Book Plunge: Inventing The Flat Earth

What do I think of Jeffrey Russell’s book? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

inventingtheflatearth

Recently, I had a conversation at a store with a salesman who was telling me that people in the past believed the Earth was flat, which I raised disagreement with. Online, one can hear this as a common objection. Often it is treated as an axiom and with the idea that the church was teaching otherwise. Consider this quote from Ingersoll in his essay Individuality

 

It is a blessed thing that in every age some one has had individuality enough and courage enough to stand by his own convictions,—some one who had the grandeur to say his say. I believe it was Magellan who said, “The church says the earth is flat; but I have seen its shadow on the moon, and I have more confidence even in a shadow than in the church.” On the prow of his ship were disobedience, defiance, scorn, and success.

 

A flat-earther is used to refer to someone today who is a fool and is going against the progress of science. It’s certainly easy to write off people as believing this. I know in Elementary school and beyond I was taught that Columbus sailed around to demonstrate that the Earth was round and not flat. (Which even if that had been the case, considering he didn’t circumnavigate the globe, he did not prove that anyway. 

If only I had know about Russell’s book back then.

Russell’s book is incredibly short. You can easily read it in a couple of hours like I did. In doing so, you will have invested those hours well. Russell points out that after the time of Christ, there were only two people who really brought out the idea that the Earth was flat. How many followers did they get on that count? None. They were certainly the minority. Alas, these two are thought to be representative of the time as a whole, ignoring all the other evidence that indicates people knew it was round.

Now of course, it could be that this did not extend to the masses, but frankly, we have no real way of knowing that. I would wager that for most people who were working hard to put food on the table and care for their families, they did not really think about the shape of the Earth. In fact, if they had, well you just go and ask the local priest and the local priest will tell you what the fathers of the church have said and you’ll hear that it’s round.

Russell also shows how this fed into a false idea of a warfare between science and religion, started mainly by people like John Draper and Andrew Dickson White. In many cases, this because a round of a group of people quoting each other as their own authorities and thereby seeking to establish their case as if it was heavily documented. (Read new atheist literature today and not much has changed.)

While Russell’s thesis is certainly correct and he goes into great detail to show a meeting Columbus had with officials never brought up the shape of the Earth and while his work is filled with scholarly notes, I would like to see future editions contain quotes within the text itself. What would most complete this book is to have a series of quotations from people in this time period on how the Earth was indeed spherical, such as Thomas Aquinas’s in his Summa Theologica in the very first question.

Still, this is a valuable book to read on the controversy. I wish I’d had it in the past instead of just buying into what my teachers taught me.

In Christ,

Nick Peters

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

25 Responses to “Book Plunge: Inventing The Flat Earth”

  1. tildeb Says:

    How does a spherical earth sit on pillars? How can a rotating sphere rest on its foundations? Where on a sphere is its ‘ends’ that can bee seen? Where are the four corners of a sphere?

    No, Nick, the earth must be flat for these oft-repeated biblical references to make sense. Perhaps you’ve been mislead by malevolent spirits to think you can comport God’s word with your trivial secular understanding of how the earth really is. Come back before you tempt fate to assign you to be eternally one with the lake of fire.

    • apologianick Says:

      Actually Tilde, the post is about the medieval period. The church never taught that the Earth was flat.

      As to the other parts, I suppose someone like you does like to read everything scientifically. So what am I to do when I hear something about a report going out to the ends of the Earth today?

      Time to stop being a fundamentalist.

      • tildeb Says:

        Silly rabbit: the ‘ends’ of the earth is used an idiom that derives from referencing the bible!

        For someone who relies on certain fundamental religious beliefs, you have a funny way of trying to insult me.

      • apologianick Says:

        Sigh. Someone is still a literalist. I suppose you want to find a way to take phrases like the circle of the Earth and four corners both literally as well…

      • tildeb Says:

        It’s interesting that you assume only literalism describes my reading of the bible. It doesn’t.

        Unlike you, I am very careful to denote how claims – any claims – are justified. On the one hand, unless I have compelling evidence to back up a literal and/or historical claim about reality (especially an explanatory model of how reality seems to function), I assign it to either unknown or unlikely. What I don’t do is presume a literal or historical claim that is inaccurate must therefore be metaphorical. This allows me consistency in my reading… whether it’s the bible or any other anthology.

