samedi 16 avril 2011

Creationism and Geocentrism are sometimes used as metaphors for "outdated because disproven inexact science"

par Hans-Georg Lundahl, samedi 16 avril 2011, 17:33

I was just today reading The Missing Spanish Creoles by John McWhorter, and found a chapter heading or subchapter heading entitled "creationist at the cocktail party", which I did not read, and then this passage:

We do not imagine scientists supporting Ptolemaic astronomy while courteously "not denying" that Copernicus' ideas might have "some validity." The earth cannot "kind of" revolve around the sun--heliocentrism cannot be "considered as a possible aspect of" geocentrism. The evidence simply does not allow this.

Very good rhetoric ... but ... let us take it piece by piece, once again:

We do not imagine scientists supporting Ptolemaic astronomy while courteously "not denying" that Copernicus' ideas might have "some validity."

Guess what Tycho Brahe did? Oh, for introductions, he was an astronomer in Scania and Hven, back then belonging to Denmark. My compatriot, so to speak. He was also teacher of John Kepler. One more thing, though his system is referred to as Tychonian, his surname is Brahe, a noble family. Tycho or Tychon is a Greek given name meaning chancy.

The earth cannot "kind of" revolve around the sun ...

True enough, good logic says it either does or does not.

...heliocentrism cannot be "considered as a possible aspect of" geocentrism.

Now, that depends on what aspect is considered. Sphere of fixed stars, sun, moon, earth may well form a geocentric system, whereas in the meantime sun, mercury, venus - not earth but - mars, jupiter and saturn form a heliocentric one. Which is precisely what Tycho thought and taught.

The evidence simply does not allow this.

By evidence I suppose is meant logic. Earth either does or does not revolve around sun. But when we consider that Tychonian and Modern Astronomy as far as logic is concerned are both valid, the question of evidence becomes interesting.

There is the evidence of accuracy. Aristotle thought Mars somehow revolved directly around earth. Ptolemy that it revolved around and eccentric that revolved around earth. Tycho that it revolved around the sun that revolved around earth. That is in itself a series of growing precision. Next logical step would be for a geocentric to add that revolutions are elliptic rather than circular. But this step was done by a heliocentric, who hankered back to another heliocentric coming between Ptolemy and Tycho Brahe. So the series of growing accuracy reads Aristotle, Ptolemy, Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, John Kepler. Copernicus was as heliocentric surrounded by a less and a more accurate geocentric, by Ptolemy and Tycho. Tycho Brahe as a geocentric was surrounded by a less and a more accurate heliocentric, by Copernicus and his disciple John Kepler. Would seem as if chosing geocentrism or heliocentrism had nothing to do with accuracy.

Except that, after Newton giving heliocentrics a physics, refined by Laplace, Titus-Bodes came more accurate still. And after Einstein gave heliocentrism another physics, he came still more accurate. Well, if it had just been one physics, and if there had been no alternative physics even thinkable or ever thunk, that might have settled it. We are talking about the physics of "earth is always drawn inwards towards the sun by gravity and always missing it by previous movement's inertia." AND the physics of "gravity is a geodesic in space" and of "light bends to gravity of great masses, so optics are just nearly optics now".

Now, before we do any problematising of these physics, were there other physics before them? Yes, indeed: "Mind rules bodies: in human mind's case it is only through own human body that it rules other bodies, in case of angels and demons and of God, there is no 'proper body' involved as condition for ruling bodies other than self" - a physics that was inherited from antiquity and not radically altered - at least not as radically as the "Scientific Revolution" - by Christianity. Meaning, stars as fiery matter and planets as reflecting matter are movable by some kind of spirit or other. Meaning the masses and gravities would not be the decisive factors or only decisive factors for observed orbits. Meaning daily motion of universe attributable to God.*

Now, there is no real parallel observable on earth itself proving the physics of millions of revolutions by continually readjusted equilibrium of earth's velocity and earth's pull inwards, sunwards, a possibility. If two forces are to balance in resulting in several revolutions, earth's gravitational pull on things down here is not one of these forces. Any movement where it is involved will be stopped by that gravitational pull (if such be the physics of falling) long before getting anywhere close to even an arc degree or two of a revolution about earth. Stones on strings are not obvious illustrations of an equal inward pulling force, since the string obviously is an object with a superior in-holding stability than the centrifugal force. Motor bicycles or cars rolling around weels to inside of a wall also illustrate that the wall as such is not an equal inward pulling or inward pushing force, but a superior inward holding stability. If the string is of rubber, we at least have the option whether at any point the ball is held back it is a case of equal inholding stability or equal inpulling force. Because in the rubber string there is a kind of sense in which inholding and inpulling is the same thing - but which of them is determinating in the case of the stone on an ordinary string? Modern physics says "the inpulling". Can we know it? Also, the onward motion - which keeps the object from getting in to centre - is not really upheld for many revolutions without added propulsion, whether it be string and stone, rubber string and ball or motor vehicle inside walls of a big tub. Even if a balance between a clearly inpulling force like gravity and an on- and outpushing force like inertia is possible, can the balance be maintained over revolution after revolution for centuries without any personal will and wisdom to guide it?**

