The following is a story from one of our unfortunate writers:
During the holidays I traveled back home to see my mom for what I thought was going to
be a fun break, but things turned a bit sour one evening when she broke some important
news to me.
“The Earth is flat,” she announced, speaking in a serious tone usually reserved for matters
of life and death.
“What on earth are you talking about?”
I said to her.
And again, she told me the planet was actually flat and all these years we’ve been lied
The fact is indisputable, she said, immutable, incontestable, and she knew that because she’d
been doing a lot of reading on the internet.
Ok, I told her, state your case.
This is how our conversation went.
“Ok,” she said.
“Firstly, you don’t know that I am wrong because you have never observed the Earth
as a whole.
From where you stand anywhere on Earth the world will seem flat to you.
That’s a fact.”
I peered out of the window.
She was right about that.
Things did look pretty flat out there.
Was the entire world one big whopper?
“So, that’s it,” I said, “just because I can’t observe the entire thing, it must
“No,” she replied, “that’s just my starting point.
And stop smirking.
This is deadly serious.”
At that point an image flashed through my mind of my mother surrounded by men in white
coats coaxing her to take her daily medications.
“Ok,” I said, “I haven’t personally been up so high that I saw the spherical Earth.
But other people have and they have seen the Earth.
You can actually see it rotating on its axis.
We’ve measured the diameter of the thing and that’s approximately 7,900 miles, or
to most of the people living on this not-flat Earth, 12,700 kilometers.
There are images of this big ball, all over the place.”
“All lies,” she said.
“Those books have been lying to you.
The videos and photos have been manipulated.”
She said the Earth is flat like in ancient myths where a turtle carries it on its back,
and what we observe in the sky is not what we think.
What encompasses Earth is actually a firmament dome, she said.
NASA has lied to us and is in on the conspiracy, but that doesn’t mean all scientists know
the truth, only that they too have bought into this spherical nonsense.
She said during the Cold War the conspiracy got going and billions of dollars were spent
on space exploration.
“This money is still being wildly spent, and you my son are paying taxes and funding
People have been getting incredibly rich because you take movies like Apollo 13 seriously.”
“You’re telling me Tom Hanks is in on the conspiracy?”
“No,” she replied, “and don’t get funny.
You know what I mean.”
“Ok,” I said.
“I have one word to say to you.
“Expand,” she said, trying to sound scholarly.
“We have different seasons all over the world, ergo, the sun’s rays are hitting
different places and they are making places hotter or colder.
Those rays hit different parts of the Earth and so when it’s winter in one place, it’s
summer in another place.
If the Earth were flat, all the Earth would have the same season all at the same time.
You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know this.”
She told me that the sun just moves around the flat Earth, so it hits certain places
at certain times.
She then went to get a plate out of the kitchen and began moving an orange around it.
She said the sun and the moon were the same size, and she said the sun, that orange she
was holding, rotates around the north pole which is in the middle of the flat Earth.
“But mom,” I said, “the sun is much bigger than the moon and that is observable.
That orange/plate thing doesn’t really mean anything.”
I also explained to her that if this theory were true then New York and Los Angeles would
see the sun set and rise at the same time, which is not true.
There is a time difference, so when it’s evening in New York it’s afternoon in LA.
How can that be?
She told me I am an ignorant fool, but didn’t answer my query.
This was quite strong language for my mom.
It seemed to me that all those hours she had spent arguing online had made her quite intolerant
to opposing ideas.
Dare I say it, I was offended by her breach of familial decorum.
“Ok,” I said, once I’d unruffled my feathers.
“What’s at the edge of this flat world and why don’t things just fall off?”
She told me that surrounding the Earth is a giant wall of ice and that is Antarctica.
“Like Game of Thrones,” I said, laughing.
“Should we fear the White Walkers?”
“If you’re not going to take this seriously I won’t explain further,” she said sternly.
“Ok, go on.”
She said the sun was in fact not millions of miles away.
She said it’s actually only about 32 miles (52 km) in diameter and it hovers around the
flat Earth about 3,000 miles (5,000 km) away.
“It acts like a moving spotlight,” she said, “so when it’s above you it’s light
and when it goes away it’s dark.
But it also moves closer to the North Pole in the middle of the Earth at a gradual rate,
and then it moves outwards towards the edge of the world, and that’s why we have seasons.
It’s that simple.”
“The thing is mom, if you use this model the sun would never set.
You can actually watch scientists making a model of your version of events.
It doesn’t work according to how things are down here.”
“Moreover,” I told her, “during the equinox the sun rises due east and sets due
west everywhere on the planet except at the poles.
How could this be possible with your orange and plate theory…sundials wouldn’t even
work, which would have been bad for people before we started using timepieces…Ok, please
continue…you were also saying something about a massive ice wall?”
“Allow me to retort,” she said.
She’s a big Quentin Tarantino fan.
“What lies beyond the wall is the greatest mystery to us all.
We simply can’t get over it and it probably protects us from something insidious.
This walls holds in the oceans and it keeps us from knowing what’s beyond.
In fact, this year we plan to sail to the wall in what will be one of the boldest missions
humankind has ever undertaken.”
“Ok, so who is going on that great voyage?”
I asked her.
She told me it’s headed by Flat Earth International, a group she is now a card-carrying member
“Mom,” I intoned, “I am very surprised that there is this giant wall of ice around
the world and so far no none, and I mean no one, has ever photographed it.”
She replied that we have seen great walls of ice and that the rest of the border is
made up of mountain ranges.
That’s why we can’t just fall off the edge of the world.
“But why haven’t planes seen this edge,” I asked her.
She then went on about something called the Pac-Man effect, and like in the game, when
a plane reaches the edge it just teleports back to the other edge.
