Paranoid Much? The “Principled” Response to Flat Earth Geocentrism

Robert Sungenis, press release, Dec 2013

Ball Earth geocentrists like Robert Sungenis and Rick DeLano have been flummoxed by the tremendous surge of interest in Flat Earth geocentrism over the past few years.  As I wrote in “Growing by Leaps and Bounds?”, popularity of Flat Earth geocentrism is outstripping Ball Earth geocentrism by a long mile.

Perhaps not surprisingly, given their penchant for conspiracies [see here and here], the Ball Earth geocentrists smell a rat.  Specifically they contend that the Flat Earth outbreak is all about messing up the promotion of their movie on geocentrism, The Principle.  Ball Earth geocentrist Mark Wyatt first asserted that there was something nefarious going on in January 2016, on the conspiracy site Before It’s News:  “The flat earth explosion that started towards the end of 2014 is a direct attack to keep America and the world from seeing the documentary THE PRINCIPLE” (link).  His single piece of “evidence” for this “direct attack” was a Google Trends chart that shows the start of a rise in interest in Flat Earth geocentrism around that time frame.  More on this in a bit.

In a follow-up article, Wyatt takes the “it just has to be about us” meme to a ridiculous extreme:

The Guardian has written two stories about flat earth in January 2016, here and here.

The second article, “Flat-Earthers aren’t the only ones getting things wrong”, interestingly attempts to tie flat earth with “Galileo’s 17th Century Critics”, a jab at Robert Sungnis [sic] who wrote Galileo Was Wrong, and was Executive Producer of “THE PRINCIPLE”. Interestingly, also, they managed to do this while staying true to the media blackout of “THE PRINCIPLE”, by not mentioning who “Galileo’s 17th Century Critics” are… (link).

Wyatt’s sense of chronology seems a bit out of whack here.  Perhaps the reason Sungenis wasn’t explicitly mentioned as one of “Galileo’s 17th century critics” is because those critics all lived and died in, you know, the 17th century?  Unless Sungenis is considerably older than we’ve been told that seems fairly plausible.  Or perhaps Wyatt is right and there really is something more sinister going on here.  You decide.

Rick Delano,

More recently Ball Earth geocentrist Rick DeLano has made even more sweeping and specific claims about a Flat Earth geocentrist conspiracy to neutralize his movie:

Let me tell you guys the truth, okay? Flat Earth is a psyop. It’s a psyop that was launched, not coincidentally, right around the time The Principle was released. Ah, and again emanates from certain Catholics circles who wanted to shut us down. If you wanted to discredit geocentrism, the first thing you do is tie it to Flat Earth so that every time you hear geocentrism the next thing you hear is flat earth. Brilliant. . . .

This thing was suddenly everywhere. Absolu…, everytime…I remember because I was in Chicago opening the film and every time I googled “The Principle” or “geocentrism” flat earth would be everywhere on my page. And I go, “Somebody is putting some serious money to get these links up on Google so high. What in the heck is going on?

And it turns out that, you know, some of the clever guys who really despise us in the Catholic Church, they went back and they said, “Oh, okay, so they’re going to interpret the Scriptures literally for geocentrism, let’s have them interpret the Scriptures literally for flat earth, it’s a dome you see, so we’re going to make them look stupid by saying that if you believe geocentrism you must believe flat earth.” Well somebody grabbed that and ran with it, as a psyop. . . . (link; at 1:15:50).

Displaying a staggering lack of self-reflection, DeLano – whose sidekick Robert Sungenis has publicly espoused a whole panoply of conspiracy theories and who regularly tells his followers that they are being “lied to” by the entire science establishment – nevertheless portrays Flat Earth geocentrism as a veritable conspiracy within a conspiracy:

See, here’s the appeal, the beautiful appeal. OK. Everybody knows everything is wobbling right now. Everybody knows they’re being lied to right now. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could say that every single thing that you have been taught in your whole life is a complete load of hooey and you’re being conspiratorially lied to — there are no satellites, we’ve never been to the moon, the moon is a little light up about 3000 miles above us and so’s the sun and there’s a dome above us and thus the Earth Is Flat! All of a sudden you are the keeper of the secret. This is Gnosticism on steroids. You have the secret and you and your friends are the only ones who have cracked the code and you have the evangelical fire in your belly to go out there and spread the word. Now, people are tired of having their religious views, their cultural views spat upon by the scientific elites. But they can’t fight these guys, they don’t know calculus. What an attractive world to enter, where you can be Einstein. Where you can be Kepler. Where you can be Galileo. Because you know the secret! Right? It’s an incredibly powerful and persuasive psychological operation. And it’s taken off like a rocket. And it was in fact launched, in my opinion — I have circumstantial but certainly only circumstantial evidence — that Flat Earth was deployed as a psyop with big money behind it to divert attention away from The Principle, to sort of set in everybody’s mind that geocentrism, oh that’s just like flat earth (link; at 1:17:30).

Of course DeLano’s critique of Flat Earth geocentrism applies every bit as much to Ball Earth geocentrism – it’s Gnosticism on steroids, the Ball Earth geocentrists think they have the “secret” that the mainstream “opposition” is hiding (“They Know it but They’re Hiding it”), they’ve got the whip hand on Galileo/Kepler/Newton/Einstein, and they have the evangelical fire in the belly to spread the word (remember, DeLano and Sungenis make their whole living hawking Ball Earth geocentrism.)

The fact is that Wyatt’s and DeLano’s conspiracy, like so many others, is made up out of whole cloth.  Let’s go ahead and assess it factually one point at a time, starting with DeLano’s claim that Google has closely linked Flat Earth with geocentrism and The Principle.

Google Searches for “The Principle” or “Geocentrism” had Flat Earth “Everywhere”?

This claim really had me saying “huh?”  I’ve been researching and writing about geocentrism for more than six years.  It shouldn’t surprise anybody that I have done my fair share of Google searches for “geocentrism” and more recently for “The Principle”.  I have never once seen Flat Earth come up prominently in any such search.  Certainly it’s not true right now.  Go ahead, try it yourself.  If I google “geocentrism” I find the first reference to “Flat Earth” twelve pages in.  If you google just “The Principle” it appears that you’ll never get a page that references “Flat Earth”.  If you google “The Principle movie” then references to “Flat Earth” start on page 4 of the searches, but they are all to documents and comments created in 2016 or later, too late to contribute to DeLano’s conspiratorial contentions.  One commenter on the interview with DeLano noticed the same thing I did and came to an interesting conclusion:

I did a google search and went 6 pages deep, Not once did “flat Earth” show along with “The Principle” Hmmm?, and I did the same in Youtube, same results?, Flat Earth is not a PsyOp, His explanation is the PsyOp (link).

Unless DeLano is going to contend that somebody put “serious money” to get all these links up on Google in late 2014 to coincide with the launch of The Principle and then managed to get them all down again, without anybody else noticing but him, his assertion looks very flimsy indeed.

There’s Big Money Behind It?

What about his assertion that there is “serious money” behind these nefarious schemes, or as he has said in any number of on-line venues that this alleged connection of Flat Earth Geocentrism with The Principle is “Very, very well funded….”?

Once again DeLano makes assertions without a shred of evidence to back them up.  He starts the interview stating, categorically and confidently, that “the truth” is that “Flat Earth is a psyop. It’s a psyop that was launched, not coincidentally, right around the time The Principle was released”.  But by the end of this part of the interview, he rolls that back rather sharply, ending on the note that “it was in fact launched, in my opinion – I have circumstantial but certainly only circumstantial evidence – that flat earth was deployed as a psyop with big money behind it to divert attention away from The Principle” (see links above.)

Circumstantial evidence like what?  The lone piece of circumstantial “evidence” that he or anybody else has offered for this conspiracy theory is that interest in Flat Earth geocentrism experienced an uptick in the same timeframe that The Principle was released.  By itself that’s hardly a sufficiently firm foundation on which to build DeLano’s more sweeping allegations of a “very, very well funded” “organized oppo” specifically targeting his movie.

This “psyop” emanates from “certain Catholic circles” and is backed by “some of the clever guys who really despise us in the Catholic Church”?

