MARK POPE: Myths and facts about the Flat Earth Society? [OPINION]
Myths and facts about the Flat Earth Society
First let me refresh your memory and provide you some food for thought. Recall President Obama’s public ridicule for those who dared to challenge the orthodoxy of climate change. The Demagogue-in-Chief, Obama, said something very similar to this: There is no debate, the science is settled about climate change. Those who oppose this are members of the Flat Earth Society.
Well isn’t it ironic that man-made climate change is a hoax, and the Flat Earth Society actually does exist in 2017. Read on and you’ll be surprised if you’re not aware of this bizarre organization and its origin. The head of the society believes in climate change – unfortunately, he’s American – while at the same time actually believing that the Earth is flat. Go figure.
It is a modern misconception that during the Middle Ages in Europe, it was commonly believed that the Earth is flat. During the Middle Ages, virtually all scholars maintained that the Earth is spherical, as first expressed by the Ancient Greeks. It has also been believed and taught in some schools for nearly 100 years that Christopher Columbus set out on his west-ward voyage for the New World seeking to prove that the Earth was indeed round, not flat. That historical account is inaccurate. Historian Jeffery Burton Russell says the Flat-Earth misconception flourished mostly between 1870 and 1920. Russell further claims that “with extraordinary few exceptions no educated person in the history of Western Civilization from the third century B.C. onward believed that the Earth was flat.”
Several writers during the 50 year span of 1870-1920 – including America’s own Washington Irving – referred to a belief in the Earth being flat during the Middle Ages in Europe. This misinformation was published in inaccurate histories that each author wrote. In part, the Flat-Earth myth sprung from a 17th Century campaign by Protestants who opposed Catholic teachings. The campaign was an attempt to show the error of Catholic teachings, and to show that Protestantism was the superior religion. Protestant propaganda portrayed Catholic teachings as wrong-headed in espousing a flat earth. Also, in 1874, John Draper published The History of Conflict Between Religion and Science. Draper wrote that before the time of Columbus, the Earth was believed to be flat, which was a religiously-inspired belief and teaching. Draper was wrong, but the myth continued.
In the late 1800s, writer Samuel Rowbotham proposed the hypothesis that the Earth is flat. The Flat Earth Society actually began in 1956 and continues to present day. I can’t tell you the total membership of the society, but the organization says membership has increased by 200 annually since 2009, mostly Americans and Great Britons.
These folks are wacked out. The Flat Earth Society is the ultimate conspiracy theory group. In addition to believing the Earth is flat, they believe that the U.S. space program is a total fraud. That’s right, the moon landing never happened. The photos, communication between astronauts and NASA control, etc. – it was all fabricated, according to the flat-earthers. And they believe pictures from space depicting a spherical Earth are all photoshopped. Crazy world we live in.