A Little History -- The "Two Spheres Theory" of the Earth

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A Little History -- The "Two Spheres Theory" of the Earth

Postby SiskosTheMan on January 3rd, 2017, 11:11 am 

Has anyone read "The Invention of Science" by David Wootton? He talks about this theory that used to exist. It said the earth is made of two spheres. One is water. The other is earth. Copernicus had to address this idea in his On the Revolutions.

This is a fascinating idea. Wootton makes a point about how maybe this is the key to the scientific revolution. And he pins it all on Columbus and the discovery of America. Not on Copernicus himself or the telescope or something. Seems to me like Wootton has a true new idea about science. And I never, ever heard anything like this before. So, where else but a science forum to ask if anyone else knows something about it? Or to ask where to learn more?

I can't excerpt a chapter of "The Invention of Science," though. But, there is a good 3-part discussion of it (not by Wootton) on the Vatican Observatory's blog, called “Copernicus and the High Seas”:

http://www.vofoundation.org/blog/copernicus-high-seas/

But that is the only non-Wootton discussion I can find. I tried posting this yesterday on "Anything Science." But, either I screwed it up or someone took it down for some reason. (I got no note on why.)
Last edited by zetreque on January 4th, 2017, 1:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: link
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Re: A Little History -- The "Two Spheres Theory" of the Eart

Postby SiskosTheMan on January 3rd, 2017, 11:20 am 

And can someone tell me how to make a link actually link? So you can just click on it? Instead of copying it and pasting it into the browser?
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Re: A Little History -- The "Two Spheres Theory" of the Eart

Postby Braininvat on January 3rd, 2017, 1:13 pm 

Hi, Siskos. We don't get much history of science stuff here, but maybe this will be of interest. I admit I'm not quite sure where to put this thread - possibly the Philosophy of Science forum over in PCF? But maybe it's okay where it is. We have several busy discussions going on right now, so it may take a little time to get a response.

Your link will be activated in a little while. Sorry about the delay. As a spam protection measure, newbie links don't activate for a while. (unfortunately, we get a large numbers of newbies who are selling dietary supplements and manly enhancement products and the like....)

Not sure what happened to your first post - maybe someone saw "Vatican" in the post and thought you were peddling religion in the science forum. Sometimes the mods are busy and miss things. In any case, this thread is safe. :-)
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Re: A Little History -- The "Two Spheres Theory" of the Eart

Postby Scott Mayers on January 4th, 2017, 12:28 am 

SiskosTheMan » January 3rd, 2017, 10:20 am wrote:And can someone tell me how to make a link actually link? So you can just click on it? Instead of copying it and pasting it into the browser?

They need to determine here whether you are a spammer or not and so need to participate a while prior to accepting certain capacities on linking etc.

On your OP, the new term for this is "the Expanding Earth theory" and you can see a set of links about this and its debunked arguments HERE.

What may be true in part that I thought of is to the formation of the moon. If the norm of planet formation is gradual (as in without large planets like the moon acting as a participating contribution to the planet), it may be possible to think that the water that may have been distributed evenly through formation could have been disrupted in the collision of the moon hitting the Earth.

The collision might create enough energy to release water that may have been originally distributed relatively evenly and then resettle as a latter stage of cooling. Just after collision it can be imagined that the large planetoid that forms the moon becomes a spherical ring prior that surrounds the Earth that both cools the Earth and leaves the water (as being gaseous) settles at some stage.

I thought of this with regards to possibly other planets like Mars. But this requires some moon around it that once collided at some earlier time. Mars DOES have moons and so it might be possible to 'test' this if we reverse the time to where one of those planetoid (or large asteroid) would have collided with Mars prior to becoming an orbiting moon. That might suggest how and why too life stopped existing there. The further a moon is away from the planet, the less influence gravitationally that contributes to internal heating AND gives it sufficient time for the outer atmosphere to be absorbed into the planet. Water would be a prior material that gets absorbed.

But overall, the assumption of the Expanding Earth argument can't hold for many reasons. Just check those links and then come back to discuss your take on this.
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Re: A Little History -- The "Two Spheres Theory" of the Eart

Postby Scott Mayers on January 4th, 2017, 1:01 am 

Siskos,

I just read your link and noticed what I should have read before I spoke. I actually have Copernicus' book but have yet to read it as many in my library. But he appears to be arguing against an older interpretation that the Bible and other past interpretations of the world came from.

