Friday, September 2, 2011

Thoughts on "A Reluctant Sinner's" blog post on Catholicism as defender of science

The following is an excerpt from a post on "A Reluctant Sinner."


"Yesterday, Stuart at the eChurch blog published a post in which he highlighted how some people still labour under the misapprehension that the Catholic Church is somehow "anti-science" or "anti-reason". He was specifically referring to a newspaper report that seemed to infer that Catholics were continuing to oppose Galileo's heliocentric ideas. As I pointed out in a comment on the eChurch blog, heliocentrism has actually been effectively disproved anyway [the sun is not the centre of the universe]. But, laying that matter to one side, Stuart's post did get me thinking about the fact that the world seems obsessed with the supposed conflict that is meant to exist between (irrational) Church-goers and (rational) scientists...

"The reality of the Church's relationship with science is far from that portrayed by Catholicism's lazy-minded, secularist detractors. In fact, it could be argued that the Catholic Church is the one that has constantly been reason and science's best advocate - as Pope Benedict XVI recently said, quoting a medieval Byzantine Emperor, "Not to act reasonably, not to act with logos is contrary to the nature of God." It is also true to say that some of the world's greatest scientists, including Galileo himself, have often been active members of the Church."


A few things struck me about this post. First, it seemed to me to be a case of unnecessary, reductionistic polarization. It certainly is a lazy thesis to simply state that the Church is anti-science. The Church even today is a source of inspiration and resources to a number of scientific endeavors, and there is an undoubted historical tie between the Church's history and the foundation of what is known as modern science. But this is no reason to fly to the opposite position, a thesis I believe equally lazy: the Church is the best defender of science. It doesn't take much more than a cursory glance at the history between the Church and scientists - even Catholic scientists - to recognize that there have been at least tensions, if not all out conflict, between the two.

Let us take Galileo. In the Inquisition's judgment into Galileo's teachings, it was written:


"By the grace of God, Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, and especially commissioned by the Holy Apostolic See as Inquisitors-General against heretical depravity in all of Christendom.

"Whereas you, Galileo, son of the late Vincenzio Galilei, Florentine, aged seventy years, were denounced to this Holy Office in 1615 for holding as true the false doctrine taught by some that the sun is the center of the world and motionless and the earth moves even with diurnal motion; for having disciples to whom you taught the same doctrine; for being in correspondence with some German mathematicians about it; for having published some letters entitiled On Sunspots, in which you explained the same doctrine as true; for interpreting Holy Scripture according to your own meaning in response to objections based on Scripture which were sometimes made to you; and whereas later we received a copy of an essay in the form of a letter, which was said to have been written by you to a former disciple of yours and which in accordance with Copernicus's position contains various propositions against the authority and true meaning of Holy Scripture;

"And whereas this Holy Tribunal wanted remedy the disorder and the harm which derived from it and which was growing to the detriment of the Holy Faith, by order of His Holiness and the Most Eminent and Most Reverend Lord Cardinals of this Supreme and Univesal Inquisition, the Assessor Theologians assessed the two propositions of the sun's stability and the earth's motions as follows:

"That the sun is the center of the world and motionless is a proposition which is philosophically absurd and false, and formally heretical, for being explicitly contrary to Holy Scripture;

"That the earth is neither the center of the world nor motionless but moves even with diurnal motion is philosophically equally absurd and false, and theologically at least erroneous in the Faith."


In light of these judgments, it does us little good to comfort ourselves with the thought that Copernican heliocentrism was false. After all, the reasoning behind the Inquisition's judgment was not the recognition that no known place has the special and objective quality of being the unmoving center of the Universe's motion, but rather a judgment made on the basis of the contemporary understanding of the content of faith. That is, the hypotheses are condemned on the grounds of "being explicitly contrary to Holy Scripture" and being "theologically at least erroneous in the faith." The Church was being profoundly unscientific, condemning hypotheses not on the basis of experimentation or observation but strictly on the grounds that the faith a priori supposedly discounted these propositions. And this is where the disjunction of faith and science really does have grounds in reality.

Every time the faith is used to put forward theories that could be subject to empirical verification or falsification, there is the high probability of conflict between faith and science. The Galileo incident is only the most popular of these incidents, although there have been several more. More recently, the Church has had a long and uneasy time dealing with the modern theory of evolution, which although now is more or less accepted was once challenged by the Papacy on a number of occasions. The encyclical Humani Generis takes a similar approach to the Inquisition against Galileo, as Pope Pius XII in that document condemns the hypothesis that there were not a lone, solitary pair of humans that began the human race, a hypothesis that has quite a bit of scientific evidence. By now, it is quite likely that we Catholics simply disregard this encyclical. But it does underscore one thing: the Church cannot be called the "Defender of Science" any more than She can be called "Enemy of Science." Her relationship with science has been much more complex; and it is important for thinking Catholics to recognize the difficulties in attempting to harmonize our understanding of the faith with the findings of reason.

53 comments:

  1. Hope you got my links.

    You raise an excellent point regarding the Inquisition's sentence of Galileo.

    The question really involves some soul searching on both sides (forgive, if you will, the terrible state of disorientation in the Church of this age, which seems seriously to be on the verge in many areas of surrendering the foundational Truth that Faith is *superior* to reason, though never in true conflict with it).

    Galileo was wrong, and science has admitted it, as to the first proposition.

    Science has never been able to provide observational/experimental demonstration against the second proposition (although this simple truth comes as a great shock to many, who "believe" science has proved the motion of the Earth to at least as unanimous an extent as the faithful "believed" Galileo's assertions were false because contrary to Scripture at the time).

    Relativity is adopted explicitly as an answer to the failure of all optical/mechanical efforts to demonstrate the universally assumed orbital motion of Earth around Sun.

    Relativity, in turn, makes certain predictions about the large-scale structure of space time.

    Those predictions, in turn, are now suffering from the effects of their collision with the observational evidence of Earth oriented structure on the universe's largest observable scales.

    As a Catholic I am delighted to be just a bit ahead of the crowd in recognizing the profound implications, over the coming generation or so.

    As a real fan of the ferocious intellectual gifts, and the commitment to honesty of the very best scientists it has been my pleasure to meet- even especially those most drastically handicapped by their atheistic philosophical assumptions, armed with which they have boldly jumped the fence and attempted to storm the bastions of metaphysics and theology- I have only one point of disquiet when adopting the working hypothesis that the Church's second proposition will, in the end, prove to have been scientifically as well as theologically correct.

    Let us suppose for an instance this were so.

    It is now necessary to consider that in the absence of the Copernican principle it were perhaps unlikely that the LaGrange points would have been definable, which in turn would have prevented the WMAP from being stationed at L2, which in turn would have prevented the very observations which have brought us to this moment, where the Copernican Principle itself faces grave observational challenges.

    Perhaps the inversion of viewpoint was necessary, in some way, for the elaboration of the process of development of science?

    If so, then a final irony.......

    The greatest teacher of this philosophical principle of elaboration of truth through rigorous development, including inversion of viewpoint, was not even a scientist.

    It was the greatest of all composers, JS Bach.

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  3. "The question really involves some soul searching on both sides (forgive, if you will, the terrible state of disorientation in the Church of this age, which seems seriously to be on the verge in many areas of surrendering the foundational Truth that Faith is *superior* to reason, though never in true conflict with it)."

    I agree that it requires a great deal of careful thought, which is why I started this blog in the first place. However, I am troubled by two implications of your assertion that faith is "superior" to reason. By definition, in itself, faith is inferior to knowledge; the Church has admitted this; Thomas Aquinas admitted it. He wrote very clearly that knowing the truth from demonstration (e.g., science) is itself stronger than believing the truth from authority (faith). However, in the case of knowledge about God, I am inclined to agree with you, and St. Thomas points out that the necessity of the virtue of Faith and the revelation lies not in the intrinsic strength of belief from authority but on account of the difficulty in reasoning about something so far removed from our senses as God. If you simply meant that faith has a higher object, I agree, but I would be hesitant in saying that this means faith is "superior" to reason. In the end, faith will be no more, for we shall see Him as He is.

    But secondly, it worries me that we must assume that our understanding of the content of faith must trump a scientific discovery. If, as Pope John Paul II noted, faith and reason are complementary, then it is just as possible that our understanding of faith might be informed by the insight of science as it is that our understanding of science might be informed by the faith.

    "Galileo was wrong, and science has admitted it, as to the first proposition."

    In the technical sense that relativity eliminates the special privilege of any place, including the sun, then yes; however, he was not wrong in his critique of the failure of the Ptolemaic system that he received from Copernicus and improved.

    "Science has never been able to provide observational/experimental demonstration against the second proposition (although this simple truth comes as a great shock to many, who "believe" science has proved the motion of the Earth to at least as unanimous an extent as the faithful "believed" Galileo's assertions were false because contrary to Scripture at the time).

    Relativity is adopted explicitly as an answer to the failure of all optical/mechanical efforts to demonstrate the universally assumed orbital motion of Earth around Sun."

    Again, as noted, yes. But, at the same time, no: it is not the case that it is impossible to prove the motion of the earth, once we accept the relativity of our choice of frame of reference. If we take the aggregate of mass we call the solar system as our basic frame of reference, we find its center of mass to be roughly the sun, and the earth moves in orbit around it. If we take the aggregate of mass we call the Milky Way to be our basic frame of reference, we again find the earth to move around galactic center. So forth and so on.

    Basically the statement "x object moves" or "x object remains stationary" must always be made in respect to a frame of reference. It is possible to choose a frame of reference in which the earth does not move: namely, that of the earth itself. As observers on the surface of the planet, it is not surprising our first instinct is to assume an immobile earth and a mobile sun. It is simply that science has demonstrated that a different frame of reference, the solar system, reveals that the earth, too, is in motion.

    "Those predictions, in turn, are now suffering from the effects of their collision with the observational evidence of Earth oriented structure on the universe's largest observable scales."

