In the current “fake news” climate, it’s good to take stock of assumptions and question what we see. But a growing group of people are taking this to the extreme. They are Flat Earthers.
The Prevalence of Flat Earthers
Flat Earthers believe what they see, and what they see is a flat world. “This is a new awakening,” said John Vnuk, the founder of a Flat Earth group in Fort Collins, Colorado. “Some will accept it, some won’t. But love it or hate it, you can’t ignore Flat Earth.”
Fort Collins is the seminal group of Flat Earthers, but there are also sister groups popping up in Boston, New York, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Chicago, with robust online groups as well.
The movement has been made more popular by its famous proponents like Celtics basketball star Kyrie Irving and reality television star Tila Tequila. Irving expressed his view of the shape of the world in a podcast last year saying “it’s right in front of our faces. . . . They lie to us.” He continued, “I mean if you really think about it from a landscape of the way we travel, the way we move and the fact that – can you really think of us rotating around the sun, and all planets align, rotating in specific dates, being perpendicular with what’s going on with these ‘planets’ and stuff like this?”
And that, fundamentally, is what the Flat Earth movement is based on. Why believe in science when you can just look around you and trust your own two eyes?
“There’s so much evidence once you set aside your pre-programmed learning and begin to look at things objectively with a critical eye,” said Bob Knodel, a Denver resident and engineer of the Youtube channel Globebusters. “You learn soon that what we’re taught is mainly propaganda.”
Visualizing a Flat Earth
Flat Earthers, as the name implies, believe that the earth is flat. Many conceive of it rather like a snow globe—a flat disc domed by the sky (housing the sun, moon and stars), with a wall of water above that. Others believe that it is rather like a flat-bottomed bowl, buttressed on all sides by giant ice barriers.
They also discount the heliocentric model of our earth. They believe that the sun and moon are 3000 miles above, and 32 miles each in diameter. (They do, after all, look the same size.) The two planets travel in circular tracks across the top of the dome, gradually heading toward the equator and back up to account for the seasons.
The earth itself is stationary. “They say you won’t notice it because it’s a continual motion. But you should be able to feel it. You shouldn’t be able to function allegedly spinning that fast,” said Cami Knodel, Bob’s wife and a Flat Earther based in Denver.
And despite startling evidence to the contrary—like images from outer space (according to flat earthers: doctored!) and circumnavigation (ever notice no one ever circumnavigates north to south—ice wall barriers!)—Flat Earthers refuse to be swayed.
Flat Earth and the Eclipse
Take the solar eclipse that took place on August 21, an event predicted by scientists through the heliocentric model. The eclipse is potentially dicey for Flat Earthers, given that they do not believe that the earth orbits the sun. Rather, Flat Earthers believe that an eclipse occurs when something—the moon, perhaps, or another object—passes in front of the sun as the sun travels along its track.
The eclipse caused many Flat Earthers to double down, accusing NASA and other “globe jockeys” of doctoring the images.
Some even proposed that the special solar glasses NASA encouraged people to wear to protect their eyes were only being pushed to hide the truth.
— WeAreWakinUp🇮🇪 (@WeAreWakinUp) August 16, 2017
Flat Earthers don’t have a very clear idea why NASA would want to convince the globe—or rather, world—of a lie. “It’s not about money,” said Bob Knodel. “They want complete mind control. They want to create two classes: the ultra rich and servants. At that point they would’ve taken over the world, and enslaved the population, and controlled everything.”
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