Flat earth theory. Serious question

You have a point, however I just learned something from your post, so this hasn’t been a total bust. I didn’t realize there were folks that believed in different versions of FE. That was news to me.

I am suspecting the in-joke/whoosh thing more and more.

And this would be the key to proving their theory…if it was real. All they would have to do to prove their theory (or at least advance it into the mainstream) would be to mount an expedition to the edge and bring back photos of said edge. It wouldn’t even be that hard - rig a plane with cameras and whatever other gear they might need and convince a pilot to fly it over the Antarctic (and possibly the Arctic too). If the answer is that all of the pilots that they can find are too afraid of crashing into the wall of ice and won’t try it, then surely they can find a pilot that believes in a spherical earth, or at least a flat-earther pilot so desperate for money that he would risk flying into a wall of ice.

If the answer is that they don’t have enough money, then there’s always Kickstarter. I’d kick in a few dollars for the pride in sitting back and watching them have their hearts broken when the results come back.

Good old Charles Johnson had Biblical reasons, but, of course, his most important reason was common sense. Take a globe of the earth, like in most schoolrooms. Take a chess pawn. Try to stand the pawn on, say, Chicago.

It falls off.

Seriously: that’s the level of reasoning involved. Johnson endlessly repeated the dictum about “water seeks its own level.” If the world were curved, water in a canal would run “downhill” at the ends.

We’re dealing with very, very simplistic people here.

That really is the only explanation that makes any sense.

As to joke / whoosh …

There’s probably a few of those. Just like there are folks putting out truly stupid YouTube vids just to gain the page-views & the revenue. Basically pranking the planet for lulz & profit.

If you can find a FE society that sells books or memberships or something I could certainly accept that being a long con run by the sensible but venal principals who’re attracting lots of mentally challenged paid-up supporters.

But the internet is a big place. There’s probably enough somebodies out there just unbalanced enough to believe all this junk, but not so unbalanced as to be incapable of writing a decent yarn in support of it. Those kinds of guys could be sincere, though utterly confused, FE sect leaders.

Charles Johnson, of the old Flat Earth Research Society, really did believe. He was absolutely sincere. He was also absolutely humorless.

His wife once took a tour of Australia, and returned with a signed and notarized document, attesting that at no point in her trip had she been “upside down.”

Think about the “Freemen of the Land” or “Sovereign Citizen” folks. Absolutely dead serious, no matter how obvious it is to any sane person that their beliefs are crackpottery.

There’s a biblical passage that goes (Isaiah 40:22) "He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
"… Plus the ‘four corners’ thing that may or may not have been intended poetically.

Whether these various verses inspired flat earthers I have no idea.

Part of OP’s question hasn’t been addressed yet:

According to the FE doctrine (or to one or another of the many FE doctrines), what reason do they give for why all the governments / rulers / bankers / Jews / whoever would care to hoax all us foolish sheeple so? What do the Flatters imagine that they are getting out of fooling us like this?

(ETA: Oh, I just remembered the theory about projecting an illusion of military superiority. Is that all there was to it?)

BTW, weren’t these Flat Earth ideas kicking around and well-established well before the “Space Age” and NASA? Or is all this purely contemporary stuff?

Back in the summer of 2006 I spent a considerable amount of time reading posts in a FE message board. It was friendly to the RE majority. As far as I can recall I never contributed a post.

ISTR something like 6 very active “FE” folks. When the question of seriousness came up, those “in the know” there claimed at least 3 did not actually believe FE.

What was interesting is that they did not seem to be trolling in the usual sense. They were not trying to drive people crazy by insisting on what they knew to be nonsense. Rather, they seemed to be pushing for more awareness of the questions of Epistemology. How do we know for sure what we claim to know?

Columbus/Magellan proved it was round! is not really a reason to accept a round earth. There are other examples of such facile dismissal.

What I found most fascinating was the claim of constant upward acceleration substituted for gravity. There was a comprehensive and well illustrated demonstration that c would not be exceeded.

I personally have stood in Chicago and fallen straight off the ground.

To be fair, I was very very drunk at the time.

So if I glued a pawn to a globe, he’d think I was a witch?

Only if it was made of wood.

And that is now we can prove that the world is really banana-shaped.

Any Flat Earther who wasn’t personally present on the expedition would dismiss any evidence they brought back as fabricated and part of the conspiracy, and the former Flat Earthers whose minds have changed as having been “gotten” by the conspirators.

Heck, even the people personally present would probably think they’d been fooled somehow.

For day to day purely practical purposes how often does it matter? In the morning my sun appears to rise at some point on the eastern edge of a rather ragged more or less fat earth. And appears to across the sunset to a sunset point. The stars appear to behave likewise at night. In the meantime I have to eat and shit and take my medications. Were the earth flat it would serve my purposes. I doubt if any Flat Earther uses a pragmatic justification for their beliefs.

Underline mine. I’ve never met one of those people who had a high-school level understanding of science; the ones I’ve personally met barely had a primary-school level understanding of addition and substraction. They did have HS diplomas or even college ones… but that attests to the sad state of schooling, not to their understanding.

Some moon hoaxers seem to think that deep space travel is impossible due to radiation - they have no problem with orbital travel. Flat Earthers would. They could accept a non-orbital trip like Shepherd or Grissom did for Mercury, but I don’t see how even low earth orbit would work. The physics wouldn’t work.
Unless Sir Isaac was in on the conspiracy also.

What makes you think a biblical source is any more “tangible” than simple stupidity and madness?

Physics? Seriously? They probably think “orbiting” is flying in circles around the flat disk. If you tried to explain free-fall to them, they’d probably laugh at you and walk away thinking you were stupid for your weird beliefs. You might as well go back in time and try to explain the germ theory to someone in 1260. Or how mammalian reproduction works.

If you try to explain how the space shuttle stays in orbit to a bright 8th grader with good grades, they’ll understand, because they have the background (or maybe they already know-- explain it to a 6th grader then, whatever). Flat-earthers don’t have the background to understand the difference between the way an airplane flies within the atmosphere, and the way a rocket travels in space. They accept that airplanes can fly, so they probably would accept that something that looks like a rocket, or a space shuttle, could fly like an airplane, just a little further away. Over the flat disk.

Depends on your point of view… Again, I am not interested in debating whether the bible is factual or not. I was just wondering what they were hanging their theory ON. If the FT society had some passage from the OT or NT that said something like “thy earth is flat… Thou can climb to the edge of the ice, but careful! If thou slips and falls, there is no way back, for thy fell off the edge.” (My bible-fu is bad), I could say “oh, I now understand the origin of their premise.” That won’t change my personal thoughts on the shape of the earth.

I am not trying to imply I have any knowledge of what FE’s think, or want to argue about the merits (or lack thereof) of the logic. I am not an advocate of the group.

My bigger (and still unanswered question) is WHY they think this has been covered up?

As janeslogin points out, for all practical purposes it doesn’t matter for day-to-day life. So, for the rich and powerful to concoct this elaborate mythology doesn’t make as much sense to me as something like religion, which DOES have the benefit of helping to control the masses.

blah blah blah, all you’re doing is going after low hanging fruit. Makes you look quite desperate, do you need reassurance or something? Congrats, you don’t believe the earth is flat, that just makes you about as knowledgeable as 99.9% of the population. Why do they believe it? Who cares, frankly, it’s a stupid theory either way