    I still would like to see this evidence.

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  4. "It is now necessary to consider that in the absence of the Copernican principle it were perhaps unlikely that the LaGrange points would have been definable, which in turn would have prevented the WMAP from being stationed at L2, which in turn would have prevented the very observations which have brought us to this moment, where the Copernican Principle itself faces grave observational challenges."

    Again, yes and no. By now, I doubt any scientist believes that Copernicus "had it right," in the sense of being absolutely without flaw. Science is progressive, in that it continually requires adjustment and readjustment. But at the same time, I doubt any scientist would say that Copernicus simply "had it wrong," either. By shattering the dominance of the Ptolemaic system and recognizing that a different model better explained and predicted the relevant phenomena of the solar system, Copernicus made a breakthrough that allowed the further discover of such insights as, like you mentioned, LaGrange points.

    At the same time, just because we know that Copernican absolute heliocentrism fails due to relativity doesn't mean that the Copernican model, and more importantly the subsequent revisions of that model, are not obsolete, because as models they still are superior to any geocentric model, even Tycho Brahe, for a variety of reasons, including their ability to account for stellar parallax.

    So, "sic et non." But the more important insight, in my opinion, is that Galileo's inquisitors were wrong in a far more profound way than Galileo was: while Galileo made the best hypothesis he could based upon observational phenomena and then tested that theory, his inquisitors attempted to completely circumvent the empirical process and misuse faith.

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  5. SE: " I am troubled by two implications of your assertion that faith is "superior" to reason. By definition, in itself, faith is inferior to knowledge; the Church has admitted this; Thomas Aquinas admitted it. He wrote very clearly that knowing the truth from demonstration (e.g., science) is itself stronger than believing the truth from authority (faith)."

    >> It is reason, not knowledge, which is specified. First, the Church has formally defined, as "de fide definita" that Faith is superior to reason, and Thomas was, after all a Catholic, and hence held this without the slightest equivocation. You did not cite the Apostolic Doctor, so I will supply the remedy:

    Summa contra gentiles, I. vii:

    "... it is impossible for the truth of faith to be contrary to principles known by natural reason....But because it surpasses reason it is counted by some as contrary to reason, which cannot be."

    The dogma to which Thomas assents above is found in paragraph 159 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which quotes the formal definition of the First Vatican Council:

    "159. Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever contradict truth."

    This principle is not limited to things pertaining to God only, but also concerns contingent conclusions of reason which might contradict the Faith, e.g., scientific propositions which contradict the Faith, as in theories of polygenism, or of evolution which deny the existence of the soul, or reduce it to an epiphenomenon of nature.

    In all such instances, Thomas and the Church agree, Faith is superior to reason, but never in conflict with right reason.

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  6. SE: "But secondly, it worries me that we must assume that our understanding of the content of faith must trump a scientific discovery."

    >> How could it be otherwise? Faith proceeds from God and is therefore certain. Scientific *obervations* must, of necessity, be interpreted via the lens of philosophical assumptions. As Arp said memorably, all we have in cosmology is photons impacting our retinas, and an x, y, and z axis. All the rest is interpretation.

    The point being, that the truly *scientific* aspect of the discovery consists in the observed behavior of the photons. The interpretation can well be false, whilst the observations are factual.

    In fact, any and all such interpretations which conflict with Faith, will certainly be found to be false.

    SE: "Pope John Paul II noted, faith and reason are complementary, then it is just as possible that our understanding of faith might be informed by the insight of science as it is that our understanding of science might be informed by the faith."

    >> Pope John Paul was responsible for issuing the catechism just quoted above. There is no contradiction between the citation above, and the observation that faith and reason can complement each other. What is troubling to some in this age is the defined dogma to the effect that Faith is superior to reason.

    But it necessarily is, as DSt. Thomas shows in the fuller sections of the quoted excerpt above.

    SE: In the technical sense that relativity eliminates the special privilege of any place, including the sun, then yes

    >> Oh no, long before relativity it was observationally established that the Sun was in motion (rotational). This is an observational, not a theoretical, datum.

    Galileo was precisely wrong in his assertion that the Sun was motionless, and this was established long before Einstein.

    SE: "however, he was not wrong in his critique of the failure of the Ptolemaic system that he received from Copernicus and improved."

    >> Gingerich has shown that Copernicus' system required more epicycles than did Ptolemy's, and I am unaware of any important improvements to Copernicus' system until Kepler's adoption of elliptical orbits (which improvement was exactly as effective in both the heliocentric and geocentric systems- Tycho's geocentrism and Copernicus' heliocentrism, once suitably modified with Keplerian orbits, are indistinguishable from one another in terms of their ability to describe the motions of the heavenly bodies. This includes the case of stellar parallax, by the way.

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  7. SE: "it is not the case that it is impossible to prove the motion of the earth, once we accept the relativity of our choice of frame of reference"

    >> This is false. The failure of all optical experiments *imposed* upon Relativity the unbending postulate that no optical or mechanical experiment can ever disclose an absolute motion of Earth.

    As Einstein himself states:

    ""The struggle, so violent in the early days of science, between the views of Ptolemy and Copernicus would then be quite meaningless. Either CS [coordinate system] could be used with equal justification. The two sentences, 'the sun is at rest and the earth moves', or 'the sun moves and the earth is at rest', would simply mean two different conventions concerning two different CS [coordinate systems]."---"The Evolution of Physics: From Early Concepts to Relativity and Quanta, Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld, New York, Simon and Schuster 1938, 1966 p.212

    Therefore the motion of the Earth is assumed, as a philosophical, not a scientific, datum in relativity.

    SE: " If we take the aggregate of mass we call the solar system as our basic frame of reference, we find its center of mass to be roughly the sun, and the earth moves in orbit around it. If we take the aggregate of mass we call the Milky Way to be our basic frame of reference, we again find the earth to move around galactic center. So forth and so on."

    >> Alas, we can only take the aggregate of mass we call the universe in order to rigorously determine whether a center of mass exists which places the Earth in the analogous position of the barycenter of a gyroscope.

    Because the optical experiments are all consistent with the alternate explanation that the earth ism not moving, we must await the ability to observe the Universe's largest scales in order to definitively exclude the possibility of a motionless earth.

    SE: Basically the statement "x object moves" or "x object remains stationary" must always be made in respect to a frame of reference.

    >> That is assumed, not demonstrated, in the theory of relativity. In fact it is a falsifiable assertion. One of the ways to at least significantly call the assumption into question, would be to observe large scale structure in the universe inconsistent with the predictions of relativity.

    This has now occurred.

    SE: I still would like to see this evidence.

    >> You have seen it, if you bothered to click the links I provided earlier.

    If you need them again, please say so.

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  8. I think a little more subtlety is needed, Rick. For one, there is a difference between faith and the Faith: that is to say, a difference between faith as a general way of accepting argument from authority and Faith as the theological virtue and the content of revelation. Thomas Aquinas knows very well that arguments from authority are in themselves inferior to arguments from demonstration. The superiority of the Faith is not vis a vis its being faith, but rather comes from its object (ST I q.1 a.1) as well as from the peculiar nature of its authority, God.

    But even here, the authority of faith and its relationship to demonstrable science is problematic and nuanced, especially considering the nature of our current topic, geocentrism. The Faith, argues Aquinas, cannot cover topics which are the subject of empirical investigation (ST II-II q.1 a.4-5). Because the structure of the physical universe is empirically verifiable, it cannot be the subject of faith. This means that the Faith cannot be absolutely superior, if by absolutely superior one means that the Faith has the immediate authority to correct the findings of reason: by St. Thomas' own admission, numerous propositions about the physical universe are not even properly objects of faith. He "solves" the possibility of tension between faith and reason by separating their objects. However, this solution does not hold when the Faith attempts to make rulings on matters which are empirical in nature.

    Thus the superiority of the Faith can only be in reference to its own object, God and the relationship of creation to God, not in reference to its being faith, i.e., an argument from authority.

    But furthermore, the issue of geocentrism is easily dispelled by relativity. Einstein did not mean that the statement "the earth moves" is meaningless; he means to point out that it is meaningful only within a chosen frame of reference. Nevertheless, within that frame of reference, the fact that the earth moves is not meaningless: it is a meaningful scientific statement qualified by the chosen frame of reference.

    Not only that, but within practice certain frames of reference are superior to others for certain sorts of scientific goals. The study of the solar system might rightfully take its frame of reference as the sum of the matter commonly called "the solar system," from the sun out to the boundaries of the Outer Oort cloud, or wherever we arbitrarily assign the boundaries. In such a case, the center of our chosen frame of reference lies proximate to the sun, and we would see the earth orbit the sun while the sun remained relatively in place, although even the sun would wobble and of course revolve. In fact, our view of this circumstance is completely possible through our space probes which have traversed a sufficient distance from the earth to view this reality.

    The notion that the earth does not move would only be valid within a very few frames of reference. Furthermore, even if we attempted to assume the earth to be unmoving center of an arbitrary frame of reference, we could not actually account for stellar parallax, coriolis force, centrifugal force, the recent observation of relativistic frame dragging due to the rotation of the earth by Gravity Probe B, and so forth.

    Quasars are not "pointed at us" in any way; there is a selection bias which means that quasars and gamma ray bursts are more likely to be discovered if they are "pointed at us." Furthermore, it has been determined that they are more or less randomly distributed throughout the universe.

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  9. SE: I think a little more subtlety is needed, Rick. For one, there is a difference between faith and the Faith: that is to say, a difference between faith as a general way of accepting argument from authority and Faith as the theological virtue and the content of revelation.

    >> It is the latter which is the subject of Catholic dogma, and of Aquinas' teaching.

    SE: But furthermore, the issue of geocentrism is easily dispelled by relativity.

    >> This of course requires that relativity's foundational postulates be shown to be true. The observational evidence, especially including the preferred axis in the CMB, and the same axis of polarization of light from quasars, indicate that its key postulate: that there exists no preferred frame, is wrong.

