WorldNetDaily: The Earth Doesn’t Move!

Buffoon Award

We lost another Drool-o-tron™, but not before its blaring sirens and flashing lights alerted us to look at the blinking letters of its wall display. They said WorldNetDaily (WND).

As you know, WND was an early winner of the Curmudgeon’s Buffoon Award, thus the jolly logo displayed above this post. So we said goodbye to the Drool-o-tron™ which, just before it exploded, had locked our computer onto this article: ‘Science shattered’: Hand of God suddenly revealed?

What kind of crazy title is that? Let’s get started, with some bold font added by us for emphasis:

In the late 1800s, Albert A. Michelson, the first American to win the Nobel Prize in the sciences, devised an experiment to prove the Earth is moving through space, through a medium for bearing light called the “aether.” If he could show that light was slowed down by being fired into an aether headwind, like a swimmer swimming against a stream,Michelson reasoned, it would prove the Earth’s motion through space. But the experiment didn’t work the way he expected. In fact, it proved the opposite. The world of science was baffled. Was the Earth not moving?

Aaaargh!! Everybody knows about the Michelson–Morley experiment. It wasn’t done “to prove the Earth is moving” — that wasn’t in doubt. It was to study our motion through the aether. To the surprise of the experimenters, the null result demonstrated that the speed of light isn’t changed by a light source’s movement through the aether; it’s the same for all observers, everywhere. It’s now understood that the aether doesn’t exist.

The Michelson–Morley experiment is fundamental to special relativity — although we recall reading that Einstein said he wasn’t aware of the experiment’s null result at the time he wrote his famous paper in 1904. Anyway, back to WND:

Eventually, however, another Albert, with the last name of Einstein, developed a theory called special relativity to explain Michelson’s results. It wouldn’t be the last time, a startling new documentary called “The Principle” suggests, that scientists had to scramble to make their theories about space fit observable facts and experiments that didn’t jive with their prevalent understandings.

Oooooooooh — a startling new documentary! Isn’t this exciting? WND says:

But what if instead of dreaming up wild theories to explain away inconsistencies, the moviemakers suggest, scientists allowed the facts to challenge the underlying assumption itself? What if everything science believes about space … is wrong?

Uh … the experiment’s results did challenge the underlying assumption. The notion of the luminiferous aether was abandoned. Let’s read on:

“The Principle,” which is opening now in select cities around the U.S., boldly challenges the widely accepted Copernican Principle, named after Renaissance astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus. He famously argued Earth revolves around the sun and went further to suggest Earth is in no central or favored place in the universe.

Lordy, lordy. They’re not satisfied with tossing out the aether. Now we understand what overwhelmed the Drool-o-tron™. WND continues:

“Everything we think we know about our universe is wrong,” the movie’s trailer asserts. Citing Isaac Newton, various current astronomers, Einstein himself and even defenders of the Copernican Principle, the documentary makes the case that the data science is discovering indicate the entire known universe is pointing directly at Earth. “We are in a special place,” argues one of the voices quoted in the documentary. “I do believe that the universe was created by God.”

It’s difficult for us to judge after all the blogging we’ve done, but this could be — by far — the wildest thing we’ve encountered yet. Here’s more:

Rick DeLano, writer and producer of “The Principle,” declares the “question of our place in the cosmos is the greatest scientific detective story in all of history.” “The world has been shaped by two great assertions: One places us in the center of it all, and the other one relegates us to utter insignificance. Amazingly, ‘The Principle’ is the first documentary to examine this persistent puzzle at the heart of modern science.”

Didn’t it occur to Rick DeLano to wonder why he’s the first? Moving along:

Strong evidence shows there is a special direction in the cosmos, and it points toward Earth. This is a serious claim that could indicate that perhaps the Bible was true in its account of creation … and they’re ignoring it,” he continued. “Experimentation is supposed to be the acid test of an assumption. Experiment trumps all. In the universe, we are told there are no special places – no up, no down, no left, no right. But every experiment tells us we are indeed in a special place, which the scientific community sees as impossible.”

The article goes on and on like that. We’re quitting here because we’ve seen enough. At the end there’s a video which is a trailer from the movie. We haven’t looked at it, but we suggest that you click over there to do so. Then you can tell us what we’re missing.

