I have written about the concept of a flat earth several times before (here, here, here, and here). Since the time of Aristotle (and probably before), most philosophers understood that the earth is a sphere. In fact, Eratosthenes was able to measure the circumference of the earth’s sphere around 200 BC. Thus, the idea that most ancient scholars thought the earth is flat is a complete fabrication. Indeed, the idea that people thought Columbus would sail off the edge of the world originated in works of fiction, not works of history. Nevertheless, from time to time, I encounter a modern person who believes that the earth is flat or knows someone who does. Such was the case this past weekend when I attended the Indiana Association of Home Educators annual convention.
I love attending that convention. Not only is it close to home, but the organization that runs it is incredible, and the speakers they invite are usually quite wonderful. I don’t always get to attend, because I am often asked to speak at a different convention that same weekend. However, this year, I had no previous commitments, so I went to the convention to sit at my publisher’s booth and give a brief talk about my new award-winning elementary science series. At the end of my talk, a homeschooling mother asked to speak with me about the fact that some people in her family were beginning to believe that the earth is flat. She asked what she could do help debunk that notion.
I talked with her for a while and gave her a couple of resources, and I also gave her my e-mail address in the hopes that her family members would send me any questions they had on the issue. However, as I started thinking about our talk, I decided it would be best to produce a page where I could gather some of the resources that clearly show the earth is not flat. It’s rather ironic that an idea which could be easily refuted more than 2,000 years ago still requires refuting today. Nevertheless, I am happy to do my part.
Because of the many conspiracy theories that are necessary to prop up the idea of a flat earth, I will not utilize such organizations as NASA and the European Space Agency. Since national governments are so good at keeping secrets, it’s clear that such agencies can “hide the truth of the flat earth” from us unsuspecting rubes. Instead, I will rely on some Christian resources that suggest specific observations you can make yourself to confirm that the earth is really a sphere. After all, it doesn’t take fancy equipment to confirm observations made before Christ was born!
Dr. Danny Faulkner is the best resource on this issue. He has a Ph.D. in astronomy, but what is probably more important for conspiracy-minded people is that he is a young-earth creationist. Thus, he clearly doesn’t “toe the party line” when it comes to science. If he is independent enough to evaluate the evidence for the age of the earth and come up with a conclusion that is far different from the scientific consensus, he could clearly do the same when it comes to the shape of the earth. However, he has spent a lot of effort showing people that the evidence demonstrates quite clearly that the earth is a sphere.
In this long article, for example, he discusses lunar eclipses, the stars we see from different parts of the earth, the appearance of distant objects across large bodies of water, and the testimony of Christians who have seen the earth from outer space. In this article, he discusses the appearance of distant objects across large bodies of water in much more detail. He has a series of pictures (figures 4-15) of two ships traveling away from him. He demonstrates that the hulls of the ships disappear from the camera’s view long before the tops of the ships, which is inconsistent with a flat earth. You don’t have to trust the pictures, because they could be Photoshopped. Instead, you can go to a port city and make the observation yourself. Its one of the many observations made by ancient, uneducated sailors which convinced them of a spherical earth.
I would like to highlight one comment that was made in the discussion. The commenter says that he was a Naval Officer and regularly observed ships “hull down.” I had not heard that term before, but I looked it up. It is a common Naval term that is defined as follows:
Hull Down: Said of a vessel when it is so far away from the observer that the hull is invisible owing to the convexity of the earth’s surface, while the masts are still seen. The opposite of hull up.
Now, of course, the Navy could be in on some grand conspiracy to keep us all from learning the “truth” of the flat earth, but it seems hard to believe that such a common term could stay in use if no sailor who ever stood watch on a ship or submarine ever saw the effect!
In this article, Dr. Faulkner made a simple observation that anyone can make. He chose a night when the moon was going to pass in front of a star. This is called a lunar occultation, and there are websites that help you find out when one will occur in your area. By watching the occultation, you can see that moon doesn’t have the properties that flat-earthers need it to have in order to be consistent with other observations.
In this article, Dr. Faulkner takes the model that is currently fashionable among flat-earthers and makes an easy-to-evaluate prediction. He then makes observations with a telescope to evaluate the prediction and shows that it is falsified. While he used a fairly nice telescope, you can do the same observation with an inexpensive one, as long as you get a filter for viewing the sun.
Dr. Robert Carter and Dr. Jonathan Sarfati have also written a long article about the flat earth. Like Dr. Faulkner, they are both young-earth creationists, so they are willing to make conclusions that are opposed to the scientific consensus if they are convinced by the evidence. They bring up many of the issues that Dr. Faulkner does, but they add some others. They even have a suggestion for an experiment that you can do on social media of you have at least one friend who lives in the opposite hemisphere of the earth.
To round out the list of resources, here are a few that deal with the mistaken notion that the Bible says the earth is flat. In this article, James Patrick Holding discusses the Hebrew in the Old Testament and how it relates to the shape of the earth. He has a more detailed article here. Tony Breedon also has an article that shows the Bible doesn’t teach a flat earth.
I hope these resources help those who have heard flat-earth arguments and have found them convincing to one degree or another.
58 thoughts on “More on the Flat Earth”
You see, that’s just the problem with people who deny the Flat Earth theory-
They dont want to use the foremost authority (NASA) that can prove it by simply filming unedited footage of the so-called Globe as it appears from take off into Orbit!
It cant be done yet. So theory is speculation unil unrefuted proof is shown.
But the point is that you don’t need such footage. The characteristics of things that you can see on the earth (such as ships’ hulls disappearing before their tops, different stars in different hemispheres, the shape of the earth’s shadow during a lunar eclipse, etc.) show that the earth is a sphere. Eratosthenes used a staff and its shadow to demonstrate that the earth is a sphere (and measure its circumference) more than 2,000 years ago.
