Author Topic: The Church Fathers, Creationism, and Geocentrism  (Read 621 times)

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Offline Volnutt

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The Church Fathers, Creationism, and Geocentrism
« on: May 25, 2018, 03:03:04 PM »
Contrary to popular belief, Copernicus did not invent Geocentrism. It was know to the ancient Greeks as well, though likely not widelly accepted.

There was Philolaus the Pythagorean in the Third Century BC who taught that everything, including the Sun, revolved around a "central fire" at the heart of the universe. Kepler thought that this was really a coded reference to the Sun itself (making Philolaus the first known heliocentrist), though I don't what his grounds for thinking that really were. Copernicus still sites Philolaus as an early forerunner.

More importantly, we have the Second Century BC Aristarchus of Samos, best known for calculating the size and sphericity of the Earth and the distance and size of the Sun. His works on heliocentrism are lost to us, but Archimedes refers to them in the opening section of "The Sand Reckoner,"

Quote
Now you are aware that 'universe' is the name given by most astronomers to the sphere whose centre is the centre of the earth and whose radius is equal to the straight line between the centre of the sun and the centre of the earth. This is the common account (τὰ γραφόμενα), as you have heard from astronomers. But Aristarchus of Samos brought out a book consisting of some hypotheses, in which the premisses lead to the result that the universe is many times greater than that now so called. His hypotheses are that the fixed stars and the sun remain unmoved, that the earth revolves about the sun in the circumference of a circle, the sun lying in the middle of the orbit, and that the sphere of the fixed stars, situated about the same centre as the sun, is so great that the circle in which he supposes the earth to revolve bears such a proportion to the distance of the fixed stars as the centre of the sphere bears to its surface.

Archimedes goes on to reject this idea on mathematical grounds and Cleanthes the philosopher (at least according to Plutarch) seems to have even wanted Aristarchus tried for impiety for moving the Earth out of the center of the Universe. On the other hand, Plutarch refers dismissively to "followers of Aristarchus" and Seleucus of Seleucia is at least one later astronomer that we know of who was a heliocentrist of some kind.

So, obviously many of the Church Fathers, as men educated in Greek letters, would have at least been peripherally aware of ancient heliocentrism and geodynamicism (my little neologism for the idea that the Earth moves). I don't blame them for not accepting it, since few thinkers did until Copernicus. But if we're going to use the idea of the Patristic Consensus as support for mandating YEC, aren't we then also obligated to use it to mandate Geocentrism?
« Last Edit: May 25, 2018, 03:04:33 PM by Volnutt »
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Offline Luke

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Re: The Church Fathers, Creationism, and Geocentrism
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2018, 06:19:58 PM »
I hope not.

Offline Tzimis

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Re: The Church Fathers, Creationism, and Geocentrism
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2018, 06:37:11 PM »
Whats incredible is that they surmised all this without instraments.  Purely through philosophy.  They weren't that far off.

Offline Volnutt

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Re: The Church Fathers, Creationism, and Geocentrism
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2018, 07:23:27 PM »
Whats incredible is that they surmised all this without instraments.  Purely through philosophy.  They weren't that far off.

But the Church Fathers were. So why should we allowed to "agree to disagree" with them on the make up of the solar system but not on the age of the Earth, evolution as means of Creation, etc?

Edit: And it wasn't just philosophy, it was a lot of math.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2018, 07:24:14 PM by Volnutt »
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Offline Rohzek

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Re: The Church Fathers, Creationism, and Geocentrism
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2018, 08:55:35 PM »
I hope not.

I hope so. It would be humorous to watch them continue to contort themselves into irrelevance and oblivion.
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Offline Tzimis

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Re: The Church Fathers, Creationism, and Geocentrism
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2018, 09:18:25 PM »
Whats incredible is that they surmised all this without instraments.  Purely through philosophy.  They weren't that far off.

But the Church Fathers were. So why should we allowed to "agree to disagree" with them on the make up of the solar system but not on the age of the Earth, evolution as means of Creation, etc?

Edit: And it wasn't just philosophy, it was a lot of math.
I don't disagree. Science is a a work in motion.  If we agree today and tomorrow something better comes along 50 years from now. What happens to our credibly.  Its best to leave it uncharted.

Offline Volnutt

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Re: The Church Fathers, Creationism, and Geocentrism
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2018, 09:29:22 PM »
I hope not.

I hope so. It would be humorous to watch them continue to contort themselves into irrelevance and oblivion.

