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The Contender
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Flat Earth vs Globe Earth

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Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 1/16/2018 Category: Science
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,157 times Debate No: 106745
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (52)
Votes (1)




I will be arguing that the Earth is flat. My opponent will argue the Earth is a sphere.

1. I will be placing the BoP on both sides.
2. My opponent will not post their arguments until the next round.
3. Round 2 is strictly for arguments, round 3 is strictly for rebuttals to those arguments.


I accept the debate.

If I have understood the rules, in R2 I will only post my arguments, ignoring yours. And in R3 I will only argue against your R2 arguments, ignoring what you said about mine. With 2 rounds of debate, this is the only "fair" structure, so I assume that is what you mean.

I await your arguments.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting this debate, and thank you DDO for hosting it.

1. Physics of Water

Perhaps, one of the biggest holes in the heliocentric spinning ball model is the natural physics of water.

The natural physics of water is to find and maintain its level. If Earth were a giant spinning sphere tilting and hurling through space then truly flat, consistently level surfaces would not exist here. There would be a massive bulge of water in the oceans because of the curvature of the earth. If earth was curved and spinning the oceans of water would be flowing down to level and covering land. Some rivers would be impossibly flowing uphill. There would massive water chaos and flooding! What we would see and experience would be vastly different! But since Earth is in fact an extended flat plane, this fundamental physical property of luids finding and remaining level is consistent with experience and common sense [1] [2]. Water has also been proven to be undeniably flat, many, many times. One such example would be in this video [3].




2. Flight Patterns

There are many flight patterns that, while they make absolutely no sense on a spherical Earth, make sense on a flat Earth. First off, looking at Antarctica, we know none of these flight patterns exist [4]. We know these are impossible on a flat Earth (especially if you have seen a flat Earth map) [5], but are possible on a globe Earth and infact, would result in shorter flight times. We are often told these flights do not exist because it is too cold. However, we are also told we have sent probes to outer space, which is MUCH more frigid. It is more of an excuse than an explanation.

[6] [7] Then look at this. On a ball earth, during a flight to Johannesburg to Perth, it should be a straight shot over the ocean and we should be able to land for refueling in Mauritus or Madagascar. But instead, most flights will stop in Dubai, Hong Kong, or Malaysia. It should also be a straight shot over the atlantic to go to Johannesburg to Sao Paulo, but many flights instead make a re-feuling in London, which would be impossible on a spherical Earth.


3. No evidence of curvature.

We are widely told we can see curvature at a height of around 35K Feet, the typical range where airplanes typically fly at. There have been reports of seeing curvature outside of an airplane window, but this has been debunked many times before. The curved glass of an airplane window will distort curvature [8]. We also have images showing no curvature from 80K feet, 121K feet, and 317K Feet [9] [10].

Many images allegedly showing curvature from similar heights have been shown to simply be hoaxes, or were blatantly recorded using a fish eye lense. Heres a humoruous example [11]. We have also caught NASA admitting to faking images. "The last time anyone took a photograph from above low Earth orbit that showed an entire hemisphere (one side of a globe) was in 1972 during Apollo 17". If you read further, we also have them saying that they stitched a "flat map" collected with satelite data onto a ball. Interesting [12]. Not only this, but there are videos throughouly debunking the 2 images they just don't wanna admit are fake, as throughougly as my debunking of the rest of "photographic evidence" [13] [14] [15].








4. Chicago Skyline

It is one of the most compelling arguments which convinced me into a flat Earth (and I must say thanks to Edl for waking me up) [16]. According to the globe Earth model, this should be impossible, and Chicago should instead disappear over the horizon. However, this is not the case. The common explanation is that this is just a mirage, but if you have actually seen a mirage you will know this is not true [17]. We may similarly use the Toronto skyline as evidence [18]




5. Midnight Sun

The "Midnight Sun" is an Arctic phenomenon occurring annually during the summer solstice where for several days straight an observer significantly far enough north can watch the Sun traveling circles over-head, rising and falling in the sky throughout the day, but never fully setting for upwards of 72+ hours! If the Earth were actually a spinning globe revolving around the Sun, the only place such a phenomenon as the Midnight Sun could be observed would be at the poles. Any other vantage point from 89 degrees latitude downwards could never, regardless of any tilt or inclination, see the Sun for 24 hours straight. To see the Sun for an entire revolution on a spinning globe at a point other than the poles, you would have to be looking through miles and miles of land and sea for part of the revolution! [18] [19]



