blessed to see that truth. No curve. No gravity. No moon landing. Water never curves. That why carpenters use WATER LEVELS. How can something that is liquid EVER be stuck to a ball??? Rediculous. Fake gravity can hold water to a ball and be weak enough to let a bird fly??? Really? So it just picks and chooses? Watch Rob Skiba and Eric Dubay.

        Yep. I wish people wouldn't argue and would check it out. They think they have the market cornered on knowing everything!

      These are the things we never think about. We just blindly accept what we are told in pre school when we are very impressionable & never question the perceived authority. But if you do think about it and do research there is overwhelming scientific evidence & logical reason the earth is flat. If you look for the evidence that it's a Round sphere, you see the truth that there is very little evidence that it's Round. We have blindly taken it that the earth is round from people we don't know they are & have presented no real evidence or proof of that. Have a look on You Tube at video called 200 reasons (solid logical scientific reasons) the earth is flat. Then look at the video "NASA admits they don't use real pictures of the earth". This sounds "nuts", but if you start again and do the research you realize we never looked at it this way before. Make your own decisions by using your own eyes and brain based on Evidence. When you realize NASA really doesn't have a single photo of earth from space and use "composite" photo shop & CGI images & don't have a single photo from space of the earth even after 40 years and 20 Billion Dollars per year since, that raises the question "Why don't they just take a photo". Hundreds of so called "photos" from Mars, but none of the earth. Gravity is density as Gravity is only a theory & not needed on a flat earth and is really only density. Show me a ball of water please. Look at the movie "Impossiball"

      I think it's perfectly reasonable to think he may be mentally ill. I could not trust his medical judgement. I would not cooperate with such a person and I certainly wouldn't allow them on my property. To be able to deny all logic to such an extent is dangerous and detrimental to the progression of our society

      All the images taken of the earth from space are composite images, not photos.
      Case remains wide open.

      It is flat. That is how the Creator of everything says He made it.
      John is a very smart doctor. You all need to start studying and if you don't, you have no business in arguing about something you know knotting about.. That is ignorance.

      There is not a single shot photograph of your globe !!!!! keep up

    I'll just leave that here. Back after a long hiatus, strangley relevant.

    Also, a good podcast in general. I met Stuart on his visit to our southern island and he was an all round gentleman.

    And Yet, it Moves. John and his ilk can deny it all he likes, but there are so many things that we experience that only make sense on a round earth.

    The problem with flat earth theory (and many other similar conspiracies) is that it makes everything else much more complex. How do satellites work for John? What about people who have circumnavigated or travelled across antarctica? How come everything else in the universe is round but we're not? How does he explain the changes in the seasons?

    Most of this stuff only works in a round earth.

      Satellites are ground based, from the LOREN defense communications. Look up and find all the cell towers, theres your gps. If satellites were real there would be no black spots. All we get as evidence of satellites in space are cgi cartoons, all composite graphic images.
      With the north pole at the centre of a AE map, like the UN flag, you can navigate around east to west and circumnavigate the flat earth. Just as they did pre ball earth.
      The Cook spent over two years going around the antarctic, over 60,000 miles, not what you would expect on a ball earth where the equator at 25,000 miles is meant to be the widest point.
      Flat Earthers were all ball earthers not that long ago too. We just looked at the evidence that would prove the globe and found it so lacking we had to give the ball the kick ...

        i'm not sure abt the AE map....I think that the southern projection map with Antartica @ centre and the ice rim being, in effect, the North Pole may be more accurate.....

        Nobody who has been on an international plane flight even remotely believe such nonsense. Seriously - have you ever been on a plane?

        You know cell phones work from cellular towers, not directly to satellite, right? There actually are sat-phones that do, but the reason cell phones have reception "black spots" is because they communicate with towers that communicate with satellites. No towers = no reception to your phone. Satphones will work where cellphones wont.

    Well, I'm jealous.

    I wish I could dedicate myself to an idea that made me feel better about my place in the universe.

      Is that really something you need? I have no problem at all being an insignificant speck in a vast, uncaring continuum of space and time. I find it impossible to believe it could be otherwise.

        Need? No. But it doesn't make me feel any less jealous.

      I subscribe to the Jimu-shaped Earth theory.

        Hairy & fat in the middle

      Well you can. Start by watching 200 proofs the earth is not a spinning ball.

