Kyrie Irving spotlights scientific mistrust in current age
Conspiracy theories have been around for a very long time, usually kept under wraps since people are smart enough to not make public beliefs contradicted by scientific evidence. Still, in this age of alternative facts and fake news, conspiracy theorists can find a space for themselves, especially when a public figure gives them a voice in the public sphere.
On a Friday, Feb. 17 appearance on the Road Trippin' podcast, Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving took part in an interview that led to the discussion of various conspiracy theories.
Some of the beliefs that he had were not so strange; for instance, the belief that "there are extraterrestrial beings that exist in the universe" is one that many scientists are eager to find evidence for, studying how modern bacteria could possibly survive on Mars and analyzing fossilized bacteria from an ancient Martian meteorite.
Other theories he expressed were considerably much less mainstream, including his belief that the CIA assassinated singer-songwriter, musician, and guitarist Bob Marley because "he tried to bring people together and the fact that it was fundamentally built on love and truth and we kill people for doing the right thing like that." Suspicions surrounding the treatment of a toe injury that later developed cancer have led some to believe that the CIA was after Marley for his potential to influence the future leader of Jamaica. The "proof" to back up the theory is entirely unsubstantiated.
The theory that seemed to land most headlines was his firm belief that "the Earth is flat. For what I’ve known for many years and what I’ve been taught is that the Earth is round, but if you really think about it from a landscape of the way we travel, the way we move and the fact that — can you really think of us rotating around the sun, and all planets align, rotating in specific dates, being perpendicular with what’s going on with these ‘planets’ and stuff like this.” Evidently, the concept of gravitational pull is something that has eluded Irving, as the physics behind gravity and orbits has been proven since the days of Sir Isaac Newton. The very fact that gravity is constant throughout the planet is because the distance between the surface of the planet and the core is always essentially the same, which is not possible for a flat Earth, but most certainly is a property of a round one.
This leads to a separate question. For what reason would there be to perpetuate a round Earth if the concept of a flat Earth had lasted all the way through to the Renaissance? Irving doesn't seem to have an answer for that, focusing instead of the modern implications of a round Earth conspiracy. "I have a very firm belief that what they’re putting out in front of us is there for a reason. It just depends on whether you want to believe in the truth or not. The fact that they can make all these movies with alien descriptions, they’re not just going on strictly brainpower and this is just creative things that we’re going to put out to everybody."
Irving is suggesting that humans aren't creative enough to imagine what an alien looks like but are able to create a massive conspiracy to propagate an incorrect round Earth.
Naturally, photos taken from space would seem to disprove the flat Earth theory even for fervent believers; however, Irving also believes that humans have never actually gone into space. "The fact that his footprints don’t look the same comparatively to the boot that is in the museum is ridiculous. I look at this stuff all the time. His boot print is not the same, so you want me to really sit back after you proved it — they have a picture of it and his boot side by side — I need an explanation."
The supposed contradiction Irving believes in can be explained by the boots worn over the suit, which do match the print on the moon.
No matter how much scientific evidence and arguments we develop, there will always be conspiracies, backed up by any combination of hearsay, pseudoscience, and religious teachings.
Still, there is merit in examining some of the absurd beliefs that people have had and continue to have.