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Should The Flat Earth Theory be taught in schools?The Flat Earth Theory (FET) is an...

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beefheart | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted April 12, 2010 at 9:36 PM via web

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Should The Flat Earth Theory be taught in schools?

The Flat Earth Theory (FET) is an alternative theory to the commonly held theory that the Earth is round. It is a valid, robust scientific propostion and it answers many of the questions which the Round Earth Theory (RET) fails to answer.

More and more scientists are starting to realise that the RET is out-dated. We owe it to American Freedom and to our Children to teach the controversy between the equally valid and scientific RET and FET.

Don't we? 

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epollock | Valedictorian

Posted April 13, 2010 at 5:05 AM (Answer #2)

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No we don't. If the earth was indeed flat, I would say yes, but since it is not, I have to say no. I don't think it answers any questions that any alternative theory would not. I guess this is almost as polarizing as democrat vs republican, and conservative vs liberal.

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 13, 2010 at 10:38 AM (Answer #3)

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The Flat Earth Theory (FET) might be considered for serious study in schools of the 13th or 14th centuries, but there is certainly no room for such a totally preposterous idea in 2010. It is a FACT that the earth is round (or cylindrical), so such a "theory" as the FET is not even worth consideration of more than a laughable, passing footnote in a science class. The argument over the Darwinian theory and the Biblical belief that God created the first humans in Adam and Eve should not be confused with the incredibly outdated notion that the world is also flat.

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ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted April 13, 2010 at 11:26 AM (Answer #4)

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"The Flat Earth Theory (FET) is an alternative theory to the commonly held theory that the Earth is round. It is a valid, robust scientific propostion…" If this had valid scientific backing by the way of proof, then sure. The fact is, however, I spent some amount of time investigating, and I could not find one objective scientific study or source that supported this concept. Possibly they’re out there, (I’m suspecting NOT)

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 13, 2010 at 11:38 AM (Answer #5)

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If we did not have photos of the earth from outer space which proves our planet is a spherical shape (as are all other planets in our universe), I would say it may be a plausible question.  However, like many other posts you've received here, I don't think it should be introduced.  Of course, I often play Devil's Advocate in my classroom to get students to think and to pose alternatives to the generally accepted opinions.  I see nothing wrong with bringing it up to stimulate thinking and perhaps to debate why people believed this theory to be true before it was proven incorrect.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 13, 2010 at 12:20 PM (Answer #6)

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Oh come on -- be serious.  You can at least make an argument for creationism because the whole spectrum of life is so vast that it there are all sorts of seeming abnormalities that could be said to disprove evolution.  But the idea of a flat earth is like the idea that the sun rises in the West.  It can be so easily proven wrong that people haven't believed it for at least 700 years or so.

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 13, 2010 at 1:07 PM (Answer #7)

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No.  I also don't think we should teach "The Moon Is Made Out Of Cheese Theory" or the "Babies Delivered by Storks Theory", because they are not true.  I don't think we should teach anything that is not true. The Earth is not flat.

It's perfectly fine if you want to believe it, or creationism, or intelligent design.  Teach it to your children even.  That's your right and I support it.  But don't confuse faith with science.  They are not the same.

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frizzyperm | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted April 13, 2010 at 2:19 PM (Answer #8)

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The argument over the Darwinian theory and the Biblical belief that God created the first humans in Adam and Eve should not be confused with the incredibly outdated notion that the world is also flat. Posted by bullgatortail

Why?

The theory that Life on Earth was created by God a few thousand years ago and that species are separate and fixed has as much scientific validity as the Flat Earth Theory. I think this thread's question is a very valid question. Why include Creationism in the curriculum and not FET? Is it any more reasonable to teach Creationism than FET?

Both theories are ancient attempts to explain the world around us. They are both pre-scientific. They are both utterly contradicted by basic scientific facts and simple to disprove. Creationism has as much scientific relevance as the claim that the Earth is flat. 

Why teach one and not the other?

