The Flat Earth theory is one that has blown up just in the last couple years, a talking point for mainstream media that serves as a decent focal point for comparisons to other conspiracy theories that they wish to discredit.
On one hand, the Flat Earth theory is usually propagated by people pushing very flimsy evidence, that fails to consider a lot of other evidence. On the other hand, some people who keep critical thinking and thorough evaluation of evidence alive respect the investigative spirit of Flat Earthers: but that’s questionable.
Websites such as IFL Science have taken up Flat Earthers as a talking point, and they have written an article based around the theories of the Flat Earth Society and other people into this theory.
Here is a brief evaluation of common Flat Earth talking points.
Curvature cannot be seen
Mainstream media and science-minded people regularly comment that Flat Earthers fail to remember basic rules of the world and scientific facts. Some people that are curious about the Flat Earth theory may be willing to recognize some facts like, it’s possible to take a flight from for instance, Australia to Antarctica.
Planes clearly take routes that travel around the world every day, and there are too many people on Earth to possibly conceal such a fact that the planes don’t actually go around the Earth.
Also, about the curvature of the Earth: if you go to a high elevation point such as the top of Mount Everest, the tallest mountain on Earth, you actually can see the curvature of the Earth. Watch:
The flat bottoms of clouds
This is being cited as evidence for the Earth being flat by some people. It’s a particularly flimsy piece of evidence to cite if you want to claim the Earth is flat.
Want to really know the truth about why certain clouds might look weird though? Research geo-engineering.
Science minded people might tell you that cumulus clouds have flat bottoms, because the shape is created by changes in temperature and pressure in the upper atmosphere. They say only below a certain temperature, water can condense and particularly on hot days, the water vapor can travel thousands of meters up into the atmosphere.
It is cited as evidence that the Earth is spherical, the fact that as air travels, it expands due to a larger volume of space the air has to occupy. The air pressure drops, because volume, pressure, and temperature are all closely connected, with non-changeable, solid constants to compare the variables to.
The northern lights
This is not a talking point used by Flat Earthers, but people who do not believe the Earth is flat.
On a spherical object that is magnetized, a kind of “northern lights” effect can occur at one of the poles of the spherical magnet.
How could the Earth have northern lights, auroral fields at the poles of the Earth, if it were not a sphere, when we can observe the exact same effect on a spherical magnet at a smaller scale?
The Sun’s movement
It’s quite easy to prove that the Earth moves around the Sun because of planetary retrogrades: the planets appearing to move backwards from Earth’s perspective, because the planets are all going around the Sun the same as us.
About 3 times a year, Mercury notoriously enters retrograde: because it is the closest planet to the Sun, we witness it appear to move backwards from Earth’s perspective about 3 times a year.
Venus enters retrograde from Earth’s perspective about once every year and a half, and Mars does this about once every 2 years. The outer planets enter retrograde for a period of time every year.
So if the Earth were flat, why would all the other planets, and Earth, perfectly appear to be moving around the Sun based on planetary retrogrades?
In conclusion, yes the mainstream media does use the existence of the Flat Earth theory to discredit and belittle totally unrelated researchers who they deem conspiracy theorists, but there is plenty of compelling evidence to prove the Earth is not flat, and Flat Earthers tend to sometimes cite flimsy evidence which makes them an easy target.