Critique of Alec MacAndrew, Ph.D. Topic: Geocentrism
R. Sungenis: Before I begin my scientific critique of Alec MacAndrew, I think it should be stated that he admits to being an atheist. Because of that, he would no sooner entertain the possibility of a geocentric system than he would accept six-day creationism over evolution. Like any modern cosmologist I have quoted in my book who have candidly admitted their atheistic bias when examining the scientific evidence, Alec knows that if the earth is in the center of the universe and was created in six days, his atheism has been destroyed and he will have to face the God of Christianity as his judge. That is too frightening a thought for him, and thus his motivation to discredit both geocentrism and creationism. As St. Paul says, man knows the truth but he willfully suppresses it in order to hide from God (Romans 1:18-20).
Second, although Alec has a Ph.D. in physics, he simply has never learned (or, perhaps, refuses to learn) how to apply his knowledge of physics to geocentrism. I am continually amazed at the elementary errors Alec makes in his presentations, and that is because he has never taken the time to examine the geocentric arguments in depth, but instead resorts to knee-jerk reactions based on ideas he has held in the past that no longer apply due to new advances in physics.
Third, when I have confronted Alec in the past with these issues, he invariably comes back with some personal invective. As such, there is no longer any room for intelligent discussion.
Be that as it may, I will address the comments Alec makes below and hope for the best:
Alec: Introduction: Against my better judgement, I agreed to post a summary of the arguments that demonstrate that geocentrism (the doctrine that the earth is the unmoving centre of the universe) is not a tenable hypothesis for a reasonable person with a moderate knowledge of modern physics. Please note that I am not seeking to show heliocentrism or any-other-centrism, merely that geocentrism is not a tenable hypothesis. Here we go.
The whole argument can be summarised in one sentence, so if you can’t be arsed to read the whole thing, just read the next sentence:
In Newtonian mechanics, geocentrism cannot be true for many physical reasons; in General Relativity the centre of the universe has no meaning, so to claim that the earth is the centre of the universe is meaningless; in neither system can the earth be said to be the unmoving centre of the universe.
R. Sungenis: First, it is not true that Newtonian mechanics denies geocentrism. This is just a flat out misconception (or lie) that had been perpetrated on the world, but all without the slightest proof. If one actually looks deeply into the writings of Newton, he supported geocentrism as a viable option. He just preferred not to accept it as the true system. Most physicists are the same way. They all admit that geocentrism is physically viable since they all know intuitively that you can make the moon, Jupiter or Alpha Centauri the center of the universe by using Newton’s laws, but they prefer not to do so, and they have all admitted that it is for philosophical reasons, not scientific reasons. When Newton says things like: “That the center of the system of the world is immovable. This is acknowledged by all, although some contend that the Earth, others that the sun, is fixed in that center” (Isaac Newton, Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, Book 3: The System of the World, Proposition X, Hypothesis I), then it is time to take a closer look at what Newton really said and meant.
Alec: I’ll also argue that the promotion of geocentrism is unnecessary for salvation, is contrary to reason, and represents a major source of scandal, calling ridicule down on the Church and the Faithful.
R. Sungenis: This is another set of lies and distortions. First, what could be more of a “ridicule” for the Church than to have her popes and cardinals call heliocentrism a “formal heresy” in the seventeenth century, and then have her patrons reject that teaching two centuries later as the musings of ignorant clerics who were too steeped in believing what Scripture and the Fathers told them? The only “scandal” here is watching atheists like Alec MacAndrew attempt to make the church contradict herself.
Alec: OK, let’s start. (I have posted some of this material before and some of it is new).
In Newtonian mechanics, geocentrism cannot be true for many physical reasons.
Newtonian mechanics works within Euclidean geometry, which, for our purposes, we can summarise as a two dimensional spatial geometry based on an absolute space. Euclidean space is absolute and independent of matter or energy, which exist within Euclidean space without, in any way, affecting it. In addition, Newtonian mechanics relies on an additional dimension of absolute time.
Note that the concept of the equivalence of reference frames exists in Newtonian mechanics. It is a mistake to think that the idea that reference frames are equivalent is a new finding of Special or General Relativity. Indeed, the concept of relativity and the equivalence of reference frames was first understood by the great scientist, Galileo, whose name is given to the mathematical expressions used to transform between reference frames in Euclidean geometry — these expressions are called Galilean transformations after him.
Galilean relativity states that relative motions of systems of bodies are the same no matter what inertial reference frame they are in, where an inertial reference frame is one in which the motion of a body not subject to forces is in a straight line and uniform and where the acceleration of bodies is proportional to applied forces. In Newtonian mechanics inertial reference frames move uniformly and rectilinearly with respect to one another.
Newton used this property of Galilean relativity in his calculations of planetary motion. It follows from the definitions of inertial frames and their equivalence that the centre of mass of an isolated system of bodies is at rest in an inertial frame.
R. Sungenis: A startling admission by Alec but one that the reader might normally brush over without much thought unless he is told the implication, which is this: if the entire universe is the so-called “isolated system of bodies” and an “inertial frame,” then the body which occupies the center of mass of the universe will be at rest. Based on that scientific principle, geocentrists believe the earth is the center of mass for the universe and is unmoveable, and Alec has no way of disproving that the Earth could not occupy the center.
Alec: Newton reasonably approximated the solar system as an isolated system of bodies (this is not strictly true, but the forces and influence of the rest of the universe on relative motions within the solar system are vanishingly small on the scale of years).
R. Sungenis: If that is true, then why does modern physics believe that the sun revolves around the Milky Way galaxy at the tremendous speed of 500 miles per second in order to escape the gravity at the center of the Milky Way? If the “forces and influence” is so “vanishingly small,” then the sun (and consequently our “solar system”) should be affected very little by a neighboring group of stars. But the truth is, our “solar system” is so greatly affected by those stars that the sun has to travel at break neck speed to avoid crashing into the center of the Milky Way. And we are also told by modern science that the Milky Way itself is revolving around even greater systems of galaxies, and so on and so one. The bottom line is this: there is no place in the universe that is unaffected by the gravity of the stars, and this gravity is not “vanishingly small,” otherwise, modern science could not say that smaller systems are being forced to revolve around larger systems.
The real truth here is that Alec needs to plant in the reader’s mind the idea that our Sun-Earth system is an “isolated system,” as he wants to call it, for then he can succeed in applying Newtonian mechanics and making it work for heliocentrism (or whatever non-geocentric system Alec believes in). But the fact is, the Sun-Earth system is not “isolated.” How could it be “isolated” if it is this very system that Alec believes travels at 500 mps because of the tremendous pull from the center of the Milky Way? That’s hardly an “isolated” system. But without the “isolated system” as his foundation, Alec’s case to disprove geocentrism is futile.
Alec: Within this reference frame, he then calculated the accelerations that would result from the gravitational forces between the bodies. Newton rejected the notion of geocentrism and heliocentrism (neither of which were ever to make an appearance in physics again); instead it is the centre of mass of the system of bodies (in this case the solar system), that is at rest with respect to the reference frame — all the other bodies (including the sun) experience accelerations and are not therefore at rest in the inertial frame. The sun, of course, is vastly more massive than every other body in the solar system, and so its centre is nearly at the centre of mass of the solar system and nearly stationary with respect to it, but not quite.
R. Sungenis: Yes, the sun is much more massive. And if we were only talking about a massive Sun and a small earth in an isolated system without any other objects, Alec would certainly be correct – the earth would, indeed, have to revolve around the sun. But Alec hasn’t proven his first premise (about the “isolated system”) and therefore his conclusion is invalid. Any physicist worth his salt will admit that, if we include the trillions of stars that encircle the Sun-Earth system, then the Sun-Earth system is not “isolated.” They will also tell you that those trillions of stars can be situated around the Earth in such a way where all the forces are balanced and the Earth could, indeed, be their center of mass. They will also admit that the Sun, as massive as it is, can be placed in the appropriate place between the Earth and the trillions of stars so that it is in balance between the two, and will thus revolve around the center of mass, namely, the Earth. If Alec denies this possibility, then either he doesn’t know physics or he is just not willing to accept the truth of physics.
