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Meet a Flat Earther.

Have you ever been to the edge of the Earth?

A small segment of the population believes the Earth is NOT a sphere. ‘Flat-Earthers’ believe our planet is a flat disc ringed by an ice wall.

Members of the Flat Earth Society and other flat-Earthers claim that NASA and other government agencies conspire to delude the public into believing the Earth is spherical. According to the most widely spread version of current flat Earth theory, NASA is guarding the Antarctic ice wall that surrounds Earth. Flat earthers argue that NASA photoshops its satellite images, based on observations that the colour of the oceans changes from image to image and that continents seem to be in different places. The publicly perpetuated image is kept up through a large-scale practice of “compartmentalization”, according to which only a select number of individuals have knowledge about the real truth.

Shortly after the first man walked on the moon; The original founder of the Flat Earth Society died.

A small but dedicated fanbase kept his work alive and continued the circulation of a flat Earth newsletter. Over the years, the society slowly grew and spread, eventually garnering a subscribership of around 3,500 flat-Earthers in the 1990s. But in 1997, a house fire destroyed the Flat Earth Society’s library and membership roster. Unable to collect dues, they fell into deep financial trouble. The last organizers died a short time later, and the Flat Earth Society might’ve died right along with them—if not for FaceBook.

Whatever the motivation, each time a celebrity comes out in favour of flat Earth theory, millions of social media users pay attention.

The flat Earth model is an archaic conception of Earth’s shape as a plane or disk. Many ancient cultures subscribed to a flat Earth cosmography, including Greece until the classical period, the Bronze Age and Iron Age civilizations of the Near East until the Hellenistic period, India until the Gupta period (early centuries AD), and China until the 17th century. The idea of a spherical Earth appeared in Greek philosophy with Pythagoras (6th century BC), although most pre-Socratics retained the flat Earth model. In the early fourth century BC Plato wrote about a spherical Earth, and by about 330 BC his former student Aristotle provided evidence for the spherical shape of the Earth on empirical grounds. Knowledge of the spherical Earth gradually began to spread beyond the Hellenistic world from then on. Despite the scientific fact of Earth’s sphericity, pseudoscientific flat Earth conspiracy theories are espoused by modern flat Earth societies and, increasingly, by unaffiliated individuals using social media.

A 2018 survey by online data researcher YouGov found 84% of adult respondents were sure the Earth was round. Of those, only 66% of Millennials 18 to 24 were convinced, with 4% believing it was flat — the others had varying degrees of skepticism either way.

Meet Mr. Mark Sargent - A Whidbey Island resident who is telling people that our planet is not a sphere as you have been led to believe.

That’s right… He’s semi-famous for being flat-out wrong. According to Mark and other ‘FET’ supporters, the surface of the Earth is like a giant dinner plate, with Washington USA positioned near the middle and Antarctica a frosty rim. And no, the plate doesn’t spin. In addition to his “Flat Earth Clues” YouTube channel with 70,000+ subscribers, he also has a radio show and has written a book on the subject. In the “Behind the Curve,” documentary which Mark appears in he explains: “The South Pole is a 200-foot wall of ice, straight-up ‘Game of Thrones’ style and the sun and moon are lights hovering in the sky…”

Sargent was allegedly kicked out of Western Washington University for making illegal fireworks, and later won a digital pinball championship. He spent 20 years making a living playing video games and doing tech support around Colorado.

"The Earth is flat and it’s like Pacman. You walk off one side and come back on the other. Ghosts are chasing you all the time, and someone payed to control you on a machine."

IFERS

The International Flat Earth Research Society (IFERS), better known as the Flat Earth Society, was set up by Samuel Shenton in 1956, in Dover, UK, as a direct descendant of the Universal Zetetic Society. This was just before the Soviet Union launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik; he responded, “Would sailing round the Isle of Wight prove that it was spherical? It is just the same for those satellites.” His primary aim was to reach children before they were convinced about a spherical Earth. Despite plenty of publicity, the space race eroded Shenton’s support in Britain until 1967, when he started to become famous due to the Apollo program. In 1972, Shenton’s role was taken over by Charles K. Johnson, a correspondent from California, US. He incorporated the IFERS and steadily built up the membership to about 3,000.

He spent years examining the studies of flat and round Earth theories and proposed evidence of a conspiracy against flat Earth: “The idea of a spinning globe is only a conspiracy of error that Moses, Columbus, and FDR all fought…” His article was published in the magazine Science Digest, 1980. It goes on to state, “If it is a sphere, the surface of a large body of water must be curved. The Johnsons have checked the surfaces of Lake Tahoe and the Salton Sea without detecting any curvature.” The Society declined in the 1990s, following a fire at its headquarters in California and the death of Johnson in 2001. It was revived as a website in 2004 by Daniel Shenton (no relation to Samuel Shenton). He believes that no one has provided proof that the world is not flat.

So, how did Mark get hooked on this complex conspiracy? As opposed to Elvis lives, Lizard People, and Immortal Vampire Celebrities...? Well, according to Mark it’s because he’s single.

Sargent said he also believes in Bigfoot and Extraterrestrials.

“Most people get married and have kids. But if you don’t, you have huge amount of free time on your hands”. What he terms doubt – others might term delusion, especially when he says the government started NASA to cover up the truth. But why? They didn’t want to admit they were wrong, he said.

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