AIG: Creationism Yes and Flat Earth No. Why?

The bible says over and over again that The Earth Is Flat! This is in spite of the fact that Aristotle (who died in 322 BC), correctly referred to the Earth’s shadow on the Moon as demonstrating that the Earth is a sphere. After Aristotle, Eratosthenes (276 BC – 195 BC) accurately determined the circumference of the Earth using geometry. The work of both men was widely known long before the New Testament was written, but like the Old Testament, it too is a flat Earth book.

Nevertheless, creationists like Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else, somehow ignore the bible and insist that the Earth is a sphere. We can’t figure out why he and his organization ignore the bible in this instance, but they do. An example of this can be found today at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG), ol’ Hambo’s creationist ministry.

Their article is titled More Evidence That the Earth Is a Globe, and it was written by Danny R. Faulkner. This is AIG’s bio page for him. Here are some excerpts from his article, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

I recently blogged about … a proof of the earth’s sphericity written about by Pliny the Elder in the first century AD. Pliny noted that as ships sail away, they disappear hull first, with progressively more of the ships disappearing from their bottoms. Conversely, the mast of an approaching ship appears first, with the deck, and finally the hull appearing last. In one of my earliest articles about the flat-earth movement, I presented some photographs that I took of a ship disappearing hull first as it sailed away. Unfortunately, I live far from a large body of water, so it isn’t very often that I can take these kinds of photographs.

This is shocking behavior, because we know from the bible that the world is flat. Nevertheless, Danny seems determined to prove otherwise. He says:

In late April, I had an opportunity to take these sorts of photos once again when I visited my sister in south Florida for a few days. Early one afternoon, I went to Hollywood Beach, where I observed several ships and boats as they sailed toward or away from me. I share photographs of two here.

There are fuzzy pictures included with Danny’s article. He talks about air temperature, water temperature, the possibility of temperature inversions, and refraction. Then he claims:

[C]onditions this day were ideal for testing for the earth’s curvature.

Danny is working hard to convince himself that the bible is wrong. Why? Anyway, after describing his fuzzy photographs he tells us:

As I said, I rarely can make these observations, but when I do, I always get results that are consistent with the earth being a globe. [Gasp!] Why do flat-earthers always seem to find contrary results?

It’s because flat-earthers know The Truth! Danny continues:

But even when flat-earthers find evidence that the earth is a globe, in their bias they often fail to see the evidence. … Those heavily invested in the belief that the earth is flat will not entertain evidence that contradicts their belief.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Hey Danny — we call that “creationist’s syndrome.” And now we come to the end:

Such blindness to the truth makes it difficult to carry on intelligent conversations with flat-earthers, which is why I have never debated a flat-earther and probably never will.

What is going on here? Danny works for a creationist outfit like AIG, which steadfastly denies all evidence of evolution. Yet when it comes to the shape of the Earth, which is clearly described in the bible as being flat, everything flip-flops. We can’t figure it out. Can you, dear reader?

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13 responses to “AIG: Creationism Yes and Flat Earth No. Why?

  1. It is usually said that the idea that the Earth is a sphere was due to Pythagoras, of the 6th century BC. It would be possible that that idea would occur in the Hebrew Bible. Deutero Isaiah, for example, is dated to the 6th century. It would have been possible, but unfortunately it didn’t happen.

  2. Dave Luckett

    You have to be careful talking about what was “known” in antiquity. Aristotle and Eratosthenes knew that the Earth was a sphere, and the Babylonian astronomers knew it before them, but at a time when there were maybe a few hundred copies of their works, mostly not in circulation, can that knowledge be said to be general? Is it reasonable to expect that Temple scribes in Jerusalem – not, at that time, a great seat of learning – would know? Hardly.

    Also remember who the scribes were writing these texts for – people who were even less knowledgeable than they. Could they, in all reason, have included synopses of the most advanced science of the day when transcribing the folk tales of their people? For that was what they were really doing.

    If ever there was a demonstration that the texts of the Bible were written by human beings with the knowledge and motives of human beings in the time, place and culture they inhabited, it is this. To hold that the text is literal requires a complete blindness to it.

  3. I think their official explanation is poetic license. Why creationism is exempt from poetic license? Well you got me there.

  4. I’m going to question whether the ordinary person in the Ancient Near East was sophisticated enough to have any belief about the shape of the Earth, whether flat or round. What is the ordinary opinion today about the collapse of the Bronze Age Civilization or the truth of the Continuum Hypothesis? Can one say that there is a general Biblical interest in the shape of the Earth?

  5. “I think their official explanation is poetic license.”

    Also, how do they know it was poetic license? Were they there? Reading their minds?

  6. Charles Deetz ;)

    Well, today I was able to visit Sioux Falls for the first time. Following the guide of science explained thru a geocache (not the bible), I was able to observe the age of the earth as it created the falls. Danny should visit there next.

