Flat Earth Believers (yes they're still around)

The United Nations Flag.

The Vanishing Point.

The Nile River.

Still water.

Yahweh’s Terrarium.

Composite photos.

Fish-eye lenses.

To the uneducated, this is just a list. They aren’t related. They are just nouns. But, to the enlightened, this is a list of clues. These all have something in common. They collectively prove a truth that the world’s governments have been hiding for hundreds of years. Earth is flat.

Despite generations upon generations being taught that Earth is a sphere orbiting around the sun at a fixed rate, there exists a subculture in today’s society that theorize that the geocentric model of the universe is correct and Earth is a flat plane.

Looking through the annals of time you will find that for the majority of humanity on Earth, the idea was that it was flat. Before globalism, counsels of world governments, and Copernicus, everyone was in agreement about the shape of Earth. Copernicus was the first blow to Flat Earth. De Revolutionibus Orbium was published in 1543 and was the first widely published heliocentric model which had a round earth. Truly a trailblazer, he went against all of what was considered modern science and moved all of science in a different direction. Fast forward 473 years and a new trailblazer took a different approach to the shape of the earth. Rapper B.O.B. took to Twitter on January 24, 2016 with a photo to ask a simple question. Where is the curve? Following B.O.B.’s lead, other celebrities have come out in support of the flat earth. Reality star Tila Tequila, musician Thomas Dolby and NBA star Kyrie Irving are all firmly supporters of the flat earth theory.

The Enlightened

Once you go flat, you never go back - David Thomas

David Thomas is a CEO. He runs Blackbird Manufacturing, which is centered in Kentucky. The company commercially installs granite countertops nationwide. He has two children, seven-year-old Ethan, and one-year-old Rosalie, with his wife Eve. He became aware that Earth is flat in April 2016.

David Thomas, shown here with his daughter Rosalie. This is his current Twitter profile picture.

Thomas said he was initially convinced by watching a video on YouTube, 200 Proofs Earth is not a Spinning Ball by Eric Dubay. “I went into it with an open mind, and I was really starting to be convinced that this was an option about a half an hour into it,” says Thomas, “A lot of these proofs really made sense to me. This opened the door to me researching it on my own.”

Thomas says that he has researched Flat Earth theory for over 400 hours since that day, and he has yet to disprove the theory.

“The first person I told when I first saw the video was my wife,” says Thomas, “I walked into the other room, and I said ‘Eve, you have to come see this right now.’ We watched it together and I could tell it really clicked for her too. She was into it.”

Thomas' Twitter page. Featured are a picture of Yahweh's Terrarium, a pinned tweet promoting Flat Earth, Flat Earth suggested accounts and his home being in Yahweh's Terrarium.

That night, he said, he texted one of his best friends to hang out the next day at a local bar so he could spread the good news. That next day Thomas and his friend a local bar where they would often hang out. They sat down and each got a beer. In a very serious tone, Thomas calmly told him what he believed was true. “I’m not hearing it,” he said. “The earth is not flat. I’m not going to sit here and listen to this garbage!” He was borderline screaming at this point. Thomas was trying to talk him down but he wouldn’t have it. He slammed the money for his beer on the table and stormed out. Thomas says the two haven’t really spoken since. He says this is the most extreme reaction he has ever gotten.

“He was a groomsman in my wedding,” says Thomas.

Some of the cases Thomas was more adamant about was the fact that the curvature of the Earth is never accounted for in projects spanning over great lengths, such as railroad tracks and bridges. Also, if the Earth is spinning, orbiting, and tilted on an axis, how does water ever find its level? If it were in fact moving in such ways, would water not move all over and never sit still?

Kyle MacDonald, who lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, believed in the round Earth model as recently as December 2016. He acquired some fame in 2006 for his “one red paperclip” blog, which chronicled him making a series of trades starting with a red paperclip and ending with a house in Saskatchewan. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Geography, of all things, from University of British Columbia. He has a girlfriend, and together they have a 15-month-old daughter.

MacDonald stumbled into Flat Earth truths while doing his own research for something else entirely. “I started researching climate change and global warming. As I dug deeper I found stuff about how pictures from NASA were faked, and then I had to look into that.” He says that was when he was first exposed to Flat Earth theories.

These captions, taken from photos from NASA.com, hold the problem for many Flat Earth truthers. Phrases like composite, created, and generated raise red flags.

