- Karl Keating
- Quite some time ago, at Catholic Answers Forums, I wrote about whether we have to be agnostic about whether the Earth orbits the Sun or the Sun the Earth.
I was responding to a claim by Bob Sungenis, who has written that, if we can work up an equation that explains how A orbits B, then we equally can work up an equation that shows how B orbits A.
That's fine, I said, until we try to apply those equations to real-life situations. Either equation may account for apparent motion, but only one will take into account gravity. When you do that--that is, when you go beyond mere math and into physics--then only the equation that explains how the Earth orbits the Sun works.
My comment was the impetus for a long refutation of Sungenis's ideas by Alec MacAndrew, a physicist. Sungenis, who is innocent of physics, now has given a long reply to MacAndrew. A friend brought the reply to my attention. He thought I would be interested because my name appears in it. It does: 22 times, mostly in passing.
Early on, Sungenis writes, "It appears that MacAndrew has been hired to answer for Keating." Hired by whom? Not by me--I don't even know MacAndrew--and not by David Palm, at whose website, Geocentrism Debunked, the MacAndrew essay appears.
Sungenis says, "Keating and Palm are Catholic, but know very little science. MacAndrew has a Ph.D. in physics, but is an avowed atheist."
As I said, I don't know MacAndrew; perhaps he is an atheist. His irreligion might have impelled him to tackle Sungenis's arguments, but MacAndrew's essay is entirely in terms of physics, not of metaphysics or theology.
Sungenis has no degree in science--not a Ph.D. and not even a bachelor's degree--but he thinks it necessary to discredit my knowledge of science. (He would have much difficulty in saying that MacAndrew, with a Ph.D. in physics, knows nothing about physics.)
Sungenis writes: "Karl Keating knows nothing about dynamics or coordinate transforms. All he knows is what he has been taught by the science textbooks in high school."
This is an interesing example of fantasizing, since Sungenis knows full well what I have written in reply to him before about my educational background. I'll repeat that here, so you can judge whether his characterization of me in the preceding paragraph is correct.
Of course I had some science in high school--didn't we all?--but that wasn't where my science education ended. My undergraduate work was done at the San Diego campus of the University of California. At the time it had three constituent colleges. I was resident and registered in Revelle College, which was the science school. It boasted half a dozen Nobel Prize laureates. With MIT and CalTech, UCSD was one of the three top schools for math in the country. I was a math major.
It was a requirement to take a lot of hard science courses, particularly physics. One such course was directly on point regarding Sungenis's hobbyhorse, geocentrism. The course was a mathematical investigation of the Ptolemaic theory and the geocentric theories that flowed from it. We used the actual ancient data and worked through complex equations to see whether, with ever finer data, the geocentric theory "saved the appearances." (The answer was No.)
The professor for that course was Curtis Wilson, then and now considered to be the top American expert on Kepler and his theories. It would not have been possible to take such a course from a more knowledgeable man. (So impressed was I by Wilson's course that I have retained his course materials--mainly mimeographed sheets--for more than four decades.)
Back in those days, I could do the calculus. I can't today, having been away from it for too long. But I can spot a mathematics fraud, expecially one as blatant as Sungenis. For one thing, he has no sense of what calculus is. He says, "Calculus is really nothing more than a hypersensitive arithmetic." All one can do when coming upon such a comment is to shakes one's head. You might as well say that the Pieta is nothing more than a hypersensitive clay model done by a child.
If you have a decent science or math background and read through Sungenis's rebuttal to MacAndrew, it becomes clear that Sungenis simply can't do the math. He refutes MacAndrew by calling him an atheist. He refutes me by claiming my science education ended in high school.
It's bizarre but understandable. What else can he do, having no competence in math or science himself?
- Thank you! Solving the gravitational potential gives an obvious solution -- the sun has the central location. -- Psalm 90:12 "Teach us [ed: especially Dr. Sungenis] to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom."
- Modern science has put the earth at the center of the observable universe, however dubious that may be. What lies beyond the edge of the universe is anyone's guess. It's all speculation for the most part anyway.
- Fascinating, Karl. I sympathize with any man impelled by circumstances to answer not just idiots, but utter rubes in the subject at hand. We do so only because what it is laughably obvious to us might, in these troubled times, actually hurt the innocent if some one, somewhere, does not reply.
- Jonathas Arringtonus (hereafter JA)
- Wait, after reading any portion of his "Galileo" volume wherein the arguments from Physics are contained you can actually argue that he knows no math or science? Perhaps his co-author did ALL of that as a subtle ghost-writer, but you're going to need a better argument than that IPSE DIXIT + AD HOMINEM, in my opinion.
