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"Flat Earth" and Other Biblical "Science"
(Sent to the Elmira Star Gazette on July 17, 1997 and printed on August 6.)
Thomas M. Fisher (July 7, Gazette) claims that religion is a source of "truth-fact-proof", and should be our guide to matters scientific. I'll briefly review the scientific "accuracy" of the Bible.
Initial interpretations of scripture, with the "firmament" supported by the "pillars of heaven", claimed a flat Earth. Casual observations support this, but then science is not casual observation. In 1519, Magellan circumnavigated the globe, and scripture had to be re-interpreted to agree with the facts.
Scripture implied the Earth to be the center of the universe, with the Sun and planets circling it. It took from Pythagoras in the sixth century, to Copernicus in the 16th, through the murder of Giordano Bruno in 1600, and the persecution and vicious harassment of Galelio as recently as the 17th century, for scripture to be re-interpreted to coincide with the fact of a heliocentric solar system.
A few more "scientific" gems from arrogantly misinterpreted scripture: comets and other astronomical phenomena are prophetic signs from the gods; the Earth is 4000 years old; thunder storms and other meteorological phenomena are caused by angry gods and "witches"; mental illness is caused by demonic possession; dinosaurs and man existed concurrently; and Adam and Eve are the parents of the human race.
The Bible is not a science book and was never intended as one. Treat it as a source of scientific knowledge and you will constantly be re-interpreting it to coincide with fact as has been necessary for the last 2000 years.
John L. Ferri
Ref: A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom