The Rise of Flat Earth Belief

Michael Marshall

Tuesday, June 18 2019 at 7:30PM

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PO19 1RP

Tel: 01243 783185

Michael Marshall

What's the talk about?

In 2013, when Michael Marshall first interviewed the Vice President of the Flat Earth society for his show Be Reasonable, people could scarcely believe that anyone could genuinely think the Earth was flat. Five years later, Flat Earth belief has gone mainstream, spawning thousands of hours of YouTube videos, gaining widespread international media coverage, and attracting countless followers. How did we get here?

Michael Marshall is the Project Director of the Good Thinking Society and the Vice President of the Merseyside Skeptics Society. He has organised homeopathy protests, gone undercover to expose psychics and quack medics, and co-founded the popular QED conference. He regularly speaks with proponents of pseudoscience for the Be Reasonable podcast and has written for the Guardian, The Times and New Statesman.

This talk is part of the Chichester Festival and will be a ticketed event. 

Tickets available here:

£6 on the door, if there is any space left.

Summary of talk
Michael Marshall is a professional skeptic, employed by The Good Thinking Society. His role is to understand why people believe in pseudoscience, conspiracy theories, superstition, the paranormal, etc. and promote a skeptical way of thinking.

His late
st talk gave us insights into the flat earth believers he met at a conference. These are a disparate group of people who enthusiastically applauded every speaker, regardless of content and their mutually contradictory theories.

Apparently, one group don't really believe in a flat earth but enjoy the challenge of creating (spurious) supporting arguments, to the delight of the true believers.

Michael took us through a few of the hundreds of "reasons" why it is obvious that the world is flat. These ranged from the bizarre (a dome covering the flat world, discovered by military missiles hitting it) to the naive (the horizon looks flat ... although it doesn't when you look closely).

Surprisingly, most of the flat earthers he met were religious.

A more sinister aspect of the conference was the ready acceptance of unsavoury conspiracy theories, such as the Jewish conspiracy. He suggested that flat earthers and conspiracy theorists share a distrust of those in power.

Michael is on a mission: to encourage a skeptical approach to life. He recently gave a talk to the older students of a primary school and was most impressed with some of their questions. He plans on repeating this educational initiative in other schools.

He answered a wide range of questions from a diverse audience and promised to return next year to entertain us with his latest findings.

This well-attended talk was part of the Chichester Festival. We look forward to taking part again in 2020.