Alec: So heliocentrism, within the solar system, can be seen as a close approximation to the Newtonian case. All of this is true whether we observe this from an inertial frame at rest with respect to the solar system or the fixed stars, as we can transform between them using the Galilean transformation.
R. Sungenis: Actually, the “Galilean transformation” has little to do with this issue. The more important issue is the relational mechanics between the Earth, the Sun and the stars. So, for support from some noted physicists, I’ll quote them. Here is a section of my book Galileo Was Wrong in which I quote from Fred Hoyle, the famous astronomer who coined the term “Big Bang,” and Andre Assis, noted Brazilian physicists who authored the book Relational Mechanics. Notice that they say the same thing I have said above, only in more technical language.
“….Even Newton could not object to the Earth being the center of mass for the universe. The grand summation of his three laws of motion (namely, in a closed system the acceleration of the center of mass equals zero), will allow an immobile Earth to be the center, that is, if the universe is included in Newton’s integral calculus. As the eminent cosmologist Fred Hoyle admitted about those who quickly run to Newton to defend heliocentrism:
Although in the nineteenth century this argument was believed to be a satisfactory justification of the heliocentric theory, one found causes for disquiet if one looked into it a little more carefully. When we seek to improve on the accuracy of calculation by including mutual gravitational interactions between planets, we find – again in order to calculate correctly – that the center of the solar system must be placed at an abstract point known as the “center of mass,” which is displaced quite appreciably from the center of the Sun. And if we imagine a star to pass moderately close to the solar system, in order to calculate the perturbing effect correctly, again using the inverse-square rule, it could be essential to use a “center of mass” which included the star.
The “center” in this case would lie even farther away from the center of the Sun. It appears, then, that the “center” to be used for any set of bodies depends on the way in which the local system is considered to be isolated from the universe as a whole. If a new body is added to the set from outside, or if a body is taken away, the “center” changes. (Fred Hoyle, Nicolaus Copernicus, 1973, p. 85.)
As we can see from Hoyle’s account, even if there is only one star to take into account, its mass and gravitational force must be added into the formula for determining the universe’s center of mass (or barycenter). In short, our sun, Earth and planets are not an isolated system. Advocates of heliocentrism can mount no opposition to this logic since they believe that our solar system is revolving around the Milky Way, which, of course, it cannot do unless it is experiencing a strong gravitational attraction from the center of the Milky Way. Using that same principle, when we add to our galaxy the billions of other galaxies present in the universe, we can certainly conclude that they will have a substantial effect on determining the universe’s barycenter. As stated very simply by some of the most respected modern physicists (even if they don’t prefer the geocentric model): “Mass there governs inertia here.” Although Newton failed to take into account the gravitational or inertial forces laden in the rest of the universe when he composed his laws of motion and preferred instead to add them in by hand, modern scientists have voiced one chorus in agreeing that Newton’s blindness to the “mass there” is the primary inadequacy of his theory. Although Newton never admitted it, the missing parts of his theory directly affect the choice one makes for either Copernicus or Ptolemy.
As the Brazilian physicist, Andre Assis put it:
As we have seen, Leibniz and Mach emphasized that the Ptolemaic geocentric system and the Copernican heliocentric system are equally valid and correct….the Copernican world view, which is usually seen as being proved to be true by Galileo and Newton….the gravitational attraction between the sun and the planets, the earth and other planets do not fall into the sun because they have an acceleration relative to the fixed stars. The distant matter in the universe exerts a force, –mgamf, on accelerated planets, keeping them in their annual orbits.
In the Ptolemaic system, the earth is considered to be at rest and without rotation in the center of the universe, while the sun, other planets and fixed stars rotate around the earth. In relational mechanics this rotation of distant matter yields the force (8.17) such that the equation of motion takes the form of equation (8.47). Now the gravitational attraction of the sun is balanced by a real gravitational centrifugal force due to the annual rotation of distant masses around the earth (with a component having a period of one year). In this way the earth can remain at rest and at an essentially constant distance from the sun. The diurnal rotation of distant masses around the earth (with a period of one day) yields a real gravitational centrifugal force flattening the earth at the poles. Foucault’s pendulum is explained by a real Coriolis force acting on moving masses over the earth’s surface in the form –2mgvme ωUe, where vme is the velocity of the test body relative to the earth and ωUe is the angular rotation of the distant masses around the earth. The effect of this force will be to keep the plane of oscillation of the pendulum rotating together with the fixed stars. (Andre K. T. Assis, Relational Mechanics, pp. 190-191.)
These distinguished authors are referring to the total mass of the galaxies and other objects in the universe that have a direct effect on the inertia we experience. Inertia is a force, and therefore, according to modern physics, the stars transmit an inertial force. Moreover, modern physics also says that inertial force is intimately related to and indistinguishable from gravitational force. If that is the case, then certainly the total mass of the universe is an integral factor in determining both the inertial and gravitational forces that affect us, as well as the forces that create the barycenter of the universe. Certainly no one can object, then, if God had decided long ago to put the Earth in that very barycenter, obeying all the laws that we have now discovered today.
Some object that, although it may be true that the Earth can serve as the barycenter of the universe, we do not see any cases in the rest of the cosmos of a larger object revolving around a smaller object. This is true, of course. The reason we do not see any such phenomena is that there is only one place where it could be true – at the center of the universe.
Alec: It is unreasonable to hold that the earth is the unmoving centre of the universe according to Newtonian physics, in which there is an absolute space. The arguments against geocentrism in a Newtonian universe are overwhelming and have been rehearsed many times. I do not intend to go into them in detail, but I list some of them below.
Geostationary Orbits and Geostationary Satellites (picture right): To achieve a geostationary orbit, a geosychronous orbit is chosen with an inclination of either zero, right on the equator, or else low enough that the spacecraft can use propulsive means to constrain the spacecraft’s apparent position so it hangs motionless above a point on Earth. (Any such maneuvering on orbit is a process called station keeping.) The orbit can then be called geostationary. This orbit is ideal for certain kinds of communication satellites or meteorological satellites. See Basics of Space Flight: Planetary Orbits
(1) Satellites are launched to the east because the earth’s rotation boosts the velocity of the satellite and helps it to achieve orbital velocity — the earth is used as a sling shot
R. Sungenis: What Alec doesn’t tell the reader (or perhaps, because Alec doesn’t know it) is that modern science says that the “boost” that would occur in a rotating earth within a fixed star system is the same “boost” that will occur in a rotating star system around a fixed earth, since all the centrifugal, Coriolis and Euler forces will be exactly the same in each system. Hence, Alec’s assertion proves nothing for his view of cosmology.
Alec: (2) Satellite launch sites are as close to the equator as nationally possible for the same reason as 1.
R. Sungenis: No, they are close to the equator because there is a “boost,” not because the earth is a sling shot.
Alec: (3) Points at rest or in uniform motion in inertial frames of reference (which in Galilean relativity are frames of reference in which a point not under the influence of applied force continues in rectilinear and uniform motion), have no unresolved forces
R. Sungenis: Granted, but this doesn’t prove the earth is rotating. The same lack of “unresolved forces” would be true in a revolving star system around a fixed earth. There will always be a point at about 22,000 miles above the earth in which the gravity of the celestial objects is balanced by the gravity of the earth, regardless whether the earth is rotating within fixed stars or is fixed within revolving stars.
Alec: (4) The earth has obvious unresolved forces (items 3 and 4 have relevance in Riemannian geometry too)
R. Sungenis: Granted, but the question at issue is, what is the cause of the “unresolved force,” the earth rotating within fixed stars or a fixed earth within revolving stars, since both produce the same forces.
