UPDATE: Robbie Davidson, Bitcoin Car Promotion, and FEIC2017

NOTE: There have been new developments in the story since this article was first published. These are detailed at the bottom of the article in the section entitled ‘Epilogue’.

On Tuesday, 21-Feb-2017, I was contacted by Robbie Davidson of Celebrate Truth, the man chiefly responsible (along with Brian Mullin) for organising and promoting the inaugural ‘Flat Earth International Conference‘ (FEIC) to be held in North Carolina in November of this year. We conversed over Skype for about 90 minutes, during which time Mr Davidson provided me with answers to the questions I had asked in a recent investigative video published to my YouTube channel. In this article I will detail the key points to come out of that conversation, and reflect upon my own thoughts following the call.

Contents

I. Background information
II. Overview of the conversation
III. The answers to my specific questions
IV. Other questions which are directly pertinent to the 2014 promotion
V. Further questions which are also important
VI. Information which will not be disseminated in this article
VII. What happens from here
VIII. My own reflections on the information which has been relayed here, and the issue in general
IX. Concluding remarks
X. Epilogue (Updated 14-Mar-2017)

I. Background information

My recent video, ‘Flat Earth Profiteers + Robbie Davidson’s Bitcoin Car’, outlined some research I had done into Davidson’s past promotions, specifically with regards to a $10,000 car raffle he conducted in 2014. This promotion was known as the ‘Bitcoin Car Giveaway‘ and centred upon a six-month promotional tour across North America. Mr Davidson (and associates, including his father) traveled throughout the United States and Canada in a vehicle which was to be offered as a prize to the winner of a raffle, at the completion of the tour. Contestants could enter the raffle (or earn extra tickets for it) by uploading photos of the vehicle to their social media accounts. The winner of the raffle was to be given the option of taking the car, a Kia Soul, or $10,000 CAD in bitcoin. The tour was intended as a promotion of the Bitcoin companies sponsoring it, as well as Bitcoin in general.

I had been inclined to look into Mr Davidson’s past due to his involvement in the upcoming FEIC2017. As the host of the 2015 YouTube series, the Ball Earth Skeptic Roundtable, I became an active observer of the sudden proliferation of interest in the topic of Flat Earth over the course of that year. This growth seemed to coincide with the release of the Flat Earth Clues, a series of short YouTube videos by Mark Sargent, who is also slated to be speaking at the FEIC. Since the end of BESR, I have released over 30 videos either critiquing, debunking or mocking the Flat Earth belief system and several of its most prominent spruikers. I have therefore maintained an interest in the Flat Earth scene on YouTube and, as one of the very few genuine researchers involved in the scene, felt compelled to dig deeper into the FEIC and those behind it.

My research led me to two major concerns about Mr Davidson’s 2014 promotion: First, that it was sponsored by ‘Bitcoin Trader’, a now-defunct company accused of stealing millions of dollars of stakeholders’ assets. Second, that there appeared to be no evidence online regarding who had actually won the raffle, if indeed anybody had won at all. The company Mr Davidson had used to run the promotion, ‘Kryptoz Inc’, seemed to have gone dark, with its website no longer available. Although popular cryptocurrency outlets like Coindesk carried articles promoting the raffle during the tour, they did not appear to have any articles pertaining to the raffle actually being drawn. Moreover, when I attempted to bring these matters up with Mr Davidson on his YouTube channel, my comment appeared to have been deleted. Given that the leading YouTube Flat Earth spruikers routinely censor me due to my penchant for asking questions, my suspicions were piqued.

After all, several leading YouTube Flat Earth spruikers have openly used interest in the topic to generate revenue. For just a few examples, the leading weekly show Globebusters, which (according to YouTube) regularly receives thousands of views per episode, has solicited thousands of dollars from listeners for ‘balloon launches’, the first of which was a complete failure – something the organisers only admitted to in their Season 2 finale. A host of the show, Jonathan Christopulos (known by the YouTube handle ‘TheMorgile’), has in the past asked viewers for the ‘money from their couches’ to help fund his own Flat Earth-related endeavours/lifestyle. The three recurrent hosts of Globebusters (Christopulos, as well as Bob Knodel and Jeran Campenella) and are all scheduled as key speakers at the FEIC.

