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  #1  
Old Jul 30, '09, 11:38 pm
Omyo12 Omyo12 is offline
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Default Geocentric Universe?

So I came across something quite interesting...

I understand why many Christians reject evolution

However, a brother on Catholic-Answers told me the Church still infallibly holds to the geocentric theory. Is this true?

I know the Church condemns the heliocentric theory, and no one really believes the Sun is the center of the universe.

However, does she teach the geocentric theory?




http://www.scripturecatholic.com/geocentrism.html
http://scripturecatholic.xanga.com/7...-crazy-people/

It came as quite a shock since I've taken my share of university physics classes.

However, according to the "Catholic Encyclopedia"
Quote:
The mathematical and experimental sciences, also known as exact sciences, have no contact whatever with faith, although at one time, it was erroneously believed that the geocentric system was contained in the Bible. The celestial phenomena mentioned in the Scripture, like the star of the magi, the solar eclipse during the Paschal full moon, the stars falling from heaven as forerunners of the Last Judgment, are all of the miraculous kind and beyond the laws of nature.
Are we as Catholics allowed to believe the heliocentric nature of the solar system and the modern scientific view of the universe?

  #2  
Old Jul 31, '09, 1:30 am
Areopagite Areopagite is offline
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Default Re: Geocentric Universe?

There are a surprising number of geocentric believers in [very traditionalist] Catholics, and they don't seem to be unanimous on what they exactly mean by it. When I say "very traditionalist," I mean ones that are usually sedevacantist (they don't believe that there is currently a valid Pope) or at least belonging to some ulta-conservative schismatic sect.

What seems to be at the heart of it is that they think the Church condemned Galileo for believing in heliocentricity ... and if the Church did in fact do that, and the Church is infallible, then geocentricity must be true and infallibly true. However, to my knowledge, Galileo wasn't condemned for this but condemned for heretical remarks about the Eucharist. If he was condemned for his heliocentricity, it wasn't condemned by the Church but a few power-wielding academics who happened to be priests. Also, Galileo didn't introduce heliocentricity into his contemporary setting, but rather Copernicus did. Copernicus was a Catholic priest and some anti-Catholic scientists believed he was burnt at the stake for his remarks. However, this can't be farther from the truth. Copernicus died of natural causes, and was never persecuted by the Church in any way. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, Copernicus was actually honored by the Pope for his scientific work. However, anti-Catholic historians have warped this story, some ultra-conservative Catholics have believed them, and hence become geocentric-model supporters.

But to actually answer your question ... can we believe in heliocentricity and still be Catholic. Well, does heliocentricity pertain to faith and morals? Definitely not to morals. To faith? Well, I've read a lot of the Scripture quotes that allegedly deny heliocentricity but I don't see how they are proofs ... if you don't agree, please bring up particular ones because there are many. They also claim the Church fathers were unanimous about claiming a geocentric universe ... but, man, that would require a lot of scholarship, considering most Church fathers have not been translated into english. I've also heard that a couple of Popes back in the day claimed geocentricity and condemned heliocentricity, but I've never seen their source on that. Even if the Popes did say that, you could argue it doesn't pertain to faith and morals, but rather physics, and thus the Popes are unable to make infallible statements about it. In other words, Popes can be wrong in their opinions here and not contradict their official infallibility.

I talked to Gerry Matatics, a big proponent on geocentricity (at the time at least), and he said more or less the following ...

Quote:
Motion is relative in the physical universe. Relative to the sun, the earth is moving, and relative to the earth, the sun is moving. However, since the Incarnation happened on earth "X marks the spot" and thus earth is the center of the universe.
Wow. I guess that might do it for some people. But not for me. There seems to be some much equivocation here I don't know where to start. But I'll start somewhere.

