Debunking the Flat Earth Teaching
- Grady McMurtry
- April 04, 2020
With apologies to the Apostle Luke:
“In as much as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, ... it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, ... so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.” Luke 1:1-4 (NAS95)
I find it incomprehensible that anyone would believe that the Earth is flat. Yet in recent months people of good and bad intentions, including church members and pastors, have somehow or another been duped into believing and even promoting this false teaching.
At first, I thought it was a spoof or joke; however, it has proven to be a growing trend in the population. This may be seen by simply doing a web search for articles and sites that are defending the concept. Even basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal said that he believed it, whether or not he was joking. This must be corrected and stopped by using education in a loving and gentle way!
There have been people at various times and places who thought that the Earth was flat, such as an occasional Indian guru or ancient pagan, but most serious secular people since Pythagoras (500 B.C.), have not.
The ancient Greeks realized that the earth is a globe by observing lunar eclipses. They realized that at such times, the earth was between the moon and the sun, and it always cast a circular shadow, regardless of the direction, which proves that it’s a globe. For example, the famous philosopher Aristotle (384–322 BC) said:
“Either then the earth is spherical or it is at least naturally spherical. And it is right to call anything that which nature intends it to be, and which belongs to it, rather than which it is by constraint and contrary to nature. The evidence of the senses further corroborates this. How else would eclipses of the moon show segments shaped as we see them? As it is, the shapes which the moon itself each month shows are of every kind - straight, gibbous, and concave - but in eclipses the outline is always curved: and, since it is the interposition of the earth that makes the eclipse, the form of this line will be caused by the form of the earth’s surface, which is therefore spherical.”
What Did the Early Church Fathers Teach?
Clement, Origen, Ambrose, Augustine, Isidore, Albertus Magnus and Aquinas all accepted the Earth was a globe. None of the great doctors of the church had considered the matter in doubt.
Historian Jeffrey Burton Russell (1934-) thoroughly debunked the flat earth myth in his definitive historical study Inventing the Flat Earth. The highly respected evolutionist and historian of science Stephen Jay Gould (1941–2002) favorably reviewed Russell’s work. Russell wrote:
“There never was a period of ‘flat earth darkness’ among scholars (regardless of how the public at large may have conceptualized our planet both then and now). Greek knowledge of sphericity never faded, and all major medieval scholars accepted the earth’s roundness as an established fact of cosmology.”
Russell showed that flat-earth belief was extremely rare in the early Church. The flat earth’s two main proponents were obscure figures named Lactantius (c. 240 – c. 320) and Cosmas Indicopleustes (6th century. Russell documented many accounts supporting earth’s sphericity from numerous medieval church scholars: Roger Bacon (1220–1292); John Buridan (1301–1358); Nicholas Oresme (1320–1382); John of Sacrobosco (c. 1195–c. 1256) and many more.
One of the best-known proponents of a globe-shaped earth was the English theologian and historian, the Venerable Bede (673–735). He was also a leading astronomer of his day. In his book On the Reckoning of Time (De temporum ratione), he explicitly taught that the earth was spherical. From this, he showed why the length of days and nights changed with the seasons, and how tides were dragged by the moon. Bede was the first with this insight. Here is what Bede said about the shape of the earth:
“We call the earth a globe, not as if the shape of a sphere were expressed in the diversity of plains and mountains, but because, if all things are included in the outline, the earth’s circumference will represent the figure of a perfect globe. … For truly it is an orb placed in the center of the universe; in its width it is like a circle, and not circular like a shield but rather like a ball, and it extends from its center with perfect roundness on all sides.”
The theologian and philosopher of the Middle Ages, Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274), wrote in his greatest work Summa Theologica/Theologiae:
“The physicist proves the earth to be round by one means, the astronomer by another: for the latter proves this by means of mathematics, e.g. by the shapes of eclipses, or something of the sort; while the former proves it by means of physics, e.g. by the movement of heavy bodies towards the center, and so forth.”
“Yet as soon as the sun is at the horizon, the whole hemisphere is illuminated from end to end. … Secondly, as to place, for in one hemisphere there was light, in the other darkness. Thirdly, as to time; because there was light for one and darkness for another in the same hemisphere; and this is signified by the words, ‘He called the light day, and the darkness night.’”
