Friday, August 29, 2014

Cosmological paradigms: doubters and true believers

Aristarchus of Samos (c. 310-230 BC) was the first known astronomer to present a heleocentric cosmological theory. This theory wasn't picked up again until the theories of Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) led to what came to be known as the "Copernican Revolution."

The dominant theory before Aristarchus and after him, until the time of Copernicus, was the geocentric paradigm promoted by the theories of Aristotle (384-322 BC) and Claudius Ptolemy (c. AD 90-168).

If you've read anything about scientific "paradigms" -- for example, in Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962) -- you know something about how fundamental paradigms are in providing the regulative ideals by which scientists conduct their work.

In fact, Kuhn shows that, contrary to the views about the foundations of science promoted by the father of Scientific Positivism, August Comte (1798-1857), science cannot prove its own presuppositions and depends on assumed paradigms, scientific progress has not consisted in a steady and incremental "growth in knowledge," but rather a haphazard movement that advances by fits and starts and even accidental discoveries of new paradigms.

I don't know about you, but I love to watch what happens when ideas and theories are proposed that rock the boat of prevailing orthodoxies. This is one reason I enjoy all the recent theories that question "Climate Science" or "Evolutionary Theory," for example. What I find particularly amusing (I know, it's my perverse and fallen sense of humor) is how exercised and upset the "true believers" and self-appointed guardians of prevailing dogmas and orthodoxies become over these unorthodox theories.

Appeal to authority is the weakest form of argument, just as ridicule is the last resort of bad arguments. And what is fascinating is how quickly "true believers" stoop to ridicule based on the prima facie "absurdity" of the "doubters" -- anyone who questions the authority of the prevailing wisdom of Climate Scientists (remember: Al Gore was awarded a Nobel Prize in 2007 for his promotion of "knowledge" about global warming), the Evolutionist theories of Richard Dawkins, et al., and the currently regnant cosmological paradigm of heleocentrism.

So, for anyone interested in something completely "unorthodox," something prima facie totally "absurd" and "ridiculous," but explicitly appealing to scientific "data" in ways that drive "true believers" insane, I present for your enjoyment the latest "doubters" of the heleocentric paradigm:


Josh said...

This kind of stuff is beneath you. It may be amusing when legitimate challenges discomfit "true believers," but "Dr." Robert Sungenis pontificating about cosmology and astrophysics? This does not but make traditional Catholics a laughing stock.

Rick DeLano said...

Many thanks for the coverage!

I have enjoyed your blog for a long time.

Anonymous said...

So im confused is this suggesting that heliocentric theory is wrong or that modern geocentric theory is funny?

Anonymous Bosch said...

Let the fun begin!! This is GREAT!! Don't be disheartened, though, when half your readers won't understand what you're up to. Your point is a subtle one, and those kinds of points are usually lost on general readers.

I love the point you make, however, about those "hot button" issues like evolution and climate "science" (what a joke). I would add to that some other even more marginal sorts of controversies such as those about who was responsible for 9/11, the origins of the Federal Reserve, the Gold Standard, etc.

There's an agnostic professor of a major mid-western university who brings up Creationism in his biology classes every year and presents it as a serious alternative to evolution, not because he believes it, but because he knows a lot of his students come from fundamentalist backgrounds where counter-claims are made about the scientific data that the theory of evolution claims as its basis.

What's interesting is how all hell breaks out in his classes, because the majority (agnostic pro-evolutionists) can't believe that the professor seriously entertains the Creationist counter-claims as an intelligent alternative. He's willing to give "air time" to the fundamentalists, and it drives his liberal students insane.

Joe said...


You're falling into a trap set by this post. As PP says, "ridicule is the last resort of bad arguments" and you're merely offering ridicule.

This is exactly the point. Whatever you think of the defenders of this geocentric alternative cosmology, THEY are offering arguments.

If you want to play fair in the sandbox, you've got to meet them on their own terms and consider their arguments. Otherwise, they'll merely tell you to go home and cry on your mommy's shoulder. Is that what you want?

Chris said...


I watched the film clip about the coming revolution in Science. As the one poster so far on this topic who doesn't know enough science or enough history either to dismiss or enshrine what he says, I find parts of his presentation profoundly disturbing and parts greatly reassuring.

1) He suggests that Tycho Brache was murdered because he could support he Church's teaching. (No, he doesn't come right out and say so, but the implication is easy enough).

2) He all but accuses Einstein of fraud. Same equation, same numbers, but substitutes time for a rod.

On the other side of the ledger

1) Cardinal St. Robert Bellarmine was right all along.

2) The Church didn't attack science, but the materialistic assumptions which tried to pass themselves off as science.

Can you recommend any books about Brache's life and work? Cardinal Bellarmine's?

Under the Mercy,


Pertinacious Papist said...

Hello, Chris.

I agree. Aren't these claims quite amazing? I heard something similar about Tycho Brache from Tom V. Morris, who used to teach philosophy at Notre Dame. I think he also said that he was the one who lost his nose in a duel and used to carry around with him a pot of glue for repairs when his prosthetic nose came off when he sneezed.

I have also been amazed at the claims that some celebrated intellectuals have been frauds or at least said some stupid things. I can't say whether Einstein was a fraud, though I know he said some stupid things, such as that more education would eliminate world wars.

Bibliography? Yes.

Blackwell, R. J. Galileo, Bellarmine and the Bible, Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.

Catholic Answers, "The Galileo Controversy":

Demarco, Donald. "The dispute between Galileo and the Catholic Church," The Homiletic and Pastoral Review CL, No. 3 (May 1986 & June 1986); reprinted in Catholic Education Resource Center:

Fantoli, Annibale. The Case of Galileo: A Closed Quetion? Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2012.

Finocchiaro, Maurice A. Retrying Galileo, 1633-1992. University of California Press, 2005.

Finocchiaro, Maurice A. The Galileo Affair: A Documentary History. California Studies in the History of Science. University of California Press, 1989.

Galilei, Galileo. Catholic Encyclopedia:

(continued ...)

Pertinacious Papist said...

(continued ...)

Jaki, Stanley L. Galileo Lessons. Pinckney, MI: Real View Books, 2001.

Johnson, George Sims. "The Galileo Affair" Crisis Magazine [archived somewhere on the Internet. One of my earlier links has it.]

Newall, Paul. "The Galileo Affair" (2005) [Follows Maurice A. Finocchiaro]: [a contrary view]

Redondi, Pietro. Galileo: Heretic, trans. by Raymond Rosenthal. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Rowland, Wade. Galileo's Mistake: A New Look at the Epic Confrontation between Galileo and the Church. New York: Archade publishing, 2003.

Shea, William R. Galileo in Rome: The rise and Fall of a Troublesome Genius. Oxford University Press, 2003.

Shea, William R. Galileo's Intellectual Revolution: The Middle Period, 1610-1632. New York: Science History Publications, 1972.

Pertinacious Papist said...

I wanted to add after my remarks on Einstein that the more I read about Charles Darwin, the less impressed I am with his intellectual integrity and closer I come to classifying him as fraudulent.

Again, though, the fascinating thing to me is how utterly convinced people are on both sides of these questions. It's not uncommon to find respected Catholic scholars with reputations for honesty talk about Darwin as though he was a great scientific genius and that his "discoveries" have left his theory of "Evolution" in the condition of being absolute "fact." This I find laughable, given the massive quantity of scholarship now amassed against his theories -- by atheists as well as Christians.

This is what I find interesting.

Pertinacious Papist said...

Oh, and how could I have left out the background footnotes and bibliographical references in the books by Robert Sungenis himself, Galileo Was Wrong: The Church Was Right, Vols. I-III, and also his Geocentrism 101: An Introduction to the Science of Geocentric Cosmology (2014).

Pertinacious Papist said...

Oh, and how could I have left out the background footnotes and bibliographical references in the books by Robert Sungenis himself, Galileo Was Wrong: The Church Was Right, Vols. I-III, and also his Geocentrism 101: An Introduction to the Science of Geocentric Cosmology (2014).

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

O, and what about Philander (cool name) Knox and the fraud about the 16th amendment?

JM said...

Sungenis is a a tough case. He appears combative a la the apologetical jousting mode of Gerry Metatics (!). And his science embarrasses the great mass of Catholics pining away after respectability. But really, they really might as well forget that, if the Church is going to stick to its teachings. Dogmatic creeds and sexual hesitation are already considered harmful antediluvian things. Interestingly, Sungenis's commentaries are among the few such volumes by contemporary Catholic scholars that take Biblical inspiration for granted. So he is dong something right.