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I get email

It’s from another physics and Christianity crank. I wish he’d go bug Paul Davies; I’m a biologist, not a cosmologist.

Atheists are superstitious

1. There is no rational reason to reject the Our Lord Jesus Christ since it is scientifically demonstrated He is Divine and the One and Only True God. Only unscientific minds would reject empirical scientific evidence.

2. The universe is geocentric. Every experiment designed to measure the speed of the earth through space has always returned a speed of zero just as the Bible claimed all along. Only prejudicial minds reject scientific facts. Your leading Pagan cosmology writers offer biases with no scientific proof . Unbeknownst to you is the fact that no one in all history has ever proven that the Earth moves in space. As an honest scientist Lincoln Barnett admits in his book endorsed by Einstein “…nor has any physical experiment ever proved that the Earth actually is in motion.” (Lincoln Barnet, The Universe and Dr. Einstein, p. 73.) Einstein invented his relativity mythology to counter the Michelson-Morley experiments and other innumerable successor experiments demonstrating the earth is immobile in space and at the center of the universe.

“So which is real, the Ptolemaic or the Copernican system? Although it is not uncommon for people to say that Copernicus proved Ptolemy wrong, that is not true. As in the case our normal view versus that of the goldfish, one can use either picture as a model of the universe, for our observations of the heavens can be explained by assuming either the earth or the sun to be at rest.” (The Grand Design, Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, 2010, pp. 41-42) Hawking cannot face the empirical scientific evidence that Geocentrism is scientifically proven and heliocentrism disproven. In his bias he ridiculously opts to put the two systems on the same level.

3. That the myth of Copernicanism is the foundation for modern man’s independence from God is a connection that was recognized by the editor of the world’s most prestigious scientific journal. When confronted in the late 1970s with the model of cosmology promoted by the evolutionist well-known physicist George F.R. Ellis – it promoted geocentrism – Paul C. W. Davies, the editor of Nature, was forced to reply: “His new theory seems quite consistent with our astronomical observations, even though it clashes with the thought that we are godless and making it on our own.” (P.C.W. Davies, “Cosmic Heresy?” Nature, 273:336, 1978. In the same article Davies admits: “…as we see only redshifts whichever direction we look in the sky, the only way in which this could be consistent with a gravitational explanation is if the Earth is situated at the center of an inhomogeneous Universe.” Confirming Davies’s agnosticism is a letter he wrote to Dr. Robert Sungenis on Aug. 9th, 2004, stating: “I have long argued against the notion of any sort of God who resides within time, and who preceded the universe.” Davies, however, is honest enough to admit he cannot lightly dismiss Ellis’ science and mathematics that connect the Earth with the center of the universe.

So in addition to being a friend to the Templeton Foundation, a coauthor on the arsenic life paper, and proponent of a bad cancer theory, Davies was, once upon a time, speculating about geocentrism? Somehow I’m not surprised. Here’s the “Cosmic heresy?” paper.

Hey, if Nature can publish kooky weird speculations, who am I to say Jesus ain’t science?

Comments

  1. scottrobson says

    I think he doesn’t understand that it is the ‘goldfish’ view of the world that makes you think the earth is at the center of the universe.

  2. jamessweet says

    There is no rational reason to reject the Our Lord Jesus Christ since it is scientifically demonstrated He is Divine and the One and Only True God. Only unscientific minds would reject empirical scientific evidence.

    Stopped reading right there. It’s very kind when people demonstrate they aren’t worth listening to in the very first sentence! Saves time…

  3. John Kruger says

    Gotta jump on board with comment #3. “It is scientifically proven that” (3 things that are so poorly defined that they could never be scientifically illustrated) is not the kind of reading I usually continue.

    Geocentrism. Wow. Strictly speaking gravity makes the earth and the sun revolve around each other, but when one is very nearly literally a million times bigger than the other, when you want to do anything useful (like predict planetary motions for example) you might as well choose the center of gravity as your frame of reference.

    I participated in making a scale size solar system collage in grade school comparing the size of the various bodies in our solar system. Only a realyl motivated reasoning crank is going to pick the little blue dot as the center.

  4. says

    We can drop a rover on the surface of Mars the size of a pickup and he wants to argue for a geocentric universe. Sometimes I look at my calendar and think that it must be lying to me. There’s no way it’s 2013.

  5. Ogvorbis: Apologies Available for All! says

    There is no rational reason to reject the Our Lord Jesus Christ since it is scientifically demonstrated He is Divine and the One and Only True God.

    Could someone, somewhere, sometime, in some universe (real (DiscWorld does not count)), show even one iota of this? Just one piece of evidence? Anything?

  6. Doug Little says

    Every experiment designed to measure the speed of the earth through space has always returned a speed of zero just as the Bible claimed all along

    So I guess the dipole anisotropy of the CMBR doesn’t count. Right I’ll be sure to let the scientific community know.

  7. Doug Little says

    Likewise, there is no center of the universe.

    Well there could be, but it would be in a higher dimension, similar to how the surface of a sphere has a center point that does not lie on its surface.

  8. joeeggen says

    Demonstrably untrue, and rather easily at that. Several groups, a recent one being Planck Collaboration (http://arxiv.org/abs/1303.5087) have identified the direction of Earth’s absolute motion through space relative to the Cosmic Microwave Background. The value in question is 369+-0.9 km/s in the direction of the constellation Leo and Crater. But who wants to let a nasty little thing like easily verifiable facts interfere with their worldview?

  9. joeeggen says

    Stupid html tag fail…

    Meant to be quoting this line: “…no one in all history has ever proven that the Earth moves in space.”

  10. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    This may be the stupidest thing I have read on the Intertubes that wasn’t written by an MRA imbecile.

    WRT a universal “center”. It ain’t there. The Big Bang was inflationary–every point accelerating away form every other point

    And yes, velocity is relative. Acceleration? Nope. Someone want to explain to me how the Lagrange points work in a Geocentric Universe?

  11. colnago80 says

    Actually, the explanation of a motionless earth to explain the result of the Michelson-Morley experiment, in the absence of any other evidence, is perfectly reasonable. The only problem is that there are thousands of other observations that falsify that explanation.

  12. Doug Little says

    WRT a universal “center”. It ain’t there.

    It might be, but would be in higher dimensional space. It would depend on whether the universe is finite or not, whether it has an edge or not and overall curvature.

  13. Bernard Bumner says

    As Phil Plait pointed out in 2010: geocentrism, (a qualified) yes; Geocentrism, no!

    I’m not sure that Davies paper is really any sort of endorsement.

  14. Doug Little says

    Voyager I will hit the crystal sphere carrying the stars aaaaany time now.

    It kinda did, well if you can sub in interstellar medium for crystal sphere and apply a very loose definition of carrying.

  15. Sastra says

    Well, if I take as starting point the assumption that I am the center of the universe then it’s not all that hard to redefine everything as moving around relative to me. I’ve set up the way to measure all motion by stipulating the single reference point. Thus, I do not walk from one place to another: the environment shifts itself below my feet. Simple.

    And stupid.

    Dick the Damned #8 wrote:

    Should we be poking fun at someone who is obviously mentally malfunctioning?

    Problem here is that this guy’s doing apologetics — he’s defending the existence of God. So there is no ‘obvious’ about it. Faith is a malfunctioning system. An otherwise normal person can rant gibberish and it may just be a manifestation of piety. When it comes to trying to seriously assess his mental state, all bets are off: we’d need more information.

    So as it stands, we’re poking fun at the stupid idea. And at the apparent pains he took to justify it, without following up on his ‘research.’

  16. bortedwards says

    I vote we throw this person out into space where they can personally observe whether the earth hangs around for them as they predict

  17. keithb says

    Forget all this Michaelson-Morley CMB relativity stuff, how does he explain retrograde motion?

  18. unbound says

    What, no flat earth conspiracy? Where is the lambasting of evolution?

    Weak troll effort overall.

  19. Holms says

    1. There is no rational reason to reject the Our Lord Jesus Christ since it is scientifically demonstrated He is Divine and the One and Only True God.

    LULZ WERE HAD.

    The [observable] universe is geocentric. Every experiment designed to measure the speed of the earth through space[the observable universe] has always returned a speed of zero…

    Fixed.

    Hawking … ridiculously opts to put the two systems on the same level.

    Pretty sure they were slanted heavily in favour of heliocentrism, but whatever. Completely misrepresenting everything – even to the point of completely reversing meaning – is par for the apologist course.

  20. says

    My favorite bit is where he first uses Einstein’s endorsement to support the credibility of a source he quotes, and immediately after calls Einstein a liar.

  21. burgundy says

    I’m more interested in this:

    As an honest scientist Lincoln Barnett admits in his book endorsed by Einstein “…nor has any physical experiment ever proved that the Earth actually is in motion.” (Lincoln Barnet, The Universe and Dr. Einstein, p. 73.)

    Amazon tells me the book was released in 2005. These guys have figured out a way to communicate with the dead, and they don’t bother telling us? And out of all the things they could discuss with Einstein’s spirit, they have him doing book reviews?

  22. Lyle says

    I’d be curious to see the study that demonstrates Jesus’ unquestionable divinity. I was totally unaware that such a thing had been established scientifically.

  23. sundiver says

    Burgundy, I read Barnett’s book back in the ’70’s and I think it was originally published in 1948. No matter. Any article that begins with the assertion that atheists are superstitious has wasted the second it took me to read such a bit of shit. If the fundies get much dumber we may have start printing instructions on toilet paper for them.

  24. sqlrob says

    I’d be curious to see the study that demonstrates Jesus’ unquestionable divinity. I was totally unaware that such a thing had been established scientifically.

    Heck, first come up with a study that shows his existence is unquestionable.

  25. says

    My summary of Paul Davies’ paper: “Yeah, it’s possible that the cosmological redshift is not caused by expansion, but by us being located opposite of a giant gravitational well in the universe. Here are a bunch of crazy things that would need to happen and problems to solve for it to work. Isn’t that something?”

    Your crank is definitely taking the paper too seriously. Anyway, the theory would only imply that the galaxy is roughly near the antipode of the universe’s massive center; it does not imply that the earth is motionless.

