More And More Americans Are Starting To Believe Earth Is Flat



A lot of people believe in Flat Earth Theory. Some may be surprised to learn that people still hold such views. After all, the Earth has been photographed from space. But such photos could have been faked by the evil forces who secretly control the world, right? And all those centuries of scientific evidence suggesting that the Earth is spherical could be wrong, right?



In America interest in the flat-Earth movement appears to be growing. In September Bobby Ray Simmons Jr., a rapper also known as B.o.B, launched a crowd-funding campaign to send satellites into orbit to determine the Earth’s shape. On November 9th, 500 “flat-Earthers” assembled in North Carolina for the first annual Flat Earth International Conference. Data from Google Trends show that in the past two years, searches for “flat earth” have more than tripled (see chart).

Conspiracy theories are not always harmless. The bogus notion that vaccines cause autism has led to a decline in immunization rates in some places, which has allowed outbreaks of measles.

Skepticism about climate change has infiltrated schools. A recent survey found that a third of American science teachers tell their students that climate change is driven in part by natural causes. One in ten say humans play no role in it.


Conspiracy theories are appealing because they offer simple explanations for complex phenomena, or because they let people believe they are in possession of secret knowledge that the powerful wish to suppress. They tend to be most popular among less-educated people who do not trust public institutions. They are extremely common in dictatorships, where people assume, often correctly, that the authorities are lying.

Simply rebutting conspiracy theories may make adherents even more entrenched in their views. (If “they” are so keen to deny it, it must be true!) Absence of evidence is taken as evidence of a fiendishly effective cover-up. Some conspiracy theories are irrefutable—the American government cannot prove, for example, that it is not storing dead aliens in a secret underground laboratory.

If schools were better at teaching analytical thinking, that might reduce the appeal of conspiracy theories. 

And it would not hurt if governments were more open and trustworthy. Meanwhile, the best response is often to ignore the tinfoil-hat brigade. After the rapper B.o.B sparked an argument on Twitter about the shape of the Earth in 2016, one of the groups supposedly responsible for misleading the public on this point, NASA, chose not to weigh in. A spokeswoman told the Washington Post: “we don’t think there’s a debate to be had.”

Comments

  1. "Skepticism about climate change has infiltrated schools." Ignorance, not skepticism.

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    1. Climate change is a natural event and not changed by man to that much of a degree. The sun and ocean has a lot to do with it. read about it from a man that has looked at all the data and has researched it for years. In the Feb. issue of Palmdale Blvd. https://www.scribd.com/user/388453749/Palmdale-Blvd-Newspaper

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    2. Many climate "skeptics" cannot even accept evolution , so how could they understand science in general?

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    3. Larry, why is it that you're citing the Palmdale Boulevard newspaper rather than, y'know, the scientific literature?

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    4. Only idiots claim climate change isn't happening due to man.

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    5. Larry, you're dumber than a bag of hammers. The Palmdale Blvd Newspapaer. Authoritative. I think I know the reason why flat earthers are flourishing--lots and lots of morons.

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  2. If fewer people used facts as an excuse for “sky-is-falling” power grabs, fewer people might resist accepting facts as reflective of truth.

    For example, if those concerned over a shifting climate would ask why proliferation of non-polluting energy has been slower in the U.S. than virtually anywhere else, they might discover political energy-market entry barriers and fossil-fuel market supports that would be far less expensive to correct than forcing widespread constraints would be.

    Many of those organizing an outcry are control-obsessed lunatics more interested in personal power—in name only of hampering wrong—than in easing right action for everyone. Recruiting others who see the problem is easy: just step into a leadership vacuum.

    Because any kind of social power attracts such scum, we have many trying to dictate expensive measures that may not even be effective and few pursuing far cheaper alternatives that are more likely to work but might disrupt some political crony's pet market.

    People aren't too stupid to smell something rotten, in this, and they don't have time to search for the cause, so they latch onto any explanation that enables them to ignore the stench as irrelevant.

