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Refuting absolute geocentrism

Refutation of our detractors

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Published: 6 September 2016 (GMT+10)
Tychonian-model
In this depiction of the Tychonic system, the objects on blue orbits (the moon and the sun) rotate around the earth. The objects on orange orbits (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) rotate around the sun. Around all is a sphere of stars, which rotates.
Credit: en.wikipedia.org

After the publication of our lengthy exposition and explanation of the kinetic model of the universe, refuting absolute geocentrism, we received many comments. Some responders noted that we failed to directly engage with the proponents of geocentrism. This is true. Actually, it was by design. We also deliberately didn’t refer to previous modern creationist critics of geocentrism. By building the strongest case for geokinetics we could, our aim was to establish the scriptural and scientific validity of the theory first. Others said we dealt unfairly with the geocentrists, which we do not think is true.

We also knew that the supporters of geocentrism would eventually attempt to refute our arguments, which has indeed happened. The most detailed response was by a Roman Catholic man named Robert Sungenis,1 who seems to have taken over from a Protestant man named Gerardus Bouw as the most vocal geocentrist, and a few of the other respondents restated many similar arguments.

Per creation.com rules, we cannot post live links to the critiques of our article. And, since we received responses from multiple people (many via e-mail) it would be too confusing to answer them one at a time. So we will pool the criticisms and try to deal with them simultaneously. Analyzing their efforts is frustrating, to say the least, for in some ways they misrepresent what we wrote and in others fail to take into account the implications of their own theory. We also fear for the inevitable “death by a thousand e-mails” that may come from that small community if we directly engage these arguments. Yet, we do this for the sake of completion. We hold nothing against them, except where our beliefs are misrepresented or unfairly maligned. What follows is only a brief response to some of the major claims.

  1. We do not need to defend our defense of the early scientists who pioneered geokinetic theory. Most geocentrists today are Catholic, and most of geokinetic pioneers were Catholics (for example, the priest Buridan, the bishop Oresme, the Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa, the canon Copernicus, and, of course, Galileo). If the pioneers were acting contrary to the teachings of that church, well, they can clean their own house. In fact, we thought we were being quite generous to the Catholics, especially since the ‘Church’ by and large sponsored the scientific data collection that led to the eventual rejection of geocentrism. Being Protestants ourselves, if certain members of the Catholic church decide to proclaim anathema on someone, we reserve the right to our own judgment. At the least, we demonstrated that we can separate the men (with all of their inherent foibles and sins) from the data. We are not trying to be gadflies, but we do wonder if their views on evolution and the age of the earth match those of the most recent papal pronouncements? To be fair, we are friends with an eminent Catholic theologian and priest who is a young-earth creationist and not a geocentrist.
  2. We were careful to separate “absolute geocentrism” (where the earth is fixed in place and everything rotates around it) from geocentrism in general (where earth is simply used as a convenient reference frame). Among the former are the Ptolemaic model (where everything orbits the earth) and the Tychonian model (where the sun and moon orbit the fixed earth but the planets orbit the sun). The “neo-Tychonian” view of some of the modern proponents of geocentrism tries to take the purely descriptive (“kinematic”) model of Tycho Brahe and turn it into a physical (“dynamic”) model where the earth is balanced in place by the forces of gravity. We are not certain that it is fair to call the neo-Tychonic model “absolute geocentrism” because the earth is not fixed in place so much as it is supposedly balanced in place by the sum of the relevant forces. Nevertheless, there was a strong trend in their responses to assert that the phrase “absolute geocentrism” referred to the neo-Tychonian system. Yet we were generally accused of mistakenly calling the Tychonian system a kinematic model, instead of a dynamic model. But Tycho Brahe’s system is absolutely a kinematic model (it only describes motion, not the reason for the motion). It is a mathematical system that attempted to explain the then-available data, but did so without physics. It is simply not true to assert otherwise. It is the neo-Tychonian model that attempts to be a dynamic model. But, as we pointed out at length in our article, and we will add several additional points below, the neo-Tychonian model fails as a dynamic explanation for how the universe works.
  3. iStockphoto solar-system
  4. Sadly, we saw multiple examples of a failure to understand basic science. Several examples follow:

    1. It was claimed that geokinetic theory cannot explain why the planets don’t fly off into space, since “gravity only acts at the speed of light” (some geocentrist models require gravity to propagate at infinite velocity). Actually, since the sun’s gravitational field permeates the solar system, this is no problem at all. Jupiter, for example, experiences the sun’s gravitational attraction at all points and at all times in its orbit and it is exactly the correct gravitational attraction to keep it in orbit at that distance. Even if gravity waves arriving at Jupiter are delayed by a couple of minutes as they propagate outward from the sun, there is never a time when gravity is not there. In any case, under General Relativity, gravity curves space, and that curvature is always there. Also, the recent measurement of two black holes colliding is evidence that gravity propagates as a wave and at the speed of light (We already know that many of them reject this experimental evidence. Update: there has been a second detection. Also, Hartnett has defended the data interpretation.).
    2. Another area of criticism dealt with questions about where the planets get their continual force to move forward. “Why don’t the planets spiral into the sun?” The answer is simple: Newton’s First Law, of course! Once the planet is set in motion, it will continue in motion until acted on by an outside force. Since there is no appreciable drag acting on the planets, they continue to orbit. Another part of their model requires ‘ether’ and they believe this ether would cause drag on objects moving through space. Yet, there is essentially no friction in space, and we have measured it by sending multiple space probes through the essentially frictionless void of space without ever having to take any ether-caused drag into account.
  5. Non-Newtonian misunderstandings:

    1. We see that geocentrists reject time dilation in general, claiming that clocks slow down because of the mechanical effects of gravity or inertial forces. We wonder how an atomic clock (the only clocks sensitive enough to detect time dilation), that is in turn based on molecular vibrations in crystals, is subject to mechanical interference. Also, the amount of time dilation in GPS satellites is exactly the amount predicted by Einstein—before the technology to measure time dilation was available. How can anyone say “no one has detected time dilation”, as at least one prominent geocentrist does, without first rejecting the experimental results that support it?
    2. Einstein is often accused of lying about the changing perihelion of Mercury, although Urbain Le Verrier had shown this to be a problem for Newtonian physics in 1859, 20 years before Einstein was born. And these anti-relativistic geocentrists also claim that there was no evidence in Eddington’s eclipse photos showing a bending of starlight. Michelson and Morley’s apparatus is usually accepted as proving ether exists instead of being taken as an equivocal result that proves nothing. What can one do when faced with stubborn refusal to engage the most salient arguments?
    3. We also saw several examples of people rejecting redshift/blueshift for calculating local motion, but nobody explained why, when we measure the absorption lines of hydrogen here on earth, those same apparent absorption lines seen in interstellar objects are shifted one way or the other? Some contradicted themselves by accepting that there is local, independent motion of stars and galaxies. But how can we “know” this without trusting the spectral line data? And what are the implications of local motion in the geocentric model? Clearly, the stars are not “fixed” in relation to one another. What then holds them in their respective places as they whirl about the earth at incredible speeds? Why do neighboring stars orbit at the same rate as distant galaxies when there is a multi-billion-fold difference in their respective distances? What causes them to orbit once a day when some are very close compared to others and nothing is fixing them in place with respect to one another? And if nearby stellar objects (those with the greatest gravitational effects impinging on the earth) have relative motion, how much of a potential effect would this have on ‘balancing’ earth at the center of the universe?
    4. It pains us to note that many of them do not believe in the moon landings. If one has to reject so much operational science in order to explain the universe, science cannot then be used to explain the universe. So why bother to try to build a ‘scientific’ model at all? This is their greatest Achilles’ heel.
  6. As far as the geocentrist ‘model’ goes, there are significant problems:

    1. Many of them believe that the Earth is balanced at the universe’s center of mass and that the earth can be at rest if the proper forces outside the solar system are properly balanced. Newton said something to this effect, and theoretically one could construct such a universe. But it would only work if the major gravitational sources in the universe were indeed far away. Instead, there is a star (the sun) only 8 light-minutes away from earth that dominates the local gravitational environment. Gravitational force decreases with the square of the distance, so the individual effect of the distant stars and galaxies is weak and delocalized. They are not gravitational point sources, and thus are irrelevant compared to the sun.