        Unfortunately those 200 proofs turn out to be like 12 'proofs' repeated over and over using slightly different wording and clip art, and those 12 'proofs' themselves are based on a handful of the same math failures, logical fallacies, erroneous assumptions, and outright lies...

        If an intelligent open minded viewer with a decent understanding of math and physics views such a video it just plain doesn't work on them... Those of us who aren't ignorant gullible fools will just have to continue feeling like the almost insignificant specks in a vast sea of empty space we are.

        Eric Dubai does great work. I think the globe earths lack the 'balls' to look into it any further, HA!

    I find it fascinating and would be curious how he would react to one of the doctors that works under him came to him with a completely disproven medical practice. Would he give them the freedom to act? What evidence would he accept? "Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time" by Micheal Shermer is also a good read on this kind of topic.

    Last edited 12/09/16 2:16 pm

      Flat Earth is based on looking at the evidence and finding it lacking for the ball earth model.
      If the Earth is a ball there will need to be curvature. The agreed formula is 8 inches/ mile squared.
      I can look across from Birkdale QLD to Bribie Island, almost 43km/26miles and see it. Where on a ball earth it would have to have approximately 400ft of curvature of water in between and be obscured.
      Water finds a level, its one of its qualities, we use this to plant rice. Where does it suddenly not hold to this?
      A plane uses a gyroscope to navigate. Its calibrated with the ground before take off. Why would knowing where you leave on a ball be relevant to navigating a plane over a ball? The pilot would need to be adjusting for the curvature every minute or so and the plane would be redirected down to stay the course instead of heading into space. However, on a plain, travelling over a plain, in a plane, it's information you would need to keep the plane level with the ground.
      Our experience on a plane confirms this. Plane takes off, ascends to its best elevation according to the weather, then cruises steadily, then descends at the destination. We notice any movements in the plane, turbulence upsets our tummies, so we know the plane travels level in between.

        Haha!! Good one!! Oh... you're serious. That made me sad.

        You find the round earth model 'lacking' because you don't understand it. (You've proven that you don't understand it by citing the 8 inches per mile squared is the 'accepted' formula, when in-fact it's nothing more than an old surveyors approximation that was merely 'close enough' for their purposes.)

        Do you really think the 'flat earth' is the first 'truth' ever that only those who are unintelligent, ignorant, uneducated, mentally ill, or religiously indoctrinated can see? Does it really make sense to you that simply by competently understanding the round earth model that could make someone totally immune to the 'truth'? The fact is that whenever an intelligent person fully understands the mainstream science model, the flat earth model, and the credible observations available they overwhelmingly reject the flat earth model (which just doesn't fit reality no matter how 'beautiful', 'elegant', and 'simple' it is.)

    I've got the NASA app on my phone. I can jump in, have a look at the ISS HD experiment and low and behold, there's the earth, curving off into the distance. Not only that, I can see in real-time the ISS traversing that curvature!

      Well clearly that's all lies to... ummm... err.... what would be the purpose of that lie again?

      It's just delusional thinking.

      I've got an app that shows me huge Titans attacking a medieval walled city full of all sorts of people that only speak Japanese. Doesn't mean that is real, and the issue isn't resolution. I'm not a flat-earther but your argument plays right into their hands of fakery. The only way to argue them is first-hand experience as an astronaut or other scientific theories and arguing their proofs (although as the point has often been made in the article and the comments here, the thing is you can't argue a counter point no matter what your evidence is).

    Seemingly very intelligent people are not precluded from odd beliefs as, my Mother's doctor believed that Jesus Christ went for a walk over to America and native Americans were descended from Israelites. That dark skinned people are a sign of God's curse. That if not for the laws of this country he would be a polygamist. Smart does not conclusively equal sensible.

    great article, had me hooked all the way. thanks Mark.
    loved Gemma, i would get along with her really well.
    “I love him,” says Gemma, finally. “He’s a highly intelligent person and worthy of respect, but this is fucking mental. It’s crazy.”
    gotta love the realness of some psychologists.

    its bad, i actually started researching flat earth after all these celebrities came out supporting it. and once you start to soak in the information and lots of it, i started to question. im not a scientific fellah, but science interests me. i also get very interested in conspiracy theories because a lot of them make sense. BUT, i do not believe in a flat earth, but i did definitely question what i believe about the earth.

    what interests me the most about John, is the why behind the what. the psychology, the reasoning going on in a highly intelligent brain.

    it seems like this is the type of guy that needs to invest money in one of those zero gravity trips up into the upper atmospheres, where you can actually see the earth out the window and see the curvature of the earth.

      it seems like this is the type of guy that needs to invest money in one of those zero gravity trips up into the upper atmospheres, where you can actually see the earth out the window and see the curvature of the earth.
      Nah, it's not a real plane/ship, it's a simulator. That image outside the window is a video render. I could just open the door to the simulator and walk outside and prove this is all fake, but of course the crew won't let me.

