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Did Generations of People Believe The Earth Was Flat?

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posted on Nov, 28 2010 @ 09:18 AM
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reply to post by ArMaP
 

"I think the biggest difference is that people do not even thought about it. " ArMap

This may very well be one of the best points made in this thread.
Even though we now know that the flat earth belief was not a prevalent one. I would agree with you that the common man gave it little to no thought whatsoever. He had too many other things to be concerned with.
Today, all of this stuff is in our face 24/7. And our kids spend 13+ years in the "educational system".

As I said in my OP. It makes one wonder what other misconceptions we have about our ancestors that we commonly hold as true.

Adding to that. Just how many other myths are being perpetuated by school textbooks (thanks acrux).




posted on Nov, 28 2010 @ 01:08 PM
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reply to post by 22Eleven
 


which means nothing when we are talking about the middle ages. just because the mayans had knowledge did'nt mean the vast majority of folk in the middle ages had that knowledge.



posted on Nov, 28 2010 @ 01:16 PM
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reply to post by ArMaP
 


i am unsure about your point, you have largely just said what i was trying to say but with more clarity.

as for them not thinking about it, that is something nobody knows. all i know is their understanding of things were more than likely different to those who had access to education and information from the top minds of the day.

lets be honest, we do not know what the vast majority thought, we only really know what those who were able to write thought, because we still have their records today.



posted on Nov, 28 2010 @ 01:29 PM
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Originally posted by lifeform11
as for them not thinking about it, that is something nobody knows.

That's true, but seeing that people behave in the same way for the last 4,000 years, I think we could see them as worried about the flatness of the Earth as most people today worry about something they do not see on the news.


lets be honest, we do not know what the vast majority thought, we only really know what those who were able to write thought, because we still have their records today.
And we keep on having that problem, we cannot know what other people think.



posted on Nov, 28 2010 @ 01:52 PM
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Originally posted by ArMaP

Originally posted by lifeform11
as for them not thinking about it, that is something nobody knows.

That's true, but seeing that people behave in the same way for the last 4,000 years, I think we could see them as worried about the flatness of the Earth as most people today worry about something they do not see on the news.


lets be honest, we do not know what the vast majority thought, we only really know what those who were able to write thought, because we still have their records today.
And we keep on having that problem, we cannot know what other people think.


we can know what people think, as long as they are able to tell us, or leave records that were kept in places we can later find and have survived whatever has happened up to us finding them.

that's kind of my point about why we cannot know if there were no flat earth believers, i think everybody agrees that the educated people at the time knew the earth was round, they wrote about it and left records for us to find.

but when you take into account life in that time period, you start to see the vast majority(poor folk) were not educated in the same way, were to busy to write what they thought about the earth or could not read and write to a standard to do so, and had no access to printing presses so they could share their thoughts on a large scale. meaning we are left with records of the educated to the level of understanding of that time, and no real record of the what the uneducated of the time thought.

which could explain that if their were believers in flat earth through lack of understanding, why there are no records we can find, because they may have been the mainly poorly educated ones with no real voice interms of being able to pass their thoughts down through the centuries.






edit on 28-11-2010 by lifeform11 because: spelling



posted on Nov, 28 2010 @ 02:49 PM
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Originally posted by lifeform11
we can know what people think, as long as they are able to tell us, or leave records that were kept in places we can later find and have survived whatever has happened up to us finding them.

Do you mean people like Washington Irving?


Jokes aside, we are always limited to the sources that we have, so there is no way of knowing what the common people (and most of the non-scientific people) back then thought, we only have the words of a very small percentage of the population.



posted on Nov, 28 2010 @ 03:38 PM
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No actually, some cultures believed the sky and the sea were one.



posted on Nov, 28 2010 @ 08:06 PM
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Originally posted by Klassified
Were you taught in school that this was a common held belief in the middle ages? If so, please share details.



Originally posted by leira7
I was taught in school that everyone during the time of colombus believed that the earth was flat, and they said, "don't go across the sea, you'll fall off, the earth is flat columbus!!!" I was told that people laughed and ridiculed Christopher Columbus, and that he was the only brave soul to "sail the ocean blue, in 1492".
Slight variation for me, I was taught in school that most people during the time of Colombus believed that the earth was flat.

