Welcome to the Flat Earth Society!
Thanks for taking the time to go through this FAQ. It was created in light of the realization that for someone with a "round-Earth" (RE) background, the FE theory would appear at first glance to have some glaring holes.
Recently we have had many new members joining us and asking the same questions about these holes, so cheesejoff decided to make a FAQ. While the original version was mostly complete, it's a work-in-progress, and we occasionally do make corrections based on inconsistencies that are raised.
I'm just making a sticky out of it so that no one will have an excuse for starting a thread about a topic that's already been discussed and debated to death. It will be updated as necessary.
The opinions and beliefs expressed in any posts do not necessarily reflect the beliefs of The Flat Earth Society Forums.
The Flat Earth Society Forums' goal is to promote the free discussion of The Flat Earth Theory as well as the free discussion of and debate of any topic of interest to our members that do not contradict Forum Rules.
The views of any individual or organization (including that of the old Flat Earth Society run by Charles K Johnson) are not necessarily shared in whole or in part by The Flat Earth Society Forums. The only person qualified to give the official position of the Forums (if required) is Daniel.
Also please remember that views of the Forum are not necessarily shared by the Forum Staff who come from both sides of The Flat/Sphere Debate and whose sole unifying purpose is to promote a smooth running forum so as to encourage the victory of truth thought free discussion and argument.
If you have any questions about, or see anything wrong with the answers in this list you can talk about it here.
For the original work by the man who created the Flat Earth Society over a hundred and fifty years ago, please see Samuel Rowbotham's Earth: Not a Globe.
A list of Flat-Earth sites is available here
All credit for this FAQ goes to cheesejoff and Erasmus as they did almost all of the work.
FE (theory/model): Flat Earth (theory/model), a theory which states that the Earth is flat.
FE'er: Flat Earther, someone who believes in the FE theory.
RE (theory/model): Round Earth (theory/model), a theory which states that the Earth is round.
RE'er: Round Earther, someone who believe the RE theory.
General / this forum
Q: "Is this site for real?"
A: This site is real. There are people who seriously believe the Earth is flat. However, there are also people on this site who do not.
Q: "Why do you guys believe the Earth is flat?"
A: Well, it looks that way up close. Also, Samuel Rowbotham et al. performed a variety of experiments over a period of several years that show it must be flat. They are all explained in his book, which is linked at the top of this article.
Q: "Why do the all the world Governments say the Earth is round?"
A: It's a conspiracy
Q: "What about NASA? Don't they have photos to prove that the Earth is round?"
A: NASA is part of the conspiracy too. The photos are faked.
Q: "Why has no-one taken a photo of the Earth that proves it is flat?"
A: The government prevents people from getting close enough to the Ice Wall to take a picture.
Q: "How did NASA create these images with the computer technology available at the time?"
A: Since NASA did not send rockets into space, they instead spent the money on developing advanced computers and imaging software instead
PLEASE NOTE This means that pictures confirming the roundness or flatness of the Earth DO NOT IN THEMSELVES CONSTITUTE VALID PROOF
Q: "What is the motive behind this conspiracy?"
Q: "If you're not sure about the motive, why do you say there is a conspiracy?"
A: Well it's quite simple really; if the earth is in fact flat, then the governments must be lying when they say it isn't.
Q: "The government could not pull off the conspiracy successfully"
Q: "How are the world governments organized enough to carry out this conspiracy?"
A: They only appear to be disorganized to make the conspiracy seem implausible.
Q: Why hasn’t this site been shut down by the government?
A: Doing so would prove that the government is hiding something.
Q: No way could the government possibly guard the entire Ice Wall! It would take too many men! Millions of men!
Q: Why is NASA’s space shuttle runway curved?
A: It was specially constructed by NASA to be so. After all NASA are at the heart of the conspiracy.
The Earth in space
Q: "What is the circumference and diameter of the Earth?"
A: "Circumference: 78225 miles, Diameter: 24,900 miles
Q: "What about the stars, sun and moon and other planets? Are they flat too? What are they made of?"