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 13, 2010 at 2:59 PM (Answer #9)

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Reply to post above:

"Creationism has as much scientific relevance as the claim that the Earth is flat. "

You've sold me.  Let's not teach Creationism either then.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 14, 2010 at 4:44 AM (Answer #10)

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I disagree that Creationism has been completely contradicted and easy to disprove.  There are many scientific discoveries in the recent past which point to evidence to prove theory correct.  Check out this site as only one of many which post scientific evidence for proving Bible "stories" to be true:

http://anchorstone.com/

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kapokkid | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 14, 2010 at 7:14 AM (Answer #11)

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I love how we can completely dismiss the Flat Earth Theory as "preposterous" when the round earth theory was similarly "preposterous" at the time.  Given that we are constantly finding out that things we thought were certainly true are in fact false and we cannot explain even some of the simplest "theories" like gravity completely, why must we decide which theories can and cannot be taught?  Shouldn't we allow all ideas to be present and then help students understand how to determine for themselves which ones are true?  Shouldn't we encourage the discussion of and examination of "outrageous" ideas to encourage people to think for themselve and be willing to be open minded?

Once people decide that certain things are right and only certain things should be taught, you are engaging in something called cultural engineering.  Some people call it cultural literacy but it depends on your perspective.  If you want everyone to think the same way, go ahead and decide that only certain things can be taught.  If you want people to push the envelopes and think wild, out of the box thoughts, you should leave things open and allow students and teachers to be dynamic and respond to situations that arise and teach and learn what they are interested in teaching and learning.

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frizzyperm | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted April 14, 2010 at 8:12 AM (Answer #12)

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There are many scientific discoveries in the recent past which point to evidence to prove the theory  [creationism] correct. Amy Lepore

There are occasional facts, which, if very carefully selected and then equally carefully interpreted can be made to lean towards creationism. But... WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER 99% OF EVIDENCE THAT SMASHES CREATIONISM TO PIECES? All evidence must fit the theory or the theory has a big problem. Nearly all evidence completely contradicts Creationism. This is a simple fact which cannot be denied by any person who is aware of the last 150 years of biology.

Anchor Stone is not a scientific website, it is a bogus hoax/religious website. It is absolutely typical of Creationism. It cherry picks unverified claims about The Bible and splashes them without the slightest checking or rigour.  That site is full of totally wild and unverified claims and downright hoaxes. Most of its claims are based on 'work' by Ron Wyatt, a ridiculed and despised psuedo-archaeologist whose claims have been thoroughly disproved. No 'doubts' or 'grey areas', just binned as spurious nonsense. Because no matter how much you want to, you can't bend science (or archaeology) to fit The Bible, because the Bible is wrong... provably wrong.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Wyatt

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudoarchaeology

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Searches_for_Noah%27s_Ark

The Flat Earth Theory is every bit as valid as creationism. It contains just as much scientific value. Evolution and its various offshoots have created 10,000s of scientific papers that have led to 1000s of developments, discoveries, practical applications and medical cures. Neither The Flat Earth theory nor Creation Science have produced a single scientific advancement. Not one. Because it's bogus science and it doesn't work. The fact that 'the most advanced country in the world' is still wallowing in such prehistoric nonsense is a national embarrassment. 

Here is a very simple and friendly introduction to scientific method which will help to identify fake science.

http://www.youtube.com/user/richarddawkinsdotnet#p/u

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kapokkid | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 16, 2010 at 4:20 AM (Answer #13)

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Of course we must always turn to science and just accept the fact that the scientific method always yields truth and reason whereas other methods of examination or thinking must be completely false.  Of course no scientist ever conducts an experiment with any bias.  No scientist has ever claimed to have made a discovery and then been shown to have fudged their results.  Of course no one practicing the "scientific method" has ever admitted that it isn't the only way of making sense of the world or that it cannot eventually explain everything.

Then again, Einstein admitted and discussed as much when the talked about the spiritual aspect of what he was doing and how he approached science.  But we don't like to bring that up because we must keep science somehow "pure" while any other ways of looking at things, whether they be through a creationist lens or that of a more mystical one has to be completely dismissed because they are based on supposition and assumptions rather than real "science."

Truly embarassing.

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frizzyperm | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted April 16, 2010 at 1:20 PM (Answer #14)

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{irony} Of course no scientist ever conducts an experiment with any bias. kapokkid

{irony} No scientist has ever claimed to have made a discovery and then been shown to have fudged their results.kapokkid

:-) 'Scientific Method' has been devised because you are perfectly correct with these two statements. If I put forward the theory that 'Cancer is caused by watching CNBC news' (because I am a twisted scientist and my secret sponser is CNN) I must submit my EVIDENCE to peer review. My peers may test my results and contest them. No claim goes unchallenged.