  26. Alex says

    Its not that you can’t find a definition of center and rest for which the earth is at rest at the center of the universe. The problem is that all such definitions either can also be used to make arbitrary other places the resting center of the cosmos, or are tautological.
    As far as the only definition is concerned that avoids this problem, see the CMB dipole result above.

  27. Ogvorbis: Apologies Available for All! says

    Cynickal:

    I’m afraid we’ll have to burn the emailer at the stake.

    Can I get my stake Pittsburgh rare?

  28. meandmine says

    I’m pretty sure that the Ptolemaic model described retrograde motion to rough approximations but what was always disturbing is that it completely ignored the orbit of Venus. The way that Venus and Mercury move around the sun as viewed from our position demonstrated that something was wrong with that model and was the best evidence for heliocentrism. With heliocentrism you get simple retrograde motion and the orbits of Mercury and Venus make perfect sense. Pair that with Newtonian Gravity and it all makes sense in terms of forces. Using one theory to describe the motion of planets inside our orbital radius and a different theory for planets outside of our orbital radius makes no sense at all and screams of a solution based on our perspective. Also, Michelson-Morley was a null result. They were trying to demonstrate the existence of a luminiferous ether and they failed. It really says nothing about the motion of the earth through space.

  29. burgundy says

    @sundiver – well phooey. Further research reveals that Einstein even wrote the foreword. Sometimes it’s so much more fun being wrong (which is the problem at the heart of most of what gets discussed at Pharyngula. In my defense, at least I’m willing to be corrected.)

    Anyway, Deen’s point @29 still stands.

  30. tomtethys says

    The argument that atheists are superstitious is becoming increasingly common. Mr Gee of Nature ranted some weeks ago that people were taking science as a religion, (ie a superstition) which no matter how he meant to be understood has given an opening to the ‘faithful’.

  31. Wylann says

    I think we should pull a bit of xian fatwah envy and turn it around on them. After all, if

    There is no rational reason to reject the Our Lord Jesus Christ since it is scientifically demonstrated He is Divine and the One and Only True God.

    is true, then he should really be heading off to the middle east and sharing the news with his muhammaden co-religionists.

    I don’t see what could possibly go wrong for our brilliant friend…..

  32. Rey Fox says

    There is no rational reason to reject the Our Lord Jesus Christ

    Your abuse of capital letters is reason enough.

    how do these people find you?

    He’s the Happy Atheist. They can’t stand that.

  33. MJP says

    Only unscientific minds would reject empirical scientific evidence.

    2. The universe is geocentric.

    The joke just writes itself!

  34. Sven says

    Wow, a true-blue geocentrist. That’s just sad.
    Even my grandfather, a full-blown fundy young-Earth creationist, would dump on this clown.

  35. Sven says

    There are varying degrees of Geocentrism. Ask him if he rejects the Earth’s rotation too, meaning that the universe revolves around us every 24 hours, as opposed to every 365¼ days.

  36. says

    Naked Bunny with A Whip @20 (First, I apologize, but the mental picture of a naked bunny with a whip just cracks me up!)

    Voyager I will hit the crystal sphere carrying the stars aaaaany time now.

    I haven’t thought of that story in decades. I can’t even remember who wrote it — one of SciFi’s greats, I’m sure. If anybody knows, let me know. It’s well worth a re-read.

    Hmm, now that I re-read Naked Bunny’s message, maybe I’ve missed the reference… again! The crystal sphere I’m thinking of was impenetrable from the outside, but easily broken from the inside. Prevented us “advanced” civilizations from bothering the natives.

    Well, whatever (to use one of PZ’s favorite phrases).

  37. cag says

    I would ask the kook how geostationary satellites work. Of course, the answer would be “string theory”.

  38. says

    This person is hilarious. Well, hilarious at first, but then going on about dumb “evidence” made it boring. It started out great, though! “it is a scientific law that Jesus G. Christ is not only Real and True but is also the Only Real True because gods that aren’t our God were proven false without Proving Our God false apparently, as well as scientific tests to prove HIS Divinity and it has been grammatically demonstrated that all Adjectives and Nouns to Describe Our Real And True God Are To Be Capitalized.”
    I wonder if this person also thinks the moon landing was a hoax.

  39. says

    @ OP

    Unbeknownst to you is the fact that no one in all history has ever proven that the Earth moves in space.

    Maybe he is referring to Hamilton’s principle of stationary action? Maybe YHWH prefers integration to differentiation?

    (Tonight I shall have nightmares about vibrating floor slabs, finite elements and quadruple integrals.)

  40. robro says

    So where’s the part about the Earth being flat and having corners? I’m not sure this guy is a true Bible thumper, yet. He needs to read it again, and do some more praying.

  41. says

    First, the Ellis paper does not talk about geocentrism in the sense of the Sun moving around the Earth.

    Second, and here’s the real irony: Ellis is one of the few serious cosmologists (and he is a serious cosmologist) who is openly religious. John Barrow is another. OK, Ellis is a Quaker, and not some kind of fundamentalist kook, but still, there is irony in caricaturing him as an evil evolutionist.

  42. consciousness razor says

    Doug Little:

    It might be, but would be in higher dimensional space. It would depend on whether the universe is finite or not, whether it has an edge or not and overall curvature.

