Flat or Spherical, part 2

THE SURFACE OF ALL WATER HORIZONTAL

“Experiments made upon the sea have been objected to on account of its constantly changing attitude. Standing water has therefore been selected, and the following experiments were made.”

EXPERIMENT 1–In the County of Cambridge there is an artificial river or canal called the “Old Bedford.” It is upwards of twenty miles in length, and passes in a straight line through that part of the Fens called the “Bedford Level.” The water is nearly stationary, often entirely so, and throughout its entire length has no interruption from locks or water-gates; so that it is in every respect, well adapted for ascertaining whether any and what amount of convexity really exists. A boat with a flag standing five feet above the water was directed to sail from a place called “Welche’s Dam” (a well known ferry passage) to a place called “Welney Bridge.” These two points are six statute miles apart. The observer, with a good telescope, was standing in the water, with the eye not exceeding eight inches above the surface. The flag and the boat were clearly visible, throughout the whole distance! as shown in the following diagram.

THUS PROVING WATER TO BE LEVEL

From this experiment it was concluded that the water does not decline from the line of sight! As the altitude of the eye of the observer was 8-in., the highest point, or the horizon, or summit of the arc, would be at one mile from the place of observation; from which point the surface of the water would curvate downwards, and at the end of the remaining five miles would be 16-ft. 8-in. below the horizon! The top of the flag being 5-ft. high would have sunk gradually out of sight, and at the end of six miles would have been 11-ft. 8-in, below the eye line! This simple experiment is all-sufficient to demonstrate that the surface of the water is parallel to the line of sight and is therefore Horizontal; and that the earth cannot possibly be other than a vast irregular PLANE. Any one as he stands on the sea-shore may test for himself the fact that the surface of the sea is level. Where there is an extensive view right and left let the experimenter fix a long bar of wood or iron in a horizontal position until it is in a line with the sea level or horizon. If the ocean be spherical in form the sea horizon should decline away from the bar in a curve to the right and to the left of the spectator. The amount of curvature which should appear on a globe of the stated dimensions may be found by squaring the distance in miles and then multiplying by eight inches. For ten miles it would be about sixty-six feet; and for twenty miles about two hundred and sixty-six feet. These amounts of curvature would be easily visible in the above distances; but though such tests have frequently been applied no such curvature has ever been seen. The astronomers profess to believe that the sea curves forward in front of the spectator; but if it did so it would curvate equally to the right and to the left. This fact is generally ignored; as also the fact that when the hull of a vessel has disappeared to the naked eye it can often be brought again into view by a good telescope, thus showing that the vessel had not gone over and beyond a “hill of water.” And as for circumnavigation any flat island can be circumnavigated. These facts thoroughly demolish the globular theory, and the infidel and evolutionary theories which are based thereon. It is one theory upon another theory, and a mass of theories upon these! However, I thought it right to give Mr. Blatchford a chance to prove his premises; so I wrote to him. —I did not ask him anything unreasonable —to prove, for instance, the misty cycles of past geological ages; or to trace his ancestors down, or up, from protoplasm through the anthropoid ape—but I simply asked him to give me one good and unimpeachable proof that the earth is a whirling ball or flying sphere, a sort of heavenly body or shooting star. The world is here and we are on it; so the question need not be encumbered with the vague and various conclusions of ancient history, ontology, or evolution. This seemed to me to be fair and reasonable, something tangible, not transcendental, a subject here and now; hence the following plain and straightforward letter: –

To the Editor of the Clarion. June 29th, 1903.

SIR–I have been reading your articles on Science and Religion. I find you attack the truth of the Bible on the basis of modern astronomical theories, which you seem to accept without question. I will own that the account of Creation in Genesis is wrong,entirely wrong, if you can give me a good proof of the following astronomical theories: –

(1) That the earth is a globe,

(2) That it has axial and orbital motions,

(3) That the sun is ninety odd millions of miles away,

(4) That the stars are suns.

I do not ask you to refer me to astronomical books, or to professional men who hold these theories. I know them. You publicly attack the Bible on the basis of these assumptions, and I ask you personally to prove your premises. Will you do so? Will you print this short letter, and follow it up with one good proof for each of the four positions above mentioned. If for any reason you cannot undertake the four, will you try to prove the first and second propositions?

If you cannot do this are you consistent in attacking the Bible account of Creation on such a basis? If you think you can do it will you make the attempt in an early issue of The Clarion, and allow me in the following issue to examine your so-called proofs?

I may say that I am a Christian who believes in the literal truth of a six days’ creation; and I think those men highly inconsistent who, at the same time, profess to believe both the Bible and modern theoretical astronomy which contradicts it. One or the other is false. We cannot believe both. One or the other must go down.

Now all I ask of you is to prove your position and show that modern astronomy is true; when it will naturally follow that the old Bible cosmogony is false. I want no shirking of the issue. You ought to make the attempt, and to allow your reasons and proofs to be examined. I think I can perform this little service for you, and for your readers, if you will allow me. If you are honestly seeking for truth as you profess, you will not ignore this straightforward challenge. I offer you four simple but fundamental astronomical propositions; and I require you at least to take up the first two. They are practical questions, nothing transcendental about them.

If you decline the fair discussion of them zetetics will of course draw their own conclusions; and there are more educated zetetics in the world than you may be aware of. However, I am one, and as such I beg to subscribe myself

Hatfield Villa, Yours faithfully, Gwendolen Road, ALBERT SMITH.

Leicester. (“Zetetes.”)

I gave my full name and address, and enclosed stamps for reply, or return of manuscript. On July 2nd, I received the letter, which was returned in The Clarion official envelope, without one word of reply, good, bad, or indifferent. So that on this occasion the “Clarion” trumpet must have been short of wind! As I remarked in my letter zetetics will draw their own conclusions. The excuse could hardly be “lack of space” in a newspaper which devotes nearly a whole page to vilifying the Creation and the God of the Bible; followed by reports of football matches, and other more or less important matter.