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ER
07-08-2010, 02:45 PM
http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/Area/isd/sarfati.asp

Another powerful exhibition of Dr Sarfati's ability to combine his scientific expertise with his theological knowledge. One has to admire Jono's techniques in conveying his profound messages in a simple, clear and comprehensible way, so all his readers are able to understand and enjoy them. The article, which I had never read before, is complete with an extensive list of references for further reading!

Rincewind
07-08-2010, 03:42 PM
http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/Area/isd/sarfati.asp

Another powerful exhibition of Dr Sarfati's ability to combine his scientific expertise with his theological knowledge. One has to admire Jono's techniques in conveying his profound messages in a simple, clear and comprehensible way, so all his readers are able to understand and enjoy them. The article, which I had never read before, is complete with an extensive list of references for further reading!

Yes yes, your Jono nuthuggerism has already been noted. Thanks. :)

Never mind that Jono has never worked as a scientist nor published a scientific paper for more than 15 years. Mind you that is unlikely to make him shy in parading his scientific "credentials" since he has no formal training in logic whatsoever and believes it is reasonable to market his latest book as a logician. :lol:

ER
07-08-2010, 10:30 PM
Yes yes, your Jono nuthuggerism has already been noted. Thanks. :)

Never mind that Jono has never worked as a scientist nor published a scientific paper for more than 15 years. Mind you that is unlikely to make him shy in parading his scientific "credentials" since he has no formal training in logic whatsoever and believes it is reasonable to market his latest book as a logician. :lol:

He still runs rings around you, and you have no logical argument to juxtapose to his statements apart from (unsuccessful) efforts to act smart when you are obviously stupid as pointed out in numerous times by Igor! Now, I don't want to engage with you on a personal level! I can't stand your sorry sight of trying to use your whatever powers you have here to save your sorry arse, just get out of my sight!

Kevin Bonham
07-08-2010, 10:42 PM
He still runs rings around you, and you have no logical argument to juxtapose to his statements apart from (unsuccessful) efforts to act smart when you are obviously stupid as pointed out in numerous times by Igor!

And you'd know all this how?

As it happens the piece you link to contains a howler as early as the second sentence of the main section:


However, science deals with repeatable observations in the present, while evolution/long age ideas are based on assumptions from outside science about the unobservable past.

Science does to a large degree deal with the testing of hypotheses in the present by subjecting them to testing by gathering fresh data. But there is nothing to stop that fresh data from being data concerning things that happened in the distant past.

ER
07-08-2010, 10:53 PM
If this is a divine intervention I better admit that I meant his sorry arse not soffy arse, I corrected it! As for the rest of it I will come back when I have time!

Spiny Norman
08-08-2010, 07:33 AM
Science does to a large degree deal with the testing of hypotheses in the present by subjecting them to testing by gathering fresh data. But there is nothing to stop that fresh data from being data concerning things that happened in the distant past.
Minor point of order Mr Speaker; fresh data is collected in the present, therefore the observation is also in the present. Its one's beliefs (or theories) about the past and about the pattern or the characteristics of the collected data that would make one think that it is data about things in the distant past. Such beliefs/theories may or may not prove to be true; but the observation is still in the present is it not? Its the existing beliefs/theoies that are critical in forming the meaning of the observation which can then be assigned to an event believed to be in the distant past, but might in face end up being observations about an event that, in actuality, was not in the distant past and was in fact in the recent past.

Desmond
08-08-2010, 07:43 AM
Minor point of order Mr Speaker; fresh data is collected in the present, therefore the observation is also in the present. Its one's beliefs (or theories) about the past and about the pattern or the characteristics of the collected data that would make one think that it is data about things in the distant past. Such beliefs/theories may or may not prove to be true; but the observation is still in the present is it not? Its the existing beliefs/theoies that are critical in forming the meaning of the observation which can then be assigned to an event believed to be in the distant past, but might in face end up being observations about an event that, in actuality, was not in the distant past and was in fact in the recent past.But even if you look at it from that angle, Jono's statement is still false. The so called "long age" is based on observations that are repeatable, verifiable, and observable now, therefore by Jono's own expressed standard are science, not "assumptions".

Spiny Norman
08-08-2010, 08:56 AM
Observations about things such as rocks (for example) don't come with in-built age measurements. Such age dating comes from other theories and assumptions (e.g. based on beliefs about rate of radioactive decay, about the speed of light, etc etc). If you change your belief about the rate of decay of carbon14, then the calculation of the age of a piece of buried timber changes.

The age of the timber hasn't changed significantly (apart from the passing of time whilst you re-do the calculation) ... but one's belief about the age of the timber HAS changed. We see this all the time when examining geological structures. Scientists see some particular piece of observational evidence but based on other factors and how probable or significant they think those factors are, they then recalculate what this means.

I would have thought this much was blindingly obvious: one should separate out into two different categories:

* the actual age of an object; and
* one's beliefs about the actual age of an object

People think they are dealing with facts, but a lot of the time they are not; they are dealing with conclusions drawn from theories about the meaning of observational facts. Those conclusions tend to be conflated with observational facts through habit, or perhaps through laziness, or some other factor.

Desmond
08-08-2010, 09:11 AM
Observations about things such as rocks (for example) don't come with in-built age measurements. Such age dating comes from other theories and assumptions (e.g. based on beliefs about rate of radioactive decay, about the speed of light, etc etc). If you change your belief about the rate of decay of carbon14, then the calculation of the age of a piece of buried timber changes.No, they come from repeatable, verifyable tests. Calling it belief is a strawman.


The age of the timber hasn't changed significantly (apart from the passing of time whilst you re-do the calculation) ... but one's belief about the age of the timber HAS changed. We see this all the time when examining geological structures. Scientists see some particular piece of observational evidence but based on other factors and how probable or significant they think those factors are, they then recalculate what this means.

I would have thought this much was blindingly obvious: one should separate out into two different categories:

* the actual age of an object; and
* one's beliefs about the actual age of an objectYes exactly, which is how we know it works. In cases where we have an object of a known age, perform blind tests on the object and see if the results match. Guess what; they do.


People think they are dealing with facts, but a lot of the time they are not; they are dealing with conclusions drawn from theories about the meaning of observational facts. Those conclusions tend to be conflated with observational facts through habit, or perhaps through laziness, or some other factor.Yeah I agree. ;)

Rincewind
08-08-2010, 10:59 AM
Minor point of order Mr Speaker; fresh data is collected in the present, therefore the observation is also in the present. Its one's beliefs (or theories) about the past and about the pattern or the characteristics of the collected data that would make one think that it is data about things in the distant past. Such beliefs/theories may or may not prove to be true; but the observation is still in the present is it not? Its the existing beliefs/theoies that are critical in forming the meaning of the observation which can then be assigned to an event believed to be in the distant past, but might in face end up being observations about an event that, in actuality, was not in the distant past and was in fact in the recent past.

I think you are just confusing yourself. If you re-read what Kevin said you will see he did not say the observation took place in the distant past but the data was "concerning things that happened in the distant past".

When you dig up a new hominid bone, for example, you are collecting the data in the present but the hominid did indeed live in the distant past. Exactly how distant is a matter for some conjecture, but certainly not recently.

Regarding your later comments on radioactive decay. Yes it assumes that radioactivity has behaved in a very similar way in the distant past as it does at present. Firstly that is not an unreasonable assumption if there is no reason to think otherwise, and secondly, this is not the only reason to think the method is valid. Cross correlation with other methods (both radioactive dating with other elements and non-radioactive techniques) supports the methods.

The only reason for not thinking radioactive dating methods are not valid is a deeply held conviction in a religious belief that the world must be less than 10,000 years old. I understand you hold your pseudoscientific beliefs very deeply however, not so deeply that they can masquerade as supportable by observation. Or that perfectly good science is somehow flying in the face of reason.

Rincewind
08-08-2010, 11:02 AM
If this is a divine intervention I better admit that I meant his sorry arse not soffy arse, I corrected it! As for the rest of it I will come back when I have time!

Since you have immediately resorted to the schoolyard measure of "I know you are but what am I" and "wait till my mates Jono and Igor get here" I wouldn't hurry back if I was you. I'm sure if you had anything of substance to contribute you you have done so by now. The thread can do without vacuous nuthuggers.

Igor_Goldenberg
08-08-2010, 11:14 AM
The thread can do without vacuous nuthuggers.
I disagree, you are quite welcome to post in this thread.

Rincewind
08-08-2010, 11:20 AM
I disagree, you are quite welcome to post in this thread.

As usual your post has no relationship to the facts.

Spiny Norman
08-08-2010, 03:46 PM
I think you are just confusing yourself. If you re-read what Kevin said you will see he did not say the observation took place in the distant past but the data was "concerning things that happened in the distant past".
... and if you re-read what I said, my point is that the statement that the data was "concerning things that happened in the distant past" is not a statement about observation but is rather a statement about assumptions and conclusions; i.e. it draws conclusions based on a whole host of other assumptions. The observation itself is incapable of drawing a conclusion about the distant past, although if the observation (and accompanying written records) extended for long enough it might extend some centuries or even millenia into the past.

Spiny Norman
08-08-2010, 03:49 PM
No, they come from repeatable, verifyable tests.
Can you give me an example of an observational, repeatable, verifiable test which can give you knowledge about the age of an object where the object is "millions of years old"?

n.b. I will not accept examples which draws conclusions based on underlaying assumptions about the speed of light, its supposed invariance, rates of radioactive decay, and so on. I'm interested in whether observational science can give certain results in the order of millions of years.

Aaron Guthrie
08-08-2010, 04:10 PM
And you'd know all this how?

As it happens the piece you link to contains a howler as early as the second sentence of the main section:


However, science deals with repeatable observations in the present, while evolution/long age ideas are based on assumptions from outside science about the unobservable past.The extended present.pedantic joke


... and if you re-read what I said, my point is that the statement that the data was "concerning things that happened in the distant past" is not a statement about observation but is rather a statement about assumptions and conclusions; i.e. it draws conclusions based on a whole host of other assumptions. The observation itself is incapable of drawing a conclusion about the distant past, although if the observation (and accompanying written records) extended for long enough it might extend some centuries or even millenia into the past.
The same point holds of any conclusion that goes beyond the data. And this occurs all over the place, not just with regards to statements about the past. What is the important factor about the past?

Desmond
08-08-2010, 04:24 PM
Can you give me an example of an observational, repeatable, verifiable test which can give you knowledge about the age of an object where the object is "millions of years old"?

n.b. I will not accept examples which draws conclusions based on underlaying assumptions about the speed of light, its supposed invariance, rates of radioactive decay, and so on. I'm interested in whether observational science can give certain results in the order of millions of years.
Interesting that you go from talking about C14 and timber to talking about millions of years. Not that it is a problem for science, but I think in the context of our current conversation it is goal-post shifting.

So anyway back to the point about known ages and verifiable tests, have a read of "age determination by radio-carbon content: checks with samples of known age" Arnold & Libby 1949.

Rincewind
08-08-2010, 06:19 PM
So anyway back to the point about known ages and verifiable tests, have a read of "age determination by radio-carbon content: checks with samples of known age" Arnold & Libby 1949.

Non radioactive dating using techniques such as dendrochronology can be used to date things back to around 13,000 years and can be used to calibrate and verify radioactive dating (particularly C14 dating) and has shown to be reliable over that range. Other radioactive tests are used for dating older objects like mineral samples. These can likewise be cross matched and checked with other dating methods but once you pass the 10,000 year "barrier" the young earth creationists world-view has already come crashing down and we can do that basically by counting tree-rings.

Rincewind
08-08-2010, 06:39 PM
... and if you re-read what I said, my point is that the statement that the data was "concerning things that happened in the distant past" is not a statement about observation but is rather a statement about assumptions and conclusions; i.e. it draws conclusions based on a whole host of other assumptions. The observation itself is incapable of drawing a conclusion about the distant past, although if the observation (and accompanying written records) extended for long enough it might extend some centuries or even millenia into the past.

Nope you are still confused. You are saying that no observation can be valid unless it has been directly observed by a human and recorded at the time it happened. If this has not happened then we are talking about assumptions and conclusions and not fact at all.

However, as THE points out this is just the problem of how do you know that reality is real? Everything is just your interpretation of sensory input and therefore you have no direct experience of an objective reality. The same goes for any potential observer who may have recorded some event in the past and recorded it.

While this is a very convenient position for you to adopt since human records only go back some thousands of years however science is not constrained to the straitjacket you try to impose on it. We can observe geological features, date them and even provide explanations as to their origin. We talk of glacial valleys and fjords, flood plains, etc. We are able to observe mineralised cavities in rocks preserving the imprints of animals long since extinct and thanks to the geological column able to date them and have a very mainstream theory of ages and development of life on earth going back billions of years. You might not like it since it clashes with your deeply held religious convictions however it is just good science.

I have mentioned before the IAP which is a council of the Science Academies for all over the globe who released a statement on the teaching of evolution. You can read more about the IAP here

http://www.interacademies.net/CMS/About.aspx

In the statement they say...


We agree that the following evidence-based facts about the origins and evolution of the Earth and of life on this planet have been established by numerous observations and independently derived experimental results from a multitude of scientific disciplines. Even if there are still many open questions about the precise details of evolutionary change, scientific evidence has never contradicted these results:

1. In a universe that has evolved towards its present configuration for some 11 to 15 billion years, our Earth formed approximately 4.5 billion years ago.

2. Since its formation, the Earth – its geology and its environments – has changed under the effect of numerous physical and chemical forces and continues to do so.

3. Life appeared on Earth at least 2.5 billion years ago. The evolution, soon after, of photosynthetic organisms enabled, from at least 2 billion years ago, the slow transformation of the atmosphere to one containing substantial quantities of oxygen. In addition to the release of the oxygen that we breathe, the process of photosynthesis is the ultimate source of fixed energy and food upon which human life on the planet depends.

4. Since its first appearance on Earth, life has taken many forms, all of which continue to evolve, in ways which palaeontology and the modern biological and biochemical sciences are describing and independently confirming with increasing precision. Commonalities in the structure of the genetic code of all organisms living today, including humans, clearly indicate their common primordial origin.


Sixty-seven member academies endorsed the statement. This is certainly well-accepted and uncontroversial in scientific circles. However, this is not the case when religious beliefs get in the way of reason.

Kevin Bonham
08-08-2010, 06:49 PM
Moderation Comment

I think everything from #67 onwards is offtopic for this thread as originally conceived and will move it all unless Jono indicates he prefers otherwise.

If posters other than Jono wish to discuss this proposal they may do so in the Help and Feedback section. They may also do so here, but I'll delete it. :lol:

Rincewind
08-08-2010, 06:59 PM
I vote we move it to the "Noah lived for..." thread as it seems to have drifted somewhat onto similar territory. But happy for a whole new thread too if needs be.

Spiny Norman
09-08-2010, 06:35 PM
Nope you are still confused.
I doubt it; but its possible ...


You are saying that no observation can be valid unless it has been directly observed by a human and recorded at the time it happened. If this has not happened then we are talking about assumptions and conclusions and not fact at all.
Yes.

So can you give me an example of a valid observation that falls outside of those criteria? i.e. either:

(a) an observation that it not directly observed (which is a nonsense); or
(b) an observation which is not observed by a human (possible, but is this science?); or
(c) an observation that was not recorded at the time it happened ... and I will grant you some leeway on the time between observation and recording (e.g. someone observes an event, has a vivid recollection of it, then later records the observation).

Obviously (c) happens all the time. I don't have a problem with it. However this, also quite obviously as best I can see, has NOTHING whatsoever to do with observations about millions of years. From an evolutionary p.o.v. the best you can achieve in respect of direct observation is something dating back to the development of writing, and perhaps a little before that if I grant you huge leeway and reliance on oral traditions.

