C.S. Lewis on flat earth theory

(An exchange from Skype.)

Are you looking to hash out the flat earth thing? I’m up for it.

I could, but there’s little point if you’re starting at the default position the world is a ball and then looking for it to be ‘disproved’. The best approach is to compare relative strength of evidence

The flat / round thing is sort of splitting hairs, really, the important thing is it doesn’t Move, and that the world is geocentric.

If someone agrees that the world was purposefully created and is static, then it doesn’t make a lot of difference whether it’s a plane or a sphere

All you really need to know as a christian is that the world is flat because the bible says so, so that should sort of settle it for you surely.

I think it’s reasonable to assume the earth is unmoving as a default position. But we believed that for a long time, and then Copernicus happened. We thought the earth was a ball for a long time. And also infinitesimally small, in some quarters:

“These are rather niggling points,” said my friend. “You see, the real objection goes far deeper. The whole picture of the universe which science has given us makes it such rot to believe that the power at the back of it all could be interested in us tiny little creatures crawling about on an unimportant planet! It was all so obviously invented by people who believed in a flat earth with the stars only a mile or two away.”

“When did people believe that?”

“Why, all those old Christian chaps you’re always telling about did. I mean Boethius and Augustine and Thomas Aquinas and Dante.”

“Sorry,” said I, “but this is one of the few subjects I do know something about.” I reached out my hand to a bookshelf. “You see this book,” I said, “Ptolemy’s Almagest. You know what it is?”

“Yes,” said he. “It’s the standard astronomical handbook used all through the Middle Ages.”

“Well, just read that,” I said, pointing to Book I, chapter 5.

“The earth,” read out my friend, hesitating a bit as he translated the Latin, “the earth, in relation to the distance of the fixed stars, has no appreciable size and must be treated as a mathematical point!” There was a moment’s silence.

“Did they really know that then?” said my friend. “But— but none of the histories of science—none of the modern encyclopedias—ever mention the fact.”

“Exactly,” said I. “I’ll leave you to think out the reason. It almost looks as if someone was anxious to hush it up, doesn’t it? I wonder why.” There was another short silence.

“At any rate,” said I, “we can now state the problem accurately. People usually think the problem is how to reconcile what we now know about the size of the universe with our traditional ideas of religion. That turns out not to be the problem at all. The real problem is this. The enormous size of the universe and the insignificance of the earth were known for centuries, and no one ever dreamed that they had any bearing on the religious question. Then, less than a hundred years ago, they are suddenly trotted out as an argument against Christianity. And the people who trot them out carefully hush up the fact that they were known long ago. Don’t you think that all you atheists are strangely unsuspicious people?”


(The latter quotation is from the article “Religion and Science” by C.S. Lewis. It’s well-known in Christian apologetics circles but it bears repeating in these dark days.)

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103 Responses to C.S. Lewis on flat earth theory

  1. Jordy LaFrog Peterson's Fully Automated Mecha-Dragonslayer says:

    >Then, less than a hundred years ago, they are suddenly trotted out as an argument against Christianity. And the people who trot them out carefully hush up the fact that they were known long ago.

    Many people also seem to think that mediaeval intellectuals dogmatically believed that the Earth is flat. They often mention this in order to imply something vaguely bad about religions that are Christianity. False stories about Christopher Columbus also tend to come up in those conversations. It’s kind of annoying.

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      You have to admit they’re very good at what they do. The West is so thoroughly secularized that Jordan Peterson is considered a religious thinker. Can we still conceive of a religion, pagan or mystic or otherwise, which exists independent and regardless of nation or state? If a man is an edgy atheist in the woods and no one is around to observe his iconoclasm, is he still a free thinker?

      • Craig says:

        Nope, he is just a madman muttering to himself.

      • Jordy LaFrog Peterson's Fully Automated Mecha-Dragonslayer says:

        Jordan Peterson is just a pragmatistical psychologist who thinks that Christianity is pretty neat.
        What? Like a universalist religion? Careful. Half the alt-right is getting triggered.
        That depends. Was he really a free thinker to begin with?

      • He is at minimum an agnostic pagan.

  2. Fox says:

    This excerpt from lewis basically says: “atheists think christians were retarded enough to believe that sun and stars are only a few miles above, but christians weren’t retarded because they read pagan philosophers”

    If you believe in modern astronomy, high-altitude flight and spaceflight, you’ll have to condece that:
    – pagans (like ptolemy) did relatively good, considering that they didn’t have the instruments or kopernican or galileian ideas.
    – the bible has it wrong, because it posits “waters above” which were not found by any high altitude plane or balloon, and neither by spacecraft or telescopes. The notion of waters above the earth is very relevant for the later flood story (the opening of the “floodgates”/”windows” of heaven).

    One can either choose to interpret the passage in a non-literal way, which would set a precedent for non-literal interpretation, or one can just posit that modern astronomy and accounts of high-altitude and space-flight are wrong.
    But what one can’t do (without being inconsistent) is to proclaim that modern science and high technology supports the biblical narrative.

    • glosoli says:

      I pray that at some point you will see clouds and rainfall where you live, and then you will understand how floods from above can happen.

      https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/uk-weather-latest-forecast-rain-storms-hail-travel-roads-a8377691.html

      • Aeoli Pera says:

        I’m going to prevent the preventable by forbidding you two from interacting. Glosoli and Fox may not respond to each other’s comments on this blog.

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      >This excerpt from lewis basically says: “atheists think christians were retarded enough to believe that sun and stars are only a few miles above, but christians weren’t retarded because they read pagan philosophers”

      Right.

      >If you believe in modern astronomy, high-altitude flight and spaceflight, you’ll have to condece that:
      – pagans (like ptolemy) did relatively good, considering that they didn’t have the instruments or kopernican or galileian ideas.

      Absolutely.