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  3. If the earth is flat, how does celestial navigation work which is based on spherical trigonometry, and why do we need multiple satellites to make GPS positioning work - with a flat earth three fixed satellites would give perfect positions all over the world

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    1. Too many big words for them! Heck, they even dismiss gravity! The moon's 'magnetic force' causes high tides and the sun's 'magnetic force' causes low tides . . . that is the level of their understanding . . . little words only for little people!

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    2. The changing shadow of the sun throughout the year is explained by one and not the other.

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    3. It's stunning the number of absolute fools out there who think nothing of rejecting, out of hand, the science of the last 400 years. It would certainly mean there was some kind of ridiculously extensive conspiracy to create this mythology of science. While the same people think nothing of accepting one single book of fairy tales as gospel. Insane the anyone in the 21st century who lives in a modern society could buy into a 'flat earth' theory and totally reject science.

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  4. https://www.facebook.com/What.If.science/videos/2477409635817675/

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  5. Of course throw in some scientific arrogance...science thinking that it's only real if they say so. Not a flat earth proponent, BUT....
    Science is a method of investigation...not a Deity. Fringe concepts can spur investigation, but not when 'science' decides 'just because we say so' it's false.
    And then there is Quantum Physics that questions and at times proves there is consciousness at play in how 'reality' is manifest.
    The world / universe / reality is made of things as yet explored and investigated...and science is not the only way or method for investigating the unknown.
    Bow to no god...created or otherwise...believe no one's version of reality.

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    1. Like you say, science is not a deity. It is a methodology. If information about the physical universe were stuff buried underground, science would be digging. There is no smug conspiracy to laud "science" as unchanging and paramount, as though "science" were a body of rules that you need to follow.

      This article doesn't do that: it says "we have photos of the earth taken from space, and "centuries of scientific evidence suggesting that the Earth is spherical." It talks about evidence derived using the scientific method. Nowhere in the article does it suggest that you believe what scientists tell you without the benefit of looking at the evidence they present. Nowhere does anyone say you should accept phenomena such as the Spherical Earth or Anthropogenic Climate Change "just because we say so." What you've done there, while presenting it as an appeal to reason, is you have suggested a conspiracy aimed at forcing a "version of reality" on you.

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    2. We have something better than evidence that the earth is roughly spherical. Evidentia naturalis is imperfect and potentially falsifiable by new evidence. We know the earth is roughly spherical by evidential potissima, that is, by reasoning from Euclidean geometry. If the Earth were flat, sunrise would occur at the same time at every point on earth but noon would occur sooner near the eastern rim and later near the center and later still neat the western rim. Yet, noon always occurs six natural hours after sunrise no matter where one stands.

      That is why the sphericity of the earth has been known since at least the times of Aristotle of Stagera, is mentioned en passant by S. Thomas in his S. theologiae, and is central to the medieval SF epic The Travels of Sir John Mandeville.
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      That the earth's climate changes for entirely natural reasons is easily shown by consideration of ice ages and interglacials, as well as other periods in paleo/pre/history. We cannot suppose that these natural mechanisms have suddenly come to a stop for our convenience, even supposing the data series is reliable over a long enough period. I am old enough to remember when the scientific concern was over the possible onset of a new ice age. This was far more worrisome, since cold kills while the prospect of warmer winter Northern Hemisphere nights is somewhat less dreadful.
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      The manipulative nature of the OP is astonishing. Notice how the quaestio is framed: "tend to be most popular among less-educated people," "extremely common in dictatorships," "the tinfoil-hat brigade."

      We are also told that "a third of American science teachers tell their students that climate change is driven in part by natural causes." Since even the IPCC reports tell us that this is true, we must conclude that two-thirds of American "science" teachers tell their students that climate change is driven entirely by human activity.

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    3. There is lots of room for different views, ideas and theories about areas of science. How these are brought to the table is really crucial. The flat Earth proposal would have fallen flat on its face long ago if a scientific approach had been adopted. The scientific approach (including all the academic processes that exist to review and confirm proposals and findings, etc) is the best method for investigating the unknown, as you put it. What other methods do you have in mind?

