“The Flat Earth Society mans the guns against oppression of thought and the Globularist lies of a new age. Standing with reason we offer a home to those wayward thinkers that march bravely on with REASON and TRUTH in recognizing the TRUE shape of the Earth – Flat.” (The Flat Earth Society, 2016).
As I start enquiring into information distortion, the case of Flat Earthers is fascinating. Here we have a whole worldview that is based on fundamental beliefs that, most of us would argue, are rather off the wall. Yet, the theory is underpinned by a wealth of carefully presented evidence suggesting that it is us non-believers that are wrong!
The Flat Earth Society was founded in the early 1800’s by English inventor Samuel Rowbotham. Today it has a following of around 170 members, with the total number of believers unknown. The society believes that the astronomer Copernicus’ (1473-1543) theory of heliocentrism, which places the sun at the centre of the solar system, with the globe-shaped Earth and other planets rotating around it in circular paths (Wikipedia), took root and spread around the ‘globe’ without being properly proven. And that is utterly incorrect. Instead, the earth is at the centre of the universe, with the sun, moon, start and planets just few hundred miles above it in the sky (The Flat Earth Society, 2016).
Much evidence has been produced by the Flat Earth Society and other like-minded organisations to prove their theory. Within this body of data, we can find fascinating examples of how information can be used to present reality differently from how most of us understand it.
Using strong-sounding, well-presented arguments, scientific-sounding language, thoroughly documented experiments and convincing graphics and photos, proclaimers have managed to produce an almost-convincing theory.
Fig 1-3 show images of the modern-day earth disc, with giant walls of ice around its outer edges (preventing anything slipping off the sides) and how the idea has evolved from times when earth was believed, by Flat Earthers, to be not only flat but also square. Ships in those days could face serious problem around earth’s edges.
Fig 4 and 5 appear to show that water cannot bend (Flat Earth Science and the Bible, 2016) and how we would all fall off the bottom of a globe-shaped habitat (Atlantean Conspiracy website), “If earth was curved and spinning the oceans of water would be flowing down to level and covering land. Some rivers would be impossibly flowing uphill. There would massive water chaos and flooding! /…/ But since Earth is in fact an extended flat plane, this fundamental physical property of fluids finding and remaining level is consistent with experience and common sense. The water remains flat because the earth is flat! ” According to Flat Earth believers, gravity does not exist. Water being drawn to the core of the earth and thus ‘bending’ is not possible, neither is being ‘upside down’. What keeps us on the earth’s flat surface is instead of gravity a force called Universal Acceleration (UA). (Flat Earth Wiki).
According to Flat Science and the Bible, the horizon rises to meet your eye level regardless of your altitude only because earth is an enormous flat plane (Fig 6). The sun looks like it’s close only because it is in fact positioned only a few hundred miles away from earth (Fig 7).
“The Conspiracy” is a concept with its earliest references attributed to the Flat Earth Society under the leadership of Samuel Shenton. What it tells us is that NASA, its constituents and “space agenices” have never succeeded in any space travel. Its purpose is instead to further America’s real or perceived militaristic dominance of space. All stories images of space travel and outer space are fake and NASA only maintains that the earth is round because this has been the popular belief since the ancient Greeks and Copernicus. But Flat Earthers know better!
With apologies to any believers, the Flat Earth theory has been a very interesting first stop on my journey into the world of information distortion. It goes to show how you it is possible to quite convincingly build a case for a completely different universe to that which is conventionally believed to be our reality.
THE FLAT EARTH SOCIETY About [Online] Available at: http://www.theflatearthsociety.org [Accessed: 7 November 2016]
THE FLAT EARTH WIKI [Online] Available at https://wiki.tfes.org/The_Flat_Earth_Wiki [Accessed: 8 November 2016]
BRIAN WHITEY Planar Conspiracy: A Conversation with a Flat Earth Believer (2016) [Online] Available at: https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2016/03/a-conversation-with-a-flat-earth-believer.html. March 10, 2016 [Accessed: 7 November 2016]
WIKIPEDIA Copernican heliocentrism [Online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copernican_heliocentrism [Accessed: 7 November 2016]
THE ATLANTEAN CONSIPRACY The Natural Physics of Water Proves Earth Flat (2016) [Online] Available at: http://www.atlanteanconspiracy.com/2015/01/water-proves-earth-flat.html [Accessed: 7 November 2016]