Sungenis Fails the CMB Alignment Challenge….Twice

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Sungenis Fails the CMB Alignment Challenge….Twice

Wooden stamp with failed word

Robert Sungenis has repeatedly demonstrated mathematical and scientific incompetence throughout his efforts to promote geocentrism (see for example “Geocentrists Fail the Lagrange Point Challenge”, “Geocentric Physics: Is That All You’ve Got?”, “Elementary Physics Blunders”, “Sungenis Botches the Math Again”, and “Sungenis to Catholic Answers: Get Some Science Education!” He has topped it off with habitual plagiarism, conspiracy mongering, bogus academic credentials, and egregiously citing sources out of context.)

That incompetence was recently on display again in his two mutually exclusive but equally wrong attempts to answer the CMB Alignment Challenge. He literally doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

By way of background, in February of 2015 Dr. Alec MacAndrew and I posted “The CMB Alignment Challenge” in response to the panoply of extravagant claims made by the new geocentrists about certain unexpected features of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). Their claims include that the CMB multipole vectors, “point like an arrow . . . directly to the Earth”, “point directly to the Earth as the center”, and “show that the whole Universe is centered on the Earth”.

In the “The CMB Alignment Challenge” and its companion piece, “Yes, the CMB Misalignments Are a Problem for the New Geocentrists”, we demonstrated that the various CMB features are in fact significantly misaligned.  And while we agreed that any apparent, approximate alignments are interesting to physicists if they are expecting the features to be randomly aligned, the inexactness of these alignments certainly does not create anything like a sound foundation upon which to build the extravagant claims of the geocentrists. What’s more, we demonstrated that these features do not and cannot “point” at anything. And they do not define the center of anything – rather, by definition, they converge at the point of observation.

Specifically in “The CMB Alignment Challenge”, we challenged the geocentrists, inviting them in very specific terms to calculate the angles between various features themselves showing their own work and then either a) admit that Dr. MacAndrew’s calculations were correct and the alignments of the various features of the CMB are as he says or, b) demonstrate that Dr. MacAndrew’s calculations are incorrect and prove him to be mathematically incompetent.

In March of 2015, Rick DeLano’s response to the CMB Challenge was to completely dismiss it with statements such as, “This ridiculous “challenge” has been answered at least five separate times on this thread” (link) and “The challenge has already been answered, over and over again, in peer reviewed publications which I have both cited and quoted from” (link). So, according to DeLano, the geocentrists weren’t going to take the CMB challenge because it had already been “answered” by others. This brush off was all bluster and no substance – neither Rick nor any of the studies he cited answered the challenge at all. As such, it appeared to be little more than a marketing-driven attempt at damage control.

It seems that at least Sungenis recognized the need to respond to the CMB Challenge, because on June 16, he posted a lengthy response to it on the Ask Robert About Geocentrism Facebook page. This response was “liked” and enthusiastically embraced by his followers. However, it was catastrophically flawed, shot through with multiple mathematical errors and scientific misunderstandings.

Interestingly, on or around 15 July 2015, on his main web site, Sungenis posted another response to the CMB Alignment Challenge that was quite different than his Facebook response; in fact, it was fundamentally incompatible with it. And like his Facebook response, it too was catastrophically flawed, shot through with mathematical errors and scientific misunderstandings. Somehow, Sungenis managed to deploy a completely new set of errors than in his first attempt. Oddly, to date, he hasn’t even attempted to reconcile his two attempts.

Of course, simple logic tells us that they cannot both be right. And as it turns out, they’re both wrong.

After some discussion, Dr. MacAndrew sent a thorough explanation of Sungenis’s errors to me in early August. Unfortunately my schedule has prevented me from getting this edited and posted until now – my apologies to Dr. MacAndrew for the delay.

MacAndrew’s analysis may be found in the new article, “Sungenis Fails the CMB Alignment Challenge”.  There, he demonstrates in detail that Sungenis repeatedly deploys mathematical blunders and scientific misunderstandings in his contradictory attempts to answer the CMB Alignment Challenge.

SungenisFailsCMB-Figure1Here is just a sampling of Sungenis’s blunders: he “defines the ecliptic as a single direction or vector, whereas it is a plane that cannot be defined by a single direction”, “The direction he assigns to the ecliptic does not even lie in the ecliptic plane”, “He does a nonsensical calculation to get the quadrupole to dipole angle, by simply subtracting angles between non-planar directions that lie in 3D space”, “He calculates (incorrectly) and presents (proudly) hugely discordant angles between the quadrupole and equinox, and between the quadrupole and dipole, without recognising the absurd degree of discrepancy,” and “He inexplicably uses the wrong component separation algorithm (SEVEM instead of SMICA) to specify quadrupole and octopole directions, even though the original CMB Challenge was very clear that SMICA should be used, and he makes quite a number of additional fundamental math blunders.”