Well, again we have a lot of assertions, but no evidence.  On what basis does Rick conclude that this interest in Flat Earth geocentrism is masterminded by those of us who object to Rick and Sungenis et al. linking their crusade for Ball Earth geocentrism to the Catholic faith?  He gives no evidence for the assertion – not even circumstantial – so what is gratuitously asserted may be just as gratuitously denied.

A More Plausible Explanation:

With this much I’ll agree: Google Trends data do indeed show that interest in “Flat Earth” began gently to pick up at the very end of 2014 and has experienced rapid and sustained growth since then (as a side note, interest in “geocentrism” and “The Principle” have remained as flat as the Flat Earth.)

DeLano, et al. chalk this rise in Flat Earth popularity to a conspiracy specifically bent on making their movie look ridiculous.  But is there a more plausible explanation?  There is indeed.  Eric Dubay, one of the most prominent promoters of Flat Earth geocentrism, lays out the actions he was taking on behalf of Flat Earth as far back as 2008, leading to the publishing of a book and unveiling of a documentary in late 2014:

In 2008 teacher and author Eric Dubay (that’s me), began a web site and published a book titled The Atlantean Conspiracy which exposed among many other things Free Masonry, the fake moon landings, geocentricity, and even featured a quote from [International Flat Earth Research Society] president Charles K. Johnson. . . .

For the next several years I continued writing books and articles about various conspiracies and worked on building a huge social media presence by making multiple accounts, adding as many friends and followers as possible, joining and posting to as many groups and pages as possible. Over the course of a few years I began building up very large followings on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, Tsu, and many other sites. To give you an example of their efficacy you can see here my main Google+ account with over 135 million views and my secondary one with over 87 million. . . .

In November of 2014, after years of researching and writing, I released my book The Flat-Earth Conspiracy, the first pro-Flat Earth book written in nearly fifty years. I simultaneously released a Flat-Earth Conspiracy documentary on Youtube, began giving radio interviews, and published several influential articles on the subject. Within a very short space of time the “Flat Earth” keyword saw a 600% rise in activity and Google search results jumped from a few thousand to over 21 million. . . . The moment when the Flat Earth tide shifted and the exponential growth of the movement began was clearly around and after November 2014, the exact month when I exploded all of my Flat Earth research onto the Internet (link at 1:27:36 and 1:30:25).

Certainly it is true that after Dubay disseminated his Flat Earth material to his social network the popularity of Flat Earth geocentrism has absolutely blown away interest in Ball Earth geocentrism, as I documented in “Growing by Leaps and Bounds?” and “Flat Earth Geocentrism Has Global Appeal While Ball Earth Geocentrism is Flat-lining” (red line below = searches for “flat earth”, very flat blue line = “geocentrism”):

Here’s the bottom line.

There is no evidence for Rick DeLano’s “Very very well funded” “organized oppo” psyop seeking to undermine his movie.  There is no evidence for his assertion that at the end of 2014 “Flat Earth” sites mysteriously came up everywhere in a Google search of “geocentrism” or “The Principle” (and then just as mysteriously disappeared without a trace.)  There is no evidence that any of this is backed by some nefarious Catholics working behind the scenes to torpedo The Principle.

One is free to consider Eric Dubay himself as some sort of agent provocateur – certainly there are those even within the Flat Earth geocentrism movement who do.  But to connect his launch of Flat Earth material with The Principle, one would have to hold that these shadowy Catholic operatives anticipated the release of The Principle several years in advance and worked with Dubay to get his book written, his documentary created, and his social media presence established, all in anticipation of the moment when the Flat Earth meme could be unleashed to crush the Ball Earth opposition.

Anybody who could pull that off would have to be pretty darn clever, eh?

Hmmmmm.  Maybe that’s what really happened after all.

Posted in Credibility, Flat Earth Geocentrism |

What is the Single Best Argument Against Geocentrism?

There are many great arguments against strict Geocentrism—the view that the Earth is the absolutely motionless center of the whole universe—but in my opinion the best is probably the universal evidence for the existence of gravity.  Everywhere we look in the universe we see the effects of gravity as objects rotate on their axes and revolve around more massive objects.  To say that the Earth is somehow the lone exception even though it too exhibits all the evidences of rotating on its axis and revolving around the more massive Sun is simply irrational special pleading.

New geocentrists such as Robert Sungenis and Rick DeLano affirm the existence of gravity and the inverse square law, that the effects of gravity decline “in inverse proportion to the square of the distance to the source” (Wikipedia).  Here’s Rick:

That means that, even on the neo-geocentric view, the Earth must be in a gravitational relationship primarily with the Sun and secondarily with the moon and other planets.

The solar system’s center of mass: 1945 – 1995

As has been pointed out to the new geocentrists a long time ago, in order for the Earth to be motionless in such a system, there would have to be other sources of gravity that, at every second of every minute of every day exactly offset the constantly changing gravitational pull on the Earth from these close and massive objects (see “As the Universe Turns”).  There is absolutely no observational evidence for any such masses moving in any such way that would offset these local gravitational influences.  Given their distance as well as their motions relative to the Earth the myriad stars and galaxies simply cannot do that, as Sungenis claims.  Dr. Alec MacAndrew illustrates this with a simple thought experiment:

Let’s combine the total number of galaxy clusters within 2.5 billion light years which is about 16,000 clusters, average richness ~17, each of average mass ~2.4×1013 solar masses. Let’s suppose that we put them all at the distance of the Virgo cluster—which is closer than any of them and 50 times closer than the furthest of them. And let’s put them all in the direction of Virgo so their gravitational fields add, rather than spreading them all around the sky to cancel each other out, as they actually do. The total gravitational field of all these clusters, placed much closer to the Earth on average than they really are, and all acting in the same direction, is still 30 million times less than the Sun’s gravitational field at the Earth. And the further out you go, although the total number of galaxies that we have to consider is still larger, their gravitational attraction becomes even less because of the inverse square law.

Furthermore, Sungenis’s claim that the stars have “gravity [that] will affect how the Sun and Earth react to one another, especially if the Earth is put in the center of that gravity” [my bolding] is wrong, not just because the gravitational field at the Earth of all these stars is vanishingly small compared with that of the Sun, as we have seen, but because gravitational fields of individual bodies are  vector-additive—that is, they can cancel each other out if they act from opposite directions—so that if the Earth were to be at the centre, these already minuscule gravitational fields from the stars would tend to sum to zero (see “Here Comes the Sun”).

It is an observable fact that the Earth sits close to a number of large, constantly moving gravitational sources, most notably the Sun.  There are no observable or even conceivable sources of gravity that are at every moment shifting in just the ways necessary to offset the gravity of these moving objects.  Therefore, a stationary Earth in the center of the universe is scientifically untenable.

The standard geocentric reply to this challenge has typically started out, “But in General Relativity…..”, after which they deploy a fundamental misunderstanding of that theory. But as I have shown again and again, this appeal is invalid, since the new geocentrists vociferously reject General Relativity.  One cannot appeal to a theory he rejects in support of his own view.

But since Sungenis has again recently affirmed that he thinks that his system works even in Newtonian mechanics (see his replies in “Sungenis Tries to Proposition His Readers”), I’ll pose the question one more time.  Where is the observational evidence for the other sources of gravity that, at every second of every minute of every day exactly offset the constantly changing gravitational pull on the Earth from the Sun, the moon, and the other planets of our solar system?

On their own grounds the new geocentrists have no good answer to this simple question which is why they refuse to answer it, choosing instead to obfuscate and equivocate (see e.g. “Equivocation, Thy Name is Geocentrism”).  Lacking the ability to explain even the most basic phenomena such as the observable effects of gravity, modern Geocentrism remains bogus pseudo-science.

Posted in Science |

A Reader Thanks Geocentrism Debunked

[The thanks we receive for the material on Geocentrism Debunked is always encouraging. This reader’s comments were particularly thoughtful.]


Dear Mr. Palm,

I want to thank you for taking the trouble to run a website refuting geocentrism – I especially appreciate that you tackle the issues and show how Sungenis is wrong with polite, well-reasoned arguments. If you had simply mocked it and laughed it off as ridiculous I would not have listened to what you had to say. Instead, you refute Sungenis and other modern geocentrists using their own premises.

I encountered Sungenis’ geocentrism a few years back and was intrigued, but disbelieved it because I could not understand how he accounted for the seasons if the sun orbits the earth. I worked out on my own that it would have to sort of spiral from the Tropic of Capricorn to the Tropic of Cancer and back each year and that the center-point of that orbit would also have to move north and south, which didn’t seem likely. Last year a friend of mine revived my interest and I found that Sungenis does treat the sun (and the whole universe) as spiraling up and down, so that part “worked” – except that he never explained why the universe should oscillate in such a fashion. The stuff on the CMB and the “axis of evil”, and on the Michelson-Morley experiments, was also very intriguing, and it looked like there was proof that geocentrism would work and that the earth was motionless.

Your website has shown me that I was taken in by specious arguments, because I don’t understand many of the equations and principles of motion involved. I have a Ph.D. but not in any of the sciences, so like most people I’m not in a position to really evaluate an argument involving complex equations. Most people just follow the common opinion in such matters, but I have always been willing to entertain new, strange ideas. Geocentrism was such an idea. But the same willingness to challenge my own beliefs led me to take a look at your rebuttal. I suppose this is really a growth opportunity for me – instead of believing in heliocentrism only because that’s what I was taught in school, I can now believe it because I have some understanding of why it replaced the Ptolemaic view.

I think one of your articles pointed out that in the Ptolemaic system the earth really was believed to be the heaviest object in the universe [yes, see here]. I’ve read elsewhere of the old four-element system (earth, water, air, fire), in which the sun, moon, and stars are above the earth because they are made of fire, or even some lighter, special celestial element. There was also the view that the planets and stars were embedded in crystal spheres, which would also explain why they didn’t fall to the earth. The motion was explained by saying that supernatural agents moved the planets and stars. This system made sense to people for a long time because it didn’t contradict ordinary everyday experience, in which heavy objects fall and fire (heat) rises, and in which rocks don’t move themselves or anything else, but conscious agents such as people do move things. The problem for the new geocentrists is that they don’t believe the stars are made of a special, ultra-light matter, nor that the stars and planets move in crystal spheres or tubes pushed by angels, so then they do have the problem of answering a child’s questions: why don’t the stars and sun and moon fall down? What keeps them up in the sky? Why do they rise and set?

MacAndrew’s article on your website was particularly helpful to me because it asked a simple question: can the mass of the stars really offset the gravitational pull of the sun so that the earth can be motionless and the sun in orbit? By putting in real numbers one can see that the answer is no [see Dr. MacAndrew’s “Here Comes the Sun]. After that, it doesn’t matter what the Michelson-Morley experiments showed or didn’t show or what the CMB shows or any of the rest of it.

You are right, too, to point out that the centrality of the earth was never important in Scripture or Tradition (I don’t think it’s even mentioned in Scripture). As for a motionless earth, Sungenis’ only real Scriptural argument (as you know) comes from Joshua’s miracle of “stopping the sun” (and the moon), but it’s really a quite weak argument, as you point out [see “Sungenis Binds What He Has Loosed on Joshua 10]. The sun normally appears to move, and the miracle was that it didn’t, for about a day. Whether God actually stopped the sun or actually stopped the earth (and the moon) the experience for Joshua and his army was the same, and either way it was a miracle. I do believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, but not in the inerrancy of my own interpretation of it.

Chesterton, in his book on St. Thomas Aquinas, has this to say about science versus Scripture: “If a literal interpretation is really and flatly contradicted by an obvious fact, why then we can only say that the literal interpretation must be a false interpretation. But the fact must really be an obvious fact. And unfortunately, nineteenth-century scientists were just as ready to jump to the conclusion that any guess about nature was an obvious fact, as were seventeenth-century sectarians to jump to the conclusion that any guess about Scripture was the obvious explanation. Thus, private theories about what the Bible ought to mean, and premature theories about what the world ought to mean, have met in loud and widely advertised controversy, especially in the Victorian time, and this clumsy collision of two very impatient forms of ignorance was known as the quarrel of Science and Religion.”

Thanks again.

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