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Topics - Secret User

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Glenn Elert
25 April 1999


Those who believe in the literal truth of the Bible are in for a shock. The Bible describes a cosmos that few of us would recognize today.

    * The earth is fixed and immovable and lies at the center of all things. The sun moves about the earth, not the other way around. Use of the phrase "solar system" should therefore be avoided in favor of the more accurate "geosystem."

    * The earth is flat and finite. Its boundary may be circular, but the earth is most certainly not a sphere as was hypothesized by Eratosthenes (a pagan scientist who lived two centuries before the birth of Christ). The placement of globes in public classrooms can only serve to promote ecology as a possible state religion.

    * The sky is the roof over the earth -- a solid impervious barrier that protects both believers and non-believers from the waters beyond. The term "outer space" is a notion perpetrated by secular humanists, new age gurus, and other freethinkers.

    * The stars on the sky are much smaller than the earth. (The word "on" is not a typographical error here.) The notion of "distant suns" is nothing more than a theory entertained by misguided scientists.

    * The laws of physics as they exist on the earth are different from those of the sun, moon, stars, and planets. Astronomers should look to the Bible and not the Principia before they aim their telescopes. The former is the unerring word of God while the latter is merely the word of Isaac Newton. Nearly all scientist now recognize Newtonian mechanics as flawed, having inadequately explained the precession of the perihelion of the planet Mercury. (Newtonian mechanics has since been replaced by Eisntein's general theory of relativity.)

You'd think Ralph Reed and Jerry Falwell would be up in arms over these facts. Massive government bureaucracies send spacecraft to distant planets. The liberal media are awash in images of a spherical earth. (The Universal Studios logo is a globe!) Children in public schools are taught from Kindergarten that the earth revolves around the sun. With the exceptions of the persistent use of the terms "sunrise" and "sunset," our modern world is flooded with images of heretical cosmologies that remove the earth from its God-given place at the center of all things. Only an atheist would buy the notion that we live on a tiny rock, circling an insignificant star in a galaxy of billions of stars in a universe of billions of galaxies. Why would God place his most holy of all creations in such location? Surely, no true believer in the Scriptures -- the divine and unerring word of God -- would accept the scientific notion that we live in place that is not special in the eyes of our Creator. I find it quite reasonable to insist on a Constitutional amendment requiring all Supreme Court justices to swear their allegiance to geocentrism and flat-earthism. Our souls and the souls of our children lie in their hands.

O.K. You can stop hyperventilating now. The previous paragraphs are an example of a rhetorical device known as hyperbole. A hyperbole is an exaggerated statement that is not meant to be taken literally, but is used to emphasize a point. The purpose of this essay is to demolish the notion that the Bible has any scientific relevance whatsoever. In particular, I aim to show that the same thinking that leads devout fundamentalists to deny evolution as atheism must also lead them to embrace geocentrism and flat-earthism as God-given truths.

So why would I do this? What got me started on the road to endless arguments? I work as a teacher in the New York City public school system. From time to time, I'm asked quite poignant and perceptive questions.

    * Who said so?
    * Why is this the way it is?
    * Why should I care about this?
    * Is this going to be on the next test?

So here I am one day, trying to remember all the details behind the progression from the geocentrism of Aristotle and Ptolemy to the heliocentrism of Copernicus and Galileo when this student asks me the question of the day?

    * Where does it say that the sun goes around the earth in the Bible?

Where, indeed? I remember learning that the earth was created in six days in Sunday school, but I don't remember anybody teaching geocentrism. And yet five hundred years ago, that would have been the case. If not in religion class, then in secular classes taught by church-sanctified masters, Europeans were learning that the earth was the center of all things and that the sun, moon, and planets revolved around it. Prior to that, they might have even learned that the earth was flat and that the sky was a solid covering that protected the earth from the waters beyond. Of course, they also learned reasonably useful things like literacy, numeracy, geography, and history. We have no problem accepting that these subjects were full of what we now recognize as errors and limitations, but when it comes to biology, the beliefs of two to four thousand years ago are accepted by some as fact. The earth and all that is on it, including all living things, were created in the literal span of six terrestrial days (today, roughly 24 hours).

O.K. If you want to play that game, then let's go. If you want to use millennia old Scripture to support your half-baked scientific notions then I can do the same with mine (which you must remember, I don't really believe in). What does the Bible actually say about the nature of cosmology? Let's open the Good Book and read it with the same uncritical eye as that of the anti-evolutionists. Let the Scriptures speak for themselves.
Scriptural Cosmology

When more than one citation is presented below a descriptive paragraph, their order on the page is the same as their order in the Bible.
The mobility of the sun

The most important biblical quote supporting a geocentric universe can be found in the Book of Joshua. This will be used as the starting point for our scriptural cosmology.

    Joshua 10:12-13
    Then spoke Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord gave the Amorites over to the men of Israel; and he said in the sight of Israel, "Sun, stand thou still at Gibeon, and thou Moon in the valley of Aijalon." And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stayed in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day.

The miracle of Joshua appears again as a reference in The Book of Habakkuk.

    Habakkuk 3:11
    The sun and moon stood still in their habitation at the light of thine arrows as they sped, at the flash of thy glittering spear.

The evidence in support of a geocentric model is overwhelming here. Joshua commanded the sun to stand still. He did not order the earth to cease rotating nor did he qualify his statement with the divine knowledge that the sun was merely made to appear stationary. The sun was commanded to stand still because it is the sun that moves. Descriptions of its motion can be rather poetic.

    Psalms 19:4-6
    yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes forth like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and like a strong man runs his course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them; and there is nothing hid from its heat.

    Ecclesiastes 1:5
    The sun rises and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises.

The stability of the earth

On the other side of the geocentric coin, if the sun moves then the earth must not move. There are a few passages which more-or-less forbid the motion of the earth.


