It is bad enough that some people reject the scientific opinion on climate change. But to continue believing that the earth is flat is just ridiculous.
But this weekend, people from all over the UK will come to Birmingham for the annual Flat Earth Convention UK. (The international version is scheduled for November in Colorado.)
There is no shortage of evidence proving the spherical shape of the earth. Have you ever heard of a boat flying down from the edge of the planet? But even eyewitness accounts of space astronauts are not enough to convince everyone. And they may never be.
According to Nikk Effingham, a lecturer at the University of Birmingham, philosophy can explain why.
You did not leave Earth's atmosphere, you traveled the cosmos and hunted for the beauty of our breath Planet, have you? How can you really know that it is round? No matter how sure you are of scholarly science, unless you are well-versed in this subject, you will always lose the argument.
Instead, try Effingham's approach: "I recommend that philosophy do the work."
According to the principles of contextual shifting (the notion that certain information is context-sensitive) ̵
Effingham compares the concept to an episode of Friends in which Phoebe and Ross argue about evolution. Confident in his knowledge, Ross stacks proof of the theory until Phoebe loses control.
"Are you telling me that you are so incredibly arrogant that you can not admit that you have a tiny chance she might be wrong about that?" She asks him, shifting the context (and eventually destroying his world view).
"Flat Earthers do the same trick," Effingham said. "You are right that you do not know that the earth is round, but they are only correct in a context in which hundreds of testimonies are left unconsidered, where widely accepted facts in the scientific community do not count, where photographic evidence
"In the more everyday contexts we care about … we can rely on the fact that every educated physicist, cartographer and geographer never stops to think that the earth is flat" he continued, "And we are right to rely on these things."
Hey, Flat Earthers, why do not you bring that into your pipe and smoke it?
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