Now if you look into outer space, you can observe at great distances things which are claimed to be "as they were millions of years ago" ... however I should here point out that:

(a) the observation (e.g. seeing a distant galaxy) is one thing; and
(b) the conclusion (e.g. that it is millions of years old) is another

... and the right answer for (b), being the supposed age of the object, depends on your other beliefs about:

* the speed of light
* its invariance over time
* expansion of space over time

and so on. This means that the "millions of years" rests on other assumptions. It may prove to be right. It may not. Whatever, its NOT direct observation ... humans don't have enough history to directly observe millions of years with any certainty.

So why not treat such conclusions with an appropriate amount of doubt? "This is millions of years old" vs "Science says that this is millions of years old" ... the former admits no uncertainty; the latter leaves wriggle room.

Desmond
09-08-2010, 07:03 PM
(a) an observation that it not directly observed (which is a nonsense); orNo, it isn't nonsense. We use indirect measurements all the time. Maybe I can't measure one particular side of a triangle, but by other things that I can measure and know I can determine that side.
Is it an assumption? Hardly.
Should I caveat that measurement with a "there is a one in one billionth chance that Pythagoras' theorem does not hold in this example" disclaimer? Hardly.



Now if you look into outer space, you can observe at great distances things which are claimed to be "as they were millions of years ago" ... however I should here point out that:

(a) the observation (e.g. seeing a distant galaxy) is one thing; and
(b) the conclusion (e.g. that it is millions of years old) is another

... and the right answer for (b), being the supposed age of the object, depends on your other beliefs about:

* the speed of light
* its invariance over time
* expansion of space over time

and so on. This means that the "millions of years" rests on other assumptions. It may prove to be right. It may not. Whatever, its NOT direct observation ... humans don't have enough history to directly observe millions of years with any certainty.

So why not treat such conclusions with an appropriate amount of doubt? "This is millions of years old" vs "Science says that this is millions of years old" ... the former admits no uncertainty; the latter leaves wriggle room.But here's the thing. Science does caveat it's measurements. You won't see any paper saying that the universe began 12bn years to the day, it is caveated within a range of certainty, for example +- 2%. The ones with the uncaveated certainty is you young earthers.

Out of interest what kind of changes in speed of light do you need to calculate in order to keep things consistent with your faith?

Spiny Norman
09-08-2010, 07:40 PM
No, it isn't nonsense. We use indirect measurements all the time. Maybe I can't measure one particular side of a triangle, but by other things that I can measure and know I can determine that side.
Is it an assumption? Hardly.
Should I caveat that measurement with a "there is a one in one billionth chance that Pythagoras' theorem does not hold in this example" disclaimer? Hardly.
If you haven't first observed a right-angle triangle, how do you know that it in fact *is* a right angle triangle, so that you can calculate one of the sides from measurement of the other two? What you think was a triangle might in fact prove to be something else; say, a square or a rectangle, unless you first observe it.


But here's the thing. Science does caveat it's measurements. You won't see any paper saying that the universe began 12bn years to the day, it is caveated within a range of certainty, for example +- 2%. The ones with the uncaveated certainty is you young earthers.
Out of interest what kind of changes in speed of light do you need to calculate in order to keep things consistent with your faith?
You have switched from observation to something else entirely. You are now talking about calculations based on assumptions, which is what the whole discussion is supposed to be about. At any rate, you seem to be talking about uncertainty in the measurement, without factoring in uncertainty in the assumptions. Another thing entirely.

Desmond
09-08-2010, 08:10 PM
If you haven't first observed a right-angle triangle, how do you know that it in fact *is* a right angle triangle, so that you can calculate one of the sides from measurement of the other two? What you think was a triangle might in fact prove to be something else; say, a square or a rectangle, unless you first observe it.For the purposes of my analogy it is perfectly reasonable to be able to identify one fact about somehting (that it is a triangle) while not being able to identify everything about it (a length of a side).

Now rather that arguing about the example perhaps you should be admitting that it is perfectly reasonable to use methods other than direct observation to acquire data.


You have switched from observation to something else entirely. You are now talking about calculations based on assumptions, which is what the whole discussion is supposed to be about. At any rate, you seem to be talking about uncertainty in the measurement, without factoring in uncertainty in the assumptions. Another thing entirely.The "assumptions" as you put it are based on measured observations. Jono can say we cannot measure things that happen in the past, well like being about to apply formula to determine data on a triangle, we can observe things now and apply that in similar ways.

As for what the discussion is about, perhaps you should pick up where you left it off after my post 83.

Rincewind
09-08-2010, 08:22 PM
I doubt it; but its possible ...

I would say it is likely.


Yes.

So can you give me an example of a valid observation that falls outside of those criteria? i.e. either:

Again you are fixated on the observation (the act of recording the data) with the event about which the observation is relevant. Kevin's comment was on the latter so your point is a subthread which doesn't relate directly nor impact no the validity of the original statement.


(a) an observation that it not directly observed (which is a nonsense); or

For starters at one level no observation is direct. We are all just surmising on the sensory input being feed to us by our organs. No one can definitely rule out a matrix-like scenario in which we are playing out a false reality manufactured and feed to our sensory nerves. So to begin with any eye-witness observation of an "real" event is assuming we are not being deceived in that way.

Then there are more mundane trickeries that have to be accounted for. These could be of the manufactured kind like stage magic, or biological breakdown of the sensory or mental functions of the recorder. So again we assume we are not being deceived either by another agent or by our our sensory or cognitive systems (or those of the original observer).


(b) an observation which is not observed by a human (possible, but is this science?); or

This happens all the time. For example every time I get on a bus I insert my ticket in the machine and it records on the ticket when I have to get off the bus. I rarely look at it I just put it back in my wallet and think about something else. Days or weeks later I can make an observation of the ticket and from it determine which bus I caught on any particular day. Science works much the same way except the the bus tickets are things like mineral deposits, fossils, starlight and the time period is a little longer.

Depending on your definition this could be of type (c) below but the only reason you might think that is the case is that the bus ticket clock is a artifice and not a natural system. However the analogy to natural systems is still relevant.


(c) an observation that was not recorded at the time it happened ... and I will grant you some leeway on the time between observation and recording (e.g. someone observes an event, has a vivid recollection of it, then later records the observation).

Obviously (c) happens all the time. I don't have a problem with it. However this, also quite obviously as best I can see, has NOTHING whatsoever to do with observations about millions of years. From an evolutionary p.o.v. the best you can achieve in respect of direct observation is something dating back to the development of writing, and perhaps a little before that if I grant you huge leeway and reliance on oral traditions.

I don't have a problem with (c) either but I think you are pretty shaky on (a) and (b) and so won't labour the point.


Now if you look into outer space, you can observe at great distances things which are claimed to be "as they were millions of years ago" ... however I should here point out that:

(a) the observation (e.g. seeing a distant galaxy) is one thing; and
(b) the conclusion (e.g. that it is millions of years old) is another

... and the right answer for (b), being the supposed age of the object, depends on your other beliefs about:

* the speed of light
* its invariance over time
* expansion of space over time

The same is true regarding the observation of nearby events. For example you see a car go by being driven by a friend. the observation of the car is one thing, but the belief that it just past by depends on your beliefs about

* the speed of light
* its invariance over time
* expansion of space over time

For exactly the same reasons that you believe the car only just went by, we know the light from galaxies to have travelled to earth would take millions (even billions) of years.

I think calling them beliefs however is an understatement that does not do justice to the certainty which we understand the speed of light (something we can measure to a high degree of precision) and the correlation of stellar distances and geometry of many galaxies, including our own, which again we have a excellent body of knowledge.

They are certainly not beliefs in the same league as religious belief which have no consensus and over the course of human history there have been thousands of confident religions and even today there are many confident religions which are mutually exclusive.


and so on. This means that the "millions of years" rests on other assumptions. It may prove to be right. It may not. Whatever, its NOT direct observation ... humans don't have enough history to directly observe millions of years with any certainty.

I disagree and for the reasons above they are as direct as any of the observations you tend to accept. So I would say you are being inconsistent to say that the light from the car that just went by took less than a second to reach you is in principle no different to the observation of galaxies which we observe delayed by millions or billions of years due to the distances involved.


So why not treat such conclusions with an appropriate amount of doubt? "This is millions of years old" vs "Science says that this is millions of years old" ... the former admits no uncertainty; the latter leaves wriggle room.

For starters there is always wiggle room for the reasons I have already mentioned. However the probability that wiggle room will be need is so remote that to not accept that some stars are millions if not billions of years away requires a degree of perversion. In short, your only reason to think otherwise is a deep conviction in a stone age creation myth that is totally without evidential support.

Spiny Norman
10-08-2010, 06:01 AM
I am still amused by the suggestion that someone can observe a triangle without observing all three of it's sides ... that would be some feat of observation!

But since one can indeed calculate the length of one side of an observed triangle if one has already measured two of the sides and one knows already the angles involved, it is clear that observation is a different from both measurement and from calculation.


For exactly the same reasons that you believe the car only just went by, we know the light from galaxies to have travelled to earth would take millions (even billions) of years.
You can only know this if:
-- you believe that the speed of light is currently a certain value (this you can measure with good accuracy, so this is valid knowledge)
-- you believe that the speed of light today is the same as the speed of light in the past (this is an assumption; it may or may not be correct)
-- you believe that the speed of light is invariant across the universe (this is an assumption; we only have a sample of 1 from our corner of the universe)
-- you believe you know the distance of that galaxy to the earth (this is the result of a calculation involving yet more assumptions about things like red shift)

If those assumptions are right, then the calculation will deliver you true knowledge. If those assumptions are wrong, your knowledge will be false.

Regardless, you have not observed millions or billions of years; you have observed light from a star, observed its red shift, assigned a particular meaning to the red shift, introduced beliefs about the invariance of the speed of light ... and then calculated the age of the observed light.

Your calculation and observations may prove right, in which case you gain true knowledge about the distance. But if they're wrong, then the knowledge is false. :wall:

Desmond
10-08-2010, 09:20 AM
I am still amused by the suggestion that someone can observe a triangle without observing all three of it's sides ... that would be some feat of observation! Small things, eh.

Igor_Goldenberg
10-08-2010, 10:10 AM
You can only know this if:
-- you believe that the speed of light is currently a certain value (this you can measure with good accuracy, so this is valid knowledge)
-- you believe that the speed of light today is the same as the speed of light in the past (this is an assumption; it may or may not be correct)
-- you believe that the speed of light is invariant across the universe (this is an assumption; we only have a sample of 1 from our corner of the universe)
-- you believe you know the distance of that galaxy to the earth (this is the result of a calculation involving yet more assumptions about things like red shift)


Even if all the above is correct (which, to my knowledge, is the case), it does not contradict the theory that world was created 5,770 (or 6,000 or 15,000) years ago, because the time scale depends on the observer and where the event horizon is.
In other words, distance from Earth to stars neither proves nor disproves anything.

Rincewind
10-08-2010, 10:23 AM
-- you believe that the speed of light today is the same as the speed of light in the past (this is an assumption; it may or may not be correct)

It is not an assumption, this has been tested to the extent possible by the technology and availability of data and the speed of light has shown to to be stable in recent history (last 10 billion years). There is some scope for a variable speed of light in the early universe but the extent of this variable is not such that it will overturn what we known about the age and dimension of the universe we observe today.



-- you believe that the speed of light is invariant across the universe (this is an assumption; we only have a sample of 1 from our corner of the universe)

If the speed of light was variable across the universe then you would completely invalidate relativity which has been shown to be an excellent predictive theory. Also depending on the variation you are talking about, there should be effects that are observable from here. This is not unlike the idea of an Ether which was posited before relativity and shown to be a bad idea by the celebrated experiment measuring the speed of light from one side of the Earths orbit to the other.

So in short, this isn't an assumption either. It is backed up by evidence.

BTW regarding both these points, I know of at least one scientific paper written on the possible variability of these parameters - basically within the limits of our ability to measure the speed of light, how much could it be changing over time. If you want to read it I will dig up the reference for you or you could probably find it yourself with a little research.



-- you believe you know the distance of that galaxy to the earth (this is the result of a calculation involving yet more assumptions about things like red shift)

Distances to earth can be easily worked out for stars in our own galaxy which is 100,000 light years across and more thn enough to blow young earth creationism completely out of the water by an order of magnitude. As things get further out (other galaxies) and really distant (quasars) then the figures are slight less well-known but the error in measurement is not so great that they could possible be less than 10,000 light years away. For example, the brightest quasar is around 2,440,000,000 light years away.


Your calculation and observations may prove right, in which case you gain true knowledge about the distance. But if they're wrong, then the knowledge is false. :wall:

While I agree ALL knowledge is tentative, the things you list above as assumption are simply not assumptions. They are the conclusions of extensive testing and form a coherent part of scientific knowledge. An assumption is something which is accepted without question and these certainly do not fall into that category.

An assumption would be doing something like reading a old book written by a stone age tribe, take a liking to their creation myth and saying "that is the literal truth". Any scientific finding which contradicts it MUST be wrong by definition. Science doesn't do that, you do.


---


Also I notice you completely ignore the argument that all visual observations rely on knowledge about the speed of light. So whatever assumptions you claim regarding the age of galaxies are equally valid regarding a passing car. Also you don't comment on the possibility of deliberate deception or sensory or cognitive malfunction in the recording of data. Science is based on repeatable observation and thus many of these problems are overcome. When you believe a single eyewitness account then you must take these concerns into consideration.

Spiny Norman
10-08-2010, 05:12 PM
Also I notice you completely ignore the argument that all visual observations rely on knowledge about the speed of light.
The visual observation "There is a computer screen in front of me" does not rely one whit on knowledge about the speed of light. Nor does the observation "The dog is 60cm tall".

Perhaps you mean that calculations about things such as the current distance of a far away object, or that exact calculations about the position of a car travelling towards me (to extreme depths of precision) require knowledge of the speed of light?

As regards variation in the speed of light, your preceding comments seem to fairly state a traditional position; however there are notably some scientists who would disagree with you ... the following summary is an interesting read:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Variable_speed_of_light

Spiny Norman
10-08-2010, 05:33 PM
What I will grant you is this: that the measurement of the size of the dog, to extreme levels of precision, depends on the size of a metre, which in turn is defined as 1/phoofteenth of the distance that light travels in a vacuum. But for practical purposes, given that one has a ruler, its easy to measure the dog without any knowledge of the speed of light.

Now then; riddle me this: given the interest by scientists who are proposing alternative cosmologies which involve a variable speed of light:

-- are they real scientists?
-- how is it possible that they are proposing a Variable Speed of Light cosmology if it has been observed that the speed of light is not variable over 10B year timeframes (as you claim)

I'll answer that for you: it has not been observed that the speed of light is invariable over 10B year timeframes; rather, it is calculated that it is invariable GIVEN THE ASSUMPTION that a particular cosmological model is correct.

Last time I checked, theoretical cosmological modelling was not observation.

Rincewind
10-08-2010, 07:40 PM
The visual observation "There is a computer screen in front of me" does not rely one whit on knowledge about the speed of light.

I beg to differ. Assuming your only evidence is visual you are surmising (probably correctly) that light only takes a fraction of a picosecond to reach your eyes. However if light were to travel much slower than that, say one centimetre a second then the monitor you think is in front of you might actually have turned to dust long before the light travelling from it reaches your retina.


As regards variation in the speed of light, your preceding comments seem to fairly state a traditional position; however there are notably some scientists who would disagree with you ... the following summary is an interesting read:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Variable_speed_of_light

My position is that of conventional science and if you think some notable scientists disagree with what I said I suggest you point out exactly which scientists and exactly which points. Certainly there is some scope for very fine changes in the speed of light but nothing so great that the universe could all fit in a 10,000 light year sphere.