        On the other hand, you liberally cherry pick what bits you decide will be literal and which bits you decide will be figurative (funny how science and not religious ‘investigations’ tends to help you figure out which bits must be which… except the bits that you will not question… hence the charge of fundamentalism). You have no means independent of your bias to select which claims belong to which group other than what I also have: explanatory models produced by science. By asserting that some literal claims in the bible that are factually inaccurate must therefore be figurative rather than in factual error is something only the believer does and not I… a tactic that is typical, ubiquitous, and an especially heavily exercised apologetic excuse that allows you to always maintain the bible’s infallible status in your own mind and according to your interpretation regardless of what it actually says.

        If you – and most Christian believers – treated the bible as a figurative work, I wouldn’t say boo. But when so many people use the bible to make literal and historical claims about reality that are factually wrong, and cause real world pernicious effect in the public domain that affects me, then one of us needs to be honest enough to step up and admit as much. And it’s not you.

        You want it both ways: to have your biblical cake – metaphor when convenient – and eat it, too – as a literal and historical justification for claims you want to make about reality you will neither doubt nor question. That’s inherently dishonest. You cannot successfully deflect criticism that you have no means to arbitrate which biblical claims are which by pretending the criticizer is being unreasonable. And that’s exactly what you are trying to do here.

        So clear the air: tell all of us how you – and any other reasonable person – can tell the difference?

      • apologianick Says:

        How do you tell the difference? The same way you would with Herodotus, Homer, Shakespeare, or any other writer. I try to find out the worldview of the author, seek to determine the genre, and then also provide the most charitable reading. This is also done by reading the best scholarship from both sides on a field so if I want to know what a passage means, I will also consult the best works on the topic and see what I can find out.

        No hang up on literalism here. In fact, this has been the church’s stance throughout history. If evidence shows up that says a passage might have been read wrong, then let it be accepted. Started with Augustine and kept going

      • tildeb Says:

        Herodotus was a historian, Homer the name of the author given to the aural myths collated into the Odyssey and Iliad, Shakespeare a playwright. Do you read the products of each of these authors as the inspired Word of God?

        I sincerely doubt that.

        Do you believe the Sirens were real agents who lived on the island of Anthemusa, that Prospero was an historical conjurer of storms? Why not… if you are willing to believe Noah lived some 950 or Jesus rose from the dead? How can tell the difference between which of these causal claims of actual supernatural agencies is accurate if your guide is your own interpretation and revelation?

        The Harry Potter books must drive you to distraction finding enough historical context to figure out which of the supernatural claims contained within these stories are accurate and which ones metaphor! Or can you disregard them all because you know the author is simply spinning a tall tale… sort of like disregarding the story of Job and the metaphorical god this character challenges!

        Methinks your literalism is very much cherry picked by your a priori religious beliefs. I think you no more doubt the divinity of Jesus than you do gravity but refuse to entertain the dozens of flat earth references from the same source as equivalently justified. And I think you make that assertion not by reason, not by method, but by fiat using today’s knowledge for the latter claim but refuse to use on the former.

      • apologianick Says:

        Tilde: Herodotus was a historian, Homer the name of the author given to the aural myths collated into the Odyssey and Iliad, Shakespeare a playwright. Do you read the products of each of these authors as the inspired Word of God?

        I sincerely doubt that.

        Reply: Then you’re sincerely wrong. Yes I do. The Bible is a piece of literature just as each of these are. Herodotus was saying he was writing history. On that account, I can treat his claims as straight forward many times. Perhaps for some of them I don’t have enough evidence to believe them. I can be agnostic. Perhaps the claims are too too far removed from the facts. With Homer, even if he didn’t write the works attributed to him, they are still in the category of myth, and yet even then the rules of literature apply. When I read about a battle, I take it to hear an arrow hit the heel of Achilles is meant to be taken in a straight forward sense, but if I read “it shot like a bolt of lightning” I could tell that was metaphorical. When I read Shakespeare, I can tell that “Romeo kisses Juliet” is most likely meant to give a straight forward description but when Romeo says “My heart burns within me for Juliet!” then I do not take that to mean he has heartburn. The rules of literature still apply.

        By the way, I also don’t call the Bible the Word of God. I call it Scripture. Inspiration also has nothing to do with it. Inspired literature is still literature.

        Tilde: Do you believe the Sirens were real agents who lived on the island of Anthemusa, that Prospero was an historical conjurer of storms? Why not… if you are willing to believe Noah lived some 950 or Jesus rose from the dead? How can tell the difference between which of these causal claims of actual supernatural agencies is accurate if your guide is your own interpretation and revelation?