I believed this for decades until a few years ago when I found out it's an error that was taught in schools! (Is it still taught?)

Originally posted by Klassified
Can anyone quote a school textbook, or instructor, that has propagated this belief?

Can anyone show any text from any book that gives a reason for believing this was a common belief held by our ancestors?

If this is a myth, that has been perpetuated for hundreds of years, what else has been perpetuated about what our ancestors believed, that may be just as laden with error as this one?


Here's a good link:

The Myth of the Flat Earth


an error that the Historical Society of Britain some years back listed as number one in its short compendium of the ten most common historical illusions. It is the notion that people used to believe that the earth was flat


I looked for the link to the short compendium of the ten most common historical illusions, but I didn't find it, though I'd like to know what else we were taught that's false.



posted on Nov, 29 2010 @ 04:45 AM
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reply to post by lifeform11
 


i really do believe it was very possible for the majority to believe the earth was flat, even though more educated people did not believe so.

I believe you are right, and your reasons for supposing so are correct, too.

Don't forget that Irenaeus, the second-century Church Father who picked the four 'official' Gospels from a wide field of other contenders, justified his choice of four by saying that, 'just as the Earth has four corners and four winds, there must be... four Gospels.'

And then there are the words attributed to Jesus: 'I am with you always, even unto the ends of the Earth.' Whether he said them or not, some Dark Age theologian thought he did, and saw no contradiction between them and what he thought he knew, so that got included in the Gospels.

The majority of Europeans in the Dark Ages (that is, between the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the fourth century and the beginning of the Middle Ages in the late tenth or early eleventh century) almost certainly believed the Earth was flat. I imagine the same was true in other times and places, too.

However, it's worth repeating that educated people were well aware the world was round--and once long-distance deep-ocean voyaging commenced in the fifteenth century, it became common knowledge.

The one that really gets my goat, however, is when dodos come on ATS insisting that scientists used to say the world was flat.

Science as we knew began around the time of Galileo, and no scientist has ever thought the world was flat. Except for topologists, of course, but that's a completely different thing.

The ancient Greek philosophers knew Earth was spherical in shape.



edit on 29/11/10 by Astyanax because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 29 2010 @ 04:51 AM
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reply to post by ArMaP
 


I don't remember the British having discovered any "new" lands, they mostly took what others had discovered.

The northwestern coast of North America, New Zealand, Antarctica and any number of Pacific islands. Australia is disputed, but the weight of historical opinion favours Britain.

Captain Cook: Explorer, Navigator and Pioneer

I know you this is a bit of a grudge match for you, being Portuguese and all (
), but give the Devil his due.



posted on Nov, 29 2010 @ 08:21 AM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 


Australia and New Zealand (as the name implies) were discovered by the Dutch, and even the link you provided says this:


Most of these places had been sighted by explorers on earlier expeditions, so that even by conventional definitions Cook did not 'discover' them for Europe. His contribution was to bring order to confusion, to replace vagueness and uncertainty with a scrupulous accuracy.
Source.

And the Portuguese don't have any grudge against the British from that period, only at the time of the Pink Map.



posted on Nov, 29 2010 @ 08:37 AM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 

I would have to respectfully disagree with these assumptions.
It might have been "possible" for the majority of people to believe the earth was flat, but the available records from as far back as I can find don't support this theory. As far back as the sumerians, people knew the earth to be round.
From what is available record wise, this erroneous teaching (that people actually believed this) seems to have it's beginnings in the early to mid 1800's. www.asa3.org...
This is just one link, you can find more.

As for Irenaeus and Jesus, I personally believe these statements to be figures of speech based on religious "slang" at the time. Joshua from the old testament asked God to make the sun stand still. Was Joshua a geocentrist? Maybe. I have no solid evidence either way for these though. Just my thoughts.

As for the beginnings of science as we know it. I'm not sure what you mean by as we know it, but I would think science to be much, much older, such as the aforementioned Sumerians, The Babylonians, Egyptians, etc.



posted on Nov, 29 2010 @ 11:01 AM
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reply to post by Klassified
 


the available records from as far back as I can find don't support this theory. As far back as the sumerians, people knew the earth to be round.

