Flat Earther who died in crash said 9/11 inspired him to 'question everything'

Can Self-Taught Rocket Scientist Mike Hughes Prove Earth Is Flat? | NBC News
Can Self-Taught Rocket Scientist Mike Hughes Prove Earth Is Flat? | NBC News

Mike Hughes is a limo driver and self-taught rocket scientist. On Feb. 3, he plans to launch himself into the stratosphere in a rocket built in his garage. H...

Dan Broadbent

"Mad Mike" Hughes said that he started 'questioning things' after the events of 9/11.

As you've surely heard by now, famed Flat Earther "Mad Mike" Hughes passed away Saturday during an attempt to launch himself into space on his homemade rocket to prove that the Earth is flat. Hughes's launch was part of a TV show called "Homemade Astronauts", which is scheduled to air later this year on the Science Channel.

Of course, we all know the Earth isn't fucking flat.

My friend David McAfee interviewed Hughes multiple times in the past about why he thinks the Earth is flat. While Hughes told McAfee to "GO FUCK YOURSELF", as McAfee wrote today, McAfee also (correctly) identified Hughes as a “future Darwin Award winner” as long ago as November 2017.

Conspiracy theories

Hughes's accident, and tragic death, serves as yet another reminder of how dangerous conspiratorial thinking can be. Conspiracy theories like PizzaGate have led to would-be heroes storming a restaurant with an assault rifle to free enslaved children being kept in a non-existent basement (you can watch this live video I shot in 2017 after the March for Science in DC where I talked to someone promoting the PizzaGate conspiracy theory).

Members of QAnon - an odd/dangerous group of people who think that there is a secret government operative (whom they refer to as "Q") working inside the government to expose government conspiracies - have been arrested and charged with domestic terrorism. All this negative press hasn't stopped QAnon supporters from running for public office, or Senator Lindsey Graham from perpetuating QAnon conspiracy theories, though.

Oh yeah, and QAnon believes that satanic cannibals are ruling the Earth. If only we could be so lucky.

So it makes sense that the FBI has said that conspiracy theories are a new domestic terrorism threat.

We laugh at Flat Earthers, anti-vaxxers, moon landing deniers, and other people who believe in similarly nonsensical conspiracy theories, however conspiratorial thinking can easily snowball into an avalanche of bullshit that spills into other areas.

If you can be fooled into believing something that is unbelievable, it becomes far easier for you to be manipulated into believing or doing even more ridiculous things. Or, as Voltaire said, “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”

While "Mad Mike" Hughes appears to have only harmed himself in this stunt, for him, it seems to have all started after 9/11.

9/11 as a gateway to conspiracy theories

In a 2018 interview with NBC, shortly before his second launch attempt, Hughes said that he began questioning conventional thinking about various things post-9/11.

In the video, he says that life "gives us puzzles", and all the puzzles "have pieces missing, so we're trying to constantly fit these things in to relate to something, make sense to us."

Then, after 9/11, he started questioning things, like the Earth being flat.

In the video, he said "The flat Earth - wait a second. You start studying all these videos, you do some observations, you try to make sense of all these different facts, you start putting these puzzles together with all these missing pieces. I don't care what about what they're telling us about from space. You start finding these places that's [sic] flat on this planet. Kansas is flat, okay? I'm telling you, I've been there, it's flat. People saying about stars, or we've got a rover on Mars, where is the curvature where we live? I can't find it."

Hughes goes on to say "I don't know where the urge came from to question everything, I really don't. Basically, I think we're all supposed to push the envelope on everything. Ask questions, to try to excel in things. I think we're supposed to inspire other people."

"Mad Mike" Hughes was 64 years old, and leaves behind his partner, as well as his cat.

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