“The Earth is round”, this is what we were told since the day we first studied science, our world, and space. Scientists have proofs and explanations that show that the earth is really round. When we search “Earth” in the internet, we see pictures of a rounded earth. But, this is not what everyone believes. There are people who reject the idea of the earth being round, and think that the earth is actually flat.

What is flat earth theory?

According to Wolchover (2017), the flat earth theory is the belief of a disc-shaped planet earth with a 150-foot-tall wall of ice of Antarctica surrounds the rim of the planet. The flat earth community believe that NASA employees had been guarding this ice wall to prevent people from climbing over and falling off. This theory claims that the earth’s sun and moon are spheres that move in circles are just 3,000 miles above the disc-shaped Earth. Moreover, the community believe the existence of an invisible “antimoon” that blocks the moon during lunar eclipse. This theory also claims that the gravity is an illusion. Objects do not accelerate downward; instead, the Earth is driven up by a mysterious force called dark energy that accelerates the earth upward at 9.8m/s². The community believe that the photos of the globe is photoshopped. Their motive for the governments’ concealment of earth’s shape has not been confirmed, but they believe it is probably financial. The believer of this theory have grown by 200 people per year since 2009 and by judging the effort of the community have invested in convincing other people, it seems that these people genuinely believe the earth is flat.


Flat Earth Society           

The Flat Earth Society is an online community that consists of people who believes that the Earth is flat, and not round. This society was originally founded by an English writer named Birley Rowbotham way back in the 1880s. According to Rowbotham’s Zetetic Astronomy, “the Earth is a flat disk centered at the North Pole and bounded along its ‘southern edge’ by a wall of ice, with the sun, moon, planets, and stars only a few hundred miles above the surface of the Earth”. Since then, many people followed the same beliefs.

According to Flat Earth Wiki, the Flat Earth Society was created in light of the realization that for someone with a “round earth” background, the flat earth theory would appear, at first glance, to have some glaring holes.

Today, there are a lot of different websites, groups, and pages dedicated only for the interaction of the Flat Earth Society members. Members of this community come from different parts of the world.

Brief History of Flat Earth Society

According to Eddy (2016), Charles Kenneth Johnson became the president of the Flat Earth Society after his good friend Samuel Shenton, founder of the group, had passed away. Shenton had founded the group in the 1950s but traced its origins back to 19th century England. Although Johnson’s residence was so close to the NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center, he strongly stuck to his beliefs that the space program was full-on hoax. He stated that “You can’t orbit a flat earth. The Space Shuttle is a joke—and a very ludicrous joke.” He hadn’t achieved more than a high-school education but still a well-spoken, passionate advocate and grew the society’s membership from a handful of believers to some 3,000 strong.

In 2010, Daniel Shenton became the new president of the flat earth society. Unlike his predecessors, he believes in global warming and evolution.Shenton spent most of his life believing the Earth was round but after being introduced by Thomas Dolby’s album The Flat Earth, his view changes. Up until now, the community is still keeping on and has been active to different social media.

Observations & Interviews


Flat earthers – flatties, flatards

Round earthers – globers, globetards

Disclaimer: We mostly focused on two Facebook groups. One of which appears to be the major online group of the Flat Earth Society for everyone worldwide and one group from the Philippines.


The following websites, forums, Facebook pages, and Facebook groups have been observed.

Websites/forums: |

Facebook pages: Flat Earth Society @FlatSoc | The Flat Earth Society @FlatEarthToday

Facebook groups: Flat Earth Society | Philippine FLAT EARTH SOCIETY (FILIPINONG NANINIWALNG PATAG ANG MUNDO) | Flat Earth Society Philippines (ORIGINAL)


Facebook Group

Everyone, whether flat earther or round earther is welcomed and accepted in the Facebook group of the Flat Earth Society. If you’re a round earther or glober, which in layman’s term means someone who believes that the Earth is round then you’ll be surprised when you join the Facebook group of Flat Earth Society.

The group currently has more than 16000 members. According to the description of the group, it is dedicated to the discussion of Flat Earth Theory. It is also a place to come and find out more about how this theory works and where possible how to see evidence of it.


As seen in some the pictures, the rules of the group are very detail-oriented. It is also evident that the community is open for queries. They allow round earthers to question the Flat Earth Theory or make a claim about it, thus, starting a conversation between two different type of people and the sharing of different perspectives and opinions about their own views.

Since the group lets you join whether you’re a flat or round earther, it can result to disagreements. In the pictures, you can see a flat earther addressing what usually happens when they post something. Since round earthers are welcomed in the group, most of the times their responses are rude. They would mock the flat earther for believing that the Earth is flat.

In one picture, there is this certain behavior of flat earthers wherein they relate their belief to almost everything just to prove that the earth is flat.



As seen in one the picture, flat earthers are not good in grammar and cannot use punctuation very well. Not to generalize but there are some flat earthers that know their grammar and punctuations, it’s just that majority are the opposite.




One of the major posts in this group are memes. Memes here, memes there, memes everywhere. What are the memes about? Well, mostly memes regarding the Earth being flat and not. Some are rude and offensive especially for flatties since the globers are the ones who usually post memes.


Majority of the posts that can be seen in the group are questions and queries. Posts that asks for people’s thoughts whether you’re a flat or round earther. Most of the time, there is a picture or video attached with the post, flat earther or not they question why would that sort of thing happen.


Another major post is about NASA, mostly posted by round earthers. It can either be a meme about NASA or something that NASA proved in the past. This is somewhat to annoy and mock the flat earthers about their belief.

