Thursday, June 29, 2006

Robert Sungenis Challenges Stephen M. Barr to Debate Geocentrism

I got into a bit of a match with Stephen M. Barr on Free Republic yesterday. In response to an article reviewing Galileo Was Wrong Dr. Barr made some insulting statements about Dr. Robert Bennett and Robert Sungenis, Ph. D., as well as making condenscending statements regarding the book (which he has not read). Robert Sungenis, has responded (below), and finished by challenging Dr. Barr to a public debate:


I [Robert Sungenis] hereby challenge Stephen Barr to an open, public and verbal debate on the issue of geocentrism (6/29/2006).

Is Dr. Barr up to the task?

Below is Robert Sungenis' respone to Dr. Barr's comments:

Stephen Barr: I have talked enough to Robert Bennett by e-mail to be able to say that he does not even understand physics at the level of a college freshman physics major. He misunderstands basic things.

R. Sungenis: As I read the email exchanges you had with Dr. Bennett, you were the one who bowed out of answering the challenges Dr. Bennett gave you by claiming you were “too busy,” yet it seems you’re not too busy to make disparaging remarks against Dr. Bennett behind his back on Internet forums. Dr. Bennett treated you with great respect, yet you engage in the most unchristian vitriol I have yet to see from even atheists! Please tell me why you can’t have an intellectual discussion about such topics without trying to bring it down to the gutter level? This is not a school yard. We are on display to the world. Or is this your idea of how to represent Christianity?

Stephen Barr: If he has a Ph.D. it cannot be in theoretical physics from any reputable physics department.

R. Sungenis: Tell me, Stephen, did you check with the Stephen's Institute of Technology to find out whether Robert Bennett has a Ph.D. in physics? Did you investigate the curriculum of the Institute, or make any inquiry into Bennett's studies there or read his dissertation? Obviously not, otherwise you wouldn't have used the word "if" in your accusation. As a consequence, Stephen, you have engaged in calumny, which is a sin of the first order. You have disparaged a man's reputation without the slightest investigation into his credentials. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. You owe Dr. Bennett an apology.

Stephen Barr: He uses terms like "inertial frame", and "Lense-Thirring effect" without any understanding.

R. Sungenis: And what evidence do you have of such accusations, Stephen? Or is this just a case of you saying that your opponent "doesn't understand" simply because he disagrees with your interpretation of said terms?

Stephen Barr: He made arguments to me about stellar parallax that involved elementary blunders.

R. Sungenis: Such as what? If you have an accusation, then show the evidence, Stephen, and let the audience decide which of us is making "elementary blunders." I read your material, and I can honestly say that, of the two of you, Dr. Bennett showed he knew much more about these issues than you did. But, unlike you, I didn't go blabbing that with pernicious words over the Internet nor did I or Dr. Bennett accuse you of being an "ignoramus" just because you have a different opinion.

Stephen Barr: My own credentials? I have a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Princeton Univ. (1978) and have published over 125 papers in research journals on fundamental physics.

R. Sungenis: And St. Paul, who didn't have a Ph.D. and didn't write any "papers," says:

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

What do you think St. Paul thinks of your calumny against Dr. Bennett, Stephen?

As for touting your credentials, you as well as I know that a Ph.D. in theoretical physics doesn't make you right. Stephen Gould had a Ph.D. in paleontology. Does that make him right about evolution, a view you reject? We all know you have a Ph.D., Stephen, but that is precisely the point of our book. There are a lot of Ph.D's running around in our universities and writing papers who say the Earth is moving, but nobody has shown us any proof it is doing so. Why you have such a bee in your bonnet simply because we probe that area of science is beyond me. Unfortunately, Dr. Bennett and I now know why Dr. Semilweiss ended up in an insane asylum when he tried to warn his colleagues that their dirty hands were causing the deaths of the women they were delivering.

Stephen Barr: Sir, I am afriad you don't understand GR correctly. While Einstein was indeed influenced by Mach's ideas, GR is not really a Machian theory, though it predicts some effects that are reminiscent of Machian ideas (like dragging of inertial frames). One can find some books that say that GR is Machian, but the general consensus is that it is not. In GR, uniform motion is relative, but accelerated motion is absolute --- just as in Newtonian physics. The question of whether something is rotating or not is an ABSOLUTE question with one and only one correct answer. Yes, one can go to a frame in which a rotating object looks like it is not rotating --- however, such a frame is not an inertial frame; more specificly, it is a rotating frame. And one can tell that it is so by looking at the "fictitious forces" that appear in that frame. It is absurd to say that the whole universe could be rotating about an axis that goes through the earth.

R. Sungenis: Stephen, you can point out what you think are the unique beliefs of GR all day long, and you can argue back and forth, like many, whether GR is Machian or not. In the end, it doesn't amount to much. As I read GR textbooks, most GR believers disagree with each other about what GR really says. The fact remains that the inventor of GR said that there is no relative difference between a fixed Earth in a rotating star-system and a rotating Earth in a fixed star-system, and there is no way for modern science to prove the latter.

Stephen Barr: Distant stars could only be kept in circular orbits about such an axis by some centripital force directed toward that axis. Here the people like Sungenis will babble about dragging of inertial frames. They say that the distant matter going around will drag the stars around the axis. Not so. Not least of the problems with this idea is that one cannot write down a global rotating coordinate system, since the time coordinate lines would become superluminal at some finite (and not so large) distance. To put it another way, if all the stars go around the earth every 24 hours, then stars more than a light-year away would be going faster than light.

R. Sungenis: And you think we didn’t think about this yet, Stephen? You think you’re the first one to point out this apparent anomaly? You need to read our book before you spout off these objections. In fact, your very own GR advocates have already answered the question for you, and we quote them in our book for people just like you who think they have the unanswerable objection. On the other hand, to Big Bang believers like yourself, having space create itself at superluminal speeds at the edge of the expanding universe is perfectly acceptable, and we scratch our heads in amazement at the duplicity.

Stephen Barr: But all this is nonsense anyway. Anyone who has a solid grasp of GR knows that in it accelerated motion is an ABSOLUTE concept.

R. Sungenis: Would you mind explaining, then, what an "ABSOLUTE concept," in regards to physics, is, Stephen? Is it "absolute" in and of itself, or are you measuring this "concept" against some other "concept" or "absolute." If you're going to make a case, then you need to explain yourself, because, as of now, all you have relayed is a "concept," and have given us very little information how this "concept" provides a disproof of geocentrism.

Stephen Barr: Finally, let me say that I actually do research in areas that require GR. I have refereed papers for journals such as Classical and Quantum Gravity. As I said, I teach GR at the graduate level --- do you?
posted on 10/11/2005 6:58:42 AM PDT by smpb (smb)

R. Sungenis: Once again, Stephen, strutting your peacock feathers doesn't prove you are right. When I see above that you have not even attempted to give GR's answer to the superluminality of a rotating universe, or even allow for the possibility that you may not know how God made it so, I honestly wonder just how much you really know about GR and its intricacies. And I wonder why other GR advocates don't say the same thing as you, since most of them admit that GR cannot disprove a geocentric universe. If you would read the book, you'll see their quotes to that effect.

Stephen Barr: you are absolutely wrong, Mark! All experts in General Relativity would agree that in GR acceleration is an absolute concept. The concept of an "inertial frame" is a crucial one in GR. An inertial frame is a non-accelerating frame. One can tell by local measurements whether one is in an inertial frame or not. This is non-controversial. Anyone who knows GR understands this.

R. Sungenis: Okay, Stephen, this seems to be your bread and butter, and I'm going to challenge you on this until I get a satisfactory answer. You say "One can tell by local measurements whether one is in an inertial frame or not. This is non-controversial." But "local measurements" in relation to what, and measured against what? How do you know your "local measurements" are accurate or even legitimate unless you have an absolute from which to set and calibrate them? This is the whole problem with GR. You guys keep talking as if you have an absolute from which to measure things. You don't. Anyone with an eight-grade education can see that if everything is moving in your universe, there is no absolute, regardless of the mathematical fudges you use to convince us that you DO have an absolute. Why do you think Einstein said the following, since he saw the implications of his own theory:

"Either coordinate system could be used with equal justification. The two sentences: the sun is at rest and the Earth moves, or the sun moves and the Earth is at rest, would simply mean two different conventions concerning two different coordinate systems." (The Evolution of Physics: From Early Concepts to Relativity and Quanta, Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld, New York, Simon and Schuster, 1938, 1966, p. 212.)

As Fred Hoyle noted: "...according to the physical theory developed by Albert Einstein [the heliocentric and geocentric systems] are indeed physically equivalent to each other" (Astronomy and Cosmology, p. 8).

So, we are at a loss to see this "absolute" cure-all you have invented for GR that doesn't seem to be touted by the inventor.

Stephen Barr: It is true that Einstein was led to GR by Machian ideas, and according to Mach's ideas acceleration is relative. But it is generally agreed by that the theory Einstein actually came up with is NOT Machian. Though he was inspired by Mach's ideas, Einstein's theory does not actually realize Mach's principle of the relativity of acceleration.
posted on 06/28/2006 6:53:43 PM PDT by smpb (smb)

R. Sungenis: Then how do you explain the above quote from Einstein? And how do you explain GR commentators, such as Rosser, who see such "relativity" in GR:

Relative to the stationary roundabout [the Earth], the distant stars would have a velocity wxr [radius x angular velocity] and for sufficiently large values of r, the stars would be moving relative to O' [the observer] with linear velocities exceeding 3 x10^8 m/sec, the terrestrial value of the velocity of light. At first sight this appears to be a contradiction- that the velocities of all material bodies must be less than c [the speed of light]. However, the restriction u [less than] c = 3x10^8 m/sec is restricted to the theory of Special Relativity. According to the General theory, it is possible to choose local reference frames in which, over a limited volume of space, there is no gravitational field, and relative to such a reference frame the velocity of light is equal to c. However, this is not true when gravitational fields are present. In addition to the lengths of rods and the rates of clocks the velocity of light is affected by a gravitational field. If gravitational fields are present the velocities of either material bodies or of light can assume any numerical value depending on the strength of the gravitational field. If one considers the rotating roundabout as being at rest, the centrifugal gravitational field assumes enormous values at large distances, and it is consistent with the theory of General Relativity for the velocities of distant bodies to exceed 3 x10^8 m/sec under these conditions. (An Introduction to the Theory of Relativity, William G. V. Rosser, London, Butterworths, 1964, p. 460)

Rosser adds: "Relative to an inertial frame the 'fixed' stars are at rest or moving with uniform velocity. However, relative to a reference frame accelerating relative to an inertial frame the stars are accelerating. It is quite feasible that accelerating masses give different gravitational forces from the gravitational forces due to the same masses when they are moving with uniform velocity. Thus the conditions in an accelerating reference frame are different from the conditions in inertial frames, since the stars are accelerating relative to the accelerating reference frame. It seems plausible to try to interpret inertial forces as gravitational forces due to the accelerations of the stars relative to the reference frame chosen."

Einstein was criticized on this very point by Ph. Lenard in a 1917 open debate, later published in 1920. Lenard stated: superluminal velocities seem really to create a difficulty for the principle of relativity; given that they arise in relation to an arbitrary body, as soon as they are attributed not to the body, but to the whole world, something which the principle of relativity in its simplest and heretofore existing form allows as equivalent ("Allgemeine Diskussion über Relativitätstheorie," Physikalische Zeitschrift, 1920, pp. 666-668, cited in Kostro's Einstein and the Ether, p. 87).

And a quote from me in Galileo Was Wrong: As Rosser freely admits, General Relativity really has no choice in the matter. It must possess the inherent ability to make any point in the universe the center and produce coordinate transformations in accord with that center. Once it picks its center, then all the gravitational forces in the universe must balance. Hence, if an immobile Earth is chosen as the center, then all the forces in the universe will combine together such that, when Einstein’s field equations are employed to calculate the forces, they will balance out just as when Einstein employed them for a moving Earth. In other words, one can choose any center and reformulate the relative forces of the entire universe from the perspective of that particular center using the mathematics of General Relativity. This application is understood as the “strong” principle of Relativity. If such a reciprocal relationship did not exist between respectively chosen centers, then General Relativity would be falsified; and if General Relativity is falsified, then modern science lacks any answer to the experiments which have demonstrated both a motionless Earth (Michelson-Morley, et al.) and absolute space (Sagnac, Michelson-Gale, et al.), and we are back to geocentrism in any case. Hence, General Relativity has uniquely fulfilled the qualifications of the proverbial dog chasing its tail.

As an aside, Rosser also points out the following: It has often been suggested that a direct experimental check of the principle of the constancy of the velocity of light is impossible, since one would have to assume it to true to synchronize the spatially separated clocks (ibid., p. 133).

Stephen Barr: I am the author of Modern Physics and Ancient Faith. Bennett is an ignoramus, and you can quote me on that.
posted on 06/28/2006 6:55:11 PM PDT by smpb (smb)

R. Sungenis: Fortunately, for the audience reading this, neither Dr. Bennett nor myself are going to stoop to the level that Stephen Barr wants to bring this discussion by calling him an "ignoramus" also. We are simply going to challenge Stephen to support his assertions with facts, if he has any. In addition, I hereby challenge Stephen Barr to an open, public and verbal debate on the issue of geocentrism. If Stephen wants to accept the challenge, we at CAI will make the arrangements.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hahaha, thanks R. Sungenis for a most amusing illustration of how futile it is to argue with someone who has no knowledge of their subject and even less willingness to listen to reason. The only other thing I can possibly think to ask you is: what experiment could one perform which, given a certain outcome, would convince you that the Earth is indeed rotating and revolving about the sun?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The embarrassing part is that a physicist actually took the time to listen to these nut-jobs..."St Paul, who had no PhD..." Exactly, he had no PhD. That's because you religious nuts haven't the faintest idea about what science is. When someone changed tradition in religion, they're a heretic. When they do it in science, they're a savior. Religion forces it's beliefs into a few convenient part of theories, but it is not self-contained even in the theories it selects as 'proof.' Even the Catholic church isn't scientifically intolerant enough to hold geocentrism. I can't wait for their next scientific topic. "Jesus was able to walk on water because of SUPER hydrogen bonding." I don't even know what lies in this future, but these guys are pretty good entertainment.

How exactly are you people explaining the retrograde motion of the planets if you maintain everything orbits the earth?

Tuesday, November 02, 2010  
Blogger James said...

Unfortunately, is all too common to see mockery which is extremely un-Christian (Jesus Christ was heavily mocked by his Judaic enemies.) take place in discussions on geocentrism. In the above discussion we see much mockery heaped on Dr. Bennett.

James B. Phillips

Friday, November 12, 2010  

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