        Reply; It’s not. My guide is also reading the works of leading scholars. For instance, with the years of Noah, we do have accounts of Sumerian kings and such who were said to live even longer. Could the situation in an early Earth for these people have been different? Who knows? That’s one for scientists and Old Testament scholars to answer together. Now for Prospero, that is meant to be a play and I have no reason to think Shakespeare intended for me to take it as a historical event. For the Sirens, well show the passage and give me an argument why I should take those as straight forward.

        Tilde: The Harry Potter books must drive you to distraction finding enough historical context to figure out which of the supernatural claims contained within these stories are accurate and which ones metaphor! Or can you disregard them all because you know the author is simply spinning a tall tale… sort of like disregarding the story of Job and the metaphorical god this character challenges!

        REply: No silly. Harry Potter is in the genre of fiction so it doesn’t matter. Job? I could go either way on that one. Right now, I lean towards it being an accurate account. If I found it was a metaphor, it wouldn’t keep me up at night.

        Tilde: Methinks your literalism is very much cherry picked by your a priori religious beliefs.

        Reply: I don’t have literalism silly. I have reading of good scholarship.

        Tilde: I think you no more doubt the divinity of Jesus than you do gravity but refuse to entertain the dozens of flat earth references from the same source as equivalently justified.

        Reply: Unless you’re a scholar of the Hebrew or Greek, then I don’t think you should have any problem with my saying it’s important to research the work and the genre and the view the ancient author was intending to convey. For instance, when the Psalmist says “The Earth cannot be moved” I don’t think it’s really plausible to think he’s talking about cosmology, though some did think that. I think it’s mean to speak about how God has established His reign and that cannot be changed.

        Tilde: And I think you make that assertion not by reason, not by method, but by fiat using today’s knowledge for the latter claim but refuse to use on the former.

        Reply; Then you’re simply wrong.

        Oh! I should point out I use another method, one that you should have used before you said anything about The Last Superstition as you demonstrated here. That’s actually reading the book! It really helps you get a much better grasp about the viewpoints of the author when you read the book.

      • tildeb Says:

        So you’re trying to tell me that you put more confidence in ‘scholarship’ when it comes to the resurrection of Jesus than you do your own beliefs?

        Let’s put that to the test: oh wait…. you mean religious scholarship only, right? You simply ignore all other scholarship that reveals that dead cells cannot reanimate.

        Yeah, that’s really excellent research you’re undertaking. Look how unbiased you are!

        Good grief, Nick: does this kind of explanation actually work for you?

        The method you use is confirmation bias, plain and simple. You ignore and/or excuse all previous religious scholarship that ascertained (also by confirmation bias) that all kinds of causal claims in scripture were true… right up until good science came along to debunk many of them. All of a sudden, this previous scholarship was revealed to be empty of accurate explanatory value. This history of the one way movement away from religious claims to accurate and justified claims arbitrated by reality using the method of science raises an interesting consideration: how much of the scholarship you currently use to support your a priori religious beliefs will be similarly debunked? There is no evidence that religious scholarship has ever or shall ever turn that direction around. Why might that be?

        You see, Nick, your method doesn’t work to reveal what’s accurate in and about reality; it works only to support your current bias you call your religious beliefs. And I suspect there is nothing that can divert your trust and confidence that Jesus was resurrected, whereas honest scholarship is always open to new and better information from any avenue of inquiry that reveals a problem in the explanatory model.

        Once again, I doubt you will address my criticism that you lack a exportable method that works to demonstrate the difference between literal and metaphor when it comes to claims about causal agents in reality. You use only your bias and find that sufficiently trustworthy. You should know that this is a guaranteed method to fool yourself. But you will no doubt now malign me and think you have adequately addressed the criticism.

      • apologianick Says:

        Tilde: So you’re trying to tell me that you put more confidence in ‘scholarship’ when it comes to the resurrection of Jesus than you do your own beliefs?

        Reply: No silly. I believe in the resurrection of Jesus because of the scholarly case. It’s not an either/or deal.

        Tilde: Let’s put that to the test: oh wait…. you mean religious scholarship only, right? You simply ignore all other scholarship that reveals that dead cells cannot reanimate. Yeah, that’s really excellent research you’re undertaking. Look how unbiased you are!

