The Politics of Promoting Geocentrism

What is the movie The Principle really about? And do its producers believe that science has proven that the Earth occupies the very center of the universe?

Some people may understandably be confused because the producers have given diametrically opposed answers to these questions. For instance, Rick DeLano was recently interviewed on ScienceFiction.com (remarkably appropriate venue, that) and had this to say about the status of geocentrism as a theory and The Principle’s treatment of it:

delano-special-message2

www.theprinciplemovie.com/blog/message-principle-producerwriter-rick-delano-people-faith/

We did not feel it was appropriate or possible for us to make the scientific case for geocentrism. The evidence is not there. There is still room for doubt. It would be incorrect to attempt to force this evidence into a solution that says “It’s geocentrism or nothing else.” We are not there yet. (my emphasis).

So according to the movie’s producer, The Principle doesn’t even attempt to make a conclusive case for geocentrism. In fact, it’s not even possible to prove the scientific case for geocentrism at this time.  This ambivalent statement about geocentrism could easily leave people scratching their heads in confusion, especially since the executive producer Robert Sungenis had this to say about their movie in a public press release:

Stellar Motion Pictures press release, Dec 2013

Briefly, The Principle is unlike any movie you have ever seen or may ever see. It is the first of its kind, mainly because the information it presents has only been available within the last two decades, and very few people know about it. What is it?

 Brace yourself!! Indisputable scientific findings show the Earth, among all other celestial bodies, occupies the most privileged and unique place in the universe, the very center! (emphasis mine.)

So, according to this statement, not only does The Principle present a conclusive case for geocentrism, the scientific evidence is “indisputable.”

How does one explain these diametrically opposed statements? Perhaps the answer becomes clear when one understands that the producers were speaking to two very different audiences. Sungenis’s statement was to his “home audience”, so to speak – his patrons and supporters. True Believers. In front of such an audience, he no doubt felt comfortable being candid. Conversely, DeLano was addressing a more skeptical audience with whom such candor could likely backfire. As such, perhaps any confusion about what The Principle is “really” about stems directly from the fact that Sungenis and DeLano say radically different things depending on their audience at the moment (see also “The Principle’ is About Geocentrism? Don’t Be Silly!”  and “But It’s Not About Geocentrism….?”)

I suppose one can understand why the new geocentrists might not want their adherence to strict geocentrism – a motionless earth at the center of the entire universe – tied too tightly to their movie, nor that they hold this view first and foremost as a matter of faith, that they insist that it’s an official teaching of the Catholic Church, and that they believe there’s been a conspiracy among scientists to cover up the facts, “They Know It But They’re Hiding It” (the title of Sungenis’ presentation at his conference on geocentrism).

Tactically, I suppose it makes sense to say their movie isn’t really about geocentrism, it’s “just” about the Copernican principle. After all, they actually want people to pay to watch their movie rather than dismissing it out of hand.

The problem is that they’ve previously gone on record admitting what their movie is really about. No matter how coy they may be now (depending on whom they’re talking to at the moment), this whole endeavor has always been about convincing everybody of the truth of geocentrism, as a matter of divine faith. These men – particularly Sungenis – have publicly stated that they intend to devote the rest of their lives to promoting geocentrism.1

As such, the promotion of geocentrism clearly is and always has been the end game. And The Principle is equally clearly an integral a part of that effort.

No confusion necessary.

 

1 Robert Sungenis: “I am pursuing one of the greatest projects the Lord has ever given me. It is to tell the world that the Catholic Church was right when it condemned Galileo, and thus no Catholic has to hang his head in shame…THAT is why I am pursuing the Galileo issue, Wes – because the right view of it can change the world and restore the Church to her rightful place of honor. I’m going for the whole enchilada. If Galileo was wrong and the Church was right, you can imagine what an impact that will have on our whole view of ourselves and the modern age. That is what I call the ultimate “apologetic,” and that is what I will be pursuing the rest of the time the Lord gives me.” (July 31, 2014)
Posted in Credibility |

Sungenis Gets Personal With “Anthony T” and Goofs Again

http://www.bustle.com/articles/20484-orange-is-the-new-blacks-kate-mulgrew-thinks-the-sun-revolves-around-the-earth-what-video

A few months ago I posted a link to a great critique of geocentrism by “Anthony T” entitled  “Geocentrism: A Dangerous Pseudo-Science”.  Predictably, Robert Sungenis responded to “Anthony”, at ridiculous length.  But right out of the starting gate Sungenis got personal, making a whole passel of personal statements about “Anthony”, which turn out to be shot through with falsehoods.

Now I’ve always contended that if you’re going to get personal and negative about somebody in a public forum, the least you can do is get your facts straight. But as we’ve seen in our recent line-up concerning the credibility of the new geocentrists getting the facts straight isn’t on the top of Bob Sungenis’s priority list.  “Winning” the argument at any cost seems to be what matters most.  Some may respond that these personal issues don’t matter and that the focus should remain exclusively on the science and theology.   From a scientific standpoint the geocentrists have been effectively rebutted, both on this site and elsewhere (see Geocentrism as Bad Science); ditto for theology (see Geocentrism as Bad Theology).  But let’s face it, most people don’t have the time or energy to sift through lengthy and elaborate theories and arguments.  As such, at some point, it’s reasonable that it comes down to who is credible and who is not.  And whether it’s habitual plagiarism, conspiracy mongering, bogus academic credentials, basic blunders in science and math, egregiously citing sources out of context, and now false personal attacks, Sungenis just doesn’t come off as credible.

As it stands, “Anthony” responded to Sungenis’s allegations in another great article, “A Geocentrist Stuggles with Scripture, Aquinas, and the Popes”.  Remarkably, Sungenis managed to flub just about everything he said in his attempt to discredit his opponent.

For example, in “A Catholic Traditionalist Struggles With Geocentrism” he alleged that “Anthony” “now teaches at an SSPX high school” (p. 1).  And this is falsehood #1 – simply put, “Anthony” doesn’t teach at an SSPX high school and never has.

But more seriously, Sungenis alleged that “Anthony” is, “the same person who barged into a lecture on geocentrism I gave in Coeur d’Alene a few years ago and started shouting at me from the back of the auditorium” (ibid.)  Of course this is intended to cast “Anthony” as some sort of raving lunatic.

The problem, again, is that it’s all wrong.  Even worse, Sungenis knows better.

For starters, I’ve received eyewitness information concerning this event and no one “barged in” at all – all the attendees sat respectfully through the presentation without interruption.  And I’ve also listened to an audio recording of the Q & A that followed and I can affirm that there was no “shouting” either.  So, falsehoods #2 and #3 – there was no “barging”, there was no “shouting”.  As such, Sungenis completely fabricated both of these claims.

But the most egregious falsehood of all?  “Anthony” was certainly not the questioner and Sungenis, of all people, knows (or should know) this.  How?  Because, as the audio recording of the event demonstrates, Sungenis specifically asked the questioner for his name, first and last, and then even had him repeat it!  So call it falsehood #4.  There are a few other gaffes, but you get the idea.  As such, in his attempt to discredit “Anthony” through personal attack, Sungenis managed to pile blunder upon demonstrable blunder.

After making so many false personal accusations against one individual, one might conclude that it couldn’t get any worse for Sungenis.  And one would be wrong.  Remarkably, after “Anthony” proved that Sungenis’s personal accusations against him were all false, Sungenis not only didn’t have the decency to apologize for and retract his slanders, he had the temerity to portray his refusal as proof of his personal virtue (calling it an unwillingness to engage in “ad hominem”)!  Even for Sungenis, this was really quite a whopper.

http://www.harveymackay.com/there-is-no-such-thing-as-a-bad-memory/

In at least a couple of the numerous instances when Sungenis has been caught telling demonstrable falsehoods about his critics, he’s blamed it on his faulty memory (although I can’t remember a single time in which his “faulty memory” did not acrue to his benefit.)  So perhaps that’s the most charitable explanation here — Sungenis’s recollection is faulty, so he invented the details he needed to paint his opponent in the worst possible light. “Anthony” is hardly the first person to whom this has happened — it’s part of a pattern that’s been played out against Bishop Kevin Rhoades, Michael Forrest, Karl Keating, Roy Schoeman, Dave Armstrong, Ben Douglass, yours truly, and many others (I’d urge the reader to take a look at the material at those links — it is eye-opening, to say the least.)  However, as Sungenis admits to a faulty memory, then he ought to know better than to make such public accusations without first verifying the facts.  For his repeated failure in that regard, there is no good excuse.

