It’s 2018. Gone are the days when science was the weird kid at the playground (or at least they should be). Puberty must have hit science hard because it’s now pretty much one of the “cool kids”.
Science continues to challenge and defy the boundaries of space exploration, going beyond the limitations of the human mind. In recent years, bits and pieces of the universe’s never-ending secrets have been slowly uncovered by astronomers and scientists alike, thanks to the continuing advancement of technology. Within the past hundred years or so, mankind has made countless groundbreaking discoveries, all of which have completely shaped the way we see our universe. However, despite these grand revelations, there almost always seems to be one peculiar group of people who refuse to accept a proven fact.
It’s been proven for more than a century now that the Earth, like any other planet in the Solar System, is, in fact, round. Agree? Yeah, we thought so. The belief that our planet is round is a total no-brainer… for most people.
The surfacing of a certain group of people has caused an uproar. Their opposition to the notion of a spherical earth has left many scratching their heads and even more falling from their seats in hysterical laughter. “Who are these people?” “What do they want?” “What in the world?” Well, “these people” have a name, but before we disclose it, we challenge you not to laugh.
They call themselves the Flat Earthers.
The Flat Earth theory
Flat Earthers are said to reject the supposed notion that the earth is spherical, instead opting to believe that our beloved planet is nothing short of a flat disk floating around in space. Yes, you heard that right. By their own words, walking on our planet looks and feels flat, therefore, the Earth is flat, and all evidence proving that the Earth is spherical are just fabrications orchestrated by NASA and other government agencies, whom they like to call “round earth conspiracists”.
Opposed to the belief that the Flat Earth theory died centuries ago, the Modern Flat Earth Movement dated way back to the early 1900s. Back then, when it had such a small following, the group was not as known to the public, and thus remained pretty much incognito.
In recent years, however, more and more people have started joining in the movement, including celebrities and famous athletes, who helped bring the number of the society’s members up to astronomical levels. The Flat Earth Society has been steadily gaining followers, leading to the creation of a plethora of Facebook groups, organizations, and YouTube videos as well. To add to that, Google searches for the theory, whether from curious readers or hardcore believers, have spiked up since 2013, and have continued to grow as the years go by.
The Flat Earth pride that the society is well-known all around for (pun intended), has been day after day constantly subjected to articles, being written about them, either criticizing their outlandish beliefs or promoting their ideas for other people to take in. As a matter of fact, their influence has extended so far that we now have our very own official Flat Earth Society here in the Philippines.
The Philippine Flat Earth Society just started to gain popularity within the recent month, with pictures of its members donning “Flat Earth Philippines” t-shirts surfacing all over the internet. Based in Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte, the organization already has its own strictly private Facebook group, hosting over 2,000 members and counting. It’s within this super secret page where they post theories, hold civil debates, and work together to debunk “round earth conspiracies”.
However, unlike many Facebook groups, they don’t just approve anyone’s request to join. Getting into the group is a whole different story in itself–one we could tell based on experience. It’s an arduous process of answering the administration’s questions as to why you want to join the group, followed by a long and tiresome wait for them to actually approve your request. But with the recent spike in requests to join the group (from just a little over 1,000 members to over 2,000 in the span of one month), we can’t say we blame them.
Unfortunately, up to the moment of this writing, the group’s administrators have yet to grant us access to their peculiar little (or not so little) nook. Given this, we have decided to change our approach and search for other Flat Earth groups, in the hopes of getting a firsthand glimpse into what goes on in the mind of bonafide Flat Earthers as well as how they “go at it” with round Earthers. However, in an arguably tragic turn of events, while we were lucky enough to find another Flat Earth Facebook group with a substantial number of members, what lurked inside left a lot to be desired.
The Flat Earth argument
The public group, Philippine Flat Earth Society, was a lot less difficult to get into, as it only required the approval of the administrator, who was generous enough to grant us access to the page. We got to work right away and scoured the flat earther haven extensively, reading every single comment, scrutinizing every single post, and even going so far as to comment on posts to see whether we could start a healthy debate with fellow commenters. Additionally, we messaged the administrator hoping for an interview, but alas, we hit a roadblock once again after finding out that she was not a flat earther. Sadly, due to the shocking lack of credibility, we were not able to obtain information from a direct source. Nonetheless, these brave knights pressed on.
The public group is a house of debates, with flat Earthers and round Earthers alike going at it, spouting piece after piece of information in the comments. Members of the group even post videos or links leading to articles that basically debunk the “round Earth theory”, which range from incredibly ludicrous arguments to somewhat credible ones. One such ludicrous explanation that we found in the group is the argument that all of NASA’s photos of the earth are edited, which is arguably a scapegoat accusation, since the same can be done in the reverse.
Based on the extensive observation we have made of the Facebook group, as well as some research into the worldwide Flat Earth movement, we’ve come to find that all Flat Earthers generally believe in the same things–that the Earth is covered by an invisible barrier, that lunar eclipses are made by an invisible “anti-moon”, that the sun moves in a circular motion above the Earth, and that the Earth is surrounded by a thick layer of ice that prevents ocean water from pouring over the edges…just to name a few.
An important thing to note is that a lot of the Flat Earth theories can easily be debunked by gravity, which is why they did away with the concept of gravity, and instead proposed the idea of a “universal acceleration” as some sort of variation of gravity. The general idea behind this is that basically, the Earth is constantly moving upwards, as it is pushed by the universal acceleration which forces everything else down to the ground.
All of these are fine, just don’t tell Isaac.
Flat earthers: The butt of the joke?
With the recent rise in attention the Flat Earth theory has been getting, has come the corresponding rise in Flat Earth memes, parodies, and satire, whether they be pictures, videos, or articles. In fact, a lot of the members of the Philippine Flat Earth Facebook group are there just to make fun of and mock the poor bona fide flat earthers and their “crazy”, “ridiculous”, and “far-fetched” notions.
Flat Earth opposers have made the peculiar group the target of their ridicule and mockery, with most (if not all) not even bothering to take them seriously. Many dismiss the Flat Earth theory with hysterical laughter while even more are left dumbfounded at the thought that there are people in this day and age who actually believe such a thing.
Can we blame them though? Then again, an “anti-moon” does sound very cool.