Creationist Wisdom #1,061: It’s In the Book

Todays letter-to-the-editor is very short, but it’s also very good. We found it in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette of Little Rock, Arkansas, the state capital. The letter is titled Established science, and it’s the last of several letters at that link. The newspaper has a comments feature.

Because the letter writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote her by using her full name. Her first name is Linda. Excerpts from her letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, some bold font for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]. Here we go!

Science is “established science” until it isn’t. [Brilliant beginning!] For centuries established science told us Earth was flat when all the while the oldest book in the Bible said God sits on the circle of Earth.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! That is classic creationism. To begin with, “established science” never taught that the Earth is flat.

Aristotle (who died in 322 BC) correctly referred to the Earth’s shadow on the Moon as demonstrating that the Earth is a sphere. His views are mentioned in Wikipedia’s article on Spherical Earth.

A generation after Aristotle came Eratosthenes, who accurately calculated the Earth’s circumference. The work of both men was widely known long before the New Testament was written, but like the Old Testament, the New Testament is also a flat-Earth book. For the last 2,000 years, it was only the bible and its believers who taught that the Earth is flat.

We discussed Linda’s “circle of Earth” bible verse in The Earth Is Flat!, which should have been translated the “disk of the Earth.” We also discussed dozens of other verses that say it’s flat — and there are none that say it’s a sphere.

Linda’s not doing too well, but let’s see what else she’s got. She changes the subject and says:

Now established science thinks it has discovered water on the moon.

Hey — she’s right! Here’s a recent PhysOrg article on that: Moon richer in water than once thought. What does Linda think about it? She tells us:

I believe one only has to read the first few verses of Genesis to know how it got there. It will be interesting to see how established science explains it.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Yes, NASA should rely on the bible. Then they’d not only know what’s out there , but also why it’s there. Linda concludes her letter with this:

For their information [NASA’s, presumably] there may (and probably will) be water found on other planets. It’s in the Book.

Yes, NASA should definitely study the bible. Then they’ll know everything there is to know about the universe — and they’ll be as wise as Linda.

Copyright © 2020. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

18 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #1,061: It’s In the Book

  1. Can you imagine being one of this person’s teachers?

  2. Theodore J Lawry

    How does she feel about stoning to death brides that don’t bleed on their wedding night (Deuteronomy 22)? That’s in the book too!

  3. Circle or disk can still be thought of as flat. Since the world is a sphere the book o’BS is still wrong and not science!!!

  4. Michael Fugate

    If one tries hard enough, then one can find everything in the Bible. Just look at all the contradictory things justified by reference to the Bible.

  5. 4 hours after Biden wins and SC posted this. Hmm.

  6. No matter how much I disagree with our dear SC on politics, I appreciate it that he posted this and not anything on the elections. Because ….. let me put it this way: I’m as unenthusiastic about Biden’s win as he would have been about a second term for Donald the Clown.

  7. Dave Luckett

    As we say in my country, it’s all over bar the shouting. Creationist like this one will be shouting lies in the press for a long time yet. No doubt Mr Trump will also be shouting, in the press and elsewhere, but I suspect that in both cases none but the hard-core faithful will be listening.

  8. A technical quibble about the Bible.
    The usual proof text for God sitting on
    the circle of the Earth is in the Bookmof Isaiah. The prophet Isaiah lived well after Moses, David, etc. so that proof text is not in the oldtest book of the Bible. (Modern scholarship says that it is in Deutero-Isaiah, which happens to be roughy contemporaneous with Pythagoras, who is often credited with the idea of a spherical Earth.)
    Evangelicals often say that the Book
    Of Job is the oldest book of the Bible.

  9. Dave Luckett

    Depends on whether you mean “oldest” as in “earliest to appear in essentially its current form” or “containing the oldest material”. The “Song of the Sea” (Exodus 15) and the Aaronic Blessing are certainly eighth century BCE or earlier. Job seems to be a polished verse cycle of the sixth or so century BCE containing a much older folk-tale, transmitted orally, the latter of unknown age. There is an Akkadian version of the Flood myth that dates to 1800 BCE. It’s possible that some of the Psalms are, as claimed, David’s, which would imply around 1000 BCE.

  10. @Dave Luckett
    My main point is that Isaiah 40:22 “circle” of the Earth, whatever it means, is not the oldest writing in the Bible. I am just guessing that the letter writer follows the common evangelical belief that the Book of Job is the oldest book of the Bible. Job does have some favorite proof texts for astronomy.