Flat Earth Information Repository / Flat Earth Fake
« on: December 03, 2013, 06:01:24 PM »
Flat Earth Fake
Western Folklore Volume 27, No.3
July, 1968
by George D. Hendricks

Flat Earth Fake- The down-to-earth leader of the Flat Earth Society Thursday called Lunar Orbiter's photograph of the world a fake. "It's a fraud, a fake, a piece of trickery or deceit," said Samuel Shenton, 63, the British-based secretary of the International Flat Earth Research Society. "Look at the photograph the satellite supposedly took. Notice those lines across the bottom of the picture. They show it's a composite, a mock-up." But why should the Americans-or anyone else-seek to perpetrate such a deception? "It's all a part of the great global earth conspiracy," said Shenton, "and it's a shame." Shenton and his followers-he says he's got them all over the world-believe that the earth is not only flat, but static in space, and that the theory of gravity was advanced to support the spinning earth theory. (AP dispatch from London, to the Dallas Morning News, Aug. 17, 1967)

What Magellan's Voyage Didn't Prove or Why the Earth Is Flat
Analysis Volume 35, No.2
December, 1974
By Jerry S. Clegg

When seeking to indict some belief as archaic, superstitious or ridiculous, the knowledgeable polemicist is likely to compare the position he opposes to the belief that the earth is flat. He will do this on the presumption that scarcely anything could serve as a better example of a falsehood which only the ignorant or the unthinking have accepted. Magellan's voyage proved that the earth is round. Therefore, so we are all prone to conclude, the earth isn't flat. Those who say it is are to be corrected if teachable, dismissed if not. In truth, however, the earth is flat, more or less. The conviction that it isn't affords a fine example of how easily and powerfully proof can be misconceived. A typical "demonstration" of the folly of believing in the earth's flatness will begin by pointing out the difference between something round, such as a tennis ball, and something flat, such as a table top. The question will then be asked which of the two things the earth is like. Since we know that the earth is a sphere and has no edges, we will say it is like the ball. After saying this we are apt to conclude that it, like the ball, is dissimilar to the table top, and so not flat. The obvious contrast between the ball and the table top appears to give us no other option. We are likely to feel certain that because the earth is round it just can't be flat. Persuasive as it is, a "demonstration" of this kind is faulty. Implicit in it is the assumption that flat and round are always contrasting features. Normally they are contrasting, and this explains our readiness to say they always are. Still, some objects are both round and flat. The earth is a case in point. To see that it is, one must bear in mind how in our practical affairs we use the word 'flat'. A horizontal surface we are pre- pared to call flat is one we recognize to be neither a dome nor a bowl. It is neither concave nor convex, but a level expanse. Our grounds for saying this have nothing to do with a measurement of zero curvature. Rather they pertain to the behaviour of liquids and solids placed on its surface. We call a table top flat, for instance, because when a spirit-level is placed on it a reading of zero inclination appears. It does not shed water drops and marbles like an umbrella, nor does it collect them like a bucket. Any surface which does collect water at its centre is a bowl; any surface which does shed water is a dome. By the conventions of language, then, a flat surface is a level expanse on which solids and liquids tend to remain stable. On these grounds there are plenty of regions on the earth's surface which are flat. Its regs, mesas, prairies, soda pans, lakes and oceans certainly come very close to being what any plain spoken man interested in having himself understood would call flat. One walks neither uphill nor downhill when treking across the Utah salt flats. They are, then, appropriately named. They match, too, the general curvature of the earth. They, and all similar areas, illustrate the point that being flat and being curved are compatible. Indeed, a little thought must show that a flat surface is necessarily a curved surface. What keeps a marble from rolling off a table is the uniformity of gravitational attraction at all points along the surface of the table-top. Since the force of gravity varies with the distance from the centre of gravitational attraction, all points on a horizontal, flat surface are equally distant from some one point. For us that point is approximately the centre of the earth. Because a surface can have all its points equally distant from some one point outside itself only if it is curved, flat surfaces must be curved. All their points must be equally distant from a point close to the earth's centre. Although variable, the earth's surface in general meets this condition. Its curvature acts as what might be called a natural paradigm of flatness. Surfaces whose curva- ture approximates that of a level expanse of the earth just are those we call flat. Any arc greater than the earth's curvature-such as that of a tennis ball-will result in a dome from which liquids and solids will flow, slide or roll. Any less an arc-such as that of a bucket-will result in a basin or bowl into which water and debris will collect. Flatness, so to speak, is a certain degree of curvature approximating that of the earth itself. If the right hand side of a perfectly flat table were to be extended, it would even- tually curve around the earth to join itself on the left. We do not make our tables this large, of course, and so they all have edges from which items will fall if pushed far enough. This explains why, when mentally comparing a tabletop to the earth, we tend to think of both as having edges. That is our true mistake, not the thought that the earth's surface is flat. In case this observation seems dubious, a thought experiment will confirm it. Imagine the earth with one of its polar regions scraped off to 5o degrees of latitude so that its surface there parallels a ray of light. Many people would be tempted to say the earth would then be flat in that region, just as many now say the poles are, in fact, comparatively flat because their curvature is less than what we find at the equator. The temptation to speak this way stems from our entertaining a faulty picture of a flat expanse as a surface of zero curvature. It is a temptation which experience would very quickly dissipate. If left standing in the centre of a scraped off polar region, we would note immediately that we were in a huge depression. Any walk we took would lead us further away from the earth's centre against the pull of gravity. Any walk would, then, be a climb, and no one who had to hike to the rim of the depression would consider the territory he crossed flat. At o degrees of latitude the slope would approach some 20 degrees of inclination. Clearly, a flat surface is one whose curvature approximates the gen- eral curvature of the earth. Those who think otherwise are guilty of the same mistake our medieval ancestors made. Some of the men sailing with Columbus feared they would sail off the earth, thinking it to be flat and with edges. We now discount those fears on the ground that the earth is round and without edges. The fear and its dismissal, however, rest on the shared error that what is flat cannot be round. The terror of the medieval sailor and the equanimity of mind of the modern seaman have in common a faulty picture of what it is for a surface to be flat. An increase in geographical knowledge has dispelled a groundless fear, but it has not corrected a faulty conception. Indeed, in one respect our knowledge has added to a store of confusion. From an essentially correct belief in the flatness of the earth the pre-Columbian sailor drew a wrong inference on the danger of falling into space, but at least there was no discrepancy between the truth, his usage and his conviction on what is flat. What he called flat is what he rightly believed to be flat. The modern sailor who erroneously denies that the world is flat faces, however, the embarrassment that his usage and his convictions are inconsistent. He is almost certain to call anything whose curvature matches that of the earth flat, even though on reflection he will deny that what he is prone to say is true. He is not in a position to "correct" his normal habits of speech either, for if he tried he would find that there is nothing he could call flat and still be understood. His offering a surface of zero curvature as an example of what he means would only puzzle others, for what is the point of calling a basin flat? From this example of how easily proof can be misconceived a lesson can be learned. It begins with the observation that a more or less spontaneous picture, or imaginative conception, can stand in the way of our seeing how we use a word. The picture of an uncurved surface gives us a wrong idea of our use of the word 'flat'. The lesson continues with the warning that in such a case we should not follow the advice of pragmatists and positivists on how to clarify our ideas by asking if reality corre- sponds to our picture. Imagining what would verify or refute the thesis that the earth is flat, for example, is apt to mire us deeper in a muddle, leaving our faulty picture intact but our convictions now fully at odds with our usage. For all of us in our unreflecting moments nothing could serve as a better example of a flat surface than a calm lake or salt deposit. Yet, when invited to think about the matter, we are prone to conclude that Magellan's voyage proved such expanses to be less than flat. The imagined "proof" is deceptive; it is the unreflecting usage which is right. Things, after all, are what we say they are. Clarity of mind requires that we honour our usage and resist the "proof" which only stengthens the force of a faulty picture.

