The disappointment of predictability

evolution-king-lying-down

Predictability (synonyms: obviousness, certainty, consistency, regularity) is something we generally hope for. We want the trains and planes to arrive/depart at the scheduled times, we expect the TV shows to be on when stated in the TV guide, friends to arrive when requested so that you may attend activities on time, etc.

Sometimes though, predictability is really a disappointment. Especially when you are discussing intellectual pursuits with friends and colleagues to then hear that their response is so predictable and is based upon what they have heard other people say or have read what someone else wrote. You know the old game of saying something to the person next to you and they repeat it to the person next to them and so on for 20-30 people. The last person recites the story and it is completely different from what you started with.

To avoid the predictability of replicated responses, a person would need to research the subject and not to many people take the time to do so- they just repeat what they think is true.

The response that I got in a discussion was as follows “(The researchers) ..were not given a book written 4 hundred some years ago that well, actually explains nothing, and relies on faith in the mystical beliefs and concepts of their day. … or question how the sun and planets revolve around the Earth, or just how flat the Earth is….”

So I am going to write a couple of pages on the fact that the Bible was the single most important encourager of scientific innovation in the early centuries of the enlightenment and I will also disprove the notion that Christianity was responsible for the “flat earth” theories. I will present the facts and interpret them. If the distracters wish to dispute my interpretation, I’ll be happy to engage in a lively debate. If you do not agree with the facts presented, then please display contra-indicating facts.

The term “flat-earther” has commonly been used to refer to an individual who stubbornly adheres to discredited or outmoded ideas. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Shenton#Flat_Earth_Society_today

One of the most prominent recent examples is supposedly the most powerful man in the world, the US President Barack Hussein Obama: “Let me tell you something. If some of these folks [sic] were around when Columbus set sail–[laughter]–they must have been founding members of the Flat Earth Society [laughter]. They would not have believed that the world was round [applause]. We’ve heard these folks in the past.”[1]

Since President Obama also supports infanticide and gay ‘marriage’, which are clearly out of line with biblical teaching, should it be surprising that he would also repeat one of the commonest anti-Christian fables?

Evillutionists, liberals, progressives often falsely accuse creationists of believing in a flat Earth. But neither history nor modern scholarship supports the claim that Christians ever widely believed that the Earth was flat. Moreover, the Bible doesn’t teach it. Christianity has been accused of opposing science and hindering technology throughout history by superstitious ignorance. However, a closer study of historical facts shows that those who oppose creationism or intelligent design make up this accusation.

It was only a handful of so-called intellectual scholars throughout the centuries who believed in a flat Earth. Most of these were ignored by the Church, yet somehow their writings made it into early history books as being the ‘official Christian viewpoint’.

The earliest of these flat-Earth promoters was the African Lactantius (AD 245–325), a professional rhetorician who converted to Christianity mid-life. He rejected all the Greek philosophers, and in doing so also rejected a spherical Earth. His views were considered heresy by the Church Fathers and his work was ignored until the Renaissance (at which time some humanists revived his writings, and of course, his flat Earth view).

Next was sixth century Eastern Greek Christian, Cosmas Indicopleustes, who claimed the Earth was flat and lay beneath the heavens (consisting of a rectangular vaulted arch). His work also was soundly rejected by the Church Fathers, but liberal historians have usually claimed his view was typical of that of the Church Fathers. Predictably, historians have simply followed the pattern of others without checking the facts. Most Church Fathers did not address the issue of the shape of the Earth, and those who did regarded it as ‘round’ or spherical.

In 1828, American writer Washington Irving (author of Rip Van Winkle) published a book entitled The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus. It was a mixture of fact and fiction, with Irving himself admitting he was ‘apt to indulge in the imagination’. Its theme was the victory of a lone believer in a spherical Earth over a united front of Bible-quoting, superstitious ignoramuses, convinced the Earth was flat.[2]. Irving wrote that it was the flat-earth believing churchmen who vehemently opposed Columbus’ plan to travel to the Indies on the grounds that his ship would fall off the edge of the earth while attempting to sail across the Atlantic[3].