      On another point you make, it is not true to say that consciousness affects the manifestation of reality is proven (hard to do!) or accepted by all scientists in the field by a long way.

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    4. This flat earth thing is silly. They depict the earth like a round cookie. IMPOSSIBLE! The world is a square. It has to be. How else can we talk about the four corners of the world?

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  6. There's this interesting video that explores the topic about trying to come up with explanations for such a notion .
    Vsauce, published on Dec 4, 2014, Is Earth Actually Flat? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNqNnUJVcVs

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  7. And, most "flat earthers" probably voted for Trump. Also, the Apollo moon landings were all faked ... fake news!

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    1. Yeah; I haven't found any evidence to suggest Conspiracy Theorists are of any particular political bent.

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    2. The association between Flat Earthers and Trump Voters is not political.

      The commonality is education level and IQ.

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  8. Don't get into this discussion. Remember, we can't hide human lack of intelligence, unintelligence, foolishness, denseness, brainlessness, ignorance, mindlessness, dull-wittedness, dull-headedness, dullness, slow-wittedness, doltishness, slowness, vacancy; More ? (_thank you Google) behind highly advanced technology :-)

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    1. Never try to reason with the Unreasonable, and never try to teach a pig to sing

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  9. Global warming due to human action is happening. Fact. You will not find any climate scientist not funded in their research by 'disinterested parties' like, say Exxon, Shell, BP, who say otherwise. A bit of fact checking into who sponsors who (climate change analysts who've studied it properly and supported the theory - no background sponsor, 'climate change denier', surprise, 'big energy' backer) ends any debate. The final nail in the climate deniers argument came when Exxon revealed their OWN studies proved man made pollutants were causing climate change as far back as the 70's. Sorry, but if Exxon admit it, case closed.

    As for the ('sigh') conspiracy theories over who is backing what and why, the money involved in green energy is negligible. The money made from fossil fuel burning is monstrous, and, backed by massive govt subsides. There is no 'conspiracy', it's hard fact, that as in Europe, it's big energy pressuring govts to reduce funding on Green energy research and production, and spend more on them. Which, as in the UK, happens all the time. The reason the USA doesn't invest as much time and money on reducing green house gases and switching to green power is simple - there is no political will. Despite this, the advances in green energy production in the USA, and the little research that is carried out, brings great results.

    Finally, it is not a case of being blindsided, it's a case of not giving a crap. Bottom line for the bulk of climate deniers among the general populace, is that anything that requires effort, that might involve the tiniest inconvenience is dismissed as nonsense, no matter how much evidence you present. We are living through selfish times, and until we shake the prevailing ideologies off, we will keep making backward steps. It is to the young we must look to save the future.

    As for Scientists being 'arrogant', whatever. This is the argument presented by the Christian Right to support their own bigoted views. 'Those scientists claim they know everything, whereas we know they don't, as God has spoken'. Uh, yeah.. In fact no true scientist accepts anything is a truism unless it can be shown again, again, and again, to infinity, that according to a given law, it's true. Otherwise it's a 'theory'...

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  10. Please don't call this "Flat Earth Theory" though. That conflates the concept of a scientific theory and a bat-shit crazy assertion. I know theory is used to mean any concept you can throw at a wall, but this is a scientific discussion and blog and using the word in such context is the exact type of thing that fuels the creationist types that say things like "It's just a theory". Flat Earth is not a theory. It is not even a hypothesis.

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    1. Spot on. If it were really a theory, then there is already more than enough evidence to say it is wrong and its proponents - if they were at all interested in following a scientific approach - would have given-up on it long ago.

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  11. Anyone who thinks that humans use of "fossil" fuels causes the majority of global warming over that of the combination of the sun and oceans, I classify as intellectual morons.

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    1. Please explain how "the sun and oceans" are causing it

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    2. In other words, Robert is inbred and dropped out of school in grade six.