He did not measure the circumference of the Earth. He measured how the sun casts its shadows when it is above an object or when angeled.
People need to have real proof/evidence to make this claim
He measured the staff, the length of its shadows in two different places at the same time of the year, and the distance he traveled. Then he applied geometry to show what the circumference of earth’s sphere is, and it is consistent with measurements made today in other ways. Thus, he measured the circumference of the earth’s sphere.
Real evidence of the spherical shape of the earth has been provided for more than 2,000 years.
Lol dude ships do not dissapear. Get a zoom camera and you magically bring them back over the “curve”. It’s all a lie water is always and will always be level.
They most certainly do. Dr. Faulkner did just what you suggest in one of the links posted above, and you clearly see the hull disappearing before the top. Once again, this is why uneducated sailors in ancient times understood that the earth is a sphere. If you think he Photoshopped the pictures, do it yourself, and you will see that he did not.
Good timing on this. Many Christians are seriously considering flat earth ideas. You can see why. Some of the YouTube videos have slick production, offer semi scientific reasoning, and really hone in on some of the oddities / secrecy of agencies like NASA, etc.
There was a two week period where I was watching these videos and I was really impressed by some of the thought that went into proving a flat earth. They have explanations for almost everything that a layperson might ask. I found that the most obvious thing you could use to demonstrate a globe earth is the difference in southern / northern hemisphere star constellations. Also, time lapse video taken at the equator shows star trails tracing out a straight line while at north and south of the equator show two separate discs. All of the flat earth explanations for this phenomenon have failed miserably (disco ball, dome reflection, cerpuscular rays, blah, blah, )… It’s a helpful thing to bring up because it’s at least one they do accept happens without bringing in conspiracy theories.
On a globe earth the rays of the sun coming in an angle would be impossible. Also long lines of moon reflections on large bodies of water would be imposdible. Also if u take out a camera with a nice zoom any shop even hundreds of miles away come back in sight. On a globe earth it would be impossible. If science is about observation, calculations and proving experiments then flat earth wins every time.
Actually, the angle of the rays of the sun cause our seasons. Since the earth is a sphere and tilts at an angle of 23.5 degrees relative to the plane of its orbit around the sun, the sun’s rays hit the non-equatorial parts of the earth at different angles during different times of the year. Thus, not only is this not “impossible,” it explains the seasons we experience when we are not near the equator, and why those seasons occur at opposite times of the year in opposite hemispheres.
Long lines of moon reflection are also perfectly understandable on a curved earth. The curve is gentle, and the water is moving. As a result, the moon’s light scatters at many different angles, allowing us to see the line even on a curved body of water.
If you look at either of the two long articles linked in the post, you will see that your camera statement is false. The only time distant objects are visible with a camera is when you are looking across water and the temperature conditions are correct for the air to form a lens. If you look at the article I linked regarding the ships leaving the port, you will see that as the ships move away, their hulls disappear before their tops, which is precisely what you would expect for a spherical earth, and precisely why ancient, uneducated sailors understood that the earth is a sphere. You can do this one yourself to see that the photos have not been edited.
Calculations and experiments have been demonstrating that the earth is a sphere for more than 2,000 years.
Also if earth is a globe moving through space as it is taught then why has the star constellations have stayed the same for 1000s of years? On a globe earth there should never be the North star and the constellations should always be changing…but it has not changed in 1000s of years and the North star has stayed fixed for 1000s of years….
Actually, the stars have moved. As I explain in my elementary science textbook Science in the Age of Reason, Edmund Halley became well known in the astronomy community specifically because he compared the positions of stars as detailed by Ptolemy in the second century AD to his own. He showed that for many stars, his positions and Ptolemy’s positions agreed, but for some stars, they did not. He then compared his positions to those recorded by Tycho Brahe in the late 1500s. He and Tycho agreed for all stars except Sirius, which was one of the stars he also disagreed with Ptolemy about. In addition, Tycho’s position for Sirius was in between Ptolemy’s position and his own position. He proposed that the stars must be changing position in the sky, and he was correct. The reason he and Ptolemy agreed on many stars is that they are so far away from us that their change of position in the night sky was not large enough for him to notice. However, for the closer stars, the change was large enough to notice. Since Tycho’s observations were more recent, the only star close enough to register a change in position was Sirius.
Before you write on flat earth again , it may be wise to see what the other side sees in flat earth and really try to understand it.
Try to explain why you believe the earth is a sphere and test those reasons. As an example ,NASA pictures are not a good reason . After researching NASA pictures you will find out that there are so many different ones and it will be hard to tell which ones are real. The questions to ask are which ones are real. Why are there so many fakes? And are there any real one ? If you don’t get to this point, you haven’t done enough research .
I would suggest that you actually read the articles I linked, Michael. There, the authors propose several experiments that you can do, all of which show quite conclusively that the earth is a sphere. For example, uneducated sailors in ancient times understood that the earth is a sphere, because they would see the hull of a departing ship disappear before they saw the mast disappear. One of Dr. Faulkner’s links above shows you pictures of this happening, and you can go to a port city and see for yourself.
I suspect that NASA edits their photos to make them more appealing and to overcome some of the technical problems associated with taking photos in space. However, since observations on earth demonstrate that the earth is a sphere (and have been doing so for more than 2,000 years), there is no need for NASA photos to understand that the earth is a sphere.
I recently saw a post on a Lutheran group promoting the idea of a flat earth. I didn’t read it, but think it had to do with believing that the Bible taught a flat earth. So, this idea must be popular right now.