There is a different between center of the universe in terms of physical motion as opposed to the center of the universe in terms of theological significance. There could be a building that is a center for Catholic studies, but it might not be the center of town. It depends what you mean by "center." Someone's wife could be the center of their lives, but not the center of someone else's. That could also be distinguished from your center of gravity. Etc. And so on, for infinity + 1.

As Gerry Matatics even admitted, motion is relative (and I'm not a physicist so I might say some stupid things here ... forgive me). Velocity, in particular is relative, and so we can legitimately say that the sun moves across the sky and whatnot while maintaining heliocentricity (which is exactly what most scientists do). Anything about the movement of the sun said by the Church Fathers and Scripture is probably stated in this sense, though it doesn't contradict heliocentricity. However, another kind of motion has to do with acceleration and centripetal force. This is not relative. I'm open to correction here, but I'm quite certain I learned that we can measure the force of the earth being pulled around the sun. This also pertains to the earth's rotation ... it's not a relative thing, because it pertains to centripetal force. Well-oiled pendulums (the ones that move along not one but two axis) can prove that the earth is rotating. Right? Do you know what I'm talking about? Not to mention the toilet flushes, how toilets flush in opposite directions on the lower hemisphere while it doesn't spiral at all near the equator. I better stop rambling, because I sound like a royal idiot, but my points, despite their puerile incoherence, are valid, I think. So, thus, in terms of centripetal force, which is another kind of movement than just plain velocity, the planetary system we live in is definitely heliocentric.

All right, now you can fire away, both you traditionalists and scientists.
  #3  
Old Jul 31, '09, 6:47 am
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buffalo buffalo is offline
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Default Re: Geocentric Universe?

Galileo was Wrong
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IDvolution - God "breathed" the super language of DNA into the "kinds" in the creative act. Buffalo

"We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is a thought of God."

“Science presupposes the trustworthy, intelligent structure of matter, the ‘design’ of creation.”

"A man of conscience, is one who never acquires tolerance, well- being, success, public standing, and approval on the part of prevailing opinion, at the expense of truth."
Pope Benedict XVI

  #4  
Old Jul 31, '09, 11:00 am
Omyo12 Omyo12 is offline
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Default Re: Geocentric Universe?

Areopagite,

Galileo was condemned for believing
Quote:
That the sun is the center of the world and motionless is a proposition which is philosophically absurd and false, and formally heretical, for being explicitly contrary to Holy Scripture; That the earth is neither the center of the world nor motionless but moves even with diurnal motion is philosophically equally absurd and false, and theologically at least erroneous in the Faith.
However, I learned the geocentric theory may not be infallible

Quote:
Although three of the ten cardinals who judged Galileo refused to sign the verdict, his works were eventually condemned. Anti-Catholics often assert that his conviction and later rehabilitation somehow disproves the doctrine of papal infallibility, but this is not the case, for the pope never tried to make an infallible ruling concerning Galileo’s views.

The Church has never claimed ordinary tribunals, such as the one that judged Galileo, to be infallible.
Church tribunals have disciplinary and juridical authority only; neither they nor their decisions are infallible.

No ecumenical council met concerning Galileo, and the pope was not at the center of the discussions, which were handled by the Holy Office. When the Holy Office finished its work, Urban VIII ratified its verdict, but did not attempt to engage infallibility.

Three conditions must be met for a pope to exercise the charism of infallibility: (1) he must speak in his official capacity as the successor of Peter; (2) he must speak on a matter of faith or morals; and (3) he must solemnly define the doctrine as one that must be held by all the faithful.

In Galileo’s case, the second and third conditions were not present, and possibly not even the first. Catholic theology has never claimed that a mere papal ratification of a tribunal decree is an exercise of infallibility. It is a straw man argument to represent the Catholic Church as having infallibly defined a scientific theory that turned out to be false. The strongest claim that can be made is that the Church of Galileo’s day issued a non-infallible disciplinary ruling concerning a scientist who was advocating a new and still-unproved theory and demanding that the Church change its understanding of Scripture to fit his.

Taken from "The Galileo Controversy"

NIHIL OBSTAT: I have concluded that the materials
presented in this work are free of doctrinal or moral errors.
Bernadeane Carr, STL, Censor Librorum, August 10, 2004

IMPRIMATUR: In accord with 1983 CIC 827
permission to publish this work is hereby granted.
+Robert H. Brom, Bishop of San Diego, August 10, 2004

While Galileo's tribunal was fallible, does this make the cardinal's statements concerning the geocentric theory fallible?

To my understanding, the Catholic Church does not rule something infallible until it is challenged (i.e. The Immaculate Conception), however to my knowledge the Church has yet to rule the geocentric theory to be infallible.
  #5  
Old Jul 31, '09, 12:34 pm
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MarcoPolo MarcoPolo is offline
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Default Re: Geocentric Universe?

The matter is one of science and therefore the Church has not the capacity to make an "infallible" judgment on the matter. I researched the Gallileo incident quite a bit and you can see a summary of my findings
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcoPolo View Post
For all, here is a summary of already presented facts (and one new one) that belie the claim that the Church considered geocentrism a matter of immutable faith (and the claim by some that the Church does not have the guarantee of the Holy Spirit on faith or morals):
#1 Council of Trent (1546) - (I)n matters of faith, and of morals pertaining to the edification of Christian doctrine, --wresting the sacred Scripture to his own senses, presume to interpret the said sacred Scripture contrary to that sense which holy mother Church,--whose it is to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the holy Scriptures,--hath held and doth hold; or even contrary to the unanimous consent of the Fathers...

#2 In Cardinal Bellarmine's 1615 letter, he qualifies his comment that geocentrism is a matter of faith with: "if there were a true demonstration that the sun was in the centre of the universe...we would rather have to say that we did not understand them than to say that something was false which has been demonstrated." It doesn't matter if he admitted he didn't foresee such a demonstration. The fact is, he admits the understanding of the Scripture could change, meaning the traditional interpretation was not immutable.

#3 So we know from Cardinal Bellarmine's letter, geocentrism was not an immutable interpretation of Scripture. And since no doctrine is formed at a tribunal, there was no magisterial presence, it's not a council or synod or ex cathedra statement, no definition occurred during the trial. The Church is open to criticism on this issue. But not criticism that it defined dogma contrary to truth nor that a matter of immutable faith was established at this tribunal.

#4 In 1623, the newly elected Urban VIII indicated again, that a geocentrist interpretation was not a matter of immutable faith when he had his secretary write to Gallileo: "If you would resolve to commit to print those ideas that you still have in mind, I am quite certain that they would be most acceptable to His Holiness, who never ceases from admiring your eminence and preserves intact his attachment for you. You should not deprive the world of your productions." He even later bought into Gallileo's presentation but wanted Gallileo to admit God could do something contrary to science, leaving the geocentric interpretation still open to the literal before he chose to embrace the figurative. To this day, neither interpretation has been defined dogmatically. (For trivia's sake, it should also be noted that Gallileo taught the sun was the center of the universe, which was included in the statement of Gallileo's sentence, which modern science also considers erroneous).
There are too many exceptions surrounding this incident that show geocentrism was not considered a matter of unchangeable faith by the Church.
. Another post on understanding the perspective of ECFs:
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcoPolo View Post
There is further evidence that the Church has not defined geocentrism as dogma. In Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, which is used to teach the faith to seminarians, the following statement is made regarding Scripture and the interpretation thereof:
Even though all Holy Writ is inspired and is the Word of God, still, following St. Thomas (Sent. II.d.12.q.I.a.2), a distinction must be made between that which is inspired per se, and that which is inspired per accidens. As the truths of Revelation laid down in Holy Writ are designed to serve the end of religious and moral teaching, inspiration per se extends only to the religious and moral truths. The data inspired per accidens is also the Word to the religious-moral truths. The data inspired per accidens is also the Word of God, and consequently without error. However, as the hagiographers in profane things make use of a popular, that is, a non-scientific form of exposition suitable to the mental perception of their times, a more liberal interpretation is possible here. The Church gives no positive decisions in regard to purely scientific questions, but limits itself to rejecting errors which endanger the faith. Further, in these scientific matters there is no value in a consensus of the Fathers since they are not here acting as witnesses of the Faith, but merely as private scientists.
- Dr. Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, p. 92.
  #6  
Old Jul 31, '09, 8:21 pm
Luke65 Luke65 is offline
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Default Re: Geocentric Universe?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Omyo12 View Post
So I came across something quite interesting...

