Among the cornucopia of deceptive doctrines that seem to be popping up everywhere in Christian circles, with more and more intensity and frequency than seemingly ever before, is that of the flat earth theory. In ancient times, prior to the advances of the Greeks in math and physics, general understanding of the time considered the earth flat. However, beginning in the 6th and 5th centuries B.C., Greek mathematicians such as Eratosthenes began to measure, calculate, and observe the earth’s curvature and circumference. This is well documented, and is not within the scope of this article to cover.
Somewhere in the 18th and 19th centuries, a new flat earth doctrine was established and adopted by certain members of society, and has remained on the fringes ever since. With advances in science, technology, and exploration in the 20th and now 21st centuries, these people are extremely few and far between – until now.
At some point, in the last three or four years, the idea of a flat earth or enclosed dome has sort of resurfaced, but this time within certain circles of the Christian community. Arguably, most prominent among the leaders of this view is Rob Skiba, who has been a visible fixture for about a decade, among some of what is generally considered the “fringe” of biblical teachings. Many of these topics, such as concerning the nephilim, fallen angels, and eschatological studies are important to the work of this blog, and similar views are held by us. However, the theory of a flat earth seems to be the new kid on the block, and is a baseless journey into deception.
After carefully listening to this broadcast, feverishly taking notes, and researching Sargent’s claims – it is almost an understatement to say that debunking Sargent was easy – it was effortless.
Skiba credits his flat earth enlightenment as starting with listening to an episode of Canary Cry Radio on a road trip, in which hosts Basil and Gonz interviewed flat earth proponent Mark Sargent, who is well known and oft cited in flat earth circles, and who has a video series called “Flat Earth Clues”. After carefully listening to this broadcast, feverishly taking notes, and researching Sargent’s claims – it is almost an understatement to say that debunking Sargent was easy – it was effortless. Skiba uses the term “quest for truth” in his presentations and teachings, and often refers to this term as his personal mission. Apparently he has ignored actually trying to find supporting evidence of Sargent’s claims in his quest; or he has simply decided to accept Sargent at face value and has embarked on a journey of confirmation bias.
Let’s break down the major claims from Sargent that convinced Skiba.
From Copernicus to NASA
Sargent is obsessed with NASA being the pinnacle and fountainhead of all deception regarding the shape of the earth, and often frames his position against the backdrop of “NASA is lying”. While this may or may not be true, it isn’t even necessary to engage in to debunk Sargent. In other words, we don’t need NASA to know that the earth is a globe – because it was a globe before NASA existed. Sargent says that he began his journey with Copernicus, and moved forward from there, to the modern space age. While Copernicus made extremely valuable contributions regarding heliocentrism, his life spanned across the 15th and 16th centuries A.D. – some 2,000 years after the first ideas of a globe earth were presented; as well as others from which his work borrowed from. For instance, Aristarchus of Samos first theorized that the earth orbited the sun in the 2nd and 3rd century B.C. Philolaus first posited that the earth, moon, and other celestial bodies orbited a “central fire” in the 3rd and 4th centuries B.C. Other thinkers and mathematicians prior to Christ had many other theories and findings that supported the idea of a globe earth in orbit. These ideas did not originate with Copernicus.
The Great Mystery of Antarctica… or Not
Sargent colorfully details a theory, in which he provides absolutely no evidence of; that the largest expedition to Antarctica, known as Operation Deep Freeze, spurred the space race in the late 1950s based on what was supposedly found there. His theory is that something so monumental and earth shattering was discovered, that all of the involved countries rushed home and began building and testing missiles and vehicles to go into space. Sargent makes no mention of the fact that the first real expedition into Antarctic waters happened as far back as 1839 led by Naval Captain Charles Wilkes. In 1929, Admiral Richard Byrd established bases in Antarctica, and even made the first flight over the South Pole. Byrd was also instrumental in Operation Highjump, which charted almost all of the Antarctic coastline immediately after World War II. In 1948, Commander Finn Ronne led an expedition that photographed over 450,000 square miles of Antarctica from the air. Antarctica was becoming quite a well explored part of the world by the time the first Operation Deep Freeze took place, another fact that Sargent conveniently omits. Operation Deep Freeze I established a permanent research facility in Antarctica, which serves as a base for all subsequent missions titled Operation Deep Freeze II, Operation Deep Freeze III, and so on. Sargent never mentions these either, but paints a false narrative of everyone running home and sealing off Antarctica after the first mission.
