The Moon Landing: Fake Movie Set or the Real Deal?

By: Lauren Nowakowski

We have all heard the phrase, “One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,” but what if that one small step didn’t actually happen? Some believe that the astronauts did not actually land on the moon, but simply set up and filmed a fake moon landing at a studio on earth. This belief that the moon landings were fake has been around since the first moon landings happened in the late 60’s and early 70’s, but it has become even more prominent since the internet. When typing in to google “Was the moon landing fake?” you get 20,900,00 results. This huge quantity of information demonstrates just how much there is out there covering the topic of a faked moon landing. But what really seemed to have sparked the fire of this conspiracy theory was a television special on Fox in 2001 called, “Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon” (Fuller)? The people who tend to believe that the moon landing was faked think it was because the United States wanted to prove that it had better space technology than the Soviet Union and wanted to do this without spending incredible amounts of money to actually send people to space (Fuller). This belief is important and extraordinary because supporters of this theory are going against all logic and evidence that is out there.

The first moon landing happened in July of 1969. Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon at exactly 4:18 p.m. EDT. After taking the first steps they spent a few hours taking photographs of what they could see and collecting samples from the surface. While on the surface they planted an American flag. A key point to this story is how bad President John F. Kennedy wanted to land on the moon, even announcing a goal to land on the moon by the end of the 1960’s (1969 Moon Landing). This was during an era known as the Cold War. The United States was not as advanced as the Soviet Union in terms of space, which led to an intense race to be the first to put a man on the moon (1969 Moon Landing). This is a point that believers in the “faked” moon landing are fascinated with.

Believers of this theory claim to have huge amounts of “evidence” to support their claim. First, believers state that there are shadows on the moon in photos taken during the moon landing. According to them, there are not supposed to be any shadows in Space. Next, they point at the image of the American flag appearing to “flutter” in the wind. They argue that there is no wind on the moon, therefore the American flag should not be fluttering at all. Lastly, they argue that the images of the astronauts driving the Rover as proof that the moon landing was faked. Even with all of this “evidence”, people who believe that the moon landing did in fact happen have points to refute each claim the faked moon landing believers have. First, they counter that there can be shadows on the moon because the sun is not the only source of light there, and that the moon itself can reflect its own light. When it reflects its own light, it can create shadows on the surface. Second, they state that objects on the moon, “don’t stop moving as fast as they do on earth” (The Moon Landing Hoax Conspiracy). The flag is moving like that because it has been disturbed, not because of wind. Evidence also exists that the astronauts driving the rover does not prove the moon landing as a hoax, because the moon does not produce dust. Dust on the moon returns right back to the surface, which is something we would not be able to control and create in a movie on earth during that time period (1969). Some of the most solid evidence that the moon landing did actually happen comes from pieces of the moon that we have to study. By scientifically dating these rocks you can see that they are 4.5 billion years old, which is older than anything dated on earth (Patel). Even though believers in the moon landing have logical arguments for all of the moon landing hoax believers, their beliefs persist.

There are many cognitive contributions that can be seen to explain the belief system of these people and the moon landing hoax. A definite misinterpretation of evidence is at play in this theory, because none of their proof holds any semblance of truth. As stated by Jan-Willem van Prooijen, “conspiracy theories help us to understand the unknown whenever things happen that are fearful or unexpected” (Svoboda). People who believe that the moon landing was a hoax fall prey to confirmation bias. They only look for evidence that confirms their theory. In the moon landing case, they look at the “waving” flag, shadows, and other images as evidence, even though each of these can actually be seen as disconfirming the moon landing hoax. These believers also partake in availability error when they focus on the fact that JFK wanted to beat the Soviet Union to the moon and use that strong desire of JFK’s to build up their belief, and to even make their confirmation bias worse. Conspiracy theories are made by people who wish to reject what is already known, and to go against the stream of common belief (Svoboda). Being a believer in a conspiracy theory can make you feel like you are in an exclusive club, and that can be difficult to give up. Even though there is knowledge out there to help get people out of conspiracy theories, it is tough, and the mind can have a hard time turning around.

