By Tim Binnall
Indicating that the remarkable rise in popularity of the Flat Earth theory is not purely an American phenomenon, a recent survey out of Brazil suggests that a jaw-dropping number of people in the country have become believers in the controversial concept. A poll conducted last year by the organization Datafolha reportedly found that around seven percent of the Brazilian population said that they subscribed to the idea that the planet is not round.
Putting that in perspective, this would seem to indicate that a whopping 11 million residents of the country subscribe to the conspiracy theory. Similar to their American counterparts, Brazilian Flat Earthers have formed huge communities online and have even held conferences in order to gather together for organized discussions on the notorious topic. And, as in the United States, mainstream scientists in Brazil have attempted to blunt the growth of the conspiracy theory by refuting the many 'issues' raised by its adherents.
However, in an odd turn of events worthy of the very weird idea, Flat Earthers in the country have found something of an unlikely ally in the form of a prominent advisor to President Jair Bolsonaro named Olava de Carvalho. The self-described philosopher made headlines a few years ago when he conceded that he could not disprove the idea that the planet is not round. Meanwhile, a Brazilian geophysicist named Dr. Afonso de Vasconcelos has also helped to promote the Flat Earth theory by way of a Portuguese language YouTube channel that espouses the idea and has nearly 350,000 subscribers.
With both a consultant to the president and a PhD scientist supporting the conspiracy theory, it's not altogether surprising the concept has captured a portion of the public's imagination in the country. Ultimately, the surge in popularity for the conspiracy theory in Brazil along with various incidents involving advocates for the idea in Scotland, Malaysia, New Zealand, and the United Arab Emirates is a testament to the, for lack of a better term, global appeal of Flat Earth theory.