Secondly there is considerable speculation on the variability of the speed of light (and other "constants") in the very early universe. My comments make no reference to the very early universe which all notable scientists (to my knowledge) place as having happened at least 10 billion years ago and more like nearly 14 billion years ago. Any comments of such variability are in the realms of cosmology and not astronomy and beyond the scope of our discussion (concerning the distance to other stars and galaxies).

Regarding different speed limits of for light in different parts of the universe (as you suggested in an early post) I know of no well known scientist positing such a hypothesis.

I had a quick re-read of your linked page (I read it just yesterday) and so there is nothing there which is surprising. The light through a medium is an effective speed of light, not actually speed of light, and does not apply to space which is essentially a vacuum. The quantum effects are likewise not relevant to astronomical observation. Other findings are disputed and even if the most unconventional of those claims were valid, then you still would not be fitting what we know about the universe into a 10,000 year old history.

Rincewind
10-08-2010, 07:47 PM
Now then; riddle me this: given the interest by scientists who are proposing alternative cosmologies which involve a variable speed of light:

-- are they real scientists?
-- how is it possible that they are proposing a Variable Speed of Light cosmology if it has been observed that the speed of light is not variable over 10B year timeframes (as you claim)

The scientists proposing such hypotheses are indeed scientists. Since advances by people proposing hypotheses and testing them with data. Models which require the speed of light to change are talking about changes in the very early universe (usually much less than the first second after the big bang) and as such are not relevant to our discussion regarding the speed of light for the next 14 billion years (give or take a bit). The light we are talking about started its journey sometime in the last 3 billion years, well after the effects of big-bang expansion were no longer a factor.

Spiny Norman
11-08-2010, 05:55 PM
Earlier on you said:


It is not an assumption, this has been tested to the extent possible by the technology and availability of data and the speed of light has shown to to be stable in recent history (last 10 billion years).

Then you said this:


Models which require the speed of light to change are talking about changes in the very early universe (usually much less than the first second after the big bang) and as such are not relevant to our discussion regarding the speed of light for the next 14 billion years (give or take a bit).

The latter statement (highlighted bit) is false. For example:

http://arxiv.org/ftp/astro-ph/papers/0310/0310178.pdf

(this is one of the quoted articles in the Wiki about VSL which I quoted above). From section 4 of that paper:


4. Present value of light deceleration

Finally, from the radius, the density and equation (9) is now easy to obtain the present value of light deceleration, which results to be 2.2 10-10 m/s-2 , i.e. our model predicts that a decrease of 1m/s could be observed in about 140 years. This very small value has not been observed, but could be hidden within the error bars in recent determinations of c. Very precise laboratory measurements of c could detect this deceleration in a few decades.

In connection with this, it is remarkable that, using precision lunar orbital periods from 1978 to 1981, Van Flandern (1984) obtained a small deceleration in c:

-c’/c = (3.2 ±1.1) 10-11/year. (23)

This result represents a light deceleration of about 3 10-10 m/s2 , in agreement, taking into account the error margins quoted, with our calculated value.

The variation of c should be tested with ‘mechanical’ clocks such as those based on mechanical vibrators, pulsars rotation or planetary revolution, because atomic clocks periods depend on c.

They are talking about decelaration in the value of c today, not billions of years ago. Either:

(a) they are quite mad, as c is constant and cannot change, and it has been observed not to have changed over 10B years as you claimed (quote #1 above); or

(b) c has not been observed to be constant over 10B years; rather, it has been calculated to be constant in accordance with a preferred cosmic model

Seems quite clear to me that (b) makes more sense. These are real scientists, making testable predictions, and I'll lay London to a brick that they know more about the speed of light and cosmology than both you and I put together. They would not be proposing a variable speed of light if your earlier claims were true.

So you are claiming something as observable fact when it simply isn't the case. Treat it as "our preferred cosmological model" or "in accordance with current observations", but please don't call a 10B-year claim "observation" when it isn't.

Spiny Norman
11-08-2010, 06:10 PM
I beg to differ. Assuming your only evidence is visual you are surmising (probably correctly) that light only takes a fraction of a picosecond to reach your eyes. However if light were to travel much slower than that, say one centimetre a second then the monitor you think is in front of you might actually have turned to dust long before the light travelling from it reaches your retina.
For your proposition to be true, only people who knew what the speed of light was would be able to make valid observations.

Since most people don't know the speed of light, and in this I include most scientists (who would have to refer to a book to get the value), then most people would not be able to observe anything with any certainty.

Since that is clearly false, your proposition is also false. Most observations simply do not require the level of certainty that you apparently seem to think they do.

Desmond
11-08-2010, 07:03 PM
Spiny, what kind of variance in the speed of light is required to make the calculations fit your world view?

Is this variance anything near what is put forward in that paper?

Rincewind
11-08-2010, 07:05 PM
For your proposition to be true, only people who knew what the speed of light was would be able to make valid observations.

Not at all, most people apply an inductive knowledge of the way systems in the everyday world behave which is in a uniform and consistent fashion. Now if the speed of light behaved in the manner you seem to entertain: speeding up, slowing down and jumping around all over the place then such observations would be on shaky ground indeed.


Since most people don't know the speed of light, and in this I include most scientists (who would have to refer to a book to get the value), then most people would not be able to observe anything with any certainty.

Exactly! Certainty comes from the fact that the speed of light is constant.


Since that is clearly false, your proposition is also false.

Your logic is very sloppy today Spiny. The false proposition is actually that the speed of light is not constant. If it were, then we would be up a proverbial creek without a means of locomotion.


Most observations simply do not require the level of certainty that you apparently seem to think they do.

All observations are visual and involve the motion of photons and as such rely on a greater or lesser extent on the speed of light. Thus no visual observation can be made which matter 'not on whit' on the speed of light. Furthermore, if the speed of light was variable then everyday observations would be just as prone to the sort of problems you claim only affect astronomical observations.

Rincewind
11-08-2010, 07:19 PM
The latter statement (highlighted bit) is false. For example:

http://arxiv.org/ftp/astro-ph/papers/0310/0310178.pdf

(this is one of the quoted articles in the Wiki about VSL which I quoted above).

Unless you can get a reference for that paper showing that his has been peer reviewed I'm not going to bother reading it. The arxiv is just an archive that anyone can and do put up whatever they like. Some or most of it may get published someday but until that happens there is not much point a non-specialist like me (or you) trying to make sense of something that may just be hogwash.

Looking at the following page and list of publications

http://www.labome.org/expert/spain/university/casado/juan-casado-997254.html

Assuming it is the same guy, (note [7] shows an affiliation to the Matgas Research Centre) the author does not seem to be a regular contributor to cosmology literature (why is it that physical chemists think they know anything about cosmology? :) ) and so I would view the paper with even a greater level of suspicion.

Rincewind
11-08-2010, 09:01 PM
Spiny, what kind of variance in the speed of light is required to make the calculations fit your world view?

Is this variance anything near what is put forward in that paper?

Against my better judgement I did look further into that paper. Apart from what looked to be a basic mathematical error in going from equation (11) to (12) (which perhaps is justified for reasons not apparent to me) the literature used by the author seems very cherry picked. For example he cites a value in the variability of c given by Van Flandern (1984). Now Van Flandern is* a eccentric that not many people take seriously any more and surely there are more modern and more accurate estimates available for c' than something calculated in 1984. For example there is the very well publicised measurements arising from the supernova SN1987A which previously unavailable parallax measurements as well as new astronomical installations that have come online over the last 25 years.

Anyway, I think I've wasted enough time on this red herring for now. My advice to everyone is to be more critical with what they read. There is a large amount of material available on the arxiv, but not all of it is good science. :)

* Edit: was

Spiny Norman
12-08-2010, 06:21 PM
Spiny, what kind of variance in the speed of light is required to make the calculations fit your world view?
Relevance?


Is this variance anything near what is put forward in that paper?
Relevance?

My beliefs/worldview are quite irrelevant to the current discussion, which is about what qualifies as observation. Its crystal clear to me that c has been observed/recorded only for the past few hundred years.

Given RW's apparent inability to tell the difference between a calculation based on a cosmological model and an observation, there is little point discussing it further.

Spiny Norman
12-08-2010, 06:25 PM
Certainty comes from the fact that the speed of light is constant.
No, the certainty comes from:
-- the fact that the value of c is very, very high; and
-- that everyday observations on the earth can safely ignore c as a factor when calculating the position of objects, the time shown on clocks, and so on ... because the level of precision we need simply doesn't require knowledge of c

If you cannot see that basic fact, then I give up ... forest and trees.

Desmond
12-08-2010, 07:40 PM
Relevance?


Relevance?

My beliefs/worldview are quite irrelevant to the current discussion, which is about what qualifies as observation. Its crystal clear to me that c has been observed/recorded only for the past few hundred years.

Given RW's apparent inability to tell the difference between a calculation based on a cosmological model and an observation, there is little point discussing it further.IIRC you implied that the size of the universe is grossly overstated and the reason for that is that the speed of light moved faster way back when.

Leaving aside for a moment that, if there is a god, you grossly devalue him by diminishing his creation by argung this sort of thing.

If we have established that there is an object a billion light years away, assuming that speed of light is more or less constant. Then if you want to argue that it is only say a thousand light years away then you have to be assuming that the speed of light has slown down by a factor of about a million times, don't you?

The question is a) is that what you are assuming, and b) if variance in the speed of light has been shown, is it anything like variance of that magnitude.

Rincewind
12-08-2010, 10:03 PM
-- that everyday observations on the earth can safely ignore c as a factor when calculating the position of objects, the time shown on clocks, and so on ... because the level of precision we need simply doesn't require knowledge of c

Surely one requires knowledge that it is very fast and can be ignored. Wouldn't you agree? Otherwise how can you justify ignoring it in short range measurements?

Rincewind
12-08-2010, 10:37 PM
The question is a) is that what you are assuming, and b) if variance in the speed of light has been shown, is it anything like variance of that magnitude.

Even if that were the position it is dead in the water since the speed of light is not the only way we can measure distance. There are parallax measurements made based on the radius of the earth's orbit. Measure angles to stars in different seasons we can benchmark some of the closer stars. I'm not sure if we get out beyond 10,000 light years with current instruments but I believe it is close. And only a very small number of stars are that close (they are all in our galaxy) so it doesn't leave much room for the other galaxies (and there are something like 170 billion galaxies other than the Milky Way). Each one containing millions of stars at least (some giants contain trillions of stars). That's a lot of crap to fit in a 10,000 light year sphere.

Secondly we have been able to observe light not only travelling directly toward us, but first at an angle and then toward us. When the super nova SN1987A went off a few months later it 'lit up' a circle of matter around the star and the angular measurement of the ring is possible from earth (unlike most stars which subtend too fine an angle for us to measure). Use these measurements (time for rings to switch on, angular measurement of rings) we can determine the distance to SN1987A using trigonometry. Based on a constant speed of light it is around 168,000 light years. The good thing is that if light has been slowing down then the SN must be even further away (not closer).

For more info on SN1987A see

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SN_1987A

or the following paper

http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/nph-iarticle_query?1998MmSAI..69..225P&data_type=PDF_HIGH&type=PRINTER&filetype=.pdf

which gives a distance of 51.4 +-1.2 kpc which is 168,000 +- 3,900 light years.

Spiny Norman
14-08-2010, 08:02 AM
Surely one requires knowledge that it is very fast and can be ignored. Wouldn't you agree? Otherwise how can you justify ignoring it in short range measurements?
People once believed that it was instantaneous. It was only much later that they discovered that it was just "very, very fast". Either way, neither belief caused them to have any problem whatsoever in making all sorts of observations. Don't back yourself into a corner over this minor quibble, its just silly.

Spiny Norman
14-08-2010, 08:15 AM
IIRC you implied that the size of the universe is grossly overstated and the reason for that is that the speed of light moved faster way back when.
Not sure that was me. What I have been arguing, in this thread anyway, is that there are certain factors involved in making calculations about "the size of the universe" and similar things. One of those factors is a belief/assumption about the speed of light, namely, that it is a particular value and that it is a constant.

IF such a belief turned out to be false, calculations about the distance to observed galaxies and so forth turn out to be wrong and have to be re-done.


Leaving aside for a moment that, if there is a god, you grossly devalue him by diminishing his creation by argung this sort of thing.

Why? How does this diminish Him? You seem to be implying that if the universe was very, very small (instead of veyr, very large) that God Himself is somehow smaller? That's just not correct. God is not a physical object; the size of the universe may be important to *us* to try to help us conceptualise an all-powerful God, but that's about as far as it goes.


If we have established that there is an object a billion light years away, assuming that speed of light is more or less constant. Then if you want to argue that it is only say a thousand light years away then you have to be assuming that the speed of light has slown down by a factor of about a million times, don't you?
Probably. But how is that relevant to the discussion about the difference between observation and calculation-based-on-assumptions/beliefs?


The question is a) is that what you are assuming, and b) if variance in the speed of light has been shown, is it anything like variance of that magnitude.
The only relevant point is that SOME PEOPLE (scientists, who should presumably know better) haven't fallen for RW's claim that "the speed of light has been OBSERVED to be constant for 10B years". Its obviously a false claim.

It has been calculated to be constant based on a preferred cosmological model.

It has been defined as a constant by choosing to vary the length of 1 metre instead; rather than keeping a constant 1 metre and varying the speed of light whenever a new measurement shows that it has changed a bit.

I'm absolutely staggered that you guys don't see this.

... and I'm still chuckling at the idea that someone can claim to have observed a triangle and have calculated the length of one of the sides based on the length and angles of two of the sides ... when all they have seen is two straight lines.

Rincewind
14-08-2010, 11:37 AM
People once believed that it was instantaneous. It was only much later that they discovered that it was just "very, very fast". Either way, neither belief caused them to have any problem whatsoever in making all sorts of observations. Don't back yourself into a corner over this minor quibble, its just silly.

I think you are the one who is feeling backed into a corner. You said


The visual observation "There is a computer screen in front of me" does not rely one whit on knowledge about the speed of light.

Do you now concede that you were mistaken and that observation does rely on the knowledge that the speed of light is very fast?

Spiny Norman
15-08-2010, 10:34 AM
Do you now concede that you were mistaken and that observation does rely on the knowledge that the speed of light is very fast?
No; the average person in the street is quite capable of making observations ... and the average person in the street most likely has no knowledge of the speed of light; rather, they assume that what they are seeing is really there and has not, in the last few seconds "disintegrated into dust" as you so solourfully put it ... neither do courts require eye witnesses to events to testify to their knowledge of the speed of light ... so knowledge of the speed of light is quite irrelevant to the ability to make observations.

Rincewind
15-08-2010, 11:19 AM
No; the average person in the street is quite capable of making observations ... and the average person in the street most likely has no knowledge of the speed of light

That is quite wrong. A life time of experience informs that person that the speed of light may be neglected for everyday observations. For example consider the following thought experiment:

Someone arrives in our universe from another where the speed of light is much slower. When they see things they are not so quick to assume that the object they see is still where it appears to be. They see a monitor in front of them they "know" that it may no longer be there as the light may has travelled for centuries to reach them and thus it may have crumbled into dust.

So both he and you make the same observation. You conclude there is a monitor in front of you, the visitor from another universe does not. Which one is correct? Most likely you of course. And why? Because of the knowledge you have regarding the speed of light in our universe.

Of course after some time the visitor from the other universe will learn this too. As you have from a life time of experiences, they too will acquire the knowledge that light travels very quickly and if one sees a monitor in front of them then most likely one is still there in the present. Thus being informed on the speed of light lets one make reasonable observations. And all visual observations, however mundane do rely to some extent on a knowledge of the speed of light. Not a precise knowledge, of course, but it is at least a whit.

Aaron Guthrie
15-08-2010, 08:50 PM
No; the average person in the street is quite capable of making observations ... and the average person in the street most likely has no knowledge of the speed of light

That is quite wrong. A life time of experience informs that person that the speed of light may be neglected for everyday observations.To draw conclusions about there being an object, it persisting and so on, is to go beyond the data, regardless of whether people are aware of that fact.

