Renowned astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, blamed the US educational system and free speech for the growing popularity of the Flat Earth conspiracy.
In a new video posted on his StarTalk YouTube channel, deGrasse Tyson warned people about the growing number of conspiracy theorists whose influence can shape other’s views. In 2016, for example, the astrophysicist had a Twitter battle with rapper B.o.B. who has been trying to convince people that the Earth is flat.
“For me, the fact that there’s a rise of flat-Earthers is evidence of two things. One, we live in a country that protects free speech. And, two, we live in a country with a failed educational system,” deGrasse Tyson said.
The notion of a flat Earth has been described as the ultimate conspiracy theory. According to the Flat Society, an estimated 200 people per year have become avid believers since 2009.
In November alone, hundreds of people attended the first Flat Earth International Conference in North Carolina, USA.
Those who believe in the Flat Earth theory also claim that NASA, along with the world’s government, is hiding the truth.
This isn’t the first time that the astrophysicist blamed the educational system for the flat-Earthers. In 2016, he said that the educational system had become too focused on forcing students to memorize information instead of improving their analytical abilities.
Neil deGrasse Tyson went on to explain that most things are spherical as planets form spheres due to gravity pulling their mass inwards.
The physicist’s claims that the school system is churning out more conspiracy theorists echoes the beliefs of several psychologists who think that improving analytical skills could be an effective tool against conspiracy theories. Viren Swami, a social psychologist from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, said that critical and analytical thinkers tend to disregard conspiracy theories more often.
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