You will grant, I hope, that records are kept and read by educated people, not illiterate peasants, who had absolutely no idea what their masters thought or knew.

But we don't need to appeal to guesswork. There is ample documentary evidence from around the world showing that many ancient (and not-so-ancient) cultures believed the Earth was flat. The ancient Indic and Chinese civilizations both gave rise to cosmologies that assumed the Earth was flat. The Hindu-Buddhist picture of the universe is as follows: a central landmass surrounded by ocean and concentric islands, with a central mountain, Mahameru by name, on whose slopes dwelt the gods and other supernatural beings. The design of Buddhist stupas and Hindu temples such as Angkor Wat is based on this cosmic geography.

In ancient Greek mythology, the Earth was flat and had a centre, the omphalos, or 'navel of the Earth', which was located at Delphi, seat of the famous oracle. In pre-Islamic Arab tradition, the Ka'ba at Mecca was thought to be the centre of the world, and this was incorporated by Muhammed into Islamic doctrine (see Q'uran 71:19*, a formulation similar to that found in the Coptic Gospel of Thomas: 'the Kingdom of God is spread upon the earth, and men do not see it'). There are any number of such examples.

The Dark Ages are called the Dark Ages for a reason; the thread of knowledge and culture that ran unbroken from the Egyptians to the Age of Constantine were broken in Europe, which relapsed into barbarism for several hundred years. The knowledge that Earth was spherical in shape was almost certainly lost--to all but a few.

In the matter of science a small amount of research will show you that I am right. Wikipedia is as good a place as any to start. Science is a child of the European Enlightenment. Ancient philosophers and astrologers dabbled in science, but they had no scientific method.
 

*Though sura 79:30 says it is egg-shaped, which rather complicates matters. Note that eggs are not spherical; if it had been the Prophet's intention to say the Earth was spherical, he could have said it was shaped like a melon, an orange, a pearl or any number of other familiar spherical objects.



edit on 29/11/10 by Astyanax because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 29 2010 @ 11:01 AM
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reply to post by ArMaP
 

'Discovery' implies landing and exploration, not just sailing past. I did say the discovery of Australia was controversial. In any case, it was Cook who, on his voyages, mapped and surveyed these coastlines, defined the size and shape of these landmasses, made landfall on them, etc.

A 'grudge match' isn't an actual grudge; pardon the colloquialism, and no need to be so serious!



posted on Nov, 29 2010 @ 12:30 PM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 

The circumstantial evidence alone points to the fact that even the illiterate peasant would not have held this as a common belief. Mainly because he would not have known too. The very fact that we do have records from educated men of the time, shows that this was not a teaching of academia or religious establishment in the middle ages. So the illiterate would have to be introduced to the idea of a flat earth from somewhere. And since neither the establishment or the church was propagating it, where did the idea come from? Furthermore, the educated of the day would have immediately refuted it, if it had become an issue. Considering also, there would have been no knowledge of the heretic Cosmas. And certainly none of Lactantius among the illiterate, these cannot bare responsibility for it.

A modicum of research will tell you that this is a myth. There was no majority, or even minority, belief in a flat earth in the middle ages. Thomas E. Woods Jr. and Jeffrey Burton Russell are just two among many who have done scholarly work on this. A quote by Thomas Woods:
"This just can’t be true, say my critics. After all, didn’t the Church teach that the world was flat?
Actually, no. Essentially no one during the Middle Ages believed the world was flat. Of the many myths about the Middle Ages this one is perhaps the most widespread, and yet at the same time the most roundly and authoritatively debunked. In fact, the evidence is so overwhelming that refuting this myth is like refuting the idea that the moon is made of cheese."

I will concede however, that I do not have any personal letters from the common man of the time, stating he believes the world to be round.

As for the science question, we'll save that for another thread, don't want to get too far off topic.

edit on 29-11-2010 by Klassified because: Correction: "nor before" inaccurate.



posted on Nov, 29 2010 @ 12:48 PM
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reply to post by Klassified
 


The illiterate would have to be introduced to the idea of a flat earth from somewhere.

You mean they wouldn't conclude as much from the evidence of their eyes? Illiterate doesn't mean stupid, you know.