      1. The sun is much more massive than the earth. Thus, the sun should not orbit the earth. One possible solution to get the sun to orbit the earth would be to add an offsetting mass on the opposite side of the earth to the sun. Such a counterbalance does not exist in near space, and the farther away it is, the more massive it must be (at a mere 1 light year, the counterbalancing mass would need to have the mass of over 4 billion suns—this would turn our justified criticisms of ‘dark matter’ as a fudge factor into rank hypocrisy). The sun lags the stars by about 4 minutes a day (they claim this is due to “the inertial drag of the planets”) and so must the ‘counterbalancing mass’. So that mass must not be at the margins of the universe, for then it would orbit at the same rate as the universe (and probably require more mass than the universe!). But if you add such a mass anywhere close to the earth, the gravitational explanation of the solar system ceases to exist because you could not explain the orbits of the other planets around the sun only.
      2. Since the stars and galaxies are so far away, and since their gravitational effects are so diffuse, maybe it’s not the earth but the entire solar system that is balanced at or near the center of the universe? In this case, the earth would be free to move about the sun. This, of course invalidates all the assumptions of geocentrism, but they have not explained why the earth is balanced at the center and the sun (which, on a universal scale, is only a fraction of a fraction of a percent from the center in their model) is not. And where is this balance point? Is it at the center of the earth? In that case, the crust would be free to rotate about the liquid core. Is it at the surface of the earth? At the edge of the atmosphere? Considering how large the universe is, what physical reason is there that the earth, the whole earth, and nothing but the earth is at an unmoving central position?
    2. If the earth is only balanced and not ‘fixed’ in place, what is to prevent the earth from moving? The solar system could be moving at millions of miles an hour toward the edge of the universe and we would not know it.
    3. Also, if one is attempting to claim the earth is balanced at the center of mass of a rotating universe, one runs into a very large problem: the earth should turn in synchrony with that universe. In the words Grøn & Eriksen, “…the interior inertial frames are dragged around rigidly with the same angular velocity as that of the shell.”2 Take a neutrally-buoyant ball and place it in a round pool of water with a circular current going around it. What’s going to happen? The current will cause drag and the ball will eventually spin at the same rate as the current. Trying to escape this aspect of their own model, strangely, one prominent geocentrist thinks the torque caused by the rotating heavens at the poles and equator runs in opposite directions. Take another ball. Put it in a pool of still water. Spin the ball. Why would the fluid at the poles rotate in the direction of spin but the fluid at the equator flow in the opposite direction? Another attempt at an escape is to claim that anything outside the Schwarzschild radius (the distance from a massive object within which the attraction of gravity is so strong that not even light can escape) is irrelevant. But wait a minute! They reject all the physics—Einstein’s general relativity3—that is needed to calculate the Schwarzschild radius, so they cannot appeal to it here. And if they believe gravity travels at infinite speed, light should as well. Thus there would be no Schwarzschild radius, because this is inversely proportional to the square of light speed.4 Due to inertial frame dragging, in a geocentrist model all objects in the solar system should be turning with the inexorable pull of the universal gravitational field. But then local orbital motion would stop and the solar system would collapse into a single sun/earth/planet ball. So their attempts at a dynamic neo-Tychonian system devolves into the kinematic Tychonian “fixed earth” system once again. Clearly, it is not possible to explain the fixity of the earth with Newtonian forces.
    4. Another common aspect of their model is the belief that all the stars orbit at the same distance from earth. But most of them firmly defend parallax measurements. Yet, the fact that some stars have a detectable annual parallax wobble and other do not shows that stars are at different distances from earth! OK, we made an imperfect argument when we said parallax could not be accounted for in a geocentric universe, but only some believers in geocentrism believe the stars orbit the sun. That in itself is amazing, because that means the universe (in all its massiveness) does not rotate around what they believe is the center of mass of the universe (the earth). But if the universe orbits the sun, the sun is the center of mass—making them heliocentrists by definition! If not, there must be an offsetting mass that counteracts the sun and does not orbit in synchrony with the stars (see above). Also, once you have stars at different distances, one then has to explain why satellites at different heights above the earth’s surface orbit at different rates but stars at different distances do not.
    5. But think about this: a geostationary orbit can only be achieved above the earth’s equator, and the equator is tilted in respect to the rotation of the universe. If it is the universe that is “pulling upward on the geosynchronous satellite”, keeping it from falling back to earth, it cannot do so evenly throughout the year and thus the satellite could not sit still in reference to earth.
  7. We noticed several examples of cherry picking, the act of arbitrarily picking and choosing different explanations for the same phenomenon. We also called it “stamp collecting”, which made many people mad. But it’s clearly what they are doing. For example:

    1. Notice that Mercury does not have an equatorial bulge. Earth does, as does Jupiter. They believe, and adamantly defend, that the bulge on Jupiter is due to rotation, and the lack of a bulge on Mercury is due to a lack of rotation (Mercury rotates slowly, once every 59 earth days). But they then go on to say that the bulge on Earth is due to the universe rotating around the earth.
    2. Likewise, the Coriolis force on Jupiter is due to its rotation, but they believe the Coriolis force on Earth is due to the universe rotating around the Earth. Thus, they require multiple explanations of the same phenomena. In geokinetics, there is one explanation: both rotate.
  8. Sadly, they failed to engage some of our best arguments: The “long-period comets must come with warp drive” claim, the source of universal acceleration question, and the speed of the moon largely went unanswered. What is the point of having this debate when our best arguments are ignored? Actually, we anticipated that the defenders of geocentrism would either ignore, misunderstand, or misrepresent this section. They chose the former. Par for the course.
  9. Our “Oddly Wiggling Universe” section got a lot of attention. Point of fact: the rate of rotation of the earth changes over time. Sometimes the change is abrupt (e.g., after a strong earthquake), sometimes it is slow but reversible (due to various combinations of different orbital parameters interacting with the unequal mass distribution within the earth), and sometimes it is slow and irreversible (i.e., as a result of tidal friction from the moon):

    1. Things in the universe are only connected though gravity. They are not connected by anything stronger (hence, stellar objects can display local motion), or faster, than that. Since there is no reason to expect galaxies to change their orbital period in synchrony when they are not firmly held in place with respect to one another, it must be the earth that is changing. But even if they are fixed in place with respect to one another, nothing should be able to change the rate of rotation of something as massive as a spinning universe.
    2. The fact that the universe appears to change its rate of rotation when an earthquake occurs (sadly, this is yet another scientific datum many of them reject) indicates that it is the earth that is changing its rate of rotation, not all the other things in the universe. For some reason, one of the replies to our article went into a lengthy discussion of how earthquakes would slow down the rotation of the earth and that author back calculated to show unsustainable levels millions of years ago. The problem with this is 1) earthquakes don’t always slow the earth, 2) the moon also has a measurable and usually larger effect, and 3) we do not believe the earth is millions of years old.
    3. They criticized us, saying that the heliocentric system is easily knocked out of whack. No, the earth and other planets are large and massive objects and the dynamic forces keep them in nice, tight orbits. Is this sustainable for thousands of years? Yes. Millions? Quite likely. Billions? Maybe not. But so what? It only has to be stable from the beginning until today.
    4. Robert Sungenis argued that there is no evidence of any change in sidereal time. But the differences are so small as nobody would have noticed before we invented instruments accurate enough to measure them.
    5. Sungenis also argued, “Moreover, we would have seen the effects in the weather, the jet stream, biological rhythms, and just about anything that is dependent on the precision of a sidereal day.” No, these things are not dependent on rhythms being accurate to less than one part in one million.
  10. Problems with the length of the year and day

    1. Several wondered how the earth could maintain a precise annual orbital period in light of internal inertial forces, cosmic forces, and planetary perturbations. Our answer is simple: Newton. One triumph of Newton, a biblical creationist, was that his laws of motion and gravity (along with his co-invention, calculus) could straightforwardly explain in a dynamic model the kinematic three laws of planetary motion discovered by his fellow creationist, Kepler. There’s no magic here. The relevant factors are reasonable and measureable.
    2. Sungenis threw out this gem: “Venus has changed its rotation by 6 minutes over the years it has been studied.” He said the same thing when writing against another young-earth geokinetics supporter as well. The reader should note that the orbital period of Venus has not changed, only the length of the day (over a 16-year time frame, and assuming the first measurements were accurate). First, he is attempting a bait-and-switch to catch the unaware who might think he is talking about the orbital period. Second, most scientists think the thick cloud layer and massive storm systems are causing the rate of rotation to slow. If physical explanations can tell us why the length of a Venusian day can change, why is it impossible for the length of a day on earth to change? Actually, part of the known day-length variation of the earth is due to seasonally-changing wind patterns across the surface of the earth. This means that in a geocentric universe the slight, measurable variations in the rotation of the heavens must be correlated with seasonal wind patterns on earth. It is quite strange that the two would be related.
    3. The earth’s axial tilt changes over time, the eccentricity of its orbit changes over time, and the plane of its orbit tilts up and down over time. These are all cases of precession, and are easily explained by Newtonian physics. If the earth does not move, this means the entire universe is wobbling as it turns. And, since these changes are explainable based on the changing positions of Jupiter and Saturn (the main gravitational sources that matter here), the geocentrist has now to explain why the universe wobbles depending on the relative locations of the two largest planets near the center of that universe.
    4. commons.wikimedia.org Analemma
    5. There is one more thing to consider: the analemma. You may have seen a strange figure-eight shape on a globe or map? That represents the position of the sun at noon throughout the year. It is easy enough to explain why the height of the sun at noon changes, but why does it also appear slightly earlier and slightly later over the course of a year? The reason for this is that the earth moves through the heavens faster when it is closer to the sun. Thus, the sun appears later than it should during summer in the Northern Hemisphere and earlier than it should during the Northern Hemisphere winter. Also, the stars move through the heavens faster or slower depending on the season. We have known about this since Edmond Halley first noticed it in 1695. In the geokinetic model, it is easy to understand why this happens, and we have been able to explain why since 1609, when Kepler’s second law was published. But, as in so many other examples, there is no reason for this in the geocentric model. Oh, they’ll come up with a reason, post hoc, but it will be no more valid a reason than the way long-period comets find their amazing power of acceleration and deceleration. In this case, they are going to have to explain why the entire universe changes its rate of rotation over time based on the distance of the earth to the sun.
    6. There are other things that affect the length of a day. The moon’s orbit is not perfectly circular, and the geometry of the earth is not perfectly round. This affects the length of a day. The earth is also not uniform on the inside. Changes in the magnetic field have been linked to changes in the length of a day. This means that things are wobbling around deep inside the earth. In the geocentric universe, these wobblings affect the rate of rotation of the entire universe? Remember, our clocks are accurate enough to measure these changes, and Newtonian mechanics gives us a valid reason for them.
  11. Coriolis confusion:

