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Just Because It’s True Doesn’t Mean It’s True

August 11, 2020

Yesterday I talked about how Baseball Broke The Laws of Physics. Just because science works, doesn’t mean it’s true.

Did you know crossbows were once outlawed? Not by kings or magistrates. They were outlawed by God. Or at least, God’s representative on earth, the pope.

In 1096, Pope Urban II banned crossbows. He decreed that “No Christians were to use it in any battel against a fellow Christian.” The penalty was excommunication and eternal damnation. So, you know, nothing serious. In 1139 the new pope, Pope Innocent II renewed the ban.

The weapon was simply too effective. It was particularly devasting against knights. But, given their effectiveness, the ban didn’t last for long. By the 1200s, soldiers in Europe were happily turning each other into pin cushions. And the age of knights was largely over.

Eventually hand cannons replaced crossbows. The Chinese invented gunpowder in 9th Century. It was being used for weapons within about a hundred years. The problem with early weapons was they weren’t particularly accurate.

In baseball parlance they were shooting knuckleballs. Knuckleballs are when a pitcher puts no spin on the ball. He simply pushes the ball straight ahead. What happens is that the ball takes odd jumps and drops. It’s not only difficult for the batter to hit, it’s also nearly impossible for the catcher.

A bullet that is simply being pushed through the air also takes weird jumps and drops. It’s not very accurate. That’s why many soldiers who used muskets stood in a line and fired in unison. They didn’t aim, except in the most general “this end toward enemy.”

Despite this, guns were powerful. More powerful than crossbows. And the church that had banned crossbows declared that guns were demonic.

Eventually rifling was invented. It was originally invented in Augsburg, Germany in 1498. But, it wasn’t perfected until centuries later. Rifling is the process of cutting grooves into the barrel of a gun so that the bullet will spin as it exits the firearm. And just like a fastball, if you spin it, it’s much easier to place it where you want.

Remember the church and the demonic firearms? Rifling was part of the reason why guns were considered possed by demons.

Everyone know that silver is a pure metal and lead is a base metal. I’m nto sure how everyone learned this. Why silver bullets to kill a werewolf? Why silver in rituals? The fact that it doesn’t cause lead poisoning is a good reason to make your dishes out of it, but regardless, silver is pure, lead is not.

Now, let’s talk about rifling. Remember that rifling has grooves inside the barrel that cause the bullet to spin? The effectiveness of that rifling has a lot to do with the softness of the bullet. Lead, being a soft metal, responds to rifling much better than silver, which is a harder metal.

If your rifle performs better with a base metal than a pure metal, what does that say about the purity of your weapon? Because silver can’t be used by demons. Obviously, the weapon is from satan. Add in the fact that the popes didn’t like muskets and rifles anyway and you have a religious ban.

We can laugh at the silly superstitions of the past. But, what the story of the silver bullet proves is that just because something is based on science. . .true science, doesn’t mean that the beliefs based are true.

Science is true, but not everything that is science is true.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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