Earth is becoming flatter: The word is getting a round

(MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center | NASA)

Last week, CNN’s online newsfeed emphasized that the fastest-growing organizations are the Flat Earthers. There are now competing Flat Earth groups. The movement is big and getting bigger.

When I first reported on this in 2016, I got predictable feedback because there’s no middle ground here. People either say, “That’s ridiculous; surely there can’t be so many stupid people!” or else they say I’m a stooge for NASA – because, to these people, NASA is the real enemy, for the people who “control” NASA, like the bankers and the Rothschilds, want us to think our planet is a ball. It’s one way for lefties to discredit the truth and wisdom of the Bible, which flat-out states that our world is motionless and unmovable.


So, if spacecraft images are all faked, astronauts lie because they work for the government and the real Earth is a disk-shaped pancake bordered on all sides by impenetrable Antarctic ice walls, could we disprove this?

Well, you and I know it’s actually easy to do. Every telescope shows a cosmos populated by spheres. If every other planet is a ball, why wouldn’t ours be one, too?

And what about lunar eclipses, when Earth’s shadow strikes the Moon? True, a disk or dish could cast a round shadow – but only if it were always angled perpendicularly to the Sun, which wouldn’t reliably happen. Anyway, the Flat Earthers think they have a rebuttal for everything.

But know this: If you run into any of these people, there are two foolproof ways to ascertain Earth’s true shape without needing to trust photos or any astronaut. That’s right: You can find out independently. Here are the two methods.

Method A:  The next time you watch a sunset, phone a friend who lives on the West Coast, or in any city far to your west. Ask them to look out their window and tell you where the Sun appears in the sky.  If Earth were flat, everyone would see the Sun setting at the same moment, right? But what you’ll find is that friends well to your west are sufficiently around Earth’s curve that they’ll report the Sun to be around halfway up the sky. That wouldn’t be true if Earth were flat, would it?

The second method doesn’t even require the cooperation of a friend. Method B: The next time you’re swimming in a large lake like Winnipesaukee – or even something the size of Lake Taghkanic, one-and-a-half-miles-wide – hold your breath while lowering your head like a crocodile until your eyes are just a few inches above the surface. You’ll see the far shoreline vanish. It’s because the lake is not flat! Its middle is convex, or bowed higher than the shores, due to being part of our planet’s overall curvature. That central rise is enough to block out the other side if your eyes are sufficiently close to the water level.

With all this, smart people realized Earth’s true shape millennia ago. My hero Eratosthenes, who ran the Alexandria library, even correctly calculated the true size of Earth to one-percent accuracy – without ever setting foot outside Egypt. So why did the wrong idea persist for so long? Why didn’t a “round Earth” appear in ancient texts like Homer’s Odyssey and the Bible?

And now it’s happening again, promulgated by people whose skepticism and mistrust of authority are laudable, but who appear defective in basic science and rational thinking. These are disconcerting times, this era in which we live.

Want to know more? To read Bob’s previous columns, click here. Check out Bob’s podcast, Astounding Universe, co-hosted by Pulse of the Planet’s Jim Metzner.