Using the Galileo Affair Against the Church


#1

LittleLes (Thread- Was the Church in Error, Part II) tried to argue that since the Church condemned Galileo for challenging the Church’s Geocentric position on Scripture, and supposedly since “modern science” has since proven Galileo wrong, that therefor the Vatican I proclamation regarding inerrancy of the the Church in interpreting Scripture was wrong, ergo, the Church is not infallible (by extension).

Catholic apologists supporting Geocentrism have warned that this is one reason to consider Geocentrism. By sweeping the issue under the rug because of some perceived embarrassment over Geocentrism, Catholic apologists are inadvertantly weakening the Church.

In the above referenced thread, I argued:

  1. The Bible teaches that the earth does not move (geostationism- leading to Geocentrism).
  2. The Fathers were all Geocentrists and interpreted the Bible Geocentrically- even arguing against the Greek heliocentrists long before Corpenicus.
  3. Three Popes made official condemnations against Corpenicanism, including a Papal Bull.
  4. he Church has never revoked these condemnations, nor claimed contrary to them in any official manner.
  5. These condemnations are part of the ordinary magisterium of the Catholic Church.

Science has not proven Geocentrism false. Science has a philosophy that there is no center, but it is just that philosophy. George, Ellis, a famous cosmologist whohas worked with Stephen Hawkings has this to say:

“People need to be aware that there is a range of models that could explain the observations,…For instance, I can construct you a spherically symmetrical universe with Earth at its center, and you cannot disprove it based on observations.” … “You can only exclude it on philosophical grounds. In my view there is absolutely nothing wrong in that. What I want to bring into the open is the fact that we are using philosophical criteria in choosing our models. A lot of cosmology tries to hide that.”.

W. Wayt Gibbs, “Profile: George F. R. Ellis,” Scientific American, October 1995, Vol. 273, No.4, p. 55.

Not only that, but since modern science is tied to Einstein’s General Relativity (GR), and GR states that there is no “preferred center” (conversely any center will work), then modern science cannot really reject Geocentrism as a theoretical possibility, which mathematically, observationally, kinetically, and dynamically does work. These quotes help illustrate this:

Max Born. physicist and personal friend of Albert Einstein said in his famous book,“Einstein’s Theory of Relativity”,Dover Publications,1962, pgs 344 & 345:

"…Thus we may return to Ptolemy’s point of view of a ‘motionless earth’…One has to show that the transformed metric can be regarded as produced according to Einstein’s field equations, by distant rotating masses. This has been done by Thirring. He calculated a field due to a rotating, hollow, thick-walled sphere and proved that inside the cavity it behaved as though there were centrifugal and other inertial forces usually attributed to absolute space.

Thus from Einstein’s point of view, Ptolemy and Corpenicus are equally right."

Here, from Einstein, himself:

“The struggle, so violent in the early days of science, between the views of Ptolemy and Copernicus would then be quite meaningless. Either CS could be used with equal justification. The two sentences, ‘the sun is at rest and the earth moves,’ or ‘the sun moves and the earth is at rest,’ would simply mean two different conventions concerning two different CS. – Einstein and Infeld, The Evolution of Physics, p.212 (p.248 in original 1938 ed.)”

[left][font=Arial][size=1]"…We know that the difference between a heliocentric theory and a geocentric theory is one of relative motion only, and that such a difference has no physical significance…"

Hoyle, Sir F. 1975. Astronomy and Cosmology - A Modern Course[font=Arial], (San Francisco:W. H. Freeman & Co.), p. 416.

[/left]

[/font][/size][/font]
Clearly, Geocentrism IS a possibility, therefor the possibility exists (and we should strongly consider it) that the Church was completely correct in the Galileo affair.

MJW


Scientism is a god. It fidgets in the modern pantheon because of the presence of the True God, who accepts no other gods.


#2

If geocentrism is true, then why does Mercury orbit the sun and not the Earth? Why do the moons of other planets orbit them and not the Earth? I think you’re taking the “no preferred center” out of context and bending it way too far.


