Forgiveness is a gift that any American can give to a fellow countryman, but forgiveness for ignorance just doesn’t seem to be in our DNA.
When it comes to conspiracy theories, forgiveness seems to always be in the offing. Those who immediately jumped into tinfoil hat territory after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 were considered perverse and uncouth cretins of the young internet age. Years later, the prevalence of even more absurd ideas would see the young men somewhat exonerated.
And, even though I haven’t the foggiest as to any specific situation in the case of the assassination of John F. Kennedy Jr., there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that similar cycles of ridiculousness and forgiveness occurred then.
The most recent of the oddball ideas to gain traction in pop culture has been something call “flat earth theory“.
Modern flat Earth hypotheses originated with the English writer Samuel Rowbotham (1816–1884). Based on conclusions derived from the Bedford Level experiment, Rowbotham published a pamphlet Zetetic Astronomy. He later expanded into a book Earth Not a Globe, proposing the Earth is a flat disc centered at the North Pole and bounded along its southern edge by a wall of ice, Antarctica. Rowbotham further held that the Sun and Moon were 3,000 miles (4,800 km) above Earth and that the “cosmos” was 3,100 miles (5,000 km) above the Earth. He also published a leaflet titled The inconsistency of Modern Astronomy and its Opposition to the Scriptures, which argued that the “Bible, alongside our senses, supported the idea that the earth was flat and immovable and this essential truth should not be set aside for a system based solely on human conjecture”.
Rowbotham and followers like William Carpenter gained attention by successful use of pseudoscience in public debates with leading scientists such as Alfred Russel Wallace. Rowbotham created a Zetetic Society in England and New York, shipping over a thousand copies of Zetetic Astronomy.
It sounds absurd because, well, it is absurd. Despite all of our time in space, and our scientific abilities to measure the planet, these “flat earthers” insist that there is a massive coverup occurring…for some reason.
What’s worse still: An inordinate number of millennials are being suckered by these science-denying delinquents.
A new survey has found that a third of young millennials in the U.S. aren’t convinced the Earth is actually round. The national poll reveals that 18 to 24-year-olds are the largest group in the country who refuse to accept the scientific facts of the world’s shape.
YouGov, a British market research firm, polled 8,215 adults in the United States to find out if they ever believed in the “flat Earth” movement. Only 66 percent of young millennials answered that they “always believe the world is round.” Science teachers across the U.S. will be shaking their heads after learning that nine percent of young adults answered that they have “always believed” the planet was flat.
Even given the recent widespread news coverage surrounding the bizarre and trending theory, this number of believers is still alarming, and proves that our nation’s youth have a long way to go before being effective leaders.