The social state when this theory came to light was tense. The United States and Russia were in the Cold War, and both wanted to be the first to put a man on the moon. The United States, even though seemingly far behind the Soviet Union, were the ones to accomplish this feat. This tense political setting is what began guiding people to believe the theory that the moon landing could have been a giant hoax. People just want to understand what is going on around them, and sometimes this can lead to beliefs in outlandish conspiracies. Conspiracy theories also have a high tolerance for contradiction, and also offer ego boosts (Svoboda). This ego boost and choice to ignore opposing evidence allows them to sustain their beliefs, and even allow them to grow. For this reason, there are many believers of the hoax moon landing theory everywhere. Even when proof exists that contradicts and even disproves a theory, conspiracy theorists can still find ways to go around the proof and continue a belief in a faulty idea.

In conclusion, the moon landing brings a lot of strong opinions from both the people who believe in the moon landing, and those who think it is a hoax. Buzz Aldrin even once punched a man who accused him of not actually landing on the moon (Svoboda). This physical violence shows how fed up people can become on both sides. Those who believe the moon landing did happen can become very upset when people who believe in the moon hoax ignore all logical evidence. On the other hand, those who believe in a hoax moon landing can become aggravated and strengthen their own beliefs when they do not hear/see what they want to hear. All in all, we can agree that the moon landing did in fact happen, and that by arguing that it didn’t we aren’t achieving anything. There is too much evidence in support of the moon landing. If you still don’t believe, then maybe go see a test the samples we have from the moon. If they aren’t from the earth, and you do not believe they are from the moon then where are they from?



Fuller, John. “Why Do Some People Believe the Moon Landings Were a Hoax?” HowStuffWorks Science, HowStuffWorks, 8 Mar. 2018,



Svoboda, Elizabeth. “Why Do People Believe the Moon Landing Hoax or Other Conspiracy Theories?” The Washington Post, WP Company, 20 July 2018,


Dunbar, Brian. “July 20, 1969: One Giant Leap for Mankind.” NASA, NASA, 19 Feb. 2015,


Editors, “1969 Moon Landing.”, A&E Television Networks, 23 Aug. 2018,


“The Moon Landing Hoax Conspiracy.” Moon Landing Hoax Conspiracy,


Patel, Neel V. “7 Easy Ways You Can Tell for Yourself That the Moon Landing Really Happened.” Popular Science, 10 Dec. 2018,



Reiki: The Healing Power

Reiki is believed to be an alternative medical practice. It is concerned with healing through “external energies”. According to the oxford dictionary “Reiki is a healing technique based on the principle that the therapist can channel energy into the patient by means of touch, to activate the natural healing processes of the patient’s body and restore physical and emotional well-being.” (Oxford english dictionary, 2017) The word Reiki is a combination of two Japanese words Rei and Ki. Rei means ‘a higher power’s wisdom’ and Ki which is considered to be ‘the
energy of life force’. The practice of Reiki was originally founded in Japan by Mikao Usui in the late 20th century. The practice of Reiki was further developed by Chujiro Hayashi. In the late 1930’s the practice of Reiki was introduced to America by an American named Hawayo Takata, who learned Reiki from Hayashi in Japan. Usually the people who have faith in spirits and ghosts are strong believers of Reiki. Some practitioners claim that the spirits help them in
producing the proper flow of energy. Reiki was mostly popular in the olden ages but has been gaining quite a lot of buzz in the recent years. It is an important topic to talk about, as it suffices all the necessary qualities to be deemed as an extraordinary belief. The practice has no credibility in the scientific world.
There are many reasons that point towards the fact that the practice of Reiki is nothing more than an extraordinary belief. Firstly, the scientific and medical societies have not accepted it as an effective therapy. It is not falsifiable, whenever a practitioner fails in any of his sessions, he avoids accusations by making claims about lack of connectivity with the spirits due to lack of faith. In addition, the practitioners claim that all things have a ‘universal life energy’ that helps
them channel their healings. Unfortunately, the ‘universal life energy’ phenomena, is unknown to natural science. The government has invested a lot of time and money to study the practice of Reiki, but the research has only led to one plausible conclusion, that it is a hoax. Reiki claims have been objected by the British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)
more than five times. On the other hand, the only reason that it is still a part of the alternative medical industry, is because the practitioners have successfully been able to manipulate people into believing this hoax. People all over the world have made claims about how Reiki treatment has changed their lives in a positive way. According to a survey in United States in 2007, Reiki has been tried by more than 1.2 million adults at least once in the year 2006. Even hospitals have
started getting on board with Reiki, by offering these services to their patients.
The five main cognitive processes that we know about are attention, perception, memory, learning and reasoning. As we discussed earlier in the blog people who believe in these kinds of hoax practices need to make a leap in faith. Blind faith as we all know does not take into consideration the five main cognitive processes. The people who believe in these practices have already invested so much time and money, that looking on the other side becomes really hard for them. They find the smallest of changes in their bodies or minds to be a result of the practice. As we had discussed in lecture this is due to fact that the belief might have held behavioral consequences, the person must have done something that is difficult to take back (in this case money), the world refutes the belief, the person recognizes that the event has truly taken place and lastly the person has social support. Due to the fact that Reiki is a practice of superior power from the spirits, researchers often fail to reject the null hypothesis. One of the main reasons why
people follow Reiki is because of the practitioners who are like minded people, like the believers, due to this they relate to what the practitioner puts forth. Confirmation bias is something that plays a large role in these kinds of beliefs. People tend to look for evidence that sustain their beliefs.