      > the bible has it wrong, because it posits “waters above” which were not found by any high altitude plane or balloon, and neither by spacecraft or telescopes. The notion of waters above the earth is very relevant for the later flood story (the opening of the “floodgates”/”windows” of heaven).

      >One can either choose to interpret the passage in a non-literal way, which would set a precedent for non-literal interpretation, or one can just posit that modern astronomy and accounts of high-altitude and space-flight are wrong.

      Hol’ up. It’s also possible that the waters above refers to A) something that was there before, or B) rain clouds.

      >But what one can’t do (without being inconsistent) is to proclaim that modern science and high technology supports the biblical narrative.

      You’re playing at the level of Dawkins again. First, the phrasing is nonsense: high technology can’t support a narrative, period. It’s a category mistake to suggest a hydraulic press can support the narrative, mythical structure, or historicity of The Iliad. Second, what you mean to say, that the scientific body of knowledge does not support the Bible’s reliability as a primary historical source document, displays a serious ignorance of the subject matter. The fall of Troy was corroborated with significantly less. Third, and as I hinted at by using The Iliad as an example, it is false to say it’s necessary for a historical account to be 100% in accord in every detail with modern scientific understanding to be supported in general by modern scientific knowledge. Archimedes estimated pi as 3 and 1/7, should we then throw out everything else he said as false?

      • Fox says:

        >You’re playing at the level of Dawkins again
        lol

        >Hol’ up. It’s also possible that the waters above refers to A) something that was there before, or B) rain clouds.

        I think this interpretation (B) is very artificial, and I don’t think that anybody would come up with it if he didn’t “knew” that there are no “waters above”.
        Look for example at this beautiful medieval chronicle (nuremberg chronicle) https://haab-digital.klassik-stiftung.de/viewer/image/898142555/42/ (pages 42-44 and 47) , clearly showing water and not vapor.

        Also, that interpretation is inconsistent – first the upper and the lower waters are divided, and then the lower waters are concentrated to make dry land – showing that we’re clearly dealing with water, not vapor (otherwise the land would have already been there, and the concentration of the vapor would have created the sea (not the land!)).
        Note that the H20 molecules in the upper atmosphere (plus the ice at the poles) isn’t enough to cover the highest mountains by “15 cubits”. Again, one might just claim that the waters simple disappeared, or that the mountains weren’t that large then, or the seas not that deep, but none of that is even remotely compatible with the “scientific” view.

        Of course, you can always find a “consistent” interpretation if you just argue that the laws of physics were not just different then, but different in exactly the way they would have to be in order to get the desired result – but in doing so, you’re bending everything else to fit your foregone conclusion ( that’s exactly what dominant m-backs do all day long and why they get stuck so often).

        >The fall of Troy was corroborated with significantly less. Third, and as I hinted at by using The Iliad as an example, it is false to say it’s necessary for a historical account to be 100% in accord in every detail with modern scientific understanding to be supported in general by modern scientific knowledge. Archimedes estimated pi as 3 and 1/7, should we then throw out everything else he said as false?

        The Iliad tells a story about some small warring kingdoms (involving a couple of greek gods and a demigod) – None of its (historical) claims are significant for greater history or the future of mankind (history wouldn’t have taken place much differently had troy never existed).
        With the bible, it’s a wholly different thing: It doesn’t claim to merely tell the story of some insignificant little middle-eastern tribe, or of some religious movement in the roman empire, it claims to tell the story of the origin and the destiny of the cosmos and of man!

        It might very well be correct on insignificant historical facts like what king reigned in persia in 500BC, or when canaan was settled (just like the iliad might be right about some city state named troy and its destruction by greeks), but the really important claims are a whole different issue!

        And regarding those claims:
        Things like the lack of “waters above”, the lack of evidence for a complete worldwide flood, etc are not just small deviations (like archimedes being 0,04% percent off with his estimate of pi)!
        If you claim that only a whole region was under water, then floods like these:
        https://img.purch.com/h/1400/aHR0cDovL3d3dy5saXZlc2NpZW5jZS5jb20vaW1hZ2VzL2kvMDAwLzAwOC8xODkvb3JpZ2luYWwvcGVyc2lhbi1ndWxmLW1hcC0xMDEyMTAtMDIuanBn


        could be used to argue that you’re “kinda” right (even if only parts of the relevant regions were actually under water). However, the claim of a worldwide deluge is way off – and so is the claim of “waters above”, and probably several others.

        • SirHamster says:

          > Again, one might just claim that the waters simple disappeared, or that the mountains weren’t that large then, or the seas not that deep, but none of that is even remotely compatible with the “scientific” view.

          The scientific method can’t reconstruct the past. There is no “scientific” view to be compatible with.

          Take a melted ice sculpture. Can careful observation of the dried puddle reverse engineer the shape of the sculpture?

          When you’re appealing to non-existent authorities, your argument is stillborn.

          > Also, that interpretation is inconsistent – first the upper and the lower waters are divided, and then the lower waters are concentrated to make dry land – showing that we’re clearly dealing with water, not vapor

          The Bible is not a scientific text. Reading “liquid water” into the account and then criticizing your interpretation does not actually undermine the truth value of the text.

          Any error you find was introduced by your interpretation, and is not innate to the text.

          > (otherwise the land would have already been there, and the concentration of the vapor would have created the sea (not the land!)).

          KJV:

          And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

          And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

          It did create the sea. And the land. Is this your best shot? A shoddy argument that doesn’t even understand the Biblical account accurately?

          • Fox says:

            ^this is a good example of “bending everything else to fit your foregone conclusion”

            • Maybe if you want to be fair you should look up the original language instead of basing an entire theology on the english translation. You might find you challenge answered then.

            • SirHamster says:

              No bending was needed on my part. You are projecting from your own pointless attack on a strawman Biblical creation account.

