Our Earth

 

 

Is it Flat or Spherical?

and

Is it Stationary or in Motion?

 

 

 

4th Edition

Revised 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

Central Highlands Congregation of God

 

 

 

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Genesis 1:1

 

 

“When He prepared the heavens, I was there, when He placed a curve on the face of the deep”

Proverbs 8:27

 

 

It is He who sits above the curve of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.

Isaiah 40:22

 

 

He stretches out Zaphon over emptiness; he hangs the Earth on nothing

Job 26:7

 

 

Our Earth

Table of Contents

Introduction

Part1: Is the Earth Flat or Spherical?

Biblical Considerations

Historical Considerations

Can the Full Moon Be Seen Everywhere at the Same Time?

East and West

Walking To and Fro and Gravity Issues

The Great Flood

All the Kingdoms

Circle vs Ball

The Sun

The Moon’s Light

Foundations of the Earth

Moon’s Face Towards Earth

Moon Uniformly Bright

Seeing a Full Moon During the Day

Seeing the Moon Clearly

Moon-lit Clouds

Sun Rays at Angles

Polaris at the North Pole

Rockets in Space

Melting Satellites

Is the Horizon at Eye Level When One Goes High?

Air Travel and Wind Speed

Canal Locks and Suez

Are the Seas Curved?

Lighthouses in the Distance

The Phoney Antarctica

East-West Travel in the Southern Latitudes

Sunrise and Sunset

Daylight and Twilight Lengths

Why Can We See Stars?

Earth’s Orbit around the Sun

Our Seasons

Yearly Progression of the Stars

Retrograde Motion of the Superior Planets

Stellar Parallax

Sun Worship

Our Mission as Christians

Part 2: Is our Spherical Earth Stationary or in Motion?

Introduction

Scripture and Geocentricity and Heliocentric Models

Bouw’s Scriptures

Moorman’s Scriptures

The Basics of Geocentricity and Heliocentric Models

The Geocentricity Model

The Heliocentric Model

Scientific Geocentricity Issues

Perceived Motion

Earth’s Atmosphere

Plenum Aether

The Four Experiments

The Michelson-Morley Experiment

The Michelson-Gale Experiment

Airy’s Failure

The Sagnac Experiment

Satellites and Rockets

Mississippi Flowing Uphill?

The Warp-Speed Universe

Our Oscillating Sun

The Butterfly Earth

Scientific Problems with the Heliocentric Model

Stationary Earth and Evolution

Conclusion

Appendix

 

 

 

Introduction

A member of our congregation presented information from Jeremy James’ True Cosmology: The Earth that the LORD God of All Creation made for His Son as evidence that the earth is not a rotating sphere orbiting the sun, but instead is a stationary flat disc.

 

As this person had been mislead by James’ article, and an internet search indicates that others have also been taken in by it, I have written Part 1 of this document as a refutation of his main arguments, as well as some other major Flat Earther claims and misunderstandings.

 

My references to his article are to the PDF version, downloaded 13 April, 2016 from www.zephaniah.eu.

 

Since then, I have also been sent a copy of J. A. Moorman’s The Biblical and Observational Case for Geocentricity (A Place rather than a Path for the Earth), which accepts that the earth is spherical and the universe is immense, but still claims that the earth is fixed in space and the universe revolves around it, much like the system proposed by Tyco Brahe in the 1590s.  Part 2 presents a summary of Geocentricity and some of the problems with this view, both from Scripture and Science.

 

Part1: Is the Earth Flat or Spherical?

Biblical Considerations

Jeremy says he is a ‘born-again Christian’, and claims that God teaches that the earth is not a sphere.  His article is thus presented as Biblical Truth which he says is supported by science.  Sadly, “True Cosmology” indicates that Jeremy has frequent difficulties interpreting Scripture and rarely understands science.  It is also possible that he is intentionally deceiving people.  I will assume the former, and work through his article from the start, commenting on his more important arguments.

 

He starts with two experiences which convince him that the earth is flat and stationary.

 

The first is a quote from Psalm 19, which I extend by a couple of verses:

 

Psa 19:1  The heavens declare the glory of God; and the expanse shows the work of His hands.

Psa 19:2  Day to day utters speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.

Psa 19:3  There are no speech or words where their voice is not heard.

Psa 19:4  Their measuring line has gone out through all the land, and their words to the end of the world.  He has made a booth for the sun,

Psa 19:5  and he comes out like a bridegroom from his chamber, and rejoices like a strong man to run its race.

Psa 19:6  He comes out from one end of heaven, and his circuit is to the other end; and nothing is hidden from his heat.

Psa 19:7  The Instructions of Jehovah are perfect, restoring the soul.  The testimony of Jehovah is sure, making the simple wise.

Psa 19:8  The precepts of Jehovah are right, rejoicing the heart.  The commandment of Jehovah is pure, enlightening the eyes.

 

In this Psalm, a poem credited to King David, we are told that God has made a booth (tabernacle) for the sun, and the sun comes out of its booth at dawn and races across the sky, heating the earth, and then sets.