Unfortunately, it has become popular. I find it very surprising, since the Bible doesn’t teach it. If access to serious theological works were difficult, it would be easier to understand why the view is popular. However, it is so easy to find serious theological works that explain what the Bible says regarding the earth, it makes no sense that people would believe it.
There’s one simple test for any flat-earth believer. Go to the point on the earth where you think it ends, and walk one step in the direction you think it ends. You will not fall off. If you think the world ends between California and Japan, take a plane from California to Japan. If you think the world ends somewhere else, go there and see for yourself. Just stop the ridiculous arm-chair denial of the easily observed fact (by millions of people) that you can travel between any two contiguous points on the globe. There is no mysterious cutoff.
The Earth is flat. Ask any airplane pilot who has been flying for over 10 years. The Powers That Be don’t want you to believe in God. If the Earth is flat and stationary and the sun/moon/stars revolve our,then someone had to create it for us,. GOD DID THAT !
The earth is not flat, and any airplane pilot should know that. If an airplane pilot navigates assuming the earth is flat, he or she will end up off target for any flight more than a couple of hundred miles in distance. The owner of the company that publishes my books is a pilot, and he says that he can use his airplane to show anyone that the earth is not flat. God made the earth a sphere.
If it’s not flat then prove it. NASA supposedly has a telescope in space that can see Pluto but refuses to take a picture of the Earth and that makes no sense at all. They even admit the “photos” of Earth are fake. This article does nothing to disprove the flat Earth theory. Why don’t you debunk the fact that you can put a telephoto lens on a camera and take a picture of water lapping against a ships hull from many miles away? Impossible on a sphere the “official” size of the Earth. That’s only one of the things that “science” people like you never answer. I’ll go with what I can see and not what I’m told especially once I found out that the NASA space agency have lied about everything I’ve ever researched about them. Your BS flies high with the general public because of brainwashing but a percentage of people, though small, can see right through it.
Once again, NASA doesn’t need to take a picture to show that the earth is a sphere, because things we see here on earth show that it is a sphere. In fact, when you watch ships on the ocean, they are precisely what you expect for a spherical earth and they are not consistent with a flat earth. The links in the article demonstrate that quite clearly. Once again, this is why uneducated sailors in ancient times understood that the earth is a sphere.
I’ll go with what I see, and what I see demonstrates that the earth is a sphere. If you can’t see that, you aren’t looking.
Ralph, if the earth is flat, where does it end? Or, if you think it’s an infinite plain, what is the farthest country that you think we’ve visited?
Are you actually serious about having a debate??
How about Nasa just take a picture, not composited, the mystery would be solved. The minute you realize you don’t have a true picture is the minute you rightfully start questioning things. Everything nasa sends is fabricated, artist rendered. Why? I don’t know what shape the earth is but i doubt it’s exactly what we’ve been told. Scientist don’t all agree and we don’t have proof, one scientists the other day said pear shaped. Who knows? Just take the picture already! We supposedly get picture of planets, galaxies millions of light years away but can’t take one of our own planet? Hmmm. I say all of our tax money into Nasa, you owe us a unedited, not composite, not artist rendered snap shot of the earth.
Once again, you don’t need NASA to know that the earth is a sphere. Scientists have known the earth is spherical for more than 2,000 years because many things we see on earth tell us it is a sphere. In fact, we even learned that it is not a perfect sphere back in the 1700s when two expeditions were arranged by King Louis XV. One went to a place near the equator, and one went to a place near the Arctic. They both measured the distance it took to travel the same longitudnal angle, and they found that the sphere is slightly deformed, with the equator being a bit fat and the poles being a bit flat. This is one of the things that brought Anders Celsius (the inventor of the Celsius temperature scale) to the attention of the scientific community. He wrote a summary of the project.
So we know that the earth is an oblate sphere, and we don’t need NASA photos to show that.
The Earth is flat.
The flat Earth society is a joke.
There is no “proof” of globe earth only deceptions by those that hope to maintain control.
I truly believe it takes an open mind with a higher intellect to see the truth. Any “fact” that a round earther brings to the table can be proven wrong or applied to the flat Earth model.
Jay Wile’s life is so heavily dependent on the fact the earth is an “oblate spheroid” that he will defend it at all costs. It’s sad really, I hope that he can open his eyes one day like so many of us have.
To the mouth breathing jokesters out there, you do not have a mind of your own, because you are simply repeating the information you have been indoctrinated with since childhood. I’m not saying reinvent the wheel, I’m saying open your eyes, do your own research and ask questions.
If you do decide to go down the rabbit hole, you won’t come out the same, just know that you could be the one writing this post a few months from now.
Globe Earth is the greatest lie ever told.
I am not sure why you think my life is heavily dependent on the fact that the earth is an oblate spheroid. I am just following the evidence where it leads, and the evidence clearly says that the earth is an oblate spheroid. Once again, all you have to do is one or two of the experiments discussed in the links (the social media experiment, going to a port city and watching the ships leave or come in, etc.) and you will see that the earth is, indeed, a sphere. Read about the expeditions arranged by King Louis XV, and you will understand why it is an oblate sphere.
I can only think that the people who peddled the myth of widespread belief in a flat earth during the Middle Ages did more to encourage belief in a flat earth than anyone else has. If they hadn’t used it to attack challenges to their worldview, it wouldn’t have gotten nearly as much press – or plausibility – as a reactionary belief.
Anyway, aren’t there plenty of pictures of the earth from space, or footage from rockets taking off and entering orbit (which I feel like would be the most difficult thing to contradict directly). Do these somehow function poorly as an argument that the earth is round?
I think the issue is that most NASA photos are edited. For example, if the photo is taken from a satellite, it is too close to get the entire earth. Thus, a mosaic has to be made. For those who are desperate to believe in a flat earth, that’s an edited photo, and NASA is just making the earth look the way they want it to look.