    Well, if it’s finite and curved, but there’s no edge, then there’s no center. Also, if this extra dimension doesn’t physically exist but is only a mathematical construction, it’s not an actual location, which is what a center is supposed to be. Hence, the circumference of a circle has no center, but a circle does: there actually is a second dimension to speak of in that case, but that need not apply to the universe. So I think you can toss out all of those other variables. Apparently, what you need is a boundary to measure from: even if space is flat yet somehow managed to have one (even in the “ordinary” dimensions we actually know), that would be sufficient — just very, very weird. Trying to picture a “place” where space just kind of stops (because of what?) seems a lot harder for me than picturing an infinite universe or lots of other wild options. Maybe that’s just me. Or maybe that’s where teh Jebus is hiding. Were you there, scientists? At the places which aren’t the center? Were you there? Checkmate.

    Ethan Siegal actually wrote an article about it just last week.

  43. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    I’d be curious to see the study that demonstrates Jesus’ unquestionable divinity. I was totally unaware that such a thing had been established scientifically.

    I’m pretty sure the gospels went through a rigorous peer-review process. One that involved procedures like stoning and burning at the stake. Sadly we’ve lost that kind of rigor in the modern world (although I guess a lot of peer reviewers do get stoned).

  44. consciousness razor says

    I’m pretty sure the gospels went through a rigorous peer-review process. One that involved procedures like stoning and burning at the stake. Sadly we’ve lost that kind of rigor in the modern world (although I guess a lot of peer reviewers do get stoned).

    Perhaps most importantly, there was being eaten by lions. That is the surest test that something you believe is true. Lions are sort of picky like that.

  45. Doug Little says

    Also, if this extra dimension doesn’t physically exist but is only a mathematical construction, it’s not an actual location, which is what a center is supposed to be.

    To me if the universe is finite and has no edge then it is still an interesting question to ask what the shape is and how is it folded, topographically speaking. To me at least when you say the universe has no center that implies that there is no real overall shape to the universe it’s just a boring flat infinite universe, which may well be the case. I too find it difficult to imagine what a boundary would be if it has one and if it did then the center would exist in space-time as a place you could visit.

    For me at least it makes sense that the universe is finite and continuous with a shape that requires some more dimensions to define. Hell fully understanding the topography of the universe might lead us to one day opening wormholes for travel to other parts of the universe.

  46. robert bowman says

    Well, I guess this means that every space agency on the planet are lying to all of us.

    It’s a conspiracy!

    After all, if its geocentric rather than heliocentric, all of those calculations to get a probe from Earth to any other planet in the solar system, must be false.

  47. viggen111 says

    Heh, redundant, but I’ve got to take a swing anyway. Local audience I hope you will forgive me, but sometimes a turkey shoot is worth it. I’m just asking myself how I would fight this argument…

    1. There is no rational reason to reject the Our Lord Jesus Christ since it is scientifically demonstrated He is Divine and the One and Only True God.

    Um, that doesn’t seem like anything but an assertion without foundation to me. Aside from the strategic and disconnected use of the word “scientifically” why would you ever arrive at this conclusion? Rejected!

    2. The universe is geocentric. Every experiment designed to measure the speed of the earth through space has always returned a speed of zero just as the Bible claimed all along…. Einstein invented his relativity mythology to counter the Michelson-Morley experiments

    First, Michelson-Morley was the hypothesis that the speed of light should change relative to the Earth’s motion. It was already well accepted by that time from other lines of evidence that the earth was not still. For instance, Earth’s orbit was understood using Stellar Parallax by the end of the 19th century:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stellar_parallax

    This is even if you reject all those observations about the weird backward motions of planets in the sky, which are well described by heliocentrism:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apparent_retrograde_motion

    Never mind all those pesky observations of the Earth’s rotation axis reorienting against the sky:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axial_precession

    And at that, you would be incredibly hard pressed to refute why gravitational slingshots work. Direct empirical measurement of earth’s motion by satellites sent to other places in the solar system by borrowing from a planet’s angular momentum (yes, slingshots have been done successfully off Earth, but I know you’ll go all ‘moon hoax’ on me anyway…)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravity_assist

    There are about a billion other modern pieces of evidence that pin the whole puzzle together (including an important one involving Doppler shifting written in the next point) and listing them would be frivolous. That the Earth’s motion has never been measured: Rejected!

    3… “…as we see only redshifts whichever direction we look in the sky, the only way in which this could be consistent with a gravitational explanation is if the Earth is situated at the center of an inhomogeneous Universe.”

    What you’re talking about here is a big optical phenomenon that is well outside the scope of local motions of the Earth and has no relevance to heliocentrism at all.

