People often joke about the "Flat Earth Society," but the Internet has allowed a community of sphere-deniers to grow.
It is hard to believe that in 2018, there could be a thriving community of people who believe in a flat Earth, hundreds of years after scientists proved the notion wrong. And yet, according to Google Trends data, searches for “flat Earth” over just the past two years have increased threefold, indicating growing curiosity and belief in the strange conspiracy theory.
There’s even a word they have for people who buy into the widely accepted notion that the Earth is indeed round: globeheads. And they have some celebrity power on their side, including NBA star Kyrie Irving, as well as Tila Tequila and Bobby Ray Simmons.
And some people have been willing to try crazy stunts to prove it, including “Mad” Mike Hughes of California who has been trying to launch a homemade rocket a couple of thousand feet to prove that the Earth is flat. Although, considering the fact that commercial aircraft already travel tens of thousands of feet up in the air, it’s unclear what he thinks that will accomplish.
So what is driving flat Earth believers? Many appear to be fundamentalist Christians who think that the Earth is a flat disk that God presides over and where everything is close by, and appear to feel threatened by the concept that we are nothing more than a tiny speck in a vast universe.
The theory earned some scorn from popular physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson recently, who released a video on YouTube (embedded at the bottom of this article) slamming flat-Earthers over a number of logical problems. He pointed out that the Earth’s shadow is always perfectly round during eclipses, and never casts a flat shadow, and also notes that all objects in the universe tend to take on a spherical shape. He blames the state of schools for not teaching critical thinking skills and says they are responsible for the growing popularity of the flat Earth idea.