 

Is it reasonable to conclude that this passage teaches us that the earth is flat?  There is nothing here that claims the world is flat.1  Or does it state that the earth is stationary?  No, it does not. However, it does show that the sun looks like it moves around the earth.  As Jeremy James’ article shows, he supports the ‘best’ flat earth model in which the earth is essentially a flat disk with the North Pole at its center, while the Sun and other celestial bodies orbit several thousand miles above its inhabited surface.  As will be shown, the flat earth model does NOT match David’s description.

 

Psalm 19 and daily observation agree that in the morning the Sun appears to pop up out of some sort of cover that hides its brightness overnight, and then appears to moves across the sky during the day, and then appears to withdraw into its cover at night, making things dark again.  It is not unreasonable for King David to describe what he sees in this poetic way.  But are his observations based on appearances due to his position on earth or is this objective fact?

 

Jeremy assumes it is objective fact.  But as this article will explain, there are many elements of this description that conflict with his Flat Earth (FE) model.  For example, David says the sun runs from one end of the heaven to the other.  This must mean that it rises from behind the eastern horizon and sets behind the western horizon, which is something we see every day.  But the FE theory has a sun which is always orbiting over the tropics, above a flat, circular earth.  Their sun never reaches the horizon, and so it can never actually rise or set.  (The maths verifying this are in the Sunrise and Sunset section).  As their sun is always in the sky above the flat earth, it can never enter its ‘booth’ and give us a dark night.

 

Furthermore, David never says the earth is flat.  Jeremy merely assumes this.  In fact, David’s description fits closely with our modern understanding of the earth as a sphere, with the main difference being that the sun’s apparent movement is actually due to the earth’s rotation.

 

This difference is what is known in physics as the ‘frame of reference’.  From King David’s ‘frame of reference’, which is where he is standing on the earth’s surface, his description is valid, though with some poetic flourishes.  And this is a geocentric frame of reference, as it centered on the surface of the earth.  But from a frame of reference which is in space looking down at our solar system, one can soon see that the earth is indeed rotating.  And if one was to stay there observing for longer, it would also become obvious that our Earth is also orbiting around the sun.  Can you see that a geocentric frame of reference is only one point from which to view things, and it does not require the earth to be fixed in space, but merely the observer to be fixed on that point on earth’s surface?

 

Some Flat-earthers claim that Revelation 20:9 says that the earth is flat.  The Greek word is platos, and means a ‘broad, open space’.  It is usually translated as breadth.  Likewise the Aramaic word used in this verse means ‘an open space’.  So the Bible says that Satan’s army come against God’s people on a large plain approaching Jerusalem.  It is not a declaration that the entire Earth is flat.

 

This article will explore many details of both the flat-earth and sun-centered models and compare how they fit with both Scripture and actual observations of our Earth and solar system.

 

Historical Considerations

Jeremy suggests that down through time, most people have believed that earth is flat, so the idea that the earth is a sphere is a modern aberration.

 

However, the reality is that many people have believed the earth is spherical for a very long time.  For example, Pythagoras, in the sixth century BCE taught that the earth was a sphere, and about 240 BCE, Eratosthenes actually made measurements and calculated its circumference at about 44,000 km, not too far off its equatorial circumference of 40,074 km.  The British historian Bede, about 700 CE wrote:

“We call the earth a globe, not as if the shape of a sphere were expressed in the diversity of plains and mountains, but because, if all things are included in the outline, the earth’s circumference will represent the figure of a perfect globe. … For truly it is an orb placed in the centre of the universe; in its width it is like a circle, and not circular like a shield but rather like a ball, and it extends from its centre with perfect roundness on all sides.”2

 

The spherical earth was a common belief for more than the last two thousand years.  The widespread myth that Columbus was opposed in his plan to sail west to reach China because he would sail off the edge of the world was a much later anti-Christian slur intended to make Christians look like fools.  The real argument was about how large the earth’s sphere was, and whether Columbus’ ships were capable of carrying enough food and water for them to survive the trip.  As it turned out, Columbus’ idea of the earth’s circumference was indeed too small, and they only survived because the intervening American continent was within their sailing range.

 

It is disappointing that people who want to be Bible-believing Christians accept and perpetuate these unbiblical flat-earth myths.

 

Now let’s examine Jeremy’s second experience that convinced him that the sun-centered solar system with a rotating spherical earth is false:

 

Can the Full Moon Be Seen Everywhere at the Same Time?

This time the ‘proof’ is only Jeremy’s defective understanding of how the moon orbits the earth.  His self-professed inability to model how this works is due to a basic misunderstanding.  He seems to understand that the time of the full moon is the moment during the moon’s orbit around the earth at which the moon and the sun are opposite each other from the perspective of the earth.3  He uses an example where he acknowledges that one full moon occurs at 11:44 AM, Paris time, but then claims that this has to mean that the full moon must therefore be visible in Paris at that precise time.  He correctly points out that this is almost noon in Paris so the full moon could not be seen.  It seems he does not understand how opaque spheres work, because on the opposite side of the earth, in Honolulu, at that same time it would be 11:44 PM, and the full moon would be clearly seen, high in the sky.

 

Jeremy then gives us his four ‘known facts of lunar motion”.  His second “fact” is a restatement of the above error: “Every location on earth has sight of a full moon every month.”  (Emphasis is Jeremy’s).  Jeremy’s “fact” is actually false.  The astronomical full moon is just an instant in time as noted above.  The people on the half of the earth in darkness at that instant can see the full moon if the sky is clear.  The rest of us will only see an apparently full moon, as the moon looks fully illuminated for many hours before and after the exact moment of the astronomical full moon while the earth rotates relative to the moon.

 

But this situation is devastating for Jeremy’s Flat Earth Model.  Surely, on a flat earth, everyone should be able to see a full moon at the same time everywhere as it is always above the horizon.  So, how could it be seen in Honolulu, but not in Paris?  Perhaps the moon was hidden behind a spherical earth.

Because of his faulty “known facts”, Jeremy concludes that he could not “reproduce the phases of the moon correctly”.  I urge him to go back and fix his mistake; he would quickly find that it all works very simply, logically and elegantly.  It also explains how we can see solar eclipses at some astronomical new moons and lunar eclipses at some full moons.  The Flat Earth models cannot explain either adequately, and Jeremy offers us no alternative to the heliocentric model.

 

East and West

On page 5, Jeremy claims that we can only have “as far as the east is from the west” (Psa 103:12) if we have a flat earth.  Really?  They are opposite directions in both scenarios.  And if you look at Jeremy’s Flat Earth map (Figure 5), you will see that his east and west both curve around on their starting latitude, so eventually they will meet on the opposite side of the North Magnetic Pole.  This is very similar to what happens on a spherical earth, so I can only wonder if he hasn’t realised that his Flat World East and West must curve around his magnetic North Pole.  And a more literal translation of Psalm 103:12 is “as far as the sunrise is from the sunset”, again supporting the opposite directions idea.

 

Walking To and Fro and Gravity Issues

Next, Jeremy claims that Satan can only walk to and fro, and up and down on a flat earth (Job 2:2).  But I dispute that.  On a sphere, gravity pulls us towards the center no matter where we are on it, so we can walk upright wherever we are.  So we, as well as Satan, can walk east and west (to and fro) and North and South (up and down) easily.

 

But a flat earth disc would have its center of mass at its center.  If the center of the disc was the North Pole, as it is in most flat earth maps, and the disc had a radius of 10,000 km and was 3300 km thick, the center of gravity would be 1650 km below the North Pole.  I selected this thickness so the flat earth would have a mass about the same as our spherical earth, which would allow it to retain an atmosphere (but see below).  At the North Pole, one could stand vertically.  But the closer one came to the edge of the disc, the more one would have to stand angled towards the outer edge to avoid being pulled over by gravity drawing us towards the North Pole.  This gravitational effect would also drag some of the air, water and lava towards the “center” of the disc’s surface, pooling it up over the Arctic region.4

 

However, gravity would also pull the air around the edges of the disc and towards the center of the underside of the disc.  Under the disc, away from the sun, would be intensely cold and the gases of our atmosphere would condense.  This collapse into liquid ‘air’ would create a near vacuum on the underside of the disc.  Within a few years, virtually all of our atmosphere would be sucked to the underside of the disc and liquified, and everything on earth would die.  I am not aware of anywhere on earth where gravitational distortions like these are seen.

 

The Great Flood

While we are discussing gravity issues, this is one that needs serious consideration: The Flood in Noah’s time could not occur on a flat world.

 

Gen 7:19  And the waters prevailed exceedingly, exceedingly5 on the earth, and all the high mountains under all the heavens were covered.
Gen 7:20  The mountains were covered and the waters prevailed upwards of fifteen cubits.6

 

Notice this carefully: All the high mountains were submerged to a minimum depth of 15 cubits (6.86 meters).  On a spherical earth, with shallower oceans and lower mountains than today, the fountains of the great deep could achieve this, as shown in In the Beginning, by Walt Brown.

 

On a flat earth, Noah’s Flood is impossible, as the flood waters would overflow the ice rim of Antarctica and run off the edge of the world.  They could not submerge the tallest mountains by almost seven meters, as God clearly says they did.  Which leaves us with a choice: do you believe in Noah’s world-wide Flood, which the Bible specifically teaches and is supported by substantial evidence, or in a flat earth which exists only by misunderstanding the Bible and ignoring the substantial evidence refuting it?

 

Please be aware that many flat-earthers deny the existence of gravity, presumably to avoid having to explain why their flat earth models defy gravity.  There is a very simple way to experience the reality of gravitational force.  Just crouch down and jump upwards as hard as you can.  Your muscles create a large force which pushes you up and away from the ground.  If there was no gravitational force, you should just continue to float away from the earth at a constant velocity.  But you will soon realise that there is indeed an invisible force acting on your body, which slows down your movement away from the earth and then begins accelerating you back down to the ground.  That attractive force acting between your mass and the enormous mass of the earth is indeed what we call gravity.  The direction and strength of gravity can be accurately calculated.  And if you jumped straight up, you will notice that you come straight down.  You are not dragged towards the North Pole.  You have just conducted a simple experiment which shows that (1) gravity is real and (2) our earth is not a flat disc.

 

In a second article (Answers in Genesis and our Flat Stationary Earth), Jeremy claims that “the vacuum of space would very quickly suck all the air out of our atmosphere – since that's what vacuums do!”  That would be true if we were alone and out in space.  But Jehovah, our God, has created a very special planet for us to live on.  He has given it exactly the right mass for it to be able to hold on to its atmosphere.  Just as gravity pulls us down against the earth’s surface, it also pulls down the molecules in the air with a force strong enough to keep these gases from floating off into space, but not so strong that our atmosphere becomes too dense for us to breath properly.  Our atmosphere is densest near the earth’s surface as it has the weight of all the other air molecules above them pressing down on it and the strength of earth’s gravitational field decreases rapidly with distance.  Gravity is why our moon has no atmosphere (it is too small to hold onto the gases) and why the atmosphere on Saturn would crush us (it is too large -and it’s gases are also toxic).

 

All the Kingdoms

On page 6, Jeremy claims that Satan could only show Jesus (Jeshua) ALL the kingdoms of the world from the top of a mountain if the world was flat.  But let’s think about this:  How high would such a mountain have to be, even on a flat earth, to see over all obstacles?  Even from the top of Mount Everest, at 8,848 meters above sea level, the farthest you can see, even in perfect conditions, is less than 400 km.  But the disc world has a diameter of 40,000 km.  Quite obviously, the mountain was really just theatrics; Jesus (Jeshua in the Aramaic New Covenant) was shown these kingdoms supernaturally, and it could not be done physically on either a flat or spherical earth.  These same arguments apply to the tree in Dan 4:11.

 

Circle vs Ball

Jeremy’s comments here are partly correct.  He uses these two passages:

 

Isa 40:22  It is He who sits above the curve [circle] of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.

Isa 22:17-18  Indeed, Jehovah will throw you away violently, O mighty man, and will surely seize you and whirl you round and round and toss you like a ball into a broad country; there you shall die....

 

He correctly points out that “circle”, used in many translations in Isa 40:22 is from the Hebrew חוּג chuwg, while ball in 22:18 comes from  דּוּר duwr.  He claims that God could have used duwr in 40:22 if he wanted to teach us that the earth is a sphere.  This may be true, but chuwg also means curve or roundness, which both fit excellently with the earth being a sphere.  And let us look chuwg used in Proverbs 8:27  When He prepared the heavens, I was there, when He placed a curve7 on the face of the deep,  Please think about this.  Are the surfaces of the oceans flat, as the Flat Earth idea requires, or are the surfaces of the oceans curved, as the Bible clearly teaches?

 

I also think Jeremy misunderstands what has likely happened to give us Isa 40:22, where Isaiah is above the curve of the earth.  I believe Isaiah was taken up into the heavens in spirit and shown these things and he then described them as well as he could in his own words.  One astounding thing he saw was that the earth looked like a shining curved shape.  Another was that the earth looked to be suspended on nothing, as Job says in Job 26:7.  What he saw is familiar to us today from the many photographs taken of the earth from space, and indeed the earth does look like a disk when it is fully illuminated and we are far enough away.  But that does not prove that the earth has to be a disk rather than a sphere.  Other photos taken of the earth from different angles relative to the sun show that it has bright and dark “phases” like the moon and planets, confirming that its shape is spherical.8

 

The Sun

Jeremy also quotes other passages referring to the sun rising and going down such as Psa 113:3 and Ecc 1:5.  If one looks in the weather page of their newspaper, they will also find the times of sunrise and sunset listed.  Does this mean the person who calculated those times believes that the earth is stationary and the sun literally rises, circumnavigates the earth and then sets?  It does not.  We use this language because it is how it looks from our frame of reference on the surface of the earth.  And it would have looked just the same to the writer of the Psalm and to King Solomon who wrote Ecclesiastes.  As I pointed out earlier, in none of the cases Jeremy quotes is it actually Jehovah God saying “This is how your earth and sun work”, but it is instead the earth-based observations of some of His human servants.  It seems that Jehovah has chosen to leave some of it ambiguous so we can have the pleasure of discovering how He has made these things work.  He has also left us to discover how He converted energy into matter, how He created and programmed DNA to make our bodies, etc, etc.

 

The Moon’s Light

On page 7, Jeremy attempts to prove from the Bible that the moon has its own light and does not merely reflect the light of the sun.9  The only scripture that even appears to support him is Rev 6:12, where he makes the reasonable comment that if the sun is black as sackcloth, how does the moon have enough incoming light to look like blood.  I suspect that the sun will still be giving off enough light that we can see its ‘sackcloth’, leaving some light to reflect from the moon.  I am very interested in seeing how God does this.

The other scriptures he uses (Isa 13:10 and 30:26, Eze 32:7) actually confirm the link between the brightness of the sun and moon that he is trying to break.