In fact, those who opposed Columbus not only knew the earth was a sphere, but also had a good idea of how large it was—and this was the major reason why they opposed Columbus. Columbus and his men were not afraid of falling off the earth as Irving claimed, but of travelling so far from land in an unknown part of the world. They did not know the American continent existed, and, for this reason, Columbus’ critics correctly believed that a voyage to the Far East would take far too long and cost way too much. Unfortunately, Irving used many facts from reputable references to make his fictional account appear well supported, and, as a result, ‘the public was fooled into taking his literary game as history.’[4] A careful reading of Irving makes it clear that his ‘history’ was deliberately designed to make Christianity appear prejudiced, dogmatic and ignorant, and to make scientists appear as objective persons who were carefully weighing the facts and who, in the end, were correct.

In 1834, the anti-Christian Letronne falsely claimed that most of the Church Fathers, including Augustine, Ambrose and Basil, held to a flat Earth. His work has been cited as ‘reputable’ ever since.

In the late nineteenth century, the writings of John William Draper and Andrew Dickson White were responsible for promoting the myth that the church taught a flat Earth. Both had Christian backgrounds, but rejected these early in life. Englishman Draper convinced himself that with the downfall of the Roman Empire the ‘affairs of men fell into the hands of ignorant and infuriated ecclesiastics, parasites, eunuchs and slaves’ — these were the ‘Dark Ages’. Draper’s work, History of the Conflict between Religion and Science (1874), targeted the Roman Church. Meanwhile White (who founded Cornell University as the first explicitly secular university in the United States), published the two-volume scholarly work History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, in 1896.

Both men incorrectly portrayed a continuing battle through the Christian era between the defenders of ignorance and the enlightened rationalists. In fact, not only did the church not promote the flat Earth, it is clear from such passages as Isaiah 40:22 (It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; ) that the Bible implies it is spherical.

And if you were to use the non-literal figure of speech such as the ‘four corners of the Earth’ does that make you a flat-earther?

By citing only secondary sources, the flat-earth myth propagandists did what they accused the church of doing—and what Darwinists do today—and, as a result, they created a ‘body of false knowledge by consulting one another instead of the evidence.’[5] This history clearly supports, not a war of religion against science, but instead a war of evolutionary propagandists against religion.

So anytime you are in a discussion or debate with a creationist and you come up with one of those statements at the start of this paper, you are revealing that you have no knowledge of the subject and are resorting to tried and true distortions of the facts to cast dispersions on the character you are debating, instead of your own limited knowledge of the subject under discussion.

And to rub it in the present and past Presidents of the Flat Earth Society were evillusionists. “The Flat Earth Society is an active organization currently led by a Virginian man named Daniel Shenton (who)…believes in evolution and global warming…” http://creation.com/flat-earth-leader-is-an-evolutionist

If you don’t believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of the one and only God, then I’m not going to try to dissuade you. If you ever decide to try to understand the other side then go to http://creation.com/search and type in “Bible History” you will get over 1,000 hits with a wide range of intellectual levels and some of them might appear interesting to you.

The next treatise will cover how and what creationists have contributed to science, in fact ithout the Church encouraging scientific enquiry we could be further behind than where we are now. Of course the evillutionists, liberals and progressives would try to convince you otherwise, but we will lay out the facts and you can decide for yourself. I’m not out to change your way of thinking (it certainly would not be detrimental if you did) or force my beliefs on you, which appears to be the goal of the evillutionists, liberals and progressives.

[1] Obama, B.H., Speech on energy at Prince George’s County Community College, Largo, MD, 15 March 2012.

[2] An example of the misinformation in the‘education’ system comes from the 20th-century high-school history textbook The American Pageant by Thomas Bailey. Many of its editions claimed, “The superstitious sailors [of Columbus’ crew] … grew increasingly mutinous … because they were fearful of sailing over the edge of the world.” However, sailors were well aware of the shape of the earth. One myth states that people realized that the earth was round because they saw ships slowly sinking below the horizon. But before telescopes, it was more likely the other way round: sailors returning to land saw high mountains before lowlands. Also, sailors from the northern hemisphere crossed the equator well before Christ, and reported that in the South, the sun shone from the north. They also knew how to measure their latitude from the angle of the sun at noon, which works only with a spherical earth

[3] Cahill, T., Mysteries of the Middle Ages: The Rise of Feminism, Science, and Art from the Cults of Catholic Europe, Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, New York, p. 224, 2006.

[4] Russell, J.B., Inventing the Flat Earth, Praeger, New York, 1991, p. 52.

[5] Russell, ref. 4, p. 44.

 

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