Protecting Faith From Pseudoscience, by Camille Carlisle

Camille M. Carlisle, the science editor at Sky & Telescope magazine, has weighed into the geocentrism controversy with a new article:

Protecting Faith From Pseudoscience: A Review of The Principle

I am very pleased that other people of faith—in this case specifically a Catholic—are pointing out that the arguments deployed by the new geocentrists are not just bad science, but bad philosophy and bad theology as well.  Wow, bad science, bad philosophy, bad theology—it’s a dangerous combination.

The article itself is well done, but as a bonus is followed by a very interesting exchange in the comments section. Several stock geocentrist arguments—including yet another deployment of the Great Inconsistency concerning general relativity by the ubiquitous Rick DeLano—are ably dispatched not just by Miss Carlisle but by several other participants as well.

Here are some excerpts to entice you into reading more:

The reason I’m writing about it in a Catholic blog is this: the movie has the potential to erode the scientific literacy of believers and convince nonbelievers that science and Christianity don’t mix. No doubt the movie’s creators are well intentioned. But good intentions make hell-bound paving stones. This isn’t me, a science journalist, merely ranting about the movie’s deplorable lack of fact-checking. This is me, a Catholic, worried about the error it will seed in the minds of God’s little ones. Because in watching the movie and having a dozen pages of e-mail back-and-forth with the producer and publicist, one thing became clear: the movie’s creators do not understand physics.

After effectively addressing, yet again, the glaring flaw in the geocentrists’s “center of mass argument”, the gravity and spacial proximity of the sun with respect to the earth (this is something treated at length by Dr. Alec MacAndrew in “Here Comes the Sun”) Miss Carlisle notes too:

[D]ecades of velocity measurements, radio observations, and many other lines of evidence show that our solar system sits in the outer-ish part of a spiral galaxy that’s rotating around a center that isn’t Earth. Observations also show that our galaxy is in a group of galaxies, and that this Local Group is on the outer edge of a giant supercluster. Geocentrism simply doesn’t match the empirical evidence. Nor is there any coherent theory of gravity that can both explain all our observations and put Earth at the universe’s physical center.

And then she turns again quite rightly to the serious philosophical problems with the new geocentrists’s position and, specifically, their new movie:

But my biggest complaint is the movie’s underlying philosophical argument. The movie claims that moving Earth from the physical center of everything implies that “man means nothing,” that if the universe doesn’t revolve around Earth, we aren’t special. This dichotomy is a materialist lie. . . . Too many people buy into the mantra that science disproves faith. Wrong. Materialism uses science to argue that faith isn’t true. . . . The sad thing is, The Principle buys into this dichotomy, too.

Great work from Camille Carlisle, so please give it a read and don’t miss the great exchange in the comments section as well:

 “Protecting Faith From Pseudoscience: A Review of The Principle

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