 

What he totally avoids in this entire section is his explanation of the phases of the moon, even though he acknowledged they exist on page 2.  If the moon has its own light, how can it possibly have phases, where only sharply defined -and moving- sections of the moon are illuminated?  How does he account for the easily observed fact that when the new moon eventually becomes visible as a crescent after sunset, the crescent always points towards the location of the sun?  In contrast, the sun, which really does produce its own light, never has phases.  It is always bright all over.

 

On page 8, he also contends that the moon is not 1/7th the brightness of the sun.  Wikipedia says the albedo of the moon is 0.136.  This means that the moon reflects just under 1/7th of the light from the sun that strikes it, as Scripture says in Isaiah 30:26.

 

Foundations of the Earth

On page 10, Jeremy claims that creationists do not address the issue of the earth’s foundations.  I suggest that Walt Brown, with his hydroplate theory as expounded in his book “In the Beginning” (available free online) deals with this subject quite well.  The problem here is Jeremy’s insistence that the earth’s foundation MUST be flat.  The center of the earth is also the center of the foundation for the entire spherical earth which is built upon it.  In 2 Samuel 22:16, we are told that when Jehovah exposes the seabed we can see part of the “foundations of the world”.  That is to say, the foundations are everything underneath that support what we see on the surface.  The Bible does not commit itself to either model.

 

A related claim is that the earth cannot be moved forever, based on Psalm 104:5.  Therefore Jeremy concludes that the earth MUST be a fixed, stationary object.  Again, this is a lovely poetic image given to us by one of Jehovah’s servants.  But Jehovah tells us clearly that although this stability is the ideal, He will actually make the earth shake -to its very foundations- as required, in Psalm 82:5, Psalm 18:7, Isa 24:19, Mat 24:29 and Revelation 16:18.  Yes, under normal conditions, the earth is not being moved.  But there are many reasons to believe that this means that it is not being moved from its allocated, smooth and consistent rotation around its axis and its orbit around the sun.

 

Moon’s Face Towards Earth

On page 13, Jeremy seems to have issues with the observed fact that the moon always presents the same side to the earth.  The answer is that the moon is tidally locked to the earth, which makes it’s period of rotation the same as the period of each orbit of the earth.10  I cannot see why this is supposed to be a problem for a spherical earth with a moon orbiting it, as this is common for many moons orbiting their planets, and it explains why we only see one side of the moon from earth.  But he attempts to make this a problem because the length of individual lunar cycles can vary a little.  The variations are due to a variety of causes, such as the eccentricity of the moon’s orbital path, disturbances from the sun and other planets, etc.  Modern astronomical calculations quantify these influences to allow them to accurately predict where the moon will be at a given time, based on a sun-centered solar system.  These calculations are used in our Biblical Calendar software to predict when the crescent new moon will become visible.  In contrast, there are no flat-earth calculations explaining the motion of the moon and planets I can find and Jeremy makes no attempt to explain how and why we only see one side of the moon in his flat-earth model.

 

Moon Uniformly Bright

On page 14, Jeremy falsely claims that the moon is uniformly bright, then says this ‘proves’ that it produces it’s own light and is flat.  Careful examination of the moon using light meters have shown that the moon is duller towards its apparent ‘edges’.11  And how could a self-illuminated moon have phases, where only the part of the moon facing the sun remains illuminated?  The self-illuminated Flat Earth moon would have to always be fully illuminated.

 

Seeing a Full Moon During the Day

Jeremy uses a photo showing a “full moon” just above the earth’s surface and just before sunset to prove the sun does not light up the moon.  Really?  Even his own comments show how wrong this idea is.  The full moon does not normally line up exactly with the earth and sun, so one would expect to be able to sometimes see a ‘full moon’ just before sunset as long as you had unobstructed views in both directions.  And of course the sun was setting in the west, behind the cameraman, while the moon was rising in front of him in the east, allowing the sun to fully illuminate the visible face of the moon.  And when the sun, earth and moon do align perfectly, we have a lunar eclipse.  Conversely, when the sun, moon and earth align perfectly, we have a solar eclipse.  Again, there is no adequate flat-earth explanation for how both of these events can happen.

 

Seeing the Moon Clearly

Jeremy claims that because we can see the moon’s face clearly, it proves that it is not very far way.  Let’s consider the facts:  We can see the moon clearly when it is high in the sky, and not so distinctly when it is near the horizon.  This is because when we are looking up, we are looking through a relatively thin layer of dense air. When we look at the moon close to the horizon, we may looking through a hundred kilometers (sixty miles) or more of dense air which is often unstable and full of dust and moisture which distorts what we are attempting to see.  In contrast, the empty space between the top of our atmosphere and the moon has virtually no effect on the clarity of the moon.  The Hubble space telescope was placed in orbit above our atmosphere for exactly this reason.  This is also why the sky directly above us is a darker blue during the day than the paler blue sky near the horizon.  There is less air to scatter the blue light above us than near the horizon.

 

The distance to the moon can also be confirmed by bouncing laser light off it. The light takes about 2.6 seconds to travel there and back. At 297,000 kilometers (186,000 miles) per second by 1.3 seconds, the moon is about 386,000 kilometers (250,000 miles) from Earth.  No flat earth models can explain this 2.6 second delay.

