Thoughts, Theories, and Those Who Have Both | Online features
As students at Eastern Kentucky University come and go from their dorms, go to class or lunch or whatever they’ve planned for the day, they pass by Powell Plaza. There, with a tripod presentation ready, stands a relaxed, friendly and approachable man. Students who stop to talk to him and view his work are entitled to a fairly in-depth examination of his research, his thoughts, and the truth he seeks to educate them about. Starting, of course, with the exact way the United States government managed to simulate the 1969 moon landing. Over the past few years, 64-year-old retiree Peter Jarvio has gone from campus to campus preparing his presentation and talk to anyone who is willing to listen to him on his various theories on the truth behind the moon landing. , the shape of the earth, the nature of the Mandela effect, and a host of other topics he has researched extensively over the years, all of which differ greatly from the generally accepted truths of the world. The moon landing was rigged; The Earth is flat; The events of September 11, 2001 were conspiratorial; Stan and Jan Berenstain were former US military intelligence officers.
While most rational people watching this pool can sum it up with the words “conspiracy theories,” Jarvio supports each one vehemently and with what he thinks is 100% indisputable evidence to support several. Curious about the nature and origin of these beliefs which were so insanely bizarre compared to the seemingly more rational and commonly accepted explanations of how the world works, I asked Peter if he would be willing to do an interview on the subject. , and to my surprise, he actually agreed to meet not a week later.
By asking him why he bothered to organize his presentations on campus in the first place, Jarvio provided me with a bit of his personal experience. “I was 12 the first time they landed on the moon– or said they did, ”he tells me. At the time, I swallowed hook, line and sinker like most people. But even then, a lot of the elders said it looked wrong. According to Jarvio, it took 40 years after his first exposure to the moon landing before he became curious about it and began to do his own research to determine its legitimacy. He took a close look at the photos posted on NASA’s official website of the Apollo missions and walked away feeling he had been lied to. As he describes each photo to me, he has a series of explanations of what was wrong with each one. The lunar rover lacked tire tracks on the surface, the image of the earth from the moon’s surface showed signs of tampering, the type of camera used did not have an automatic shutter release, etc. The explanations vary, but each is thought out and prepared whenever I try to make a rebuttal or ask for a follow-up. As for the question of why, he also had an explanation for that. “It was like a magician,” Jarvio said. “You are looking at one hand, don’t look at the other hand.” He believes that simultaneously with the simulation of the NASA moon landing, they acquired the first images of Earth from space, and the result was a flat disc.
While many people are at least somewhat receptive to conspiracy theories regarding the moon landing, Flat Earth theorists have become somewhat of a gag in online circles due to the odd nature of the claim. Despite this, Jarvio believes that the Earth is plainly flat by a simple experiment that can be done on any lake for a certain distance with two people and a flashlight, saying that if the light is observable at surface level from the shore opposite, it refutes the water following the Curve of the Earth. It should be noted that a variation of this experiment was also performed in the 2018 documentary “Beyond the Curve”, in which a Flat Earther actually refutes his own thesis. Peter Jarvio, however, is extremely certain of the accuracy of his calculations, able to recite the formula for the curvature of the Earth for a certain distance at any given time. These are far from his only goals, however.
As the interview progresses, we delve deeper and deeper into the inherently interconnected nature of Jarvio’s theories, which he has since requested that I call “conspiracy facts” due to the fact that some are – at his eyes – completely and totally proven. When he brings up the topic of Flat Earth, he begins to explain how the government has changed the required curriculum for public schools to no longer include flat earth in any capacity. From there, he changes gears to discuss director Stanley Kubrick’s involvement in the fake NASA moon landing propaganda and how he confessed his involvement via clues in his films. Then it tells how Stanley Kubrick was probably murdered in his sleep 666 days before the first day of 2001, the year for which his most famous film was named. Jarvio goes from subject to subject with a fluid flow, a cavalcade of truly disturbing and contradictory information. I come to a point of perplexity, however, when he starts talking about 9/11, that he thinks it was a controlled demolition planned well in advance. He cites the destruction of Building 7 – which the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has since reported to be due to fire damage in a series of surveys from 2002 to 2008 – and the safety of the Twin Towers being Neil Bush. during the six months leading up to September 11, of which I was completely unable to find traces because that role went to Marvin Bush.
At this point, it should be pretty clear that the nature of the conspiracy theorist isn’t just to be uneducated. Each claim that Jarvio makes, he has a series of explanations to qualify. Supporting evidence, personal stories, mathematical formulas and well-curated anecdotes – Jarvio has it all set, but they all seem to lead exactly where he wants them to lead, the results of a selfish confirmation bias. Unsatisfied with my understanding of the mindset behind theorists like Jarvio, I sought the advice of Charles Mason Smith, a professor at EKU with a scientific interest and personal fascination with conspiracy theories and the people behind them, having studied these subjects for the past 25 years. .
“Like anything that involves thousands of people,” Smith began. “It’s a very complicated question. At the start of the conversation about conspiracy theories as a whole, he immediately pointed out the scale of the problem and its roots. “I mean, obviously there are conspiracies and the American people have been lied to. Highlighting the Watergate scandal, the ongoing Jan. 6 investigations, wartime disinformation campaigns, and a series of contradictory U.S. official reports from Roswell, Smith makes an extremely valid point about why people might be wary of ‘a society that in the past lied directly to its citizens. However, he also takes the time to point out that this mistrust can be extremely harmful. “A fantastic and terrible example is the [COVID-19] vaccines, ”he said. “People think the vaccine is dangerous, that it’s not sure, that it hasn’t been tested, they stink you. But of course, there is no reason for all of this. He holds up his phone. “If Uncle Sam wanted to know where I am, he’s got a GPS chip on me anyway.”
As Smith points out, there are negative repercussions to buying into disinformation, especially in our current climate where this information has become so prevalent and actively seeks to make itself more visible to people who are likely to be receptive. However, it’s important to realize that people who believe these things aren’t stupid – they are more often than not as intelligent as the next person, drawing connections and conclusions that, while often incorrect, require a lot of critical thinking. But it’s that same critical thinking that the rest of us must apply to them to see beyond their points and into the truth, both outwardly and in terms of our own perceptions. But even with the whole world against them, people like Peter Jarvio will continue to make their voices heard.
“I don’t really appreciate being lied to,” Jarvio said after being asked why he was so passionate about these topics. “And the government has been lying to me for a long time.” Once all has been said and done, a relaxed, friendly, and approachable man stands beside an incredibly detailed presentation in the plaza at the center of Eastern Kentucky University. Smiling as he hands out 3D printed Earth-shaped coasters, a joke that never gets over anyone’s head, he continues to talk to whoever is there about his research, his discoveries, the reasoning. and results. And while maybe no one has to agree with him, there will always be merit in listening to him.