Oh, in case you’re worried how we’ll carry on without the Drool-o-tron™, don’t worry. We’ve learned to always keep a spare available, and it’s already on the job.

Addendum: We were reminded that we wrote about this “documentary” several months ago — see Big Geocentrism Documentary Coming Soon.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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35 responses to “WorldNetDaily: The Earth Doesn’t Move!

  1. Hmm, sounds like The Principle is the long-lost progenitor of this bucket load of [edited out]. Next thing you know, they’ll want to make a film about Noah’s Ark with a big-name star like Russell Crowe in the lead role…

  2. The comments below the article are even better! That there is an ocean, a very, very deep ocean of pure and uncut crazy.

  3. Now let’s hear from those who claim to follow the teaching of the Bible rather than mere human opinion. The Bible clearly says that the Sun goes around a fixed Earth. And it is not obvious that that was meant figuratively. (That escape clause for several unwelcome Biblical texts.)

    But seriously, I hope that people who are not familiar with the history of astronomy and with contemporary astronomy don’t jump in with flawed “proofs” of heliocentrism. (There is no difficulty with fitting the retrograde motion of Mars, the changing length of the day, or the phases of Venus into a geocentric model.) I suggest that one look at the article on “Geocentrism”.

  4. The universe is pointing toward Earth. Incredibly, it is pointing straight at American, the good ole USA, one nation under God. In fact, it’s pointing right at my state, incredibly, right at my city!! Right at my family!!!. Wow, it’s pointing right at me.

    Woohoo. I get it. I’m the most important entity in the universe. What a marvelous revelation. Everything revolves around me. I really am the center of the universe.

    Always knew it. Now science has proved it.

  5. The entire universe is pointing at the earth? Would that be with its middle finger?

  6. I’m familiar with the Biblical texts that say that the Earth is fixed and that the Sun goes around it, but is there a text which says that the Earth is at the center? The usual description of the cosmos from the Ancient Near East has a flat Earth with pillars and water underneath, and a dome over the top containing the Sun, Moon and stars and water over the dome. That is an asymmetrical cosmos, and does it lend itself to having a center which everything points to? Are the geocentrists themselves diverging from the cosmos described in the Bible?

  7. To the modern mind it is very hard to grasp that people like this really do exist.

    The fact that no observable evidence supports their flawed worldview in the least is truly scary.

    This rates solid 9 out of 10 on the Hovid scale of crazy.

  8. The sheer stupidity on display in the comments section of the WND article is mind numbing. Most depressing is that many of those idiots vote.

  9. Charles Deetz ;)

    Ahh, this started to sound familiar. First last April right here at Curmie’s blog, per a tip from “Big Red”.

    The most striking thing about it is that it’s narrated by Actress Kate Mulgrew, known for her role as Capt. Kathryn Janeway in Star Trek: Voyager.

  10. Here’s the promo:
    Lots of out-of-context quotes from physicists/cosmologists/et. al regarding this “crisis” facing science.

    It said it was in theaters 10/14, but must not have made a big impression.
    However, you can bring this wonderful film to your town for only:

    I’m interested in bringing The Principle to my city (purchase of 500 tickets)!
    I’m interested in buying out a showtime (purchase of 200 tickets)!
    I’m interested in group tickets (purchase of 50+ tickets)!

    What a bargain. And you could probably show a dvd of ben stein in No Intelligence as a double feature!

  11. waldteufel, thank you for recommending the comments section. It was a lot of fun to watch creationists try to argue about something scientific like geocentrism. It was just insults to each other and atheist scientists and praise to their god. Thank you for reading WND Sensuous Curmudgeon, I know it must have hurt to go through stuff like that regularly.

  12. TomS, we don’t have any actual depictions of the cosmos that can be reliably said to be from early Israelites*, but the depictions in cultures with similar notions of the cosmos indicate that the Earth was stretched out under the dome, like the bottom of a snowglobe, and was, in that sense, central.

    * In no small part because archaeology and history seem to indicate that there was no such thing as an “early Israelite” to begin with – the account of Exodus and the six major history books are descriptions not of one cohesive people, but of a bunch of Semitic tribes that eventually settled/were already settled/were conquered in the area of Israel.