        You should watch Now You See Me 2...actually, don't.

        But they try to pass something like this. Make people think they're flying but they're actually just chilling in a hangar.

        Easy fix just strap him to the outside of the plane :)

      Daaaaamm,I'mLookin'Good"what interests me the most about John, is the why behind the what. the psychology, the reasoning going on in a highly intelligent brain" ..

      Way I see it is, John is bright and curious about the world and interested in facts so he's trying to examine his knowledge, his 'pool of facts' to see if the things he knows are true but he's stumbled because he doesn't have the right tools - he's using inductive reasoning, adding up factoids to a pile and weighing his pile of factoids against another. This is a pretty common method of acquiring information and one you see any time you watch a debate. People can win debates while being totally wrong, simply by having more 'proof points' on their side. The fact is this style of thinking while being basically sound on a survival front and excellent in politics, is primitive and unsuited to more speculative or conceptual forms off critical examination.

      To put it another way, John doesn't have the tools - he doesn't understand science. Science relies on falsifiability. What a scientist would do is take his theory and see if he can formulate an experiment to try to break his theory. That is science.. not degrees or qualifications, but the ability to construct a method of bashing against a theory until you break it. If he can't construct a method to test his theory then it can't be examined scientifically.

      An example - science cannot examine religion or god. Firstly both are too vague to be tested - they refuse to be defined as they rely on faith. Secondly you can't devise a test to disprove existence. These are matters outside the realms of science and scientists should know enough to not go anywhere near them. you CAN devise a test to falsify a flat earth theory .. john just doesn't know that's what he should be doing.

      It's got nothing to do with 'rejecting established science' (this means rejections of current theories) it's about John not comprehending science and using the wrong method of reasoning. Heck, if John uses faith as his method then he's on safe ground and can happily believe the world is flat with no contradiction. it's stupid but legitimate.

      Gemma could always ask John "see if you can construct an experiment to DISprove your flat earth theory" and maybe she'd get somewhere.

        i totally agree with what your saying, but im talking about further back then just his approach to why he believes what he believes. there is obviously some type of void, or need for him to feel unique, or to be superior by convincing others against the normal way of thinking. was it born from trauma, high stress, poor relationships, is he lonely, is he insecure, did someone not love him when he expected them to. thats the part that interests me, is how did he get to the broken point of non-logical thinking and then to pursue it.

    Wow coincidence. I was talking about flat-earthers last week with someone. I can't believe there are so many people out there who truly believe this is still the case. The best one I always liked was how gravity gets explained. Something to do with how much helium we have in our bodies and we just have enough so we don't float away or fall to the ground.
    Anyway what's all this disc stuff?! We all know we live on a giant rectangle mate.

      i like to think its more of a rhombus...

    I can understand that some people would claim that pictures of the earth from space have been doctored. I mean, we live in an age where photoshop is used to fool people in to thinking many things. I can think of one video that can debunk the whole flat earth theory in one fell swoop though. The space jump. You can clearly see that he's suspended a giant spherical object at the start, and you can watch him fall all the way back to ground level.
    I'm sure there would be chumps out there who would try to say the footage had been altered somehow, but that's easy enough to prove forensically that the raw footage is not altered in any way.

      don't you see, BIG RAW FOOTAGE is in league with ROUND EARTHERS!

        hahah yeah as I said, I'm sure they'd still argue.
        The thing I really don't get, is how they could be convinced by the laser at 10km.
        I mean, the earth has a circumference of 40,075KM.
        If you divide that by 360 degrees, 1 degree = about 111KM. Anywhere inside that range, would be such a minute difference that you would barely notice it!

          Went through it above. 0.1 degrees is around 8 meters, give or take, at 10kms. That sort of equipment error should be easily picked up, but a 0.01 degree error might not. Thats still going to be 80cms though at the other end, which you'd notice. The claim is even that didnt happen.

          I dont know enough about it to know why there isnt an easily explainable reason, its nowhere near my field of expertise, but over a 20km stretch, the peak of the curvature is around 66 feet, or something like that.

