‘Makes no sense’: Why people believe the Flat Earth conspiracy

·News Editor
·3-min read

The Flat Earth conspiracy theory appears to be growing in popularity, attracting at least 200 online followers each week. 

Believing the Earth is indeed flat rather than a sphere, as science has proven, has been a rising phenomenon online since 2015.

In 2017, US rapper Bobby Ray Simmons Jr started a GoFundMe page to raise money to launch a satellite to prove the Earth was a flat disk.

According to the International Flat Earth Society, the aim is to "carefully observe, think freely, rediscover forgotten facts and oppose theoretical dogmatic assumptions".

It adds it was to "replace the science religion with sanity".

Earth pictured in space.
Futurist Dr Richard Hames says the Flat Earth theory is not plausible. Source: Getty Images

However futuristic Dr Richard Hames has debunked the conspiracy and said the theory is like something "out of a children's nursery rhyme".

"It's bonkers," he told Yahoo News Australia as part of its new Conspiracies Unpacked series

"Why would so many organisations be conspired to lie about such a thing? There's very little rationale to underpin why anyone would do that."

Dr Hames added science was the best tool we had to knowing how the world worked and the "overwhelming evidence" showed Earth was a sphere. 

Why people believe Flat Earth theory

The futurist said a lack of trust in the government made people more suspicious, leading to more questions about what facts are truth.

"The other thing is of course we're more open to this notion that things can be different because of the speed of science fiction movies that come at us all the time and other conspiracy theories that are floating around the ether," he said. 

"I think those two things very much impinge on human consciousness."

A mock-up of a 'Flat Earth'.
The Flat Earth theory is growing online support by at least 200 people a week. Source: Getty Images

Dr Hames said proof the Earth was a sphere had been around for centuries.

"There was Galileo, who was a heretic at the time, the church of course didn't believe what he was saying about the Earth being round," he said.

"And so, there have been moments in history where these things have been challenged, but the mathematical measurement of the Earth is such that is is almost impossible to believe that it's anything other than a sphere."

Theory 'makes no sense'

Dr Hames said while he can see why some people may believe other conspiracies, he cannot understand the Flat Earth theory.

"This conspiracy theory, particularly to me, makes no sense at all," he said.

"I simple don't understand it. I don't get it. Whereas a with a lot of conspiracy theories there are shards of proof that have been woven together."

He said however the Flat Earth theory seemed to contain no elements of truth at all.

"The fact that this could be held up by rocks in space, and be moving upwards at a rate of 32 feet per second, and there's no gravity – the fact there's an ice wall, which is Antarctica, around the disk 150 feet tall and guarded by NASA ... the claims seem to be out of a children's nursery rhyme," he said.

"I think it's as plausible as The Truman Show."

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