        Reply; Oh feel free to pursue my reading list and you might want to consider that list before you assume. You know what you do when you assume. Right? I read the non-Christian scholars. I read Crossan, Ehrman, Borg, Martin, White, Mack, etc. I think it’s important to do that. I’ve also read Hume and I’ve read the atheist philosophers that argue against miracles and I’ve read Keener who argues for miracles and Earman who is an agnostic who says Hume failed in his case.

        Meanwhile, as demonstrated in my blog on The Last Superstition, you went on and on arguing about the ideas in a book that you NEVER EVEN READ! When asked if you had read it you responded with

        “Why would I buy a book by someone who wishes to pillory New Atheists for the sake of ego gratification? Not gunna happen.”

        So here you complain to me about my research. At least I didn’t go on a tirade about a book I’ve never even read.

        Tilde: Good grief, Nick: does this kind of explanation actually work for you? The method you use is confirmation bias, plain and simple. You ignore and/or excuse all previous religious scholarship that ascertained (also by confirmation bias) that all kinds of causal claims in scripture were true… right up until good science came along to debunk many of them.

        Reply; No. You assume a fundamentalist interpretation was the norm. It wasn’t. Also, unlike you, I read what disagrees with me. Remember, you went on a lengthy tirade about how bad a book was and it was one you hadn’t even read. Yes. Someone here is practicing confirmation bias, but it isn’t me.

        Tilde: All of a sudden, this previous scholarship was revealed to be empty of accurate explanatory value. This history of the one way movement away from religious claims to accurate and justified claims arbitrated by reality using the method of science raises an interesting consideration: how much of the scholarship you currently use to support your a priori religious beliefs will be similarly debunked? There is no evidence that religious scholarship has ever or shall ever turn that direction around. Why might that be? You see, Nick, your method doesn’t work to reveal what’s accurate in and about reality; it works only to support your current bias you call your religious beliefs.

        Reply; Silly Tilde. I don’t look to Christianity to tell me the scientific truths about the world. That’s not the purpose of the Scriptures. You’re faulting Scripture for not doing what it was never meant to do.

        Tilde: And I suspect there is nothing that can divert your trust and confidence that Jesus was resurrected, whereas honest scholarship is always open to new and better information from any avenue of inquiry that reveals a problem in the explanatory model.

        Reply: Sure. Then do provide the better explanation by all means. Keep in mind I’ve read the critics of the resurrection. You see, unlike you, when I write about a book. I actually read it first.

        Tilde: Once again, I doubt you will address my criticism that you lack a exportable method that works to demonstrate the difference between literal and metaphor when it comes to claims about causal agents in reality. You use only your bias and find that sufficiently trustworthy.

        Reply: No more than you will find a silver bullet with any other form of literature. There’s no shortcuts. That’s all work. I don’t hold to any perspicuity.

        Tilde: You should know that this is a guaranteed method to fool yourself. But you will no doubt now malign me and think you have adequately addressed the criticism.

        Reply: No. That’s your modus operandi. Not mine. Oh yes. Your other modus operandi is critiquing books you haven’t read and then telling other people they only read what agrees with them.

        If I only read what agreed with me, I would not have changed my mind on numerous issues.

      • tildeb Says:

        Q: How do you know which scriptural bits are literal and which are figurative?

        A: Religious scholarship.

        Q: Because religious scholarship makes factual claims about reality that are contrary to and incompatible with explanatory models of scientific scholarship that can be shown to produce knowledge that then informs applications, therapies, and technologies that work for everyone everywhere all the time, and this religious scholarship has a demonstrable history of being factually wrong for many of its causal claims about reality, how do you know which bits of religious scholarship to trust over and above scientific scholarship?

        A: …. ummm…Unlike you, I read religious scholarship I disagree with.

        Observation: non sequiter

      • apologianick Says:

        Tilde: Q: How do you know which scriptural bits are literal and which are figurative?

        A: Religious scholarship.

        Reply: No. I said scholarship. Believe it or not, when you’re talking about the Bible, it helps to read Biblical scholarship. If you were talking about the Big Bang Theory, would you read the latest research on Biological Evolution or the treatment of cancer? No. You’d read the research on The Big Bang Theory. I’m talking about the Bible so lo and behold, I read scholarship about The Bible. Fascinating idea isn’t it? I read the information, study the passages, try to look at the original languages, and then take a position that I think is informed and best fits with the intention of the author.

        Oh yes. Note that. I read the text. You should try it sometime Mr. “I will criticize The Last Superstition all day and never once read it.”