#3

[quote=Ghosty]If geocentrism is true, then why does Mercury orbit the sun and not the Earth? Why do the moons of other planets orbit them and not the Earth? I think you’re taking the “no preferred center” out of context and bending it way too far.
[/quote]

Why would they not? Why would it matter if the sun orbited the earth and everything else orbited the sun. Using your line of reasoning here, why does the moon orbit the Earth instead of the sun?


#4

[quote=Ghosty]If geocentrism is true, then why does Mercury orbit the sun and not the Earth? Why do the moons of other planets orbit them and not the Earth? I think you’re taking the “no preferred center” out of context and bending it way too far.
[/quote]

Look at this again:

George, Ellis, a famous cosmologist whohas worked with Stephen Hawkings has this to say:

“People need to be aware that there is a range of models that could explain the observations,…For instance, I can construct you a spherically symmetrical universe with Earth at its center, and you cannot disprove it based on observations.” … “You can only exclude it on philosophical grounds. In my view there is absolutely nothing wrong in that. What I want to bring into the open is the fact that we are using philosophical criteria in choosing our models. A lot of cosmology tries to hide that.”.

W. Wayt Gibbs, “Profile: George F. R. Ellis,” Scientific American, October 1995, Vol. 273, No.4, p. 55.


#5

That’s what I’ve been trying to say all along. The earth is still the center of the universe. The early fathers were right!
Keep it up. The Church will be brought to completion!:cool:


#6

Why would they not? Why would it matter if the sun orbited the earth and everything else orbited the sun. Using your line of reasoning here, why does the moon orbit the Earth instead of the sun?

It’s not my line of reasoning that the moon should orbit the sun. I’m just trying to get a feel for what trth_skr is calling Geocentrism. The concept of Geocentrism that was proposed back in the day is VASTLY different from the relativity of perspective he’s applying; they can’t even be said to be discussing the same thing. To my understanding it was the position of Geocentrists that Mars directly orbited the Earth like the moon does, for example, not that it orbits the sun orbiting the Earth. They didn’t even have a concept of moons the way we do today, viewing the moon as no different than the sun and stars that also appeared to orbit in the same way, so they didn’t conceive of moons around other celestial objects.

My underlying point is that perspective-based geocentrism is not at all the same as the geocentric model used previously, which was completely demolished by observation (as has heliocentrism). Perspective-based geocentrism is actually just one of an infinite number of acceptable centrisms. Furthermore, this doesn’t begin to support the literalist reading of the sun stopping in the sky, because the movement of the sun, or lack there of, would still gravitationally affect the bodies around it cataclysmically.


#7

Are you all being serious??


#8

Hello, trth skr,

I certainly *understand *what you’re saying, but I have
to subscribe partially to what michaelp posted as well.

Do I understand the following, correctly? :

-it was held that the sun orbited the earth

-Galileo said: No, the earth orbits the sun

There’s a concept called “consentual reality” which
I think applies here. In the 21st century, the
people of the world accept the reality that the
earth orbits the sun. Hence, “consentual reality.”

The argument that you’re advancing…that
it can be a matter of perspective, and that
therefore the teaching office of the Church
may conceivalby be proven correct, won’t
wash, I don’t think.

I had the Galileo business thrown in my
face this past week by an atheist. What
was I supposed to say?

I’m more interested in whether the Galileo
matter constitued “infallible” teaching?
Does anyone know?

reen

“Inadequate, and *loving *it.”:o


#9

reen12 there are many articles in the library which adress Galileo.

here is one.


