Actual Freedom – Mailing List ‘B’ Correspondence

Richard’s Correspondence on Mailing List ‘B’

with Respondent No. 1

Some Of The Topics Covered

women – infinity – Ancient Wisdom – a pathetic religion – facts – Australian Aborigines – human development down through the ages

August 14 1998:

RICHARD: But you will not be able to use the information to see the gradual development of astronomical thought, I take it? Besides, I have nowhere suggested that early astronomers were silly ... they were ignorant. This is to say that without the technology of today they were unable to know – as a fact – what is known now.

RESPONDENT: I do see gradual, but not progressive development of astronomical thought.

RICHARD: Now what on earth does that mean? ‘Gradual but not progressive development’ ? Regressive development? Static development? Usually the word ‘development’ means ‘evolving’ into something.

RESPONDENT: I very much disagree with the notion that astronomical thought progressed as is usually described. Early astronomers were not ignorant, their understanding of astronomy was quite advanced.

RICHARD: ‘Quite advanced’ ... there is a subjective assessment if there ever was. What has this to do with what you say is a globular earth being known from the third Millennium BC by the Sumerians ... for example?

RESPONDENT: There are many, many things about astronomy that modern technology shows us. Telescopes, for example, provide direct evidence of a basically heliocentric model of the solar system, namely the existence of the Jovan moons, and accurate clocks demonstrate parallax of stars, predicted by the heliocentric model.

RICHARD: Yes, and the earlier peoples did not have telescopes. Hence they were not silly, just ignorant. Ignorant in that they did not have the advantage of today’s technology. I really fail to see why you are making such a big fuss about this.

RESPONDENT: Modern technology, particularly telescopes, are not required, or even really that useful to demonstrate the globular, non-flat nature of the earth. The only thing that the telescope does is make it possible to see rotational movements of Mars and other planets, which are already apparent with the moon, over the course of an evening.

RICHARD: I have never said that a modern telescope demonstrated the ‘globular, non-flat nature’ of the earth ... I said that satellite photographs did this.

*

RICHARD: The early Christian Church Fathers believed the world to be flat ... yet you say the prevailing astronomical wisdom was that it was globular.

RESPONDENT: Demonstrate please that the early Christian Church Fathers believe the world to be flat, or is the part of your own system of Blind Faith.

RICHARD: I already have at least twice before ... but you seem to not see it. I will try again, with more detail. There is the evidence of Mr. Cosmas Indicopleustes (sixth century AD, Alexandria, Egypt), merchant, traveller, theologian, and geographer whose treatise ‘Topographia Christiana’ (c. 535-547; ‘Christian Topography’) contains one of the earliest and most famous of world maps. In this treatise, Mr. Cosmas Indicopleustes tried to prove the literal accuracy of the Biblical picture of the universe, asserting in particular that the Earth is flat and trying to refute Mr. Claudius Ptolemy’s concept of a spherical universe.

Mr. Cosmas Indicopleustes viewed the ‘Tabernacle of Moses’ as a model of the universe, the Earth being a rectangular plane surmounted by the sky, above which was heaven. In the centre of the plane was the inhabited Earth, surrounded by ocean, and beyond this the paradise of Mr. Adam. The Sun, much smaller than the Earth, revolved around a conical mountain to the north. Mr. Cosmas Indicopleustes was scornful of Mr. Claudius Ptolemy and others who believed in a spherical Earth. (Probably a Nestorian Christian, Mr. Cosmas Indicopleustes sailed around the shores of the Indian Ocean and for some time was engaged in trade in Ethiopia and Asia. His variant name is Latin, meaning the ‘Indian Navigator’, so he was not a study-bound scholar. He later became a monk and wrote several geographical treatises, but only the Topographia and fragments of his commentaries on the Psalms and Gospels have survived).

How about you? Can you demonstrate that the early Christian Church Fathers knew the world to be globular ... or is that ‘your own system of Blind Faith’ .

*

RICHARD: If they ignored the superior wisdom of their astronomers – refusing to see the evidence you present that they knew from observation – and plunked instead for faith in ‘God’s Word’ ... then that is being silly.

RESPONDENT: Yes, you are right, that WOULD BE very silly of them to do, as opposed to simply ignorant. Specifically, in what ways did the early Christian Fathers refuse to see the evidence [I present] that they knew from observation. Please provide some examples of this refusal. Please try though in these examples to distinguish clearly between a refusal to accept a heliocentric model from examples of refusing to accept a globular earth model.

RICHARD: I have quoted these texts in an earlier post to another person – to which you responded – but obviously you want to see them again:

• [Richard]: ‘While the Bible nowhere states categorically that the earth is flat, numerous Old Testament verses clearly show that the ancient Hebrews were flat-earthers. The Genesis creation story says the earth is covered by a vault (firmament) and that the celestial bodies move inside the vault. This makes no sense unless one assumes that the earth is essentially flat.
• [Respondent No. 21]: ‘That is not clear to me at all. I have no idea what it means.
• [Richard]: ‘Well, it is as clear as crystal for those who want to see a fact. For most people, though, seeing a fact means betraying their belief ... thus they are rendered incapable of seeing it. The fact is that the earth is not ‘covered by a vault (firmament)’ ... it floats in infinite space (which they say is the ‘firmament’ itself). Perhaps it is somewhat clearer if you look at the quote you posted: ‘the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in’. Now, the imagery presented is of a physical tent ... which sits on flat ground.

*

• [Richard]: ‘Isaiah wrote that ‘God sits throned on the vaulted roof of earth, whose inhabitants are like grasshoppers’. In the book of Job, Eliphaz the Temanite says God ‘walks to and fro on the vault of heaven’. That the earth was considered essentially flat is clear from Daniel, who said, ‘I saw a tree of great height at the centre of the earth; the tree grew and became strong, reaching with its top to the sky and visible to the earth’s farthest bounds’. This statement makes no sense for spherical earth.
• [Respondent No. 21]: ‘Another unclear example.
• [Richard]: ‘Only unclear for those who believe otherwise and cannot afford to see a fact. Okay ... no matter how tall a tree grew here in Australia you could not see it unless the earth was flat. It is that simple ... why the difficulty, eh?
• [Respondent No. 21]: ‘Figurative speaking cannot be taken as science.
• [Richard]: ‘But the ‘Holy Bible’ is literally true ... it is ‘God’s Word’ when all is said and done. Thus it is not ‘figuratively speaking’ at all.

