NBA star Kyrie Irving may be as well-known today for suggesting the world is flat as he is anything on a basketball court, and he just made everything worse in a new interview with the New York Times.
It was more than a year ago when Irving first said on a podcast that Earth wasn’t, in fact, round. He said: “It’s right in front of our faces. I’m telling you, it’s right in front of our faces. They lie to us.”
They, in this case, would include every single person with a science degree… and first graders.
He hasn’t let up ever since, and it’s had an impact. This past April, a poll found that only 66% of people ages 18-24 said they had always believed the world is round.
That’s the backdrop for an interview Irving did with the Times‘ Sopan Deb. Irving didn’t say the world was flat, but he didn’t say it was round, either, and it was clear he thought the middle position made him look smarter than he really is.
DEB: You’ve been coy about what you really believe so I’m hoping you’ll clarify here. Do you or do you not believe the Earth is flat? Or do you not know?
IRVING: That’s what I’m asking you. No, no, no. Can you openly admit that you know the Earth is constitutionally round? Like, you know that for sure? Like, I don’t know. I was never trying to convince anyone that the world is flat. I’m not being an advocate for the world being completely flat. No, I don’t know. I really don’t. It’s fun to think about though. It’s fun to have that conversation. It is absolutely fun because people get so agitated and mad. They’re like, “Hey man, you can’t believe that, man. It’s religious, man. It’s just science. You can’t believe anything else. O.K.?” Cool, well, explain to me. Give me what you’ve known about the Earth and your research, and I love it. I love talking about it.
DEB: I don’t want to misrepresent what you’re saying here. So just to clarify. You don’t know whether the Earth is round. You don’t know whether it’s flat. You’re just open to having the discussion about it.
IRVING: Absolutely. It’s fun for me, man. It’s mentally stimulating to hear because there absolutely are scientists or engineers that have said, “Hey man, I believe the Earth is flat”…
First of all, no scientists or engineers have ever said that. If they did, they’re lying to Irving about their professions.
But look at how he’s pushing this conspiracy. He ignores the experts, assuming that the small contingency of idiots promoting nonsense means there must be something to their beliefs. He won’t say he’s entirely on their side, but he doesn’t cede anything to the people who know what they’re talking about, either. Instead, he pays just enough respect to the conspiracy nuts while pretending he’s above it all because he’s not taking sides.
It’s not fun. It’s foolish. Irving is like someone who tells you, with a smug smile on his face, that he’s not an atheist because he could never be certain God doesn’t exist. (There are so many fallacies in that statement, you don’t even know where to begin.) You just want to yell back, “Unicorns don’t exist either, but no one’s taking a middle position on that!”)
When the evidence is so clearly on one side of a debate, being a moderate is not a noble position. In some ways, it’s even worse than the people on the other side because at least they’re fully deluded. They drank all the Kool-Aid. A Donald Trump supporter is far easier to understand than, say, someone who voted for Jill Stein because “both parties are equally horrible.” What the hell are you talking about?!
Irving, as usual, is just promoting ignorance under the guise of being open-minded. But as the saying goes, you should never be so open-minded that your brain falls out.