Flat Earth Information Repository / Is The Earth Round Or Flat?
« on: December 03, 2013, 05:56:41 PM »
Is The Earth Round Or Flat?
The Mathematical Gazette Volume 16, No.221
Dec, 1932
By A.W King

SIR,-Has the above question any meaning ? If it is not possible for human beings to prove that the Earth is either round or flat, surely the question becomes meaningless. I give below reasons for thinking that we cannot answer the question one way or the other. Let us take a system of three unit vectors, e1, e2, e3, at right angles to each other and use spherical polar coordinates, viz. Φfor the co-latitude measured from e3, Θ for the meridian angle measured from e1, r for the radius vector. The differential vector dr of Euclidean 3-space using these coordinates is (1) dr=r(cos Φ cos Θ. e +cos Φ sin . e2 - sin Φ +. e3)dΦ + r ( - sinΦ) sin Θ. el + sin Φ ( cos Θ. e2) dO + (sin Φ cos Φ  + sin Φ) sin Θ. e2 + cos Φ. e3)dr.

Squaring (1) we get for the square of the line element (or ground form) (2) ds2=(dr)2 = r2 dΦ2 + r2 sin^2 Φ dΘ2 + dr^2.

Putting r=a in (1) we get for the differential vector of a sphere of radius a, in 3-space, (3) dr=a(cos Φ cos Θ. e1 +cos Φ ( sin Θ . e2 - sin Φ . e3) d +a (- sin Φ sin Θ. e^1 + sin Φ cos Θ. e2) d Θ,

with ground form (4) ds^2 =a^2 d Φ^2 +a^2 sin^2 Φ d Θ^2.

Next consider the non-Euclidean 3-space whose differential vector is, with Φ, Θ and r as parameters, (5) do- =r . e1 Φ + r sin Φ. e2 dΘ + e3. dr.

Squaring it, we get its ground form: (6) ds^2= r^2 dΦ^2 r^2 sin^2 4 dΘ^2 + dr^2.

Consider the Riemannian 2-pole elliptic plane with constant 1/a, lying in this non-Euclidean 3-space. It is obtained by putting r=a in (5). Its differential vector is (7) do-=a. e1 dΦ +a sin Φ) .e^2d Θ.

Its ground form is (8 ) ds^2=(do-)^2 =a^2 d Φa ^2 + a^2 sin^2 Φ dΘ^2.

By comparing their ground forms (2) and (6), we see that the Riemannian 3-space is " applicable " to Euclidean 3-space.

By comparing (4) and (8 ) we see that the Riemannian plane is " applicable" to the Euclidean sphere. Let us now suppose that two persons E and N move about the Earth in company with each other. Any measurements they may make will be the same, e.g. if they measure the sides and angles of a geodesic triangle, they will get the same relations connecting the sides and angles as given in spherical trigonometry. E chooses to interpret such measurements as proving that the surface is a sphere of radius a, lying in Euclidean 3-space. N chooses to interpret them as proving that the surface is the above-mentioned Riemann plane lying in the non-Euclidean 3-space (5). The geometries of these surfaces and spaces are the same. Therefore no possible experiment can decide between them. The proofs given in books on geography and astronomy beg the question by assuming our 3-space Euclidean. A corresponding argument applies to the case of a spheroid.

Flat Earth Information Repository / The New Flat Earth Society
« on: December 03, 2013, 05:54:36 PM »
The New Flat Earth Society
The Exponential Function
January 28, 2002
Albert A. Bartlett

Introduction: The Problem

There was a time, long ago, when people thought that the Earth was flat, but now for several centuries people have believed that the Earth is round . . . like a sphere. But there are problems with a spherical earth, and a now a new paradigm is emerging which seems to be a return to the wisdom of the ancients.