#10

Thanks, axolotl ! I’ll check it out.

reen12


#11

[quote=Ghosty]It’s not my line of reasoning that the moon should orbit the sun. I’m just trying to get a feel for what trth_skr is calling Geocentrism. The concept of Geocentrism that was proposed back in the day is VASTLY different from the relativity of perspective he’s applying; they can’t even be said to be discussing the same thing. To my understanding it was the position of Geocentrists that Mars directly orbited the Earth like the moon does, for example, not that it orbits the sun orbiting the Earth. They didn’t even have a concept of moons the way we do today, viewing the moon as no different than the sun and stars that also appeared to orbit in the same way, so they didn’t conceive of moons around other celestial objects.

My underlying point is that perspective-based geocentrism is not at all the same as the geocentric model used previously, which was completely demolished by observation (as has heliocentrism). Perspective-based geocentrism is actually just one of an infinite number of acceptable centrisms. Furthermore, this doesn’t begin to support the literalist reading of the sun stopping in the sky, because the movement of the sun, or lack there of, would still gravitationally affect the bodies around it cataclysmically.
[/quote]

The original model of Geocentrism acknowledged by the Church is Ptolmey’s. In this model, the planets, sun, and stars revolved around the earth.Tycho Brahe, who logged the data used by Kepler proposed the Tychonian model, in which the planets (not including earth) orbited the sun and the sun and stars orbited the earth. Today, modern Geocentrists use the modern Tychonian system or the neo-Tychonian system.

The modern Tychonian system is the same as the Tychonian, except planetary orbits are Keplerian (as opposed to circular). The neo-Tychonian system has Keplerian orbits of planets around the sun, the sun traveling around the earth, but the star system rotation centered on the sun.

No particular Geocentric system was ever officially endorsed by the Church. What the Church endorsed was geostationism (the earth is immmoble) adn the fact that the sun ran a circuit around the earth. So the choice of a model allowing for geostationism and solar motion is open.

I am not proposing a relativistic Geocentrism. I am saying the nearth is truly immobile and the stars and sun move around it. I am using modern science’s own words to show that modern science does not nor can dispute the possibility of Geocentrism. Modern science does not know if there is a center. They have a philosophical position that there is none. They do not accept Church teaching as worthy of consideration.

MJW


#12

[quote=reen12]Hello, trth skr,

I certainly *understand *what you’re saying, but I have to subscribe partially to what michaelp posted as well.

Do I understand the following, correctly? :

-it was held that the sun orbited the earth

-Galileo said: No, the earth orbits the sun

There’s a concept called “consentual reality” which
I think applies here. In the 21st century, the
people of the world accept the reality that the
earth orbits the sun. Hence, “consentual reality.”

The argument that you’re advancing…that
it can be a matter of perspective, and that
therefore the teaching office of the Church
may conceivalby be proven correct, won’t
wash, I don’t think.

I had the Galileo business thrown in my
face this past week by an atheist. What
was I supposed to say?

I’m more interested in whether the Galileo
matter constitued “infallible” teaching?
Does anyone know?

reen

“Inadequate, and *loving *it.”:o

[/quote]

According to the Catholic encyclopedia it was not infallible. Robert Sungenmis holds this opinion. Clearly if the Church did reverse itself on it it would not bode well for the ordinary (or possibly extraordinary Magisterium). Some authors have held that it was infallible.

MJW


#13

[quote=reen12]Hello, trth skr,

[font=Arial]…The argument that you’re advancing…that[/font]
it can be a matter of perspective, and that
therefore the teaching office of the Church
may conceivalby be proven correct, won’t
wash, I don’t think.

[/quote]

I am saying that the earth is immobile at the center. I always try and lay out a reasonable scientific case on Catholic sites, because I usually get very strong reactions. Ususally Catholic apologists (and wannabes, like many of us) usually give me a much harder time than do scientists! Most scientists who know something about cosmology agree that we do not really know that the earth is not the center of the universe, and except for philosophical considerations we do not even know that the earth goes around the sun (In fact I contend it does not). I use modern science’s words to make the case that modern science cannot rule out Geocentrism, nor prove the alternative.

