The Unpopularity of Truth
From Zetetic Astronomy
(Spelling and grammar as in the original.)
Whether this applies to social, mechanical, or divine science, the result is for ever the same. Pound man rebels against whatever would dispel or expose his own ignorance and folly; and, almost without a single exception, those who have braved the bigotry and prejudices of the world have met with nothing but reproach and resistance instead of the advice and approval they deserved.
What are called the Newtonian and Copernican theories respecting the rotundity and revolution of the world, are quite as much at variance with the inspired records as is an statement ever made by a Colenso or any of the Essayists and Reviewers. However trivial or unimportant the subject may appear in itself, yet the fact of its being unsupported by and directly contrary to the Word of God ought to render it of unspeakable interest to all who wisely consider that the minutest departure from the spirit of what Moses and the prophets have written, to be as prejudicial to the whole scheme of revelation as if it referred to an article of faith. If Moses wrote doubtingly or uncertainly about one single point in the history of creation, no one can justly blame an avowed sceptic for throwing discredit on the whole. I would, therefore, call attention to the following facts: First and foremost, the word “world” is used rather over 260 times in the Bible; the word “round” is never once applied to it. Not a single expression is used, from Genesis to Revelation, suggestive of the idea that the earth is other than a stationary plane; and no hint is to be gathered by the most prejudiced advocate of the Newtonian theory as to its rotundity and revolution. Expressions are constantly used which would be downright nonsense if the earth were a revolving globe.
These facts alone ought to render any further arguments superfluous. But, such is the tendency to throw discredit on the language of inspiration, that an appeal to scientific research and to the unanswerable logic of facts seems to be imperative. Now, what do we see? First, that not a single experiment has ever been made in support of the Newtonian theory but what would equally, if not more forcibly, apply to its opponents. The Newtonian argues that, looking across the ocean, the water appears convex; when asked to look to the right and left, he is obliged to confess that it is horizontal, though the distance surveyed be in both cases the same. That the doctrine of the earth’s rotundity cannot be mixed up with the practical operations of the civil engineer and surveyor has been peremptorily decided by a Parliamentary enactment, that “to prevent waste of time and money, which has frequently attended the operations of those who made their calculations according to the prevailing theory of the convexity of the earth’s surface, every survey in this or any other country should be carried out according to the horizontal datum, as no other method has proved satisfactory, or can be adopted without involving an unnecessary destruction of property, and more or less complete failure of the work in progress.” [No. 44, Standing Orders of the House of Commons.] Can anything be more conclusive?
The next experiment is even more decisive still. Take an artificial globe or wheel of any dimensions possible; there will be only one single spot where a level can be obtained, and that under the condition of absolute and complete repose. Any inclination, backwards or forwards, would instantly disturb the level which had been obtained at its extreme apex or highest point. But just reduce this experiment to practice, and take the theodolite to any part of the habitable “globe” as it is called, and ten thousand levels can be made wherever a yard of still water can be found, at any point of the compass, by day or by night. The absolute and undeniable fact that all waters upon the face of the earth are horizontal to each other; is a positive proof that the earth cannot be a sphere, and cannot revolve on an axis.
Let me proceed to ask a few practical questions:
Has any navigator ever asserted that he has sailed round or seen anything he could call the “South Pole?”
Has anyone ever crossed the “South Pole?”
Has anyone ever crossed the North Pole?
Why is the smallest earthquake so perceptible, while we cannot feel the violent revolutions of the earth, going at the rate of over 1100 miles per hours at the Equator, and more than 700 feet per second in England?
Have any of the navigators who have declared that they have “sailed round the globe” ever been bottom upwards, the sky where the water ought to be; or had they any other proofs that when they were midway, their decks were not as level as when they left the English harbours?
If these wonderful navigators had never seen a globe with a map of the earth and sea on it, would they ever have ventured to declare that they had “sailed round the world” perpendicularly?
When a little child runs “round” the loo table in the drawing room, is anyone insane enough to believe that he went across the top and down underneath the legs of pedestal and up again to complete the circle?
Would not the easiest and least expensive method of getting to any distant place be to ascend in a balloon on a very still day, and remain suspended till the revolution of the earth brought the round the distant land to which they were bound, when they could descend, and save at least 95 per cent of their passage money and all the risks of a sea voyage?
But I have not the patience to “answer fools according to their folly,” or I might proceed to expose the absurdity of every theory which has been devised to bolster up this preposterous system of Sir Isaac Newton and his predecessor, Copernicus, endorsed and accepted by men wise in their own conceits, but sheer infidels when brought to the test of Scripture. The Word of the living God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, does not give the slightest shadow of authority in support of such a notion. Not a verse, or a line, or a syllable can be produced calculated to convey such an impression, but uniformly the reverse; for, however wicked mandkind were said to be, it was never contemplated that their folly and ignorance would require instruction on a subject which could hardly admit of misconstruction or mistake.
Copernicus himself, the author and originator of this fanciful and purely fictitious theory, had the honesty thus to speak of his own so-called discovery; (and for this and for the greater part of what follows, I am indebted to a most interesting and instructive little book, entitled “Zetetic Astronomy,” by Parallax; Simpkin and Marhsall, London). “Copernicus admitted,” the author remarks, “It is not necessary that hypotheses should be true, or even probable; neither let anyone, as far as hypotheses are concerned, expect anything certain from astronomy; since that science an afford nothing of the kind; lest, in case he should adopt for truth things feigned for another purpose, he should leave this study more foolish then he came into it… The theory of the terrestrial motion was nothing but theory, valuable only so far as it explained phenomena, and not considered with reference to absolute truth or faleshood.”