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The Orthodox Nationalist: The Flat Earth and the Amateur Scientist – TON 112019


Dr Matthew Raphael Johnson looks at reasons why ‘flat earth theory’ has resurfaced and explains how the entire premise of people once believing the earth was flat is false.

The hard sciences such as biology are deeply politicized. “Science” is a mystification. There's only a “scientific establishment.” Like in my own field, the serious work of criticism is occurring outside of academia, meaning its done by Amateurs. Amateurs are needed.

The “buffs” are significant in that they ask the questions that keep experts on their toes, but they're not experts themselves. I have no acumen in the hard sciences, but I certainly do in the history and philosophy of science. My dissertation was on Michael Oakeshott's Hegelian critique of the scientific method among the Positivists. When it comes to space travel, I'm an amateur who's forced into the field due to the Flat Earth hypothesis. The Flat Earth idea, held by only a tiny handful of people, is a visceral reaction to the insularity and arrogance of the scientific establishment. To that extent, its a welcome development. It's ultimately false, and today, its being used to attack Creationists in general.

There was never a time – never – when the earth was believed to be flat. That myth seems to come from the 19th century polemics against Catholicism. Books such as  John William Draper's History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science (1874) and Andrew Dickson White's A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom (1896) popularized the idea that “medievals” thought the earth was flat. Yet, Aristotle proved the earth to be round and both Christianity and Islam, as a result, accepted his point of view.

To argue a Flat Earth is to take seriously the myth that, prior to 1492, Christians considered the earth to be a flat surface rather than a globe. This never existed. There are good reasons, both historically and philosophically, to question the accuracy of NASA's science, but this emotional reaction isn't one of them.

This broadcast doesn't attempt any sort of technical analysis of the field since I'm conscious of the fact that I'm not qualified. My comments remain in the historical and philosophical arena. I just wish those in the scientific world would be as equally self-aware when they pontificate on theology and political ideology.

Presented by Matt Johnson


The Orthodox Nationalist: The Flat Earth and the Amateur Scientist – TON 112019




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