Daniel Shenton should be the most irrational man in the world. As the new president of the Flat Earth Society, you’d imagine he would also think that evolution is a scam and global warming a myth. He should argue that smoking does not cause cancer and HIV does not lead to Aids.
Yes, that Flat Earth Society, a group that has become a living metaphor for backward thinking and a refusal to face scientific facts. Yes, it is still going, and no, this isn’t an early April fool.
In fact, Shenton turns out to have resolutely mainstream views on most issues. The 33-year-old American, originally from Virginia but now living and working in London, is happy with the work of Charles Darwin. He thinks the evidence for man-made global warming is strong, and he dismisses suggestions that his own government was involved with the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
He is mainstream on most issues, but not all. For when Shenton rides his motorbike, he says it is not gravity that pins him to the road, but the rapid upward motion of a disc-shaped planet. Countries, according to him, spread across this flat world as they appear to do on a map, with Antarctica as a ring of mountains strung around the edge. And, yes, you can fall off.