There’s no shortage of strange beliefs out there, and not all of them involve having a firm grip on reality. But it’s truly bizarre to see one from the latter camp have a sudden surge in popularity and attention millenia after we knew it was wrong. But when it comes to the idea that the Earth is flat, centuries of accumulating evidence don’t make much of a difference—its adherents have centuries of history of ignoring it, along with at least one not-nearly-as-famous-as-it-should-be instance of threatening a prominent scientist along the way.
That was Alfred Russell Wallace, one of the two co-developers of the theory of evolution.
This is our first try of a new video format where we look at controversies that, well, really shouldn’t be controversial. While we may get back to Wallace and his theory, for the most part we’re going to focus on cases where the motivation for the controversy is a bit less obvious. What drives people to believe in ideas that are blatantly, obviously divorced from reality? Or to reject ones that have a solid foundation of evidence?