But even so, I would like to see an experiment where the one force is clearly inpulling and not an inholding stability and where the other is inertia. Maintained for more than one revolution. If a strong magnet can do the centripetal thing and skating can reduce friction to maximise effect of inertia as centrifugal thing, that might illustrate what I am looking after. So, we have satellites, supposedly also illustrating this - but are they there because of gravity or because angels are kind to well meaning technicians?

So, then there is the optical evidence. Before we go on, we realise first that we are talking about space, and about space we have not seen from anywhere else than our own position or pretty close ones. What could there be as a kind of end to it? Stars clustering near outer edge, forming a sphere? Or just the end of stars clustering all over the inside? Or no end at all, even that involves stars clustering all through the inisde, if you can bring yourself to hold that as a possibility. Now, if stars form a sphere, are they all fixed in relation to each other or do they move? Obviously, one thing is settled by optical evidence, long before this controversy, long before the telescope: that moon, venus, mercury, sun, mars, jupiter and saturn do not belong to an outer sphere of stars, since they cover stars and move along the zodiak. We are now only considering stars in the zodiak and similar ones north of it to Ursa Maior and south of it to Southern Cross. As far as could be seen before telescope, the stars in that seeming sphere (real or true) do not move in relation to each other. When Galileo and St Robert Bellarmine argued - a bit unequal arguing, since between suspect and judge - about heliocentrism and geocentrism, St Robert who was out there to find out whether Galileo had proof or not, concluded he had none, and even counterproof: the Virgo and the Pisces, opposing each other - I am taking this example to clarify what I personally guess they were talking about - look the same whether earth is closest to it or whether sun is closest to it, meaning earth stays same distance to them. Meaning earth is proven immobile as the sphere of fixed stars, except that one moves on a daily basis, though Galileo would have it it was only earth that moved. Or that the annual movement in relation to the zodiak is done by the sun rather than by the earth. Galileo answered that the reason was that the change was too small because the stars are too distant for this phenomenon to be seen. A perfectly reasonable explanation, but a lack of proof in his own time, none the less.

Now, has heliocentrism been vindicated by optic proof after better telescopes or not? With a sphere of stars equidistant or an elliptoid of stars with a continuity of change of distance to the centre of cosmos, and none of the stars moving in relation to the others, we could very well have seen whether centre of cosmos was earth or not. If it was earth, Pisces and Virgo would stay exactly same angular sizes on opposite seasons and between, but if it was sun that was centre and earth that moved, Pisces would have exactly as much greater angles in September as Virgo in March. Now, modern cosmology is not this kind of heliocentrism any more than this kind of geocentrism. Both of them were, as far as optical evidence is concerned, refuted by the phenomenon of 1838. Actually I think both were extinct among astronomers long before that date. Except among Catholic ones, as a theoretic possibility of proving St Robert right or wrong.

What was discovered in 1838 can be explained two ways, as far as optics are concerned: if the stars form a sphere, some of them move in relation to others. In time with the sun. Now, with angelic explanation, there is no problem with that interpretation. Atheism favours and basic Christian tenets (leaving out the specific questions about Joshua that landed Galileo before trial) allows the other interpretation, the current paradigm in cosmology. Earth moves annually, and the reason why not all stars move annually, why Pisces is no bigger in September in same way as Virgo in March (dates when earth is between sun and zodiakal sign, opposite of when sun is between earth and them, obviously), is the difference of the distances to the stars. Not all stars in same constellation are even equidistant to us, to our solar system and to earth and sun. Possible. But not finally proven.

As said, there is no problem with the angelic explanation.

Even as a complement to masses and gravitations explanation, angels are not to be ruled out.**

Now, if there had been a telescope close to Saturn on board Cassini watching proxima Centauri, there might have been proof for or against modern cosmology, at least if not in its excludion of God and angels, insofar as it says the cluster of stars is spread all through cosmos and sun a star with earth as annually revolving satellite.

Hypothesis 1: Proxima Centauri seems to move annually because it moves in time with sun. Corrollary: should be seen as moving annually from Saturn too.

Hypothesis 2: Proxima Centauri seems to move annually because, angelic or not, earth moves annually and star stands still. Corrollary, since Saturn revolves non-annually and very much slower around sun, a very different parallax, larger than the 0.76 arc seconds we see from here, and some 90 times slower would be the expected outcome. If this is true, using parallax - stars' visible movements in other direction from moving earth - as measure of distance is feasible, since inversely proportional to distance. Not so in Hyp. 1.

