mercredi 31 mai 2017

What is Flammarion's Wood Cut Doing Illustrating a CMI Article on Galileo?

Back in October 1997, Russell Grigg published an article on Galileo.

It finishes with, just before the notes, a fact box about the Ptolemaic system.

One could of course ask what such a fact box is doing there, since the Church was in 1616 and 1633 very much not defending the integral Ptolemaic system, but only two of its data in common with other Geocentric and Geostatic systems: 1) Sun moves around Earth daily and 2) moves its daily movement around Earth from South to North and back across Equator yearly.

In fact, the Church was supporting astronomers like Riccioli, who thought that Almagest needed an update badly, because Ptolemy was wrong on so many things, hence the title of Riccioli's work Almagestum Novum. Discoveries by Tycho Brahe and Kepler were taken into account, while two positions (not discoveries) by Kepler were rejected:

  • that Earth moves in a yearly orbit around the Sun and also in a daily rotation around itself*;
  • that the mechanism of movements of celestial bodies is mechanistic.**

But there is another twist to this. Using Flammarion's woodcut when talking of Ptolemaic system is a somewhat dishonest bait and switch tactic. And here is alas what I saw on the article:

Can we get a little close up of the illustration to the right? Here:

A traveller puts his head under the edge of the firmament in the original (1888) printing of the Flammarion engraving.
Anonymous - Camille Flammarion, L'Atmosphère: Météorologie Populaire (Paris, 1888), pp. 163

The Flammarion engraving is a wood engraving by an unknown artist that first appeared in Camille Flammarion's L'atmosphère: météorologie populaire (1888). The image depicts a man crawling under the edge of the sky, depicted as if it were a solid hemisphere, to look at the mysterious Empyrean beyond. The caption underneath the engraving (not shown here) translates to "A medieval missionary tells that he has found the point where heaven and Earth meet..."

Image and captions from:

OK, if we go to the mere text in the fact box by Russell Grigg, there is no indication whatsoever that Ptolemaic world view involves a place where heaven and earth meet, like in the wood cut or engraving. Nor any other indication that a Ptolemy reader, believing what he read, would be involved in Flat Earth. Precisely as in the fact text by Flammarion.

In the illustration, however, there is a very clear suggestion that, as there was in Medieval times (it looks like a Medieval wood cut, except it is not clumsy enough***!) a kind of imagination around of a place where heaven and earth met, there was also a kind of imagination that Earth was flat, rather than a globe surrounded by Heaven on all sides. While no actual word, only the fact it is given as illustration of other words, suggests this was a part of Ptolemaic world view, nothing stops the reader (especially the lazy reader, taking things in as a unity) from making the association and actually believing this.

Is Russell Grigg unaware that the original illustration by Flammarion was also given a caption much more directly misleading, one saying basically that the Medievals were willing to believe a Catholic missionary on such detail? If not, and if he is an honest person, rather than as some Ian Paisley creatures willing to twist facts to get at the Catholic Church, why did he include the illustration? Was someone else doing so on the CMI staff?

And if he was not aware of this ulterior dishonesty, even so, why include the wood cut at all, since obviously it was not about the Ptolemaic world view at all?

Was he sentimental about old school books, or did he lose the sense of relevance? I mean, even if he is now one of the older guys on CMI, or even retired, back then he was just 70 years, and people who live to ninety don't tend to be Alzheimer patients, so I can't believe that. However, he could have been a wee bit too faithful to some of the less honest teachers he had met in his childhood or teens or young carreer as a chemist, at university or after.

He is perhaps not the only chemist, who, while learning useful things about chemistry, learned useless things about History of Science.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Wednesday of
Pentecost Novena


* Riccioli, like the Church, said probably : definitely wrong - but I have not read that passage, I have not read the whole work. ** Riccioli, in absence of definition by the Church but in presence of a preponderance in favour of angelic movers among writers of the Church considered Kepler probably wrong. That particular passage I have read. I quoted it in this article:

New blog on the kid : What Opinion did Riccioli call the Fourth and Most Common One?

Written in response to Sungenis and DeLano who while fellow Catholics and fellow Geocentrics were more on Kepler's than on Riccioli's side when it comes to angelic movers.

*** The level of technique in wood cuts shown in this one would be that acquired by the time of the Reformers or even later - after Magellan had settled the issue.


On Facebook:

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Actually, I just detected a place where Russell Grigg was using a fraudulent or fraudulently placed illustration too: [linking here]

Creation Ministries International
Hans-Georg Lundahl: Links outside of aren't allowed (our rules on our main Facebook page explain why). You can re-post in fresh thread without the link. As per rule #7, comment hidden.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
My article was my argument fleshed out.

Feel free to just forward it to him.

I have given him an opportunity to respond.

[I was then given and used a good method of forwarding.]

PS : It seems that the article was changed in response to this request. It seems also that the article was changed from a magazine October 1997 to one in September 1997.

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