The flat Earth conspiracy theory, despite being historically debunked since the ancient Greeks accurately determined Earth’s shape and circumference, still finds adherents in the modern age. Founded in the 1950s, a fringe society dedicated to promoting the idea that the Earth is a flat disc has given rise to a small community of believers who reject scientific evidence, such as photographs from space, and claim that such evidence is an elaborate hoax orchestrated by governments. While the exact number of flat Earth believers remains unknown, some estimate that the Flat Earth Society, established in 1956, has over 500 members. However, there are divisions within the flat Earth community, with some individuals disassociating themselves from organized groups and holding varying interpretations of the flat Earth concept.
Flat-earthers have concocted their own theories to explain how the flat Earth operates, including elaborate versions of physics and creative interpretations of the solar system. According to their beliefs, Earth is a flat disc with the Arctic Circle at the center and a 150-foot-tall ice wall surrounding the rim known as Antarctica. They claim that NASA employees guard this ice wall to prevent people from falling off the edge. Additionally, flat-earthers reject the notion of gravity as an illusion, proposing that Earth itself accelerates upward due to a mysterious force called dark energy. Despite the outlandish nature of these ideas, flat-earthers remain steadfast in their beliefs, adhering to a mode of thought known as the “Zetetic Method,” which prioritizes sensory observations over scientific evidence.
While flat-earthers are a minority and their beliefs are met with skepticism from the majority, some find support from celebrity figures and even believe that the moon is flat as well. Nevertheless, scientific evidence overwhelmingly supports the fact that Earth is a sphere. Ancient Greek philosophers deduced Earth’s shape based on stars’ positions in different hemispheres and the curvature of Earth’s shadow during lunar eclipses. Numerous images from space agencies worldwide, including NASA and China’s space agency, provide visual proof of Earth’s spherical shape. Despite the persistence of the flat Earth conspiracy theory, it remains inconsistent with established scientific knowledge and represents a distinct form of belief within the broader conspiracy theory landscape.