Wednesday, February 14, 2007

For the Record, Mark Shea

Mark Shea wrote an article, Puny Humans, Geocentrism, and ET , in which he referred to geocentrists as [reading Scripture in a ] "flat footed" [way] and being "fundamentalist". I left some comments in the "discussion" section" of Catholic Exchange (who hosts the articles, and of which Mark Shea is a big part). Mark Shea, or some unidentified moderator will not allow my discussion points to remain. I guess Mark does not like too much criticism.

For the record, I would like to post my comments.



You take the readers of Catholic Exchange as pretty gullible. You know that Gary Hoge gave up his geo-stationary satellite argument, even shutting down his web site (possibly for other reasons, too), yet you repeat it. You have no proof that geocentrism is wrong, you just believe this based on your stubborn disposition. I really wonder from what perspective you are operating- certainly not truth. Go ahead repeat all the lies you want, you are a big man. I hope someday you will have the courtesy and conscience to actually study the issue before you flap your gums, but I doubt it at this point. I have been following your comments on this for some time including repeated exchanges with Robert Sungenis (where you as much as admit that you have no knowledge in this area). You truly do not represent open mindedness. You really should be ashamed of yourself, and certainly should not have written this article without at least mentioning the history of your engagement with Sungenis, and the fact that you really have no knowledge on the topic.

You need to read Galileo Was Wrong by Sungenis and Bennett. If you have serious issues with specific points, then air them, but from what I have seen you do not care about facts, just your gut feeling.
Mark Wyatt
Submitted by markjwyatt on Thu, 02/08/2007 - 4:13pm.


"That Mr. Hoge has taken down his site does not equate to saying his argument was bad. On the contrary, it was quite elegant. "

He (or more precisely his chosen representative) conceded the argument. I never said his equations did not work, nor that they were not "elegant". Read the debate.

"to say "The enthusiasm for geocentrism among a few reactionaries is not particularly credible" is not a "lie"."

No, it is not. All Catholics should be proud to be called "reactionaries". Our ideas came from our Lord who left earth 2000+ years ago.

But this is a lie:

"The falsity of ...[geocentrism]...has, of course, been shown many times"

The key element you are missing and that does not exist is the "showing", i.e., the evidence. Bellarmine's demonstration has yet to be made.

Mark Wyatt
Submitted by markjwyatt on Thu, 02/08/2007 - 10:31pm.
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Catholic Exchange:

You have allowed Mark Shea, a person who has basically admitted he knows nothing about geocentrism to write an article condeming it as a "flat footed" "fundamentalist" myth. (I guess Paul V, Urban VIII, and Alexander VII all needed to see a podiatrist).

Why not invite Robert Sungenis, who has written a doctoral thesis and a book on the topic to write an article to be displayed prominently on your site? If you are interested in truth, not saving appearances "to the world", this would make a lot of sense.

Mark Wyatt
Submitted by markjwyatt on Fri, 02/09/2007 - 9:08am.


I said nothing about Mr. Shea's degree. My concern is that Mr. Shea himself has admitted he knows nothing on the topic, yet he proclaims it nonsense. As to degrees, keep in mind that Robert's co-author, Dr. Bennett, has a Ph.D. in physics with thesis on general relativity.

On top of Galileo Was Wrong, the standard for the geocentrism issue, you can also visit my 4 part blog series, Geocentricity 101:

Geocentricity 101, Part I: Basic Principles
Geocentricity 101, Part II: Basic Physics
Geocentricity 101, Part III: Scriptural and Church Position
Geocentricity 101, Supplement: Discussion of Scripture and Church Position

I have visited your site (and left some comments), but have not been by for a while. I will check out our arguments.

I hope you take the time to read Galileo Was Wrong. It goes far beyond a relativistic argument, and shows that most of the observational and experiemtnal evidence actually points to a non-moving central earth. It also shows historically how science has ignored and even obscured this evidence in order to reconcile the evidence to its presuppositions (the earth moves and is in the center).

Mark Wyatt

BTW Mark Shea:

Note the difference in approach betwen you and sciencemom. She did not just blow geocentrism off as "flat footed" "funadmetalism", but actually studied the issue and put forth an intelligent response.

You have much to learn from her.
Submitted by markjwyatt on Fri, 02/09/2007 - 4:56pm.


As a final note, in the next article down, I answer sciencemom's concerns in her Part 3 (which relates to my Geocentricity 101, Parts I and II).

A Response to "Sciencemom" of Unity of Truth Blog and Her Article "The New Geocentrism- Part III"

Sciencemom, read my blog series (Geocentricity 101), and challenged the science portion in her blog piece named "The New Geocentrism- Part III". In "Up- to date cosmology" hedgemaker challenges the scriptural/eccliastical portion (this is their Part II). It all started with the original article "The New Geocentrism", which we can conclude is Part I.

I will respond specifically to the science aspect of Part III. I will reply to "Up- to date cosmology", and the scriptural/ecclisiastic portions of "The New Geocentrism Part III" in a seperate article. I have replied to sciencemom's article "The New Geocentrism" in the comments of the actual article. This led to the writing of the additional two articles.

Sciencemomn says:

"...I have now read Mr. Wyatt's four-part series on Geocentrism, and I offer the following brief summary of his argument:

1. The math and physics of parts 1-2 boil down to the idea that it is possible to construct a frame of reference such that with respect to it, the earth is stationary and the entire universe apparently moves around it, and the related idea that this is entirely acceptable within the framework of general relativity.

2. Parts 3-4 attempt to establish that the Church has in the past taken positions that obliged a geocentric view, and that these still oblige, not having been rescinded to the author's satisfaction.

3.Since relativity does not "prefer" a certain "centrism" but (as is claimed) the Church does, we should hold geocentrism to be obligatory..."

She explains Part 1 in more detail later. I will briefly comment on her points 2 and 3, then comment on her explanation for point 1. She states in her point 2 that I claim the Church "has in the past taken positions that obliged a geocentric view", which is correct, I have demonstrated this. She then goes on to state, "these still oblige, not having been rescinded to the author's satisfaction", which I take some exception to. I have not stated that they still oblige, necassarily. I have stated that "...It is not clear whether the statements of the Popes reached the level of infallibility. Clearly they have reached at least the level of being worthy of consideration by the faithful (and possibly much more), but given the Vatican's ambiguity towards the issue in recent centuries, there is probably little moral culpability for the average person who has been taught unimpeded from early childhood (even taught at Catholic schools) that we know that the earth goes around the sun and spins on its axis. Clearly science supports the notion that we do not know either way (see Parts I and II, Geocentricity 101)."

This same comment goes for her point 3. I have basically said this without the claiming it an "obligation", but also more. I have not tried to "prove" geocentrism with a relativistic argument, but, as sciencemon correctly infers, I show it as still possible.

What follows is sciencemom's commentary of her point 1, with my counter-commentary interposed:

The math / physics that Mr. Wyatt is suggesting leaves important things unsaid:

1. The "frame of reference" needed for this to work is a rotating, translating frame. To put it even more simply, one simply takes the movement of the earth as heliocentrists would see it, and transfers that to the frame of reference. Thus, the frame of reference moves along with the earth.

This immediately shows that sciencemom cannot see past her presumptions. She states that a frame attached to the earth is actually a "rotating, translating frame"! How does she know this? Because she presupposes that the earth is rotating translating. SHE MISSES THE ENTIRE POINT OF THE DISCUSSION. I.e., the geocentric contention is that the earth is actually NOT rotating and translating. If this contention is true, then the frame attached to the earth is a stationary non-rotating frame. Until we can establish that the earth is rotating/translating sciencemom can not make absolute statements about its rotation/translation. The book Galileo Was Wrong explains in great detail that science has never established that the earth is either rotating or translating. Scientists do understand this, and they are quoted.

2.Only within this moving frame of reference can the earth said to be "still" or "at rest". This is indeed a paltry form of immovability! It is little more than mathematical sleight of hand. In fact, it is precisely the sort of immovability that Mary's ballerina would experience while doing a pirouette, provided the frame of reference moves right along with her.

Again, sciencemom presupposes a moving rotating earth. Of course if we accept her ASSUMPTION, then the case is closed. Since geocentrists have not, we are not impressed with her choice of assumptions.

3.The rest of the universe only apparently moves around the earth, given this frame of reference. We can easily tell that it does not really do so because the apparent speed of even nearby stars (as measured from our moving frame of reference) is well over the speed of light. The stars are most definitely not moving at these speeds; even if it were not a contradiction of special relativity, we would see the luminous effects in the form of Cerenkov radiation. If Mary's ballerina did her pirouette under the night sky, the moon orbits her (in her frame of reference, remember) just as much as the universe orbits the earth.

Finally sciencemom actually tries to make a scientific argument (rather than relying on her presuppositions). Unfortunately the argument does not hold as I explained in detail in part III of Geocentricity 101. First, if the universe is rotating, then special relativity does not apply, general relativity is required. In general relaitivty, "...If one considers the rotating roundabout as being at rest [i.e., fix the earth], 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 x 10^8 m/sec under these conditions." (An Introduction to the Theory of Relativity, W. G. V. Rosser, London, Butterworths, 1964, p. 460). This is one of the many points I used to establish that general relativity does not see this as an issue. Now, if we go a step further and consider a rotating aether, then the stars are travelling along with the aether (i.e., they are co-rotating with space), and under these conditions there is no local exceedance of light speed.

The Cerenkov radiation issue only deals with special relativity effects, which are not present in this case. In flat space-time ( the realm of special relativity) objects exceeding the speed of light can generate radition (as seen in particle accelerators), but in the case of general relativity, in the case of a rotating universe, the theory directly accomodates the rotating objects relative superluminal state. If an object were to locally overtake a star at a relative speed greater than "c", then in that case, even under general relativity, Cerenkov radiation would be locally generated, because in that case space-time would be [approximately] flat.

As to sciencemom's ballerina, unfortunately, general relativity has to consider the the universe rotating around the tip of her nose just as real as the ballerina rotating in a static universe, because general relativity excludes the concept of absolute space. So if this example bothers sciencemom (or she finds it amusing), then she should feel the same about the big bang theory- which explicitly relies on general relativity to be correct (else there is no cosmological constant and no expansion of space, and thus no big bang). Amazing the corner that Catholics back themselves into to be "cool" to the world!

4.In reality, there is no significant rotation of the universe. While it is very difficult to rule it out entirely, it is relatively simple to set an upper bound on the maximum rotation of the universe, and direct measurements indicate it is well under 0.1 arc seconds per century.

Correct, it is difficult to rule out entirely, and just stating so does not constitute evidence. True, if one accepts all the assumptions relating to the current cosmological view (big bang with inflationary phase, isotropic and homogeneous space, etc.) then within the framework of the myriad of assumptions involved (the ones exposed in Galileo Was Wrong), you could make a case that the universe appears not to be rotating. If the earth is actually stationary and not rotating, then these assumptions will have been shown to be wrong.

5.To someone in an inertial frame of reference, looking "down" on the solar system from somewhere over the sun's north pole, all the planets would trace over time the elliptical paths around it that we know as orbits. (The sun would also be seen rotating on its own axis, and gradually moving in its own orbital path around the galactic center, taking the rest of the solar system along with it.)

Again, sciencemom misses a fundamental point. True if one stared down on the sun then one would "see" the entire universe rotating around the sun! This is because we have in effect transformed to a coordinate system fixed above the sun's north pole. Of course if the entire universe appears to be rotating around the sun, the planets will also appear to be doing so. I spent most of Part I of Geocentricity 101 explaining this concept. Sciencemom then confuses the issue by stating that the "sun would also be seen...gradually moving in its own orbital path around the galactic center, taking the rest of the solar system along with it", which means that she actually transformed out to another coordinate system which at one point of time was above the sun's north pole, but is actually fixed relative to the galactic center. Since she claims this to be an inertial reference frame, and she is being precise, she must be proposing some form of milky-way-centrism! One in which the universal center corresponds to a point that sits above hte sun's orbit at least at one point in time. Rather, I think sciencemom is confusing coordinate transforms with reality, and trying to imply that the abstract mathematical concept of inertial reference frames, as applied in especially special relativity, "prove" that the universe is not rotating.

So, in sum, the math for a geocentric frame of reference may be available, but it's just math. To speak of it as if it were "the real truth" is simply untrue.

It is true that the math exists. Also the physics exist- both kinematics and dynamics. Also as shown in great detail in Galileo Was Wrong, most of our observations and mnay experiments support a central and non-moving (rotating or translating) earth! Science itself admits that it cannot demonstrate the rotation or translation of the earth (as independent of a counter movement of teh universe). Finally Scriptures, the Fathers, and a number of popes have testified or made declarations in favor of geocentrism. None have explicitlky denied it. Why not at least consider it?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Dr. Robert Bennett gets Cold Shoulder from Cardinal Schoenborn

Dr. Robert Bennett, co-author of Galileo Was Wrong attended a lecture by his emminence, Cardinal Shoenborn of Vienna, Austria in New York City. Dr. Bennett queried Cardinal Shoenborn about creationist topics during the Q&A after the lecture. His responses were less than expected. Dr. Bennett's reflections follow:

In his [Cardinal Schoenborn] responses to my post-lecture questions, his eminence made clear that :

-- He wanted no support from Catholic creationists like the Kolbe Center.

-- He wanted to build philosophical bridges between science and religion

-- Creationists are no better than materialists in obstructing the search for common ground.

No words, but only a tape of his response could capture the facial expressions and body language that expressed his disgust with a literal Genesis interpretation of six days and a 6,000 year old Earth.

I found it incredible that his eminence would refuse to hear scientific arguments against evolution supported by literal exegesis. Most of my arguments are, in fact, not technical but philosophical – the use of logical fallacies and false premises by Darwinists.

He claims more authority and knowledge in the science domain than I have as a Ph.D. in Physics, by refusing to hear scientific young Earth arguments.
Though having authority and knowledge in religious matters, he rejects key beliefs of the Church – the unanimous Patristic Tradition on creation in 6 days and the litera prima teaching of Popes Leo XIII and Pius XII. Though a scientist, I embrace these cornerstone beliefs without reservation.

I wonder - who is the cardinal here and who is the scientist? What would St. Thomas say is the middle ground of truth between the poles of a contradiction?

Intimidation at Our Lady Queen of Angels, New York

See News Article Here

Subject: OLQA Vigil Stopped By Force, with Six Arrested
Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2007 15:02:09 +0000

Friends of VOTF:

I am sorry to report that the vigil at Our Lady Queen of Angels [in New York City] was stopped last night shortly after 11PM. We are still piecing together the complete chain of events, but as an eyewitness I can attest to the following:

A press conference was held outside the church at 2PM, during which the locks on the church lavatory were surreptitiously changed.

Several large men unknown to the parishioners appeared in the church around 7PM. These men turned out to be hired by the Archdiocese as security agents. The parishioners called the police because they did not know who these unknown men were.

All the doors of the church were locked by the security agents, and anyone trying to enter the church whenever the side door was opened was forcibly shoved back out into the street, including me. Police outside stood by while this occurred.

Priests from the Archdiocese entered the church at approx. 9PM and addressed the crowd of about 30 parishioners, including men, women and children, asking everyone to leave. The priests then retreated to the sacristy, and did not appear again.

At approx. 9:30PM, Carmen Villegas, chairperson of Our Lady Queen of Angels, managed to open one outside door. Several supporters rushed in, along with many members of the media and camera crews.

The camera crews were physically forced to leave the church shortly thereafter by the security agents. There was scuffling in the aisles, and some of the news crews were nearly shoved to the floor. (I am still trying to determine whether all this took place in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.)

A police lieutenant and two other officers entered the church, and began to talk with a City Councilwoman who had entered the church when the doors were opened at 9:30PM, and then with the priests sequestered in the sacristy. In the church, the parishioners continued to pray the rosary and sing hymns.

Soon the police captain from the precinct joined the group.

For the next 90 minutes, the police shuttled back and forth between the parishioners in the pews, and the priests in the sacristy. Negotiations went back and forth. The lawyer for the parishioners arrived on the scene, but was refused access to the church.

At the end of this process, the police said that all parishioners had to vacate the church by 11:30PM, or everyone would be arrested.

Carmen Villegas and the other leaders of the parishioners considered all the available options, but it was clear that the police were going to back the claim by the Archdiocese that it was the owner of the property, that the parishioners were trespassing on church property, and that the parishioners would have to leave for face arrest for illegal trespassing. So the decision became: How do we best conclude this protest?

The decision was made to have six parishioners agree to be arrested and taken out of the church in hand-cuffs, so that all the media outside could see what was being done. All other protesters were to leave the church first.

When we left the church at approx. 11:15PM, the scene outside was surreal, camera crews and trucks everywhere. Some 15 minutes later, the six hand-cuffed parishioners were led single file down the driveway of the church, as a crowd of perhaps 100 supporters chanted “Save our church.” The media rushed forward as they were being loaded into a police van in front of the church, and the arrested parishioners managed to shout brief comments to the press. Some of the children of the arrested parishioners were crying as their mothers were loaded into the vans. The parishioners were taken to the precinct on 102nd Street , where they were booked and then released.

These are the facts as best I can recall them.

In the end, the Archdiocese asserted, and the police backed, a claim to be the owner of real estate, and refused to acknowledge the rights of the parishioners to conduct a peaceful prayer vigil in their own church. The Archdiocese resorted to intimidation, threats of force, and invitations to police to enter the sanctuary of the church in order to suppress the vigil through threat of arrest.

I am trying to understand the true implications of these events.

It is always about faith, but had I not seen these events with my own eyes, I never would have believed this could happen inside a Catholic church.


Francis X. Piderit
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