My take on flat earth and other “science” conspiracies:
These are similar to the “Nigerian bank director” or “Benin government minister” scams, where a badly spelled ungrammatical email message can gather the writer (or his bosses) thousands of pounds/dollars in income.
But how, you ask yourself, are people so stupid as to fall for this? And, strangely enough, though the rate of literacy in some developed countries is shockingly low, the kind of people falling for these scams includes some sophisticated educated people (my wife’s former boss was twice duped by these fraudsters, and was lucky to escape from Nigeria alive with the clothes he stood up in).
But typically, the poor spelling and grammar form a pons asinorum (a test of critical thinking). If you can accept that a government minister or lawyer or bank manager can write a message starting “Calvary greetings my dear!” then you may well accept the idea that he has a few million dollars in cash lying around which he is willing to share with a stranger. And from there, it all starts to go downhill (for the victim).
Flat earth, ice wall, and all the rest of it are so easily disproved, and have been for years. There never really has been a time in history when the educated classes have believed in a flat earth. So if it really is a conspiracy theory put about by the “elite”, then it’s a very long-lasting one. And to what purpose? It’s difficult on the face of it to know why the Illuminati/lizard people/NWO/whoever would want to do this. Of course, there are many on social media who make some sort of living by promoting nutcase theories and dragging others into their net (which may involve subscriptions or other sales).
However, there is one possible reason – by destroying trust in part of easily verifiable science, trust is easily destroyed in other areas. Wouldn’t it seem more plausible if there really was a conspiracy theory?
But the villains I propose are not Dr Evil or Blofeld, or even Bill Gates and the WEF – they are the enemies of free society, to be found in the Russian capital, and their goal is to disrupt the social patterns of the West. They have had two major successes so far – Trumpism and Brexit. I would be interested to know the proportion of flat earthers in Trump supporters vs others, and Leave voters vs others. It does seem to me that funding and supporting these anti-establishment unprovable conspiracies would be an excellent way to destabilise society. Of course, my conspiracy theory, like so many others, is also unprovable. Enjoy.