Understanding Flat Earth Conspiracy Theorists

If you think back to your seventh grade history class, you will likely remember learning that ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians and the Mesopotamians originally believed that the shape of our fine planet was comparable to that of the common frisbee. Naturally, as time progressed and clever young eggheads such as Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein came along, a more educated conception of the earth has shown it to be less of a frisbee and more of a complex volleyball from which it is impossible to fall off. This fact was further confirmed by empirical evidence granted by our good friends at NASA and whoever it is that invented satellites. Though if this blog has taught me anything, it’s that people love taking the ‘seeing is believing’ mentality to irrational extremes. Enter the Flat Earth Society, a united and feverous pact of skeptics urging us to break free from what they dub as a flat earth conspiracy. So what’s their deal exactly?

The shape of the world as hypothesized by the believers in the flat earth conspiracy

 

 

 

So What do Flat Earthers Believe Exactly?

 

Flat earthers are driven by the concept that we earthlings have no real way of perceiving the earth’s supposed roundness. Naturally, if the earth were truly round, navigating its surface would be comparable to this act. But seeing as even extremely long distance trips do not include moments where we feel like we are on an amusement park ride, flat earthers are understandably unsatisfied with the results of years of painstaking, fact-checked scientific research. Instead, they have come to the conclusion that the outer limits of the earth’s flat surface are impenetrable ice walls guarded by NASA. Fair enough, however the truth is that there are actually many ways to perceive the earth’s roundness. Whether it be gravity, or the fact that we can fly across the world without hitting an ice wall, proof of the roundness of the earth is everywhere.

 

The Flat Earth Society, whose logo is pictured above, are firm supporters in the flat earth conspiracy

What about pictures of the earth as taken from outer space?

 

Belief in the flatness of the earth inevitably branches out into believing that any photographic evidence regarding outer space has been fabricated, and that all astronauts are simply well-paid actors. So then what is the motive behind all this deception? Well, according to flat earthers, the highly competitive realm of aerospace research drove agencies such as NASA manipulate images so to fabricate deceiving photographic evidence supposedly confirming the earth’s round shape. They also suggest that the motive behind this elaborate hoax is to siphon money from the clueless general public (IE everyone who is not a flat earther). There is also a subtle religious connotation to the beliefs of the flat earthers, suggesting that earth is wrongly taught as being round in order to, and I quote this from their FAQ page,  ‘protect the truth of the bible’ (whatever that means exactly). What is confusing is that flat earthers do not deny the roundness of other planets in our solar system, seeing as this would of course this would be difficult to disprove without giving way to another theory about how telescopes are engineered to show us fake planets.

 

Observatories such as this one allow us to see other planets, which are round. But is Earth the exception?

 

Celebrities Who Believe the Earth is Flat

 

Before you toss off the flat earth conspiracy as the skewed ramblings of your clichéd conspiracy theorist, this belief has actually been backed by the most reliable of spokespeople: B-list celebrities! The most relentless and dedicated of these advocates is none other than Bobby Ray Simmons Jr, who has been (under)performing under the name of B.O.B. for nearly a decade. The rapper’s name once again made headlines when he engaged in somewhat of a Twitter beef with Neil DeGrasse Tyson regarding the flatness of the earth. Naturally, a series of cringe-y rap tracks followed, playing out like a super nerdy version of the Drake-Meek Mill beef. B.O.B. eventually made some very troubling claims in his track ‘Flatline’, whose lyrics profess that our planet is, you guessed it, a flat line (spoiler alert: the song’s chorus rhymes the word ‘flatline’ with ‘superior bloodline’). As if disturbing song lyrics and Twitter breakdowns were not enough to secure B.O.B.’s allegiance among the ranks of the Flat Earth society, the 28-year-old musician went on to begin a GoFundMe page which aims to raise a humble 2 MILLION DOLLARS to fund his mission to prove the earth’s flatness. If B.O.B.’s example has taught us anything, it is that a firm belief in the flat earth conspiracy can drive people to great lengths (when it comes to shamelessly asking people for cold harsh cash).

American musician B.O.B., flat Earth advocate

 

So what do we make of these flat earthers?

Like most conspiracy theories, the flat earth conspiracy seems to inevitably tie into a larger concern that the world as we know it is being puppeteered by an evil (and possibly reptilian) higher power that is out to get you. That being said, the flat earthers do seem have put a great deal of thought into their scientific reasoning, which I guess is kind of admirable if you overlook the many problematic undertones in their spiel. Feel free to read into to said scientific mumbo jumbo on the Flat Earther’s website, but until it can be proved that if I decide to sprint across the planet I will encounter some NASA-hired goons once I hit the ‘walls’ of Antartica, I will put my money on this conspiracy being NOT REAL™.