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Will the Real Flat Earth-ers Please Stand Up?
April 4, 2005, JunkScience.com
Will the real Flat Earth-ers please stand up? - The global warming believers at FlatEarthAward.org prominently ask visitors to their site,
Remember when scientists were attacked for believing that the earth was round? That same denial of scientific fact is now plaguing the world’s understanding of global warming.
The Flat Earth-ers, however, are as wrong about people being attacked for believing the Earth was round as they are about global warming.
As Jeffrey Burton Russell, former professor of history at the University of California – Santa Barbara, has pointed out,
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.
Not only is there no historical basis for notion that people were persecuted for believing that the Earth was round, even the notion that medieval people thought the Earth was flat is a myth.
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. 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.
As Russell points out, the flat Earth myth was a…
… vast web of falsehood [that] was invented and propagated by the influential historian John Draper (1811-1882) and many prestigious followers, such as Andrew Dickson White (1832-1918), the president of Cornell University, who made sure that the false account was perpetrated in texts, encyclopedias, and even allegedly serious scholarship, down to the present day. A lively current version of the lie can be found in Daniel Boorstin's The Discoverers, found in any bookshop or library. The flat-earth lie was ammunition against the creationists. The argument was simple and powerful, if not elegant: ‘Look how stupid these Christians are.’
Flat Earth? Global warming? I guess one myth is as good as another for the gullible/guileful (pick one) global warmers.