1. chrono117

    chrono117 New Member

    Hello. I'm brand new to this board. I want to share my experiences and get some reassurance. I've been an evangelical Christian (Cavalry Chapel) since I was a teen (nearly 20 years ago). I converted out of Catholicism with my mother. I made a good friend in the church. We play Dungeons and Dragons together and stuff.
    Anyway, about a year ago, my friend started entertaining notions of Flat Eartherism. I moved out of state for a job and we barely talk anymore.
    Last week, my mother texted that she now believed in FE. I answered all her questions about gravity, air pressure, electromagnetism, etc. but she persisted in sending me several of those annoying YouTube videos a day. I asked her to stop and we've put it behind us, but I'm collecting proofs for my own peace of mind. I'm willing to argue on her terms, that all NASA photos are fake, all other photos are doctored or fish-eye, and any geology/seismic data is fake.
    She accepts the Gleason Map, so I point out the Southern Hemisphere and told her to ask an Australian, South African, Chilean, or Argentinian if that's what their country looks like.
    I showed her a century of logs and training manuals of ship captains, overland drivers, and aircraft pilots all assuming and verifying round-earth measurements. They couldn't all be in on a conspiracy. They're all practical people earning money or fighting in wars.
    Finally, I collected centuries of books and articles by cartographers agonizing about how to represent a globe earth on a flat map. Why would they waste all that time on an error if the flat earth were so easy to see?
    The big conundrum I have is that her final authority is the Bible. As long as she interprets "firmament" and "pillars" and "cannot be moved" literally, her whole faith in God's promises will be shaken if she doubts.
  2. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    That's a tricky one. But you might ask her what she thinks a "pillar" actually is? How is she arriving at a "literal" interpretation of the Bible? I mean would she handle snakes?
  3. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    And I don't mean that unkindly. I think all Christians (and other religions) have a varying degree to which they think certain things in holy books are literal, or figurative. There are many things in which a literal interpretation is in serious conflict with reality, so it's parsed differently. But there's almost always someone who takes it "more literally" than you do.
  4. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    Can't she ask her Pastor what those phrases mean?


  5. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    this says the founder of her Church, "Pastor Chuck" (quoted above) was a biblical literalist. so wouldnt he know?

  6. chrono117

    chrono117 New Member

    Thank you so much. You bring up some supportive points. I'll take the small victories over Flat Earther-ism. I gave up the debate on creationism. I wish she wouldn't be telling kids that dinosaurs and people lived at the same time. Young-Earthers have a pretty big community, but I don't want her calling pilots and Australians and satellite techs all liars.

    She's never shown any prejudice against homosexuality or other races, so that's good.
  7. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    well there are plenty of people who address flat earth claims and the bible quotes. just google around.

    But if you want to do some of your own experiments, check out the FE forum. https://www.metabunk.org/forums/Flat-Earth/ "Stand up to detect the Curve" is a good one. "How to verify the sun is a distant sphere" is good too. I like threads about the "stars" and how where the stars are at different earth locations disproves the FE map. I think different proofs and different debunk topics probably resonate with different people. So browse through the forum, you know yourself (and your mom) best.
  8. Rory

    Rory Senior Member

    Hi there, hope you're doing okay with all this, and thanks for sharing. I could offer some simple flat earth debunks but, really, my first question is, how is it affecting her? Is there something negative about the belief? Is it bothering her, or other people, in a harmful way? Your last sentence seems to indicate that it may actually be bringing her something positive.

    I guess that would be my starting point with this. Hopefully this find you well.
  9. Sagittarius

    Sagittarius Member

    Just ask her where the sun goes at night. If the earth were flat, it would never disappear from view.
  10. Inti

    Inti Active Member

    I am surprised to find myself suggesting Answers in Genesis as a source, but this is a lengthy and fairly detailed rejection of the idea that biblical literalism supports a flat earth, from the leading biblical creationist site.


    This is another critique of the way flat earth promoters use biblical quotations;

    Hope this is useful
  11. DavidB66

    DavidB66 Member

    In ancient flat-earth mythologies, e.g. in Egypt, it was assumed that at night the sun went underneath the earth, or under the ocean, into a cave, etc., so that it was dark simultaneously throughout the inhabited world. With modern geographic knowledge and communications this kind of explanation would not be tenable, because even flat-earthers accept that some parts of the inhabited surface are in daylight, and other parts in darkness, at any given time. To explain day and night they therefore have to find other ideas. The most common 'explanation' is that the sun circles at a constant height above the earth, but that as it gets further away from any given point it's light becomes fainter and eventually disappears. They have also invented spurious doctrines of 'perspective' to explain how it appears to sink below the horizon. None of this really works, but to people who want to believe it, and don't understand or trust the standard scientific account, it is apparently convincing enough. I suspect that if the original poster asks his or her mother to explain the setting sun, she will say something about perspective.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Sagittarius

    Sagittarius Member

    And of course, they don't realize that 'perspective' doesn't mean what they think it means!
  13. Mendel

    Mendel Member

    My favorite low-tech Flat Earth debunks

    These are low-tech observations that anyone can do themselves, at home. Having someone do an observation themselves increases their buy-in, they are more invested in the outcome and more likely to trust the result. The observations debunk that 1. moon is its own light, 2. the sky is a dome above the Earth, 3. the sun circles above the Earth, 4. a water surface is flat and can't be spherical. If the sky is a sphere, and sun and moon move on a spherical path, we must be on a sphere inside it. (This is as far as the ancient Greeks got, 2400 years ago.)