Now there are images that are probably unedited, such as the one shot by the 1968 Apollo 8 crew. However, I assume the flat-earthers simply claim that it has been edited as well. I am not sure how NASA could convince anyone who wants to believe in a flat earth that one of their photos is unedited.
Jake is evidently another one who believes the false charge of a widespread belief in a flat earth during the Middle Ages. Perhaps he even believes that Columbus was one of the few round-earthers of his day. Evidently no matter how often this myth is busted, e.g. my article The flat earth myth, Dr Jay’s article Debunking the Flat Earth Myth, or even by the atheistic historian Tim O’Neill in The New Atheist Bad History: Great Myths 1: The Medieval Flat Earth, it still lingers in the popular mindset.
Uh… I very clearly referred to the “people who peddled the myth of widespread belief in a flat earth during the Middle Ages” (emphasis added). You misunderstand the point I was trying to make: I was hypothesizing that people like Andrew Dickson White, who slandered Christians and Christian scholarship by accusing the church of having required belief in a flat earth during the Middle Ages, are at least partially responsible for resurgence in belief in a flat earth. For their false historical narrative (conflict theory) and the myth of Middle-Age belief in a flat earth have taken hold of society to the point that they’ve given belief in a flat earth a lot of attention – and associated it with Christianity. In that sense it’s not surprising that belief in a flat earth has gained plausibility among Christians as a reactionary belief: their enemies say it is. So you see I am blaming the people who started the lie of Middle-Age belief in a flat earth for the current quasi-resurgence in flat-eartherism. I do not at all think belief in a flat earth was widespread in the Middle Ages.
I have followed Dr. Wile’s blog for quite a while (I even learned high school physics from his textbooks), and I make it very much a point to study philosophy and history – especially the philosophy and history of science – because I know that the current academic atmosphere is hostile to Christianity, and I consider it important to know the real story – for both myself as a Christian and for my Christian colleagues. And while I do know a bit about such things, I’m something of a small-fry: I’m just a grad student in theoretical physics, working on my Ph. D. I am not nearly as important or known as you or Dr. Wile, though I think it fair to say that I aspire to be like Dr. Wile. (I’m a good number of papers behind.) So I am honored that you showed up to correct me. But it concerns me that you would show up here, misread the small comment of someone you don’t even know – and who’s way below your league, and then correct it rather rudely (not even addressing me). This stands in stark contrast to how Dr. Wile has treated all the flat-earthers who have shown up to hound him. I can definitely understand being frustrated at the anti-Christian atmosphere in academia, as I have to deal with it too (though I’m sure I can’t come close to understanding the level to which you have to deal with it). But we have to watch out lest that frustration cause us to be rude or make mistakes, as the world can easily throw such back in our faces and we’re already at a disadvantage to begin with.
Yes, you were blaming the right culprits, sorry, and I don’t consider anyone “below my league”. The flat earth myth never seems to go away, so good for you for correcting it. All the best with your Ph.D.
Like Dr Wile, I am encountering more flat earth true believers. I will try to reason with those open to reason, but some just stick to their claim that a global earth is a lie of the Devil.
Oh – thank you for answering.
I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who believes the earth is flat, but apparently they show up on the internet.
If anything, noting that Daniel Shenton believes in evolution is weak sauce compared to what I’m saying: It’s possible zealous evolutionists like White, whose desire to discredit Christianity was so great they’d lie about history, created modern flat-eartherism by talking so much about it. This is only my hypothesis, of course – but given how easy it is to refute belief in a flat earth, there has to be some reason it reappeared in the 20th century. And giving a belief airtime is powerful. It probably wouldn’t be too hard to gather the relevant historical data and make an argument, though it’d be a task for a historian and not a physicist like me.
Though it’s possible this idea comes from having had too much fun reading Foucault’s Pendulum. But it’s the kind of thing rival academics tell each other to stick in their pipes and smoke. It’d be a great historical irony if true.
You are right, Jake. That would be some delicious irony!
Get over it Jay you’re going to drag this argument out and reveal yourself site-to-site targets with the railgun in the Navy depend on seeing the target at a hundred miles and then shooting it artillery travels at Mach 2 no time for a curve this and many many experiments across water lake and Russia 400 miles long when it freezes there is no observable curve balloon footage without a GoPro at a hundred and twenty thousand feet shows no curvature and the Horizon Rises to the eye level if I have to hear ships Over the Horizon one more time I think I’m going to throw up
Sorry, Jason. That’s just not correct. Not only do long-range Navy guns take the curvature of the earth into account when they fire, they also take the rotation of the earth into account when they fire, because of the Coriolis Effect. I am not sure how you expect to see a curve on ice, but it can certainly be measured with surveying equipment. As far as the Go Pro, the lens isn’t designed to see that kind of large-scale structure.
Also, when a ship leaves the port, its hull disappears before the top of the ship. When it approaches the port, you see the top before the hull. Once again, this is inconsistent with a flat earth but exactly what happens on a spherical earth. This is why even uneducated sailors in ancient times understood that the earth is a sphere. As the links in the article indicate, there are many other facts that demonstrate a spherical earth, such as different stars in the Southern Hemisphere as opposed to the Northern Hemisphere, too small a change in the size of the sun over the course of the day, etc., etc.
Kinda curious — is everyone in on this conspiracy? Magellan, Mercator, the Spanish, Portuguese, every sailor who used a sextant, the German Scientists who aimed the V2 rockets at London? The Soviet space program… the Red Bull special where we can see the curvature of the Earth? Every YouTube video that sent a lego figure or meat pie up on a high-altitude balloon? The College students at the University of Fairbanks that send up sounding rockets?