              The question is not if you can find an interpretation that you can poke a hole in. You have to demonstrate that in all interpretations, especially the best and most coherent ones, there are always fatal contradictions. You have not done so.

            • Fox says:

              @nate
              Look at the chronicle I linked to in a previous comment. It shows that “waters” was interpreted as masses of water in the (late) middle ages. Thus we know that many thousands of people who cared quite a lot about the bible and had access to various latin (vulgate, vetus latina), hebrew and greek texts reached this conclusion.
              Was there ever a wide-spread theological controversy regarding the question of whether “waters” refers to actual masses of water or to vapor?

            • Well i didn’t get replies.

              Let’s just put it this way: how would a people describe rain and dew without the term “water vapor” in their language? (Hint: raqia)

            • Fox says:

              >The question is not if you can find an interpretation that you can poke a hole in. You have to demonstrate that in all interpretations, especially the best and most coherent ones, there are always fatal contradictions.
              This is an even better example of “bending everything else to fit your foregone conclusion”.
              The threshold for proving the bible wrong is raised to such astronomical heights that it is not possible to disprove it – of course, to remain consistent, one would have to apply the same standard to all other kinds of texts, rendering one thereby incapable of disproving even the stupider half of feminist texts.
              The trick is to not even try to defend an interpretation (or a group of interpretations) of the text, but the text itself.
              This is one of the purest examples of idol-worship I’ve come across.

            • SirHamster says:

              > The threshold for proving the bible wrong is raised to such astronomical heights that it is not possible to disprove it

              “Disprove” has a specific meaning, and requires that you prove the claim of disproof.

              Everything I said applies to every logical disproof. I have made no special pleading to use an easier standard for the Bible.

              You are trying to claim the feelgood of “disproven!” without actually doing the work of disproving. If you had disproven anything, you wouldn’t be whining that the standard is too hard, the disproof would literally be proven.

              > one would have to apply the same standard to all other kinds of texts, rendering one thereby incapable of disproving even the stupider half of feminist texts.

              If you can’t prove that the stupider half of feminist texts are wrong, that doesn’t prove the standards I described are too high. It proves that you are unequipped to prove or disprove anything.

            • Fox says:

              ^and this is an example of preferring to write long-winded adversarial comments over doing basic fucking research on the topic.

              I’m making it extra easy for slow ones:
              Search for “biblical cosmology”, “hebrew cosmology”, “medieval cosmology”.
              The second term will lead you to a couple of bible verses about cosmology (so you don’t have to search them separately).
              Search for an english translation of the “nuremberg chronicle” and read the texts that have to do with the “waters”.

            • SirHamster says:

              > ^and this is an example of preferring to write long-winded adversarial comments over doing basic fucking research on the topic.

              “adversial comment”, or in other words, disagreement.

              Disagreement. On the Internets. The nerve. This is how weak your case is when you have to pretty up your position with empty words.

              I found a gaping hole in your logic that makes your research moot.

              You are using observation of modern earth to say that there was no “upper water” 6K+ years ago, and then use that to say that a particular medieval interpretation is false, and thus the Bible is false.

              Your chain of logic does not account for the following 2 possibilities:

              1. Modern earth may have significant physical differences with the ancient earth the Bible claims to describe. Modern earth lacking a feature does not prove ancient earth lacked the feature.

              2. The medieval interpretation can be wrong simultaneous to the Bible being accurate; Water vapor is water, derpity derp.

              Your overlooking this is not due to me “raising the threshold of proving Bible wrong to astronomical heights”

              This is you offering a pathetically weak case and it getting demolished in less than 5 minutes.

              Do you not realize your every wrong statement cumulatively damages your credibility?

            • Fox says:

              Just do the research.

            • SirHamster says:

              > Just do the research.

              Questioning the validity of medieval interpretations of the Bible cannot disprove the Bible. Your modern observation cannot disprove the Biblical description of the ancient earth.

              It’s not a matter of research, it’s a matter of basic competence in logic.

              Your posturing is ridiculous, but that’s all you have at this point.

          • glosoli says:

            Replying to Sir Hamster:

            It’s weird how atheists are generally very stupid, often German, and like to waste their time trying to argue their point with Christians. If all atheists read Irrational Atheists by Vox Day, and were truly intellectually honest, at the very least they’d stop wasting their time (and that of others), and a decent proportion would become believers too.

            I doubt a single Christian anywhere ever has been persuaded to atheism by an atheist, as it’s a totally incoherent a position to hold.

            • Brilliand says:

              Now why would an atheist read a book named “irrational atheists”? Most people don’t go out of their way to insult themselves.

              As for your latter claim – I’d like to point out that in the most science- and rationality-focused circles, being a Christian is highly embarrassing. Both Christianity and Atheism are coherent, but the atheists have an easier time talking science-speak because they don’t have to constantly make excuses for their religion. Everyone who changes their mind does so for emotional reasons, and embarrassment is a strong motivator.

            • glosoli says:

              >Now why would an atheist read a book named “irrational atheists”? Most people don’t go out of their way to insult themselves.

              It’s not at all rational to consider that buying a book equates to insulting oneself. How does one even begin to insult oneself anyway? Maybe something like this: ‘Oh shit, i typed an irrational sentence on Aeoli’s blog, I’m such a dope’. Yes, that works.

              >As for your latter claim – I’d like to point out that in the most science- and rationality-focused circles, being a Christian is highly embarrassing.

              I’m embarrassed at your sentence structure. Sort yourself out. As for ‘science’, well we don’t do that any more do we:

              https://blog.jim.com/uncategorized/science-and-christianity/

              >Both Christianity and Atheism are coherent, but the atheists have an easier time talking science-speak because they don’t have to constantly make excuses for their religion.

              Atheism isn’t coherent at all, go read the book, don’t be scared. Nearly every scientist (prior to the advance of progressivism) was a Christian. Christians don’t have to make any excuses for their religion, because it’s both true and entirely coherent.