Alec: (5) Foucault’s pendulum demonstrates the existence of unresolved forces at the surface of the earth
R. Sungenis: Granted, but as Assis and many other modern scientists tell us, that unresolved force can also come from a fixed earth within a revolving star system, not necessarily a rotating earth in a fixed star system.
Alec: (6) Weather systems always rotate counter clockwise in the northern hemisphere and vice versa in the southern hemisphere owing to the coriolis force of rotation
R. Sungenis: Granted, but Coriolis force is also caused from a fixed earth within a revolving star system, not necessarily a rotating earth in a fixed star system.
Alec: (7) Oblate earth — the earth has a greater girth at the equator than across the poles owing to the centrifugal force of the earth’s diurnal rotation.
R. Sungenis: Not necessarily. The oblate earth (if there really is such a phenomenon) can also be caused by a fixed earth within a revolving star system, since the centrifugal force will be exact the same as a rotating earth in a fixed star system. That Alec doesn’t tell the reader this fact shows either he is ignorant of it or is hiding it. Either way, it doesn’t speak very well of his approach or position. As Eddington himself said: “The bulge of the Earth’s equator may be attributed indifferently to the Earth’s rotation or to the outward pull of the centrifugal force introduced when the Earth is regarded as non-rotating.” (Space, Time and Gravitation: An Outline of the General Relativity Theory, 1923, p. 41.)
Alec: (8) Parallax in the star fields as a consequence of earth’s rotation round the centre of gravity of the solar system
R. Sungenis: Not necessarily, since parallax can be caused by a rotating star system around a fixed earth. Alec seems either oblivious to this scientific fact or chooses to ignore it. We have a whole chapter on this in my book Galileo Was Wrong.
Alec: (9) Red shift in the star field as a result of ditto
R. Sungenis: Let’s assume for the sake of argument that red shift is caused by movement between the earth and stars (I say assume because there are about three other viable reasons why there is a red shift). That being the case, stars in revolution around a fixed earth are just as viable for creating red shift as a rotating earth in a fixed star system.
Alec: (10) A star field with a radius of 14 billion light years and a mass 3×10^27 times that of the earth rotating around the earth once a day and wobbling with a amplitude of 186 million miles at an angle of 23.5 degrees annually is an untenable dynamical system in Newtonian mechanics
R. Sungenis: Says who? Certainly not Newton. Alec is merely making an unproven assumption. Even Alec’s treasured General Relativity allows for a rotating universe, and it says that the 14 billion light year radius makes no difference whatsoever, since after the Schwarzchild radius of our solar system at Saturn all the forces and objects after that are irrelevant (see work of Hermann Bondi in Chapter 9 of Galileo Was Wrong).
The practical side of this is even more interesting. A rotating universe is much more sensible and stable than a rotating and revolving earth. For example, Hoyle admits the earth is constantly slowing in its rotation, so much so that he admits it would have had to be rotating in about 10 hours time four billion years ago instead of 24 hours. But we don’t need to worry about such deterioration in a rotating universe, since the sheer mass of the universe will provide enough inertia to keep it rotating around the center of mass for billions of years without significant deterioration. There is also the problem in the heliocentric system with orbit deterioration. A 13.5 billion year old universe is going to have significant orbit deterioration, but this wouldn’t be the case in a rotating universe, since all forces are governed by its stable inertia.
Alec: (11) Systematic forces which explain the dynamics of retrograde planetary motion are not available in a Newtonian gravitational system
R. Sungenis: I don’t know what Alec is referring to, since retrograde motion has nothing to do with “systematic forces.” Retrograde motion is purely mechanical and visual. Be that as it may, the retrograde motion of any of the planets when seen from Earth can be demonstrated in either a heliocentric or geocentric system. We show this in several animations on our CDROM disc that comes with the Galileo Was Wrong book. Unfortunately, gullible people have been told for many years that retrograde motion proves heliocentrism. It doesn’t. It only proves that many scientists are biased.
Alec: Foucault Pendulum: Jean Bernard Leon Foucault was born in 1819, the son of a French publisher. He showed early skill in making mechanical toys, studied medicine, but shifted to physical sciences at the Paris Observatory. He became one of the most versatile experimentalists of all time. By a Foucault Pendulum, man can demonstrate at any point on the Earth’s surface (except on the equator) that the earth rotates. See About Foucault Pendulums
R. Sungenis: No, not really. As we’ve seen from Assis (and there are many others who have realized the same that I cite in Galileo Was Wrong) the Foucault Pendulum does not prove the Earth rotates. The only thing it proves, as even Alec himself said previously, is that there are “unresolved forces” upon the Earth. Where those forces originate is another question altogether. In effect, the Foucault Pendulum is one of the biggest hoaxes ever perpetrated on mankind. It is a prime example of how deceived mankind is, and it should cause all thinking people to reconsider everything they have been taught from heliocentric cosmology. That Alec either doesn’t know or refuses to admit to his audience that the Foucault Pendulum doesn’t prove heliocentrism speaks for itself.
Alec: Interestingly, there is a serious sense in Newtonian mechanics that refutes the idea of not just the earth, but any body being the unmoving centre of the universe. Even if we accept, for the sake of argument, that the universe is spatially finite, and we accept that there is a point in absolute space that corresponds to its centre of mass, no object with finite mass can be permanently at rest with respect to that point, because all objects with finite mass necessarily experience accelerations caused by the gravitational forces resulting from the presence of other bodies of finite mass in the universe, and they therefore cannot be permanently at rest in any given Newtonian inertial frame.
R. Sungenis: No, not necessarily true. If the rotational accelerations are counterbalanced by local decelerations, the center of mass will not move. We have a whole section in chapter 9 of Galileo Was Wrong showing this principle, and we use the evidence from modern science to prove it. In fact, we obtained this mechanical principle from one of the most famous physics books ever written, the book Gravitation by Misner, Thorne and Wheeler. In it the authors say that the inertial forces caused by an outside rotating system are counterbalanced by local internal forces caused by that same system.
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 them as it flows past. Near the poles the fluid will clearly rotate the rods in the same direction as the star [i.e., 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
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 counter-clockwise….This picture is clear then: to turn the sphere, the rotation of the particles (MTW’s “rods”) 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.(Misner, Thorne and Wheeler, Gravitation, p. 1120.)
Alec: Geocentrism is meaningless in General Relativity (GR)
R. Sungenis: Depends on what one means by “meaningless.” Granted, if everything is relative because there is no central non-moving object, than geocentrism doesn’t exist in relativity and therefore has no meaning. But GR does not consider geocentrism meaningless in regards to the possibility of geocentrism. Einstein said it best himself:
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” (The Evolution of Physics: From Early Concepts to Relativity and Quanta, Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld, 1938, 1966, p. 212.)
Alec: Geocentrism, indeed any-centrism, is meaningless in the formulation of GR that accurately describes the universe structure. So let’s see what that is.
First of all, solutions to Maxwell’s electromagnetic equations yielded an expression which showed that the propagation of electromagnetic energy (light) is constant irrespective of the frame in which you measure it. So now we have a phenomenon that disobeys the principle of Galilean relativity. The solution to this conundrum is Einstein’s special relativity.
