Squishing science: Flat Earth International Conference coming to Edmonton
Conference founder Robbie Davidson, who is from Edmonton, believes no one can fall off the edge of the earth because it's encircled in ice.
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An influential flat-Earther will defy two thousand years of science by bringing a conference to his hometown of Edmonton in August.
Tickets went on sale Thursday for the Flat Earth International Conference, founded by Robbie Davidson, slated for Aug. 9 and 10 at West Edmonton Mall.
“I’m like many people that have come to this topic where at first it was ridiculous. I laughed at it, I thought it was probably the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard,” Davidson told Metro.
“When I took the time to start looking into it, I didn’t laugh much longer.”
To be clear, thanks to techniques like looking at the shapes of shadows in different locations at the same time, scientists have been pretty certain for thousands of years that the Earth is round.
Davidson, who is also a Creationist, launched the world’s first flat-Earth conference in Raleigh, N.C. last year and it sold out months in advance. He expects similar interest in Edmonton.
He believes there is no hard scientific proof that the Earth is a sphere circling around the Sun, saying, “Why don’t we have a 24/7 live stream of the spinning Earth from space? Surely they could put it on the Moon, they could put all these advertisers, they could market it.”
Davidson claims he is not anti-science, but believes scientists looking for "real truth" are shut out and muzzled.
Of the eight speakers scheduled to appear at the Edmonton conference, several are outspoken on numerous conspiracy theories, and none are scientists.
Davidson's belief is that the Arctic encircles the entire flat Earth – so no one could fall off the edge of the Earth, because they would freeze before they made it that far.
“Think of a dinner plate, and in the centre of it you’ve got the North Pole and on the other end of that plate you’ve got Antarctica. So there is no possible way that you could fall off this thing,” he said.
While Davidson does not have scientific expertise to counter the prevailing facts, it is Christianity that seems to drive his belief that our world is flat and is the centre of the universe.
Davidson said there are “no atheists” in the flat-Earth community.
“Once you make Earth just another planet like everything else, it loses its significance. It also loses its value based on the fact that we’re just a random accident exploded through the universe,” he said.
“For me, the biggest reason would be on a spiritual front, that basically they are truly trying to hide the intelligent designer behind the design.”
He said his group has invited scientific luminaries like Neil deGrasse Tyson to debates, and he feels the scientific community is shirking their requests.
But, he said, scientists won't be able to avoid flat-Earthers much longer, as the movement spiked in 2015 and is picking up steam especially in South Korea, Russia and Canada.
“We have a crazy audience here in Canada,” he said.
Stephen Johnston, chair of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Alberta, said there is no point in engaging with flat-Earthers.
“These people have a belief system. They clearly are impermeable to observation and science,” Johnston said.
“It’s like creationism. There’s no debate, actually. They think the Earth’s flat, despite the fact that we’ve known since – I mean we knew the circumference of the spherical Earth in 200 B.C.”
The conference will be held at Fantasyland Hotel's banquet space.
Two-day passes are going for $200.