Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Pliny the Elder:  Rebutting the Flat Earthers.

I don't have a decent online link for the text of Pliny's Natural History.  The text is an encyclopedia of classical opinions covering every topic imaginable.  In some areas it is fascinating as it talks about the relative size and distance of the moon and the sun, along with the nature of eclipses.  But then he includes remarks that lightning descends from Jupiter and the vapors of the earth effect the starts.  It is quite a mixed bag.  Astrology and omens get a lengthy section of praise in all this.

He expends much of a book proving that the Earth is a sphere and giving all sorts of arguments.  The timing of the visibility of eclipses from different parts of the globe is part of this.  Differing lengths of the days in summer and winter at different latitude also are noted and the fact that a sun dial which is correct for one locale will not be useful if it is moved too far.  Similar arguments are based on shadows since in the northern parts they never face south, while near the equator they are sometimes north and sometimes south.  Then there is Aswan in Egypt which is always to the north, except for one day of the year.  Pliny asserts that sailors have longer days sailing west than east.  The oddest, however, is a claim that some lights which were set during the day were visible elsewhere at night.  As to whether or not anyone actually believed a flat earth notion, Pliny doesn't say directly.  No one specifically is mentioned, nor does he quote anyone.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

LoneRubberDragon open posting. Long time since I last wrote.
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On a sword sharpening sword issue, In an analogy of describing the concept of Free Will and Choice, of Finite Beings, there is a Self Referential Paradox Object.
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Here's the puzzle core issue:
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In the Beginning, before the Original Sin, we Know that God did not have a gun pointed at His Head, (All Knowing of All Things Past, Present, and Future), forcing God to Create Satan. So we Know that God Free Will Chose to Create Satan, even given All Knowledge, that God was, from His Perfection, Creating Imperfection, instrumental for His Exclusive Worship and Pleasure.
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Thoughts on this Self Referential Paradox Object? A type of Original Sin before The Original Sin, where the entire universe is born in a Sin Nature, starting with YHVH God and Jesus, The Word, with YHVH-God.

Looney said...

LRD, I believe that this was more than adequately answered by Augustine in The City of God and On The Free Choice of the Will about the year 400AD or so.

Or we can go back to Job, or Isaiah 45:9-10.

It is popular to challenge this today, but I think it is a function of the extreme wealth of our society, the love of self indulgence, the fact that Atheism is America's established religion, and the lowering of philosophy to the level of bumper stickers. Thus, what was refuted eons ago keeps popping back up!

Hope you are doing well!

Anonymous said...

Hm, a call to pastor lost sheep reference in Isaiah. Not sure how that related to Reading the issue. And Job's core is filled with arguing jews without stability, which doesn't explain why God took Satan up on Satan's essential Bet on Job's Righteousness, to which God accepted the bet, instead of saying, "Satan Get Behind Me", with Jesus, The Word, with YHVH-God. Much less even explain why God chose to show Pride in Job, which came before Job's Destruction. And Job showing God crowing like a drunken father that a cattle farmer doesn't know how of the creation of life, or celestial dynamics ... as a CATTLE FARMER, with God giving Substitutes to Job's losses, like Satan giving Toxon Cheap Imitation Bows of Power.
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As for the popularity of the issue I posted, I have not read or heard such things for 40 years, where I am simply putting together the system connections in certain human testified orders and Biblical architecture, leading to this particular Self Referential Paradox Object. If you peruse "Athiest" sites, their sophistication is often found lacking, and I never quite saw one like this, much less the answer.
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Anyway, what encapsulates what Augustine said in [Concerning The City of God against The Pagans], to this particular Puzzle Core Issue? A web reference says this is a 22 book tome of The Church Fathers. Your Believing is NOT Knowing that Augustine addressed this.
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And for a wealthy society, there is yet a poverty that is changeless for at least decades in The Greatest Nation. And I've read some recommended books by Behe, Shermer, Schroeder, even Dawkins, and find they all have grave errors, and only a handful of loose parts that make sense.
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And as for bumper sticker philosophy, I can Wholeheartedly Agree. A 1970's Viet Nam War Era American Christian Phrase gave me the "nobody holds a gun to your head to force your free will choices", (except in a mugging!). Then it is easy Adapting that to the bumper stickers of Catholic or Fundamentalist All Knowing God, and God's Perfection, and humanity Imperfection. And God's Motivation is stated in the bumper sticker that the cosmos God made was made for His Exclusive Worship and for His Pleasure, which leads to this system structure self referential paradox object core.
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And "Bumper Stickers", your response looks close to that state. What, go forth in ignorant begging bag holding ways? Christians living like the snake eating from the dust of the ground? I guess you are right, if THIS is america.