  13. Diogenes Lamp

    The authors refer not just to geocentrism, but also to “quantized red shift”, a bit of pseudoscience that allegedly proves that galaxies are arranged in concentric shells around the Milky Way. It was “observed” by scanning a large database of galactic distances and looking for a bazillion different possible periodicities in distance measures until you find one that is “statistically significant.” It’s hypothesis fishing– if you test a million hypotheses, you will always find one that produces a signal significant to one part in a million, even if the data set is random, which it is here. Hypothesis fishing is a big reason why it’s so important to try reproducing your big fat hypothesis on a new data set totally independent of the previous data set. They didn’t, the results are not reproducible, so they’re just looking at noise.

  14. Thanks, Charles Deetz ;). I had forgotten all about that.

  15. I remember a physics class I took the instructor had a Foucault pendulum in the room. Basically it is a bowling ball suspended from a cable to the ceiling. After getting it started it would move according to a set pattern demonstrating that yes, Virginia, the Earth is rotating.

  16. @dweller42
    Thank you. That “snow globe” captures just the sort of thing that I recall seeing pictured.
    Unless somebody can come up with a Biblical statement of the Earth being in the center of things, then we just have baseless speculations.

    As far as the comments in WND, I don’t see much at all addressing the geocentrism of the “documentary”: that the Earth is at the center of all material things, that the Earth is fixed at the center, and the Sun, Moon and stars make a daily pass around the non-revolvling Earth.

    Are we going to hear from the “authorities” on this issue? Do they have good enough evidence that demands a reinterpretation of the Bible? Are the geocentric passages of the Bible “clearly not meant to be taken literally”?

    Are the ID authorities going to remain silent on this issue? Do they intend to include geocentrism under the Big Tent?

  17. Troy, the Foucault pendulum shows the Earth rotating on its axis, but it could nevertheless remain, unmoving, at the center of the universe.

  18. “…select theaters in Chicago with plans to expand to Los Angeles…”

  19. SC: “Troy, the Foucault pendulum shows the Earth rotating on its axis, but it could nevertheless remain, unmoving, at the center of the universe.”

    However, there are other forms of evidence that prove the earth is revolving around the sun. The fact that we can detect the parallax shift when viewing stars from opposite sides of our orbit is one example. This also provides a direct means of measuring the distance of stars, which shows that the stars would have to be traveling at many times the speed of light in order to circle the earth in one year.

    This whole idea of the earth standing still is so preposterous, it’s an amazement that any sane person could believe it.

  20. @retiredsciguy
    First of all, I must make it clear that I have no problem with the heliocentric model of the Solar System and all of scientific astronomy.

    But the parallax of stars could be interpreted as the result of the movement of the stars, rather than the Earth. And as such, it would call into doubt parallax as a measurement of the distance to stars, and thus it could be that they are close enough to be able to orbit the Earth in a year without passing the speed of light.

  21. SC, Yes I see your point. Darn, I thought that was a good zinger too. It is interesting they like to bring up Albert last name Einstein…the whole point of relativity is there is no preferred frame of reference, everything is relative to everything else.

  22. “Didn’t it occur to Rick DeLano to wonder why he’s the first?”
    But he wasn’t. Aristoteles and Ptolemaeus placed the Earth in the centre of the Universe as well.

  23. @TomS: Yes, the parallax of stars could be interpreted as the result of the movement of the stars, but only by ignoring many other lines of evidence. For instance, it would be quite a coincidence that the movement of all those stars that would mimic parallax shift should precisely correspond to one earth year. And as for calling into question the stars’ distances, there are other independent means of determining celestial distances — Cepheid variables, red shift, absolute magnitude of supernovae, etc.

    The ancients had no way of knowing that the sun was just an ordinary star, but the reason it was so bright was because it was so much closer. Today, we know all the stars get their energy from nuclear fusion, and that alone tells us the stars are so distant that they couldn’t possibly circle the earth in a year, let alone one day.

  24. @retiredsciguy
    I’m suggesting that the chain of evidence for heliocentrism is complicated, not just a matter of one “direct observation”, but, in the long run, because “nothing in astronomy makes sense except in the light of heliocentrism”. Just as evolution is sometimes about things which cannot be “directly observed and repeated” because they are remote in time, so heliocentrism can be dependent on things which are remote in space.

