The White Lie

Andrew D. White’s Great White Lie

The remarkable history of Atheism’s jealousy of the Christian origins of Modern Science

  Every body knows the old story of how Christopher Columbus was dogged and attacked by narrow minded bishops and religious fanatics as he sought to prove once and for all what apparently no one else knew; the world was a sphere.

It was the old story we heard again and again growing up in public schools, the clear eyed atheist taking on against all odds the narrow minded bigots of the religious world who would do anything to stop modern science.

At least that’s the way that Andrew Dickson White, early president of Cornell told the story.
 This oft repeated tale is found in the immense two vol. work about the alleged struggle between science and theology written by White in 1896. Trouble is, as successful as his historical revisionism was in fooling the public, it was, as sociology professor Rodney Stark points out, a great white lie. Stark explains in a chapter of his great book, For the Glory of God, that virtually everybody knew the earth was round and had for centuries. [Columbus was no atheist and gave Scripture the credit for his inspiration, but you can read about that in another blog on this site]

Bede and the Bishop Virgilius of Salzburg both plainly taught that the earth was round in the 700’s, as did Hildegard and Thomas Aquinas in the 11th and 12th centuries. The English scholastic John Sacrobosco wrote a book entitled, Sphere, which talked about all the heavenly bodies being spheres in the 13th century and the list goes on and on.

The objections the Spanish scholars had to funding Columbus was not that they believed the earth was flat, they knew like everyone else it was round, it was because they rightly believed that Columbus had badly miscalculated the size of the Earth. They knew it was much bigger than he had estimated, and had not the “New World” been in its proper place, Columbus and his entire crew would have starved long before they reached Japan.

The reason that White had to make up his big whopper about history is the same reason that Dawkins so rarely admits the truth about the fossil record, and that Haeckel had to fake his embryo drawings, and the discover of the Piltdown Fraud had fake its skull.

The facts just didn’t add up the way he wanted them too. And if you’re an Atheist, who says it’s wrong to tell a little White Lie?


Great White Lie


About notmanynoble

woodcutter from Washington State
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