The things that some people believe..
Recently I conducted a small-scale social experiment on YouTube®. The idea came to me after I happened upon a video claiming that the Earth was actually flat; and that NASA, the world governments, the media (and I guess everyone else) were all involved in one of the greatest cover-up conspiracies of all-time. And, as I perused several more similar videos, I discovered that some of them were getting views in the hundreds of thousands—which is no small potatoes on social media.
My first reaction was that it had to be a practical joke, or one of those things that bored academics come up with as a mental exercise—like that idea that we are all part of an elaborate computer simulation. Unfortunately, this was not the case. It soon became clear that the promoters of this “theory” were not highly educated individuals; in fact, it was obvious that most of their followers had very little knowledge of rudimentary geography, math and/or science.
Some of the anti-globe arguments they put forth had to do with: not being able to see the curvature of the Earth; that people should be able to feel the 1000 miles per hour rotation speed; and that there was nothing beyond Antarctica—particularly the South Pole—and it was a restricted area and “no-fly zone.”
So basically, I set out to address these issues, one by one, in a non-threatening way, to see what kind of response I would get. The result was far beyond my expectations.
First, without intending to insult your intelligence, let me quickly review the proof I put forward: Regarding the curvature of the Earth, I explained that there are satellite images (and live video feeds from space) of the planet that clearly show that the Earth is indeed round. Next, I demonstrated that the perceived speed of rotation was closer to that of an hour hand on an analog clock, since when you divide the 24,000 mile circumference by 1000 miles per hour you get 24 hours, and subsequently, day and night. Last, I provided photos and video of expeditions to Antarctica that I was involved with, showing that it actually is a continent at the bottom of our spherical world.
The majority of comments I received were so bizarre or profane that they are not worth repeating or discussing here; and while I did respond to many of the them, the type of comebacks I received, you’d expect from a three or four-year old child. My favorites were from the people who actually used the term Cognitive Dissonance. Without realizing it, they were actually describing themselves.
This experiment exemplifies the gullibility of humans to believe practically anything if it is presented to them in a manner consistent with advertising or public relations techniques. And, once convinced, how they will hold on to those beliefs -- tooth and nail -- to the end. It’s an unintended side effect (if you will) of years of conditioning by the education system, preachers, media and politicians. Furthermore, the extent to which these beliefs proliferate over social media, demonstrates the power (and control) in the hands of those who know how to utilize the various platforms of information dissemination.
Now I reckon my assessment might also be considered somewhat of a “fringe” statement; and, as far as the so called “mainstream” is concerned, it is. Which leads us to a dilemma in modern society: If the truth (and its supporting arguments) can be dismissed as lies and heresy; and, on the other hand, fantasy can be believed as fact -- all depending on the order and/or presentation of the material -- we have entered into a very dangerous period in human history.
What good is a global mass communications network and instantaneous access to information, if the truth can be manipulated or discredited? And how can we expect to advance as a people, if we have an education system and media that create false realities for millions of people for socio-economic-political goals?
Of course there have always been individuals, institutions and governments that have successfully swayed public opinion to one side or the other; most notably the horrifically dangerous propagandists like the Nazis. However, never before in the history of the world has it been so easy to spread false information to such a large global audience.
The reason there is corruption in government and Wall Street; and the reason people turn a blind eye to our crumbling infrastructure, climate change, social injustice, the broken health care system, wage-slavery, exorbitant student loans, racism, endless wars and all of the rest; is because they are being bombarded with blather and diversion paid for by the special interests that don’t want the people to see what’s really going on. Furthermore, there are cranks out there that have people believing the most incredible things for mercenary or insane reasons, or to just to mess with people’s heads for fun.
Introduction to The Truth About Everything