*

• [Richard]: ‘The New Testament also implies a flat earth. For instance, Matthew wrote that ‘The devil took him (Mr. Yeshua the Nazarene) to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their glory’. From a sufficiently high mountain, one could see all the kingdoms of the world ... only if the earth were flat. Finally, Revelation refers to ‘the four corners of the earth’, and corners are not generally associated with spheres.
• [Respondent No. 21]: ‘That is way out there for an example of ‘flat earth’ thinking. It was not stated as a material fact but was just another attempt to describe something figuratively. It does not mean anything in regards to the earth.
• [Richard]: ‘Okay, then let us run with this ‘figuratively speaking’ notion for a while. This means that Mr. Yeshua the Nazarene is not literally ‘God’s Son’ but just another attempt to describe something figuratively. This means there was no ‘Virgin Birth’ ... just another attempt to describe something figuratively. This means there was never a crucifixion ... just another attempt to describe something figuratively. This means there never was a resurrection ... just another attempt to describe something figuratively. This means there never was any ‘Original Sin’ ... just another attempt to describe something figuratively. This means there is no need for redemption ... just another attempt to describe something figuratively. This means there is no need for a Redeemer ... just another attempt to describe something figuratively. This means there never was a Mr. Yeshua the Nazarene on earth at all ... just another attempt to describe something figuratively. In fact, there never was a Mr. Yeshua the Nazarene at all. End of story. You must have a real job sorting out what is ‘material fact’ and what is ‘figurative speaking’ whenever you read ‘God’s Word’.

*

• [Richard]: ‘From the foregoing, It’s not surprising that flat-earthism has been associated with Christianity since the beginning. Many of the Fathers of the Church were flat-earthers, and they developed a system with which to oppose the Greek astronomy then becoming popular. As late as 548 A.D., the Egyptian monk Mr. Cosmas Indicopleustes was vigorously defending the flat earth in his book Christian Topography. But he was fighting a losing battle, and the Ptolemaic system, based on a spherical earth, rapidly took over. By the twelfth century the flat-earth concept was essentially a dead letter in the West. ‘The Bible’ repeatedly says in plain Hebrew that the earth is immovable. Thus, while churchmen found it easy to ignore its flat implications and adopt the spherical system of Mr. Claudius Ptolemy, they were rudely shaken by Mr. Nicolaus Copernicus and Mr. Galileo Galilei. The Catholic Church’s reaction to Mr. Galileo Galilei is well known. It’s less well known that most of the reformers – Mr. Martin Luther, Mr. John Calvin, Mr. John Wesley – also rejected the Copernican system on Scriptural grounds. A few Protestant Bible-Scientists have been fighting a rearguard action against heliocentricity ever since’.

I am not interested in digging around for any more. You are flogging a dead horse and I know it. I have better things to do with my time than refute a book that has already been refuted thousands of times by thousands of people.

*

RICHARD: But the Sumerian influence persisted down through the years. The first centuries of the second millennium BC did indeed witness the demise of Sumerian as a spoken language (and its replacement by Akkadian). But because of its role as bearer of Sumerian culture, as the language of religion, literature, and many arts, Sumerian (much as Latin in the Middle Ages) continued to be taught and spoken in the scribal schools throughout the second and first millennia BC. New compositions were even composed in Sumerian. (Although as time passed these grew more and more corrupt in grammar).

RESPONDENT: Whoa, ok, let’s get this straight, Sumerian Astronomy made no advances in the first millennia B.C. ... Babylonian astronomy did, specifically with regard to longer-range predictions of planetary motions. Sumerian Astronomy is a product of it’s third and second millennium culture. But the really significant issue here is not whether you or I are correct or not with regard to any survival of Sumerian culture into the first millennium. The issue is this. When the Torah was written, circa 1250 B.C., (that’s early second millennium) the prevailing culture of the Babylonians had a very advanced astronomy. In fact, this is how we date the Bible by correlating references to historical (Babylonian) events, and Babylonian astronomical records surrounding those events, (they used the cosmos like a big clock).

RICHARD: And I am saying that they did not have ‘a very advanced astronomy’. Their astronomy did not reach fruition until the fourth. century BC (this is becoming a ’tis/’tisn’t, ’tis/’tisn’t conversation). Where does it state, unambiguously, that the earth is globular?

*

RICHARD: And modern-day humans are able predict things that they do not yet understand ... or fully understand.

RESPONDENT: I assert that when modern-day humans predict things they have a ‘model’ in mind. If that model is incorrect, that is it fails to predict correctly, the model is, or should be questioned. The history of science is replete with models that are discarded because they did not explain the world as it was expected. We have clear evidence of this occurring when the geocentric model of the solar system was used for prediction, and did very, very well. The people doing the prediction were wrong about, the solar-system is essentially heliocentric, but they did have the model in mind. Typically, though, when the model is wrong, the predictions are wrong, it is kind of a neat trick when the model is wrong but the predictions are right, especially when the model would tend to predict something else. Earlier, another person described the moon as a 2-D disk, and therefore not showing it’s third dimension. This is based on 2 models, one is correct, the other is not. The first model is that when a sphere is at a distance beyond the stereoscopic range of humans, it is indistinguishable, from a 2-D object and it is only the familiarity with the knowledge of the nature of the object that it may be a 3-D image. The second model, and this one is incorrect, is that the moon always shows the same face to an observer on earth at all times. It is not true. An observer on earth will see the moon ‘turn’ over the course of the evening, these are called longitudinal librations. It is that ‘turning’ motion that demonstrates the globular nature of the moon. It is not the only libration of the moon, but it is the one apparent over the course of one evening. What another person did is taker a faulty model, and as expected, made a faulty prediction. What you are asserting about the Babylonians whose cosmology the writers of the Old Testament borrowed was that they used a faulty model, yet made very, very good predictions, over a very long period of time. Consider this: The moon has phase, new, first quarter, full, third quarter, right? These are easy to see. So do planets, but this is not so easy to see. The Babylonians described the ‘phases’ of planets.

RICHARD: Yes, of course it is possible to make reasonably good predictions without having an exactly correct model in mind. As I have said before, humans tend to use what works ... mostly models are pragmatic. It is a silly person who declares that they have found the enduring truth that stands for all time.