Once this is established (that we do not know), then I ask, why say that the Church was wrong about Galileo? To fit in? Of course the secular world will reject Geocentrism. The only way the earth could have ended up in the centre of the universe is if God willed it, and the secular world does not want that. If that were demonstrated, the abortions would have to stop, the sin would become noticed, we couild not say, ah well, it’s all what you believe. No, if the earth ended up being in the center of the universes, the game would change. LittLes is one small example of how this issue is twisted.

And there is no reason to believe the earth is not in the center. Except to avoid embarrassment to the world. What has that gotten us.

MJW


#14

Ok, so how does your argument deal with Foucalt’s Pendulum? I don’t see any way that the Earth can be stationary and the Pendulum to work the way it does.

Incidently, the Church never made any infallible declarations on geostationism, so this whole debate is ultimately irrelevent.


#15

[quote=Ghosty]Ok, so how does your argument deal with Foucalt’s Pendulum? I don’t see any way that the Earth can be stationary and the Pendulum to work the way it does.

Incidently, the Church never made any infallible declarations on geostationism, so this whole debate is ultimately irrelevent.
[/quote]

Foucalt’s pendulum proves rotation only. It cannot distinguish between rotation of the earth in a static universe or a static earth in a rotating universe. When people, museums, etc. say that the Foucalt pendulum demonstrates a rotating earth, what they are really saying is they presume the earth is rotating, and the Foucalt pendulum demonstrates a rotation, which they ascribe to the presumed earth rotation. This is true for gyroscopes (including light gyroscopes), the recent Ciufini experiment, etc.

Here is how Robert Sungenis explains the Foucalt pendulum using Einstein, Mach & Thirring:

"…
[left]Einstein taught that there is a force inside a moving sphere of matter. He wrote to Ernst Mach on[/left]

June 25, 1913:

[left]‘If one accelerates a heavy shell of matter S, then a mass enclosed by the shell experiences an accelerative force. If one rotates the shell relative to the fixed stars about an axis going through its center, a Coriolis force arises in the interior of the shell, that is, the plane of a Foucault pendulum is dragged around.’

[/left]

[left]This coincides with Geocentric theory, since it is our belief that the daily rotation of the stars around the earth causes gravity, as well as the Coriolis forces and the Foucault pendulum effect that Heliocentrists are so fond of attributing only to a rotating earth. Einstein is confirming the Lense-Thirring effect. In fact, Einstein cites Hans Thirring in his 1914 paper. He writes:

[/left]

[left]‘Let the earth be a coordinate system rotating uniformly relative to the universe. Then centrifugal forces would be in effect for masses at rest in the universe’s coordinate system, while no such forces would be present for objects at rest with respect to the earth…Already Newton viewed this as proof that the rotation of the earth had to be considered as “absolute,” and that the earth could not then be treated as the “resting frame” of the universe. Yet, as E. Mach has shown, this argument is not sound. One need not view the existence of such centrifugal forces as originating from the motion of the earth; one could just as well account for them as resulting from the average rotational effect of distant, detectable masses as evidenced in the vicinity of the earth, where the earth is treated as being at rest.’ …"

See again the Born quote. He also refers to Thirring. Thirring modelled a simplistic geocentric universe (spining heavy shell) and showed that the forces experienced at its center (i.e., earth) were of the type we call inertial forces (i.e. Coriolis, etc.). It is these inertial forces that cause the Foucalt pendulum to swing, and Einstein is saying (as was Born) with the help of Thirring’s model and Mach’s principle (itself embedded in General Relativity) that the Foucalt pendulum will be shown to swing on the earth if a coordinate system is fixed on the stationary earth and the universe spins around the earth. I am not implying that Einstein was teaching Geocentrism in its absolute sense, but he was saying the forces manifested by the spinning universe will cause the same effects on earth as the forces attributed to the earth’s rotation (i.e., swing Foucalt’s pendulum).