R. Sungenis: SR is not really a solution. In reality, it is an ad hoc introduction of an unproven theory to answer what Einstein knew could be answered by accepting a motionless earth. Lorentz knew the same. In his book on electrodynamics, Lorentz concluded: “Briefly, everything occurs as if the earth were at rest…” (Lorentz’s 1886 paper, “On the Influence of the Earth’s Motion of Luminiferous Phenomena”). Einstein knew the same. In his famous paper he wrote:
Take, for example, the reciprocal electrodynamic action of a magnet and a conductor. The observable phenomenon here depends only on the relative motion of the conductor and the magnet, whereas the customary view draws a sharp distinction between the two cases in which either the one or the other of these bodies is in motion. For if the magnet is in motion and the conductor at rest, there arises in the neighborhood of the magnet an electric field with a certain definite energy, producing a current at the places where parts of the conductor are situated. But if the magnet is stationary and the conductor in motion, no electric field arises in the neighborhood of the magnet. In the conductor, however, we find an electromotive force, to which in itself there is no corresponding energy, but which gives rise – assuming the equality of the relative motion in the two cases discussed – of electric currents of the same path and intensity as those produced by the electric form in the former case (Zur Electrodynamik Bewegter Körper (“On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies”), Annalen der Physik, Vol. 17, 1905, p. 1.)
The conventional way of explaining this phenomenon was the following: if the conductor is moving toward a stationary magnet, the electrical charge in the conductor is pulled around the conductor by the force of the magnetic field. Conversely, if the magnet is moving toward the conductor, the increasing magnetic field produces an electric field that drives the charge around the conductor. Einstein apparently did not like this explanation. The reason is noted in the parenthetical statement he adds toward the end of the above paragraph: “…assuming the equality of the relative motion in the two cases discussed…” If the “relative motion” is the same in both cases (that is, a conductor moving toward a stationary magnet or a magnet moving toward a stationary conductor are identical), Einstein assumed that the results should be identical, that is, in both cases the current produced should either always be around the magnet or always around the conductor, and not switch between the magnet and the conductor. Since the results were not identical, Einstein sought to find a reason, but he would do so assuming the principle of Relativity.
Einstein knew that electrodynamics could be better explained by assuming the earth was at rest, but he didn’t want that possibility, since that would force science to go back to pre-Copernican days and accept the Catholic Church (which he despised, much like Alec MacAndrew) and its dogma on geocentrism, and, to his utter dismay, put the Catholic Church back in charge of the world. Did you ever wonder why the world reveres Einstein so much? It is because he saved the world from bowing to the Catholic Church, and he did so by reinventing physics so that Maxwell and Michelson-Morley could have at least some plausible explanation. For 140 years after Maxwell, and 25 years after Michelson-Morley, science was in a conundrum until Einstein suggested that they totally revamp physics in order to have at least some answer. This is no secret to the well informed. Einstein’s biographer says it best:
“The problem which now faced science was considerable. For there seemed to be only three alternatives. The first was that the Earth was standing still, which meant scuttling the whole Copernican theory and was unthinkable” (Einstein: The Life and Times, 1984, p. 109-110.)
Everyone in the physics establishment saw the same implications, and they were beside themselves with consternation. As several authors describe it:
“The data [of the interferometers] were almost unbelievable…There was only one other possible conclusion to draw – that the Earth was at rest. This, of course, was preposterous” (Bernard Jaffe, Michelson and the Speed of Light, p. 76.)
“Always the speed of light was precisely the same…Thus, failure [of Michelson-Morley] to observe different speeds of light at different times of the year suggested that the Earth must be ‘at rest’…It was therefore the ‘preferred’ frame for measuring absolute motion in space. Yet we have known since Galileo that the Earth is not the center of the universe. Why should it be at rest in space?” (Adolf Baker, Modern Physics & Antiphysics, pp. 53-54.)
“In the effort to explain the Michelson-Morley experiment…the thought was advanced that the Earth might be stationary….Such an idea was not considered seriously, since it would mean in effect that our Earth occupied the omnipotent position in the universe, with all the other heavenly bodies paying homage by revolving around it” (Arthur S. Otis, Light Velocity and Relativity, p. 58.)
Even Albert Michelson, the conductor of the experiment, couldn’t avoid the implications of his own experiment:
“This conclusion directly contradicts the explanation of the phenomenon of aberration which has been hitherto generally accepted, and which presupposes that the Earth moves” (Albert A. Michelson, “The Relative Motion of the Earth and the Luminiferous Ether,” American Journal of Science, Vol. 22, August 1881, p. 125.)
Unfortunately, the social, religious, political and economic implications of a non-moving Earth were just too great for them to accept, and they would do whatever they could to stop the world from considering it.
So convincing was the Michelson-Morley experiment that one author puts it this way:
It is both amusing and instructive to speculate on what might have happened if such an experiment could have been performed in the sixteenth or seventeenth centuries when men were debating the rival merits of the Copernican and Ptolemaic systems. The result would surely have been interpreted as conclusive evidence for the immobility of the Earth, and therefore as a triumphant vindication of the Ptolemaic system and irrefutable falsification of the Copernican hypothesis. The moral of this historical fantasy is that it is often dangerous to believe in the absolute verification or falsification of a scientific hypothesis. All judgments of this type are necessarily made in some historical context which may be drastically modified by the changing perspective of human knowledge” (G. J. Whitrow, The Structure and Evolution of the Universe, 1949, 1959, p. 79.)
Alec: The inconsistencies between constant c and Galilean relativity are resolved by giving up the idea that length and time are independent of reference frame.
R. Sungenis: “Resolved” is a rather misleading word. It implies that the real and only solution is to change length and dilate time, but again, these are just ad hoc fixes that only make the math work out on both sides of the equal sign. It’s easy to adjust mathematical equations, but whether they represent the real physical solution to what is occurring is another story altogether. The other solution is to keep length and time the same in all reference frames, but if you do that you must also keep the earth at rest in order to accommodate the Michelson-Morley experiment. In other words, all we need do is accept the biblical information that the earth is at rest and we can properly interpret all scientific experiments, and we can do so without increasing length, dilating time, increasing mass, or having twins age at different rates or having pi equal something different on Jupiter than it does on Earth.
Alec: The Galilean transformation is replaced by the Lorentzian transformation and Newtonian spacetime by Minkowski spacetime.
R. Sungenis: Sure it is, but that doesn’t make it a correct understanding of the physical reality. One can make 4 by adding 2 + 2 or by adding 3 + 1, but whether there are actually two apples and two oranges or three apples and one orange is decided by physical reality, not math.
But the more interesting thing is this. Do you know the mathematical difference between the Galilean transformation and the Lorentzian transformation? The difference is the presumed speed of the earth around the sun, or 18.5 miles in one second. In other words, every time a Relativist makes a “transformation” in his math equation, he must divide the answer by 18.5 miles per second in order to arrive at the “relative” answer. And why must he do so? Because he must have the terms of the equation balance on each side of the equal sign. And since he was unwilling to balance the equation by using a motionless Earth as the solution to the Michelson-Morley experiment, he must always incorporate 18.5 miles per second in by hand in every one of his math equations, and they put a fancy name on it called “the Lorentz transformation.” Or, another way of putting it is, in order to make the equation balance he must shorten the time and length of the thing moving so that it equals the presumed speed of the earth around the sun. That is the essence of the “Special Theory of Relativity.” It’s not really so special. It is just a fudge factor for those who don’t want to accept a motionless earth as the solution to Maxwell and Michelson-Morley.
But what happens when one decides to shorten length and time instead of keeping the earth still? Well, you must also increase the inertial mass, since the same mass must travel past a given point in the same time. (This is why Relativists say that mass will increase to infinity if you try to travel the speed of light. They must have it increase in order to have their equation balance out on both sides of the equal sign). In effect, Einstein chose to change the three basic elements of physical life: length, time and mass, instead of changing the moving earth of Galileo to the fixed earth of the Catholic Church, and nothing has been the same since. Soon Einstein’s “relative” universe spilled over into religion, politics, sociology and the whole cultural milieu, and the rest is history. You’ve heard the expression “everything is relative.” Well, you can thank Uncle Albert, the atheist, for that. It would have been much better to say “everything is stable,” and man did so based on the fact that he knew the Earth didn’t move and where it was in the universe – right in the center. He also knew that such a position could not have come about by chance and that Someone had to put the Earth in that privileged position. Of course, that would also mean he would have to bow down to that Someone, but that is not something Alex MacAndrew is willing to do, so he continues to attempt to discredit geocentrism.