I understand why many Christians reject evolution

However, a brother on Catholic-Answers told me the Church still infallibly holds to the geocentric theory. Is this true?
Who told you that? Actually, I said "immutable" - unchangeable. That was the word the Church used to use before the doctrine on infallibility was formally defined in 1870. But its still a useful term, because while the Church has never said that Her doctrine on Geocentrism is infallible, She has said that Christians cannot interpret Scripture contrary to "the unanimous consent of the Fathers." And that was precisely the case that Cardinal Bellarmine, Saint and Doctor of the Church, made against Galileo:

St. Bellarmine: “the Council (of Trent) prohibits expounding the Scriptures contrary to the common agreement of the holy Fathers. And if Your Reverence would read not only the Fathers but also the commentaries of modern writers on Genesis, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, and Josue, you would find that all agree in explaining (ad litteram) that the sun is in the heavens and moves swiftly around the earth, and that the earth is far from the heavens and stands immobile in the center of the universe. Now consider whether the Church could encourage giving to Scripture a sense contrary to the holy Fathers and all the Latin and Greek commentators.”

And the verdict:

Quote:
This Holy Tribunal being therefore of intention to proceed against the disorder and mischief thence resulting, which went on increasing to the prejudice of the Holy Faith, by command of His Holiness and of the Most Eminent Lords Cardinals of this supreme and universal Inquisition, the two propositions of the stability of the sun and the motion of the Earth were by the theological Qualifiers qualified as follows:

The proposition that the sun is the center of the world and does not move from its place is absurd and false philosophically and formally heretical, because it is expressly contrary to the Holy Scripture.

The proposition that the Earth is not the center of the world and immovable but that it moves, and also with a diurnal motion, is equally absurd and false philosophically and theologically considered at least erroneous in faith.
And then:

Quote:
Vatican Council I, Ses. 3, Ch. 4

Hence all faithful Christians are forbidden to defend as the legitimate conclusions of science those opinions which are known to be contrary to the doctrine of faith, particularly if they have been condemned by the church; and furthermore they are absolutely bound to hold them to be errors which wear the deceptive appearance of truth.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Omyo12 View Post
It came as quite a shock since I've taken my share of university physics classes.
Well, that's good - or maybe its bad! So you probably know a bit about relativity, but they probably didn't teach you this:

Quote:
Wikipedia

Non-falsifiability of geocentrism

If general relativity is true, then there exists a non-inertial reference frame where the Earth is the immobile center of a non-inertial universe (see equivalence principle). There also exists a reference frame (inertial or non-inertial) for any other arbitrary choice of coordinate systems. This means that strictly speaking, a preferred coordinate system cannot be chosen, nor can a preferred coordinate system be rejected on the grounds of physics alone.
And I could quote numerous scientists, most of them not geocentrists (), who agree that they cannot falsify Geocentrism.