Anonymous said...

[Sighs] Not trying to be hard, but I do directly and pointedly present an issue point, as a Mena Sword.
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And in response, your response is an indirection, instead of a Ready Answer for The Faith you Claim. A glancing Rima Word stumbling block-age, in that abstract space of this sword sharpening sword issue question.
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Oh, sorry, not Isaiah 49:9-10. The other reference, a don't you dare question God? They do the same thing in Islam. That is why they call us Infidels as easily as we call them Infidels, and both calling Jews Infidels that YHVH Gave a Bill of Divorce to in Jeremiah 3:8, not a YHVH God reed shaking in the wind, Threatening a Writ of Divorce.
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Al Capone running a Mafia, making humanity in Chicago an offer they couldn't refuse, is like God making humanity an offer they couldn't refuse, in Jesus' Salvation, can all work to make an Islam, without ready answers. Don't you dare question YHVH-Christ! Don't you dare question Allah. Don't you dare question Einstein General Relativity.
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If you don't know, at least we are in the same boat, with an Invisible Absent Negligent Protocolless God with threats to keep prey sheep in line. But we don't even know that you don't know, here, throwing a 22 book to dissemble.
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Where's The Word's Power, with you, LooneyFundamentalist?

Anonymous said...

I can say the Dogma of Humans, Augustine or other, can fall short like Behe, Schroeder, Shermer, or Dawkins.
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For example, numerous Peer Reviewed textbooks on Fourier Tarnsforms in the 1970's-1990's repeat how FT are poor for Differentiation due to noise and Gibbs Ringing. True enough for noise, but with adaptive interpolation Nyquist Criterion time stretching, Differentiation is quite enhanced. But of University Level Careers, woe unto him that striveth his creator?
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And I believe Islam says the same of Infidel Christians, where you can try to tell them, but they will not listen, fur they have bartered their guidance, in exchange for their error, from the Koran-Qur'an. Woe unto them that striveth with their creator, Allah?
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So Mena Longsword thrust, and Rima Short Dagger glancing block, LooneyFundamenatlist.
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Refer I Peter 3:15 [But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:]
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And, again, a dereferenced exponential divergent domain of a 22 book latin writing, is truly Believing and not Knowing Reason For. Lying with others, as one might lie with children? That is very Roman Empire.
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So, how AM I? THAT I AM on God's Finite Bandwidth Prison Planet, under Universal Death Sentence in This World, and the Boundary Value Conditions of Death Constraints, is without question. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

And again, your point on Atiest "Christian Founded" America is heavy in the parlance of the 1960's. For like The Roman Empire, The Greatest Nation, The United States of America, they Constitutionally Divorced God from The State, and, furthermore, they Judicially Protects all strange gods, made Equal to God, under The Law, which is Spiritual (Romans 7:14), for every nation that forgets God, is turned into hell (Psalm 9:17), for you shall not put another God above God (Exodus 20:3), but the loophole of america, you can place one Equal to God(?). America, Like The Roman Empire, with its strange gods, Judicially Protected, Claudius, Calligula, Tiberius, Nero. So an Athiest "Christian Founded" Nation, America - touche!
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And, to reiterate:
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[In the Beginning, before the Original Sin, we Know that God did not have a gun pointed at His Head, (All Knowing of All Things Past, Present, and Future), forcing God to Create Satan. So we Know that God Free Will Chose to Create Satan, even given All Knowledge, that God was, from His Perfection, Creating Imperfection, instrumental for His Exclusive Worship and Pleasure.]

Anonymous said...