When we talk about the contributions due to which this belief prevails. We can only talk about faith. Faith is something that requires the banishment of doubt. Even if research proves otherwise, people choose not to give into it. Because at the end of the day the only thing that matters is faith. Faith is to humanity what food it to the homeless. It is faith which makes life worth living. It is faith that motivates humans to lead a positive life. Faith in the unknown is something people all over the world cherish.
In conclusion the only thing that makes sense in the scientific world is that, the practice of Reiki is a hoax, it isn’t supported by scientific evidence. It fails most of the scientific tests, it is an unfalsifiable claim, it’s a retreat to the supernatural. People believe in it as their conviction increases when faced by opposing evidence. Last but not the least, it is easy for people to give into faith as it is the driving force for most of the human beings.
Newman, T. (2017, September 06). Reiki: What is it and what are the benefits? Retrieved from

Barrett, S. (n.d.). Reiki Is Nonsense. Retrieved February 09, 2019, from

He Was a Sk8er Boi, She Was Replaced by a Clone – Avril Lavigne is Dead

Avril Lavigne was replaced by a look alike in 2003, after she died by suicide. The theory is that she was struggling with her fame and once she found out that her parents were getting a divorce, she killed herself. At this point the claim is that she was replaced by a look alike named Melissa who wrote about Avril’s death in her later albums. This conspiracy ebbs and flows, it resurfaces every few years and social media goes wild with theories about what happened to Avril. The first appearance of this theory was in 2012 on a supposed fan website for Lavigne that was (somewhat) poorly written in Portuguese.

There are many people who have come up with evidence that this is true, including, her face structure is different mostly her nose, she has gotten smaller in stature, and most prevalently, she said she would never wear preppy clothes and starting around the time they claim she died, she did start wearing “preppier” clothes. There are also theories that her voice sounds higher, her signature has changed, certain birthmarks or freckles have shown up or disappeared over time, and even that she started to do photoshoot and music videos showing more skin.

On the other side of this theory, people are confused as to why there would be an imposter in the first place. Stating that she wasn’t terribly popular or influential at the time, but they still wouldn’t have been able to hide news that she had killed herself. Avril has confronted the media saying that this conspiracy is dumb and of course she hasn’t been replaced, but isn’t that what a clone would say??

A few years later a mysterious internet goer posted on a blog that they had made the whole theory up to see how easy it was to make people online believe what you say, after this people still believed that Avril was dead, and Melissa had taken over as New Avril. They had invested so much, both emotionally and in researching her that they couldn’t not believe the theory. It was hard for people to believe that Avril may have just changed overtime and moved away from her angsty teenage-like ways that everyone came to know so well.