 

Moon-lit Clouds

On page 15, we are asked why are the clouds nearest the moon the most brightly lit?  Jeremy says this is because the moon is very close to us.  Common sense says it is because these clouds are more directly between us and the moon, so the moonlight scattered by them is mostly still directed towards us.  We can see the same effect from approaching car headlights in fog.  It does not indicate how far away the moon is.

 

Sun Rays at Angles

Jeremy claims this is evidence that the sun is quite close to the earth.  However, he is showing us crepuscular rays.  The light is essentially parallel, but appears to be coming at different angles due to parallax-like perspective effects.   The effect is often very striking, making it look like the sun is just beyond the clouds.  But the heat and gravitational force of our sun that close would both incinerate and tear the earth apart. (See Wikipedia)  Even the smallish distances to the sun used in most flat earth models are much too far for the sun rays effect to be real.

 

Polaris at the North Pole

Jeremy claims that Polaris could not remain stationary above the North Pole in a rotating sphere orbiting the sun.  He is correct.  Polaris does not align exactly with the earth’s axis, being about 40 minutes of arc out of line.  Each day it makes a very tiny circle around the true axis position, and over decades, it will move further from the North Pole axis.  But for most purposes it can be regarded as stationary.  Yet this arc, and the more pronounced ones as one moves further from the Pole Star, are powerful indications that the earth does indeed rotate.

 

Jeremy gives a nice photo of star trails taken from California, with Polaris at the center.  This could perhaps fit with a common flat earth model where there is a dome above the sun and the earth that is centered above the North Pole and rotates from that point.  The dome concept is largely based on the AV translation of raqia as a ‘firmament’ in Genesis 1.  Most other translations instead use expanse, which more closely matches the meaning of the Hebrew and does not invoke the concept of a solid dome, and still explains these rotating star trails.

 

The photo in Figure 1 is taken in Australia, showing star trails centered around the South Pole axis, which does not have a Pole Star, and all of the other stars are also different to those near the North Pole.  The Magellanic Clouds can also be seen.  This photo raises a profound question: How can a flat earth that only has people living on the top of it, have two different star axes facing in opposite directions?  And not only that, the northern star axis rotates counterclockwise, while the southern star axis rotates clockwise as we watch them.  These two sets of star trails can only happen if we are living on a rotating globe.

 

 

 

Figure 1: Southern Hemisphere (South Pole) Star Axis

 

Jeremy also suggests that the stars are revolving around the earth.  Relativity makes this impossible.  Even our sun would have to travel at 2% of the speed of light to make an orbit around the earth in one day.  The nearest star, Proxima Centauri, at 4.26 light-years away, would have to travel at 4880 times the speed of light to circle the earth in a day.  As travelling even at the speed of light is impossible, this is clearly not correct.  Read more on this topic in The Warp-Speed Universe, on page 76.

 

Rockets in Space

Jeremy claims that the random motion of gas molecules exiting a rocket engine and the ineffectiveness of aerofoils in space makes space flight impossible.  However, the trillions of molecules exiting a rocket nozzle means that the random motion of any single molecule becomes insignificant and the resultant overwhelming force can be carefully directed by a well designed nozzle.  Simple nozzles are used at every fireworks display which uses rockets to lift fireworks to their desired position in the sky where they are ignited.  Although the lack of active aerofoils does make directional control more difficult in space, small angled rocket engines are used to make corrections to the spacecraft’s flight path.

 

Melting Satellites

Jeremy also claims that spacecraft will rapidly overheat and be destroyed by radiation from the sun.  Though it is true that the solar radiation is more intense above the atmosphere, all of these engineering issues were solved long ago.  That is why we have such things as satellite navigation and the Hubble space telescope.  Though Jeremy does not tell us why he wants space travel to be impossible, I suspect it is an attempt to discredit the many photos of the earth taken in space (eg- our daily weather report images shown on TV) that clearly confirm it is a sphere orbiting around the sun, as noted on page 5.

 

Is the Horizon at Eye Level When One Goes High?

Jeremy does not clearly explain what this argument is about:  In a flat world, the horizon is incredibly distant, so being a few kilometers or miles above the surface, perhaps in a jet, will have minimal impact on the horizon, which will still appear to be at eye-level, even though directly under the jet one can see that the ground is a long way down.  But in a spherical earth, at the same heights, the earth’s surface will be curving away from you, so the horizon will appear to be lower than eye-level.  Like everyone who has flown over an ocean in a commercial jet, I have observed that the horizon is BELOW eye level.  And if you are ever lucky enough to fly above 12,000 meters (about 40,000 ft), you can see that the horizon is gently curved, especially if you are looking across an ocean which has no disrupting mountains, etc.  This confirms that the world is both round and quite large.12

 

Air Travel and Wind Speed

There are two issues here: First, if the air was not rotating at the same speed as the earth’s rotating surface it is above, it would indeed ‘wrack’ the earth.  But our atmosphere is an essential part of the earth, and rotates with it.