“I looked into like, the moon landing and stuff like that and things didn’t add up. Then I heard people saying things like ‘the Earth is flat’ and ‘gravity doesn’t exist’ and my first thought was ‘This is the most ridiculous stuff I’ve ever heard. I’m just going to look at all of these theories.’ So I open mindedly looked at all of them and thought ‘I’ll disprove them as I go if I can.’”

MacDonald says as he went through these ideas, he found one argument that made a lot of sense to him. It is a phenomenon known as “the vanishing point.” The vanishing point is a perspective phenomenon commonly attributed to the curvature of the horizon, however, according to MacDonald and many others, if a boat goes over the side of the horizon it actually just vanishes from sight due to distance. With a camera or telescope, a person can find the boat that went “over the horizon”.

Given that MacDonald was learning about these two things at once, all signs pointed in one direction. “At the same time I was learning about how the space exploration was all faked, which was another sign. Why fake going to space unless you actually can’t? As soon as you sort of de-hypnotise your brain from thinking that flat Earth stuff is just dumb it really starts to make sense.”

Perceptions of a Flat Earth Truther

The hardest thing about Flat Earth is looking people in the eye and saying, ‘Yes, I actually believe this.’ - MacDonald

“I’m not a crazy person or anything like that. I just consider myself a free-thinker. Nothing is off-limits. If I see an idea and I think it is worth more research, I’ll do more research on it.” says

Thomas. Thomas also says he doesn’t know any other Flat Earth truthers in person, but that he spreads a lot of information on his Twitter page. “People are more open to it online it seems,” Thomas says, “In person you get a lot of the same responses, ‘that’s dumb’, ‘you’re crazy’, et cetera.”

MacDonald says when he learned what he learned about the Earth, he began telling everyone. “I put it all over the internet. I wrote it all over my Twitter and Facebook, and I lost friends over it. Not really close friends, you know, but like internet friends. People got angry about it. I don’t care. I have a close group of five-to-ten friends who have fun with it and have started looking into it too. There’s this myth that goes around that you have to be careful talking about it. No. I think it’s funny. If you have this belief, and you have the evidence to support it, why not talk about it? A lot of people think I’m joking about it, but I’m not a big prankster or anything like that.”

“You ask people how much they’ve researched it in these discussions and the answer is always zero. They don’t understand that it took dozens, hundreds of hours to break through the 37 years of being told the Earth is a sphere,” MacDonald says.

Earth Structure

Placing humanity on a sphere that it can’t get off of is a great control technique. It teaches us to learn to be happy with what we were given instead of wanting more. - MacDonald

If the Earth is not the globe most people know it as, what is it? This is where many Flat Earthers disagree.

Thomas takes a very religious approach to the creation and shape of the Earth. “I was an atheist before I found the flat Earth. I was very science oriented. If I did believe in some ‘god’ it was more of some ‘one-ness’ new-age hippie crap. I can tell you now that the Bible lays out very specifically the Flat Earth. However, I found Flat Earth first.”

According to Thomas, the Flat Earth laid out in the Bible has been adapted into a concept called Yahweh’s Terrarium. The firmament separates where we live from “the waters above”. The zone in which we live, all life exists, and the sun and the moon also hover. According to this line of thinking the sun and the moon are much smaller than listed in textbooks, and move over the Earth on planes. Summer above the equator is when the sun’s orbit moves closer to the Tropic of Cancer and away from the Tropic of Capricorn. During winters up here and summers down there it is the inverse, with the sun moving closer to the tropic of capricorn.

“If you look at the sun and the moon, they appear to be the same size.” Thomas says, “The official explanation is that the moon is 200 times closer and smaller. That’s quite a coincidence. They teach that the Earth moves around the sun at 66,600 mph, and that every square mile the Earth curves 6.66 feet. They also teach that the Earth is on a 23.4 degree axis, which from 90 degree is 66.6 degrees.. I don’t know how familiar you are with the Bible but that number has great significance. This all has turned me from an atheist to a Bible thumper. I believe that God created this world. I believe that we are in a terrarium-type structure and God is looking down at us.”

This diagram from testingtheglobe.com shows the terrarium concept. The firmament acts as a dome that holds the sun, moon and stars.

MacDonald disagrees with this dome-like analysis. “Some people believe it’s all a simulation. Some people believe it’s a dome. Some people believe we can fall off. More people sort of see it as a closed system, which would be a dome. However, some see this Earth as having more undiscovered land, land behind Antarctica. However, the whole point is that nobody really knows.”