    1. Hold a ball up to a daytime moon to see that it is lit by the sun:
    Source: Phuket Word (Youtube)

    2. Use a skyglobe and star trails to show spherical sky motion:
    * buy or craft a skyglobe, crafting instructions and printout files e.g. here: http://www.atlasoftheuniverse.com/skyglobe.html
    * confirm that the night sky conforms to the sky globe, with no perspective distortion
    * confirm that it rotates about the celestial pole via systematic observation, or "time lapse night sky" videos on youtube such as this one:

    Source: https://youtu.be/Z3xkHmC-KQE

    3. Track a sundial near the equinox
    With the equinox coming up, sundial tracks (tracking the tip of the shadow) are now straight everywhere on Earth (they're usually curved at other times, except in places where the sun passes overhead).
    (track taken yesterday in New South Wales by Dinki Di Dori)
    The maths behind this is that the tip of the stick (the "gnomon") produces a point projection of the sun and its path, so the track should always be circular on a flat Earth with a sun circling overhead. This video explains it in detail:

    Source: https://youtu.be/8jNo2Gw1Ha0
    image. image. image. image. image. image. image.
    (I think Mick West has a post on how to make a paper sundial, but I can't find it right now.)

    4. Blow a soap bubble
    This is the most beautiful demonstration that water will be a sphere if the conditions are right.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
  14. chrono117

    chrono117 New Member

    She's pretty satisfied with the pizza pie covered in glass dome model of the Earth. What causes the sun to go around in a curved path (in defiance of momentum and gravity) and shine a flashlight beam on the day portion is never explained. It's especially complicated with the Moon rolling around up there.
  15. chrono117

    chrono117 New Member

    Answers in Genesis has some good stuff. The heliocentric globe model predates most of the protestant reformation, so they must've dealt with it when forming doctrine.
    Now she's getting into "Mudflood" whatever that is.
  16. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    That's an unfortunate choice of photo, as the shadow from the person's hand looks far more like a moon shadow than the actual shadow.

    There's some other examples here:

    My version with a rubber ball on a pole.

    To duplicate it, ideally use a very smooth ball, like a ping-pong ball, or some sort of rubber ball. It's a fun little experiment.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

  18. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Do you think this is something specific to followers of this church? It's a pretty popular church. There's two within ten miles of my house.
  19. Sagittarius

    Sagittarius Member

    She's ignoring observed reality then. Ask her why, when you travel south to a lower latitude, Polaris is visible lower in the northern sky, while the stars we see in the south are visible at a higher altitude, and, depending on how far south we go, stars we never see from home (like Canopus), suddenly become visible to us.

    Also ask her how a lunar eclipse works on a flat earth. She'll have to tie herself into a pretzel trying to explain that one!
  20. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Sure, you can present all manner of problems with the Flat Earth idea - but which of these actually work?

    I know quite reasonable people who do not know how an eclipse works in the conventional model. I think that's actually too advanced a topic for the average person, and certainly too advanced for someone who has not really done anything with geometry for decades (if ever).

    I really think that asking someone to explain things isn't going to work here - they will just assume there's a FE answer that they don't understand, exactly like there's a globe answer that they also don't understand. You have to be able to show them stuff in an accessible way. What do they actually understand? What can they understand?
    • Agree Agree x 2
  21. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    that's a really good point. and if you force them to go look for a FE answer, which im sure there is one, that is just one more piece of evidence to add to their total.
  22. chrono117

    chrono117 New Member

    No, she pretty much fell away from it. She's King James Version -only. That makes it hard to bring up other translations or the original Hebrew/Greek.
  23. Sagittarius

    Sagittarius Member

    You're probably right. I just take basic knowledge of earth's and moon's movements, as well as earth's shape, for granted, having learned them as a child, and found nothing wrong with them. [....]
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 14, 2019
  24. Mendel

    Mendel Member

    I just found out that I had Walter Bislin's sundial in mind, decribed at http://walter.bislins.ch/bloge/index.asp?page=Creating+an+Equinox+Sundial+made+of+Paper The page contains a blueprint PDF, assembly instructions, and information on usage as well as a 3D simulator. The advantage over a simple sundial is that it a) takes up less space, and b) confirms elevation=90°-latitude.
    • Like Like x 1
  25. Agent K

    Agent K Active Member

  26. Mendel

    Mendel Member

    That's similar on Flat Earth, because the moon is supposed to be above the equator there as well.

    The problem with the moon is, how far away is it? Because if it is close and flat, it should appear elliptical in most places; if it is close and spherical, Australians should see a partially different side (but they don't; and if it is very far away, we have a problem with it not being in the zenith at "lunar high noon".

    Plus it's not "not relying on photos" unless you actually go there.