Flat-Earthers have a lot to teach us - just not geography.
Byline: Tom Evans
"THE EARTH IS FLAT" read the graffiti on a wall in Stoneycroft this week.
And, according to the ECHO report, "eagleeyed onlookers have spotted a mistake". Well, yes. The Earth is not flat. But they'd also made a more trivial error - they'd misspelled "research" when inviting passers-by (you know, the sort of people who do whatever graffiti tells them) to find out more online.
Undaunted, I donned my tin helmet and did some "reserch" as instructed.
And what I found was genuinely interesting. Not the flat-Earth stuff. That's just a load of pseudo-scientific rubbish based on halfremembered and totally debunked "experiments" and specious non-reasoning.
But I'll never fail to be fascinated by the sheer variety of things that humans will persuade themselves and each other to believe.
Evidence has nothing to do with it - these days, we all carry around with us a device that can show us our exact position on the (globular) planet, by reference to GPS satellites in orbit.
Bronze-age nomads could be forgiven for gazing across what seems to be a flat landscape and assuming it to be so - we've got no such excuse.
But still people believe. People believe that the Earth is flat, that Finland is fake, that the moon landings never happened.
Some people believe much more sinister things. They believe that the Parkland shooting victims are crisis actors, that 9/11 was a fake, that The Holocaust never happened.
It's no use telling them the facts. Facts help us know things - knowing and believing are two quite different things. Deep down, even the most committed crank knows fact from fiction - they choose to believe something else.
Maybe it makes them feel important; maybe it's a comfort, in troubling times, to be able to tell yourself a simple story in which my side is good and the other side bad, and the good guys get in some scrapes but win in the end.
| SNOW day yesterday. Had fun building a snowman with the kids, once I'd given up trying to persuade them to play an even better game, called Bring Dad a Coffee and a Sandwich While He Lies on the Sofa and has a Doze. People get very wound up about schools closing due to snow - based on their experience as children, when the roads were quieter and communities less spread out. It's reasonable concern for human wellbeing gone mad, if you ask me.
SETTING THE WORLD TO RIGHTS, ONE DAY AT A TIME