Contextually, these beliefs started online, in blog-form. It didn’t take long for the “news” to spread to different websites and social media platforms, it started with fans of Avril and eventually got to the point that anyone and everyone was catching wind of it and spreading it further. The influence of the internet keeps this theory alive, even after people have been told that it isn’t real, and it was made up. Overall, people find it hard to disbelieve something once they have been shown ‘solid’ evidence that it was real. Many people find it hard to not notice all of the little differences between ‘Original Avril’ and ‘New Avril’. It is too weirdly interesting of a topic for them to not investigate it and find out whether or not what they see is what they should believe.


“Avril Lavigne Is Not Dead – & She’s Not Dumb.” FASHION Magazine, 12 Feb. 2019,

Bassil, Ryan. “Investigating the Conspiracy That Says Avril Lavigne Was Killed off and Replaced With an Actress.” Noisey, VICE, 1 Oct. 2015,

“Why Is Nobody Talking About The Fact Avril Lavigne Died And Was Replaced With A Clone?” Punkee, 13 July 2018,

Feinberg, Ashley. “Did Avril Lavigne Die in 2003?: An Internet Conspiracy, Explained.” Gawker,

“Avril Lavigne Murió y Fué Sustituida!” Avril Lavigne Murió y Fué Sustituida!,


It’s Gettin’ Hot in Here: A Look into Spontaneous Human Combustion

The first documented case of spontaneous human combustion, (also cited as preternatural combustibility, or auto-oxidation), which reached print in 1763, set off a fire-storm of bewilderment and fascination from both the general public and scientific community due to its cause being shrouded in the unknown. This phenomenon involves an individual suddenly becoming engulfed in flames, with the fire usually fixated on a specific region of the body. The inferno appears to arise quite literally out-of-nowhere, as the flames do not originate from any known source within the victim’s environment (Whittington-Egan, 2012). Even more striking, in some cases, an individual’s body can be torched beyond recognition, while items near the victim, such as furniture and room furnishings, are left completely unscathed. This anomaly was such an avid concern for those living (in France, particularly) during the 1800s, that several prominent authors from that time period composed stories with fictional characters who all met their demise via unexplained combustion (LiveScience, 2013). There has been back-and-forth within the scientific community regarding alternative explanations for this phenomenon, however, controversy was really stirred up in September 2011, when a coroner from Ireland ruled a 76-year-old cadaver’s cause of death’ as likely due to spontaneous human combustion (Whittington-Egan, 2012). Ultimately, the fear of an unknown catalyst/cause for such an impromptu death is what continues to stoke believers’ fears.

Beginning with the common description of a typical victim, most charred remains belong to “elderly, overweight Caucasian women who are socially isolated and have consumed a large amount of alcohol” (Byard, 2016). In fact, alcoholism was once outlined as a leading component to the occurrence of spontaneous human combustion; however, today, this piece of the belief has been reduced to nothing more than mere folklore. Believers of spontaneous human combustion point to a variety of explanations, which fluctuate from religious interpretations to more scientific arguments. Some believers of spontaneous human combustion blame some holistic force with an intent to punish plus-size, alcoholic women who are merely driven by gluttony. Others claim that “movement of vital humors or blood particles within the body” can spark an involuntary fire; yet, others suggest a range of explanations, including flammable phosphates within the body or gastro-intestinal gases that interact poorly when released from an individual (Byard, 2016). The most well-conceived justification, the ‘wick or candle effect’, conjures up the notion that perpetual alcohol consumption can lend itself to much more flammable human fat, which then seeps into an individual’s clothing or bed sheets, allowing them to act as a ‘human wick’ (Byard, 2016).

Nonbelievers point to an assailant-set fire (following a homicide or other crime, with the intent to destroy evidence) to explain the absence of signs of smoke inhalation in a victim’s toxicology report; or, victims’ bodies were set aflame and then moved to a new location—this would explain the lack of fire damage to any immediate surroundings. Additionally, this phenomenon has only been displayed in human beings, despite our close ancestral lineage to primates—nonbelievers point to this fact as lack of evidence to support claims of an anatomical or physiological cause (Byard, 2016). Finally, and quite possibly, the most important of all, there has never been a documented eyewitness to any proposed case of spontaneous human combustion, therefore, it is quite possible that any outside witness fled the scene of the crime.