As early as the 5th century, medieval European kings and queens carried a symbol called the globus cruciger, Latin for ‘cross-bearing orb’, as a Christian symbol of royal power. The orb, usually a golden sphere, represented the spherical earth. The cross on top symbolized Christ’s lordship over the earth. It was held by the ruler to symbolize that he or she had been entrusted to rule their lands. In medieval portraits, the scale didn’t indicate physical size but importance, hence the large size of the cross.
If we are going to correct a false teaching, we must first understand what the tenets of that false teaching are positing.
There really is a Flat Earth Society with a fully featured web site and podcast. They are not the only promoters of this view. There are variants of the concept found around the world with tens of thousands of adherents. Basically, the many groups may be lumped together as conspiracy believers.
The modern incarnation of the Flat Earth belief started with Samuel Birley Rowbotham (1816–1884) who was an English inventor and writer. He wrote Zetetic Astronomy: Earth Not a Globe in 1881 under the pseudonym “Parallax”. Zetetic Astronomy states that the Earth is an enclosed plane centered at the North Pole and bounded along its perimeter by a wall of ice, with the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars moving 3,000 miles above the surface.
Rowbotham’s ideas were picked up and promoted in 1956 by a British man named Samuel Shenton. Shenton founded the Flat Earth Society that year. He died believing that the Earth was flat. The next leader of the movement, Charles K. Johnson, passed away in 2001, leaving the dwindling organization with just 3,500 members. Then the Internet breathed new life into this false worldview.
Quoting from, the Flat Earth Society web site:
“The earth is surrounded on all sides by an ice wall that holds the oceans back. This ice wall is what explorers have named Antarctica. Beyond the ice wall is a topic of great interest to the Flat Earth Society. To our knowledge, no one has been very far past the ice wall and returned to tell of their journey. What we do know is that it encircles the earth and serves to hold in our oceans and helps protect us from whatever lies beyond.”
Some believers say that there is an infinite plane beyond the wall. Others believe that you fall into outer space if you cross it. The average proposed height of the wall seems to be around 150 feet. This “wall” is supposed to hold back the oceans from flooding the land. The moon and the sun are declared to be the same size. Each is believed to be only 32 miles in diameter. They are assumed to be orbiting around the North Pole.
Flat Earthers claim that gravity does not exist. They declare on their web site that, “Objects simply fall.” While Flat Earthers have a few theories as to why objects fall toward the ground, they seem pretty confident that the common conception of gravity isn’t the reason: “What is certain is sphere earth gravity is not tenable in any way, shape, or form.”
They deny that the Moon landings from 1969 to 1972 happened; according to them, the landings were faked, and the astronauts were bribed or coerced into their testimonies of having gone to the Moon.
There are Flat Earthers that attempt to falsely use Bible verses to defend and promote their views. These Scriptures include: 1 Chron. 16:30; Psalms 93:1; 96:10; and 104:5. These verses are poetic in context and use emotional metaphorical language, not to be taken literally. They are not prose and should be read as God intended.
Flat Earthers believe that the Moon produces light and does not reflect light emanating from the Sun. To explain solar and lunar eclipses, some of them believe in a third orbiting object, a dark anti-moon, that travels along the same circular path as the Sun and Moon.
There Will Always Be Conspiracy Theorists
In a recent study it was found that at least 60% of the population believe in one or more conspiracy theories. Flat Earthers believe that planes do not fly direct routes, but that GPS is manipulated to cause them to fly circular routes. Emotion often overrules fact, after all that is one of multiple reasons that some people believe in evolution.
In addition, there are those who do not understand how to read the Bible and will only read it in a very literal way, never allowing for the many literary devices used by God to communicate His ideas to us in an understandable way. They do not understand that in the Bible God uses phenomenological language, describing the world as things appear from the surface of the Earth. One example is the description of the Sun rising and setting.
What Does the Bible Say About the Shape of the Earth?
The first reference to the description of a semispherical rotating earth in the Bible is found in the second verse of Genesis Chapter One. We may understand this reference by doing a study of the original Hebrew words used in the text. God spoke the Earth into existence in Verse One, somewhat like a ball of clay (He is the Potter, we are the clay). In Verse Two, it says that the Holy Spirit was “moving” over the surface of the waters that covered the Earth on Day One. This word is an agricultural word and it means “to flutter”, the way a bird flutters its wings; “to hover”, the way a bird can hover over a spot; or “to brood”, the way a chicken broods an egg.