        Tilde: Q: Because religious scholarship makes factual claims about reality that are contrary to and incompatible with explanatory models of scientific scholarship that can be shown to produce knowledge that then informs applications, therapies, and technologies that work for everyone everywhere all the time, and this religious scholarship has a demonstrable history of being factually wrong for many of its causal claims about reality, how do you know which bits of religious scholarship to trust over and above scientific scholarship?

        A: …. ummm…Unlike you, I read religious scholarship I disagree with.

        Observation: non sequiter

        REply: Actually, you brought up miracles and as soon as you do that, you’re not talking about science. You’re talking about metaphysics. Science can’t tell you if miracles can or cannot happen and when you claim that they cannot, you are making a metaphysical statement. I’d urge you to read Keener and Earman on this point, but I think you have the wonderful luxury of not having to read books that disagree with you to know that they’re bogus.

        You see, unlike you, I read the arguments that disagreed with my position and found them lacking.

        So are you going to read Miracles or Hume’s Abject Failure or do you already know that they’re nonsense without having to bother to read them?

      • tildeb Says:

        No wonder why you are so badly confused!

        You think scriptural claims made about reality, how it operates, what agencies it contains, and so forth, are religious claims subject to arbitration and interpretation by scriptural experts.

        They’re not.

        Any such claims from any source about reality are scientific claims. The appropriate scholarship about whatever area of reality these claims purport to describe are properly subjected to arbitration by those who study that area of reality. And the experts of reality are not scriptural scholars. They’re scientists. That’s the scholarship you need to read about such things as… oh, I don’t know… reanimating dead cells, for example?

        There. I fixed that scholarly confusion for you (the clue you missed was that there is no area of study that religion doesn’t claim dominion over, meaning its scholarship is always a matter of theft).

        Sorry if this clarification bursts your religious bubble world, Nick.

      • apologianick Says:

        Tilde: You think scriptural claims made about reality, how it operates, what agencies it contains, and so forth, are religious claims subject to arbitration and interpretation by scriptural experts.

        They’re not.

        Any such claims from any source about reality are scientific claims. The appropriate scholarship about whatever area of reality these claims purport to describe are properly subjected to arbitration by those who study that area of reality. And the experts of reality are not scriptural scholars. They’re scientists. That’s the scholarship you need to read about such things as… oh, I don’t know… reanimating dead cells, for example?

        There. I fixed that scholarly confusion for you (the clue you missed was that there is no area of study that religion doesn’t claim dominion over, meaning its scholarship is always a matter of theft).

        Sorry if this clarification bursts your religious bubble world, Nick.

        Reply: Oh my. Any such claims from any source about reality are scientific claims.

        Okay. Let’s go with this.

        The claim is that any claim about reality is a scientific claim.

        Could you please scientifically demonstrate this claim? Go ahead. Give the testable, empirical, repeatable, and verifiable evidence that this claim is true.

      • tildeb Says:

        Word games, Nick?

        Pathetic.

        If you’re going to make inquiries into how reality operates, and present models of causal agencies in it to be explanatory, then you meet the definition for doing science, namely, the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment in order to arrive at a systematically organized body of knowledge on a particular subject.

        That’s scholarly, Nick, when it comes to the kinds of claims from scripture that you cherry pick to be either literal and historical or figurative. Doing science means treating those claims that supposedly describe reality is practical and applied method of modeling it and then testing the model’s explanatory value in reality. Does it work? If not, then throw it out. The model put forth by scripture doesn’t work, but too many people won’t throw it out but start doing linguistic gymnastics to make down seem to be another kind of up, white an equivalent kind of black. That’s what your cherry picking produces.

        Here you are playing with the words to try to make science what it isn’t… another kind of metaphysics, an equivalent kind of method of inquiry, to the branch of philosophy that deals with the first principles of things, including abstract concepts such as being, knowing, substance, cause, identity, time, and space, an abstract theory or talk with no basis in reality. These two are not synonyms, Nick, and playing with words to try to make them equivalent kinds of methods producing equivalent kinds of models is simply not justifiable. It’s petty and childish.

        You have no equivalent method or scholarship to differentiate which bits of scripture are to be properly interpreted to be literal and historical or merely figurative (the study of god is a subject without an object). Sure, there are obvious differences in writing styles and presented fables and other fictional accounts but this is the veneer you hide behind for other claims you believe to be literal and historical. What you have is your own bias that then guides you and determines confirmation for what constitutes appropriate scholarship.