    Since the experimental refutation of geocentrism has never been obtained, and since relativity's foundational postulate involves the necessary consequence that no preferred frame can be observationally obtained, essentially, the only question left is whether Planck will confirm WMAP's observations of the Axis. If it does, then we have an observational refutation of the foundational premise of relativity.

    What we will not have, is any explanation for the failure of all experiments to disclose a motion of the Earth.

    SE: Einstein did not mean that the statement "the earth moves" is meaningless; he means to point out that it is meaningful only within a chosen frame of reference. Nevertheless, within that frame of reference, the fact that the earth moves is not meaningless: it is a meaningful scientific statement qualified by the chosen frame of reference.

    >> The postulate that there exists no preferred frame is a philosophical assumption, not a scientifically demonstrated datum.

    The observations, reported in citations twice provided you, speak for themselves.

    The scientific community is aware of them, and is beginning to grapple with the implications, of that you can be sure.

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  10. SE: But even here, the authority of faith and its relationship to demonstrable science is problematic and nuanced, especially considering the nature of our current topic, geocentrism. The Faith, argues Aquinas, cannot cover topics which are the subject of empirical investigation (ST II-II q.1 a.4-5).

    >> But notice here:

    "Whatever is based on these principles is as well proved in the eyes of the faithful, as a conclusion drawn from self-evident principles is in the eyes of all. Hence again, *theology is a science*, as we stated at the outset of this work (I, 1, 2)."

    For Thomas the word "science" only properly applies to a syllogism correctly formed on self-evident principles.

    Needles to say, there are very few of those existing in the "science" of astrophysics.

    For example, you, like many, accept unproven assumptions (such as the absence of a preferred reference frame) and treat them as if they were self-evident (that is, experimentally and repeatably demonstrated).

    For this reason Thomas is not supporting the notion that the Faith must surrender to a scientific hypothesis. He insists instead that only a self-evident (that is, experimentally and repeatedly demonstrated) principle can form the basis of any scientific knowledge, which can in turn be recognized as science only by its valid syllogistic formation from self-evident principle.

    SE:Because the structure of the physical universe is empirically verifiable, it cannot be the subject of faith.

    >> This is alarmingly false. We cannot begin to empirically verify the structure of the universe- we can only empirically verify the existence of photons impacting upon our telescopes. All else is interpretation, and any interpretation which contradicts a truth of Faith- for example, an interpretation which asserts an eternally-existing cosmos, or one which asserts an infinity of multiverses- is not in fact a scientific statement.

    It is a metaphysical or theological statement, and hence is properly judged against the Faith.

    SE: This means that the Faith cannot be absolutely superior, if by absolutely superior one means that the Faith has the immediate authority to correct the findings of reason

    >> To the contrary, Faith has exactly this authority, since any conclusion reached by reason which is in conflict with the faith is, by that very fact, falsified. Faith, as we recall from St. Thomas' words above, is superior to reason, and cannot contradict right reason. A conclusion of reason which contradicts the Faith cannot be scientific in nature, as Thomas employs the term.

    SE: by St. Thomas' own admission, numerous propositions about the physical universe are not even properly objects of faith.

    >> Indeed, hop truly scientific (in Thomas' sense) proposition about the universe is an object of faith. Many assertion which are advanced by scientists, however, are. Especially in the modern era, these assertions are often advanced as if they were empirically demonstrated scientific knowledge (say, that no preferred frame can be established) when they are not. It is in these instances that the problems arise.

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  11. The final sentence above was mistyped, and in adroitly developed. It should read:

    "Indeed, *no* truly scientific (in Thomas' sense) proposition about the universe is an object of faith. Many assertions which are advanced by scientists, however, *are* objects of faith. Especially in the modern era, these assertions are often advanced as if they were empirically demonstrated scientific knowledge (say, that no preferred frame can be established) when they are instead philosophical assumptions. It is in these instances that the problems arise.

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  12. SE: Not only that, but within practice certain frames of reference are superior to others for certain sorts of scientific goals.

    >> This is an excellent point, and constitutes the only basis upon which the Galilean sentence can be challenged.

    However, the Inquisition's sentence is wiser than its modern critics allow, since never was Galileo proscribed from employing the heliocentric hypothesis. He was proscribed from asserting its status as scientific knowledge.

    As we have seen, on this score the actual scientific knowledge we now possess now conclusively and *scientifically* supports the Inquisition as to the first condemned thesis- that the Sun was at the center of creation and not in motion.

    We possess no scientific knowledge of the motion of the Earth, as Thomas employs thje term "science".


    SE: The study of the solar system might rightfully take its frame of reference as the sum of the matter commonly called "the solar system," from the sun out to the boundaries of the Outer Oort cloud, or wherever we arbitrarily assign the boundaries.

    >> Galileo did not advance such a notion. If he had done so he would have never ventured into the realm of Faith.

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  13. SE: The notion that the earth does not move would only be valid within a very few frames of reference.

    >> Indeed, the philosophical assumption of the equivalence of all reference frames is an assumption, not a scientifically demonstrated fact.

    The assumption is, however, a scientific hypothesis, precisely because it is susceptible of falsification.

    One way to falsify it, would be to discover a preferred frame.

    This has now been accomplished, and the discovery is being subjected- as it should be!- to very, very intense scrutiny. After all, extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence, and in this case an entire space probe mission is being devoted to just that demand.

    SE: Furthermore, even if we attempted to assume the earth to be unmoving center of an arbitrary frame of reference, we could not actually account for stellar parallax,

    >> False. A simple coordinate shift, with Earth at the center and the Sun and stars orbiting on the plane of the ecliptic (yes, the very same plane discovered to correspond to a universe-wide spanning axis of the CMB, interestingly enough) yields precisely the same observed parallax.

    The point is made in here, University of Illinois, Physics 319, Spring 2004, Lecture 03, p. 8:

    "It is often said that Tycho’s model implies the absence of parallax, and that Copernicus’ requires parallax. However, it would not be a major conceptual change to have the stars orbit the sun (like the planets) for Tycho, which would give the same yearly shifts in their apparent positions as parallax gives. Thus if parallax were observed, a flexible Tychonean could adjust the theory to account for it, without undue complexity. What if parallax were not observed? For Copernicus, one only requires that the stars be far enough away for the parallax to be unmeasurable. Therefore the presence or absence of parallax doesn’t force the choice of one type of model over the other."

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  14. SE: coriolis force,

    >> False.

    "If one rotates the shell relative to the fixed stars about an axis going through its center, a Coriolis force arises in the interior of the shell, *that is, the plane of a Foucault pendulum is dragged around*”--Albert Einstein, cited in “Gravitation”, Misner Thorne and Wheeler pp. 544-545.


    SE: centrifugal force,

    >> False.

    "“One need not view the existence of such centrifugal forces as originating fromthe motion of K’ [the Earth]; one could just as well account for them as resulting from the average rotational effect of distant, detectable masses as evidenced in the vicinity of K’ [the Earth], whereby K’ [the Earth] is treated as being at rest.” --Albert Einstein, quoted in Hans Thirring, “On the Effect of Distant Rotating Masses in Einstein’s Theory of Gravitation”, Physikalische Zeitschrift 22, 29, 1921

    Also, Max Born's famous book on Relativity includes this:

    "...Thus we may return to Ptolemy's point of view of a 'motionless earth'...One has to show that the transformed metric can be regarded as produced according to Einstein's field equations, by distant rotating masses. This has been done by Thirring. He calculated a field due to a rotating, hollow, thick-walled sphere and proved that inside the cavity it behaved as though there were centrifugal and other inertial forces usually attributed to absolute space.

    Thus from Einstein's point of view, Ptolemy and Corpenicus are equally right\---"Einstein's Theory of Relativity", Dover Publications,1962, pgs 344 & 345




    the recent observation of relativistic frame dragging due to the rotation of the earth by Gravity Probe B, and so forth.

    >> False. Relativity depends upon the rigorous mathematical derivation of all these forces- *equivalently*- from a rotating or stationary Earth.

    See http://www.physicscentral.com/explore/pictures/einstein.cfm

    Excerpt:
    "Frame dragging also answers the famous question: If the Earth stood still and the rest of the universe rotated around it instead, would its equator still bulge? According to general relativity and Gravity Probe B, the answer is YES. It doesn’t matter if you are spinning or if the universe is revolving around you. Both situations are equivalent."

    Needless to say, we geocentrists are grateful to Einstein in a way, since his scientific theory removes all absolute-space based arguments advanced against geocentrism (and they were so persuasively Goliath-like in their era that the Church herself essentially shut up about geocentrism and left the subject up on the shelf for over one hundred and fifty years, from the index removal in 1820 until 1992).

    In the end, of course, relativity is adopted because it is the only way to answer the experimental failures to establish the universally *assumed* motion of Earth around sun.

    Given the WMAP and other recent observations, its foundational postulate is now under severe observational duress.

    The pesky question of a measure of the earth's motion will, should these observations survive the incredibly detailed scrutiny now being applied to them. inevitably return to the front burner.

    It might very well end up:

    Inquisition 2, Galileo 0.

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  15. SE: Quasars are not "pointed at us" in any way; there is a selection bias which means that quasars and gamma ray bursts are more likely to be discovered if they are "pointed at us."


    >> You have apparently still not read the links I provided earlier. You misunderstand the nature of the phenomenon.

    The earlier cited paper was published on the arxiv. org preprint site only five weeks ago.

    Here is the link:

    http://arxiv.org/pdf/1011.2425v2

    Here is the relevant evidence:

    "Observing very distant quasars, the authors of [6–8] have found evidence for a statistically significant correlation in the linear polarisation angles of photons in the optical spectrum over huge distances of order of 1 Gpc. In particular, they have found that these vectors tend to identify an axis in the sky which closely align with the direction of the cosmological dipole."

    Later in the same paper, the author points out that this is the same axis found in the CMB:

    "First of all, there is a statistically very unlikely planarity between quadrupole and octopole, which is seen in different releases of the data as well as in different statistical analyses [36–40], and the octopole is unexpectedly planar by itself. Similarly, one can employ different vectorial and tensorial decompositions of the multipoles to see that there is *a very easily identifiable preferred axis, the cosmological dipole once again*; that is, the normal vectors to the planes determined by the quadrupole and the octopole (there are four of them) ***point all in the same direction, that of the ecliptic or equinox***3."

    Just to be clear, the author has just told you that a presently inexplicable law of nature is acting to define a universe-spanning axis, which is aligned with the ecliptic and equinox of Earth.

    SE: Furthermore, it has been determined that they are more or less randomly distributed throughout the universe.

    >> Quite to the contrary, it has been reported many many times, from Tifft in the 70's through Arp in the 80's and 90's through Burbridge and Hartnett in the 2000's, that there exist periodic, concentric z-values of quasars centered upon the observer (that is, upon earth).

    Because a selection effect defect was discovered by Hartnett in the SDSS quasar survey ( one unrelated to the galaxy portion of the survey), I have decided to await the correction of the bandpass filter defect in further surveys before emphasizing this- but it is simply false to say that "it has been proven that they are more or less randomly distributed throughout the universe".

    The matter is still in great controversy, and has been fortunately or unfortunately moved to the back burner by the regrettable defect in the band pass strategy of the SDSS survey.

    Not to worry- more surveys are coming.

    ReplyDelete
  16. As to GRB's, again whatever source you are employing is not keeping up with the literature:

    In 2002, Katz stated the dilemma for GRB distributions:


    “The data were in hand, and their implication inescapable: we are at the center of a spherically symmetric distribution of gamma-ray-burst sources, and this distribution has an outer edge. Beyond this edge the density of burst sources decreases to insignificance.”-- Jonathan Katz, The Biggest Bangs:The Mystery of Gamma-Ray Bursts, The Most Violent Explosions in the Universe, 2002, p 111.

    The rebuttal took the form of a claim that the "outer edge" above is the consequence the initiation of a "GRB era" in spatial expansion, and the symmetry was applied to spatial expansion as well.

    This answer, of course, depends upon the cosmological distances of all GRB's.

    Recent observational evidence suggests that this is not the case, here:

    http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/962555/files/14439-ind-manchanda-R-abs1-og24-oral.pdf

    Excerpt:

    "The best fit parameters for a large sample of BATSE bursts, clearly show that the spatial distribution of GRBs is not consistent with the homogeneous case since there are fewer faint bursts than expected on this hypothesis........In conclusion, irrespective of the fact that some of the long bursts are associated with the supernovae in other galaxies and may be at cosmological distance, the statistical analysis of the observed burst parameters clearly suggest that the observed sample consists of *both galactic and extragalactic components*."

    And even more recent, here:

    http://iopscience.iop.org/0004-637X/678/2/1127/fulltext

    Excerpt:

    "History is repeating itself. Only 30 years ago, astronomers referred to all bursts of gamma-ray radiation as GRBs. Over the last decade astronomers have established SHBs and LSBs to be of cosmological origin (Metzger et al. 1997; Gehrels et al. 2005; Bloom et al. 2006; Fox et al. 2005) and reasonably established their origin: coalescence of compact objects and deaths of massive stars, respectively.
    However, fissures are already developing. Recently, hypergiant flares from magnetars in our own Galaxy and nearby galaxies have been found to contaminate the SHB sample. The Galactic rate of the hypergiant flares is likely 10–3 yr–1 (Ofek 2007), much larger than the estimated Galactic SHB rate of 10–6 yr–1 (Nakar et al. 2006; Guetta & Piran 2006)."

    >> Therefore the Copernican dilemma for GRB's remains precisely where it was when Katz posed the issue: if GRB's are not found at cosmological distances, then the symmetry cannot be attributed to spatial expansion, and:

    "we are at the center of a spherically symmetric distribution of gamma-ray-burst sources, and this distribution has an outer edge. Beyond this edge the density of burst sources decreases to insignificance.”-- op cit Katz

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  17. Last sentence above should have been:

    ">> Therefore the Copernican dilemma for GRB's remains precisely where it was when Katz posed the issue: if GRB's are not found *exclusively* at cosmological distances, then the symmetry cannot be attributed to spatial expansion, and:

    "we are at the center of a spherically symmetric distribution of gamma-ray-burst sources, and this distribution has an outer edge. Beyond this edge the density of burst sources decreases to insignificance.”-- op cit Katz

    :

    ReplyDelete
  18. 1. As for Cosmic Microwave Background radiation, the data we have would seem to counterindicate our being the immobile center. According to our observations, the earth is actually in motion in reference to CMB at a speed of over 600 km/s. Furthermore, the polarization of electromagnetic radiation is a well known effect throughout the universe. I am deeply confused by the conclusions you are attempting to draw from this fact. After all, someone standing on Alpha Centauri would also perceive polarized light coming from sources from all directions. Furthermore, the anomalies you are referring to are attributable mostly to statistical error, and those that remain do not pose a threat to our special relativity (NASA's analysis shows absolutely no concern along these lines: http://lambda.gsfc.nasa.gov/product/map/dr4/pub_papers/sevenyear/basic_results/wmap_7yr_basic_results.pdf.

    Needless to say, it seems that the scientific community is not "grappling" with geocentrism. They are certainly interested in refinements of the standard cosmology, but I have done several searches of current academic literature and found little concern with geocentrism as a viable model or with the failure of special relativity.

    2. We have made some progress from an ancient foundationalist account of scientia. The failure of the modernist project to create a foundational, systematic knowledge, or a metanarrative, only leads us to recognize that our knowledge does not rest on absolute certainty. This does not make it, for our purposes, any less "scientific," since the definition your provide would be limited to basically linguistic analyses. Because we accept that the evidence provided by the senses in general accurately reports information about our surroundings, we are able to produce more and more accurate models of our surroundings through observation and experimentation. The origin of these hypothesis may indeed involve untested and even uncertain principles or thought experiments (Einstein was famous for these), but they still must undergo scientific experimentation.

    For this reason, I find your "we can only verify photons" nonsense to be not only anti-Thomist, since St. Thomas himself taught that the senses accurately report information about reality to us, but ultimately self defeating, as you would be trapped in an epistemological nightmare of methodological doubt. You would have a hard time demonstrating that your breakfast existed, much less an immobile planet.

    3. It is quite alarming that you would teach that the Faith automatically falsified scientific discoveries, because it means you have abandoned any notion of the autonomy of science and reason. You therefore would be forced to admit propositions contrary to evidence (for example, that proposition which Pope Pius XII put forward which stated that Catholics must believe in a literal, lone, solitary pair of human parents, a principle long discounted by genetic, anthropological, and paleontological evidence). You will probably find few Catholic scientists willing to cast their lots in with this encyclical, because they recognize that the proclamation was Faith overstepping its bounds. The purpose of revelation was to bring us to perfect knowledge of everything necessary to salvation, not to bring us to perfect knowledge of the physical structure of the universe or the evolution of our species.

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  19. 4. Galileo's inquisitors were the mirror image of what they condemned, for they themselves posited it as absolutely true that the earth is immobile, a proposition the truth of which would be ironically undermined if I were to take your advice that science can only demonstrate photons impacting on optical lenses. To some extent, your argument has developed into, "You can't prove it's not true," which I would agree with. Science cannot prove anything to the point of absolute certainty: science is about what works. And, as I mentioned, models in which the earth moves work far better to understand the universe than models with an immobile earth. The success of our space program, which uses a non-geocentric model for determining the motions of planets, is an excellent example.

    Oddly enough, as I mentioned before, if we take the closest thing that we can get to the totality of our observable universe, that is, CMB, we find that the earth is moving in reference to it; so if you want to argue from CMB, be my guest.

    5. In reference to your odd notion of stellar parallax and your accompanying citation, you should note that, really, the stars would still have to orbit the Sun, not the earth, in order for parallax to be observed in a Tychonic system. Which brings the real point about the Tychonic system: it is simply a Copernican system that arbitrarily chooses the Earth, rather than the Sun, as its center, even though everything other than the sun and the moon still orbits the sun.

    6. I do not see how the out of context quotes you threw out disprove coriolis force or centrifugal force as much as discuss their properties. Perhaps you would be kind enough to explain the connection a little more thoroughly? Additionally, since science proceeds by evidence and observation rather than by anyone's authority, quotes are generally unhelpful except as explanations, and the quotes you have chosen are rather limited in their power to explain the validity of geocentrism.

    7. The principle of relativity predates Einstein, if by relativity you simply mean the insight that there are an infinite number of valid frames of reference within which the laws of physics holds and in which an object which is moving in another frame of reference may be seen as immobile in another. Galileo knew this; it was part of his argument for heliocentrism. Newton knew this. The insight of Einstein revolutionizes this insight, but you cannot pretend that Galileo was unaware that there are other frames of reference: he would (and did) gladly agree that from certain frames of reference, the earth did not move. Geocentrism is given a deathblow because there are basically an infinite number of frames of references in which the earth is moving, and no special frame of reference which is qualitatively any better than any others.

    Which brings me back to your constant reference to the polarization of light: so what? Even if I conceded (which I don't) that a space probe observed a correlation between certain sorts of polarized CMB and the ecliptic, how on earth would that constitute a proof of a special frame of reference? You might as well argue that known ice cream cones are strangely concentrated around the circumference of the earth, and use this as an argument for the special nature of the earth's frame of reference. Or we could search the galaxy and find any collection of odd phenomena which seems to be centered at some or another point - such as the mysterious Dark Flow, or the Great Attractor - and call them special frames of reference. In the end, the logic of your supposed connection is flimsy. Why would such an observed phenomena contradict special relativity?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Correction to my last paragraph: Even if I conceded (which I don't) that a space probe's apparent observation of a correlation between certain sorts of polarized CMB and the ecliptic meant that there objectively existed a correlating set of unique physical phenomena, how on earth....etc. I am not meaning to deny that there might be observations, just that those observations are necessarily the result of some actual physical phenomena (they may be statistical artifacts or the result of a yet unknown factor).

