The number of people on earth who refuse to acknowledge years of scientific advancement is growing.
The anti-vaxxers want to revive the plague and other diseases that we successfully rendered dormant, and the climate change deniers would like us all to die out in the next couple of decades.
Perhaps the strangest group of conspiracy theorists, though, are the flat-earthers.
They’re trying to take us back to a simpler time, before space travel, when sailing your ship too far could send you plummetting into deep space off the side of the earth.
Let’s get a feel for the conspiracy with this:
Over the last while, there’s been a rise in the number of people who believe this ridiculous theory, and researchers think they’ve figured out why: YouTube.
Here’s The Guardian:
Their suspicion was raised when they attended the world’s largest gatherings of Flat Earthers at the movement’s annual conference in Rayleigh, North Carolina, in 2017, and then in Denver, Colorado, last year.
Interviews with 30 attendees revealed a pattern in the stories people told about how they came to be convinced that the Earth was not a large round rock spinning through space but a large flat disc doing much the same thing.
Of the 30, all but one said they had not considered the Earth to be flat two years ago but changed their minds after watching videos promoting conspiracy theories on YouTube.
“The only person who didn’t say this was there with his daughter and his son-in-law and they had seen it on YouTube and told him about it,” said Asheley Landrum, who led the research at Texas Tech University.
Most people started out watching videos about conspiracy theories, like those surrounding 9/11 and the assassination of JFK. Naturally, the algorithm kicked in and flat earth videos started to appear on the suggestions list.
Landrum said one of the most popular Flat Earth videos, “200 proofs Earth is not a spinning ball” appears to be effective because it offers arguments that appeal to so many mindsets, from biblical literalists and conspiracy theorists to those of a more scientific bent.
Let’s check that one out:
Imagine what Eric Dubay could accomplish if he dedicated that energy to something useful. Then again, with that monotone, there’s nothing to suggest that Dubay isn’t a particularly evil AI.
Landrum called on scientists and others to create their own YouTube videos to combat the proliferation of conspiracy videos. “We don’t want YouTube to be full of videos saying here are all these reasons the Earth is flat. We need other videos saying here’s why those reasons aren’t real and here’s a bunch of ways you can research it for yourself.”
Even if you throw science at these people, there’s still a chance that most of them will stick to their guns.
Hey, you can lead a horse to water…
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