Created By: Xzenu on April 14, 2011 Last Edited By: Xzenu on November 4, 2011

Flat Earth Identity

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Bob live in a setting where the world is in fact round. However, the Earth is flat anyway: Because that's what Bob believe, and he have a right to his own belief! The Earth being flat is part of his identity, so don't you dare invade his personal space by claiming that the world isn't flat. Just like Gravity Is Only a Theory, the shape of the earth or any other fact should be treated as "only a theory". Whatever Bob believe should be treated as at least equally valid, simply out of respect for Bob and his beliefs.

Of course, it doesn't have to be about believing that the earth is flat. Or about believing the world to be round in a setting where it's actually flat. "The shape of the world" can be replaced with any other issue that has a definite answer within the setting. When the issue is the existence or non-existence of God(s), our Bob is either a Flat-Earth Atheist or someone who ought to have Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions.

This trope is about arguing that the world should be considered to work in a certain way simply because some people believe it does. When this is taken to the logical extreme, it becomes I Reject Your Reality. If it actually works, it become Clap Your Hands If You Believe.

Compare and contrast Culture Justifies Anything: Both are about bending a worldview to accomodate someone's (real or pretended) beliefs, but this one is about the laws of nature wile the other is about morality.


  • The logic in The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster bounces around a lot, sometimes landing in this position.

  • In Beetle Bailey: The Sarge knows the terrain best. Actual terrain be damned.

  • In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, God doesn't exist because man doesn't believe in him. God himself is actually standing right there, but chose to uncreate himself in a puff of logic rather then making a fuss ofer the issue of his existence.

  • Zinnia Jones has several rants about how claims doesn't become true just vecause you believe in them or have a certain faith. Usually targeting Christians.

  • In Flatland, our two-dimensional protagonist "A. Square" refuse to believe in a third dimension of space, making an argument that boils down to him declaring his subjective perception of reality to be objective reality for everyone - including the three-dimensional character Sphere. Eventually Sphere convince him to abandon his foolishness... but then he want to see the fourth dimension as well... a request that make Sphere burst out with the same kind of egocentric ignorance that he had just helped Square to abandon.
Community Feedback Replies: 16
  • June 13, 2011
    Defiantly with you on the Spaghetti monster thing, the monster itself is meant to be analogous to the Christian God but is represented as a purely physical creature of very limited dimensions, which (according to the Bible anyway) is pretty much the exact opposite of God (described as a non-physical being larger than the universe). Though, given the origins of the spag-bol monster, it isn't that surprising that the metaphor has been stretched somewhat!
  • June 13, 2011
    ^ Small bit of pedantry here: The Christian God isn't merely "larger than the universe"; he exists without being restricted by the confines of space-time at all.
  • June 13, 2011
    According to most psychology theory and study, this is true for everyone. This is why people hate to admit they are wrong and will hold onto beliefs even against fact. Because they put their identity into being right.
  • June 13, 2011
    This sounds close to I Reject Your Reality.
  • June 14, 2011
    How exactly do we make the jump from 'rejection of basic geometry and astrophysics' to 'prejudice'?
  • June 14, 2011
    "actually repress[es] the universe around him" should pothole to "Clap Your Hands If You Believe".
  • June 14, 2011
    • Pyramids:
      Dios was maximum high priest to a national religion that had fermented and bubbled for more than seven thousand years and never threw a god away in case it turned out to be useful. He knew that a great many mutually-contradictory things were all true. If they were not, then ritual and belief were as nothing, and if they were nothing, then the world did not exist.
  • June 14, 2011
    In the main DC Universe Doctor Thirteen is a professional debunker, debunking magic and other various supernatural phenomena. In the same universe (and often the same book) as Doctor Fate, The Spectre, The Phantom Stranger, etc. They've RetConned this into being that Thirteen has an aura that actually repels the supernatural, so he's always right: where he is there is no magic.
  • June 14, 2011
    randomsurfer: sounds like a Voodoo Shark to me. That retcon itself doesn't make any sense, since you'd have to assume that his aura is more powerful than the Spectre, which is silly. And didn't he once meet the Spectre, no aura involved?
  • June 15, 2011
    @randomsurfer: sounds like a straight example of Clap Your Hands If You Believe.
  • June 15, 2011
    Well, I'm not that knowledgable about Doc 13, it's not like I've got a big pile of his books sitting next to me. I'll just copy-n-paste a line from The Other Wiki (I was wrong about the aura thing I guess):
    In the limited series The Books Of Magic, John Constantine explains to Timothy Hunter that because Dr. Thirteen does not believe, magic and the supernatural truly do not work for him.
  • June 15, 2011
    Culture Justifies Anything redlinks. It probably shouldn't be compared to this trope if it doesn't exist (you know, unless it's part of this trope's identity, in which case we should pretend it exists).
  • June 15, 2011
    "Bob live in a setting where the world is in fact round. However, the Earth is flat anyway: Because that's what Bob believe, and he have a right to his own belief!"

    This is written kind of confusingly - is the Earth actually flat in this example because he believes it is, or do you just mean that as far as he's concerned the Earth is flat regardless of any proof that he's wrong?

    The former doesn't seem to match your examples, and the latter seems to be I Reject Your Reality, as noted above.
  • November 4, 2011
    @robybang: Culture Justifies Anything wasn't launched yet, now it is.

    @Valentine: This trope is kinda "Not only do I reject your reality, but I demand that you respect me by validating my fantasies".
  • November 4, 2011
    Archeologists and Native Americans have come into conflict over ancient human remains: the archeologists insist that the remains are far too old to have any direct relationship with modern tribes, while the Native Americans insist on having their creation myths taken literally, and that denying them is cultural imperialism.

  • November 4, 2011
    I agree with the others who have suggested this sounds close to I Reject Your Reality. I don't see the need for a split. I am also wary because the examples listed by the OP are similarly ambiguous as the wording of the description, with regard to the proposed trope's meaning as Valentine pointed out. Because if Bob's belief is so strong as to rewrite reality in accordance with Bob's worldview, that's covered by Reality Warper. If on the other hand this is about the inflexibility of Bob's beliefs, we already have plenty of tropes that seem to cover all the variations of that.