    If you want to pick on redshifts, you may first want to explain why stellar light spectra show redshifting and blueshifting of atomic emission lines that are consistent with relative motion of our Earth in orbit around our sun. I’m not familiar enough with the literature to pick out a specific example of this measurement, but I know it’s been done. Hard to sweep this well known observation of Doppler shifting under the rug in favor of another Doppler shift you aren’t even using contextually well.

    https://blogs.ats.amherst.edu/gsgreenstein-astronomy/29-2/basic-physics/waves-and-the-doppler-effect/use-the-doppler-effect-to-measure-the-astronomical-unit/

    The galactic redshift you are talking about here is very special and is best interpreted by expansion. This particular redshift is observed to increase the farther the object is away from Earth, which is kind of inconvenient for any argument that wants the universe to be stationary (like geocentrism) because it means that everything in the universe is moving anyway. This whole relationship relates very strongly with a phenomenon that I understand to be “light horizon”… which is where the object is so incredibly distant that it’s expansion redshift has essentially redshifted the light until it has literally gone dark, which is to say that points of the universe beyond that point are far enough away that the speed at which they are receding from us due to expansion are greater than light speed. Locally those objects are not moving differently from how Earth is moving, but space itself is apparently expanding isotropically in every direction where two locations can be separated by such a great distance that this isotropic expansion between points is “fast” enough that light from very very far away can’t reach an observer at a point like Earth. This does not mean that nothing is farther away than that light horizon: I recall an observation of an object close to that light horizon apparently moving under gravitation from an object thought to be beyond that horizon… which suggests strongly that we can make no observations about where the center of the universe is relative to our light horizon, since that same optical phenomenon would suggest that anywhere other than Earth is the center of the universe, if we went to that other location and made observations of the light horizon. It just means that we can’t see the whole universe. The usage of this phenomenon to make the point implied by geocentrism shows really bad understanding of the context of the finding.

    Because this redshift is on objects so far away, it is kind of stupid to suggest that we know anything about the Earth’s local motion in the motion of these distant objects. Boy that distant mountain is moving slowly… we can’t possibly be going 55 mph. That the galactic redshift implies Earth to be the center of the universe, Rejected!

    Now then, I know this is useless since I’m writing in a comment thread where people know the author was a kook, but I felt like flexing my physics and taking a swing at it anyway.

  48. Doug Little says

    I recall an observation of an object close to that light horizon apparently moving under gravitation from an object thought to be beyond that horizon

    I don’t think I’ve read about that, I’ll have to look it up!

  49. says

    I just realized another inconsistency in what your crank said. First he calls Einstein’s relativity a mythology. And then he endorses a cosmological theory by George Ellis which is rather outlandish, yet still based on general relativity. It doesn’t even make sense to talk about light being redshifted by gravitational wells without relativity.

    Hypothesis: this crank is clueless. Seems pretty consistent with all observations so far.

  50. dean says

    There is no rational reason to reject the Our Lord Jesus Christ since it is scientifically demonstrated

    and

    I’d be curious to see the study that demonstrates Jesus’ unquestionable divinity. I was totally unaware that such a thing had been established scientifically.

    I had a wonderful write-up for the proof of Jesus’ divinity and his miracles, but the margin of my paper was not large enough for it.

  51. anchor says

    “The universe is geocentric.”

    To geo-inhabitants who live there, yes. But then anything in the universe is in the middle of it all.

    “Every experiment designed to measure the speed of the earth through space has always returned a speed of zero just as the Bible claimed all along…no one in all history has ever proven that the Earth moves in space.”

    Nope. Lots of experiments and observations of other objects in the universe indicate relative speeds from zero to the speed of light. Moreover, the Earth moves even with respect to itself: any spot along the equator is moving 1670 km/hr with respect to the north and south poles, and the Earth’s surface in Brazil is moving at 3340 km/hr with respect to Borneo on the opposite side of the planet. Spinning while it zips along at 107,000 km/hr (nearly 30 km/sec) in its orbit with respect to the Sun. The Sun carries its planetary family around the Milky Way galaxy at about 240 km/sec. Our galaxy itself is rushing with respect to the reference frame of the Cosmic Microwave Background at about 550 km/sec. Evidently, everything is quite busy moving around.

    Not a jot of that is in the bible.

    Photons from any direction in the universe strike our planet at the speed of light (and many cosmic ray particles do at very nearly that speed). The Michelson–Morley experiment in 1887 sought to find the relative speed and direction of motion of the Earth with respect to the theoretical ‘luminiferous aether’ which was hypothesized to be stationary with respect to the universe as a whole and the medium supposed to conduct light (what’s wiggling in electromagnetic vibrations). Every measurement of the speed of light in different directions since confirm that the speed of light is constant, for reasons that were explained in 1903 by Einstein’s Special Relativity, and which has itself been confirmed in countless experiments to an astonishing degree of precision.

    That’s not in the bible either.

    “Only prejudicial minds reject scientific facts.

    Now that one is true. (Accidents do happen).

    And even that isn’t in the bible.

    Didn’t the Divine Author know anything?

    There is only one thing I can think of that’s as dense as a person who pretends to certain knowledge and pontificates on scientific fact by citing the bible: matter that has collapsed to a black hole. Too bad such idiocy is not similarly cloaked permanently out of sight and hearing behind event horizons.

  52. Acolyte of Sagan says

    A question or two for someone far more mathematically-minded than me:
    Although relatively close to us, Betelgeuse is 642.5 light years from Earth. If the Earth really was stationary, then Betelgeuse would have to do a complete rotation of our planet in 24hrs +/- a minute or so (how technical was that?).
    What speed would Betelgeuse have to be travelling in order to accomplish the journey?