Quote:
Are we as Catholics allowed to believe the heliocentric nature of the solar system and the modern scientific view of the universe?
That's above my pay grade.
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Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin... so one man's act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. (Romans 5:12,18)
  #7  
Old Jul 31, '09, 8:30 pm
tjm190 tjm190 is offline
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Originally Posted by buffalo View Post
BWAHAHAHAHAHA... I haven't laughed so hard at the title of a book ever.
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Old Jul 31, '09, 8:35 pm
tjm190 tjm190 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luke65 View Post


And I could quote numerous scientists, most of them not geocentrists (), who agree that they cannot falsify Geocentrism.
We can't falsify Solipsism either, but I still can't help but laugh at it.
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Old Jul 31, '09, 8:56 pm
Luke65 Luke65 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjm190 View Post
We can't falsify Solipsism either, but I still can't help but laugh at it.
We'll see who has the last laugh.
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Because God did not make death... For he fashioned all things that they might have being; (Wisdom 1:13,14)

Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin... so one man's act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. (Romans 5:12,18)
  #10  
Old Jul 31, '09, 9:06 pm
tjm190 tjm190 is offline
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Originally Posted by Luke65 View Post
We'll see who has the last laugh.
Well, although geocentricism can't be flat out disproved, there is strong evidence against it in that everything we understand about gravity would have to be completely wrong for it to be true.
  #11  
Old Jul 31, '09, 9:21 pm
Luke65 Luke65 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjm190 View Post
Well, although geocentricism can't be flat out disproved, there is strong evidence against it in that everything we understand about gravity would have to be completely wrong for it to be true.
Not at all. Have you heard of the gyroscope analogy? The point of the gyroscope does not rotate while the rest of the gyroscope rotates around it - even though the point is just a tiny fraction of the overall mass of a gyroscope. And if you know about the mind-boggling fine tuning of this universe, then you should know that if its Designer, God, wanted to make the earth the g-center of the universe it would be a piece of cake!
__________________
Because God did not make death... For he fashioned all things that they might have being; (Wisdom 1:13,14)

Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin... so one man's act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. (Romans 5:12,18)
  #12  
Old Jul 31, '09, 9:24 pm
Matthias123 Matthias123 is offline
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Default Re: Geocentric Universe?

Quote:
However, a brother on Catholic-Answers told me the Church still infallibly holds to the geocentric theory. Is this true?

I know the Church condemns the heliocentric theory, and no one really believes the Sun is the center of the universe.

However, does she teach the geocentric theory?
No Mother Church ever taught it infallibly. The truth of God's hands will never contradict revelation. If it does then somebody really freaking dropped the ball.

The Sedevacantist are so crazy that it will take a super computer running in multiple dimensions to compute how crazy they are.
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  #13  
Old Jul 31, '09, 9:30 pm
tjm190 tjm190 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luke65 View Post
Not at all. Have you heard of the gyroscope analogy? The point of the gyroscope does not rotate while the rest of the gyroscope rotates around it - even though the point is just a tiny fraction of the overall mass of a gyroscope. And if you know about the mind-boggling fine tuning of this universe, then you should know that if its Designer, God, wanted to make the earth the g-center of the universe it would be a piece of cake!
because the gyroscope's parts are bound together by medal that over comes the force of gravity, and the presence of an initial force to get the motion started. Neither of these are present in reality
  #14  
Old Jul 31, '09, 9:59 pm
Luke65 Luke65 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthias123 View Post
No Mother Church ever taught it infallibly. The truth of God's hands will never contradict revelation. If it does then somebody really freaking dropped the ball.

The Sedevacantist are so crazy that it will take a super computer running in multiple dimensions to compute how crazy they are.
Nice poisoning of the well. I guess to your enlightened mind, if you have the Faith of our Fathers, and obey all the Church's teachings you're a sedevacantist, not to mention crazy.
__________________
Because God did not make death... For he fashioned all things that they might have being; (Wisdom 1:13,14)

Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin... so one man's act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. (Romans 5:12,18)
  #15  
Old Jul 31, '09, 11:59 pm
Omyo12 Omyo12 is offline
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Default Re: Geocentric Universe?

Luke65, what do you make of MarcoPolo's comments?
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