Forums  > Trashcan  > Have ever you spent time and effort on Flat Earth hypothesis, for example??  
     
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pj


Total Posts: 3353
Joined: Jun 2004
 
Posted: 2017-09-26 11:03
I have, and I have made a decision.
An unsurprising one.
But I am more interested, how much of effort does
one typically use for that sort of thing.

Oh yes, it might explain my (mis)adventures in some
threads.

The older I grow, the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom Henry L. Mencken

darkmatters


Total Posts: 69
Joined: Nov 2010
 
Posted: 2017-09-26 14:57
Effort on what, trying to figure out if it is true or not? Or trying to convince other people of its truth value?

pj


Total Posts: 3353
Joined: Jun 2004
 
Posted: 2017-09-26 15:06
> trying to figure out if it is true or not
Yes.

The older I grow, the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom Henry L. Mencken

darkmatters


Total Posts: 69
Joined: Nov 2010
 
Posted: 2017-09-26 15:41
Flat earth came up specifically lately in a discussion on philosophy and 'realism' vs 'phenomenology'. There is a concept of effective theories, which among other things, states that a certain theory can be valid up to certain precision measurements or other things.

For example, a flat earth is a valid theory up to distances of a hundred miles or so. So long as you are not making super precise measurements, assuming the earth is flat is fine for plowing your field, finding your fishing spot, aiming an arrow, etc.

So in some sense, the earth being round or flat is irrelevant if you only walk to your mailbox and back. You should only invest time in figuring out what is true if you plan on doing something where they make significantly different predictions, or the 'phenomena' expected in each hypothesis are different.

So how does this impact my learning besides apathy? As I've gotten older, I get less caring if people are wrong in some area that doesn't really affect daily life for them, or in a real sense, me. Evolution vs. Creationism? Whether we are related to monkeys genetically has approximately zero impact on day to day life. More practically, if someone's creationist views mean they hold onto religious belief and as a result they live a more virtuous life, that is a more positive effect on the world.

If I do spend some time on it (GMO controversy or anti-vaccination stuff), generally I will spend enough time to understand the points from the minority view, then the counter points from the majority in some detail. This is typically sufficient for me and by then I am bored and/or the minority counter-counter points get conspiracy level. I will almost never openly debate someone on it in polite society, but stick to the written materials for learning.
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