Wednesday, July 1, 2015

#1402: Gerardus Bouw

There are the creationists, then there are the young earth creationists – and then there are the hysterically looney, and fumingly, medievally fanatic crazis on the fringes that even young earth creationists feel uncomfortable hanging around. Gerardus Bouw is a legend among the latter. For Bouw the prime target is not the evils of Darwinism, but the evils of Copernicanism, the hideously heretic belief that the earth orbits the sun.

Bouw is the author of a book, Geocentricity, on the topic (pushed for instance by former Bible Science Association director, Rev. Walter Lang, on the website of The Genesis Institute), which seems to build on his article “Why Geocentricity?” which appeared in the Baptist Bulletin sometime around 1985. His case is perhaps best summed up by his argument to the effect that those who assert that “the earth moves and turns” ... [are] motivated by “a spirit of bitterness, contradiction, and faultfinding;” and being possessed by the devil, they aim “to pervert the order of nature.” Well, it is not so much an argument as an assertion, but there you go. And then there is “God, in His Word, consistently teaches geocentricity,” but other conclusions could be drawn from that observation.

What about scientific evidence to the contrary? “The only way we can know for certain whether or not geocentricity is true would be to leave the universe, take a look around outside the universe, and then come back in to tell us what is really happening in that larger scope. Since God is infinitely greater than the universe, and so extends beyond the universe, what God says must present the ultimate case ...” No, he doesn’t quite understand how scientific hypothesis testing works, but that is – I suppose – not the main problem with that argument. At least he admits that “I would not be a geocentrist if it were not for the Scriptures,” which suggests that part of him is aware that his scientific case is … tortured.

To those with absolutely no background in science, Bouw’s rants may conceivable sound like they’re onto something. From his article The Biblical Firmament: “The firmament is an extremely dense medium that rules all physics in the universe. Compared to the firmament, the universe of atoms is nothing. We will show that the firmament is identical to the Planck medium that has been known to physics for over a century. We shall also show that the firmament is the light-bearing medium commonly called the ether, and that the luminiferous ether is redundant and unnecessary.” To emphasize, the science background you need to see through it is pretty superficial.

At present Bouw seems to be the leader of the Association of Biblical Astronomy, a group of likeminded fanatics. He also seems to be Alan O’Reilly’s go-to person for scientific information, and Matt Wykoff has apparently learned much of his science from Bouw’s ramblings.

Diagnosis: At least his ilk seems to bug the creationists, and they do put the Intelligent Design creationists’ teach-the-controversy argument in perspective. There isn’t really much else positive to say about him – he isn’t even particularly entertaining. Even Bouw rejects a flat earth, however, so there is, apparently, a crystal sphere of fringe nuttery even beyond his. 

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