6. Stars

The final point I would like to bring up are stars.

i. If Earth were a ball, the Southern Cross and other Southern constellations would all be visible at the same time from every longitude on the same latitude as is the case in the North with Polaris and its surrounding constellations. Ursa Major/Minor and many others can be seen from every Northern meridian simultaneously whereas in the South, constellations like the Southern Cross cannot. This proves the Southern hemisphere is not "turned under" as in the ball-Earth model, but simply stretching further outwards away from the Northern center-point as in the flat Earth model. [21]

ii. Sigma Octantis is claimed to be a Southern central pole star similar to Polaris, around which the Southern hemisphere stars all rotate around the opposite direction. Unlike Polaris, however, Sigma Octantis can NOT be seen simultaneously from every point along the same latitude, it is NOT central but allegedly 1 degree off-center, it is NOT motionless, and in fact cannot be seen at all using publicly available telescopes! There is legitimate speculation regarding whether Sigma Octantis even exists. Either way, the direction in which stars move overhead is based on perspective and the exact direction you"re facing, not which hemisphere you are in. [22]




I am not using this as an argument. All I ask is that you read it, and see if it wakes you up:


As per the rules, I’ll only be presenting my arguments for a spherical earth this round.

Brief Overview

My first argument will concern gravity and how the existence of gravity is incompatible with a flat earth, in multiple important respects.

Next, we’ll look at a probabilistic argument regarding the likelihood of a conspiracy. Specifically, we’ll look at the number of people that would need to be involved in this conspiracy, as well as the number of governments. We’ll analyze whether it is possible to maintain such a conspiracy. We’ll also lightly look at the existence (or lack thereof) of motivations for keeping such a conspiracy alive.

Argument 1: Gravity

We will first acknowledge that there is a force which continuously acts upon all bodies. For evidence of this, simply jump. Finally, take note that you will soon return to the ground. For your body to change directions (from up to down) a force must necessarily have been applied to your body. [1]

We further note that this “falling force” does not appear to work in a single, universal direction. We see that the planets appear to follow particular paths which they could not possibly follow unless a force was acting upon them. This “falling force” appears to change direction depending upon the orientation of the masses involved. This “falling force” is what we call gravity and its behavior has been accurately described by an equation [2] which yields the attraction between two objects depending upon their distance and masses.

Given the existence of gravity, it is not possible for a flat earth to exist.

The first reason for this has to do with planet formation. We have never seen a planet form, but we intimately understand the physics of how objects move and so it is simple to work the math “backwards” to determine how planet formation must have occured. [3] Put simply, gravity attracts objects to one another. If you have space occupied by clouds of dust, the motes of dust will mutually attract one another and centralize in one location. Notably, the dust configures itself such that it is in a state of minimal energy.

Consider pouring sand from a glass onto a table. The sand will never form a vertical pillar, like you might see on a building. Instead, the sand forms a mound. Similarly, as a planet forms, the dust that composes it will take a spherical shape, as this is the shape which has minimal energy. It could not form “flat”, just as you cannot pour sand into a perfect pillar.

Assuming that earth magically formed flat, it could not retain its flat shape. Earth is not a solid object, but is instead composed of layers of dirt, sand and rock. It has no rigidity. The forces of gravity would tear at the loose layers of the outer boundaries of the earth and pull them toward a center. The flat earth would quickly turn into a “squashed sphere”.

Lastly, simple observation along with the theory of gravity demonstrates that the earth isn’t flat. Every object has a “gravitational center”, toward which they are attracted. (This is technically the average of all attraction vectors, since one particle is attracted to every other particle.) People on the outward edge of the would experience a pull toward this gravitational center. Only when near the center of the disc would “down” fell perpendicular to the surface of the earth. When you got even a little bit toward the edge, down would not pull toward the earth beneath you. If you got close enough to the edge, things would “slide” back toward the center of the disc. If you dropped a ball, it would appear to fall at a steep angle toward whatever direction the origin of the disc laid. We, however, do not observe this. In fact, everywhere on earth gravity is experienced perpendicular to the earth, which is exactly what is expected on a sphere. (Interestingly, no other 3d shape has this property.)

