Human idiocy knows no bounds. If there is an unfounded, flat out wrong theory to be had out there, you can bet there are also ready and willing adherents who will faithfully take up the cause. Unlike the author in the image link above, I’m not going to be pulling any punches here. Latching on to the first alternative theory you find simply because you’re a skeptic doesn’t make you a rebel or deep thinker, it makes you a member of a cult.
Let’s be clear. If you put your faith in a YouTube video, and then claim that you’ve thoroughly researched the topic, I’ve got a newsflash for you; you didn’t research it all. I question the critical thinking skills of anyone who professes to be a skeptic, but swallows the flat earth theory hook, line, and sinker without applying the same skepticism that made them receptive to it in the first place.
We have centuries of observations from people who have actually researched and observed that the Earth is spherical in shape. Some of them were the skeptics of their time and age, and they didn’t cite some dumbass YouTube video to prove that they were right. They made a hypothesis, complete with experiments and predictions for their outcomes. These are experiments that can be duplicated by anyone who cares to, and the outcome is always the same: the Earth is round.
If you’re considering becoming one, or already are a flat earther, consider watching videos about the real rebels and skeptics that overcame the prevailing ignorance of the day. These are people like Galileo and Copernicus, who already did the research for you, research I might add that has continued to be validated for centuries. If however you would rather believe in a short YouTube video with zero evidence for it’s claims, that is of course you’re perogative, but understand that you do not live in a vacuum.
There are real world consequences for engaging in skepticism for it’s own sake. For instance the anti-vaxxers who take risks with our children’s health by refusing to get their children vaccinated. They not only ignore the science, but history as well. Since they haven’t personally witnessed the devastation that smallpox or whooping cough has caused in an unvaccinated populations in the past, they simply refuse to acknowledge the dangers. Making such poor decisions is all well and good on an individual basis, were it not for the fact that vaccination relies on a critical mass of the population getting vaccinated to effectively stop the spread of such diseases. Not only are they taking risks with their children’s lives, but their poor decision making can affect entire communities when the inevitable outbreak occurs.
Similarly, if we have a sizable portion of the population that rejects science in favor of theories debunked centuries ago, how can one effectively educate a population that chooses willful ignorance? How will we be able to compete in a future job market that is increasingly more reliant on a knowledge based economy? Furthermore, as these so-called skeptics become increasingly more isolated from the rest of society, any negative consequences that may result will just reinforce their belief systems and the sense of community that they have built among other like-minded individuals.
The other side of that coin are those that would use such ignorance for more sinister objectives. It’s not at all surprising that this rise in willful ignorance has occurred at the same time Trump was elected as POTUS. This is a man who has spread conspiracy theories like birtherism and pizza-gate to further his own ends. He recognized that those who are given to such theories were not represented by the government, a government I might add that had rightly condemned peddlers of debunked theories.
These “skeptics” were largely left behind, not because of some elite power structure that sought to exclude them, but because they’ve chosen to exclude themselves by stubbornly clinging to preconceived notions. The danger inherit is the ease with which such gullible people can be manipulated. They have been deceived into extending their innate skepticism to the press, or proven scientific theories like anthropogenic global warming. The threat of global warming looms on the horizon and threatens to cause another mass extinction event, and all for a short term political gain. This growing rejection of science is a real existential threat, and it should not be tolerated under any circumstance.
As I said, I’m not going to pull any punches here. If you espouse a belief in a flat earth, or any other outlandish conspiracy theory because you “watched a video on YouTube”, you’re a fucking moron. I don’t care if you’re my parent, grandparent, sibling, child, best friend, or any other close relation. If you come at me spouting that bullshit, I will tell without hesitation that you are a dumbass. Fortunately though there is a cure for being a dumbass, and it’s called an education. If you are one of these dumbasses, I implore you to please stop being the child that stubbornly holds on to their security blanket. Put the computer screens away and read a goddamned book for christ’s sake. The future of humanity will thank you immensely.