Problem: the Cassini sond, which is on Saturn, or rather one of its moons, is not equipped with big telescopes.

So, there is no optic proof for modern cosmology either. Not where it differs from Tycho Brahe's cosmology, such as it would be if correcting circles to ellipses. Because one hypothesis has simple been ignored over centuries by "serious "scholarship". Same centuries as have seen "serious scholarship" grow and grow in funding and societal importance. Last of these, centuries in which Geocentrism becomes a metaphor - to be used freely in every other science, including linguistics and discussions of whether Atlantic English Creoles share a grammar because the black slaves made a grammar from scratch when hearing words and commands but little real speech with English, or whether they share the grammar they learnt at St Kitts, influenced by Castle of Cormantin, by the language of Igbo Akan***. Yes, there are a few decades now, to judge from my own experience, in which a Christian envisaging hypothesis 1 (Tycho Brahe and St Robert modified rather than Kepler + Einstein) may get a feedback not easily distinguishable from the one for people backbiting me and regarding me as a fool or a liar about my convictions.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Bibl. Audoux, Paris
16-IV-2011, St Lazarus Saturday

*[23607] Contra Gentiles, lib. 1 cap. 13 n. 27 Nec est contra hanc rationem quod motores inferiorum orbium movent motum sempiternum, et tamen dicuntur moveri per accidens. Quia dicuntur moveri per accidens non ratione sui ipsorum, sed ratione suorum mobilium, quae sequuntur motum superioris orbis.

**[23615] Contra Gentiles, lib. 1 cap. 13 n. 35 Ad hoc etiam inducitur a Damasceno alia ratio sumpta ex rerum gubernatione: quam etiam innuit Commentator in II physicorum. Et est talis. Impossibile est aliqua contraria et dissonantia in unum ordinem concordare semper vel pluries nisi alicuius gubernatione, ex qua omnibus et singulis tribuitur ut ad certum finem tendant. Sed in mundo videmus res diversarum naturarum in unum ordinem concordare, non ut raro et a casu, sed ut semper vel in maiori parte. Oportet ergo esse aliquem cuius providentia mundus gubernetur. Et hunc dicimus Deum.


***The Linguistic Question is of course the main thing about McWhorter's book, I deal with it here:
Φιλολoγικά/Philologica : Atlantic English based Creoles - born in Cormantin

30 commentaires:

  1. Oh that trigonometric working out of star distances by parallax work only by heliocentric assumption, not if proxima Centauri is an angel dancing, is because in that case we have only one known angle, no known distance, whereas on the heliocentric assumption we have one known distance and two known angles.

  2. I forgot to mention in the article, but it has been debated with my involvement previously, that also the supposed evidence for daily rotation of earth equally support daily rotation of universe around earth.

  3. And, no, this was not written under influence of drugs (excepting caffeine and sugar, but that is a pretty common predicament for contemporary writers) or folly. I am expressing convictions and considerations held or entertained for quite a few years now.

  4. Resuming discussion after this aside:

    BUT, if there is visual evidence that Mars rotates, and its axis points to Polar Star and Southern Cross, as does the axis of earth's or the universe's daily rotation, a telescope stationed on mars might do even better than one with Cassini.

    Why is it an asset for experiment if Mars' rotation is same direction as the one we experience, whether we be moving or still? Because, if it is parallel, it is easier to find constellations, thus also Centaurus.

    Under Hypothesis 2, Proxima Centauri would show a parallax from mars greater than 0.76 arc seconds, and in a greater length of time than from earth, and completely ignore the parallax we see from here.

    Under Hypothesis 1, what would be seen would depend on whether the sphere of fixed stars is as far away as proxima Centauri is reckoned under hypothesis 2 or if it is closer or if it is further away. By implication, mars would have two movements, it would follow the annual movement of the sun, and it would also have an eccentric movement.

    a) If proxima Centauri is as far away, it dances (under hypothesis 1) in time with the sun and in same distance with it. If so, an observer from Mars (including an unmanned telescope connected to NASA by television) would see parallax nullified insofar as Mars follows sun, but schewed into a parallax equal to hypothesis 2 insofar as Mars also orbits sun.

    b) If proxima Centauri is much closer and its annual (as in our years) movement much smaller, the annual so called parallax will be observed from the outside and therefore it would be inverted insofar as mars follows sun, that being a real parallax, which might even show greater than 0.76, but this will be complicated another parallax, of mars itself moving around the sun, however in a different way than if sun had been stationary and proxima Centauri too (=Hypothesis 2) or, as in case Hypoth. 1 a both moving.

    c) If proxima Centauri is much further away and its annual movement greater, the movement of the sun will not fully nullify the parallax, but only partly so, and the movement will be seen as a composite of a parallactically diminished movement smaller than 0.76 with parallax for mars' movement around the sun.

