Circular Reasoning: The Rise of Flat Earth Belief

Over the past few years, I’ve given almost 100 free talks to skeptics in the pub groups, humanists, students, conferences, degree courses and comedy festivals – including my talks:

  • Adventures in pseudoscience – a fun journey through almost a decade of my skeptical activism and investigations
  • Diluting NHS Homeopathy until it’s just a memory – a look at Good Thinking’s campaign to investigate and challenge NHS funding for homeopathy
  • Bad PR – how and why the media fell to publishing PR pieces as news, and why it matters.

My new talk, covering my investigations into the Flat Earth movement, is also now available. If you’d like me to talk for your Skeptics in the Pub, university group, humanist group or other, please get in touch and I’ll be happy to come speak for you. You can find dates of my upcoming talks below, and to arrange a talk in your area simply email marsh@goodthinkingsociety.org.

Circular Reasoning: The Rise of Flat Earth Belief

In 2013, when Michael Marshall first interviewed the Vice President of the Flat Earth society for his show Be Reasonable, people could scarcely believe that anyone could genuinely think the Earth was flat. Five years later, Flat Earth belief has gone mainstream, spawning thousands of hours of YouTube videos, gaining widespread international media coverage, and attracting countless followers. How did we get here?

In this talk, Marshall will talk through his experiences of the Flat Earth movement, take a look at the leaders and some of their reasoning, and report back from the weekend he spent at the UK’s first ever Flat Earth convention.

Michael Marshall is the Project Director of the Good Thinking Society and the Vice President of the Merseyside Skeptics Society. He regularly speaks with proponents of pseudoscience for the Be Reasonable podcast.

His work has seen him organising international homeopathy protests, going undercover to expose psychics and quack medics, and co-founding the popular QED conference. He has written for the Guardian, The Times and New Statesman.

Requirements: projector, screen.

Upcoming dates:

  • Public Communication of Science and Technology Conference 2020, Aberdeen – May 26th-28th, 2020
  • Seriously Psychic Conference, London – June 13th, 2020
  • Portsmouth Skeptics in the Pub – June 15th, 2020
  • Chichester Skeptics in the Pub – June 16th, 2020
  • Melanoma Patient Conference 2020, Leicester – June 19th, 2020

Previous talks:

  1. London PubSci – March 4th, 2020
  2. Essex Skeptics in the Pub – February 12th, 2020
  3. Greater Manchester Skeptics in the Pub – January 23rd, 2020
  4. Royal Grammar School, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne – January 21st, 2020
  5. Bedford Skeptics in the Pub – January 16th, 2020
  6. Nottingham Skeptics in the Pub – January 9th, 2020
  7. Winchester Skeptics in the Pub – December 12th, 2019
  8. “How science museums can contribute to the fight against pseudoscience and disinformation”, Teatro Eva Herz – Livraria Cultura, São Paulo, Brazil – November 25th, 2019
  9. Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil – November 25th, 2019
  10. International Seminar of the IQC, São Paulo, Brazil – November 23rd, 2019
  11. Cidade Universitária, São Paulo, Brazil – November 22nd, 2019
  12. Fundação Planetário da Cidade do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – November 19th, 2019
  13. Plymouth Skeptics in the Pub – October 22nd, 2019
  14. International Society for Oncology Pharmacy Practitioners, London – October 10th-13th, 2019
  15. Sofia Skeptics in the Pub, Bulgaria – September 10th, 2019
  16. Oxford Skeptics in the Pub – September 4th, 2019
  17. Skeptics on the Fringe, Edinburgh – August 16th, 2019
  18. London Skeptics in the Pub – August 5th, 2019
  19. MSSX – July 6th, 2019
  20. International Symposium of the SRUK, Liverpool – June 28th-30th, 2019
  21. High Wycombe Skeptics in the Pub – June 19th, 2019
  22. Chichester Skeptics in the Pub – June 18th, 2019
  23. Cambridge Skeptics in the Pub – May 21st, 2019
  24. Sheffield Skeptics in the Pub – May 20th, 2019
  25. Liverpool Skeptics in the Pub – May 16th, 2019
  26. Ignite, Liverpool – May 13th, 2019
  27. University of Liverpool “Science and Fake News” – May 10th 2019
  28. Greenwich Skeptics in the Pub – May 1st, 2019
  29. Czech Skeptic Society Sisyfos, Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague – April 17th, 2019
  30. Leicester Secular Society – March 31st, 2019
  31. Brighton Skeptics in the Pub – March 28th, 2019
  32. Humanists UK – March 28th, 2019
  33. Exeter University Humanists – March 19th, 2019
  34. Cambridge Science Festival – March 12th, 2019
  35. University of Sunderland (PR/Journalism lecture) – March 12th, 2019
  36. Coventry Skeptics in the Pub – February 20th, 2019
  37. Cardiff Humanists – February 11th, 2019
  38. Leicester Skeptics in the Pub – December 18th, 2018
  39. Bournemouth Skeptics in the Pub – December 13th, 2018
  40. Bournemouth University (PR/Journalism lecture) – December 13th, 2018
  41. Glasgow Skeptics in the Pub – November 12th, 2018
  42. Barnsley Skeptics in the Pub – November 1st, 2018
  43. Maidstone Skeptics in the Pub – October 29th, 2018
  44. QED conference, Manchester – October 13th-14th, 2018
  45. York Skeptics in the Pub – September 24th, 2018
  46. Birmingham Skeptics in the Pub – September 12th, 2018
  47. Teeside Skeptics in the Pub- September 6th, 2018
  48. Camp Quest UK – August 21st, 2018
  49. Gravesend Skeptics in the Pub- August 15th, 2018
  50. NECSS, New York, USA – 13th July 2018
  51. Humanist Students Southampton – 5th March 2018
  52. Stellenbosch University, South Africa – 19th November 2017
  53. Newcastle Skeptics in the Pub – 13th September 2017
  54. Edinburgh Festival – Skeptics on the Fringe – 17th August 2017
  55. IHEYO annual conference, London – 4th August 2017
  56. Stoke Skeptics in the Pub – 10th May 2017
  57. Horsham Skeptics in the Pub – 24th April 2017
  58. High Wycombe Skeptics in the Pub – 19th April 2017
  59. Glasgow Skeptics in the Pub – 27th March 2017
  60. Bangor Science Cafe – 18th January 2017
  61. Sydney Skeptics in the Pub – 29 November 2016
  62. Australian Skeptics National Convention, Melbourne – 25th November 2016
  63. Greenwich Skeptics in the Pub – 2nd November 2016
  64. QED 2016 – Manchester – 14th-16th October 2016
  65. Brighton Skeptics in the Cafe – 27th September 2016
  66. Norwich Skeptics in the Pub – 13th September 2016
  67. Essex Skeptics in the Pub – 14th September 2016
  68. LIDo PhD Retreat – High Wycombe – 8th September 2016
  69. Edinburgh Festival – Skeptics on the Fringe – 10th August 2016
  70. Leicester Skeptics in the Pub – 19th July 2016
  71. Portsmouth Skeptics in the Pub – 14th July 2016
  72. Teesside Skeptics in the Pub – 7th July 2016
  73. Southport Philosophy in the Pub – 6th June 2016
  74. Bedford Skeptics in the Pub – 21st April 2016
  75. Sheffield Skeptics in the Pub – 29th February 2016
  76. Reading Skeptics in the Pub – 15th February 2016
  77. Brighton Humanists – 3rd February 2016
  78. Cork Skeptics in the Pub – 29th January 2016
  79. Dublin Skeptics in the Pub – 28th January 2016
  80. Eastbourne Skeptics in the Pub – 27th January 2016
  81. CFI UK: Science in the Media, Conway Hall, London – 12th December 2015
  82. Durham University Humanists – 25th November 2015
  83. Leeds Skeptics in the Pub – 24th November 2015
  84. High Wycombe Skeptics in the Pub – 18th November 2015
  85. Exeter Humanists – 14th November 2015
  86. Cardiff Skeptics in the Pub – 17th November 2015
  87. Bristol Skeptics in the Pub – 28th October 2015
  88. Liverpool Skeptics in the Pub – 15th October 2015
  89. Milton Keynes Skeptics in the Pub – 14th October 2015
  90. York Skeptics in the Pub – 24th August 2015
  91. Malmo Skeptics in the Pub, Sweden – 21st September 2015
  92. Cambridge Skeptics in the Pub – 28th July 2015
  93. Oxford Skeptics in the Pub – 22nd July 2015
  94. Gravesend Skeptics in the Pub – 15th July 2015
  95. Bournemouth Skeptics in the Pub – 8th July 2015
  96. Nottingham Skeptics in the Pub – 7th July 2015
  97. QED, Manchester – 24th-26th April 2015 (new talk)
  98. Liverpool SciBar – 7th April 2015
  99. Cheltenham Skeptics in the Pub – 31th March 2015
  100. Northern Ireland Science Festival, Belfast – 24th February 2015
  101. Dublin Skeptics in the Pub – 6th February 2015
  102. Cork Skeptics in the Pub – 5th February 2015
  103. Greenwich Skeptics in the Pub – 4th February 2015
  104. Glasgow Skeptics in the Pub – 12th January 2015
  105. Brisbane, AUS – 1st December 2014
  106. Australian Skeptics National Convention, Sydney, AUS – 29th-30th November 2014
  107. Liverpool Skeptics in the Pub – 20th November 2014
  108. Horsham Skeptics in the Pub – 13th November 2014
  109. Milton Keynes Skeptics in the Pub – 11th November 2014
  110. Southport Philosophy in the Pub – 3rd November 2014
  111. Guildford Skeptics in the Pub – 24th September 2014
  112. Coventry Skeptics in the Pub – 17th September 2014
  113. Bournemouth Skeptics in the Pub – 10th September 2014
  114. Barnsley Skeptics in the Pub – 4th September 2014
  115. Winchester Skeptics in the Pub – 28th August 2014
  116. Cambridge Skeptics in the Pub – 27th August 2014
  117. Edinburgh Skeptics on the Fringe – 15th August 2014
  118. Nine Worlds Geekfest, London – 10th August 2014
  119. Nottingham Skeptics in the Pub – 5th August 2014
  120. Lincoln Skeptics in the Pub – 4th August 2014
  121. Greater Manchester Skeptics in the Pub – 10th July 2014
  122. Newcastle Skeptics in the Pub – 9th July 2014
  123. Stoke Skeptics in the Pub – 2nd July 2014
  124. Bristol Skeptics in the Pub – 25th June 2014
  125. York Skeptics in the Pub – 23rd June 2014
  126. Leicester Skeptics in the Pub – 17th June 2014
  127. Birmingham Skeptics in the Pub – 11th June 2014
  128. Brighton Skeptics in the Pub – 10th June 2014
  129. Ealing Skeptics in the Pub – 12th May 2014
  130. Oxford Skeptics in the Pub – 8th May 2014
  131. University of Liverpool Humanists – 29th April 2014
  132. Sheffield Skeptics in the Pub – 28th April 2014
  133. Exeter Skeptics in the Pub – 23rd April 2014
  134. Plymouth Humanists – 22nd April 2014
  135. Teeside Skeptics in the Pub – 3rd April 2014