Geocentrists I have known.
Hi everybody. I’mmmm Baaaack!
Actually, Aristotle was (one of) the first to put this argument forward. The Greeks of his time had determined that the earth is a sphere and were even able to cleverly measure its diameter to within 10 percent. Ari thus knew that if the earth were rotating at a rate to cause the apparent motion of the stars that the earth’s velocity at Athen’s latitude would be about 900 miles per hour (for Faith, that would be about 650 cubits per second). He then argued that if you dropped a rock from the top of the Parthenon, in the approximately two seconds it took to hit the ground Athens would have moved to the east about half a mile and the rock would appear to land about half a mile to the west. Of course, when Aristotle performed this experiment, the rock fell straight down to the base of the Parthenon. Unfortunately, Aristotle’s fellow philosopher, Newtonicles happened to be standing at the base at the time. Newtonicles could have used this observation to derive the universal law of gravitation if he had not been left in a persistent vegetative state by the incident.
Interestingly, if you want to test for the rotation of the earth about a north-south axis, you don’t fly east or west. You fly north or south! If the earth is rotating, you will have to veer slightly to the east or west, respectively to stay on course due to the Coriolis effect. I won’t try to explain this effect since googling on it will get several clear explanations with nice graphics and also explain why this isn’t the reason water forms whirlpools when draining out of tubs and sinks. This effect, due entirely to the earth’s rotation, is also the cause of hurricanes and cyclones and explains why those weather structures rotate CCW in the northern hemisphere and CW in the southern hemisphere. (In case you think I have these backwards, note that I didn’t specify whether you were on your back looking up or floating in the ionosphere looking down.) So, the existence of hurricanes/cyclones proves the rotation of the earth!
It would also be nice to keep the terminology straight. The earth does not rotate or revolve around the sun. The earth rotates/revolves about its axis. It orbits around the sun. Even in a geocentric model of the universe, the earth could rotate about its axis resulting in the apparent motion of the stars.
At any rate, any question about the earth’s rotation was put to rest in 1851 with the demonstration of the Foucault pendulum (q. g.:quid googelay), which effectively acts like a gyroscope that remains stationary while the earth rotates beneath it. (When His Holiness Pope Pius IX saw this demonstration he exclaimed: “Well, doesn’t this just fuck all!”, which was mistranslated into the French name the pendulum apparatus now bears.)
One thing that always amazes me is how long it took humankind to arrive at the concept of momentum and its conservation. We were using momentum to throw all kinds of crap, including crap, at each other for millennia before Galileo started sliding stuff down ramps and inclines and making the detailed measurements that led to the understanding of momentum and its importance - and also quite literally starting the slipery slope to the demise of religion. I think this prolonged awkward stumbling towards reality tells more about our struggle with epistemology than all the philosophers in all the gin joints in all the towns in the world.
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