There are several other prominent examples of Flat Earth-promoting YouTubers seeking financial gain from their audiences. One-time popular figure Dan Pratt uploaded a video asking for donations from his viewers to ‘feed his family’ because, according to Pratt’s own testimony, his welfare payments had been halted. There was also the infamous incident involving two prominent YouTube Flat Earth believers who engaged in a publicly-aired falling out over the revenues from their Flat Earth keychain sales; a real-life friendship had been split in dramatic fashion over the money derived from Flat Earth promotion. One of the individuals involved in that incident has since uploaded a video asking for donations, ostensibly to fly over the north pole to ‘prove’ Flat Earth once and for all; it remains unclear whether or not this appeal is serious. In any event, there is an obvious financial element involved in the broader Flat Earth scene, although many of the most devout believers appear completely oblivious to it.

After my comment on Mr Davidson’s channel appeared to have been deleted, I published a video entitled ‘You’ve Been Shadowbanned on the Flat Earth’. In this video I outlined some of my concerns regarding Mr Davidson’s 2014 promotion, and also the censorship exercised by leading Flat Earth promoters.

A comment was then left on that video by another leading Flat Earth spruiker named Patricia Steere, infamous for her part in the late-2016 public engagement-then-breakup with yet another well-known Flat Earth YouTuber. Ms Steere wrote the following:

“If you REALLY had questions John, you’d message Robbie Davidson yourself through any of his social media or his YouTube channel Celebrate Truth. If on the other hand you wanted to stir up trouble, make false assumptions and pretend it’s because you’re simply asking questions, you’d make this video.”

Not only had my polite comment on Mr Davidson’s channel apparently been deleted, but now another speaker at his conference was suggesting nefarious intent on my part for even daring to ask these questions. This on top if the fact that I have previously been banned from her channel altogether, as well as the channels of several other leading Flat Earth spruikers (note that none of them have been banned from mine). I began to suspect that I might not receive a response from Mr Davidson or any of his associates, and so I produced and published the video in question. In it I calmly presented the evidence I had uncovered, and included all links in the video’s infobox so that viewers could verify my claims for themselves.

My video finished with four simple questions directed to Mr Davidson:

1) Was he involved in the ‘Bitcoin Car Giveaway‘?
2) What was his relationship with Bitcoin Trader?
3) How much money did he receive from Bitcoin Trader?
4) What happened to the car and the money?

Due largely to my involvement in the BESR circa 2015, the subscription list of my YouTube channel maintains a small but vocal proportion of Flat Earth believers – even after more than 30 videos critiquing and debunking their belief system. It is usually the case that when I upload a video in any way challenging Flat Earth belief or those who promote it, my video is instantly ‘thumbs-downed’ by dozens of these people, and ends up with a negative like:dislike ratio. I had expected a similar response to the video above, but was pleasantly surprised by how many Flat Earth believers and sympathisers had taken the time to watch the video and realise the significance of the evidence presented. At the time of writing, the like ratio stood at 68:15 – a completely unexpected level of support given the audience already described. The comment section is also informative. Consider the ‘advice’ left by key speaker of the FEIC, Mark Sargent (which was posted within minutes of the video being published), and then contrast this with the comments left by individuals known to either believe in or be sympathetic to Flat Earth:

comments-on-jlb1718

Less than 24 hours after that video was published, GlobeBusters went to air (conspicuously, sans Campenella) and the obvious question was whether or not they would address the issue. Mr Davidson had appeared as a guest on the show the week prior, in order to promote the recently-announced FEIC. Would he now appear on this episode to respond to the issues raised in the video, and allay the concerns now shared by many of his fellow Flat Earth believers? No. Instead Mr Knodel, the main host of the show, waited until approximately two hours into the broadcast, and then engaged in a remarkable tirade against yours truly, divulging what he claimed to be my personal details in an apparent attempt to bully me into silence. Mr Knodel also indulged in many juvenile taunts throughout a diatribe so extreme that it left the episode’s guest (who goes by the YouTube handle Cathexis) speechless.