In conclusion, gravity precludes the existence of a flat earth. A flat earth could not form under gravity, it could not continue to exist under gravity, and the human experience would be very much different than it is now, even if a flat earth could somehow form and remain structurally intact.

Argument 2: A Probabilistic Argument

We first acknowledge that if the earth is flat, somebody is lying to us. It is useful to tally up who these liars would be. We first start big. Twelve countries have purportedly launched satellites into space. Because satellites do not work on a flat earth (for gravitational reasons well implied above), we must assume these countries have lied. These countries are the USSR, the US, France, Japan, China, UK, India, Ukraine, Russia, Israel, Iran and North Korea. The combined populations of these countries (excluding the USSR) is about 3.6 billion, accounting for about half of the world’s population.

We must also acknowledge that the respective space agencies of all these countries, minimally, must be involved in the conspiracy. Additionally, since space and aircraft design naturally assumes the earth is spherical and since the shape of the planet informs aircraft and spacecraft design, we must assume all employed aerospace engineers are also lying to us. In the US alone, over 68,000 aerospace engineers are currently employed and working. [4] Additionally, there are at least 9 private spaceflight companies currently operating in major countries each of which “supposedly” have working modules, rockets, or stations in space. [5]

This debater conservatively estimates that at least 100,000 people are aware of these conspiracy. Why does that make this conspiracy unlikely? First, because people are bad at keeping secrets. We regularly see leaked documents released on the news, often for relatively trivial matters. For this secret to be held, over 100,000 humans in at least 12 countries, all with varying levels of pay, would need to hold this secret -- the most earth shatteringly important secret every held. And yet not a single leak or document has been produced. We conclude that, by any standard of reason, this is because the earth is not flat.

Secondly, countries would be likely be motivated to share this information with the public, in an attempt to undermine rival nations’ citizens’ faith in their government. If Russia currently admitted that the world were flat, along with proof, the United States would up and revolt against the government. Nobody would trust American scientists anymore and the economy would tank. It’s difficult to see how Russia would lose in that scenario.

And yet that hasn’t happened. While the second reason is more speculative than the first, both allow us to reasonably conclude that there is not a conspiracy in which tens of thousands of people are in on. And that directly implies that the Earth is a sphere.


Sadly, I did not have time to present a third argument, but my first two should be sufficient. They are, I believe, the two most important arguments for the spherical earth, as far as easily understood arguments using basically no math or advanced physics are concerned.

First, we demonstrated that gravity, as it is understood in "mainstream" science, is easily observed. A direct implication of gravity is that the earth is round. A flat earth could not form, it could not maintain its structural integrity and gravity effects on it would be markedly different than those we observe. If any argument should ever be remembered for the existence of a spherical earth, it is this one.

Next, we looked at how a conspiracy of this magnitude is not feasible. Too many people would need to be involved and there would be too great a motivation for even one person to leak the truth. To entertain the notion that tens of thousands of people are lying is literally a mental disorder. [7]

We have no choice but to conclude that the world is indeed a sphere. I look forward to the final round.


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Debate Round No. 2


Re. 1. Gravity

Gravity is a theory. For thousands of years, people just accepted the fact that up was up, and down was down, until everyone starting believing that the Earth was a ball .Then, the obvious questions came up ie. Why don't people fall off the bottom of the ball? Newton then hypothesized that the Earth must act as a magnet. He theorized this simply on the fact that he witnessed an apple fall from a tree. If gravity is constant, and is the same everywhere, and the earth is spinning at 1,000 mph at the equator, but is barely moving at the pole, and gravity is countering the centrifugal force, why don't we weigh much less at the equator?

Even then, I must ask, if you know what a ring magnet is. Assuming that the Earth acting as a giant magnet was the undeniable explanation, then you would have to claim that ring magnets don't exist.

Re. 2. Probability

This is not at all evidence for a globe, but it's an appeal to probability fallacy.

