A Moment to Reflect

17 August 2020

A Moment to Reflect -83

ROUND AND ROUND AGAIN

I promised you some more skies over Carluke —well here’s one from a couple of years back—maybe not quite what you expected because obviously this one was taken at night and it is of a very round moon. (I wish I had been able to take a similar photograph of the earth but of course that would have been rather more difficult and considerably more expensive —not having a part-time job as an astronaut. )

A couple of weeks ago I was driving down the A9, having visited my sister up north. At a certain point in the journey (I can’t remember exactly where) I noticed several of the road signs had been spray-painted with graffiti saying “The Earth is flat” or variants of that theme. 

Despite the fact that the Ancient Greeks knew that the earth was round 500 years before Christ was born, bizarrely, this Flat Earth notion appears to have been enjoying something of a renaissance since the middle of last century. For some of its advocates Flat Earthism is little more than a joke—they don’t actually take it seriously— but there are some people who do appear to be convinced of it. They believe that there is a giant worldwide conspiracy to deceive the masses into thinking that the earth is round, when (of course) they know that it isn’t. No amount of evidence will ever shake their conviction.

Social media is full of fanciful conspiracy theories and it is here especially that ‘Flat Earthism’ thrives. Real evidence doesn’t matter when you can dream up elaborate pseudo-scientific theories in place of real science. 

Sadly, it seems that modern Flat Earthism grew out of a particular way of interpreting the Bible in opposition to Science. So, it’s probably no surprise that the really serious supporters of Flat Earthism defend their views with fanatical and unshakeable zeal. 

(Because of the pandemic, nobody is going on ‘Round the World’ Cruises at the moment, but maybe some Flat-Earthers could try it once they start up again to test their hypothesis.)

Having a genuine faith in anything or anyone (including Christian faith) is notabout closing your mind and blindly adhering to dogmas in spite of the evidence. In fact, real faith is not about absolute certainty at all. It has space for unanswered and unanswerable questions.

The writer of the Biblical Book known as ‘Ecclesiastes’ has this to say about God: “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” —Ecclesiastes 3:11

That should be enough to make us realise that as long as we live this earthly life on Planet Earth our knowledge will always be incomplete.

But I also like what Karen Blixen (who wrote under the pseudonym of Isak Dinesen) had to say about the roundness of the earth: 

“God made the world round so we would never be able to see too far down the road.” ― Isak Dinesen

That’s enough for me!