When you think about a time when the answer to the question "Is the Earth really round?" could possibly be in dispute, you probably think back to the Middle Ages. If you were to tell someone back then that the Earth is shaped less like a plank of wood and more like an orange, they'd probably say something like, "Get to Church you blathering, godless heathen!" or "The Earth has been, and always will be, flat!"
That seems like the last time it would be acceptable to think the Earth is flat, right? But somehow, people still believe the Earth is flat.
Roughly 600 years later.
The same year that one can get on a magic screen, visit a store that doesn't even physically exist, click the image of a telescope, have said telescope delivered within an hour, and use that telescope to look at more spherical planets in the sky, just like ours.
But, alas, there are some - like those folks in the Middle Ages - that just aren't buying it.
So, why do people believe in a flat Earth? Click through to find out how shallow the rabbit hole is, and why "flat-Earthers" don't believe you'll end up on the other side.
Forests Aren't Real We Just Think They Are
This theory is strange, and requires a bit of an imagination, so bear with us. Flat Earthers revealed a strange new theory in 2017 that basically says there are no forests on Earth. But then how do we see trees? The trees we see are actually not trees, they're just big bushes. According to this YouTube video, all the forests on Earth are not that old, which proves the true forests on Earth were decimated in some sort of weird nature event (like I said, hard to follow...).
Anyways, the trees we see today are lesser versions of the trees from before this unnamed cataclysmic event. The real trees were massive, and they left behind their stumps. Specifically, places like Devils Tower in Wyoming. Round Earthers call these structures a variety of things - mountains, isolated rock faces, mesas - but Flat Earthers are calling them trees. In fact, nothing on Earth was formed by lava or tectonic plates moving about from a spherical center of the earth. Mountains, canyons, deserts, etc., are all just the remnants of massive trees cut down by a destructive unnamed force thousands of years ago.
What does this have to do with a flat Earth, you say? Round Earthers say Flat Earthers can't account for natural formations - like mountains - without conceding how they were made. If the Earth isn't round, how do mountains exist? According to this new theory, they're old trees. Not mountains. And aliens cut them down - or something.
The Earth Is a DiscPhoto: Orlando Ferguson/Public Domain / via Wikimedia Commons
So, let's get the obvious out of the way: Flat-Earthers simply do not believe the Earth is a spherical object. Their explanation? Instead of a "globe," the Earth is a flat, disc-like shape.
This archaic belief harkens back thousands of years to an era before scientific advancements made it possible to prove the Earth was actually a spherical object.
A 'Round Earth' Is a Conspiracy to Debunk Religion
Although there's a colossal amount of evidence that most religions and religious documents never mentioned the actual shape of the Earth to begin with, some flat-Earthers believe that NASA and other conspirators enforced their "round Earth" propaganda as a way of stifling religious beliefs.
As noted conspiracy theorist Eric Dubay puts it:
"But if the Earth is just one of billions of planets revolving around billions of stars in billions of galaxies, then the ideas of God, creation, and a specific purpose for Earth and human existence become highly implausible."
Then again, flat-Earth supporters are also no strangers to propaganda themselves, so...
Gravity Is an IllusionPhoto: Sir Godfrey Kneller/Public Domain / via Wikimedia Commons
Sorry, Sir Isaac Newton, but not only are you completely wrong about gravity, but it's possible you're part of the conspiracy as well, according to flat-Earthers.
So how does Newton tie into the flat-Earth theory? Here goes: objects never accelerate downward, as Newton preposterously theorized, but rather the Earth is continually accelerating upward, propelled by the mysterious force known as dark energy.