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  12. As every sail boat owner knows there is a convention that you must have a mast that you lower gradually as you go farther away from shore this gives the "effect" of round earth which is ridiculous I can't imagine anyone would believe it....go talk to any sailor he will show you the way mast is constructed to slowly retract into the hull as you go farther from shore....This serves another purpose.... because as you get closer to the edge the wind increases because of the venturi effect of the air making a 180 degree turn as it comes around from the bottom. Don't take my word

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    1. I have been sailing for 58 years on all kinds of sailboats large and small, and I must tell you that while masts rotate to keep the sail shape constant as the direction of the wind changes, I have never seen a mast move higher or lower off the base in the hull. Mr. Meyer's statement above is sheer nonsense.

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    2. One can only hope Mr. Meyer is engaging in sarcasm :)

      It's often hard to detect in these troubled times ...

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  13. "Anonymous" and "Unknown"; you may not be old enough to know this, but in the 70's, the "Scientific" brain-trust, was "illuminating" us with forewarnings about the coming Ice Age.

    Over these many decades, we have watched their dark warnings and the associated title morph as dates and prophecies have all faded into obscurity.

    The Weather changes we see are short in length and cyclical. Man is not burning the earth up nor is he going to cause it to freeze.

    And yes; I happen to believe in the Omniscient, Omnipresent, Omnipotent God who created it all and holds it together.

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    1. "And yes; I happen to believe in the Omniscient, Omnipresent, Omnipotent God who created it all and holds it together."

      Well see, there's your problem.

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    2. You see additional evidences as a problem?

      I will say this; I apparently misread Anonymous's prior comments; I thought he was upholding the flat earth nonsense; and for that; I apologize.

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  14. Science has it's place but we all know that its has not been always correct in its theories. I am not entertaining the earth is flat but do wonder why NASA has no information about how they got to mars, any of the videos taken while we were there, all details no longer exist yet here we are discussing why the earth is or isn't flat. I don't know about any of you, but when a country has done what NASA and our government says we went to the moon and back yet not one shred of evidence is kept? Doesn't that kind make you wonder?

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  15. Not Mars but the Moon

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  16. No evidence of the moon landing? There’s this.
    https://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/ap11ann/kippsphotos/apollo.html

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    1. Of course, I have never met a conspiracy theorist who would accept any photograph as evidence of anything that questioned their presuppositions...

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  17. It's my understanding that at it's core, flat earth theory is contrived from a literal interpretation of the king james version of the bibles' genesis creation story...I'm reasonably certain it's just a new angle for witnessing by attempting to dazzle the skeptical, yet gullible, with pseudo-science since the traditional method doesn't stand up to modern day cynicism anymore...

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    1. but the eartg is not a spinning globe, or can you prove that it is?

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    2. Dude, if I already know you're attempting to witness to me, don't you think it a bit insane to keep trying the same method, hoping to achieve a different result? I place no stock in, nor lend credence to the biblical account. In my reality (where things that go up, come down), I live on a spherical planet. But since we're asking questions, what keeps the sun and the moon suspended in the atmoSPHERE within the domed enclosure?

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    3. that is your prerogative. I like to think I am open minded, I once did think we live on a spinning ball, but I heard an alternative theory, and after many hours investigating, then studying the moon, the planets and the sun, it really doesnt look like a spinning ball heliocentric model anymore. Without using NASA (who blatantly feed the masses with bullshit), I defy that you prove to me that we live on a spinning ball. ;)

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    4. Again, what keeps the sun and moon suspended? Surely, your studies have elucidated upon the mechanisms that drive that phenomena? Are they disco balls hanging from cables? Are they just magically suspended above the surface (like satellites)? I'm really quite curious...

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  18. What about the Sun is that flat? How about the moon? How about them comets, asteroids, and of course other Planets, moons and suns....How about Saturn with the ring around it?? That ring around Saturn seems like good evidence that it is a sphere. Why don't people just take a commercial flight to outer space to find out? How about Satellites and Space Stations are they flat...or buildings and structures...are they all flat? How about those Dome stadiums are they just flat?