There are also posts relating to bible verses.




For the majority of the responses, it can be divided into three: a meme, ‘do your research,’ and some who will gives you a detailed explanation about it.




As seen in the picture, they are less rude and less hostile compared to the people in the Facebook group. It is also evident that they speak more formally.

As for the usual behavior, they are very open with different opinions and perspective whether you’re a flat earther or round earther. In these forums they respect your point of view, there’s only a little bit to no judgment from other people. Again, they are very detail-oriented. They would take the time to explain to another person their beliefs showing them with different proofs.


Most people in forums, whether a flat earther or a round earther, can speak with correct grammar and uses proper punctuations.



How did you know about the flat earth theory? When and how did you start believing that the Earth is flat?

Were you influenced by someone or something? If yes, what or who is it?

What is your religion?

Are you a college graduate? If yes, what is your degree? If no, what is your highest educational attainment?



                 You are probably weirded out by now. I bet you are asking yourself: “How did these people believed this theory?” or “Who even influenced them to think that the earth is flat?” Well, here’s why!

How did they knew about this theory?

Most of the members of this community knew the flat earth theory through the Internet. One said that she came across an article explaining the concept behind this theory, then out of curiosity, she researched more about it.

Some of them said that people are ignoring concepts that were brought to us since we were a child. The concept of rounded earth is considered as a “common sense” to most people but to them, there’s still more to that. They question all the scientific proofs and evidences that states that the earth is round. They also think that the government has been misleading us because of something, and that NASA is fake.

However, some people were a bit lost with the idea of the flat earth. There were some who do not make sense in what they are saying regarding their perception of the earth.

What/Who influenced them?

Eric Dubay was one of the names that popped out when they were asked about their influence in believing the flat earth theory. Apparently, Eric is from the International Flat Earth Research Society and he has books explaining the flat earth theory. His most recent book is called “The Flat Earth Conspiracy”. He also posts a lot of videos on Youtube to introduce and awaken people to the concept of a flat earth.


photo of Eric Dubay

When the members of this community were asked if they were influenced by someone who is close to them like their family or friends, they were not able to mention anyone. Most of them said that it was their personal choice and their friends were not even aware of this theory. They also said that they were able to meet new friends and acquaintances through different groups in Facebook.

This shows that these people were not forced into believing that the earth is flat, and they were not pressured by their friends or families. Their way of thinking are all based on their own research and observations, and was developed by the people that they met that share the same idea as them.


We talked to several members of the community and apparently religion is distinctive among them. In fact, some of them don’t have religion. But then, what’s common with them is that they deny science. Several religions had initially claimed that the earth is flat which made us believe that the flat earth theory and religion is united; however, they are not. Maybe religion is just one of the most influential means of believing the earth is flat but it does not generally imply for everyone. So based on their responses, we came up to a conclusion that the flat earth theory is not related with religion at all.


Most members of this community are either high school graduates or vocational graduates. Their view about the earth are all based on their own observation and on the internet. We all know that not everything we see online is 100% accurate and reliable.  In proving the theory, they use the empirical method, which relies on information from our own senses. They said that they trust their senses to discern the true nature of the world around us. Because of that, they reject all the scientific proofs given to us.



Symbolic Interactionism

Why would people believe that the earth is flat even when all scientific evidence are contradictory to this? This is because of the situations that these people create in their minds.

Symbolic Interactionism is the most applicable theory for this research with the reason that it interprets society through the interactions we have with people and the environment one interacts with. It also analyzes society by addressing the subjective meanings that people impose on things. By subjective, it means that people only believe on the things that they want to believe, and not on what is objectively true. Their beliefs are somehow influenced by their emotions, feelings, or by the people around them.

Technology also played a huge role in the views of the flat earthers. In result to this, flat earthers have acquired different point of views and ideas about the earth. Most flat earthers got their information about this theory only through the internet and they already accepted it as true because it is what they want to believe. Through today’s technology, flat earthers have gained more reach and met more people who share the same beliefs and notions as them. If the internet did not come into fruition, some of them might lose their idea of the earth being flat because there would be lesser exchange of information about the flat earth theory. The flat earth community has developed their members into what they are believing today. Through symbolic interactionism, the flat earth community helped its members and/or followers to shape their own identity as a believer of the flat earth theory.




The growing population of the Flat Earth community had been noticeable year by year. Despite the information given to us today, some still disregard the fact that the earth is round. As we researched about the Flat Earth Society, it was concluded that there are several factors that can be associated with their belief. One of which is religion. At first glance, religion can be seen as a major influence for believing that the earth is flat. According to our research on the Flat Earth Society, it turns out that it does not have a major role and significance in their belief. How the community deals with negative criticisms of other people is another reason. Based on our observations, most of their arguments had no basis whether it is against a co-flat earther or with a round earther, mostly just relying on different videos and anecdotes online. Furthermore, most of the participants we had interviewed were usually college undergraduates. They rely too much on what they see and read on the internet without verifying whether it is true and if the source is reliable enough. Hence, we concluded that the members of the community are not open with different views and perspective about the earth. This study elaborated the culture behind the Flat Earth Society, to understand where their beliefs are coming from and to acknowledge the existence of their community.



Eddy, C. (2016, January 26). The Silly But Serious History of the International Flat Earth Society. Retrieved July 12, 2017, from

Frequently Asked Questions. (n.d.). Retrieved July 11, 2017, from

Wolchover, N. (2017, May 30). Are Flat-Earthers Being Serious? Retrieved July 10, 2017, from