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Flying Purple Elephants Over a Flat Earth

Imagine I walk up to you today. I explain to how the world is really flat, not a sphere. You look at me funny. “Flat?” You say. “Give me a break. The world is a sphere. Everyone knows it’s a sphere. All our science, reason, and logic tell us it’s a sphere. Why do you think it’s flat?”

Now, imagine we’re living in the year 1100 BCE. I explain to you how the world is really a sphere, not flat. You look at me funny. “Sphere?” You say. “Give me a break. The world is flat. Everyone knows it’s flat. All our science, reason, and logic tell us it’s flat. Why do you think it’s a sphere?”

How do we know what’s true? How do we know what’s fact? How do we know the world is a sphere and not flat?

Read a biology or psychology or physics textbook from 1920. See how much of the “scientific fact” of one hundred years ago is still true. Science once thought the Sun revolved around the Earth. Science once thought the world was flat. Science once thought cigarettes and cocaine were healthy.

Let me be clear. I do think the world is a sphere. However, if someone gave me convincing evidence the world was flat, why should I not believe him? If someone gave me convincing evidence there are flying, purple elephants in Madagascar, why should I not believe him? I trust reason and logical evidence. What else do I have?

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