A sphere is bounded and hence is finite, which implies that there are limits, and in particular, there are limits to growth of things that consume the Earth and that live on it. Today, many people believe that the resources of the Earth and of the human intellect are so enormous that population growth can continue and that there is no danger that we will ever run out of anything. For instance, after a United Nations report predicted shortages of natural resources that would follow because of continued population growth, Jack Kemp, who was then Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Cabinet of President George Bush, is reported to have said, "Nonsense, people are not a drain on the resources of the planet." (2)

These people believe that perpetual growth is desirable, consequently it must be possible, and so it can?t possibly be a problem. At the same time there are still a few remaining "spherical earth" people who go around talking about "limits" and in particular about the limits that are implied by the term "carrying capacity." But limits are awkward, because limits conflict with the concept of perpetual growth, so there is a growing move to do away with the concept of limits. A friend recently returned from an international conference in Germany and he reports that whenever he brought up the subject of limits, the angry rebuttal was, "We?re tired of hearing of limits to growth! We?re going to grow the limits!" Another friend sent me a clipping (3) in which an eminent national economist closes an opinion piece by saying:

"A 3% to 3.5% growth rate is not only an achievable national objective: it is an economic and social necessity."

A spherical earth is finite. The pro-growth people say that perpetual growth on this earth is possible. If the pro-growth people are correct, what kind of an earth are we living on?

The Solution

A spherical earth is finite and hence is forever unappealing to the devotees of perpetual growth. In contrast, a flat earth can accommodate growth forever, because a flat earth can be infinite in the two horizontal dimensions and also in the vertical downward direction. The infinite horizontal dimensions forever remove any fear of crowding as population grows, and the infinite downward dimension assures humans of an unlimited supply of all of the mineral raw materials that will be needed by a human population that continues to grow forever. The flat earth removes all the need for worry about limits.

So, let us think of the "We?re going to grow the limits!" people as the "New Flat Earth Society."


The economist Julian Simon is famous for his belief that there are no limits to growth. (4) In a recent article he wrote (5)

Technology exists now to produce in virtually inexhaustible quantities just about all the products made by nature - foodstuffs, oil, even pearls and diamonds . . . We have in our hands now - actually in our libraries - the technology to feed, clothe and supply energy to an ever-growing population for the next 7 billion years . . . Even if no new knowledge were ever gained . . . we would be able to go on increasing our population forever . . . (6)

Two friends wrote me to call my attention to this article, and one of them said in his letter that Simon had been contacted and that Simon said that the "7 billion years" was an error and it should have been "7 million years." (7)

We should note two things. First, there is a big difference between "million" and "billion." In the U.S. a "billion" is a thousand million. Second, even 7 million years is a long period of time.

One of these friends asked me: if the world population in 1995 is 5.7 billion people (5.7 x 109), what would its size be (P7) if it grew steadily at 1% per year for 7 million years? (8)


Although arithmetic is falling out of fashion, let?s do some calculations so that we can understand how the old fashioned "spherical earth" scientists would treat the problem.

We will do this calculation assuming the length of time is exactly 7 million years and the growth rate is exactly 1% per year. For the case of an annual growth rate of 1%, the value of k is 0.010 . . . per year. It is easy enough to set up the equation for P7, which is the world population after 7 million years of 1% annual growth:

1) P7 = (5.7 x 109) exp(0.01 x 7 x l06) = (5.7 x l09) exp(7 x 104)

Here is where we separate out those who understand algebra from those who only know how to do key strokes on a calculator. When you do the keystrokes to evaluate exp(7 x 104) many calculators will flash the message "ERROR" because these calculators are not able to handle numbers larger than 9.99... x 1099. (9) One must have some understanding of algebra to work around this limitation.

What we want to find is the value of B in Eq.2.

2) exp(7 x 104) = 10B

If we take the natural logarithm of both sides we have

7 x 104 = B ln(10)

B = 7 x 104 / 2.303 . . .

3) B = 30400.6137 . . .

(Remember that we assumed the input numbers were exact.) Equation 1 now becomes

P7 = 5.7 x 109 x 1030400.6137 . . .

4) = 5.7 x 1030409.6137 . . .

If one wants to express this as an integer power of ten, we can note that 100.6137 = 4.11, so that

P7 = 5.7 x 4.11 x 1030409

5) P7 = 2.3 x 1030410

This is a fairly large number!

If we had used Simon?s original number of 7 billion years, we would have had B = 3.04 x 107.

It is hard to imagine the meaning of a number as large as the one given in Eq.5. To try to understand the meaning of this large number, let us compare it with an estimate the number of atoms in the known universe. If we assume the known universe is a sphere whose radius is 20 billion light years, the volume of the sphere is about 3 x 1085 cubic centimeters. If the average density of the universe is one atom per cubic centimeter, then the number of atoms estimated to be in the known universe is about 3 x 1085. The number given in Eq.5 is something like 30 kilo-orders of magnitude larger than the number of atoms estimated to be in the known universe!

Note that in making this calculation we are assuming that the universe, like the Earth, is spherical, which could hardly be correct if the Earth is flat and is of infinite lateral extent.

A related question comes to mind: if world population growth continues at a rate of 1% per year, (k = 0.01 per year) how long would it take for the population to grow until the number of people was equal to this estimate of the number of atoms in the known universe? This calls for us to find t in the following equation.

6) 3 x 1085 = 5.7 x 109 exp(0.01 t)

5.26 x 1075 = exp(0.01 t)

174 = .01 t

t = 17 thousand years

This indicates that the population of the Earth, growing at 1% per year, would grow to a number equal to the number of atoms estimated to be in the known universe, in a period of time something like the period since a recent ice age.

We could also ask, what growth rate would be required for the world population to grow from 5.7 x 109 to 3 x 1085 in 7 million years? We must find the value of k in this equation

7) 3 x 1085 = 5.7 x 109 exp(7 x 106 k)

Solving this, we find k = 2.5 x 10-5 per year. This is 2.5 x 10-3 percent per year. In the first year this growth rate would produce an increase of world population of about 1.42 x 105 people. Contrast this with the present increase of about 9 x 107 per year.