So in the face of yet another personal attack that turns out to be shot through with demonstrable falsehoods, the issue of credibility quite rightly comes to the fore. Sungenis wants us to believe that he is uniquely qualified and competent to overturn the entire world of physics and astrophysics. He wants us to believe that he is uniquely trustworthy and honest in his dealing with the scientific data. But a reasonable person will question whether it makes a lot of sense to rely on a person who habitually plagiarizes, touts bogus academic credentials, publicly espoused a panoply of whacky conspiracy theories over the course of over a decade, makes basic blunders in science and math, and when resorting to blatant personal attacks doesn’t care enough to get the facts straight.

Posted in Credibility |

Context Anyone? The (Literally) Incredible Geocentrists Strike Again

http://winwinhr.com/best-practices-for-assessing-witness-credibility-in-workplace-investigations/

The matter of credibility lies very near the heart of the controversy over geocentrism.  The new geocentrists present themselves as both qualified and competent to overturn the entire world of physics and astrophysics concerning the motion of the earth. They also present themselves as uniquely trustworthy and honest in their dealings with the scientific data.  From a scientific standpoint the geocentrists have been effectively rebutted, both on this site and elsewhere (see Geocentrism as Bad Science); ditto for theology (see Geocentrism as Bad Theology).  But let’s face it, most people don’t have the time or energy to sift through lengthy and elaborate theories and arguments – both conspiratorial and scientific in nature. As such, at some point, it’s reasonable that it comes down to who is credible and who is not.

We’ve already looked at the credibility of the geocentrists from a number of angles.  Whether it’s habitual plagiarism, conspiracy-mongering, basic mistakes in science and math, or very specifically in the case of Robert Sungenis some very questionable academic credentials, time and again the new geocentrists just don’t come off as credible.

To continue this theme, my last posting, “Sungenis Botches the Math, Again!“, highlighted Bob Sungenis’s seeming inability to correctly answer a high school level math problem, incredibly even after he had been given the correct answer and two tries to get it right.

Since then, in his recent article “Geocentrism: According to http://i.ytimg.com/vi/JYvb-yMajQA/0.jpgHoyle?” Dr. Tom Bridgman has highlighted yet another area where the geocentrists strain credibility, namely, their propensity to cite scientists and other scholars out of context:

the topic I wish to specifically address in this post is Mr. Sungenis’ quote-mining of Fred Hoyle (wikipedia) to support his position.  Sungenis does this using HIS twisted definitions of terms rather than those meant by the person he is quoting, but then this is the standard for the practice of quote-mining (Wikipedia).

The particular reference Sungenis uses is Fred Hoyle’s book, “Nicolaus Copernicus: An Essay on his Life and Work” written in 1973 (Google Books).

In this book, written for popular audiences, Hoyle invokes relativity (the equivalence of ALL reference frames) to make the point that we can just as easily consider the universe as centered on the Earth, as well any other point.  The most telling example of Sungenis’ distortions is, in quoting Hoyle from “Nicolaus Copernicus: An Essay on his Life and Work“, p. 82. he quotes Hoyle a little TOO much…

“we can take either the Earth or the Sun, or any other point for that matter, as the center of the solar system.” (emphasis mine).

Sungenis quotes, but conveniently ignores, the full implications of Hoyle’s meaning with this statement, instead choosing Hoyle’s mention of the equivalence of the ‘geocentric’ view to spin the statement into claiming Hoyle supports Geocentrism with Earth as some absolute cosmic center.  I’m surprised Sungenis didn’t make that clause disappear with ellipsis…

Hoyle was not a Geocentrist in the sense of claiming the Earth can be the center of the universe in any absolute sense, but advocating geocentrism as a frame of reference chosen for convenience (much the same as Phil Plait’s argument at Geocentrism?  Seriously? and Geocentrism: Does NASA use Geocentrism?) where we can chose Earth, or any other point, as the origin for our coordinate system.  THAT is the underlying basis of relativity which Sungenis tries to ignore and evade.  Hoyle could just as correctly chosen Mars, or Saturn, or gamma Andromedae or the M33 galaxy as the center, with no loss of generality.  But, since Hoyle was writing for a lay audience, he probably chose Earth for familiarity (“Geocentrism: According to Hoyle?”.)

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein

Dr. Bridgman’s example is by no means an isolated case.  The geocentrists do this all the time with scientists who are speaking about general relativity.  One of the geocentrists’ favorite quotes is from Albert Einstein – you’ll often see the following text cited in isolation by the geocentrists:

The struggle, so violent in the early days of science, between the views of Ptolemy and Copernicus would then be quite meaningless. Either CS [coordinate system] 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.

What?  You mean that Albert Einstein was saying that geocentrism was just as likely to be true as heliocentrism?  No, that’s not what he’s saying at all.  Let’s look at the quote in its fuller context:

Can we formulate physical laws so that they are valid for all CS [coordinate systems], not only those moving uniformly, but also those moving quite arbitrarily, relative to each other? If this can be done, our troubles will be over. We shall then be able to apply the laws of nature to any CS. 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 . . . Could we build a real relativistic physics valid in all CS; a physics in which there would be no place for absolute, but only for relative motion? This is indeed possible! . . . Our new idea is simple: to build a physics valid for all CS (Einstein and Infeld, The Evolution of Physics, The Scientific Book Club and Company Ltd, p.224).

Einstein’s comments apply only to a physics that is valid “in all [coordinate systems]”, only in situations in which “there would be no place for absolute, but only for relative motion”.  But do the geocentrists hold this?  Of course not.  They insist that there is exactly one absolute coordinate system, with the earth motionless at the center of the entire universe. This is the Great Inconsistency which lies at the heart of the new geocentrism—they both appeal to and vehemently reject general relativity, which of course is intellectually dishonest.  As Dr. Alec MacAndrew notes:

Because the Earth is unambiguously rotating in Newtonian mechanics and Special Relativity, the new geocentrists have been forced to invoke General Relativity, which, unfortunately for them, fundamentally undermines the very concepts of “static” and “centre” which they are trying to demonstrate. This is what I mean by the Great Inconsistency – they are forced to invoke a physical model which renders their claim meaningless, or admit that their claim is wrong. Moreover, Sungenis and many other geocentrists violently reject both Special and General Relativity. Surely it is deeply inconsistent and illogical to invoke physics in support of their claims that they think is wrong-headed, atheistically motivated, a product of the author’s moral degeneracy and medical ailments, and amounting to no more than science fiction – to do so smacks of desperation (“Here Comes the Sun“, p. 16f.)

And in regard to wrenching quotes wildly out of context and generally paying no attention to scholarly standards related to accurate citations, no one excels quite like Bob Sungenis. The documentation problems in his book Galileo Was Wrong are legion (see here). To cite one particularly curious example, on page 95 of GWW (2nd ed) Sungenis has a “quote” from Karl Popper containing two sets of ellipses.  His footnote says, “Karl Popper, Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge, 1963, 1965, pp. 229, 192, 151.”  In other words, Sungenis has created a “quotation” from Popper by starting with two sentences from page 229, followed by a sentence from 37 pages back, followed by another sentence 41 pages back from that. This blatantly cobbled-together “quote” remains in the 9th ed. of GWW.

For the True Believers, none of this makes any difference.  For them, pointing to evidence of habitual plagiarism, scientific and mathematical errors, bogus academic degrees, conspiracy-mongering, and technical incompetence proves nothing about the new geocentrists, but only goes to show how “desperate” their critics are.

But for those who might just be encountering the new geocentrism for the first time, the age old adage certainly holds true: consider the source.

Posted in Credibility, Science |