    I coined the term ‘spatial Coriolis’ in that article and this seems to have caused confusion. I believe, however, that the confusion is intentional. The idea is simple enough. Objects leaving earth are starting with an inertial reference frame radically different from the one to which they are travelling. In a geocentric universe, space ships have to get to their destination, but they also have to accelerate to match the speed of their destination. We do not have the technology to accelerate objects to get to most places in the solar system in a geocentric universe. Rocket motors are simply unable to get things moving that fast. If ether causes drag, we would have to account for it in the amount of rocket fuel needed. No rocket scientist has ever had to factor into an equation of acceleration the dragging effects of ether, and we have sent things all over the solar system. And, if ether were causing drag, once a space probe was sent in a particular direction, it should gradually accelerate in the direction of universal movement. They do not.

So there you have it. If a person rejects a purely naturalistic origin of the universe, they still have to decide on how much science to accept. For us (strangely in common with leading evolutionists Ernst Mayr and E.O. Wilson), we draw the line between operational science (how things work) and historical science (what happened in the past). Since the universe was created by God at a specific time in the recent past, it would be folly to take present processes and extrapolate them back to infinity. This is essentially what the evolutionist does. When they do so, however, they run into innumerable problems (we documented many of them in our powerful book and documentary Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels).

Simply put, the universe resists such explanations because it was created. On the other hand, once that universe was set up by God, everything should work according to a set of laws, for the Universal Lawgiver would have created the universe commensurate with His divine attributes. His unchanging nature means we have a universe that can be understood through unchanging scientific law (and of course the occasional miracle, an addition to natural law). The geocentrist goes too far in rejecting sound scientific theory and data. In the end, they are left with a universe that cannot be explained scientifically. It is a mysterious universe that cannot be comprehended through direct observation and analysis, for what is true in one place cannot be true in another. Because of this, we want to encourage everyone to put on their thinking caps and realize that the geokinetic model is simply a better explanation of the facts. It satisfies multiple criteria as faithful science.

References and notes

  1. His attempted rebuttal can be found here, but we advise the reader to exercise caution as we cannot vouch for the accuracy of all material on this website, and we disagree with much of it, nor can we guarantee how long this blog post will remain there: gwwdvd.com/2016/05/05/critique-of-the-2015-cartersarfati-paper-titled-why-the-universe-does-not-revolve-around-the-earth-refuting-absolute-geocentrism. Return to text.
  2. Grøn, Ø, and Eriksen, E., Translational Inertial Dragging, General Relativity and Gravitation 21(2):105–124, 1989. Sourced from geocentricity.com. Return to text.
  3. Schwarzschild, K., Über das Gravitationsfeld eines Massenpunktes nach der Einsteinschen Theorie, Sitzungsberichte der Königlich-Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, S. 189–196, 3 February 1916 [English: On the Gravitational Field of a Point-Mass, according to the Einsteinian Theory, Proceedings of the Royal Prussian Academy of Sciences]. Return to text.
  4. Rs = 2GM/c². Return to text.

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