And I can see one approach, of God needing to be Perfect, requiring Satan to force sin, to teach obedience, but if Humans have Free Will, and rules to obey, that they are capable of breaking, then adding Satan on top, complicates the matter, under claimed Intelligent Design.
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It is like God expecting Eternal Perfection from humans in The Garden to one simple law to obey, that they could break on their own, but God Free Will Chooses to permit Satan to walk The Garden, to increase the difficulty level. One level of eternal perfection expectation is not enough, but two levels?
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And as I recall you are also an engineer, even a human Knows that a system capable of breaking a rule, will fail, under eternal time windows of observationand expectation, also known as Murphy's Law. God did not know that, or likes seeing an accuser on top of eternal perfection?
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In Marketing, it looks like a ploy, to expect eternal perfection obedience, throwing Satan on top of the ability to fail in Free Will, and then come as Jesus, for God to have an out, making humanity they cannot refuse, like mafioso "Godfather".
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So even this hypothetical solution shows the ability to excuse anything from a mafia like "setup" God, with humans without a Ready Answer for The Faith, with the Invisible Absent Negligent and Protocolless God, of the God that Ordained Finite Blind Dirty Rags humans to lead the Finite Blind Dirty Rags Humans, as His Spirit cannot strive with humans.
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It is like an Employer expecting Eternal Perfection, from humans that Will Fail under Eternity, and under the Threat of Death after The Garden, AND still throwing God's own Free Will Choice of a Created Satan on top of that problem. What is God trying to Breed, for Himself, under such a manipulation matrix, to Achieve His Worship and to Achieve God's Pleasure?
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And we also Know that God left the blind to lead the blind, for who teaches of God, but other humans, from letters to books, for we cannot even speak or write, unless we teach each other a language, as God is not a Teacher to humans as a Being. One in All Power and All Knowledge, who is, again, Invisible Absent Negligent and Protocolless, more like a Zeus.
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God's Cosmic War.
What is the Primary Goal? To win The Game?
A strange game. The only winning move, is not to play.
Are we learning, yet?
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So, again:
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[In the Beginning, before the Original Sin, we Know that God did not have a gun pointed at His Head, (All Knowing of All Things Past, Present, and Future), forcing God to Create Satan. So we Know that God Free Will Chose to Create Satan, even given All Knowledge, that God was, from His Perfection, Creating Imperfection, instrumental for His Exclusive Worship and Pleasure.]

Anonymous said...

LoneRubberDragon
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Oh, and after that series of post, I suppose I AM doing unusual things about Engineering.
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Ever hear of Complex Taylor Series Chirp Fourier Transforms? Very interesting properties, where moving frequency information in a time window, can be focussed through the Complex Taylor Series Chirp mixing. As Kung Fu Panda might say, of a dragon scroll, you can hear the flapping of a butterflies' wing.
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Taken from a specific Doppler form from Cartwright Engineering, but easily taken into the generic full case, which leads into a generalized mathematical tool, akin to the difference between MacLaurain Series on Zero, and the Taylor Series Generalization, of the 18th century, of some early debate.
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It is quite amazing, to see a simple linear frequency ramp with noise, and so equally lost in the noise of an FFT, but brought into a sharp peak, when mixed with a Complex Taylor Series Chirp.
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The tough problem, is how to make a Fast Transform, of this method, since mixing and Fourier Transforms are two different domains of processing.
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But of course this has nothing to do with the issue of a Self Referential Paradox Object contained in God's Free Will Choice Creation of Satan, in God's All Knowing Way, Willfully Creating Imperfection of Sinful Natures, from His Perfection Blameless Infallible Inerrant. But life is only a dream illusion, the Buddhist say!
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The difficulty is, though, the difference between Christian Racism, in exchange for Darwinian Racism. Not very appealing alternative, now is it, without a Ready Answer for The Faith.

Looney said...

LRD, I just did a post dedicated to westerners/atheists who think they know something about Buddhism. It was part of my recent trip to Taiwan. My wife was born into a Buddhist family and I have lived in and around the culture off and on for a very long time.

Anonymous said...

LoneRubberDragon
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Actually, Buddhism is relatively easy to understand, IF you break things back into the Japanese Kanji, or the Mandarin Ideograms. The radical index, alone, practically tells the story, of those "ghost" like systems, leather armor, hides, and such.
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The difficulty, in america, is that few americans (or even europeans for that matter), have a ready understanding of Japanese or Mandarin roots, to extract these ready word understandings, of these Ghost in The Shell conceptions. Likely explains the general american ignorance, and divide between, say, The West, and The East.
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And, of course, Zen, produces much Mu, in its spartan approach to Buddhism, or WU for the Mandarin, of negation nullifyings and discontinuities.
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AND What that has to do with the Original Sin before the Original Sin question in the Christian Framework, though, I have No- idea.
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Perhaps too much reading of Roman Empire works?
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Taiwan, you say? I did work for their ROCAF (Republic of China Air Force) Radar Environment Simulator Systems for training their air traffick controllers. They used american Hughes Defence Radar Systems, and Lockheed Martin GE592 phased array radar systems, quite popular in the 1970's. Part of what protects Taiwan, from Mainland China.

