How to end the flat earth argument

Apparently people still think that the earth is flat despite an overwhelming amount of evidence to the contrary. This stuff is all over social media, and it infuriates me to no end because we’ve known that the earth was a sphere for thousands of years, and if ancient man could figure that shit out then I would expect that someone who has access to satellite photography would also be able to figure it out. But alas, people are ignorant as fuck and thus we have the flat earth theory. Everyone’s favorite astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, recently had to respond to an NBA star commenting that the earth is flat.

I had an exchange with someone on Instagram earlier today. Someone I follow posted something showing how the earth was curved, not flat. Well, cue the “woke” enlightened folk. So I asked how a flat planet could form in the presence of gravity. Well, apparently gravity is also a conspiracy. Here’s the response I got:

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See, guys, there’s no such thing as gravity because density! Duh. And no, I’m not blurring anyone’s name out on here because if you’re stupid enough to think the earth is flat and gravity isn’t real you deserve to be called out. And yes, I also realize that you all have my Instagram handle now.

But here’s why I asked about gravity.

I wanted to think of a proof or a thought experiment I could give a flat earther to get them to realize that they’re wrong. And I think I came up with one. And it all hinges on gravity. In order for a flat planet to form, gravity either 1) needs to not exist, or 2) not behave according to our current models. My response to good ol’ Jonathan there was this:

“There’s a very easy way to prove whether or not gravity is real. Pick an object, any old object will do. Next, find a place you can drop it from–a second story window, a tree, a rooftop–it doesn’t matter. Now, if you know the mass of the object and the height from which you’re dropping it from, then it’s a matter of simple math. Calculate the time it would take the object to reach the ground 1) by using the standard model of gravity and the equation time = √(2d/g) and 2) by substituting the value of g for literally anything else–like the formula for density. Then drop the object and compare the times to those given by your two equations.”

That’s really something any middle school student should be able to do. The response I got?

…total crickets. Nobody had a response. None of the flat earth geniuses, to nobody’s surprise, derived a new form of math to describe acceleration and motion that didn’t use gravity.

Because you can believe that the government lies to us about the shape of the earth and the ISS and moon landing are faked by NASA, but there’s one thing that doesn’t lie–GODDAMN MATH.

But just the fact that this needs to be explained to people is incredibly disheartening. It speaks to a broken education system. It speaks to a culture steeped in paranoia. It speaks to a political system wherein people are encouraged to openly deny evidence. People are so quick to latch onto conspiracy, but they can’t see that the way to to truly keep someone ignorant is to make them question observable, measurable, testable, repeatable evidence. THAT’S how you keep someone in ignorance. And the fact that this is happening speaks volumes about our social and political state.

So if you ever run into a flat earther, give them this proof and see what happens. My guess it that cognitive dissonance will be so great that their head will explode.

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47 thoughts on “How to end the flat earth argument

  1. That is not going to end the argument. The shape of the world remains regardless of how people argue. Look into what is needed for 2 atmospheres to exist side by side, stellar paralax, observers horizon, just to name a few things. Do not forget what is still theory, which means not proven. I do not know if it is flat, but I am really doubting the spinning ball, come from monkeys, nothing exploded into me wondering about it… come on, you know that is far fetched.

      1. That should make you feel content then. So why does it frustrate you to see people looking into the matter? Is it alright with you if we continue to question the validity of what is theory? Or is that too offensive and emotional for you?

      2. I think we both understand the word “theory” differently. In a scientific sense, a theory is not the same thing as a hypothesis. Basically what you’re saying is that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it *could* be a dog. As a scientist, I do find that kind of blind skepticism offensive and even counterproductive.

        All of that to say, despite the inflammatory style of my writing, I’m not actually an unreasonable person. Of course you have nothing but my word on that, but if you have evidence that supports an alternative to any of the tenants you mentioned previously, I won’t dismiss it out of hand.

