March 25, 2019

How To Talk To A Flat-Earther

“I won’t presume to know your family or your friend group, but I’m willing to bet there’s a decent chance that at least one person you know doesn’t believe that the Earth is curved. Instead they argue, with either a mountain of plausible-sounding statements or just vague deflections about government secrets and conspiracies, that the Earth is flat. That orbits are an illusion. That astronomy is a lie. That the truth is hidden.

What are you to do, with your science-loving heart and evidence-based thinking? The natural thing, of course, is to argue. To lay it out. The puzzle pieces, one by one. To convince.

But wait, how do you know that the Earth is round? Well, you’ve seen pictures from space. Lots of curves going on. But you didn’t take the pictures yourself. You haven’t seen the Earth with your own eyes. And even if you did, aren’t we taught since elementary school that our senses deceive us, lie to us, misrepresent the world to us? Isn’t that what makes science so powerful, because it moves past (or at least implacably grinds through) human weaknesses?”

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