Which is what the ‘Holy Bible’ is purported to do.

*

RICHARD: I get the impression that you have a romantic view of the ‘feminine principle’ ... as in it being superior to the ‘masculine principle’. Neither patriarchy nor matriarchy is better than the other ... they are both rotten to the core. Just as men can be – and are – patronising towards women ... so too are women ‘matronising’ towards men (to coin a word). If there is to be salubrity, it behoves one to clear the decks and start afresh. Chuck both models out and start thinking and acting as a fellow human being ... the ‘war between the sexes’ has gone on far too long.

RESPONDENT: If you’re ability to make sense of my views is as good as your ability to make sense of the cosmological views of the Biblical writers, no wonder you must be confused. You have not made a good assessment of my views of the ‘feminine principle’, the ‘masculine principle’ or any of these things. What is clear, is this. The Babylonian religion, the Canaanite’s religion of the Bible, was astronomical, iconic, and was centred around priestesses. This religion was lowly regarded in the bible, the Canaanite’s priestesses and even their less-important counterparts the Dumuzzi priests were thought of as simply prostitutes and icon worshippers. Each aspect of their religion was clearly seen as ‘against God’.

RICHARD: And the way that you write you obviously think more highly of them than the men of their generation. But I can only go on what you write ... I do not know you personally. As for being confused ... I think not. I am merely getting to know where you are coming from ... little by little.

*

RICHARD: You are trying to understand how people thought and felt in another era from your Twentieth Century paradigm. They experienced a different world-view ... as I wrote in another post. One will never be able to see the world through their eyes no matter how much one studies the archaeological records and translates and re-translates their language. They are dead ... and their world-view experience of themselves died with them.

RESPONDENT: No it didn’t die with them. They wrote it down.

RICHARD: Oh, come on, please ... all scholars know that no matter how well you put your twentieth century paradigm to one side, you simply cannot get into the mind-set of another era. Why, you do not even know the atmosphere of the fifties – apparently – when Mr. Yuri Gagarin began the modern era’s exploration of space. These were startling times and altered people’s perceptions forever.

RESPONDENT: Earlier I quoted something that I didn’t think anyone here would notice, because we think of the solar-system heliocentrically. But I thought it was interesting that no one noticed it! The configuration I described of the sun and the moon when God supposedly made the earth still is a geocentric description of an arrested eclipse!!!!! We don’t think of the motion of the sun and the moon the way a geocentric modeller would, so the geocentric description doesn’t jump out at us immediately as ‘oh!!! an eclipse’. We are taught, as a paradigm, that the sun is in the centre, and earth orbits it while the moon orbits the earth and when the moon is new ‘in between’ and lined up ‘up and down’ we get a solar eclipse. This is a heliocentric paradigm. In a geocentric paradigm the sun orbits the earth very slowly over the course of the year, and the moon orbits the earth over the course of a month. And the earth globe spins. At any given moment the sun and the moon are ‘over’ some spot and that keeps changing. The sun and the moon act like big pointers. In the geocentric paradigm a solar eclipse occurs when the sun and the moon are over the same location. That’s how it’s described. We, as heliocentric folk, simply don’t describe an eclipse that way, it’s not a paradigm for us, because we ‘know’ that the geocentric model is ‘wrong’ so we don’t use it to explain. What the Joshua writers were attempting to do was to describe a great special effect, an amazing light show: first, a solar eclipse occurs (when the orbiting sun and the orbiting moon are over the same location), and then just when everyone has noticed this dramatic thing, the sun and the moon stop when the moon is west, and the eclipse is past the main part, so the sun is now partially showing again ‘God stops the action’. Very dramatic. And it belies a geocentric thinking, using the notion of the sun and the moon being over the same location. The geocentrically born and raised thinker would immediately think ‘Ah! an eclipse’ because that is the normal oft-repeated way of describing it. It’s also not actually correct! Those cities were too far North for the sun to be over them, the moon perhaps but not the sun. The writer made a mistake, just like Hollywood, makes mistakes showing a teacher explaining to children that we know that the earth rotates causing night and day, because of ‘Copernicus’ What I see here is a writer trying to describe the ‘mother of all omens’, an arrested eclipse for dramatic purposes, something that never actually occurs, using a description of an eclipse borrowed from a geocentric paradigm of explanation for an eclipse, familiar to geocentric readers, but making an ‘error’, just as another person made a ‘error’, in actual placement when applying the paradigm of ‘the moon always shows the same face to an earth observer’.

RICHARD: There is another – more interesting explanation that I posted earlier. As you never responded, maybe you did not receive it due to your ISP being down. I will re-post it, anyway: ‘Although you say that it is the correct explanation, it is only correct insofar as modern astronomical observation (with their technological exactitude) can extrapolate back in time from the current configurations. In other words it is a scientific hypothesis. Are you familiar with the much-discredited works of Mr. Immanuel Velikovsky? His work explains it differently to the explanation of modern science. He had a far more interesting hypothesis, based upon examining the writings and legends of early peoples around the globe, that a comet passed close by the earth around 1500 BC (this is all from memory as I do not have the books) and again around 700 BC which affected the spin of the earth, the axis inclination and magnetic field ... among other things. He used this hypothesis to explain the sun standing still and the sunrise changing from being in the west (prior to 1500 BC) to the sun rising in the East as it does currently. He later used geologic and paleontological evidence to support his hypothesis that catastrophes have indeed overwhelmed the earth, but that they have a physical explanation rather than metaphysical cause ... like God’s wrath. Interestingly enough, the animosity of the American scientific community toward his first book (‘Worlds in Collision’) caused the original publisher, threatened with a boycott of its scientific-textbook division, to turn Mr. Immanuel Velikovsky’s work over to a firm not involved in textbook publishing. So it is not only the religious who are bigoted’.

RESPONDENT: Obviously the writers didn’t know as much about the sophisticated astronomy of the Babylonian priestesses whose cosmology they were borrowing. They should have asked ‘the prostitute woman whose name was Rahab’ Josh Chapter 2, to edit their draft. Sometimes the errors people make are very instructive to indicate their thinking.

RICHARD: Ah, here is some more of your worship of the ‘feminine principle’ that you say I know so little about. ‘Sophisticated astronomy’ indeed ... where does it say that these priestesses knew the earth to be globular? Next you will be saying that they knew it to be an oblate spheroid

As for venerating the feminine principle ... please ponder upon this: women – just the same as men – are born with instinctual fear and aggression and nurture and desire.

Thus they too have malice and sorrow in their bosom.

August 16 1998:

RICHARD (to Respondent No. 23): Yes, you might as well fold your hand and slink away as play that game. That deal is a recipe for disaster and I do not enjoy taking candy from a baby. Besides, Christianity is such a pathetic religion – in that it reveres suffering – that it is tedious to even discuss it. Please, deal yourself a better hand.

RESPONDENT: Obviously, Richard, you don’t understand what another person was doing. In order to understand the paradigms of the Biblical Writers as being flat-earth, geocentric, or heliocentric (not likely at all), we have to construct the model to be tested, as a hypothesis, and see if it corresponds to things observed by the people we are examining. If they never mention an eclipse, then we have no notion of what they understand it to be, but if they describe it in terms of the sun and the moon, then we know that they understood it in terms of the sun and the moon. Then we see which model of the universe best fits the universe that they describe. If the model doesn’t fit their descriptions then they did not ascribe to that model. What’s all this talk of folding your hand, and slinking away, and taking candy from a baby. This kind of analysis is hard work and requires some serious thinking, which another person is CLEARLY well and capable of. Can’t you see that?

RICHARD: You have such a bee in your bonnet about the wisdom of the priestesses that you are now inventing wisdom in No. 23 ... who simply takes any point at random – which changes from week to week – and runs with it for one or two posts (at the most) then picks another topic out of the hat and throws it at whomever looks like a sitting duck.

*

RICHARD (to Respondent No. 23): As a child I remember seeing the moon as a flat circle ... and I was told that it was a globe. I puzzled over this until I could see it as globular ... just. When I first looked through a powerful telescope it was patently and immediately obvious ... it took my breath away, I remember.

RESPONDENT: Well, I guess anything can trigger an epiphany of understanding, but I’m sorry to say, you seem to have a memory of a childhood experience of parental power of suggestion and not the powerful magnification of a telescope.

RICHARD: Actually I first looked at the moon with a powerful telescope for the first time only thirteen years ago ... so it had nothing to do with ‘a memory of a childhood experience of parental power of suggestion’ at all. I did say that I puzzled over the notion that it was not a flat circle as a child ... that is my memory of childhood experience. And, of course I had seen the NASA movies of the moon landing twenty nine years ago ... so the telescope experience was not an ‘epiphany of understanding’ at all. I just saw why people – like of Mr. Galileo Galilei’s era – could know with a certainty that the moon was globular ... that is all.

It was seeing the craters with such clarity that took my breath away.

RESPONDENT: That’s just not how 3D imaging works. There are three main 3D effects, stereoscopy (at close distances due to the angular difference in the view of our two eyes) perspective of objects, a tree before a mountain for example and our knowledge of a tree and of a mountain (this is the kind of 3D we use for driving), and the third is by animation or time-motion effects. Try looking at a building behind another building in a city, then begin walking, the 3D effect is increased while you are moving (think of hunting), or look at the moon over time and see it ‘turn’ a bit, or look at an animation of a spinning globe.

RICHARD: Hmm ... you are talking to a person who has tertiary qualifications in art and who made a living as a practising artist and art teacher.

*

RICHARD (to Respondent No. 23): I discussed this very subject – about twenty-five years ago – with a Swiss artist working in the centre of Australia. He was drawing and painting Aboriginal people and went to the more remote areas where the desert Aborigines lived to get a more authentic picture of them in their traditional landscape. The people he came to draw and paint had had minimal contact with the European settlers ... especially the children. When he showed them the drawings and paintings – even photographs – that he had done of them they could not see anything recognisable ... and he was a realistic artist of considerable skill. It took him a while to get one of them – a child – to see the illusion of three-dimensionality on paper and canvas. When the child ‘got it’ she broke into an enormous grin ... and proceeded to teach her peers and elders how to ‘see it’ ... to see their own image. Then it became automatic.

RESPONDENT: Yeah, right, and after he had given them the ‘picture-magic’, they made him a god and gave him offerings of fruit and young women. Do you happen to remember the ‘Swiss Artists’ name? Perhaps he has written a book on the enlightenment of the little dark people?

RICHARD: Goodness me ... this is so trite. Is this another example of your blind worship of ancient peoples? Do you really want to start on examining just how much wisdom the Australian Aboriginal actually had? It is a subject that I have more than a passing familiarity with.

*

RICHARD (to Respondent No. 23): However, I know – as a fact – that the physical scene is three-dimensional because I can walk about in it ... behind the table and chair or tree or fence or whatever. Therefore space is not an illusion. Thus I can extrapolate from this experience when I look at the moon ... and I can know that it is three-dimensional. For final verification that I was not still fooling myself, I have looked long and hard at those NASA photographs and movies!

RESPONDENT: Precisely, your ‘knowledge’ of the shape of the moon is making you ‘see’ something that is not apparent in the photograph. I’ve never heard of anyone doing this before with photos of the moon. It’s almost like someone staring at a crucifix until they can ‘see’ the holy spirit.

RICHARD: This is just silly.

RESPONDENT: Some person must have told you that these photographs absolutely proved that the moon was in fact a globe, true hard evidence. Well, yes that’s TRUE, IF you were looking at the photos of the ‘dark side’ of the moon, the photographs of which were, in fact very hard evidence of that the moon was a globe. But staring at them ‘long and hard’ DOESN’T HELP! It’s merely because to get the photos in the first place we had to send a rocket ship to the other side to get them! That’s WHY they constitute hard evidence or proof. It has nothing to do with 3 dimensionality in photos! And all of the whole collection of photos together make a map of the surface of the moon, dark side (45%) and visible side (55%) As for the ‘movies’, YES, YES, YES, they help. But you won’t have to look long and hard, it’s almost instantaneous! It’s easy to see 3D spherical effects over time!

RICHARD: I have noticed that your posts tend to become more wild towards the end of each one ... and this is a prime example. ‘Long and hard’ is simply an English expression meaning to take a good look so as to not be deceived. It has nothing to do with staring or crucifixes or any other fantastic theory you may be inclined to give voice to.

