Science and Religion: Escape From The Center of (Robert) Sungenis

geocentrism_350pxw

Geocentrism: adding epicycles.

     TLDR ADVISORY: This article exceeds 1,000 words, and may be lengthy for some readers, including Mr. Robert Sungenis and anyone who missed the memo about the sun being the reason they call this the “solar” system.

     I’d like to tell you a story, my fine, young readers. It’s a story that’s over two thousand years in the making, and one that needs to be told. You see, we as a race are nearing a fork in the road of our development, between enlightenment and ignorance. This fork in the road means that those of us who honestly care where we are going, need to be diligent enough to tell these stories repeatedly, so that others don’t forget all that we’ve learned. I tell you this story, because I love each and every one of you. But, I digress…

Claudius Ptolemy: 90 - 168 AD.

Claudius Ptolemy: 90 – 168 AD.

     In the last years of the third century BC, Greek mathematician Appolonius of Perga posited a geometric model that would explain the movements of the planets as they tracked across the sky. Observed from the Earth, planets such as Mars seemed to move in one direction for a while, then stop, move backwards a bit, then return to their original direction of motion. What Appolonius proposed, was that these objects moved in what came to be known as “epicycles” as they tracked across the night sky. Appolonius’s epicycles were subsequently expanded upon and adopted by Claudius Ptolemy in the 2nd century AD, and became part of the Ptolemaic system of astronomy. (Ptolemy’s model was even turned into an ancient analog computer of sorts, in what is now known as the “Antikythera Mechanism.”) The Ptolemaic system would hold sway as scientific dogma for the next fifteen hundred years.

Nicholaus Copernicus: 1473 - 1543

Nicolaus Copernicus: 1473 – 1543

     Flash forward, to the year 1542. A man lies dying from apoplexy and paralysis. His name, is Nicolaus Copernicus. For the past few decades, Copernicus had been working on the problem of the Ptolemaic model, trying to answer various questions about its inability to make more accurate predictions of the motions of the planets. At the same time, the beginnings of the Protestant Reformation were spreading throughout Europe, challenging the long-held authority of the Roman Catholic church over what exactly the “truths of existence” were.

     Copernicus wasn’t an idiot. He knew that his observations and conclusions about how the heavenly bodies moved across the sky, would contradict church dogma. So, he waited until just before his death in 1543 to publish his observations in a book, “De revolutionibus orbium coelestium.” (“On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres”) In this daring treatise, Copernicus posited that the sun, not the Earth, was at the center of the planetary system, and that the planets orbited the sun in circular paths.

Tycho Brahe: 1546 - 1601

Tycho Brahe: 1546 – 1601

     Three years later, another pioneer in the field of astronomy was born. Tycho Brahe was a headstrong young man, who even lost part of the bridge of his nose in a sword duel (in the dark!) with a fellow Danish nobleman, over a mathematical formula. Tycho was serious. Even more so, he was all about accuracy. Because of this, Tycho began to make meticulous measurements of the planets’ motions, using a device called a “quadrant.”

Johannes Kepler: 1571 - 1630

Johannes Kepler: 1571 – 1630

     By 1600, Brahe had compiled a massive amount of data. It was at this time, that 29-year-old Johannes Kepler met Brahe near Prague, at Benatky nad Jizerou, and became his assistant. Brahe didn’t entirely trust Kepler with his data. For that matter, he didn’t trust anyone with it, and guarded his data closely. He did, however, set his young protege a task; reckon out the motion of the planet Mars. (“Here, kid. Take these measurements and figure it out.”) Kepler already had his own view of the world around him, and since he wasn’t a Catholic, wasn’t as worried about crossing the “powers-that-be” as Copernicus had been.

     Tycho Brahe died in 1601. Immediately following Brahe’s demise, Kepler purloined his vast collection of observational data, and eventually published his conclusions in the “Astronomia nova” (“New Astronomy”) in 1609. “Astronomia nova” made compelling arguments for heliocentrism, and built on the Copernican model of planetary orbits, positing that instead of circular paths, the planets followed elliptical orbits around the sun.

Galileo Galilei: 1564 - 1642

Galileo Galilei: 1564 – 1642

     In the same year that Kepler published “Astronomia nova”, a 45-year-old Italian mathematician and astronomer, by the name of Galileo Galilei, built a device modeled after the “Dutch spyglass.” This device, which could magnify distant objects to about 3x, was the first practical telescope. Galileo turned his telescope skyward…and Galileo saw. Galileo sketched. Galileo discovered.

     He discovered that Saturn had rings. He discovered that Jupiter had moons of its own. He noted that Venus went through phases, much like the moon. Galileo published his findings in “Sidereus Nuncius” (“Starry Messenger”) in 1610, and in “Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo” (“Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems”) in 1632. It was the latter book, which directly challenged established church dogmas, that would result in Galileo being tried for heresy by the Inquisition, and placed under house arrest until his death in 1642. The damage, however, had been done. The great man, Galileo Galilei, had dealt the death blow to the Ptolemaic system of geocentrism…or so it seemed.

Sir Issac Newton: 1642 - 1727

Sir Issac Newton: 1642 – 1727

     In the centuries after Galileo turned his telescope to the sky, science has made advances that Galileo would have found astounding. Issac Newton refined Galileo’s work, developing a new system of mathematics (Calculus) to explain the motions of the planets, as well as the reasons why they move the way that they do. His “Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica” (“Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy”) was a virtual watershed in the fields of mathematics, physics and astronomy.

     During the 1800’s, the sky was indeed the “greatest show on Earth.” Before the age of motion pictures, radio and television, people found entertainment and wonder in simply gazing up at the sky, identifying the stars and constellations, and acknowledging their place within the wider realm of existence…but then, that all changed.

     It is the year 2014. A recent poll by the National Science Foundation finds that 1 in 4 people in America don’t know that the sun is at the center of the solar system. America ranks 25th in science and math scoring of high-school students worldwide. (China, Finland and South Korea rank in the top three.) This spring, mail-order Ph.D. documentary producer and Holocaust denier, Robert Sungenis, is releasing a film based upon his book, “Galileo Was Wrong The Church Was Right”, titled “The Principle.” Sungenis is an adherent of the Ptolemaic model of geocentrism; the same model that was proven to be wrong almost 500 years ago.

     I can only hope that someone reads this story, and understands. I ache with the desire for someone to digest these words, and to be imbued with a child-like curiosity about science and the sky. Oh, God. If I had the money, I would gladly buy each and every one of you, my fine young readers, a brand new Celestron telescope, so that we could gaze together on the wonders of the Galilean moons of Jupiter, the rings around Saturn and other “awesomesauce” out there in the night sky, if for no other reason than to honor Copernicus, Brahe, Kepler, Galileo and others for their hard work and sacrifices. Sacrifice, they did, all in the name of making our world a better and smarter place to be.

6 comments on “Science and Religion: Escape From The Center of (Robert) Sungenis

  1. James Phillips says:

    Why did you delete my comment in which I gave the URLs for Robert Sungenis’ websites? Did you not want your readers to know of them?

    • James, I didn’t delete any comments on this article. As a matter of fact, I was starting to wonder if it had even had its intended reach, as no comments had even registered.

      AH!! I see what happened. Akismet (the WordPress spam filter system) caught your comment as spam. Quick fix, and I will add your comment POSTHASTE! Thanks for bringing this to my attention :-)

  2. James Phillips says:

    The fact of the matter is — a fact utterly unacceptable by so many of those oh so “open minded” folks who suffer from real cognitive dissonance when confronted with real scientific observational evidence which clearly refutes the so called proofs for heliocentrism as opposed to geocentrism — is that heliocentrism has never actually been proven and geocentrism has never actually been disproven.

    It would have been nice if the author of the article gave a link to the websites of Dr. Sungenis. Some of his audience might actually just want to see what Sungenis says rather than to simply hear him bad mouthed. In any event his sites are here: http://www.galileowaswrong.blogspot.com and http://www.galileowaswrong.com.

    Now get ready for one powerful movie that has already put the status quo science establishment in an utter hysterical tizzy: The trailer for the Principle is at http://youtu.be/p8cBvMCucTg while the producer’s blogsite is here: http://magisterialfundies.blogspot.com/

    • James, you’re simply wrong. Geocentrism posits that the Earth is fixed in its position relative to surrounding space, does not rotate, and that every other celestial body revolves around the Earth. Anyone that knows where our 24-hour day, 365-day year and four seasons come from, knows that geocentrism is complete codswallop.

      The fact of the matter is — a fact utterly unacceptable by so many of those folks who suffer from real cognitive dissonance when confronted with real scientific observational evidence, as you so eloquently put it and I paraphrase – that heliocentrism has not only been proven, but directly observed by everyone from astronomers and astrophysicists, to astronauts in orbit and lay-nerds on the ground such as myself.

      Why is it then, James, that every launch from Cape Kennedy takes on the trajectory that it does? Have you ever witnessed a space launch? If you and Robert Sungenis are so right, and I, along with the entire legitimate scientific community are so wrong, then why is it exactly that the GPS in your car actually works? How is it exactly that you’re able to watch CNN, Fox News or any other cable network that transmits its signal from them to you, via those nifty little things in space called “satellites”? How is it exactly that we put 12 men on the surface of the moon? Oh, maybe because Newton’s equations actually work? Equations which, by the way, are based on a heliocentric model of the solar system!

      Come on, James. Go buy a telescope, and take a look for yourself. See the Galilean moons orbiting around Jupiter. See for yourself, that Luna is tidally locked in its orbit around the Earth. Use some common sense. Build some models. Map it out on paper. (I did this at the age of nine, James. If a nine-year-old me can grasp the idea, I’m sure that an adult you can.) Reason it out for yourself.

  3. jonathanlk says:

    Believe it or not, there are many people of the previous generation who believe things are as they seem to be. I knew one who was more or less amazed to find out that the earth actually went around the sun. My father in law thought I was joking when I explained that the light we see coming from the moon is actually reflected sunlight. He was certain that the moon emitted its own light! The last time I went to church, I was immediately embarrassed in front of the entire congregation by the priest when I stated that was ample evidence supporting the theory of evolution even to base new theories upon it. In his fire and brimstone voice with everyone around he said I must be a Communist Liberal. Someone else accused me, for the same reason, of being one of those know it all Boston Intellectual types. That aside, I could see Sungenis teaming up with Mel Gibson who may also agree with Sungenis that holocaust never happened. Because I give more credence to fact and science than I do Biblical myth, my father in law announced at the beginning of Thanksgiving that his daughter will go to hell with me holding hands because she married me. My mother in law told him to shut up. His strong opinions, like those of Sungenis, which are based only on impressions, beliefs, and assumptions, only show us a tiny amount of what Gallileo, Darwin, and you might include James Hutton in your list (he was as a professional geologist, the first to propose, in the 18th century with scientific evidence, that the earth was more than 5000 years old) were up against. By the way 1 in 4 believing that the universe is geo-centric is a fair improvement over a few decades ago when, in america, it was nearly half (actually 40%) the adult population.

    • Yeah. Why IS it exactly, that when the “fire and brimstone” types have an issue with you, it has to take the form of a public pronouncement, complete with finger-pointing and name calling? I’ve never understood that one…

      Great point about James Hutton, I’m thinking VERY highly of a companion article to this one….

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