      3. Have you ever been approached by a person who presented themselves one way, but later you find out that it is the opposite of reality? This happens often when dealing with people. It happens even more often when dealing with alphabet agencies like NASA and the CIA. So yes, many times things will walk and quack specific ways and it will need you to be persuaded into a conclusion that it is walking and quacking about, but that does not always persuade me. I am thankful we have the ability to question what we are being told. Too bad it is such a messy process, but acknowledgement can only refine it. It makes me glad to know that people are looking into things that I would not even think to look into. I am mostly turned off by anybody who would treat their education and knowledge like a team vs other teams. We are not used to being able to communicate with everybody like we can now with the internet. People who are highly educated are finding out that they are also more hypothetical and competitive in their reasoning than people who are less educated but have more experience come upon them without control. That is Wisdom, which is not achieved by curriculum but by fate handing you an experience to grow from, and you being a willing participant to grow from it. That is how I know there is a character behind the world. It will present itself to you so that you can be revealed to it.
        I saw people reveal themselves throughout my life, especially when I was in Iraq. The variables of a situation pile up quickly in real life and you see what it makes of people in that moment. I have seen the difference between myself and other men that I admired, but was so disappointed to see how weak people were to adopt harmful coping mechanisms rather than growing wise in hard times. Ultimately, I have a lot to say about the personality behind the logic. I wonder why does the question drive people so emotional? Why do I keep seeing how weak people are on a social level? I really don’t care to make people agree on the same things, but to help them to cope with their differences if they are clearly struggling about it.
        What type of scientist are you? My wife is from the academy as well. She went for pure math, then law school, and it was so funny to see how our differences could either destroy us or compliment us. We now agree that the ultimate truth is not a matter of matter, but a matter of behavior.

      4. I work in medicine, but I’ve worked in biology labs before as well.

        I can see your point about questioning what institutions tell us, because often times they have their own agenda. That agenda may be benign; it may be quite biased. So it seems fine to me to say that we should always question to some degree things that the government or pharmaceutical companies or whoever tell us.

        But that’s different, at least to me, than questioning data. Perhaps it’s overly optimistic of me, but while institutions can lie, data cannot. Data can be misrepresented, sure. But if something is true or if something is outright false that’s usually pretty hard to hide for long for a variety of reasons.

        I guess the danger in conflating the two to me is that people might reject perfectly valid data simply based on how they judge the source.

      5. That danger has led people to spend their own money on telescopes, weather balloons, high zoom cameras like the P900, etc. Those people are awesome to me. It is always just a matter of time until we reach a more sure vantage point. Data is organized to display truth and there is always more truth encrypted into data than we are able to extract from it.
        My mother wanted to use ADD medicine on me when I was young, but my dad was highly against that. Luckily I was spared of that manipulation. People seem to enjoy and appreciate my will to listen and reason with patience. Why the heck would I have been put on ADD when I was young? It was because I was not captivated by my teachers. At a young age I had to see the troubles of our good intentions.
        What do you think about the placebo effect? What does that mean to you? I always wonder about that, but have not yet studied further into it than the basic premise. What sort of implications does that have on the capabilities of the human body?

      6. I’d say the placebo effect is real, and it’s just one of the many things about the human body we have yet to understand.

        There’s nothing that says that some problems can’t have more than one solution, and in that regard I would say it’s fine to keep researching and keep exploring.

        But for things that have an “either/or” element to them, there is a finite, limited answer. So my question to you then becomes at what point do you feel confident in data?

        Let’s use the physics equation I gave in my original post. Let’s sat I performed the experiment three times, and each time only one equation was correct. Three is a pretty small sample size.

        But what if we performed the same experiment one thousand times, with a thousand different objects and from a thousand different heights? And every single time, one equation was accurate and one was not.

        At what point do you say, “Okay, this equation accurately and fundamentally describes x phenomenon.”

