Flat Earth theory suggests that the reason why people believe in a globular planet is not because of basic science and reasoning but because world governments and other organizations have conspired to hide the truth from the people. How this benefits the conspirators is relatively ignored but we will examine all the claims made up to today.
The problem with flat earth theory is that at it's core it requires mass deception of the general public by a very large group of organizations. This is the only way to explain why we have all been taught globe models rather than the "true" flat model. The second issue is that when this conspiracy is traced back to it's logical source, it's always some sort of religious or financial incentive. We will examine all of these issues below.
Problem 1: The amount of participants in the scam is too vast to be realistic.
Let us imagine for a moment that there really was a world-wide conspiracy against the flat earth model. Who all would need to be involved in order for it to work? Below is a list.
1) All government space agencies in the world (currently 72 agencies out of 195 countries).
Every 1st world country and almost all 2nd world countries, and even some 3rd world countries have space agencies. Many of these countries are allies and many are enemies. Yet, somehow they all agreed that there was a need to create a fake body with the sole purpose of suppressing the truth about the earth. The mutual shared benefit of this lie is unknown.
2) All aviation organizations.
In order for this conspiracy to work, all pilots or other aviation experts would need to be in on the action. Of the major world airlines, roughly 290,000 pilots are employed. But we must also factor in all the employees of Airforce, all the crop dusting pilots, all aviation schools (including Moody Bible Institute), all helicopter pilots, stunt pilots, etc.
It's important to note that if flat earth suppression was a religious issue, then why are Christian aviation schools complicit in the conspiracy? Some fairly large Christian schools offer aviation programs such as Moody Bible, Liberty University, Andrews University, Central Christian College, San Diego Christian College, LeTourneau University, Grace Christian University, and more can be found online. All of these programs teach navigation based on the globe model and none of them are pawns of Satan or being paid by the government. They are private institutions with no reason to invent a fake aviation school.
3) All astronomers and physicists, including the schools they attended.
Millions and millions of people have studied or be or have become astronomers or physicists. A conspiracy to cover up the flat earth would have to extend to these people and their teachers and the schools that allow such a deception to carry on. Once again, many schools are Christian schools.
4) Structural engineers and the schools they attend.
By profession, I am an electrical engineer. However, like most engineers, my initial education included general engineering classes and then later more specialized classes. Even an EE like me had to learn to calculate and account for the curve of the earth. GPS navigation software could never dream of triangulating a correct position without accounting for the spherical globe. The same is true for structural engineers that build structures miles in length. They are also taught to account for the curve. Without engineers accounting for the curve, there is no way our GPS software would work and no way that the tunnels and bridges would be functional.
Problem 2: No motivation for a cover-up makes sense.
According the conspiracy theorists, all these people covering up the truth have just a few select motives. They are either doing it for the money (what money?) or they are part of a continual globalist push to eliminate God from society. The problems with such ideas is that they don't really benefit anyone.
For example, let's say that all these people are in it for money and/or job security. The average pay of a US astronaut or engineer is about 85,000 dollars. Of course some can make more than that and some make less. However, their jobs are not exactly lucrative, especially considering that many of them had to go to school for nearly a decade and take out loans. Also, their jobs don't really depend on the earth being a globe. Very few astronauts go to space. The average NASA employee will never go to space or work on a space mission. They could easily take their degrees and apply them at another company. Those engineers don't become jobless if NASA disappears tomorrow. Anyone with a technical skill and background of a NASA employee will be employed with or without NASA. So, jobs are not really a high level of motivation to hide this "truth" from their friends and families.
But what about the money that NASA gets from the government? NASA has abut 17,200 employees and most of them make less than $50,000. The rest of the money goes into the equipment and technology. The cost to launch just one satellite is about 50 million dollars. To fly a rocket into space, about 60 million dollars. To send a rover to Mars, over 2.5 Billion dollars. NASA is not like a private business where the CEO is pulling in 50 million dollars and then squeezing all profits out for the share holders. Every dime they get is rationed because they don't operate on profits but on tax payer funds. If they increased people's salaries too high then they would cease to operate. It's one reason why they have so many interns working there.
But what about the airlines and private businesses? Airline pilots and traffic controllers are classically underpaid. In fact, we just had a near catastrophe recently during the government shutdown when air traffic controllers were not getting paid for a month. The pilots make slightly better money since they are working for private organizations. They make about $100,000 but in return they are basically homeless and overworked. Divorce rates among pilots is incredibly high and they are separated from their kids on a daily basis because not all pilots get to return home on a regular schedule. It's no glamour job. Are these airline pilots, their co-workers, teachers, instructors, and families all keeping the conspiracy alive so pilots can work terrible hours and have a work-life that leaves most of them in counseling?
No, it's Rand McNally and the map makers?
Sure it is. A small organization that can print anything they want whether it's flat or round, is trying to force people to believe the earth is round so they can sell maps and globes.... because somehow people would not need maps if the earth was flat? Simply preposterous. The business is not dependent on the shape of the earth.
But isn't it all part of Satan's plans to get rid of God?
If you think that somehow Satan is behind all this, I guess the real question is: how? How exactly is Satan causing this conspiracy? What is the mechanism? Are all pilots, physicist, astronomers, and similar professions Satanists? Are all these professions devoid of Christians? How is a country that is 75% Christian somehow developing whole career fields that are 0% Christian? Wouldn't the non-atheists in these communities speak out if some conspiracy was forced on them? What do they gain by keeping up the show? They are trained and educated and can easily get a job elsewhere.
The fact of the matter is that the conspiracy is just too big and too vast to hold together for any amount of time and no real motivation exists. Moreover, people are not good at keeping secrets. They are bound to leak eventually. This is such a common feature of conspiracies that researchers have actually calculated how long a conspiracy can be kept secret based on the number of people that are in on it. To keep a secret for a full decade, no more than 1,257 could ever be part of the conspiracy.1 The many NASA conspiracies, such as flat-earth would require hundreds of thousands of people to keep a secret for literally 6 decades.... all that without a real motivating factor.
It's just not a plausible scenario.
- David Robert Grimes, "On the Viability of Conspiratorial Beliefs", PLOS One Oxford University, https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0147905