(CNN)Last year, rapper B.o.B. used Twitter to jump on the ‘flat Earth’ bandwagon, and it looks like he’s been riding it ever since.
FLAT EARTH NEWS
America’s flat-Earth movement appears to be growing
Is NASA covering up the truth? No
Nov 28th 2017 by THE DATA TEAM
IT IS a stunt worthy of Evel Knievel. This week, if all goes to plan, “Mad” Mike Hughes, a Californian, will launch himself 1,800 feet (550 metres) into the sky in a homemade steam-powered rocket made of scrap metal. As well as providing entertainment, Mr Hughes wants to prove a point. On his trip over the Mojave Desert, which could propel him at speeds of up to 500 miles (800km) per hour, the 61-year-old limousine-driver-turned-daredevil hopes to prove that the Earth is flat.
Some may be surprised to learn that people still hold such views. After all, the Earth has been photographed from space. But such photos could have been faked by the evil forces who secretly control the world, right? And all those centuries of scientific evidence suggesting that the Earth is spherical could be wrong, right? In America interest in the flat-Earth movement appears to be growing. In September Bobby Ray Simmons Jr., a rapper also known as B.o.B, launched a crowd-funding campaign to send satellites into orbit to determine the Earth’s shape. On November 9th, 500 “flat-Earthers” assembled in North Carolina for the first annual Flat Earth International Conference. Data from Google Trends show that in the past two years, searches for “flat earth” have more than tripled (see chart).
Conspiracy theories are not always harmless. The bogus notion that vaccines cause autism has led to a decline in immunisation rates in some places, which has allowed outbreaks of measles. Scepticism about climate change has infiltrated schools. A recent survey found that a third of American science teachers tell their students that climate change is driven in part by natural causes. One in ten say humans play no role in it.
Conspiracy theories are appealing because they offer simple explanations for complex phenomena, or because they let people believe they are in possession of secret knowledge that the powerful wish to suppress. They tend to be most popular among less-educated people who do not trust public institutions. They are extremely common in dictatorships, where people assume, often correctly, that the authorities are lying.
Simply rebutting conspiracy theories may make adherents even more entrenched in their views. (If “they” are so keen to deny it, it must be true!) Absence of evidence is taken as evidence of a fiendishly effective cover-up. Some conspiracy theories are irrefutable—the American government cannot prove, for example, that it is not storing dead aliens in a secret underground laboratory.
If schools were better at teaching analytical thinking, that might reduce the appeal of conspiracy theories. And it would not hurt if governments were more open and trustworthy. Meanwhile, the best response is often to ignore the tinfoil-hat brigade. After the rapper B.o.B sparked an argument on Twitter about the shape of the Earth in 2016, one of the groups supposedly responsible for misleading the public on this point, NASA, chose not to weigh in. A spokeswoman told the Washington Post: “we don’t think there’s a debate to be had.
SOURCE : https://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2017/11/daily-chart-21
Back in February, Celtics guard Kyrie Irving created a bit of a stir when he appeared on then-teammate Richard Jefferson’s podcast (when both were members of the Cavaliers) and expressed his firm belief that the Earth—the big round globe we all call home—is in fact flat. He had mostly held to his comments on the matter until September, when he went on a Boston radio show and told the hosts that, actually, his whole flat-earth thing was merely a bit designed to troll people, or start a conversation, or … well, you try to make sense of this word salad.
It was all an exploitation tactic. It literally spun the world—your guy’s world—it spun it into a frenzy and proved exactly what I thought it would do in terms of how all this works. It created a division, or, literally stand up there and let all these people threw tomatoes at me, or have somebody think I’m somehow a different intellectual person because I believe that the Earth is flat and you think the world is round. It created exactly that.
The whole intent behind it, Coach, it wasn’t to bash science. It wasn’t to like have the intent of starting a rage and be seen as this insane individual. When I started seeing comments and things about universal truths that I had known, like I had questions.
When I started actually doing research on my own and figuring out that there is no real picture of Earth, not one real picture of Earth—and we haven’t been back to the moon since 1961 or 1969—it becomes like conspiracy, too.
Irving is also somehow under the impression that we haven’t been to the moon since 1969 (or, more worrisome, 1961—what secrets do you know, Kyrie?). In reality, astronauts landed on the moon five more times after Neil Armstrong first made contact with lunar soil; the last manned moon mission was Apollo 17, back in December 1972. (Color me mildly surprised, though, that Irving isn’t a moon landing truther too.)
Anyway, Irving is allowed to believe what he wants to believe, though it would be helpful if he stopped saying it or promoting it out loud. After all, impressionable kids can hear this stuff.
Somehow, this strange NBA storyline just won’t die.
After Kyrie Irving shocked the very-round world by revealing he thought Earth was flat, Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal has come out in support of this wild conspiracy theory.
Now, he’s not the first—Wilson Chandler and Draymond Green both said Kyrie had a point—but he’s the most shocking player to hop on board. He earned a doctorate degree in 2012!
Here’s what he said on his podcast, “The Big Podcast with Shaq,” back on Feb. 27. Shoutout to Yahoo’s Ben Rohrbach for digging it up.
“It’s true. The Earth is flat. The Earth is flat. Yes, it is. Listen, there are three ways to manipulate the mind — what you read, what you see and what you hear. In school, first thing they teach us is, ‘Oh, Columbus discovered America,’ but when he got there, there were some fair-skinned people with the long hair smoking on the peace pipes. So, what does that tell you? Columbus didn’t discover America. So, listen, I drive from coast to coast, and this s*** is flat to me. I’m just saying. I drive from Florida to California all the time, and it’s flat to me. I do not go up and down at a 360-degree angle, and all that stuff about gravity, have you looked outside Atlanta lately and seen all these buildings? You mean to tell me that China is under us? China is under us? It’s not. The world is flat.”
It’s very concerning that so many players are buying into this theory. I want to believe it’s a joke, but it seems a little too real. Kyrie has doubled down on his claim twice, including once this week.
Earth is rounder than the number two. Don’t let these high-profile basketball players convince you otherwise.
[Ball Don’t Lie]