Creationist Wisdom #815: More Geocentrism

Today’s letter-to-the-editor is a follow-up to one we wrote about a month ago — see #808: Geocentric Genius. Like that earlier letter, this one appears in the Marshall Independent of Marshall, Minnesota. It’s titled Please stick to science, and the newspaper has a comments feature.

Because the writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name — even though this is his third appearance in our collection. His first name is Phil. Excerpts his newest letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

Judging from the responses to my Oct. 24, “Does the Earth revolve around the sun?” [that’s the one we wrote about], I must ask: Why is it that when I try to discuss science, almost everybody wants to talk religion? Can we please stick to science? Thanks.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! None of that silly religion stuff for Phil! He says:

Part of my letter stated: “…does the earth go around the sun, or does the sun go around the earth? There still is no solid proof that the Earth goes around the sun; but it is still taught in schools as dogmatic fact. Why?

We quoted that before. Phil is sticking to his story. He tells us:

I would have thought someone would have brought up things like stellar parallax, the Foucault pendulum, retrograde motion of Mars, phases of Venus, etc.

Those are all interesting, but why would anyone bother to exert himself when dealing with Phil? The absence of any visible Stellar parallax with the naked eye was used as evidence that the Earth was stationary and didn’t orbit the Sun. More precise observations with modern telescopes have not only revealed a predictable shift in the positions of nearby stars as we move around the Sun, but it was the observation of one nearby and therefore visibly shifting star that — with only high school trigonometry — revealed that star’s distance from us. Wikipedia says: “The first successful measurements of stellar parallax were made by Friedrich Bessel in 1838 for the star 61 Cygni using a heliometer.”

Foucault’s pendulum demonstrates the rotation of the Earth, not its orbiting the Sun. But it does contradict the notion that the whole universe revolves around us. We’ve also discussed Creationism, Galileo and the Phases of Venus.

As for the Apparent retrograde motion of planets like Mars (as seen from Earth), that’s because sometimes we’re both on the same side of the Sun, moving in the same direction, and sometimes we’re on opposite sides, and Mars appears to move in the opposite direction.

Anyway, Phil seems to be shocked that no one bothered to mention those things when responding to his earlier letter. But then he shows that it would have been a waste of time if anyone had done so. He says:

Actually, these are not proofs, because the heliocentric and geocentric systems are geometrically equivalent. So, the question remains; if there is no proof, why are teachers stating it as absolute fact?

Did you follow that? Yes, viewing the solar system from Earth, or from any other vantage point, like the Sun, is viewing the same system. One set of observations can be translated into the other. But they’re not both true. Viewing the solar system from the Sun would look very different if the Earth really were the center of everything. Let’s read on:

Wouldn’t the honest thing be to say “We really don’t know?” Ditto for billions of years age of the earth. And how about macro-evolution? I’ve yet to see anyone who can defend it.

The rest of Phil’s letter is about global warming. We’ll leave it to you to read that, if you want to. Geocentrism is enough to qualify Phil’s letter for our collection..

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23 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #815: More Geocentrism

  1. Michael Fugate

    Do we have absolute proof of anything?

  2. There are two particular motions of the Earth involved in heliocentrism: the daily rotation of the Earth about its axis; and the yearly revolving of the Earth around the Sun.
    The last I looked at the irregularities of the rotation of the Earth in response to earthquakes were too small to be measured. But there are continuing improvements in technology – what it the state of the art today? Anyway, there are irregularities in the rotations of the Earth which are measured. If the changes were due to the motions of the stars, it would be demanding coordinated motions across the universe if one were to have the Earth stay still. See for soe more details. \

  3. @Michael Fugate
    Do we have absolute proof of:
    1) There is not absoluate proof of anything.
    2) This is written in English.
    3) Absolute proof is meaningful.

  4. Michael Fugate

    Are you sure?

  5. Creationist: show me proof
    Scientist: here’s the proof and this is how it was derived.
    Creationist: that’s not proof
    Lather, Rinse, Repeat…..

  6. @anevilmeme – Do you by any chance know if the creationist has to actually remove their head from…well…you know…in order to rinse?

  7. @Michael Fugate

    Cogito ergo sum. – René Descartes

  8. Oh, how low the standards of journalism have sunk at the Marshall Independent of Marshall, Minnesota to allow this letter to reach print!

    Phil rants, “There still is no solid proof that the Earth goes around the sun; but it is still taught in schools as dogmatic fact.

    Evidently, not in any school attended by the editor of the Marshall Independent. Or he was sleeping. Or lacking the amount of gray matter necessary for retention.

