A thought experiment: the "flatearthers"
May 26, 2007 10:55pm CST
There exists a group of people - let's call them the FlatEarthers. They are convinced that the world is flat, and that if a person travels to the edge, they fall off. Not only are they convinced that it is flat, but their entire way of life is based around the concept. Their social customs, rites of passage, and day to day traditions are all founded on this idea. You are an outside observer of the FlatEarthers. You are well aquainted with Colombus' voyage, modern science etc. and are fairly confident that the Earth is in fact spherical. However, you know (and for the sake of the example, this knowledge is certain) that if you showed this to the FlatEarthers, their way of life would fall apart and all of their social structures would be disbanded. You could even assume that drug abuse, crime and suicide would all come about in great waves as a result of this revelation. The main question is: Do you tell the FlatEarthers what you think? Is it moral to go so far as to prove to them that the Earth is round? Do you even have a duty to do so? The secondary question is: In what sense is what the FlatEarthers believe wrong or untrue?
1 person likes this
• United States
28 May 07
It appears you are attempting to draw an analogy between belief in God and belief in a flat-earth. This is exactly the wrong approach to take, if you are attempting to convince religious people that they are wrong and you are right. The reason why this approach will not work is that it is condescending and positively oozes with the typical atheist smugness that religious people find obnoxious. I'm afraid that as long as you take this approach, you will be preaching to your own choir.