The Earth is not a rigid solid inflexible sphere, rather it is flexible and over time it does slowly change shape. These changes occur for a variety of reasons: movement of material inside the liquid core; erosion of mountains; earthquakes shifting mass; stretching caused by the gravitational forces from the Sun and Moon; just to name a few.
Neither is it a true sphere because centrifugal force causes it to be slightly wider at the Equator. The Earth is roughly 30 miles wider than it is tall. It is technically an oblate spheroid, meaning that it is slightly egg shaped.
How does a hen brood an egg? She creates the egg, then sits on one side warming it, then she rotates the egg and warms the other side. She will continue to rotate the egg, warming each side in sequence. By doing this she is incubating the egg, she is energizing the systems inside. In the same way, the Holy Spirit started the rotation of the Earth in total darkness. He was incubating the Earth, He was energizing the natural systems. Only after the egg-shaped Earth was rotating, God created light and used it to delineate between day and night, one complete rotation of the Earth.
The next three references to a spherical earth are found in the Book of Job.
In Job 22:14, we find that “... He walks on the vault [wechugh: also circle, circular horizon, circular edge of the deep] of Heaven [shamayim: also sky, abode, firmament (Genesis 1:8), air, stars].” Conceptually, the idea could be that of walking on a dome. Clearly this is not a flat surface.
In Job 26:10, it says, “He has inscribed a circle on the surface of the waters, at the boundary of light and darkness.” What an incredible verse! It accurately describes “The Terminator”, an astronomical phenomenon that can only be seen from a satellite exiting the shadow of the Earth. As the spherical Earth is rotating, sunlight hits the Earth, but some of the sunlight just misses the Earth and passes through the atmosphere, and travels on into outer space. This causes a ring of white light to completely encircle (circle) the Earth, 360 degrees around the edge; but, this ring of light is also moving across the surface of the Earth as the Earth is rotating. This means that the ring of light, The Terminator, stays in a fixed location facing the Sun as the Earth rotates. At the Equator the point where light and dark meet is traveling roughly 1,100 mph across the surface. The Terminator can be seen from a satellite only twice in each satellite orbit, and only for a few moments. As the satellite exits the darkness of being in the shadow of the Earth, there is a short time when it passes through an area where this ring of light may be seen; and, then as it continues to orbit, the satellite continues into full direct sunlight and the ring can no longer be seen.
No Flat Earth scenario is capable of explaining this observation. It is only a spherical rotating Earth that could explain this astronomical effect.
Four chapters of Job are a quotation of God speaking as He gives Job an oral examination. The objective is to humble Job and to declare to all everywhere that God is the Creator of all things. God reviews His acts in chronological sections. The first section, Chapter 38 verses 1 through 7, summarizes what happened during the Creation Week. The second section, verses 8 through 11, are a quick summary of the historical events that occurred during the Flood of Noah. The third section starts with verse 12 and ends at Job 41:34. These questions deal with the present natural systems and processes. In Job 38:14, speaking of the earth, God says, “It is changed like [soft] clay under the seal; and they stand forth like a garment.” (NAS95) An alternative rendering is “takes on form like clay under a seal.”
Whether this statement is referring to a signet ring that makes a round/oval three-dimensional impression on soft clay, or a fired clay cylindrical whose negative image is revealed when rolled against a rectangular piece of fresh clay, the terminology clearly alludes to a rotational action. This verse correlates back to Genesis 1:2 where God started the rotation of the earth.
The Flat Earth believers say that the Sun and Moon chase each other in a circular path above the Earth’s “flat” surface. Their concept is in opposition to God’s description.
As mentioned earlier, God often uses phenomenological language along with metaphor, simile, analogy, allegory, proverb and poetic terms to describe real events. In Psalm 19:1, King David declares figuratively that the heavens declare the glory of God. David, describing the sun, writes: “Its rising is from one end of the heavens, and its circuit to the other end of them; and there is nothing hidden from its heat.” (NAS95)
The terminology used to describe what is being seen is that of an observer standing at a fixed point on the surface of the earth as the sun is seen to move across the sky. The observation refers to the sun’s motion relative to the earth’s surface. At the same time, this statement would be true for any other assumed fixed point on the surface. As the Earth rotates, because of the 23.5-degree incline of the axis of rotation relative to the Sun, during a year there is no place on the surface of the Earth that is hidden from Sun’s heat.
