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I watched the flat-earth documentary on Netflix so you wouldn’t have to, and this is what I discovered
I guess the first thing I should clear up, in order to have any credibility, is that I am not a flat-earther. But that doesn’t mean I am not willing to listen to them, and you should feel the same.
Flat-earthers are passionate people, and they have a message they won’t stop preaching until you’ve heard it: the earth is flat.
“Behind the Curve,” a 2018 documentary running on Netflix, gives a glimpse into the life of a group of people whose ideas are gaining major headlines. While many people brushed them off as crazy, or conspiracy theorists, I thought it might be interesting to hear what they had to say.
The very nature of being a flat-earther is to question everything, even the most fundamental ideas that we’ve all been taught in school. Darwin was no different — he was heavily criticised for his work on the evolution of species, for questioning ideas that everyone took for granted.
This shared quality of doubt is something we seem to be lacking in the era of misinformation and fake news. If we were to question and find our own answers by doing our own research, we wouldn’t be such a gullible society; a lot of the fake news preachers, like Jussie Smollett — the man accused of staging his own homophobic attack for money — would think twice before spreading lies for fear of being caught.
Another important lesson I learned from watching “Behind the Curve” was that we shouldn’t challenge people’s beliefs and core values, especially when trying to persuade them about an issue.
Flat-earthers will not listen to your science or logic because their beliefs are deeply rooted in doubt and skepticism. When confronted with opposing views, instead of processing your logic, they filter out all information given to them and think of the next counter point.
Sound familiar? This is the same tactic used by climate-change deniers, politicians and anyone who disagrees with anything you have to say.
These are the kind of people who need to see in order to believe. Instead of trying to prove them wrong, a journey into discovery together will go a longer way (maybe to the edge of the world if necessary).
Flat-earthers might be so deeply embedded in their own world that their stubborness stops being solely about belief. When people are pushed away by their friends and family, they tend to find each other and bond over feeling neglected. A lot of flat-earthers have been discriminated against based on their beliefs alone, even from the people closest to them. So when they find a movement to be a part of, they hold on tight.
Flat-earthers have found an identity. They’ve made longtime friends, garnered fame and recognition and found a sense of community. Some flat-earthers may not care about the truth if it means losing all they’ve gained instead. So while the flat-earth movement could be just another knowledge-bubble worthy of popping for you, it could mean a life-changing sense of acceptance for them.
Instead of ridiculing flat-earthers for thinking NASA photoshops every satellite picture in order to make the Earth look round, try taking them out for a drink with your friends and treating them like they’re also human.
Written by: Daniel Oropeza — firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by individual columnists belong to the columnists alone and do not necessarily indicate the views and opinions held by The California Aggie.