A detailed response to these personal attacks by Mr Knodel is beyond the scope of this piece. Suffice for now to say that we all have our moments, and emotions can occasionally get the better of even good men, especially when under duress of one type or another. Mr Knodel had mentioned earlier in the very same episode that he believes in the karma-like notion that we get back from the universe that which we put out, and I would like to think that if he had his time again, he might have taken a different approach to the matter. The FEIC is obviously very important to all of the speakers involved, and I understand that my recent work may have been interpreted as a threat to not only the conference but the ‘Flat Earth community’ more broadly. With these and other factors in mind, I remain optimistic that Mr Knodel may reconsider his actions – if not for his own sake, then for the sake of the conference and online community whose reputations hinge on the conduct of prominent figures like himself.

From my own point of view, it has never been my intent to bring out the worst in others, and it seems obvious to me that this is precisely what has happened in this case. The irony of it is that Mr Knodel and I share a common disbelief in the official cosmology of the earth. Perhaps in time we may be able to put the past behind us. In the interim, I hope that Mr Knodel can find peace, and wish neither he nor his family any ill will, regardless of their conduct towards me (past or future).

Fortunately, Mr Davidson displayed a much more professional and sensible attitude in his response to my video. On the evening of Monday, 20-Feb (Canada time; morning of Tuesday, 21-Feb, Australia time), and approximately 48 hours after my video was published, Mr Davidson left a comment on my video, asking me to get in touch with him so that he could answer the questions I had asked. I sent through my Skype details and within minutes we began what would become a 90-minute discussion.

II. Overview of the conversation

The call was not recorded by either party and, due to its sudden development, I did not have a set list of questions to ask Mr Davidson. Far from an interrogation, the conversation was cordial and amicable. In fact, Mr Davidson began by explaining that he thought my questions were valid and legitimate and that he thought everybody had a right to the answers. He even mentioned that he was surprised the questions had not arisen sooner. I was pleasantly surprised by his forthrightness: he did not accuse me of nefarious intent (as several other leading Flat Earth promoters had done, including several scheduled to speak at the FEIC), and he indicated that if he were among the audience, he would have wanted answers to the exact same questions as I had asked.

“Those were legitimate questions, not a problem at all”
-Mr Davidson at the beginning of our call (in regards to questions asked in my video)

The contrast between Mr Davidson’s conduct and that of certain others is truly remarkable, and the only analogies I could make might be interpreted as back-handed criticisms of other members of the Flat Earth community, rather than compliments of Mr Davidson, so I will make no more mention of it. The crux of the matter is that Mr Davidson was truly a pleasure to deal with, especially in comparison to what had come before.

Early in the call, which I had no reason to think would be longer than perhaps fifteen minutes, I explained to Mr Davidson that he does not owe me (as an individual) anything, and that he might be better served by producing a response video for all interested parties to see for themselves. After all, it was clear from the comments on my video that many Flat Earth believers/sympathisers would also want to hear answers to the questions, and because I was not recording the call, the conversation could not possibly remedy the broader situation, no matter how convincing the information he shared.

Even if – hypothetically – I were to make a video saying that Mr Davidson had provided satisfactory answers to me personally, this would be no reason for anybody else to consider the matter situation remedied. He acknowledged this and, to his credit, Mr Davidson seemed keen to respond to me directly, over Skype, because it was I who had produced the video, in a manner he considered measured and respectful. I suggested that he ought to make a public video also, and he explained that he planned to do exactly that, within the coming days.

Over the course of the conversation, Mr Davidson went into reasonable detail about not only the 2014 promotion, but his broader involvement in the bitcoin online community at the time (and since), and also the upcoming FEIC. I took handwritten notes as we spoke, particularly in regards to information about the major questions I had asked in my video. Mr Davidson invited and encouraged me to share the information and answers he provided with my audience. Much of the information he divulged to me is, in my opinion, in the public interest, especially considering that he is now promoting a conference with tickets selling for up to $250 US. The success or otherwise of his previous promotions, and the financial outcomes for the stakeholders involved are, in my opinion, worthy of public knowledge and consideration.

