Flat earth and the unexplained universe?

All those years ago they thought the world was flat, even some great minds , so does it stand to reason that all the new theorys we read about are an absolute mile out and all the self important people out there are so wrong that future civiliations will use there views and ideas as sources of primative world…

Why do you think that scientists are necessarily self-important? This is the only interesting point about your question, the fact that you are labouring under a massive inferiority complex where ‘knowledge’ and its arbiters are concerned. Are there many others like you out there? Sincerely hope not.

I see your question as having two parts: the possibility of our “high science” being pooh-poohed by future scientists and what would be required for us to turn our heads back to space.

The first is entirely possible, but less likely than our pooh-poohing the flat earth theory. Scientific method makes any theories that arise these days prove themselves before they become accepted as fact, so anything that comes in the future would still have to accept these facts, but perhaps cause them to become true in only certain instances. For example, we still know that Newtonian physics work, but we also know that Einsteinian physics adds on to that, and that Newtonian physics would just have to add “at non-relativistic speeds” to any statement of fact.

The second question as to what could interest us in space once more is easier. The only thing that truly turns heads anymore. Money. If there were a means of making money that didn’t require escaping earth’s gravity (which is very expensive with respect to the weight of whatever you want to boost into orbit), we would be all over the solar system in a New York minute. There are asteroids out there that have an “endless” supply of metals, mundane like nickel or exotic like niobium. If we had a space station and the ability to get supplies into orbit cheaply (like, say, a “beanstalk”), there would be ample reason to go into space. As it stands, though, even this is considered sci-fi stuff, because politicians can’t be convinced of the (monetarily) practicality of it.

Our brains are designed to cope with finding food and shelter and continuing the species. We can only apply them to theoretical matters using a process called modelling. We can’t take in the whole world so we hold a model in our minds of a sphere – about the size of lunch and say the world’s like that. Tools like Mercators projection and Google Earth help – but they make the world flat again.

Through the ages we’ve come up with various models of the world, the universe and other imponderables to suit the current stage of knowledge. Old models seem laughable although we continue to use them (we still say the sun rises and sets even though that doesn’t fit in with our current model of the solar system – it’s handy for knowing when to set the lights to come on).

So yes, a lot of what we have at the moment will be laughable in the future. A lot of what we have now is laughable to people with particular specialities. We will keep making models to put in our heads and laugh at the models other people have in theirs.

Actually, the ‘everyone thought the world was flat’ idea is itself a bit of a myth!
Although certain religious dogma insisted on a flat or domed earth, not only was the concept of a spherical earth established in antiquity, the Greeks and Romans had a pretty good estimate of it’s circumference!

Because of things like the belief in a flat earth, scientists developed an ideology where they no longer jump to conclusions. they developed the scientific method to help them from making the mistakes of the past. Now scientists wait to pass judgment on many science questions until them have some research and data on the subject.

Our knowledge of the world and the universe is always evolving, because discoveries usually raise more questions! If anything, the human race should be looking to stopping global warming, and also, in the long term, developing the technology to ensure that we can get off this planet and spread out to other planets, so we don’t die out with the sun

Where do people get this idea that a flat earth theory was ever popular. The Greeks knew it wasn’t 3,000 years ago.

You are correct, though, future generations will think us simple, in exactly the same way we think earlier people were. It is called progress.

You have to remember that the flat earth claim was made with basically no research. The slightest bit of scientific research (watch sailing ships sail away) would have shown the “flat earth” to be in error.

Sure we may be wrong but I sincerely doubt as wrong as those guys were.

That’s the wonderful thing about science, its not a closed system and it welcomes new ideas, new paradigms of physics, new evidence to explain the Universe. You make it sound as though science is static and controlled by ‘self-important people’. I think its the opposite, but that’s just me.

What do you mean? the Earth is flat or we would all fall off! The sky is solid and the stars little holes where the light shows through.

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