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Offline Tom Bishop

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The Anti-Newtonian: The original Flat Earth study
« on: January 20, 2018, 12:50:52 AM »
I am reading The Plane Truth: A History of the Flat Earth Movement by Robert J. Schadewald and this passage caught my eye in the chapter about Samuel Birley Rowbotham:

Quote
In 1819, an anonymous author published a 38-page pamphlet entitled The Anti-Newtonian: or, A True System of the Universe, with a Map of Explanation, Proving the Sun to Be a Moveable Body and Central Circling Equator of Equal Time, etc. The work was printed in London at the author’s expense, but it contains no hint of who the writer was, where he lived, or any other biographical information except that he had previously published a work pointing out “the dangerous consequences of speculative astronomy.”

According to The Anti-Newtonian, the earth is a vast circular plain enclosed by a wall of ice.  A map in the pamphlet shows the north pole at the center, the south pole at 12 o’clock, east and west respectively at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock, and an “unknown pole” at 6 o’clock.  The sun’s path is a circle whose center moves back and forth along a line connecting the south pole and the unknown pole to cause the seasons.  The half of the earth beyond the east–west line toward the unknown pole is unknown and uninhabitable.

Rowbotham never mentions The Anti-Newtonian in any of his writings, but he almost certainly based his own system on it.  He discarded the circumferential poles and the unknown, uninhabitable parts of the earth as unworkable.  He left the north pole at the center, but he declared that there is no south pole; the impassable wall of ice encircling the known, inhabitable world forms the “southern limit.” East and west are merely those directions at right angles to the compass needle.  The equator is a circle centered on the north pole and lying halfway between it and the southern limit.  The sun circles above the earth in the region of the equator, moving north or south of the equator to suit the season.  Rowbotham called his system zetetic astronomy.

This was interesting. I took it upon myself to look for this book and found a copy of it online on Google Books.

The Anti-Newtonian (1819)

It is unknown who wrote this book. The author only refers to himself as "The Author". Samuel Birlery Rowbotham was born in 1816, and was only three years old at the time, so he was likely not the author.

Upon reading this book, the proofs and arguments made are very unique, in that The Author bases most of his Flat Earth model on the behaviors of the sun. There are numerous details on why the Flat Earth model in The Anti-Newtonian must exist as consequence of the sun's actions.

The Author seems to assert that there is a North Pole and a South Pole, and that the sun circles around each one depending on the time of the year. The Author does make some mentions of an Unknown Pole, but it is hard to decipher its role with the layout of the continents or the movement of the sun.

It is unclear if the Sun "switches gears" to rotate along a different circular track, or if the center of the sun's rotations gently drifts between the North and South Poles. At first glance it appears that The Author is describing a switching of gears to mark a shifting of the two main seasons. Presumably the circle of the sun also expands and contracts like in the monopole model while on these circular tracks for the mid-seasons?

In the Preface The Author hints that he had previously written about the subject of speculative astronomy. I performed a Google Books Search on that term and came up with the following work called:

Reflections on the Inconsistency of Speculative Astronomy, Volume 4 (1819)

I couldn't find Volumes 1 through 3. The text of this work seems to follow the same style of The Anti-Newtonian, with an unknown author, and ends with "THE END." like The Anti-Newtonian does. This appears to be a Flat Earth book, as it is suggested in several places that the earth is likely a plane. The Author again speaks at length about his investigation into the sun, with perhaps greater detail and focus than is seen in other 19th, 20th, and 21st century Flat Earth writings.

There is a great amount of information here to digest. As this is the original Flat Earth study, these works are especially important, since all the rest are derivatives and interpretations. This investigative work into an alternative shape of the earth may provide insights that Rowbotham and others have not expressed.

I believe that by reading and interpreting these works, and seeking to understand this mysterious author, we will be able to answer more questions on why the globe theory was found to be insufficient, and how modern Flat Earth Theory was created.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2018, 09:00:16 PM by Tom Bishop »

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Offline Baby Thork

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Re: The Anti-Newtonian: The original Flat Earth study
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2018, 01:19:53 AM »
An excellent find. It is sad there are few diagrams and mainly description in these works. The quality also makes it a tough read.

I shall read the plane truth when I get a little spare time.

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Offline Tom Bishop

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Re: The Anti-Newtonian: The original Flat Earth study
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2018, 04:32:13 AM »
The Plane Truth was a good read. I just finished it. The author is clearly an REer, and I would have preferred that he had focused just on reporting the facts, but I found value to his historical research. The Flat Earth story is engaging, and there is a lot of good biographical information. It is a commendable primer to the history of the movement.

I have attempted to paste together the sun map from the beginning of The Anti-Newtonian. It is a shame that we can't really read that the text on the image.