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    1. If the earth is flat why does it have valleys and mountains...going up and down? Low...then high then low again...and with rivers flowing down the mountains and through the valleys and out to sea...the sea isn't flat with all those waves created by the wind and storms...The ocean is pretty deep right? Not just shallow and what you sea on the surface...there is a curvature to lakes and to the world under the sea and it just keeps going for depths beyond depths...then you hit the sea floor and you can drill in it to go deeper and such forth...You're not always just walking on flat land, right, I'm not atleast...life wouldn't be too interesting without rolling hills and mountains to camp in and hunt and fish and hike through...figure it out for yourself...

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  21. "A recent survey found that a third of American science teachers tell their students that climate change is driven in part by natural causes."

    Does this mean that 2/3rd of science teachers tell their students that climate change is 100% driven by man?

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  22. its not just the flat earth, they lied about everything, from crude oil distllation, to GMOs to the atomic bombs. this is why we went to school to learn all of this BS. They are all theories taught as truth. I wonder why the Uk is clamping down on home-schooling.

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  23. If a Voter believes it then it must be a lie.
    I really don't care what shape the planet is.
    I do care if we are being lied to about anything.
    I know technology can be used to create images that look very real to the point that its almost impossible to tell the difference.
    I know Governments want confused voters
    I know most people only focus on the things they believe affects them and their friends and families lives.
    I know people are becoming more disconnected from reality and also becoming less mentally stable.
    I know most people do not know what to believe other than not to trust anything the government says.
    I know I have seen some nicely put together and rationalized flat earth content.
    I have seen some questions that have not been answered yet to my knowledge.
    I have seen people who are supposedly intelligent get pissed at others for what they believe because its not in alignment with what they believe.

    Like I said I don't give a flying fuck what shape the world is, I just care if we are being lied to about anything important.

    Science is not supposed to be the religion it has become. Science questions reality constantly and forever it can ask the same questions. Having an acceptable answer is not a reason to never ask the same question again.

    From what I have seen, Honestly the flat earthers are the ones acting rational and calm. They are the ones searching for evidence. They are not acting like they know whats happening for a fact. It doesn't matter what shape earth is as long as we can continue to fucking live on it and not destroy it and us.

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  24. "If schools were better at teaching analytical thinking, that might reduce the appeal of conspiracy theories." In other words, if schools completely stopped kids from thinking for themselves.... oh wait, they're already doing this.

    This article is shit. The Earth isn't flat, but this article is absolute shit.

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    1. Yes I agree Chris. This article is complete shit. And so is school. I wish I had the money to take my kids out and homeschool them. School will slowly but surely, numb their heads.

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  25. I have come to believe that most science sceptics are very insecure and need to feel special, like they are wiser than others or are in a special group with deeper knowledge. IE Snowflakes.

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    1. that is utter rubbish, we are wiser because we question things rather than repeat rubbish.

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  26. There are no real images of the earth from space. Every image has been manipulated or is a CGI. I have spent hours and hours trying to find one image of the earth from space not tampered with or a CGI, and still have not seen one. All images on the official NASA website are all doctored or CGI! And there is also not one single real photo of a satellite in space either, all CGI. Says right on the NASA website that all images are fake (CGI or a combination of real and CGI). Oh, and the Navy had GPS during WW2 when there was not a single satellite in supposed orbit. Just saying. Time someone else provided some facts instead of running their mouths off. Look this up for yourselves.

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  27. fr if u think the earth is flat ur dumb as hell. like get urself checked. please.

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  28. What would you expect in a world where so many people belive in the bible, coran or any other fantasy book?

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  29. More Americans believe in a flat earth? It's the fault of our education system, which is now controlled by liberals. Kids wear pussy hats, eat tide pods, and snort condoms. So why should a growing flat-earth theory surprise anyone? We are definitely headed for a society portrayed by the movie Idiocracy.

