People who belief in the Flat Earth Theory hold the conviction that the earth is flat and not round. This theory started to become more and more popular around 2009 and is growing ever since. It is considered one of the most controversial conspiracy theories existing. They claim the Earth to be flat because for them it feels like and looks like it is. The ones believing in this Theory call themself “The Flat Earth Society” and the importance about this is that even though there is evidence to the contrary they claim those “to be fabrications of a ‘round Earth conspiracy’”(Wolchover).
The believers in the Flat Earth Theory think 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.”(Wolchover). Believers claim that the NASA guards protect those ice walls from people that try to climb over and fall from the disc. In their eyes they also believe that Earth’s gravity is an illusion and objects do not accelerate downward, they are “driven up by a mysterious force called dark energy”.
On the opposite end, there are countless photographs, videos, and imagery from astronauts and from the International Space Station that is enough evidence to show that the Earth is actually round, but the interesting part here is that even though there is evidence that prove their claims wrong in their eyes it is not considered real evidence and faked by the government.
Those who believe in it most likely misinterpret the evidence and are only looking for beliefs that would confirm their owns. This is also called confirmation bias. In this case they ignore the real evidence that the earth is round and label them as ‘fake’, whereas when something in any way would support their beliefs has to be correct. Another cognitive contribution is groupthink, which is a concept that people within a group “value harmony and coherence above rational thinking”(PsychologyToday). This often results in dysfunctional outcomes and irrational beliefs. In this case, Flat Earth Society members do not want to doubt or judge the others beliefs and therefore strengthen their owns.
The flat Earth model started in the ancient where many cultures believed in a flat Earth “until the classical period,the Bronze Age” (Wikipedia). It became more controversial again, because the moon landing in 1959 came with a lot of skepticism. Flat earth theorists believe that the moon landing was fake and the pictures and audios recorded from that time were fabrications. They believe that GPS devices and maps are fake and that the International Space Station is a fake space station, believing it would be cheaper to promote a fake station rather than build a real one. The primary social influence that maintains their belief is groupthink. Social reinforcement form like-minded people allows them to feel sane when they speak of the topic and feel that their opinions are respected and justified.
Even though this theory can be proven wrong by a lot of evidence, the human brain and different psychological concept show how one can persists with their beliefs due to groupthink or biases. Human also love searching for meaning and drawing connections between things that sometimes have no tangible connection between them. It is simply human nature.