          So if you start at 45 feet above sea level, you're essentially pointing the laser slightly upwards (bear with me, I'm taking liberties with terminology here), and at the other end you end up something like 180 feet above sea level. But 15 feet has detected it. So something funky is going on, and refraction cant explain all of it. Atmosphere and refraction explain some of it, just not all of it.

          The flat earthers dont allow for ANY of that explanation though, refraction and friends doesnt figure into their conspiracy.

    The fact he went out and did his own experiments and failed to disprove the earth is flat is honestly astonishing. You can see the curvature from a high enough vantage point. Dismiss it as illusion? You can see the curvature between yourself and another object at a long enough distance. Dismiss that as "waves" or "tides" (and somehow accept that the "bulging" of the water isn't evidence of curvature)? Then what about satellites and other orbiting objects? Apparently it's easier to believe the ISS for instance is a hologram, or a drone that never needs refuelling despite flying overhead in a large circle day in day out for almost two decades.

    My major question for flat-earthers: let's assume everything you think is true. The earth is flat. You can somehow explain why you can't fly over the edge of the disc in a plane. You can explain the curvature in long-exposure shots of stars in both the north and southern hemispheres. You can explain why ships appear to disappear over the horizon. You can explain orbiting bodies and there's a dome over the earth. Gravity isn't gravity in the sense we understand it, it's just the disc moving upwards at 9.8m/s² creating force.

    What's the upshot of insisting otherwise? NASA sends us pictures of the earth being a sphere and not a disc, and puts false celestial bodies into the sky to create the impression that the earth is a ball, and goes to a great deal of effort to make us believe the earth is a ball. Why? What is that supposed to be accomplishing?

    Last edited 12/09/16 2:31 pm

      Yeah I was going to say. Go to some salt planes or deserts and you can see the curve for yourself.

      There's an even simpler test. Look at ships heading out to sea with a telescope or binoculars. As they head out they start to disappear over the horizon. First the bottom then eventually the top (of the sails, flue, whatever the high point is). How does a flat Earther explain that? Simple, they can't - not without ridiculous claims of governments putting distortionary equipment in my binoculars.

        They say that the volume of water obscures the view or it's an optical illusion. There is a reflection issue that obscures the exact water line so they're not entirely wrong, but the fact there is curvature explains why you can see further from a higher vantage point and they simply don't accept this. I've heard some claims that the human eye can only see 20-30 miles so celestial bodies (e.g.: the moon) must be within that range.

 is the most commonly used explanation, despite being ridiculous.

    It's definitely very scary. I have a friend who is similarly into all kinds of conspiracy theories. He is also very intelligent but he has not had an easy life so it is a comfort to him to think that there is a vast conspiracy preventing him from being successful and contented. He and his ex- are both serious anti-vaxers and he basically believes that a few mega-rich families run the world, because that's easier than believing that he simply isn't good enough to be the person he imagined he would be by now.

    Next time you talk to your friend, suggest a repeat of the experiment across the water, only this time measure the height of the laser at the mid-point. If the Earth is flat, it should be exactly the same as at either end but if the world is curved, it will be a tiny bit closer in the middle. Of course, we are talking a tiny amount over 10km but it should be measurable with decent equipment and some way of embedding it so it is unaffected by the motion of the water.

    What this boils down to is simply this: "I can't comprehend something, hence it can't be true", stemming from his failed experiment to view curvature. Fallacy and probable ego problems cementing this "belief".

    Sadly, if only he'd devoted a few more neurons to logical thought and he'd have seen the error in his hypothesis. The easiest proof? View a ship sailing directly away from you over the horizon. If the earth were flat, you would never lose sight of the ship. Granted, it would get very small, and you might need a telescope to see it, but it would always be visible, unless you also believe that while the earth is flat, water is not. Which (ignoring that oceans heights do marginally vary, but not enough to hide a massive tanker) is even more illogical.

    Last edited 12/09/16 2:57 pm

      Admittedly I'm really not receptive to the possibility that there is a flat earth so I don't follow flat earthers on youtube, I follow flat earth debunkers, who occasionally engage in live debate from experienced flat earthers to those who've just jumped in and think they have silver bullet arguments. The flat earth arguments are all repetitive and tend to be disproved by fairly simple applications of scientific method, or basically consist of "I'm super smart and don't believe this, ergo you must be dumb if you fall for this and I feel sorry for you."

    a round earth was pretty apparent when i was a child. we holidayed every year down sorrento, and you could only make out the top of Melbourne's buildings in some spots. simple answer, "that's the curvature of the earth son". me: "you so smart dad"

    To me, flat earthers are right up there with scientologists, anti-vaxxers, holocaust deniers and climate change deniers: absolutely stupid.

