*(Disclaimer: The Leeds Flat Earth Society is not recognised by LUU as an official society, and is therefore not affiliated with LUU. Please do not attempt to join.)*
In a postmodern society underscored by cutting-edge science and technology, you may be forgiven for feeling like we know everything there possibly is to know about life as it stands. Where do we go from here? ‘Flat Earthers’, however, urge us to rethink what many have always known to be true: that the Earth is round. Society editor, Lara Groves, sat down with Leeds University Flat Earth Society co-founder, Tom Birchy, to find out how and why they’re going against the curve.
Hi guys. For the purposes of introduction please provide a bit of background on Leeds Flat Earth for our readers. What is Leeds Flat Earth Society, in a nutshell?
The Leeds Flat Earth Society was founded in Bluebird Coffeeshop, Amsterdam. This was after a long weekend on a trip led by the University Law Society. We realised that there was no Flat Earth Society in Leeds, and so we lept at the opportunity to start one. We advocate Flat Earth theories, attempting to spread our ideas to open-minded individuals. We understand that this society is not for everyone, and we respect the ideas and beliefs of those who believe Earth is round.
Could you please explain the rationale behind the Flat Earth theory for those who have tended to take a more rounded perspective up until now?
A brilliant pun, one of my favourites. The main explanations behind the theory of Flat Earth Societies around the world are, as follows. It is impossible to observe curvature of the earth with the human eye from any point on earth. That includes the top of Mount Everest. Surely one should be able to see some evidence of curvature from 8,848m above sea level? Secondly, water is always level. It is impossible for water to maintain a curvature in any container, as a result we conclude that the oceans must therefore be level. There are many other experiments which show the earth to be flat, however you may research these for yourself. Be careful what you read however, as some who relate to Flat Earth theories put little research into their material and can share misleading information.
Are you any different to other ‘Flat Earthers?’ Are you the upper crust of Flat Earth Societies?
What makes the Leeds University sports teams different from other sports teams? We are merely a vessel for which other like-minded individuals can gather and discuss topics which we enjoy. We don’t think there is anything to separate us from other Flat Earthers as we are all essentially trying to achieve the same goal.
What kind of people would you like to see joining Leeds Flat Earth? Are scientists allowed?
We welcome anyone with an open mind and a question to ask. Scientists are allowed to join the Flat Earth Society, however those who attempt to explain unknown things with vague, unintelligible answers such as ‘gravity does it’ (without explaining how they know this for sure, when after all gravity is still just a theory) are treated with the same disdain as those who believe that Father Christmas delivers presents on Christmas. Numerous Flat Earth believers are scientists and of course they are welcomed into our group.
I reckon it’s a brilliant concept for a night: Flat Earth Society hosts: ‘The Edge of Leeds: Fall off with me’. Regular events are hugely important for a society, have you got anything exciting on the horizon?
One of our founders is involved with planning nightclub events, so we feel that we should use that experience to bring a host of fun Flat Earth themed nights. After all, you’re not much of a society if you don’t have boozy nights patrolling the dancefloor of The Warehouse on a Wednesday night wearing a shirt (possibly blue) and a tie (possibly pink).
What is at the edge of the world?
The light soaks the soul Taken beyond physical Earth, sky become one. To put it bluntly, we don’t know. It could just be space as the general population believes it to be, after all, many Flat Earthers believe that space exists in an identical way to how you believe space to work. However, they believe that earth is unique and that we are the product of intelligent design. We could be alone in the universe, with only our creator for company. This could explain why earth is flat yet no other planets are. However, other Flat Earthers consider the edge of the earth to lead to a point of nothingness. This may be what you consider the typical Flat Earth believer to think. As we have tried to express, there are numerous theories behind this.
And what do you think is on the other side of the earth?
This answer is impossible to give as nobody is able to provide the correct one. The deepest that has ever been dug into the earth is the Kola Superdeep Borehole at 12.2km. As this is some distance (we think) from the ‘other side’ it is impossible to say for sure what is there.
In recent months there has been increased visibility to the Flat Earth theory thanks to a number of celebrity endorsers, including such stalwart names as B.O.B, Freddie Flintoff and Shaquille O’Neal. Do you think this has been beneficial?
Yes, any publicity is good publicity (just look at our interview in The Tab). We feel that celebrity publicity of Flat Earth theories can only increase the awareness of the matter.
Is there anyone or anything you would like to see pushed off the edge of the earth (thinking Pandora’s Box… its not that deep)?
I speak for both of the founders of Leeds Flat Earth Society when I write that we would only like for one thing to be ‘pushed off the edge’ – and that is Jeremy Corbyn.