Spiny Norman
17-08-2010, 07:04 AM
That is quite wrong. A life time of experience informs that person that the speed of light may be neglected for everyday observations.
So are you suggesting that, for example, babies are unable to observe their parents? Babies cry when their parents leave the room.

Babies don't have a lifetime of experience to draw upon, nor do they have any knowledge about the speed of light, yet they are quite able to observe their parents entering and exiting a room.

You are defending an absolutely ridiculous position. :rolleyes:

Spiny Norman
17-08-2010, 07:05 AM
To draw conclusions about there being an object, it persisting and so on, is to go beyond the data, regardless of whether people are aware of that fact.
Perhaps, but this discussion is about observation simpliciter, not observation philosopher. ;)

Rincewind
17-08-2010, 09:33 AM
So are you suggesting that, for example, babies are unable to observe their parents? Babies cry when their parents leave the room.

You are confusing the receiving of visual information with the conclusions that are drawn from it. It it difficult to say what conclusions a young infant reaches, why they cry and whether they make the connect that their parents are in another room or simply disappears only to reappear if they cry.

What we are talking about is you receiving some visual data which appears to you to be a monitor say 1 metre away, and drawing the conclusion that there is a monitor in front of you.

The fact remains that to reach the assumption that there is a monitor in front of you are tacitly basing your argument on your knowledge that the speed of light is fast. If you had another belief regarding the speed of light you would reach another conclusion. As my thought experiemnt above shows.

Now stop constructing ridiculous strawmen and try to concentrate.

Spiny Norman
17-08-2010, 05:21 PM
Now stop constructing ridiculous strawmen and try to concentrate.
At this point, I'll call "BULLSHIT" in as loud a voice as I can muster, and will move on. Not often that I have to tag someone, but there is no other conclusion I can reach about you, as this has happened multiple times (you arguing endlessly to defend a ridiculously illogical position). You're a prize goose. Kerplunk!

Aaron Guthrie
17-08-2010, 06:03 PM
Perhaps, but this discussion is about observation simpliciter, not observation philosopher. ;)The main point of that post is that whether people are aware that their conclusions require assumptions is irrelevant. Likewise, in the case you are worried about, the scientists going beyond the data, it is irrelevant whether the scientists are aware of this.

Rincewind
17-08-2010, 07:42 PM
At this point, I'll call "BULLSHIT" in as loud a voice as I can muster, and will move on. Not often that I have to tag someone, but there is no other conclusion I can reach about you, as this has happened multiple times (you arguing endlessly to defend a ridiculously illogical position). You're a prize goose. Kerplunk!

Since you have singularly avoided responding intelligently to any of the key points in any of my posts it did feel a bit like I was talking to a posting bot in any regards.

Rincewind
17-08-2010, 11:52 PM
http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/still_no_sleep.png

Spiny Norman
21-08-2010, 01:57 PM
You're even more confused than usual:

Rincewind
21-08-2010, 03:40 PM
You're even more confused than usual:

I wouldn't let it worry you, Spiny. You seem to be incredibly well inoculated against any idea which impinges on your fairy tales.

Capablanca-Fan
08-07-2016, 05:52 AM
How the Middle Ages Really Were (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/quora/how-the-middle-ages-reall_b_5767240.html)
Tim O'Neill (himself an atheist), on the leftist Huffington Post, 8 September 2014

Introduction - Myths about the Middle Ages

1. People thought the earth was flat and the Church taught this as a matter of doctrine.

In fact, the Church did not teach that the earth was flat at any time in the Middle Ages. Medieval scholars were well aware of the scientific arguments of the Greeks that proved the earth was round and could use scientific instruments, like the astrolabe, the accurately measure its circumference. The fact that the earth is a sphere was so well known, widely accepted and unremarkable that when Thomas Aquinas wanted to choose an objective fact that is not able to be disputed early in his Summa Theologica he chose the fact that the earth is round as his example.

2. The Medieval Church suppressed science and innovative thinking and burned scientists at the stake, setting back progress by hundreds of years.

Far from being persecuted by the Church, all of the scientists of the Middle Ages were themselves churchmen. Jean Buridan de Bethune, Nicole d’Oresme, Albrecht of Saxony, Albertus Magnus, Robert Grosseteste, Thomas Bradwardine, Theodoric of Fribourg, Roger Bacon, Thierry of Chartres, Gerbert of Aurillac, William of Conches, John Philoponus, John Peckham, Duns Scotus, Walter Burley, William Heytesbury, Richard Swineshead, John Dumbleton and Nicholas of Cusa were not only not persecuted, suppressed or burned at the stake, but were honoured and renowned for their learning and wisdom.

Contrary to the myth and to the popular misconception, there is not one single example of anyone being burned at the stake for anything to do with science in the Middle Ages, nor is there any example of science being suppressed by the Medieval Church. The Galileo Affair came much later (Galileo was a contemporary of Descartes) and had far more to do with the politics of the Counter Reformation and the personalities involved than anything to do with the Church’s attitude to science.

3. In the Middle Ages millions of women were burned by the Inquisition as witches and witch burnings were a common occurrence in Medieval times.

Actually, the “Witch Craze” was not a Medieval phenomenon at all. Its heyday was in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries and was an almost exclusively early Modern affair. For most of the Middle Ages (ie the Fifth to Fifteenth Centuries) not only did the Church not bother pursuing so-called witches, but its teaching was actually that witches did not even exist.

4. The Middle Ages was a period of filth and squalor and people rarely washed and would have stunk and had rotten teeth.

The fact that Medieval literature celebrates the joys of a hot bath, the Medieval knighting ceremony includes a scented bath for the initiatory squire, ascetic hermits prided themselves on not bathing just as they prided themselves on not enjoying other common pleasures and soap makers and bath-house keepers did a roaring trade shows that Medieval people liked to keep clean. The idea that they had rotten teeth has also been shown to be nonsense by archaeology. In a period in which sugar was an expensive luxury and in which the average person’s diet was rich in vegetables, seasonal fruit and calcium, Medieval teeth were actually excellent. It was only in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century that cheaper sugar from the West Indies flooded Europe and caused an epidemic of cavities and foul breath.

5. The Medieval period was a technological ‘dark age’ and there were few to no advances in technology until the Renaissance.

So far from being a technological dark age, the Medieval period actually saw many important innovations in technology and several of them - eye glasses, the mechanical clock and the printing press - are amongst the most important inventions of all time.

Rincewind
08-07-2016, 10:02 AM
Actually it is a myth that the Middle Ages are called the Dark Ages.

The Dark Ages usually refers to the Early Middle Ages, the period from (say) the 5th to 9th centuries; whereas the Middle Ages (or Medieval Period) continued on to around the 15th century.

Much of what Tim O'Neill says is true the Churches persecution of witches and scientists mainly occurred in (and indeed it was a conservative reaction to) the Enlightenment.

Capablanca-Fan
11-07-2016, 03:38 AM
Actually it is a myth that the Middle Ages are called the Dark Ages.

The Dark Ages usually refers to the Early Middle Ages, the period from (say) the 5th to 9th centuries; whereas the Middle Ages (or Medieval Period) continued on to around the 15th century.
Some referred to the entire medieval period as "the Dark Ages", starting with Petrarch in the early Renaissance, so it is hardly a "myth". Other times it is restricted to the Early Middle Ages as you say. But responsible historians dispense with the term altogether. Even in those times there was the Carolingian Renaissance with a vital reform of writing, the Carolingian Minuscule, which has rounded letters and spaces between words. Later the Italian Renaissance borrowed this, thinking it was Classical.


Much of what Tim O'Neill says is true the Churches persecution of witches and scientists mainly occurred in (and indeed it was a conservative reaction to) the Enlightenment.
At least gets the period right, because as he points out, in the Middle Ages, the church denied the existence of witches.

Capablanca-Fan
23-08-2016, 03:14 AM
The Renaissance Myth (http://web.maths.unsw.edu.au/~jim/renaissance.html)
James Franklin (now Professor, School of Mathematics and Statistics (http://web.maths.unsw.edu.au/~jim/index.html), University of New South Wales)
Quadrant 26 (11):51–60, November 1982

THE HISTORY OF IDEAS is full of more tall stories than most other departments of history. Here are three which manage to combine initial implausibility with impregnability to refutation: that in the Middle Ages it was believed that the world was flat; that medieval philosophers debated as to how many angels could dance on the head of a pin; that Galileo revolutionised physics by dropping weights from the Leaning Tower of Pisa. None of these stories is true, and no competent historian has asserted any of them, but none shows any sign of disappearing from the public consciousness.

The tales about the medieval thinkers and Galileo are little lies. The big lie of which they are the foothills is the Renaissance.

The main elements of the Renaissance myth are familiar enough: the sudden dawning of a new outlook on the world after a thousand years of darkness, the rediscovery of ancient learning, the spread of new ideas of intellectual inquiry and freedom, investigation of the real world replacing the sterile disputes of the scholastics, the widening of the world through the discovery of America and the advance of science, the reform of religion. Apart from a few quibbles about the supposed suddenness of the change, and that more on the grounds of a general belief in the gradualness of historical change than because of any evidence, this paradigm seems to be as firmly in place now as it ever was.

In fact there is no truth in any of this. On the contrary, as we will see, the "Renaissance" was a period when thought declined significantly, bringing to an end a period of advance in the late Middle Ages.

The main intellectual effort of the Middle Ages was of course expended not on technological subjects but on philosophy and theology. Of the great scholastics, two of the most famous, Duns Scotus and William of Ockham, were roughly contemporaries of Dante. Although the achievements of medieval philosophy are not easy to appreciate, we can understand something of what was done in science, then considered a branch of philosophy. The history of medieval science has only been treated seriously in comparatively recent times, since it suited the theses of most historians that the medieval scholars should have been poring over ancient books instead of examining the real world. Less culpably, an interest in science and skill in medieval Latin are, in the nature of things, rarely conjoined. But with the excellently chosen texts now available in translation in Edward Grant's Sourcebook in Medieval Science, we can see how good the science of the time really was. One thing that becomes clear is that all the best bits come from the period 1250-1350, that is, Dante's lifetime plus a few years either way. By then the best of Greek and Arab science had been translated and absorbed and new discoveries were being made. Until 1300 the most actively cultivated science was geometrical optics, the leading researchers in which were associated with the Papal court of John XXI in the 1270s. The Pope was himself the author of a book on the subject (besides writing best-sellers on logic and medicine), and in fact died in the pursuit of science when the roof of his laboratory collapsed.

In the next century, it was mechanics that caught the attention of the learned. The importance of this was that the next phase of science and mathematics, represented by Galileo, Descartes and Newton, made its most important discoveries in connection with the motion of bodies. But this was a subject notably absent from the science of antiquity. Motion, and continuous variation in general, seems to have been thought too confusing to be treated rigorously, and there is no suggestion that any kind of measurement might apply to motion. There is no phrase in ancient Greek or Latin equivalent to "kilometres per hour". Even the motion of the planets was treated in terms of the geometry of the heavenly spheres, to which the planets were supposed to be attached. To remedy this situation, what was needed was an identification of continuous variation as a subject and the drawing of some important distinctions between the basic concepts. If there was one thing that medieval philosophy was good at, it was drawing distinctions. The scientists of the Merton School, at Oxford in the 1330s and 1340s, wrote at length on the "intension and remission of forms", that is, the changes of any quantities which could vary continuously. The topic covered the motion of bodies, the gradual change from hot to cold, the variation in brightness over a surface and, according to one of the school, the "intension and remission of certainty with respect to doubt". Their crucial achievement was to distinguish between speed and acceleration, and then between uniform and non-uniform acceleration. They were able to devise what we would express by an equation of uniformly accelerated motion. All this requires mathematical talent of a high order.

The next (and, as it proved, final), steps taken in this direction were the accomplishments of the last and greatest of the medieval scientists, Nicole Oresme. A remarkably versatile thinker, he wrote on such varied subjects as theology and money, but devoted much of his effort to science and mathematics. He invented graphs, one of the few mathematical discoveries since antiquity which are familiar to every reader of the newspapers. He was the first to perform calculations involving probability. He had a good grasp of the relativity of motion, and argued correctly that there was no way to distinguish by observation between the theory then held that the heavens revolve around the earth once a day, and the theory that the heavens are at rest and the earth spins once a day. He was apparently the first to compare the workings of the universe to a clock, an image much repeated in later ages. Many of his more technical achievements have also been admired by the experts.

Then everything came to a stop. Given the scientific and mathematical works of Descartes and Galileo, but no chronological information, one might suppose the authors were students of Oresme. Galileo's work on moving bodies is the next step after Oresme's physics; Cartesian geometry follows immediately on Oresme's work on graphs. But we know that the actual chronological gap was 250 years, during which nothing whatever happened in these fields. Nor did any thing of importance occur in any other branches of science in the two centuries between Oresme and Copernicus. Other intellectual fields have no more to offer. Histories of philosophy are naturally able to name philosophers between 1350 and 1600, but their inclusion seems to be on the same principle as world maps which include Wyndham, WA, but leave out Wollongong - big blank spaces must be filled. While it is almost impossible to find an English translation of any philosopher in the three hundred years between Scotus and Descartes, it is not a lack one feels acutely. The intellectual stagnation of those centuries is evident too in the lack of change in the universities: the curriculum which bored Locke at Oxford in 1650 was almost identical to the one which Wyclif found wanting in 1350.

Why was Oresme's generation the last one for two hundred years able to think? There is an obvious suggestion; it was the last to grow up before the Black Death.

A particular case of the way that the skill of the Renaissance in art has served to cover up its utter incompetence at anything else is evident in the admiration of many for Leonardo da Vinci. Admirers of the Renaissance have acclaimed him as a type of the Renaissance man; its detractors can, I think, do the same. Like the Renaissance itself, Leonardo was supposed to be good at everything. But on examination, it turns out he had nothing of importance to say on most subjects. Some histories of Italian literature do not mention Leonardo at all; those which do mostly approve his description of himself as a "man without letters" (he could not write in Latin at all), and advise us to look elsewhere for his achievements. Doing so, we find that a standard history of mathematics says "[his] published jottings on mathematics are trivial, even puerile, and show no mathematical talent whatever." Though he had some skill as a military engineer, he does not seem to have made any definite contributions to science or technology. Dreams about helicopters do not constitute great science. But he was a great painter.

Finally, if the Renaissance was not an age of intellectual brilliance, who put about the myth that it was, and to what end?

There is one man deserving most of the blame - Petrarch. Though in fact he lived at the time of the Black Death, a century before the Renaissance is usually thought to have begun, he first made most of the claims advanced by later advocates of the Renaissance. He hunted for manuscripts, and claimed to have rediscovered various ancient authors. He imitated Cicero, meaning his style rather than his content. He criticised the university scholars of his day for irrelevant dialectical subtleties and hair-splitting logic, though there is no evidence that he ever tried to understand what they were saying. He is said to have left Venice because some young university philosophers said he was "a good man, but illiterate." In view of his own dictum that "it is better to will the good than to know the truth", they were surely at least half right. Even on his chosen ground, lyric love poetry, it is possible to feel in his work a certain obviousness and lack of sensibility compared with, say, Guido Cavalcanti's Donna mi Prega of fifty years earlier. After writing several hundred sonnets cataloguing Laura's numerous charms and virtues and his own living deaths and delicious pains, he noted the news of her death in his copy of Virgil, in order that he might be constantly reminded of the decay of all earthly goals. He pulled off the century's most amazing propaganda stunt by having himself crowned as poet on the Capitoline Hill, reviving a supposed classical tradition. This was to celebrate, he said, the rebirth of poetry after a thousand years. Even if the troubadour lyrics, the Eddas and the Roman de la Rose had never been written, the idea of someone announcing the rebirth of poetry thirty years after Dante's death is just a disgrace.

