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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Dr. Alexander Frantz, another pastor in Germany against Copernicanism; Part 18g-1 (German philosophers; Bible decreases)

[2018-01-03: fixed page links of text of book below in this post and next]
      This continues from Part 18f, a series on Copernicanism and Geocentricity (see Intro & Contents in Part 1) in response to a letter from a young person ("Josh") who asked if I believed Geocentricity ... and did not ridicule me in his question.
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      To finish off my sub-series on Carl Schöpffer, I want to reveal more of the pastor in Germany who wrote a foreword to his last great work, Die Widersprüche in der Astronomie or The Contradictions in Astronomy -- Dr. Alexander Frantz (1806-1889).  This is notable because Pastor Gustav Knak had seemed to be the only pastor in Germany who defended the Bible against Copernicanism.  But we see now that he was not entirely alone in Germany... in 1869.  Dr. Frantz has been overlooked long enough...  even Dr. Gerardus Bouw overlooks him.  So I now have the honor of publicizing him to the world...  in English.
      Dr. Frantz is a bit of an enigma, for there is not a lot of information available except a few theological books that he published in German, here, and here.  According to one of these books, he was a Doctor of Theology, Superintendent and head pastor of St. Jacobi in Sangerhausen.  Another book from 1858 was entitled The Pretensions of Exact Science Illuminated, with Polemical Glosses, a subject matter that certainly recommended him to write this Foreword!   I am practically certain that Dr. Frantz was Lutheran, although the pressure of the Prussian Union (read "Evangelical" without "Lutheran") was tremendous in Germany.  I found an earlier reference to a “Pastor Frantz” in Lehre und Wehre which is quite possibly the same pastor.  It involved theological disputes in Germany.  —  So I looked to this 14 page Foreword to Schöpffer's book to glean more about him.  At first I thought that I would not publish him because of his seeming over-reliance on renowned German philosophers.  But the more I read, the more I found that his real defense was based on... the Holy Scriptures.  As we have seen from the famous “Lisco-Knak Affair” of 1868,  that any pastor would publicly defend against Copernicanism was quite an oddity in the world, especially in Germany.  So here I present Dr. Alexander Frantz... doing just this:
Translation by BackToLuther. Highlighting, hyperlinks, text in square [ ] brackets are mine.

by Dr. Alexander Frantz
to The Contradictions in Astronomy by Carl Schöpffer, pages III - IX