The belief in spontaneous human combustion, particularly during the 1800s, lent itself to some psychological fear instilled in commoners by the Church. Religious texts extended themselves from a interventionist perspective, where threats of spontaneous human combustion were often combined with an individual’s lack of clerical devotion to God or interaction with the Devil. Further analysis of the belief touches on the idea of “purification by fire”, in which an individual’s last hope involves giving him/herself up to personal demons in order to maintain some sanctity with God (Levi-Faict & Quatrehomme, 2011). Interestingly enough, this public fixation on spontaneous human combustion also aligns with societal expectations that outline what is both appropriate and worthy for a citizen (especially a 19th century woman, at the time) to engage in. As victims’ characteristics are often saddled up with reclusive, alcoholic women, perhaps this belief was invented by a society bent on forcing proper etiquette onto its people. France in the 1800s was set on dictating differences between its social classes of people, and the labeling of alcohol as a sinful drink was an attempt to discourage citizens from giving into bouts of drunkenness (Whittington-Egan, 2012). It was in this way, that any religious claims or beliefs regarding spontaneous human combustion were able to be sustained for decades, until explanations with greater pseudo-scientific backing were able to fill their place.

Ultimately, the beginning fad cases, involving supposed instances of spontaneous human combustion, all contain much more realistic and human-driven answers. For example, a case set in the 18th century involves an inn keeper who murdered his wife and then burned the remains in the inn’s chimney. Following an investigation, a coroner, obviously oblivious to the innkeeper’s homicidal act, claimed that the woman’s death was a direct result of spontaneous human combustion—taking it a step further, he also claimed that the fireplace was of some undisclosed “divine origin”, and it had “come to punish the wife for her overzealous consumption of alcohol” (Levi-Faict & Quatrehomme, 2011). From the historical context surrounding initial reports of spontaneous human combustion mentioned above, it becomes quite clear to see how this belief has been sustained for centuries. The transition of religious explanations to those that appear to backed by more scientific reasoning is what has maintained this extraordinary belief—however, the clear-cut truth resides in societal expectations perpetuating a false phenomenon whose current roots reside in pseudoscience. Putting it all into perspective, the threat of meeting one’s demise through the unknown—and rather unexpectedly, at that—is all that is needed to create some sort of explanation for slightly more tricky deaths.


Byard, Roger W. (2016). The mythology of “spontaneous” human combustion. Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology Journal, 12(3).

Levi-Faict, Thierry W. & Quatrehomme, Gérald. (2011). So-called spontaneous human combustion. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 56(5).

Radford, Benjamin. (Dec. 2013). Spontaneous human combustion: Facts & theories. LiveScience. Retrieved from

Whittington-Egan, R. (2012). The enigma of spontaneous human combustion. Contemporary Review, (1704)69.

Ghosts: Fact or Fiction?

The notion of ghosts has been long debated, whether it’s the existence of Casper, Anne Boleyn’s lost spirit lurking, or your neighbor’s grandma visiting from the afterlife. Ghosts are remnants of the bodies of people that have died and are commonly discussed in folklore. Apparitions can range from a simple strange presence to the aura of a living being. Roughly half of all Americans believe in ghosts or life after death according to a website called Ghosts and Gravestones. Many within the population of believers have shared perceived experiences of the phenomenon, or share a strong belief life after death. In addition, many believers are also religious: numerous religions discuss life after death in one form or another. Hinduism and Buddhism believe in reincarnation, and Christianity, Islam, and Judaism believe that the soul is eternal and will continue to exist after death.

People believe in this idea because no one knows what happens after death and wants to believe that there is some form of life, and that maybe humans are able to visit their loved ones after passing on. According to the previously mentioned website, Ghosts and Gravestones,

“We seek explanations for what’s happening around us. It’s just the way the human brain is wired; we need to know why things occur or what’s causing something. And when it comes to inexplicable, mysterious happenings, the only logical explanation is often the presence of something supernatural.”

Information regarding ghosts can be found all over the Internet and on television. There are websites substantiating this belief, but most are reiterating that the idea is false.

