It seems absurd, but belief that the Earth is flat is booming in America – with a new poll suggesting that up to 2% of people now believe the Earth is not a globe.
Alarmingly, up to 5% of people who used to believe the Earth was a globe now say they are ‘not sure’ as a new Flat Earther movement has gained huge amounts of publicity online, with celebrity fans such as Freddie Flintoff and the rapper B.o.B.
The ‘new’ Flat Earther movement began on internet forums and spilled over onto networks such as YouTube – with believers claiming that a global conspiracy is hiding the truth, and that all space pictures are faked.
But a new poll this week offered insight into WHY so many people believe the Earth is flat – and it’s all to do with God.
A YouGov poll of 8,215 people in America found that 52% of people believe the Earth is flat consider themselves ‘very religious’.
Many say that evidence for the Earth being flat is found in scripture, YouGov said.
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YouGov says, ‘For some flat earthers, evidence of the earth’s shape may be found in scripture – more than half of Flat earthers (52%) consider themselves “very religious,” compared to just a fifth of all Americans (20%).
‘While an overwhelming majority of Americans (84%) believe that the Earth is round, at least 5% of the public say they used to believe that but now have their doubts.
‘Flat earthers find traction in their beliefs among a younger generation of Americans. Young millennials, ages 18 to 24, are likelier than any other age group to say they believe the Earth is flat (4%).’
Experts have said that Flat Earthers are often quite self-aware about why they believe the Earth is flat – and it’s to do with comfort.
Michael Wood, a psychology lecturer at the University of Winchester said, ‘One thing I’ve found interesting in my own adventures on the flat-Earth side of YouTube is, people are often pretty upfront about their motives.
‘They’ll say that they find it more appalling to believe in the universe as a huge, uncaring place, and that it seems more reasonable to imagine Earth was made for humans like a perfect snow globe.’