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History killed by ignorance

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posted on Aug, 7 2007 @ 01:44 AM
Historical loss: We repeat what is not remembered

1292 – Glasgow Scotland
Their existence and beauty puzzled him. Across a pitch black sky, dazzling, twinkling dots of light shone with mystery and appeal, promising many answers and even more questions. On a cloudless night, the sky looked like a backdrop of silk with thousands of pinpricks in it, letting starlight shine through. Anrond Macdonald could remember thousands of fanciful descriptions of the night sky, but he knew the real nature of the holy heavens: many of the lights were planets, revolving around the sun, several having moons just like ours. He would have been charged with blasphemy if he revealed the church was in error believing in the false geocentric model. He reasoned that if concave glass magnified objects, then the opposite shape, concave glass, would have the opposite effect. Using this principle, used varied assortments until he had a working model.

When he turned this invention on the heavens, he was stunned. He saw mountains and deep craters on the moon, observed sun spots and realized that some of the other planets had moons orbiting them. He knew his work would change the entire world view, and discredit the “perfect spheres” theory of Ptolemy and Aristotle; but he was terrified of the Church Council. Fueling his paranoia was the local Bishop Eugene Cornelius, a stern and fervent servant of the Church, who zealously persecuted heretics and passionately pursued any deviation from the teachings of the church. He was suspicious of any scholar who did not concentrate on biblical matters and had a closed mind when it came to science. The Bishop believed science and alchemy were too closely connected; therefore, anyone who deviated from biblical studies was the tool of Satan. One of his oft repeated phrases were “God shows us only what we need to know”.

Night after night, from the top story window of his apartment in Glasgow, he searched the heavens, making new discoveries and entering them in his journal. He saw the four phases of Venus, something impossible under the geocentric model, and discovered four satellites orbiting the largest planet after Mars. Anrond continued to make more discoveries, all dutifully recorded in his masterpiece. As a natural philosopher, he knew the recognition and respect his work would bring him, but again feared the wrath of the church. This was not the time for change. The Catholic Church was too powerful and influential.

Making the greatest scientific discovery since the great Greek Philosophers, he had no idea that his temerity to act would result in another 250 years of darkness. When his work was repeated by great men like Kepler, Copernicus and Galileo, there was still controversy and resistance from the Church. His discoveries would be duplicated by another man, with a device called a telescope, a man brave enough to stand behind his evidence.
In the last years of his life Anrond finally had the courage to send his complete book, now called Cosmologia, along with his distance tube to William McTavish, Earl of Warwick, one of Scotland’s foremost scholars and men of science. He trusted this man would know what to do with the detailed information and drawings. Anrond died shortly after, never knowing the results of his life’s work. Sadly, McTavish received the comprehensive book, glanced through it and concluded it was a hoax. He didn’t even bother looking through the tube that accompanied the book. Having a large library, he placed the book and tube among his curiosities and forgot about it. The library remained intact through generations of his descendants, some added to it, but no one examined it carefully enough to discover the extent of the Earl’s original collection.

Warren McTavish arrived home from the University of Glasgow, where he was a Professor of Ancient Studies, and began browsing through the library that had been in his family’s hands since Robert the Bruce ruled Scotland. He was looking for something on the third tier, when he found a cabinet he had not noticed before. Intrigued, he opened it and discovered an old, handwritten text, hundreds of years old. Quickly scanning the book, he could not believe what he was reading. He had proof that someone predated Galileo’s discoveries by roughly 250 years. He rummaged through the cabinet, full of old letters and documents, and found a crude telescope, no doubt of the same era. He shook his head at the intellectual crime; the church promoted ignorance and forced the world to live in darkness. Suppressing this knowledge caused man to live in ignorance for unneeded centuries. Realizing the book’s significance, he wondered what circumstances could have buried such an important scientific breakthrough for so long. Realizing he would be re-writing history, he began to make some phone calls.

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