Apparently, it is the most well-organized conspiracy ever!
The ships disappearing hull first has been repeatedly shown to be perspective and not curvature. If it is true that ships are showing us proof of curvature then apparently we live on a cylinder because the horizon from left to right is measurably flat. Standing on a beach, an observer can see a greater distance left to right than they can by looking straight ahead because of perspective. Which is it? The earth is so large that we can’t see the curvature or we can see it everyday by watching boats sail away? This is indeed the weakest argument for a spherical earth.
Dr. Michael Heiser teaches clearly that the Bible writers believed in a three tier cosmology (see YouTube). God’s throne sits above a hard dome like firmament with the second heaven below that contains the sun moon and stars, a flat planed earth with an unknown depth of water below called an abyss. Dr. Hiser does not hold to the flat earth model but excuses the writers of being wrong by saying that God didn’t bother to correct them. What confusion! There are over 70 verses that support this Hebrew three tier cosmology but NOT ONE that supports the heliocentric model.
The sun, moon and stars are in motion above the earth and these bodies are what gives us the ability to measure time. The Bible NEVER suggests that it is the earth rotation or orbit of the sun that is responsible for time keeping. Joshua’s account clearly backs this up when the Biblical record states that he commanded the SUN to stand still when he needed more daylight. The Bible also states that the moon stayed as well for a whole day. This one account destroys the Copernicus fable.
Water on a spinning, flying ball needs a unproven magical “force” to “satisfy” common scientific knowledge that water always finds it’s own level. This is another big problem for Copernicus disciples. If I can’t see the ship because water is blocking my view then that means the ship is below the water. Rivers flow for hundreds of miles seeking the lowest point. How does the water not flow down with the ship that is sailing “down” from the horizon? What experiment can you do to prove that this is possible? The alchemist wizard Issac Newton gave Copernicus the magical do all “answer” to this problem. Gravity to this day does not measure up to Bacon’s scientific method. It is purely a mathematical concept with proof of existence.
All of us are capable of being deceived. That is why constant references to other men’s (or women’s) opinions and writings are ultimately worthless. The Bible is our standard of truth in a world of lies and deceptions. The Bible never equates the earth with being a celestial body in the heavens. The very first verse makes this distinction. The firmament sky is hard as it holds up the massive waters above us (Gen 1:7,Ps 148:4). Deep space is a Hollywood science fiction fable.
Galileo said, “It is the intention of the Holy Spirit to show us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go”. He and Bacon built a wall between natural philosophy (science) and the Bible that opened up a flood gate of old earth, Big Bang evolution lies. Let God be true and every man a liar because “it is written” therefore we believe the report. Christians think that they are supporting science but are actually supporting a false religion supported by mathematical concepts burned into the minds of the naive by repetition from childhood. I pray God delivers us all!
If ships simply disappeared on the horizon, it would be a result of perspective, but that’s not what happens. The ship’s hull disappears first, while the top is still visible. There is no way for perspective to do that. The only way that can happen is if the ship is traveling on a curved surface. And no, the curve is not a cylinder. As has been shown repeatedly, what we see when looking out over the ocean is only consistent with a spherical earth. The earth’s curvature isn’t too large to see. We see it in many ways, as detailed by the links contained in the article.
The Bible writers might very well have believed in a three-tiered cosmology. However, that’s not what’s important, since they were inspired when they wrote the Bible. As a result, God gave them the correct words to use, regardless of their individual beliefs. As the theological links I give in the article show, the Bible does not in any way indicate a three-tiered cosmology or a flat earth.
You need to study the book of Joshua a bit more carefully, because it does not in any way imply that the sun is moving in space. As Joshua 10:12-13 say:
Note the boldface type. Joshua and the Bible are both giving reference points. Thus, the Bible says that the sun stood still relative to Gibeon and the sky. It also says that the moon stood still relative to the valley of Aijalon. This is precisely what a modern-day physicist would say. Motion must be defined relative to a reference point, and that’s what the Bible does. It defines the sun’s motion relative to reference points. This doesn’t tell us anything about the motion of the sun in space. It only tells us about the sun’s motion relative to those reference points.
You also need to learn a bit of physics when it comes to how water behaves. Water doesn’t necessarily seek the lowest point. It seeks the point of lowest potential energy. If you put a capillary tube in a glass of water, the water will rise in the capillary tube, because the attraction between the molecules in the tube produces a change in the potential energy, causing the water to rise. The height to which it rises in the tube can be specifically shown to minimize the total potential energy. This is also why paper towels soak up water. In addition to the gravitational force between water and the earth, there is also a cohesive force between the water molecules. These two forces produce a potential energy, and that potential energy is minimized when water forms a spherical surface. Thus, there is no mystery associated with the curvature of the ocean. It is the consequence of the laws of physics.
I agree with you that all of us are capable of being deceived and that the Bible is our standard of truth. However, the Bible doesn’t indicate anything about the shape of the earth, as the theological links in this article clearly demonstrate. As a result, we must use observations and logic to determine the shape of the earth. Those observations and that logic have been demonstrating the spherical shape of the earth for over 2,000 years.
I join you in prayer that God delivers us all!
So you believe that the earth stopped rotating in an instant and then started its motion a day later? That is what the text teaches you? How is that any different then a “day” being a long period of time and the phrase “unformed and unfilled” to mean that there was a destroyed creation before Adam?
Psalms 19:4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,
Psalms 19:5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
Psalms 19:6 His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof
Do I need a Bible scholar to tell me that the sun is not moving in a circular pattern above the earth? Why can’t I draw truth from this? Though it is metaphoric language the point is clearly made that the sun is moving.