A: The sun and moon, each 32 miles in diameter, circle Earth at a height of 3000 miles at its equator, located midway between the North Pole and the ice wall. Each functions similar to a "spotlight," with the sun radiating "hot light," the moon "cold light." As they are spotlights, they only give light out over a certain are which explains why some parts of the Earth are dark when others are light. Their apparent rising and setting are caused by optical illusions.
In the "accelerating upwards" model, the stars, sun and moon are also accelerating upwards.
The stars are about as far as San Francisco is from Boston. (3100 miles)
Q: "Please explain sunrises/sunsets."
A: It's a perspective effect. Really, the sun is just getting farther away; it looks like it disappears because everything gets smaller and eventually disappears as it gets farther away.
Q: "Why are other celestial bodies round but not the Earth?"
A: The Earth is not one of the other planets. The Earth is special and unlike the other bodies in numerous ways.
Q: "What about satellites? How do they orbit the Earth?"
A: Since sustained spaceflight is not possible, satellites can't orbit the Earth. The signals we supposedly receive from them are either broadcast from towers or any number of possible pseudolites.
Q: "What's underneath the Earth?" aka "What's on the bottom?" aka "What's on the other side?"
A: This is unknown. Some believe it to be just rocks, others believe the Earth rests on the back of four elephants and a turtle.
Q: "What about gravity?"
A: The Earth is accelerating upwards at 1g (9.8m/s^2) along with every star, sun and moon in the universe. This produces the same effect as gravity.
Q: "Isn't this version of gravity flawed? Wouldn't planes/helicopters/paragliders crash into the Earth as the Earth rises up to them?"
A: No. By the same argument, we could ask why planes/helicopters/paragliders don't crash into the Earth as they accelerate down towards them. The reason that planes do not crash is that their wings produce lift, which, when the rate of acceleration upwards equals that of gravity's pull downwards, causes them to remain at a constant altitude.
The same thing happens if the Earth is moving up. The plane is accelerating upwards at the same rate as the Earth, which means the distance between them does not change. Therefore, the plane stays at the same height and does not crash.
Q: "Doesn't this mean we'd be traveling faster than the speed of light, which is impossible?"
A: The equations of Special Relativity prevent an object from accelerating to the speed of light. Due to this restriction, these equations prove that an object can accelerate at a constant rate forever, and never reach the speed of light. For an in depth explanation: Click here.
Q: "If the world was really flat, what would happen if you jump off the disc's edge?"
A: You would enter an inertial reference frame, moving at a constant velocity in the direction the Earth was moving before you jumped. The Earth would continue accelerating upwards past you at a rate of 1g, so it would appear to you that you were falling into space.
Q: "If the Earth was indeed a flat disc, wouldn't the whole planet crunch up into itself and eventually transform into a ball?"
A1: If the Earth generated a gravitational field, yes, it would eventually happen, after a billion years maybe. FE assumes that the Earth does not generate a gravitational field. What we know as 'gravity' is provided by the acceleration of the earth.
A2: There is a counter-mass which pulls the Earth back into a disc shape.
Q: "Why does gravity vary with altitude?"
A: The moon and stars have a slight gravitational pull.
Q: Follow-up to previous question: How is it that the Earth does not have a gravitational pull, but stars and the moon do?
A: This argument is a non sequitur. You might as well ask, "How is it that snakes do not have legs, but dogs and cats do?" Snakes are not dogs or cats. The Earth is not a star or the moon. It doesn't follow that each must have exactly the properties of the others, and no more.
Q: Do you have a map?
A: See this one, created by one of our members. There is also this map attributed to a person named Wilbur Voliva, and another by Heinrich Scherer.
Also, there is Cosmas Indicopleustes' world picture, 6 th century in the Christian Topography.
Q: Exactly what shape is the Earth if it's flat? Square or circle?
A: Circle, like in the UN logo, however, the earth is NOT 2D, it is in the shape of a cylinder.
Q: "Why doesn't water run off the Earth?"
A: There is a vast ice wall that keeps the water where it is. The ice wall is roughly 150ft high. This also explains why you can find a vast plane of ice when you travel south.
Antarctica as a continent does not exist.
