Of all the crackpot conspiracy theories circulating the web, the claims of Flat Earthers are the most fascinating — at least to me anyway. Anti-vaxxers, 9/11 Truthers, “chemtrails” believers — all these particular brands of insanity are at least rooted in a tangible, albeit false, method. Although most brands of conspiracy do this at some level, Flat Earthers are forced to outright deny what’s in front of their very eyes. Their explanations for a flat earth get the most mockery because so much of it sounds satirical, and one of their latest claims to circulate the web is no exception. It’s downright hilarious.
For being the most cartoonish and easily mocked of pseudoscience purveyors, Flat Earthers are surprisingly well organized. In Birmingham, U.K., this past April, more than 200 of them showed up to a conference to hear lectures on the movement’s (yes, this is a movement) various theories. One of these theories involves the country of Australia — or should we say, the *alleged* country of Australia.
As the New Zealand Herald points out, some Flat Earthers think the massive continent down under doesn’t exist. But what about those lovely Australians we all know and love? Actors, all of them. Who’s paying for this massive fraud? Why, NASA of course.
According to those who’ve done a little digging, the theory first originated in a Flat Earth Society internet forum back in 2006, but found new life in a now-deleted Facebook post by a woman named Shelley Floryd back in 2017 (see the screenshot via the NZ Herald below).
A summary of the theory is as follows: The concept of Australia was created by the British government as a cover-up for a genocide. The Brits allegedly shipped over 160,000 criminals into the middle of the ocean during the 18th Century and intentionally drowned them.
What about the fact that people fly in airplanes, and sometimes those airplanes fly over (what is alleged to be) Australia, and those airplanes have windows people can look out of and see the country in question beneath them? Well, the pilots are in on the ruse too, and they’re actually flying people to parts of South America, and … oh, never mind.
So why would Flat Earthers latch onto this particular brand of insanity? That’s not entirely clear, but I would guess that it helps reinforce the idea that humanity is being lied to about the natural state of the earth.
The fact that Floryd would promote such a comically fraudulent claim without batting an eye is concerning, but not has concerning as the fact that her post was liked and shared over 50,000 times before it was deleted.
That’s a lot of bullsh*t being spread around.