I have no reason to believe in gravity and as a Christian, you should reconsider it’s validity. Newton’s mind was most certainly darkened. Why Christians put more faith in men like Newton, Galileo, Kepler, Hawking, Einstein and Erastothenes,than Godly men who were moved by the Holy Spirit of truth in the writing of Scripture, will always perplex me. Some guy who allegedly put two sticks in the dirt in 200 BC has more credibility than John the apostle. How did he know that he was directly north and south? Erastothenes had a bias that the earth was a sphere when actually the sun being close and small over a flat plane would also give the same results. Not empirical! Not reliable!
Explain this. John wrote that the stars will fall to the earth (Rev 6:13 and confirmed again in Matt 24:29, Mark 13:25). How does this work with modern astronomy? It doesn’t.
The Biblical three tier model has the stars (including wandering stars or “planets”) being small and close. They will fall because they are directly above the flat planed earth. Stars traveling for thousands of light years only to obliterate the much smaller earth is obviously science fiction. Are the stars going to FALL to the earth? How does the physics work with this?
Do you know that the earth is older than the sun? Another big problem for solar system model and gravitational physics. Not a problem at all for the flat earth model.
Don’t be blinded by science. Georges Lamaitre was very grateful for Copernicus. Without his book Lamaitre could never have had his Big Bang fairy tale accepted. One lie leads to another and another. Don’t be the one who endorses and perpetrates these deceptions. The Heliocentric model IS Big Bang cosmology. It is one of the greatest lies of our generation.
I have no idea what happened to the earth when Joshua commanded the sun to stand still at Gibeon. All I know is what the text says – that the sun stood still in the sky. One way that could be accomplished is for the earth to stop rotating. However, with God, all things are possible, so I suspect there are other ways it could have been accomplished. The point is that it was clearly a miracle, which means it was done by God’s almighty power, and I am not about to limit His almighty power with my puny intellect. I am not sure how this has anything to do with the length of the Genesis days or the gap theory. In the case of Joshua, I am talking about what the text actually says. It says nothing about the sun’s motion in space. It says that the sun stood still relative to Gibeon and the sky. As I said, this is exactly what a modern physicist would say.
I do think you would benefit from reading a couple of Bible scholars. As you admit, the Psalms are metaphorical. Thus, it is hard to draw conclusions about nature from them. More importantly, Psalm 19 is talking about what a man sees. My newspaper each day indicates the times for sunrise and sunset. Does that mean my newspaper is saying the sun moves in space? Of course not. It is saying what people see. That’s what Psalm 19 is doing.
I am not sure how you know Newton’s mind was darkened. Have you read any of his work? I have. Do you know that the reason he came up with his universal law of gravitation was because he broke from the pagan concept that what you learned on earth couldn’t be applied to the heavens? Newton believed that God had designed the entire universe, and it was to be expected that all phenomena of nature would follow one master plan. Thus, he took what he learned on earth and applied it to the heavens, because of his belief in God. In addition, do you know he was a student of the Bible? He stated, “I have a fundamental belief in the Bible as the Word of God, written by men who were inspired. I study the Bible daily.” (J.H. Tiner, Isaac Newton—Inventor, Scientist and Teacher, Mott Media 1975, p. 94). At the same time, however, I don’t put faith in Newton, Galileo, Kepler, Hawking, Einstein, and Eratosthenes. I put my faith in Scripture. I also follow the evidence. Scripture doesn’t indicate the shape of the earth or the motion of the sun in space. The evidence does, and it clearly shows that gravity is real, the earth is a sphere, and the sun is at the center of the solar system.
The sun being small and close over a flat plane would most certainly not give the same result that Eratosthenes got. If the sun were small and close, the trip that Eratosthenes made would have produced a far longer shadow and thus a much smaller earth. Indeed, Dr. Faulkner did an experiment in one of the links listed above that demonstrates this. If the sun is close and small, its apparent size would change dramatically over the course of the day. Indeed, over the course of 6 hours and 15 minutes, the sun’s apparent size in the sky should change by more than a factor of 6. It does not. Using the same geometry that Faulkner uses, you can show that the shadow that Eratosthenes measured would have gotten much longer than it actually did if the sun were small and close.
I am not sure why you think Revelation 6:13 is incompatible with modern astronomy. The Greek word translated “stars” in that verse (aster) refers to any celestial body. For example, it can refer to meteors. In Jude 1:13, it is referring to comets. That is perfectly consistent with modern astronomy, gravity, a spherical earth, and a sun-centered solar system.
The earth is, indeed, older than the sun. However, that isn’t a problem for a spherical earth and a sun-centered solar system. God made the earth before He made the solar system. This is much like me making one part of a mobile, then another part, and then another part. When I am done, the mobile can hang on its own. Until I am done, however, I need to take special care of the mobile. In the same way, God created the earth first, then the sun, moon, and stars. As He made these individual “parts” He treated them all specially until He eventually produced a solar system that could work on its own.
The heliocentric model is most certainly not Big Bang cosmology. I understand that the heliocentric model is accurate, but I also understand that Big Bang Cosmology is not. They are two wholly different things. This is why heliocentrism predates the Big Bang by roughly 400 years. Dr. John Hartnett has a cosmology that is nothing like the Big Bang, yet he understands that the heliocentric model is accurate. The same can be said for Dr. Russell Humphreys, who has a different cosmology that is once again, nothing like the Big Bang. Even some non-Christians have cosmologies that are nothing like the Big Bang but result in a heliocentric solar system.
Thank you for the references to the various cosmology models. I note with Dr Harnett’s discussion that he makes an unstated assumption. This assumption is that distance equates to time via velocity. Though this is true now, it does not make it true at the time of creation (and no fraud involved). The implication of that assumption is that when we see things now that are a long distance from us, we have to assume that they took place far in the past.