The Flat Earth view is that the sun is like a spotlight with the light shining straight, or nearly straight, down. However, as soon as light from the sun passes through the atmosphere it begins to scatter and this is the reason the sky appears blue, the red light is being absorbed as it passes through the air. The sky appears blue regardless of the suns position and is true even if the sun is on the opposite side of the sky from the observer. If the sun were like a spotlight, the blue sky could not be seen from horizon to horizon. This fact contradicts the Flat Earther’s claim.
Proverbs 8:27 states: “When He established the heavens, I was there, when He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep, ...” (NAS95) This is the second and last use of the term “on the face of the deep”; the first being Genesis 1:2. The Hebrew word translated circle, chug, is also used for circuit or compass (go around [something] in a circular course). As used in Proverbs 8:27, it is referring to the horizon and the circular nature of sea level around the world as gravity pulls the water toward the center of the spherical Earth.
The last biblical verse describing the “shape” of the earth is found in Is. 40:22, where we again find poetical language: “It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.” (NAS95) The term, “sits above” is also translated as “enthroned above”. An alternative rendering of the verse would read: “It is He who is enthroned above the sphere of the earth.”
In Is. 40:22, the word translated “circle” is again, chug. While chug does not necessarily refer to a spherical object, as it is used in Job 22:14 it is better translated “vault”, describing a convex shape. In ancient Greek the Hebrew word chug is translated as guros, a ring-shaped object. A ring is hollow with a convex shape as seen from the “inside” of the ring. The Flat Earthers must have a solid disc to get a flat earth, not a ring.
The Bible does not have one irrefutable verse stating that the earth is a flat disc in shape. Without specifically stating it, the Bible does have many verses that use poetic and metaphorical language to support a roundish rotating egg-shaped earth.
The next section deals with the scientific arguments for a roundish earth.
The first scientific arguments against the flat earth concept were mentioned earlier in this Bible Lab. As the sun crosses above us from horizon to horizon we see a blue sky. Using the flat earth concept of a spotlight-like sun shining straight down, the blue-sky phenomena would be impossible. The Terminator may only be seen from space.
Flat Earth proponents are like conspiracy theorists. They deny the eyewitness and photographic evidence of the earth being spherical. They claim that the hundreds of thousands of photos taken from space showing the spherical earth are photoshopped. They claim that all the men and women who have “supposedly” been in space were paid to say it and that their travels never really happened.
Their claim is obviously false. In the last 51+ years, here have been over 500 highly trained astronauts who have been launched into space. Billions of people have witnessed or participated either live or by media in the astronauts entering the capsules, seeing the launches, the landing and recovery operations. The astronauts have come from 40 countries, with the largest numbers being from the United States, Russia and The Peoples Republic of China.
The 40 countries represented by these astronauts disagree on almost everything. They speak different languages, have different cultures, have different religions, have different types of government and economies. Yet every one of those who have traveled into space give consistent eyewitness observational evidence to the same stated truth: the earth is round!
It is simply impossible that this many people could either “keep a secret” or “not spill the beans.” If these events did not happen, someone would have leaked the “truth” by now!
Likewise, the photographic evidence comes from a multitude of manned spacecraft, or from various unmanned satellites, representing many different countries. The images were taken for the purpose of supporting a wide range of political, economic and scientific objectives. Weather satellite pictures should be sufficient for an honest observer to evaluate.
The idea that all these could have coordinated to fool the public is beyond belief. Even high school and college aged students have flown balloons into the upper atmosphere and taken pictures of the earth from an altitude sufficient to see the earth’s curvature.
Humans have historically acknowledged for thousands of years that the earth was round. God told the Jews that it was round. The Greeks proved it mathematically going back to Pythagoras, around 500 B.C. Aristotle (384–322 B.C.) used scientific observation to determine that it was round. He observed the disappearance of ships going over the horizon and the shape of the shadow of the earth on the moon during eclipses as his proof.
Eratosthenes of Cyrene (276-194 B.C.) was known as a great scientist of the ancient world. In 240 B.C. the Egyptian King, Ptolemy III of Alexandria, appointed Eratosthenes as the chief librarian of the greatest library on earth, the Great Library of Alexandria. Eratosthenes was also a great cartographer and he traveled and mapped large regions of land. In order to make his maps more accurate he needed to measure the size of the earth.