Alec: We have to give up the concept of simultaneity — events that appear simultaneous in one reference frame do not appear simultaneous in another, so we also lose the concept of absolute time.
R. Sungenis: I find it curious how Alec is so glib about the whole thing. He gives up the concept of absolute length, time and mass, and it’s just another day to him. Unfortunately, he doesn’t realize what a huge price he has just paid in order to breathe life into corpse of modern cosmology. For him it’s ok if the basic dimensions of life become distorted beyond recognition, since this will allow him to put the earth in the remote parts of the universe, all tucked away as a mere speck of dust that only came into being by chance, moving aimlessly among the stars that dwarf it in size and significance, a world without a Creator to whom he is responsible so he can live life the way he chooses, unhampered by someone greater than himself. This is what happens when you use Lorentz’s fudge factor to interpret science experiments in order to avoid the biblical data.
Alec: Einstein then developed his insight that the force of gravitational attraction is indistinguishable and no different in principle from the force of acceleration.
R. Sungenis: Not really an “insight” as much as it was a forced conclusion. The problem was that if one changes length, time and mass for things in motion by using the Lorentz transformation, one can only do so if one also includes the things in motion that are accelerating as opposed to things just moving at the same speed. Special Relativity only covers things moving at the same speed, so Einstein had to invent another theory, General Relativity, to cover things moving in acceleration. And since in heliocentrism the earth is considered as accelerating when it goes around the sun, Einstein was forced to answer the question. But he used the same smoke and mirrors with math that he did in SR, only the math in GR is a little more complicated because there are more variables to deal with. Basically, Einstein was on a quest to shore up modern science’s rejection of geocentrism as a viable answer to Michelson-Morley and Maxwell. As Einstein’s biographer put it:
“As Einstein wrestled with the cosmological implications of the General Theory, the first of these alternatives, the Earth-centered universe of the Middle Ages, was effectively ruled out.” (Einstein: The Life and Times, p. 267.)
Indeed it was “ruled out,” yet not by any scientific proof but only because, after having five hundred years of Copernicanism drummed into one’s head from childhood, it was unthinkable to believe that mankind got it wrong and that the Earth was actually motionless in space. But there was a price to pay for this presumption. Rejecting what was “unthinkable” created what was unmanageable. Since, on the one hand, an Earth-centered cosmos was “ruled out,” but, on the other hand, Einstein was forced to answer both the results of the interferometer experiments and Maxwell’s electromagnetic equations, his only “alternative” was to invent a whole new physics; in fact, it was necessary to adopt a whole new way of looking at the world. If the Earth wouldn’t budge, then science had to budge. Consequently, Relativity theory advanced principles and postulates that heretofore would have been considered completely absurd by previous scientists, things such as matter shrinking, clocks slowing down, and mass growing larger; that two people could age at different rates, that space was curved, that light travels at the same speed for all observers (even observers moving at the speed of light); that time and space are one entity, and many other strange and bizarre concepts, all in an effort to answer the numerous experiments that showed the Earth was motionless in space. Unfortunately, 99% of the world simply doesn’t know the sordid history of what gave birth to Einstein’s high-falutin theory.
Alec: The Einstein equivalence principle states that in a local inertial reference frame the outcome of any non-gravitational experiment is independent of the velocity of the frame or its position in spacetime and that the laws of nature are those of special relativity. This does NOT mean that rotation is the same as being static nor does it deny the special status of inertial reference frames; in fact, EEP holds ONLY in inertial reference frames
R. Sungenis: That’s a convenient way of saying that unless Einstein found a way to incorporate accelerating moving objects in the Lorentz transformation, modern science would have to throw out Galileo and Copernicus and go back to Aristotle and the Middle Age universe, but it sounds better if you say that “Einstein’s equivalence principle only works in inertial reference frames.” Nobody knows what the heck you’re talking about and they think you are so smart that you can even contradict the Bible and 1500+ years of Church teaching.
Alec: The consequence of this is that in General Relativity, spacetime is not flat as it is in Newtonian mechanics or Special Relativity, but is curved. Moreover, the curvature is determined by the presence of mass. We now have to work in non-Euclidean geometry, with no absolute flat co-ordinate system. In order to calculate the dynamic behaviour of masses we have the complex problem that the presence of the mass curves spacetime in such a way as to create what we observe as the gravitational force (although in GR we shouldn’t think of gravity as a force) between them, but also influences the geometry of space and time in their locality. We have to work in Riemannian geometry using tensor analysis the details of which are way beyond the scope of this post.
R. Sungenis: Again, Alec seems so glib to the whole mess. He talks about “spacetime,” “curved space,” “non-Euclidean geometry” with “no absolutes,” and “mass that distorts” it all, as if these were just common everyday things. The utter complexity and confusion of what he is portraying he simply ignores. Alec’s world reminds me of a person who tells a lie. In order to cover up the first lie, he has to invent a second lie, and then a third lie to cover the second lie, and so on and so on. By the time he gets to the end of his lies he’s created an unimaginable monster. The truth is, all this complexity and confusion is the result of Einstein rejecting divine revelation and the Catholic Church and instead seeking for a pseudo-intellectual answer to God’s creation. With a fixed earth we have no need for “spacetime,” “curved space,” “non-Euclidean geometry” “no absolutes,” and “distortions by mass.” We don’t need “Lorentz transformations” and changes in length and time. Everything is very simple: a fixed earth with the universe of stars rotating around it, and nothing is relative.
Alec: The Einstein field equation is the generalised formulation of gravitational physics….
R. Sungenis: In other words, Einstein merely worked backward from what we already knew about the force of gravity, namely, Newton’s gravitational equation (the inverse square law); and instead of using simple integers he put the same results in tensors or “coefficients of curvature” as he called them. In reality, it’s nothing but a complicated mess of numbers that looks impressive but is mere pedantry. As one author put it: “If written out in full instead of in the compact tensor notation, they would fill a huge book with intricate symbols” (Banesh Hoffmann, Albert Einstein, Creator and Rebel, 1979, p. 122). With twenty variables at his disposal (courtesy of Riemann), Einstein is bound to reach a mixture that coincides with what we observe of gravity in nature. The theory is very convenient, since one can work wonders with mathematics from already-known absolutes. But what it gains in convenience it loses in practical reality. As mathematician Morris Kline sees it:
…Riemann’s 1854 paper convinced many mathematicians that a non-Euclidean geometry could be the geometry of physical space and that we could no longer be sure which geometry was true. The mere fact that there can be alternative geometries was in itself a shock. But the greater shock was that one could no longer be sure which geometry was true or whether any one of them was true… Mathematicians were in the position described by Mark Twain: “Man is the religious animal. He’s the only one who’s got the true religion – several of them” (Mathematics: The Loss of Certainty, p. 88.)
Alec: …and one of the reasons that it is expressed in terms of tensors is that that allows a co-ordinate free description. It is important that no co-ordinate system is deemed to have precedence, as it is possible, in any such preferred system, to re-introduce the discarded notion of gravitational force. So GR is formalised in a co-ordinate free manner.
R. Sungenis: In other words, if you have no absolute point of reference (such as a fixed earth, which is a “preferred system”) you have no way of measuring anything accurately in space and time, so your math has to follow the same pattern – no absolutes. But then you can just cover up this handicap by calling it a “formalized system of co-ordinate free” math and few people will know the difference. We have a whole section in Galileo Was Wrong about this question-begging use of math.
