It’s hard to believe that, in this day and age, there’s a large movement of people who believe the earth is flat. That the government and scientists are lying about something as fundamental to the understanding of physics as the concept of gravity, but I mean…here we are.
It’s somewhat comforting, then, to realize that people with these believes can be educated and change their mind – and these 15 folks are ready to tell you exactly what that aha! moment was for them.
15. “She used to teach science and math” what.
My mother was always getting into crazy conspiracies, and one time she discovered the flat earth theory. She introduced me to it, and I was skeptical at first, but then I tentatively gave it a chance. The videos she showed me were very convincing, using some real science to explain phenomena we see on the earth could happen if it were flat, such as atmospheric refraction causing the sun to disappear beyond the horizon.
But I never fully accepted the theory, since I had a relatively good grasp of astronomy and didn’t see how some effects could happen on a flat earth. For example, we know there are two hemispheres of stars that can be observed from the earth, in the northern and southern sky. It’s been well-documented throughout history. But if the earth is flat, wouldn’t we see only one hemisphere of stars from any point on the earth? And then there was some complete nonsense like the moon producing its own light… despite having visible shadows in craters.
By asking these questions, my mom eventually realized that the flat earth “theory” made no sense. My mindset when approaching the theory was “We can make observations about how things behave, and come up with different explanations for what causes them. So let’s compare the flat and globe earth theories and see which holds up better.” We both came to the conclusion that the flat earth doesn’t adequately explain many of the things we observe on earth, and several weeks later she ended up watching videos by an airline pilot who debunks the flat earth theory, and showed a few to me.
Deep down, I think she also had an understanding of how the solar system works, since she used to teach science and math as an elementary school teacher. I even have a model of the solar system we made when I was a kid. So letting go of the flat earth theory was probably easier for her than some who don’t know about moon phases or the tilt of the earth, or anything like that. Many flat-earthers just lack basic knowledge to begin with, and the flat earth theory fills that void for them.
14. This is actually a beautiful story.
I have an acquaintance I met in the Navy, who joined specifically so he could see that the earth was flat while at sea. Every day he would chart the ships location, speed, heading, etc, a few times a day so he could make a map of their path. Ultimately he realized that the path the ship was taking would be impossible if the earth was flat, based on the distance they were travelling vs their speed. When he finally got skeptical of the earth being flat, his LPO went topside with him and pointed out the curvature by giving him binoculars and explaining that if the earth was flat, he should be able to see the land they were making for. He couldn’t see anything off the horizon. After that, he was convinced.
Edit since this got some traction; he didn’t just take a cruise because he was convinced that if he wasn’t part of the crew, the bridge crew would lie to him since they would be paid off by the government. Also, his LPO tried to show him the curvature of the earth more than once, but until he realized that the ship couldn’t travel the way it was traveling if the earth was flat, he was convinced that the curvature was just an illusion. Dude ended up reenlisting and is still in the Navy, he’s a very successful machinist mate and a really good sailor. He now believes the earth is a globe.
13. Maybe we shouldn’t waste our time.
My ex husband is a flat earther.
Literally nothing you can say to him will make him think otherwise. Including that damn “fifteen degree drift.” He acknowledges that he doesn’t think like everybody else but insists that everybody else is wrong. I can’t tell you the countless hours that I wasted in YouTube rabbit holes with him explaining the logistical ways the earth is flat, and that there is an ice wall encapsulating us to prevent the oceans from pouring over.
They are a different breed of people.
12. I guess seeing is believing.
I wasn’t entirely a flat earther but when I was younger, I was falling for everything I could find on the internet: hollow earth, flat earth, we’re actually inside the hollow earth etc etc
I fell in and out of the belief over time until I saw a video of an experiment where one group flew a helicopter far out over the ocean and another group watched it with a powerful telescope as it slowly lowered to the horizon. It disappeared behind the horizon while the helicopter was still a considerable distance from the ground. That ended that phase for me for good.
11. If only that was the way it worked for everyone.
I think I was about 3 when I first saw a globe and had it explained to me.
10. It’s like a cult, in a very bad way.
I doubt you’ll find many, if any reformed flat earthers. For people like that who are so entrenched within their ideology, the flat earth isn’t just something they believe, it’s who they are. They have flat earth friends, listen to flat earth podcasts, watch flat earth YouTube, and wear flat earth clothes to their flat earth meetings. Even if deep down, someone like that had an epiphany and realized that they were wrong, imagine how hard it would be to reject all of these relationships, the community, and the friends that are held together because of that one common belief. It’s similar to why it’s so hard for people to leave cults or extremist religious or political groups.