 

Jeremy correctly indicates the effect of the jet streams on high altitude aircraft.  But he apparently fails to understand what causes the jet streams and our trade winds and westerlies on the surface.  These are part of the large scale air circulation system on the earth, which comprises of three cells in each hemisphere (See Atmospheric_circulation in Wikipedia)  The earth’s rotation is a major driver of these cells.  The reason that this circulating air does not shred the earth’s surface is, contrary to Jeremy’s opinion, that it speeds up as it moves towards the equator, and slows down as it moves towards the poles.  This is a very slow process, which takes weeks to cycle the air around just one cell.  The lags in this speeding up process are part of what causes the prevailing winds and jet streams.  I can not think of any reason why these complex circulations would happen on a stationary flat earth, nor does Jeremy offer any explanation.

 

Canal Locks and Suez

On page 18, Jeremy mentions the Grand Union Canal in the UK, which is an interesting engineering feat.  The canal is 220 kilometers (137 miles) long and its 166 locks can lift boats from sea level in London to 140 meters (460 feet) above sea level in Birmingham.  And if all the locks were opened, in both flat and round earth models, all the water would drain to the lowest level.  I don’t understand why Jeremy used this example, as it cannot distinguish between the two models.

 

A more relevant example which is used by other flat-earthers is the Suez Canal.  It is shorter at 164 kilometers (102 miles) long, but it has no locks to modify its water levels.  Their usual claim is that on an earth with a 6371 km (3959 mile) radius, the canal must have a dead flat bottom for its entire length to maintain a useful depth of water, requiring a cut that is 1.9 kilometres (1.2 miles) deep at the center of the canal, yet the water is only 7.9 meters (26 feet) deep, and the cuttings not much more than that.  This sounds like a devastating blow for round-earthers, as the trench never even begins to approach this depth.  But this ‘requirement’ is entirely false.  It is based on a flat-earth idea being imposed on a round earth: they claim that the oceans are truly, straight-line flat.

 

The round earth model says that the oceans are all a uniform distance from the center of the earth, so their surface is smoothly curved, not flat.  This means that for the Suez Canal to have a consistent depth of water along its entire length, the bed of the canal must be curved to match the curvature of the earth.  And how did the surveyors make it curved?  It could be very simple.  Every time they moved their theodolite and re-levelled it, that process realigned it with the center of the earth.  This would have been done hundreds of times along the length of the canal, so the bottom of the canal could have been dug as hundreds of individual flat sections each less than 800 meters (half a mile) long, each one at a tiny angle to the one before it, with a maximum error of less than 10 centimeters (4 inches) from the curve.  But as the surveyors worked using the concept of a curved earth, they also made additional adjustments to ensure the floor of the canal remained even closer to the curvature of the earth so it would fill to the correct depth.

 

A common flat-earth claim is that surveyors do not need to adjust for the curvature of the earth, therefore proving that it is flat.  This link is one of many that demonstrate that the earth’s curvature and light refraction near ground level are serious issues for surveyors and civil engineers that they must deal with:

 https://www.aboutcivil.org/curvature-and-refraction.html

 

If one could run a truly straight line from the middle of the canal to its two ends, the straight line would be about 960 meters (0.6 miles) above the water level at each end.  Interesting, but there are simpler ways to demonstrate the earth’s curvature.  In his next “anomaly”, Jeremy inadvertently does just that for us.

 

Are the Seas Curved?

Jeremy’s ultimate proof that the earth is flat is what he claims to be a photograph of the Isle of Man taken from Greystones, Ireland, which are 136 kilometers (85 miles) apart.  Jeremy claims that the Isle of Man should be 2,800 feet (853 meters) below sea level if the earth is spherical, using his somewhat inaccurate curvature formula.  This claim made me take notice, as it was his first semi-plausible claim which, if true, suggested that perhaps the earth wasn’t round.  First, I used a more accurate formula to calculate the expected drop for the Isle of Man, and found that the drop below a curved ocean horizon would be about 1350 meters (4,429 ft).  As the largest mountain on the Isle is only 620 meters (2,034 ft) high, it should appear to be 730 meters (2,395 ft) below sea level, making it totally invisible.  So how could the Isle of Man be clearly visible in his photo on page 23?

 

The answer is clear from Jeremy’s own photos and maps.  His page 23 photo shows a fairly narrow gap between the eastern end of Howth Head and the western end of what Jeremy claims is the Isle of Man.  On the lower map on his page 24, he shows how there should be a slight overlap between the east end of Howth Head and the west end of Lambay Island as viewed from Greystones.  But in his photo on page 21, he shows a photo of Howth Head in which he mistakenly identifies the second ridge of Howth Head, clearly behind the southern ridge of Howth Head as Lambay Island, rather than to the right of Howth Head.  He then uses his misidentification to claim that the island seen in his page 23 photo is the Isle of Man.

 

 

 

Figure 2: Actual Width of Jeremy’s Photo of Howth Head and Lambay Island, With the Required Angle to Isle of Man Indicated.

