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Some conspiracy theories don't go away no matter how much time passes or how much evidence to the contrary exists. One of the most famous examples is the flat earth theory. Its supporters do not calm down and continue to find new ways to "prove" that planet Earth is not a rotating sphere at all. All people are simply deceived! (I wonder who?) Darryl Marble, one of the flat-earth adepts, is absolutely sure that the earth is flat. Moreover, he even proved it!
Is it flat or round?
Quite a few people on our planet seriously believe that it is flat. There are many communities of supporters of this idea. They even host "scientific" conferences. Darryl Marble is one of those people. He believes so strongly that he took a spirit level with him on the plane to see if the bubble was moving. In his YouTube video, Darryl argues that since the bubble did not move, the planet is not a sphere. He even gave the corresponding calculations.
Naturally, many people laughed heartily when they saw this "testimony." Even after a long time since its publication, they continue to react violently to it.
“I recorded a time interval of 23 minutes 45 seconds. According to all data, during this time the plane flew a little more than 320 kilometers. According to the mathematics of the curvature of the earth's surface, given to explain the model of the globe, this should have resulted in a curvature compensation of 8 kilometers. As you will see, there was no measurable compensation for curvature,”Marble said.
Who believes this?
To find out more about why so many people believe in conspiracy theories like the flat earth theory, you need to turn to science. For example, Lee McIntyre, a fellow at Boston University's Center for Philosophy and History of Science, has published several papers on this topic.
McIntyre says he attended a flat earth conference back in 2018 and even heard someone bragging about an "experiment" with a level. The scientist said, “They should be commended for actually trying to test their hypothesis. But, of course, they have absolutely no understanding of how science actually works. In particular, they ignore gravitational attraction. One of their main arguments was that if the Earth rotated, the water would fall. Don't they understand that the gravitational pull comes from the center, is based on mass, and acts on water as well?"
Leading psychiatrists have also spoken about flat-earthers and fans of various conspiracy theories. For example, Joseph Pierre, clinical professor of psychiatry and M.D. at the University of California, Los Angeles. Flat-earth proponents and similar conspiracy theorists may try to convince those unfamiliar with Marble's experiment that they are right, the professor said. In addition, you need to make the interlocutor believe that every country with a space program, its government and scientists, is participating in some kind of world conspiracy. They try their best to hide the truth. Here the most pertinent question would be: why do they all need this?
Pierre said that his initial interest in the flat earth theory arose after basketball player Kyrie Irving made a few comments about it a few years ago. Subsequently, he retracted his words, saying that he meant only distrust of generally accepted dogmas.
The professor said that when the adherents of this theory begin to ask about the reasons for such beliefs, it is unrealistic to get an answer. Some simply express their inner protest in this way. There are those who are sincerely convinced that the Earth is flat. Pierre compared these people to what we call "believers." Means in God. There are people who are simply religious, by virtue of traditions or upbringing, and there are really devout believers. The latter cannot be persuaded to anyone else, they are reasoned, because they know the truth.
Dr. McIntyre says: “If you happen to argue with a flat-earther, it’s better to ask him in advance what evidence will be enough to prove that he is wrong. I personally asked this question at FEIC (International Flat Earth Conference) 2018 and it was very revealing. Most of these people simply said "proof." I asked "proof of what?" They were unable to concretize. This very clearly demonstrates that initially their beliefs were not based on any evidence."
There is also a perception that some flat-earthers are trying to cash in on gullible people. Although McIntyre says that, in his experience, most of them are true believers. “First, where is the money? Even the main speakers or conference organizers did not turn out to be wealthy people. We're not talking about ExxonMobil misinforming about climate change to keep selling oil. After about an hour of communicating with these people, I decided that almost all of them sincerely believe in this. Some of them are stronger in this belief than others, but I have not met a single person who seems to be just trolling,”McIntyre shared his experience.
“Maybe I'm naive? There must be trolls there. But I've heard many flat-earthers talk about being abandoned by their loved ones, excommunicated, losing their jobs because of their beliefs … Who would go to that for fun? They are hardcore science deniers. As difficult as it is to accept, there are people who truly believe in a flat earth and are even willing to risk their lives for it! One rocketman crashed while trying to prove that the Earth was flat. They don't pretend. They believe".
Many people today enjoy complaining that modern advances are giving rise to problems such as many conspiracy theories. But in fact, humanity has been familiar with this practice since ancient times.
Why are there so many conspiracy theorists?
“Conspiracy theories have existed since the days of the ancient Roman emperor Nero. People are just trying to understand the world around them, but they cannot. Flat Earth is a common conspiracy theory. All of them have become extremely popular because these beliefs are reinforced by peer approval. Plus, it's now readily available online. Nearly all flat-earthers I met were convinced by the Marble's "proof" videos on Youtube. Some then went to the conference. After that, they were already completely "in the rabbit hole."
McIntyre said that these adepts then try to convert others, convince them that they are right. “It is important to remember that these pathologies of the human mind exist not only to protect themselves, but also to convert new members. They are dangerous. They are contagious. I wish Flat Earth was the worst of them all, but it is not. This is the calamity of our time. And it will only get worse."
McIntyre has no consensus on Marble's video. He does not understand whether he truly believes that the Earth is flat, or whether he is simply profiting from this conspiracy theory on his YouTube channel. Both are possible.Based on the topics he posts on social media, Darryl is a firm believer in many conspiracy theories. He is also an active member of the Flat Earth community. But I would not dismiss the idea that Marble is actually a comedian or a scientist. He may deliberately conduct some kind of large-scale social experiment about belief in conspiracy theories and how people absorb information on the Internet.
When the average flat-earther is asked why they believe this, they will tell you how important it is to think for yourself. At least in this respect, they are right. Critical thinking, the ability to draw conclusions for oneself, is a vital skill in a world full of fake news, conspiracy theories, poorly disguised propaganda and clickbait.
Ironically, while some conspiracy theorists like Marble do their job, others simply repeat their "conclusions." People simply don’t think about anything, they don’t analyze anything and don’t question anything. From their statements and "facts" that the Earth is flat, the head is just spinning. Inevitably, many people will think that the Internet is not very good.
You cannot blame anyone for trying to collect information for yourself. Only a real scientist takes into account all the facts and considers all the known data, and not only what confirms his theory. In addition, scientists are still more concerned with the purity of experiments, rather than their brightness and spectacle, like bloggers on the Internet.
If you are interested in conspiracy theories, read our article on how one of them was defeated: King Elvis is saving the world from an epidemic or how teenagers and rock and roll made vaccination fashionable.