These numbers make it clear to us old fashioned "spherical earth people" that the world population cannot continue to grow for long at anything like its present rate. There are signs that the population growth rate is already slowing in some parts of Europe and Asia.

Calculations similar to these remind us that the major effect of steady growth in the rates of consumption of non-renewable resources is to shorten dramatically the life-expectancy of the resources. (10)

Julian Simon has claimed that the human mind is "the ultimate resource" As was noted in the review of his 1981 book, this is true "only if it [the human mind] is used." (11).


If the "we can grow forever" people are right, then they will expect us, as scientists, to modify our science in ways that will permit perpetual growth. We will be called on to abandon the "spherical earth" concept and figure out the science of the flat earth. We can see some of the problems we will have to solve. We will be called on to explain the balance of forces that make it possible for astronauts to circle endlessly in orbit above a flat earth, and to explain why astronauts appear to be weightless. We will have to figure out why we have time zones; where do the sun, moon and stars go when they set in the west of an infinite flat earth, and during the night, how do they get back to their starting point in the east. We will have to figure out the nature of the gravitational lensing that makes an infinite flat earth appear from space to be a small circular flat disk. These and a host of other problems will face us as the "infinite earth" people gain more and more acceptance, power and authority. We need to identify these people as members of "The New Flat Earth Society" because a flat earth is the only earth that has the potential to allow the human population to grow forever.

Flat Earth Information Repository / Charles K Johnson's Obituary (NCSE)
« on: December 03, 2013, 05:54:00 PM »
Flat Earth Society President Dies
National Center For Science Education
by John R. Cole

Charles K Johnson, president of the International Flat Earth Society for almost 30 years, died in March at age 76. Johnson succeeded the late Samuel Shenton of Dover, England, as head of the often-ridiculed organization, which steadfastly opposed evolution and most of the physics, geology, and astronomy of the past half millennium.

As former NCSE president Bob Schadewald stressed, Charlie was "on the level". He sincerely believed that a literal reading of the Bible required one to recognize that the world is flat. His flamboyant newsletter was contemptuous of fellow creationists who accepted GREASEBALL EARTH THEORY (he tended to capitalize every third word or so) because they were not true biblical literalists. "Greaseball" was his universal term for round-earthers who, he noted, would obviously slide off a spherical earth.

Many creationists resented being lumped with Johnson, but they actually shared his logic and approach to science, relying on scripture as the ultimate authority in science and demanding that "common sense" and direct observation were the only tools needed or even allowed in scholarship. Johnson often showed people a photograph of his wife in Australia, noting that she was standing upright and not hanging upside down by her toes as she would have to have done had the world been a GREASEBALL. He had proof he was eager to share that the sun is 32 miles wide and 3000 miles from earth (just a bit closer than Heaven) and that John Kennedy and his close friend "Nicky" Khrushchev worked together to foment the hoax of a space race and moon landing in order to make a fortune for their friends. (The moon landing was a Hollywood stunt actually filmed near Johnson's trailer home in the Mojave Desert or perhaps in Arizona. It was scripted by Arthur C Clarke.)

The Flat Earth Society traced its roots to the Universal Zetetic Society, founded in England in 1832 by Sir Birley Rowbotham, author of Earth Not a Globe. Robert Schadewald befriended Johnson and his wife Marjory, writing several articles on the movement that illustrated the intellectual history and themes linking the creationist movement with both flat-earth and geocentrist belief (see, for examples, Schadewald's "Looking for lighthouses" in Creation/Evolution 1992; 12 [2]: 1-4 and his "The evolution of Bible-science" in Scientists Confront Creationism, ed. Laurie Godfrey, New York: WW Norton, 1983, 283-99).

Marjory Johnson's death several years ago and a fire that destroyed Society mailing lists and documents to severely limit Johnson's activities in his last years. At his death he was attempting to reconstruct the 2000 names in the FES membership ? some of whom (such as this writer) were not believers.

Flat Earth Information Repository / A Flat-Earth Fanatic Gets on the Ball
« on: December 03, 2013, 05:52:53 PM »
A Flat-Earth Fanatic Gets on the Ball
Los Angeles Times
January 25, 1988
by Jack Smith

When the big windstorm cleared the skies last week, I saw my chance to find out once and for all whether the Earth is round or flat.

Recently I had expressed my belief that the Earth is round, but a reader, Jack Findlater, asked why I had never questioned that belief as I have so many others.

I agreed I could not prove the Earth was round. My belief was based on faith. "So it's easy for me to reject the notion that it's flat. . . ."

Consequently, I telephoned the head of the Flat Earth Society, Charles K. Johnson, of Lancaster, and asked him, "Are you kidding? Or do you really believe the Earth is flat?"

He said, "The whole idea of the Earth being a spinning ball is just ridiculous. We have studied the Earth and found it flat."

He scorned Pythagoras and all the other scientists who have determined that the Earth is round, and dismissed the photographs from Apollo as fakes. "The whole thing was a game they cooked up to produce more jobs."

After printing that interview, I received several provocative letters.

My friend and colleague Don Dwiggins, the aviation writer, pointed out, rather flatly: "Argument over whether Earth is flat or round sounds like confusion whether pancakes are flat or round . . . depends on how you look at it."

Dwiggins said I probably thought that the sun rises and sets every day. "I contend that the sun does not rise and set every day. In fact, it stays put, while the Earth sets and rises, so we get earthset in the A.M. instead of sunrise, and earthrise in the P.M. instead of sunset."

Earlier, commenting on an ad for a flight of the Concorde, on which one allegedly could see the curvature of the Earth, I had written: "Though I have seen that phenomenon in photographs, I will probably never be quite sure that the Earth isn't flat until I see it in reality."