As an aside,how can a fair number of physicists (not to mention those in prominent positions teaching the astronomical sciences) be convinced of the geocentric arguments if they're so patently absurd and devoid of any proof or mathematical consistency? I ask this in all sincerity, Mr. Keating.
- But his movie will be all over the nation in 1 theater!
- I have proven that the world is flat, incredibly, using two-dimensional modeling techniques. I challenge anyone to disprove my findings utilizing length and width alone.
- [JA], they can't. There isn't any "fair number" of physicists; there are zero. I've got a master's in physics myself from a school that had a center on relativity run by the same Jack Wheeler who wrote the book that Sungenis cites as his scientific basis, and like MacAndrew, he sure didn't accept that all reference frames were equivalent and indistinguishable. In other words, Sungenis was at best incredibly ignorant when he wrote the book, and when MacAndrew pointed out the error in his math *citing Wheeler*, Sungenis became either a liar or someone so deluded he can no longer function with sufficient intellectual capacity for rational debate. The fact that Sungenis published this at the end of Jack Wheeler's life, Wheeler having spent a good part of his career debunking pseudo-science like Sungenis's, is no coincidence. If Wheeler were alive today, he would take Sungenis to the woodshed, just as MacAndrew did.
- David Palm
- [JA], I am unaware of a single physicist in a prominent position teaching astronomical sciences who holds to strict geocentrism, viz. that the entire universe revolves around a stationary earth once every twenty-four hours. Do you know any? If not, shouldn't that say something about the viability of the view scientifically? They're not all atheists, you know, there are many physicists of faith. And they don't reject strict geocentrism because they've been hookwinked by some atheistic conspiracy. They reject it because scientifically-speaking it's a massive exercise in special pleading.
[I see I posted without seeing JP's posting. Nicely put.]
- Johnny Wheeler's bio:
Leading physicist John Wheeler dies at age 96
Posted April 14, 2008; 05:40 p.m.
I always want to call him."Jack" because he was "J.A. Wheeler" in the papers, but he went by Johnny. Of course, I didn't know him personally, so I wasn't on a first name basis!
- Karl Keating
- JA: I've seen Bob's book, and, yes, it has equations in it. He credits his co-author with the most equation-intensive parts of the book, but I don't think Bob actually understands most of the math, no matter which part of the book it's in. He cuts and pastes from others but gives no indication that he can "do" the math himself. He leaves readers with an impression that he can take pencil and paper and work through differential equations and the like, but I see nothing in the book that suggests he can.
A parallel might be the writer whose book contains lots of material in German. He provides translations, letting readers think he's read the originals when, in fact, he hasn't--but he has to give that impression if readers are to think of him as an authority. You won't be taken seriously as a writer on Goethe's "Faust" unless you can handle the German, for example.
Bob can't handle the math.
- JA, I think I remember reading that Sungenis' co-author Robert Bennett did a lot of the heavy lifting for him on the math and/or science in his Galileo volume. I remember because that was part of the scandal regarding Sungenis' "PhD". Bennett was also the supervisor for his "PhD". (Hello?)
And no one ever explained how his "PhD" was in THEOLOGY, but the thesis that became Galileo Was Wrong makes the SCIENTIFIC case for geocentrism.
- Karl, the only caveat I would add is that there is certainly a legitimate use of secondary sources in a field in which someone lacks primary experience, as when someone is engaged in cross-disciplinary work. But this isn't even such a case, as the misbegotten reliance on Wheeler's seminal work demonstrates.
- Karl Keating - I found Sungenis' article but I got tired after the first 15 pages. All of his papers seem to be 50+ pages. It's like he thinks arguments are won by who writes the most or something.
Anyway, I thought it was strange for him to come right out of the gate saying that you hired MacAndrew. Who just throws something like that out there without evidence? I don't remember him being so paranoid and into conspiracy theories back in the day. Do you know if he was always like this?
I mean, I guess I could understand privately wondering if you or someone contacted MacAndrew. But to actually say, in a published paper, that you must have hired him? Besides being rash, it seems a bit self-important to immediately jump to the conclusion that someone takes you so seriously that they felt the need to go out and pay someone to answer you.
And to go after MacAndrew out of the gate because he's supposedly an atheist? Since when is the accuracy of a person's math or science dependent upon his religious faith? And where is the proof that MacAndrew "despises" the Catholic faith?