On the Summer Solstice he traveled to then Syene, now known as Aswan, and observed that sunlight went straight down into a well without having any shadow. He measured the distance back to Alexandria as 5,000 stadia. On the next Summer Solstice, at Alexandria, he measured the angle of the shadow of a pole stuck in the ground. The angle was about seven degrees, roughly one fiftieth the circumference of the earth. Using trigonometry, he calculated the circumference of the earth as 250,000 stadia, close to the correct number of 24,900 miles.
The idea taught in schools that Christopher Columbus was told or thought that the earth was flat and that he would sail off the edge is pure unadulterated junk. It is a lie! Most school textbooks are simply repeating a fictional story from a book entitled A History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus. The book is a total and utter myth, written by Washington Irving in 1828. In 1492 every legitimate scientist in Europe knew the earth was round and the correct size. Christopher Columbus knew it was round, which is why he believed that he could take the Gospel to India by sailing west!
In addition to those assertions that I have already shared about what Flat Earther’s believe, we must now add that they believe the Flat Earth is covered over by an impenetrable dome. All the stars, galaxies and other heavenly bodies are supposedly inside this dome. According to the Flat earth views, rockets cannot escape through this dome because they hit it and fall back down. Supposedly, beyond the dome is water forever and ever.
If a dome did exist above the Earth, its highest point would be in the middle. Various Flat Earthers estimate the dome to be from 12,000 miles to 26,000 miles up at its highest point. It there were a dome, it would have to touch the Earth at the edge, its lowest point, along the supposed wall of ice that supposedly exists along the edge of the flat disc. Then if a rocket were launched from near the edge of the disc, it should be easily seen when it hits the dome. Flat Earth believers say that no such experiment will ever be made because no one can go to the ice wall because it is forbidden by International treaties. Again, this is nothing, but a grand conspiracy theory run amuck.
Flat Earthers say that the Sun and Moon produce their own light and shine straight down as they rotate around an axis pivoting at the center of the dome.
In this case, they are supposed to be 32 miles in diameter and 3,000 miles above the Earth’s surface. As the Sun and Moon rise and set as observed from the Earth’s surface, the basis of biblical expressions describing them, their visible size changes in appearance. Everyone has seen this, they appear larger near the horizon and smaller when overhead. This effect is due to the light from the Sun and Moon being diffused, spreading out, appearing to be magnified, as the light passes through more and more atmosphere at lower angles when the Sun and the Moon are low to the horizon.
The Moon does not produce light, in contradiction to the Flat Earth view. The Moon reflects light and almost all of it comes from the Sun. There is a direct cause and effect relationship between the Sun producing light and the Moon reflecting it.
The Bible specifies this in the following verses: Is. 13:10, Is. 30:26, Mat. 24:26. Genesis 1:14-18 does not support the idea that the Moon produces light. Author John Upchurch wrote: “If the moon were a light source – instead of simply a light – there would likely be no night at all for it to govern.” He continues: “We can easily demonstrate this concept when we imagine someone reflecting light into our eyes from a mirror. The mirror is not the source of light, but it does emit a powerful beam that can momentarily blind – something even biblio-skeptics would have to admit. And when such a beam is blinding someone, it is doubtful that how the light reaches the person’s eyes would matter so much as the fact that it is.”
One way that we measure the distance to the Moon is by shining lasers at it and measuring the time for the light to travel to the Moon and back to the observer, much in the same way that radar measures the speed of a car on a highway. If the Moon produced the amount of visible light that we see, the laser light would be so insignificant that we could not “see” it’s return. In addition, when the sky is clear, we may see the side of the Moon not lit by the Sun, but lit by “Earthshine”, the light reflected from the Earth illuminating the shaded area of the Moon.
We measure the heat of the Moon, and the amount of heat that it loses every day, by using infrared sensors. If the Moon produced its own light, the heat of the Moon would be much higher than the measurable amount it produces today. [Of course, as we have pointed out many times, the fact that the moon is still losing heat today proves that it is young, not old.]
As the Moon passes overhead orbiting the Earth, we observe the craters on its surface. If the Moon were producing light, there would be no shadows, or if there were shadows, they would remain constant in appearance “circling” the craters. The shadows of the craters are caused by Sunlight and change angle from “right to left” and start over again with each New Moon. This means that the Sun must “face” the Moon, or this effect would not happen. The Flat Earth theories cannot account for this movement.