However, it is my position that some of the information divulged is of a nature so personal that it ought not be my place to disseminate it. I am truly appreciative of Mr Davidson’s candidness and do not want repeat any information which is not directly and completely relevant to the questions I asked in my video. For instance, Mr Davidson claims that the 2014 promotion lost a substantial amount of money, well into five figures, and this caused financial loss for not only himself but other individuals close to him. While it is obviously in the public interest that people are made aware of this claim of significant financial loss of a previous promotion, the specific details of who lost money and how much each lost, is a matter for Mr Davidson to address publicly if he feels it is appropriate to do so. It will also up to others to decide whether they feel he ought to do so.

III. The answers to my specific questions

The following is a rundown of the answers Mr Davidson provided in response to the specific questions posed in the video. They are presented here as Mr Davidson’s claims, and I offer here no judgement either way as to the truthfulness or validity of those claims. They are relayed in this article as they were offered to me, and transcribed as fairly and accurately as is possible by way of handwritten notes (i.e. without the aid of an audio recording). Unless inverted commas are used, each response ought to be taken as my own paraphrasing of Mr Davidson’s words. Several of Mr Davidson’s claims could in theory be verified (or contradicted) by supporting evidence, and it will be up to Mr Davidson to provide that evidence should he seek to convince those who remain skeptical of his account.

1) Was he involved in the ‘Bitcoin Car Giveaway‘?

Yes. The Robbie Davidson cited in the articles regarding the promotion is the very same Robbie Davidson now promoting the FEIC. He created an incorporated company, ‘Kryptoz Inc’, specifically to accommodate the promotion. The six-month road tour was composed of six legs; Mr Davidson took part in some, as did his father, while other individuals were also responsible for a set number of legs of the journey. Mr Davidson (and his father) took up accommodation in inexpensive motels, and also the houses of friends along the way.

2) What was his relationship with Bitcoin Trader?

Bitcoin Trader was the ‘title sponsor’ of the promotion. Of seven original sponsors, Bitcoin Trader’s contribution was by far the most significant. Ultimately only one other sponsor provided any money at all, while the rest all reneged on their pledges). Mr Davidson met one of the heads of Bitcoin Trader while at a Bitcoin conference prior to the promotion, and the relationship began there. About half-way through the road tour, Mr Davidson became aware of the scandal surrounding Bitcoin Trader, so he removed all promotional material on the car related to the company (but kept their sponsorship money). Since then he has done all he can to help those who lost money to Bitcoin Trader, by providing all available information about the individuals he dealt with at the company.

3) How much money did he receive from Bitcoin Trader?

$35,000 (denomination not specified; presumably Canadian dollars). For clarity, that is thirty-five thousand dollars. This was an upfront payment, made in full by Bitcoin Trader to Mr Davidson’s company, Kryptoz Inc.

4) What happened to the car and the money?

The winner opted to take the ‘$10k in Bitcoin’ option rather than the car, apparently because he was recently married and planned to use the money to help fund a honeymoon, and also due to the effort/costs involved in transporting the car from Mr Davidson’s residence (in Canada) to the winner’s hometown in Wisconsin. The promotion’s ‘terms and conditions’ made it clear that if the winner chose to take the car rather than the Bitcoin, they would be responsible for the costs of transportation. Mr Davidson transferred an amount of Bitcoin equal to $10,000 to the winner’s Bitcoin wallet. Mr Davidson has had no further contact with the winner since the promotion ended.

The car then became the property of Mr Davidson, who sold it to a third party, and kept the proceeds for himself. Note that Mr Davidson claims that even with the proceeds of the car sale factored in, the operation still realised a net loss (this will be elaborated upon below).

IV. Other questions which are directly pertinent to the 2014 promotion

Naturally, the above answers lead one to ponder further questions. As already explained, I was appreciative of Mr Davidson’s time and willingness to answer my questions, and did not want to interrogate him or in any way take unfair (or what might be perceived as unfair) advantage of his willingness to come forward; moreover, I was not prepared for a proper interview and did not have any notes (or even my background research) immediately at hand when the conversation began. That said, I did ask him some more questions and, to his credit, Mr Davidson did not avoid a single question I asked. Whether or not his answers are convincing will be entirely up to the reader to decide for him or herself.