As far as the Church never making any infallible statements on geostationism, so what? The Church has not made infallible (ex-cathedra or other similar formulations) on many doctrines. We still are required to give them assent, as well as anything in the ordinary magesterium (which is not infallible unless it refers to inallible statements). It sounds like you are proposing a form of cafeteria Catholicism- if it is not infallibly declared, I can take it or leave it. I do not think it works that way.

MJW
[/left]


#16

Well, the Church has not said it infallibly, and has relaxed the discipline on the belief of geocentrism, which is its right. I’m not proposing any kind of cafeteria Catholicism. It seems that you need to understand the difference between temporary disciplinary decisions, as is the case with Galileo teaching that science proves Scripture wrong (which is the REAL reason he was tried), and eternal infallible matters.

You’re making a mountain out a mole-hill, and since the Church has not made any eternal pronouncements on the issue, your argument actually supports any -centrism that people want to believe.

That being said, if the sun stopped moving in the sky in relation to all the other celestial bodies, it would still cause cataclysmic gravitational disruptions, which you have not addressed.


#17

[quote=trth_skr]According to the Catholic encyclopedia it was not infallible. Robert Sungenmis holds this opinion. Clearly if the Church did reverse itself on it it would not bode well for the ordinary (or possibly extraordinary Magisterium). Some authors have held that it was infallible.
[/quote]

That’s a good observation.

It’s kind of troubling, though. How convenient it is to use hindsight to decide that this teaching must have been fallible and that one must not have been.

This infallibility thing has long been a problem for the Church, but of course she will never admit that because has to keep up the infallible image. Christ said the gates of hell will never prevail against His church, not that she would never do wrong. After all, the gates of hell cannot prevail against us if we believe in Him, and we do wrong on a regular basis.

If she was willing to stick her neck out on this physical issue and turned out to be wrong once technology shows us a more complete picture, how can we trust her on spiritual issues, which we cannot verify? That’s why I think she should quit claiming to be infallible.

My daughter tells me the Church has only spoken infallibly on about two issues, ever. Maybe she doesn’t claim to be infallible on all these other issues, and we’re just extrapolating “infallibility” into neverland.

Just because Christ loves His spouse, doesn’t imply He wouldn’t advise her shutting her yap from time to time. The Galileo affair might have been just such a time where she’d have been better off by doing so. Unfortunately, if He and His spouse have become one, then He becomes responsible for anything she goes out and does. He accepted that responsibility on the cross, where His Church protected itself against alleged blasphemy. Christ said he was a Son of God; Galileo said the earth was not the center of the universe. Do we really think that if Christ had come today we would have been so much smarter and wiser not to crucify Him? They didn’t know what they did, because they did not believe that God would actually come in the form of a humble servant. What we do to Galileo, that we do unto Him.

Alan


#18

Alan: The issue of infallibility isn’t really a problem because no level of the Magisterium, Ordinary or Extraordinary, ever taught geocentrism infallibly. In fact they can’t teach such things infallibly. As for your daughter’s statement, she’s confusing Papal Infallibility with the other parts of the Magisterium. There have only been two Papal Infallible statements made, but there are a TON of Ordinary Magisterial teachings that are infallible.

Remember, the Church has NEVER claimed to be infallible on non-spiritual issues. Augustine even made this a very explicit part of his arguments. The Church is not a scientific University, it is the means for Salvation instituted by God. Science isn’t even in its charter.


#19

[quote=axolotl]reen12 there are many articles in the library which adress Galileo.

here is one.
[/quote]

There is some good commentary in this article, but I definately take exception to this:

"OBJECTOR: Okay, so Galileo was not forbidden to continue his scientific work. But the fact remains that the Church condemned a proven scientific theory by invoking the Bible.

CATHOLIC: We must remember that no one—not even Galileo, has he acknowledged—had proof for the motion of the earth in 1632. Evidence would come later, but that evidence was not available to the judges in 1633. The first experimental confirmation of stellar parallax, for example, did not come until the nineteenth century with Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel’s observations. So believing that the earth was motionless was not absurd in the seventeenth century."