This whole post of yours is rather wild, actually.

August 18 1998:

RICHARD: You are trying to understand how people thought and felt in another era from your Twentieth Century paradigm. They experienced a different world-view ... as I wrote in another post. One will never be able to see the world through their eyes no matter how much one studies the archaeological records and translates and re-translates their language. They are dead ... and their world-view experience of themselves died with them. For example: some Australian Aborigines two hundred years ago counted ‘one’, ‘two’, ‘plenty’ (in their language) and all the while they had ten fingers. Yet there were no words for three through to ten. I, for one, cannot comprehend this because of my Twentieth Century Caucasian mind-set. Modern day Aboriginals cannot throw any light onto this because they have a modern day understanding. Human development is a fascinating study.

RESPONDENT: You have mentioned the Australian Aborigines twice, once you said, ‘When he showed them the drawings and paintings – even photographs – that he had done of them they could not see anything recognisable ... and he was a realistic artist of considerable skill. It took him a while to get one of them – a child – to see the illusion of three-dimensionality on paper and canvas. So according to you, the Aborigines of 200 years ago ‘counted ‘one’, ‘two’, ‘plenty’ in their language’ and couldn’t see anything recognisable in photos and drawings of themselves shown to them only 25 years ago. I believe that you are perpetuating myths regarding the Australian Aborigines, which are not realistic and have a racial derivation. I do not believe you are describing reality, at best a great distortion of Aboriginal Culture and understanding.

RICHARD: You may believe whatever you like, but it will not make it so. I am not ‘perpetuating myths regarding the Australian Aborigines’, I am referring to the findings of field-work done by enterprising individuals over the last two hundred years. The Australian Aboriginal way of life has thrown much light upon all human development down through the ages ... for those who are not fussed about being politically correct. It is peoples like yourself who would put a halt to any understanding by hurling accusations of ‘racial’ at anyone independently energetic enough – and having a readiness to undertake investigation – to get off their backside and actually do something about understanding the human condition. You would have us all live in the dark ages with your reverence of the wisdom of the ancients. They were not happy and harmless – they were not free of sorrow and malice – thus there never has been a Golden Age wherein all was blithesome and benign anywhere in human history. The wisdom of the ancients could be written in capital letters on the point of a pin ... and there would still be room left over for the period.

RESPONDENT: Since you wrote your stuff I have been taking a look at web sites regarding Australian Aboriginal Art and Culture. I saw lot’s of photographs of Australian Aboriginal artists today, most of whom looked an average of age 60, so I guess they were young adults when that little girl supposedly taught them the picture magic courtesy of your benevolent godlike friend the ‘Swiss Artist’. They seem to have come a long way in 25 years from not being able to comprehend a photograph to putting up web pages on the Internet about their Art, although I don’t recall seeing any counters on the web pages since you have explained that they have a little linguistic problem with numbers greater than 3.

RICHARD: This paragraph – like the seventeen E-Mails of yours that follow – shows a startling lack of understanding. For example: there are Aboriginal artists earning a living today making ceramics decorated in the ‘traditional style’ of ancient Aboriginal art ... yet the Aboriginal culture never discovered pottery until the arrival of the Europeans. They never painted in three-dimensional illusion with acrylics on canvas either, until it was shown to them by Western artists ... be they ‘Swiss Artists’ or otherwise. As for all your sneering comments about ‘picture magic’ and ‘godlike artists’ (not to mention ‘little dark people’ and ‘offerings of fruit and young women’ in another post) ... methinks you have been watching too many Hollywood Tarzan movies.

Come into the nineties, and stop living in the past.

August 23 1998:

RESPONDENT: I never said Jesus was omniscient. If you want to point out that Jesus, as an omniscient being, failed to point out serious flaws in the prevailing astronomy of the time, I would wholeheartedly agree with you. He failed to point out that the retrograde motion of the planets can be explained by a heliocentric model of the solar system. He failed to point out that the reason parallax of stars (necessarily predicted by a heliocentric model of the solar system) is not apparent is because they are much too far away to see the parallax effect. He failed to point out that the orbits of the planets can be explained by universal gravitation, the same gravity on earth as it is for the planets. He failed to point out that the reason universal gravitation doesn’t cause the stars to move toward each other is because they are already moving away from each other. You think in labels, and you apply labels to me. Having applied labels to me you are attributing thoughts to me that I do not express. I have never expressed in any of these E-Mails anything whatsoever about the omniscience of Jesus.

RICHARD: I never said you did say that ... I said I did.

• [Richard]: ‘The fact is that Mr. Yeshua the Nazarene was not omniscient. The whole thrust of this thread was me stating that Mr. Yeshua the Nazarene was not omniscient – as millions of people still believe to this very day – and you have raced off to make it into something else’.

And again.

• [Richard]: ‘That is what I meant when I wrote the title ‘God’s Flat-Earth Wisdom’ ... not what you say it means’.

And to make sure you grasped this simple point I elaborated.

• [Richard]: ‘With the moon landings; people were saying (jokingly) ‘well we now know for sure that the moon is not made of cheese’. But, more importantly, they were saying: ‘We (humans) now know – with a certainty – that the Biblical Heaven is not above the clouds wherein Mr. Yeshua the Nazarene supposedly resurrected bodily to sit on the right hand of The Father’. As I said at the beginning of this thread: ‘It is well-known that Mr. Yeshua the Nazarene was a flat-earth god ... even though his ‘Father Who Art In Heaven’ was omniscient and all that. Space exploration has poked a rather large hole in the veracity of God’s Word’.

So, I have not labelled you at all, nor attributed any thoughts you did not express. And if you are so hung up on people labelling people and attributing to each other ‘thoughts they did not express’ ... then look carefully at what you just did: [Respondent]: ‘You think in labels, and you apply labels to me’. Whoops.

RESPONDENT: I will not indulge your label thinking by applying labels to myself. I disagree with many things you say and am pointing those things out.

RICHARD: Look, I do not subscribe to that New Age adage about ‘thou shalt not categorise people’ ... I label away merrily. If you do not wish people to label you ... then stop thinking and writing in such a stereotypical fashion. Be original so that I cannot categorise you. And if your disagreement was based in facts and actuality ... then I would take note of what you have to say.