  5. Mercury, as much closer to the sun, and as giving an own parallax much smaller and easier to identify, would be better for the experiment, only would a telescope last in its heat?

    Either way, it is a matter of robotics to put such one on a planet. Unless there be unforeseen obstacles, which, if hypothesis 1 is true in any form, there might be.

    Oh, I do not recommend going in manned expeditions to Mars before checking if heliocentrism could be true this extra time, since, if geocentrism is true, being on Mars would be a far less even ride than being on the moon.

  6. If then the Sun is a spirit guiding the burning ball of hydrogen and helium, and if that spirit notes anything about what goes on on earth, does this speak for Pagan sunworship or for Christianity?

    Obviously, if Christianity is true, and the sun is a spirit, he might enjoy better to be cited among causes for praising the creator (song of the young men in the furnace, a k a Benedicite, or St Francis' praises of the Creator), or remembered for obeying Joshua or for mourning over Calvary, than getting Egyptian or Aztek style worship.

    Egyptian worshippers of Horus eventually did see that voluntarily. Azteks were stopped from continuing their idiotic take on heart transplants to the sun, and it has shone on for nearly five hundred years after that cessation of sunworship too.

    By the way, as far as I can see, Eostra as goddess of dawn was a very minor goddess among German pagans, just as Aurora and Eos enjoyed not very much cult among Greeks and Romans. Homer uses her as a background for an Epic, and the English and Germans used her name as a way to commemorate Resurrection. I think, if she is a person, she is very content to honouring Our Lord, her creator and ours, in that way.

  7. Oh, I was nearly forgetting to mention the Sun at Patmos and Fatima honoured Our Lady.

  8. Back to science, a few info plus a link from wikipedia:

    Axial tilt 23°26'21".4119 - Earth [obviously reckoned from heliocentric assumption that earth orbits sun and "untilted" axis would be perpendicular to plane of orbit, meaning there is really 23°26'21".4119 tilt between the perpendicular of zodiak and earth/universe axis of daily rotation, whichever thing be doing the tilting of the two]
    Axial tilt 2.11′ ± 0.1′[7] Mercury
    Axial tilt 25.19° Mars - Currently the orientation of the north pole of Mars is close to the star Deneb.

    - No info about observation of parallaxeis. Nor about the equipment, i e whether there are telescopes able to check such out out there. As observations tend to be pretty completely covered, this makes me suspect there is none.

  9. Otherwise, the kind of check I suggested for alpha Centauri could be made also for other stars which have on earth a clearly observed annual back and forth movement, and in the case it could be ruled out if stars form roughly "inside surface of a sphere" or more like spread all over volume of the universe.

  10. It has been sugggested that Geocentrism is just a weird view of heliocentric universe: I have suggested now geocentric-tychonian models which for the so callled fix stars are clearly different from heliocentric modern cosmology.

    And how from Mars the one or the other could be ruled out. As far as I know, it has not so yet. But it could, in a way not foreseen by St Robert Bellarmine, since flight in space - even unmanned ones - were not reckoned possible for men.

    After that, either way the experiment goes, it is up to people whether to believe the results or suspect they were tampered with, one cannot have the same certitude as with one's own eyes.

    But for now, it seems the experiment has not even been done.

  11. For any star that from earth shows no motion annually whatsoever, under hypothesis 1 and especially if anywhere near as close to us in a more or less thick or thin sphere of fixed stars, as proxima Centauri, will from Mars show parallax for Mars' own complex movement, sun lagging behind the zodiak annually and Mars going around sun every two years and passing earth on outside. If there is a sphere of fixed stars one light month away or closer (radically hypothesis 1 b), if proxima Centauri moves by own movement, there is from Mars not just parallax for Proxima Centauri inverse to its real movement, there is also a real parallax on the really immobile stars. Such a phenomenon would certainly refute Heliocentrism and validate Geocentrism.

    Under certain modifications of hypothesis 1, this could be also compatible with stars showing no annual movement from earth not showing it from Mars either: but that would involve giving Galileo one right, saying there are stars for which parallax foreseeable is not observable, though as Geocentrics we say it is from Mars that we would foresee a really parallactic movement.

    Under hypothesis 2, modern cosmology being true, not only each star with observable parallax from earth would have as simple but greater and slower parallax from Mars, proportionally for each of the ten thousand stars that from earth show the 1838 phenomenon (known as parallax by Heliocentrics), but for most of the 100.000's stars showing no parallax from here there would be no parallax from Mars either, the closest of them would be showing the smallest observable parallaxeis, as small as the ones from observed from earth or nearby space stations (SOHO I think I recall), whereas the stars showing them from here would have greater and slower parallaxeis from Mars. But such a phenomenon, though not refuting Heliocentrism, but corroborating it, would not refute directly Geocentrism either, though this would not be a corroboration of Geocentrism.