A) Who won the raffle?

Mr Davidson provided this information, including a link to the winner’s facebook profile. He was not immediately able to provide a photo of the winner. My initial attempt to contact the individual in question has proved unsuccessful, due to an ‘error’ page on the facebook site when that url/user id is entered. I will seek further clarification from Mr Davidson regarding this.

Due to the fact that this was a public promotion, and the winner was ostensibly required to enter a competition based on social media photo-sharing, I do not personally believe there is reason why the winner’s details ought to be withheld (unless the T&C’s of the competition, or relevant laws, stipulate otherwise – which is not my current understanding). However, unless and until the winner’s identity is confirmed, I will not be publicly circulating those details myself.

B) Will the transfer of the bitcoins be traceable in the Bitcoin blockchain?

Mr Davidson indicated that they ought to be traceable. Now it will be a matter of whether or not he wants to publicly share his Bitcoin wallet address to allow scrutiny of the transactions involved. For those unaware, a Bitcoin wallet address is simply a unique line of numbers and letters, and knowing somebody’s wallet address does not allow you access to their Bitcoins: it simply allows you to trace payments into and out of the wallet.

In other words, there is a wallet address which, if used to transfer the relevant Bitcoins, will remain on the blockchain now and into the future. If the transaction took place, it must be on the permanent record (i.e. the blockchain) upon which the entire Bitcoin protocol/system is based. Only Mr Davidson (and the winner) could know what that address is, and if they were to share it, nobody could use this information to access any Bitcoins, but could use it to verify that the claimed transactions took place, in the amount and at the time they are supposed to have taken place.

C) How was the winner determined?

The promotion was run via Wishpond, and their platform includes a facility to randomly determine a winner for a promotion such as a raffle. The winner was selected randomly via this Wishpond facility.

D) Did Mr Davidson and/or Kryptoz Inc procure government approval to conduct the promotion/raffle?

No. It was run via Wishpond and so no government approval was required/sought.

V. Further questions which are also of importance

E) Why did Mr Davidson delete my comment on his YouTube channel?

He claims he did not delete my comment and does not remember seeing it.

F) In the event that FEIC2017 is cancelled, will customers be refunded?

Yes. Quote: “I can guarantee that we would refund them in full”.

VI. Information which will not be disseminated in this article

It should go without saying that some of the above answers yield even more questions. For instance, just how much money did the 2014 promotion lose? If Mr Davidson (or Kryptoz Inc) received $35,000 from Bitcoin Trader up-front, and he kept the proceeds from the car sale, how much money did the promotion cost to operate altogether? Who paid the difference between the revenues and the outgoings? In short: if Mr Davidson did not make money from this promotion, but lost money, how could this happen, how much was lost, and who footed the bill?

I personally believe the answers to these questions are important, because Mr Davidson is one of two chief organisers and promoters of the FEIC. This promotion shares several significant similarities with the 2014 car raffle promotion:

  • A financial scope in the tens of thousands of dollars
  • Focus on and specific marketing towards a niche/fringe topic/online community
  • Involvement with organisations/individuals who have a track record of taking peoples money

However, as already explained, it is my personal opinion that some of the information conveyed to me is not of the kind which ought to be disseminated by me. Mr Davidson provided answers to the key questions I asked, as well as pertinent follow-up questions. His responses provide more than enough information for interested parties to come to their own conclusions about the entire matter.

VII. What happens from here

Mr Davidson indicated that he will be releasing his own video to specifically address the issues at hand. I will be reserving my own judgement until the video is forthcoming. Many of the claims made by Mr Davidson are of the kind which could (and, in my opinion, should) be supported by corroborating evidence. I say this not because of any specific distrust or disbelief of Mr Davidson, but as an evidence-based thinker who applies a healthy skepticism towards all significant claims. It is for the same reason that I will be making further attempts to contact the winner. That I have relayed Mr Davidson’s answers above should not be seen in any way as an endorsement of the authenticity of the claims made.