No psychological insight is needed to guess Petrarch's motives in pretending that a thousand years of darkness had ended with himself. But there is something of a puzzle as to why later historians continued to accept the exaggerated account the Renaissance gave of itself.

Capablanca-Fan
23-08-2016, 03:28 AM
MYTHS ABOUT THE MIDDLE AGES (http://web.maths.unsw.edu.au/~jim/medmyths.html)
James Franklin

There are so many myths about the Middle Ages, it has to be suspected that the general level of "knowledge" about things medieval is actually negative.
Here are some of the more famous ones.

In the Middle Ages it was believed the earth was flat.
There's a whole book devoted to refuting this one: J.B. Russell's Inventing the Flat Earth: Columbus and Modern Historians[/URL] (New York, 1991) (review (http://web.archive.org/web/20051030170547/http://www.utpjournals.com/product/chr/734/earth48.html); also 'The myth of the flat earth (http://www.sfu.ca/~swartz/flat_earth.htm)'.)
The facts are that the Greeks knew the earth was spherical from about 500 BC, and all but a tiny number of educated persons have known it in all times since. Thomas Aquinas gives the roundness of the earth as a standard example of a scientific truth, in Summa theologiae bk. I q. 1 art. 1 (http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1001.htm).

The scholastic philosophers of the Middle Ages debated how many angels could dance on the head of a pin.
This has not been found in any scholastic, nor has the allegation been found earlier than in a Protestant writer of 1638. See 'Heads of pins' (http://www.maths.unsw.edu.au/~jim/headsofpins.html); further (http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a4_132.html); discussion (http://www.liv.ac.uk/pal/subject/specialist/myths/angels.htm).
Aquinas does discuss "whether several angels can be in the same place at the same time" (Summa theologiae bk. I q. 52 art. 3 (http://www.newadvent.org/summa/105203.htm)), but that does not quite have the farcical ring of the original.

An early medieval church council declared (or almost declared) that women have no souls.
History of the error (http://www.firstthings.com/article.php3?id_article=3672).

"In the times of St Thomas it [woman] was considered an essence as certainly defined as the somniferous virtue of the poppy ...St Thomas for his part pronounced woman to be an imperfect man"
These claims are made in the introduction (http://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/ethics/de-beauvoir/2nd-sex/introduction.htm)to Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex (http://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/ethics/de-beauvoir/2nd-sex/introduction.htm), one of the founding texts of feminism. Aquinas believes all humans have the same essence. Though not exactly a believer in the equality of men and women, he did not call women imperfect men. details (http://www.firstthings.com/article.php3?id_article=3594).

Spices were used to cover up the taste of rotten meat
Rotten meat with spices is as dangerous as rotten meat without spices ... discussion (http://lists.ansteorra.org/htdig.cgi/sca-cooks-ansteorra.org/2008-March/015535.html)

Religious taboos prevented medical dissection of bodies
Katherine Park's book on late medieval dissection (http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~hsdept/bios/park-secrets-women.html)

The medieval burning of witches.
Medieval canon law officially did not believe in witches. There were very occasional individual witch trials in the Middle Ages, but the persecution of witches only became a mass phenomenon from around 1500. The height of persecution was in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries ... Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_witchcraft); resources (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/witches1.html).

The Renaissance.
The thesis that there was a rebirth of learning in Europe in or around the fifteenth century, after a thousand years of darkness, is too diffuse to admit of clear agreement or disagreement. Nevertheless, the claim that the "Renaissance" is almost entirely a beat-up, put about by a gang of anti-Catholic art historians, has much to be said for it. See 'The Renaissance myth (http://web.maths.unsw.edu.au/~jim/renaissance.html)'.

Rincewind
23-08-2016, 10:56 AM
Nevertheless, the claim that the "Renaissance" is almost entirely a beat-up, put about by a gang of anti-Catholic art historians, has much to be said for it. See 'The Renaissance myth (http://web.maths.unsw.edu.au/~jim/renaissance.html)'.

A Renaissance myther! Classic!

Desmond
23-08-2016, 06:54 PM
The medieval burning of witches.
Medieval canon law officially did not believe in witches. There were very occasional individual witch trials in the Middle Ages, but the persecution of witches only became a mass phenomenon from around 1500. The height of persecution was in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries ... Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_witchcraft); resources (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/witches1.html).
…And the mass persecution of witches happening after the middle ages is a good thing ... why?

Patrick Byrom
23-08-2016, 09:52 PM
If the Greeks had no concept of motion, how did Hipparchus measure the precession of the equinox?

I think Luther and Machiavelli might be considered important thinkers between 1350 and 1600 - Machiavelli is generally regarded as an important philosopher. And then there's the invention of the printing press - also fairly significant!

And Wikipedia has a whole page devoted to Leonardo's contributions to science and technology!

EDIT: And how could I forget the mechanical clock and the telescope - along with the printing press, three revolutionary inventions from the Renaissance.

Capablanca-Fan
24-08-2016, 12:53 AM
And the mass persecution of witches happening after the middle ages is a good thing ... why?

Who said it was a good thing? The point is that this was not a major problem in the much-maligned Middle Ages, but became a problem during the overrated Renaissance.

Capablanca-Fan
24-08-2016, 01:00 AM
If the Greeks had no concept of motion, how did Hipparchus measure the precession of the equinox?
Yes, and we know about Ptolemy's Syntaxis/Almagest. But nothing like the Merton Calculators at Oxford.


And Wikipedia has a whole page devoted to Leonardo's contributions to science and technology!
But then don't just count the space, but look what is said:


Leonardo's approach to science was observational: he tried to understand a phenomenon by describing and depicting it in utmost detail and did not emphasize experiments or theoretical explanation.

This is stamp-collecting, not science. But in the Middle Ages, the Merton Calculators, Buridan, and Oresme performed experiments and developed mathematical models, including graphs.

Even a lot of his inventions were only on paper. His anatomical drawings were very good though, because they played to his strengths as an excellent observer and sublime artist.

Capablanca-Fan
24-08-2016, 01:15 AM
A Renaissance myther! Classic!

No refutation offered, I notice, for the documentation in the post above (http://www.chesschat.org/showthread.php?12302-Science-and-the-past-sf-current-scientific-research&p=414046&viewfull=1#post414046) that the Renaissance was a reactionary step, idolizing the Greeks and Romans and ignoring the great advances made in the Middle Ages. E.g. Buridan and Oresme in the 14th century had refuted almost all the arguments that would be thrown at Galileo 250 years later. Yet the Renaissance was the time of much superstition, witch burning, "Renaissance magic", and the Galileo Affair. So why again should we accept Petrarch's self-serving claim that his age was a "rebirth" while the Middle Ages were "Dark Ages"?

Patrick Byrom
24-08-2016, 01:26 AM
Yes, and we know about Ptolemy's Syntaxis/Almagest. But nothing like the Merton Calculators at Oxford.But Franklin said that the Greeks didn't understand motion.


But then don't just count the space, but look what is said: ...
This is stamp-collecting, not science. But in the Middle Ages, the Merton Calculators, Buridan, and Oresme performed experiments and developed mathematical models, including graphs. Even a lot of his inventions were only on paper. His anatomical drawings were very good though, because they played to his strengths as an excellent observer and sublime artist.Perhaps, but Franklin said that Leonardo had made no contributions to technology - which he obviously did. And James Hannam (http://jameshannam.com/medievalscience.htm) doesn't think that the Merton Calculators performed actual experiments - unlike Galileo, for example.

But it is amazing that some Medieval Christian scholars had already accepted that Genesis should not be interpreted literally (https://www.quora.com/Why-did-science-make-little-real-progress-in-Europe-in-the-Middle-Ages-3):

The Medieval Church also did not insist on a purely literal interpretation of the Bible (fundamentalist literalism is a modern and largely American Protestant idea). This meant that it had no problem with seeing aspects of the Bible as purely allegorical and with the exploration of how their symbolic truth relates to the real world. Most people who think of the Medieval period as one where Biblical literalists suppressed original thinking though fear would have a hard time explaining, for example, the work of William of Conches. Way back in the Twelfth Century this scholar, based at Chartres Cathedral, accepted that his audience already understood the creation story in Genesis to be symbolic and went on to interpret it "according to nature'. He proposed how natural forces set in motion by God brought about the form of the heavens and earth as we have them today. He went on to talk about life arising from the primordial mud by the natural action of heat and how it developed from simple early forms. He even talks about how man arose in the same way and how, in theory, some other species of man could arise via natural processes in the same way.

All these very modern-sounding (even Darwinian) ideas were accepted by Medieval scholars without the slightest problem and the Church had no difficulty with them either - indeed, William of Conches, like all other Medieval scientists - was a churchman.

Desmond
24-08-2016, 08:07 AM
Who said it was a good thing? The point is that this was not a major problem in the much-maligned Middle Ages, but became a problem during the overrated Renaissance.Well I suppose as someone's whose wont is to defend the works of Christians, I had expected from you something more interesting than "it happened more recently than you think"!

Capablanca-Fan
24-08-2016, 08:09 AM
Well I suppose as someone's whose wont is to defend the works of Christians, I had expected from you something more interesting than "it happened more recently than you think"!

Actually, no I defend acts consistent with the teachings of Christianity. But as usual, the above is a deflection from the issue at hand: the Middle Ages vs the Renaissance.

Desmond
24-08-2016, 08:14 AM
Actually, no I defend acts consistent with the teachings of Christianity. Right, well, Christians should obviously praise witchcraft since their God has use for incantations, blood magic, etc.

Capablanca-Fan
29-09-2016, 07:58 AM
But it is amazing that some Medieval Christian scholars had already accepted that Genesis should not be interpreted literally (https://www.quora.com/Why-did-science-make-little-real-progress-in-Europe-in-the-Middle-Ages-3):
Quora is hardly a reliable source. But Thomas Aquinas was the leading theologian and philosopher of the high middle ages, and he explicitly accepted 6-day creation. His teacher, Albertus Magnus, was a biologist.

But the quote was right about the scientists of the middle ages who were churchmen in good standing.

Capablanca-Fan
29-09-2016, 08:02 AM
The Great Myths 1: The Medieval Flat Earth (http://historyforatheists.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/the-new-atheist-bad-history-great-myths.html)
Tim O'Neill, http://historyforatheists.blogspot.co.uk/ (New Atheists Getting History Wrong), 31 May 2016

So according to Neil deGrasse Tyson, people 500 years ago believed the earth was flat. Except, ummm, they didn't. Luckily there are a few people out there whose grasp of history is rather better than Tyson's, so a few days later someone questioned the great man's assertion

Back in 2012 New Atheist blogger Donald Prothero took hold of the flat earth stick and gave Christianity a vigorous beating. Prothero is Professor of Geology at Occidental College in Los Angeles and he had just seen Alejandro Amenábar's woeful tripe Agora, so naturally he felt these things qualified him to lecture the readers of Skepticblog about history. In a post entitled "Hypatia, Agora and Religion vs. Science", he praised Amenábar's highly distorted biopic of Hypatia and used that as a jumping off point for a sermon about the alleged suppression of science by religion that was peppered with classic New Atheist bad history howlers. As I've detailed elsewhere, the result was total butchery of the facts, but he finished in grand style, with a reference to "Christians suppressing heretical notion that the Earth is round", showing that the Medieval Flat Earth Myth is alive and kicking at the more clueless end of the New Atheist paddling pool.

And it's easy to see why this myth is so hard for the New Atheists to resist - it conforms to every element of their pseudo historical metamyth. We have the wise and rational Greeks discovering the earth is a sphere using science. Then the terrible Christians destroying this knowledge (presumably by burning down the Great Library of Alexandria and murdering Hypatia), plunging Europe into a 1000 year Dark Age of Church oppression where the Bible must be interpreted literally at all times. And finally, a brave rationalist arising at the dawn of Modernity to boldly defy the Church and prove the Greeks right by sailing to the Americas.

But those of us who actually care to check facts - something the New Atheists preach about but, strangely, rarely do on matters historical - know that this is all complete crap. Anyone who can bother to read Jeffrey Burton Russell's Inventing the Flat Earth: Columbus and Modern Historians (1991), Google a Wikipedia article or even read Cracked.com can get a solid understanding of how the idea that the Medieval Church suppressed the concept of a spherical earth and taught that the earth was flat is a wholesale fiction that arose in the nineteenth century. They can read up on how, in 1828, the American novelist Washington Irving invented the whole idea of a conflict between the Church and Columbus to spice up the otherwise rather dull story in his fictionalised biography A History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus. This book, unfortunately, became the best selling biography of Columbus for the next century, and so fixed the myth in the English speaking world as something "everyone knows". Despite the fact it was completely made up.

Why It Matters

Of course, the fact that the average person still gets their idea of medieval cosmology from a 1951 Bugs Bunny cartoon is not really the issue here. The problem is that the Flat Earth Myth keeps popping up in New Atheist critiques of religion, despite it being patent nonsense. If it were just people like Tyson's Twitter defenders whose grasp of history was so inadequate that they believe this stupid myth this would not be an issue. But when a man like Tyson, who is regarded as some kind of authority on all things (not just science), and who has 5.21 MILLION Twitter followers, peddles this pseudo historical crap it's small wonder New Atheists have a warped view of history. Donald Prothero is nowhere near as influential, but as an educator, it's deeply concerning that he takes it upon himself to lecture others on this subject, despite the fact he doesn't have the faintest idea what he's talking about.

What we see here, in short, is everything that is wrong with New Atheist Bad History - outdated myths backed by garbled evidence peddled by non-historians who have irrelevant authority by merit of being scientists and who are motivated by an emotionally-driven ideological bias against religion. The result is, yet again, total garbage presented uncritically by people who are meant to be rationalists and sceptics. And that's the problem.

Capablanca-Fan
29-09-2016, 08:04 AM
A flat earth, and other nonsense (http://creation.com/refuting-flat-earth)
Dealing with ideas that would not exist were it not for the Internet
by Robert Carter (http://creation.com/dr-robert-carter) and Jonathan Sarfati (http://creation.com/dr-jonathan-sarfati), 13 September 2016

Table of Contents

Introduction

The case for a spherical earth

The earth and the moon
Things disappearing over the horizon
Parallax problems
Time zones
Different stars
The missing South Pole
Circumnavigation of the globe
Astronauts in space
Prove it to yourself
Why does the earth superficially look flat?
Discussion (major problems with a flat earth)
Conclusions

Patrick Byrom
29-09-2016, 03:19 PM
Quora is hardly a reliable source.If Tim O'Neill (the author of that Quora answer) isn't reliable, then maybe you shouldn't be quoting him as a source!

Rincewind
29-09-2016, 03:42 PM
If Tim O'Neill (the author of that Quora answer) isn't reliable, then maybe you shouldn't be quoting him as a source!

As usual with Jono every source is only reliable insofar as they agree with Sarfati's a priori positions. On all other matters they are unreliable (at best).

Patrick Byrom
29-09-2016, 03:43 PM
The Great Myths 1: The Medieval Flat Earth (http://historyforatheists.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/the-new-atheist-bad-history-great-myths.html)
Tim O'Neill, http://historyforatheists.blogspot.co.uk/ (New Atheists Getting History Wrong), 31 May 2016

So according to Neil deGrasse Tyson, people 500 years ago believed the earth was flat. Except, ummm, they didn't. Luckily there are a few people out there whose grasp of history is rather better than Tyson's, so a few days later someone questioned the great man's assertion …
Some people living about 500 years ago appear to have believed that - eg, John Calvin (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/davearmstrong/2012/09/john-calvin-assumes-non-spherical-earth.html):

To say nothing of the others whose absurdities are of a still grosser description, how completely does Plato, the soberest and most religious of them all, lose himself in his round globe?