Thanks for the arguments anyway, I await your responses to my claims.


As per the rules, I'll here talk about the opponent's arguments.

Argument 1: Physics of Water

The opponent starts with a faulty assumption about water. They state, “the natural physics of water is to find and maintain its level”. This is not entirely true. A liquid under the effects of gravity attempts to find its lowest energy state. It does this by attempting to make the surface of the liquid have an equal amount of potential energy from gravity everywhere along its surface. On a flat earth, this *would* translate to a level surface. On a spherical earth, this translates to a spherical surface, since every point on the surface is an equal distance from the center of gravity. (This distance is the radius of the sphere formed. A sphere is such that the radius is the same everywhere.)

The word “bulge” is not the correct term to use, as “bulge” implies a change in curvature. In both models of the earth there is not a bulge. In both cases the curvature of water is unchanging. On a flat earth, there is no curvature. On a spherical earth, there is minimal curvature.

In neither model does water attempt to move in physically impossible ways. Suppose V liters of water is held in some natural crater, surrounded by hills. If one takes an imaginary sphere starting at the center of the earth and expands it, the volume of the sphere that contains this physical structure will eventually equal V liters, and this is the shape the water will take. There is no “climbing uphill” or whatever. No physical model prescribes that behavior.

We should additionally not be surprised to see the provided “evidence” showing a flat water surface. The curvature of the earth is quite minimal. On a sphere with circumference of ~25,000 miles, one expect waters to change slope by one degree every 70 miles. Such a minute change is not visibly observable under any non-extraterrestrial condition. When you are very close to a sphere, it looks very flat. The behavior observed in the images and video provided are exactly what one would expect on a flat earth and on a spherical earth. Thus, this cannot be considered evidence for the former.

Argument 2: Flight Patterns

This is one of the least valuable arguments in the Flat Earth repertoire because it completely ignores basic economics and reasonable safety concerns.

An airline only makes a flight available if it is economical for an airline to do so. If there is not sufficient demand for direct flights from Sao Paulo to Johannesburg, then the airline will connect a major business hub in between, like London. In most all cases of suboptimal flight paths we see that the path takes the flight through a major hub. To pick up passengers. Who pay money. It is the same reason many people don’t have a road straight from their house to the Walmart. It is definitely more direct, but it isn’t economically sound.

Next, airplanes rarely fly over antarctica for fairly obvious reasons. There are no nearby airports for planes to divert to in the case of an emergency. Twin-engine planes are not allowed to fly over the Antarctic. If there is an emergency and the plane crashes, everyone who survives the crash will eventually die. The polar cap is not a survivable environment. Due to magnetic oddities near the poles, navigation is very difficult. [1] All of these are entirely reasonable justifications for not regularly flying over the Antarctic.

Sometimes flights do go this way. There are sightseeing flights. [2]

Argument 3: No evidence of curvature

The opponent believes that the fact that it is difficult to detect curvature while close to the earth is evidence that curvature does not exist. In the round earth model, being 100,000 ft in the air gives you a visual distance to horizon of 12.3 miles. [3] Again, a change in slope of 1 degree is expected every 70 miles. So you should not be able to see curvature from an airplane in the round earth model.

As for images taken from space, it is again very difficult to see curvature unless you’re looking in the right direction. Because again, earth is very large. There are single images of partial curvature being observed, however. From the mentioned Apollo 17 [4]. From certain angles from the space station. [5] (We note that a fisheye can’t be being used here, as that would distort the equipment as well.)

We further note that composite images don’t exactly qualify as “faking” an image, since NASA clearly notes when an image is a composite. There are a litany of full images taken from deep space craft. [6] From 1 million+ miles away, the curvature is quite apparent.

Argument 4: Chicago Skyline

The opponent literally gives the appropriate answer to her argument, then follows it with an anecdotal claim in hopes that this is a sufficient answer.

The problem is that you can see much of the Chicago skyline from a distance where you should be able to see much less of it. Scientists explain this as a result of atmospheric lensing. This write up goes over the math and the phenomenon in excruciating detail. [7] In short, the Chicago skyline view is precisely what one would expect on a spherical earth. The mirage isn’t always there and it regularly changes shape, all dependent upon atmospheric factors -- tell-tale signs that a lensing phenomenon is taking place.