I mean, come on. This is not how a serious scientist behaves. This is what pop controversialists and snake oil salesmen do to soften up their audiences.
But you should definitely go to Confession, Karl. Super-Catholic Sungenis has pronounced that you are a Modernist. Save your soul, man.
- Karl Keating
- WG: Bob doesn't appreciate that a Modernist (capital T) is different from a modernist (lowercase t). The former term refers to a theological stance of about a century ago. The latter term is used more broadly, particularly in literature. You could say that T. S. Eliot was a modernist, but he wasn't a Modernist. When Bob calls someone a "modernist," it just means "I don't like this guy." Coming from him, the epithet has no force.
RS - I think you're probably onto it. That must be how he sees it. Strange.
- Suggesting someone hired someone else to make an argument is a red herring and/or ad hominem. Does the argument hold weight or doesn't it? That's all that matters.
- Such a waste of time arguing with Philistines.
- Mr Keating, given your background on the matter and "dialogue" with them, Id love to see your public contributions organized on a blog or such; wading and mining through forums is tiresome something fierce. there's a popular lay apostolate and several figures in and from my diocese that are adamant on the "necessity" of agnosticism on "the science" and it breaks my heart as a convert to see productive fruit of Catholicism like the scientific venture so *gnostically* maltreated.
- NG - there's already a website up that has a lot of information dealing with science and the Church related to geocentrism. The person who published the site has commented on some of Karl's posts (David Palm).
- BSP esq
- First I want to stress here that I am a sinner, and someone attempting to be a decent catecumen, as im studying to be Catholic. Now that I've got that it of the way. ..
I just don't get these passive aggressive attacks on people, Karl. Instead of having a decent argument and dialogue with folks that subscribe to traditional parts of our wonderful faith that differ from yours you continue to passive dog whistle statements to activate those that appear to have either personal hate or mental illness.
Last I checked, there wasn't a condemnation of geocentrism, so why continue to beat up on Bob Sungenis? Aren't you really just hoping for someone like Mark Shea to show up and bash him for questionable past statements, whereby your main attempt of character assassination gets fulfilled by someone else? Again, your hands stay somewhat clean.
I really wish you could go back to your good work of mopping up on protestant errors, like Pentecostal movements, Baptists, non denominational errors and the like. I greatly enjoyed Catholicism and Fundamentalism and this book was a classic, but there's no doubt you have personally taken a diifferent trajectory of late, going after fellow Catholics, with borderline obsessive ways and means.
As everyone knows, there are some bad apples in the bunch (I'm NOT stating Bob is one, btw) but this scandal being caused by harming the body of Christ's church is wrong. You are also encouraging behavior that would get one instantly banned from your Catholic Answers forums.
I suggest you check your motives, and decide whether these personal attacks, or open doorways for frothingly calumnous usual suspects (ie Mark Shea and is exceedingly harsh attacks on anybody not practicing his misguided version of catholicism.
- BSP Your righteous indignation at Karl Keating's supposed offenses and your deep worry about "scandal" rings more than a little hollow when the following gets a shrug and silence from you:
[Editor: Omitting here 11 quotes from Sungenis VIA waybackmachine/internet archive VIA Mark Shea - Sungenis stated he no longer takes a public stand for those, that is why they are no longer available where he put them.]
You can't get worked up enough to worry or complain about any of the above at all. But Karl Keating gets you all worked up enough to keep posting and posting about it?
I mean, come on.
Faithful Answers and the Inquisitors’ Anti-Charism of Discernment
July 19, 2013 By Mark Shea
- Karl Keating
- BSP Esq: You want me to go back to my "good work of mopping up on Protestant errors," but you object to me (and to others) "mopping up" on Catholic errors--or, at least, on Catholics who promote error. I suspect you wouldn't mind if we critiqued liberal Catholics and their errors, but we're not supposed to critique Catholics who cause scandal by claiming the Church mandates a belief in geocentrism or Catholics who engage in relentless anti-Semitism, which is even more scandalous.
- Ross Earl Hoffman
- Karl hired MacAndrew; reminds me of the traditionalists blogs who start their papers, which end up being anti Novus Ordo and Vatican II by claiming Bugnini was a freemason! I never really read any farther because I saw through the smoke screen! I mean that was literally the first sentence, that Bugnini was a freemason, once they got that out of the way then they could continue....... I think Bob is trying to do the same hatchet job on Karl that traditionalists do to Bugnini!
- So far by
- June 16, and I come in June 23, first linking to a piece answering part of status as quoted above, then answering certain of the points otherwise made.