*

RICHARD: Have you ever considered an alternative view? That is, they [the Sumerian/Babylonian/Israelite lineage] actually did not know how to live? What is their wisdom worth? Were they happy and harmless? Were they free from malice and sorrow? Did they live in peace and harmony? The ‘Holy Bible’ is bloodthirsty from beginning to end ... is this the wisdom you admire so much that you will go to the trouble of learning Hebrew and doing all this detailed study? Even if you were able to scholastically demonstrate that they knew the earth to be globular (which you have not done at all yet) will you then eagerly follow their specious advice – and their shining example – on how to live life benignly and benevolently?

RESPONDENT: I do not see that as an alternative view, in the sense of being mutually-exclusive. The Israelite’s, particular those as evidenced by the Deuteronomy writers were excessively warlike. The book of Joshua is very clearly taking the notions developed earlier by the ‘P’ writers and the ‘J’ writers and turned the Israelite god Jehovah into a champion of warlikeness. This, however, does not mean that people who seek to understand the development of religion and of science should be forced to espouse an erroneous view, the flat-earth myth, simply because that erroneous view supports the view that the Bible is not inerrant.

RICHARD: But whether they were highly advanced astronomers or not is entirely beside the point. The point is that their wisdom is worth zilch ... they were not living in peace and harmony. And you still have not produced any scholastic evidence containing the words ‘globular’ or ‘spherical’ or ‘spheroid’ anyway ... for all of your huff and puff. The ‘Holy Bible’ is a flat-earth book ... otherwise why would Mr. Yeshua the Nazarene float bodily up through the clouds in the hope of finding the Biblical Heaven?

RESPONDENT: I never said the Sumerian/ Babylonian/Israelite lineage were my heroes. I never said anyone was my hero. I do say that they existed, that they had beliefs, that they interacted (well not the Sumerians and the Israelites), that the Israelite religion borrowed from the Babylonian. I do say that the Babylonian astronomy was very sound, and very advanced, prior to the writing of Genesis, and that Babylonian advancements in astronomy during the first millennium improved on the Babylonian ability to predict the motions of the planets.

RICHARD: I know you did not say that they were your heroes ... I said that. Your admiration for them shines through all your posts ... you defend them like all get-out against ‘insults’ from modern peoples. I notice, however, that you are quite happy to ‘insult’ the Norse race: [Respondent]: ‘People who say that the Norse who navigated to and from Europe and Greenland and Iceland and probably the New World as well thought the earth was flat (this one I’m still looking at, it shows some promise for the motifs of the flat-earth myth in question)’.

Your predilection for Judaic thought is obvious ... hence my appellation ‘heroes’.

RESPONDENT: Not that we’ve done nearly the exhaustive analysis of the cosmology of the Old Testament writers, yet.

RICHARD: Who is this < we > exactly? I have no intention of doing an exhaustive analysis ... I have already studied enough to ascertain the facts.

RESPONDENT: No, Richard, from what I have seen of your citations of Scripture you have not done much work at all. Certainly not anything that would ascertain any ‘facts’ regarding the cosmogony of the Israelites.

RICHARD: What I studied was their life-style. Were they happy and harmless? Were they free of malice and sorrow? No? Then these are the facts ... and thus their wisdom is null and void. You can prove that they knew the earth to be a globe – although you have not produced any scriptural evidence yet – and it still would not alter the fact that they lived with animosity and anguish like all other peoples. They were not special.

RESPONDENT: If you take a photograph of a sphere, be it in your house, or of the moon, or of the earth from above, it is a circle. If you take two pictures of the same object, side-by-side, you can put those pictures in a display such that one eye sees one and the other eye sees the other. Viewing those 2 pictures, that way, you can see a 3D image of the sphere, as if it were in front of you. You can take such pictures of the moon, if you wish, one observer on one part of the globe, another at another part, and take the pictures at the same time. That will make a 3D image of the moon. But no picture from a satellite will show any 3D effects. You imagine this to be the case. You simply don’t know what you are talking about when it comes to 3D imagery.

RICHARD: You might very well be surprised at what I know about 3D imaging ... my brother owns a surveying company. He taught me – back in 1964-65 – to see 3D from the aerial photographs taken of the terrain that he was mapping. The aeroplane would take simultaneous photographs of the ground below from two cameras mounted on each wing. They were then printed and collated by people who worked for him and drawn up into maps (this is all done by satellite photography and computer imaging these days). Thus I learned stereoscopic imaging at a very early age ... which stood me in good stead when I later became a visual artist.

To see the moon as a globe, 3D vision is not needed ... chiaroscuro is all that is required.

RESPONDENT: You do not know what you are talking about. There is no development of Babylonian globular earth conclusion in the fourth century BC or during the first millennium. Babylonian astronomy didn’t change, in that fashion. The developments have nothing to do with a spherical earth. Babylonian astronomical development in the first millennia improved the predictions of planetary motions. What are you describing about Babylonian astronomy that in any way indicates a change from a flat-earth to a globular earth model in the fourth century. Sure, IF such a change occurred, then it would make sense to coincide such a change with Greek influence. But what is it about Babylonian astronomy that in any way indicates such a change? I do not in any way disavow the tremendous impact of Hellenisation. It was into this cosmopolitan and pluralistic environment that Christianity began. What indications do you have that the Christians contradicted the available Greek science? How did this compare to the writings of the Dead Sea Scrolls. In what way might it have related to the Qumran calendar texts, and the interest in the lunar calendar. Was there an ‘anti-Ptolemy’ movement among the Essenes?

RICHARD: How about you answering a question for a change instead of throwing up a smoke-screen to camouflage your lack of data to prove your theory that the Sumerian/ Babylonian/ Israelite lineage knew about a globular earth all along. It is you who are challenging the current history ... not me. It is up to you to demonstrate your thesis ... not me. I have provided all that I can be bothered going through to briefly outline that which is already known. The Pythagoreans were the first Greeks to posit the notion of a globe in 500 BC ... prior to this they thought it flat. It took almost a thousand years – including Hellenisation – before this was generally accepted ... by 500 AD the flat-earth belief was virtually dead on the ground everywhere. I am not going to scour documents; I am not going to learn Hebrew; I am not going to scurry all over the place at your bidding to disprove your borrowed ‘myth-breaking’ hypothesis. I am not at all interested in any of this speculation ... for they were all as blood-thirsty as anyone else. You do your own work ... where does it say, in 3000 BC, ‘globe’?