    ReplyDelete
  21. I am gratified to see that you have responded to the points!

    SE: As for Cosmic Microwave Background radiation, the data we have would seem to counterindicate our being the immobile center.

    >> No, the data indicates we are aligned with the Axis. The question of centrality is not directly established by the Axis, but rather, that we are precisely aligned with it contradicts the Copernican principle, which *assumes* we are not in any way special or central in the Universe. The Axis itself constitutes a profound challenge to the postulate of relativity that no preferred frame can be observationally established. Since it can be, then the standard argument that every observer would see, on large scales, pretty much the same symmetry we see from Earth, is being profoundly challenged. Direct observational evidence, from the most complete and recent surveys available, is inconsistent with the Copernican Principle yet consistent with the hypothesis of Earth's centrality:

    The SDSS galaxy survey shows Earth at the center of a periodic, concentric series of shells of galaxies tending to cluster along preferred z-values centered upon Earth:

    (see Hartnett Hirano 2008 Astrophysics and Space Science)
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/0711.4885v3

    Excerpt:

    "When modeling the large scale structure of the cosmos the cosmological principle is assumed, therefore what we see must be biased by our view- point. The assumption is that the universe has expanded over time and any observer at any place at the same epoch would see essentially the same picture of the large scale distribution of galaxies in the universe.
    However evidence has emerged from both the 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey (2dF GRS) (see fig. 17 of Colless et al (2001)) and also the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) (see fig. 2 of Tegmark et al (2004)) that seem to indicate that there is periodicity in the abundances of measured galaxy red- shifts...there is visible evidence in the raw data for an apparent concentric shell structure centered on the observer."

    and Hirano again in 2010 in Physical Review D

    "A natural interpretation is that concentric spherical shells of higher galaxy number densities surround us with their individual centers situated at our location. However, if this interpretation reflected the actual physical concentration of galaxies existing at certain dis- tances from us, it would definitely be incompatible with the cosmological principle that presumes uniformity and isotropy of our space–time. In fact, it has been demon- strated [8], from many numerical simulations using the Einstein–de Sitter and ΛCDM models, that the proba- bility of getting such a periodic spatial structure from clustering and cosmic web filaments is less than 10−3."

    ReplyDelete
  22. SE: According to our observations, the earth is actually in motion in reference to CMB at a speed of over 600 km/s.

    >> Or, there is a preferred motion of large scale structure from the direction of Regulus along an axis aligned with Earth. The evidence, taken on its own, is consistent with either interpretation.

    SE: Furthermore, the polarization of electromagnetic radiation is a well known effect throughout the universe.

    >> The polarization of electromagnetic (optical) radiation from quasars along a preferred axis aligned with Earth is a very recent discovery, and is profoundly unexpected and inconsistent with the predictions of concordance cosmology.

    SE:I am deeply confused by the conclusions you are attempting to draw from this fact.

    >> Yes, you are. You have not internalized the profound implications of the link earlier provided (http://arxiv.org/pdf/1011.2425v2), which states:

    "It is generally thought that we live in a perfectly isotropic Universe, which implies that whichever direction in the sky we are looking towards, we should be observing the same features (at large distances). This assumption is being challenged by a number of observations in a variety of different contexts, from radio and optical polarisations of distant objects to cosmic microwave background (CMB) spectra, that conjure against the simplest realisation of the standard cosmological model."

    And:

    "Observing very distant quasars, the authors of [6–8] have found evidence for a statistically significant correlation in the linear polarisation angles of photons in the optical spectrum over huge distances of order of 1 Gpc. In particular, they have found that these vectors tend to identify an axis in the sky which closely align with the direction of the cosmological dipole".

    You have not understood that the polarization referred to is *along a definable preferred axis*, and *that axis is oriented with Earth's ecliptic and equinoxes.

    These observations are very new, and their implications are stunning.

    SE: After all, someone standing on Alpha Centauri would also perceive polarized light coming from sources from all directions.

    >> No, the observer on Alpha Centauri would also perceive polarized light from quasars coming from all directions *but aligned along a preferred axis which coincides with one and precisely one plane extending across the entire universe*. The Centauran would also see that this same axis is found in the CMB itself. The smart Centauran would begin to investigate the significance of this plane. Since we know of no Centauran observers, we are left to speculate whether their technologies would allow them to establish that the plane is directly aligned with the ecliptic and equinoxes of Earth.

    The only observers of which we have any scientific evidence (ourselves), however, *do* have the ability to establish the fact of this alignment with Earth.

    It is utterly inexplicable that this alignment should exist, from within the foundational assumptions of the Copernican principle and General Relativity.

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  23. I was finally able to read the article you posted. You have a handy way of quoting things out of context: the author actually goes on to demonstrate that the observations you mentioned are actually (even taken at face value) completely compatible with the cosmological principle. He is not arguing for concentric shells of galaxies, but rather for an oscillating expansion of the universe (hence the title for the article, "Observational Tests for Oscillating Expansion Rate of the Universe." So this cannot be taken as evidence for geocentrism, just as evidence for a more refined standard cosmological model.

    It is important to recognize the context of the quotes you are pulling out.

    ReplyDelete
  24. As for http://arxiv.org/pdf/1011.2425v2, the article is fascinating but does not have anything to do with the conclusions you are drawing from it. The author does not conclude that we should abandon the standard cosmological model, but does in fact offer a suggestion about how Dark Energy and a scalar field could account for the observations without abandoning the standard model. In any case, he certainly does not mean to support a geocentric interpretation of the data.

    ReplyDelete
  25. "It is generally thought that we live in a perfectly isotropic
    Universe, which implies that whichever direction in the sky we are looking towards, we should be observing the same
    features (at large distances). This assumption is being challenged by a number of observations in a variety of different
    contexts, from radio and optical polarisations of distant objects to cosmic microwave background (CMB) spectra, that
    conjure against the simplest realisation of the standard cosmological model. We want to show how several of these
    results would cease to look awkward if we include the effects of Dark Energy (DE) fluctuations on the largest scales,
    and its interaction with electromagnetism, following our proposal [1–3], see also [4, 5] where some deep fundamental
    questions related to this proposal have been addressed."

    In other words: these anomalies are not deathblows to the standard cosmology.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Mr. Ellis: As has been previously pointed out to you, the *interpretation* of a given set of observations is to be rigorously distinguished from the *observations themselves*.

    The Hartnett, Hirano papers explicitly acknowledge:

    "A natural interpretation is that concentric spherical shells of higher galaxy number densities surround us with their individual centers situated at our location."

    Again.

    The science is that a periodic preferred concentric series of preferred =z-values exist.

    The science is that these observations contradict the assumptions of the Copernican principle.

    If one wishes to postulate a speeding up and slowing down of universal expansion speeds at different eras, then that would account for the observations.

    So would a central Earth.

    Therefore the question becomes do we have any evidence for a speeding up and slowing down of expansion rates?

    No.


    Do we have many evidence for a central Earth?

    Yes.

    *All* the observational evidence is, in fact, consistent with a central Earth, from Hubble's initial observations in the 1920's to the SDSS today.

    Hubble's observations were interpreted in light of a postulate spatial curvature in an expanding universe.

    One consequence of this interpretation is that there must, therefore, be an isotropy and homogeneity on the universe's largest scales; that is, all observers must see more of less the same symmetry.

    We now know that this is not the case.

    One might attribute the observations to a speed-up then slow-down universe.

    Of course there is no evidence at all for such a physical effect.

    It is adopted in order to preserve the philosophical assumptions of the Copernican Principle.

    The alternative- as it has been at every step along the road since Michelswon Morley- is that we need not postulate dark energy, or speeding up and slowing down expansion rates, or spatial curvature.

    We can dispense with these epicycles and examine the data from a non-Copernican standpoint, which yields a central Earth, which hypothesis happens to turn out to be completely consistent with all observations.

    The choice, as I have indicated from the beginning of our exchange, is entirely *philosophical* in nature.

    Not scientific.

    Dr. George Ellis puts this point very succinctly:

    “People need to be aware that there is a range of models that could explain the observations....For instance, I can construct you a spherically symmetrical universe with Earth at its center, and you cannot disprove it based on observations.....You can only exclude it on philosophical grounds. In my view there is absolutely nothing wrong in that. What I want to bring into the open is the fact that we are using philosophical criteria in choosing our models. A lot of cosmology tries to hide that.”

    ----George F. R. Ellis in Scientific American, "Thinking Globally, Acting Universally", Octonber 1995

    The mere fact that a given philosophical assumption- the Copernican principle- is widely ascendant, constitutes not the slightest bit of evidence of its experimental demonstration.

    As Ellis note much more recently, in a remarkable new paper (2011):

    “The Cosmological Principle was introduced by Milne 1930’s, and then formalized in a technical sense by Robertson and Walker. It was the foundation of cosmology in the 1960s to 1980s, see Bondi [15] and Weinberg [119]. But it is an a priori philosophical principle. It produces world models that work - namely the standard models of cosmology. But is it true? Can it be tested? Maybe there are inhomogeneous models that would fit the observations as well - or even better......Theoretical prejudices as to the universe’s geometry, and our place in it, must bow to such observational tests. Precisely because of the foundational nature of the Copernican Principle for standard cosmology, we need to fully check this foundation. And one must emphasize here that standard CMB anisotropy studies do not prove the Copernican principle: they assume it at the start.”

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  27. SE: As for http://arxiv.org/pdf/1011.2425v2, the article is fascinating but does not have anything to do with the conclusions you are drawing from it.


    >> Again. It has been established that there is a necessary distinction to be drawn between *science* (as St. Thomas employs the term) and *assumptions*.