    One can pick apart any one of the observations, let’s say of parallax, and I could postulate a cosmic-wide force which made all stars to move in a synchronized way. And the other measures of distances are often ultimately based on parallax determinations.

    It is not easy, I suggest, that one can present one line of evidence for heliocentrism which can be easily grasped by the non-scientist. I am interested, just as a kind of intellectual exercise, to discover such direct evidence for the orbital motion of the Earth. (I believe that I have it for the Earth’s rotation.)

  25. I wonder where in the Bible it points out that the Earth is moving at 600km/s relative to the cosmic microwave background?

  26. TomS says: “I am interested, just as a kind of intellectual exercise, to discover such direct evidence for the orbital motion of the Earth.”

    If you wanted to pay for it, NASA might be willing to send a probe up above the plane of the solar system, in line with the rotational axis of the sun. From that Olympian viewpoint, it could send back a video of all the planets orbiting around it.

  27. To add to Curmy’s suggestion, the individual planets’ motions would be in keeping with Kepler’s laws, which can be derived from Newton’s gravitational law and his laws of motion, assuming a heliocentric model. In turn and by its simplicity (think Occam here), this would dispel any claims that the motions are some or other artefact. In contrast, a similar probe high above the Earth located at an extension of its axis would result in a video that shows considerably more complicated planetary trajectories. In fact, the huge simplification of planetary orbital motions (eliminating the need for epicycles and deferents) is the reason the heliocentric model found favour in the first place.

  28. Also, the probe above the Earth would require power to keep it there because it would have to follow a non-linear trajectory. The probe above the Sun would need much less power to keep it in place since it would be subject to motion around the galactic centre and slight gravitational perturbations by the planets.

  29. A video shot from a distance great enough to show even just the inner planets’ orbits would show nothing but dots, and it would have to be speeded up greatly, to the point it would look like a computer animation. In other words, not very convincing, considering the cost.

    I haven’t seen this mentioned before, but the fact the earth experiences a series of meteor showers at the same time each year is a pretty good clue of our revolving about the sun. Easily explained; easily observed.

    The easiest evidence to observe, though, is the fact that the nighttime sky is looking out into a different direction of the universe each month of the year. Thus, Orion is in the winter night sky opposite the sun, while the summer night sky features Scorpius and Saggitarius. Since we know now that all the stars and galaxies are at vastly different distances, it is phyically impossible for everything to revolve around the earth in perfect synchrony.

  30. How does placing the probe far from the Earth make the probe an unbiased observer?
    Who will decide what orbit of what body will provide the proper view?
    Or will it need constant thrust to keep it “motionless”?
    Is the surface of the Earth the only place where the probe wouldn’t work?
    And if it proves that the Sun doesn’t move, wouldn’t mean that the Sun is the center of the Universe?

  31. TomS asks: “Who will decide what orbit of what body will provide the proper view?”

    No problem; you can decide. But we’ll need to send up a whole set of probes, all of them above (or “below,” if you wish) the plane of the solar system, and each one positioned to be lined up with a body’s axis of rotation. One will be above the sun, as already suggested, and there will be one above each of the planets. Then you’ll have a view from each frame of reference. (Uranus is a special case, as it spins “on its side.”)

    Of course, as retiredsciguy points out, the video from each probe “would have to be speeded up greatly” in order to easily demonstrate what’s happening. I think you’ll see the Ptolemy picture of epicycles presented by each planetary probe, with everything centered on that planet; but you’d see the completely different (and now accepted) picture of the solar system from the probe above the sun. Then you can decide if the heliocentric viewpoint is the one that makes sense of everything.

  32. SC suggested sending a probe above the sun to image all the planets. I’d suggest the fact that we have successfully sent probes to other planets is enough evidence on its own. The Hohmann transfer orbit depends on the Earth and target planet to be moving at considerable speed. I’d hazard to say that modern space exploration would be impossible if one was using geocentric theory, even though with enough epicycles that can show quite accurately the position of the planets.

  33. @SC. Indeed, where is that “above the sun”? Is that closer to heaven, maybe?

  34. Xians may question how anything can be “above the Son”, but that’s a religious question, not science.

  35. @retiredsciguy Which surprised me that SC introduced the thought.
    Unfortunately, there are people who really think that pictures in space show that the Earth is moving, so I feel that it is appropriate to point out that all that they can show is relative motions.