Watch who?
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: The Church Fathers, Creationism, and Geocentrism
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2018, 09:30:08 PM »
Whats incredible is that they surmised all this without instraments.  Purely through philosophy.  They weren't that far off.

But the Church Fathers were. So why should we allowed to "agree to disagree" with them on the make up of the solar system but not on the age of the Earth, evolution as means of Creation, etc?

Edit: And it wasn't just philosophy, it was a lot of math.
I don't disagree. Science is a a work in motion.  If we agree today and tomorrow something better comes along 50 years from now. What happens to our credibly.  Its best to leave it uncharted.

I don't see how we could possibly discover something to overthrow heliocentrism at this point.
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Offline Justin Kolodziej

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Re: The Church Fathers, Creationism, and Geocentrism
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2018, 09:35:42 PM »
There was Philolaus the Pythagorean in the Third Century BC who taught that everything, including the Sun, revolved around a "central fire" at the heart of the universe. Kepler thought that this was really a coded reference to the Sun itself (making Philolaus the first known heliocentrist), though I don't what his grounds for thinking that really were.
Of course, Philolaus got it more right than Kepler gave him credit for:

The yellow dot is the Sun. The dotted lines are labeled with the % chance there are stars part of the Milky Way outside that distance.

Not quite the universe, but close enough.

I don't see how we could possibly discover something to overthrow heliocentrism at this point.
We already did  ;) Just the rotation of the Milky Way doesn't have any noticeable effects to us, so it can be ignored.

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Offline Tzimis

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Re: The Church Fathers, Creationism, and Geocentrism
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2018, 09:38:25 PM »
Whats incredible is that they surmised all this without instraments.  Purely through philosophy.  They weren't that far off.

But the Church Fathers were. So why should we allowed to "agree to disagree" with them on the make up of the solar system but not on the age of the Earth, evolution as means of Creation, etc?

Edit: And it wasn't just philosophy, it was a lot of math.
I don't disagree. Science is a a work in motion.  If we agree today and tomorrow something better comes along 50 years from now. What happens to our credibly.  Its best to leave it uncharted.

I don't see how we could possibly discover something to overthrow heliocentrism at this point.
Thats more or less proven today. We were talking about evolution.

Offline Rohzek

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Re: The Church Fathers, Creationism, and Geocentrism
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2018, 12:24:35 AM »
I hope not.

I hope so. It would be humorous to watch them continue to contort themselves into irrelevance and oblivion.

Watch who?

Young earth creationists.
"Il ne faut imaginer Dieu ni trop bon, ni méchant. La justice est entre l'excès de la clémence et la cruauté, ainsi que les peines finies sont entre l'impunité et les peines éternelles." - Denise Diderot, Pensées philosophiques 1746

Offline Volnutt

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Re: The Church Fathers, Creationism, and Geocentrism
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2018, 02:20:43 AM »
I hope not.

I hope so. It would be humorous to watch them continue to contort themselves into irrelevance and oblivion.

Watch who?

Young earth creationists.

Ah.
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: The Church Fathers, Creationism, and Geocentrism
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2018, 02:23:31 AM »
Whats incredible is that they surmised all this without instraments.  Purely through philosophy.  They weren't that far off.

But the Church Fathers were. So why should we allowed to "agree to disagree" with them on the make up of the solar system but not on the age of the Earth, evolution as means of Creation, etc?

Edit: And it wasn't just philosophy, it was a lot of math.
I don't disagree. Science is a a work in motion.  If we agree today and tomorrow something better comes along 50 years from now. What happens to our credibly.  Its best to leave it uncharted.

I don't see how we could possibly discover something to overthrow heliocentrism at this point.
Thats more or less proven today. We were talking about evolution.

I'm talking about that and the whole enchilada. The thing heliocentrism and evolution have in common is that both are considered settled questions by the vast, vast, vast majority of people who study this stuff for a living.
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: The Church Fathers, Creationism, and Geocentrism
« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2018, 03:13:42 AM »
We already did  ;) Just the rotation of the Milky Way doesn't have any noticeable effects to us, so it can be ignored.

