We’ve written briefly about the flat earth myth in the past so our devoted readers will know where we stand on the subject. However, this is primarily a biology and theology focused website as those are our strong suits. Thus when we were able to access Dr. Danny Faulkner’s relatively recent book Falling Flat, we knew it was one we had to review.
Dr. Faulkner is a self-described “stellar astronomer”. By that, he means both to get a laugh and to explain that his specialty is the study of stars, eclipsing binary stars to be exact. Obviously, as an astronomer, he has a vested interest in stopping nonsensical beliefs like the flat earth from spreading, hence this nearly four hundred page tome refuting flat earthers. You might think that a book of that length would not be needed to correct what amounts to an internet conspiracy theory, but it’s much easier to make a mess than to clean one up. Flat earth sites have spewed so much trash in the last decade or two that a lengthy book was required.
Falling Flat‘s greatest strength is also its greatest weakness. It is incredibly thorough. This is not a book you can read in one sitting and understand. Like Dr. Nathaniel Jeanson’s Replacing Darwin this book brushes up against the heights of layman understanding in places. There are a lot of formulas. Of necessity since there is so much physics involved in determining the shape of the earth, many mathematical equations are scattered throughout the book and they are not always explained. It is helpful to have a background in physics.
That said, this book will be a reference book against every flat earth foolishness for decades to come. In fact it should be treated as such. Keep it on your shelf and every time you run against a flat earth argument you don’t know how to answer, break out Falling Flat and leaf through the pages until you find the answer.
The first two chapters of the book are devoted to Dr. Faulkner explaining why he chose to write a book about the flat earth and the history of how the modern flat earth movement arose. His reason for writing against the flat earth is quite simple: the movement is growing and people are being deceived into believing a myth. He then goes through a lengthy history of what ancient cultures and the early church believed about the shape of the earth. Without giving away the whole of the first chapter, I will say that the popular perception of Columbus proving that the earth was round is a myth that was not invented until the 1800s. As a result of this myth, Dr. Faulkner is forced to go back and explain the history of the Bedford Level experiment, a famous mid-1800s experiment that supposedly “proved” the earth was flat, as well as modern cousins to the experiment that supposedly do the same thing. This is where the math starts so be prepared. It may be helpful to solve some of the formulas for yourself so that you understand them.
Chapters three through six are heavy in physics and astronomy, as indeed any book about the flat earth myth must be. He deals with everything from solar eclipses, to the shape of the sun and moon, to the supposed cooling light of the moon. In these chapters, Dr. Faulkner not only presents evidence that the conventional model is true, but he also takes the flat earth model (as much as one can be said to exist) and demonstrates that it is false. This is what sets Falling Flat apart from evolutionary critiques of creation science. Falling Flat knows the flat earth model well, and tests it using both its own model and known facts of physics. In all cases, it fails. He does not test in zones of overlap then claim the conventional model is true, as so many evolutionists do.
Chapters seven through nine walk through a number of issues. Dr. Faulkner wades into the flat earth NASA conspiracy and demonstrates it is bunk. He also illustrates that flat earth and geocentrism are not synonymous despite many flat earthers’ attempts to make them so, then demonstrates why geocentricity is wrong as well as cleaning up a number of loose ends that did not fit well in other chapters.
The remaining chapters focus on flat earthers use of Scripture to try to demonstrate their model, as well as their appeals to historical and pseudohistorical sources. Dr. Faulkner debunks the popular list of 240 verses meant to supposedly demonstrate a flat earth and shows without a doubt that no verse in Scripture teaches a flat earth. He also explains why historical sources like Josephus and the pseudohistorical Book of Enoch either do not claim the earth is flat, or contradict the Biblical text. He also explains how the flat earth model got mixed in with the Bible in the first place. The final chapter is a note of characteristic Dr. Faulkner humor as he points out how absurd many flat earthers are and how ridiculous many of their claims are.
In sum, if you are in apologetics at all, get this book. You don’t have to read and understand all of it, just get it. Every common flat earth claim is debunked in the pages of Falling Flat. Use it as a reference book if you don’t want to read it, or don’t understand all the physics. You don’t have to understand all the physics to get value out of this book. The refutation of the Bible verse claims, as well as the history alone make it worth the price. Falling Flat is available on the Answers in Genesis website for 16.99.
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