Kevin Bonham
29-09-2016, 05:49 PM
I know that stupid and depressing beliefs spread very easily on the internet but are there really significant numbers of genuinely serious flat-earthers? Are there links to where I can see some of these creatures?

Desmond
29-09-2016, 06:10 PM
I know that stupid and depressing beliefs spread very easily on the internet but are there really significant numbers of genuinely serious flat-earthers? Are there links to where I can see some of these creatures?

Well one of conservapedia's main contributors, NephilimFree, is a young earther and geocentrist!

Kevin Bonham
29-09-2016, 06:22 PM
Well one of conservapedia's main contributors, NephilimFree, is a young earther and geocentrist!

He is clearly a sad case. Why would anybody want to deny being descended from the Nephilim?

Capablanca-Fan
29-09-2016, 07:07 PM
If Tim O'Neill (the author of that Quora answer) isn't reliable, then maybe you shouldn't be quoting him as a source!

Missed that on my phone (Edit: can't even access the page on my laptop; have evidently exceeded my Quora quota without signing up for it). O'Neill is generally reliable but Quora is not. But even so, I acknowledged, "But the quote was right about the scientists of the middle ages who were churchmen in good standing."

Capablanca-Fan
29-09-2016, 07:09 PM
Some people living about 500 years ago appear to have believed that - eg, John Calvin (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/davearmstrong/2012/09/john-calvin-assumes-non-spherical-earth.html):

To say nothing of the others whose absurdities are of a still grosser description, how completely does Plato, the soberest and most religious of them all, lose himself in his round globe?

Calvin was no flat earther, and nothing above suggests otherwise. A comment on the article followed:


Leslie Dellow • 2 months ago
Let us quote the Timaeus:


"Wherefore he made the world in the form of a globe, round as from a lathe, having its extremes in every direction equidistant from the centre, the most perfect and the most like itself of all figures; for he considered that the like is infinitely fairer than the unlike. This he finished off, making the surface smooth all round for many reasons; in the first place, because the living being had no need of eyes when there was nothing remaining outside him to be seen; nor of ears when there was nothing to be heard; and there was no surrounding atmosphere to be breathed......."

And so it goes on in the rambling style of a Greek philosopher.. "Plato's round globe," is Calvin's way of referring to all the speculation which attaches to Plato's conception of the world, and that, rather than the shape of the Earth is what draws forth his scorn. That the shape of the Earth is a sphere had been a commonplace since at least 200 BC, and Calvin had no reason to dissent from it.

There was further dialogue but the original author was just reasserting his claim without addressing historical context.

Capablanca-Fan
29-09-2016, 07:11 PM
I know that stupid and depressing beliefs spread very easily on the internet but are there really significant numbers of genuinely serious flat-earthers? Are there links to where I can see some of these creatures?

As noted in the article, it seems to have begun only a year or two ago. Some of the comments below indicate that a few people have have fallen for the nonsense. Here is one short video:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDKc6X8TXNE

Capablanca-Fan
29-09-2016, 07:38 PM
Well one of conservapedia's main contributors, NephilimFree, is a young earther and geocentrist!
Absolute geocentrism is definitely wrong, as shown by the same authors last year (http://creation.com/refuting-absolute-geocentrism), but not the same as flat earthism.

Desmond
29-09-2016, 08:02 PM
Absolute geocentrism is definitely wrong, as shown by the same authors last year (http://creation.com/refuting-absolute-geocentrism), but not the same as flat earthism.

Yep, just like young earthism.

Capablanca-Fan
29-09-2016, 10:10 PM
What would you know?

normanghaskell (Axiom)
29-09-2016, 11:43 PM
What would you know?

Hasn't he shown he knows enough by his previous comment?

Patrick Byrom
29-09-2016, 11:51 PM
I know that stupid and depressing beliefs spread very easily on the internet but are there really significant numbers of genuinely serious flat-earthers? Are there links to where I can see some of these creatures?
Don't pay any attention to C-F's claim that flat-earthism is only a few years old! The 'modern' idea is over 150 years old, as Robert J. Schadewald describes in this amusing history (https://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/crea-fe.htm). Even his article is almost 40 years old. My favourite passage:

...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.

Its recent 'popularity' seems to be mainly connected to its promotion by the rapper B. O. B.

Patrick Byrom
30-09-2016, 12:20 AM
Calvin was no flat earther, and nothing above suggests otherwise.It may not be conclusive, but the quote does suggest that he was. Do you have a quote where he actually states that the earth is spherical? And judging by the cover of his Bible translation (https://images-eu.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61d6gkX3d1L._AC_UL320_SR250,320_.jpg), Luther also seems to prefer a flat earth.

Desmond
30-09-2016, 07:46 AM
What would you know?

I know young earthism is definitely wrong.

Patrick Byrom
30-09-2016, 07:02 PM
Yep, just like young earthism.That raises an important point. Just because most educated people in Europe believed the earth was spherical 500 years ago (which is well established), it doesn't follow that every educated person did - or that most uneducated people did. So Neil deGrasse Tyson could still be correct.

And claims about the beliefs of Luther and Calvin need to be supported by evidence. It can't be assumed that they shared the belief of most educated people that the earth was spherical. After all, most people today believe that the earth is older than 10 000 years - but obviously not everyone does.

Capablanca-Fan
01-10-2016, 07:31 AM
Hasn't he shown he knows enough by his previous comment?

Ridiculous.

Capablanca-Fan
01-10-2016, 07:39 AM
Don't pay any attention to C-F's claim that flat-earthism is only a few years old! The 'modern' idea is over 150 years old, as Robert J. Schadewald describes in this amusing history (https://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/crea-fe.htm). Even his article is almost 40 years old. My favourite passage:
Don't pay any attention to PB's claim otherwise, when he cites someone as unreliable as the late Schadewald, who was a notorious pusher of the flat earth myth, even after J. B. Russell destroyed it. For example, in the article that PBB loves so much, there is:


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 was not Daniel saying this, but a pagan king describing his dream for goodness' sakel. Another dream in the Bible involves seven cannibalistic cows and even seven cannibalistic ears of wheat (Pharaoh in Joseph's time).


That raises an important point. Just because most educated people in Europe believed the earth was spherical 500 years ago (which is well established), it doesn't follow that every educated person did - or that most uneducated people did. So Neil deGrasse Tyson could still be correct.
Getting desperate now, aren't we, to defend one of your atheopathic heroes. Haven't you heard of the globus cruciger (http://www.ancient-symbols.com/symbols-directory/globus-cruciger.html)symbol, where the king's subjects were expected to know that the globe represented the world? O'Neill's article (http://historyforatheists.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/the-new-atheist-bad-history-great-myths.html) discusses this too.


And claims about the beliefs of Luther and Calvin need to be supported by evidence. It can't be assumed that they shared the belief of most educated people that the earth was spherical.
No, you prove that they dissented from the normal view, not just an out-of-context quote from a Roman Catholic polemicist.


And judging by the cover of his Bible translation (https://images-eu.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61d6gkX3d1L._AC_UL320_SR250,320_.jpg), Luther also seems to prefer a flat earth.
So Luther chose the illustration for an English cover of his Bible? Anyway, it looks like the T-O (orbis terrarum) maps (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T_and_O_map) of his day which were schematic maps of the known world. O'Neill discusses them as well.

Patrick Byrom
01-10-2016, 01:07 PM
Don't pay any attention to PB's claim otherwise, when he cites someone as unreliable as the late Schadewald, ... Are you still claiming that there were no modern flat-earthers until a few years ago? If you are, I can produce many other references that Schadewald was right, and you're wrong.


... This was not Daniel saying this, ...Schadewald also provides other Biblical references. Any Biblical references to a spherical earth?


... Haven't you heard of the globus cruciger (http://www.ancient-symbols.com/symbols-directory/globus-cruciger.html)symbol, where the king's subjects were expected to know that the globe represented the world?...But, as I pointed out, educated people today are "expected to know" that the earth is older than 10 000 years. That doesn't mean that they do.


No, you prove that they dissented from the normal view, not just an out-of-context quote from a Roman Catholic polemicist.Do you have any quotes showing that they believed in a spherical earth? If not, then the only evidence are the examples I've provided. It can't be assumed that they rejected a flat earth, just because other educated people did (see above).

Capablanca-Fan
02-10-2016, 08:59 AM
Are you still claiming that there were no modern flat-earthers until a few years ago? If you are, I can produce many other references that Schadewald was right, and you're wrong.
Why don't you then? I'm pointing out that just a few years ago, there were no negative remarks on articles from the same site like The flat earth myth (http://creation.com/flat-earth-myth). This did note one flat earther, who like you is a believer in evolution and global warm-mongering. You might find other obscure people, just like you could probably find someone who thinks the moon is made of cheese.


Schadewald also provides other Biblical references.
I showed what a moron he was in one of them, and also that he was a moron when he pushed the flat earth myth.


Any Biblical references to a spherical earth?
Most are equivocal, some clearly consistent with a global earth and not a flat one, as per A flat earth, and other nonsense (http://creation.com/refuting-flat-earth).


But, as I pointed out, educated people today are "expected to know" that the earth is older than 10 000 years. That doesn't mean that they do.
A different issue, and it's still up to you to prove that any leading Christians taught the flat earth. They are innocent until proven guilty.


Do you have any quotes showing that they believed in a spherical earth? If not, then the only evidence are the examples I've provided. It can't be assumed that they rejected a flat earth, just because other educated people did (see above).
No, up to you to prove they believed in something so unusual in that day, not up to me to prove otherwise. Your examples I've shown to be fallacious.

Capablanca-Fan
02-10-2016, 09:00 AM
I know young earthism is definitely wrong.

You're hardly in a position to know.

Patrick Byrom
02-10-2016, 09:29 AM
Why don't you then?A list of books - dating back to the 19th century - about the flat earth theory is here (http://www.theflatearthsociety.org/home/index.php/flat-earth-library/library-books).


Most are equivocal, some clearly consistent with a global earth and not a flat one, as per A flat earth, and other nonsense (http://creation.com/refuting-flat-earth).So no definite references to a spherical earth, then? Do you think the Israelites in the Old Testament believed in a spherical earth?


No, up to you to prove they believed in something so unusual in that day, not up to me to prove otherwise. Your examples I've shown to be fallacious.In the absence of any definite statements supporting a spherical earth, and as there are some ambiguous ones supporting a flat earth, I think the only logical verdict is that we don't know for certain.

Capablanca-Fan
02-10-2016, 10:31 AM
A list of books - dating back to the 19th century - about the flat earth theory is here (http://www.theflatearthsociety.org/home/index.php/flat-earth-library/library-books).
Yes, there have been some crackpots back then. The point remains that the modern resurgence can be traced to some charlatanish youtube videos; no one bothered CMI about it as little as 3 years ago when there were articles refuting the flat earth myth so beloved of your hero Schadewald.


So no definite references to a spherical earth, then?
No need for many, but Jesus clearly knew about different time zones, possible only on a spherical earth.


Do you think the Israelites in the Old Testament believed in a spherical earth?
Possibly. But the important point is how the Bible actually reads. If the Bible said, "The sky is blue", it is still a correct statement even if the ancient Israelite writer thought it was a blue-painted dome.


In the absence of any definite statements supporting a spherical earth, and as there are some ambiguous ones supporting a flat earth, I think the only logical verdict is that we don't know for certain.
Nonsense. There was no reason for Calvin or Luther to teach what was so well known. Centuries before them, Thomas Aquinas used the spherical earth as something his readers would think was an obvious truth.

By your reasoning, probably most ChessChat people would be flat-earthers or ambiguous about it.

Kaitlin
02-10-2016, 11:11 AM
Rich people invented the flat earth concept to stop other people complaining about their crappy views. :(

Patrick Byrom
02-10-2016, 12:03 PM
Yes, there have been some crackpots back then.This guy may have been a crackpot, but he was a fairly major crackpot (http://sacred-texts.com/earth/za/index.htm):

"Samuel Birley Rowbotham, under the pseudonym 'Parallax', lectured for two decades up and down Britain promoting his unique flat earth theory. This book, in which he lays out his world system, went through three editions, starting with a 16 page pamphlet published in 1849 and a second edition of 221 pages published in 1865. The third edition of 1881 (which had inflated to 430 pages) was used as the basis of this etext."

So I hope you'll include him in a future article on the flat earth. And there was also the famous American flat-earther, Wilbur Voliva, from the early 20th century.


Possibly. But the important point is how the Bible actually reads. If the Bible said, "The sky is blue", it is still a correct statement even if the ancient Israelite writer thought it was a blue-painted dome.
So it's okay to interpret a passage from the Bible using modern science, even if people at the time would have had a different interpretation?


Nonsense. There was no reason for Calvin or Luther to teach what was so well known. Centuries before them, Thomas Aquinas used the spherical earth as something his readers would think was an obvious truth.
Luther was definitely a geocentrist (http://www.leaderu.com/science/kobe.html), however - a position he based on the Bible:

Anthony Lauterbach, who dined with the Luthers, quotes the conversation pertaining to Copernicus as follows [l8]:

There was mention of a certain astrologer who wanted to prove that the earth moves and not the sky, the sun, and the moon. This would be as if somebody were riding on a cart or in a ship and imagined that he was standing still while the earth and the trees were moving. [Luther remarked] "So it goes now. Whoever wants to be clever must agree with nothing that others esteem. He must do something of his own. This is what that fellow does who wishes to turn the whole of astronomy upside down. Even in these things that are thrown into disorder I believe the Holy Scriptures, for Joshua commanded the sun to stand still and not the earth [Jos. 10:12]."

Patrick Byrom
02-10-2016, 12:46 PM
...and also that he was a moron when he pushed the flat earth myth.
You keep claiming this, but in the "Flat Earth Bible" (http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/febible.htm), he never mentions it. And in his 2008 book, "Worlds of Their Own", he clearly rejects it: "The revolution was quiet but thorough, and within a few centuries, the flat opinion died out among the educated. By the late Middle Ages, the question was considered settled, ...". I assume you have a reference to support your claim?

Desmond
02-10-2016, 01:07 PM
You're hardly in a position to know.I'm not in a position to gain from arguing that it's definitely wrong if it isn't.

Capablanca-Fan
03-10-2016, 07:16 AM
This guy may have been a crackpot, but he was a fairly major crackpot (http://sacred-texts.com/earth/za/index.htm):

"Samuel Birley Rowbotham, under the pseudonym 'Parallax', lectured for two decades up and down Britain promoting his unique flat earth theory. This book, in which he lays out his world system, went through three editions, starting with a 16 page pamphlet published in 1849 and a second edition of 221 pages published in 1865. The third edition of 1881 (which had inflated to 430 pages) was used as the basis of this etext."

So I hope you'll include him in a future article on the flat earth. And there was also the famous American flat-earther, Wilbur Voliva, from the early 20th century.
Never heard of either of them before, and I doubt that you had heard of them before either. Indeed, had anyone on ChessChat ever heard of them?


So it's okay to interpret a passage from the Bible using modern science, even if people at the time would have had a different interpretation?
Not the point. If a passage makes a true statement, it matters not if the writers believed. Both they and us mean the same thing by "the sky is blue", even if we have different ideas about what causes the blueness.


Luther was definitely a geocentrist (http://www.leaderu.com/science/kobe.html), however - a position he based on the Bible:

Anthony Lauterbach, who dined with the Luthers, quotes the conversation pertaining to Copernicus as follows [l8]:

There was mention of a certain astrologer who wanted to prove that the earth moves and not the sky, the sun, and the moon. This would be as if somebody were riding on a cart or in a ship and imagined that he was standing still while the earth and the trees were moving. [Luther remarked] "So it goes now. Whoever wants to be clever must agree with nothing that others esteem. He must do something of his own. This is what that fellow does who wishes to turn the whole of astronomy upside down. Even in these things that are thrown into disorder I believe the Holy Scriptures, for Joshua commanded the sun to stand still and not the earth [Jos. 10:12]."