    The *facts* of the paper are that there exists a universe-spanning preferred axis *aligned with Earth*; that there is, therefore, necessarily *some* unknown physical principle of nature acting to define this axis, in direct contradiction to the assumptions of the Copernican principle.

    SE: The author does not conclude that we should abandon the standard cosmological model, but does in fact offer a suggestion about how Dark Energy and a scalar field could account for the observations without abandoning the standard model. In any case, he certainly does not mean to support a geocentric interpretation of the data.

    >> Thank you very much for pointing out that the author *must*, in order to maintain his prior allegiance to the philosophical *assumption* of the Copernican Principle, advance an hypothesis based upon a chain of undemonstrated additional assumptions, *none of which have ever been experimentally established*:

    1. Inflation
    2. multiverses
    3. dark matter
    4. dark energy
    5. a scalar field produced by dark energy

    Now.

    Since all of these assumptions are precisely analogous to the epicycles introduced to save the appearances in Ptolemy and Copernicus' systems, we have arrived at a crucial moment in the development of cosmology- here is Dr. George Ellis on this precise point:

    ReplyDelete
  28. http://arxiv.org/pdf/0811.3529v1

    "However the very nature of the scientific enterprise is at stake in the multi- verse debate: the multiverse proponents are proposing weakening the nature of scientific proof in order to claim that multiverses provide a scientific explana- tion. This is a dangerous tactic (note that we are concerned with really existing multiverses, not potential or hypothetical). Two central scientific virtues are testability and explanatory power. In the cosmological context, these are often in conflict with each other (Ellis [12]). The extreme case is multiverse propos- als, where no direct observational tests of the hypothesis are possible, as the supposed other universes cannot be seen by any observations whatever, and the assumed underlying physics is also untested and indeed probably untestable.
    In this context one must re-evaluate what the core of science is: can one maintain one has a genuine scientific theory when direct and indeed indirect tests of the theory are impossible? If one claims this, one is altering what one means by science. One should be very careful before so doing."


    Indeed.

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  29. I note in response to the balance of your post above that you assert the necessity of abandoning the teaching of the Church concerning the descent of the human race from Adam and Eve based upon- what exactly?- and wish to reply that you have again inverted the dogmatic and infallible teaching of the Church on this score.

    You also directly contradict St. Thomas.

    As an added bonus, you contradict the scientific method itself, since there exists *no scientific demonstration* against the Church's dogmatic teaching that the human race descends from one original pair.

    As in the case of geocentrism, we see that modern science has arrogated to itself the right to jump the fence, and make claims that are theological/metaphysical in nature, while dressing them up as if they were scientific.

    The ease with which many weaker Catholics of this era are persuaded to adopt the inversion of Catholic teaching; to wit, that Reason is superior to Faith, though never in conflict with right Faith- is a devastating insight into the disastrous disorientation presently sweeping through the Church.

    Thankfully, scientists of the calibre of George Ellis are more sensitive to the implications than you are.

    ReplyDelete
  30. SE: In reference to your odd notion of stellar parallax and your accompanying citation, you should note that, really, the stars would still have to orbit the Sun, not the earth, in order for parallax to be observed in a Tychonic system. Which brings the real point about the Tychonic system: it is simply a Copernican system that arbitrarily chooses the Earth, rather than the Sun, as its center, even though everything other than the sun and the moon still orbits the sun.

    >> No, in the Tychonic system as specified in the University of Illinois excerpt, both Sun and stars orbit the Earth on the plane of the ecliptic- which, interestingly enough, happens to also be the plane of a universe-spanning axis which has been experimentally established to coincide with both the CMB itself, and the preferred polarization axis for photons from quasars across the whole sky.

    Now, which system predicts a cosmological significance to this axis, this plane of the ecliptic?

    Hint: It sure ain't Copernicus' :-)

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  31. SE: I do not see how the out of context quotes you threw out disprove coriolis force or centrifugal force as much as discuss their properties.
    Perhaps you would be kind enough to explain the connection a little more thoroughly?

    >> Certainly. Relativity has mathematically demonstrated that all forces attributed to absolute space under Newtonian assumptions, can be rigorously shown to be equally attributable to a rotating Earth, or a stationary Earth. Therefore the totality of arguments advanced against the geocentric derivation of these forces in your earlier post have been scientifically falsified. They do not constitute evidence of a rotating Earth. They are equally attributable to the effect of distant rotating masses upon a stationary Earth.

    The significance being, that the absolute space arguments were universally accepted by scientists of the 18th and 19th centuries, were advanced at the time as conclusive evidence against geocentrism, and have subsequently *of necessity* been abandoned.

    All of them.

    SE: Additionally, since science proceeds by evidence and observation rather than by anyone's authority, quotes are generally unhelpful except as explanations, and the quotes you have chosen are rather limited in their power to explain the validity of geocentrism.

    >> The quote, sir, *are* evidence.

    ReplyDelete
  32. SE: Geocentrism is given a deathblow because there are basically an infinite number of frames of references in which the earth is moving, and no special frame of reference which is qualitatively any better than any others.

    >> False.

    1. The observationally established evidence of a preferred, universe-spanning axis in the CMB, oriented with respect to Earth;

    2. The observationally established evidence of a universe-spanning axis of polarization of quasar photons along *the same axis*;

    3. The observationally established evidence of a series of concentric shells of galaxies at periodic preferred z values centered upon Earth out to a billion light years;

    all constitute evidence for a preferred frame- an Earth centered frame, by the way.

    ReplyDelete
  33. SE: Which brings me back to your constant reference to the polarization of light: so what?

    >> Spoken like a true devotee of faith-based arguments from authority, over and against scientific evidence.


    Even if I conceded (which I don't) that a space probe observed a correlation between certain sorts of polarized CMB and the ecliptic,

    >> Whether you "concede" this or not is entirely irrelevant. The CMB multipole alignments are a scientific fact, not an opinion. The assignment of probabilities to such an alignment is an opinion. The question of whether LCDM models can be tweaked so as to make allowances for such an alignment is an opinion.

    The axis is a scientific fact.

    SE: how on earth would that constitute a proof of a special frame of reference?

    >> Obviously, because an observer anywhere in the universe would be able to pick out and distinguish a preferred direction in space. This is, exactly, a preferred frame.

    SE: You might as well argue that known ice cream cones are strangely concentrated around the circumference of the earth, and use this as an argument for the special nature of the earth's frame of reference.

    >> I am afraid the above sentence is gibberish.

    Or we could search the galaxy and find any collection of odd phenomena which seems to be centered at some or another point - such as the mysterious Dark Flow, or the Great Attractor - and call them special frames of reference.

    >> One would then be required to scientifically derive *evidence* that such odd phenomena corresponded to departures from statistical isotropy and homogeneity.

    One would then be required to submit such analysis to peer review, in a highly skeptical environment, since such evidence would constitute a challenge to the foundational assumptions of modern physics.

    All of this has been accomplished.

    I will await your Great Attracter paper, and its ice cream cone sequel/

    P{lease do let us know when they have been accepted for publication in Astrophysics and Space Science, or Physical Review D :-)

    SE: In the end, the logic of your supposed connection is flimsy. Why would such an observed phenomena contradict special relativity?

    >> For the nth time, Mr. Ellis.

    Because they act to define a preferred reference frame, in direct contradiction to the foundational postulate of Relativity; to wit, that no such preferred frames shall ever be observationally discovered!

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  34. I wish to commend you again for engaging the evidence.

    Perhaps we might be able to arrange for a wider audience for our debate, and for your blog.

    Would you be interested?

    ReplyDelete
  35. It's unclear to me how multiverse hypotheses have anything to do with the papers you linked. The hypotheses put forward in those papers had more to do with dark energy and different theories for the expansion of the universe.

    As for dark energy, there is actually corroborating evidence. Just like there is evidence for frame dragging.

    Just like there is evidence that the earth moves.

    Rotation: The earth's rotation about its axis is a far more demonstrable prospect.

    1. The observable size of the universe is so great that The rotational velocity of the farthest reaches would be immeasurably large in order for them to make an orbit about the earth every twenty four hours. The velocity just at the edge of our solar system would already exceed the speed of light, much more at tens of billions of light years.

    2. It is known that satellites which launch towards the east are actually given a boost to their velocity over satellites launched towards the west, a boost that is unaccountable without the recognition that the rotation of the earth serves as a slingshot.

    3. If one hung a free-standing pendulum on a fixed earth, the plane of its swing should remain fixed in reference to the ground. This does not happen; instead, the plane of the pendulum's swing alters in a predictable fashion which corresponds to a rotating earth.

    4. In order for the earth to be immobile, it would need to be free from the effects of the gravity of other objects, which otherwise would impart an acceleration. We have absolutely no reason to believe this, and since we know by Newton's laws that every force has an equal and opposite force, we also know that the earth's pull on the moon corresponds with an equal but opposite force on the earth, imparting an acceleration.

    5. If the earth were immobile, the length of a day and year would seem to be permanent and unchanging. This is not the case; the length of a day is shortening, and the length of a year is shortening, in a way consonant with a moving earth experiencing various forms of acceleration.

    6. If the earth were immobile, any changes to the length of days or years could not be attributable to strictly terrestrial events. However, we observationally know that the length of the day is actually changed by earthquakes, such as the fairly recent earthquake near Japan.

    7. If the earth were immobile, moving in any direction should result in the gravitational force acting on an object to change by an equal amount. However, this is not the case; objects moving east (in the direction of rotation) experience a greater reduction in gravitational force than an object moving westward.

    These are just off the top of my head; I am sure there are more.

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  36. By the way, I didn't just make up Dark Flow.

    http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/pdf/276176main_ApJLetters_20Oct2008.pdf

    My point behind the "ice cream" argument is simply to point out a flaw in your argument. For your argument to work, you first must come up with a sufficiently rich definition of what constitutes a "special frame of reference." You would have to define a special frame of reference as "a frame of reference in which CMB polarizations strongly correlates with an ecliptic of a local solar system." This is begging the question. I could just as well define a sufficiently special frame of reference to be "one in which the universe's ice cream cones are concentrated" or "the frame in which the z axis corresponds with any observable peculiar velocity across observable galaxies." The latter would be in line with dark flow.