In order to account for the change in appearance of the Moon each day, the phases of the Moon, the Flat Earthers must invent, from necessity, a third spherical object immobile and invisible at the axis of rotation. According to them this purported object, along with the movements of the Sun and Moon as they get closer and further apart as they trail each other, is what causes the daily changes in the appearance of the Moon.
The phases of the Moon, the progressive changes in shape of its appearance, are not caused by any shadow of the Earth. The light and dark changes are due to the Moon’s own overall spherical curvature. There is a direct correlation between the lunar phases and the distant position of the Sun. On Earth, each observer sees approximately the same thing because the Sun is at a great distance away.
If the Sun and Moon were as close together as Flat Earthers claim, the phases of the Moon would look quite different based upon where the observer was standing. Any observer will see that when the Moon is directly opposite of the Sun, we see a Full Moon. Like the Earth, the Moon also has a “Terminator”, a boundary where light and dark meet on the surface.
The Terminator is an area on the surface of the Moon that provides for excellent viewing with binoculars and low-power telescopes. It is an area of lower light intensity and lengthening shadows that make the three-dimensional surface features really stand out. Again, these shadows prove that the Moon does not create its own light.
The only time the shadow of the Earth is seen on the surface of the Moon is during a Lunar Eclipse. Lunar Eclipses, as with Solar Eclipses, provide us with information that disprove the Flat Earth concept. For a Solar Eclipse to occur the Moon must be directly between the Sun and the Earth thus blocking out the Sun’s photosphere, and the darkening allows the outer regions of the Sun’s atmosphere, chromosphere and corona, to become visible. Total Solar Eclipses are relatively rare with partial eclipses occurring more often.
Eclipses demonstrate that the visual apparent sizes of the Sun and Moon are approximately the same; the distances from the Sun to the Earth and the Moon to the Earth are not equal; and, the Earth has a spherical shape.
For the Moon to be between the Sun and Earth they must be at different distances. If the Sun and Moon appear in the sky to be the same size, they must be different sizes. If they were the same physical size, then placing one further away would cause it to appear smaller. Thus, for them to appear the same size, the Sun must be larger and located further away.
The distances may be approximated by the following. In order to see a total solar eclipse, the observer must be in the shadow cast by the Moon. If we place an object between a light source and a wall and step into the shadow it blocks out the light. But, if we move the object closer to the light what happens to the shadow? It gets bigger and the viewer would be able to move further to the right or left yet stay inside the shadow. If the distance between the light source and the object is increased, then the shadow gets smaller and in order to stay within the shadow, the observer must stay in a more precise position.
The shadow of the Moon on the Earth during a Solar Eclipse is no more than 165 miles in diameter. In order to cast such a small shadow, the Sun must be very far away from the Earth. This information then allows us to see that a Lunar Eclipse proves that the Sun is much further away than the Moon and that the Earth must be spherical in shape.
Solar eclipses may only be seen during the New Moon Phase, while Lunar eclipses may only be seen during the Full Moon Phase. These events require precise alignment, and therefore they are rare events. The shadow of the Earth on the Moon proves that it is spherical in shape. We do not see a shadow with a flat edge, nor a dome and a flat bottom.
Other Solar System Objects
The other planets in the Solar System are conventionally described as being spherically round. They are obviously three-dimensional spherically round. We observe them go through phases just like the phases of the Moon. We see the shadows and their Terminators change on their surfaces; we see features like Jupiter’s “Great Red Spot” move as the planet rotates; and, we see the plains and mountains of Mars move as the planet rotates around its axis.
Saturn provides a view of a rotating flat set of rings combined with a rotating spherical planet. The visible tilt of the rings varies from straight on (barely visible) up to 27 degrees (very visible). All observers see the same ring-tilt from any location proving that Saturn is very far away.
I write frequently that there is no such thing as man-made global warming. One proof of this is that sunspot activity is linked directly to the warming and cooling of the Earth. The progress of sunspots across the surface of the Sun shows that their movement is caused by the Sun’s overall spherical rotation.