      7. The physics equation is a measurement of something consistent, but how far are we truly able to conclude from that equation? The density of the atmosphere is going to be a strong variable since the atmosphere is fluid and less dense than water, so if the object is in water you will have different results. Everything is fluid at different densities. Does that lead to a spherical Earth and a universe held together by gravity? Or does that just give us an accurate description of how things sink in different densities? Of course we can repeat our measurements, but are our conclusions over reaching? Something tells me that both spherical and flat earth theories are wrong, especially since the theories have been selling themselves without overall success for thousands of years. I think it is still up to be found… but who knows, maybe we already figured it out. Why do we not have a full video stream of our beautiful Earth showing useful weather patterns all on one shot doing at least one rotation? I was a huge space fan for awhile, but then I felt like they were acting like fools, especially since I was in the military and I know how serious missions are. For example, if you would take 15 minutes to see how some of us with real experience see these clowns in this video about the difference between submarines vs ISS, I think you will have to start noticing what we are noticing. https://youtu.be/zralgGlx9lk

      8. This is what begins to frustrate me, because the argument your making is absurd and needlessly complicated.

        If we take our two equations, one with density and one with gravity, how many times would I have to run them for you to be satisfied? What if in 100,000,000,000,000,000 trials, the gravity equation correctly predicted the outcome 100% of the time while the density equation was correct 0% of the time?

        You’re making a bizarrely absurd reductionist argument about uncertainty. That everything will always be too uncertain to discern, when that’s patently false, and would lead one to conclude there is no such thing as fact or truth, which is also patently false.

        If I ran the experiment I outlined 1,000 times and the gravity equation was correct 100% of the time and the density equation was correct 0% of the time, what logical reason could you give me to continue to investigate the density equation? What evidence would you provide me that shows that all 1,000 of those trials were wrong? Please specifically answer this question, because it’s the root of our disagreement.

        That’s extremely important because if the gravity model is correct every time we use it, then we can say with a high degree of certainty that density does not affect motion and it’s not a force, which is very pertinent to the shape of the earth.

      9. My argument is that “educated” people are overly conclusive and get frustrated too easily if people think in a way that would threaten their faith in science and authorities of knowledge. Is that argument absurd?
        I did not come here to prove flat earth, but to show you how you act funny about people thinking on their own.

      10. You seem to be romanticizing the idea that questioning everyone and everything is a virtue in its own right. To me, that speaks volumes more about flaws in your character than it does about flaws in mine or Swarn’s.

        Simply put, ignorance and denial aren’t the same thing as skepticism, and they certainly aren’t the foundations of virtue. I don’t really know what else to call willfully ignoring evidence to elevate an unlearned position over an educated one to make oneself feel more comfortable or superior besides ignorance.

      11. If you follow a certain stream of data it does… but then you see there are many streams and they are all varying in corrupt vs non corrupt data. Now you are faced with qualitative discernment and a personal choice rather than being fed a data burrito.
        I love the fact that people chase after things that I do not. What if they find something I had no idea to look for? I think it is cool that anybody develops models to show possibilities we may have yet to consider. You want to close that off.

      12. You seem to make a lot of presumptions about what people value and want, which is fallacious.

        You seem to be ignoring every single point I make, moving the proverbial goalposts. There can be multiple streams of data, but only one correct one. That’s why we have the scientific method–to determine which hypotheses are correct and which are false.

        Quite frankly I’ll trust data over another humans opinion every single time. Opinions are meaningless when talking about objective reality.

      13. Just like your sly friend, you self project on me by flipping the situation. I value the ability for people to determine for themselves what to value and want in terms of thought.
        You seem to make a lot of presumptions about what people should think and question, which is arrogance and thought control. You seem to have ignored every point I made to you, and ensuring to confuse the message I am saying to you. Did you watch the short video, or look into the congressional hearing for MK Ultra in 1977 that admits to mind control administered to universities on a mass scale starting in the 1930’s? If there are multiple streams of data, it would be biased to assume only 1 correct one at all times with no fluctuations. That is why we have qualitative reasoning and why wisdom helps us to discern.
        Quite frankly I will keep the question open, at least to others, even if I am mostly sure about something. Opinions matter to people who are not Nazi at least. You seem so emotional to me. Not like an intellectual person. Why are you so bothered by the idea of study and question against your own faith in scientism?