    Without any clear notion of what would actually make up a special frame of reference, all you really have is some peculiar physical phenomena, which may or may not be what you are making it out to be (did you read the NASA report?) and which does not in itself represent a special frame of reference. Since there are other peculiar phenomena, we may as well choose any of them. And furthermore, since there are models which can account for the observations without abandoning homogeneity, there is no real reason to abandon the standard cosmology.

    When a scientist notes that the natural interpretation of some or other observed phenomena is X, but we can actually see that it is accounted for by Y, it is not slight of hand. When I put a stick halfway in the water, my observations might very naturally lead me to believe that the stick bends, and that water has a peculiar power to bend whatever is placed in it. However, further investigation easily accounts for the deceiving appearances while demonstrating that the stick remains straight. So, too, it is ridiculous to assume that the most immediately "obvious" or "natural" explanation might be the real one. This is especially the case when we have plenty of evidence that the earth is not in the middle of rings of concentric galaxies at fixed distances; the quantization of galaxy redshift has been countered several times.

    As for wider audience, sure. The primary purpose of this blog is not to debate geocentrism, however. I simply wanted to think through issues of faith and reason (as well as any other topics relevant to Catholics such as myself) without being subject either to dogmatism or disbelief.

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  37. I already mentioned this, but I feel the need to mention it again:

    There is no reason why the discovery of this or that peculiar phenomenon would indicate the presence of a preferred frame of reference. For example, there are probably countless other star systems, even perhaps planetary systems, which have an ecliptic in line with our own. What makes ours special compared to those?

    (This is again conceding your point for the sake of argument; the scientific community has not reached a consensus about the nature of the observations you continuously quote, or even a consensus about whether they are real or a statistical anomaly not indicative of a real physical, objective structure. My point is, giving you everything you say about the WMAP data, so what? This still does not solve the question of preferred frames. It might dismantle the notion that the universe looks the same in every direction. It would not necessarily result in our being able to map absolute space. We don't even know the real size or shape of the universe: quite literally, it is impossible by definition to know our place in the universe because the cosmological horizon prevents us from observing some of the relevant data. And we will never see that data. So, then, what can we really conclude from our limited observation of a single quirky physical trait in a universe whose true dimensions are completely unknown?)

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  38. Oh, and in reference to Humani Generis:

    Our genetic and fossil evidence points to the evolution of homo sapiens from homo erectus, probably from a sizable population in Africa. There is no genetic or fossil evidence to support the lone pair hypothesis: in fact, the existence of multiple fossils over the entire course of the evolution of homo sapiens from homo erectus constitutes evidence that man did not originate with a single, lone pair of humans.

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  39. SE: It's unclear to me how multiverse hypotheses have anything to do with the papers you linked.

    >> The paper cited explicitly asserts multiverses, of which our visible universe is a local " Hubble bubble", upon which dark energy works to create the observed *anisotropy axis* in the CMB and quasar polarization.

    This is the only means left to uphold the Copernican principle- to assert that the observed departures from isotropy and homogeneity are simply "local"; that is, that on a scale of multiverses- none of which, as Dr. Ellis has said, are even *theoretically* observable- these departures from assumed homogeneity would prove to be mere local disturbances in a (metaphysical, not scientific) Copernican multiverse.

    It is to be devoutly wished that the magnitude of this issue were grasped.

    The Copernican Principle, in its current manifestation, requires for its continued adoption, the metaphysical assumption of an infinity of multiverse "bubbles" which not only have never been observed, *they can never- even theoretically- be observed*!

    It seems necessary to reiterate the profound insight of Dr. Ellis here:

    "....the very nature of the scientific enterprise is at stake in the multi- verse debate: the multiverse proponents are proposing *weakening the nature of scientific proof* in order to claim that multiverses provide a scientific explanation. This is a dangerous tactic (note that we are concerned with really existing multiverses, not potential or hypothetical).... The extreme case is multiverse proposals, where *no direct observational tests of the hypothesis are possible*, as the supposed other universes *cannot be seen by any observations whatever, and the assumed underlying physics is also untested and indeed probably untestable*.
    In this context one must re-evaluate what the core of science is: *can one maintain one has a genuine scientific theory when direct and indeed indirect tests of the theory are impossible?* If one claims this, *one is altering what one means by science*. One should be very careful before so doing."

    I urge you to grasp the profound import of Dr. Ellis' words. How can we claim that we are doing science, if our theories depend upon never-observed entities like dark energy, working through an infinity of *never even possible to observe* multiverses?

    The reader is invited to reflect once again upon the concept of "epicycles"; that is, non-physical "fudge factors" introduced solely to save the appearances of a given model.

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  40. SE: As for dark energy, there is actually corroborating evidence. Just like there is evidence for frame dragging.

    >> No. Frame dragging has been experimentally demonstrated (Gravity Probe B). As we have seen, the Gravity Probe B result confirms that Relativity cannot distinguish between the frame dragging attributed to a rotating Earth, or frame dragging attributed to a rotating cosmos and a stationary Earth.

    Let us reiterate the earlier link:

    See http://www.physicscentral.com/explore/pictures/einstein.cfm

    Excerpt:
    "Frame dragging also answers the famous question: If the Earth stood still and the rest of the universe rotated around it instead, would its equator still bulge? According to general relativity and Gravity Probe B, the answer is YES. It doesn’t matter if you are spinning or if the universe is revolving around you. Both situations are equivalent."

    I understand that these concepts can be quite challenging, but I would hope that the simple words above could assist you in grasping that every one of your appeals to coriolis/centrifugal/euler/ forces as evidence of a rotating earth, are instead evidences of relative rotational motion between Earth and cosmos.

    Reativity, since it cannot tell the difference (a scientific fact) insists there is no difference (a philosophical assumption).

    If there is no difference, then it follows that no preferred frame can ever be observed.

    A preferred frame has been observed.

    Therefore, two choices:

    1. Abandon the postulate (and the Copernican Principle along with it);
    2. Assert that the preferred frame is merely a local phenomenon.

    Door Number Two requires the further assumption that the universe consists in an infinity of multiverses, none of which can ever be observed *even in theory*.

    Dr. Ellis makes the profound point that only one of the two choices above comports with a rigorous definition of the word "science".

    Hint: It ain't Door Number Two :-)

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  41. SE: Rotation: The earth's rotation about its axis is a far more demonstrable prospect.

    >> Sigh. Let's try this one more time:

    http://www.physicscentral.com/explore/pictures/einstein.cfm

    "Frame dragging also answers the famous question: If the Earth stood still and the rest of the universe rotated around it instead, would its equator still bulge? According to general relativity and Gravity Probe B, the answer is YES. It doesn’t matter if you are spinning or if the universe is revolving around you. Both situations are equivalent."

    This is really hard to get, I know, but I am sure it will sink in at some point.



    SE: 1. The observable size of the universe is so great that The rotational velocity of the farthest reaches would be immeasurably large in order for them to make an orbit about the earth every twenty four hours. The velocity just at the edge of our solar system would already exceed the speed of light, much more at tens of billions of light years.

    >> Both the acentric/GR model *and* the geocentric model ascribe observed superluminal redshifts to an attribute of space, rather than an intrinsic velocity of the observed redshift.

    In GR, space is expanding, faster than the speed of light, and carrying the objects along with it.

    In geocentrism, space is rotating, faster than the speed of light, and carrying the objects along with it.

    Therefore both models attribute superluminal redshifts to an attribute of space.

    Both models ascribe faster-than-light motions (from the Earth frame) to the action of space, while asserting that the proper motions of the objects are comparatively tiny.

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  42. SE:2. It is known that satellites which launch towards the east are actually given a boost to their velocity over satellites launched towards the west, a boost that is unaccountable without the recognition that the rotation of the earth serves as a slingshot.

    >> False. The observed effect is exactly the same in the case of a cosmos rotating east to west around a stationary Earth.

    As has been previously exhaustively noted.

    SE: 3. If one hung a free-standing pendulum on a fixed earth, the plane of its swing should remain fixed in reference to the ground. This does not happen; instead, the plane of the pendulum's swing alters in a predictable fashion which corresponds to a rotating earth.

    >> Are you even bothering to read the citations, Mr. Ellis?

    Einstein is patiently attempting to teach you something you are having a very difficult time coming to terms with. I understand. You are not alone. Ingrained, intuitive assumptions are difficult to root out, which iS one reason why dialogues of this kind are so important: it is necessary to go over this material again and again, in order to grasp the profoundly counter-intuitive consequences of the adoption of the theory of relativity..
    As previously noted, your above assertion is completely false:

    "If one rotates the shell relative to the fixed stars about an axis going through its center, a Coriolis force arises in the interior of the shell, *that is, the plane of a Foucault pendulum is dragged around*”--Albert Einstein, cited in “Gravitation”, Misner Thorne and Wheeler pp. 544-545.

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  43. SE:4. In order for the earth to be immobile, it would need to be free from the effects of the gravity of other objects, which otherwise would impart an acceleration. We have absolutely no reason to believe this, and since we know by Newton's laws that every force has an equal and opposite force, we also know that the earth's pull on the moon corresponds with an equal but opposite force on the earth, imparting an acceleration.

    >> The objection is much more sophisticated. It is, however, false, and for a very fascinating reason.

    First, the standard textbook "Gravitation", by Misner, Thorne, and Wheeler, provides the physics (pp 1119-1120)::

    “Consider a rotating, solid sphere immersed in a viscous fluid. As it rotates, the sphere will drag the fluid along with it. At various points in the fluid, set down little rods, and watch how the fluid rotates as it flows past. Near the poles the fluid will clearly rotate the rods in the same direction as the sphere rotates. But near the equator, because the fluid is dragged more rapidly at small radii than at large, the end of a rod closest to the sphere is dragged by the fluid more rapidly than the far end of the rod. Consequently, the rod rotates in the direction opposite to the rotation of the sphere. This analogy can be made mathematically rigorous.”