Both MacDonald and Thomas referenced something known as Gleason’s Map. Officially titled Gleason’s New Standard Map of the World, the two held the map in different esteems. Thomas considers this map to be the true map of the Earth with a very specific reason as to why, “If you look at the flag of the United Nations it is a Gleason’s Map. The flag of the World Health Organization: Gleason’s Map. The flag of the International Maritime Organization: Gleason’s map. These are all organizations that know the truth. The truth is printed right on their flags.”

On the left, Gleason's New Standard Map of the World. On the right, the UN Flag featuring a Gleason's Map.

MacDonald believes the map has uses, but does not believe it is a true map of where we live. “I know the top half of it, what would be called the Northern Hemisphere is pretty accurate. It is good for explaining why flight paths seemingly go so far off course. If you map it out on a Gleason’s map it almost always makes sense, at least near the top.”

Science as a Religion

None of it is hidden; people just assume it’s all true. - MacDonald

Both men warned against the dangers of treating Science, with a capital S, as a religion, as opposed to science.

MacDonald theorized why the myth of the spherical Earth would be implemented. “The idea of the round Earth was created solely to mislead people. The easiest way to control people is to give them information to strive for that is in the opposite direction of the truth. They say that no society that is fed and entertained will ever revolt. From day one kids are taught about the globe, and from there taught that system. They’re learning things presented as truth. Even if it turns out to be untrue, it is very interesting to look at it from this angle. I have learned a lot more than you would think about the round Earth by looking up things about Flat Earth.” says MacDonald. He also talked about how this facade is kept up today. “The only people really lying about it are mainstream scientists. People like Bill Nye and Neil DeGrasse Tyson. The educators aren’t trying to deceive anyone they just teach the material they are given. They aren’t out to deceive anyone. That’s just what they know.”

Images off of NASA’s website were brought up by both men. One term dominated both conversations. Composite images. “Looking into images of earth from space, you know, the main one ‘The Blue Marble’ It was supposedly taken in 1972 by the Apollo 17 crew. It’s really the last actual photo from space,” says MacDonald. “Since then it’s all composites or assembled from satellite images. When you start looking at images from space, and you know what to look for, you can see what’s fake and what’s real. We assume it’s all real and true. Learning that all of these images are collages, paintings, CGI and even cartoons and imaginary nonsense. And you know, people will say about the imaginary nonsense ones ‘oh that’s not the real one’. Well, can you really point out what the real ones are?”

Thomas shared this sentiment. “You can download that iconic photo of the Earth from space, [referring to ‘The Blue Marble’] turn the contrast up, black out the sky and very clearly there is a rectangle around the Earth. Unless there is some rectangle around the Earth in outer space it is obvious that it is there and the roundness of the Earth was cut from another picture. Immediately it’s like, ‘ok that one is fake, are any of these moon photos real?’ So you start to research them. Well what about the pictures from the satellites? I have one where the top of the Earth is so pixelated. It looks like stairs. I don’t know what kind of computers they had in, you know 1992. I know they didn’t have iMacs with HD screens. All of the sudden you see this stuff on today’s computer you can see it. So you look into the moon landing and see inconsistencies there. There’s a video of a NASA worker who is talking about ‘The Blue Marble’ photo and he says ‘Yes, it’s photoshopped, but it has to be.’ Why does it have to be? I can stand outside of my house and take a picture of the moon. Why can’t someone just stand on the moon and take a picture of the Earth? But no, they say all of the photos are made up of all sorts of different photos.” The version of the Blue Marble in question is Blue Marble II.

MacDonald went on to also say that the only way he would be convinced that the Earth was not flat, would be for an ordinary citizen to complete a replicable experiment that would show without any doubt a curve on the Earth.

“They will do things like livestream launches, and the Red Bull jump from space, but they use these ridiculous fish-eye lenses to give Earth this absurd, cartoonish curve” says MacDonald. MacDonald is referring to the Red Bull Stratos, an event where Australian skydiver Felix Baumgartner made the highest jump in recorded history, being billed as from “the edge of space”. “Then, you know, the camera will cut out at times when the weather balloon or satellite or whatever would ascend unexpectedly and it would expose the fish-eye lense by giving Earth a huge reverse downward curve. Or in the Red Bull jump when the guy landed it was filmed through the fish-eye lense it looked ridiculous.” He said that he has seen people make comments about these events, however, because they automatically accept that the Earth is round, they merely ended at humorous comments at their expense. Most people did not follow up on these, because they wouldn’t ever give the Earth being anything other than a globe a chance.