In a non-miracle environment, that is a fair enough assumption. However, as you have pointed out, this assumption is not found to be true anyway as the size of the universe is far larger than a “big bang” universe could be. Hence, those who support such, of needs, include one or more inflationary periods into their models.
God has presented us with a view of His creation, and for us to obtain a sense of the size and magnitude of it, He can do anything He pleases to show it to us without us having to conclude that He has committed fraud on us. He is above and beyond us and His reasons for doing something does not have to abide by any sense of what we call “fair play”.
Some examples of this include many of the healings he does for people. From nearly instantaneous regrowth of limbs, to repair of broken bones that thereafter show no sign of having ever been broken, to the instantaneous transportation of a person and there vehicle over many kilometers to reduce travel time. This one I have had the recipient of – only once – but it ensured that I arrived home safely.
I know of a man who was travelling to the wedding of friend (he was the best man and the groom was the driver) and as they travelled through an intersection, another car ran the red light. He was telling me that he immediate reaction was that they were about to be dead. He watched as the car coming towards them became misty (his words) and passed through them and became solid was passed. He didn’t share that story much because most people thought he was crazy when he told the story. He only shared it because of the miracles I was recounting to him.
I have seen so many miracles over my short 57 years that I leave it to God our Father to make His decisions about what He considers right and proper.
If He wants to stop the earth and all that is on it with no corresponding momentum effects He can do it. He has the power, the knowledge, the right to do so without any justification to us or abiding to what we believe should be happening.
We can liken it to us intervening ourselves into the normal course of events of any and all activities we undertake so that we get an effect we require. An example is push starting a flat battery vehicle. Car won’t go because battery is flat, we get car moving by pushing it, and then putting it into low gear to get engine started.
We don’t consider that fraud, do we. Just because we don’t know why, how, etc, doesn’t mean a brass razzoo in the great scheme of things. I do admit that trying to find out is fun though. But limiting God to what we believe is the way things should happen is bit small- minded.
At any rate, I should be off to my granddaughter’s birthday.
“We set out from harbour, and lands and cities recede” (Virgil, Aeneid 3:72, 29–19 BC). This line was quoted by both Copernicus and Kepler, to show that the Bible is not the only literature to use phenomenological or reference frame language.
Of those above who believe in the “flat earth” model, I have a number of questions for you to answer.
1). have you been on any flights that have taken you around the world, that is from wherever you live to Australia and back again?
2) Have you traveled any significant distance by land (order of magnitude say 3500 km or more)?
In both cases above what did you observe?
3). Have any of you been involved in long distance shortwave radio communications? If so, what kinds of distances did the clear transmissions cover? What were the effects observed, where could you reach and not reach?
Most of those whom I have heard explaining their belief in a “flat earth” do so without actually getting out and about and testing their hypotheses. Do those who believe in a “flat earth” also believe that we have never been to the moon?
God gave us minds to think with and the ability to study His creation and in doing gave us the ability to realise that we are very small and He is very great and so far beyond us and beyond any possibility of understanding Him completely.
The stars I observe at night are very different to the stars you observe at night. If the earth was flat, then the only difference would be relative position. But I don’t see the constellations you see. How is this possible, if the earth is flat?
My God, the Creator of all things, is Awesome and Magnificent in all that He does. His creation is vast and beyond our ken, even though we will have eternity to gain knowledge of Him. As that wonderful song goes “When we’ve been there ten thousand years, Bright shining as the sun, We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise Than when we’d first begun”.
More questions for the “flat earth” believers. How could the “Flood” of Genesis have covered the whole earth? What are the answers that you would give God, in all the questions He posed to Job?
How far is the sun and the moon from the earth? If the earth is flat, where does the sun go at night – especially when it is night for you it is day for us? Hence to, where does the moon go?
From observation, the “flat earth” just doesn’t cut it. However, an oblate sphere does.
Not everything that is said to be science is science. In reality, science (or at least the scientific method) is a tool that helps us learn about the wonderful creation that our God has made. But it cannot/does not even touch many questions about ourselves and our God and for that matter His creation. Nor is it (or for that mathematics) something to be afraid of. They are both tools, just like the hammer, screwdriver, saws, fishing nets, etc that we use.
Sorry Jay, if the above is too abrupt. Feel free to edit anything that is inappropriate.
Dr. Wile, I really want to commend you on the patient and respectful way you answer all these questions and statements of the Flat Earth believers. It is interesting to see how many people become rude, disrespectful, and start calling you names when they can’t proof their point. It is truly sad to see.
Thank you,Gizelle. I have even gotten some profanity-laden comments, but I just delete them, because if they have to resort to profanity, they obviously can’t support their position.
This is absolutely surreal! I never knew there were so many people who are actually serious about this. In a post-Christian, post-modern world there appears to be no grounding for truth or rationality anymore. We live in sad, sad times.
It has been an eye-opening experience for me as well, Scott. It is very hard to understand why people can’t believe in something that is 100% consistent with Scripture and is obvious based on simple observations that can be made by anyone.
I do not want to die for the spherical/flat earth controversy. There are too many much more important issues. Nevertheless, I am really shocked at some of the responses, especially regarding observations of ships on the ocean. I was a naval officer for a number of years, working on submarines. I stood officer of the deck both on the bridge and at periscope depth. We had superior optics, whether using the best binoculars the navy can buy when on the bridge, or whether using the periscope at periscope depth. I cannot list how many times I observed contacts appear hull down, seeing first masts, then superstructure, then finally, as the range closed, observing the entire ship. This was true whether we were looking at trawlers, container ships, destroyers, or aircraft carriers.
