Letter to a former flat-earther

  • They lack self-awareness. You’ll never hear them say “Okay, I know this might sound crazy, but those thousands of climate scientists are all wrong. I can’t blame you for agreeing with a supermajority, but if you’ll just hear me out, I will explain how I, a non-scientist, can be certain the contrarians are right. Just let me know if I’ve made some mistake in my reasoning here…”
  • They virtually never admit that they got anything wrong, not even little things.
  • Can humans cause global warming?
  • Is earth round?
  • Was 9/11 an inside job?
  • Were humans produced by natural selection or a deity?
  • Do vaccines cause autism?
  • Does homeopathy work?
  • Are GMOs inherently dangerous or bad?
  • Did Hitler’s men kill millions of Jews?
  • Are nuclear reactors a greater threat to health and the environment than fossil fuels? (in the 1960/1970s, decades before solar/wind were commercially viable, recall that much of the environmental movement opposed nuclear power much more than fossil fusls; many still push the same agenda 50 years later)
  • Is tectonic plate theory correct? (this debate mostly died when the last tectonic-plate-denying professors died, but now there’s a guy on YouTube saying Earth spontaneously gains mass)

The Antidote

So whatever it is you believe, look around at others in your peer group and ask yourself: if an outsider comes in and challenges the group’s belief with actual evidence (e.g. scientific studies), how would the group respond? Would they look at the evidence honestly and potentially change their mind, or would they be unfairly dismissive? I mean, could your peers concede even one inch of ground?

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David Piepgrass

David Piepgrass

Fighting for a better world and against dark epistemology.