The Flat Earth Society

I spotted this news article today, it was on Twitter – either Derren Brown‘s or Richard Wiseman‘s. (I think the former). I follow them both for very different reasons: Derren because I respect and appreciate his use of NLP etc. to produce seemingly magickal acts and Wiseman because I am torn between respecting his work on Luck and Happiness, and my lack of respect for his paranormal research.

Whilst initially lol-worthy – the idea that there are still people who honest-to-goodness believe that the Earth is not an ovoid chunk of ruck spinning in orbit around a big ball of burning gas – it did make me stop and think.

Forgetting, for the moment, the venom that people like Daniel Shenton get thrown at them, what really struck me was the way that Daniel was expected to share every other odd-ball belief out there. From the expectation that he was a nutjob anti darwinist creationist to surprise at his not being into 9/11 conspiracies, the article’s author seems to believe that if someone believes in one whacky idea then they should really believe them all. Which is probably me being a tad unfair to the author, I have no idea what his beliefs are.

Reading the article fully I was interested to see that the foundation of the Flat Earth Society was one of trusting ‘experience and reason over the “trusting acceptance of dogma”‘. This is one belief I do share with the Flat Earth Society. I’ve argued many a time that Science can be just as dogmatic as Religion – just look at the kind of rabid responses that supporters of homeopathy have had over the last week or so… compare them to the responses that creationists give to my fellow Darwinists. If you forget what these people are arguing about and compare the language and venom you might see, as I do, signs of fundamentalism.

Maybe I’m a zetetic of sorts, although I’ve always considered myself more of a gnostic. I believe there are still many things out there that Science haven’t yet adequately explained and whilst I don’t believe the earth is flat I will happily stand in support of anyone willing to stand up and question dogma.

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