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Oblermann: Worst Historian in the World

John on December 1, 2005 at 12:13 am

Keith Oblermann is the Bill Mahr of “serious” news anchors. Like Mahr, he has a tendency to talk himself off the deep end without even knowing it. Today, his nominee for “Worst Person in the World” is Intelligent Design. That’s not a grammatical error, he’s nominating a group as “Worst Person in the World”. Here’s what he said:

But the winners, those fine folks behind the intelligent design nonsense. Because of them, the new exhibition of the work of Charles Darwin at the American Museum of Natural History in New York cannot find any corporate sponsors. The corporations are afraid they might tick off the intelligent design guys.

The folks who dreamt up intelligent design, the same people who brought you the world is flat, the earth is at the center of the universe, and let’s burn a scientist at the stake today. Today’s worst persons in the world!

Let’s take this point by point:

“people who brought you the world is flat”

First of all, he’s clearly eqauting ID with Christianity and equating Christianity with “flat-earthers”. Only problem is the idea that Christians ever believed in a flat earth is a myth. That’s right. It’s absolutely not true. It has been debunked over and over again and yet it keeps returning like a bad meal. A respected historian wrote an entire book debunking it. You can order it here.

The truth is that educated people at least as far back as Aristotle knew the earth was round from the shape of the earth’s shadow on the moon during a lunar eclipse, from the fact that a ship’s mast was the last thing to disappear over the horizon, and from the fact that the visible stars changed as one changes latitudes.

As for Christians specifically, Augustine knew it, Aquinas knew it, most of the Ante-Nicene fathers knew it. The idea that they didn’t know it came from Washington Irving in the 19th century who dramatized a confrontation between Columbus and the benighted flat-earthers. This is the story many of us learned in school. Columbus wanted to “prove the earth was round.” Nonsense. The whole thing is made up of whole cloth. In reality, everyone involved in the discussion about whether or not to fund Columbus’ voyage knew the earth was round. The argument wasn’t over the shape of the earth but its size. And as it turned out, Columbus completely underestimated. Remember he was expecting to find a shortcut to India. Had the Americas not been in his path, he would have starved at sea. Those who argued against him were actually more knowledgeable than he was. If you want to read more about this check here. Moving on…

“the earth is at the center of the universe”

It’s true that most educated people between about 300 BC and 1600 AD believed the earth was the center of the universe. But notice that this idea predated Christianity. The geocentric view which dominated Europe until Copernicus, was the teaching of Aristotle! Attention, Oblermann, Aristotle was not a Christian. Aristotle’s teaching was amplified by another Greek scientist named Ptolemy. Around 150AD he wrote a book which Islamic writers later called “Almagest” meaning “The Great Book.” In other words, scholars of the middle ages were holding to the highest known examples of Greek science.

In addition, the idea that the earth was placed at the center of the universe because this suited Christian theology is completely bogus. Aristotle placed the earth at the center of the universe because his system of Physics assumed that heavy elements clumped together around this center. Far from being the “most special” place in the cosmos, the Earth was essentially the cosmic dumping ground. This is why theologians in the middle ages placed hell in the center of the earth. It was the worst place to be, not the best. Copernicus actually suggested in his De Revolutionibus that by treating the Earth as a planet man was elevated, not diminished.

“let’s burn a scientist at the stake today”

Which scientist did you have in mind? Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Brahe, Newton, Boyle, Pascal, Darwin — only one problem…none of them were burned, folded, spindled or mutilated. In fact, with the exception of Galileo, none of them suffered any persecution. Copernicus, Kepler and Brahe all worked for church institutions.

I hereby nominate Keith Oblermann “Worst Historian in the World.”

[HT: Telic Thoughts]

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Category: MSM & Bias |

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