“Neil DeGrasse Tyson said that people who believe the Earth is flat aren’t ready to be convinced. I don’t want to be sat down and convinced. I couldn’t be sat down convinced. I need proof: a replicable experiment, done by a reasonable citizen.” MacDonald says.

Input from a Round Earther

No, the earth is not flat. - Johnathan Kirk

Johnathan Kirk is a geography professor at Kent State. I reached out to him to try and contradict some of these Flat Earth ideals. Initially he thought it was a joke.

Johnathan Kirk, a professor at Kent State, is a noted Round Earther.

“I know some people were getting into it when Kyrie [Irving] came out in support of it. I thought it was a joke. I actually still think it’s a joke. It’s just a fun thing to get behind because it’s funny,” Kirk says. Kirk and I went point-by-point through some of the Flat Earth’s arguments in an attempt to see which ones hold any ground.

Composite photos

“The earth is really big. Even if it is flat. You would need to be extremely far away to get a clean shot of the earth. If they’re talking about projections where like, you can move the earth to see rotations or move clouds, those are just to help you get an idea of the structures. The projections are necessary to show the entire earth.” Kirk says. For reference, the surface area of Round Earth is 169.6 million square miles.

Only the people in power can prove the earth is round

“I can think of two ways to prove the earth is round that are free. One is to look at the shadows of two buildings at different latitudes. If the earth was flat the buildings' shadows would look the same all day, every day. If there is no variation in the ground on which they are built they would just follow the same angles,” Kirk says. Kirk also said it isn’t even only the people in power who can get into space. SpaceX is a private company who has sent satellites into orbit. The other free experiment Kirk mentioned directly contradicted the idea of the vanishing point.

“If you look, when a boat or whatever goes over the horizon you can see the bottom disappear first. A good example for this is the sun. If you are laying down, like on the beach, and the sun starts to dip below the horizon: just stand up quickly. You’ll the sun reemerge above the horizon. The higher up you are the more you can see over the horizon, which can only happen if the earth is round.”

The Nile River is essentially flat over its entire body

“Most long rivers flatten out at the delta, where the river meets a larger body of water,” Kirk says. “So the Nile doesn’t fluctuate by much, but whatever short downward runs generate momentum. Even just a six-inch hill can generate some momentum, then the momentum can carry it through the flat channels.”

“I appreciate the curiosity and inquisitiveness if it is channeled into something with some merit. And if it’s a joke? I also appreciate jokes.” says Kirk.

The Future of Flat Earth

I believe that the next generation will think we were foolish for believing this for so long - MacDonald

“You could never convince anyone older than me that the Earth is flat,” said MacDonald, “I’m 37. People in their 40s and 50s? They have memories of the space programs. They will fall back on those. But the next generation? They won't have those memories.”

MacDonald says that without the memories like things such as the Apollo missions and the Challenger explosion, the next generation will not be as committed to fighting the truth. MacDonald, now 37, says it would be impossible to convince anyone older than him that Earth is flat due to those memories being so impactful. However, with increased skepticism with upcoming generations as a whole, he could see Flat Earth becoming a more common theory.

Thomas says he has told his son Ethan to answer the way the teacher wants when he is in school. Thomas says he teaches Ethan the truth about God, the Earth, and things like evolution. “Right now he believes me, if he grows up and he no longer agrees with me that’s totally fine. I will continue to teach him about how I see Earth until that point, if it ever happens.” He plans on teaching his daughter about the Earth as well

Thomas told me about how he approaches people about what he knows since the incident at the bar with his former friend.

“I bring it up as sort of a joke, you have to. I don’t want another one of those incidents. Even so, people don’t really like to talk about it for very long,” Thomas says, “This has actually been therapeutic. I don’t really just get to sit and talk about Flat Earth like this for this long. This feels good.”

At no point in any of these conversations did I see a tin-foil hat. No talk of Illuminati. No mention of if The Beatles never existed. There are many opinions out there on Flat Earth. Some people say it is the truth, and others say that it was a conspiracy created by the CIA strictly to discount other conspiracy theories which may be true. Personally, do I believe the earth is flat? No. But, I do believe that standing by what you believe in is important. Kyrie Irving made this point when he revealed his thoughts on Earth's shape. It's ok to believe in different things. Fighting for your beliefs is important, and if you believe that the earth is flat get out there and fight your fight.

Created By
Jake Ruffo

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