Where does it say, in 2000 BC, ‘globular’?

Where does it say, in 1000 BC, ‘sphere’?

Where does it say, in 0000 BC/AD ‘spheroid’?

And even if it is demonstrated that they knew ... so what? Heliocentricity was not known at all ... even by the Greeks. Let alone a space-time continuum that bends back upon itself. Let alone whatever understanding will emerge in the next century. This whole subject of yours is simply a useless exercise in futility.

*

RICHARD: The ‘Holy Bible’ can stand or fall (usually fall) on its own merits ... it is so shot full of contradictions, distortions and blatant untruths that its lack of credibility does not need a shove from discreditability due to some ‘Myth of the Flat-Earthers Myth’. Besides, I am rather partial to that title ‘God’s Flat-Earth Wisdom’ ... because it is the fact.

RESPONDENT: I don’t think so. I sincerely believe ‘God’s Flat-Earth Wisdom’ goes far beyond it being a ‘fact’. I believe that it is part of a kind of religious thinking, the religion of the progressive development to modern enlightenment. It is part of a mythological framework, replete with icons, and requisite demagoguery.

RICHARD: When the ‘Holy Bible’ seriously expects people to believe that Mr. Yeshua the Nazarene bodily ascended through the physical clouds to sit in the ‘Biblical Heaven’ on the right hand of ‘God the Father’ – and modern space exploration explodes that imagery – is that not an example of the uselessness of following their specious advice? And is this release from superstition not more ‘enlightening’ than holding on to a ‘mythological framework, replete with icons, and requisite demagoguery’? Where in history did that imagery set people free? On the contrary ... it has enslaved people. It has had 5,000 years to do the trick ... and there is as still as much suffering now as then.

*

RICHARD: And even then the written ‘Genesis’ came from oral tradition stretching back to who knows when? Lost in the mists of time?

RESPONDENT: I DO very much agree with the fact that the written ‘Genesis’ came from an oral tradition stretching back to who knows when. This is very insightful ... you are being insightful by noting that ‘Genesis’ came from an oral tradition stretching back to who knows when. I do believe that Genesis comes from an oral tradition prior to its writings.

RICHARD: Hmm ... but hoariness does not necessarily indicate wisdom ... or even accuracy. The Australian Aboriginals have an oral tradition stretching back an estimated 60,000 years. Their myths come down through the centuries all the way from ‘Creation’ ... the ‘Dream-Time’ they call it. An American anthropologist, collecting this oral tradition on a tape-recorder back in the fifties, came across the ‘Giant Rabito’ mythical hero ... passed on from father to son, father to son, father to son and so on from the ‘Dream-Time’. Yet the rabbit was only introduced into Australia by the Europeans 150 years previously. Such is the reliability of the much-famed oral tradition.

[Editor’s Note: The anthropologist is Mr. John Greenway, who wrote about this in his book ‘Down Among the Wild Men: A Narrative Journal of 15 Years pursuing the Old Stone Age Aborigines of Australia’. Published in 1973].

*

RESPONDENT: There is very serious study now regarding the development of Hindu astronomy and it is believed that many of the advances of Hindu sidereal astronomy may have been introduced to the ancient Sumerians before the third millennium. I have not had much opportunity to evaluate this.

RICHARD: Oh, please ... the early Indians had a flat earth being supported on four corners by four elephants standing on a giant tortoise swimming in the cosmic ocean! Or have I got that wrong too?

RESPONDENT: You are describing the cosmology. I said astronomy, in particular their sidereal astronomy (as opposed to tropical astronomy). Cosmology and astronomy are not one and the same. The great error here is the assumption that from cosmology is necessarily generated cosmogony. Much about the cosmogony of a culture can be learned from their cosmology but it is not necessarily an equation. I was referring to astronomical predictions and methods. I have not had much opportunity to evaluate this. I have no knowledge of, or make any assertion of, any connection between Indian cosmology and Sumerian or Babylonian cosmology. I know much too little about it.

RICHARD: Okay ... so you do not know what you are talking about. I guess we will leave it at this: Mr. Aryabhata, writing in AD 499, calculated the solar year to 365.3586 days and stated that the Earth was spherical and rotated on its axis. I wonder why he considered it important to go public with that statement if everybody already knew it to be spherical, eh?

By the way, as Genesis was written from oral tradition – and as cosmology is metaphysical – then it is their belief-systems that prevailed through to the collation of the texts for the ‘Holy Bible’ ... and not astronomy.

RESPONDENT: I am not suggesting that no one at any place at any time thought the world was anything other than a globe, ancient cosmologies have all sorts of interesting and false things about them. Flatness though hasn’t been one I’ve been able to uncover yet. I find plenty of people who say ‘oh, well X people thought the world was flat’ but I find out different when I look at the original stuff close.

RICHARD: What about the detailed analysis of the early Greeks? They understood the earth to be flat until about 500 BC ... or do you dispute this too.

RESPONDENT: Where do you get the notion that they understood the earth to be flat until about 500 BC? What writings are you referring to? Certainly, post 500 BC, the debate over a heliocentric versus a geocentric model occurred with the geocentric model becoming the standard model, but what are you referring to?

RICHARD: Mr. Hecataeus, a scholar of Miletus, produced the first book on geography in about 500 BC. A generation later Mr. Herodotus, from more extensive studies and wider travels, expanded upon it. A historian with geographic leanings, Mr. Herodotus recorded, among other things, an early circumnavigation of the African continent by Phoenicians. He also improved on the delineation of the shape and extent of the then-known regions of the world, and he declared the Caspian to be an inland sea, opposing the prevailing view that it was part of the ‘northern oceans’. Although Mr. Hecataeus regarded the Earth as a flat disk surrounded by ocean, Mr. Herodotus and his followers questioned the concept and proposed a number of other possible forms. Indeed, the philosophers and scholars of the time were preoccupied for a number of years with discussions on the nature and extent of the world. Modern scholars attribute the first hypothesis of a spherical Earth to Mr. Pythagoras (sixth century BC) or Mr. Parmenides (fifth century). The idea gradually developed into a consensus over many years. In any case by the mid-fourth century the theory of a spherical Earth was well accepted among Greek scholars, and about 350 BC Mr. Aristotle formulated six arguments to prove that the Earth was, in truth, a sphere. From that time forward, the idea of a spherical Earth was generally accepted among geographers and other men of science.