VIII. My own reflections on the information which has been relayed here, and the issue in general

The ideal scenario is that the winner of the raffle comes forward to prove that he exists and that he received $10k in Bitcoin, just as the promotion claimed would be the case (and as Mr Davidson now claims to be the case). If indeed this could be verified, a large portion of the concern surrounding the promotion would be alleviated. Perhaps the most disquieting aspect of the evidence presented in my video was that it implied an apparent possibility that this was a ‘raffle with no winner’. If it could be proven that somebody did in fact win the raffle, that this was a legitimate raffle with a legitimate outcome, then this development alone would go a long way towards satisfying the critics. I for one hope this happens, and soon.

Of course, questions will remain about the promotion, regardless of whether or not the winner comes forward. If Mr Davidson did indeed lose a significant amount of money, despite receiving the up-front payment from the major sponsor, how did this happen? Was it by way of freak events outside of his control, or does it speak to his ability to organise a promotion of this scale? Many will remain skeptical about Mr Davidson’s claims of financial loss to begin with, and the only way to silence such criticisms would be via full disclosure of the accounts of the company. This would entail public distribution of information which may be of a delicate nature, and each reader will have their own opinion as to whether or not this ought to be expected of Mr Davidson.

Then there is the matter of the relationship with Bitcoin Trader. By his own account, Mr Davidson received $35,000 from a company which would soon disappear along with millions of dollars of innocent peoples money. He received this payment specifically to promote that company, and we will ever know just how many people invested their money into Bitcoin Trader as a direct result of the promotional tour. At the same time, if Mr Davidson’s testimony is accurate, then he is also the victim of the Bitcoin Trader saga, and his own reputation suffered (and may continue to suffer) due to circumstances entirely outside of his control.

IX. Concluding remarks

There are a few final points with which I would like to end this article.

1) Concerning Mr Davidson

I think I have very fairly and appropriately relayed the information shared with me by Mr Davidson during our Skype conversation. As I have already explained, the call was not recorded; I have done my best to transcribe his answers and claims in the spirit they were offered. If My Davidson feels that any of this account is inaccurate, untrue, or in any way a misrepresentation of his position or statements, he need only contact me to inform me of as much, and I will rectify each and every misunderstanding immediately.

I would like to thank him once again for his time, and for answering every question I asked. I have no ill will towards the man whatsoever. I maintain my own healthy skepticism towards some of his claims and will await further evidence before making any major determinations about the matter. I hope for everybody’s sake that this evidence comes to hand, and that focus can go back to more important matters such as the official cosmology of our so-called ‘universe’.

2) Concerning the FEIC

Having spoken with Mr Davidson about the event, and also with several others who may be fairly described as Flat Earth believers in recent days, and also reflected upon some of the individuals involved in this scene more broadly, I am now of the opinion that, so long as the event goes ahead as promised and nobody loses the face value of their ticket, I am not against the FEIC in principle. I will elaborate on this point further in future content, but below is a basic overview of my position:

I pay (or have paid) money to go to matches of professional football, having grown up in a football-supporting family. Now that I know more about the world, and especially about how professional football works and what it is really about, I no longer attend as regularly. What was once a fortnightly ritual is now a once or twice-annual event, and even then, I just don’t care as much as I used to. It is an excuse to be social, to get away from other things for a few hours here or there, but it is not what it used to be. I see through it. However, I would not want to take the belief in sports away from others. If it gives their lives meaning, the way it used to give mine meaning, who am I to seek to deny them that? Why take away a person’s belief? It won’t necessarily change the world for the better, but it might change their world for the worse.

So it is with this FEIC. If my previous 30+ videos critiquing and debunking Flat Earth have not been enough to make people reconsider the belief system and those who promote it, nothing I say or do will. If these people feel that they are getting their $100 or $250 worth from a two-day convention, listening to YouTubers who often promote pseudoscience and New Age mysticism (repackaged for the YouTube era), then who am I to begrudge them that? The reality is that very few people involved in the Flat Earth scene truly, literally believe in the ‘azimuthal equidistant’ projection; this is a social scene. Some people may truly feel that their money is well spent on this event, and so long as they get what they pay for (a weekend away with people they feel are their friends, and presentations from people they think are wise or profound), then why is it the duty of third parties to intervene?