- Hans Georg Lundahl
- Here is perhaps where I should have posted my essay about your course (for Curtis):
New blog on the kid : On Karl Keating's Course
"He says, "Calculus is really nothing more than a hypersensitive arithmetic." All one can do when coming upon such a comment is to shakes one's head. You might as well say that the Pieta is nothing more than a hypersensitive clay model done by a child."
Pietà is a hypersensitive clay model. Arithmetic does not imply "done by a child". I am lousy or rather non-extant at calculus, but if it is any good at all, it would be hypersensitive either arithmetic or geometry. And in either case not done by a child.
So, Robert Sungenis' quoted phrase does not imply he doesn't know the first thing, no. It might imply that to the Schibboleths and Jargons current at your faculty, but it does not imply that in good logic.
Unless you would say that calculus (I have some notion of what it is) is rather hypersensitive geometry by aritjmetic and algebraic (i e quasiarithmetic) means.
- Karl Keating
- The point is that calculus isn't arithmetic or geometry. They're all parts of math, but calculus isn't a fine-tuned version of the others.
- It's really hard to argue with the data of 50 years of space flight let alone 400 years of observations and calculations. Unless Sungenis is not only arguing using math (apparently) but also an incredibly implausible conspiracy theory? I suppose the space lasers thing might imply that he is...
Even so, if you're firing a rocket at any of the planets and you're not taking an alleged geocentric model of the solar system into account then your rocket is not going to end up taking fly-by pictures of those planets or orbiting them or landing on them which they clearly have.
It's just laughably implausible to explain that data any other way.
- Ross Earl Hoffman
- AM I'm not very bright when it comes to this stuff and to be honest I think I cheated my way through calculus my first year of college before I became a gutter drunk but I would think that our satellites alone should be able to determine whether the earth is stationary or not?!
Karl does any reputable scientist from NASA or anyone else in the science community give even an inkling that this geocentrism could be true?
[And for those who do not know him, Ross Earl Hoffmann is a Catholic Priest in communion with - as far as I know - Bergoglio. "Spiritualis homo iudicat omnes/omnia" and "Spiritualis homo non iudicatur", well that is perhaps not his line in these matters.]
- Ross Earl Hoffman satellite observations would be included in "400 years of observations." But there is nothing better to signify the correctness of your model like plotting a course and executing it and finding out whether the planet is where you expect it to be.
- Ross Earl Hoffman
- AM, I believe I caught the live- play by play- action when we landed on Mars just recently; the excitement of the NASA engineers was unbelievable; I couldn't help but think how incredibly brilliant these scientists are and how complicated this program really is(Landing on Mars) it seems absurd that they would miss something as elementary as who's at the center of the universe the Earth or the Sun?!
AM, I would think with a satellite in space orbiting the Earth or caught in the gravitational pull of the earth and staying stationary as everything else orbits around us whichever scenario is correct I would think the data coming from the satellite would be easily provable?!
- Tom Trinko
- Well one good argument to use is geostationary satellites--we use them all the time for pagers, live TV from overseas etc. They sit, pretty much stationary, above the same point on the earth.
Now if the earth isn't rotating then geostationary satellites aren't moving. But we all know that if put something up in the sky and release it it will fall to the earth. But since geostationary satellites aren't falling to the earth they have to be moving and hence the earth has to be rotating.
- Hans Georg Lundahl
- "The point is that calculus isn't arithmetic or geometry. They're all parts of math, but calculus isn't a fine-tuned version of the others."
A part of math that is NOT arithmetic and NOT geometry?
As a fan of Quadrivium, I disagree. Of course there is music and astronomy, but they are not pure math.
If I recall correctly the very little I have seen of calculus, it seems to be doing geometry with arithmetic means - plus doing it with further and further approxiimations, plus knowing how to make a shortcut for the further and further approximations.
Like calculating the area of a circle by cutting it up in finer and finer slices with limits within and without the circle. AND knowing the trick - which I do not - for how to shortcircuit the actual trouble of doing it into a formula that will sum up a same or roughly similar result.
If I am wrong, correct me.
But if I am right, calculus is an application of geometry and arithmetic at the time.
"It's really hard to argue with the data of 50 years of space flight let alone 400 years of observations and calculations."
Sungenis and I are at one on this one: NEITHER of these even remotely refutes Geocentrism as such.
My point already made is that it is not Ptolemaic system but Geocentricity we defend. BOTH space flight AND the 400 years of observations and calculations on top of previous pre-Copernican ones are compatible with Geocentrism in some form, but not the Ptolemaic form.
