If you did any Geography in secondary school, you would remember that the teacher told you in SS1 that the earth is a sphere. I know, too, that in your first Geography test, the teacher asked you to explain why the earth is round. And you did.
Something you should know about this debate
You started by recounting the exciting tale you read about Ferdinand Magellan’s circumnavigation of the earth in the dull, brown, and otherwise boring pages of your geography textbook. You also wrote about the appearance of the masts of ships.
After all the scribblings, you added sketchy illustrations to buttress your point. When your test script was returned to you, you saw that your teacher awarded you a 100 marks, a big fat A.
What you might not have realized then is that you could just easily have been awarded an F — if your teacher were a Flat-earther.
And who is a Flat-earther? The Flat-earthers are one half of Earth’s warring divides who believe that the earth is a flat land. It goes without saying therefore that a person is either of the flat earth philosophy or the round earth’s.
For a level battlefield, let us first listen to the flat earth theory.
Well, this is awkward, but for starters, flat-earthers say the earth we walk on feels flat (hence earth is flat). According to popular opinion amongst members of the flat earth community, the earth is a disc — the centre of which is the Arctic Circle and the Antarctica.
If the earth is truly flat, it opens up a staggering question: where are the edges? And to this, flat-earthers have another answer: there is a 150-foot-tall wall of ice, around the rim of the earth. Something like the wall from Game of Thrones, only that this time, it is not the Night’s Watch that guard the wall; it is NASA employees. Drums, please.
The Round-earthers, on the other hand, believe that, although the earth does feel flat, it is actually round when viewed from outer space or from places of higher altitudes. Because of the vastness of earth, it is impossible to view the earth as any shape from ground level. But the photos of earth shot by satellites mean nothing to Flat-earthers. Not only do they think that these pictures are photoshopped, they also think that GPS devices are rigged to give pilots the impression that they are traveling in a straight line around a sphere.
Flat Earth vs Round Earth
Apart from their outer space picture-proof, round-earthers have also argued that time zones and seasons would be uniform if the world were truly flat as the rays of the sun would hit all of earth from the same angle.
Critically looking at the arguments, one can discern which appears brighter. Unsurprisingly, the argument, these days, has taken a new dimension. The issue of the earth’s shape has now become one of the bones of contention. Just like the online theist vs atheist debates. This is because a stat has shown that there may be a link between belief in flat earth and spirituality.
The study showed that 52% of flat earthers in the United States consider themselves very religious. It then begs the question as to whether their belief is hinged on scriptural evidence.
While it may seem, on the surface, as though certain verses in religious scriptures point to a flat earth, the scholars of the major faiths have argued that the verses are only being misinterpreted.
Over to you, flat earth vs round earth, which divide are you on?