    Wait, I'm confused. He said he tried to spend his own money to disprove the Flat Earth Theory but can't.

    He hasn't tried going to the salt flats in Utah or to the middle of Australia. Setup a flag and drive until the flag disappears over the horizon. Measure the distance and calculate the curvature???

    The thing I don't understand is that if the earth really was flat, why would the scientific community try to hide the fact. I don't see what the problem would be if the earth was flat. I'm not suggesting the earth is flat, that's just stupid. But surely one could make that argument to a flat-earther.

      Because if we knew the earth was flat we would wonder what is on the other side, and that's where the Lizard people overlords live. They don't want us to know they exist, so we can't fight their control.

      It's all so simple if you're not blinded by the so called "Reality" the media feed you.

    My favourite two problems with the flat earth theory are: the moon couldn't show only a single face to all observers; and to travel due east or west would require the traveler to slowly turn left or right respectively.

    But if John wants to see it for himself, he better book a trip on Virgin Galactic.

      What map are you looking at. The AE projected Map doesn't show this

      How does being able to see the moons one side on a globe model make sense? How can a sphere spinning on an axis be tidally locked, let me guess your answer..... Gravity. The force weaker than magnetism that hasn't been proven or detected. Air-PLANES never travel in arcs and adjust the flights constantly. They don't have to keep adjusting like you say. Look at the map they say is projected, flights make more sense. Ask why nobody has circumnavigated your globe north to south but only east and west.

        Hey, don't just have a crack at my model of the universe, try defending yours. I think there are some fundamentals to get out of the way before we argue the nature of space, matter, and gravity.

        If the FE moon is over New Zealand, people in Auckland will have a different view of the moon than people in Perth, but this is never observed in the real world. How come? The simple answer is that the moon is a lot further away than in the FE model, but what's your answer?

        Aeroplanes do travel in an arc, but a plane travelling due East doesn't make constant corrections in direction, which means if the earth was flat, the plane would end up "South" of the intended location. Flattening out the earth makes East-West traversal circular.

        And, yes, the earth has been circumnavigated via both poles.

        These are just a few directly observable things that don't support the flat earth model.

    Define flat.

      You can believe whatever the hell you want, but fact is fact, and once you have been shown the "truth", surely anyone of a reasonable mind, can do the "Mental Update" and adopt the new train of thought.
      At the beginning I truly thought this guy as on the money as he has an arcade cabinet, but went downhill from there. Actually, are there any hills on a flat earth???
      His better half must have the patience I do not, as this would be insufferable.
      Even the Martellus map from 1490 showed the world to be round. So did Piri Reis, Mercator etc!!!

        You dont need patience. You need a curious mind. What are the flat earthers looking at to be leaving the ball earth model in droves.
        Flat Earth is based on looking at the evidence and finding it lacking for the ball earth model.
        If the Earth is a ball there will need to be curvature. The agreed formula is 8 inches/ mile squared.
        I can look across from Birkdale QLD to Bribie Island, almost 43km/26miles and see it. Where on a ball earth it would have to have approximately 400ft of curvature of water in between and be obscured.
        Water finds a level, its one of its qualities, we use this to plant rice. Where does it suddenly not hold to this?
        A plane uses a gyroscope to navigate. Its calibrated with the ground before take off. Why would knowing where you leave on a ball be relevant to navigating a plane over a ball? The pilot would need to be adjusting for the curvature every minute or so and the plane would be redirected down to stay the course instead of heading into space. However, on a plain, travelling over a plain, in a plane, it's information you would need to keep the plane level with the ground.
        Our experience on a plane confirms this. Plane takes off, ascends to its best elevation according to the weather, then cruises steadily, then descends at the destination. We notice any movements in the plane, turbulence upsets our tummies, so we know the plane travels level in between.

          oh dear. your understanding of basic physics is woeful.

      Don't know why I replied to you with my comment.
      But, my definition of flat is me right now on Monday afternoon and the 'Bull has started to run light!