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    1. The rise in flat Earth conversations is due to the complete lack of evidence of curvature. There are many places on Earth, such as the Bolivian Salt Flats, and the Nullabor Plain, where there is no curvature for miles. As Math Powerland said in his stand-up routine on French television, "Is it a photo or a painting?" and this question sparked the resurgence in the modern-day flat Earth proponents.

      Here is where you say, "But we have all these pictures of the Earth from space," and yet, when you look at them, they are all doctored in some way, or are paintings and other created images, not photographs. The ISS appears to be submerged in a pool and there are innumerable videos of "bubbles in space".

      The reason the flat Earth is still here, is because it has not yet been shown to curve in any of the right places, according to the spherical geometry. Not to mention that water always seeks its level.

      Nasa has no evidence for any of the Apollo moon missions; "I'd go to the moon in a nanosecond but we don't have that technology. We used to, but we destroyed it and it's a painful process to build it back again," according to Don Pettit.

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    2. Believing in a flat Earth has nothing to do with liberalism. It has to do with ignorance, willful ignorance.

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  30. If you still believe in a flat earth, it is because you have no spent time on the ocean.

    standing on the deck of a ship, the furthest point you can see another object is roughly 10 miles. This changes with you elevation; the closer to the water, the less you see, the higher up; say on a mast, the further out.

    If the earth was flat, thee would be nearly no effect on your ability to discern objects at any given distance.

    Additionally, this conspiracy theory, like so many, necessarily calls into question the personal testimonies of people from every end of the political, social and economic spectrums who have little to no obvious connection - one with another who have attested to the curvature of the earth through personal experience, not the least of whom, are aviators.

    So; is it probable or even possible that this conspiracy has a connection spanning generations, economics, politics - and centuries? And to what specific end?

    What is the motivation for conjuring so intense a conspiracy as to cause even those of us who have experienced the curvature of the earth as a consequence for our given trades and work to doubt what we have experienced, personally?

    ...and uttering the words "power" and "money" are not suitable defenses for this theory; you must prove how someone - anyone, gains in power or wealth by "convincing" the world that the earth is flat.

    On another note; if the earth is flat and finite, what exactly does the "edge" look like? and why is there no photographic or testimonial evidence of that edge??

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    1. "you must prove how someone - anyone, gains in power or wealth by "convincing" the world that the earth is flat."

      Like other conspiracy theories, their gain comes from thinking that they have information that others don't have. They have "seen the light" that others can't see. They are special. The fact that there are so many different"proofs" of their theory that are contrary to well known facts proves this.

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  31. If you believe in a flat Earth, it is willful ignorance, plain and simpks.

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  32. Anthropogenic Climate change is a hoax designed to extract more of your assets and give it all to the PTB. Vaccines too are a hoax with severe consequences to health and lives. Vaccines ensure long-term clients of the medical mafia. The CDC itself is a drug company and has a vested interest in forever adding more shots to the insane vaccine schedule. People seem to have no interest in doing any kind of research for themselves. They mostly look to CNN and its look-alikes for all info to guide them. They are, as a result, extremely ignorant of the real world. Only when a parent has a kid who begins having seizures after a shot (the HPV, DTaP, and MMR in particular are very nasty) do they seem to wake up. But then it is too late.

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  33. Anthropogenic Climate change is a hoax designed to extract more of your assets and give it all to the PTB. Vaccines too are a hoax with severe consequences to health and lives. Vaccines ensure long-term clients of the medical mafia. The CDC itself is a drug company and has a vested interest in forever adding more shots to the insane vaccine schedule. People seem to have no interest in doing any kind of research for themselves. They mostly look to CNN and its look-alikes for all info to guide them. They are, as a result, extremely ignorant of the real world. Only when a parent has a kid who begins having seizures after a shot (the HPV, DTaP, and MMR in particular are very nasty) do they seem to wake up. But then it is too late.

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