Galactic Objects and Parallax
The fixity of distant galaxies and constellations helps us to navigate across the surface of the Earth. The study of the constellations began in the Garden of Eden. “Then God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens [plural] to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs [constellations] and for seasons and for days and years ...’” Gen. 1:14 (NAS95)
The movement of the constellations is easily seen by an observer depending upon where they are on the surface of the Earth and the season of the year. As the Earth orbits the Sun we see different constellations as they cycle overhead. This variation demonstrates that the Sun’s position as seen in the sky is independent of the position of the stars and constellations. Thus, there must also be two motions occurring at the same time in order to account for the positions of the Sun and the positions of the constellations. The seasonal variations support the view that the Earth has a spherical curvature and that its axis of rotation is impacting the visual position of the stars.
If we move north or south over the globe, we see constellations that are not visible at any other time of the year to observers in the opposite hemisphere. You cannot see the Southern Cross from Detroit, MI. Depending upon whether you are in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere, the Constellation Orion will appear right side up or upside down. All these variations in position show that there is a North-to-South curvature of the surface of the Earth and that the Earth rotates with an alignment around an axis with an East-to-West rotation.
If we are more than 26 degrees north or south of the equator, there are stars that never appear to go below the horizon. These stars show that they appear to orbit their respective celestial poles. Again, this demonstrates that there are two poles defining the axis of the Earth, and not one pole.
No Flat Earth view will accommodate these observations. Only a spherical Earth will give us these results.
The Coriolis Effect refers to the observed effect of the rotation of the Earth upon the winds and weather patterns. It tends to deflect moving objects to the right in the Northern Hemisphere and to the left in the Southern Hemisphere and is important in the formation of cyclonic weather systems. Hurricanes in the Northern Hemisphere rotate counter clockwise and Typhoons in the Southern Hemisphere rotate clockwise.
Using simple Geometry, we may demonstrate that the Earth is a spherical object. Buy a cheap Styrofoam ball at your local hobby store. Take a black permanent marker and draw a line half way around the ball at the equator. At both ends of the line draw a straight line up to the “north pole”. Note that the angle up started as a 90-degree angle, but the two lines meet at the same point, the north pole.
Gravity Versus No Gravity
According to Flat Earthers, gravity does not exist. In order to replace the effect of gravity, they say that the Earth is moving “upward” at a constant value of 1 G. This constant acceleration is supposed to cause the “artificial gravity” necessary for their belief to be true. This is where the Flat Earthers leave all sense of physical reality.
To begin with, if the Earth were moving “upward” it would take an incredible act of natural perfection to maintain its stability. Even the slightest variation in acceleration from one side to the other of the disc would start the Earth tumbling erratically through space like a billiard ball.
In order to maintain stability, the Earth would have to be in a controlled environment like an elevator within an elevator shaft or a piston inside an engine cylinder. It would also require a mechanism to “push” the Earth through the shaft/cylinder with an energy source like elevator cables or a piston rod. The energy source necessary to accomplish this supposed feat would have to be basically infinite.
If the Earth were accelerating at 1 G in order to replace the effect of gravity with “artificial gravity”, then it would have to continue to accelerate at 1 G continuously. A single “push” would not maintain the supposed effect.
The earth’s velocity after slightly less than one year (354.31 days) would be at 99+% the speed of light. After another 6,000 years the velocity would still not have quite reached the speed of light in a perfect vacuum. If we calculate the earth’s velocity after only 6,000 years, according to the formulas of Einstein’s Special Relativity, it will be just slightly LESS than the speed of light. In order to accelerate an object to the speed of light requires infinite energy! Accordingly, it is impossible to accelerate an object to the speed of light; and, during the acceleration process the mass of the object increases to be infinite, time slows down and eventually stops, and the length is reduced to zero.
The acceleration problem is a death knell to the Flat Earth theory!
Other Scientific and Mathematical Problems
If you could drive around the world by driving east continuously, you will experience one less sunset than your family members who stayed at home. This is how Phileas Fogg won the race to go “Around the World in 80 Days”. He crossed the International Dateline.
If you want to, you may watch the same sunset twice. Simply lay down on the ground, watch the sunset; then quickly stand up, and you can watch the same sunset a second time. This would not be true if the Earth were flat.
There are those who say that you can see the city of Chicago across Lake Michigan from the western shore of Michigan. This is not true and easily disproved. Under the optimum weather conditions, it is possible to see a mirage of the Chicago outline across Lake Michigan. Careful examination of comparison images clearly proves that the images are not the same and have been altered by the mirage effect. You will see “buildings” that are not there and there are missing “buildings” that ought to be there. When the mirage image disappears, the image disappears from the bottom up, not the top down. This clearly proves that the image being seen is from a mirage and not merely the loss of a real image.
