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:
I 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:
It 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 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.