More young people may be buying into the “flat Earth” conspiracy theory, and one can’t help but wonder whether celebrity flat-Eather truthers are to blame.
A new study by YouGov published Monday reveals that only 66 percent of American 18 to 24-year-olds, a major chunk of the country’s millennials, firmly believe the Earth is round. The survey also shows that the younger respondents tended to be, the more likely they were to have doubts about the long-established fact of a globe-shaped Earth. For example, 76 percent of 25- to 24-year-olds surveyed reported they believe the Earth is round, while 82 percent of those in the 35-44 age range answered: “I have always believed the world is round.”
While the study notes a link between flat-Earth truthers and religion, the conspiracy theory could be picking up momentum in party thanks to celebrity and internet culture. The survey comes at a time when the so-called “flat Earth theory” has made headlines for the several public figures who have openly endorsed it. Over the past couple of years, celebrities like musician Father John Misty, rapper B.o.B, and NBA player Kyrie Irving have all come out in support of the flat Earth theory.
Father John Misty ended his Grammy “acceptance speech” during a concert by giving FlatEarth.com a shoutout. Similarly, player Kyrie Irving reaffirmed himself as a flat-Earther last year by saying: “The Earth is flat… I’m telling you, it’s right in front of our faces. They lie to us,” he tweeted earlier this year.
Back in 2015, rapper B.o.B famously began tweeting incessantly about why the Earth is flat and NASA is lying to us. “No matter how high in elevation you are…the horizon is always eye level…sorry cadets…I didn’t wanna believe it either,” one of his tweets claimed. The rapper has even been schooled on the topic by scientists like Neil DeGrasse Tyson — but alas, to no avail. Other celebs — like reality star Tila Tequila and NFL quarterback Geno Smith — have also recently spoken out about their flat Earth beliefs.
There’s no definitive proof that celebrities have grown the number of flat Earth theory supporters, but the correlation is striking. Could today’s celebrity culture be more influential than the science community realizes?