    But, as said, the experiment seems not to have been done. Were astronomers lazy, have they had difficulties not yet solved with placing telescopes on Mars, have they been gentle to us Geocentrics, or have they been gentle to themselves as Heliocentrics by shirking the experiment?

    Has the experiment already been done in silence, showed one or other and been hushed up out of such genteel feelings for one or other side of debaters?

    That one, I do not know.

    What I do know is that the omnipotence of God, arguable as a consequence of Geocentrism (God being the ultimate source of cosmic movement, daily around earth), has been shown in other ways, historically, by miracles. Like dead restored to life.

    Should Geocentrism one day be really refuted as Columbus refuted flat earth though it was already refuted by Eratosthenes as Geocentrism is so far not - as in space fantasies like Lanfeust des étoiles, Valérian, agent spaciotemporal, Star Trek, Star Wars, and so on - one would be able to say as Christians "well, our argument was wrong in detail, but indirectly similar to real argument". I do not think that likely, I find it as likely that Geocentrism remains a valid option. At least. A radical version of it, like hypothesis 1 b, can be refuted or confirmed from Mars. And has so far, as far as we have been told, been neither refuted nor confirmed.

  12. Another star to look at from Mars would be R136a1. Estimated mass: 265 solar masses.

    "Distance 165,000 ly"

    indicates that from earth this star does not move annually. So, if it is really beyond the limit of observable parallax or movement in distance, it would not seem to move from Mars either. That is compatible with hypothesis 2, of course, and 1a (as for that star!) and 1c, and even many values for 1b (closer than the 165,000 ly). But in hypothesis "1b radically close", like 1/12 of a ly, a "light month" away, one may predict a very clear heliomartian-geocentric parallax: a complex movement inverse of suns annual around earth, and mars' longer one around sun.

    And, as said for estimated closest star, proxima Centauri, experiment has not been done as far as we have been told.

    If from Mars R136a1 moves, it is a clear proof for geocentrism.

    We have historic events, as the dancing of the sun in Fatima too or the sun standing still for Joshua or moving back 2 lines for a King of Judah. Theologians accepting heliocentrism may argue those are simply local phenomena without astronomic significance, yet ancient Egyptian astronomers said recorded funny positions for the sun four times in a space of 10,000 years. Including probably fake events and fake time, according to Biblical chronology, but the phenomenon was not unheard of - and they may be answered that in that case parallax as such may be just a local phenomenon in telescopes on and around earth.

    Actually Dom Stanley Jaki did argue what happened 1917 in Fatima was a local phenomenon without any corresponding real movement in the sun. I will not mention his name on this note alone, since he was rightly praised by Fr Bryan Houghton for saying basically:

    - if Universe has a beginning, common sense says before that there was something else from all eternity and on which the universe depends, which we call God;
    - but Universe has a beginning, since if it had no beginning, one could not explain where all the hydrogen comes from (under modern cosmology hydrogen is consumed and fusions to helium or even heavier stuff every moment that any star is burning);
    - ergo, God exists.

    Where does Fr. Bryan Houghton adumbrate this? It is in the same part of his autobiography extended edition with tracts Unwanted Priest (Preêtre rejeté) where he also outlines sketchily my argument against evolution from Chromosomes numbers. I must say, even if I respect Dom Stanley, I cannot call Fr. Bryan Houghton inferior.

    Completed, Inventio Crucis/3 May 2011
    Hans-Georg Lundahl

  13. From link:

    So, for reviewing our understanding about the parallax, try to answer these questions:

    1. ...

    2. Assume we can measure parallax from Mars (with the same technology that we used here on Earth). Assume that we can measure accurately using parallax method until 200 parsec from the Earth (distance limit). Determine the distance limit if we conduct the measurement of star's distance using parallax method. Given that the distance of Mars from the Sun is about 1,52 AU.

    3. ...

    4. If you measure the parallax of a star to be 0,1 arc seconds on Earth, how big would the parallax of the same star for an observer on Mars?

    5. ...

    "Assume we can measure parallax from Mars" = as yet we cannot in practise, though it would be theoretically possible.

    Caution: the blog post I link to is from 2008.

  14. More recent debate on thread of Catholic forums, p. 11 of n° 4 on this pages of links:

    Threads from Catholic dot com.

  15. I posted a comment that may appear on this one but was also posted on page 11, debate 4.

    1) You have about some 10.000 heliocentric astronomers calculating things like the position of Jupiter on a given date. And presumably getting it right.

    You have about one or two geocentrics or even 100 criticising this as an argument for heliocentrism. Like Sungenis who is into natural sciences, and me, who am not very much so (I am more of a Classics scholar, and defending what I can of Aristotle and Euclid and Boëthius is part of my fun, but does not give me professional access to recorded positions of Jupiter).

    2) Ptolemy got planets correcter than Aristotle. He used an excentric, which Aristotle did not (I do not think Aristotle even attempted predictions or astronomical tables). Copernic got it correcter than Ptolemy (I think), basically identifying excentric with sun and inverting stillness and orbit between sun and earth, streamlining earth with planets like Jupiter and Mars. Then Tycho reverted the last operation, and, still identifying excentric with sun, got exacter than Copernicus. Kepler reverted again, to Copernicus, and corrected circular orbits to elliptical ones. A correction which modern geocentrics like Sungenis and me accept.

    The point is: this history proves that a true prediction or a truer prediction than before can be reached irrespective of which of either helio- or geocentrism the predictor uses for his calculations, therefore this question of accurate astronomic prediction - at least within solar system - proves nothing about the issue.

    3) Look here if you like to see some geocentric thought brought unto "betting ground": from Mars modern cosmology and one form of geocentrism really can (as far as we can figure out beforehand) be sorted out:

    [link to this page]

    Speaking of technical perspective: how do you measure angles in "parallax"?

    Direct measures seem very awkward. The proxima Centauri "parallax" is less than one arc second. Like some two poles sticking vertically from ground (meeting precisely in center of earth) at a distance of about 30 m. And that is a "distance" just beyond one parsec. I roughly did some trigonometric approximations, but I am not sure, would that be some 0."05 / two poles at 1.5 m metting in center of earth for the 20 parsec, or did I get the trig wrong?

    Anyway, I do not think you measure such angles practically in any situation on earth.

    What came to mind is: you do say that this distance between two stars is so many degrees, than you check what portion in that distance the star is in on the solstices or equinoxes. Right?

    But if so, this cannot disprove geocentrism with angels moving stars: since in that case it could be the other stars that had slightly moved. Fix a bee in a swarm, it seems to move regarding the others, but did it move or did they? With angles like 0."76 down to 0."05, it is really hard to check.

  16. I did some research. There are apparently instruments able to check this - as Hubble telescope.

    But are they the most commonly used method?

    I also found this:

    In order to calculate the angular distance in [[arcseconds]] for [[binary star system]], [[extrasolar planet]]s, [[solar system|solar system objects]] and other [[astronomical object]]s, we use [[orbital distance]] ([[semi-major axis]]) in [[Astronomical unit|AU]] divided by [[stellar distance]] in [[parsec]]s.

    :\theta = \frac {a}{D}

  17. Further discussion on the Catholic Forums site, the thread for which I was excluded:

    Has Cassini-Huygens Disproven Geocentrism

    Cassini-Huygens should be Voyager 10, or maybe 11, which has a straighter trajectory on the diagram featuring solar system as presently believed centered on sun.

    I have forwarded the thread and the question to one representative of NASA on FB, also to NASA team as such, and gotten no answer so far.

  18. I got a response on this article, leaving out name (for present) I will quote and respond: he is hardly making a real personal confession.

    However, first I correct a red herring:

    Also, I found your comparison to linguistics to be confusing as me it is a non sequitur. One of my undergraduate double majors was in linguistics and yet even I could not see the parallel.

    I did not make a parallel to linguistics. A linguist made a point using creationism and geocentrism as examples of disproven things, because he wanted to make the point his opponents are disproven by linguistics as much as geocentric creationists in biology and physics. I was using that as a point about the social status of what I propose as true. Not as an argument about its truth, but as a preliminary before arguing.

    Now to me, the theory of geocentrism was more based on medieval Christian theology rather than observable science. The theory that the earth is in the middle of the universe was an illustration that mankind is central to God's plan. The human race, as seen in Genesis, was the highest of all earthly created beings. This is why humans were created in His image and as a final crescendo, and why God saw His creation to be at that point to be “very good” (Gen. 1:31) as opposed to just “good” (see verses 4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25).

    Well, no. Geocentrism was believed true on virtue of observation. Earth under us does not look like moving or feel like moving except when we know we are. It is close, we can check it. Sun and moon look like moving and are far enough for us not to be able to check directly, but since either has to be moving and earth which is checked by two senses seems not to move, and the heavens seem to move, medieval men concluded earth is still and heavens move.