Allan S. Hjerpe, whose letterhead identified him as proprietor of the Pacoima Moat & Drawbridge Service (Specialists in Crocodiles, Piranhas, and Green Scum), shared my uncertainty.

He said, "The Earth could be shaped like a giant Frisbee--round and with a curved surface, but not a globe. I find that I accept at a gut level that the Earth is a sphere, but it is an act of faith. I've never seen anything with my own eyes which would convince me of this. Taking the word of astronauts is like taking another's word about his religious experiences. . . ."

"You may be interested to know," wrote Bill Anderson of San Marino, "that, due to the rotation of the Earth, while sitting at your computer on Mt. Washington you are traveling east at roughly 1,000 miles per hour. This pales into insignificance when you take into account that the Earth is traveling something in excess of 60,000 miles per hour in its orbit around the sun--not to mention the procession of the sun within the Milky Way galaxy, and the meandering of the galaxy itself in some unfathomable direction in the universe. . . ."

As for Johnson and the Flat Earth Society, Arne Myggen, a Danish newspaper correspondent, once interviewed him in a Lancaster McDonald's (Johnson's choice) and attests that Johnson betrayed "not a flicker of a sense of humor."

Myggen is convinced that Johnson is absolutely sincere. "I had one more question. If the world is flat, what is there on the other side? He gave me a brilliant disarming answer and at the same time had a look in his eyes of the utmost earnestness. 'I don't know,' he said."

Which brings us back to the weather and my proposed experiment. Bruce Shulte of San Pedro wrote that all I had to do was go down to Cabrillo Beach, in San Pedro, and look across the channel to the Isthmus of Catalina Island, which has a height of about 30 feet above sea level. Because of the Earth's curvature, he said, I wouldn't be able to see it. I would see nothing but the ocean's bulge. However, if I were to climb San Pedro's cliffs, which rise to 100 feet, I could clearly see the isthmus. "The effect is most dramatic with binoculars on a clear day."

Alas. The windstorm is over. I looked out my window this morning to the peninsula and saw the usual. Low coastal fog.

Now I may never know.

Scientific Creationism, Geocentricity, and the Flat Earth
Skeptical Inquirer
by Robert J. Schadewald

Evolution is a scientific fairy-tale just as the flat-earth theory was in the 12th century.-- Edward Blick, scientific creationist
Poor flat-earthers! Few modern intellectual movements have been so widely scorned and misunderstood. Among Christians, religious tolerance and ecumunism seem to break down at the edge of the earth. The preceding quotation suggests the contempt which most scientific creationists feel for the flat-earthers. Comparing them to evolutionists is an especially low blow, since the flat-earthers have always been in the forefront of the battle against evolution.

Though flat-earthism is as well supported scripturally and scientifically as creationism, the creationists plainly do not want to be associated with flat-earthers. In a public debate with creationist Duane Gish, paleontologist Michael Voorhies suggested that the Creation Research Society resembles the Flat Earth Society. According to a report of the debate published in the creationist newsletter Acts & Facts, Gish replied ?that not a single member of the Creation Research Society was a member of the Flat Earth Society and that Voorhies? linking of the two was nothing more than a smear. Gish's remarks brought a rejoinder in a subsequent issue of The Flat Earth News from an outraged letter writer (identified only as G.J.D.) who had read the Acts & Facts report. G.J.D. contested Gish's claim that no members of the Flat Earth Society belong to the Creation Research Society, concluding, "He doesn't know what he's talking about, as I belong to both, and I am writing to him to let him know that he is wrong."

Ironically, Gish may have created a fact. To protest this attack on the flat-earthers, G.J.D. dropped his membership in the Creation Research Society.

Whether or not there are still flat-earthers in the Creation Research Society, scientific creationism is little different from the flat earth movement. Both are based on the same kind of scientific evidence and on a more or less literal interpretation of the Bible. In fact, scientific creationism, geocentrism, and flat-earthism are respectively the liberal, moderate and conservative branches of a tree that has often been called Bible-Science. The intense hostility expressed by the scientific creationists towards the flat-earthers, does not extend to the geocentrists, who hover on the edge of respectability among scientific creationists. Indeed, though the Bible is, from Genesis to Revelation, a flat-earth book, the geocentrists have combined forces with liberal creationists to cast the flat-earthers into outer darkness.

Despite their internecine warfare, Bible-Scientists are in broad agreement on a number of issues. They agree on the usefulness of the Bible as a scientific text, the weakness of mere theories, the duplicity of conventional scientists, and the impossibility of reconciling conventional science with the Bible. The creation and flat-earth movements have similar foundations and histories, and both have used similar strategies to propagate their beliefs. Indeed, both believe they are battling the same behind-the-scenes opponent.

To join the Creation Research Society, one must sign a Statement of Belief. The statement begins, "The Bible is the written Word of God, and because we believe it to be inspired thruout, all of its assertions are historically and scientifically true in all of the original autographs. To the student of nature, this means that the account of origins in Genesis is a factual presentation of simple historical truths." The Flat Earth Society doesn't require members to sign a belief statement, but no flat-earther would object to the CRS statement. Indeed, similar sentiments were expressed by flat-earther David Wardlaw Scott, who wrote, "It [Scripture] never contradicts facts, and, to the true Christian student, it teaches more real science than all the schools and colleges in the world."

Elsewhere, Scott said of his own book, "It may be that these pages will meet the need of some, who have not altogether been misled by unprovable fancies, and who will rejoice to find that the Biblical account of Creation is, after all, the only one which can be depended upon, and that Modern Astronomy, like its kindred theory of Evolution... is nothing but 'a mockery, a delusion, and a snare.'"