        Dead cells don’t reanimate, Nick, and for very good and understandable reasons. You’ve rigged the game to exempt your literal and historical religious bits from reality’s arbitration of them – and the scholarship that justifies these reasons to be consistent and reliable for everyone everywhere all the time – and promoted only scriptural scholarship that aligns with your beliefs. That’s why you grant no equivalent credence to Hindu or Islamic religious scholarship any more than you do scientific scholarship contrary to your beliefs. And that’s the same reason over 80% of Americans still don’t accept evolution as it is properly understood by scholarship in biology… like you, they presume science is another kind of belief.

      • apologianick Says:

        Tilde says “Any such claims from any source about reality are scientific claims.”

        I just asked that he back this scientifically and he can’t give a demonstration of it.

        Okay. Then I just don’t believe it. Since I don’t believe it, I’m open to using scholarship from other fields.

        You know what’s really pathetic Tilde?

        Ranting on and on about a book you’ve never read. That’s pathetic.

      • apologianick Says:

        Oh. One more thing.

        Tilde: That’s why you grant no equivalent credence to Hindu or Islamic religious scholarship any more than you do scientific scholarship contrary to your beliefs.

        Reply: Unfortunately for you, I’ve said several times I’d have no problem with miracles taking place in Hindu and Muslim circles. It wouldn’t violate my worldview at all.

        But you see, you have to rule them all out for your a priori religious beliefs. THat’s why you ignore all scholarship contrary. Including even the fact that you rant about scholarship you’ve never read!

      • tildeb Says:

        I tend to answer central questions, Nick, not from ignorance as you continually imply but on merit. You seem to have an aversion to doing just that or at least admitting to what’s true: you have no means to differentiate literal from figurative scriptural claims made about reality.

      • apologianick Says:

        I did give my methodology. You just didn’t like it. Then you proceeded to say this “Any such claims from any source about reality are scientific claims. ”

        I asked you to back it and you never did.

        I also pointed out in a reply to you that I read scholarship on all sides of an issue. I don’t critique books that I haven’t read, which is what you have been established to do.

        Sorry, but just because you don’t like an answer to a question doesn’t mean the question hasn’t been answered.

      • tildeb Says:

        It’s not that I didn’t like your answer; I like it just fine. It demonstrated (and I explained) why your answer was nothing more than confirmation bias expressed as cherry picked ‘scholarship’. It demonstrated why you still had no means to differentiate between scriptural claims about reality you interpreted to be literal and historical and which you interpreted to be figurative… other than you bias.

        If you had your druthers, the boy who pointed out that the Emperor was naked would still be hard at work reading the ‘scholarship’ of the textile industry you selected and cross checking which magical fabrics were best supported by fashion ‘experts’ who dressed the Emperor!

        Your Emperor – the method you use to differentiate – is still naked.

      • apologianick Says:

        Ah. The Courtier’s reply. Meanwhile, you still haven’t backed your claim about science.

        Sorry Tilde. There is no silver bullet to hermeneutics. It takes work like any other piece of literature and being open to changing one’s mind, which is why I have done so many times by reading the position I disagree with.

        It’s really amusing to hear you go on like this when you spent so much time arguing about how bad a book you’d never even read was.

      • cornelll Says:

        Tilde do you think that I worship a literal lamb?

      • Derek_M Says:

        Tildeb, I get it…you are a die hard positivist, Comte would be proud. Now you can either answer the charge of self refutation that no positivist has ever answered or continue blindly down the fundy atheist path to absurdity. Or do neither.

  2. Boxing Pythagoras Says:

    I think that much of the confusion as regards Columbus and the Flat Earth originates with the fact that Christopher Columbus DID consult the work of Eratosthenes and disagree with the esteemed Greek’s conclusions. Just not the ones about the Earth being round.

    Eratosthenes calculated the circumference of the Earth way back in the 3rd Century BCE. Columbus knew about this, but disagreed with Eratosthenes’ calculation; instead, he believed that the Earth’s circumference was far smaller than the Greek had written. He used this to help justify his desire to sail West, around the world, to India.

    It doesn’t take much imagination to see how the Columbian Flat Earth myth got started. Columbus’ desire to sail around the world had something to do with Eratosthenes. Who was Eratosthenes? He was the guy that rigorously proved the Earth was round. And thus, a commonly repeated falsehood was born.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: