Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Taking geocentrism for a spin

I'd like to discuss geocentrism. This seems to have more of a following in some Christian circles than flat-earth astronomy. And it raises a number of different issues. I'll begin with what I take to be some representative statements of modern geocentrism:

Finally, one person asked the question I was already thinking: What about the problem of rotational speed of the universe? If the universe really does revolve around the earth once a day, then "Saturn must be going at the speed of light." Yes, I had thought of that too! Say for argument that the universe is finite and has a radius of 12 billion light years, then the outer edge must be moving at 3.14 billion light years per hour. That's about 27.5 trillion times the speed of light. So how in the world does that work? Sungenis asked Bouw to answer.
Bouw said something like this: Superluminal velocity is not a problem for an omnipotent aether plenum. I recorded this in my notes like so: "Q: Angular momentum of universe? Omnipotent ether 'plenum' - not a problem saith Bouw." I'm pretty sure he also elaborated on whether the aether was fluid or dense. 
He started out with some basic definitions, where he included this term "Plenum - infinitely dense medium pervading all space." 
Then Bouw brought up the Planck particle, which he said was the firmament of Genesis 1:6-8. He introduced the idea that the plenum was God's power, and the creation needed a shield to protect it from God's power (the plenum). That's the firmament. He then explained that the Hebrew word for firmament was raqia, which he said came from a word that means "to make firm or solid."  

Twentieth century science has afforded us a new perspective on the firmament. The view that develops is one of a very solid material, so solid that it is indistinguishable from an infinitely dense medium insofar as the material in the universe is concerned. The firmament is actually a created medium with a density of about 4 x 1093 (a 4 followed by 93 zeros) grams per cubic centimeter (gm/cm3). This density is known to physics as the Planck Density. It is so high that the very highest material densities in the universe (nuclear densities of 1014 gm/cm3) are as next to nothing when compared to it; just as the density of a cloud (about 10-6 gm/cm3) is negligible when compared to the density of air (about 0.001 gm/cm3).
A medium of such a high density has some interesting properties. One would think, for example, that it would be impossible to move in such a medium, just as one could not move if encased in iron -- even if one were made of iron! Normally this is true; but it was demonstrated earlier in this century that if the medium were eternal and uncreated, that motion can happen in it as long as objects moved in cyclical paths, e.g. waves. In this way the medium would fill in the space left in the wake of the moving object. Now it turns out that such a medium, called a plenum, can be simulated by a non-infinitely dense, created medium if the material inside it merely perceives itself to be in a true plenum. 

According to Bouw, the firmament has a natural rotational period, due to the presence of the matter within it, of one day. In its rotation it carries with it all the stars and galaxies embedded in it. J. Byl, God & Cosmos, 203.

This ultradense medium of geocentric physics is identified as the Biblical firmament. It has a density so great that a teaspoon of the firmament would weigh more than a trillion universes combined. (The computed density is termed the Planck density, roughly 1094 g/cm3.)
The issue of superluminal phenomena is significant in light of the common theoretical challenge to geocentric cosmologies that they require every object past Saturn to travel faster than the speed of light in order to complete a daily revolution around the earth. 

I. Science

Let's consider two scientific objections:

i) Ultradense aether

How do objects pass through an ultradense medium? In theory, I could see how objects embedded in an ultradense medium could move with the medium. But how does that explain the freedom of objects like comets to move through the medium? Bouw says "if the medium were eternal and uncreated, that motion can happen in it as long as objects moved in cyclical paths, e.g. waves. In this way the medium would fill in the space left in the wake of the moving object."

On the face of it, that's a non sequitur. Perhaps, though, his appeal to "cyclical paths" alludes to objects that are carried along by the rotating ether. If so, that only explains the motion of objects that travel in unison with the ether, and not objects that travel through the ether. 

In addition, these two claims tug in opposing directions. How can a geocentrist say objects are at liberty to move independent of the ether while simultaneously saying objects move in the same direction because they are snared in the ether? If stars are said to orbit the earth because they are caught in the ether, which constrains them to move in the same direction as the rotating ether, you can't turn around and say objects are free to pass right through the ether, for in that event their trajectory is independent of the ether. 

ii) Angular momentum

My reservation is not with superluminal speed, per se. As I understand it, the geocentric model is like a carousel. Just as horses move in the same direction as the carousel, because horses are attached to the rotating platform, planets and galaxies orbit the earth because they are embedded in the ether. 

This means stars and planets farther from earth must travel faster to complete the same period–just as horses on the outer ring of the merry-go-round must move faster to cover greater distance in the same amount of time as horses on the inner ring. They always line up.

Suppose, though, you kept ratcheting up the speed of the merry-go-round. At some point it would fly apart because the forces holding it together would be weaker than the opposing forces pulling it apart. To my knowledge, the natural tendency of an object in motion is to move in a straight line. The faster the object, the stronger the pull to move in a straight line. That's why cars slip and slide or even flip over if they go around a curve too fast. At a slower speed, the car's center of gravity, along with the surface friction of the tires, makes it possible to turn. But above a certain speed, they lose traction. The inertial force exceeds the opposing forces. 

By the same token, in a rotating universe, above a certain speed, what keeps the stars moving in a circular direction? What keeps them from shearing off? Is there not a point at which the centrifugal force overpowers the centripetal force? The outward pull of superluminal velocity overcomes the inward pull of gravity? 

