Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ed Bozinski

Let’s begin with some gems from Bozinski’s blog:

Geocentrists remain hopeful even in this heliocentric age because as Gerardus Bouw (Ph.D. in astronomy, president of the Association for Biblical Astronomy and the country’s leading proponent of geocentrism) puts it: "I would not be a geocentrist if it were not for the Scriptures.”… "Both the anthropocentric theory of inspiration and the phenomenological-language theory are forms of accommodation where God is said to accommodate his wording to the understanding of the common man.

Which reminds me, Evangelical theologian Ben Witherington wrote this in Bible Review in 2003:

"In the late 1960s, my car broke down in the mountains of North Carolina, and I had to hitchhike. . . . I was picked up by an elderly couple driving an ancient Plymouth. After a little conversation, I discovered they were 'Flat-Eathers [sic.],' by which I mean they did not believe the world was round.


"I pressed them on this and asked, 'Why not?'

"The elderly man's response was, 'It says in the Book of Revelation that the angels will stand on the four corners of the earth. The earth couldn't have four corners if it was round.'"

1. Now, anyone with a functioning brain could see what is wrong with this type of argument. But Bozinski is blind to the fact that this type of argument contradicts his underlying argument.

i) Bozinski has argued that Bible writers teach an obsolescent view of the world. And they teach that antiquated view because they lack the scientific resources to know any better. All they could go by back then were appearances, and on the face of it (so goes the argument) they seemed to be living on a flat, stationary earth.

ii) However, when Bozinski cites modern geocentrists like Bouw, Sungenis, Selbrede, &c., they don’t subscribe to geocentrism because they think their senses select for geocentrism. Rather, they subscribe to geocentrism because they think that is what the Bible teaches.

iii) Moreover, they don’t subscribe to geocentrism because of their scientific ignorance. Rather, they subscribe to geocentricism in spite of well-known scientific arguments for heliocentrism, as well as scientific arguments against geocentrism.

iv) Furthermore, notice how Bouw explicitly opposes geocentrism to a merely “phenomenological” description. Yet, according to Bozinski, the phenomena are exactly what Bible writers and ANE writers were going by. All they had were the bare phenomena, which allegedly single out geocentrism.

Same thing with a flat earth. They supposedly believed in a flat earth because the earth appeared to be flat. That’s what they had to work with.

Yet when Bozinski tries to fortify his underlying argument by citing modern geocentrists (or even flat-earthers), they stake out that position in defiance of mainstream science and mainstream theology alike.

Even the hillbillies he cites via Witherington don’t believe the earth is flat cuz it looks just plain flat. That’s not the reason they gave. Rather, it’s based on how they interpret the Bible.

v) By parity of reasoning, if Bible writers taught geocentrism or the flat-earth, that would be despite, and not because of, the prima facie evidence. So Bozinski has upended his initial argument.

2. Let’s take another example of Bozinski’s fried circuitry. He appeals to writers like Bouw and Walton as if their positions were equivalent or complementary. Ye even if they both think the Bible teaches geocentrism, they have divergent rather than convergent reasons for that common conclusion.

Walton thinks that Christians ought to take the Bible at face value. However, what he has in mind is what would be the face-value meaning of Scripture to the original audience (as he understands it). He’d fault Bouw for reading the Bible through the tinted lens of Bouw’s blinkered fundy tradition, rather than recovering the lens of the original audience.

For Walton, “face value” is culturebound. What’s the face-value reading for one culture isn’t interchangeable with the face-value reading for another. For what we take to be the face-value meaning of Scripture is deceptively value-laden. We often bring unconscious assumptions or filters to the interpretive process.

My immediate point is not to evaluate Walton’s own position, but just to point out that superficial agreement between Walton and Bouw conceals incommensurable hermeneutical strategies. You can’t intelligently cite both Bouw and Walton to prove Biblical geocentrism (or flat-earthianity), for any similarity is strictly adventitious.

But, of course, that would require Bozinski to be a rational rationalist.


  1. Do you think the geocentrist arguments from Scripture have any merit to the them?

  2. Why do people think it's clever to misspell someone's name?

  3. Try to learn the difference between punning and misspelling.

  4. Since you're not clever enough to know the difference between punning and misspelling, your verdict is less than impressive.

  5. Hi Ryan,

    I don't think Steve was just trying to be clever. I think he was trying to be relevant.

    Puns are actually quite clever.
    And Asimov was quite fond of them.

    Puns are also a valuable mnemonic device. Fast and pray that they might be a helpful device for fast Eddy.

  6. N-N-I said:
    Do you think the geocentrist arguments from Scripture have any merit to the them?

    I think it's far easier to "prove" geocentrism simply from relativity. Every frame of reference is equally valid. So it's just as valid to say that a baseball moves through the air when a pitcher throws it, as to say that from the ball's frame of reference, the ball is stationary and the world moves beneath it.

    The physics is the same regardless; which, the argument goes, means they're both equally correct ways of framing the subject.

    The only way to stipulate as a fact that the Earth moves at all is to take the frame of reference of someone not on the Earth. And even then, one could argue that an outside-the-Earth observer is still part of the universe, and thus his own position observing the Earth could be moving in such a way that makes it appear the Earth itself is moving; so one really needs to take an outside-the-universe approach. Which, given the definition of the term "universe," puts you in an impossible-to-exist location to render that judgment.

    In conclusion, "geocentrism" and "heliocentrism" are neither one objective terms. They require a frame of reference to examine the motion. All you can really say is that there is relative motion between the Sun and the Earth--but such relative motion will be there (and in an identical manner) whether we claim A) the Sun alone moves; B) the Earth alone moves; or C) both the Earth and the Sun move.

  7. And personal opinions about what constitutes a clever pun simply causes a conversation to needlessly meanderson.

  8. Wamalo,

    I see what you did there.

  9. Just tryan to make a point.

  10. Peter, Thanks for the reply. Given science’s inability to answer the question, why shouldn’t a geocentric model be the Christian default position, given such language as the “sun stood still” (Joshua 10:13)?

  11. Should a flat-earth model be the default position, given language about "ends" and "corners" and "pillars" of the earth?

  12. Good question. Perhaps because it is conceded that science can answer the question of whether the earth is flat.

    But Peter seems to suggest that science cannot determine whether or not the earth is the center of the universe.

    So given science’s inability to answer the question of the center of the universe (which Peter seems to affirm), why would the default position be the popular scientific opinion?

  13. Whether or not science can answer either question is a separate question from the language of Scripture.

  14. So what does the language of Scripture allow with regards to how a Christian should think about the center of the universe question?

  15. I've discussed that question ad nauseam in my many replies to Ed Babinski, starting with TID.