The venerable publisher of this little work of a well known author has asked me to introduce it with a commendatory short preface. Certainly the writing invites it.  But apart from the fact that my style is not a style of commendation, I can not hold that I would be legitimate in giving this brave writing a recommendation; especially since they could even ask me as an recommending authority, and then I would be able to show no other letter of recommendation than the mockery and scorn with which my name has become known in the camp of the modern Edomites.   Also the author of this writing has not been spared from mockery and scorn, as he himself reports, and the only difference is that with him just the matter that he represents is here ridiculedbut in my writings also theological zealotry and hierarchical tendencies have been read between the lines;  since they can read nothing out of their own breviary.  And so I would be worse recommended than the author because of our modern Edomites.
If one, as the venerable publisher, hopes that a booklet goes out under two names, so they also probably associate this with the idea that the view expressed in the book is established in the mouth of two witnesses and stands firmer [Matt. 18:16].  But this could lead to the thought that in the present case the previous speaker’s writing was thereby used to advise this author.  I would like to cut this rank controversy off [page IV], and only speak by the permission granted me here, to use some observations which can serve to recommend this book directly and indirectly very well.
The author of this paper started almost simultaneously the well-founded objection to the newer astronomy with me, perhaps somewhat earlier.  His occupation as a teacher arranged him for it, and he has the praiseworthy merit for the task which he has positioned himself, neither to respect time, nor effort, still danger; he has pursued his goal without fear or timidity.  I was provoked to this opposition by the impertinent magisterial tone, by the flirtatious smugness with which one spoiled and vain by undeserved applause of the audience, a Professor of Natural Sciences ventured to deny the Holy Scriptures and the religious doctrines.  To me it depended on showing that the statements of the natural sciences and astronomy are by no means so obvious and exact truths in the particulars that before them the doctrines of the Holy Scriptures and the dogmas of theology would have to be silent once and for all; while Dr. Schöpffer directly undertook to draw the untenability of the astronomical evidence to light. —  Meanwhile, at the same time and also earlier, attacks on modern astronomy were undertaken.  It may be remembered here only some.  A teacher, Carol Grande, had issued a small writing for this purpose: Das Weltgebäude vom christlichen Standpunkte [The building of the world from the Christian standpoint]. —  Constantin. Frantz had lodged in his Grundzügen des wahren und wirklichen absoluten Idealismus [Fundamentals of true and real absolute idealism] a strongly worded protest against the newer astronomy, and this work earned him the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. — Goethe has repeatedly shown how unhappy Newton was in his explanations of physical facts. — Hegel, in the History of Philosophy, calls this capricious mathematician almost a barbarian when he gets involved in forging terms. — Franz von Baader, one of the deepest thinkers of the century, has reduced to absurdity the newer astronomy in several small writings. — [page V]
And Schelling?  Not to mention the name only, but some statements of this famous philosopher may stand here which show only too well how he also judges astronomy.  He says in his essay "On Speculation and Empiricism in Physics": “I have often wondered why they declare that a Le Sage speculates, e.g., on nature, and why they do not want to concede the same to us; and I have never found another answer than this: because in his system, the lightweight and loose nature of hypotheses and arbitrary assumptions are, as it were, sanctioned, and if it were possible, immortalized; —  We, however, want just the opposite ... ... Intolerable and unbearable it must be but not to conceive of the phenomena of nature, as they can be like those impositions, as those which has been made in the systems of atomism to the intellect and the imagination .... One does not see at all, — to what purpose and end — nature so busily is when her whole art consists in nothing but this pocket game, which is mirrored in those systems .... They still cannot always rid the times of a Des Cartes,  Euler etc.  How long should then everything old, long evaluated in oblivion, be dragged? .... All of those theories are contrary to experience which are abstracted from experience, which the causes from which they explain not, not in themselves do not know regardless of the experiences which should be explained.  For where this is the case, nothing happens than that one places into the principles everything that is sufficient to account for the already known experience, so they forge the causes, and it depends just so exactly as they need them later.  Even apart from the eternal circle in explaining,  which is made in this case by first deriving the causes from the effects, then again the effects from the self-made causes; so it is natural that those presumed causes at all moments are again insufficient, because but the experience is extended every day, that one [page VI] must always set new provisions in it *) ..... Whoever has not the theory right, can not possibly have a right experience, and vice versa: the fact in itself is nothing.  Quite different it appears even to him who has concepts, than the one who looks without concept at them.  You have to know what is to be seen, and many experimenters are similar to those travelers who could ask quite a lot if they only knew what was to be asked.”
*) So it is decided in astronomy.  Not merely that the Sun stands still in the middle of the solar system, and that the motion of the Earth is the simple principle of the system — then so it is not to be used at all to explain the phenomena in the sky and on the earth — but the Earth must also be the third planet, must have a completely unthinkable rapid movement and even have its own movement about its axis, plus must have a third movement.  Even that does not explain everything. The pathways  must be ellipses, there must be still be invented mutations, refractions, etc.  And the sum of all this arbitrariness, to be bound by the law of gravitation — is the Principle of Astronomy that is not afraid with such monstrosities to make the claim to be a science, indeed the queen of the sciences.