In addition, if the Earth were flat the buildings of Chicago should appear at their correct height even from 80 miles away, however, the buildings appear quite a bit shorter. This demonstrates the curvature of the Earth over that distance of the width of the Lake as the Earth’s gravity pulls constantly on the water. If the Earth were flat, from the perspective of the observer at that distance the buildings would have to be unimaginably taller (yes even the Willis [Sears] Tower).
If you take the Flat Earth view seriously, then with a very good pair of binoculars you ought to be able to see the Rocky Mountains from the western shore of Michigan. If the Earth were flat, there would be no horizon for an object to “disappear” behind. Obviously, this is not a serious thought.
Draw a circle of 360o and divide it into 24 sectors. Each sector represents an arc of 15o. At the Equator, looking straight up, during the day the Sun appears to move 15o across the sky each hour.
However, if we observe the angular movement of the Sun across the sky each hour from New York or Buenos Aries the movement will still be exactly 15o. However, the distance traveled during that hour will be far less. This demonstrates that the Earth is not flat but spherical in shape.
The solar equinox is when the day and night are of equal length in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres; it is the moment at which the center of the visible Sun is directly above the Equator. This event is observed in roughly the third week of March (Vernal Equinox) and September (Autumnal Equinox) each year in the Northern Hemisphere (around the 21st day of the month). The opposite terms are used in the Southern Hemisphere.
The solar solstice is when the day and night are of maximum length in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The summer solstice and the winter solstice occur when the sun reaches its highest or lowest point in the sky at noon marking the longest and shortest days of the year in their respective Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The solstices occur on the same date in their respective Hemispheres, the third week of June (21 or 22) and December (21 or 22).
The observable events of the solar equinoxes and solstices are scientific proof that the Flat Earth Theories are the absurd imaginations of conspiracy theorists. No Flat Earth Theory can explain these events. In the Flat Earth view no South Pole exists, only a North Pole, which is supposed to be in the middle of their supposed flat disc!
Flat Earthers deny that gravity exists. Scientific measurements of the Sun’s position prove that it is ever so slightly “wobbling” in its celestial position. The reason? The gravitational pull of the four gas giant planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) tug the Sun slightly back and forth. This phenomenon is one way in which we find exoplanets in other solar systems. But, according to the Flat Earth view, these four planets are far too small to affect the position of the Sun, and besides, they don’t think that gravity exists. How could a force that supposedly doesn’t exist have an observable effect?
The four gas giant planets are called “shepherding” planets because their gravity bends dangerous comets, meteoroids and asteroids out of their original orbits around the Sun and deflects them away from hitting the Earth. In like manner, the Moon is our last-ditch defense against being hit by space debris. We all observe that the same “face” of the Moon points toward us at all times. The opposite is also true, the far side of the Moon always points away from us toward outer space.
If you look at pictures taken of the far side of the Moon, you will see that the surface is one of the most heavily cratered surfaces in the Solar System. Its far side surface demonstrates how the Moon has protected us for the past 6,000 years, absorbing massive numbers of impacts that would have otherwise hit the Earth and made life as we know it impossible.
Few people realize that the gravity of the Moon is what keeps the Earth’s land surface from being catastrophically flooded. The gravity of the Moon/Sun System causes a “bulge” of water in the middle of the oceans. If there were no Moon/Sun gravitational system, there would be a gigantic global tidal wave as the “bulge” collapsed.
The Flat Earth theorists say that the Sun and Moon shine downwards much like spotlights. If this were true, as we observe either one of them approaching, they should at first look like very long ovals/ellipticals. As they grew closer the ovals would appear to become more and more round until, they were directly overhead. As they moved on in their orbit, they would again start to appear more and more oval/elliptical until they were out of sight. Clearly, any one may observe that this is not true.
There is more information that I could share with you about how to debunk this false flat earth nonsense. But I am tired of writing about it. My wife says that If I write anymore about it both she and our readers will start screaming, and I feel the same way!
And, so, I end this article by taking heed to what the Bible says about such things as The Flat Earth Theory:
“Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will also be like him.” Pr. 26:4 (NAS95)