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Some questions and answers


          As a Christian layman (36 years old) and year-long subscriber (and reader) of BA, I would like to ask you a few questions about geocentricity. Would you be so kind as to write your answers between the questions?

J-P, Belgium  


1. What is, according to you, the best evidence for the rotation of the universe?

Scripture is the best evidence for the rotation of the universe, in particular, Joshua 10:13.

          There is no good physical evidence, but the best is probably that the Sagnac effect shows a relative rotation between earth and firmament but the Michelson-Morley results fail to show the relative movement of the earth about the sun.[1]


2. For the sake of honesty, do you have to admit that present-day know­l­edge does favor a heliocentric view or are all the facts of science equally well explained by both a geocentric and a helio/a-centric point of view?

          All the facts of science are equally well explained by either model.  As shown by the Barbour and Bertotti paper, the geocentric hypothesis explains the speed of light, the centrifugal and Coriolis forces, the Euler effect, and some quantum mechanical effects from first principles, whereas the current acentric model needs a separate explanation for each.  If the current model considered the presence of the universe in its derivations, then it, too, would find those to be real gravitational forces.  So right now, using Occam’s razor, the geocentric model wins.


3. Could you reformulate (paraphrase, explain) the well-known statement by Sir Fred Hoyle (i.e.: “We know that the difference between a heliocentric theory and a geocentric theory is one of relative movement only, and that such a difference has no physical significance”) by using as many lay and simple words as possible?  You may use many more words than the original sentence.

          He says that relative motion has no physical significance, that the physics is the same and there is no way to say one is real and the other is only apparent.  There is no experiment that can be performed to tell the difference between the two.  This, because Ernst Mach pointed out that physical behavior of a ball bouncing on a basketball court must look the same relative to the court no matter where we fix our coordinate system, and no matter how our coordinate system rotates or moves.  Thus the physics in each coordinate system will adjust to match reality. 


4. What is the evidence for a non-moving earth that is most understandable by non-scientists (which requires the least technical knowledge)?

          The authority of Scripture ranks first in the minds of most non-scientists I’ve talked to.  As for physical evidence, I think the fact that light does not show the motion of the earth through space but acts as if the earth is fixed in space.

Even simpler: “What do your senses tell you?” often works.


5. Have you already had contacts with atheists and have you talked with them about geocentricity?  How do they react?  Do you personally believe that the geocentric issue is the main reason why until now atheists are atheists?

I talked with two skeptics about 15 years ago; they serve as a good example of the scientifically-minded atheist.  They were the late Schadewald and Patterson, the latter of the University of Iowa.  They admitted that geocentricity was “real science.”  They would never admit that of creation science.  I don’t think that atheists are so only because of acentrism, but I do think that the fall of geocentricity affords them a good excuse.  If it hadn’t fallen, I think they would find another excuse, such as “contradictions” in the Bible.


6. Do you think that there can be good scientific evidence for refusing a geocentric view or is the reluctance of scientists and non-scientists exclusively based on an emotional level, a philosophical preference or the fear of ridicule?

It seems that most people favor the acentric model because it was the model they were taught in school, and sentiment causes them to doubt that their teachers, and their teachers in turn, could be that wrong.  I find this to be the case among Christians, too, with regard to geocentricity and the criticism of the Bible.  Christian pastors cannot allow themselves to believe that their “good, godly, knowledgeable,” theology professors could have been so “deceived” about the authority of the written scriptures. 

There is another factor, too: it makes a certain, physical sense to our minds that the smaller should be dominated by the larger.  Thus large objects such as the sun could not possibly do anything but dominate the lesser, as the earth.  The flaw in that view is that the heliocentric system ignores the largest object of all—the universe—in any of its dynamic computations.  Without seeing the universe as a whole, the firmament, this might makes right assumption serves only to strengthen the notion that the earth should orbit the sun because the sun is more massive than the earth.

          For those scientists who know all these things, their silence on geocentricity is based on the fear of ridicule for many, especially in creationist circles, and an aversion to the God of the Bible, whom they would prefer to face in judgment with a plea of lack of evidence. 


7. Is there any evidence as to the position of the earth in the universe?

The redshift, Varshni’s quasar shells and similar groupings about the earth of galaxies and clusters of galaxies, all hint at a special position of the Milky Way, if not the earth.  Also, when the earth’s “motion” relative to these shells is taken into consideration, the speed of the shell is a minimum about the sun as opposed to centered on the galactic center (600 km/sec versus 300 km/sec for the only study I’ve seen that reports it).