      14. When do I conclude? When I can qualitatively reason that there can be no other possibility. I see flaws in the models, gaps in the logic, etc. The big bang theory is not a fact and it is mathematically nonsense so there are plenty of holes in it to continue to ask the question of how this came about… Evolution shows birds adapting, but there is no change of kind in the fossil record. The missing link to link us to monkeys is sold the same way as squaring a circle, and scientism says to have faith in the theory and we should basically accept all that is being taught to us in school, even though it might not be true. My daughters have to hear about how surely we evolved from monkeys, we came from nothing randomly deciding to explode to create time and space for no qualitative purpose. To think you were created is taught to be stupid compared to believing that nothing exploded all of this into existence. Or did something explode into a fertile womb to give birth to everything? Is everything observing you more than you are observing it? Could that be a possibility? Or are you too inside of yourself and what others have figured out to consider that? Do you know about the secular humanist manifesto? That is more info for you to learn about who is feeding your brain. Look into how many drafts it went through to make their agenda acceptable.

      15. “I see flaws with models, gaps in logic, etc.” That’s exactly the problem with your line of reasoning. Your statement isn’t proof of anything except 1) your inability to understand a modem or logic, or 2) your lack of knowledge about other evidence.

        Your descriptions of cosmology and evolution lead me to believe you actually know very little about the subjects. Your use of the word “truth” is entirely subjective. You speak of YOUR truth as it’s produced from your own limited knowledge and personal bias.

        If you’d like to live in world where there is no objective reality, that’s fine. But if argue that’s also dangerous, and it’s not good enough for other people.

      16. There is logic of the mathematical and the philosophical, and there is the actual process of which we labeled and described. I can see all three in one perspective. Can you?
        Would you like to live in a world with thought control? I am not saying no to objective reality. Why are you so small minded and binary? Why are you so frustrated and bothered by other people? Are you afraid of what you have invested into?

      17. I’m not sure what you mean by thought control. Believing in mathematics isn’t a form of thought control. I’m not sure why you find the idea of an objective reality so abhorrent. Perhaps the idea terrifies you.

      18. I love mathematics. My wife also loves mathematics. I use it often for creating simulations in Cinema 4D. You never showed any interest in anything I said to you this entire time. All you have done is react emotionally. You assume the worst of me. I just don’t understand what your problem is.

      19. As finite creatures with limits on where we can spend our time, energy, and resources, perhaps there is good reason for frustration on the part of people who believe the Earth is flat. I mean considering the issues this world faces, to spend time questioning something equivalent to the observation that dogs have 4 legs, seems especially wasteful. And Ryan is quite correct, that you are using the word theory incorrectly. The Heliocentric theory is so well substantiated by a large body of evidence, that unless you have empirical evidence to the contrary, you would be wasting time questioning that the Earth is spherical.

      20. You know, I didn’t even think of the economic implications of never ending suspicion about data, but once again you’ve added some substance to my argument! 🙂

      21. I am responding to the frustration displayed in this post by Ryan. Did you notice you flipped that around on me? Who is the most sly of all the beasts? Ryan was frustrated that people are questioning the Ball Earth model. I am consoling him so that he can let people challenge popular belief. This is not easy to do in today’s culture. I am cool if you are cool.

      22. It’s not a Ball Earth model though. This is my point. It’s a fact. And my point still stands. There are plenty of controversial ideas, ethical and moral dilemmas to ponder. One can’t be skeptical of everything in this world, we must choose. For some things the body of evidence is so large that to continue down a line of skepticism in the face of that evidence is sheer idiocy. And so I’m saying that Ryan has every reason to be frustrated by this type of thinking. This conspiracy mind thinking is killing us. It’s not skepticism. To call it that is to misunderstand what skepticism is. Just as you seemed to misunderstand what theory means.

      23. Good for you to stand up for sly remarks, and the frustration of not being able to control the direction of thinking. If only everybody was more like you, what would that be like? Have you missed the greater truth of the shape of your character?