As for the rest, read my links. But really, this isn't something I plan to waste time arguing about.





edit on 29/11/10 by Astyanax because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 29 2010 @ 01:11 PM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
reply to post by Klassified
 


The illiterate would have to be introduced to the idea of a flat earth from somewhere.

You mean they wouldn't conclude as much from the evidence of their eyes? Illiterate doesn't mean stupid, you know.

As for the rest, read my links. But really, this isn't something I plan to waste time arguing about.





edit on 29/11/10 by Astyanax because: (no reason given)


I have no misconception that illiterate means stupid.

Actually I have started reading your links. I was aware of most of it, but not others. Thanks.

Remember, the discussion here is in regards to the middle ages, not ancient ages.

And the myth here, as taught in the school I went to, as well as others, was in reference more to western civilization in the middle ages.

Nevertheless, agreed. No use in rehashing the same argument ad infinitum.



posted on Nov, 29 2010 @ 07:46 PM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
The Dark Ages are called the Dark Ages for a reason; the thread of knowledge and culture that ran unbroken from the Egyptians to the Age of Constantine were broken in Europe, which relapsed into barbarism for several hundred years. The knowledge that Earth was spherical in shape was almost certainly lost--to all but a few.

No, the Dark Ages are called the Dark Ages because the people of what is now called the Renaissance (and, probably, by people that came after the Renaissance and would have liked to live in that period) thought that they must have been barbarous and ignorant because they lived between the Classic Era and the Renaissance, in which the Classic Era was supposed to be reborn (for those that do not know it, Renaissance means rebirth).

The supposed "Dark Ages" gave us the replacement of the Roman numerals by the decimal system, making it possible to use more advanced calculations. It's true it was not something invented in Europe (most people think of Europe only when talking about the Middle Ages), but if it was spread during that era it means that people were using.

Maybe the "Dark Ages" name had also some of its roots in the fact that the people that used that name didn't like the idea that most of the science done during that era came from Islamic countries, but the fact is that the mixing of knowledge between Europe, the East and the Islamic countries was extremely important for the next centuries.

The University is a "Dark Ages" creation (Oxford, the third oldest university, was started in 1096), and from then on learning stopped being a church-related thing to become really independent.

Things like eyeglasses, horseshoes, the horse-collar, new types of looms and ploughs, really paved the way for the evolution that came after them.

People like Fibonacci, Dante, Chaucer and the ATS favourite William of Ockham could not really have existed if the Middle Ages were really the "Dark Ages", and neither would we have all those cathedrals we have spread by Europe, and when we look at them we see that they could not have been made by "barbarians".

The MIddle Ages were just a step in our evolution. Being a step, they were obviously below the ones that followed it, but it was not a missing step as many people think it was.



posted on Nov, 29 2010 @ 07:47 PM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 


Sorry, I don't understand what you mean by 'grudge match' and "being so serious".



posted on Nov, 29 2010 @ 11:28 PM
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reply to post by ArMaP
 

The Dark Ages were not the same as the Middle Ages, ArMap.

Decimal arithmetic was part of the Arab cultural bequest to Europe at the time of the Crusades. That's the Middle Ages, not the Dark Ages.


Although the Codex Vigilanus described an early form of Arabic numerals (omitting zero) by 976 AD, Fibonacci was primarily responsible for spreading their use throughout Europe after the publication of his book Liber Abaci in 1202. Source

Europe in the Dark Ages was a primitive and barbarous place by any civilized standards.

As for your other question: a grudge is long-cherished animosity against another, based on a former slight, real or imagined. It is malevolent and serious. A 'grudge match', however, is simply a long-standing sporting rivalry. My old school plays an annual cricket match against another. The match has been played every year for about a century and a half, and though the rivalry between the schools is fierce, it is also friendly. That is the difference between a gruge and a grudge match.

You're being too serious because you're taking a light comment I made as the foundation for a serious argument. I expect this is due to a linguistic misunderstanding, or perhaps a cultural one. I was merely commenting, somewhat humorously, on an aside you made. I'm sorry if you misconstrued it as an attack.



edit on 29/11/10 by Astyanax because: (no reason given)




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