As a reminder, today’s date isn’t April 1 and this story isn’t a prank. As a matter of fact, the source for the article comes from Forbes, which recently posted its own story regarding the seemingly-growing flat Earth movement. In that story, it was revealed that a group of flat-earthers –– the people who buy into the theory –– are planning an expedition to Antarctica in an effort to prove their beliefs are true.
For those who have managed to avoid this particular form silliness, flat-earthers believe that our planet is actually a flat disk suspended in space rather than a round sphere. The theory traces its origins back to the 1800’s with the belief being that the North Pole is actually the center of the disk and the outer edges of the planet are surrounded by towering walls of thick ice. For some reason, despite all kinds of evidence to the contrary, the Flat Earth theory has picked up a lot of steam in recent years, with like-minded folks connecting on the Internet and at conventions.
According to Forbes, a Flat Earth cruise is being organized for 2020 which will take proponents of the theory to the Antarctic to explore the region for themselves. Their belief is that the frozen continent actually surrounds the outer confines of the flat disk that is our planet and that they’ll come face to face with this wall of ice once they are in the region.
To stretch incredulity even further, many flat-earthers believe that we actually exist inside a giant dome, not unlike a massive snow globe. That dome also contains the stars, the sun, the moon, and it also prevents anyone or anything from falling off the planet. There are some inside the Flat Earth community who believe that be measuring the length of the Antarctic coast, they will actually be able to prove that their theory is true. Presumably, they expect the coast to far larger than we have been led to believe, indicating that it stretches the entire length of the outer edge of the disk.
Flat-earthers go on to say that the 1961 Antarctic Treaty, which bans commercial development of the continent and protects it as a scientific preserve, was actually meant to keep people from finding out the Earth is flat. By preventing private exploration there, they say, the world’s governments are all a part of a major cover up. They also find fault with the idea that explorers like Colin O’Brady or Borge Ousland have actually crossed Antarctica from one coastline to another, saying that those expeditions are all an elaborate ruse too. Some flat-earthers even call into question whether or not O’Brady was even there, saying he didn’t share GPS coordinates of his expedition, despite the fact that his position and coordinates could be tracked on a daily basis.
Apparently, plans for the 2020 Antarctic cruise are moving ahead with the members of the Flat Earth movement eager to prove their theories. The problem is, not many experienced sailors or sea captains actually buy into the idea, so anyone taking them on the voyage will likely do so just for the cash and publicity. It also seems likely that even if they do manage to sail completely around the continent, something that takes weeks to accomplish, fervent believers in the Flat Earth theory will also find another reason to explain what happens out on the sea. Still, it would be interesting to watch such a voyage unfold and get their reaction.
Personally, I find the whole Flat Earth movement to be amusing, even if I can’t understand how anyone in the 21st century can still buy into these theories. Still, it seems like it is only continuing to gain traction, particularly online. I’m all for sending a ship full of these folks to Antarctica, although I’m not sure it will do any good. Like I said above, they’ll probably still find another way to explain away the reality that the Earth is actually a sphere. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Thanks to my friend Explorer George for sharing this article a few weeks back.
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