People who claim that the Earth is flat rather that spherical, and people that just are not sure whether Earth is flat or spherical, all they want is scientific proof in order to believe this or anything else for that matter.
And this is the mentality that science teaches us to have.
Richard Feynman said “Religion is a culture of faith. Science is a culture of doubt”. This means that in science, we welcome the doubters. Actually, we favor the doubters. Whenever something comes up from a person/scientist/whatever, the person invites universities, labs and everyone around the world to look into her findings and try to duplicate her experiment or validate her thinking to see if she was right. This is how science works.
So, if someone says to me that the Earth is flat or round, I should say, let me reproduce your claim. I should not say “all right”. I should say “fine, let me verify it.” This is how we teach Physics. We put students in the Lab. We do not say things to them and hope they remember them. We put them in the Lab. We give them microscopes, telescopes, timers, paper and blackboards to do calculations. All these in order for them to verify or dismiss theories.
So, if someone says to me the Earth is round and I take it for granted, then I am not a good scientist.
And if someone says to me the Earth is flat and I take it for granted, then I am not a good scientist.
Also, and this is very important, if someone says to me the Earth is flat and I laugh at her, then I am not a good scientist either. Good scientists do not mock others. Good scientists present their findings. Good scientists educate and inform others.
Mainstream scientists ask: “How can there be people who believe the Earth is flat after all the findings we present, like photo’s from outer space of the moon landing?”
Good question. I am not laughing at these mainstream scientists and I am not mocking them, even though I know the answer to their question.
The answer is that they have to be careful to understand what the flat-Earth-conspiracy-theorists are really saying.
What the flat-Earth-conspiracy-theorists are saying is: “Forget all the findings you presented. Forget them. I do not believe them. All these findings are conspiracy theories made exactly in order to fool us and to make us believe that the Earth is round.”
Mainstream scientists may ask: “Why would someone fabricate such a lie? Why would someone conspire to persuade others that the Earth is round?”
To the last question, the flat-Earth-conspiracy-theorists might provide very interesting and/or irrefutable answers, but our discussion is not about if and why they might be correct or incorrect in their suspicions.
Our discussion does not concern whether there is a conspiracy or not and why they would believe such a thing. Our discussion is not whether they are correct or incorrect that a conspiracy exists.
Our discussion has to do with what these people are saying. And these people are saying that the Earth is flat.
But mainstream scientists have to understand that the flat-Earth-conspiracy-theorists are basing their claim by disregarding all the facts that mainstream science presents as facts. And by doing this, they act as any real scientist would act.
So, I and anyone in the scientific community should welcome these people. Because they are not doing anything that science forbids us to do. Instead they are doing what science welcomes us to do: doubt.
So, these people doubt what we present as fact. And they say: “Forget about what they taught you. If you were to forget everything you were taught and start your reasoning from scratch, what would be your claims?”
So these people argue that if we observe and reason, we will come to the conclusion that the Earth is flat. But if we watch the news or get information from others, we will come to the conclusion that the Earth is round.
I know many of their arguments and observations and reasoning. And I know many of the arguments and observations and reasoning of mainstream science.
And I will tell you my opinion: the Earth is round, but it is extremely difficult, even for a Physicist, to prove it, when they are up against an informed and well educated flat-Earth-conspiracy-theory-supporter. (For example, one cannot say “here is photo from outer space”, because they will tell you that you did not personally take it, so it may as well be fabricated.)
Which makes these people worthy adversaries, people who deserve our respect and honor and whose claims are extremely difficult to falsify. But it can be done, flat-Earth-conspiracy-theory-supporters can be proven incorrect, and this is one of the reasons why we need to educate ourselves as much as possible in science.
In “The Art of War”, Sun Tzu writes about the mistake of underestimating your opponent.
I, for one, do not underestimate the flat-Earth-conspiracy-theory-supporters. Quite the opposite. But there are indeed some mainstream scientists that underestimate the flat-Earth-conspiracy-theory-supporters. I do not think highly of these mainstream scientists.