Q: "How does global warming affect the ice wall?"
A1: The Ice Wall is really a mountain range. It just happens to be covered in ice and snow.
A2: Global Warming doesn't happen. It and its counter-theory (Global Cooling) are effects that cancel each other out. Remember, these "greenhouse gasses" can reflect heat back out into space as well as keep it on Earth. Yes, there are recorded rises in temperature, but the only records we have go back, at most, around 150 years. This is very likely an occurrence that happens every [x>150] years, that's happened before (perhaps many times), and that the Earth has thus survived before.
Q: "What about tides?"
A: The tides exist due to a slight see-saw effect on the earth. As it goes back and forth, the water rushes to the side that is lower. Note, this is a very slight wobble. Remember, these wobbles are created by very minor earthquakes. They keep the tides in check. Notice that large earthquakes result in large tides or "tsunami".
Q : "Why is the North pole colder than the equator?"
A: The sun circles over the equator, thus the poles don't receive the same intensity of light.
Q: "How do volcanic eruptions happen?"
A: The Earth is thick enough to have a core of molten lava. Once there's too much of it in too confined a space, it finds its way out, just like the water will come out of a full bottle if you squeeze it too hard
Q: "What about time zones?"
A: The sun is a spotlight which shines light on a concentrated area, so not everywhere on Earth will be lit at once. Times zones exist so that everyone's clock will be at 12:00 around the time the sun is approximately directly overhead.
Q: "What about Lunar Eclipses"
(Possible A) The moon isn't a spotlight; it glows with light from the sun, reflected off the Earth. Different parts of the Earth are more reflective than others (the seas, the polar cap, the ice wall, for example). Sometimes, the position of the sun (which is a spotlight) means that only very low-reflective or non-reflective parts of the Earth's surface are illuminated, so the moon is abnormally dark. This could potentially explain lunar phases as well.
Q: "How come the travel time by air from South America to New Zealand, via the polar route, is SHORTER than the travel time going North first and then South again?"
A: (Presumed answer: The airline pilots are misled by their GPS, or are deliberately conspiring to make it appear that the flights take different times)
Q: "How can a compass work on a Flat Earth?"
A: The magnetic field is generated in the same fashion as with the RE. Thus, the magnetic south pole is near the geographic north pole, just like on the RE. The magnetic north pole is on the underside of the Earth. The Ice Wall is not the south pole, but acts as it, as it is the furthest from the center of the earth that you can follow the magnetic field. The field is vertical in this area, accounting for the aurora australis.
Q: "When traveling in a straight direction, you will always reach the same point on the globe from where you started. How can this happen if the world is flat?"
A: You need to have evidence for this to be true. Also, define "straight." Remember, the northern point on the compass is, under most circumstances (unless near the centre or deep in the ice wall), pointing toward the centre of the Earth. Therefore, if you follow your compass due east or due west, ending up at the same point you started from, you've just gone around the world in a circle.
Q: If you go directly south won’t you eventually fall off the edge of the Earth?
A: Yes, you will. In order to use this fact as proof you need to record a video of someone flying directly south around the world without falling off the edge. Furthermore you need to prove that your navigational equipment allows you to travel directly south without deviating.
Q: How come when I flush my toilet in the northern hemisphere it goes counterclockwise but I have this friend in Australia and when he flushes it goes clockwise?
You're mistaken. On a round Earth, the Coriolis effect adds at most one (counter)clockwise rotation per day; fewer as you get closer to the equator. The water in your toilet/sink/bathtub/funnel spins much faster than that (probably at least once per minute, or 1440 times per day) so the additional/lost rotation from the Coriolis effect wouldn't be noticed.
Q: How do seasons work?
The radius of the sun's orbit around the Earth's axis symmetry varies throughout the year, being smallest when summer is in the northern annulus and largest when it is summer in the southern annulus.
Q: "Are most or all FE's Biblical literalists, who feel like their religious belief system would be threatened by a round (i.e. spherical) earth, or are there any atheists/agnostics who are FE's as well?"
A: Not all FE's are biblical literalists. This poll has more details: Poll