              >Everyone who changes their mind does so for emotional reasons, and embarrassment is a strong motivator.

              I don’t recall you asking me why I changed my mind, but I’m glad you’ve spoken with every other convert alive to establish it was a purely emotional reason. The hyperbole is strong with you atheists isn’t it? Don’t read this scientist’s non-emotional words:

              https://sixdayscience.com/2015/05/11/my-testimony/

            • Brilliand says:

              The *title* of the book is an insult. It sounds like it’s just a pack of insults directed at atheists. I suppose some atheists might take interest in it, but personally I view a book with an insulting premise as something to steer clear of.

              My sentence structure is fine. If you insist, I could produce a diagram showing how all the words connect with one another properly, but for now I’ll assume you can be satisfied with understanding me.

              My statement about the mind was not a statement about how people relate to religion, it was a statement about how the mind works. All decisions are made based on emotion. If you make a decision that results from conscious logic, there is an emotional attachment to logic involved there. (If I ask why you converted, will you describe the process that actually played out in your head? No, you’ll tell me the most prestigious reason you can think of that was even slightly involved. You probably don’t even remember what your original reason was.)

              Atheism and Christianity are both coherent, and both wrong. If you want to see how atheism is coherent, go to an atheist website such as LessWrong.com and try to explain to them how stupid they’re being. You’ll find them just as hard to destabilize as the Christians here are. I have no plans to try to disprove either atheism or christianity here, but I wanted to point out that other people’s beliefs are not as fragile as you seem to think.

            • glosoli says:

              >The *title* of the book is an insult. It sounds like it’s just a pack of insults directed at atheists. I suppose some atheists might take interest in it, but personally I view a book with an insulting premise as something to steer clear of.

              Ah, good, you agree they wouldn’t be insulting themselves. Rationality and irrationality are both facts, rather than insults. But you’re apparently scared to read a book that will prove without doubt a fact, which shows the kind of man(?) you are.

              >My sentence structure is fine. If you insist, I could produce a diagram showing how all the words connect with one another properly, but for now I’ll assume you can be satisfied with understanding me.

              I had to read it 4 or 5 times to get the gist of what you were saying, it was that poorly written. Perhaps use brackets rather than multiples dashes in future, thanks.

              >My statement about the mind was not a statement about how people relate to religion, it was a statement about how the mind works. All decisions are made based on emotion.

              Really, you’re full of modernist nonsense aren’t you?

              >If you make a decision that results from conscious logic, there is an emotional attachment to logic involved there. (If I ask why you converted, will you describe the process that actually played out in your head? No, you’ll tell me the most prestigious reason you can think of that was even slightly involved. You probably don’t even remember what your original reason was.)

              Did you read this stuff in a ‘rationalist’ textbook? An emotional attachment to logic, I mean, I just lolled at that. Very funny. You have an emotional attachment to thinking you’re some kind of expert on the human mind it seems.

              >Atheism and Christianity are both coherent, and both wrong. If you want to see how atheism is coherent, go to an atheist website such as LessWrong.com and try to explain to them how stupid they’re being. You’ll find them just as hard to destabilize as the Christians here are. I have no plans to try to disprove either atheism or christianity here, but I wanted to point out that other people’s beliefs are not as fragile as you seem to think.

              Yep, you seriously think you’re one smart dude. I genuinely feel sad for you, and people like you, deluded by philosophy and psycho-babble, and with views set in stone, full of fear in having a view disproved.

              Please do me a favour, don’t respond to any more of my comments here, or at the forum, because I know what you are, and the silly games you play. So stay away, kapisch.

            • Brilliand says:

              I also have a point to make about honor: if you want to prove to me that I am wrong, you must do it yourself. No sending me off to read a book written by someone else that presumably proves me wrong. If you’re not able to prove me wrong directly in the conversation between us, then it’s on you to read that book yourself until you understand it well enough to present its proofs directly in the flow of conversation.

            • Brilliand says:

              You must stand for yourself, not call for daddy to win your arguments for you.

            • SirHamster says:

              > It sounds like it’s just a pack of insults directed at atheists.

              Dismissing the book based entirely by the (true) title is a great example of irrational atheism.

            • Brilliand says:

              > Dismissing the book based entirely by the (true) title is a great example of irrational atheism.

              I am not an athiest; I am a polytheist. Did you miss my earlier hint, or does this mean that the insult “irrational atheist” is actually directed at all nonchristians? If the latter, then this book is merely a Christian propaganda text; I saw plenty of those back when I was a Christian, and I have no intention of ever picking up another.

              Even if the book really is about atheism, I’m inclined to think the book is not worth reading. It 1) is by someone I don’t have a high opinion of (Vox Day), 2) has a title that does not speak well of it, 3) is part of the Christianity vs. Atheism debate, which in my experience mostly has stupid arguments on both sides (the home advantage is overwhelming), 4) is not actually relevant to my current beliefs, and 5) will obviously be presenting arguments to me without giving me any opportunity to argue back.

              You can avoid most of those problems by making your arguments to me personally, instead of referring me to a book that contains them. I’d be happy to listen to listen to any argument that you write out personally, as yourself, and explain to you why that argument does not actually suffice to disprove atheism. (Given how well you responded to Fox, though – you’re probably capable of figuring that out without my help.)

            • SirHamster says:

              > I am not an athiest; I am a polytheist.

              Doesn’t matter to my point, wasn’t talking about you.

              You’re arguing that atheists would dismiss a book and its arguments because of its “insulting” title.

              That would be irrational of them, and prove the book’s title to be true. If the truth is insulting, frankly they need to be insulted with the truth in case it might help some of them to stop being irrational.

              > Even if the book really is about atheism, I’m inclined to think the book is not worth reading.

              No one cares about your valuation of a book you haven’t read.

              This is illiterate behavior. Your polytheism isn’t helping you any.