      24. This is precisely the point I was making earlier: the character of the person giving you the data doesn’t change the data. How does his character change math?

      25. Because the character is of scientism, therefore reducing himself to a more quantitative and less qualitative perspective that he can run with to win awards and climb up the ivory tower. The idea of thought control is one of the most dangerous ideas, and this is a repeatable observation throughout history. You need some wisdom with your knowledge, or you will be overly faithful in the methods of organizing and expressing the data. You will trust authorities to a dangerous extent. They will tell you what data has to mean with no room for question. Do you know of the 1977 Congressional hearing on MK Ultra where they admit to experimenting on universities and professors on a mass scale? There is a debate in the hearing whether to inform the institutions, but they decide that would be too detrimental and that they will instead continue to monitor them. That is govt. record. Study that kind of stuff every once in awhile to know who is feeding you.

      26. Why is a qualitative perspective more valuable than a quantitative one? Seems like values are always subjective and easily manipulated. Numbers and data, however, simply are what they are. Requiring every set of data to come with a qualitative value creates situations where values can be used to pervert data or use it to harm others in the name of one’s values.

      27. Qualitative analysis is the weakest form of analysis because it’s the most prone to bias. So why shouldn’t I trust the quantitative analysis over the qualitative one? A human can lie to me–a computer cannot.

      28. A computer cannot generate the truth for you based on data inputs. A human can share an experience with you that can grow in wisdom and discernment of the matters in which life interacts with itself. You can learn love, forgiveness, faith in opposition, quality of beauty and satisfaction, etc. Or do you think AI is more capable of that than humans? Are you confusing data with truth?

      29. It is an expression of truth, but it is not truth. That should be obvious right? Has anybody ever fudged up their math? Of course! Could it happen for a long time? Of course!

      30. We’re rapidly entering a circular conversation here, so I’m going to just sum everything up here.

        You’ve painted this narrative where you’ve cast yourself as the hero. The noble man whose wisdom elevates him above the educated man. The language you’ve used here repeatedly shows a pattern of self-righteousness and condescension. You see yourself as a truth bringer, someone who shows people the error of their ways.

        You have a rather grandiose view of yourself and of your abilities, which is completely undeserved.

        Frankly, I find your attitude to be smug and callous. You demand that everyone seek truth, but seem concerned that it only be truth which cannot be contradicted by physical evidence. Anyone who demands evidence of your claim is branded by you as afraid or wanting to control minds. You’ve devalued education and intelligence so that your own ignorance by comparison seems virtuous.

        Nothing you’ve said here has been particularly insightful, brilliant, profound or productive. At least not to rational people who require a logical justification for claims. I’m sure that you, however, have already done the mental gymnastics necessary to see yourself as a hero who is bucking the establishment.

        So feel free to continue posting here. You’ve said your peace and I’ve said mine. I’ll let other people who read this post and this thread decide for themselves which framework for understanding the world is more reasonable. Good luck to you.

      31. When did I demand anybody to do anything? It seems like you are talking to people in your memory. Are you stereotyping me? Did I say I wanted to “buck the establishment”? I said I was glad that people question popular belief in contrast to your emotionally frustrated stance due to what you and others agree on. I was hoping you could learn to relax if people wanted to question things. I claim the ability for people to question is of value. You claim emotional frustration toward other people. What do you think I have been trying to say to you this entire time? Cool off bro. You have a sensitive ego. Let people question things. Relax. Good luck to you as well.

      32. This is exactly what I mean. You’ve inserted yourself into this conversation as some kind of authority figure. I think I’ve responded to all of your claims on this thread rationally and that every question I’ve asked you is reasonable. But that doesn’t seem to fit into this view you have of yourself, or of people who value quantitive data over qualitative analysis. I’m not sure why you think that taking a paternalistic, condescending tone with people on this thread would make them suddenly appreciate people choosing subjective analysis over objective data.

        As I said before, people can read your words and judge you based on how you’ve presented yourself and your beliefs and how you’ve treated others on this thread.