9. I can’t believe you didn’t break up then and there.
I’m not a flat earther, but my ex was. He believed all conspiracy theories, no matter what evidence I showed him.
My ex made me watch an hour long documentary in which in the last 3 minutes the man said the world is infact a Mobius strip and that’s why no one falls off.
I just looked at him after that documentary and could not take him seriously. We broke up soon afterwards.
8. Of course, it may be that nothing works…
Didn’t flat earthers do experiments to prove their point that ended up disproving it? Then of course continued believing what they wanted to anyway
7. He just grew up.
Not sure if this counts, but what the hell, I’ll go for it.
I was brought up in a crazy Zionist-Evangelical-but-also-non-denominational Christian household. Ideas that my mom either believed in for a while or that she still believes to this day include: faith/prayer-based healing, young earth creationism, spiritual warfare, anti-vax, Fit for Life, anti- antibiotics, anti-doctors (in favor of naturopathy and phytotherapy), and of course, a flat earth.
I drank the kool-aid from the ages of 3-12 ish, but came to my senses around age 12-13 and progressively learned that all of the above concepts are BS. When I was 12, my mom (with her grade 11 education) decided to homeschool all her kids, which actually helped me to learn some important universal truths for myself. Up to the time of starting homeschool I had been in Christian private schools which entertained young earth creationism and flat earth ideology.
One thing you need to know about my mother is that she’s a lazy, delusional narcissist and nothing is ever her fault. It wasn’t her fault when she failed to get out of bed to teach us and slept in until after 1pm every day. It wasn’t her fault that we were left to a scant few workbooks and textbooks which we spent about 30 minutes per day on. It wasn’t her fault when she left me, the oldest child, to teach my siblings. It wasn’t her fault that her youngest daughter didn’t know how to read when she was supposedly in grade 3. It wasn’t her fault that the only teaching resource we had after briefly going through textbooks each day was cable TV.
It wasn’t my mom’s fault that science shows on Discovery and other educational channels taught me that the earth is round, over 4 billion years old, that there were no dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark, and that antibiotics are good when used correctly.
6. It’s just (some kind of weird) math.
As someone who entertained but never genuinely believed the idea and went pretty deep down the rabbit hole it’s distance/time.
On a flat earth map circling the north pole should be an extremely short trip while circling the south pole would be the longest route on the planet. The further south you get the further apart things should be and the longer trips would take. The flat earth map really falls apart there.
Once they start arguing that time works differently based on location you know there’s no way to justify the argument.
5. He learned about eyes? I guess?
Ah finally a question perfect for me, I became a flat earther for quite a long time and it was still surprising that I realised that Flat earthers is just straight up Stupid, because for me, the fact that we see the earth flat is because its an illusion of our eyes. (And yes I became a globe earther again and believed In the moon landing again)
4. When you can’t believe your own eyes.
I think my favorite recorded Flat Earther interaction was when Elon Musk tweeted at the Flat Earth Society and asked them why they believed the Earth was flat when we could plainly see that Mars is round.
They responded that unlike the Earth, Mars has been observed to be round.
3. If only it were that easy.
I realized that it would be impossible for giant turtles to hold the earth if it were flat, it would just fall off, therefore it’s not possible.
2. It’s pretty cool when science wins!
Hey something I can finally answer! Not me but my good friend and room mate fell into the flat earth black hole while in university. Started out as a joke but then he just fell into it more and more.
Eventually I challenged him to do an experiment to figure it out ourselves. We went to opposite ends of a big inlet – bay. He had calculated the supposed curvature of the earth and figured out that from the distance between us me at one end and him at the other we should have a few metres of water between us. We both took some powerful green lasers that he had smuggled back from China in years past. While on the phone I would shine my laser somewhat into the air, watching to avoid plains and helicopters, then now that he could see me he would shine his laser up into the sky and slowly lower it until it disappears or just me. If it hit me, the earth was possibly flat. Well it disappeared 3 or so metres above my head every time. He accepted it and we moved on besides a brief time where he thought it was refracted from the water 👍👍
1. Because of who he was forced to associate with.
My husband got trapped in a YouTube black hole of flat earth videos for awhile. Drove me up a wall.
As of recently I discovered he changed his mind. His reasoning? He discovered the majority of flat earthers are Trumpers with extreme political views and who agree with trumps stupid logic.
Husbands flat earth ideas died that day.
I can’t begin to tell you how glad I am to read these stories.
If you or someone you know has flirted with believing the earth is flat, do you suppose minds could be changed? What was the moment that changed yours on something big?
Tell us in the comments!