Star Motions versus The Earth’s Shape
It is acknowledged as an axiom by good thinkers everywhere that all truth is harmonious, and that no one fact in nature can be contradicted or subverted another fact. It is not so with error, or even with plausible theories; these, owning to our limited knowledge, may appear harmonious for a time, but if one fact in nature, or in history, be found out inconsistent with and contradictory to those theories, this fact alone would be sufficient to stamp the theories as false. So it has been proved with globular theory.
As a correspondent lately wrote: “Satan the father of lies, has reduced the art of deception to a science, and he is at the bottom of the globular theory, which he has provided with hooks and eyes that fit in marvellously with some phenomena.” but one fact has been found out which is inconsistent with, and contradictory to the globular theory, and this fact, that water is level, absolutely level, is quite sufficient once and for ever to overthrow the globular hypothesis however marvellously some of its ‘hooks and eyes’ may fit.
If the world were a globe and the surface of all standing water would be convex; flat earthers proved that it is not convex; therefore, the earth is not a globe. On the other hand, if the earth were a plane the surface of all standing water ought to be level; practical experiments have abundantly proved that it is level; therefore the earth is a plane. The account of these experiments can be obtained by those willing to go to the expense of buying the literature, so it is not our purpose to reproduce them here.
What we wish now is to point out that until these practical experiments respecting the shape of the earth are properly disposed of, no other theories, or facts, respecting star motions or even the motions of the sun and moon, will be allowed to shake our confidence in the fact that water is level. This is one of our sheet anchors. The other is that the Word of Him who created the world, and who ‘cannot lie,’ is in harmony with it. So that our vessel has a strong anchor at both ends. Let friend or foe destroy these, if they can and dare to, and our barge will then be driven by the fierce winds about to blow over the earth, and will probably be wrecked on the sands of scepticism or the rocks of infidelity. But as long as either of these anchors will hold, and each alone is strong enough to hold, our position is unassailable and secure. Our only danger lies in the possibility of insensately slipping the anchors ourselves; but this may our chief Captain graciously forbid.
However, we write to warn at least one of our correspondents of this danger, and the lesson may be useful to others. If water has been proved to be level, and the earth therefore a plane, no manner of star motions, or sun’s motions either, can prove it convex or globular.
If you subsequently find out other facts you cannot explain you must wait until you can, or until someone can explain them to you, but no true flat earth believer will run away from the previously ascertained fact that water is level. It is inconsistent and illogical so to act; and no reasonable man will be guilty of such folly. Settle one foundation truth and stick to it, at least until there is some fair attempt to over throw it; and be assured that other ‘facts,’ if really facts, will ultimately be explicable in harmony with the foundation fact already established.
If the earth be a globe how is it that there is so great a difference between places of equal latitudes north and south? If the sun circles round a south ‘pole,’ as it does around the north why should there be this difference, evidence of which we cull from our opponents? Is the midnight sun regularly seen in extreme south latitudes? Do southern starts all circle round one southern point? Or, are there more magnetic star centres than one? Where are they? Careful observations ought to be made from different parts of the world at the same time. The sun, moon, and planets have somewhat different motions from the so-called ‘fixed’ stars. The former are sometimes directly over the northern parts of the equator and sometimes far south of the equator, according to the signs of the zodiac they happened to be in; whilst the ‘fixed’ stars have practically always the same declination, and remain in the same groups or constellations.
The motions of both these sets of heavenly bodies need carefully watching and accurately recording, especially at the times of rising, culminating, and setting; not however with the view of ascertaining what the shape of the earth is, but with the view of ascertaining the nature of the motions of those bodies which are actually seen to be in motion. Even then care will have to be exercised lest we confound the motions of light with the motions of the bodies emitting the light.
If our friends all over the world will help us by clearly and accurately record the observed motions of the heavenly bodies it would be of service. Our discovery relates to the behaviour and motions of light, as it comes from above and passes downwards through the atmosphere, a medium of ever increasing density. Let observations be made at different recorded times and places, say, when the sun or any of the heavenly bodies, is directly over the equator, or in its farthest north or south declination. When, and where, such body seems to rise, to culminate, and to set; what kind of a course it seems to follow; what altitude it appears to attain; and what are the supposed latitudes and longitudes of these places.
We must remember too that all these latitudes and longitudes are calculated upon the supposition that the earth is a globe; and they depend upon observations, however accurately taken, which are affected by the question as to whether light travels in straight lines or not when coming down upon us from the ‘lights’ in heaven above. If the moon be observed, let note be made of her apparent size, shape, and position. If a bright fixed star be selected, whether it always appear to rise and set in the same direction from the observer, or whether its position seems to be affected by atmospheric conditions. If the sun be observed, say next March when he is on the venal equinox, whether he seems to rise due east and to set due west in all parts of the world? We should then discuss what the terms east and west mean, and so might have some useful evidence for determining the motions of the heavenly bodies, or at least the eccentricities of the motions of the light as it falls upon us from above.