If there’s one thing flat-earthers can prove, it’s that not all conspiracy theories are harmless.
Wars, deception and Satan’s greatest lie were among the reactions of some who attended North Carolina’s infamous “Flat Earth International Conference” last year — and they plan on holding it again in the fall of 2018.
The conference was in response to a growing movement dubbed the “Flat Earth Conspiracy,” where individuals believe the earth is not, in fact, the shape of a sphere and NASA has been lying to the American people.
“We used to think that when we got started individually in this, that we were alone,” said Patricia Steere, a conference speaker. “We have one thing in common, we live on a flat planet.”
But what makes this conspiracy theory so interesting — and believable — to its thousands of dedicated followers?
“Nobody likes this uncomfortable feeling to be in this tiny ball, flying through space in this vast end of the universe,” said Mark Sergent, who has amassed over 43,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel.
Feelings aside, Sergent held up a model of a flat earth that is depicted as being only 50 miles deep, explaining by adding, “We can only drill down 8 miles. We don’t know, it could be this sort of dimension.”
Others, however, were not so interested in the science of it as to the possibility of seeing that they weren’t alone.
“I came here because I needed to see what flat-earth people look like. And I was not disappointed,” said Happy the Artist, who drove all the way from Virginia to Raleigh, North Carolina for the conference.
Yet, though flat-earthers’ arguments usually go no further than government secrecy and a biblical feature called “the firmament,” the conspiracy has continued to spur controversy as it continues to reach far-and-wide to the not so infinite edges of the universe.
And many notable figures, from celebrities to scientists, have added their voice to the mix.
American astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson responded to comments from flat-earthers back in November with a photoshopped image that depicted the type of shade a “flat earth” would cast during a lunar eclipse.
Many echo Tyson’s sentiments, with one article from Popular Science giving readers ten different reasons the earth may, in fact, be round, from gravity to shadows and even the way ships move along the horizon.
However, to many conspirators, science isn’t the answer as much as it is the antagonist in this never-ending plot against the truth, and if 2017 has taught Americans anything, it’s that the controversy isn’t stopping anytime soon.
In the words of Mark Sergent, “Don’t take my word for it, I could be a mental patient recently released from an institution.”
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