A New Geocentrist to Catholic Answers: “Get Some Science Education!”


Geocentrist Bob Sungenis recently huffed at the staff of Catholic Answers that they need to get some real science education:

R. Sungenis:  “I can tell from the people that work at Catholic Answers that the staff knows very little about the details of cosmogony and cosmology. None of them have academic degrees, much less any education in science, yet the magazine’s writers push evolution and the Big Bang as if they were experts on the topic” (link).

I think he meant to say, “None of them has any education in science, much less have academic degrees”, but that’s an aside. More importantly, Bob Sungenis doesn’t “have academic degrees . . . in science” either. His undergraduate degree is in religion, his Masters degree is in theology, and he claims a “Ph.D.” (from an institution on a small island in the south Pacific that is little more than a diploma mill) in religious studies (link). The most Sungenis has ever been able to say about his own alleged scientific bona fides is that:

I’ve been studying science all my life. I was a Chemistry and Physics major in college, studying for pre-med. I’m an avid reader of Scientific American, New Scientist, Nature, and about a half-dozen other science magazines on a weekly basis. I own a library of science books (link).

So it appears that perhaps he took some basic science courses in college, but never finished even an undergraduate degree in science, having switched to religion. But he was rather quick to assert that nobody at Catholic Answers had done even that much—although how he would actually know that remains a mystery. He reads a number of science magazines. And he owns a library of science books.

These are hardly the kind of credentials we’d expect for a man who quite literally seeks to set the entire world of physics and astrophysics straight. Indeed, if you’re writing something Sungenis disagrees with, it appears clear that these are hardly the kind of credentials he would accept. But they’re enough for him to present himself as an expert on the topics of physics, astrophysics, geology, and biology.

What’s more, one of Sungenis’ closest collaborators, Rick DeLano, has no degrees at all — in fact he dropped out of high school. Now given what Sungenis said about the staff at Catholic Answers, one might expect that this would be considered a significant  liability for someone out to shake the ramparts of the world of astrophysics. But when this fact was pointed out in the comments section of Phil Plait’s “Bad Astronomy” blog, Sungenis launched into a long and detailed defense of his friend’s complete lack of academic degrees, insisting that,

In recent years, it has become less common for dropouts to succeed in many areas (except perhaps business), because diplomas, degrees, and official papers have become more important to society. While it is good to encourage education, this over-valuing of formal documents may lead us to pay less attention to what intelligence and success really are (link).

Bottom line is that for Sungenis, when it’s his geocentrist friend who’s in the spotlight, only then should we all pay more attention “to what intelligence and success really are” instead of  “over-valuing” a formal education and academic degrees.

So, it’s clear that at least these new geocentrists hold a stark double standard when it comes to having a formal scientific education and academic credentials. But an even bigger problem is that, while they use lots of scientific jargon, they often fail to demonstrate in a concrete way that they have even a basic competence in doing real science. For example, DeLano, who is no shrinking violet, has been challenged not once but three times by Dr. Tom Bridgman to provide some proof of his competence. After DeLano claimed breezily that, “Geocentrism perfectly accounts for LaGrange points,” Bridgman shot back:

Really? Good. Then you won’t mind backing it up.

Among real scientists, such a bold statement implies this calculation has actually been done.

Since this is a fairly straightforward analysis in a Newtonian and non-geocentric framework that undergraduate physics students are expected to do (and I have done it), you are required to prove that this analysis has been done in the physically geocentric model.

Identify all five Lagrangian points using a strictly geocentric calculation with full mathematical detail FROM FIRST PRINCIPLES, i.e. the claimed geocentric physics behind it, presenting the equations of motion, etc. . . . Post the solution on a web site and send me the link. . . .

Bear in mind that if a professional scientist were to make a claim such as yours for a problem as trivial as this, and be unable to back it up, they would be suspected of fraud. However, I suspect a better term might be your own term: ‘blithering incompetent’. ;^) (link)

The challenge has been repeated directly and publicly to DeLano several more time since (most recently by me at Karl Keating’s Facebook page), but DeLano has never offered up the proof. Of particular note is the fact that DeLano is in close contact with the very top geocentrist “experts” (whom he refers to as “the PhD’s“) and has demonstrated that he regularly goes to them for help whenever he’s over his head (see here and here). So it appears “the PhD’s” have no answer, either.

And even worse than going silent when asked to actually demonstrate some basic scientific competence, the new geocentrists get caught making fundamental scientific blunders. For example, just about a year ago, in the process of slandering a Catholic priest and attributing to him all sorts of dishonesty and malfeasance, Sungenis muddled up the difference between epicycles and ellipses. As I wrote then:

The fact that Bob bungled this distinction between epicycles and ellipses indicates one of two things.  Either he’s found yet again to be sloppy and tendentious (even while accusing a Catholic priest of the same). Or he simply does not know the science as he claims, not understanding the difference between epicycles and ellipses. Perhaps it’s both. Let the reader decide [see the detailed discussion here and see here for additional background.]

In another example, as I documented in Geocentrism and the Pitfalls of Over-Literal Interpretation, Sungenis chided Galileo while insisting that, “astronomical science has revealed that only some of the planets rotate”.  It was once thought that Mercury does not rotate, but that has since proven to be incorrect.  One might think that an individual who seeks to set the entire world of astrophysics straight could get his own basic facts about our own solar system right.

In another example, in late in 2012, Rick DeLano insisted in a public forum that everything in the geocentric system could be accounted for as long as everything in the universe orbits the sun and the sun, the planets and all of the other celestial objects orbit the Earth along the ecliptic plane (the plane on which the planets orbit the sun):

If you think it through, you will see that all of your observations are fully accounted for- if you do not see how, ask me and I will show you.

