To answer this hot-button question special preparations and precautions were required. To get to the heart of all this I must infiltrate this cabal of conspiracy revolutionists.
I went deep, deep, deep undercover into several of the flat-Earther Facebook groups. Some of these groups have 10,000+ members (no kidding). I had to really blend into the crowd or I risked being identified and all my Farmville crops and animals being burned to the ground.
I really had to think like one of them. The only solution was to put a plastic bag over my head and tie it super airtight around my neck. I figured too much oxygen flowing to the brain would be a dead giveaway. I made a conscious effort to only use words that were at most 2 syllables long. A true flat Earther never ever uses more than two syllable words. And just to be extra sure I could maneuver undetected I removed several letters from my keyboard. The letter keys N, T, and P were sufficient to emulate the average flat Earthers grammatical prowess. With all that in place, I photoshopped a Trump tee-shirt on me and a fake mustache took a deep breath (which wasn’t easy) and plunged into the world of a flat-Earther.
Apparently, they think the Government can benefit in these ways:
1) Companies can clandestinely fund certain projects under the guise of making satellites (which wouldn’t work if the Earth is flat) By telling everyone that money is being poured into these otherwise useless projects, they can fund other things out of the public eye while innocently going:”What zombie virus? We ain’t making no zombie virus. The money is being used to make this incredibly useful satellite.”
2) Easier control over the people. A stupid, scientifically ignorant populace is much easier to keep under control than alert, educated masses. Look at North Korea vs South Korea. By lying to people about the shape of the Earth, total control is within their grasp.
3) NASA gets to continue surviving. In the delusional world of a flat-Earther, NASA is useless, since they are exploring things that don’t exist aka science and space. Therefore, by lying their asses off about the existence of other <gasp> round planets, they can continue funding NASA for it’s horrendous, nefarious, true purpose: Projecting star systems on the sky (which is also flat) and guarding the Antarctic Ice Wall that ensures nobody explores too far and falls off.
4) The government-backed globe manufacturers are behind it. It started as a novelty item a few hundred years ago, but now with a round, spin-able Earth in every classroom, den, library, museum (and millions more that were over-produced and stashed away in a secret warehouse beneath Area 51) the globe Earth conspiracy must be kept alive to prevent the huge drop in globe sales that the truth of the flat Earth would bring.
They have barely been keeping sales afloat in this digital age with virtual globe software on personal computers, phones, and tablets. Google Earth was created to keep the ruse alive while enhancing globe nostalgia in the hopes of improving sales. But it’s not working, the latest sales figures are way down.
After a few hours of wading in the flat Earth intellectual cesspool, a few observations on the people involved are in order.
There is a strong sense of smug superiority. It often is expressed in some version of “I’ve got my eyes wide open and I see what’s really going on.” Belief in the conspiracy makes the believer feel special, awake, smarter than everyone else. That feeling can exist only if the conspiracy exists, so here is the important point: There does not need to be any rational reason for the conspiracy to exist. The deep desire is for the conspiracy to be real, and anyone with a deep desire can come up with endless reasons why that desire might be real. It’s somewhat like convincing yourself that someone you desire is secretly madly in love with you, despite all signs to the contrary. There are people who do that, too.
An all-encompassing delusion of intense paranoia that “They” are laughing at the ones being fooled. This is the flip side of the previous feeling. In the mind of the conspiracy believer, the world is upside down and the people running the conspiracy are the ones enjoying a sense of smug superiority. There is a huge projection effect going on here, as you can see. The believer feels such a rush from being in on the secret that he/she is sure that the keepers of the conspiracy must feel the same way. Sure, there are always all kinds of reasons given for what makes the conspiracy valuable, but at the deepest level, the true believer assumes that the conspirators keep their secret simply because they enjoy keeping the secret. The brilliance of this mindset is that no kind of rational argument can ever budge it.
These people create “closed belief systems” for themselves. Ideation where they reject any contrary evidence. For example, I know a (very bright) health-nutter who has unorthodox views about health & diet. He accepts all supporting evidence but rejects all opposing evidence by claiming it is false and paid for by big pharma. The internet was plagued by 9–11-truthers claiming the fall of the towers was impossible. They rejected all contrary evidence claiming it was controlled by the same government that actually destroyed the towers. Such closed belief systems can’t be assailed by evidence and reason since they reject sources of information as corrupt. There is a strong emotional component to these belief systems too. The ‘believers’ feel they understand something most people don’t, and typically enjoy ‘evangelizing’ their peculiar beliefs.
I don’t think that is the entire motivation.
Then there is just plain old mental illness. In particular bi-polar Grandiosity. Grandiosity refers to an unrealistic sense of superiority—a sustained view of oneself as better than others that causes the narcissist to view others with disdain or as inferior—as well as to a sense of uniqueness: the belief that few others have anything in common with oneself and that one can only be understood by a few or very special people.
That describes the hardcore flat Earth conspirators to a tee.
This conspiracy is different from most others. Almost all the other conspiracies have the virtue of Unfalsifiability. Not this one, this one can be proven incorrect by grade school level experiments. The first recorded proof that the Earth is a sphere came from Eratosthenes a Greek philosopher (384-322 BC). For some contemporary evidence, a simple plane flight of sufficient distance is more proof than most people would require knowing the Earth is a sphere. I guess it is possible that some flat Earthers have either not flown very far or if they have, they have been in an aircraft that has only flown longitudinally.
I generally try in life to be respectful, but science deniers are dangerous and we have too many real problems to waste time on ludicrous, destructive delusions.
Hug a flat Earther…they really, really need it.
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