« Last Edit: January 20, 2018, 06:50:26 AM by Tom Bishop »

Offline Dionysios

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Re: The Anti-Newtonian: The original Flat Earth study
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2018, 08:52:15 PM »
Robert Schadewald’s ‘Plane Truth’ lacks the condescending attitude in Christine Garwood’s book. He also includes an appendix wherein he asserts that the general consensus in the early Church was that the Earth is flat which disagrees with what Garwood states about Cosmas Indicopleustes being a weirdo alone in his belief. Schadewald cites obscure Flat Earth passages from major writers like Saint John Chrysostom that are valid whereas Garwood’s research is apparently more shallow.

Schadewald wrote an article about John Hampden and Alfred Wallace for Smithsonian Magazine in the late 1970’s which mentioned that he was writing a history of the modern Flat Earth movement. I contacted Schadewald personally in the late 1990’s, and he said he was still working on it at that time.

Offline Dionysios

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Re: The Anti-Newtonian: The original Flat Earth study
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2018, 09:19:38 PM »
I suggest adding ‘Plane Truth’ to the online library. As far as that goes, Daniel should add it to the library on his website as well.

Forgive me for saying in my view his forum is worse, but his online library superior to this one. It seems to slowly but surely add material over the years.

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Offline Baby Thork

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Re: The Anti-Newtonian: The original Flat Earth study
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2018, 10:07:07 PM »
I suggest adding ‘Plane Truth’ to the online library. As far as that goes, Daniel should add it to the library on his website as well.

Forgive me for saying in my view his forum is worse, but his online library superior to this one. It seems to slowly but surely add material over the years.
You'll be staggered to learn we don't care about Daniel, his library or his forum.
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Offline Dionysios

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Re: The Anti-Newtonian: The original Flat Earth study
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2018, 10:15:35 PM »
‘He knew Earth is round, but his proof fell flat’
By Robert Schadewald
Smithsonian, April 1978

https://www.theflatearthsociety.org/library/newspaperandmagazine/He%20Knew%20the%20Earth%20Is%20Round%20(Schadewald).pdf

A footnote at the bottom of page two of the pdf reads:  “Mr. Schadewald, a free-lance writer from Rogers, Minnesota, is preparing a book on the flat-Earth movement.”

Schadewald passed away in 2000 just a few months before Charles Johnson, and this long awaited book was finally published online in 2015.

Offline Dionysios

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Re: The Anti-Newtonian: The original Flat Earth study
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2018, 11:06:21 PM »
As to where the anonymous author of the Anti-Newtonian derived his information and insight, I reckon the most likely source is the Jesuits who themselves got it from a Vedic source.

What makes me think this is the difference between the ancient Vedic and Christian flat earth models. Both have an Arctic mountain in the north which the sun orbits daily, but a striking difference is that the Christians believe the garden of Eden lies in the Far East beyond the ocean, but Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists place the garden of Eden along with the northern mountain and other things all in the Arctic with the Arctic being the centre of their system.

Rowbotham didn’t revive the ancient Christian flat earth model but rather revived the ancient Vedic flat earth model, or this is the essence of the system described in the 1819 Anti-Newtonian booklet.

Does this flat earth world map exist prior to 1819? Yes. The earliest example I have seen of this flat earth map used by Rowbotham (outside of Vedic sources) is the 1703 map depicting Magellan’s voyage by the Jesuit cartographer Heinrich Scherer.

https://f-origin.hypotheses.org/wp-content/blogs.dir/1447/files/2015/12/World-Map-Magellan-Journey-Victoria-Scherer-c1700-Keilo-Jack-site-Centrici.jpg

The Jesuits had been in China and India since the late 1500’s which is plenty of time to discover and learn the basics of Vedic cosmology. I haven’t scrutinised where and what are Scherer’s sources and influences, but the fact that he was a Jesuit who drew an essentially Vedic flat world map with the Arctic at the centre and the more ancient concept of Jerusalem at the centre of the earth being abandoned; it seems indicative of an ultimately Vedic origin.


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Offline xenotolerance

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Re: The Anti-Newtonian: The original Flat Earth study
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2018, 01:19:27 AM »
The Anti-Newtonian is pretty much garbage though, especially by zetetic standards. He doesn't describe any observations or experiments regarding the shape of the Earth. His disproof of globe Earth is a thought experiment about someone being able to see a sun looking south to the Equator and north past the pole at the same time. His attempt at describing gravitation is just poetry. He asks, how can ships stay close to each other at sea without 'gliding down this globular hill?' He asks, why would God create a world with islands and stuff underwater when a flat plane 'suits the human being's purpose'? He says the height of mountains must be proportionate to the depths of the sea. How does he know? Did he dive down and look? Or measure anything at all? He says air has no weight.

So, I don't think you'll answer any more questions about the insufficiencies of globe theory, as you put it. It's also not quite right to describe this as the first flat Earth study; it wasn't a study, and it wasn't first.