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B.o.B launched a crowd-funding campaign to send satellites into orbit
Despite photographic evidence from space and even though a spherical globe was postulated as early as the 5th Century BC by the Greek philosopher Aristotle, adherents to the flat-Earth theory are growing in number.
Data from Google Trends show that in the past two years, searches for “flat earth” have more than tripled.
There have been several instances of high-profile celebrity endorsement, outrageous stunts to promote the theory and media coverage of flat-Earth events that have helped promote the cause.
Last month, a self-taught rocket “scientist” constructed a home-made rocket out of scrap metal in order to prove astronauts lied about the planet being flat.
“Mad Mike” Hughes planned to launch himself 1,800 feet (550 metres) and fly through the air at 500mph in his steam-powered vessel made of scrap metal.
But, he had to abandon the launch after the US Bureau of Land Management reportedly stopped him from using public land after reading about his plans in the media.
Also, last month hundreds of fanatics attended a sellout Flat Earth International Conference (FEIC) to discuss everything from “NASA lies” to 9/11 conspiracies.
Flat-Earthers believe NASA is lying to the general public to conceal a stationary, flat planet.
The Flat Earth International Community explains the community suspect the planet is a circular disk shape that relies on Antarctica to provide an icy wall barrier.
The ice barrier is supposed to prevent humans walking off the edge of the Earth.
Flat-Earther Mark Sargent told the BBC: “Nobody likes this uncomfortable feeling to be in this tiny ball, flying through space in this vast endless universe.
“So as far as what’s underneath this, I don’t know, it could be this thickness.
“It doesn’t even have to be that think, because we can only drill down eight miles. Heck, this is only fifty miles deep, we don’t know. So, it could be this sort of dimension.
“Don’t take my word for it, I could be a mental patient recently released from an institution.”
Interest in the flat-Earth theory spiked when NBA player Kyrie Irving said in a podcast that he believed the Earth is flat.
In September when rapper Bobby Ray Simmons Jr, otherwise known as B.o.B, launched a crowd-funding campaign to send satellites into orbit to determine the Earth’s shape.
Also, Tila Tequila has said she thinks the planet is flat.
Even UK celebrity Freddie Flintoff has come out in support of the outlandish theory.
On his BBC Radio 5 show, that he co-hosts with Robbie Savage and Matthew Syed, Freddie Flintoff had previously said he thought the moon landings could have been staged.
Even Freddie Flintoff spoke in support of the theory
The presenters carried on the conversation after the show and decided to bring in their favourite conspiracy theories to the next broadcast.
The cricket hero said he has recently been persuaded by a podcast called The Flat Earthers.
Although, he does not think the Earth is completely flat but “bulbous, like a turnip”.
Research suggests the worst way to change the minds of the conspiracy crowd is to criticise or mock their beliefs.
This is because it puts them on the defensive which makes them less likely to change their minds.
When B.o.B sparked an argument on Twitter about the shape of the Earth in 2016, NASA chose not to weigh in.
Conspiracy theories are appealing because they provide a simple explanation for complex phenomena
A spokeswoman told the Washington Post: “We don’t think there’s a debate to be had.”
Conspiracy theories are appealing because they provide a simple explanation for complex phenomena.
They tend to be most popular among less-educated people who do not trust public institutions.
Associate professor of political science at the University of Miami and co-author of the 2014 book American Conspiracy Theories, Joseph Uscinski, said: “Conspiracy theories are for losers.
“People who have lost an election, money or influence look for something to explain that loss.”
Conspiracy theories also allow people to believe they are in possession of secret knowledge that powerful people wish to suppress.
They are extremely common in dictatorships where people assume, often correctly, that the authorities are lying.
Conspiracy theories are not always harmless as the false theory that autism and vaccines are linked led to a decline immunisation rates and led to an outbreak of measles.