First off, most early civilizations most likely noticed fossils on land and on even higher elevations that they couldn't explain. They also interpreted what 'mattered' (literal matter) as solids only but came from 'fluids' or 'chaos' (an old term that we get 'gas' from). The Old Testament's Genesis speaks of God creating the 'world' without clear description but that he separated the waters from above to the ones below. This is a 'chaos' interpretation akin to a 'nothingness', given that it would be most 'fluid'. The reasoning on the confusion of what water could be given its fluid nature but that it gives rise to life, seems to justify a proposed interpretation that the solids (their only idea of 'matter') came FROM an origin of water.

This explains 'flood' myths too because assuming they saw dinosaur fossils, this might hint at a stage where their gods had suddenly wiped out all that existed.

The latter interpretation by Copernicus that he was arguing against was based on that two-sphere interpretation of his day that was trying to justify the Christian religious myths that likely originally derived as an explanatory 'cartoon' of Earth's origin (meaning the originators didn't necessarily treat 'god' as a superior being but as a variable unknown).

The two-sphere idea seems a rational evolution where Copernicus likely had to try to justify both his interpretation of an Earth that is non-central in the known Universe at that time AND still stay close to the religious authorized interpretation of the day about the Noah's Arc myth. That the story asserted a world at some time being completely engulfed by water but then have land re-proceed as an island at first was likely one earlier justification that was trying to allow acceptance of the Earlier Greek, Aristarchus' assumptions.

The water centered world was only based on earlier 'science' interpretations that we get hints at through religious texts mostly. (They tended to destroy prior sources that allowed a secular interpretation and explanation.)
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Re: A Little History -- The "Two Spheres Theory" of the Eart

Postby zetreque on January 4th, 2017, 1:45 am 

I know nothing of what was mentioned in the first post of this but I can add this.

I recently read the book "Frozen Earth" by Doug Macdougall.

It takes us through the history of the discovery of ice ages.
We take many things for granted in our current day that were completely unknown years ago. In this case ice ages.
The very first geologists were clerics employed by the church.
As you can imagine, it would have been hard for many to grasp back then (and even today it seems) that Earth has been greatly covered by thick ice sheets that have come and gone through its history.

The thing that might be of interest in this thread??? would be one of the many things mentioned in the book was The Sacred Theory of the Earth,
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Burnet
which literally compared Earth to that of an egg I guess.
At the time it was a broadly accepted idea.

Anyway, Frozen Earth would be a really good read to learn some history on how we obtained our understanding of ice ages (water) and geology (earth).


(as for the link, I'm not sure the exact details of allowing new users to post links but if you are in full editor there is a button "URL" that you can use.)
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Re: A Little History -- The "Two Spheres Theory" of the Eart

Postby zetreque on January 4th, 2017, 1:54 am 

I can add some things about the Moon and Mars if the conversation goes in that direction.

However, Here is a fun picture.

Description: https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap160911.html

Image
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Re: A Little History -- The "Two Spheres Theory" of the Eart

Postby SiskosTheMan on January 4th, 2017, 2:36 pm 

That is a good picture. According to Wootton and the Vatican Observatory blog, certain advocates of the "Two Spheres Theory" said there was 10x as much water as earth. That picture surely would have shocked them.
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Re: A Little History -- The "Two Spheres Theory" of the Eart

Postby zetreque on January 4th, 2017, 4:04 pm 

SiskosTheMan » Wed Jan 04, 2017 10:36 am wrote:That is a good picture. According to Wootton and the Vatican Observatory blog, certain advocates of the "Two Spheres Theory" said there was 10x as much water as earth. That picture surely would have shocked them.


Before we knew how deep the oceans were, it would be easy to think that there was more water than Earth since 71% of the surface of the Earth is covered by water. Amazing how much we take for granted today. Simple things like how deep the ocean is.
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Re: A Little History -- The "Two Spheres Theory" of the Eart

Postby Scott Mayers on January 4th, 2017, 9:23 pm 

zetreque » January 4th, 2017, 3:04 pm wrote:
SiskosTheMan » Wed Jan 04, 2017 10:36 am wrote:That is a good picture. According to Wootton and the Vatican Observatory blog, certain advocates of the "Two Spheres Theory" said there was 10x as much water as earth. That picture surely would have shocked them.