This leads to another one of Sargent’s completely fraudulent claims, that is easily refuted with simple research. Sargent presents a detailed, albeit completely false, narrative of the Antarctic Treaty and what it entails. He claims that after Operation Deep Freeze, involved countries rushed home, banded together, and drafted the Antarctic Treaty which he claims sealed off Antarctica from exploration completely, and states that “no country is allowed to go to Antarctica”. This is categorically false, and cannot be considered anything other than a blatant lie. The details of the Antarctic Treaty are widely available to anyone with internet access. The original treaty, as adopted, can be accessed here.
Sargent himself is completely free to put together his own expedition tomorrow, and freely explore Antarctica to his heart’s content. But I wouldn’t count on that happening. It isn’t a matter of interpretation – Sargent flat out lies on this issue.
The Antarctic Treaty actually serves as one of the greatest examples of multinational collaboration for peaceful exploration in the history of the world, and in no way prohibits access to Antarctica; in fact, it encourages it. The entire purpose of the Treaty is to simply prevent militarization of Antarctica, since it is the only continent on earth without a native human population, and has no government oversight of its land. Developed countries around the world decided that everyone would cooperate together to explore, study, and enjoy Antarctica freely and peacefully; and prevent any strategic military use of its land.
The Treaty doesn’t limit access to governments either, but openly encourages civilian access as well, again – as long as such access is exploratory and scientific in nature – to prevent any nefarious operation from taking place. Sargent himself is completely free to put together his own expedition tomorrow, and freely explore Antarctica to his heart’s content. But I wouldn’t count on that happening. It isn’t a matter of interpretation – Sargent flat out lies on this issue.
Sargent spins off into a plethora of other completely unsupported claims, including:
- Stars, planets, and all celestial bodies are nothing more than a giant projection simulated on some sort of “screen”. They don’t actually exist.
- Alludes to some form of alien intelligence being behind it all by referring to “whoever painted the sky”, along with “they” when describing the “hologram in the sky”. Never credits God with creation.
- Sargent posits that at some point, world leaders discovered the true shape of the earth, and instead of causing mass panic, decided to “keep it going” and actively engage in deceiving everyone ever since. Absolutely no support, even anecdotally, provided for this.
The Flight Path Thing
The next major false claim worth discussing is concerning flight paths of commercial airlines. Sargent urges the audience to try to book a flight from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Sydney, Australia that doesn’t deviate north to somewhere such as Los Angeles as a layover stop. Upon testing this notion, the very first flight offered was a path that started in Buenos Aires, stopped at Santiago, Chile, which is an international hub a short flight across South America west of Buenos Aires, and then nonstop directly to Sydney exactly as you would expect it to be. Absolutely no weird deviation north somewhere out of the way on a globe layout was involved. Observe the screenshots, and even test this yourself to your heart’s content:
To see how close Santiago is to Buenos Aires, here’s another image.
Santiago is a hub for Australian travel because it is on the western coast of South America, which is the closest point to Australia on the globe model. On the flat earth model, Australia and South America are situated much further away, and from a north-south orientation – not an east-west orientation as the next image shows. Jumping over to Santiago before heading to Sydney would be pointless on a flat earth map.
The complete flightpath from Santiago to Sydney is direct and toward the west. This absolutely unhinges Sargent’s contention that the flightpath is north, and requires strange out of the way stops at places like Los Angeles.
Notice how the air travel time is referenced. The flight from Santiago to Sydney is 14 hours, 15 minutes. The distance between the two places is right at about 7,046 miles (again, feel free to verify). Dividing the flight time of 14.25 hours into 7,046 miles gives us a travel speed just under 500 mph, which is consistent with known commercial airline flight speeds. On the flat earth map, this flight would require a much further flight path over Europe, that in no way could be accomplished in just over 14 hours at 500 mph. Again, Sargent is plainly lying and has a clear interest in spreading disinformation to promote his agenda – whatever it may be.
It’s amazing that Rob Skiba was duped so easily. Refuting everything Sargent claimed was extremely easy. What’s concerning, is that Christians like Skiba are falling for this nonsense. Some have claimed that the globe earth is deception because it tries to separate us from the ancient Hebraic descriptions of the earth in the Old Testament (check out our article, Does the Bible Describe a Flat Earth? The Answer Will Surprise You); yet those same people embrace people like Sargent who don’t give God any credit for His creation; instead having ancient aliens as being the author of our reality, who painted the stars and planets in the sky on a giant screen for us. This is utter lunacy.
Consider these verses from scripture:
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting (emphasis mine)“ – Ephesians 4:11-14
“For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain.” – Titus 1:10-11
“But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.” – 2 Peter 2:1-3
Want to actually calculate the earth’s curvature accurately, taking all variables into account? See this link for a detailed explanation of the appropriate formula: https://chizzlewit.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/working-with-the-curvaure-of-a-spherical-earth/