The notion of ghosts has been around for thousands of years. One of the only websites I found on the origination of ghosts is Wikipedia, which says that stories of ghosts originated in early Mesopotamia and ancient Greece. Furthermore, ghosts were written into Homer’s the Odyssey and Iliad. In the Bible, Jesus was at first believed to be a ghost before convincing his followers that he rose from the dead. Furthermore, ghost stories circulated during the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance, all throughout history until today. More people believe in ghosts in the modern day than they did in the past, with more and more people believing each year, along with the amount of evidence against ghosts increasing over time.

Ghosts are considered extraordinary because the idea of them is unable to be authenticated by science. There is no replicable experiment known that can validate a ghost’s presence; people coming back after death as spirits defies all scientific laws of nature. Besides hope, the belief of ghosts continues to live on through oral stories that are passed on from person to person. Those in favor of the existence of ghost are mostly believers because they cannot attribute their experiences to normal circumstances. The belief is solely built on personal experience with the help of religious beliefs (life after death, reincarnation, etc.) to explain what happens in the afterlife. According to HowStuffWorks, “the evidence for ghosts is all around us, but only living beings with a certain sensitivity can feel their presence.” In addition, the website states that technology is not yet advanced enough to create physical proof. According to some quantum physicists, “we still do not fully understand the interaction of the human mind and external matter at the quantum level” (HowStuffWorks). Moreover, ghosts may not be dead humans but merely humans from other points in time.

On the other hand, those against the premise of ghosts are more backed by science than those in favor. Benjamin Radford, Live Science Contributor, claims that the stories of ghosts switch between being able to walk through walls but still be able to move them, and that these contradicting ideas go against the laws of physics. Furthermore, he claims that if these spirits were truly lost and had unfinished business, then mediums would be able to help them in a multitude of ways (solve their murders, identify killers). Those who claim to have evidence like ghost hunters use pseudoscience to demonstrate their claims: electromagnetic field meters, cameras, thermometers, and other equipment are used to detect any changes in energy. The change in energy is automatically assumed to be the presence of a supernatural being. Jumping to the conclusion that any change in the atmosphere is due to paranormal causes is logically incorrect; people misinterpret the results due to confirmation bias, only looking for evidence that strengthens their beliefs in ghosts.

All in all, the notion of ghosts is one that has originated and survived over a long period of time. A large percentage of the world’s population believes in ghosts in one form or another, whether it’s life after death or the eternal existence of human energy. Many of these believers claim to have personal experiences with ghosts, while others only believe because of their religion or hope. There is conflicting evidence to whether ghosts exist, as the premises backing them is controversial and up for debate. Perhaps advances in technology over time will give us a final answer or ghosts will make contact with the public themselves.

Ghost. (2019, February 07). Retrieved February 10, 2019 from

Ghosts & Gravestones. (2018). Why Do People Believe in Ghosts? Retrieved February 5, 2019, from

Radford, B. (2017, May 17). Are Ghosts Real? – Evidence Has Not Materialized. Retrieved February 9, 2019, from

Stuff Media. (2019). Stuff They Don’t Want You To Know: Ghosts: The Evidence. Retrieved February 11, 2019, from part-3-evidence-video.htm

Flat Earth Theory

People who believe in the flat earth theory do not think the Earth is round. While on the planet’s surface, it feels and looks flat, so they believe they dismiss all evidence to the contrary. The flat earth society contains people from America and Europe and has been growing since 2009 (Wolchover 2017). Believing that the Earth is flat is one of the ultimate conspiracy theories. There is ample evidence that the Earth is round, but they believe since only what they can see from Earth’s surface is flat that that is the only conclusion.

They believe that the Earth is a disc with the Arctic Circle in the center and Antarctica, a 150-foot-tall wall of ice, around the rim. The society members claim that NASA employees guard this ice wall to stop people from climbing over, and in theory, falling off the disc of Earth. This can be argued by the people in NASA who have been to space and have taken multiple pictures from satellites showing that the Earth is round. The flat-earthers believe that these photos taken from space are photo shopped. They also say that Earth’s gravity is an illusion, and that objects do not fall downward. Instead, the disc of Earth accelerates them upwards by a mystical force called ‘dark energy.’ This can easily be disputed by Einstein’s theory of relativity. They have a belief that GPS devices are manipulated to make aircraft pilots think that they are flying in straight lines above a sphere, but they are actually flying in circles above the disc of Earth. The reason why the world’s most powerful people are trying to conceal the true flat shape of the Earth is not certain by the Flat Earth Society, but it could be financial. On the Flat Earth society FAQ page, they explain that it would be logically cheaper to fake a space program than to actually have one. On the Flat Earth’s Society’s website, they have a lot of evidence supporting that the Earth is flat, that they explain is derived from many different aspects of science and philosophy. Another argument they make is relying on one’s own senses, meaning just looking around at the surroundings around you and seeing how everything is laid out pretty much flat. The horizon is a flat line, the clouds are flat, and the movement of the sun is flat, so our senses are telling us that we are not on a spherical heliocentric world.

