(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.)