Before we knew how deep the oceans were, it would be easy to think that there was more water than Earth since 71% of the surface of the Earth is covered by water. Amazing how much we take for granted today. Simple things like how deep the ocean is.

You disagree with my own explanation above on this?

1) I argued above that the 'secular' part of our ancient world would have RATIONALLY inferred that the Earth was once submerged by water. While we have no records of 'fossil' studies of the time, we can induce this as the justification for flood myths. These kind of myths CANNOT merely come about because of the many reasons some suppose about actual floods. Rather, their more universality in different regions of the world point to a likely discovery of fossils.

2) The evidence of Egyptian and Judeo origin myths hint at 'fluids' (waters) as an assumption right from their beginnings in scriptures. [Nun and Nut are the Egyptian equivalents prior to Judaism and likely their source religion. Nun and Nut literally correlate to None and nothing and Nun refers to 'water' while Nut, the 'sky' (air)]

3) Giants myths also add force to this because this is likely from fossil discoveries of giant beasts. The Judaic beliefs also have similarities to even the Greeks "Titans". Taking Giants as a layer likely known back then to a sudden disappearance, and sea creatures above that also combine lending support with the (1) that make the assumption of WATER as an original state highly rational.

So I disagree with your assumption that any appearance of lots of water was the driving rationale. The "Two sphere's" addition had to be an extended rationalization of the secondary rise of land from the original waters after the 'flood' that justifies the Noah's Arc myth. Otherwise, they'd have to try to rationalize why Noah's discovery was unique AND, prior to discovering North America, it was 'safe' to treat the rest of a spherical world as having only water. Thus the "two sphere theory" is one evolved as I suggest based on charity of people's rationality back then.
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Re: A Little History -- The "Two Spheres Theory" of the Eart

Postby zetreque on January 4th, 2017, 10:41 pm 

Are you asking me a question?
"Do you disagree with my explanation?"

I wasn't agreeing or disagreeing. I was just adding to the conversation in regard to how a person 'could' conclude that much of the Earth (as a percentage) was water since it was unknown the extend to the depth of the oceans at the time.
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Re: A Little History -- The "Two Spheres Theory" of the Eart

Postby Scott Mayers on January 4th, 2017, 11:35 pm 

zetreque,

That's cool. But it appeared you were countering with what you thought was 'improved' (IF you read my post). I partially agree with you by our present standards but think that the interpretation being questioned was whether the Earth was originally covered by water to those ancients (okay, medieval might be better?). The depth of water still wouldn't account for anything new but require being replaced by the land to be 'deep'.

You were thinking that in an assumption that since the further away from shore you go, the increased depth justifies how they might derive that there was more water and thus the interpretation of that "Two Sphere's" assumption. It only accidentally treats the Earth as having more water than land. But that could be done without assuming spheres as some extraneous and odd creation. You could simply treat it as one sphere of water plus all solid Earth as having multiple points poking out of the 'abyss' everywhere. The way they seemed to be arguing is based on ONE specific point where the land initially arose. That is significant because they would have known that it was no longer the reality by then (North America was already discovered by Copernicus' time).

So it was a question about what they thought about how the world could be flooded (by the Bible) as a whole but yet receded by their time. Where could that water have gone if the world was completely flooded but then 'drained'? How could land 'rise' if it were 'SOLID' and assumed the way is already was since the beginning?
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Re: A Little History -- The "Two Spheres Theory" of the Eart

Postby zetreque on January 4th, 2017, 11:43 pm 

Scott Mayers » Wed Jan 04, 2017 7:35 pm wrote:
So it was a question about what they thought about how the world could be flooded (by the Bible) as a whole but yet receded by their time. Where could that water have gone if the world was completely flooded but then 'drained'? How could land 'rise' if it were 'SOLID' and assumed the way is already was since the beginning?


Enters the discovery of massive glacial fields at the poles and ultimately ice ages. :)
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Re: A Little History -- The "Two Spheres Theory" of the Eart

Postby Braininvat on January 5th, 2017, 12:57 pm 

This appears to be more of a philosophy thread, about prescientific rationalizations, than about theories in current science. Moved it.
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