Thursday, April 12, 2012

Oh, The Irony!!


How many times have you heard creationists compared to “flat-earthers”? In their Creation/Evolution Continuum, the National Center for Science Education, places flat-earthers at one end of the spectrum, just behind geocentrists and young-earth creationists, while theistic and atheistic evolutionists occupy the other end. It's a blatant attempt at guilt-by-association because those very few people who actually believe in a flat earth, are supposedly Christians.

That the earth is flat is not taught anywhere in the Bible. The passages usually cited in support of this claim are obvious literary devices but to say the Bible teaches “flat-earthism” would be akin to me saying that weathermen are geocentrists for using terms like “sunrise” and “sunset.” Besides, the idea of a flat earth was never solely in the realm of Christianity since many other cultures also believed in a flat earth. Even ideas like geocentrism endured from Ptolemy until Galilei as the prevailing “scientific” model. The church should have learned then not to wed their interpretation of Scriptures to flawed “scientific” opinion.

Today, the Flat Earth Society, which boasts a (likely inflated) membership of hundreds, is currently led by a man named, Daniel Shenton. Let me ask you, the reader: what do you think Shenton's views on creation are? Do you think he's a creationist? Here's what Live Science had to say about the issue:

Though Shenton believes in evolution and global warming, he and his hundreds, if not thousands, of followers worldwide also believe that the Earth is a disc that you can fall off of.” [bold added]

Isn't that a hoot? After all these years of hearing from evolutionists that “creationists” is synonymous with “flat-earthers” we find out that the chief flat-earther is one of their own! Oh, the irony!

And another thing, I'm not too familiar with the flat-earth movement – I've always suspected the society of being a rather elaborate attempt to troll – but what is the official position of the group concerning evolution? It seems to me that if the leader of the group is an evolutionist, then evolution is probably the group's official position as well.

This puts things in an entirely different light. So, will the evo-establishment continue engaging in this intellectually lazy argument? Probably. They have resorted to this tactic for so long that I doubt they are able to change. If they are going to continue making that bed, they'd better be prepared to lie in it. Believe me, from now on, whenever I hear insult that creationists are like flat-eathers, I'm going to immediately link the ignorant soul to the quote above.

Oh, by the way, I've taken the liberty to correct NCSE's graph. Now, please excuse me while I laugh my head off!

2 comments:

Steven J. said...

A handful of points:

The Live Science article makes no mention of Shenton's theological views, so how do you know he isn't a theistic evolutionist (surely you admit that one can believe in both God and global warming?)? Nor is it safe to ascribe to an organization any and all views held by its current leader; at most you can infer that the Flat Earth Society is not officially creationist.

Terms like "sunrise" and "sunset" are not figurative, exactly; they are linguistic fossils from a time when it was thought that the sun did indeed orbit the Earth. Biblical references to, e.g. the sky like a vault over the Earth or the sky having "windows" (in Genesis and Malachi) are, at least, remnants of a period when they were meant as literal cosmological descriptions. It's not at all clear why, at least in Genesis, such references are "obvious" literary devices; they seem to be meant quite literally in, e.g. extrabiblical Jewish writings such as the book of Enoch or the writings of Flavius Josephus, who presumably thought their cosmologies were biblically sound.

Note that Genesis 1 has the Earth created before the sun. If the Earth orbits the sun, this is on a par with building a house before one digs the foundation. An omnipotent Creator could do it that way, of course -- but an omnipotent Creator could make whales before He made an ocean for them to live in, or land animals before there was land for them to walk on, but Genesis does not depict this.

It seems to be describing a world made in order, with each step being the foundation for what came later ... except for details such as the sun being made after the Earth (which would make perfect sense if the sun were merely a light attached to the solid dome of the sky), or "the stars" (a hundred billion galaxies worth of them) being mentioned as almost an afterthought in the description of the creation of lights in the sky.

RKBentley said...

Steven J,

As always, thanks for visiting and for your comments.

You said, “The Live Science article makes no mention of Shenton's theological views, so how do you know he isn't a theistic evolutionist.”

I actually thought about that before making the changes on the NCSE graph. I could have put “flat-earthers” between theistic and atheistic evolutionists. Of course, the implication would be that atheistic evolutionists are the most extreme view behind even flat-earthers!

You said, “(surely you admit that one can believe in both God and global warming?)?”

This is a little off subject but I've never said otherwise. Global warming is an issue that has no immediate connection with a theological viewpoint. This was among the points I raised in my posts about the science Nazis at NCSE. Some Christians might believe global warming is happening and some atheists might believe it is not. It's a political and scientific debate – not a religious one.

You said, “Nor is it safe to ascribe to an organization any and all views held by its current leader; at most you can infer that the Flat Earth Society is not officially creationist.”

In a group that has at most (generously) a few hundred members, it's not unreasonable to believe that the leader of the group is representative of the entire group. It also depends on the organization. The personal views of the CEO of a company almost certainly do no represent the views of all the employees. However, in a group formed to advance a particular viewpoint (like a flat earth, global warming, or “Jesus is coming on July 14th”), you are almost guaranteed that the members have similar views.

You said, “Terms like "sunrise" and "sunset" are not figurative, exactly; they are linguistic fossils from a time when it was thought that the sun did indeed orbit the Earth.”

That's true but only to a point. Why do we continue to use these “fossil” terms? It's a sort of economy of the language. Generally, phenomena are described using the observer's frame of reference. We continue to do this even today. When we describe an object moving at a certain speed (like a car traveling at 55 MPH), it's not literally accurate because the earth is both rotating and hurtling through space. The car is “literally” traveling at thousands of miles per hour but, for the sake of convenience, we describe it's speed in relation to an (assumed) stationary earth.

You said, “Biblical references to, e.g. the sky like a vault over the Earth or the sky having "windows" (in Genesis and Malachi) are, at least, remnants of a period when they were meant as literal cosmological descriptions.”

We're really starting to get off point and I'm running out of space due to character limit restrictions. Poetic descriptions are rather ordinary. Even today, an author might describe evening approaching as “a veil falling, covering the land in darkness.” A heavy snow fall might be described as a “blanket of white.”

I'm going to snip the rest of your comments. They're very off subject. The point of this post is that the Flat Earth Society is not a bunch of creationists but is a fringe group led by an evolutionist. It's has always been a flawed argument to identify creationists with flat-earthers and now we see it's not even true. Would you care to comment on that?

God bless!!

RKBentley