Millennials often get a bad rep for being entitled and lazy, but it also seems they might not be too bright. A recent survey in the US suggests young adults are buying into the flat earth conspiracy that’s suddenly become a hot topic over the past few years.
The flat Earth theory proposes the Earth is not spherical but flat, discounting years of proven scientific research that says otherwise. Followers believe gravity is an illusion and the government have been covering up the shape of the Earth for decades. If that’s not insane enough for you, many also claim there’s a 150-foot wall of ice surrounding the Earth that’s manned by NASA employees to stop people falling off the edge.
The survey, conducted by online polling company YouGov, discovered just 66 percent of young adults aged 18 to 24 years old believe the Earth is round. Results gathered in the study point to the younger generation questioning the validity of the Earth being circular more so than their parents.
Of those between the ages of 25 and 34 surveyed, 76 percent believe the world has always been round, with this increasing to 82 percent for those between the ages of 35 and 44.
While this information is interesting, it doesn’t mean all American millennials are flat Earth theorists. What it does demonstrate is a lack of basic scientific understanding of the world, which reflects poorly on the American education system. It also raises questions about the impact celebrities and internet culture have on the youth of today.
A large number of celebrities have come out and endorsed the flat Earth theory over the past couple years, including NBA player Kyrie Irving, rapper B.o.B. and former cricketer Freddie Flintoff.
Irving famously voiced his beliefs in 2006 when he tweeted, “The Earth is flat… I’m telling you, it’s right in front of our faces. They lie to us.” English cricketer Flintoff questioned the Earth’s shape after listening to a flat Earth podcast while fledging rapper B.o.B. has been a long time supporter of the theory, even getting into a Twitter argument with well-known scientist Neil DeGrasse Tyson back in 2015. DeGrasse tried to explain why the Earth couldn’t be flat, but his factual scientific evidence fell on deaf ears, with B.o.B. bizarrely recording a diss track in response to DeGrasse.
It’s hard to tell if the rise in flat Earth movement is due to the influence of celebrities, America’s poor education system or a generation of dumbed down millennials more interested in social media and celebrity culture than the world around them.
Whatever the case, it’s certainly concerning when proven scientific evidence is dismissed in favour of a half-baked conspiracy theory endorsed by a diss track dropping B-grade rapper.