Josh Shaffer

5 things to know about the Flat Earth Conference, going on now in the Triangle

While the world trudges blindly on, the Triangle’s largest-ever collection of conspiracy theorists have converged in Cary to hobnob over a set of shared certainties: the moon landing is fake, NASA spreads lies and the Earth has the shape of a manhole cover.

The sold-out Flat Earth Conference has attracted 500 attendees who reject centuries of accepted science and widely agreed-upon versions of history, often for biblical reasons but sometimes out of a self-described talent for detecting hidden truth.

The gathering ends Friday. If, in the meantime, you pass by the Embassy Suites hotel with a hankering to bicker about Copernicus, here’s a five-step guide on what arguments to expect:

Throw away your globe

Flat-earthers believe our planet is Frisbee-shaped, hovering motionless in space. The North Pole lies at its center and Antarctica runs around the edge in a ring, preventing anyone from falling off. All photographs reputedly taken from space are computer-generated images or shot through a fish-eyed lens.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson is not welcome

Evolution and the Big Bang Theory will be debunked as “spiritual deception” at the Cary conference Friday. Robbie Davidson, one of the organizers, has argued that the Greek philosopher, astronomer and mathematician Pythagorus took his inspiration from the occult.

But wait, there’s more

Speakers at the conference espouse a variety of other plots along with the globular Earth scheme. Among them: 9/11 was a sham, the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary never happened and trails in the sky left behind by jet engines contain chemical and biological agents.

This isn’t your traditional flat-earth crowd

Conferees have no affilation with the Flat Earth Society, the better-known collection of globe-rejectors dating to 19th century England. The Triangle boasts several members of that group, though those who could be reached have said they joined out of fun more than globe doubt.

And the winner is ...

Awards, called Flatties, will be handed out for best flat-earth film, best whistleblower, best recent convert and most gracious debate loser.

It’s flat-out fun.