In the end, with all of GR’s fancy math, it meets a dead end and crashes into a wall, like a car going 90mph, only modern science is a bit hesitant to reveal this to the adoring public. As Stephen Hawking puts it:
“We already know that general relativity must be altered. By predicting points of infinite density – singularities – classical general relativity predicts its own down-fall….When a theory predicts singularities such as infinite density and curvature, it is a sign that the theory must somehow be modified” (A Briefer History of Time, 2005, pp. 102, 84; Black Holes and Baby Universes, 1994, p. 92.)
Einstein knew this as well. He struggled his whole life to produce singularity-free equations, but was never successful. Hawking continues:
“If general relativity is wrong, why have all experiments thus far supported it? The reason that we haven’t yet noticed any discrepancy with observation is that all the gravitational fields that we normally experience are very weak” (A Briefer History of Time, p. 102.)
Perhaps this is why Einstein said this at the end of his career:
In my scientific activity, I am always hampered by the same mathematical difficulties, which make it impossible for me to confirm or refute my general relativist field theory. (Letter to Maurice Solovine, November 25, 1948).
I consider it quite possible that physics cannot be based on the field concept, i.e., continuous structures. In that case, nothing remains of my entire castle in the air, gravitation theory included, [and of] the rest of modern physics (Subtle is the Lord: The Science and the Life of Albert Einstein, 1982, 2005, p. 467).
You imagine that I regard my life’s work with calm satisfaction. But a close look yields a completely different picture. I am not convinced of the certainty of a simple [single] concept, and I am uncertain as to whether I was both a heretic and reactionary who has, so to speak, survived himself (Letters to Solovine, 1987, p. 111.)
Alec: From a cosmological perspective, there have been various attempted solutions of the Einstein field equation, the most successful of which, the Friedmann-Robertson-Walker solution closely reflects the observed universe. In the FRW metric, the universe is homogeneous and isotropic, that is, from any point it looks the same in all directions and its properties at all points are the same.
R. Sungenis: As I’m reading this I’m asking myself: what has any of this to do with proving whether the earth goes around the sun or vice-versa? Alec has given us nothing but a pedantic display of Einstein’s relativity, but it proves nothing.
As for the Friedmann-Robertson-Walker metric, it is little more than a concocted assortment of math equations to give atheistic modern man a way of turning what is normally understood as representative of a geocentric universe (i.e., a homogeneous and isotropic) into an acentric universe. Stephen Hawking admitted as much in his famous book, A Brief History of Time.
…all this evidence that the universe looks the same whichever direction we look in might seem to suggest there is something special about our place in the universe. In particular, it might seem that if we observe all other galaxies to be moving away from us, then we must be at the center of the universe” (A Brief History of Time, p. 42)
Since Hawking must give equal credibility to Alexander Friedmann’s first assumption (i.e., that the universe looks identical in whichever direction we look), he cannot deny the clear implications of that assumption – that the Earth is in the center of it all. In order to attempt an escape from this implication, Hawking proposes an “alternate explanation”:
There is, however, an alternate explanation: the universe might look the same in every direction as seen from any other galaxy, too. This, as we have seen, was Friedmann’s second assumption. We have no scientific evidence for, or against, this assumption. We believe it only on grounds of modesty: it would be most remarkable if the universe looked the same in every direction around us, but not around other points in the universe” (Ibid).
Then there was Edmund Hubble (after whose name the Hubble Telescope is named). When he saw the isotropy and homogeneity of the universe, he knew it spelled the doom for modern cosmology, because such a universe bespeaks geocentrism, in all its glory. But Hubble, like Einstein, couldn’t accept this interpretation, because he knew instinctively that it would crucify Copernicus and bring him and Einstein under the authority of the Catholic Church. Here is what Hubble said when he found the “homogeneous and isotropic” universe in his big telescope:
…Such a condition would imply that we occupy a unique position in the universe, analogous, in a sense, to the ancient conception of a central Earth.…This hypothesis cannot be disproved, but it is unwelcome and would only be accepted as a last resort in order to save the phenomena. Therefore we disregard this possibility…the unwelcome position of a favored location must be avoided at all costs… such a favored position is intolerable…. Therefore, in order to restore homogeneity, and to escape the horror of a unique position…must be compensated by spatial curvature. There seems to be no other escape” (The Observational Approach to Cosmology, 1937, pp. 50, 51, 58-59.)
Alec: In a homogeneous universe the curvature of space time is invariant with position and determined by the energy density of the universe. Locally however, spacetime is strongly curved by the presence of massive objects.
R. Sungenis: Again, so what? What has any of this to do with Alec proving a non-geocentric universe? It is nothing but pedantic musings seeking to impress the uneducated. In fact, even the homogeneous model that Hawking, et al., seek to conform into an Acentric expanding or contracting universe doesn’t work. Whether it’s the Big Bang theory, the Steady State theory, the closed universe, the open universe, the Friedman-Robertson-Walker model or the dozens of other possibilities available from plugging in different numbers to Einstein’s field equations, the math always reveals incongruities. None of them can claim supremacy. As Omer noted in 1948:
E. Hubble has shown that the observational data which he has obtained do not agree satisfactorily with the homogeneous relativistic cosmological models [Big Bang models]….the homogeneous models give an unrealistic picture of the physical universe. Perhaps this should not be too surprising, since Tolman [Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 20, 169, 1934] has shown that, subject to certain simplifying conditions, a homogeneous model is unstable under perturbations in density. Any local tendency to expand would be emphasized by further expansion. Likewise, any local tendency to contract would be followed by further contraction. Thus if a homogeneous model is disturbed, it becomes nonhomogeneous” (Guy C. Omer, Jr., “A Nonhomogeneous Cosmological Model,” Journal of the American Astronomical Society, vol. 109, 1949, pp. 165-166. See also W. B. Bonnor, “The Instability of the Einstein Universe”).
Alec: Stellar Parallax (picture right): As the Earth revolves around the Sun, it moves 2 AU from one side of its orbit to another in 6 months. Viewed from these two different locations, a nearby star would appear to shift position with respect to more distant stars. The amount of the shift is called the “Stellar Parallax.” As the distance to a star increases, the amount of parallax decreases. Parallaxes were not observed at the time of Copernicus. The “non-observation of stellar parallaxes” was one of the principal objections to the Copernican heliocentric model. Copernicus and others countered that this was because the stars were too far away to produce measurable parallaxes. Copernicus and others were right: stellar parallaxes were not easily observed because the stars are much more distant than people originally suspected: All stellar parallaxes are less than 1-arcsecond. The nearest star with the largest parallax is Alpha Centauri, with a parallax of 0.76 arcsecond.
The first stellar parallax was observed in 1837 by the astronomer Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel for the star 61 Cygni. Modern measurements of parallaxes use photography or digital imaging techniques. A new generation of “interferometric” techniques is being developed for upcoming space missions that will be able to measure parallaxes with a precision of 1 micro-arcsecond.
R. Sungenis: Any scientist worth his salt who has studied this issue will tell you that parallax doesn’t prove that the earth goes around the sun. Once again, Alec has basically misrepresented the true state of affairs. We have a whole chapter on this in Galileo Was Wrong, but let me give you just one qualified quote from a third party so that you don’t just take my word for it. As one author put it:
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. If different stars were to show different amounts of parallax, that would rule out the possibility of them all being on one sphere, but still not really decide between Tycho and Copernicus.
In fact, if we don’t worry about the distant stars, these two models describe identical relative motions of all the objects in the solar system. So the role of observation is not as direct as you might have guessed. There is no bare observation that can distinguish whether Tycho (taken broadly) or Copernicus (taken broadly) is right. (University of Illinois, Physics 319, Spring 2004, Lecture 03, p. 8.)
Alec: Now what about the proposition that the earth is the unmoving centre of the universe? Well, GR states that the effect of a force resisting gravity and the effect of a force accelerating a reference frame are identical and indistinguishable. In GR, spacetime geometry is determined by the distribution of matter/energy in the universe (there is no absolute space) and the spacetime geometry influences the flow of matter/energy. It is therefore utterly meaningless to talk about a spatial centre for the universe because in GR, space has no absolute meaning.