    And just for fun (!), the same question, but this time for the Andromeda Galaxy, which is a mere 2,538,000 light years from us. How many multiples of the speed of light would that have to be going?

    Thank you. Or, sorry. :-)

  53. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    @ Acolyte of Sagan, 69:

    What speed would Betelgeuse have to be travelling in order to accomplish the journey?

    If I remember my elementary school math, first you figure out the circumference of the circle that Betelgeuse carves around the earth, using the formula C=2πR. Then divide by 24.

    And the answer is 168.2 light years per hour.

  54. blf says

    Betelgeuse is stationary. What happens is the incoming photons are routed by one of the Sky Faeries to different points on the Earth on a 24h cycle, similar to a spotlight. First Berlin, then Manhattan, then LaLaLand, and so on, returning back to Berlin a day later.

    The rising and setting of Betelgeuse is just the angle of the roving spotlight changing.

    The Sky Faerie charged with the job is a cousin of Maxwell’s Demon.

  55. Al Dente says

    What a Maroon @70

    168.2 light years per hour

    (168.2/60)/60 = .0467 ly/sec.
    1 ly = 9.46^12 km
    9.46^12 x 4.67^-2 = 4.417^11 km/sec
    c = 3^4 km/sec

    Betelgeuse is moving at ~1.567^15 c. (Unless I got confused with the exponents)

  56. anchor says

    @ #69, Acolyte of Sagan:

    Betelgeuse is a fair pick, located as it currently is only about 7 degrees from the celestial equator, so it doesn’t describe a significantly smaller circle around either of the poles. Just to simplify it, we can assume its over the equator. Its 640 ly distance is the radius, so double that to get the diameter of its apparent circuit and multiply by pi to get the circumference of about 4020 ly. That distance covered in 24 hours that makes it a little under 170 ly an hour. A light-year is about 9.467 x10^12 km, and there’s 8766 hours in a year, so Betelgeuse would have to travel about 1.6×10^15 km every hour, which translates to around 1.6 million times the speed of light. Which is almost as ridiculous as the writer of that email to PZ. ;)

  57. anchor says

    Oops, sorry #70 and 72…

    Cool to see the right answers arrived at by so many different routes, though ;). The awesome self-consistency of mathematics: now there’s something to place one’s faith in. Little if anything of that in the bible either.

  58. Doug Little says

    Unless I got confused with the exponents

    Yes, yes you did.

    c = 300,000 km/s = 3×10^5 and you want to divide rather than multiply.

    = 1.4723×10^6c.

  59. Nick Gotts says

    Doug Little@59,

    What’s with all this “for me” stuff? This is mathematics – it’s nothing to do with what you personally can or can’t imagine. A space of n dimensions can always be considered independent of any space with more dimensions in which it could be embedded. The universe could perfectly well be a finite three-dimensional manifold without boundary, flat or curved, without there being any four- or more-dimensional space containing it, and thus without any centre in any sense.

  60. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    anchor, 74,

    No worries; it’s good to know that my results were replicable.

  61. Al Dente says

    Thanks, Doug Little. I thought I’d made a mistake or two in the sort of calculation I haven’t done since I took high school physics.

  62. Lofty says

    I define the center of the Observable Universe to be the bridge of my nose, where my cracked, smeary thumb printed glasses reside, held together with sticking plasters. With these fabulous glasses and a guttering tallow candle at my bench I can study the Book of All Approved Knowledge and give you any answer I want. And when I close my eyes the universe disappears which proves that all I write is Totally Religious and therefore True.
    Oh and the Earth didn’t move for me last night, proving it never does.

  63. jagwired says

    I think this YouTuber: CoolHardLogic does the best job tearing apart the geocentrism crap. He does the calculus for you and shows how ridiculously huge the numbers would be if geocentrism were true.

  64. tororosoba says

    You must be a very particular type of masochist to read past the first paragraph. Seriously, it doesn’t whet my appetite for more.


    There is no rational reason to reject the Our Lord Jesus Christ since it is scientifically demonstrated He is Divine and the One and Only True God. Only unscientific minds would reject empirical scientific evidence.

  65. gakxz1 says

    Ugh, dimensional analysis, give me a break, I have to go back to canonical ensembles after I’m done perusing the interwebs. Anyway, while some of the physics discussion has been good, I can’t help but think it’s too easy to pile on to this person. Best of all scenarios, he’ll realize the error of his ways in a year or two, and be on the way to a path of thinking healthier. But it’s possible that won’t ever happen, or that the change will be rather difficult. Maybe just me, but I’m not completely ok with the pointing of fingers and the laughing. Or am I just being an argumentative buzzkill? Probably, but a corner of my mind still feels hesitant…

  66. John Phillips, FCD says

    Sorry glitchy keyboard, as I was saying, in a geocentric universe, anything beyond approximately 4.125 billion km from the earth would be travelling at C or greater.

  67. John Phillips, FCD says

    gakxz1, he emailed PZ and didn’t ask questions, in which case there may be room for your optimism, but he simply made nonsensical assertions. Sorry, he doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt simply because he is Jesus blinded.

  68. Acolyte of Sagan says

    Thanks to all for the answers to my Betelgeuse question. Brilliant stuff.
    Now I know how he gets here almost before someone finishes saying his name three times. 1.6 million times lightspeed*, eh? Ah well, so much for Einstein’s Universal speed limit then. God may not play dice with the Universe, but he certainly plays hard and fast with the laws of physics. ;-)

    * I’ve just had a horrible thought. With the centrifugal forces that would be generated at those speeds, you may just have given any passing fundie a mathematically ‘proven’ way of making their Geocentric fantasies compatible with an expanding Universe.

  69. gakxz1 says

    John Phillips, you’re right, no benefit of the doubt for the Jesus stuff, all of what he says is religious fueled pseudoscience anyway. Still, it’s rather easy to point at someone who believes in geocentrism and laugh. Way, way too easy, intellectual masturbation at some point. There is a person actually behind that email, who most likely will be just fine and kooky and vote tea party. Maybe it’s the Chinese food I ate, but I don’t really see the humor in this. Though it would be annoying getting crank emails on a regular basis (I get enough from students asking to come to my 1pm lab section instead of my 9am one. Is it so hard to wake up at 8.30? Wait… ok, fair enough.) I’ll stop talking now :)

  70. pacal says

    I thought that the Universe is indeed curved, but the curve is a 4th dimensional curve not a three dimensional one. The result being that the Universe has no 3 dimensional center but would have a 4th dimensional center. Thus any beam of light traveling in a straight line from Earth would without once deviating from the straight line or curving three dimensionally would end up coming back to Earth because it would curve 4th dimensionally. This would be the same has a straight line drawn on a balloon would curve 3 dimensionally while traveling in a straight line 2 dimensionally.

  71. consciousness razor says

    pacal:

    I thought that the Universe is indeed curved, but the curve is a 4th dimensional curve not a three dimensional one.

    Which fourth dimension do you think there is? Time? (I’m not sure what to make of it if that’s supposed to be the curvy one.)

    The result being that the Universe has no 3 dimensional center but would have a 4th dimensional center.

    If there were a fourth dimension, that wouldn’t necessarily follow. Hypothetically, there could be one like that, but it is not a given that any additional spatial dimension would have that property (nor is there any evidence for one). For example, I’m pretty sure the extra dimensions of string theory, no matter which version it is, would not be like that if they exist, since they’re supposedly very small.

    Thus any beam of light traveling in a straight line from Earth would without once deviating from the straight line or curving three dimensionally would end up coming back to Earth because it would curve 4th dimensionally.

    Not if the direction it was traveling were infinite. Perhaps only one dimension is infinite, while the others are finite and curved as you suggest. So why a center point? Why not a center line or a center surface?

    Also, the evidence from the CMB suggests our three dimensions are flat enough that distances orders of magnitude greater than the diameter of the observable universe can be practically treated as flat. So if it’s curved, it’s an extremely big curve. Light doesn’t travel faster (or farther) than light, and the expansion rate already exceeds the speed of light. Thus, even if the curvature you’re talking about were real, no beam of light would ever actually do that.

    This would be the same has a straight line drawn on a balloon would curve 3 dimensionally while traveling in a straight line 2 dimensionally.

    That’s the analogy people use, but they’re talking about the surface of the balloon, how it’s “inflating” and such. You’re not supposed to take distances orthogonal to the surface of the balloon seriously.

  72. anchor says

    @ #86, Acolyte of Sagan:

    “I’ve just had a horrible thought. With the centrifugal forces that would be generated at those speeds, you may just have given any passing fundie a mathematically ‘proven’ way of making their Geocentric fantasies compatible with an expanding Universe.”

    Except that it would be drastically non-isotropic: stuff very closely aligned along the rotational axis of the Earth might manage to bead together along that line or fall in toward us due to mutual but very feeble gravity, while stuff progressively closer to the celestial equator would get flung outwards approaching or even exceeding primordial inflation rates.

    Even Polaris, describing its relatively tiny 0.7-degree circle around the celestial pole would have been flung away long since: at its (roughly-estimated) ~375 ly distance that 0.7-degree separation amounts to ~4.6 ly, so even Polaris would be moving along its apparent ~28 ly-circumference circuit at about 1.2 ly/hr, or about 10,500 times the speed of light. The universe would be very nearly empty since everything would have rushed off along the plane of the celestial equator. (All this neglects complications like precession…that’s not in the bible either).

    As John Phillips #84 points out, anything on the equator beyond 4.125 billion km would be moving at c. Even Neptune is farther away, at ~4.5 billion km from the Sun. Planets and asteroids much closer than that wouldn’t be held by the Sun’s gravitation either. In fact, the Earth’s velocity relative to the Sun would be 39 million km/hr, about 1/28 c, or over 360 times faster than the 108,000 km/hr speed required to balance against the Sun’s gravitation in orbit at our 150 million km distance. (And if we imagine the Earth is as old as YECs insist, our planet should by now have traveled over 200 ly from the Sun over the last 6000-odd years).

    Besides, even if any these objects were still around, anything else moving at or beyond c from our point of view would be relativistic black holes, and wouldn’t resemble anything remotely like what they do. So it hardly serves as a persuasive ‘mathematical proof’ for the isotropic expansion we in fact observe, even for fundie fantasies. Its not even preposterously wrong. It can be amusing, though.