While theories are the backbone of conventional science, Scott's phrase "unprovable fancies" seems to epitomize what Bible-Scientists think of them. They want nothing but the facts. As Duane Gish once told an audience, "I have yet to find a scientific fact which contradicts the Bible, the Word of God. Now you and I are both aware of many scientific theories and opinions of scientific people that contradict the Scriptures. When we separate that which is merely opinion or theory or ideas from that which is established fact, there are no contradictions." In his preface to the creationist textbook Biology: A Search for Order in Complexity, John N. Moore says that "true science" requires that the data "simply be presented as it is," and that "a philosophic viewpoint regarding origins" cannot be science.

Any flat-earther would agree. Indeed, in his lectures and writings, Samuel Birley Rowbotham, founder of the modern flat-earth movement, repeatedly emphasized the importance of sticking to the facts. He called his system "zetetic astronomy" (zetetic from the Greek verb zetetikos, meaning to seek or inquire) because he sought only facts, and left mere theories to the likes of Copernicus and Newton. Rowbotham devoted the entire first chapter of his magnum opus to praising facts at the expense of theories, concluding, "Let the practise of theorising be abandoned as one oppressive to the reasoning powers, fatal to the full development of truth, and, in every sense, inimical to the solid progress of sound philosophy."

The fact is that Bible-Scientists suspect theoretical scientists of duplicity. Scientific creationists rarely express their suspicions in plain English, but they strongly imply that much of modern science -- radiometric dating, for instance -- is a fraud. One prominent geocentrist, astronomer and computer scientist James N. Hanson, shows more candor. In a public lecture, he said of non-geocentric astronomers, "They lie a lot." Charles K. Johnson, president of the Flat Earth Society, is absolutely vehement about scientific dishonesty. He regularly calls scientists "liars" and "demented dope fiends" and claims that the entire space program is a "carnie game."

Unlike most Christians, Bible-Scientists insist that if conventional science is true, the Bible must be false. Flat-earther John Hampden put it plainly: "No one can believe a single doctrine or dogma of modern astronomy, and accept Scriptures as divine revelation." Like all flat-earthers, Hampden also accepted the doctrine of creation in six solar days. Commenting on the latter, he wrote, "If he can prove ... that days do not mean days, then is the infidel fully justified in laughing to scorn every other phrase and every other statement, from the first verse to the last in the Bible." Modern creationists feel the same about evolution. As Duane Gish once put it, "You really cannot believe the Bible and the theory of evolution both."

Since flat-earthism is the paradigm of Bible-Science, it should be discussed first. It's difficult to see how the scientific creationists, some of whom claim to discern the laws of thermodynamics in the Bible, can fail to see its flat-earth implications.

While the Bible nowhere states categorically that the earth is flat, numerous Old Testament verses clearly show that the ancient Hebrews were flat-earthers. The Genesis creation story says the earth is covered by a vault (firmament) and that the celestial bodies move inside the vault. This makes no sense unless one assumes that the earth is essentially flat. Isaiah wrote that ?God sits throned on the vaulted roof of earth, whose inhabitants are like grasshoppers.? In the book of Job, Eliphaz the Temanite says God ?walks to and fro on the vault of heaven.? That the earth was considered essentially flat is clear from Daniel, who said, ?I saw a tree of great height at the centre of the earth; the tree grew and became strong, reaching with its top to the sky and visible to the earth?s farthest bounds.? This statement makes no sense for spherical earth.

The New Testament also implies a flat earth. For instance, Matthew wrote that ?The devil took him [Jesus] to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their glory.? From a sufficiently high mountain, one could see all the kingdoms of the world -- if the earth were flat. Finally, Revelation refers to ?the four corners of the earth,? and corners are not generally associated with spheres.

From the foregoing, it?s not surprising that flat-earthism has been associated with Christianity since the beginning. Many of the Fathers of the Church were flat-earthers, and they developed a system with which to oppose the Greek astronomy then becoming popular. As late as 548 A.D., the Egyptian monk Cosmas Indicopleustes was vigorously defending the flat earth in his book Christian Topography. But Cosmas was fighting a losing battle, and the Ptolemaic system, based on a spherical earth, rapidly took over. By the 12th century (despite Edward Blick?s implication to the contrary), the flat-earth concept was essentially a dead letter in the West.

The modern flat-earth movement was launched in England, in 1849, with the publication of a 16 page pamphlet, Zetetic Astronomy: A Description of Several Experiments which Prove that the Surface of the Sea Is a Perfect Plane and that the Earth Is Not a Globe! by ?Parallax.?24 For the next 35 years, ?Parallax? -- his real name was Samuel Birley Rowbotham -- toured England, attacking the spherical system in public lectures. His completely original system, still known to its adherents as ?Zetetic Astronomy,? is best described in Rowbotham?s 430 page second edition of Earth Not a Globe, published in 1873.

The essence of Zetetic Astronomy is as follows: The known world is a vast circular plane, with the north pole at the center and a 150 foot wall of ice at the ?southern limit.? The equator is a circle roughly halfway in between. The sun, moon and planets circle above the earth in the region of the equator at an altitude of perhaps 600 miles. Their apparent rising and setting is an optical illusion caused by atmospheric refraction and the zetetic law of perspective. The latter law also explains why ships apparently vanish over the horizon when sailing out to sea. The moon is self-luminous, and it?s occasionally eclipsed by an unseen dark body passing in front of it. The entire known universe is literally covered by the ?firmament? (vault) so often referred to in the King James Bible.

Rowbotham and his followers made ?Zetetic Astronomy? a household word in Victorian England, and the movement spread to America and the rest of the English speaking world. Few professional academics embraced it, though there were exceptions. Alexander McInnes, of Glasgow University, was a vehement flat-earther. So was Arthur V. White of the University of Toronto. White, a hydraulic engineer, designed several large hydroelectric dams built in Canada around the turn of the century.