      Not a ball earth.
      The ball would need to show curvature in every direction.
      Perspective uses a flat plain to describe how we see the place we live.
      We never see buildings with leans, always perpendicular to the plain.
      The ball earth diameter is 25,000 miles.
      There fore the
      Estimated curvature is 8inches/mile squared.
      NASA has always shown their earth to be perfectly circular.

      I can see Bribie Island from Birkdale, that's almost 43km.
      At 43km's there would need to be aprox 400ft of water between us to obscure the view.
      But we know the quality of water is to be level.
      We plant rice fields relying upon this fact.

      Flat earthers can not find a curve over any water body.
      There are utube vids of Corsica from Genoa, on a hill, and Ventimiglia, from the beach.
      You can do the math and find out how much curvature should have prevented these vistas.
      You can be curious and find the people who are revisiting all the SCIENCE they were taut in their school daze. Or remain as you are, that's the choice we all have

    A flight from Australia to New York (with a stop in LA) takes about 23 hours. 20 hours, if it's a direct flight).
    A direct flight from Australia to Chile takes about 12 hours.

    If the Flat Earth map is correct, shouldn't the trip to Chile take much longer than the trip to New York? Also I don't believe a single passenger plane could make the trip on one tank, it would need at least one stop.

      Haha also, shouldn't you not be able to get back to Australia from New York by continuing on East :D

        Flat earthers tend to use Azimuthal equidistant projection now, as it allows for circumnavigation of the globe, it does have the massive failing in that it makes the distance from Perth to Sydney massively larger than it is.

    damedMorons all of you.
    Of course the earth is anyone with half a switched on brain knows this.
    The globe theory is just there to plactate the pirate uprising.

    Secondly Gemma sounds like she needs a 'JOHN' break, wht's her number?
    The only reason I can think she hasn't left him is because of his big......
    Comon down Gemma, I'll convince you of the flat earth and make it tremble beneath you :D

    This is a very smart man who wants to be smarter, the smartest in fact. So he clings to a theory that no one believes so he can say to himself; "See, i must be smarter because i know this and they don't". If he truly wanted to prove it to himself he'd do what this kid did.

      Flat earthers are not egotists, just curious people who have decided to look at the proofs for the ball earth and find them surprisingly poor.
      All photographs from space of the Earth are composite graphic images, not photographs at all. Artists who have changed the land masses - made them smaller and larger depending on their brief.
      The moon landing hoax is well documented. A good doco on utube is 'a funny thing happened on the way to the moon'.
      You can choose to look or not, that's the freedom we all have

        Well the fact that you also believe in other conspiracies is not surprising at all. In fact it reinforces the idea that this stuff is common to tin foil hat wearers.

    To get GPS to work they have to take into account the theory of relativity and slow down the timings by some seemingly negligible amount. Something as "unbelievable" as that is readily believed but a spherical earth cannot be, Very strange!

    More Serrells on Giz please! I really needed that after the lack of Cam articles lately had me starting to look elsewhere.

    Glad to see not a single person defending/ Supporting these flat earth morons here. +1 Gizmodo readers :)

      Nice u need to label those u disagree with, shows your maturity.
      Flat earthers are curious people who will relook at the evidence relied upon from the school daze. We simply find the ball earth model's evidence very poor. If you are relying upon NASA's cgi and composite graphic images from space to verify you live on a ball, maybe you need to ask for some real photographs. If you scrutinise their pics, u'll see the artist's brief has changed between each edition. Most obvious is land masses enlarge and shrink.
      The moon landing hoax is well documented.
      It's all there for the curious people to find, as they are...

        And the first window licking moron has arrived. Based on your grammar capacity i can tell you have the intelligence of a peanut, And the fact you believe earth is flat even though there is overwhelming evidence dismissing that just reinforces my opinion of you. There is lots of evidence dismissing your loony idiotic beliefs, You just dismiss it because it doesn't fit in with your fairy tale beliefs. NASA could literally take you up into space, Show you earth is round and you would still deny it.

        You are an idiot, And you need to head kicked in to remove all that idiocy. I volunteer to be the kicker.

        I labeled Flat earth morons as such because thats what they are, morons. Akin to people thinking earth is only a couple of thousand years old. You are an embarrassment to humanity

        Last edited 14/09/16 5:23 pm

          The only thing spherical is the sky firmament above. I knew sooner or later smart people like John would discover the truth but It's too late now... 99.9% of the goyim have already been brainwashed. LOL

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