True, the Sun is not the center of the universe lol.
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Offline Rohzek

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Re: The Church Fathers, Creationism, and Geocentrism
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2018, 09:11:16 AM »
The great hypocrisy of YEC is that its proponents usually unwittingly subscribe to a type of positivism, which is the base of the scientism that they oppose.
"Il ne faut imaginer Dieu ni trop bon, ni méchant. La justice est entre l'excès de la clémence et la cruauté, ainsi que les peines finies sont entre l'impunité et les peines éternelles." - Denise Diderot, Pensées philosophiques 1746

Offline Luke

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Re: The Church Fathers, Creationism, and Geocentrism
« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2018, 02:39:52 PM »
True, the Sun is not the center of the universe lol.
There may be a splinter group somewhere that thinks it is. :police:

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Re: The Church Fathers, Creationism, and Geocentrism
« Reply #16 on: May 26, 2018, 05:23:14 PM »
We already did  ;) Just the rotation of the Milky Way doesn't have any noticeable effects to us, so it can be ignored.
Not in our time scale, but, depending on the intensity of cosmic rays along the disc of the galaxy, the 250 million years long path around the center of the galaxy by our solar system affects the earth's climate.
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Offline Opus118

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Re: The Church Fathers, Creationism, and Geocentrism
« Reply #17 on: May 26, 2018, 07:08:41 PM »

But if we're going to use the idea of the Patristic Consensus as support for mandating YEC, aren't we then also obligated to use it to mandate Geocentrism?
Personally, I would not consider these two issues comparable.  I currently accept that geocentrism and heliocentrism are both true (until someone points out a peer-reviewed paper that proves this aspect of General Relativity is not true). On the other hand, if Moses received the 21st century understanding of how evolution worked and included it in Genesis, what would that description look like using the ancient Hebrew vocabulary? It might look like Genesis as we have it or it might look like something totally incomprehensible. mystifying generations upon generations and serving no purpose.
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Offline Justin Kolodziej

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Re: The Church Fathers, Creationism, and Geocentrism
« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2018, 07:23:15 PM »

But if we're going to use the idea of the Patristic Consensus as support for mandating YEC, aren't we then also obligated to use it to mandate Geocentrism?
Personally, I would not consider these two issues comparable.  I currently accept that geocentrism and heliocentrism are both true (until someone points out a peer-reviewed paper that proves this aspect of General Relativity is not true). On the other hand, if Moses received the 21st century understanding of how evolution worked and included it in Genesis, what would that description look like using the ancient Hebrew vocabulary? It might look like Genesis as we have it or it might look like something totally incomprehensible. mystifying generations upon generations and serving no purpose.
Yeah, General Relativity kind of throws a wrench into the works by allowing you to consider anything the "center of the universe" -- though the math might get inhumanly complicated.

We might as well go for stavrocentrism -- the Cross is the center of the Universe, in all senses.
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: The Church Fathers, Creationism, and Geocentrism
« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2018, 07:33:46 PM »

But if we're going to use the idea of the Patristic Consensus as support for mandating YEC, aren't we then also obligated to use it to mandate Geocentrism?
Personally, I would not consider these two issues comparable.  I currently accept that geocentrism and heliocentrism are both true (until someone points out a peer-reviewed paper that proves this aspect of General Relativity is not true). On the other hand, if Moses received the 21st century understanding of how evolution worked and included it in Genesis, what would that description look like using the ancient Hebrew vocabulary? It might look like Genesis as we have it or it might look like something totally incomprehensible. mystifying generations upon generations and serving no purpose.

Joking aside, I'm mostly using "Geocentrism" as a shorthand for the idea that not only is the Earth the center of the universe, but also that the Sun is relatively small and orbits it along with all the other planets and stars. That part is more of an objective truth claim.

In terms of Genesis, I think you're right. Moses and the redactors were free to believe whatever it is they believed, but from God's point of view I think the text is purposefully coded and ambiguous to allow for it not to clash with what God would later reveal through science.

But what I bristle at is the suggestion of Xavier, Vanhyo, and others that if I don't agree with a literal reading of the Church Fathers on Creation then that makes me a subchristian, while they themselves are free to agree with modern views of the structure of the solar system and galaxy even those they are similarly "unpatristic." It's unfair and intellectually dishonest imo.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2018, 07:36:50 PM by Volnutt »
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: The Church Fathers, Creationism, and Geocentrism
« Reply #20 on: May 26, 2018, 07:40:17 PM »
We might as well go for stavrocentrism -- the Cross is the center of the Universe, in all senses.

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Re: The Church Fathers, Creationism, and Geocentrism
« Reply #21 on: June 04, 2018, 01:14:14 PM »
Bump since people are talking about evolution and such again, today.
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