She admitted that this was only a current theory, and, err, not the truth like everything
else she had said.
This was now new territory and those men in white coats were suddenly becoming quite real
And what about gravity I asked her, to which she said the whole thing is a hoax.
Things just fall.
She dropped that orange to prove her point, and amid my utter astonishment at her simplicity
in undermining years of science, I wondered why on Earth she ever sent me to school.
She said under this flat Earth there are magnets and they pull the oceans and change sea levels.
“Maybe we should talk about stars,” I said.
I told her that if we were on a flat Earth we’d all see the same constellations in
the night sky.
In real life if you were at a certain latitude you might see the Big Dipper, but if you were
at another latitude that wouldn’t be visible.
How’s that possible?
Going back to ancient times astronomers saw the changes in the constellations and they
knew the Earth couldn’t be flat.
How do people on different sides of the world see different night skies?
She told me when we travel we simply have a different perspective, so that when we travel
away from things they can become smaller and then just disappear, but they are still there.
That’s why we can see certain stars in certain places.
She said there is a “vanishing point" for stars just like anything else we observe at
“Mom,“ I said, “I admit that I don’t quite understand that in this context, but
I will just say that astronomers will tell you that certain constellations appear in
the night sky at certain locations.
Your vanishing point theory doesn’t exactly convince me.”
“And let’s talk about the horizon when we see things like ships float out to sea.
They get farther away and appear to sink.
We see less of the ship.
Let’s say the water was very calm, if the Earth was flat we’d see that ship go out
for a long way and then it would disappear over the horizon.
Then let’s say we used an instrument to magnify that object, and we might see it but
see it seeming to sink.
At some point it will disappear never mind what instrument we are using because of the
curvature of the Earth.
If this place were flat with a good enough telescope we should be able to see everything
in front of us, but we cannot.
Explain that my dearest mother.”
“Look son, it’s all about perspective and light refraction.
The object is not going over the horizon, you just think it is.”
“Weird,” I said, “since it’s been scientifically proven.”
She had one word for that: “Liars!”
“Ok, so why if other objects in space are obviously not flat, how come we live on a
Hope you have a reasonable answer to this one.”
“There is no reason my child.
Just look around you.
That TV is rectangular, but the clock is round.
The Earth is just different just as all things have certain shapes.”
“Well, mom, I admire your deductive reasoning, and I hope one day I’ll see my first square
bird swim through a dessert of marshmallow sand…’cos hey, there are no rules in this
“Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit,” she replied angrily.
“But the highest form of intelligence,” I quipped, quoting Oscar Wilde.
I then told her something else.
I brought up a flight from Sydney to Santiago, Chile.
This 7000 mile flight takes roughly 12 hours.
If the Earth were flat it would take much, much longer.
You can actually go online and track this flight.
Is everyone lying about the flight time?
On a flat Earth map you can measure the distance and calculate how long it would take, and
it’s been done, and it’s far longer than if the world was a sphere.
She just shook her head at that.
“Ok,” she then said, “So if the plane is flying around the Earth’s curvature then
surely it wouldn’t be horizontal all the time.
So, how come if you take a spirit level on a plane it shows it is horizontal most of
If you attached the world’s smallest spirit level to the back of a housefly and told it
to fly around a beach ball that level would not read flat.”
“Mom, that incredibly simplistic example has convinced me that we undoubtedly cannot
share the same DNA.
Let me just say that the Earth is not a beachball and a plane is not a fly.
I hope that’s clear to you.”
She looked down at me, like I was the idiot.
I told her that planes lift into the air with their wings and this enables them to fly,
which I thought was pretty obvious.
Once up in the sky the pilot doesn’t have to make many adjustments to stay at a certain
He might adjust the plane when he wants to reduce altitude but this is very incremental.
It’s the same thing when you are travelling down what looks like a long straight-ish road.
You might be moving to the left but it’s so slight only a very minor turning of the
wheel over some period of time has to be done.
“Imagine a housefly flying over New York, does it keep having to go on a downward trajectory
to get where it wants to go?”
“Exactly!” she screamed.
“That just proves my point.”
I had to sit down for a second and hold my head in my hands.
It wasn’t funny anymore.
I was no longer having a good time.
She was totally impervious to the most basic reasoning.
“Ok, let’s get back to the absurd stuff mom because that’s at least amusing, and
I am talking about the great ice wall that no man has ever breached.
You have to wonder why a plane can’t get over this wall, because there are plenty of
aerial photographs of Antarctica taken from planes (Image: Antarctica Sightseeing Flights
https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/antarctica-day-tour/index.html) “Well,” she said, maybe they just don’t
want us to know what’s out there so no plane is allowed to go that far.
If it did, it would Pac-Man back like I already told you.
But we will get to the edge of the world, and that’s why we are going to sail there
on the great Flat Earth expedition.”
“Ok, and you do know that the ship they will be sailing on will use navigational instruments
that were designed on the scienfitic basis of the curvature of the Earth?
Like, if the Earth were flat you could just use three satellites and be on your way.
But because it’s spherical you need satellites on the other side of the Earth.
You do understand that, don’t you?”
She scowled at me, but then that turned to a smug smile.
“You’ll see, we’ll get there, and all you deniers will be in awe at what we have
“Wait a minute,” I said, and I went into the kitchen.
I came back and passed her a plastic cake knife that we never use.
“You might need this,” I said, “It’s dragonglass.”
“That’s just a made up story,” she said.
“I know,” I told her.
“Let that sink in.”
We think after that you need some more conspiracies to get your teeth stuck into, so watch the
video “Is There Evidence That Aliens Did Come To Roswell?” or “What You Didn't
Know About the Bermuda Triangle.”
And make a sure you leave a comment about your experience with Flat Earthers!
Thanks for watching, see you next time!