Flat Earthers Pick up Support Around the Globe

November 18, 2019

Flat Earth movement apparently has some “influential minds”.
What does that even mean?

We live in the age of science denial, and we’d better figure out how to cure that disease.

CNN:

(CNN)”I don’t want to be a flat Earther,” David Weiss says, his voice weary as he reflects on his personal awakening. “Would you wake up in the morning and want everyone to think you’re an idiot?”But Weiss is a flat Earther. Ever since he tried and failed to find proof of the Earth’s curve four years ago, he’s believed with an evident passion that our planet is both flat and stationary — and it’s turned his world upside down.”I absolutely freaked out,” Weiss tells CNN in a phone interview. “It literally whips the rug out from underneath you.” Now, Weiss finds it tedious to associate with the majority of people — though he “unfortunately” still has some friends who believe in a round Earth. “I have no problem with anybody that wants to believe we live on a ball. That’s their choice,” he says. “It’s just not something I resonate with.”

Weiss’ preferred community is those who share his life-altering belief. And that community is vast. This week, the businessman attended the third annual Flat Earth International Conference, held at an Embassy Suites hotel in suburban Dallas, Texas. Organizers told CNN that about 600 others went too.Previous conferences have taken place in Raleigh and Denver — while Brazil, Britain and Italy have also held flat-Earth conventions in recent years.The event’s schedule resembled any corporate conference, with some fairly noticeable twists. Speakers gave presentations including “Space is Fake” and “Testing The Moon: A Globe Lie Perspective.” Awards for the year’s best flat Earth-related videos were handed out. And believers reveled in an opportunity to meet several of the movement’s most influential minds.

Weiss’ preferred community is those who share his life-altering belief. And that community is vast. This week, the businessman attended the third annual Flat Earth International Conference, held at an Embassy Suites hotel in suburban Dallas, Texas. Organizers told CNN that about 600 others went too.Previous conferences have taken place in Raleigh and Denver — while Brazil, Britain and Italy have also held flat-Earth conventions in recent years.The event’s schedule resembled any corporate conference, with some fairly noticeable twists. Speakers gave presentations including “Space is Fake” and “Testing The Moon: A Globe Lie Perspective.” Awards for the year’s best flat Earth-related videos were handed out. And believers reveled in an opportunity to meet several of the movement’s most influential minds.

A YouGov survey of more than 8,000 American adults suggested last year that as many as one in six Americans are not entirely certain the world is round, while a 2019 Datafolha Institute survey of more than 2,000 Brazilian adults indicated that 7% of people in that country reject that concept, according to local media.The flat-Earth community has its own celebrities, music, merchandise — and a weighty catalog of pseudo-scientific theories. It’s been the subject of a Netflix documentary and has been endorsed by figures including the rapper B.o.B.Each year, more flat-Earth events fill the calendar, organizers say. “I’ve never seen anything grow this fast,” says Robbie Davidson, the founder of the Dallas conference. “I would say that within 10 years, the numbers are going to be astounding… next year, there’s going to be a conference in every major country in the world.”But experts are wondering if the movement is really harmless — and whether we’re even approaching the edge of its influence.

Falling off the edge

When Davidson first heard that people really do believe in a flat Earth, “I just laughed and said, ‘they’ve got to be the stupidest people ever.’ Who in their right mind could believe something so dumb?”A couple of years later, Davidson was setting up the first international flat Earth conference. Like most of the speakers at the event CNN spoke to, he was convinced after he decided he couldn’t prove the Earth’s roundness.For Davidson, a born-again Christian, the most logical explanation for the conspiracy of the millennium goes like this: “Let’s just say there is an adversary, there is a devil, there is a Satan. His whole job would be to try to convince the world that God doesn’t exist. He’s done an incredible job convincing people with the idea that we’re just on a random speck in an infinite universe.”

The reality, says Davidson, is that the flat Earth, sun, moon and stars are contained in a “Truman Show”-like dome. From there, pitfalls can be easily dismissed — like photos of the Earth from space, which flat Earthers believe are photoshopped. “This all goes away if they put a 24/7 camera feed on the moon,” he adds.And Davidson quickly found a large online community believing the same thing. “I thought doing a conference would just take it to the next stage where the media and the world will look at it and say, ‘wait a minute — something must be going on. This is not just some internet fad, or a bunch of crazy people online. They’re now meeting in buildings.'”He has a few things he wants to make clear to a flat-Earth novice. Firstly, and most importantly — “none of us believe that we’re a flying pancake in space.” The community merely believes that space does not exist, the world sits still and the moon landing was faked. The jury is out on gravity — but as Davidson notes, no one has ever seen it.Secondly — no, you won’t fall off the edge. While flat Earthers’ views of the world vary, most believe the planet is a circular disk with Antarctica acting as an ice wall barrier around the edge.And thirdly, modern flat Earthers have little in common with the Flat Earth Society, a group that has existed for decades and has more than 200,000 followers on Facebook.

That organization, some speakers told CNN, is a government-controlled body designed to pump out misinformation and make the flat-Earth cause sound far-fetched to curious minds. Davidson calls their theories “completely ridiculous.” The Flat Earth Society told CNN: “We are not a government-controlled body. We’re an organization of Flat Earth theorists that long predates most of the FEIC newcomers to the scene.””It probably goes without saying that we find no joy in this sectarianism, or the elevated emotions that surround some of our disagreements,” the group added in response to criticism from speakers at the conference. “We wish the Flat Earth International Conference organizers all the best, but we remain steadfast in our own convictions.”But flat Earthers don’t pretend to have all the answers. “People don’t really know 100% what (the Earth) is, we’re just questioning what we’re being told it is,” Davidson explains.