A belief is a cognitive representation of the nature of reality, including our inner experiences, the world around us, and the world beyond. Flat earthers believe in the earth being flat as if the evidence for the earth being round is lacking. It’s not that they do not believe the evidence of the spherical earth, they just deny them. The believers are misinformed and misinterpreting evidence. This theory has a lot to do with confirmation bias. They are so attached to the belief that the Earth is flat that they deny that that there is an alternative explanation, even if demonstrated by science. There overall stance has a major distrust of authority, which sort of binds them to a sort of anti-globalist agenda. Overall, they have a conviction not to trust multinational corporations with unregulated political power, such as NASA.

The belief of the flat Earth was common in ancient Greece, India, China, and a wide range of indigenous cultures. The ancient Greek conception had some similarities with that of early Egyptian thought that the Earth was a large disc surrounded a huge body of water. Today, many people still believe this theory and it is very much accredited to celebrities that believe in this. Rapper B.o.B went on a twitter crusade where he demanded to know why is could not see the earths curve. It was also streamlined on the news when Mike Hughes launched himself and a $20,000 steam powered rocket into the air to prove that the earth is flat. Also, basketball player Kyrie Irving did a podcast where he could not be convinced that the earth was round.

The human brain is sort of made to believe and find conspiracy theories, meaning it has an ability to find meaningful patterns in the world around it.. People are very evolved in the ability to draw conclusions and predict outcomes based on observations and sensory data. The three main things that contribute to the appeal of the Flat Earth Theory is confirmation bias, proportionality bias and illusory pattern perception. Confirmation bias is when people’s willingness to accept that fit what they already believe. This is true with flat earthers because they totally discredit any scientific explanation against their beliefs. Proportionality bias is the inclination to believe that big events must have big causes. This relates to the flat earthers because we fund so much into NASA that they believe that NASA must be doing something that is not right. Illusionary pattern perception is to see causal relations where there may not be any. And this can be explained when they say how the horizon and clouds are flat looking to us that the Earth has to be flat.


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Zecharia Sitchin and Our Alien Anecestors

Zecharia Sitchin (1920-2010) studied Economics at the University of London and was best known for his fringe theories on the origins of Earth and man-kinds celestial ancestry (alien ancestry). According to his official website,, he is “one of few scholars able to read and interpret ancient Sumerian and Akkadian clay tablets.” His interpretations and theories were compiled into his seven books known as The Earth Chronicles. In his first novel, The 12th Planet and its sequels Sitchin claims there is a 12th planet beyond Neptune known as Nibiru that reaches our inner solar system once every 3,600 years. According to Sitchin, an advanced race of human-like extraterrestrials called the Anunnaki live on Nibiru and are the missing link in Homo sapiens evolution. There have been no new postings on Sitchins official webpage since 2017 but some 4,126 people follow the Zecharia Sitchin Facebook page which continues to make posts to this day. Additionally, Sitchin’s books have sold millions of copies worldwide and have been translated into almost 20 languages so his influence is certainly noteworthy. The belief in Zecharia Sitchin and what he professed is important because it attempts to provide an answer to some of humanities timeless questions, namely, “Why are we here?” and “How did we come to be here?” However, his explanations provide an extraordinary answer because they contradict our current knowledge regarding our solar system and the celestial bodies found therein and cannot be scientifically proven nor disproven as the only evidence is based upon subjective interpretations.