Does it bother me that Flat Earth is getting in the way of people working out the real truth of our material world? It used to, but only for selfish reasons. I would like to converse with other evidence-based thinkers, and collaborate with fellow empiricists, and listen to podcasts by people who actually read books and change their opinions to suit the facts (rather than the other way round). These are just my own desires, however, and if we are to live in world full of deceived individuals, what material difference does it make to me if the deception is heliocentrism or the belief system now marketed as ‘Flat Earth’?

3) Concerning those making money from YouTube/’truth’/Flat Earth

As I explained to Mr Davidson during our chat, I do not have any problem whatsoever with individuals or groups making money from presenting their ideas, claims or research via mediums such as YouTube. I do not recall ever claiming otherwise, and if anybody can find evidence to the contrary, I politely ask they alert me to it so that I can remedy/retract anything said in the past with which I no longer agree.

The very site on which this article is being posted features a $5/week Full Member section, with exclusive material made available financial members. I present it as a service, and if people believe my research and content is worth that amount to them, then they get access to material which is not available to the public. Those who do not value the content do not receive access to it. Some will complain that I ‘owe them’ something, that all of my material and content ought to be available for free. Over the past three years I have released literally hundreds of hours of free content, including over 100 podcasts and over 200 videos. If that is not enough for such people, then nothing ever will be.

My criticisms of the money-making schemes like that seen among several prominent Flat Earth promoters stems not from the money aspect, but from the deceit involved. It is one thing to claim that the Earth is flat, it is another thing entirely to change ones story from week to week, to pretend that no change has taken place, to convince the listeners that ‘an awakening is just around the corner’, and to attack those who dare to question the narrative. It is one thing to make money delivering an entertainment service as promised, it is another thing altogether to make money from selling hope to lonely people looking for something to belong to.

The chief organisers of the FEIC claim to be investing significant sums of their own money to bring the event to fruition. If their account is accurate, then they are risking this money in order to facilitate the event. My position is that if this is the case, and if they provide the service they promise for the ticket prices being paid, and if their customers leave satisfied that they got what they paid for, then not only do I have no prima facie objection to them making money from FEIC, but I wish them success in the venture. This is distinct from my views about Flat Earth as a belief system, and I will continue to argue on this site for logic, reason and empiricism, and the conclusions which follow from the consistent application of them. In short, I am against Flat Earth belief, but not Flat Earth believers.

If you read all of this article without getting triggered, then you are probably among a very tiny minority of humans alive today who are of sound mind and spirit. Kudos. The above is the third published version of this article, updated approximately 1am, 15-Mar-2017. Only minor changes (such as fixing of grammatical errors) have been made to the previous version. This update was made in conjunction with the posting of the epilogue below.


X. Epilogue (added 14-Mar-2017)

On 12-Mar-2017 Mr Davidson uploaded a short video to the Krpytoz facebook page. It was created by a man presenting himself as ‘Eric Miller’. He claimed to have won the 2014 promotion and corroborated the key details given by Mr Davidson during our skype call: the town he was from, that he took the bitcoin over the car option, that he spent the winnings on travel with his partner. Shortly after receiving a link to the facebook video from Mr Davidson via skype, I uploaded a video to my channel to share this newly-revealed information.

More than 48 hours after it was published, the video has received relatively little interest, currently sitting below 500 total views, 10 thumbs up, 2 thumbs down, and about a dozen primary comments. Remember that Flat Earth spruikers claim to have ‘millions of believers’ and some are predicting a turnout of several hundred to the FEIC later in the year. Given that Mr Davidson is organising that event, and that this video is the evidence he promised to support his claims about somebody winning the raffle, one might expect it to have received more attention (whether negative or positive) than it currently has.