These and many other goofs and gaffs are documented in “Sungenis Fails the CMB Alignment Challenge”.  Ultimately, Dr. MacAndrew’s calculations and analysis stand – the CMB multipoles are misaligned, sometimes by quite a significant amount, they do not and cannot “point” at anything, and they do not define the center of anything.

Based on history, I predict that Sungenis and his geocentric followers will either dismiss MacAndrew’s detailed rebuttal as merely a matter of differing interpretation or, perhaps more likely, ignore the concrete demonstration of his errors and attempt to console their loyal followers by obfuscation and misdirection.

But let’s be clear about one thing. As we’re talking about mathematics here, there are objectively right and wrong answers. And, once again, Sungenis repeatedly got the answers wrong.  He has now failed the CMB Alignment Challenge, not once but twice, and in doing so has further demonstrated his mathematical and scientific incompetence.

See the details in “Sungenis Fails the CMB Alignment Challenge

Posted in Credibility, Science |

Conspiracies — Yeah, That Sounds Reasonable

Conspiracy-Theory-AlertI have often characterized geocentrism as a massive exercise in special pleading, gummed together with conspiracy theories.  I received an email recently from a Sungenis fan that exemplifies the latter part of that formula admirably (and gives you an idea of the kind of correspondence that this site can generate):

Greetings Mr. Palm,

I just stumbled on your Website earlier and found your rebuttal of Sungenis to be poorly done.  Talk about Ad Hominem, wow.  But when I saw that you were taking shots at “conspiracy theorists” such as Sungenis and Jones on subjects such as 911 and the so-called holocaust I had to write and express my sentiments.

Concerning 911, I have to ask what part of the official conspiracy theory do you actually find believable?  Seriously, you seem like an educated man, so I find it difficult to believe you actually think 19 Arabs with toy knives pulled that job off.  I’m sorry but I can’t help myself: this makes me want to call you a liar. However, I withhold the accusation for the reason that you could be just brain washed and incapable of critical thinking on the subject.

Moon landings?  Do you really think we sent people to the moon?  If you do, you are one gullible individual.  But again, you do stand in the majority (at least in the US).

But I suspect the real issue is not Geocentrism, 911 or the moon landings. The real issue is about the Jews isn’t it?  I don’t think you like that the cast of characters who happen to uphold Geocentrism also happen to be critical of the alleged holocaust.  It pisses you off that some people have actually taken the time to study the claims and found them to be bullshit. And its not just Gentiles preaching this, but also many Jews.  I suppose you would call them anti-Semites also?  Well, if you want to be fair, why don’t you criticize the Jews for not believing in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ?  Why are Christians called anti-Semites and lunatic conspiracy theorists for denying the holocaust, but Jews are given an exemption on the divinity of Christ?  For the record, I am not a man of any religion, so I have no stake in the argument.  But your hypocrisy is noted.

As I said, I find it difficult to believe any educated person who takes the time to study these events can come away unconvinced of conspiracies. Nevertheless, it does happen.


PS From what I can tell the moon’s shadow during a solar eclipse goes the wrong direction according to the theory of a spinning earth.  [My note: For an explanation of this that does not require any conspiracy theories, see here.]

Posted in Credibility |

Sungenis Followers Double Down

In my last article, “The ‘Simple’ and ‘Scary’ Mindset of Robert Sungenis,” I took a somewhat lighthearted look at Robert Sungenis falling hook, line, and sinker for a Youtube video which purported to “prove” the incredible claim that our sun is much less massive than the Earth. Sungenis’s original verdict on the video’s claim was that, “It’s so simple it’s scary — scary in that it makes you wonder what other simple ideas we are missing because we’ve been so brainwashed by the Copernicans. I can’t find any flaw in this man’s logic or math . . .” Two days later, after receiving help from others, Sungenis completely reversed himself, declaring that the video was instead, “wrong, very wrong”.

This highlighted Sungenis’s fundamental incompetence in matters of physics. It also highlighted a remarkable credulity born of a deeply conspiratorial mindset – he was quite ready (even excited) to believe that the entire scientific world has been utterly wrong about something so elementary as the sun being more massive than the Earth and that it’s only due to brainwashing that we can’t see the “simple” flaws in that view. (Please keep the enormity of this claim firmly in mind – in fact, the Sun is over 300,000 times the mass of the Earth.)

Not surprisingly, the folks on “Ask Robert Sungenis About Geocentrism” took umbrage with my article. Their comments were fascinating, providing all the more support for the very points I was making.

Why Won’t You Debate?

Several voiced frustration that I supposedly will not debate Sungenis. This isn’t true. My position is that oral debates often generate considerably more heat than light, being prone to reduction to grandstanding and rhetorical tricks rather than being a sober evaluation of truth. Unmoderated written discussions in online forums often suffer from the same problems. I have proposed instead a public, moderated, written debate with each installment posted at each of our respective sites. This would be presented in normal debate format: a formal resolution, opening statements, cross examination, and closing remarks. There would be a word count limit instead of a time limit. I advance the following resolution: “The Catholic Church does not propose that the Earth is the immobile center of the universe to the faithful as a matter of divine revelation.” I will take the affirmative.