Scientific method removes human bias more than any other process because in a scientic report you MUST explain how you derived your conclusions so that others may repeat your tests. In science, your rivals must be free to test your working. For example,

Einstein admitted and discussed as much [that scientific method is unreliable] when he talked about the spiritual aspect of what he was doing and how he approached science. kapokkid

OK Kapokkid, I am extremely interested but highly sceptical about your claims regarding Einstein. So let's use 'sceintific method'. Bring it on.... Show me where Einstein said the things which you assert. PLEASE SHOW THE EVIDENCE YOU USED TO BASE YOUR CONCLUSION THAT EINSTEIN ADMITTED SCIENCE WAS SOMETIMES FLAWED AND THAT HIS WORK INCLUDED NON-SCIENTIFIC METHODS.

big broad open friendly smiley face... :-)

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frizzyperm | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted April 16, 2010 at 4:11 PM (Answer #15)

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p.s. "God does not play dice" does not constitute a devastating attack on science.

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frizzyperm | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted April 16, 2010 at 4:43 PM (Answer #16)

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This post was removed by The Almighty.

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kapokkid | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 16, 2010 at 4:59 PM (Answer #17)

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I like the "God does not play dice" quote but agree that it does not constitute an attack on science.  Nor did I mean to say that science is not valid, just that other points of view are also valid, whether they follow the scientific method as we accept it or perhaps are a bit different.  The specific passage I was thinking of is from a response to a letter which Einstein wrote:

 

A child in the sixth grade in a Sunday School in New York City, with the encouragement of her teacher, wrote to Einstein in Princeton on 19 January I936 asking him whether scientists pray, and if so what they pray for. Einstein replied as follows on 24 January 1936:

I have tried to respond to your question as simply as I could. Here is my answer.

Scientific research is based on the idea that everything that takes place is determined by laws of nature, and therefore this holds for the actions of people. For this reason, a research scientist will hardly be inclined to believe that events could be influenced by a prayer, i.e. by a wish addressed to a supernatural Being.

However, it must be admitted that our actual knowledge of these laws is only imperfect and fragmentary, so that, actually, the belief in the existence of basic all-embracing laws in Nature also rests on a sort of faith. All the same this faith has been largely justified so far by the success of scientific research.

But, on the other hand, every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe -- a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble. In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is indeed quite different from the religiosity of someone more naive.

It is worth mentioning that this letter was written a decade after the advent of Heisenberg's prin ciple of indeterminacy and the probabilistic interpretation of quantum mechanics with its denial of strict determinism.

 

I was always struck by Einstein's description of this unseen spirit and his humility in the face of it.  Of course I am taking from this my own interpretation, but I think it suggests that Einstein ackowledged that something was out there bigger than us, something perhaps that was free from the natural laws that we think govern the universe.  From this perhaps one could think that he believed that the natural "laws" which we place so much faith in are limited and can be proven true or false or partially true.

Particularly that the understanding or belief in these laws is also "based on a sort of faith" strikes me as an admission that the scientific method is also based on some of the same supposition and assumption that are so readily dismissed when it comes to looking at a way of viewing the world that we do not agree with.

Does this mean that the Flat Earth Theory is right?  I would agree with most when I say that it appears to have been proven wrong.  Do I think that something might be gained in the teaching of it or the discussion of it or the examination of how it was arrived at?  Absolutely.

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frizzyperm | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted April 16, 2010 at 5:53 PM (Answer #18)

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In your quote, Einstein admits to a lack of complete universal knowledge and admits he possess a feeling of awe towards the beauty of the cosmos. The letter you cite is a letter to a child and is a caution against cold, heartless science.

Einstein was a 'devout' scientist who believed in the importance of evidence before publication. Einstein would have rejected any hypothesis that did not conform to convincing evidence. He would have howled at anyone who attempted to use his wide, tolerant and flexible genius to suggest that all knowledge was simply conjecture and every opinion was of equal value. 

Apart from in a very abstract debate regarding the need for scientific skepticism, Einstien would have hated to be associated with the Flat Earth Theory. This was the guy who smashed Newton's Perfect Clockwork Universe!!! Skepticism is good, but that doesn't mean 'nothing is really true'.

A Flat Earth!!?? Einstein'd have rather died than allow his name to be used to suggest The Flat Earth Theory may conatin the same value as the latest scientific theory! 

