The student news site of Davis High School

The Dart

The student news site of Davis High School

The Dart

The student news site of Davis High School

The Dart

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Conspiracy Theories

Conspiracy theories have always run rampant in the hearts and minds of the believers.There is always a shadowy “they” who is running the world in secret cabals. Karen Douglas, asocial psychology professor at the University of Kent told Live Science, “A conspiracy theory is abelief that two or more actors have coordinated in secret to achieve an outcome, and that[exposing] this conspiracy is of public interest.” The world is chock full of Conspiracy theories,ranging from a wide variety of topics. From lizard people who run the world from the sewers tochild trafficking rings underneath pizza places to the CIA having a hand in JFK’s assassination.Some of these conspiracy theories are harmless while others actively hurt other people. It isimportant to take a step back and think critically about what people are telling you and why.The moon landing:On July 21st, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon. It was atechnological marvel that is still considered to be one of the United States’ greatestachievements. More than four hundred thousand scientists, engineers and technicians wereemployed by the Apollo program. It took eight years from the address on May 25th, 1961, to theactual landing on July 21st, 1969. However, it took one man and one book titled We Never Wentto the moon: America’s Thirty Billion Dollar Swindle to convince thirty percent of the Americanpopulation that the moon landing was faked. Bill Kaysing, the father of this conspiracy theory,served as an officer in the U.S. Navy during World War Two. Kaysing worked at Rocketdynefrom 1957 to 1963 as a cataloger for their technical publications, before Rocketdyne startedworking on the Apollo project. Kaysing has no actual experience working on spacecraft.His book claims include:NASA at the time lacked the technical expertise to put a man on the moon.

The absence of stars in the lunar photographs.
Unexplained optical anomalies in several photographs of and on the moon.The absence of craters beneath the lunar module from the rocket engines.The mysterious death of Thomas Baron, a safety inspector and quality control for NorthAmerican Aviation.Kaysing also believed that NASA staged both the Apollo 1 fire and the Space ShuttleChallenger accident. Intentionally killing astronauts who planned to expose the conspiracy toguarantee their silence. He also believed that a five-hundred-page report on the Apollo 1 byThomas Baron went missing and his death a week after he testified before The United StatesCongress were linked. Kaysing and his followers are convinced that NASA is doing everythingthey can to make it seem like The United States landed on the moon first so The Soviet Unionwould believe that we had an advantage over them, as tensions were rising between The SovietUnion and The United States.Despite the massive amounts of scientific and photographic proof, along with dozens ofeyewitnesses, a startling twelve percent believe that NASA did not land on the moon, accordingto a poll done by The University of New Hampshire in 2021. NASA has done everything in theirpower to combat the allegations and prove that The United States did accomplish somethinggreat that day on June 21st, 1969.The Flat Earth Society:Another prominent conspiracy theory is that the earth is flat. The father of thispseudoscientific belief is Samuel Rowbotham, an English inventor, utopian socialist and writer.Under the name of Parallax, he wrote the sixteen-page pamphlet named “Zetetic Astronomy:Earth Not a Globe” in 1849. Later, in 1865, he had expounded it into a full-fledged book. ZeteticAstronomy, Rowbotham’s method, modeled the Earth as a flat disk centered at the North Polesurrounded by walls of ice on the perimeter. The sun, moon, planets and stars moved severalthousands of miles above the surface of the earth.Rowbotham’s ideas about the Earth started formulating at his time as an Owenitecommunity organizer. He took little time to learn his trade and instead opted to run tests at TheOld Bedford River. In his first Bedford River Experiment in 1838, he measured the lack ofcurvature on the long drainage ditch. He was convinced that he was onto something and beganto lecture on the flatness of the Earth. He ran away from a lecture in Blackburn when hecouldn’t explain why the mast of a ship could still be visible when the hull could not be whensailing out to sea. Rowbotham was still convinced that his flat Earth theory was correct andwould regularly hold lectures, charging sixpence for each lecture. His debating skills and

wittiness were of to note. He could “counter every argument with ingenuity, wit and
consummate skill.”He was finally tracked down to Plymouth in 1864. He stayed because allegations spreadthat he wouldn’t agree to a test proving that the Earth was flat. Rowbotham arrived at theallocated time at Plymouth Hoe. His opponents claimed that only the lantern of the EddystoneLighthouse would be visible with the telescope set up on the beach, fourteen miles away fromthe Eddystone Lighthouse. Only half of the lantern was visible and Rowbotham had argued thathis opponents were wrong and that it proved the Earth was indeed flat. Many residents ofPlymouth left the Hoe agreeing that “some of the most important conclusions of modernastronomy had been seriously invalidated”.One of his followers, by the name of John Hampden, gained his infamy by engaging inharsh public debates with scientists of the day. He made a bet with the prominent naturalistAlfred Russel Wallace and redid the Bedford Level Experiment from 1838. This led to multiplelawsuits for fraud and libel and ultimately ended in Hampden’s imprisonment. Eventually, in1914, Rowbotham’s ideals were appropriated by the Christian Catholic Apostolic Church andwere reported frequently when the church acquired its own radio station in 1923.Rowbotham’s ideals were continued further by William Carpenter, he published “TheoreticalAstronomy Examined and Exposed- Proving the Earth not a Globe in eight parts” from 1864under the name of “Common Sense.” In 1885, he published “A hundred proofs the Earth is not aGlobe.”A startling number of people believe in many different conspiracies. Some of which havebeen very dangerous and harmful towards other people. Remember to think critically whenbeing fed information from any source. Look for reasons one would tell you this informationand what they gain from it. Always remember to do independent research on topics and stopthe spread of misinformation wherever you can.

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About the Contributor
Jordan Sanderson
Jordan Sanderson, Journalist

My name is Jordan Sanderson. I love conspiracy theories, floriculture, history, music, theater, and video games. I am a member of the Davis High Stage Crew and have worked on 8 productions. I plan on going into technical theater full time after graduation.

Best wishes,

Jordan Sanderson