Disposing of Science Myths

Textbooks Are Not Always Correct

Sigh. Chapter two of our textbook and two myths have been recapitulated by the text.

Science is Not a Method

I've talked about this before. So have many others.

Who Thought The World Was Flat?

"No one before the 1830s believed that medieval people thought that the earth was flat." Jeffrey Burton Russell, The Myth of the Flat Earth, 1997.

Not Ptolemy:

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Not Aristotle:
“Either then the earth is spherical or it is at least naturally spherical. And it is right to call anything that which nature intends it to be, and which belongs to it, rather than which it is by constraint and contrary to nature. The evidence of the senses further corroborates this. How else would eclipses of the moon show segments shaped as we see them? As it is, the shapes which the moon itself each month shows are of every kind—straight, gibbous, and concave—but in eclipses the outline is always curved: and, since it is the interposition of the earth that makes the eclipse, the form of this line will be caused by the form of the earth’s surface, which is therefore spherical.” — Works of Aristotle, vol., I, p. 389
Not during the Middle Ages:
"There never was a period of 'flat earth darkness' among scholars (regardless of how the public at large may have conceptualized our planet both then and now). Greek knowledge of sphericity never faded, and all major medieval scholars accepted the earth's roundness as an established fact of cosmology." Steven J. Gould, The Late Birth of a Flat Earth,1997.
And yet, the marine sciences textbook for my students tells them that the prevailing belief in the Middle Ages was that the Earth is flat." Life on an Ocean Planet, Alexander, 2005. page 2-17. Additional readings debunk the falsehood that educated people in the Middle Ages believed that the earth was flat was spread:

No comments: