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Jason Rosenhouse gets it half-right on Galileo

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Professor Jason Rosenhouse has written an unflattering review of Michael Ruse’s new book, Atheism: What Everyone Needs to Know, which also discusses the trial of Galileo. Rosenhouse gets one important point right about Galileo, while lambasting Ruse’s assertion that “much of the problem was brought on Galileo by himself.” (In the interests of fairness, I should mention that Ruse’s book has been highly praised by no less an authority than Harvard biologist E. O. Wilson.) For my own comments on the Galileo affair, see my earlier posts here and here [scroll down to #2]).

Rosenhouse writes (bolding in all passages below is mine – VJT):

The fact is that the Galileo story is exactly what Ruse’s “anti-religious zealots” say it is. It so perfectly expresses the conflict between science and religion that the most hard-core atheist could not have scripted it better. Galileo got into trouble not just because he advocated heliocentrism, but because he argued that scientific questions should be answered by science and not by scripture. That was anathema to The Church. Church authorities spent years lecturing Galileo on precisely what he was and was not allowed to say. They exercised near-total thought control over acceptable opinion at that time. What does Ruse think a conflict between science and religion looks like?

As we’ll see, Galileo did indeed argue for a much stronger degree of scientific autonomy than his ecclesiastical contemporaries: Rosenhouse is right on that point. However, it turns out that Galileo also held that science could only establish truths deductively, which means that he would have regarded modern scientific claims which rely on inductive logic as open to reasonable doubt. In other words, Galileo’s conception of which questions can be answered by science was much narrower than ours. Also, Galileo accepted the reality of publicly observable miracles – which puts him directly at odds with the modern conception of the scientific method.

What’s wrong with leaving scientific questions to scientists?

“Leave scientific questions to the scientists” sounds like common sense – but it isn’t. First of all, what counts as a “scientific question”? Is it a question which scientists can answer, or a question which scientists should answer? If “scientific question” denotes the former, then why should the scientific answer to a question take precedence over the religious answer to the same question? But if the term denotes the latter instead, then how do we know which questions scientists should answer, and which ones they shouldn’t?

A second problem with the slogan, “Leave scientific questions to the scientists,” is that it implicitly assumes the truth of metaphysical naturalism: basically, it says that we should answer questions about the world as if there were nothing outside it, or as if the only causes in operation were those which scientists can investigate. The will of the Creator (if there be one) is not directly amenable to scientific investigation, any more than the characters in a story are capable of knowing what the author will decide next. But if a supernatural Being exists, then our relationship to Him is like that of the characters in a story to the author, or like that of the characters in a video game to the games’s creator – the only difference being that the human characters in God’s cosmic drama have been endowed with libertarian free will by their Creator, making them capable of defying Him (but not, ultimately, capable of thwarting His purposes). What science does is study the world as if God’s will were time-invariant – which it might or might not be, if His choices are genuinely free – or as if God’s will were unimportant – which it certainly is not, if God is real.

A third problem with Rosenhouse’s slogan is that it fails to distinguish questions which can be answered by direct empirical observation with questions which can only be answered by formulating hypotheses, which need to be tested. It is one thing to declare that we should trust the evidence of our senses – or for that matter, our measuring instruments – without letting religious revelations over-rule it. It is quite another thing to say that religious revelations should never be allowed to trump our scientific hypotheses about a class of events, some of which take place in the distant past or future, making them incapable of being observed by us.

What Rosenhouse forgot to mention about Galileo

Galileo was no naturalist. It needs to be borne in mind that despite his belief in the autonomy of science, Galileo firmly believed in publicly verifiable miracles, such as Joshua’s commanding the sun to “stand still” (even though he explained this miracle in a different way from his geocentric contemporaries). Galileo also believed that God had personally designed the bones, veins, flesh and feathers of birds, in exquisite detail (which makes Galileo an Intelligent Design theorist), and he also affirmed that “the human mind is a work of God, and one of the most excellent” (which makes him a “mind creationist”). Galileo was also something of a mystic: he saw himself as the recipient of great truths that were previously known only to God, and he expressed his gratitude to God for being the first to experience these revelations. Finally, Galileo died on good terms with the Church: indeed, Pope Urban VIII sent his special blessing to Galileo as he lay dying. After his death, Galileo was interred not only in consecrated ground, but within the church of Santa Croce at Florence. (For further references, please see my post on the subject, here.)

What Rosenhouse got right about Galileo

Galileo facing the Roman Inquisition. Painting by Cristiano Banti, 1857. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Nevertheless, it needs to be acknowledged Galileo’s principles for Scriptural exegesis were quite radical, and this was one reason why he got into trouble with the Catholic Church. In a previous post of mine, I discussed Pope John Paul II’s 1992 address, Faith can never conflict with reason (L’Osservatore Romano N. 44 (1264) – 4 November 1992), which specifically addressed the Galileo controversy. I then went on to quote from an article by Dr. Gregory W. Dawes, titled, Could there be another Galileo case? Galileo, Augustine and Vatican II, in Journal of Religion and Society 4, 2002:

In his 1615 letter to the Grand Duchess Christina of Lorraine, Galileo argues for a “principle of limitation”: the authority of Scripture should not be invoked in scientific matters. In doing so, he claims to be following the example of St Augustine. But Augustine’s position would be better described as a “principle of differing purpose”: although the Scriptures were not written in order to reveal scientific truths, such matters may still be covered by biblical authority. The Roman Catholic Church has rejected Galileo’s principle, opting rather for Augustine’s, leaving open the possibility of future conflicts between scientists and Church authority…

Perhaps the clearest indication of Galileo’s desire to limit biblical authority is to be found in a third set of passages [in his letter to the Grand Duchess Christina, written in 1615 – VJT], where he discusses what should be done when the results of the natural sciences seem to come into conflict with the Bible. Galileo first adopts the traditional line — for which he also cites Augustine — that biblical authority should not be invoked in opposition to the firmly established results of natural enquiry (GA, 96, 105). But he then goes further in suggesting that biblical authority should not be invoked to oppose any claims that might be firmly established in the future…. It is not only matters which have been demonstrated with certainty which are — in practice — to be exempted from the authority of the Bible. It is also matters which are capable of being “demonstrated with certainty or known by sensory experience.”

… Cardinal Baronio’s remark [viz. that the Bible was meant to tell us how to get to Heaven, not how the heavens go – a remark which was subsequently quoted by Galileo in order to buttress his arguments – VJT] can be interpreted to mean no more than that Scripture and science have different purposes, a point made by Augustine in the fifth century and by Vatican II in the twentieth. It does not exclude the possibility that, in pursuing these differing goals, the two fields of knowledge may overlap. Indeed the Pope’s address [i.e. Pope John Paul II’s 1992 address, titled, “Faith can never conflict with reason” – VJT] implicitly acknowledges this fact when it speaks of the problem faced by the Church at the time of the Galileo affair. That problem, the Pope writes, was that of “knowing how to judge a new scientific datum when it seems to contradict the truths of faith.” In the end, of course, the Pope believes that such contradiction can be only apparent, but this is not because religion and science represent “non-overlapping magisteria.” On the contrary, if there were no overlap in what religion and science teach, there would be no possibility of even the apparent conflict of which he speaks. It follows that — in the Pope’s own words — “it is therefore not to be excluded that one day we shall find ourselves in a similar situation” to that which prevailed in Galileo’s day. It seems that Stephen Jay Gould is too quick to conclude that the Catholic Church embraces his NOMA principle (Gould 1999: 70–82). Despite some apparent indications to the contrary, and despite the fact that its impact on the sciences today would be relatively insignificant, the possibility of another Galileo case cannot be excluded.

In my post, I then identified monogenism – the belief that the entire human race is descended from a single pair of individuals, named Adam and Eve – as an example of an issue where the claims of science and religion might appear to contradict one another. I then added a few references for those who are interested in what science says about the possibility of a primal couple:

It has been argued that science has ruled out the possibility of monogenesis (see Dennis Venema’s article, Does Genetics Point to a Single Primal Couple? for a non-technical summary of the evidence); for a response, see Dr. Ann Gauger’s chapter,”The Science of Adam and Eve,” in Science and Human Origins, by Ann Gauger, Douglas Axe, and Casey Luskin (Seattle, WA: Discovery Institute Press, 2012), pp. 105-122, and see also Dr. Robert Carter’s online article, Does Genetics Point to a Single Primal Couple? A response to claims to the contrary from BioLogos. For an online response to Francisco J. Ayala’s 1995 article, The Myth of Eve: Molecular Biology and Human Origins (Science 270: 1930–6), see here, here and here, and also here. For a response to Li and Durbin’s 2011 paper, Inference of human population history from individual whole-genome sequences (Nature 475, 493–496 (28 July 2011), doi:10.1038/nature10231), see here. For a response to Blum and Jakobsson’s paper, Deep Divergences of Human Gene Trees and Models of Human Origins (Molecular Biology and Evolution (2011) 28(2): 889-898, doi: 10.1093/molbev/msq265), see here.

For those readers who are interested, Dr. Dennis Bonnette’s peer reviewed article, “The Rational Credibility of a Literal Adam and Eve,” has just been published in the Spanish Thomist journal, Espiritu 64, n. 150 (2015): 303-320. It is available in downloadable form here (click on Texto completo (pdf) to open the file).

Just how radical was Galileo, anyway?

Galileo’s views on the autonomy of science were quite radical for his day. Nevertheless, I believe it would be a mistake to construe him as arguing for a NOMA-style separation of science and religion, along the lines of the late Stephen Jay Gould. Professor Craig Boyd’s article, Using Galileo: A Developmental and Historical Approach (Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, Volume 59, Number 4, December 2007, pp. 283-288), highlights an important reason why Galileo was far less radical in his views than Professor Rosenhouse makes him out to be: namely, that the modern scientific method employs a notion of demonstration that is strikingly different from that of Galileo (and before him, St. Augustine), who mention only two kinds of scientific demonstration in their writings:

(i) a “pure” mathematical notion, based on self-evident principles (i.e. Aristotle’s narrow notion of a demonstration); and

(ii) an empirical notion, based on “the facts of experience” (a notion which was also appealed to by Augustine).

Combining these two, we might add a third notion which Galileo would also have accepted:

(iii) a deductive demonstration which employs reasoning, based on certain facts which are confirmed by experience – in other words, the kind of demonstration that Sherlock Holmes might use when solving a murder case. The phrase, “knowledge acquired by unassailable arguments or proved by the evidence of experience,” which was used in St. Augustine’s writings, could include this third type of demonstration as well.

What all these notions have in common, however, is that they are either immediately evident or deductions from what is immediately evident. Writing in the early seventeenth century, Galileo likewise envisaged demonstration as proceeding deductively. In this respect, he did not depart from Aristotle’s thinking. Galileo’s major modification of the Aristotelian idea of a demonstration was that it should proceed on the basis of sensory observation, instead of Aristotle’s fixed essences. However, modern science proceeds inductively, as Professor Craig Boyd points out in his article:

The assumption Galileo makes here is that demonstration itself can “prove” the truth of his own perspective along the lines of a modified Aristotelian notion of demonstration wherein a major premise followed by a minor premise produced a conclusion, in a deductive manner. For Galileo “demonstration” included this idea but instead of appealing to Aristotelian essences in the reasoning process, he employed mathematics and sensory observation. Today we no longer accept this view of demonstration and therefore Galileo’s commitment to this method would ultimately undermine his own arguments since on this view neither truth nor “demonstration” are possible since “scientific method” proceeds inductively. (Op. cit., p. 285.)

If Galileo was unable to even prove his own heliocentric theory in a purely deductive manner, on the basis of sensory observations that would rule out alternative geocentric theories once and for all (such as scientific observations of stellar parallax and Foucault’s pendulum, which were not made until two centuries after Galileo’s death), how much less would he regard a hypothesis such as the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution (or for that matter, any other naturalistic theory of evolution) as being capable of scientific proof, since such a theory is forced to posit unobservable and non-replicable events, such as the origin of life and the relatively rapid and unrepeatable diversification of the various phyla of animals (the “Cambrian explosion”)? Galileo, with his strictly deductive notion of “proof,” would never have made the inferential leap to Darwinian evolution, as he would have regarded the question of origins as one which science can never settle.

In short: while Galileo might have agreed (in a qualified fashion) with Jason Rosenhouse’s catchy slogan that “scientific questions should be answered by science and not by scripture,” Galileo’s notion of what counts as a strictly scientific question was far narrower than our modern notion. To view him as a seventeenth-century advocate of the autonomy of science – as the term is understood today – is to commit an historical anachronism.

(Readers who would like to learn more about Galileo’s exegesis of Scripture, and how it differed from that of St. Augsutine and St. Thomas Aquinas, can find out more here.)

Comments
The charge was religious heresy
So what? That doesn't mean the Galileo Affair was about religion. Science and religion were intertwined as the science of the day supported a geocentric view and the scientists convinced the Church that their science supported the Bible.Virgil Cain
November 19, 2015
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jerry: The Galileo Affair was not about religion nor was it about science. The charge was religious heresy. The tribunal was the Inquisition. Politics and religion were intertwined.Zachriel
November 19, 2015
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The Galileo Affair was not about religion nor was it about science. It was about politics, specifically the 30 Year War. Galileo's trial took place right in the middle of this war (1618-1648) between Catholic France and the Catholic Hapsburg's. (I know that Protestant Germany was involved as well as Protestant Scandinavia but without France on their side it would have been a short war.) Galileo took the side of the Hapsburg's while Pope Urban, his mentor and friend, supported France by not intervening on the side of the Hapsburg's. Galileo betrayed Urban and portrayed him as a simpleton in his treatise written under the seal of the Duke of Tuscany, who supported the Hapsburg's and was trying to depose Urban.jerry
November 19, 2015
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Whatever daveS. I'm more than satisfied that my point is made. Let me know how that Nobel is coming. I'm out of here.bornagain
November 19, 2015
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Heh. What did I flip-flop on? Where did I question the equivalence principle? Give me specific quotes.daveS
November 19, 2015
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daveS, you flip flopped again. You cannot have it both ways daveS. Either both models ‘are entirely equivalent from a physical point of view…. (Hoyle)’ are both models are not entirely equivalent. Are you saying that they are not are not "entirely equivalent from a physical point of view…. (Hoyle)"? If so, you need to contact the Nobel committee and tell them that Einstein was incorrect in his equivalence principle. I'm sure they will connect you with the perpetual motion machine department in no time! :) Anyway daveS, arguing with you about anything is pointless. And the only reason I did it now was to expose you for the fraud that you are. You are an atheist that is given to being mushy. For instance, from time to time when pressed, you claim you are not a Darwinian materialist, and you also claim, when pressed, that you believe that you are a real person and that you have have a mind, (at least the last time I debated you you said you did). I hold that you did so just so as to avoid being refuted in an particular argument, but then when it suits your atheistic druthers, and you are in a different debate, you turn around and do defend both materialistic propositions as if you believe they were true. Frankly, your 'two-faced' argumentation style disgusts me.bornagain
November 19, 2015
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But then you turn right around after you make that concession to Einstein and say that my use of an earth centered model is incorrect because of some experiments that you believe violate the equivalence principle of Einstein.
Whoa---where do you think I said that?? Anyway, my hypothesis is that you just don't understand coordinate systems very well. BTW, in your stationary, non-rotating Earth model, what's the explanation for precession of a Foucault Pendulum? And have you thought about the Kepler's Law question I posed?daveS
November 19, 2015
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daveS, I really don't know what you are going on about. You don't contest my use of Einstein's General Relativity in my argument overturning the Copernican principle. Where Einstein says that I violate no principle of general relativity with an earth centered model of the universe. You apparently readily agree that my use of his equivalence principle is correct when pressed on the issue. But then you turn right around after you make that concession to Einstein and say that my use of an earth centered model is incorrect because of some experiments that you believe violate the equivalence principle of Einstein. Now daveS, either General Relativity is a correct description of gravity and the statement “the sun moves and the earth is at rest” is no physically different than the statement “the sun is at rest and the earth moves” as far as our best description of gravity is concerned, or the statement that they are physically equivalent, (i.e. Einstein, Hoyle, Born) is incorrect. For instance Hoyle states
“The relation of the two pictures [geocentrism and geokineticism] is reduced to a mere coordinate transformation and it is the main tenet of the Einstein theory that any two ways of looking at the world which are related to each other by a coordinate transformation are entirely equivalent from a physical point of view…. Today we cannot say that the Copernican theory is ‘right’ and the Ptolemaic theory ‘wrong’ in any meaningful physical sense.” Hoyle, Fred. Nicolaus Copernicus. London: Heinemann Educational Books Ltd., 1973.
You cannot have it both ways daveS. Either both models 'are entirely equivalent from a physical point of view….' are both models are not entirely equivalent. If they are not entirely equivalent from a physical point of view, as you are apparently trying to claim, then you are in fact, despite your protests to the contrary, challenging Einstein's description of gravity in General Relativity. I suggest you submit the experiments that you are referencing to the Nobel committee since you seem to think they violate Einstein's equivalence principle in General Relativity. Moreover, I find all of your flip flopping on Einstein to be rather humorous since I have many more lines of evidence from Quantum Mechanics and the CBMR data that do the actual empirical work of overturning the Copernican Principle. Which was the ONLY point I was trying to make anyway of my original post. (i.e. post 10 and 11 that you originally took exception to!) The only thing I ever really required from General Relativity to make the argument airtight was the concession from Einstein for a earth centered model. A concession that you conceded, when pressed, is correct. You going on about supposed experimental discrepancies does absolutely nothing to the main thrust of my argument, since it is secondary to the actual empirical evidence I present in my argument to overturn the Copernican principle. The Copernican Principle Has Been Overturned: https://docs.google.com/document/d/14RdDQoXhbteijyNb_1srr6Kfu-qXv7SN7Tm58ZPhqkQ/edit Of supplemental note:
I find it extremely interesting, and strange, that quantum mechanics tells us that instantaneous quantum wave collapse to its 'uncertain' 3D state is centered on each individual conscious observer in the universe, whereas, 4D space-time cosmology (General Relativity) tells us each 3D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe. These findings of modern science are pretty much exactly what we would expect to see if this universe were indeed created, and sustained, from a higher dimension by an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal Being who knows everything that is happening everywhere in the universe at the same time. These findings certainly seem to go to the very heart of the age old question asked of many parents by their children, “How can God hear everybody’s prayers at the same time?”,,, i.e. Why should the expansion of the universe, or the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe, even care that you or I, or anyone else, should exist? Only Theism, Christian Theism in particular, offers a rational explanation as to why you or I, or anyone else, should have such undeserved significance in such a vast universe. [15] Psalm 33:13-15 The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.
The following site is also very interesting to the topic of ‘centrality in the universe’;
The Scale of The Universe - Part 2 - interactive graph (recently updated in 2012 with cool features) http://htwins.net/scale2/scale2.swf?bordercolor=white
The preceding interactive graph points out that the smallest scale visible to the human eye (as well as a human egg) is at 10^-4 meters, which 'just so happens' to be directly in the exponential center of all possible sizes of our physical reality. As far as the exponential graph itself is concerned, 10^-4 is, exponentially, right in the middle of 10^-35 meters, which is the smallest possible unit of length, which is Planck length, and 10^27 meters, which is the largest possible unit of 'observable' length since space-time was created in the Big Bang, which is the diameter of the universe. This is very interesting for, as far as I can tell, the limits to human vision (as well as the size of the human egg) could have, theoretically, been at very different positions than directly in the exponential middle;bornagain
November 19, 2015
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Foucault Pendulum demonstrating the Earth's rotation and revolution around the sun: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMxLVDuf4VYdaveS
November 19, 2015
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So are you now saying Einstein was wrong and that I cannot have a CS for the universe based on “the sun moves and the earth is at rest” CS?
No, please read my post again. You can have whatever CS your heart desires (and so can I). The question of whether the Earth actually is at rest and not rotating is independent. You could set up a coordinate system in which the rotor of an ultracentrifuge is stationary and nonrotating, despite the fact that it really is spinning at 100,000 rpm (which is testable). The physics of the situation is independent of coordinate systems. Which makes me wonder why people attach such significance to them. Edit: One more example. Suppose we decided to shift our latitude/longitude system so that "90 degrees North" now referred to Miami, and "90 degrees South" referred to the antipodal point on the globe. Also choose a new prime meridian, say one which passes through Vancouver, BC. We could all adjust our GPS systems and use this coordinate system with no problems. It wouldn't require any adjustment to the laws of physics, however. They are independent of the arbitrary choice of coordinates we make to identify points on the globe.daveS
November 19, 2015
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So are you now saying Einstein was wrong and that I cannot have a CS for the universe based on “the sun moves and the earth is at rest” CS? Okie Dokie, since you are now claiming that the Coriolis effect and parallax falsify Einstein's contention that “the sun moves and the earth is at rest” CS is no physically different than the “the sun is at rest and the earth moves” CS as far as our best description of gravity is concerned, and since that transferable CS contention of Einstein's is, according to Hoyle, "the main tenet of Einstein's theory", then it clearly appears to me that you are now challenging Einstein's theory of gravity as an accurate description of gravity for the entire universe. And like I said before, if you now want to challenge Einstein’s claim that either CS can be used with equal justification as far as gravity is concerned, then, as I said before, I suggest you do the required experimental and mathematical work, write your study up, publish it in the appropriate journal, and see who salutes. If you do succeed in overturning General Relativity, which is verified to something like 14 decimal places, then I just might admit Einstein was wrong and that you were right. Not likely, but maybe if the evidence is good enough. Until then, you are not even bug juice on a windshield. Of related note to the 1 in 10^120 finely tuned expansion of the universe, i.e. the cosmological constant of General Relativity. In what I consider an absolutely fascinating discovery, Einstein’s General Relativity has shown that 4-dimensional (4D) space-time, along with all energy and matter, was created in the ‘Big Bang’ and continues to ‘expand equally in all places’:
There is no centre of the universe! According to the standard theories of cosmology, the universe started with a "Big Bang" about 14 thousand million years ago and has been expanding ever since. Yet there is no centre to the expansion; it is the same everywhere. The Big Bang should not be visualized as an ordinary explosion. The universe is not expanding out from a centre into space; rather, the whole universe is expanding and it is doing so equally at all places, as far as we can tell. [11] Philip Gibbs
Thus from a 3-dimensional (3D) perspective, any particular 3D spot in the universe is to be considered just as ‘center of the universe’ as any other particular spot in the universe is to be considered ‘center of the universe’. This centrality found for any 3D place in the universe is because the universe is a 4D expanding hypersphere, analogous in 3D to the surface of an expanding balloon. All points on the surface are moving away from each other, and every point is central, no matter where you live in the universe. And as such, it may now be possible for the Earth to be, once again, considered ‘central in the universe’. That every 3-Dimensional place within the universe may be considered central in the universe may seem very counterintuitive to most people, but that is exactly what has now been shown. In regards to trying to understand this counterintuitive finding, it is helpful to note that ‘higher dimensional’ mathematics was developed by Reimann, (who was a devout Christian),, and that that development in higher dimensional mathematics was necessary before Einstein could elucidate the 4-D spacetime of General Relativity, (or even before Quantum Mechanics could be elucidated);
The Mathematics Of Higher Dimensionality - Gauss & Riemann http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6199520/t The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960 Excerpt: We now have, in physics, two theories of great power and interest: the theory of quantum phenomena and the theory of relativity.,,, The two theories operate with different mathematical concepts: the four dimensional Riemann space and the infinite dimensional Hilbert space, http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc/MathDrama/reading/Wigner.html
It is also interesting to note that higher dimensions, such as these higher dimensions from which our universe is sustained and upon which it is founded, would be invisible to our 3-Dimensional sight:
Dr Quantum Flatland https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6206QWGh3s
Verse:
2 Corinthians 4:18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
So in a holistic sense, when taking into consideration the higher dimensional foundation of space-time, (and when taking into consideration the ‘Privileged Planet principle’ of Gonzalez[12, 12a] which overturned the mediocrity principle, and which gives strong indication that the Earth is uniquely suited to host complex life in this universe), it may now be possible for the Earth to be, once again, considered ‘central in the universe’. This intriguing possibility, for the Earth to once again be considered central, is clearly illustrated by the fact the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR), remaining from the creation of the universe, due to the 4-Dimensional space-time of General Relativity, forms a sphere around the earth. I find the best way to get this ‘centrality of the Earth in the universe” point across is to visualize it first hand. Thus I reference the first few minutes of this following video, and a quote, to clearly get this ‘centrality in the universe’ point across:
Centrality of The Earth Within The 4-Dimensional Space-Time of General Relativity – video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/8421879/ In The Beginning - 12 May 2015 Excerpt: As I walked out of Steinhardt’s office for the last time, it occurred to me that our cosmos is once again a sphere. Our Earth has been demoted in recent centuries. It no longer enjoys its former status as the still centre of all that is. But it does sit in the middle of our observable cosmos, the sphere of light that we can detect with our telescopes. Gaze into this sphere’s reaches from any point on Earth’s surface, and you can see light coming toward you in layers, from stars and the planets that circle them, from the billions of galaxies beyond, and the final layer of light, the afterglow of the Big Bang. http://aeon.co/magazine/science/has-cosmology-run-into-a-creative-crisis/
Moreover, this 'circle' of the CMBR that is found by modern science to encompass the Earth, from the remnant of the creation event that brought the entire universe instantaneously into being, was actually predicted in the Bible centuries earlier:
Proverbs 8:27 (King James Version) "When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he drew a circle upon the face of the depth:" Proverbs 8:27 (New International Version) "I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep," Job 26:10 He has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters at the boundary between light and darkness.
bornagain
November 19, 2015
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ergo, daveS does not challenge my “the sun moves and the earth is at rest” CS case closed!
Heh. Just keep in mind that this is not evidence that the Earth is stationary. The Coriolis effect and parallax show that's not the case.daveS
November 19, 2015
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The Copernican Principle Has Been Overturned: https://docs.google.com/document/d/14RdDQoXhbteijyNb_1srr6Kfu-qXv7SN7Tm58ZPhqkQ/editbornagain
November 18, 2015
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daveS says "I’m not challenging Einstein." Einstein said that "Either CS could be used with equal justification." as far as General Relativity was concerned So I choose the “the sun moves and the earth is at rest” CS of Einstein ergo, daveS does not challenge my “the sun moves and the earth is at rest” CS case closed!bornagain
November 18, 2015
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To reiterate
“Can we formulate physical laws so that they are valid for all CS [coordinate systems], not only those moving uniformly, but also those moving quite arbitrarily, relative to each other? […] The struggle, so violent in the early days of science, between the views of Ptolemy and Copernicus would then be quite meaningless. Either CS 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.” Einstein, A. and Infeld, L. (1938) The Evolution of Physics, p.212 (p.248 in original 1938 ed.); Fred Hoyle, discoverer of stellar nucleosynthesis, weighs in here: “The relation of the two pictures [geocentrism and geokineticism] is reduced to a mere coordinate transformation and it is the main tenet of the Einstein theory that any two ways of looking at the world which are related to each other by a coordinate transformation are entirely equivalent from a physical point of view…. Today we cannot say that the Copernican theory is ‘right’ and the Ptolemaic theory ‘wrong’ in any meaningful physical sense.” Hoyle, Fred. Nicolaus Copernicus. London: Heinemann Educational Books Ltd., 1973. George Ellis, who, along with Roger Penrose and Stephen Hawking, helped extend General Relativity to show that not only energy and matter had a definite beginning in the Big Bang but that space and time also had a definite beginning in the Big Bang, weighs in here: “People need to be aware that there is a range of models that could explain the observations… For instance, I can construct you a spherically symmetrical universe with Earth at its center, and you cannot disprove it based on observations… You can only exclude it on philosophical grounds… What I want to bring into the open is the fact that we are using philosophical criteria in choosing our models. A lot of cosmology tries to hide that.” – George Ellis – W. Wayt Gibbs, “Profile: George F. R. Ellis,” Scientific American, October 1995, Vol. 273, No.4, p. 55 In addition, Max Born wrote: “…Thus we may return to Ptolemy’s point of view of a ‘motionless earth’… One has to show that the transformed metric can be regarded as produced according to Einstein’s field equations, by distant rotating masses. This has been done by Thirring. He calculated a field due to a rotating, hollow, thick-walled sphere and proved that inside the cavity it behaved as though there were centrifugal and other inertial forces usually attributed to absolute space. Thus from Einstein’s point of view, Ptolemy and Copernicus are equally right.” Born, Max. “Einstein’s Theory of Relativity”,Dover Publications,1962, pgs 344 & 345: How Einstein Revealed the Universe’s Strange “Nonlocality” – George Musser | Oct 20, 2015 Excerpt: Under most circumstances, we can ignore this nonlocality. You can designate some available chunk of matter as a reference point and use it to anchor a coordinate grid. You can, to the chagrin of Santa Barbarans, take Los Angeles as the center of the universe and define every other place with respect to it. In this framework, you can go about your business in blissful ignorance of space’s fundamental inability to demarcate locations.,, In short, Einstein’s theory is nonlocal in a more subtle and insidious way than Newton’s theory of gravity was. Newtonian gravity acted at a distance, but at least it operated within a framework of absolute space. Einsteinian gravity has no such element of wizardry; its effects ripple through the universe at the speed of light. Yet it demolishes the framework, violating locality in what was, for Einstein, its most basic sense: the stipulation that all things have a location. General relativity confounds our intuitive picture of space as a kind of container in which material objects reside and forces us to search for an entirely new conception of place. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-einstein-revealed-the-universe-s-strange-nonlocality/