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frizzyperm | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted April 16, 2010 at 6:32 PM (Answer #19)

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and btw... the world is round. All this nonsense about 'alternative theories have equal value' is the product of Derrida and a load of fluffly bloody pin-heads who wanted to undo progress.

The world is round. You want proof? Phone someone on the other side of the world... you'll be using geostationary satellites which are anchored on a spherical earth theory... and they work. That is the ultimate proof that sceince is right, the practical applications of scientific theories work.

And it's the same with all other science. We are communicating on the internet. The Internet was not built by Priests or Psychics or Witch-doctors. It was not built using vague rules or alternatives. It was built by scientists using science.

SCIENCE WORKS!

If you do not believe that science is accurate and you think that non-scientific things are sometimes better than science then please let me know. But please do not reply via the scientifically based internet, instead, reply to my post by psychic-transfer, or Ouigi-board, or transcendental harmonies, or tell God to tell me that you think I'm wrong... and let's experiment regarding how effective non-scientific claims are.

(meanwhile, this message will be submitted using the provable, workable, testable theories of science.)

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jmj616 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted April 18, 2010 at 7:07 AM (Answer #20)

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I suppose the Flat Earth Theory could be mentioned in passing, but as they say in French, it's really passe' (that is, way out of date).

From what this Literature major understands, it was not even commonly believed by educated people in Columbus's time.  Old Chris was not out to prove that the world was round; he just wanted to find an easy route from Europe to Asia.

The Talmud, which contains knowledge 2,000 years old and older, is quite clear that the Earth is round.

And of course, photos taken from outer space make it pretty clear that the Earth is round.

So, the Flat Earth Theory should be mentioned, briefly, as something that some people once believed in, but very few people believe in today.

And who knows?  Scientists discover all kinds of strange things that people previously thought were impossible.

Maybe the Earth really is flat.  As an employee of the New York City Department of Education, sometimes I feel that if I take one more step into the bureaucratic morass, I will fall off the edge of the Earth into a fifth dimension. 

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clamo88 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted April 18, 2010 at 8:57 AM (Answer #21)

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The argument over the Darwinian theory and the Biblical belief that God created the first humans in Adam and Eve should not be confused with the incredibly outdated notion that the world is also flat. Posted by bullgatortail

Why?

The theory that Life on Earth was created by God a few thousand years ago and that species are separate and fixed has as much scientific validity as the Flat Earth Theory. I think this thread's question is a very valid question. Why include Creationism in the curriculum and not FET? Is it any more reasonable to teach Creationism than FET?

Both theories are ancient attempts to explain the world around us. They are both pre-scientific. They are both utterly contradicted by basic scientific facts and simple to disprove. Creationism has as much scientific relevance as the claim that the Earth is flat. 

Why teach one and not the other?

Flat Earth Theory has been disproved.  We can prove that the earth is round (cylindrical).

We cannot disprove someone's belief in Creationism because we cannot prove or disprove the existence of God or some supreme being that people believe in as their Creator.  Who is to say that one day in God's world is not equal to 1 Billion years in our world, for example?  That would permit someone to believe in Adam and Eve and in scientific facts that the earth took millions of years to sustain human life.

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beefheart | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted April 18, 2010 at 9:53 AM (Answer #22)

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Flat Earth Theory has been disproved.  We can prove that the earth is round (cylindrical). Clamo88

The Earth is cylindrical, eh? It is merely a tunnel through which we all must pass on our way to eternity. 

We cannot disprove someone's belief in Creationism Clamo88

Yes we can, it is as simple as that. Anyone with half a gram of knowledge about science can disprove creationism while standing on their head.

Who is to say that one day in God's world is not equal to 1 Billion years in our world, for example?  That would permit someone to believe in Adam and Eve and in scientific facts that the earth took millions of years to sustain human life. Clamo88

No it wouldn't. Adam and Eve and modern science are mutually exclusive.

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beefheart | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted April 18, 2010 at 11:01 AM (Answer #23)

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Who is to say that one day in God's world is not equal to 1 Billion years in our world, for example? That ...[i.e. creatively inserting a modern scientific fact into Genesis and then shutting one eye]... would permit someone to believe in Adam and Eve and in scientific facts that the earth took millions of years to sustain human life.@Clammo88

The Flat Earth Theory and the biblical version of prehistory are of equal scientific irrelevance. It is simply that fundamentalist Christians can afford to concede the Earth is round, but can't afford to concede evolution. So the Genesis myth must be sqeezed, shoe-horned, bulldozed and smudged until it looks sorta scientific to those believers who have no understanding of science. And that includes repeated and deliberate lying by the Creationist authorities.

