There are tens of thousands (maybe more) of people who believe the earth is flat. According to the NY Post, The “Flat Earth” movement believes that our planet exists on a giant, flat plane, with Antarctica forming a large ice wall around the circumference.
An organization of people who believe the earth is flaw was established by in 1956. It is appropriately named the “Flat Earth Society.” They claim 37,000 members – but it is not clear how many are serious. According to their website they think there is a “round earth conspiracy” and base their notion of a flat earth on their observation that the horizon looks flat. Here’s a link to their truly fascinating website: https://theflatearthsociety.org/home/
Distressingly, the Flat Earth Society has been gaining followers over the recent past years. NBA Star Kyrie Irving is a flat earther and had this to say in a recent interview: “For me, it’s not about whether the world is flat or whether the world is round. It’s really about everyone just believing what they want to believe and feeling comfortable with it. I’m not a scientist, I’m not here to tell everyone that this is it. For me, it’s just giving everyone a chance to do their own research and find their own knowledge rather than of having knowledge just shoved to you. I don’t necessarily tell. I won’t sit here and say that I know. And when I started actually doing research on my own and figuring out that there is no real picture of Earth. Like, there is not one picture of Earth. We haven’t been back to the moon since 1961 or 1969.”
The fact that the earth is a sphere is a pretty elementary and isn’t worthy of debate. But, we Americans often choose to disbelieve things that are nearly as factual as the earth not being flat. We have become accepting of the notion in America that believing facts is optional and, like Kyrie says above, many believe that everyone can just believe what they want to believe. Such as:
- Fifty-Seven Percent of Americans believe in some sort of evolution (nearly 40% of those 57% believe God controls evolution), but 43% of Americans do not believe in evolution. Compare that with the 98% of the scientific community says evolution occurred. (From Pew Research Center)
- Only 68% of Americans think that children should be vaccinated. In the scientific community there near unanimous consensus about the necessity of vaccines. (Pew Research Center)
- Less than half of Americans, 48%, say that global warming is due mostly to human activity whereas 93% of earth sciences PhDs say global warming is mostly due to humans. (Pew Research Center)
Interested in this train of thought about American’s increasing doubt of science and openness to fake facts and conspiracy theories? An excellent book on this topic is The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters by Tom Nichols. Link: https://www.amazon.com/Death-Expertise-Campaign-Established-Knowledge-ebook/dp/B01MYCDVHH