Parallax cannot and does not prove heliocenmtrism. This is an observastion, and as George Ellis said in the quote of message #1 (forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=587917&postcount=1),

“…For instance, I can construct you a spherically symmetrical universe with Earth at its center, and you cannot disprove it based on observations…”

We are on the earth and we see parallax from the earth. In fact our observations are equivalent to observations from a coordinate system fixed on a stationary earth. The explanation for parallax in this case would be an precession of the universe.

I also disagreee with this:

"…OBJECTOR: But today the Church does recognize that the decision against Galileo was mistake, doesn’t it? Why did the Church take so long to recognize its mistake?

CATHOLIC: Yes, the Church recognizes that the decision was wrong, but that recognition took place long before John Paul II made the formal apology in 1992. Copernicus’s book and thus the heliocentric system was removed from the Index of Prohibited Books in the eighteenth century. The Church, long before the past two decades, accepted Galileo’s approach to the reconciliation of science and Scripture as well founded. For example, Pope Leo XIII issued an encyclical Providentissimus Deus (November 18, 1893) in which he basically endorsed Galileo’s approach to the reconciliation of apparent conflicts between the Catholic faith and science. I say “apparent conflicts” because neither Galileo nor the official Church ever believed that there could be true conflicts between the Christian faith and science. Leo in the nineteenth century, Galileo and Bellarmine in the seventeenth, all affirmed the ultimate agreement between truths of faith and truths of science…"

The Church removed Corpnicus’ book from the index some time (> 100 years) after the editors complied with the Papal order and removed the statements regarding absolute certainty that the earth moved (and the sun did not).

The Church has not reversed any of the decrees against Galileo or Corpenicus. And to say that Providentissimus Deus endorses Galileo’s approach is completely unture. Here is a quote from the encyclical:

:…The encyclical states that we must “not . . . depart from the literal and obvious sense, except only where reason makes it untenable or necessity requires.”

Only if modern science had proven that the earth moves (or that the sun does not), could this be applied. Otherwise (as is the case), Providentissimus Deus supports the three Popes, all the Fathers, the Scriptures and ultimately the Holy Spirit, not Galileo.

If Mr. Howell had stuck to the history and not tried apologizing for Galileo, the work may have been ok. Mr. Howell clearly does not understand the basic scientific issues.

MJW


#20

[quote=Ghosty]Alan: The issue of infallibility isn’t really a problem because no level of the Magisterium, Ordinary or Extraordinary, ever taught geocentrism infallibly. In fact they can’t teach such things infallibly. As for your daughter’s statement, she’s confusing Papal Infallibility with the other parts of the Magisterium. There have only been two Papal Infallible statements made, but there are a TON of Ordinary Magisterial teachings that are infallible…
[/quote]

I have agreed that Geocentrism may not reach the level of infallible doctrine, but much of Catholic doctrine is not infallible. I would argue that Geocentrism, at least reaches the level of the Ordinary if not the Extraordinary Magesterium. This means wee should give it assent and consideration. We should not reject it because we [mistakingly] think science has proven otherwise- it has not. To reject it, the Church would need to issue a Papal decree at least as official as those issued previously, explicitly stating the previous decrees were in error, and explaining why and how this is possible. Short of this, the previous decrees stand.

[quote=Ghosty]Remember, the Church has NEVER claimed to be infallible on non-spiritual issues. Augustine even made this a very explicit part of his arguments. The Church is not a scientific University, it is the means for Salvation instituted by God. Science isn’t even in its charter.
[/quote]

I wonder why God chooses to start the Pentanuch with a detailed description of how He created the universe, animals, man, etc.? What does this have to do with salvation? Is this not part of the Church’s charter?

Is not man, as creation of God, in the center of His creation and not some scummy speck of carbon based accidents flying aimlessly through a random and unintelligible universe not a principle of the Church’s charter. I think it is.

MJW


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