R. Sungenis: And that’s precisely why GR ends up with blackholes and singularities, which show that GR’s math is full of contradictions. Ironically, GR is sucked up into nothingness by its own math, and that’s a good place for it, because it doesn’t do anyone a bit of good, expect draw them further away from God and the meaning of life, and Alec MacAndrew is a good case in point, since he is an atheist.
Alec: Mach’s principle states that inertia is not absolute but depends on matter in the universe. Matter/energy there determines inertia here. There is no such thing as absolute rotation in the universe independent of the distribution of matter, and no absolute space. The closest we can get to a definition of absolute rotation is rotation with respect to the average distribution of matter in the universe: the distant stars; or rotation with respect to a local inertial frame (which is, in fact, very closely aligned to the star field, although this alignment can be slightly perturbed by the influence of large nearby masses)
R. Sungenis: Wasn’t it Alec who told us a while back that “…the forces and influence of the rest of the universe on relative motions within the solar system are vanishingly small on the scale of years”? But now when it’s in his favor he agrees with Mach that “Matter/energy there [the distant stars] determines inertia here.” How convenient.
Alec: General covariance applies in all inertial frames of reference. It is extremely misleading, and a characteristic error of geocentrists to claim that in GR, ALL reference frames are equivalent. THEY ARE NOT! Let’s do a thought experiment. Let’s imagine we are in a spacecraft, with blacked out windows, that is rotating so that the centrifugal force creates an artificial gravity — we are pinned against the walls of the craft by this force. We then employ the steering motors of the spacecraft to manoeuvre the craft so that all forces that we can measure within the craft disappear. We open the window blinds and what do we see? The craft is not rotating with respect to the stars. The craft is now at rest within what we call a local inertial frame of reference, one in which there are no measurable residual forces due to linear accelerations. According to Mach, matter/energy there determines inertia here, so the inertial frame aligns approximately with the star field (with local perturbations due to large nearby rotating masses — a phenomenon known as frame dragging).
R. Sungenis: Alec’s gedanken experiment is self-serving, and it does nothing to prove a non-geocentric universe.
Alec: In GR, an inertial frame is defined as a frame in free-fall in which an object at rest experiences no forces. The equivalence principle applies only in inertial frames. The surface of the earth is absolutely not an inertial frame in GR, because if you are standing on the surface of the earth you experience a force due to the local curvature of spacetime (gravity) as well as coriolis and centrifugal forces. Such forces do not appear in an inertial frame.
R. Sungenis: I find it interesting how Alec uses GR to prove GR. Be that as it may, General Relativity really has no choice in the matter. It must possess the inherent ability to make any point in the universe the center and produce coordinate transformations in accord with that center. Once it picks its center, then all the gravitational forces in the universe must balance. Hence, if an immobile Earth is chosen as the center, then all the forces in the universe will combine together such that, when Einstein’s field equations are employed to calculate the forces, they will balance out just as when Einstein employed them for a moving Earth. In other words, one can choose any center and reformulate the relative forces of the entire universe from the perspective of that particular center using the mathematics of General Relativity. This application is understood as the “strong” principle of Relativity. If such a reciprocal relationship did not exist between respectively chosen centers, then General Relativity would be falsified; and if General Relativity is falsified, then modern science lacks any answer to the experiments which have demonstrated both a motionless Earth (Michelson-Morley, et al.) and absolute space (Sagnac, Michelson-Gale, et al.), and we are back to geocentrism in any case. Hence, General Relativity has uniquely fulfilled the qualifications of the proverbial dog chasing its tail.
Alec: Now we have seen that talking about a centre of the universe in GR (or at least as far as the Friedmann- Roberston-Walker metric solution to the Einstein field equation goes) is meaningless, but is it meaningless to talk about absolute rotation? Well when astronomers and cosmologists talk about rotation in the universe they do so with respect to local inertial frames (which we have seen are very closely aligned to the distant stars), or with respect to the star field itself. So in GR, the formal conclusion is that it is meaningless to posit absolute rotation independent of matter in the universe, but that inertial frames are special (in that they uniquely represent conditions with no detectable residual forces), they align with the star field according to Mach’s principle, and if absolute rotation means anything at all, it means being in a non-inertial reference frame rotating with respect to the stars; in such a frame forces are detectable. The Earth’s surface is just such a non-inertial frame: by this definition it rotates.
R. Sungenis: So according to Alec’s logic, because the Earth experiences centrifugal and Corilois forces, it is non-inertial, and because it is non-inertial that means, by definition, that it must rotate against fixed stars. There is only one problem: Alec’s premises are wrong. We saw earlier that Alec believes a non-rotating earth is impossible because the forces outside the earth would cause it to rotate or move in some manner, but Misner, Thorne and Wheeler said such is not the case, since there are alternate forces against the centrifugal and Coriolis that would stop the earth from rotating. As such, there remains a residual centrifugal and Coriolis force on the surface of the earth, and that is what moves the Foucault pendulum. These centrifugal and Corilois forces are created by the “distant stars” that are in rotation around the earth. There is no argument about this possibility, since Relativists admit it. Einstein himself admitted it, and I’m surprised Alec doesn’t. Einstein writes:
Let K [the universe] be a Galilean-Newtonian coordinate system [a system of three dimensions extending to the edge of the universe], and let K’ [the Earth] be a coordinate system rotating uniformly relative to K [the universe]. Then centrifugal forces would be in effect for masses at rest in the K’ coordinate system [the Earth], while no such forces would be present for objects at rest in K [the universe]. Already Newton viewed this as proof that the rotation of K’ [the Earth] had to be considered as “absolute,” and that K’ [the Earth] could not then be treated as the “resting” frame of K [the universe]. Yet, as E. Mach has shown, this argument is not sound. One need not view the existence of such centrifugal forces as originating from the 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. If Newtonian mechanics disallow such a view, then this could very well be the foundation for the defects of that theory… (from Hans Thirring, “Über die Wirkung rotierender ferner Massen in der Einsteinschen Gravitationstheorie,” Physikalische Zeitschrift 19, 33, 1918, translated: “On the Effect of Rotating Distant Masses in Einstein’s Theory of Gravitation.”)
Alec: Apples are not Frogs: Geocentrists also confuse kinematic transformations with dynamic transformations. Just because a kinematic transformation is possible does not mean that the physics cannot distinguish between the two reference frames. Here’s a simple example. A flea leaps off the surface of the earth. Now there is nothing wrong with describing that event kinematically in a reference frame stationary with respect to the flea. In such a reference frame the earth accelerates away from the flea rapidly to a maximum velocity at the point where the flea loses contact with the earth. Thereafter, the earth continues to move away from the flea but more and more slowly until the earth stops and begins to accelerate back towards the flea. The earth eventually hits the flea at about the same speed that they originally parted. The earth then slows down and stops. (The event can be described from an earth frame of reference simply by swapping the words flea and earth).
From a dynamic point of view the reference frames are not equivalent. A point in the flea’s reference frame will experience forces associated with the flea’s rapid acceleration and deceleration. A point in the earth’s reference frame will experience almost zero force as the acceleration of the earth’s frame due to the flea’s antics is very very very tiny. Dynamically it is not correct to say that the earth leapt off the flea. Strictly speaking, the reference frame that experiences zero acceleration and zero force as a result of this experiment is one in which the centre of gravity of the flea and the earth is at rest.
Similarly, it is not dynamically correct to say, as you must if you hold that the earth is the unmoving centre of the universe in an absolute space, that the impact of a large meteorite on the earth causes an absolute acceleration of the entire universe.
