Friday, December 5, 2014

Really, they say what? Flat Earth!

Image above: A screen capture from the Flat Earth Theory Explained video.

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Where am I??

Adelaide, Australia: S: 34º 55' E: 138º 36'

So the Earth is flat, is it?

For many years I have heard of a group called
'The Flat Earth Society'. I thought it was just one of those quirky jokes but they really exist and there are people who believe in a flat Earth, or do they? As I looked at the videos and links it became clear that the flat Earth view is tied in with conspiracy theories and/or some rather fundamental Christian beliefs based on the Bible. Whilst not wanting to be disparaging of the views of others, with the existence of spatial technology and space travel it seems a rather unbelievable tack to take to argue that the Earth is flat. In fact, it seems that NASA is the arch enemy of this group and that they are behind conspiracy theories arguing that the Moon landing was filmed in a studio and that pictures of a spherical Earth are just manipulated images. Is this real or have I just been sucked into viewing this society and any conspiracy theory on a flat Earth seriously. I will let you make up your own mind on this point once you have read and viewed the following.

The Flat Earth Society

The Flat Earth Society says that their mission is to promote and initiate discussion of Flat Earth theory as well as archive Flat Earth literature. They consider that their forums act  venues to encourage free thinking and debate.

 The logo of the Flat Earth Society

The modern age of the Flat Earth Society dates back to the early 1800s,being founded by Samuel Birley Rowbotham, an English inventor. Samuel Rowbotham's Flat Earth views were based largely on a literal interpretation of Bible passages. His system, called Zetetic Astronomy, held that the earth is a flat disk centered at the North Pole and bounded along its 'southern' edge by a wall of ice, with the sun, moon, planets, and stars only a few hundred miles above the surface of the earth. Flat Earth theory spread to the United States, largely in the town of Zion, Illinois where members of the Christian Catholic Apostolic Church promoted Flat Earth theory. The popularity of this group gradually diminished into the 1950s until the International Flat Earth Society was formally founded in 1956 by Samuel Shenton, a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and the Royal Geographic Society. Shenton died in 1971 and Charles K. Johnson became president of the International Flat Earth Society. Johnson actively and charismatically promoted the Society and, over time, its membership increased to over 3,000. After several years of inactivity, the Flat Earth Society was resurrected in 2004 and remains active today at

These videos espouse the views of the Flat Earth Society (there are many more as you will see on YouTube but I thought these were the most professional and/or insightful of what they think)

10 reasons why the Earth is flat 

The Flat Earth conspiracy

* The geometry of a flat earth

So make up your own mind on the Flat Earth Theory but ..... really!

DISCLAIMER TO THIS POSTING: I don't believe in the Flat Earth Theory but viewing some of this Flat Earth Society material is a good way to get students to think critically about epistemology (how we know what we know) and defend their own world view.  This also helps students to assess the validity of a site/source.

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