  19. Now I don't know if these medieval thinkers believed that the earth literally was the centre of the universe (perhaps, since they had no concept of how big space was)

    Oh boy ... yes they did AND yes they had AND no they would not have seen the hugeness of universe as any real reason to doubt earth is in its centre. Here is CSL on Medieval Astronomy:

    [The fact that ...] ...the height of the stars in medieval astronomy is very small compared with their distances in the moder, will turn out not to have the kind of importance you anticipated. For thought andimagination, ten million miles and a thousand million are much the same. Both can be conceived (that is, we can do sums with both) and neither can be imagined; and the more imagination we have, the better we shall know this. The really important difference is that the medieval universe, while unimaginably large, was also unambiguously finite. And one unexpected result of this sis to make the smallness of earth more vividly felt. In our universe she is small, no doubt; but so are the galaxies, so is everything--and so what? But in theirs there was an absolute standard of comparison. The furtherst sphere, Dante's maggior corpo, is quite simply and finally, the largest object in existance. The word "small" as applied to Earth thus takes on a far more absolute significance. Again, because the medieval universe is finite, it has a shape, the perfect spherical shape, containing withing itself an ordered variety. Hence to look out on a night sky with modern eyes is like looking out over a sea that fades into the mist, or looking about one in a trackless forest--trees forever and no horizon. To look up at the towering medieval universe is much more like looking at a great building. The 'space' of modern astronomy may arouse terror, or bewilderment or vague reverie; the spheres of the old present us with an object in which the mind can rest, overwhelming in its greatness but satisfying in its harmony. That is the sense in which our unierse is romantic and theirs was classical.

    C. S. Lewis
    The Discarded Image:
    An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature
    (Cambridge 1964) pp. 98-99 (cited after E. Grant Studies in Medieval Science and Natural Philosophy)

  20. So when Copernicus and later Galileo proposed that it was the sun at the centre rather than the earth, it startled many Church thinkers since it seemed to challenge the idea that mankind was at the centre of God's plan.

    Why was that not what they complained about then?

  21. Of course the earth revolving around the sun by no means indicates that humans are no longer the focus of God's salvation. However in purely symbolic terms that's what it meant to Church theologians at the time.

    Where did they state that?

  22. To me, it's similar to how medieval maps will show Jerusalem to be the centre of the world. Now did they really believe this was the geographical centre? I don't think was the centre of the world in a theological sense rather than a literal one.

    Or rather it was thought of as having the straightest connection to a point in the starry heavens where souls pass through when going to Heaven. The point where the Father looked down on the Son hanging on the Cross to share with us the Holy Spirit.

    But Jerusalem as centre of Earth is admittedly a theological position. Geocentrism is simply common sense - or used to be until it became uncommon sense.

  23. Basically, I do not think there's a point in attempting to prove that geocentrism is more accurate than heliocentrism, though I must say have done an excellent job doing that! I cannot debate with you on the physics or astronomy part of it though as I'm definitely not qualified.


    Geocentrism, as imagined by medieval thinkers rather than yourself, was more based upon theology I think then upon observable science.

    Which is it? Are you saying you are not qualified or are you saying geocentrism was not based on observable science? If you are not qualified, how are you to know that?

  24. Also many of C.S. Lewis' books take a unique view of medieval astronomy, in particular his Cosmic Trilogy.

    They admit physical causes or not the only possible ones, but they adhere to heliocentrism. I prefer Narnia in that mode.

  25. Another blooper about history is from Russell Grigg:

    ... They therefore bitterly opposed Galileo to the extent of forcing him on pain of death to repudiate his findings. This was because: The Church leaders had accepted as dogma the belief system of the pagan (i.e. non-Christian) philosophers, Aristotle and Ptolemy, which had become the worldview of the then scientific establishment. The result was that Church leaders were using the knowledge of the day to interpret Scripture, instead of using the Bible to evaluate the knowledge of the day. etc.

    Not true at all, your honour. The Ptolemaic worldview was on many items contradicted by:

    - the theory of Tycho Brahe (a Scanian, that is a compatriot of mine),

    - certain findings of Galileo which he was not at all required to repudiate.

    Tycho Brahe basically identified the Sun with the epicentre of Ptolemy, but Ptolemy had acknowledged no real physical epicentre, only an ideal point. So, on Tycho's view every planet - planet in the old sense, excluding earth, including anything between Earth and Zodiak, anything that would take different positions in the Zodiak - except sun and moon were directly centred on the sun, which in its turn was centred (in a yearly movement) on earth.

    Galileo was not forced to repudiate Milky Way consisting of only stars and no interstellar matter, where he seems to have been wrong and found out by the Jesuit Clavius at the process of 1616 - he was called as an expert by St Robert Bellarmine - and he was not forced to repudiate the spots on the sun, although they contradicted Aristotle's teaching of total perfection of all heavenly bodies above the moon, he was not forced to repudiate the moons of Jupiter or the rings of Saturn either.