  11. A correct point but also besides what our dear SC wrote:

    “The work of both men was widely known long before the New Testament was written, but like the Old Testament, the New Testament is also a flat-Earth book.
    This conclusion is not conclusively wrong but too strongly formulated and based on verses like Matth 4:8 and Rev. 7:1 (four corners of the Earth). However to accept this conclusion one needs rather ironically to accept a literal reading of the Bible even more radical than what Ol’Hambo teaches.

    “For the last 2,000 years, it was only the bible and its believers who taught that the Earth is flat.”
    But this is rather misleading. Until at least 1800 CE hardly a christian scholar taught this. It may be correct that illiterate christians believed it, but unsurprisingly there is no evidence for this.
    FET – and in its tail several modern critics of christianity – is a 19th Century phenomenon, like creationism. It’s even a more extreme reaction to Enlightenment and the epistemological dominance of the scientific method.
    Not to mention that many non-western cultures accepted a flat-earth cosmology as well. But modern FET seems to be typically christian indeed.
    “For the last 170 years …..” would be an improvement. And it remains fun to tell a creationist that FET is more literalist and hence more christian. Same of course for pi = 3 and bats are birds.

  12. Dave Luckett

    My point is that the question of what is the oldest book in the Bible depends on definition. None can be traced as completed texts further back than the sixth century BCE, and there is some doubt about that, since it ultimately depends on linguistic evidence and Hebrew vocabulary, in which there is a lot of guesswork. Informed guesswork, agreed, but still guesswork.

    But the question of which book contains the oldest material is a little more settled. It seems to be the parts of the Pentateuch that recall the Flood and Exodus stories – both legends, the former being also a myth. The Flood story is very ancient, and was transmitted from Mesopotamian sources with which the Hebrews were always in contact. There is no reason to suppose that its inclusion must be due to a Babylonian exile. It could be far earlier.

    The “Song of the Sea” can be shown to be in a Hebrew much older than the rest of the text of Exodus. Either it really is much older, or else it is deliberately written in an archaic form. The latter is, of course, possible, but why would the compiler of Exodus provide only that verse in the ancient form, and then revert to a later Hebrew for the rest of the text?

    Job must be the product of a fully developed monotheism with one omnipotent God. The general consensus is that this was not achieved until about the sixth or seventh century, even in Judea. Cf Homer’s “Men are so quick to blame the gods” ff, where “fate” is blamed for suffering – something beyond even the gods. But Job’s character, God, spends the best part of three chapters establishing his absolute transcendence and power, and thus cannot blame “fate”. His answer to “Why does God allow evil things to befall good people?” is, essentially, “You don’t get to ask”. So, best guess, Job as we have it does not originate earlier than the sixth century BCE.

    So does deutero-Isaiah date earlier than that? If it did, would it be “the earliest writing in the Bible”? I think the answers are no, and no. D-I reflects the knowledge of a Hebrew copyist of that sixth century date, one who was not aware either of the latest Greek thought or of the Babylonian astronomy that had established that the earth was a sphere (by observing lunar eclipses) by 600 BCE. Or, if they were aware of such things, didn’t think it worth spoiling a metaphor to spell out.

  13. @Dave Luckett
    I totally agree with you.
    I think that the letter writer just made a mistake in saying that the oldest book
    of the Bible referred to the “circle of the Earth”.

  14. @DaveL: “My point is that the question of what is the oldest book in the Bible depends on definition.”
    Thrilling. Thanks for repeating, because I’m obviously too stupid to have understood that the first time.
    Of course the question which one is the oldest Bible book is crucial for the question whether the Bible contains a flat earth cosmology.
    As every Aussie antisocialist seems to know repeating a point ad nauseam automatically will annihilate everything any one else brings up.

  15. Michael Fugate

    Just ask an unindoctrinated child if the earth is flat – common sense and intuition are better than science. Not as good as divine revelation, but what is?

  16. @Michael Fugate
    There are tests of the physical intuitions of small children. For example. a wide glass of water.vs. a narrow glass with the same amount of water. The child will say that the taller water in the narrow glass represents more water.

    I seem to recall a child who knew that the Earth is round still didn’t know that there was the same amount of water.

  17. Michael Fugate

    They didn’t intuit the earth was spherical…

  18. I wonder how young a kid is before hearing that the Earth is round?