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"'FLAT Earthers' in battle with creationism"

By John Chalmers

So read a headline in the April 8, 1999 issue of Nature (1), a leading international science journal. What Nature was referring to is an organization called "Families for Learning Accurate Theories," which was founded to counter a threat by POSH ("Parents for Objective Science and History") to elect school board members favorable to teaching creationism in Lawrence, Kansas. According to Adrian L. Melott, one of the founders and a cosmologist at the University of Kansas, FLAT decided to use satire "because reasoned argument with creationists has failed."

FLAT maintains that teaching the sphericity of the earth violates their religious beliefs. The organization bases its claims on the Bible, which speaks of the "four corners of the earth" (Rev. 7:1), though it admits that a tetrahedron would fit this passage quite well too. Accordingly, FLAT has taken, as yet, no dogmatic position on the actual shape of the earth, though it rejects the spherical hypothesis as only a theory.

FLAT also maintains that pi is 3 (1 Kings 7:23) rather than some irrational quantity like 3.14159. . . , though how this number would apply to a tetrahedral earth is not explained. Furthermore, FLAT claims that learning foreign languages is "unbiblical" since doing so would contradict God's intentions in the Tower of Babel episode.

Apparently FLAT's candidate(s) won the election and POSH seems to be inactive at present (I couldn't find its website and apparently FLAT hasn't been able to either). For more information including the possibility of opening a local branch, contact Philip Kimball at nyskansas@aol.com. FLAT's URL is http://flat.findhere.com, and its email address is flat3OOO@yahoo.com.

(1) Dalton, Rex. 1999. Nature 398: 453. The article's dateline is San Diego.