"Even so, if you're firing a rocket at any of the planets and you're not taking an alleged geocentric model of the solar system into account then your rocket is not going to end up taking fly-by pictures of those planets or orbiting them or landing on them which they clearly have."
You mean if Ptolemaic system were true that would not be the result.
I and Sungenis are using a modified Tychonian one (or perhaps rather two different modified Tychonian ones).
[I just found out through Sungenis that adding ellipses rather than circles for periodic orbits, like Kepler did, was already done by Riccioli. So one can date modified Tychonian in this respect back to Riccioli.]
"but I would think that our satellites alone should be able to determine whether the earth is stationary or not?!"
How could they possibly do that?
None of them are stationed at the very edge of the Universe. "Δως μοι πω στο και κινασω ταν γαν" - they are not standing in any fixed spot, so they are in no position to show a certainly truer picture of us than we can get of them.
Trusting God means among other things trusting He put us in a position where 7 billion paris of eyes and of inner ears are at least as likely to get a true picture of the Universe as manmade machines.
"Karl does any reputable scientist from NASA or anyone else in the science community give even an inkling that this geocentrism could be true?"
Do St Robert Bellarmine, Clavius, Riccioli count to you?
"it seems absurd that they would miss something as elementary as who's at the center of the universe the Earth or the Sun?!"
You have very obviously not worked through the geometric implications of Tychonian and Heliocentric cosmographies.
Besides Heliocentrics these days do NOT consider Sun is centre of Universe. At All.
"Anthony I would think with a satellite in space orbiting the Earth or caught in the gravitational pull of the earth and staying stationary as everything else orbits around us whichever scenario is correct I would think the data coming from the satellite would be easily provable?!"
The data coming from the satellite is as provable as the personnel handling it on earth is honest.
The data coming from the satellite does not guarantee that the satellite is not going to be a worse point of observing absolute stillness and motion than the earth.
"Now if the earth isn't rotating then geostationary satellites aren't moving. But we all know that if put something up in the sky and release it it will fall to the earth. But since geostationary satellites aren't falling to the earth they have to be moving and hence the earth has to be rotating."
Robert Sungenis would answer they are relatively moving as it is really aether that is moving around them.
A parallel would be an aeroplane wing. It lifts both in a test tunnel when air is blown onto its fore and in air when it is itself moving.
- No answer
- for 24 hours, and I continue answering:
- Hans Georg Lundahl
- WG - I saw your list and it was from a post by Mark Shea, quoting items from a site Sungenis took down via web archive. Not one of them linking to Robert Sungenis' present site.
Add thereto that none of that has any bearing on the astronomical question. It seems someone is eager to hush the astronomical question up by referring to material Sungenis took down - OR someone is paying back for that material by hushing up the astronomical question. Someone not quite content with Sungenis just taking it down, but eager to see Sungenis contradict his past statements before he be allowed to speak on ANY other subject.
I happen to feel myself a victim of similar manners too, and I happen to hate it.
I also wonder why Mark Shea
gotwent along with that.
Ross Earl Hoffmann "I think Bob is trying to do the same hatchet job on Karl that traditionalists do to Bugnini!"
It has not occurred to you that Karl is doing a hatchet job on Bob, has it?
Karl, as to your words:
"we're not supposed to critique Catholics who cause scandal"
We might see in a moment whether he is doing so or you are doing so.
"by claiming the Church mandates a belief in geocentrism "
The claim I have seen so far is a bit different:
a) it HAS mandated it
b) it HAS NOT mandated the reverse, only withdrawn mandate on inferior levels, without bothering to check whether the superior level mandates (like 1633) leave that possibility open
c) it HAS by the withdrawal occasioned a Galileo-complex which makes defense of the whole truth more difficult (like Catholics contradicting the 1909 decision or concentrating only on q 8 response in order to not make another St Robert Bellarmine move)
d) geocentrism in itself is NOT scientifically invalidated
"or Catholics who engage in relentless anti-Semitism, which is even more scandalous."
Would depend on what kind of anti-Semitism it is.
Plus that is no longer an issue, since Sungenis took down parts of his earlier publications.
mercredi 25 juin 2014
Karl Keating had a Status, the Status a Debate
1) "Nobody believes in Geocentrism these days ...", 2) On Karl Keating's Course, 3) Karl Keating had a Status, the Status a Debate, 4) Ross Hoffmann Made an Answer, an Answer too I Gave