What happens if you ask an astrophysicist whether the Earth is flat? If that astrophysicist is Neil deGrasse Tyson, he first gives you a brutal side-eye that terrifies you to your core, before explaining the real reason why there are still people who believe the Earth is flat and we are at the center of the universe.
In a recent conversation with The Huffington Post, Tyson likened flat Earthers’ level of logic and understanding of the world to that of children who think people on TV know them.
“When you are a little child, you think they know you because you are the center of your own universe”, said Tyson, speaking with HuffPost’s Impact & Innovation managing editor, David Freeman. “And to mature out of that is very hard — not only when we grow up as humans, but also as we grow up as a civilization”.
Although the Earth seemed flat to people in earlier ages who could only see it from a limited vantage point, today we have several lines of evidence showing that our planet is round, including the Apollo program’s photos of a round Earth, Tyson added.
Most of humanity may have grown out of our ancestors’ immature view of the universe, but some of us seem to be lagging behind. Earlier this year, Tyson got into a Twitter battle with rapper B.o.B, who claimed that the Earth is flat and that he can prove this by using physics and math.
“I don’t mind that people don’t know things”, Tyson said. “But if you don’t know and you have the power of influence over others, that’s dangerous”.
He points the finger at the schools. “I blame the education system that can graduate someone into adulthood who cannot tell the difference between what is and is not true about this world”, Tyson said. (1)
Harmonia Philosophica has for a long time dealt with misconceptions about science, its relation with the philosophical notion of “truth” and the dogmatism hidden under very common “knowledge” like the “Earth is not at the center of the solar system” idea in astronomy. (read “Earth at the center of the Universe?”)
Tyson summarizes the whole philosophy of atheists quite well: They really want to believe they are unimportant (or they really want to deny that they are important) that they tend to overlook facts and simply impose dogmatic opinions as facts in order to satisfy their own psychological problems.
What you are on a planet looking at planets circling around you (yes, this is what you see when observing planets) the most logical thing to say is that these planets… circle around you. And yes, it is logical for a kid to see itself as the center of the universe. It should. We all should.
We are important.
We are not tiny specks of dust.
We are not lifeless bodies.
We are not soulless machines.
We are humans.
At the center of everything.