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Shortly after the Winter 1998 issue was finished, we were saddened by the news that Walter van der Kamp had passed away in his sleep. Walter was the founder of the Tychonian Society, the original name for the Association for Biblical Astronomy. The founding of the Tychonian Society happened as follows.

In 1967 Walter privately published and circulated a rough draft of a booklet called The Heart of the Matter. Walter sent it to about fifty people and institutions, from whom he garnered four encouraging responses. Among those was the late Harold Armstrong, one of the founders of the Creation Research Society, and first editor of its quarterly journal. The booklet was printed in January 1968. In Walter's own words, it “went nowhere fast.” He composed a second short treatise entitled Airy Reconsidered, which he stenciled in 1968 but not distributed until 1970. It was dubbed “thought provoking” by George Mulfinger in the Bible-Science Newsletter of July-August 1971. Encouraged by this appraisal, and abetted by a few friends and relatives, Walter “founded” an informal organization called the Tychonian Society. Thus he began to publish the Bulletins of the Tychonian Society, the first few of which were handwritten and copied on a Gestetner. These were done on a freewill offering basis, and when cash ran out in 1971, Walter burned most of an issue of which 200 copies had been photocopied, and called it quits.

In the summer of 1974, after an interval of two years, Bulletins No. 6, was typed and stenciled and sent to “subscribers” in Canada, the U.S., England, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, and Australia. Walter produced all subsequent issues until March, 1984, when he produced No. 37 as his last. Other concerns, some pressing, led him to hand over the editorship of the then Bulletin of the Tychonian Society to your present editor.

Walter continued to contribute articles throughout the 1980s, but in 1990 disagreements about content, scope, and style led to an amicable agreement that the name of the Society would be changed to the Association for Biblical Astronomy, and that the Bulletin of the Tychonian Society would become the Biblical Astronomer. This would broaden the scope of the publication to cover other topics in astronomy besides geocentricity, while Walter would keep all rights to the artwork — the Fourth Day of Creation — which had graced all covers of the Bulletin of the Tychonian Society from issues 16 (May-June, 1977, which was the first issue to carry the singular, “Bulletin,” in its title) through 53 (Spring, 1990). He subsequently used that as the cover to all the booklets he published over the past decade.

It was Harold Armstrong who first alerted me to Walter's existence when in 1976, in writing about the diversity of opinions and views in the Creationist movement, he mentioned Walter as an extreme case where a Creationist advocated the literality of Scripture to the point of a stationary earth. As an undergraduate at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York, I'd taken enough relativity theory to know that neither heliocentrism nor geocentricity could be proven or disproven, and so I fired off a letter to Walter asking, in effect, “which Scriptures?” I'm afraid that Walter sent more philosophy than Scriptures, but he did mention Psalms 73 and 104:5. I found them rather weak so I set forth on a three-week, six-days-per-week, sixteen-hours-per-day study to determine the truth of the matter insofar as the Bible was concerned. Because at the time I didn't know where the Scriptures were to be found, (so I had to flounder around in the “original” Hebrew,) at the end of the three weeks I could only determine that the Scriptures were “probably” geocentric. My analysis was printed in Bulletins No. 13, in 1976. Since then the Scriptural case has been solidified.

In 1978 Walter and I met face-to-face at the conference on Absolutes, held at the Cleveland State University. Among the attendees at that conference were Hussein Yilmaz, then just on his own from M.I.T., and the late Stefan Marinov, whose suicide last year is taking on an increasingly ominous aura (see “Panorama” in this issue). Through Walter's pioneering work in pointing out the geocentric nature of Airy's failure and the Michelson-Morley experiments, Walter may truly be called the father of modern geocentricity; and he is the father of my geocentric zeal. I recall the void left in my life by the deaths of each of my parents, and Walter, too, left a void. He will be sorely missed here, in earth, by all who knew him.

Translated from WS2000 on 11 February 2005 by ws2html.