One possible objection is that in the vacuum of space, you don't have the same opposing forces. But I don't think that solves the problem. So long as you have massive bodies in sufficient proximity, you have g-forces. Isn't that why planets in our solar system have lunar satellites? A less massive object orbiting a more massive object?

But in any event, geocentrists don't think outer space is a vacuum. To the contrary, they think it's filled with a ultradense ether. But at superliminal angular velocity, what maintains the cohesion? Wouldn't the covalent bond or gravitational force be weaker than the inertial force at superluminal speeds? What keeps the firmament from disintegrating under the stress?  

II. Hermeneutics

On the one hand, geocentrists appeal to geocentric prooftexts. On the other hand, geocentrists appeal to geometric inversion and Relativity to argue that the phenomena are consistent with geocentrism or heliocentrism alike. If, however, all reference frames are inherently relative, then geocentrism is false inasmuch as geocentrism posits an absolute frame of reference, viz., the universe obits the earth–rather than vice versa. 

III. Omnipotence

Bouw takes refuge in divine omnipotence to salvage his position, but there are problems with that appeal:

i) The way he refers to the ether personifies or divinizes the ether–as if the ether is a divine attribute. Ascribing self-perception to ether. Is Bouw a panpsychic? 

ii) You don't need a doctorate in astronomy to invoke omnipotence. If that's the ultimate explanation, why bother with the scientific rigamarole? 

iii) Is geocentrism a scientific theory or a metaphysical posit? To invoke omnipotence that this point is to concede that you don't have a scientific explanation. You can't identify a physical mechanism that relieves the tension. 

iv) Invoking omnipotence at that point is a classic stopgap. If the universe is analogous to a machine, then it's a design flaw to invoke miracles to shore up that deficiency. It makes God look like an incompetent engineer. 

My objection is not to miracles in the universe. Rather, my objection is to miracles that are necessary to make the machinery work. Indeed, miracles generally stand in contrast to the machinery. The machinery provides a backdrop for miracles. 

v) Someone might object that this is no different in principle than invoking omnipotence in relation to mature creation. But there's a difference. Mature creation concerns the initial setup. How it all got started. In the nature of the case, the origin of the universe will be a singularity. Unprecedented. Discontinuous with any antecedent state–because there was no antecedent state. That's quite different from resorting to miracles to account for regular natural processes. 


  1. The following is a link to quotes I've copied from Robert Sungenis' documentary Journey to the Center of the Universe.


    They are quotations taken from people like:

    - Physicist, Albert Einstein
    - Physicist, Henrick Lorentz
    - Physicist, Arthur Eddington
    - Physicist, Wolfgang Pauli
    - Physicist, Henri Poincaré
    - Physicist, Albert Michelson
    - Physicist, Bernard Jaffe
    - Physicist, Julian B. Barbour
    - Physicist, I. Bernard Cohen
    - Physicist, Adolph Baker
    - Physicist, James Coleman
    - Physicist, Arthur S. Otis
    - Physicist, Arthur Lynch
    - Physicist, Stephen Hawking
    - Physicist, Max Born
    - Physicist, George F. R. Ellis
    - Physicist, Richard Wolfson
    - Physicist, Martin Gardner
    - Physicist, Hans Reichenbach
    - Physicist, Dennis Sciama
    - Physicist, John D. Norton
    - Physicist, Douglas C. Giancoli
    - Physicist, Lawrence Krauss
    - Physicist, G. J. Whitrow

    - Astrophysicist, Max Tegmark
    - Astrophysicist, Yetendra P. Varshni
    - Astrophysicist, Jonathan I. Katz
    - Astrophysicist, Dragan Huterer
    - Astrophysicist, Ashok K. Singal
    - Astrophysicist, Glenn D. Starkman
    - Astrophysicist, Craig J. Copi
    - Astrophysicist, Dominik Schwarz

    - Astronomer, Fred Hoyle
    - Astronomer, J. L. E. Dryer

    - Mathematician, Carl E. Wulfman
    - Historian, Lincoln Barnett
    - Historian, Herbert Butterfield
    - Roman historian, Seneca
    - Kitty Ferguson, Science Writer
    - Poet, Johann von Goethe

    - Philosopher, Bertrand Russell
    - Philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche

  2. Geocentrism and the immovability of the Earth (i.e. it's non-rotation) are often linked even though they are not the same thing. I'm open to the possibility that the earth is at the center of the universe, but that it does rotate on its axis. As I understand it, the experiments performed with the assumption of the existence of ether showed that the earth doesn't move through the ether in terms of revolving around the sun. That was never detected. However, enough movement through the ether was detected which could be accounted for by the earth rotating on its axis in a 24 hour period. However, Geocentrists like Sungenis combine centrality with immovability and so interpret that datum as the ether rotating around the earth, rather than the earth rotating around the ether.

    1. Further clarification, by immovability of the Earth I include its non-rotation on its axis, its non-revolution around the Sun etc.

    2. Even if the Earth rotates on its axis, if it is still nevertheless the center of the universe (as it's center of gravity), then that would still greatly undermine the Copernican principle along with the Mediocrity principle. It would seem to indicate cosmic design and cosmic importance to Earth contrary to atheistic assumptions.