We note that if the earth were flat, we’d expect to be able to see all of the Chicago skyline all the time. (Or none of it, during a fog.) And yet we only ever see the upper parts of the skyline, which is inconsistent with the flat earth model.

Argument 5: Midnight Sun

The opponent presents an phenomenon and asserts, without evidence, that we shouldn’t be able to see this. Since it takes more space to explain science than misunderstand it, I’ll relegate the answer to this largely to an article. [8]

Midnight sun occurs when the earth’s axis is tilted toward the sun, so that people near polar areas don’t see the sun set for 24-48 hours at a time. (At the poles, sunshine can last as long at 6 months.)

In short, observed occurrences of the midnight sun are consistent with what a spherical earth predicts. Moreso, there is a related phenomenon which occurs less close to the poles in which the sun dips below the horizon, but not enough for darkness to truly occur.

Argument 6: Stars

The opponent claims that Crux, the Southern Cross, should be visible from everywhere in the southern hemisphere, then asserts it is not. However, Crux *is* visible in the Southern Hemisphere. [9] It is not visible at all times of day, but a few hours every night Crux is certainly visible.

The opponent then claims that this proves there is no southern hemisphere, but instead the “southern hemisphere” is actually the outer edge of the disc. We should note that, if this were true, the southern hemisphere should be able to see Polaris. In fact, the same stars should be visible everywhere on earth at the same time since we’d all be “facing” in the same direction. This is clearly not the case, so we can only see this as evidence of a spherical earth.

The opponent’s point about Sigma Octanis seems to be that the star is difficult to see, so it might not exist, and also the stars appear to move differently across the sky based upon where you are at. I’m not getting the relevance of this point. Sigma Octanis is not a bright star, this is true. [10] Stars do look different depending upon where you are, which is evidence for a spherical earth. On a flat earth, the night sky would look the same to everyone at all times. We would all be looking at the same hemisphere of the night sky. But this is clearly not the case.


The opponent’s arguments are based upon misunderstandings of basic science or the mentioning of facts that would be the case on both the round and flat earth. We find no compelling evidence for the flatness of the earth.


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Debate Round No. 3
52 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Septune 2 years ago
Did you look up the MPU-6050? This isn't evidence for a spherical earth, but it certainly isn't evidence for a flat earth. It's just another example of someone trying to measure something using a tool that was not built to accurately measure that thing.

Download the fact sheet. [1] This product was designed to be used in cellphones and smart devices, so no shame to them for having a device that can't measure Earth's rotation of 0.00417 degrees per second. The fact sheet clearly states that on its most sensitive setting, the device has a sensitivity of 131 LSB / degrees / second. This means if the device is rotating at one degree per second, it will be able to discern 131 different changes in orientation. When you consider the Earth's relatively slow angular rotation of 0.00417 degrees per second, you find that one doesn't expect the device to be able to register the change. It simply isn't sensitive enough to make the measurement.

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Posted by Youngastronomer 2 years ago
4 rounds, shared BoP, go for it.
Posted by hmikeshin 2 years ago
Posted by hmikeshin 2 years ago
Wait... I'm confused, are u pro or con...
Posted by hmikeshin 2 years ago
I will
Posted by Youngastronomer 2 years ago
Feel free to debate me about it.
Posted by Youngastronomer 2 years ago
Flat Earth is a theory for delusional NASA haters, you don't need to get through school to debunk it.
Posted by hmikeshin 2 years ago
Look, if the Earth wasn't flat, it would defy the physics of gravity and general relativity.

It's a fact, the Earth is flat.
Posted by Ramshutu 2 years ago
"Pro goes on to refute himself twice: once by producing an image [10] that shows curvature when he says it doesn't, and an image of a plane"

Should read:

"Pro goes on to refute himself twice: once by producing an image [10] that shows curvature when he says it doesn't, and an image of a plane window [11] that doesn't show curvature when he argues it will. Refuting oneself is rather an obvious way to lose points."
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Ramshutu 2 years ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: A short, minute RFD in comments...

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