So far Schelling. — Astronomy is able to see and ask quite a lot; it has indisputably the greatest and most precious observation apparatuses.  They observe and — compute.  Ask them whether they also see rightly, and see by rights — and whether also the foundations of their calculations are so doubtless right and true — so they have given till this day still no answer that would be worthy of science.
Recently , a Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, K. Nagy, in a comprehensive work (but unfortunately for laymen too comprehensive): Die Sonne und die Astronomie [The sun and astronomy], which also our author [Schöpffer] had opportunity to use in several places, — definitely made the judgement on astronomy.
Now, when our author naturally develops for several [page VII] reasons the contradictions of astronomy for everyone in his writing, fully justified and unquestionable, and as we want to show that it is also very necessary; — then why do they get riled up about it so terribly in the camp of Edom?  Can the people hear no more reasons there, weigh no more reasons, refute no more reasons?  It seems that they resemble their old fathers, of whom it is written that when the children of Israel came to Edom saying, “Let us pass, I pray thee, through thy country: we will not pass through the fields, or through the vineyards, neither will we drink of the water of the wells, and if I and my cattle drink of thy water, then I will pay for it”; — Then came the answer: “You shall not pass through. And Edom came out against him with much people, and with a strong hand.”. (Numbers 20:17-20) — Maybe they let the contradiction to Astronomy go, but they smell in it an armament of the children of God whom they hate because of fear.[F. von Raumer  – “One is afraid of you!”]  So they gather among themselves with phrase jingles, which one listens to since there are no church bells ringing, and equip themselves with a zeal reminiscent of the good citizens of a city that boasted there was a lot of light with them, because in former times famous lantern makers had lived among them; they must protect the valuable light; and because it rests with them and does not progress, they might comfort themselves with the fact that the sun stands still. — And what says the Magus of the North [Johann Georg Hamann]?  “Our philosophers talk like alchemists of estimating fertility, though, to judge from their fields and vineyards, one would swear that they know not how to distinguish weeds from wheat, grapes from thorns, nor figs from thistles. — They mimic that juggler who spent the vacuum of his pocket for the big, beautiful, strong spirit, which, if it were possible, even seduced the Elus. The confusion of the language, by which they seduce and be seduced, of course, is a very natural conjuring of automatic reason, it costs little to transfigure into a star of the first magnitude, particularly for rogues of similar blindness.”

[page VIII]  
It is hardly to be expected that the writing of our author, even were it provided with a recommendation from heaven, will cause this automatic reason to come over the barrier, when it is hardly capable of other thoughts than what it has been schooled and trained in.  Because to them nature is no more a living organism which is allowed to speak about itself, but in science which man has contrived and figured as a silent and dead object, that man uses and abuses and would alone only want to rule above the Word; so the lessons must not be made by nature, but in natural science through training; and it can be done without difficulty en masse, as the schools are emptied of religious doctrines, they are filled with inductive, mechanical and mathematical sciences, the combination of training and consequently also the automatism of reason, and as a necessary consequence, barbarism is promoted.  The sad merit will be taken on, as this monster smuggles in as far as possible, by those who seek all information, education and culture of the time in the natural sciences.
The condescension against astronomy is as surprising as the experience that the credibility of the Holy Scriptures in their whole extent decreases, if not even ends, as the credibility of natural sciences increases. This perception is not thereby explained, as one claims and is it heard from the silliest people toadies, that man would now become enlightened, reasonable and freed to use their reason by the natural sciences; — rather, it is founded in the non-use of reason and in the lack of reason.  For a reason that wants to know nothing of God, because it claims it is unable to know of God, is certainly no more true human reason than that in the knowledge, because it has its nature and strength in consciousness of God.  One deprives his [page IX] reason of its religious nature thereby when one does not actuate and promote it; so the reason is of course also unable to emerge in the Word of God as the highest reason, and dives down into the natural sciences, not as a reason to reveal to it what it can no longer now do, but to doze comfortably in it. Non elevari est labi, [he that is not raised above the world necessarily sinks] and it is certain that if reason lacks a higher one or a self uplifting reason or some such light, it is dulled and mired in itself. — If one appeals to those in the waters of reason deposed by the natural sciences, to decree the Holy Scriptures, so one would have these Scriptures deposed of their royal dignity to beggars who are degraded and emaciated of reason, never to leave the illusion that they, in their irrational and non-conceptual statements in natural science, proclaim exact truths.  One should have left it never undisputed, e.g. the thoughtless integration of the concept of nature with matter, or the attraction with gravitation, or the free movement with mechanical movement. But that is over and done now, where a great people mindlessly run after the unthinking concepts of natural science, and considers each experiment that a skilled experimenter shows them to be a piece of nature without further ado.  Thus the abuse of reason on the part of the opponents is conveyed by the disuse of reason.
(to be continued in Part 18g-2)
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      Although Dr. Frantz and C.F.W. Walther shared in referring to names outside of theology, Walther was more reserved.  He only mentioned Carol Grande and Friedrich Schelling, not Goethe, Hegel, or von Baader -- ones who were more antagonistic to orthodox Christian doctrines.  Walther spoke these names in 1868 (to the Eastern District), the year before Dr. Frantz wrote this Foreword.  I have often wondered if there was correspondence between these two theologians... if either one used the others research.
      I will conclude Dr. Frantz's Foreword in the next Part 18g-2.