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If Galileo was wrong I don't want to be right.
September 17, 2010 11:07 AM   Subscribe

Geocentrism (previously, previously) is on the march. Via he who can not be named.
posted by unSane (40 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's on the march into 1995, judging by the web design.
posted by blucevalo at 11:14 AM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just blocks from where I went to undergrad!
posted by sciurus at 11:19 AM on September 17, 2010


Shouldn't they be aiming their ire at Copernicus instead?
posted by zoogleplex at 11:20 AM on September 17, 2010


"This site is © Conceptula LLC 2008, All Rights Reserved."

Okay. The site sucks. So I click the link to Conceptula LLC...and okay. Still confused.
posted by rtha at 11:21 AM on September 17, 2010


Mr.Thomas was the greatest middle school earth science teacher ever.
He opened the class by drawing a perfect circle on the chalkboard (an amazing feat in and of itself). He put a dot in the middle and labeled it, "Pleasant Hill, Ohio". He then declared that the Earth was a flat disk and that Pleasant Hill, Ohio was at its center.

We said he was stupid and wrong. He challenged us: "Prove it."
There were pictures from the moon. ("Faked!")
The earth seemed to bend downward in the distance. ("Optical illusion!")
We were just a bunch of dumb 7th graders, we didn't know anything. We couldn't prove anything. I think most people are like that when confronted with issues of scientific nature.

The entire year was centered around being able to prove that the earth was round, that it rotated and that it orbited the sun (along with lots of other things along the way). We measured shadows, recorded sunrise and sunset. We watched stars and sampled earth. The final was simple - prove him wrong. We did, and using that knowledge was so satisfying.

Everyone should have to take Earth science from a Mr.Thomas.
posted by charred husk at 11:21 AM on September 17, 2010 [162 favorites]


Just further proof that no matter how nutty the idea, you can find at least a few people who believe it.
posted by KGMoney at 11:26 AM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


An open letter to all science-haters, know-nothings and holy warriors:

"Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free" is a little too viral. Our way is more DIY: you can know the truth. It's hard and it takes time, but it is possible. But then it pretty much leaves you exactly where you were before unless you decide to do something with it.

If you do, we have engineers who can help with that.
posted by felix betachat at 11:29 AM on September 17, 2010


After the last few years of Tea Parties, Glenn Beck, Birtherism and Death Panels, I find it a hell of a lot harder to laugh at shit like this.
posted by PlusDistance at 11:31 AM on September 17, 2010 [16 favorites]


The stupid.


It burns.
posted by Ratio at 11:39 AM on September 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also I'm very interested to see their preponderance of evidence that the sun is actually on an orbit between the earth and Mars.

Or is their take that the entire universe revolves using the earth's orbit as a cam? So the entirety of Creation apart from the earth is under constant and variable 3-vector acceleration?

Yeeaahhhhhh. Love to see that proof!
posted by zoogleplex at 11:40 AM on September 17, 2010


Well sure, I could agree that the Earth is the arbitrary center of the universe; that seems to be a fairly meaningless distinction. It's when you start arguing that it doesn't spin and the rest of the universe orbits around it that you start sounding ignorant. But considering their publication in the prestigious peer-reviewed Flat Earth Quarterly, maybe they are on to something.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:41 AM on September 17, 2010


I was starting to get interested, but I didn't see a rotating Earth animated GIF, so I closed the tab.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 11:42 AM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, man, I followed the link down the rabbit hole.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:50 AM on September 17, 2010


Shouldn't they be aiming their ire at Copernicus instead?

No, I'm pretty sure it's Obama's fault.
posted by Naberius at 11:51 AM on September 17, 2010


Heliocentrism is only a theory! TEACH THE CONTROVERSY.
posted by backseatpilot at 11:53 AM on September 17, 2010 [7 favorites]


Just to be a pissant, because this seems like the place for it, wasn't Galileo actually wrong since his heliocentric model was based on his theory of tides?

*ducks*

posted by Capt. Renault at 11:59 AM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Phil Plait, aka "The Bad Astronomer," wrote a great blog post demolishing the Geocentrist movement's "evidence."
posted by cerebus19 at 12:00 PM on September 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


This is a prank, right?

right?
posted by asciident at 12:17 PM on September 17, 2010


Higgledy Piggledy
Nic'laus Copernicus
Looked at the universe
spoke to the throng:

"Give up your Ptolemy
rise up and follow me
heliocentrically
Ptolemy's wrong."
posted by norm at 12:19 PM on September 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


What this website will do is to show that in fact geocentrism has never been disproven;

I know, right? And what the fuck is up with this whole "Gravity" thing? Who still believes in that shit? If I concentrate hard enough, I can easily overcome it. because all it is is the earth trying to eat me, since I'm smarter than the earth, I can get the earth to ignore me. All I have to do is bend my knees, push really hard and for a moment, I'm floating in the air. See! for that one moment I overcame the earth's hunger! Look, I have just written that down, which makes it evidence. And you've read it! now it's peer reviewed!

Fuck you gravity, I'll get people to ignore your existence yet!
posted by quin at 12:27 PM on September 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Geocentrism ... posted by unSane

Eponysterical, at least a little?
posted by Alterscape at 12:28 PM on September 17, 2010


Oh look! The Sun is going down!

No, the horizon is going up.
posted by warbaby at 12:32 PM on September 17, 2010


And what the fuck is up with this whole "Gravity" thing?

Gravity? Don't you mean Intelligent Falling?
posted by Ratio at 12:32 PM on September 17, 2010 [9 favorites]


For those of you who are wondering: No, it's not a joke and yes, there really is a small but very dedicated contingent of traditionalist Catholic laity who espouse geocentrism as an alternative to godless astronomy.

Their unquestioned leader is the traditionalist Catholic and rabidly anti-semitic Robert A. Sungenis, a Catholic who is apparently so odious that he has been told to shut up by his own Bishop, an act that seems relatively exceptional to me. I mean, when you get told to shut up in an organization that's already filled with loons, you know you've really got something.

One of the interesting things about Sungenis is that he apparently converted to Roman Catholicism from fundamentalist Protestantism, which gives his little debacle a whole new twist. Namely, he basically approaches his Catholicism through a fundy Prot lens: The Earth is the center of the Universe because the Bible and the great treasure trove of Tradition seems to say so. The funny thing is, Sungenis is probably correct when he says that heliocentrism and modern astronomy are innovations that would have been rejected by the great Fathers and Doctors of the Church.

People like Sungenis put regular Catholics in a bit of a bind, because he reminds them that the Church has very definitely changed it's doctrine over the centuries all the while claiming that it hasn't. I don't think modern people, Catholic or otherwise, can really grasp how the Galileo affair really shook the foundations of the Church, and how those foundations are still reverberating to this very day. Modern Catholic interpretation ("Oh, the Church's doctrine hasn't changed! Only little inconsequential things like cosmology have been tweaked -- the Church is still always inerrant in spiritual matters!) would seem to indicate how far the Church has retreated in the face of science.
posted by Avenger at 12:35 PM on September 17, 2010 [8 favorites]


Or is their take that the entire universe revolves using the earth's orbit as a cam? So the entirety of Creation apart from the earth is under constant and variable 3-vector acceleration?
Sure. This is a perfectly valid coördinate system to use. The rest of the universe is kept in place by inertial pseudoforces or something, I guess. It's just a really really inconvenient coördinate system for doing anything that isn't connected to the Earth's surface, and even for some things that are. But then, the reverse is also true: trying to do, say, architecture or GIS in a solar-barycentric or galactic-barycentric reference frame would be absurdly inconvenient also. Physics really doesn't care what frame we arbitrarily choose to call motionless. We choose one that makes things easier to think about. Frequently it's not even an inertial frame!

Phil Plait (in the post cerebus19 linked to) fairly eloquently makes a distinction between this (he calls it "little-g geocentrism") and the whackaloon religious belief ("big-G Geocentrism") that the earth-referenced frame is the only, or privileged, reference frame.
posted by hattifattener at 12:53 PM on September 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


So much stupid, so little time.
posted by sfts2 at 1:44 PM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


People like Sungenis put regular Catholics in a bit of a bind

Speaking only for myself...no. Not even the slightest. Sorry.
posted by Salieri at 1:51 PM on September 17, 2010


Metafilter: when you get told to shut up in an organization that's already filled with loons, you know you've really got something.
posted by chavenet at 2:26 PM on September 17, 2010


About two years ago, someone sent everyone in my neighborhood - which does have a disproportionate number of research scientists - pamphlets to order our own Geocentric Bibles. I held onto mine for a while since no one believed me when I told them about what I'd gotten in the mail.
posted by cobaltnine at 2:27 PM on September 17, 2010


A famous example of different pictures of reality is the model introduced around A.D. 150 by Ptolemy (ca. 85–ca. 165) to describe the motion of the celestial bodies. Ptolemy published his work in a treatise explaining reasons for thinking that the earth is spherical, motionless, positioned at the center of the universe, and negligibly small in comparison to the distance of the heavens.

This model seemed natural because we don't feel the earth under our feet moving (except in earthquakes or moments of passion). Ptolemy's model of the cosmos was adopted by the Catholic Church and held as official doctrine for fourteen hundred years. It was not until 1543 that an alternative model was put forward by Copernicus. So which is real? Although it is not uncommon for people to say Copernicus proved Ptolemy wrong, that is not true. As in the case of the goldfish, one can use either picture as a model of the universe.
-Stephen Fucking Hawking
posted by ennui.bz at 3:00 PM on September 17, 2010


I clicked the Conceptula link (thanks, rtha) and found their mission statement: "Conceptula LLC strives to develop quality websites in subject areas which are positive for society, and not offensive to God." Then I looked at other websites they've developed and found that these are the guys behind the SuperBerry, acai, acerola, etc. sites that constantly spam my e-mail.
"Positive for society" my Aunt Fanny!
posted by CCBC at 3:06 PM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


charred husk: I wish I had taken that class, because I have no idea how I would "prove" these people loons.

Need to brush up on my science, I guess.
posted by Saxon Kane at 3:43 PM on September 17, 2010


Look, people are free to believe all sorts of nutty things, like the idea that the Earth is the center of the universe, or that it's flat, or whatever. It's a free country. Live and let live, and all that.

But if, after paying a $50 admission fee, you truly believe that luncheon can be called complimentary, you are crazy.
posted by Western Infidels at 4:00 PM on September 17, 2010


It's when you start arguing that it doesn't spin and the rest of the universe orbits around it that you start sounding ignorant.

Not so fast!

For simplicity, let's just take one body alone in space, say a star, just spinning and minding its own business. Is the star spinning, or is the universe spinning around the star? Well, a spinning mass drags space around with it (called frame dragging). If the star were stationary and the rest of the universe spun around it, it (the rest of the universe) would drag space around in such a way that the effect at the star is the same -- because what's the difference between you spinning in space and space spinning around you? (This is the same sort of argument that some people make, that the strength of the gravitational interaction depends on the total mass in the universe.) I don't know if I buy this argument, but I want to find a physicist who will work through the math with me with some plausible numbers for the size and mass of the universe. (Any volunteers?)

Of course General Relativity is a far cry from the Ptolemaic model, so this has nothing to do with the Geocentrists.
posted by phliar at 4:10 PM on September 17, 2010


phliar: Mach's principle is the keyword you probably want to look for. My dim memory from school is that the Mach argument doesn't really work out, esp. if you include forces other than gravitation+inertia. But I'm not sure it's absolutely settled.
posted by hattifattener at 6:28 PM on September 17, 2010


Robert Bennett: an off-brand Daniel Dennett?
posted by es_de_bah at 7:20 PM on September 17, 2010


Wow - it's hard to go two clicks in any direction without getting into some heavy, heavy anti-semitism.
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 8:13 PM on September 17, 2010


I would like to see a crank cage match between those that trot out Galileo as patron saint of the suppressed truth* and these guys. The woo-woo altmed cranks have superior numbers, but the Geocentrists have religious conviction. Both sides are probably about equal in cherry-picking and strawman construction, not to mention they can all bench press 1.5 x bodyweight in fallacies.

* e.g. "Can't you see that Big Pharma and the government are colluding to hide the truth about vaccines causing autism in order to profit? It's just like what the Church did to Galileo, and like him we will eventually prevail as well!"
posted by Rhomboid at 8:41 AM on September 18, 2010


The scientific and astronomical knowledge of the general population is very poor. Most people have no idea about the most basic scientific facts or any concept about astronomy or cosmology. It's a major failing of the education system and one, it is hard not to conclude, that is deliberate. Scientific ignorance is convenient.
posted by bobbyelliott at 11:23 AM on September 18, 2010


I love how they have a website, which relies on so much science to just operated the mind literally boggles. Well, probably not their minds, but mine at least.
posted by Freen at 10:02 AM on September 22, 2010


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