Fake News about Christopher Columbus and the Flat Earth Mythology

Yesterday was Columbus Day, so the great navigator is in the news. Unfortunately for him, his day is in jeopardy. But when liberals want to use Columbus, they often use him to bash people they claim are “anti-science.”

Fake history has a long history. This is especially true when it comes to Christopher Columbus. For many years, elementary school students were taught that Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492 to prove the earth was round because the scientists of the day believed it was flat. This is fake history.The thing of it is, there was almost no one who believed the earth was flat. Washington Irving started the fake flat-earth history story in his three-volume History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus (1828). Samuel Eliot Morison, a noted Columbus biographer, describes the story by Irving as “misleading and mischievous nonsense, . . . one of the most popular Columbian myths.”1

Irving’s fictionalized account of Columbus describes him as being “assailed with citations from the Bible and the Testament: the book of Genesis, the psalms of David, the orations of the Prophets, the epistles of the apostles, and the gospels of the Evangelists. To these were added expositions of various saints and reverend Commentators. . . . Such are specimens of the errors and prejudices, the mingled ignorance and erudition, and the pedantic bigotry, with which Columbus had to contend.”2 These tales of opposition never happened.

The dispute with Columbus in the 15th century was over how big around the earth was not whether the earth was round or flat. Columbus was wrong about the circumference of the earth; the cartographers were right.

For decades, the flat-earth slam has become standard historical mythology that was written into our nation’s textbooks and is pulled out as an ideological hammer every time some liberal lie is questioned.

In the eleven-volume Our Wonder World, first published in 1914, the editors offered the following undocumented claims: “All the ancient peoples thought the earth was flat, or, if not perfectly flat, a great slightly curving surface,” and “Columbus was trying to convince people that the earth was round.”

Even the Encyclopedia Britannica perpetuated the myth of a round-earth solution for Columbus’s voyages as late as 1961: “Before Columbus proved the world was round, people thought the horizon marked its edge. Today we know better.” The people knew better in Columbus’s day.

“As early as the sixth century B.C., Pythagoras—and later Aristotle and Euclid—wrote about the Earth as a sphere. Ptolemy wrote ‘Geography’ at the height of the Roman Empire, 1,300 years before Columbus sailed, and considered the idea of a round planet as fact.

“‘Geography’ became a standard reference, and Columbus himself owned a copy.” (Washington Post)

A 1983 textbook for fifth-graders reported that Columbus “felt he would eventually reach the Indies in the East. Many Europeans still believed that the world was flat…

 

Read the Rest of the Story at GaryDeMar.com

Gary DeMar

Gary DeMar was raised in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University (1973) and Reformed Theological Seminary (1979). He has served as researcher and writer at the Christian Worldview ministry American Vision since 1980 and President since 1984. Today he serves as Senior Fellow at American Vision where he lectures, researches, and writes on various worldview issues. Gary is the author of 30 books on a variety of topics – from "America’s Christian History" and "God and Government" to "Thinking Straight in a Crooked World" to "Last Days Madness." Gary has been interviewed by Time magazine, CNN, MSNBC, FOX, the BBC, and Sean Hannity. He has done numerous radio and television interviews, including the “Bible Answer Man,” hosted by Hank Hanegraaff and “Today’s Issues” with Tim Wildmon and Marvin Sanders. Newspaper interviews with Gary have appeared in the Washington Times, Toledo (Ohio) Blade, the Sacramento Bee, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Marietta Daily Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, The Orlando Sentinel, and the Chicago Tribune.

Please leave your comments below