(But hey! Christians have got it easy, according to the Qur'an the Flat Earth Theory is true!!! Imagine how tightly Islamic fundamentalists have to shut their eyes in order to insist their texts are undeniable! Compared to that level of self-delusion, denying evolution seems almost sane.)

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lfawley | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted April 19, 2010 at 7:12 AM (Answer #24)

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I have to agree with the other posters who have indicated that, since we have conclusively proved the the Earth is not in fact flat, the theory should not be taught in schools as a theory. However, it should be taught as a part of the history of thought and intellect, of scientific inquiry. All of what we know has been learned through experimentation, through coming up with ideas and testing them against known facts, experimenting, and learning from observations.As such, the theory is an integral part of our scientific history and of our history of knowledge regarding the world around us, but it should not be taught as a plausible fact any more than we should be teaching students that 2+2 =5.

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besure77 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted April 20, 2010 at 3:27 PM (Answer #25)

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I don't think that the flat Earth Theory should be taught in schools. As a teacher I know it is difficult enough to get students to understand what we teach now. Introducing a concept like FET would really throw them off track.

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kapokkid | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 21, 2010 at 8:27 AM (Answer #26)

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Perhaps the question could be better centered around whether we want to teach kids what to think or if we want to teach them how to think or just to think at all.  Most of the students I see by the time they get to high school are so well trained to think that there is a right and wrong answer (almost always determined by the teacher at the expense of any other authority) that they are unwilling to think for any reason, especially if there is some concern that they might be wrong or might not get an A.  The idea that we cannot bring up things that were wrong in the past because it might be misleading is somewhat troubling to me in that it suggests that our students couldn't ever really figure out for themselves which was right and wich was wrong.

If we have to spoon feed them all the right answers, what are we really doing for them in the end?

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frizzyperm | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted April 22, 2010 at 11:27 AM (Answer #27)

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@Kapokkid,

what you are saying is perfectly true for The Arts. In The Arts we should never proscribed a 'correct' view and always encourage self-discovery and self-expression.

But you cannot really be suggesting that our understanding of Science or Maths is so subjective that we should encourage students to select the answers which they prefer?

You are posting on the internet, which was built using Highly Accurate, Specific, Detailed Scientific Knowledge. The internet was not built on whims, contrariness and free-flowing, fluffy thinking.

In high-school level science there is a right and wrong answer. And students do experiments to find basic scientific truths. Encouraging them to believe that science truth is theirs' to pick and choose is... weird. Their experiments PROVE WHAT IS BEING TAUGHT. Teaching them rigourous science is not merely 'spoon-feeding them' the current, conventionally-held, fashionable POV.

To suggest it is, is ludicrous, to say the least and disregards the last 600 years of progress.

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EternalTwilight | Student | Honors

Posted April 23, 2010 at 11:13 PM (Answer #28)

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Well...I'd say definetely no. I guess it's going to mislead children and just have bad consequences. It's like, when the suggestion was made that the Earth was round the rest of the guys just chucked stuff. I think it's going to be the reverse this time around.

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 26, 2010 at 3:05 PM (Answer #29)

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The Flat Earth Theorists have a constitution.  Among its finer points:

  • The Earth to be a flat disk floating on an infinite ocean.
  • When a ship is at the horizon, its lower part is NOT obscured due to the sphericity of the Earth.  It is only sinking.
  • An aeronaut at the highest possible altitude will see what appears to be a concave surface.
  • The earth is flat and square, and the sky is a round canopy.
  • It was possible for a 1492 ship to sail west from Europe across open oceans directly to Japan.

 

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siraas | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 27, 2010 at 6:18 AM (Answer #30)

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If we did not have photos of the earth from outer space which proves our planet is a spherical shape (as are all other planets in our universe), I would say it may be a plausible question.  However, like many other posts you've received here, I don't think it should be introduced.  Of course, I often play Devil's Advocate in my classroom to get students to think and to pose alternatives to the generally accepted opinions.  I see nothing wrong with bringing it up to stimulate thinking and perhaps to debate why people believed this theory to be true before it was proven incorrect.

Its obvious that knowledge is the part of information which is always tested to be true or false. seeing is another part of knowledge transfer so as the thing be kept for the proof that be  nice and better way of knowledge thus a thing should be in the teaching syllabus that shows and proves this fact.

the earth or sun all the planets are in a round shape so if the thing are moving in a circle or an orbit the velocity speed always matters and the thing which are not the part of spherical surface they will lose with the time and the point is clear that it always work more on the  gravitational pull too.

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csscjunho | Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 12, 2010 at 3:21 AM (Answer #31)

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Well... I would say yes to teaching the FET if the teacher wanted to show that scientific discoveries can be altered in the future. If, however, the teacher really believes that the Flat Earth Theory is correct, then I belive the theory should not be taught in schools.

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Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 12, 2010 at 7:35 AM (Answer #32)

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Sure, teach it.

But whoever decides to be crazy enough to teach something like creationism or Flat Earth Theory, gnomes and fairies, and the likes better NOT TOUCH the feeble budget of the American public school system to fund a basal reading series, testing materials, software licenses nor all the other kaboodle that comes as a result of implementing "new ideas."

Plus....who in the world would teach it?

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copelmat | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted May 12, 2010 at 7:06 PM (Answer #33)

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Given the overwhelming evidence against the flat earth theory I have a very hard time believing it should be taught in school as fact. Perhaps if you were proposing that it could be taught in a mythology or a religion class, there might be some merit in the idea.

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jmalloy1209 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 18, 2010 at 10:13 AM (Answer #34)

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Why not? I think it is a good basis for teaching the history of scientific reason, fact, and hypothetical analysis. I think this theory should only be taught as a way to induce historical interest, that way it can serve as a window that sheds light on why and how humans came to the unshakable belief that the earth is round today.

I also believe that if we take this theory out of our school curriculums then it will only lead to confusion in the student body as to why it was taken out and why it is not being taught anymore, especially sense the reasoning behind taking it out is to scattered to comprehend by most student, thus creating a distraction that leads to less class time due to irrelevant questioning.

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paulagz | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted May 21, 2010 at 11:46 PM (Answer #35)

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Sure, and why not teach that the Earth is the center of the universe

To teach such nonsense insures that we raise a generation of idiots

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usbummer | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted May 22, 2010 at 10:19 AM (Answer #36)

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Should The Flat Earth Theory be taught in schools?

The Flat Earth Theory (FET) is an alternative theory to the commonly held theory that the Earth is round. It is a valid, robust scientific propostion and it answers many of the questions which the Round Earth Theory (RET) fails to answer.

More and more scientists are starting to realise that the RET is out-dated. We owe it to American Freedom and to our Children to teach the controversy between the equally valid and scientific RET and FET.

Don't we? 

Please enlighten us with the questions that FET can answer that RET cannot.

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paulagz | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted May 23, 2010 at 4:04 AM (Answer #37)

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Sure, Why not?  and while we are at it I believe we should aboliosh mathamatics from all curriculum's for it is clearly the Devil's handywork.

And Physics too, the very idea that we mortal fools should dare to seek to understand the magical ways of the Lord - Absurd

Let us not forget astronomy - espousing blastphomous ideas such as sol in the center of anything. All God fearing folks know, without question that it is the Earth which sits at the center of everything.  In fact, let us rightous few close schools altogether; Let us burn the Universities and every book ever printed.  Yes my bretheran, then we shall be free-

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grrrmama | eNoter

Posted May 23, 2010 at 12:18 PM (Answer #38)

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NOW WHY WOULD TEACHERS TELL THEIR STUDENTS THE WORLD IS FLAT!!!! IT'S LIKE SAYING THE EARTH WAS SQUARE!! WTF....I MEAN.... SERIOUSLY!

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drrsundarraj | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 24, 2010 at 3:28 AM (Answer #39)

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Is the earth flat? No one would be so foolish to believe so!

FET is a belief and not a fact. However, why should we have such an illogical belief?

We can use our body in one, two and three dimesional modes. 1. When we are alone we use one dimensional mode

2. When we are with people of our class we use two dimensional mode

3. Whe we are with people of different classes we use the three dimensional mode.

When we accept the FET we simply accept that people of the entire world belong to just one class.

Therefore, there is nothing wrong in teaching FET.

However, the actual fact that the earth is round should also be taught in geography.