        But I won’t feed into this delusion you have that somehow you’re going to be a savior figure in this conversation.

      33. If you say I have authority then you say that. I am actually trying to reduce the amount of bending to authority with what I am saying to you. Let me quote you in your post that compelled me to respond: “But alas, people are fucking stupid as shit, and so we have the flat earth theory. Everyone’s favorite astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson…” See how you defer to authority. Then you say that I am doing that because you gave me authority based on what I told you about myself. I never lied, but I wanted to sincerely let you know that I am coming from a different path than you and that should be alright. Does that make me a hero? I do not think so. But I respect your mind already and would not want to tell you what to think, rather to let others question what you think. Who is the authority figure here? You can’t see that I am here consoling emotional frustration rather than calling each other “fucking stupid as shit” only because they want a clearer proof? Do you really not see what I am saying? Who cares who I am and if anybody thinks hero or savior or dumbass or crazy person? I don’t care to have social delusions. Who cares what other people think about this conversation that is really between you and I? This is about your emotional response to people questioning authority. Do you think it would be best to let others question the globe model? Or would it be better to pressure them out of questioning it by deferring to authority who do totally awesome mic drops? You know he is mostly an actor…

      34. You attack my character and the logical framework from which I view the world, then when I defend myself or refute that, you automatically label me as being “emotional.” Which not only isn’t true, it implies that if someone is emotional during an argument, that somehow lessens the evidence they provide or the logic they use, which is fallacious.

        But portraying my as an emotionally labile person is really the only way that I fit into your narrative or worldview, and the only way that you can maintain your ego. By trying to paint me as “emotional” you present yourself as the rational alternative, as a figure of clarity and authority.

        The fact that this particular post was provocative and used colorful language isn’t some sort of crystal ball into who I am as a person. You’re committing another fallacy, in that you’re assuming that the tone of my writing–and specifically one piece– is reflective of who I am as an individual. That’s a writing 101 no-no. I’m writing to a specific audience–one that responds to the kind of language and hyperbole I use.

        But that’s beside the point. I could have made the same argument in poetic verse. Or as an elegy. Or in whatever writing style I wanted, but the logical argument would still have been the same. This is the entire point I’ve been making: your entire argument rests on ad hominem attacks.

        Rather than actually use evidence to refute any claim that I’ve made, you’ve instead attacked me as an author and me as an individual.

        Anyone who regularly reads this blog would tell you that I’m an objective person. Any scientific argument I make on this blog is always 1) supported by evidence that’s cited, and/or 2) an easy to follow, logical framework.

        You criticize me for appealing to authority with the deGrasse Tyson quote. Again, you’ve completely missed the entire point of what I’ve been saying to you repeatedly.

        It’s not the fact that it’s coming from deGrasse Tyson that makes the information valid–it’s the fact that the information he provided has been upheld by countless other people in countless other experiments, information that I could verify myself. I can’t emphasize that enough.

        Your entire premise is that I should reject peer reviewed evidence because you’re a wise person, and your wisdom carries more weight than the knowledge of the intellectual and academic community.

        And when someone attacks or challenges that view, you attack them as being emotional, and try to adopt a paternalistic role, as if that reinforces your argument.

        People you don’t like are cast by you as “sly.” You accuse people you don’t even know of being motivated solely by the prospect of career advancement or winning awards. You continually talk about “consoling me” as if I’m some emotional derelict in need of your shepherding. You state that you came here, “to show [me] how [I] act funny about people thinking on their own.” Again, you’ve come here to liberate me from the ignorance you perceive people who trust data more than instinct are suffering from.

        In reality, nothing I’ve said states that people shouldn’t think for themselves. What I’ve said, repeatedly, is that denying peer reviewed data that’s demonstrably correct time and time again isn’t “thinking for yourself”–it’s an outright rejection of reality.

        You, however, have continued to paint this world where it’s a noble thing to deny the scientific method. I do find that offensive.