bornagain
November 18, 2015
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Again, I'm not challenging Einstein. Any point in the universe could be considered "at rest", "central", and "not rotating", given appropriate coordinates. Well, I guess you would need to specify three points to pin down a non-rotating reference frame. If you want a non-rotating Earth, however, the Coriolis effect is going to be a problem.daveS
November 18, 2015
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daveS, so you are now challenging Einstein's claim that “the sun moves and the earth is at rest” is consistent with the principles of GR? It certainly appears so to me! Like I said, As long as you are not challenging Einstein’s claim that “the sun moves and the earth is at rest” is consistent with the principles of GR then I have no problem and have nothing to defend. But if you now want to challenge Einstein’s claim, then, as I said before, I suggest you do the required experimental and mathematical work, write your study up, publish it in the appropriate journal, and see who salutes. If you do succeed in overturning General Relativity, which is verified to something like 14 decimal places, then I just might admit Einstein was wrong and that you were right. Not likely, but maybe if the evidence is good enough. Until then, you are not even bug juice on a windshield.bornagain
November 18, 2015
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The Coriolis effect shows that the Earth is indeed rotating. This effect was known long before the advent of GR. Regarding the CS issue, for the nth time, you can use whichever coordinate system you prefer. Even one with the Earth at the center, at rest, with no rotation. Just as I can use a coordinate system in which I am at the center, at rest, with no rotation. Notice this doesn't mean I actually am always central, at rest, and never rotating. But if the Earth actually is at rest, and the sun, Mercury, etc are all moving in bound orbits (i.e., elliptical), how do could the solar system be arranged other than in this manner? Do you believe that's an accurate representation?daveS
November 18, 2015
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I don't have to explain anything since you say you are not challenging Einstein's claim:
“Can we formulate physical laws so that they are valid for all CS [coordinate systems], not only those moving uniformly, but also those moving quite arbitrarily, relative to each other? […] The struggle, so violent in the early days of science, between the views of Ptolemy and Copernicus would then be quite meaningless. Either CS 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.” Einstein, A. and Infeld, L. (1938) The Evolution of Physics, p.212 (p.248 in original 1938 ed.);
Are you saying you are now challenging Einstein's claim that Either CS 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.”? You said that you were not challenging Einstein's claim that “the sun moves and the earth is at rest” is consistent with GR. But now you want me to defend some detail that certainly makes it appear that you are challenging Einstein's claim. Are you or are you not challenging Einstein? As long as you are not challenging Einstein's claim that “the sun moves and the earth is at rest” is consistent with the principles of GR then I have no problem and have nothing to defend. But if you now want to challenge Einstein's claim, then, as I said before, I suggest you do the required experimental and mathematical work, write your study up, publish it in the appropriate journal, and see who salutes. If you do succeed in overturning General Relativity, which is verified to something like 14 decimal places, then I just might admit Einstein was wrong and that you were right. Not likely, but maybe if the evidence is good enough. Until then, you are not even bug juice on a windshield.bornagain
November 18, 2015
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Thanks for the links, vjtorley, I will look at them more carefully tomorrow.daveS
November 18, 2015
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You are the one adding all that mercury/small rock orbiting ping pong junk. I could care less about those needless distractions that you have brought up.
Ok then.
Namely, I have defended Einstein’s position that “the sun moves and the earth is at rest” does not violate any physical principles of general relativity.
Now you just have to explain the Coriolis effect we experience on Earth. And if the Earth is at rest, and the sun (and Mercury) move, aren't we back to square 1, where the Earth is the orbital center of the universe?daveS
November 18, 2015
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Hi bornagain and daveS, Since you two seem to be going at it hammer and tong, you might find the following links useful: Does the Earth move around the Sun? by physicist Sean Carroll. Catholic Website with interesting links on geocentricity: http://www.veritas-catholic.blogspot.com Enjoy!vjtorley
November 18, 2015
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You are the one adding all that mercury/small rock orbiting ping pong junk. I could care less about those needless distractions that you have brought up. I have merely, however badly, consistently defended only one position in this thread.
“Can we formulate physical laws so that they are valid for all CS [coordinate systems], not only those moving uniformly, but also those moving quite arbitrarily, relative to each other? […] The struggle, so violent in the early days of science, between the views of Ptolemy and Copernicus would then be quite meaningless. Either CS 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.” Einstein, A. and Infeld, L. (1938) The Evolution of Physics, p.212 (p.248 in original 1938 ed.);
Namely, I have defended Einstein's position that “the sun moves and the earth is at rest” does not violate any physical principles of general relativity. You say you are not challenging Einstein. Thus, as long as you have no trouble with Einstein's claim, then there is nothing else left for me to defend. In fact, that is the only point that I had originally claimed, (In fact I cited Einstein in my original post that you took exception to) and apparently you say you are not challenging that claim. Like I said, since you are not challenging Einstein and the allowing of the earth to be central in the universe, then I could care less about your distractions with ping pong balls, mercury and such. I am more than satisfied with “the sun moves and the earth is at rest”bornagain
