President Donald Trump surveyed wildfire damage in California over the weekend, but when asked if it has changed his opinion on climate change, the president touted the "science" of things people have told him. Meanwhile, halfway across the country, science doubters met to tout their own ignorance.
The Daily Beast interviewed attendees at the Denver, Colorado "Flat Earth Conference" where some attendees adopted familar Trump attacks, reframed to allude to their conspiracy.
“It’s globalism,” explained Julie Simons. When the president attacks globalism, it typically is an anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic dog whistle.
“Globalism,” she said again, drawing a circle with her hand. She meant literally, a globe.
Her husband Scott proudly proclaimed, “in five years, everyone will know the Earth is flat" and the knowledge will bring about a kind of “societal collapse” because everything stems from a spherical understanding of the Earth.
At the conference, Flat-Earthers told The Beast that there aren't a certain type of intercontinental flights, which the reporter had actually been on twice.
Flat-Earth conspiracies require a series of additional theories to maintain their belief. When astronauts take to space, views of the Earth are not only obvious but there is recorded proof. So, some Flat-Earthers believe the moon landing never happened. One panelist at the conference claimed NASA had ties to Nazis.
YouTube star Logan Paul was one of the conference's keynote speakers, despite not believing that the Earth is flat.
“I consider myself a man of truth," Paul told the crowd. "Someone who hates being ignorant. I guess I’m not ashamed to say my name is Logan Paul and I think I’m coming out of the Flat Earth closet.”
The Beast reporter saw Paul earlier in the conference practicing his speech through chuckles about the "belief."
Many attendees came to the opinion based on YouTube videos.
“It came on autoplay,” said Joshua Swift. “So I didn’t actively search for Flat Earth. Even months before, I was listening to Alex Jones.”
Brothers Michael and Daniel Flores were at the conference, but Daniel explained he was really just there for the ride. YouTube was a powerful tool for Michael, but Daniel called it selective bias based on the videos Mike seeks out.
“You’re not getting any astrophysicist videos," Daniel noted.
Mike explained his website was spoofed by an adversary who has InfoWars ads running on it, a GoFundme and sells Flat-Earth merchandise. Mike's accusations are similar to others', making it seem like at least one small group of men were all impersonating themselves on YouTube.
Reading through the description of attendees paints a picture of a group that has key things in common: almost everything is a conspiracy and everything you know is a lie, none have a science background and many seem to be InfoWars viewers.