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frizzyperm | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted May 25, 2010 at 11:18 AM (Answer #40)

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Is the earth flat? No one would be so foolish to believe so! drrsundarraj

Well, The Koran claims that The Earth is flat many times (or 'level' or 'spread' or 'like a bed'). So many millions of muslims insist that The Earth is flat.

Are they 'foolish' to believe what their holy book tells them? Should we simply dismiss their religious theory as scientific rubbish? Or should we call it an 'alternative scientific theory' and teach it in school?

Is science allowed to just completely ignore strongly-held religious opinions that do not conform to science?

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stegny | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted May 25, 2010 at 11:58 AM (Answer #41)

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Is insisting The Earth is flat any dumber than insisting The Earth is >6000 years old?

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pootle | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted May 25, 2010 at 12:06 PM (Answer #42)

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The Koran claims that The Earth is flat - Frizzyperm

But The Earth is simply and provably NOT flat!

http://space.about.com/od/pictures/ig/Earth-Pictures-Gallery/Planet-Earth---1995_02397l-.htm

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kapokkid | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 26, 2010 at 8:50 AM (Answer #43)

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@Kapokkid,

what you are saying is perfectly true for The Arts. In The Arts we should never proscribed a 'correct' view and always encourage self-discovery and self-expression.

But you cannot really be suggesting that our understanding of Science or Maths is so subjective that we should encourage students to select the answers which they prefer?

You are posting on the internet, which was built using Highly Accurate, Specific, Detailed Scientific Knowledge. The internet was not built on whims, contrariness and free-flowing, fluffy thinking.

In high-school level science there is a right and wrong answer. And students do experiments to find basic scientific truths. Encouraging them to believe that science truth is theirs' to pick and choose is... weird. Their experiments PROVE WHAT IS BEING TAUGHT. Teaching them rigourous science is not merely 'spoon-feeding them' the current, conventionally-held, fashionable POV.

To suggest it is, is ludicrous, to say the least and disregards the last 600 years of progress.

 

I think the most important part of this whole thing is the fact that being so gung ho to tell and "teach" kids what is right and what is wrong is that we stigmatize being wrong.  This is very different from simply presenting the history of science or showing how scientists believe they arrive at the truth, etc.

When you stigmatize being wrong and emphasize the importance of parroting back the "correct" answer and throwing since proven theories out as not even being worth consideration, you create an atmosphere in which actually being creative (which always involves the chance of being wrong) is stigmatized.  This is as deadly to the sciences as it is to the arts.  The unwillingness of today's students to take the risk of being wrong is going to come back to haunt us in ways we haven't yet imagined.  (Look at Japan for an example, they are running screaming away from extended school days and incredible testing regimes even while we are running towards them full tilt...)

 

I realize that you aren't suggesting that we stigmatize creativity, but I worry that the acceptance of things as always "right" and "wrong" whether scientific or not is dangerous.  I am also not suggesting that we encourage them to simply pick and choose what they think is correct.  I am suggesting that we teach them that it is acceptable to be wrong and to examine theories that others might think are crazy.

And let us not forget that experiments designed by people with an hypothesis already in mind may very well prove that their hypothesis is correct, but only according to their experiment which may be flawed or biased or both.

 

Lastly, I think there was almost certainly some free-flowing and fluffy thinking involved in building and inventing the internet.  The first person who thought of connecting computers in a huge network must have at least gotten a few "he's an idiot" laughs from people around him or her.  Without that free-flowing and "fluffy" thinking, advancements are few and far between.

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dancer7 | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted May 28, 2010 at 2:40 PM (Answer #44)

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The question of teaching The Flat Earth Theory is a  'parallel example' designed to test your opinion of teaching Creationism in schools. (Or maybe you already knew that.) i.e. All your objections to teaching the FET as a modern science are equally relevant for ID or Creationism. Creation theory is as ridiculous as the theory that the Earth is flat

So, those who wish to teach Creationism in schools must also consider The Flat Earth Theory a valid subject for school science. Because, of course, they are of equal standing scientifically.

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ssdude2004 | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted May 29, 2010 at 12:49 AM (Answer #45)

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There is no way that this is a serious question.  How can there still be people that believe that the world is flat?

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motion1953 | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 6, 2010 at 7:56 AM (Answer #46)

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Of course it shouldn't be.  It is not a scientific theory...it is a myth. Just because the scientific method precludes ever being able to "prove" anything does not mean that every theory has merit.

