I am confused by these people that say the earth is flat. There is a Flat Earth Society (with members all around the globe). There are conventions. It seems odd.
Now, let me say right away, I have no issue with fiction. There are groups of people that meet up, and create social organisations, all in support of some fiction, like a book or TV series or some such. One excellent example is Trekkies. These people go to conventions and clubs and have uniforms, and all sorts. It is amazing. It is, however, an escape from reality. We all like to get engrossed in a fiction of a book or a TV show or a film. All of the people involved in being Trekkies know it is "make believe". They do it, and it is fun, but it is not reality and they know it, even when dressing up as their favourite characters. I don't think a single one of them thinks there is actually a Starship Enterprise in orbit or that they are on the crew, or that they are actually a Klingon. They are a bit too much for me (and I like Star Trek), but they are not actually crazy - they have a fun hobby. They have a fun social group. Well done to them.
But even those people will not think they actually live on discworld or have magical powers. They know it is fiction and "make believe" and fun.
It is quite amusing listening to my 4 year old grandson - he has a grasp of "pretend", and will sometimes "explain" to me that something is "pretend" if I play along too convincingly. Well done to him for understanding at such a young age. He still likes to pretend though. It is fun!
But this "flat earth" bunch seem different. Some will be "playing along" for fun, I am sure, but not all. Some seem to be sincere! They are people that somehow genuinely believe the world is flat? Yes, the world we live on! The one that we have pictures of from space. The one we can literally fly around on a plane for a small fee. With time zones and everything. The concept of a "flat earth" dates back a long time - and if you really lived your whole life in a mud hut communicating with a village of 100 people and no more you could believe it. But the concept was debunked millennia ago in so many ways, and today people have actually gone outside this earth and looked at it from space, from the moon even. We actually have satellite communications. People watch Sky TV beamed from a satellite that would only work if the world was what it is! They probably watch flat earth conspiracy bullshit via Sky TV even - how is that for irony?! There is no question whatsoever on this point.
So if the "flat earth" bunch were like Trekkies, playing a game, make believe, that would be fine. But it seems they are not. Either that or I am falling for a huge wind up. Am I?
If we accept the premise that there are actually people out there, and a lot of them, that actually believe the earth is flat - and even more - they believe that all of the evidence that proves otherwise is somehow part of a global conspiracy (to what end?), what does that mean?
Is it a problem if there are such people?
I think so. I think it is, at the very least, a clear symptom of something very wrong with society and the education system that such people could exist outside some sort of mental health facility.
Surely the most basic of education would cover this, and the basic science of the world in which we live. I bet I would have a hard time convincing my 4 year old grandson the world was flat - he has google earth on his iPad and loves it. He may be happy to "pretend" for a game, but he is not that daft so as to believe it.
To be clear, I have no issue with Trekkies or anything similar. They know it is make believe. They are "having some fun". We all like to escape from reality to some fiction. But when you start believing your fiction then you are mentally ill, sorry, plain and simple. If you actually thought you were Mr Spock from the Starship Enterprise, and persistently asserted that in real life, you stand a good chance of being locked up, and for good reason. Sorry, not "locked up", but "assigned to receive appropriate mental health treatment".
How is it that anyone asserting the earth is flat is not simply sectioned? Have a doctor go to a conference and literally sanction people and have them carted away? How is this not so?
To be fair, if you have absolutely zero scientific background, have never flown anywhere, or read about time zones (or read anything), and you are really poorly educated, you could fall for this. So explain to someone the reality of the world in which we live (the globe on which we live) and they understand, good. But if they won't understand then they are either educationally subnormal or mentally ill. How can it be anything else?
Is this not like religion?
Well, good point! A point someone made when I tweeted this. Personally I don't understand how people fall for religion. However, religion is somewhat clever. It never asserts something that can be categorically disproved, well, usually not. It will assert something which cannot be disproved because proving a negative is generally not possible. So it leaves a window for doubt among the gullible. So I am not going as far as saying that religious people are nut cases, not quite.
But even a religious person that claims god spoke to them and told them to kill their son, and so they did it, will get locked up - it has happened. Obviously, if that had been a story from a bible, it would somehow not be a case of mental illness, but in reality and in the here and now it is seen as such.
In some ways, maybe religion falls in to the same category as Trekkies. Maybe not, as I suspect a lot of people do not realise religion is all "make believe" as well. I bet a lot do though, even though they "practice" religion. They must know it is all "make believe" just to feel better, surely?
It is, perhaps, telling that no religion (as far as I know) proclaims the earth to be flat! They are not that daft. Tell me if one does :-)