  7. Dave Luckett

    TomS: Agreed. It simply didn’t concern most people. In fact, it didn’t cross most people’s mental threshold. Why should it?

    In ancient societies, what is called “general knowledge” really means “knowledge that an interested person with an education that was good for its time and place could have acquired, if they had access to the appropriate texts”. When it came to the shape and size of the Earth, that was what was meant by “general knowledge” well into the sixteenth century.

    It is often said that the printing press was the solution to this problem, making knowledge more widely available, but I have my doubts about the sequence. The printing press is quite a simple device, no more technically complex than a winepress, and not as much as, say, an Archimedes’ screw, or a drop hammer or a rolling mill – and those were in operation before the end of the Middle Ages. Why was it not invented considerably earlier?

    The answer is, I think, that it was not needed until literacy became more general, and that created the need to increase the production of books. And literacy moved downstream in society, making cheapness necessary. Classes of people who had never been literate before acquired their letters. What caused that? Trade? Religious ferment? A knowledge base of entirely practical skills, from architecture to eyeglasses, from navigation to perspective, that grew too large and diverse to be handed down by word of mouth and follow master?

    Take your pick. I don’t know. But whatever caused the upswing in literacy rates that was noticeable in western Europe at the end of the middle ages, it was that upswing that made not only practical skills, but academic knowledge – knowledge, for example, of the shape of the Earth – truly general.

  8. As I understand, among the Jews, the ability to read Hebrew was, for a long time, valued. But among Christians, literacy meant ability to read Latin, and that was mostly confined to the priests. Even at that, I don’t think that most priests’ knowledge of Latin was much beyond the ability to pronounce the words in the Latin prayer books.
    The first texts produced on printing presses were in Latin – such as the famous Gutenberg Bible. But the vernacular soon followed.

    BTW, one of the important innovations of the printing press was movable type. That made printing a variety of texts economically feasible.
    I once heard that an important factor
    was the cost of a medium – paper. As long as the only available medium was animal skins, there was no economic incentive to mass produce reading material. Rag paper, so it seems, became available in the 15th century.

  9. TomS notes

    As long as the only available medium was animal skins, there was no economic incentive to mass produce reading material.

    Very likely a factor, I would have thought. Yesterday, on a first venture into London in over a year thanks to local lock-down, I was fortunate to visit Thomas Becket exhibition at the British Museum. Among the items on display were a number of contemporary manuscripts on vellum, which were particularly striking because of the incredibly tiny size of the handwriting and illuminations. And I was accompanied by my daughter, who is a Mediaevalist with good skills in Latin, who pointed out that the text was full of standardised abbreviations: the clear implication is that great effort was made to cram as much as possible into the smallest possible space on what was an expensive medium.

    The effect is a text that is very dense, with the reader required to expand the abbreviations. It seems worth remembering here how Augustine marvelled that Ambrose, archbishop of Milan, was able to read silently! So it seems reasonable to suppose that, even where such manuscripts were produced, they were not read, even by the literate clergy and elite, with the same facility as are modern books.

  10. We are all of us deeply ignorant insofar as we none of us possess any more than a fraction of the current sum of collective human knowledge. Of course, we can (and should) increase our individual share through education, and encourage/assist others to do the same.

    But that only goes so far. It would be wonderful if what people believed was informed and modified by what they knew, but the connection between knowledge and belief would seem to be rather tenuous. It more often seems that what a person professes to know is informed and modified by what that person believes a priori rather than the other way around.

    We live in an age of people more highly educated, and with far greater access to knowledge, than has previously existed—but strong beliefs remain passionately held despite their lack of empirical foundation. Otherwise, how does one account for the prevalence of QAnon conspiracy theorists, flat-earthers, anti-vaxxers, Brexiteers, white supremacists, and extremists of every religious persuasion?

    We flatter ourselves with our self-proclaimed title of Homo sapiens. We would be more honest to admit we remain Homo stultus

  11. Charley Horse X

    Flat Earthers and YECs are good for boosting the learned ones’ egos. But not by much…sorta like only putting 10 pounds of air in car’s flat tire.

  12. Is there any example of design which works like the way that a living thing develops from DNA? Just think of how difficult we find the task of findout out the structure of a protein from a stretch of DNA. Is that the way that any designer would solve a problem?

  13. Why is Danny whipping a dead horse? What would be the consequence to AIG if they DID endorse Biblical flat earth? Well they’d be a laughing stock…or more so he he. Of course Danny is saying that we go by the evidence (a ship shows up mast first and leaves mast last!), but there’s a plethora of evidence for evolution. And of course AIG has two tiered evolution acceptance: For the rubes it’s EVILUTION, for the pseudo-academics it’s change within kinds, except where it isn’t.