November 18, 2015
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You can choose whatever coordinate system you like, even one in which the Earth is central, is at rest, and not rotating. (I'm saying this for at least the third time). You cannot accurately say that Mercury orbits the Earth or that a 100-meter asteroid orbits a small rock.daveS
November 18, 2015
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daveS, so you are not challenging Einstein? But it is Einstein who is saying that I can choose any position that I want to be center of the universe.
“Can we formulate physical laws so that they are valid for all CS [coordinate systems], not only those moving uniformly, but also those moving quite arbitrarily, relative to each other? […] The struggle, so violent in the early days of science, between the views of Ptolemy and Copernicus would then be quite meaningless. Either CS 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.” Einstein, A. and Infeld, L. (1938) The Evolution of Physics, p.212 (p.248 in original 1938 ed.);
So I choose the earth to be the still center of the universe. i.e. “the sun moves and the earth is at rest”. Since you are not challenging Einstein, then why are you so upset when I choose “the sun moves and the earth is at rest” as my CS. I am merely allowing what Einstein said I could allow. I am not adding anything to what Einstein said I am allowed to do. Namely, ALL I am doing is allowing the earth to be considered central in the universe. As long as you have no problem with me allowing the earth to be central in the universe just as Einstein himself said I could do, then there is really nothing else for me to defend. That, the earth being allowed to be central in the universe according to Einstein, is pretty much the only thing I was trying to establish in my original post before I laid out some of the other evidence, from CMBR and QM, that completely overturns the Copernican principle. It is a straightforward argument really. 1. Show that General Relativity does not contradict an earth centered model 2. Show that the latest Planck data supports a earth/solar system centered model 3. Show that Quantum Mechanics gives conscious observation a 'central' position in the universe Easy as 1,2,3 & a,b, cbornagain
November 18, 2015
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I have said nothing challenging Einstein in this entire thread. I have challenged your claims that you can correctly assert that Mercury orbits the Earth, and that a 100-meter diameter asteroid could orbit a small rock.daveS
November 18, 2015
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daveS, so you are not challenging Einstein? And since I am merely allowing the earth to be central in the universe as Einstein said I could allow then I guess you have nothing further to say.
“Can we formulate physical laws so that they are valid for all CS [coordinate systems], not only those moving uniformly, but also those moving quite arbitrarily, relative to each other? […] The struggle, so violent in the early days of science, between the views of Ptolemy and Copernicus would then be quite meaningless. Either CS 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.” Einstein, A. and Infeld, L. (1938) The Evolution of Physics, p.212 (p.248 in original 1938 ed.); Fred Hoyle, discoverer of stellar nucleosynthesis, weighs in here: “The relation of the two pictures [geocentrism and geokineticism] is reduced to a mere coordinate transformation and it is the main tenet of the Einstein theory that any two ways of looking at the world which are related to each other by a coordinate transformation are entirely equivalent from a physical point of view…. Today we cannot say that the Copernican theory is ‘right’ and the Ptolemaic theory ‘wrong’ in any meaningful physical sense.” Hoyle, Fred. Nicolaus Copernicus. London: Heinemann Educational Books Ltd., 1973. etc.. etc..
bornagain
November 18, 2015
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No, I'm not saying anything about Einstein. I'm referring to the asteroid/rock example.daveS
November 18, 2015
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Are you saying that Einstein is comparing two coordinate systems incorrectly when he says I can use choose the earth as center of the universe if I so want? If so, I confidently say that you are completely wrong in your challenge to Einstein.
“Can we formulate physical laws so that they are valid for all CS [coordinate systems], not only those moving uniformly, but also those moving quite arbitrarily, relative to each other? […] The struggle, so violent in the early days of science, between the views of Ptolemy and Copernicus would then be quite meaningless. Either CS 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.” Einstein, A. and Infeld, L. (1938) The Evolution of Physics, p.212 (p.248 in original 1938 ed.); Fred Hoyle, discoverer of stellar nucleosynthesis, weighs in here: “The relation of the two pictures [geocentrism and geokineticism] is reduced to a mere coordinate transformation and it is the main tenet of the Einstein theory that any two ways of looking at the world which are related to each other by a coordinate transformation are entirely equivalent from a physical point of view…. Today we cannot say that the Copernican theory is ‘right’ and the Ptolemaic theory ‘wrong’ in any meaningful physical sense.” Hoyle, Fred. Nicolaus Copernicus. London: Heinemann Educational Books Ltd., 1973. etc.. etc..
If you are challenging Einstein, and are trying to say that I cannot choose the earth as the center of the universe if I so desire as Einstein himself says I can, then instead of debating an unknown Christian on the internet, I suggest you do the required experimental and mathematical work, write your study up, publish it in the appropriate journal, and see who salutes. If you do succeed in overturning General Relativity, which is verified to something like 14 decimal places, then I just might admit Einstein was wrong and that you were right. Not likely, but maybe if the evidence is good enough. Until then, you are not even bug juice on a windshield.bornagain
November 18, 2015
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daveS, I don’t care what the orbital period is. I only care that Einstein says I can choose to make the earth center of the universe if I want and that it violates no principle within general relativity.
"I don't care". Not the strongest response. Notice in my post #26 I explicitly stated that you can use whatever coordinate system you want, Earth-centered or not. I never said that violates any physical principles. However, if you compare results from two coordinate systems incorrectly, that can lead to problems.daveS
November 18, 2015
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