We’ve all probably got into an argument with an internet stranger about whether our planet is round or flat. The phrase “flat earther” was originally used as a more tasteful way of calling someone an idiot, not that they actually believed that they could fall off the edge of the Earth.
However, for whatever reason, people with a vast library of knowledge have difficulty wrapping their minds around the idea that our planet is spherical. But how historical is this belief? Did people of ancient civilizations actually believe our planet was flat?
The “Flat Earth Theory”
First of all, let’s address the very theory these scientifically illiterate group of numbskulls are trying to push. From a historical standpoint, the “Flat Earth Theory” does not exist. However, different cultures from different times shared the notion that our planet was flat.
This view was held by the Ancient Greeks, as well as China and India, but their explanation of the Earth’s flatness differed. For instance, the Ancient Greeks thought that the planet was disk-like in shape but was surrounded by a spherical sky and heavens. Indians widely believed that the lands were divided into four continents and surrounded by unscalable mountains. The ancient people of modern-day Papua New Guinea envisioned a planet that was limited to what the eye could see—past the sea on the horizon, there was nothing else to explore.
Falling Out of Popularity
By the 6th century BC, the idea that we resided on a flat planet was almost completely replaced by the scientific view that our planet was round. People didn’t disagree with Aristotle’s observations and teachings, but his openness in defying and challenging the church is what got him in trouble. 300 years later in the 1st century BC, the idea of a round planet was considered a scientific fact.
The modern belief in a flat Earth arose in the 1950s when Samuel Shenton started the Flat Earth Society, which would then get picked up by aircraft mechanic, Charles K. Johnson, 20 years later. Along with disbelief in ancient science, Johnson and crew have also claimed that the Apollo moon landings were faked, telling you just how little this group of “researchers” really knows.