Truth warriors : Over-active skeptic glands and the lure of flat-earthing

When a friend of mine told me she knew people who believe the earth is flat, I assumed it was a symptom of her particular geography – living in a small town on the outskirts of Melbourne where quirky people go to live their lives freely.

But no. Flat-earthers are a growing breed. They’re OUT THERE, multiplying in fact, coming to us via Netflix documentary and social media platform. They believe the world is a disc, not an orb with a heart of red-hot lava. They believe we’ve all been hoodwinked en masse, been made to believe lies, lies concocted by malevolent authorities.

And flat-earthers (and other overly skeptic folk) are great believers in their selves, and what I mean by that is they trust what they hear, feel and see above everything else, especially what’s been shoved down their throat by authorities that can’t be trusted.

If there were such a thing as gravity then wouldn’t we feel it’s great weight? and if the world was spinning at a million miles an hour then we’d be flung from our homes into deep, dark, space. You can’t smell carbon dioxide so it can’t really be toxic, and the photo of our blue planet is a just a photoshopped fake, or, as some flat-earthers believe – just a very clever painting.

What motivates climate denial is clear. It serves the purpose of dirty energy profiteering, but why would THEY want US to believe the earth is a particular shape? What purpose does it serve? What benefit is it to THEM that the world continue as a globe rather than the (cough) truth: a flat plate illuminated by two stage lights known colloquially as ‘moon’ and ‘sun’.

A certain amount questioning is indeed a healthy thing, but an over-active skeptic gland creates belief systems gone haywire – states fuelled by the great chasm of THEM and US – and the temptation to be a ‘warrior for the truth,’ a born-again fervor cradled in a delicious, righteous, halo.