Yes, we know that. I even analyzed this in one of my books It's the only known Lutheran passage on this, and it was an off-the-cuff remark published in Table Talk long after his death. So it was hardly a sustained campain. Then a lot of his problem was his belief that Copernicus was trying to be clever in providing something new for its own sake.

Kepler was a devout Lutheran, and showed that his heliocentric views were consistent with Luther's own hermeneutical principles.

Capablanca-Fan
03-10-2016, 07:26 AM
You keep claiming this, but in the "Flat Earth Bible" (http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/febible.htm), he never mentions it. And in his 2008 book, "Worlds of Their Own", he clearly rejects it: "The revolution was quiet but thorough, and within a few centuries, the flat opinion died out among the educated. By the late Middle Ages, the question was considered settled, ...". I assume you have a reference to support your claim?
That book was clearly published postumously. But for a long time, he was promoting the flat earth myth and fighting a rearguard against Jeffrey Burton Russell, still claiming that many Church Fathers believed in a flat earth, but I guess he eventually resigned.

Patrick Byrom
03-10-2016, 09:11 AM
Never heard of either of them before, and I doubt that you had heard of them before either. Indeed, had anyone on ChessChat ever heard of them?I certainly had heard of them, as I read Schadewald's articles when they were originally published in the "Skeptical Inquirer". They are clearly of historical importance to anyone writing about the flat earth theory.

I'm not sure the 'Chess Chat' test is a very useful one. How many non-chess-players have heard of Capablanca, for example? But that doesn't mean he can be left out of a history of chess :)

Patrick Byrom
03-10-2016, 09:30 AM
That book was clearly published postumously. But for a long time, he was promoting the flat earth myth and fighting a rearguard against Jeffrey Burton Russell, still claiming that many Church Fathers believed in a flat earth, but I guess he eventually resigned.The 'flat earth myth' is that most educated people in the Middle Ages believed in a flat earth. Schadewald rejected this in 1981 (https://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/crea-fe.htm), ten years before Russell's book was published:

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.

Not even Russell denies that some of the Church Fathers (http://www.veritas-ucsb.org/library/russell/FlatEarth.html)were flat-earthers:

Nor did this situation change with the advent of Christianity. A few--at least two and at most five--early Christian fathers denied the sphericity of earth by mistakenly taking passages such as Ps. 104:2-3 as geographical rather than metaphorical statements.
So it's not a 'myth' that the early Church Fathers believed in a flat earth.

Capablanca-Fan
03-10-2016, 01:59 PM
The 'flat earth myth' is that most educated people in the Middle Ages believed in a flat earth. Schadewald rejected this in 1981 (https://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/crea-fe.htm), ten years before Russell's book was published:

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.
But the point is that it was dead far earlier, and Schadewald claimed that many Church Fathers believed in a flat earth.


Not even Russell denies that some of the Church Fathers (http://www.veritas-ucsb.org/library/russell/FlatEarth.html)were flat-earthers:

Nor did this situation change with the advent of Christianity. A few--at least two and at most five--early Christian fathers denied the sphericity of earth by mistakenly taking passages such as Ps. 104:2-3 as geographical rather than metaphorical statements.
So it's not a 'myth' that the early Church Fathers believed in a flat earth.

Of course it's a myth. There were many Church Fathers, yet you could count the flat earth believers on the fingers of one hand. That's what creationists, following Russell's documentation, have pointed out:


Russell showed that flat-earth belief was extremely rare in the Church. The flat earth’s two main proponents were obscure figures named Lactantius (c. 240 – c. 320) and Cosmas Indicopleustes (6th century; the last name means “voyager to India”). However, they were hugely outweighed by tens of thousands of Christian theologians, poets, artists, scientists, and rulers who unambiguously affirmed that the earth was round. Russell documents accounts supporting earth’s sphericity from numerous medieval church scholars such as friar Roger Bacon (1220–1292), inventor of spectacles; leading medieval scientists such as John Buridan (1301–1358) and Nicholas Oresme (1320–1382); the monk John of Sacrobosco (c. 1195–c. 1256) who wrote Treatise on the Sphere, and many more.

Patrick Byrom
03-10-2016, 02:38 PM
But the point is that it was dead far earlier, and Schadewald claimed that many Church Fathers believed in a flat earth.So you're no longer claiming that Schadewald believed that belief in a flat earth was common among educated people in medieval times - which he never did. That is what the term 'flat earth myth' refers to.


Of course it's a myth. There were many Church Fathers, yet you could count the flat earth believers on the fingers of one hand.So what exactly is the 'myth' that Schadewald was supposedly propagating? Clearly there were Church Fathers who were flat-earthers; the possible disagreement between him and Russell is only about whether there were "few" or "many". Apparently his use of the word "many" instead of "few" in an article which is thousands of words long makes him a "notorious pusher of the flat earth myth".

On that basis, you could be described as a "notorious pusher of the flat earth myth" that there were no flat-earthers before the internet :D

Capablanca-Fan
04-10-2016, 12:36 AM
So you're no longer claiming that Schadewald believed that belief in a flat earth was common among educated people in medieval times - which he never did. That is what the term 'flat earth myth' refers to.
Yes he did. When Russell's first book came out, he emailed a colleague to tell him not to believe Russell, because the Church Fathers must have been flat earthers because he couldn't find the word "globe" in their writings.


So what exactly is the 'myth' that Schadewald was supposedly propagating? Clearly there were Church Fathers who were flat-earthers; the possible disagreement between him and Russell is only about whether there were "few" or "many". Apparently his use of the word "many" instead of "few" in an article which is thousands of words long makes him a "notorious pusher of the flat earth myth".
Few vs. many is actually the whole point. If you could count them on one hand, then it's few, not many. And the main proponents were obscure people like Lactantius and Cosmas Indicopleustes, while opponents included major figures like the Venerable Bede and Thomas Aquinas.


On that basis, you could be described as a "notorious pusher of the flat earth myth" that there were no flat-earthers before the internet :D
You could find a handful of people pushing just about any sort of nonsense, but only recently has there been a rise in them, enough to bother CMI.

Capablanca-Fan
04-10-2016, 04:40 AM
Scientism and the Religion of Science
Lawrence M. Principe, Drew Professor of the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University in the Department of History of Science and Technology and the Department of Chemistry,
21 March 2013

About 12 minutes in, Dr Principe shows how widespread the flat earth myth is (and the myth that the Catholic Church banned dissection), and traces it to mendacious books by John Draper and Andrew Dickson White, beloved by atheopaths like Neil deGrasse Tyson and probably Schadewald. Later, he discusses the Galileo controversy, pointing out that there were both clergy and scientists on both sides. About 28 minutes in, he shows how the Columbus vs. flat earthers was started by a fictious biography by Washington Irving. Dr Principe notes how many atheistic lecturers don't like their "conflict thesis" agitprop being challenged by, you know, historical facts. About 56 minutes in, in response to a question, he says that "Dealing with Richard Dawkins on the level of philosophy is like shooting fish in a barrel."


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFVARio4pAk

Patrick Byrom
04-10-2016, 12:48 PM
Yes he did. When Russell's first book came out, he emailed a colleague to tell him not to believe Russell, because the Church Fathers must have been flat earthers because he couldn't find the word "globe" in their writings.The beliefs of the early Church Fathers are irrelevant to the 'flat earth myth' (which is about Medieval belief) - even if you had evidence for your claim.


... And the main proponents were obscure people like Lactantius and Cosmas Indicopleustes, while opponents included major figures like the Venerable Bede and Thomas Aquinas.Which is completely consistent with what Schadewald wrote: "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."

As I said, everyone agrees that some of the early Church Fathers were flat-earthers; the only thing in dispute is how many.

Patrick Byrom
05-10-2016, 12:57 AM
According to Schadewald's posthumously published book, Plane Truth (2015) - surely the definitive work on this subject - there seem to be a few more than five early Church Fathers who were flat-earthers. He suggests that all of the Antiochene theologians may have believed in a flat earth (http://www.cantab.net/users/michael.behrend/ebooks/PlaneTruth/pages/Appendix_C.html), which would push the total up over a dozen. Even with only the ones he clearly identifies, plus the other known ones, it's more than a few.

Capablanca-Fan
05-10-2016, 03:34 AM
According to Schadewald's posthumously published book, Plane Truth (2015) - surely the definitive work on this subject - there seem to be a few more than five early Church Fathers who were flat-earthers. He suggests that all of the Antiochene theologians may have believed in a flat earth (http://www.cantab.net/users/michael.behrend/ebooks/PlaneTruth/pages/Appendix_C.html), which would push the total up over a dozen. Even with only the ones he clearly identifies, plus the other known ones, it's more than a few.

The historian J.B. Russell, praised by the late Stephen Jay Gould, thought otherwise. The amateur Schadewald had an axe to grind, and he already has form for errors on the subject. What exactly is the evidence? That they didn't explicitly state that the earth is spherical in a place where this was needed for what they were writing about? Or did they question the existence of the Antipodeans, a different concept.

Capablanca-Fan
05-10-2016, 03:43 AM
The beliefs of the early Church Fathers are irrelevant to the 'flat earth myth' (which is about Medieval belief) - even if you had evidence for your claim.
Russell discusses the Fathers (http://www.asa3.org/ASA/topics/history/1997Russell.html):


It must first be reiterated that with extraordinary few exceptions no educated person in the history of Western Civilization from the third century B.C. onward believed that the earth was flat. A round earth appears at least as early as the sixth century BC with Pythagoras, who was followed by Aristotle, Euclid, and Aristarchus, among others in observing that the earth was a sphere. Although there were a few dissenters--Leukippos and Demokritos for example—by the time of Eratosthenes (3 c. BC), followed by Crates(2 c. BC), Strabo (3 c. BC), and Ptolemy (first c. AD), the sphericity of the earth was accepted by all educated Greeks and Romans.

Nor did this situation change with the advent of Christianity. A few—at least two and at most five—early Christian fathers denied the spherically of earth by mistakenly taking passages such as Ps. 104:2–3 as geographical rather than metaphorical statements. On the other side tens of thousands of Christian theologians, poets, artists, and scientists took the spherical view throughout the early, medieval, and modern church. The point is that no educated person believed otherwise.

Historians of science have been proving this point for at least 70 years (most recently Edward Grant, David Lindberg, Daniel Woodward, and Robert S. Westman), without making notable headway against the error. Schoolchildren in the US, Europe, and Japan are for the most part being taught the same old nonsense. How and why did this nonsense emerge?


Which is completely consistent with what Schadewald wrote: "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."

Not just a losing battle, but virtually a single-handed one! David Lindberg pointed out:


Cosmas was not particularly influential in Byzantium, but he is important for us because he has been commonly used to buttress the claim that all (or most) medieval people believed they lived on a flat earth. This claim...is totally false. Cosmas is, in fact, the only medieval European known to have defended a flat earth cosmology, whereas it is safe to assume that all educated Western Europeans (and almost one hundred percent of educated Byzantines), as well as sailors and travelers, believed in the earth's sphericity. [The Beginnings of Western Science, 600 B.C. to A.D. 1450, p. 161]

Boethius, a little earlier than Cosmas, not only taught that the earth was round, but reaffirmed Ptolemy's correct teaching that the earth was just a point in comparison to the distance to the stars (http://creation.com/why-would-god-bother-with-planet-earth). Boethius was hugely influential, while Cosmas was almost completely ignored.

Patrick Byrom
05-10-2016, 03:30 PM
The historian J.B. Russell, praised by the late Stephen Jay Gould, thought otherwise. The amateur Schadewald had an axe to grind, and he already has form for errors on the subject. What exactly is the evidence? That they didn't explicitly state that the earth is spherical in a place where this was needed for what they were writing about? Or did they question the existence of the Antipodeans, a different concept.Schadewald's work was published about 15 years after Russell's, of course. Therefore I was curious if Russell discussed the Antiochenes in detail - as Schadewald does in the link I gave (with evidence that they were explicitly flat-earthers, not just anti-Antipodean). And I'm not sure what 'errors' Schadewald is supposed to have made; he and Russell seem to generally agree, apart from this point.

Capablanca-Fan
11-10-2016, 06:29 AM
Schadewald's work was published about 15 years after Russell's, of course. Therefore I was curious if Russell discussed the Antiochenes in detail—as Schadewald does in the link I gave (with evidence that they were explicitly flat-earthers, not just anti-Antipodean). And I'm not sure what 'errors' Schadewald is supposed to have made; he and Russell seem to generally agree, apart from this point.

The link provides no actual evidence that they were flat-earthers. Some of the ‘evidence’ is rather akin to those who misunderstood the medieval T-O maps that were intended to display only the οἰκουμένη (oikoumenē) or the known world or the Roman Empire depending on context. Even your own language suggests that the case is far from conclusive: “He suggests that all of the Antiochene theologians may have believed in a flat earth” [emphasis added]. Also, since the Antiochenes were Aristotelian, as Schadewald notes, they would have followed Artistotle's clear spherical-earth teaching. Russell disputes that Chrysostom was a flat earther; indeed he disagreed with the approach of likely flat-earther Lactantius. THe only evidence for flat-earth writings from Diodorus of Tarsus comes from a critic writing five centuries later.

Patrick Byrom
11-10-2016, 06:56 PM
The link provides no actual evidence that they were flat-earthers. Some of the ‘evidence’ is rather akin to those who misunderstood the medieval T-O maps that were intended to display only the οἰκουμένη (oikoumenē) or the known world or the Roman Empire depending on context. Even your own language suggests that the case is far from conclusive: “He suggests that all of the Antiochene theologians may have believed in a flat earth” [emphasis added]. Also, since the Antiochenes were Aristotelian, as Schadewald notes, they would have followed Artistotle's clear spherical-earth teaching. Russell disputes that Chrysostom was a flat earther; indeed he disagreed with the approach of likely flat-earther Lactantius. THe only evidence for flat-earth writings from Diodorus of Tarsus comes from a critic writing five centuries later.
"No actual evidence"?! Schadewald quotes Chrysostom (among other evidence):

...Regarding the last part of this [Biblical] passage, Chrysostom asked rhetorically, “Where are they who say that the heaven whirls around? where are they who declare it is spherical? for both of these notions are overthrown here.”
I wonder what Russell has to say about that passage?

And it's perfectly reasonable to draw conclusions about Diodorus's views from later writers. Historians do that all the time.

With so many Antiochenes being known flat-earthers, and all of them presumably using the same method of Biblical interpretation, it is again reasonable to conclude that it was a belief shared by all of them. And the use of Aristotelian methods doesn't mean that they agreed with his cosmology - Chrysostom was scathing about Greek philosophy.

Capablanca-Fan
12-10-2016, 12:24 AM
"No actual evidence"?! Schadewald quotes Chrysostom (among other evidence):

...Regarding the last part of this [Biblical] passage, Chrysostom asked rhetorically, “Where are they who say that the heaven whirls around? where are they who declare it is spherical? for both of these notions are overthrown here.”
I wonder what Russell has to say about that passage?

Chrysostom is not even talking about the shape of the earth, but the heavenly tabernacle (http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/240214.htm):


See how he raised up the minds of the believing Jews. For as they would be apt to imagine that we have no such tabernacle [as they had], see here (he says) is the Priest, Great, yea, much greater than the other, and who has offered a more wonderful sacrifice. But is not all this mere talk? Is it not a boast, and merely said to win over our minds? On this account he established it first from the oath, and afterwards also from the tabernacle. For this difference too was manifest: but the Apostle thinks of another also, which (he says) the Lord pitched [or made firm] and not man. Where are they who say that the heaven whirls around? where are they who declare that it is spherical? For both of these notions are overthrown here.