  9. Phil, buddy, pal, go to a library. Too much convoluted thinking going on in your head.

  10. Only slightly off-topic: the BBC covers this year’s The Flat Earth International Conference in Raleigh NC

  11. P.S. I would like to donate the following epithet for the Flat-Earther:

    Global Curving Skeptics

  12. Better:

    Global Curving Deniers

  13. Phil was once perfectly correct. As was pointed out by al-Biruni roughly 1000 years ago, the difference between heliocentric and geocentric,and indeed between a stationary Earth and a rotating Earth, is the difference between equivalent choices of coordinate systems.

    We can forgive al-Biruni for not knowing enough Newtonian mechanics to realise that one system is absolutely better than the other, not only because it is far simpler but because it avoids unexplained accelerations, as well as astronomically superluminary motions for distant stars, but if Phil chooses to tie himself in the necessary knots to deal with this, who are we to deny him the pleasure?

  14. As far as superluminary motions, we do not have to go so far as the stars to observe that. At the distance of Nepture, in a geocentric model of the planets, Neptune moves in an orbit of the Earth with a circumference of more than one light-day each day, that is, faster than the speed of light. But more interesting is that the rocket Voyager 2, which is directly measured by the time delay of radio singnals to be at a disatance (radius of its geocentric daily orbit) of more than 16 light-hours, and thus is moving in a geocentric circumferential speed of more than 4 times the speed of light.
    This object, made by humans, of terrestrial materials, has reached this phenomenal speed. Not by any known means. Not by any known design.
    We don’t have to “believe” about a barrier of the speed of light to wonder about how we mere humans have managed to attain “breaking the speed of light”, without even attempting that feat of speed!
    And then there is Voyager 1 which is more than 19.5 light-hours distant! It’s moving, in the geocentric model, more than 5 times the speed of light!

  15. Indeed. And even without leaving Earth, we have to say that earth is rotating in order to explain the equatorial bulge.

    I don’t know if it is formally possible to impose gravitational fields and space-time distortions to deal with the absurdities of a rotating heavens, but I’m sure Phil doesn’t know either

  16. Astronomers point their telescopes precisely to the objects in the heavens according to the time of day. The star catalogs give the fixed coordinates of the “fixed stars”, and then use the appparent motion of the sky – which they attribute to the rotation of the Earth – to determine the exact location of the desired object. Because it is the rotation of the Earth which determines the exact location, the difference of location from the catalog location is determined uniformly across the whole sky, for all objects, no matter how distant they are. There are stars up toward the North Pole, down toward the South Pole, and scattered along the equator. And it is quite reasonable to think that some stars are much further from the Earth than others.
    Now, assume that the Earth is fixed unmovable in the center. How to we account for the pointing of the telescope to locate the stars? It must be that the stars are coordinating their positions as they make their daily orbit of the Earth. There is something which makes one star over yonder make its orbit coordinate its motion with another star across the universe in another direction. The first thing that one might think of is that there is some sort of rigid framework whch forces the stars to coordinate their motions. But that is not good enough. There is the probem of the speed of light. We know that the stars are at least farther than the planets and farther than the Voyager probes. (Actually, given that stars are bright objects, they have to be at least several light years away, but we don’t have to rely on that. Just a matter of many light-hours is all that this argument needs.) We’re talking about, not the actual position of the stars being coordinated, but the coordination of the arrival of light from the stars at the surface of the Earth, so that the telescopes can be pointed in the right direction.
    And it’s even more difficult for the coordination of the stars motion because there are small variations on the – what we heliocentrists ascribe to changes in the rotation of the Earth. If it isn’t the change in the rotation of the Earth, it is this complicated coordination instantly across the universe. I just challenge that a geocentrist to write down the equations of motion for a dozen of the brightest stars, so that we can see the coordinations of their motions are seen. What linkings there are between Sirius and Betelgeuse and Antares
    and Polaris and the Southern Cross. Just tell us what we are supposed to believe – and then explain what laws of nature could make that happen.

  17. SC your description of retrograde motion is incorrect. It isn’t a result of observing a planet on the opposite side of the sun, rather it is because Earth orbits the sun in a faster inside track. As we Earthlings overtake Mars, Mars appears to slow down and move backwards and then move forwards again. It is a bit like passing someone on the freeway.
    (Retrograde motions do occur around when a planet is at opposition, which is not the same as being on opposite sides of the sun.)

  18. Troy says: “SC your description of retrograde motion is incorrect.”

    You’re right. I just used the most obvious example.

  19. The term “opposition” comes from the days of geocentrism. A star is in opposition (to the Sun) when it is 180 degrees distant from the Sun.

  20. If the earth is fixed, how do you explain Coriolis?

  21. Keith – too many big words, and most likely just fake science – thus no need for explanation.

  22. The real geocentrists refer to Mach’s Principle.
    There are modern geocentrists who are aware of modern physics and astronomy and who can make a case.
    As far as I know, there are no compromising geocentrists, admitting the daily rotation of the Earth but denying yearly revolution as a planet of the Sun. That is a logical possibility.

  23. Apparently Phil is the real deal. Crazy , with possible Asbergers syndrome.