Alan Burdick, for The New York Times:
If you are only just waking up to the twenty-first century, you should know that, according to a growing number of people, much of what you’ve been taught about our planet is a lie: Earth really is flat. We know this because dozens, if not hundreds, of YouTube videos describe the coverup […]
The modern case for a flat Earth derives largely from “Zetetic Astronomy: Earth Not a Globe,” a book published, in 1865, by a smooth-talking English inventor and religious fundamentalist named Samuel Rowbotham. I found a copy at a bookseller’s table in the corridor just outside the conference ballroom, alongside books about the Revelations and New Testament apocrypha. The vender, a friendly woman who looked to be in her late sixties, offered her thoughts on Earth’s flatness and the enshrouding secrecy; I moved on when she got to “the Jews.”
[…] before the internet, kooks were forced to exist on the fringe. There’ve always been flat-earther-types denying science and John Birch Society political fringers, but they had no means to amplify their message or bond into large movements.
The internet is one of the greatest inventions of mankind, but it’s also having dark, unsettling effects on our society that we need to address. I don’t have any solutions, but we better start doing a better job of arming ourselves against the constant barrage of attacks on science, or we risk our society descending into chaos.
I have been thinking about this issue over the past few days and have begun to imagine how quickly we could wake up in a world where these sort of ideas are the new norm and round-Earthers become the group of people who are considered “kooks”, to use Gruber’s words. Politics are a great example of how quickly a certain point of view can take over the minds of a country or continent and we don’t have to look far — these are all things that are happening today in multiple countries around the world. I love the internet but I can’t help but wonder if humans, as a species growing up in many contrasting environments, won’t be able to handle our cultural and psychological differences.