At the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog, they’re defending themselves against charges that even your Curmudgeon never dreamed of making. Their latest post is: Flat-Earth Myth, Anyone? Recalling Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Long Pedigree. It was written by David Klinghoffer, a Discoveroid “senior fellow” (i.e., flaming, full-blown creationist), who eagerly functions as their journalistic slasher and poo flinger. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
There’s only one Neil deGrasse Tyson, winner of last year’s Censor of the Year award. Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture recognized celebrity TV educator Dr. Tyson for his outstanding work in foisting a photoshopped narrative of scientific history on viewers of the popular series Cosmos, animated by a desire to falsely cast religious faith as the enemy of scientific progress.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! That Discoveroid “award” was so un-memorable that it was one of three silly items we mentioned in our Darwin Day Free Fire Zone. For a better example of the Discoveroids’ attitude toward Tyson, see Klinghoffer: Tyson Is Smooth, Cunning, & Snarky.
But where does flat-Earth fit into this? Here are some excerpts from Klinghoffer’s post, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
Well, a neat article at Newsweek [Even in the Middle Ages, People Didn’t Think the Earth Was Flat] reminds us that others pioneered in the same censorious field long before Tyson came along. Douglas Main [author of the Newsweek article] gives the example of the myth that claims benighted religious scholars once insisted upon the doctrine of a flat earth. No, wrong, says Mr. Main.
We know all about that. It’s true that both the Old Testament and the New have an ark-load of scriptural references that unmistakably describe a flat earth — we gave several examples in The Earth Is Flat!, but as we’ve previously posted, at least since the time of Aristotle, educated people knew the world was a sphere. And a generation after Aristotle, in the third century BC (well before the time of the New Testament), Eratosthenes computed the earth’s size.
In spite of the clear words of the bible, because the earth’s shape and size were known by educated people, no European before Columbus was foolhardy enough to try to sail
East (ooops!) West to reach the Orient. They didn’t know about North and South America, which divided the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, so the ocean was assumed to be too vast for their ships to cross. But Columbus somehow had the size of the world figured wrong, and his backers, Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, didn’t know any better. He was fortunate in blundering into some unknown islands, which he mistakenly thought were the Indies (a cause of linguistic confusion to this day), and he probably lived out the remainder of his life thinking he had reached the outskirts of Asia. Anyway, Columbus wasn’t trying to contradict any flat-Earth beliefs. .
Okay, back to Klinghoffer:
Where, then, did the myth [of medieval flat-Earth belief] come from? The pedigree goes back more than a century and a half: …
Klinghoffer quotes from the Newsweek article which mentions some well-known literary works by 19th century writers such as Washington Irving. Where is he going with this? Be patient, dear reader. Then he quotes Newsweek again:
The flat-earth lie was ammunition against the Creationists. The argument was simple and powerful, if not elegant: ‘Look how stupid these Christians are. They are always getting in the way of science and progress. These people who deny evolution today are exactly the same sort of people as those idiots who for at least a thousand years denied that the earth was round. How stupid can you get?’
Klinghoffer is correct. That specific charge against religion is wrong. But it doesn’t change the very real and well-known conflicts between science and religion — such as the infamous Galileo affair and the Scopes Trial, both of which Klinghoffer somehow fails to mention.
Klinghoffer’s whole point is that because the flat-Earth accusation is false, that somehow means that the Discoveroids aren’t engaged in a war against science. But we know that they are. Near the end he says:
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
After that he finishes by once again soliciting reader responses as to who will be the Discoveroids’ latest Censor of the Year. Our nomination: reality itself. Why? Because reality — when properly studied without interference from religious fanatics — always censors nonsensical beliefs.
Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.