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted June 9, 2010 at 6:52 AM (Answer #47)

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I can't tell if the Flat Earth Theory is a joke or not... It is known that Earth is expanded at the center and doesn't have perfectly sperical measurements. It is also known by complex measurements that excape my ken (I believe reported in New Scientist around 2002) that the universe is flat with a central convex curve and that the Cosmic Microwave Background vibrates in the key of B (Bing Crosby's "family key", perhaps reported in Discovery 2003ish...), which are both pretty odd things for science to have measured but no more odd than having measured anti-matter, which weighs ever-so-slightly less than matter, and particles becoming waves--well--and now the latest measurement record at the CERN-Gran Sasso experiment of a muon-neutrino oscillating into a tau-neutrino in mid-flight between CERN and Gran Sasso. But this flat Earth thing...is it a joke? If it's a joke then certainly it should not be taught except in Public Speaking classes. If however there is sound science--somewhere--conducted by sound scientists producing sound and reproducable confirmed results, then no matter how peculiar, certainly it should be taught--but those are a LOT of IFs!

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jeffsuzuki | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted June 26, 2010 at 4:06 AM (Answer #48)

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My favorite statement regarding science is this:  Science is a method of finding out what is not true.

Too many people treat science as a bag of facts:  the Earth is spherical; human beings evolved from lower life forms; the sun generates energy through nuclear fusion.  But in modern culture, the line between "fact" and "opinion" is often blurred, so it's easy for someone to argue that Creationism and other pseudosciences be taught in the classroom.

Should we teach the flat Earth theory?  Certainly...as long as it's the first step in a lesson on why scientists do not believe it.  The supporting evidence (disappearance over horizon, eclipse shadow, photographs) make the FET less and less tenable, until the viability of the spherical (not "round") Earth theory is established.

Moreover, presenting the supporting evidence does one more thing.  As our recent national debate on health care/jobs/etc. demonstrates, it's easy to attack someone's ideas without offering anything of value of your own.

But science doesn't work that way.  You cannot replace a scientific theory by simply attacking it; the accepted theory is accepted because it explains a number of observations.  If your replacement can't explain them *all*, plus some others that the current theory can't explain.  Otherwise, no one will listen to you---and no one should.

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dancer7 | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted July 2, 2010 at 5:33 PM (Answer #49)

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Amy Leopre - I disagree that Creationism has been completely contradicted and easy to disprove.  There are many scientific discoveries in the recent past which point to evidence to prove theory correct. 

Name One. Just One. Just one little one (with links and references.) I dare you. I double dare you. I'll give $50 to the charity of your choice, if you can show me these 'scientific discoveries' which point to creationism being correct. You say there are 'many'. But I only need one. Give it your best shot. Amy.

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ktruth327 | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 13, 2010 at 11:37 AM (Answer #50)

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If a teacher wishes to acknowledge the existence of the Flat Earth Theory, then this is an excellent opportunity to educate students on the importance of theory vs. law, and the significance of acknowleding the existence of multiple theories to explain everday life.

However, this area must be treated with trepidation, because it could be inevitable that a parent jumps to the conclusion that their student is being taught that the world is flat. For me, this is analgous to teaching Creationism in science classes. Acknowledging different theories and ways of thinking should be embraced in the classroom, and there is a time and a place to discuss the Flat Earth Theory with students. But make it just that- a discussion. Enertain the idea, allow students to give their opinions. But I do not think that there is any successful classroom where the dimensions of the planet should be presented as flat, nor the dinosaurs to be explained away with religion.

If a modern classroom attempted either of the above, it would be doing a gross disservice to its students and its community, and falling short of preparing students for continuing education.

 

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tonysonofgawain | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 29, 2011 at 5:46 PM (Answer #52)

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I believe that if the educational system of a 'free' society claims/wants to be impartial to religious and cultural beliefs, then it should do the same for theories such as the 'flat earth' theory or the belief in 'Intelligent Design' etc.(regardless of how silly or outdated these ideas might sound and especially if there are a large amount of people who embrace them).

I'm not saying that I personally believe in these theories but I think it is important to allow space for alternative and creative thinking.

It seems that it is the commonly held notions and beliefs of the 'leading institutions of thought' that determine what is 'true' and what is 'false' and I believe that in a few centuries people will probably be laughing at what we currently believe (and teach at schools) in this day and age.

However, I don't think that any 'theory' or 'belief' should be taught as 'absolute fact', especially to young children.

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