    They clung to the 'majority opinion' about the universe and rejected the 'minority view' of Copernicus and Galileo, even after Galileo had presented indisputable evidence based on repeatable scientific observations that the majority was wrong.

    Tycho Brahe was still more minoritarian than either Ptolemy or Copernicus or either of their followers in 1616. Galileo had not proven Tycho Brahe wrong (Kepler would prove him wrong on shape of orbits, substituting elliptics for circles), and the view of Tycho Brahe was not condemned.

    They picked out a few verses from the Bible which they thought said that the sun moved around the earth, but they failed to realize that Bible texts must be understood in terms of what the author intended to convey. Thus, when Moses wrote of the 'risen' sun (Genesis 19:23) and sun 'set' (Genesis 28:11), his purpose was not to formulate an astronomical dictum. Rather he, by God's spirit, was using the language of appearance so that his readers would easily understand what time of day he was talking about. And it is perfectly valid in physics to describe motion relative to the most convenient reference frame, which in this case is the earth. See the sub-article Sunspots, Galileo and heliocentrism.

    This leaves out the two passages - mainly one was discussed - where sun ceases to move normally in order to stand still (Joshua's miracle) or to get some lines backwards (Hezekiah ordered this to happen when a prophet told him to).

  26. It also leaves out that the Church was not just bound by the Bible text, but by how it had been exposed by Church Fathers if they were unanimous. Now, Psalm 19 seems to attribute personality to the Sun. To Russell Griggs this might be the proof that the passage is "purely poetic" whatever that means (except that a Biblical Literalist needs not take Bible seriously when it is being purely poetic, according to Griggs), but to some minds this suggests the sun is some kind of angel:

    1 The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
    2 Day to day pours out speech,
    and night to night reveals knowledge.
    3 There is no speech, nor are there words,
    whose voice is not heard.

    In other words, Heavens communicating with each other was not purely metaphoric. It involves words that are heard. I admit I am for the moment a bit embarrassed by the following verse as believing earth is round and sun very far off:

    Their voice goes out through all the earth,
    and their words to the end of the world.
    In them he has set a tent for the sun,

    So, I suspect Galileo tried this as proof this was poetry (I do not have the acts of the process before me, most people have not and yet most are required to form an opinion about it). But also that the point had been answered by some Church Father or Scholastic or even was answered by St Robert Bellarmine. Here is Douay-Reims version:

    6 He hath set his tabernacle in the sun: *and he as a bridegroom coming out of his bride-chamber,
    Hath rejoiced as a giant to run the way:
    7 His going out is from the end of heaven,
    And his circuit even to the end thereof: and there is no one that can hide himself from his heat.

  27. And here is the comment:

    Ver. 6. Sun. Here God seems to reside, (Ferrand) and the magnificence of his works shines forth, insomuch that almost all nations have offered divine honours to the sun, and even the Manichees adored it, imagining that it was the very body of Jesus Christ. (St. Augustine, contra Faust. xiv. 12., and xx. 6.) --- Hebrew, "For the sun he has place a tent in them," the heavens, (St. Jerome; Haydock) or the ends of the world. The Jews supposed that the heavens rested, like a tent, upon the earth. (Calmet, Diss.) --- The Hebrew preposition l, may have (Haydock) different meanings, ad solem posuit, &c. "He placed a tent in them, at or for the sun." The idea of the Vulgate is more noble, but we would not exclude the other, which is very good, (Berthier) and obviates the gross mistake of the Manichees. (Amama) --- The Vulgate may admit the fig. hypallage, (M. Geneb.) as good authors say dare classibus austros, and thus it may signify "he placed the sun in his tent." (Haydock) --- This vast body stands in need of no vehicle, or tent, but itself. (Diodorus) --- It was placed in the firmament at first, (Genesis i. 16.) and still performs its revolutions exactly. (Haydock) --- Giant. Moderns would render "a strong man;" and Bythner remarks that the bulk of a giant would render him less fit for running, as if the stoutest wrestlers were not often the most active. (Berthier) --- The sun is represented as a hero at some of the ancient games. St. Augustine and St. Jerome explain all this of Jesus Christ, who diffuses the light and warmth of his grace throughout the world. (Calmet) --- He always resides with the Church, and is never divorced from her. (Worthington)

    Ver. 7. Circuit. So the Hebrew word is rendered "revolution." Septuagint and Vulgate, "meeting" occursus, may insinuate that the sun is found in the centre, while the earth moves daily and yearly round it, according to the Copernican system. But we must be more attentive to the life and motions of Jesus Christ, in whom the Deity resided corporally. (Berthier)

    We can be sure that Galileo used this second to last point - and that the Inquisition forbade that up to the 1820's. Galileo was as eager as his opponents to find support in the Bible text.