              > You can avoid most of those problems by making your arguments to me personally, instead of referring me to a book that contains them.

              Didn’t refer you to a book. How do you not recognize different usernames?

              The mere fact you bring up “being a Christian is highly embarrassing” as if it’s relevant shows how low tier your thought process is. Are you even a man?

            • Brilliand says:

              SirHamster, if you’re not stepping in in defense of Glosoli, then I’m not clear on what point you’re trying to make. I can’t simultaneously defend my statements to Glosoli and not assume the context in which those statements were made.

              I’m willing to continue talking about embarrassment in a more general context, but I think we should move away from my exchange with Glosoli for that. I’ll elaborate on my claim in a top-level comment, and you can reply to that.

  3. Patrick says:

    Very nice but I want to hear Aeoli talking about future dystopian outcomes. How might I be able to find that in the public domain?

  4. VidereLicet says:

    More about Copernicus. About Copernicus — and the Jesuits and Heliocentrism :

    Lots more videos at YouTube about Copernicus and the Jesuits, and the Freemasons, and where Heliocentrism comes from ; use Search Term :

    “Copernicus satanist”

    Lots of videos about where Heliocentrism comes from. “How They Hide God” is another informative video about the source of Heliocentrism. “How They Hide God” can also be found at YouTube.

  5. Craig says:

    Here is how I understand the world to be flat. A commercial air plane takes off and ascends to a certain height and then proceeds to fly straight until it is close enough to its destination where it starts to descend for landing. If the world were round, the plane would have to keep adjusting its flight path to compensate for the curvature of the earth.

  6. Fox says:

    The deeper issue is:
    You have to interpret the bible like someone in, say, 1400 would have (sans modern astronomy, science etc). Then you take the straightforward, commonsensical, internally-consistent interpretation and compare it with the scientific worldview. If the contrast is too great, you’ll have to accept that one of them has to go.

    However, that’s not what most modern christians are doing (if they care about this at all).
    They create interpretations that rest to a very large degree on external consistency of the bible – ie, they look what science found out in one domain, and then they try to find a biblical interpretation that does not contradict that. Example: “Science says there are no masses of actual water above, therefore the “upper waters” in the bible has to refer to something else, probably vapor”
    Why do they do that? In part it’s not conscious, in part because were they to do what I described in the paragraph above, they’d have to choose between the bible and science – and they would choose science. But discarding the bible would be too painful for them since they are supremely invested in biblical narratives.

    Of course, if one simply stops interpreting the bible literally and sees it as a mythological text, these problems are gone. However, such a worldview would be so vastly different from almost all historical strains of christianity that calling it “christian” would be ludicrious.

    • Heaviside says:

      I don’t see why Sumerian-derived dome-world cosmologies should be treated differently than say Mt. Meru.

      • Fox says:

        I don’t see people claiming Mt. Meru to be an actual mountain on this earth.

        • Heaviside says:

          I am genuinely curious to know how “literally” Sumerians, Egyptians, Babylonians, etc. thought of the dome-world.

          • Fox says:

            Me too.
            I think the egyptians didn’t, but I wouldn’t regard it as inplausible that the others did.

            There is another interpretation of the dome-world, a very “däniken” one:
            The dome world wasn’t the earth but just an undersea laboratory. It was created by constructing a dome and then pumping the water out. There the elohim (=aliens) made genetic experiments and created the first man – and then took some stem cells from him (from the rip) and created the first women. The expulsion from paradise was the ending of one experiment. Later, after a whole series of experiments (including those involving the alien hybrids known as “nephilim”) ended, the dome was flooded (the great flood). Only a handful of subjects which the elohim wanted to use further were rescued with a submarine (the arch).
            This intepretation is actually the best literal interpretation of the biblical creation and flood narratives I know of.

    • Joe says:

      One doesn’t have to be a Christian to be a Flat Earth Geocentric and one need not be a Christian to question Heliocentrism. There are NON Christians who are Flat Earth Geocentrics also. For example, Eric Dubay of “atlanteanconspiracy.com” is a NON Christian and he’s a Flat Earth Geocentric. And one can ask Empirical Scientific based questions whatever one’s religion. One can ask the Heliocentrics Empirical Scientific based questions. Even Christians can question Heliocentrism/Geocentrism based on Empirical Science. I myself am a Christian, I ask the Heliocentrics Empirical Scientific questions.

      One does NOT have to approach Flat Earth Geocentrism with any religious thoughts in-mind, Christian religious thoughts or any other religious thoughts from any other religion. It’s within the realm of possibility to question BOTH Heliocentrism and Geocentrism from a purely Empirical Scientific basis. One can look into Flat Earth Geocentrism and question Geocentrics and also look into Heliocentrism and question Heliocentrics based on Empirical Science and not have to in any way or for any reason bring the Christian religion or any religion into it.

      Search Terms [ good search terms for YouTube also ]:

      “Zetetic Astronomy”

      “Zetetic + Flat Earth”

      “Zetetic + Geocentrism”

  7. Silas Brill says:

    Are you interested in the health of the cells in the middle of your right big toe? …Do you care if those cells are cancer cells? Something being insignificant relative to the whole doesn’t mean there’s no reason to care about it.

  8. Ø says:

    If there ever is a Tru-Thal Uprising, all the melon overlords will have to do to quell it immediately is stand up and yell “THE EARTH IS FLAT”, then sit back and watch as all the Thal rebels drop their weapons in unison and start debating with each other about the intricacies of zetetic geocentrism ad infinitum

  9. Jordy LaFrog Peterson's Fully Automated Mecha-Dragonslayer says:

    >immediately is stand up and yell “THE EARTH IS FLAT”

    *sigh* This sort of thing is, unfortunately, funny, though. Not that one has to believe it in order to say it or anything. Not that there’s anything wrong with sincerely believing it either.