    Martin Selbrede applies the above principle to answer your objection:

    "Now reverse the situation. If we want to cause the sphere to rotate clockwise, we would need to turn the rods at the poles clockwise, and the ones at the equators counterclockwise......... to turn the sphere, the rotation of the particles.....at the poles must be the opposite of that at the equator.

    However, in the case of a rotating firmament, all the particles are rotating in the same direction, with the angular velocity common to the entire firmament. The equatorial inertial drag is in the opposite direction as that acting near the poles. Using calculus, one integrates the effect from the center of the Earth outward in infinitesimal shells, showing that the Earth is in fact locked in place, the resulting inertial shear being distributed throughout the Earth's internal volume. It could be demonstrated that were the Earth to be pushed out of its “station keeping” position, the uneven force distribution would return it to its equilibrium state.:"--- Martin Selbrede, "Geocentricity's Critics Refuse To Do Their Homework" http://www.geocentricity.com/ba1/no071/selbrede.html

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  44. SE: If the earth were immobile, the length of a day and year would seem to be permanent and unchanging. This is not the case; the length of a day is shortening, and the length of a year is shortening, in a way consonant with a moving earth experiencing various forms of acceleration.

    >> This argument requires specifics. Please provide citations, including how the variation in rotation rates were measured (whether by atomic clock, or by star motion, etc).

    SE: 6. If the earth were immobile, any changes to the length of days or years could not be attributable to strictly terrestrial events. However, we observationally know that the length of the day is actually changed by earthquakes, such as the fairly recent earthquake near Japan.

    >> This is simply another instance of the same case above. Please provide citations for this assertion.

    I have often seen headlines such as "such and so an earthquake knocked the earth off its access by such and so an amount", only to find upon closer inspection that these were nothing other than computer simulations, having nothing whatsoever to do with observational science.

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  45. SE: 7. If the earth were immobile, moving in any direction should result in the gravitational force acting on an object to change by an equal amount.

    >> False. Whether earth is immobile and the cosmos rotating, or Earth rotating on its axis, we should encounter precisely the same gravitational/inertial phenomena at its surface.

    SE: These are just off the top of my head; I am sure there are more.

    >> They are getting better now that we have covered the ones completely discarded one hundred years ago- which is all of them *except* numbers 4, 5, and 6.

    But again, it is important to go over these matters repeatedly, since the true implications of what Relativty is *forced* to assert in the face of its adopted explanation for the failure of all terrestrial experiments to show a motion of the Earth around the Sun, are quite counterintuitive to many.


    However, this is not the case; objects moving east (in the direction of rotation) experience a greater reduction in gravitational force than an object moving westward.

    These are just off the top of my head; I am sure there are more.

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  46. SE:My point behind the "ice cream" argument is simply to point out a flaw in your argument.

    >> Instead, it points out a flaw in your understanding of the foundational postulate of Relativity.

    SE: For your argument to work, you first must come up with a sufficiently rich definition of what constitutes a "special frame of reference."

    >> Let's ask Einstein:

    "The mathematical expression of the general relativity principle is then, that the systems of equations expressing the general laws of Nature are equal for all such systems of coordinates."


    You would have to define a special frame of reference as "a frame of reference in which CMB polarizations strongly correlates with an ecliptic of a local solar system."

    >> OK. That frame can be defined as "the entire observable universe", since the CMB is, according to standard theory, the oldest light in the universe, and the largest coherent structure in the Universe.

    This is begging the question. I could just as well define a sufficiently special frame of reference to be "one in which the universe's ice cream cones are concentrated" or "the frame in which the z axis corresponds with any observable peculiar velocity across observable galaxies." The latter would be in line with dark flow.

    >> But neither of those frames would correspond to "the observable universe".

    Are you beginning to see why multiverses are suddenly becoming so fashionable?

    SE: Without any clear notion of what would actually make up a special frame of reference,

    >> We have a perfectly precise such notion, from the originator of the relativity theory himself.

    SE: all you really have is some peculiar physical phenomena, which may or may not be what you are making it out to be (did you read the NASA report?)

    >> I read it when it came out. Did you? It explicitly confirms the existence of the multipole axis (a scientific fact), and expresses an opinion as to its statistical probability within the assumptions of LCDM cosmology (an opinion- as is all probabilistic theorizing).

    In fact we have exactly one universe, and what we observe is either "probable" or "improbable" based upon our own philosophical assumptions.It is true, however, that although we have only one observable universe, and it is suspiciously non-Copernican, those with the courage of their Copernican principle convictions are beginning to talk more and more about a "multiverse"- everything would be much more Copernican if this were just a strangely non-Copernican universe among an infinity of others. The problem of course is that this is not a scientific argument. It is a metaphysical/theological one.

    SE: and which does not in itself represent a special frame of reference.

    >> The CMB/quasar polarization axis is, exactly, a special frame of reference, where the general laws of Nature are *not* equal for all such systems of coordinates, but single out a special system of coordinate (the Axis), where the laws of nature single out a preferred direction of propagation of radiation over incomprehensibly vast scales (the frame called "the observable universe").

    Since there are other peculiar phenomena, we may as well choose any of them.

    >> No. You can only choose those that single out, on the scale of at least a very significant portion of the observable universe, a special frame. Such as the CMB/quasar polarization axis. Or, the preferred Nz relation in galaxy distributions.

    SE: And furthermore, since there are models which can account for the observations without abandoning homogeneity, there is no real reason to abandon the standard cosmology.

    >>Like which models, exactly?

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  47. SE: When a scientist notes that the natural interpretation of some or other observed phenomena is X, but we can actually see that it is accounted for by Y, it is not slight of hand.

    >> It is also not relevant to our discussion.

    SE:When I put a stick halfway in the water, my observations might very naturally lead me to believe that the stick bends,

    >> That would be easily falsified.

    and that water has a peculiar power to bend whatever is placed in it.

    >> The remedy for such an hypothesis is to put one's hand in the water and notice the stick is not bent.

    What in the world do you imagine this has to do with our discussion?

    SE: However, further investigation easily accounts for the deceiving appearances while demonstrating that the stick remains straight.

    >> Exactly so, rendering your point here moot (whatever it was intended to be).

    So, too, it is ridiculous to assume that the most immediately "obvious" or "natural" explanation might be the real one.

    >> It is equally ridiculous to assume that the most immediate or "obvious" or "natural" explanation is the wrong one.

    Which again leads me to wonder what point you think you are making here?


    SE: This is especially the case when we have plenty of evidence that the earth is not in the middle of rings of concentric galaxies at fixed distances

    >> To the contrary. You have provided no such evidence. I have provided links to peer reviewed analyses which rigorously show precisely that we are in the middle of rings of concentric galaxies at preferred periodic redshift values.

    I am astonished at the degree of handwaving with which you feel comfortable in the face of such evidence.

    Let the reader note well the difference in our respective approaches in this regard.



    SE:; the quantization of galaxy redshift has been countered several times.

    >> Then where is your citation to the paper refuting Hartnett Hirano in Astrophysics and Space Science, or Hirano is Physical Review D?

    Shall we hold our breaths?

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  48. SE: As for wider audience, sure. The primary purpose of this blog is not to debate geocentrism, however. I simply wanted to think through issues of faith and reason (as well as any other topics relevant to Catholics such as myself) without being subject either to dogmatism or disbelief.

    >> I believe there might be a possibility that this exchange would interest the already quite large audience interested in the recent resurgence of geocentrism.

    I can assure you that I am very confident that audience will be immeasurably greater in a year's time.

    Perhaps there might be interest in linking to this exchange from the website at galileowaswrong.blogspot.com.

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  49. So exactly how does a terrestrial earthquake change the length of the day?

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  50. That is an excellent question, Mr. Ellis. Can you begin by providing us the basis upon which the claim is made?

    How is the measurement accomplished?

    Are atomic clocks used?

    Observations of stellar motion?

    Computer models?

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  51. SE: Our genetic and fossil evidence points to the evolution of homo sapiens from homo erectus,

    >> No, it doesn't. There are fossils. The claim of evolution is interpretation. I should advise you that none of the arguments for polygenism currently persuading the weak-minded are based upon the fossil evidence, so I suggest you research the matter more carefully, and return with the actual claimed evidence.



    SE: probably from a sizable population in Africa.

    "Probably from"? Why, Mr. Ellis, that opinion is worth precisely as much as all other opinions; that is to say, insofar as it is an opinion, and not the result of a repeatable demonstration by crucial experiment, it is worth precisely nothing.


    SE:There is no genetic or fossil evidence to support the lone pair hypothesis:

    >> That is false. The evidence is that all human beings are observed to come into existence as the result of exactly one man and one woman. Are you in a position to refute this?

    Shall we hold our breaths?


    SE:in fact, the existence of multiple fossils over the entire course of the evolution of homo sapiens from homo erectus constitutes evidence that man did not originate with a single, lone pair of humans.

    >> Itm constitutes nothing of the kind. Were we to grant your entire fairy tale, it would still speak not at all to the origination of any of the species through polygenism.

    Again, sir.

    The evidence is quite profound, that all human beings are brought into existence through the union of exactly one man and exactly one woman.

    If you have contrary evidence, please post it.

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  52. Now let us pause and take stock of the state of the debate.

    I count 33 separate claims of scientific refutation of geocentrism advanced so far by Mr. Ellis. Thirty have been completely refuted, with relevant citations from the literature.

    Three have been advanced by him without any support, and hence await their fate.

    It is not looking good for you thus far, Mr. Ellis, but perhaps you can regain some ground with your three unsupported claims.

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  53. I hasten to add that the additional claims concerning evolution constitute a separate group of refuted assertions.

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