Flat-Earther Marble brought a spirit level on a plane and shared his ‘proof’ that the Earth isn’t curved in a video
McIntyre, from Boston University, said that if you happen to be debating a Flat-Earther, it’s best to ask them in advance what evidence would be sufficient to prove them wrong. “I used that question in person at FEIC [Flat Earth International Conference] 2018 and it was very telling. Most of them just said ‘proof’ and I said ‘proof of what?’ They couldn’t be specific. This shows that their beliefs weren’t really based on evidence in the first place,” he explained.
While it’s entirely possible that some Flat-Earthers are trying to cash-in on the gullible, McIntyre explained that, in his experience, most of them are true believers.
“For one thing, where is the cash? Even the main speakers, or organizers of the conference, didn’t seem like they were rich. We’re not talking about ExxonMobil creating disinformation about climate change so they can continue to sell oil. After about an hour face to face with these folks, I determined that virtually all of them believe it. Some are stronger in that belief than others, but I didn’t catch one person who seemed like they were just trolling,” McIntyre shared his experience with us.
“Maybe I’m being naive? Surely some trolls are out there. But at one session I heard many Flat Earthers talk about losing family members, getting kicked out of their churches, losing jobs… who would do that for fun? These are hardcore science deniers. As hard as it might be to accept, there are people who believe this stuff and are willing even to put their lives on the line for it! One rocket guy crashed trying to prove Flat Earth. They aren’t pretending.”
While a lot of us like to moan about how modern times bring about modern problems like plenty of conspiracy theories, the fact is, they’ve been around since ancient times.
“Conspiracy theories have been around since Nero in the Roman Empire. They pop up in times of turmoil or mass unrest when people try to make sense of the world, but can’t. Flat Earth is in some ways just a run of the mill conspiracy theory. They’ve all grown in popularity because beliefs (even fringe beliefs) are reinforced by peer approval, and that is now readily available on the internet. Virtually all of the flat earthers I met were converted based on Youtube videos. Some then went to the conferences. After that, they were ‘down the rabbit hole.'”
McIntyre said that these Flat-Earthers then try to convert others and convince them that they’re right. “It’s important to remember that these pathologies of human reasoning exist not just to defend themselves but to proselytize new members. They are virulent. They are infectious. I wish Flat Earth were the worst of them, but it isn’t. It’s the scourge of our age. And it will only continue to get worse.”