23 Responses to “Flat Earthers Pick up Support Around the Globe”

  1. ecoquant Says:

    I think the folks need to learn and do a couple of practical astronomy experiments.

    Unless, of course, they believe along with Saint Augustine of Hippo,

    The good Christian should beware of mathematicians. The danger already exists that mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and confine man in the bonds of Hell.

    This kind of attitude has been around a long time. In the long run, it ends badly for the communities who have it.

  2. dumboldguy Says:

    After reading this piece, does anyone still wonder why the human species has f**ked up the planet as badly as it has? The “influential minds” of the Flat Earth movement are even dumber than the “stable genius” in the WH and the Repugnant morons in congress, and the technological “miracles” of the internet, computers and smart phones have allowed them to spread their stupidity and ignorance far and wide—to the gullible and those who WANT to believe whatever BS they can find out there.

    soe

  3. Ted Kerchner Says:

    I contend that the earth’s not a ball
    (If you walk off the edge you will fall)
    But you need have no fear
    If you visit me here
    For the staff’s got me chained to the wall


  4. […] via Flat Earthers Pick up Support Around the Globe | Climate Denial Crock of the Week […]

  5. Gingerbaker Says:

    Seriously? Go to any harbor with a telescope or good binoculars to see that the bottom halves of boats disappear before top halves.

    https://images.app.goo.gl/vonEWaMvs6aPQjMQ7

    • doldrom Says:

      Yes. And people have known about this for millennia. Even the ancient Egyptians were already calculating the diameter of the earth.

    • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

      On any body of water, that passes the horizon, one can SEE the GD curve.

      • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

        Sorry, but that’s an “optical illusion”.
        As for ships disappearing over the horizon, the further they go, the more likely they will go beyond a wave/swell big enough to be blocked from view.

        While I’m at it…
        BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:
        Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me): Why we Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions and Hurtful Acts (2015), by C. Tavris and E. Aronson

        Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People (2016), by M. Banaji and AG Greenwald.

        And a classic:
        Flim-Flam! Psychics, ESP, Unicorns, and Other Delusions (1982), by James Randi. He addresses both frauds and True Believers.

        • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

          Nope, gravity pulls the light waves down so eventually they hit the flat surface!

          • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

            OK, that’s a keeper.

          • Earl Mardle Says:

            Regrettably, since Space is apparently fake, plainly space-time cannot be a “thing” therefore gravity, which is itself suspect because “nobody has ever ‘seen’ it” cannot curve the non-existent space-time and so the light waves cannot be bent.

            Jesus Christ on a pogo stick, thank god for alcohol, after writing that sentence I need a bloody bender to get back to something like normal.

  6. doldrom Says:

    “It literally whips the rug out from underneath you.”
    “I have no problem with anybody that wants to believe we live on a ball. That’s their choice,” he says. “It’s just not something I resonate with.”

    I think it’s a lark. They’re trying to prove something about the interplay between theoretical models and human-scale experience through your senses, but I don’t think they believe it as an alternate to physics.

    • J4Zonian Says:

      But clearly they do believe it, just like climate denying delayalists either believe the nonsense they spew, or are consciously lying, which could only happen if on some level they do actually believe it.

      I focused on the “literally whips the rug out” quote, too, although mainly as a way to despise their evil idiocy rather than be distracted by compassion for their insanity. No, it doesn’t literally whip the rug out; it does it figuratively, metaphorically, allegorically.

      As for the rest, useful diagnosis would take too long, except that we’ll be seeing a lot more of this as things get worse–cults, irrational denial and belief in the most ludicrous people and ideas imaginable, and many not now imaginable, and autocrats at every level taking advantage of the insanity to hijack authority over the truth. Pretty much like now, only more.

      • Earl Mardle Says:

        Yep, although you forgot to mention the scapegoating and the pogroms and the autos da fe for the atheists and unbelievers and the gays and climate “scientists” who are all collectively and individually responsible for the goddamned environmental, economic and political mess that the world is descending into and which cannot be fixed until the perpetrators are tortured and murdered in sufficient numbers to appease whatever crackpot gods are currently on the top of the list.

  7. ubrew12 Says:

    So, there’s no Space, just a dome with little circular cutouts to represent stars and planets. Why circular? Why only circular? With my limited imagination, I can make some cutouts look square, or triangular, or like snakes, or Cheshire Cats. I don’t want to think God has a very limited imagination, but there it is.

    • ubrew12 Says:

      Also, the Sun is obviously circular. When it rises, why doesn’t the Earth disc become illuminated all at once, as a plane surface would? Instead we have dawns and dusks. I was looking at a satellite image of the weather this morning, and the passage of the vertical ‘dawn line’ through my state was quite obvious and consistent with a rotating spherical Earth. To simulate that on a plane surface, the Sun would have to look more like a vertical fluorescent light, with a changing angle to Earth, yet it clearly is a circle. Is the weather satellite image just more hoax?

  8. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    For Davidson, a born-again Christian, the most logical explanation for the conspiracy of the millennium goes like this: “Let’s just say there is an adversary, there is a devil, there is a Satan.

    That actually makes me feel better about the article. That shows a pre-existing Central Defect in his thinking.


    • Being a Christian doesn’t mean you have to be a science denier. I’ve been a Christian my whole life and I don’t deny science. It really frustrates me because I feel like it makes people look down on our faith and it’s not necessary at all.

      • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

        I did learn about evolution as part of my Catholic schooling. And one of my mother’s friends from her college Newman Club (a Catholic group), was ordained a Catholic priest and eventually ended up at the Vatican Observatory.

  9. Sir Charles Says:

    I still like watching ships sinking into the ocean at the horizon…


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