*

RICHARD: ‘Geocentric’ imagery versus ‘Flat Earth’ imagery, eh? But did the writers of the ‘Holy Bible’ know all along that it was heliocentric?

RESPONDENT: No, the writers of the ‘Holy Bible’ did NOT know all along that it was heliocentric. I have found no indication of any notion regarding a heliocentric understanding. A heliocentric model would help explain the planets, whose wanderings are not described in the bible, nor any other indications of heliocentric thinking. I do not believe you have at your disposal sufficient aptitude to reasonably complete descriptions using a flat-earth model, a geocentric model, or a heliocentric model, comparatively. You do seem to believe that you are able to discern the difference in Biblical Scripture between a writer who had a flat-earth perspective, and one who had a geocentric spherical perspective. Why don’t you give it a try? Prove me wrong.

RICHARD: I already have ... and I am not going to re-post it for a third time.

RESPONDENT: What you have swallowed as a belief, and it is a belief, is that somehow, the notion of a spherical earth is ‘advanced’, or even hard to prove or demonstrate. Predicting eclipses, That’s advanced! Can you do it? Do you know anyone who can? Compare that to people the number of people who think the world is flat. Yet the Babylonian predicted eclipses. There is a nineteenth century ideal which permeates archaeology, sociology, religion, and that is the idea of ‘progress’, the idea that science, art, culture all progress from the primitive to the advanced. You seem to be stuck in this thinking as if it were part of your religion, and I think you are in very large company.

RICHARD: I cannot make any sense of this whatsoever ... and I have read it three times. All I can say is, that if it were not for this ‘progress’ that you seem to decry, we would all be sitting in a cave gnawing on a raw brontosaurus bone. I happen to like the modern-day comforts that technology provides. You are using a computer to tell me all this, when all is said and done. Try using a carrier pigeon ... or a running man with a ‘message stick’.

RESPONDENT: Seeing the craters on the moon with such clarity could certainly take your breath away. Fine. How does that in any way help you or anyone else with their idea/understanding/certitude/certainty/model/imagery that the moon is globular? Besides you said: ‘As a child I remember seeing the moon as a flat circle ... and I was told that it was a globe. I puzzled over this until I could see it as globular ... just’. How does anyone ‘see it as globular’ adult, child, Art teacher, Art student, Australian Aborigine. There’s nothing to ‘see’. Don’t you understand that?

RICHARD: No, I do not ... what are you trying to say? Why do you mix seeing craters with seeing globular? I was taught to see three dimensions ... like I was taught to see 3D. All people are taught to see ... it is part of being educated.

RESPONDENT: As an Art Teacher, why don’t you draw us a picture using MS-Paint, a bitmap, of a globular moon. We all ‘know’ that it’s a globe, so it should be easy for all of us to ‘see’ the globular shape. You can attach it to an E-Mail. Or perhaps you know of a good web page with the ‘proof’ of the globular shape of the moon, so we can see this amazing effect for ourselves. As an Art Teacher, should we print it out first. Should we stick it to our foreheads and say ‘I believe’, ‘I believe’, ‘I believe’, ‘I KNOW the moon is a globe’.

RICHARD: You are getting a bit wild again, here.

RESPONDENT: By the way, what are tertiary qualifications? Are they like ‘Bull’s Horns’? You know, as in ‘don’t mess with a bull, you’ll get the tertiary qualifications’.

RICHARD: Is this a joke? If so, I do not ‘get it’. (If you actually do not know ... there are three levels of education in Australia: primary schooling; secondary schooling; tertiary schooling. An example of a world-wide tertiary qualification is a University Degree.)

*

RICHARD: I have never said that a modern telescope demonstrated the ‘globular, non-flat nature’ of the earth ... I said that satellite photographs did this.

RESPONDENT: Please describe how satellite photographs do this. And you have said ‘the writers of ‘The Bible’ thought that the earth was flat. They lived before modern technology – like telescopes and satellite photographs and so on – so they had no way of knowing otherwise’ And actually, there are way a telescope does help see examples of an example sphere, observations of Mars over time, like watching a movie, but it is rarely even mentioned as an indication of the spherical earth, since observations of the night sky, and geographic accuracy, are so much more definitive.

RICHARD: Goodness me ... you do go on. I look at the photographs and there is a globular earth ... almost bursting with roundness. Chiaroscuro, once again.

RESPONDENT: None of the web sites I saw contained any pottery, but they did had a lot of photographs. Remember, you said, ‘When he showed them the drawings and paintings – even photographs – that he had done of them they could not see anything recognisable’ And you claim this was 25 years ago. The photos I saw of Aboriginal artists against the desert landscape were all adults 25 years ago, from the look of their age.

RICHARD: You are mixing two items here ... to prove what? That you know how to confuse yourself?

RESPONDENT: The story you are telling is false.

RICHARD: Which story? The pottery story? It is true. The inability of unlettered peoples to see the illusion of 3D on paper? It is true. These are facts that can be verified by anyone.

RESPONDENT: [You are] clouding the issue by talking about the 2-dimensional character of Aboriginal Art (the likely origin of your tall-tale/myth).

RICHARD: What ‘tall-tale/myth’ would that be? Methinks you have myths on the brain ... like those people who see conspiracies everywhere.

RESPONDENT: I challenge you to identify the Swiss Artist in question, or identify any Australian aborigine who could not ‘see anything recognisable’ in a photograph of himself 25 years ago.

RICHARD: You can challenge away to your heart’s content ... but I am not going to scoot around the country-side looking for anyone for you. This is not a genuine discussion you are conducting here, this is silliness.

RESPONDENT: I assert that what you have said is false regarding this.

RICHARD: You can assert whatever you like ... but it will not alter the facts. Aboriginal Art has always been two-dimensional ... until the European arrivals. Aboriginal Pottery was non-existent ... until the European arrivals.

It is also a fact that they threw spears at each other with the intent to kill their fellow human being ... like all other cultures both ‘ancient’ and ‘modern’.

There never was a ‘Golden Age’.


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