  73. anchor says

    correction: “…anything on the equator beyond 4.125 billion km away would be moving at c.”

  74. vaiyt says

    There is no rational reason to reject the Our Lord Jesus Christ since it is scientifically demonstrated He is Divine and the One and Only True God. Only unscientific minds would reject empirical scientific evidence.

    Typical example of cargo cult skepticism: throw the words of scientists back at them as if they were a magic incantation, without bothering with the substance that backs them up.

  75. Doug Little says

    Nick Gotts,

    What’s with all this “for me” stuff? This is mathematics – it’s nothing to do with what you personally can or can’t imagine.

    There are several shapes the universe could have, I was just noting my preferences, why? I can’t have a favorite and say I like one over the other, absence any evidence that could distinguish between them.

    The universe could perfectly well be a finite three-dimensional manifold without boundary, flat or curved

    I’m having a hard time with the concept of a 3d shape that is finite, continuous and flat but has no boundaries.

  76. Sili says

    I’m having a hard time with the concept of a 3d shape that is finite, continuous and flat but has no boundaries.

    Lack of imagination. We can do it in 2D, so 3D shouldn’t be a problem.

  77. consciousness razor says

    I’m having a hard time with the concept of a 3d shape that is finite, continuous and flat but has no boundaries.

    Someone in Siegal’s thread (linked in #55) brought up a torus. I’m not a geometer, but that’s apparently one example. Don’t think of it so much as “a shape” inside some other space, but about the dimensions themselves which constitute a space.

  78. Nick Gotts says

    Doug Little@94,
    Here’s part of what you said @59:

    To me at least when you say the universe has no center that implies that there is no real overall shape to the universe it’s just a boring flat infinite universe, which may well be the case. I too find it difficult to imagine what a boundary would be if it has one and if it did then the center would exist in space-time as a place you could visit.

    For me at least it makes sense that the universe is finite and continuous with a shape that requires some more dimensions to define.

    You’re not just expressing preferences there; you’re just wrong both in thinking that lack of a centre implies flat and infinite; and in thinking that a finite and continuous universe requires more dimensions to define.

    I’m having a hard time with the concept of a 3d shape that is finite, continuous and flat but has no boundaries.

    Take a cube. Identify the top and bottom faces, the front and back faces, and the left and right faces – so if you reach what was the “back face”, you find yourself facing in the same direction, but located at the “front face” (just as when in some video games, if you go off the left edge you appear on the right, etc.). That’s a 3-torus, and it’s flat, finite and continuous, and has no centre (the “faces” are no longer distinguishable from any other section through it once the identification is done, just as in some video games you can shift your viewpoint left or right, up or down, and the “edges” move). It doesn’t need to be embedded in a higher-dimensional space: the mathematics all works perfectly well without any such assumption. Of course you can’t visualize it, because your intuition isn’t used to such a space; but that’s what I meant by saying it doesn’t matter what you can or can’t imagine: the maths works, so such a space is just as feasible a structure for the universe as any other.

  79. Acolyte of Sagan says

    Anchor @#90,

    [….BIG SNIP….]So it hardly serves as a persuasive ‘mathematical proof’ for the isotropic expansion we in fact observe, even for fundie fantasies. Its not even preposterously wrong. It can be amusing, though.

    I certainly was playing it for laughs, and thank you for going to the trouble of working all of that out (for both of my posts). I already knew that the idea of a static Earth, geocentric, and expanding Universe was beyond ridiculous, and it’s even more amusing now I know just how much of a stranger to reality somebody would have to be to make the claim for real.
    Yet there is still the fact that being so obviously – and so badly – wrong has not yet been seen as a serious barrier to the pseudo-intelligent fundie fantasists. I can easily imagine them claiming that, yes, the laws of mathematics and physics rule it out, but that the silly scientificallists and mathematicalismists always forget to factor in the gently restraining hands of the Master Architect, or the celestial crystal spheres, or some such guff.

    In his book Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (pub. 1841), Charles Mackay mentions an unnamed French philosopher who had constructed what he insisted was a very satisfactory theory on some subject or another, and of which he was rather proud. His friend, on being sounded out on the idea, retorted ‘But the facts, my dear fellow, the facts do not fit the theory’.
    ‘Don’t they?’, replied the philosopher with a shrug of his shoulders, ‘then tant pis pour les faits (so much the worse for the facts)’.
    And that just about sums up the fundie mind-set. The only mystery is why they haven’t adopted tant pis pour les faits as their motto.

  80. Doug Little says

    That’s a 3-torus, and it’s flat, finite and continuous

    How is it flat? If we look at the example of a regular torus (2-torus if you like, in 3-dimensions it has curvature (joining of one dimension in ring and the other dimension in a ring) a so a 3-torus in 4 dimensions has curvature as well. Using your example you have to join each opposing face with one another (front-back, left-right, top-bottom) how do you do that without curvature? Now maybe being in 3 dimensions we can’t measure the curvature but if we somehow could look across the universe and see ourselves (at a younger age) then your example of the box would actually hold, which would be way cool.