1. The Earth is stationary.
2. The Moon orbits the Earth.
3. The Sun and planets orbit the Earth along the ecliptic.
5. The stars orbit the Earth along with the Sun, along the ecliptic.
6. This ecliptic must, under this hypothesis, be cosmological, not merely local.
7. The CMB axis, along which preferred galaxy spin handedness is observed, corresponds to the ecliptic- in other words, the ecliptic *is* cosmological, just as geocentrism predicts, and just as all other cosmologies did not.

This accounts for the phases of Venus, parallaxes of stars, moons, and planets (link)

Now of course this whole explanation is just one great exercise in special pleading —  in their ostensibly geocentric universe, all sextillion objects in the universe actually revolve around the sun and only the sun and moon technically orbit the Earth (maybe Copernicus and Galileo were right after all?)

But there’s an even more fundamental problem for DeLano. Shortly after he wrote that, it was pointed out to him that the stars do not in fact “orbit” with respect to the ecliptic. And the earth’s axis is not aligned with the ecliptic. As it was explained to him:

Also, even assuming your premise, your explanation for the behavior of the sun, planets, and stars is on its face incorrect. Specifically, the stars do not orbit the earth around the ecliptic, they orbit around an axis that is offset from the ecliptic at an angle that varies by over 45 degrees over the course of a year. Or, perhaps more plainly, the daily orbit of the sun with respect to the earth changes by 45 degrees over the course of a year in a way not exhibited by the stars. The parallax of stars is both minute and perpendicular to this perturbation of the Sun’s orbit. How such an “orbit” is even possible in a universe allegedly compatible with General Relativity is a mystery. And how supposedly distant galaxies know to wobble in time with this ecliptic while nearby objects (excepting the sun and planets) do not is also a mystery. The “ecliptic” as a stationary plane to measure against only even begins to make sense in non-geocentric models (link).

And to DeLano’s insistence that the stars’ rotation is aligned with the ecliptic:

The stars do NOT rotate around the ecliptic. They rotate around the equator. During the course of a year, the position of the stars with respect to the equator changes only minutely. The position of the sun with respect to the equator, and thus in the geocentric model the plane defined by the orbit of the sun around the earth (approx. if you also include other planets) changes on a daily basis. While the orbit of the stars do not.

This issue of course goes away completely if you assume instead that the earth is orbiting the sun. Then it’s not the ecliptic that moves, but the earth’s position in orbit thus trivially creating a changing position of the ecliptic relative to the equator.

You’re accidentally letting the heliocentric model of the solar system inform your ideas of what constitutes the ecliptic and the star’s position relative to it, and thus missing the problem of building a geocentric model on its own (link).

Since it can’t be as simple as that the Earth orbits the sun just like any other planet, DeLano googled an answer to this conundrum, which he deployed. But his interlocutor caught him in an enormous goof:

Rick, the HORIZON is not the same as the EQUATOR. That website is talking about where stars appear at the same time of day as determined by the sun, as in different parts of the sky are visible at night during the year, is [sic] in an apparent east-west motion relative to the sun, as in why the solar and sidereal days are different. The DECLINATION, as in the angle relative to the equator, of the stars changes only minutely. The declination of the sun, however, changes +/- 23 degrees.

And now I’m really, trully [sic], done. You don’t even understand the apparent motion of the heavens that your model is trying to explain, such that you have to google it and then still misinterpret the results . . . (link; emphasis mine).

To his credit, at least on this occasion, DeLano was at least honest enough to publicly admit his elementary mistake on a very “important” fact.

Well, I don’t know whether it’s going to happen on Sagnac, because that is not as important as the question of whether motions can be accounted for under a geocentric hypothesis of an annual precession of the stars/sun along the ecliptic.

That one’s important and you just blew it into tiny little smithereens.  (link).

These kind of blunders represent a problem for the credibility of the new geocentrists. Do they really know the science? Can they actually do the science? The evidence suggests that they cannot. As Dr. Todd Wood said concerning the first (and only) “annual” geocentrism conference in 2010:

Please stop with the handwaving. Frequently during the conference, speakers would make highly conjectural claims that could have been verified but weren’t….Instead what we got were speculations. Handwaving. If you calculate this, it supports geocentrism. If you do that experiment, it supports geocentrism. Enough with the IFs. If it’s not a hard experiment or calculation, then do it! And if your idea has no way to be tested (like the superluminal velocity of the infinitely dense plenum aether that can’t be detected by larger particles), then please just admit that it’s a speculation.  Stop pretending to be all science-y when you’re not.  You will never be taken seriously as long as you approach science with a “look but don’t touch” attitude. You’ve gotta get your hands dirty (link; emphasis mine.)

Dr. Tom Bridgman has said of the new geocentrists:

Geocentrists, like many other pseudo-scientists I’ve confronted on this blog, seem to be nothing but posers.  They want credit and recognition for achievements they have not done (link).


Everything I’ve seen from Geocentrists is a cheat, trying to take someone else’s heliocentric solution and then moving the origin to the Earth.  They don’t appear to have the competence, or courage, it takes to actually transform the known equations of motion, Newtonian gravity and acceleration, well-tested in everything from laboratories to mechanics to spacecraft, to a reference frame where the body of the Earth is not rotating (link).

The bottom line is that the new geocentrists have yet to demonstrate that they have even a basic competence in science. And Sungenis, at least, dispenses himself and his cohorts from the same academic standards he expects from everybody else. It’s another unfortunate example from him of “one standard for me and another for thee.”

[For additional scientific gaffs and errors from Sungenis, see Here Comes the Sun, , , , ]