  10. Brilliand says:

    (Mostly directed at SirHamster)

    I would argue that the emotional motivation behind not wanting to be wrong on the internet is embarrassment. I feel embarrassed (and a few other things, but that’s the easiest to pick out) when I realize that something I said was wrong, when I fail to adequately support a position that I set out to convince others of, or when I fail to mount a basic defense of a position I’ve admitted to holding. “Embarrassed” is an approximation – it isn’t exactly correct, but it is the closest single word I can think of for this feeling.

    This claim is a sub-claim of the general thesis that all actions have an emotional motivation, and logic comes into play only insofar as the people involved care about logic on an emotional level. I derived this idea from some of Aeoli’s posts on persuasion – sadly I can’t seem to find those posts now.

    I described earlier (in very brief terms) what happens to a young Christian who goes to an atheist forum to argue using “proofs” he got from various Christian books: he gets beaten down by far better debaters than himself, demonstrating that these “proofs” were not the magic bullets they were claimed to be. This experience is highly embarrassing, in the sense that I described above – it creates the feeling of being *wrong*. And what is this young Christian to assume is wrong? The specific argument that he carried into battle? No, the basic proposition that he was arguing for – because without the arguments that he presented to the atheists, he now has no argument to convince *himself* that that proposition is correct. (And when the proposition has recently been in close proximity to such wrongness, it needs some sort of argument to back it up, and quickly.)

    I am describing an event that happened to me over a decade ago. Insulting the present me on the basis of how that past me felt would not be appropriate. Insulting that past me might be appropriate, but *please remember that that same feeling of embarrassment that I described is the only reason that your insults would have any weight*. Insulting someone for caring that you’re insulting them is hypocritical.

    • SirHamster says:

      > SirHamster, if you’re not stepping in in defense of Glosoli, then I’m not clear on what point you’re trying to make.

      I quoted the sentence I disagreed with and contradicted it. I can’t make it any simpler.

      > I would argue that the emotional motivation behind not wanting to be wrong on the internet is embarrassment.

      Utterly irrelevant to whether an idea is true or false.

      > he gets beaten down by far better debaters than himself, demonstrating that these “proofs” were not the magic bullets they were claimed to be.

      “beaten down” is not proven false. I’ve spent decades on the Internet as a Christian and participated in my share of atheist debate. Atheist arguments are stupid and irrational. The main thing atheists have going for them in debate is that they’re pigs rolling in mud. The pig’s game is to get everything muddy. But that has nothing to do with truth.

      > This experience is highly embarrassing, in the sense that I described above – it creates the feeling of being *wrong*.

      Truth is not determined by feelings. Sweet Jesus, no wonder you didn’t stick to the faith. Atheists made you feel bad, so you abandoned Christianity.

      Jesus calls his followers to pick up their cross and die. If you can’t handle a little feelbad from atheist mockers, of course you didn’t stick to it. Your feelings of embarrassment do not make Christianity false.

      > Insulting the present me on the basis of how that past me felt would not be appropriate.

      Using feelings instead of reason to determine truth is literally irrational.

      But anyways, you are not an atheist, so anything I say about atheists doesn’t apply to you. I am not insulting you.

      • Brilliand says:

        > Utterly irrelevant to whether an idea is true or false.
        > “beaten down” is not proven false.

        “Proven false” is a quite high standard, and it’s rare for anyone to meet it when arguing religion (or anything besides math or the hard sciences). “Made a particular view seem likely to be false” is the best you’re going to get.

        If you disagree, perhaps you can demonstrate otherwise by proving something yourself?

        > Using feelings instead of reason to determine truth is literally irrational.

        You can’t do an exhaustive search of all possible truths to find the real one – that’s completely infeasible. You have to use a heuristic of some sort at least some of the time. Feelings are the central mechanism that coordinates reason and heuristics into a reasonably efficient search for truth.

        So no, you don’t throw out reason in favor of feelings. But you change your mind when the evidence reaches a threshold that feels sufficient to you – you don’t hold out for absolute proof, because you’ll never get that in most fields. (I suppose you could do bayesian math with a fixed threshold in order to remove your feelings from the equation… that’s rare, but it’s possible in theory.)

        “Irrational” is an emotive word describing a person who doesn’t meet a minimum threshold of involving reason in their decisions. There isn’t a word for people who let feelings influence their decisions to some degree, because everyone does that.

        • glosoli says:

          I had a quick look on the forum at how members are ranked based on the ratio of total comments compared to positive ratings received from those comments.

          You were second worse, with the Mongol Thal Warrior the lowest. So many comments, so little appreciation for those comments.

          Both of you were weak Christians and now are new age gurus and everyone thinks you’re both incoherent little girls. Suck it up, you’ve incurred Jehovah’s curses, or repent, turn back, and be blessed.

          • Brilliand says:

            You seriously just decided to use the ratio of positive ratings on a forum as the indicator of truth?

            • glosoli says:

              >You seriously just decided to use the ratio of positive ratings on a forum as the indicator of truth?

              No, just as an indicator of the low value of your comments.
              I didn’t mention truth, but you avoided addressing the points I did mention.
              I guess comments like those are why your ratings are so low.

              Are you even a man?

            • Brilliand says:

              Why are some of the Christians here jumping at any weak indicator to hint that I might be wrong? This isn’t something most Christians do. There are plenty of Christians who can defend themselves with poise. But for some reason, Glosoli and SirHamster are calling me out for “mistakes” too small to even matter, and proceed to argue “because something bad can be said about Brilliand, therefore his whole belief system is false”.

            • glosoli says:

              Why, why, why?
              Definitely a girl, incoherent, scared, silly.

          • Brilliand says:

            Also, you’ve seen how that “blessing and curses” mechanism actually works: those who assist the evil of the NWO become rich beyond comparison, while those who continue to resist the NWO are ridiculed and marginalized.