        And on one final note, please notice how I haven’t once sworn at you. How I haven’t shouted at you in caps lock. I have the sneaking suspicion that you’ll continue to label any attempt by me to refute your claims as “emotional.” I have faith that my regular readers will see right through that as nothing more than an attempt to usurp this thread and replace it with your own narrative and proselytizing.

      35. Sorry to offend you. It is clear we are both standing on necessities, and my intent is not to destroy either of them. It is not about that, and I am mostly troubled by contention between people anyway. That is why I commented in the first place, not to attack you, but rather address the root of the contention. It is not good to link you to it specifically if I wish to talk to you about it. Especially when it might not be your usual character and this is a thing that comes and goes in all of us. I absolutely agree with you about that. I also agree that people ignore data all the time. I agree that people construct nonsense to get popular on the internet and that peer reviewed is something of great value in contrast to mob opinion. I just worry about the contention that seems to grow so fast with people of differences. That has been, without question, the greatest issue in all history which pertains directly to every person on the Earth no matter what the shape is. Does science measure contention and find what elements are needed to create it, then find what elements are needed to alleviate it? I started to research into that years ago and found out scientists and doctors have been doing tons of recent experiments in the field of… Well for them it is called mind control. Then I saw that even though they did horrible things to people, they were really hoping for solutions to real problems. But things got out of hand so bad that they decided in the hearing not to inform the public about it because all universities would be shut down in a day if they did. It is a really long legal document but it is worth the read. It is the 1977 US Congressional Hearing for CIA Project MK Ultra. If anybody more educated than myself would read this official government document that would be amazing. I would commit the entire time to whatever you wish to show me as well. Nobody from the universities want to read it for some reason even though it is about them…

  2. I thought the response there from “Mitch and Tammy” was the most telling one. It’s hard to say which side of the fence they are on, but to even say that it’s questionable probably means they think there is at least some doubt on the spherical nature of the Earth. It is the second part of the comment that really caught me “I’m still a middle class slave”. In my experience conspiracy theory people and/or people that want to go against scientific consensus have some similar characteristics. One is that very often they grew up with some strong religious beliefs. They have often broken away from those beliefs, but their brain is very much patterned for belief based thinking. More importantly and I think there is some psychological link with the last issue is that such people are in a situation in their lives where they feel trapped, where they feel lost in the sea of society, where finding this sort of “counter culture” community makes them feel empowered. Makes them feel like they are smart, and have something over all the other “sheeple”. But I find this to be more projection, that instead it’s they that feel like followers and are looking for something that makes them feel less so. And it’s not to say that all such people are unintelligent. Many people who believe in conspiracy theories are quite intelligent, but I do feel like there is some sense in their life that they haven’t achieved, haven’t been original, haven’t really stood out. And these communities give them a sense of being unique and special. They can cast down all the doubters and feel like they understand something that nobody else does. That’s my theory based on my understanding of psychology, but I am no psychologist and have no way to test it. lol

    1. I suspect that you’re quite correct. I remember one quote from a long time ago that often times conspiracy as it relates to science is about control. People don’t like the idea that the universe is filled with random events, and so they find ways to subvert the heliocentric model, evolutiom, the big bang, etc.

      Although I think that for most people, you’re spot on in your psychological assessment. It really is a community, a chance for someone to be above all the “ignorant sheeple” in their daily lives.

      I suppose that speaks volumes about where we as a society are. I’d be curious to know whether or not conspiracy theories have taken root as strongly in other countries that have a higher degree of social mobility than the United States.

      Perhaps I’ll have to turn this into a separate post of its own.

      1. That would be an interesting thing to look at Ryan. I imagine there are some cultural differences. Americans are pretty anti-government, which might be a good thing if identity politics wasn’t so strong in this country. That’s why this election was so painful, because really the choice between a corrupt narcissistic billionaire and a career establishment politician was a bit painful, even if Trump was clearly a measurably worse candidate. I digress. lol But yeah I am sure cultural attitudes towards authority play a role as well as things like education system differences.

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