James Hannam, certainly no ‘fundamentalist’, writes in The Myth of the Flat Earth (http://jameshannam.com/flatearth.htm):


Some early Christians were victims of misinterpretation. Lactantius rejected the existence of the antipodes—lands on the other side of the equator—on the grounds that anyone who lived there would be upside down. It's a childish error, but does not mean he also believed the earth to be flat. St John Chrysostom thought the heavens were a box rather than a sphere, but he never says the earth is not a sphere in the centre of the box. Other writers may well have simply been using common language that we still use today. Saying "to the ends of the earth", "the four corners of the world" or "the sun sank into the sea" does not make you a flat Earther and we should treat ancient people with the same generosity. We can state categorically was that a flat Earth was at no time ever an element of Christian doctrine and that no one was ever persecuted or pressurised into believing it.


And it's perfectly reasonable to draw conclusions about Diodorus's views from later writers. Historians do that all the time.
But this is the only evidence of flat earth thinking, which went against the grain even back in his time.


With so many Antiochenes being known flat-earthers,
So you go from "suggests" and "may be" to "known"?


and all of them presumably using the same method of Biblical interpretation, it is again reasonable to conclude that it was a belief shared by all of them. And the use of Aristotelian methods doesn't mean that they agreed with his cosmology—Chrysostom was scathing about Greek philosophy.
In which case he was not Aristotelian.

Patrick Byrom
12-10-2016, 10:07 AM
Chrysostom is not even talking about the shape of the earth ...There seem to be differing interpretations of this passage - Schadewald's makes more sense to me. A belief in a box-shaped heaven is hard to reconcile with a belief in a spherical earth. And Schadewald has other supporting quotes. And he's not the only one (http://www.academia.edu/1037932/Augustine_and_the_Shape_of_the_Earth_A_Critique_of _Leo_Ferrari).

But this is the only evidence of flat earth thinking, which went against the grain even back in his time.It wasn't "against the grain" in Antioch.

So you go from "suggests" and "may be" to "known"?Chrysostom, and some other Antiochenes, were known flat-earthers. Therefore I assume that all the Antiochene school probably were - as the Nothaft reference also does.

Rincewind
12-10-2016, 11:24 AM
I think Chrtsostom's view was that the heavens were Tabernacle shaped - based on his homilies on Hebrews, particularly 8:1-2. To that end I think the original author of Hebrews and Chrysostom probably had in mind the original Tabernacle and not what is called a tabernacle in many modern churches today to store the Eucharistic hosts. So as a glib characterisation of the position I think it is more accurate to say Chrysostom thought the heavens were tent-shaped rather than box-shaped. Perhaps this is even more suggestive of the flat earth since the tent has an end where it reaches the ground and floor of the tent is likely the (flat) earth.

Patrick Byrom
12-10-2016, 11:43 PM
I think Chrtsostom's view was that the heavens were Tabernacle shaped - based on his homilies on Hebrews, particularly 8:1-2. To that end I think the original author of Hebrews and Chrysostom probably had in mind the original Tabernacle and not what is called a tabernacle in many modern churches today to store the Eucharistic hosts. So as a glib characterisation of the position I think it is more accurate to say Chrysostom thought the heavens were tent-shaped rather than box-shaped. Perhaps this is even more suggestive of the flat earth since the tent has an end where it reaches the ground and floor of the tent is likely the (flat) earth.The Tabernacle being tent-like makes a lot of sense, as the passage refers to "the Lord pitched", which is what you do with a tent.

Desmond
13-10-2016, 06:56 AM
Good old Jesus with his thongs, tent and turning water into wine. Peace brutha

Capablanca-Fan
15-10-2016, 01:16 PM
There seem to be differing interpretations of this passage - Schadewald's makes more sense to me. A belief in a box-shaped heaven is hard to reconcile with a belief in a spherical earth.
Why?


And Schadewald has other supporting quotes. And he's not the only one (http://www.academia.edu/1037932/Augustine_and_the_Shape_of_the_Earth_A_Critique_of _Leo_Ferrari).

Seriously? This is from that article:


More to the point, I believe that the Augustinian flat world which Leo Ferrari has skillfully distilled out of the bishop of Hippo’s writings rests on too shaky grounds to be maintained in its present form. For these reasons, the present article aims at a reassessment of “Augustine’s cosmoraphy” by arguing that his views on the earth’s shape bore a stronger continuity to the spherical model of Greek natural philosophy than Ferrari is prepared to admit


It wasn't "against the grain" in Antioch. Chrysostom, and some other Antiochenes, were known flat-earthers.
Known to whom?


The Tabernacle being tent-like makes a lot of sense, as the passage refers to "the Lord pitched", which is what you do with a tent.
You presuppose that Chrysostom was even trying to make a physical model as opposed to a symbolic connection.

Patrick Byrom
15-10-2016, 04:04 PM
Why? Because both contradict 'common-sense'. However, I now agree with Rincewind that the reference is to a tent-shaped heaven.


Seriously? This is from that article: ... That passage is about Augustine - neither Schadewald nor myself is claiming that Augustine was a falt-earther. Nothaft talks about Chrysostom as well.


Known to whom?Known to me, Schadewald, Nothaft, etc!


You presuppose that Chrysostom was even trying to make a physical model as opposed to a symbolic connection.His reference to "whirls" and "spherical" suggest he was talking about a physical model - as well as making a symbolic point, of course.

Capablanca-Fan
15-10-2016, 09:39 PM
Because both contradict 'common-sense'. However, I now agree with Rincewind that the reference is to a tent-shaped heaven.

[QUOTE=Patrick Byrom;415896]That passage is about Augustine - neither Schadewald nor myself is claiming that Augustine was a falt-earther.
That's something. But it was a link you were providing, so what's was the point?


Known to me, Schadewald, Nothaft, etc!
Schadewald is not a credible source. The Nothaft paper is "Augustine and the Shape of the Earth: A Critique of Leo Ferrari", so what has this to do with Chrysostom?


His reference to "whirls" and "spherical" suggest he was talking about a physical model - as well as making a symbolic point, of course.
Does it?

Patrick Byrom
15-10-2016, 10:53 PM
Nothaft also discusses Chrysostom. Unfortunately, that paper seems to be no longer available to me. However, this source (http://biologos.org/blogs/archive/science-and-faith-issues-in-ancient-and-medieval-christianity-part-2) makes similar arguments:

The School of Antioch is known more for its influence on the development of Nestorianism, a Christology that advocates two natures in Christ, a divine and a human. But its influence is seen in its development of biblical reflections on the natural world. Chrysostom displays such a literal reading in his discussion of the earth being carried on waters:

Whence does this appear, that the earth is borne upon the waters? The prophet declares this when he says: ‘He founded it upon the seas and prepared it on the floods’, and again, ‘To him who founded the earth upon the waters’ What do you say?[1]

This hermeneutic, when pressed consistently, leads to a cosmology that includes a flat earth. The Homilies on Creation and Fall (circa 400 A.D.[2]) by Severian of Gabala, a Syrian bishop who moved to Constantinople in the early 5th century and became closely associated with John Chrysostom (to the extent that his writings were transmitted under the name of Chrysostom for many centuries), exemplify a group of Antiochian interpreters who read the biblical text as teaching that God created heaven and earth in the shape of the tabernacle and who therefore were compelled to reject and attack belief in a spherical cosmos.

Capablanca-Fan
22-10-2016, 12:16 AM
In this video supplement to the articles A Flat Earth, and Other Nonsense (http://creation.com/refuting-flat-earth) and The Flat Earth Myth (http://creation.com/flat-earth-myth) Dr Henry Richter (a colleague of Wernher von Braun), Dr Robert Carter, Dr Jonathan Sarfati, and CMI-US CEO Gary Bates examine the recently popularized flat earth theory.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y28OaM5c0Fg

Capablanca-Fan
10-04-2017, 02:55 PM
Cats, the Black Death and a Pope (http://historyforatheists.blogspot.com/2017/04/cats-black-death-and-pope.html)
Tim O'Neill, History for Atheists, 7 April 2017

New Atheists really love their internet memes. There are whole Facebook groups that seem devoted to nothing more than the posting and exchange of snappy quotes and pithy mockery of religion, all served as an easy-to-share GIF or JPEG, each accompanied by a chorus of approval and agreement in the comments. These are often quotes from leading atheists or expressions of disbelief at stupid things said or accepted by religious believers, which forms a rich seam of material to be sure. But when they stray onto history, the results are predictably terrible.

So the Facebook Group called "No More Make Believe" (formerly known as "Atheists on Parade") normally posts illustrations with quotes like "Religion is a thought prison with restraints that are only seen after you're free". But also posts ones with "quotes" like the fake one from Ferdinand Magellan, where he supposedly derides "the Church" and its supposed belief in a flat earth. This is despite the fact the Church had no such belief in Magellan's time or any other time and the alleged "quote" appears nowhere before it suddenly popped up in a work by American agnostic Robert Green Ingersoll in 1873. "No More Make Believe" doesn't seem to have a problem with "make believe" quotes. Or does have a problem with basic fact checking.

Which brings us to the meme above, posted on "No More Make Believe" on April 5, 2017. It's interesting that it was posted with an edited note saying "Updated to remove erroneous information...My bad". I didn't see the original, so I have no idea what "erroneous information" was "updated". But given that pretty much everything the text says is "erroneous information", it probably doesn't matter.

Reactions and Pogroms

The group most often scapegoated were western Europe's Jews, given that they were a separate, non-Christian community that was easily identified. Pogroms against Jews broke out mainly in the Rhineland, which had seen large scale murders of Jews in earlier manifestations of mass hysteria, such as the beginning of the First Crusade in the 1090s. So hundreds of Jews were massacred or burned alive in Strasbourg in 1349, but there were similar pogroms elsewhere in Europe, including Toulon in France and Barcelona in Spain.

Of course, the meme above is keen to blame the Church for these massacres, but actually the Church spoke out strongly against them and instructed local authorities to suppress them. Pope Clement VI issued two papal bulls - the first on July 6, 1348 and another on 26 September 1348 - condemning the pogroms and forbidding the persecution of Jews. Modern Jewish accounts often claim that Jews were targeted because they had better hygiene than their Christian neighbours and so suffered much lower mortality in the epidemic, though this seems to be based largely on modern misconceptions about medieval hygiene. Contrary to popular belief, all medieval people washed their hands before meals, washed and bathed regularly if not daily and washed dead bodies before burial, so these practices were not unique to medieval Jews. Clement VI's first bull also counters any claims that Jews could have been responsible for the plague by noting that Jews were dying as rapidly as everyone else, which indicates that the Jews did not have some kind of lower mortality rate anyway.

So the meme's claim that certain people were targeted as scapegoats is correct, but the implication that this was due to encouragement by "the Church" is not. The group that is missing in the accounts of victims of these revenge attacks, however, is "witches".

Witches and Cats?

Again, contrary to popular belief, the idea that alleged witches were regularly victimised by the Church in the medieval period is largely incorrect. The heyday of the Witch Craze came much later, with its peak in the sixteenth century. The position of the Church for most of the Middle Ages was that "witches" did not exist and even that it was sinful to claim they did. This changed in the last two centuries of the Middle Ages, but this change seems to have been, at least in part, a reaction to the Black Death and only came much later in the fourteenth century. Fear of supposed witches does not manifest itself in any substantial way until long after the plague of the 1340s and there is no official Church acceptance of the existence of witches until 1484.

The fact that stray animals were blamed seems to indicate that animals that molested the corpses of victims or stirred up "bad air" in garbage were seen as the problem. But this evidence all dates to well after the late 1340s, was aimed largely at dogs rather than cats, had nothing to do with "witches" and was not due to anything done by the Church.

So it seems the whole myth is the usual tangle of prejudices about the medieval Church, popular misconceptions about the Middle Ages and the general tendency for people to accept weird-sounding "true facts" about the past that perpetuate the idea that our ancestors were not as clever as us. Add a heavy dollop of anti-Christian bias and we can see why New Atheists like whoever is behind "No More Make Believe" on Facebook didn't bother to check their facts. Militant online "rationalism" fails again.

Kaitlin
10-04-2017, 03:14 PM
I've pointed this out before ... I'm still perplexed how Science got stuck in the same grouping as Religion, having Social Sciences included is bad enough :rolleyes: , but we're happy to have all the sciences :)

Religion should be with Politics where it belongs :D

Kevin Bonham
10-04-2017, 04:54 PM
I've pointed this out before ... I'm still perplexed how Science got stuck in the same grouping as Religion, having Social Sciences included is bad enough :rolleyes: , but we're happy to have all the sciences :)

It's because of the frequency of evolution vs creation debates on here, which are essentially science vs a certain religious belief.

Desmond
11-04-2017, 07:09 PM
Cats, the Black Death and a Pope (http://historyforatheists.blogspot.com/2017/04/cats-black-death-and-pope.html)
Tim O'Neill, History for Atheists, 7 April 2017

New Atheists really love their internet memes. ...
Do you mean like these?

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/4a/48/e0/4a48e07748a530bcb30058d9de05256b.jpg
.
http://wp.production.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/files/2014/12/Creationism-Defined-Kirk-Cameron.jpg
.
http://s2.quickmeme.com/img/12/12304fa21e55168b641efd47a74d7b668ebb99ac530eec22c5 09ad8bb00dc3c0.jpg
.
http://img.memecdn.com/creationism-idiocy_o_1060408.jpg
.
http://img.memecdn.com/Creationism_o_18603.jpg
.
https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/aa/5b/a5/aa5ba570f001c3e17ddf86f94f9934f5.jpg

.
.
.
Can't wait to read a 5,000-word blog article on each of them!

jammo
11-04-2017, 08:38 PM
Great work Road Runner.

Capablanca-Fan
20-04-2017, 02:28 PM
How Aristarchus (310–230 BC) proved that the sun was much larger than the earth and the moon (http://astrosun2.astro.cornell.edu/academics/courses/astro201/aristarchus.htm), from which he thought that the sun was at the centre.

Rincewind
20-04-2017, 04:54 PM
How Aristarchus (310–230 BC) proved that the sun was much larger than the earth and the moon (http://astrosun2.astro.cornell.edu/academics/courses/astro201/aristarchus.htm), from which he thought that the sun was at the centre.

It's not clear how Aristarchus reasoned from the relative sizes that the Earth orbited the Sun.

Capablanca-Fan
21-04-2017, 01:35 PM
It's not clear how Aristarchus reasoned from the relative sizes that the Earth orbited the Sun.

He just thought that the smaller thing orbited the bigger thing. He did't get any takers for over a millennium, and his argument for heliocentrism wasn't exactly scientific, but his argument about the relative sizes was not disputed.

Rincewind
22-04-2017, 12:57 AM
He just thought that the smaller thing orbited the bigger thing. He did't get any takers for over a millennium, and his argument for heliocentrism wasn't exactly scientific, but his argument about the relative sizes was not disputed.

I agree it makes some sense after Newton not sure that before Newton that the same is true.

Capablanca-Fan
22-04-2017, 02:03 AM
I agree it makes some sense after Newton not sure that before Newton that the same is true.

I think you are right.

Patrick Byrom
19-11-2018, 10:26 PM
Interesting article on a Flat Earth conference (https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/nov/18/flat-earthers-keep-the-faith-at-denver-conference) - in the US, of course! And where do most of the attendees derive their belief - from the Bible, naturally: "The most common thread among the 650 believers at the event was that a pancake-shaped world is a biblical truth".

antichrist
20-11-2018, 05:39 AM
Interesting article on a Flat Earth conference (https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/nov/18/flat-earthers-keep-the-faith-at-denver-conference) - in the US, of course! And where do most of the attendees derive their belief - from the Bible, naturally: "The most common thread among the 650 believers at the event was that a pancake-shaped world is a biblical truth".

When they are up in an aeroplane do they believe that the windows are fish-eye lens?