I'm not easily convinced. Can you cite your sources? I know most of the ex-members were denied proper education, but I can tell you what I was taught in grade school. People in Columbus' time thought Columbus was crazy and going to sail off the end of the Earth and fall into a vast unknown.
Of course I can cite my sources. One of the main things I have learned since leaving TFI (and graduating from university), is that claims of any sort are worthless unless they can be backed up by verifiable evidence and/or reputable sources.
See the 74 "References" listed at the end of the Flat Earth
article at Wikipedia (note: I am not claiming Wikipedia as a "reputable source", however, the references at the end generally are).
It must first be reiterated that with extraordinary few exceptions no
educated person in the history of Western Civilization from the third century B.C. onward believed that the earth was flat.
Historians of science have been proving this point for at least 70 years [...] without making notable headway against the error. Schoolchildren in the US, Europe, and Japan are for the most part being taught the same old nonsense. How and why did this nonsense emerge?
--"The Myth of the Flat Earth
", Summary by Jeffrey Burton Russell, for the American Scientific Affiliation Conference, August 4, 1997 at Westmont College.
See also: "The Myth of the Flat Earth
" for a nice history of the subject.
A recent study of medieval concepts of the sphericity of the Earth noted that "since the eighth century, no cosmographer worthy of note has called into question the sphericity of the Earth."
--Klaus Anselm Vogel, "Sphaera terrae - das mittelalterliche Bild der Erde und die
That is, for at least 1,200 years, no educated person worth his salt thought that the earth was flat.
PS: "On the Shoulders of Giants" by Stephen W. Hawking (Editor) is a superbly researched book and considers, in great length, the history of science and what we knew and when we knew it. I highly recommend it.
PPS: "The Flat Earth Myth
", by Professor Thomas E. Woods, Jr.