While the Bible doesn?t flatly state the shape of the earth, it repeatedly says in plain Hebrew that the earth is immovable.26 Thus, while churchmen found it easy to ignore its flat implications and adopt the spherical system of Ptolemy, they were rudely shaken by Copernicus and Galileo. The Catholic Church?s reaction to Galileo is well known. It?s less well known that most of the ?reformers? -- Luther, Calvin, Wesley -- also rejected the Copernican system on Scriptural grounds. A few Protestant Bible-Scientists have been fighting a rearguard action against heliocentricity ever since.

Unlike the flat-earthers, the geocentrists were seldom able to agree on a system. Some, like James Gillespie of Dumfries, Scotland, stuck to the Ptolemaic system. The Muggletonians developed their own system. Others contented themselves with sniping at Copernicanism. Geocentrist J.R.L. Lange, author of The Copernican System, the Greatest Absurdity in the History of Human Thought, pillaged flat-earth sources for arguments and actually quoted them in his text.

Modern geocentrists have more or less settled on the system proposed by Tycho Brahe, the Danish astronomer who was Kepler?s mentor. The Tychonic system is essentially the Copernican system with a fixed earth. The moon and sun both orbit the earth, and the planets orbit the sun. Except for the inner planets Mercury and Venus, the planets? orbits around the sun also encompass the earth. The geocentrists publish a journal, The Bulletin of the Tychonian Society. Several prominent creationists, including Harold W. Armstrong, editor of creationism?s flagship journal Creation Research Society Quarterly, are frequent contributors.

While geocentrism seems to be growing rapidly, the reaction among liberal creationists is mixed. The Creation Research Society Quarterly generally maintains a discreet silence about geocentricity. The Bible-Science Newsletter, another major creationist periodical, has declared its editorial neutrality on the question. When the geocentrists get their Biblical message across, they make converts. Astronomer James N. Hanson once wound up a geocentric lecture by saying, ?Geocentricity is correct, because that?s what the Bible teaches.? An unidentified lady responded, ?I am overwhelmed. But I believe everything you say, because I believe in the inerrancy of the Bible.?

The genesis of scientific creationism is difficult to pin down. The creationists reject much of modern geology, cosmology, and evolutionary biology, but flat-earthers and other Bible-Scientists were rejecting the first two before Darwin published Origin of Species in 1859. After 1859, the same people descended upon Darwin. Conservative religious magazines and flat-earth journals like the Earth -- Not a Globe -- Review constantly attacked geology and the theory of evolution. In 1923, the 7th Day Adventist George McCready Price published The New Geology, a monumental work of Bible-Science. Since Price?s work had little influence outside his own sect, perhaps the birth of scientific creationism should be traced to the publication of The Genesis Flood by John C. Whitcomb, Jr. and Henry M. Morris in 1961.

The Genesis Flood argues that the Noachian Deluge accounts for the geological evidence better than conventional uniformitarian geology. In it and subsequent books, the creationists have offered scientific arguments to prove that the earth is only 6,000 to 10,000 years old, and that all forms of life were separately created.

Soon after The Genesis Flood was published, two of the major creationist organizations, the Bible-Science Association and the Creation Research Society, were formed. The third major group, the Institute for Creation Research, was organized in 1970. Individually and collectively, through books, pamphlets, and public lectures, the creationists took their message to their constituents. In the early 1970s, ICR creationists began debating evolutionists whenever possible. It is a highly successful tactic. Frequently an evolutionist, up against an experienced creationist debater, looks like an unarmed man assaulting a fortress.

Other Bible-Scientists have proved to be effective debaters. George Bernard Shaw described a public forum in which a flat-earther laid waste to the spherical opposition. Rowbotham was widely known as a tiger on the platform, and he was seldom bested. (The good citizens of Leeds, England, once ran him out of town, being unable to make a more effective reply to his flat-earth arguments.) In Brockport, N.Y., in March 1887, two scientific gentlemen defended the sphericity of the earth against flat-earther M.C. Flanders on three consecutive nights. When the great debate was over, five townsmen chosen to judge the matter issued a unanimous verdict. Their report, published in the Brockport Democrat, stated clearly and emphatically their opinion that the balance of the evidence pointed to a flat-earth.

Cash offers are another way Bible-Scientists taunt opponents. In the 1920s and 1930s, Wilbur Glenn Voliva of Zion, Illinois, offered $5,000 to anyone who could prove to him that the earth isn?t flat. No one ever collected. At this writing, creationist engineer R. G. Elmendorf has a standing offer of $5000 to anyone who can prove to him that evolution is possible. Since Elmendorf is also a geocentrist, he offers $1000 to anyone who can prove that the earth moves.

Perhaps some day the scientific creationists will make peace with the flat-earthers. While they disagree on details, they claim to be fighting the same enemy.

?I believe the real source of Modern Astronomy to have been SATAN,? wrote flat-earther David Wardlaw Scott. ?From his first temptation of Eve in the Garden of Eden until now, his great object has been to throw discredit on the Truth of God...? John Hampden agreed, calling the spherical theory ?that Satanic device of a round and revolving globe, which sets Scripture, reason, and facts at defiance.?

Henry M. Morris, director of the Institute for Creation Research, came to precisely the same conclusion about evolution: ?Behind both groups of evolutionists [theistic and non-theistic] one can discern the malignant influence of that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world? (Revelation 12:9). As we have seen, it must have been essentially the deception of evolution which prompted Satan himself to rebel against God, and it was essentially the same great lie with which he deceived Eve, and with which he has continued to ?deceive the whole world.??

According to Charles Johnson, president of the Flat Earth Society, both deceptions will soon be over. He claims that the U.S. government -- perhaps the present administration -- will one day officially proclaim that the earth is flat.That day will also mark the downfall of evolution.

Flat Earth Information Repository / Synopsis of Flat Earth
« on: December 03, 2013, 05:50:24 PM »
Deleting these from the old site and posting them here:
Synopsis of Flat Earth

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