8. What is the most obvious biblical teaching: that the earth stands still or that it is at the center of the universe?

The most obvious to me is Joshua 10:13.  The Holy Ghost, who inspired the Scripture, says in editorial voice, “the sun stood still and the moon stayed.”  If it was the earth that stopped rotating, then the God of truth should have said so.  Indeed, there is no reason why the verse could not say, “So the earth stopped turning so that the sun appeared to stand still, and the moon to stay.”  All arguments to the contrary insist that the Holy Ghost did not write the truth for one reason or another, and so makes a liar of the Holy Ghost.

          Other strong geocentric passages include Isaiah 38:8b; Ecclesiastes 1:5; and Malachi 4:2 (if the rising of the sun is not literal, then how can we insist that the rising of the Sun was literal?)

          There is no direct scriptural support that places the earth at the center of the universe.  Circumstantially, Joshua 10:13 (“the sun stood still in the midst of heaven”) allows that the sun, not the earth, is at the center of the universe.  Historically, most people have assumed the earth is at the center because it is the focus of God’s plan of redemption.  I think the sun is at the center because of Josh. 10:13 and it also makes the physics much easier to deal with, that is, it “saves the appearances” much more gracefully than the strict geocentric model.


More Bad Astronomer exchanges


          The following paragraphs are taken verbatim en from the bad-astronomy.org website.  It involves the particles that make up the firmament.

          “Dstahl” [the pen name of an anti-geocentrist —Ed.] makes some very bold claims, starting with the idea that a firmament made of real, rather than virtual, particles would violate the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.  Consider that geocentrists like Selbrede are hardly inventing this kind of subquantum domain—it’s been developed before by the well-respected team of Louis De Broglie, David Bohm, and Jean-Pierre Vigier and has appeared in refereed journals. 

Dstahl implies that the particles being real means their position is so narrowly defined that the uncertainty principle is violated — as if the principle read something like “you can’t know a particle’s position with this kind of accuracy.”  That is NOT what the principle states.  It refers to simultaneous knowledge of a particle’s position AND velocity (relating the product of the uncertainties to the Planck constant).  Anybody who examines Bouw’s or Selbrede’s published remarks on the firmament will see a reference to its temperature (usually held to be the Planck temperature), which, once incorporated into the picture (rather than willfully neglected by hasty critics), provides the necessary counterbalance to the argument.  (Selbrede even provides mean free path criteria for these subquantum particles.) 

While most would be content with this resolution (since it flatly refutes Dstahl’s criticism), one could go further and point out that de Broglie, Bohm, Vigier, and quantum researchers on the Causal Stochastic (rather than Copenhagen) side of the house believe that the uncertainty principle arises OUT of this subquantum domain, rather than being subject to it.[2]  In fact, they believe it likely that a classical regime can be recovered in the subquantum domain (and say so), and quantum effects be reinterpreted in terms of Bohm’s (not Bohr’s) quantum potential theory.  (I.e, the “noise” in the system is due to the real particles that constitute the firmament and their extremely rapid constrained motion.  Selbrede, for one, equates these with Markov’s “maximon fluid” described in The Very Early Universe edited by Stephen Hawking and two collaborators, which drives the density to the Planck level.)

          If some geocentrists (Selbrede in particular) hold that spacetime foam is made of real rather than virtual particles, they do so under the influence of the published research of Redmount and Suen concerning the inherent instability of spacetime foam.  Selbrede has pointed this out repeatedly — there is a General Relativity problem with the virtual particle model of spacetime foam, namely, that it results in the spontaneous creation of topological anomalies that grow and coalesce into wormholes (and worse) at rates high enough to have been detected millions of times over.  Selbrede, then, abandons the virtual particle model for the subquantum domain on good and necessary observational evidence. 

Critics of this strategy are ill-informed — they’re the ones standing on observationally & experimentally untenable ground.  Selbrede elsewhere makes no ruling over virtual particles in general, which are understood to govern certain interactions in the Standard Model.  But when he abandons virtual particles in favor of real particles for spacetime foam, he gives chapter & verse of Physical Review to buttress his position (citing, again, Redmount & Suen).  Perhaps Dstahl should attack Redmount & Suen for giving virtual particles a bad name.  Frankly, the geocentrists are derivative here, not original.

          By the way, lots of talk on this thread about barycenters,[3] and (as the geocentrists have maintained) continued willful neglect of the heaviest object in the system — the firmament (which bears the Planck Density).  Once all this unproductive chatter against the firmament is cleared away, it will be revealed for what it is: an attempt to obscure the fact that geocentricity is based on barycentrism, and opposing cosmologies are not.  On the other hand, the geocentric case could even be made without reference to the firmament based on the kind of motion superpositions published by Thonnard, Rubin, etc. which indicated that the hierarchy of astronomical motions summed up to zero at our general position.  That this result was an unexpected surprise was evidenced by the authors’ concern that the data appeared to justify a return to a pre-Copernican worldview, which was deemed to be (of course!) undesirable.  Hmmm....  

But back to barycentrism.  How can a barycentric analysis be accurate that is incomplete by dint of omitting the most massive object in the system (by a factor of around 1093rd power in comparison with the total mass of the universe).  This is like arguing about an ant and a fly while ignoring Mount Everest.  But I suspect such nonsense will continue on this thread, despite the fact that nothing I’ve mentioned here is actually new material.  It gets brought up every 4 to 6 months, and then geocentricity’s critics trot out the same arguments all over again.  Geocentrists keep kicking the stone out of Sisyphus’s hands, but he keeps going back down to roll it up the hill again.  But it’s geocentrists who keep being accused of “trotting out the same old tired arguments.”  The debate doesn’t progress because the exact opposite is true.  Besides which, geocentrists almost exclusively discuss the scientific aspects.  It’s geocentricity’s critics who indulge in scorn, ridicule, psychoanalysis, and ad hominem attack.  (As if science and scientific debate were properly conducted with such tools!)

          Well, this is off the topic (and a rare exception to the general “science only” debate strategy), but it cries out for correction anyway (in fact, this is a repeat of a post from a half year ago, responding to the exact same selective quotation of Hoyle).  It is claimed that Hoyle had a dim view of pre-scientific cosmology (specifically that contained in the Hebrew Scriptures), and two quotes were produced in support of this.  Let’s repeat the response offered months ago when these quotes had surfaced here: Sir Fred Hoyle submitted an amicus curiae brief in favor of creationism to Judge William Overton’s court during the Arkansas Creationism trial in the early 1980s, AND sent his key collaborator, Chandra Wickramasinghe, to represent him in that court as a witness on behalf of the creationists.  The late Sir Fred Hoyle, one would think, is not so easily pigeon-holed by either side!  Selective quotations yield this imbalanced result.  (While we’re on the topic, Hoyle, in the same biography of Copernicus elsewhere cited, provided a provisional defense of geocentricity using Newtonian mechanics and without recourse to relativity theory, but nobody bothered to quote any of that, now, did they?) 


Does a heavier object fall faster than a lighter one?


The following is a three-way email conversation between Mr. L., Mr. P., and your editor.  The first letter is to P in response to an email from L:

How do you reconcile Newton’s gravitational law with Galileo?  If what Galileo wrote was true, and the objects of differing mass fell at an equal rate in a vacuum towards an object with larger mass than they, then that would negate Newton’s law that the objects of greater mass would be attracted more strongly than the one larger object of mass and the other object of least mass. 

The next email is from your editor to L in response to his reply to P.

Allow me to answer your question to P my own way, and add to that an analysis of Hanson’s conclusion that falling bodies of different masses fall at different rates.

          Newton’s law says that the force of gravity, F, relates the mass of the falling body, m, the mass of the earth, M, the distance from the center of the earth, R to the gravitational force, F, via the formula


F = - G m M / R2


From Newton’s definition of force, F = m a, where a is the acceleration.  Thus the above equation becomes


m a = - G m M / R2.


We find the mass of the falling body, m, on both sides of the = sign and thus it cancels out, leaving


a = - G M / R2.


That says that the acceleration experienced by the falling body is the same regardless of the mass of that body.  That is what Galileo observed, and that is what is expected from Newton’s law of gravity.

          When Jim Hanson wrote his paper entitled “Heavier Objects Fall Faster,”[4] he showed that the above analysis breaks down for large masses.  In his paper he found that if a body with 1% of the earth’s mass (roughly the mass of the moon), and a body of 2% earth mass were to fall to earth from the same height, then the more massive body will reach the surface of the earth about 0.49% sooner than the less massive body.

          When we try that for a 1000-gram ball versus a 1-gram ball, the difference is 0.000 000 000 000 000 000 000 099 9% or about 10-22%.  Even in a five-second free fall in a vacuum tower, the difference of 500 septillionths of a second could not be detected.  This calculation is extremely rough, but it’s not off by more than an order of magnitude (meaning, a factor of 10).  Thus Galileo’s observation and Newton’s gravity law give the same result, and Hanson’s agrees with them for all practical purposes.


Building a star shield


On 19 February, a certain Daniel Brooks wrote this letter, which, though not common, reflects a certain attitude about geocentrists.


Hi there,


I was reading your website, www.geogentricity.com [sic], with great interest.  On it, you make the very rational case that, because the Bible says the earth is the center of the universe, that we must adjust our understanding of astronomy to a geocentric one, as God is infallible and, as the author of the Bible, would not have told us in His Word that the earth is the center of the universe if indeed the earth revolved around the sun.

I was wondering if you also advocated the concept of a flat earth, as the Bible does.  After all, our understanding of the universe is insignificant compared to Yahweh’s, and it clearly states in the Bible that the earth is flat.  Also, should we be concerned about stars falling to the earth, since they are not actually balls of gas as most scientists tell us, but actually points of light in the firmament which can be shaken by an earthquake down from the heavens to the earth?  Is there any way to put some type of star-shield up to keep them from falling on us?

          Thank you for your knowledgable [sic] reply,

--DA [sic]


My reply:


Dear Daniel,


I’m afraid you misunderstood the geocentricity.com web site and take several things for granted. 

          First: the Bible nowhere says that the earth is at the center of the universe, nor does the site claim that it does.  The Bible says that the earth does not move relative to the throne of God, which is in the third heaven, and that science can only “prove” its acentric position by assuming that the universe is the smallest isolated system, that is, by assuming there is no third heaven.

          Second: elsewhere on the site, viz. geocentricity.com/flatearth.htm, it is shown that the Bible does NOT teach a flat earth.  The claim that it does teach a flat earth is based on faulty exegesis, i.e., by ignoring the definition of the word “earth” as given with its first usage in Genesis 1, where it is defined as the dry land.

          Third: I recognize no god named “Yahweh.”  I can find no record of him before the critics of the eighteenth century invented the name.  They proposed Yahweh was the original name of the god of a well in the Sinai.

          Fourth: the definition of star in Scripture is any object located in the firmament.  Again, this is according to the first usage of the word “star” in Gen. 1.  As such, meteoroids are members of the set, stars.  So you do, indeed, need to worry about non-gas “balls” hitting the earth.  The context tells you that your best shelter is in a cave.

          Fifth: the Scripture nowhere teaches that the stars are “shaken by an earthquake.”  This kind of claim comes from Bible critics, 99% of whom have never even read the Holy Bible (the so-called “King James Version”) from cover to cover, and 100% of whom never studied it.  After all, if they had, they wouldn’t bear false witness about it, now, would they? 


Gravity Probe B and geocentricity


From the Internet, milli360 claimed:


The definitive experiment (Gravity Probe B) to test “frame dragging” is to be launched April 17 of this month.  Results in a couple years, but preliminary analysis of other satellites (LAGEOS) seems to favor a positive outcome.  If general relativity fails this test, Geocentricity is doomed.


The question thus arises, is milli360 correct that if General Relativity fails the test, Geocentricity is doomed?

          To this question, asked by Amnon, your editor replied:


Nope.  There’s still Gerber’s 1898 advanced potential model.  It was the exploration into the validity of Mach’s principle as applied to General Relativity that led Thirring, and then Lense and Thirring, to derive the “drag” effect.  I should probably make the translation of the two relevant, German papers available on the Internet.


Amnon also asked:


Do you expect anything to come out of the Gravity Probe 5 test of Relativity & frame-dragging?  Bowden claims that like Eddington, Mercury, Hafele-Keating & COBE, the results will be fudged to support Relativity.  Could it have any implications for geocentricity?


To which Martin Selbrede replied:


Actually, the results will be helpful to geocentricity regardless what the outcome is.  If the experiment “disproves” frame dragging, then relativity takes it on the chin.  If it “proves” frame dragging, then Einstein’s geocentric version of reality is supported.  So, we’ll keep an eye on those four polished quartz spheres and see what happens. 

[1] My responses have been edited slightly for this publication. 

[2] The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle can be stated in two ways.  The first involves energy and time and the other involves position and momentum. In both cases, the product of the uncertainties of each must be less than or equal to the Planck constant divided by 2π.  In both cases, substituting in the mass of a firmament particle, its size, it’s characteristic time, and the speed of light gives a value exactly equal to 2π.  Hence this statement. 

[3] A barycenter is the point at which two or more orbiting objects would balance if they were connected by a rod and hung as a mobile from some cosmic ceiling.

[4] Hanson, J. N., 1997.  “Heavier objects fall faster,” Biblical Astronomer, 7(81):10.