R. Sungenis: All of this is irrelevant.
Alec: A Sungenis specific error: A particular Sungenis nonsense is reference to the “gyroscopic rotation of the universe stabilising the earth at its centre of mass.” First of all, this confuses solid body dynamics with many-body kinematics.
R. Sungenis: There is one universe and one earth. So where is the confusion?
Alec: Secondly if he really believed in the equivalence of the rotating and static star field reference systems he would acknowledge that the “stabilising forces” would have to exist in both co-ordinate systems — but where in the reference frame at rest with respect to the distant stars are we to find forces that prevent the earth from wandering off through the universe due to the influence of locally acting forces such as gravitational attraction to large masses.
R. Sungenis: We already dealt with this above. There are forces and counterforces that keep the earth in place and prevent it from moving. Alec doesn’t seem to know about them, but they are in Misner, Thorne and Wheeler’s Gravitation. When the forces of all the celestial objects is balanced on the center of mass, the center of mass does not move. This is basic Newtonian dynamics.
Alec: Indeed the measurement of the CMB anisotropy indicates a relative motion between the solar system and the primordial radiation of the early universe of 365 km/sec.
R. Sungenis: That figure depends on who you consult, and it depends greatly on whether you already believe the earth is revolving around the sun and whether the sun is revolving around the Milky Way. When Miller incorporated these motions, he found 200km. Silvertooth found 378km. Interestingly enough, their velocity vectors pointed in different directions! This is not an established science, that is for sure. The bottom line is this: if there is any anisotropy it is small, and it can be accounted for by a universe that rotates around a motionless earth just as well as it can be from a solar system moving toward Draco or whatever constellation is claimed as the sink. We have a whole section on this topic in Galileo Was Wrong.
Alec: (Incidentally, the CMB also aligns with, i.e. does not rotate with respect to the star field and local inertial frames, so we can say that the star field frame and the local compass of inertia is at rest with respect to the spacetime manifold of the primordial universe as described by the FRW model).
R. Sungenis: Or we can also say that the universe in rotation holds both the star field and the CMB, and if that is the case there would be no reason for the CMB to shift against the star field.
Alec: Geocentrism harms the church and the faith. Geocentrism is either wrong or meaningless depending on whether you are working in Newtonian mechanics or GR.
R. Sungenis: As we have seen above, Alec is the one who is misinformed. Geocentrism is supported by both. The real problem here is that Alec doesn’t know his physics as well as he thinks he knows it. What he gave above was nothing more than a pedantic display of GR to impress people, but he seems unaware of how GR physicists have applied it to geocentric viability. I had to educate Alec to most of those applications since it is obvious that he has not read the literature. Alec represents a dying breed of physicists who are desperately trying to cling on to the last vestiges of scientific status quo. In effect, the only thing Alec offered in the way of proof for his acentric or heliocentric universe is the same old arguments that have been used before but have been summarily discredited (e.g., Foucault pendulum, stellar parallax, retrograde motion, GPS). It is sad to see that someone who has a Ph.D. in physics doesn’t seem to know that his arguments in physics are erroneous.
Alec: A belief in geocentrism doesn’t harm one’s ability to get to heaven any more than a belief in young-earth creationism, a literal belief in Noah’s flood or a belief in Santa Claus or pink unicorns (except to the extent that we suppress our reason, we are suppressing one of the important faculties that distinguishes us from other animals).
R. Sungenis: The problem with Alec is that he gives as much credibility to Noah’s Flood as he does pink unicorns – they are all fantasy to him. Therefore, when Scripture says that the sun revolves around the earth, Alec dismisses it as fantasy. When you try to show him scientifically that he doesn’t have a leg to stand on, Alec stamps his feet and refuses to listen, and devolves into pedantic displays of general relativity which, unfortunately, doesn’t prove anything except that Alec hasn’t kept up with the literature.
Alec: But neither is holding to the plain error of geocentrism any help to the faithful. Frankly, most people don’t care. The majority of people who come across Robert’s bunkum will see it as that. But since Robert represents himself as a master apologist for the CC, then it’s the CC that gets smeared with the buffoonery. It’s certain that Robert causes scandal and damages the Church’s reputation amongst the faithful and unbelievers because of his insistence on this scientifically wrong and theologically unimportant point. It is appalling science, poor apologetics, and abysmal evangelism.
R. Sungenis: The truth is, Alec MacAndrew rejected God long before Robert Sungenis came along. As for “poor apologetics,” not really, since scientifically based geocentrism teaches Catholics that Scripture can be literally interpreted and be scientifically accurate. It teaches them to trust God and his word. It teaches Catholics that there was a good reason that all the Fathers of the Church believed in geocentrism, even against the Greek heliocentrists. It teaches Catholics that there was good reason why the Holy Spirit led a number of popes and cardinals to condemn heliocentrism as a “formal heresy” and to ban Galileo from teaching it. It teaches Catholics that they no longer need to hold their heads in shame when the world accuses the Church of making a serious error in confronting science and Galileo, and that the ones who need to humble themselves are the scientists of the world since they are the ones who have made the serious error. Once this reversal of roles is realized, it will bring people back to the Church, for they will have a Church that they know is guided by the Holy Spirit and that it has never been forsaken. Until then, there will be people like Alec MacAndrew who try to dissuade Catholics from accepting geocentrism by convincing them to allow him to assume the role of judge of what is good or bad for the Church. It is the same ploy that the devil used against Adam and Eve – exchanging the truth for a lie.
Alec: He can’t hope to convince scientists, because the idea is scientific candy-floss, uninteresting and meaningless in modern cosmology, promoted only by acolytes like Mark whose scientific understanding is not just small but negative.
R. Sungenis: We have seen above that the only one with “candy-floss” is Alec MacAndrew, since he doesn’t even know how GR scientists have applied the principles of GR to show the viability of geocentrism. Alec simply hasn’t read the literature. Moreover, we have also seen Alec’s “candy-floss” in his pitiful attempt to support heliocentrism by using the Foucault Pendulum, stellar parallax and other discredited arguments. If Alec really knew his physics and/or wanted to be honest with his audience, he would admit that his so-called “proofs” only show how incapable Alec MacAndrew is of arguing for his case.
Alec: Summary: To summarise, in order for the “centre of the universe” to have meaning, we need an absolute space. In such a space, Newtonian mechanics (plus special relativity) applies, and there are many compelling reasons in that system which show that the earth cannot be the unmoving centre. In order to refute these reasons, Robert calls on GR, but in GR talk of a centre is meaningless (Robert also vehemently denies GR so logically he shouldn’t use it).
R. Sungenis: Again, Alec is uninformed. As I have shown above, I use GR simply because GR scientists have used GR in order to show the viability of geocentrism. Unfortunately, Alec is just unfamiliar with this angle of GR because he has never taken the time to read the literature, or, he has read the literature and is systematically keeping it from the audience. My book, Galileo Was Wrong, is filled with arguments from GR physicists concerning the viability of geocentrism. Granted, the viability they admit does not compel them to promote geocentrism as the actual model, but they have all admitted that such a choice is dependent on their philosophical leanings, not on their scientific objections. I have dozens of quotes from then in my book to that effect. It’s all there. People just need to read it.
Alec: In an absolute space model the earth cannot be at the centre and in a GR model there is no centre. Robert is caught in a fundamental logical inconsistency.
R. Sungenis: False. I have shown above that in the Newtonian model Alec has erroneously considered our Sun-Earth system as an “isolated system,” but he cannot do so. In the GR model I have shown that GR scientists admit the viability of geocentrism. The only one inconsistent here is Alec MacAndrew.
Alec: I leave anyone who is deranged enough to care sufficiently about geocentrism to have read all this, to comment about it to your heart’s content. Here endeth the flogging of the pink unicorn. Alec MacAndrew (Ph.D. in physics)
R. Sungenis: In reality, Alec has done a good job of flogging himself.