There are Actually People Who Believe This?

January 25, 2017

It’s hard to believe, but there are some people, even Christians, who actually think the world is flat. I’ve run into these people making comments on Facebook, and it’s ridiculous.

Image result for flat earth

They think the North Pole is the center of the earth, and Antarctica is a land mass circling the outer edge of the circle. There are tons of ways to show that this is false, but seeing the map they propose made me think of a simple way that they themselves can test the validity of their theory for themselves.

If the world looks as they propose, it would mean that to fly around the world in the Southern Hemisphere would be much farther than to fly around the world in the Northern Hemisphere. You can check flight times on travel sites. So, here is my comparison between flying around as far north as passenger planes usually travel, and as far south as planes usually travel.

London is 2669 miles from the North Pole.

The distance from London due south to the latitude of Johannesburg, South Africa (26° South) is 5339 miles.

That means if you went all the way around the world at the latitude of London, you would be going around in a circle with a radius of 2669 miles. The circumference of that circle is 2*pi*r, or 16,770 miles. (This is assuming a flat earth. That circumference would be a little bit different in reality since the earth is a sphere.)

If the earth is flat, that circle gets way bigger by the time you get to Johannesburg. Johannesburg is 5339 miles south of London, which means that on a flat earth, that circle would have a radius of approximately 8008 miles, and the circumference would be 50,315 miles.

The average speed of a 747 is 570 miles per hour. So, if the world were flat, it would take approximately 29 hours to fly around the world at the latitude of London. And, to fly around the world at the latitude of Johannesburg would require 88 hours.

However, taking flight times from real flights you can find for yourself online, here’s what I found. To fly from Vancouver, Canada to London to Tokyo back to Vancouver takes 31 hours and 30 minutes. This corresponds nicely with what we figured with the average speed of a 747.

There are fewer people in the Southern Hemisphere, so there are fewer flights to choose from, but to fly from Sao Paolo, Brazil to Johannesburg to Sydney, Australia back to near the starting point in Santiago, Chile, doesn’t take anywhere near 88 hours. It takes 35 hours and 25 minutes, which is exactly what you would expect if the earth were round.

Another simple way would be to look at the flight path of a plane traveling from Johannesburg to Sydney. On a flat earth map, the shortest route would go over India. But on a globe, the most direct route doesn’t go anywhere near the equator. I will leave that for people to look up for themselves. I’m sure there are websites where you can check flight paths.