This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.


← A universe without purpose

Viveca's Avatar Jump to comment 23 by Viveca

Comment 1 by Cartomancer :

[Krauss] And so we continue to be surprised. We are like the early mapmakers redrawing the picture of the globe even as new continents were discovered. And just as those mapmakers confronted the realization that the Earth was not flat,

An absolute schoolboy howler I'm afraid. Unless the mapmakers in question are the ones working before about 600BC and the continents in question are Europe, Asia and Africa. The sphericality of the earth was well established by at least the time of Pythagoras, the distance to the sun and moon calculated by Aristarchus of Samos and the earth's circumference calculated by Eratosthenes. No serious scholar since early antiquity ever thought the earth to be anything else but spherical.

I'd like "serious scholar" defined. One can be a "serious scholar" and still be wrong! Are you saying that there were no scholars in the West post-600 bc who didn't accept that "the sphericality of the earth was well established"? I find that incredibly hard to believe, and if there were serious scholars who thought otherwise, then Krauss's point stands.

The question is simple: did all or most mapmakers, post 600bc, realise that the earth was spherical? If they did, your intervention is justified. If they didn't, it isn't.

Mon, 02 Apr 2012 14:24:34 UTC | #931912