The Flat Earth Map
Although there is no single official map of the flat Earth, by far the most commonly-used version is shown below (click it for a high-resolution version).
This map was not originally created by flat-earthers. It's a type of map originally created and used by globe-earthers, called an azimuthal equidistant projection. Early versions of this map date back to the 11th century. Its purpose is to project a globe Earth onto a flat surface to use as a two-dimensional map.
More recently, this map was adopted by proponents of the flat Earth theory. Whereas the original map was not intended to show the real positions of countries relative to each other (because you can't project a sphere onto a circle without distortion), flat-earthers consider it a real, more-or-less accurate map of the Earth.
The obvious problem with this map is that the distances between countries are dramatically different to the distances that have been measured in the real world. Flat-earthers counter this by claiming that those measurements are wrong. This means that all globe-based maps, distances and calculations used by anyone navigating between countries are fundamentally wrong.
How could this be? If it was true, planes would routinely run out of fuel or make significant errors in travel times.
Flat-earthers have two counter-arguments:
Argument 1: Travel times do match the flat-earth model but international travelers incorrectly report them.
For this to work, every single international traveler has to get their travel times wrong in such a way that looks like they were traveling around a globe.
This would mean that every single international pilot and and sailor, both professional and recreational, would have to be lying. You can't plan a long journey on a globe-based map that would work on a flat Earth—the differences are too significant.
In addition, every single passenger would have to believe they traveled for a certain time while the actual time was vastly different. Flat-earthers argue that passengers are mistaken or deceived. Perhaps they could have been drugged into sleep and this would account for the time discrepancy. However, this makes no sense when people in planes are in constant contact with people in their home countries. You can't add or remove hours from a plane flight without anyone noticing.
I live in New Zealand, where travel across the ocean to other pacific islands is very common. I've been to some of them myself, members of my family have been to more than I. The travel times are those predicted by a globe model, not a flat Earth. I've also traveled to the other side of the world. Again, travel times match a globe, not a flat surface.
Argument 2: Travel times only appear to match the globe-earth model because wind and ocean currents affect travel time.
It is sometimes claimed that planes travel faster or slower than expected because they're being pushed or slowed by wind in ways not understood by navigators. Similar claims are made for ships and ocean currents. This would require a staggering level of incompetence from every single navigator on Earth. For example, every pilot or navigator would have to fail to notice that they're moving faster or slower over the ground than they should be.
It would also require very specific patterns of air and ocean currents all around the world that precisely speed up or slow down all aircraft and ships by exactly the right amount to make it seem like they were on a globe. Some currents would need to speed up planes that were flying in opposite directions. Even if such currents exist, are we to believe that no professional person in the history of international travel or meteorology has correctly modelled them?
Every credible measurement ever made of distances between countries match a globe model. None match a flat-earth model.
The differences between the flat-earth map and the globe map are extreme. For example, the distance around the flat-earth Antarctica is well over ten times the globe-earth Antarctica. There are many commercial plane flights with similarly dramatic differences, for example, compare the distance between New Zealand and Chile on a globe to the distance between them on the map above. There's no way to reconcile this kind of discrepancy.
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Author: Dave Owen