The Annunaki arrived on Earth 450,000 years ago looking for minerals, namely gold which they began mining in Africa. When Anunnaki miners became displeased with working conditions it was decided that Anunnaki genes and Homo erectus genes would be engineered to create slaves to replace the miners, thus resulting in Homo sapiens, or man-kind as we know it. The evidence sited in support of this belief can be found through a link on the Facebook page which takes you to a website called, There we see evidence quoted from his first book which included varies statements pertaining to Sumerian space maps which showed planets which would have been beyond their ability to detect. “Sumerians lacked telescopes and couldn’t see Uranus’ and Neptune’s orbits the route maps (from Nibiru to Earth) show. Nibirandictated maps prove they had astronomical info Sumerians, on their own, didn’t. The maps accurately detail the entire Earth from space, a perspective impossible for ancient Sumerians on their own.” (Sitchin 275) This map was discovered on a clay tablet in the ruins of the Royal Library at Nineva. Additionally, on Sitchin’s official website there is an article pertaining to an article published in Science magazine by Mathieu Ossendrijver in January 2016 which discusses a 350-50 BCE Babylonian cuneiform tablet that accurately details the position of Jupiter based on geometrical calculations. This article is offered as evidence for the planetary knowledge of ancient civilizations that they were not expected to have, so it therefore is assumed to have come from the Anunnaki. In opposition to these beliefs we see experts such as Dr. Michael S. Heiser who holds a Ph.D in the Hebrew Bible and Semetic Languages posing critical questions to Sitchin regarding his interpretations of the Sumerian texts. Heiser asserts that while Anunnaki is indeed found in Sumerian Literature (182 times, according to Heiser) there is no mention of a connection between them and Nibiru, or a 12th planet. Heiser also questions Sitchin’s reasoning for interpreting Sumerian words such as “naphal” to mean fire, or rockets which leads to an interpretation of the word “Nephilim” to mean “people of the fiery rockets.” Heiser asserts that his interpretation of this word is without accurate explanation nor is there a single, ancient text where naphal has that meaning.

Zecharia Sitchin’s lack of a formal education in Semitic Studies likely led to an inaccurate and therefore misinformed reading of the Sumerian texts. One could argue he suffered from confirmation bias as he moved through the literature distorting the meaning of certain words in an ignorant effort to fit his beliefs. Furthermore, we see a section on Sitchin’s official website discussing a Washington Post article from November 2017 wherein the senior scientist of NASA, David Morrison, PH.D states that Nibiru is not real and that there is no 10th planet. The author of the website responds with a red herring stating that, “he [Morrison] just wants to get on with his real work and not worry about answering questions.” This in no way addresses Morrison’s statement nor does it provide evidence that argues against it.

My first introduction to Zecharia Sitchin and his books was through my parents who are both dis-fellowshipped Jehovah’s Witnesses. After leaving “the truth” my parents were in search of a new truth that answered the big questions that their previous faith no longer did. However anecdotal I imagine many previously religious people who are no longer sure of their belief in a traditional God could find themselves drawn to the appearance of science in Sitchin’s books. As more secular voices are made heard through the internet there is an increasing availability for confirmation bias among belief communities, as well as increased access to “bad science” with no guide posts for truth. Sitchin’s theories are appealing to those who now seek a more “scientific” answer to questions that were previously answered by religion. Moreso, Sitchin relies on texts such as the Bible (Genesis) which may be an added comfort to new believers as it is already familiar. Furthermore, Sitchin’s books being translated into over 20 languages bridges communication gaps and widens the base of believers to extend beyond a single region or language.

Even after Sitchin’s death in 2010 “scientific evidence” for his books was still being shared on his website up until 2017 and many other scholars have written about his work and have added their own supportive evidence as seen through the Zecharia Sitchin Facebook page. This ongoing dialogue could provide believers with comfort and assurance that what they’ve put stock in is continually “proven” and discussed by those seen as experts, even to this day.


Works Cited:

E. (2013). Evidence Validates Sumerian Tales of “Gods” from Nibiru.

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Sitchin, J. & Sitchin, Z. (n.d). The Official Website of Zecharia Sitchin.

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Sitchin, Z. (2007). The 12th Planet. New York, New York. HarperCollins.

Smith, J. (2010). The 12th Planet and Zecharia Sitchin.

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