That said, the video certainly did not escape the attention of prominent Flat Earth spruikers, including one Nathan Oakley. Hours after it was uploaded, Mr Oakley happened to be broadcasting his 100th live hangout (the vast majority of which have been entirely dedicated to Flat Earth and those who identify with it), and as such had invited a host of fellow FE spruikers to celebrate his milestone. Mr Davidson happened to make an appearance, and the topic of the video was raised. See from roughly 24:10 of the below video:

 

You might notice that Mr Oakley suggested my video amounted to an ‘almost apology’. Whether he was merely being cheeky, or is actually that obtuse, will be a question for others to ponder. In the meantime, the comments on my video suggest that there is a wide divergence between how Oakley and co interpreted the testimony of ‘Eric Miller’, and how it was seen by those not party to the Potato Crew:

comments-on-eric-miller-vid

In any event, Mr Davidson thanked me for my handling of the matter, both in that chat with Mr Oakley and in the comments section of my video:

robbies-comment

I have attempted to access that facebook page link, ostensibly belonging to Eric Miller, and each time have received only an ‘error’. Does the Eric Miller page exist? If so, why can I not access it? I do not know.

In any event, I feel my work here is done. With my Dinoskeptic documentary close to production, I am very busy at the moment and will be for the foreseeable future. If anybody else wants to take the information I have provided and look further into matters for themselves, and to document their own findings and thoughts for a wider audience, they are encouraged to do so. I doubt that this will happen. What the past few weeks have demonstrated to me – once again – is that there is only one person in this scene asking serious questions and documenting the evidence. With very, very rare exception, nobody else really cares. They will say they do, but their actions speak infinitely louder than words. There are some out there who want villains to hate, and they will cheer whoever gives them their villains, but on a fundamental level they have as much concern for truth, wisdom and goodness as the normie yelling at the tv when his most disliked politician takes the stage. It is all entertainment.

Indeed, we live in a world where, with very, very rare exception, nobody is double checking anything, because most people do not really care. Truth or fiction, lies or logic, it makes no difference to the vast majority of the creatures we call ‘humans’, especially those who consider themselves to be ‘truthers’ or otherwise attached to the ‘truth’ scene on the internet. What matters to them – all that matters to them – is their feelings. Having spent a great deal of time over the past couple of years attempting to expose lies and liars, by way of evidence and logic, I have now come to the position that my time will be better spent on projects far removed from Flat Earth and the ‘truth’ scene more broadly. If a man can see a liar but feel as though he is seeing a saint, then there is nothing that I can do to help this man, no matter how much I might want to try. Something has been done to him which I cannot undo, and it is my folly to believe otherwise in the face of all evidence spelling out the reality.

With this being the case, I reiterate my earlier comments about wishing the organisers and true believers of FEIC2017 all the best. I hope that the event goes ahead as advertised, and the people who pay up their money have a wonderful weekend, and leave feeling as though they got their money’s worth. Although I am very skeptical about some of the numbers being bandied about, I do believe there are at least a few dozen, and possibly a few hundred people around the world who would love the chance to listen to their favourite Flat Earth YouTubers speak about Flat Earth, in the company of other people who believe in Flat Earth. Why should that be a problem for me? Why should that be a problem for anybody? If these people are having fun, and getting what they paid for, why should any sane man want to spend his precious time worrying about or trying to stop it? That was never my intention, and although several charlatans have tried to mischaracterise my work in this way, my content remains here and speaks for itself, as it will in perpetuity.

I would like to thank those who have contacted me privately to thank me for my output on this topic. Several of them have their own public platforms – in some cases with audiences larger than my own – and it puzzles me that they refuse to ask tough questions or air their own concerns publicly. Perhaps they think they have something to gain by remaining quiet. I would also like to make particular mention of the small number of people who support this website financially, without whom this particular line of content (as well as several other small projects currently under construction) would not have been possible. You know who you are. With all of that said, here is a screenshot of a skype message I sent to Mr Davidson following a message he sent thanking me for uploading the Eric Miller video. Although I never share what others send or communicate with me in private correspondence, I am more than happy to reproduce my own words here:

skype-to-robbie

 

 

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