Some years ago Sungenis’s associate Mark Wyatt proposed a formal written debate on different topic (see here) and Sungenis accepted (see here). So his current stance that a formal written debate isn’t a “real” debate simply won’t bear scrutiny.

Does Sungenis Have “Specific Expertise” in Basic Physics?

The central point in my last article was that Sungenis repeatedly demonstrates that he is not competent to evaluate even simple scientific claims. Matt Singleton – the fellow who originally brought the Youtube video to Sungenis’s attention – chimed in to say that he was sorry that his original posting had brought embarrassment to Sungenis, but made an excuse for Sungenis’s gaffe:

Singleton, Sungenis Needs Specialized KnowledgeI think Singleton’s response highlights the heart of the problem. He claims that without “specific expertise” the video can appear convincing. Sungenis – the leader of the new geocentrists – has written a gigantic book purporting to overthrow the entire world of astrophysics, yet he found this fundamentally erroneous video completely convincing. Shouldn’t Sungenis’s followers and fans like Singleton expect their leader to have at least the sort of elementary “specific expertise” that would allow him to spot the flaws in a claim that the sun is much less massive than the Earth? If not, then how in the world can they trust his analysis of the complex physics and mathematics involved in proving the case for geocentrism?

By way of contrast, Dr. Arnold Sikkema, a physicist with a genuine doctorate, noted on my Facebook page that the errors in the video were immediately obvious:

Sikkema on ZenFlowerRadio Pseudo-scienceIt doesn’t require a doctorate in physics to spot the flaws in the video. And yet Singleton and the others who chimed in are unconcerned that Sungenis demonstrated before their very eyes that he doesn’t even have the “specific expertise” needed to evaluate this simple (and outrageous) claim.

Oh You Rotten So and So!

Jonathan D’Souza took a different tack, accusing me of blatant dishonesty.

D'Souza, Downright DishonestD’Souza is long on accusations, but short on substance. Is it true that Bob fell for the claims in the video hook, line, and sinker? Yes. Is it true that, as I reported, he then changed his mind only after he got some help from other people? Yes, that’s true too.  So what exactly is untrue in what I wrote?  D’Souza doesn’t say.

What “context” is there that renders my report unfair? Singleton brought the video to Sungenis’s attention. Sungenis enthusiastically endorsed it, stating that, “I can’t find any flaw in this man’s logic or math . . .” The thread then veered off into a back and forth discussion about an upcoming DVD, until finally Sungenis chimed in again to say that “we” have determined that the video is “wrong, very wrong.” That’s it. What in the context supports the claim that I am “downright dishonest”, “deliberately sinning”, and “bearing false witness”? D’Souza doesn’t say. Neither does he explain why Sungenis’s enthusiastic support for this video doesn’t logically call into serious question his competence to be discussing matters of astrophysics.

Taken together, Singleton’s and D’Souza’s comments highlight what I’ve been saying for years about the new geocentrism and its supporters. The new geocentrists want to convince you to reject a massive, centuries-long scientific consensus held in common by Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and, yes, even atheist scientists on the motion of the Earth and believe them instead. And yet they have no demonstrated competence in any scientific field. They do no experiments. They submit nothing for peer review. They will not (and apparently cannot) do the actual, hard work that scientists do.

Instead, they commit basic scientific and mathematical errors (see for example “Geocentric Physics – Is That All You’ve Got?”, “Elementary Physics Blunders”, “Sungenis Botches the Math Again”, and “Sungenis to Catholic Answers: Get Some Science Education!”). They cite others’ work out of context (see “Context Anyone?”). Sometimes they steal the work of others, presenting it as their own (see “Top Geocentrists Caught Plagiarizing” and “The Geocentric “Defense” On Plagiarism” and “Plagiarism: The Folly of Defending the Indefensible”). They repeatedly do the very thing they accuse real scientists of doing, namely, start with an established conclusion and then twist the evidence to fit. And most damaging, they seek to convince others that their web of special pleading and conspiracy theories is a matter of faith that must be believed.

It’s remarkable that none of this seems to faze their followers in the least. In the world of the new geocentrists, demonstrated scientific competence is unnecessary. Instead, they seem to be following a cult of personality and conspiracy. Even with contrary evidence right before their eyes, their followers continue to insist that the leaders of the new geocentrism are competent and trustworthy.

While the new geocentrists decry the fact that some scientists have crossed the line into philosophy and even quasi-religion at times, they seem completely oblivious to the blind faith required to follow them in their quixotic quest to prove geocentrism. Strange stuff.

Posted in Credibility, Science |