            Oh wait, you don’t think *that* blessings and curses system is the one that Jehovah uses…

            • glosoli says:

              You are free to consider vast wealth as an indicator of blessedness. I doubt the Rockefellers or the Roths ever know a moment’s joy, peace love or happiness, as they forever covet, and seek to destroy lives in so doing. satan chuckles at their weakness, their slavery to greed and anger, and their inevitable permanent deaths. As he does with your foolishness.

              I know that I feel blessed with joy, peace, love and happiness, despite the state of the world. Thanks to Jehovah for that, and the promise of eternal life to come in bliss.

        • SirHamster says:

          > You can’t do an exhaustive search of all possible truths to find the real one – that’s completely infeasible.

          Is that what your feelings told you? That’s wrong (#1). It depends on the question whether you can exhaust the possibilities or not.

          > Feelings are the central mechanism that coordinates reason and heuristics into a reasonably efficient search for truth.

          It’s not “reasonably efficient” (#2), it’s time efficient. Reason doesn’t care about compute times. Reason only cares about correctness.

          Feelings can be useful shortcuts. Yours are not, because you replaced reason with feelings.

          You have to verify the shortcut works. Not all shortcuts are the same. When you’re trying to go from point A to point B, some shortcuts are in the right direction, some are not. Some shortcuts are always useful. Some shortcuts are sometimes useful. Some shortcuts are always wrong.

          You should be using your reason, not your feelings, to coordinate reason and heuristics.

          > “Irrational” is an emotive word describing a person who doesn’t meet a minimum threshold of involving reason in their decisions.

          Irrational is an objective word labeling the category of things that are not rational. Rational things are “consistent with or based on reason.” Your definition is wrong (#3).

          You are irrational. That is because by your own words, you don’t use reason to find what is true, you used your feelings. That is not based on reason. That is not rational. That is irrational.

          I am not saying this as an insult, but as a truthful categorization of things. If you feel insulted, that is because it is broken to use feelings to replace reason. Your feelings may even know this; and your feeling insulted is your feelings trying to get you to listen and change.

          If you had used your reason to calibrate your feelings so that your feelings would be true, you wouldn’t be promoting this irrationality, you would recognize the foundation of your knowledge is your reason. If you calibrated your feelings with reason, you would be rational.

          > There isn’t a word for people who let feelings influence their decisions to some degree, because everyone does that.

          You are wrong again (#4). That word is intuitive. Everyone has an intuition that they use to varying degrees, but not every intuition gets it right.

          See how many errors there are in your comments? Your feelings cannot replace reason. It’s fundamentally unreasonable to do this.

          • Brilliand says:

            > Is that what your feelings told you? That’s wrong (#1). It depends on the question whether you can exhaust the possibilities or not.

            You can’t exhaust the possibilities. It takes VERY little thought to determine that fact. You are not thinking at all.

            > It’s not “reasonably efficient” (#2), it’s time efficient. Reason doesn’t care about compute times. Reason only cares about correctness.

            Yes, time efficient. “Reasonably” means “to an adequate degree”. You are wildly picking interpretations to invent something wrong with my words.

            Enough of this. You are merely being argumentative, and jumping at the slightest excuse to call me wrong. Come back when you are actually using some reason yourself.

            • SirHamster says:

              > You can’t exhaust the possibilities. It takes VERY little thought to determine that fact. You are not thinking at all.

              You wouldn’t be able to do proof by contradiction if it were not possible to exhaust possibilities.

              Depends on the question. You beg the question when you assume all questions have infinite inexhaustible possibilities.

              > Yes, time efficient. “Reasonably” means “to an adequate degree”. You are wildly picking interpretations to invent something wrong with my words.

              I take that back as an error, but it muddies the issue to use “reasonably” when talking about short-circuiting reason with feelings.

              > Come back when you are actually using some reason yourself.

              Why are you talking about using reason, when you say feelings are the primary way to find truth?

              Your idea is so dumb you stop believing in it when you’re not paying attention. You should feel bad about that.

            • Brilliand says:

              When I say it is impossible to exhaust the possibilities, I don’t mean for any one question. I mean for the range of all truth. When you know what question you’re asking, then yes, you often have a limited range of possibilities to work with.

            • SirHamster says:

              > When I say it is impossible to exhaust the possibilities, I don’t mean for any one question. I mean for the range of all truth. When you know what question you’re asking, then yes, you often have a limited range of possibilities to work with.

              The point was that feelings were irrelevant to whether an idea is true or false.

              That is a specific question. Either feelings can prove an idea true or false, or they cannot. They cannot, because feelings are subjective and truth is objective. Proof is the domain of reason.

              Rationally anchored feelings may be able to point to the objective truth, but that is through training and discipline. There is nothing innate to feelings that make it a truth detector.

            • Brilliand says:

              Here is what makes feelings a truth detector: It is our nature, as humans, to use feelings first, and use reason because of how we feel about reason. As evidence for this, consider the young age at which reason develops, and the far younger age at which feelings develop.

              Empirically, we can see that humans often do use reason, so it follows from those two propositions that feelings lead to reason (or at least that they frequently do, among humans).

              It’s true that feelings without reason cannot prove, at the level of certainty without any potential for being wrong, that a proposition is true. (However, note that “certainty” is a feeling.) Within the domains of math and physics, which belong completely to reason, reason can in fact prove most propositions to perfect certainty. However, many other domains – such as religion – are not exclusively the domain of reason. Within such domains, reason is still useful, but it’s incapable of proving a proposed truth beyond any possibility of being wrong.

              Within a great many domains of human knowledge, *of which religion is one*, feelings and logic are both necessary, and neither has the distinction of being able to provide absolute proof of any positive claim.

              Note that deception is a very real factor in the domain of religion, and that compounds the problem.

