In November 2017, 500 people from around the globe convened outside of Raleigh, North Carolina, for the Flat Earth International Conference, the first of its kind since the modern iteration of the movement began over 130 years ago. Why now? Surely all of the scientific and cultural innovations of the past century would have ended this debate for good… right? Or is technology at least partially to blame for this resurgence of anti-science rhetoric?
According to Bruce Hunt, professor of history at the University of Texas, the flat earth theory has been around for much longer than its current tenure, and it has reared up periodically despite consistent and regular debunking over time. That we are currently experiencing what appears to be an upsurge is possibly due to the way the internet and social media facilitate various kinds of conspiracy theorizing. This explanation makes a great deal of sense when we look back over the movement’s history and see that the physical home of the current iteration of the Flat Earth Society is a just website.
Want to know more?
Christine Garwood, Flat Earth: The History of an Infamous Idea (2007)
Jeffrey Burton Russell, Inventing the Flat Earth: Columbus and Modern Historians (1991)