Anonymous said...

LoneRubberDragon
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Furthermore, if you read into the Mandarin Chinese Dialect further, you see some disturbing ramifications of Buddhist Quantum Systems Research, at low temperatures and finite bandwidths, both, lacking the flux of power, say, a billion years after the sun burns out, leaving a White Dwarf, and vitrified frozen planet. Whatever Buddhists know, they know that they would need a vehicle eight ways to SunDay between stars.
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A little akin to Arthur C. Clarke's Childhoods End, of the Overlord's Servants, that are an evolutionary dead end, in the cosmic structure as athiests and such concieve of physics, in their often world limited knowledge presentations, behind their veils of division.
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Perhaps the synergy between the Mainland Chinese and The Branch of Japan, where one builds the bodies and the other builds the robots? Somewhat Ghost in The Shell in theory, of course.

Anonymous said...

One passage of Buddhist Relations or simply technology application, depending on the american quality of work producing the reference translation dictionary stability, or lack thereof, is disturbing from peculiar Mandarin Chinese Quantum Research:
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[LOU~DING- MO\XIAN~ DE/TA\ TAI/MING/ SU\DOU- FAN\TONG~ FEI-ZHEN- WAN\DU/ER\ ROU/TE\SHEN-|
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GatherData SuddenDanger CompleteRepeat SupportNetherworld ModelEvery ViolateSystemic WrongGenuine CurveReadSecond PulpExceptionExplain]
where,
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[SAI-QI~ QUAN/TONG~ HAI/PO\TI/SI- FA-LOU\ LOU\JIA- MAI\KU-RAN/ RAN/NING~ KOU~NEI\ RI\ZEN~|
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PackAwaken WholeSystemic EvenYetCompelsTopicConsider CommenceReveal RevealAugment CirculatoryCaveLike-that LightsTwist-cross-purposes MouthInnermost SunWhy-for],
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speaking on quantum level biosimulation system error correction with reloads, for sticky data failures, and the system communication properties, when the elements approach micron scale systems word use, in some transient cautions. Probably around a 1960's frame of refernce in a specific Mandarin Command and Control Portal Language with English.

Looney said...

I think you have clearly proved the point - that Westerners can't understand Quantum Buddhism! But my error is now apparent, because non-Westerners won't understand it either!

Anonymous said...

LoneRubberDragon
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Don't tell me, buddhism is all doubled edged insults and another form of God's Prison Planet, to waste time until death?
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Yes, That could be. You are part of the warden insulting system of God?
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Gott Mit Uns, und Arbeit Macht Sie Frei, fur Der Vaterland Reich, for we are Just, following orders, of God, unto Death.
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Please, you go first for death, if you are Hinayana, and if Mahayana, you can come back and murder more humans, LooneyFundamentalist.
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Does that also make Buddhists utterly useless, much like the american or Christian counterpart?
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Could be.

Anonymous said...

LRD
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Or should I say Buddhism is the asian market branch of Subtle Organized Crime, frrom Thailand Bubble Gum Rooms, to Japanese Zen Two-Wrist Traps, (tourist), to technology bleeding channels from american and english and european technology sectors, through "oh so Holy" monks on mountaintops, and not too savory city branches of Yakuza, Hong Kong, and Shanghai meaning to usurp and supplant?
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I bet not too many americans and europeans KNOW THAT, LooneyFundamentalist, I AGREE.
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Maybe you should have stuck about San Jose, and not moved to Taiwan, Looney. The fact you can only talk in ignorant indirection shows the corrupt penetration of Buddhism, and not the positive aspects.
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For God's Finite Bandwidth Prison Planet under Universal Death Sentence, and the Boundary Value Conditions of Death, you are not too forthcoming, which could be construed as an affiliation with Organized Crime, LooneyFundamentalist.
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Alot less sharp than you USED to be. Watch out for those Chinese Opium Dens, LooneyFundamentalist.