A topic for the "Is It Science" section, obviously.
I thought I'd seen every mistake geocentrists can make, but there's a new one that's been getting a bit of traction on the internet lately. I hereby dub it the Headwind Blunder.
It takes just as long to travel 100 miles by air due east of Oslo, Norway (traveling at a set air speed) as it does to travel 100 miles by air due west, at the same air speed and altitude, if it is a calm day without wind. And, what is more, that is the same length of time it takes to travel 100 miles due east or due west of Quito, Ecuador on a wind-free day, given the same altitude and air speed!
How is that possible?
The earth is not rotating at all.
And consider the following:
We are told that he earth is moving very fast but that we do not feel the motion. If that was true, it would mean that the air is moving at the same speed as the part of the Earth that it is next to. Thus, the air at Quito, Ecuador is moving twice as fast as the air at Oslo, Norway.
But if the air at Quito is moving twice as fast as the air at Oslo, that would create the following “problems” that are not supported by reality:
An airplane that took off from Oslo on a clear day, heading west, would be going into a headwind of about 834.9 km/hr (= about 519 mph). Thus, it would need to travel at least the speed of a fast passenger jetliner to make even a few miles of headway. But if it took off heading east, it would hardly need to be using its jets to travel an expected distance for the time it was airborne.
Can you all spot the mistake? Answer in my next post ...
Yup, Minnemooseus gets the cigar. The geocentrist is, up to a point, perfectly right. The pilot is heading into a 500 mph headwind, and therefore does, in fact, stay in the same place. So far, so good. But meanwhile Oslo is headed east at 500 mph.
To put it another way, the geocentrist's attempt to model what would happen if the Earth was rotating is vitiated by overlooking one crucial factor ... the rotation of the Earth.
I've often thought it would be great fun to watch a geocentrist try to explain geostationary satellites. Apparently there's a certain height above the Earth were things will just sit still if you put them there, OK, fair enough. But then you have to think about the rocket that gets it there --- it attains all that lateral velocity so that ... when you release the satellite, it stays in one place?
What Galileo said doesn't contradict the way things look from earth anyway, it just explains the observable movements more exactly.
Well, not just more exactly. The thing is, if you have a Copernican universe, than certain facts, in particular the retrograde motions of the planets, how and when and where they occur, follow naturally from Copernicism. But if you have a Ptolemaic universe, then there are more degrees of freedom, the solar system could look Copernican, or it could look completely different. It takes a knife-edge balance of the figures to make a Ptolemaic universe look Copernican --- a mere hair's breadth adjustment to a single figure, and it wouldn't.
So, we live in a universe that looks Copernican. To say that it is really Ptolemaic, we would need to suppose either:
(1) The Ptolemaic universe is a result of natural causes, and the reason it looks Copernican is the result of a coincidence which is literally infinity to one against.
(2) The Ptolemaic universe was made as is by God, who carefully fine-tuned every single one of its parameters so as to make it look like Galileo is right, because he really likes fucking with physicists.
That's an argument that could have been --- and was --- made in Galileo's time. Today, we have an actual theory of gravity, and the parallel argument with respect to that is still stronger. If we're not right, then we're either the victim of an enormous naturalistic coincidence, or of vast supernatural malice.
Well, for example, consider the planets Venus and Mercury. We never see these very far from the Sun. In the Copernican system, this is because they never are very far from the Sun. But in the Ptolemaic system, the system has to be very exactly fine-tuned for any planets to behave like that. Change just one figure, and we'd always see them opposite the Sun, or 90 degrees round from it. Change another figure even by a fraction, and their position relative to the Sun would change century by century. EIther way, if we change the figures, they stop looking Copernican.
Again, consider the retrograde motion of the outer planets. In the Copernican system, they must go retrograde when, and only when, we see them as being in the opposite direction to the Sun. But in the Ptolemaic system, if you change one figure, we could always see them going retrograde when they're near the Sun, or at 90 degrees to it, or whatever, which would be inexplicable in the Copernican system; change another figure even very slightly, and the angle would shift year on year, which again wouldn't look Copernican.
So someone creating a Ptolemaic system would have to choose all these figures very precisely to make it look as though we were living in a Copernican system. It would amount to deliberate fraud.
I don't think that anyone who subscribes to geocentricism is going to be concerned about fine-tuning. In fact, many see this fine-tuning as evidence that the universe was created by God in a miraculous way (read that: in the way they believe it was done). So I'm not sure that going from fine-tuning in the nth degree to fine-tuning in the (n*n)th degree is going to make any difference.
But the point is that it would have to be fine-tuned to look Copernican. In effect, the solar system would have to be a big lie carefully designed to catch us out.
Yes I know more or less what the Ptolemaic system is, I just don't see how it fits into a discussion of the Bible's geocentric views which aren't a scientific system, just a description of what is observed of the sky from Earth.
Well, OK, if that's all you want to say, then great. We shouldn't say that the Bible presents us with a "scientific system"? That's fine by me. The Catholic Church, being evil, wanted to interpret the Bible too literally? Maybe they did.
Well, you should read the writings of the geocentrists we're talking about. None of them refer to Aristotle, and a huge majority of them are Protestants rather than Catholics, and they keep thumping the Bible and saying that they're the only true Biblical literalists and that you're compromising with Satan. Welcome to my side.