            • SirHamster says:

              > It is our nature, as humans, to use feelings first, and use reason because of how we feel about reason. As evidence for this, consider the young age at which reason develops, and the far younger age at which feelings develop.

              The maturation process of humans does not make feelings the foundation of reason. It does not make feelings a truth detector, because feelings can be completely wrong on the truth of a matter.

              > Empirically, we can see that humans often do use reason, so it follows from those two propositions that feelings lead to reason (or at least that they frequently do, among humans).

              It does not.

              > Within a great many domains of human knowledge, *of which religion is one*, feelings and logic are both necessary, and neither has the distinction of being able to provide absolute proof of any positive claim.

              Yet this statement contains zero reference to your own feelings to prove the point you try to make. Because your feelings are irrelevant to the truth, even as you claim it is necessary. Your actions disprove your position.

              This is a lot of nonsense to rationalize why you feel you’re right even if you’re wrong, and why you feel your feelings matter more than what is true. This is why you demonstrate zero accountability for all the wrong statements you have made. You just skip over the contradictions because you are chasing feelings, not truth.

            • Brilliand says:

              I am not chasing anything. I am trying to explain something to you, that I have already concluded and that you clearly do not understand well enough to criticize.

              And now I will stop trying to explain to you.

  11. Fox says:

    Regarding the question of the original word used for “waters”:
    A short search showed that the very word translated as “waters” in Genesis 1:2, 1:6 and 1:9 is used dozens of times in other parts of the OT to denote actual water – often in conjunction with wells, fountains etc. This word is also used to denote in what the egyptian army sank in exodus 15:10.
    http://biblehub.com/hebrew/4325.htm [this site contains all the links to the others]
    http://biblehub.com/interlinear/genesis/1-2.htm
    http://biblehub.com/interlinear/genesis/1-6.htm
    http://biblehub.com/interlinear/genesis/1-9.htm
    http://biblehub.com/interlinear/exodus/15-10.htm

    So the word was translated as “waters” because it was perfectly clear that it refered to waters.

  12. glosoli says:

    S’funny watching people who see literal actual water fall from the skies regularly, trying to prove there’s no water up there. Lol.

    • SirHamster says:

      References to Psalms to prove “Waters Above” – Psalms are songs, a type of poetry. Trying to scientifically disprove poetic language is a hilariously stupid category error that only an atheist would make.

      God has made His enemies ridiculous.

      • Fox says:

        ^and this is an example of inventing arbitrary reasons to exclude data that doesn’t fit into the paradigm

        • SirHamster says:

          It’s not arbitrary to recognize that there’s a category of literature called poetry, where language is used fluidly to create emotional resonance at the expense of technical accuracy.

          That I have to point out any of this to you means you haven’t done your research.

          This is not a big deal in itself, we all have areas of ignorance. But you’ve been banging the research drum, and whining about standards of disproof. You don’t know how to interpret text, which means you also don’t know how to disprove it.

          At this point, all that’s left is to point and laugh at your futile efforts. If you were teachable, you’d stop being an atheist.

          • Fox says:

            ^This is how it looks like when someone is not even trying to understand someone else

            • SirHamster says:

              You want to complain about someone not trying to understand?

              > “But what one can’t do (without being inconsistent) is to proclaim that modern science and high technology supports the biblical narrative.”

              I understand you just fine. You want to dish out criticism, but haven’t built up your arguments to withstand any.

    • Brilliand says:

      This is about as useful as a drawing of Dante’s hells. Geography was partially replaced with mythology in those dark times.

  13. Aeoli Pera says:

    I will be cutting this discussion off at 100 comments, as it has not been particularly interesting or useful.

      • Brilliand says:

        This could’ve been done better. The “DNA=bones->rib” bit wasn’t plausible. Making the “DNA sample” literally a bone marrow sample from Adam’s rib (without removing the rib) could’ve worked, though.

        • The joke is how hard it is to describe advance concepts to a people without the context or even language to grasp it. There’s probably even more God could explain that we can’t grasp even now.

          • Fox says:

            If you assume that some mythological/religious text is trying to teach advanced knowledge to people not ready for it, you will be able to find an interpretation that’s in line with your assumption, ie. if you try to read descriptions of advanced concepts into it, you will be able to do so.
            Example: Alternative researcher who interprets the “primordial waters” as “quantum foam”.
            But this is nothing but taking what I wrote about external consistency a step further:
            “they look what science found out in one domain, and then they try to find [it in the bible]”
            You can do that with any mythological/religious text, the more ancient the language, the better (more room to interpret).
            The question then is: How easy and straightforward are advanced concepts interpretable into a text? How specific is it?

            Examples of high specifity in the realm of symbols: The “rod of asclepius” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rod_of_Asclepius#/media/File:Rod_of_Asclepius2.svg) looks quite similar to the DNA doublehelix, and has a strong connection to medicine/the healing arts (note that the “caduceus” (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e3/Ningizzida.jpg) is more similar to the doublehelix, but the other connections are weaker/less clear)

            If you search for, say, “ancient astronaut theory” you’ll find plenty of “scientific” interpretations of old texts, symbols and artifacts.

            Search for the best (most significant) such examples in several mythological texts, including the bible, and then compare.

  14. Fox says:

    Here’s a video about some of those topics, quoting relevant biblical passages and doing the semantic discussion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oG_-BYKaehI
    41:20 – 47:26
    51:45 – 54:43
    1:28:26 – 1:35:05
    1:39:10 – 1:46:10
    1:46:10 – 1:48:10
    2:04:45 – 2:07:25
    2:25:50 – 2:26:20
    In short: You have to be a flat-earther if you interpret the bible literally.

    Further:
    There are hebrew words for “clouds”, “vapour”, “mist” used several times in the old testament – if this is what was meant in the creation narrative (and in other passages), why wasn’t any of those words used?

  15. Aeoli Pera says:

    And that’s 100. Let’s all move on with our lives.

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