 

It is abundantly clear from his upper map on page 24 that the Isle of Man would in fact be two or three entire photo widths to the right of the photo in which he claims to see the Isle of Man.  If you take a close look at the photo, and see how little of the coastline is seen to the west of the Howth Head lighthouse, it is impossible for the Isle of Man to be in this photo in the small distance it covers to the east of the lighthouse.  The actual photo width is marked in Figure 2, and the extra line far to the east is what would have been required to include the Isle of Man.

 

But it is the perfect photo width to include Lambay Island.  Not only is Lambay Island in the photo, but the water gap that is visible between Howth Head and Lambay Island actually demonstrates the earth’s curvature.  This occurs because the western part of Lambay Island is fairly low.  The earth’s curvature “drops” this lower western part of Lambay Island below the ‘horizon’ formed by the intervening curved sea surface, only allowing us to view the more elevated eastern part of the island.

 

The distance to Lambay Island is 40 km (25 miles), resulting in a curvature drop of about 97 meters (318 ft -it is actually about 84 m (275 ft) if you allow for typical refraction of light in the lower atmosphere).  As the eastern plateau on Lambay Island is 127 meters (417 ft) high, it leaves the highest 30 meters (98 ft) of the island visible (actually 43m (141 ft) visible, adjusting for refraction).  The eastern end of Howth Head is also ‘below’ sea level (as is the lowest part of the mound that the lighthouse is built on) increasing the apparent water gap.  It is likely that this photo was taken at high tide, which would also increase the width of the apparent water gap between Howth Head and Lambay Island.13  Explore this with Google Earth and you will see how it all works.  Despite being notified about his misidentification, a year later Jeremy used another photo of Lambay Island, but this time without including Howth Head, and again calls it the Isle of Man in his AIG-Flat Stationary Earth article.  It is disappointing to see such misguided persistence.

 

By the way, Jeremy’s claim of absolutely flat oceans actually contradicts scripture, as shown on page 10, in an accurate translation of Proverbs 8:27: “When He prepared the heavens, I was there, when He placed a curve14 on the face of the deep,”.  Do you see that Jeshua says that Jehovah God made the surface of the oceans curved, not flat?

 

As a contrast to Jeremy’s ‘photo’ of the Isle of Man, I am including a photo of Melbourne, Australia taken across Port Phillip Bay from The Esplanade at Portarlington (Figure 3).  The camera was about seven metres above water level and the distance is about 42 kilometers (26.25 miles) to the central high-rise buildings.  In the photo, one can clearly see the ‘horizon’ line of the water in the bay, which is about 10 km (6 miles) from the camera.  The horizon line, created by the curve in the water of the bay, is obscuring all of the port facilities, lower buildings and land on the Melbourne shore in front of the skyscrapers and also the lower parts of the skyscrapers.  On a flat earth, this sharp water line should not exist and all of these lower Melbourne shore items should be clearly visible in front of the skyscrapers.  Google Earth can confirm what is missing.

 

 

 

Figure 3: Melbourne Skyscrapers Photographed from Portarlington. All of the wharves, parks and lower buildings in front of the skyscrapers are hidden below the Port Phillip Bay ‘horizon line’.  Photo courtesy of Matthias Siegel, at mattdownunder.com.

 

Likewise, Mount Disappointment, seen behind the central skyscrapers, is 800 metres (2,625 ft) high and 90 km (56 miles) from the camera.  Even allowing for ‘shrinking’ due to the extra distance, it should still project a little above the tallest towers on a flat earth.  But it is well below them, and by the amount predicted by curved earth calculations.

 

A common flat-earth claim is that if you use magnification, you will be able to see what appears to be missing in photos like the one above.  We tested this claim using a 200mm (8 inch) diameter reflecting telescope and a Nikon D7000 camera.  We took duplicate photos of the eastern end of Melbourne’s high-rise building from a location about a kilometer west of Matthias’ photo.  This location allowed us to take one photo from 1 meter (3.3 ft) above water level (at 38.1127S, 144.6573E) and the other in the park behind it at about 24 meters (79 ft) above water level ( at 38.1142S, 144.6565E).  Viewing the buildings from near water level and then from a nearby height should allow you to see some of the things previously hidden by the water’s curvature in the second photo if the earth is a sphere.

 

The two photos are attached as Figure 4.  Though the day and the photos are not as clear as we wanted, you can see distinct differences.  First, the water line in the left photo, taken at 1 meter, shows some waves in the horizon ‘water’ line as this horizon was close to the camera, and the camera was not quite horizontal.  You also see perhaps ten stories of a high-rise building above the water line.  In the right photo, taken from the 24 meters height, the water horizon looks straight, because it is about 17 kilometers away.  The white line marks where the water horizon was in the left photo.  Everything below the white line are additional objects that were hidden in the left photo due to the curvature of the water, thus verifying that the earth is a globe.  In this instance, one can see about an additional 20 floors of the building, which is exactly what earth curvature calculations predict for these parameters.

 

Using good binoculars will allow you to see this curvature drop wherever you can find a body of water with a 30 to 50 km gap to view across and distinctive items on the far shore to help you identify how much is hidden.  If you can also find high and low viewpoints, it will make this curvature effect even more obvious, as in Figure 4.