Thus, I am absolutely baffled by some of the statements regarding “perspective” and “optics” proving a flat earth. I never observed what these people claim, whether looking left, right, ahead, or behind. I could be deceived and mistaken. I am just saying that years and scores of contacts have never given me the observational data they claim.
I cannot help but wonder where these people received their information. Have they been to sea, or are they merely repeating things they read on the internet? I appreciate their zeal for research and their quest for truth, but I do think that it is prudent to check one’s sources before one swallows “facts” hook, line, and sinker. I even check some of your statements, Dr. Wile. 🙂
On a lesser note, I am appalled at some of the spelling and grammar of those maintaining a flat earth view. I have no doubt I have more than a few errors in this post, but I cannot help but think that some of these people have spent too much time watching videos supporting the flat earth and venting on those who disagree with them, and not enough time studying the issue in depth so that they could articulate it in a coherent, thoughtful way.
Ah well, I need forbearance as I guess they do with me. Eph 4:1-3.
Thanks for sharing your experiences. I do hope that people take heed of them. I really appreciate you using the proper naval term, because that allowed me to learn it! For all the flat-earthers who read this comment, he used a common Naval term that is defined as follows:
Hull Down Said of a vessel when it is so far away from the observer that the hull is invisible owing to the convexity of the earth’s surface, while the masts are still seen. The opposite of hull up.
Now, of course, the Navy could be part of this grand conspiracy that you claim to know about, but it seems odd that there would be a Naval term that specifically comes from the curvature of the earth!
Ok, I know I’ll get beaten up for saying this, and admittedly flat-earthism is more removed from reality than YEC, but at least perhaps now many of you know how evolutionists feel when we talk to creationists… 🙂
Except that in the case of origins science, there is a lot more left to interpretation. Creationists and evolutionists don’t typically disagree on the data themselves. We disagree on their interpretation. Flat-earthers seem to simply deny the data themselves, such as hull-down observations, not enough change in the size of the sun in the sky, different stars in different hemispheres, the ability to travel all the way around the world without changing direction, etc.
In addition, while the flat earth has no successful predictions attached to it, creationism has a long list of successful predictions.
In all honesty, Jimbo, you are correct in terms of the emotions. Realizing my visceral response to flat-earthers has humbled and tempered my response to evolutionists. I think I empathize better.
That being said, there are huge differences categorically between the two. Creationists have a number of credentialed scientists who see the issues, can examine the mathematics and the predictive value of theories as opposed to just reading the latest blog. In fact, there are even huge disagreements with mechanisms within evolutionary circles themselves.
So while I commiserate with the emotional reaction, I think that it as far as the analogy goes.
Yes, I agree with both of you that flat-earthism is something else entirely, and that our disagreements are at the level of interpretation. But I also find it hard to imagine that anyone could look at the totality of the evidence (or as much as one person can reasonably assimilate) and come to the conclusion that a young earth creationist model is a reasonable interpretation of the data, let alone the best fitting. (I guess you don’t give any credence to the idea of “Occam’s Razor”.)
To me, the whole field of “creation science” seems little more than ad hoc arguments against misunderstood details of evolutionary theory, trying to hammer square pegs into round holes, and belief in a world-wide conspiracy keeping your views from being widely accepted as opposed to the weaknesses of the scientific arguments underlying them. But I do still appreciate that you are sincere, and trying to get at the truth like all of us.
Thanks for your thoughtful reply, Jimbo. It did strike me as odd, however. As a Ph.D. nuclear chemist, I can’t imagine anyone could look at the totality of the evidence and come to the conclusion that an old-earth evolutionary model is a reasonable interpretation of the data. Indeed, Occam’s Razor is one of the big reasons I am a young-earth creationist. Evolution as a model of origins is filled with exceptions and just-so stories that explain around the data, while young-earth creationism offers the most direct explanation of the data with the fewest exceptions and the fewest unnecessary assumptions.
To me, creation science is a robust model that has more predictive power than any other model of origins. Also, none of the creationists I know believe in a world-wide conspiracy that keeps our views from being widely accepted. All the creationists I know (including myself) recognize that scientists are just as susceptible to indoctrination as anyone else. Indoctrination has been an enemy of science throughout history, and evolutionary indoctrination is no exception.
Like you, however, I recognize that even though evolutionists aren’t following the data, many of them are trying to get at the truth, so I appreciate that.
Here’s one that hasn’t been mentioned which I experienced myself (as do millions of others): I lived in Central California. I also lived at a higher latitude in Portland, OR. In the summer, the sun both rose earlier and set later further north. I spent time further north in Seattle near summer solstice and the longer days were even more noticeable. There was faint sunlight light in the Western sky until almost 11PM. Flat Earth doesn’t explain this.
Good morning Jay,
I hope all is well with you this magnificent day the Lord has given us. The sun is shining brightly in the sky.
I was just looking at a selection of proofs that “flat earth” believers put out. While reading this, it struck me that, here in the antipodes, we have a penchant for naming specific kinds of weather events. The interesting feature of these weather events is that they move in a clockwise rotational direction. In the northern regions of the planet, these same weather events move in a counter-clockwise direction. If the earth was flat, there would be no preferred direction for wind flows and rotational effects would be minimal or non-existent.
The other strange mentality is that those who believe in a “flat earth” invariable change the shape of my land because this land is far from the centre of the flat plain. Considering that James Cook and those who preceded him and those who followed him in mapping the coastline of my land produced maps that match what is seen from space and doesn’t map what is proposed by the “flat earth” model. These mapping expeditions took place hundreds of years ago.
Even the major land below has been crossed from side to side across its middle and the distance traveled is consistent with a oblate sphere.
These kinds of phenomena don’t seemed to be explained by those promulgating the “flat-earth” model.
Excellent points, Bruce!
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