Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Natural Reason and Authority of Philosophers - are they Being Inverted?

1) New blog on the kid : Natural Reason and Authority of Philosophers - are they Being Inverted? ; 2) Correspondence of Hans Georg Lundahl : With Erik Høg on Parallax in New Catalogues

I have based my case for Geocentrism, partly on Scripture and Tradition, but partly also on Natural Reason : if we see directly a Geocentric cosmos, we should not accept an inversion of it without clear proof, we have no such proof, we have even some proof against it (negative parallax of 63 Ophiuchi is at least against modern cosmology with accepted stellar distances, but also demolishes the parallax proof for heliocentrism), therefore we should accept the cosmos that we see.

Against this, it has been urged that I have no competence.

Well, on natural reason I have, unless one pretends I am mad.

All people have competence on natural reason, because all are naturally endowed with natural reason.

But, perhaps I still "lack competence" because I am no expert?

Well, that refers to the criteria of Melchior Cano (which I was just revising in Daly's review of Michael Davies). Fr. J. Herrmann C. SS. R. enumerates them as follows:

  • i) Sacred Scripture;
  • ii) Tradition;
  • iii) the authority of the Church;
  • iv) general, or particular, councils, approved by the Roman Pontiff;
  • v) decisions of the Roman Pontiff speaking 'ex cathedra';
  • vi) the authority of the Holy Fathers;
  • vii) the authority of theologians;
  • viii) natural reason;
  • ix) the authority of the philosophers;
  • x) the authority of history.


One and two contain the deposit of faith.

Three to seven contain authoritative declarations about what is or is not contained in the deposit of faith.

The last three are improperly and external sources for matters pertaining to the faith.

Nevertheless, they are intrinsic to natural questions, like the one I am treating here, mainly on its natural side.

Now, natural reason comes before authority of the philosophers. However, authority of experts is just a special case of authority of the philosophers. Therefore, placing the authority of the experts over the authority of natural reason is inverting the relation between these.

But why shouldn't this relation be inverted, you may ask?

After all, experts have far better opportunities than most, equipped only with natural reason, to observe things? Right?

Well, observation is not everything (as Heliocentrics would normally have to admit, considering what they make of all the Geocentric observations we have). There is also reason.

Experts may have ten thousand times more observations of, say, stars through telescopes than I, but that does not necessarily make them better reasoners than I. Or you. Or anyone else who is reasoning and whose reasoning is more than a mere referral to the experts.

Experts are not there to decide for us what is reason. Reason is there for us to decide who, apart from social opportunities of making observations, is speaking as an expert - and when it comes to experts, accepted as such, to decide when they are and when they are not speaking as ewperts on their subject.

When a Heliocentric Astronomer who is also an Atheist claims in a debate "there is no God, there are no angels", no one doubts that he is not speaking as an expert in astronomy while making this claim. When he (or possibly some non-atheist colleague) is saying:

63 Oph -- Star
...
Parallaxes mas:  -0.77 [0.40] A 2007A&A...474..653V


... then nobody is doubting that he IS speaking as an expert on 63 Ophiuchi.

By the way, for my own part I had misread "- 0.77 mas" as "- 0.77 arc seconds" or equivalent of - 770 mas, since mas=microarcsecond. It is still negative parallax.

Also, there are targets in the Tycho Main Catalogue with a range for Min -700 Max -500 mas as parallax value, 45 items. As well as two items for the range Min -900 Max -700. And one Min -919 Max -900. Even if these are perhaps not 63 Ophiuchi.

Note: "Parallax can only be selected from the Hipparcos and Tycho Catalogues." Not on Tycho 2. And on Hipparcos catalogue, I try and get "Minimum value must be less than maximum value and input values must be within the allowed range".

I get this infor from the README:

"Trigonometric parallax (in milliarcseconds): Field H11/T11 from the Hipparcos and Tycho Catalogues, Hipparcos range [-55, 772.33], Tycho range [-919, 701.5]"


OK, Hipparcus catalogue has quite other extreme limits than Tycho main catalogue and on Tycho 2 you cannot search for parallax at all ... but nevertheless, from the Tycho main catalogue we have 48 objects (including or excluding 63 Ophiuchi, as the case may be?) with negative parallax "Min" -919, "Max" -500. And in the above quote, which may not be from the Tycho catalogue, but rather from the Tycho 2, 63 Ophiuchi has thousand times less negative parallax, but still such.

But, when experts tell us this, or make this available, no doubt they do speak or write as experts. That is as giving information they are in a better place than we to assess.

Unlike the Atheist astronomer mentioned.

But between these cases, there are less obvious ones, where each must reason out for himself when he is speaking as an expert and when he is giving an opinion.

Now, we cannot take an agreement from all experts available today to indicate beyond any reasonable doubt that such and such an in between case really is expertise. Because, according to their own view of history of sciences, the totality or near totality of experts have been wrong before.

And of course, when the range of results varies (even drastically) between two catalogues, we might wonder a bit on how things were measured in the first place.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
St Stephen of Hungary
2-IX-2015

PS: I was going to say more about dangers of this inversion, but I was tired after looking up this on my error on 63 Ophiuchi. No doubt being afraid of being wrong on sth, like I was on 63 Ophiuchi, is one deterrent from looking up their reasonings. I had known from the catalogue search on Tycho Main there were these objects with negative parallax, and in these high ranges, but had no names for them, so I checked a search with "negative parallax" and landed on 63 Ophiuchi - which I presumed would be the clearest case of negative parallax, since only one mentioned in wikipedia. Then I misread the range. My bad. Since I am a writer, not an astronomer, I will not loose the promotions in astronomy for this, I am not expecting any.

The maximum negative parallax I found, at any rate, had rectascension 040.79214577 and declination +41.43010962. It is not 63 Ophiuchi, since that star has (according to wiki) Right ascension 17h 54m 54.04380s and Declination −24° 53′ 13.5413″. Even if the system of the catalogue did allow a totally different notation of rectascension, the declination would hardly vary between ... well, here is what the README has to say about ra and dec:

Right ascension (epoch J1991.25, ICRS): Field H8/T8 from the Hipparcos and Tycho Catalogues, range [0,360];

Declination (epoch J1991.25, ICRS): Field H9/T9 from the Hipparcos and Tycho Catalogues, range [-90,90]

T8 and T9 are the fields I copied. These should be identical for the H8 and H9 fields in the other catalogue.

Well, what do we get:

Catalogue Selected: Hipparcos Main Catalogue

Fields and parameter search limits:
ra (degrees): Min 040.791 Max 040.793
dec (degrees): Min 41.429 Max 41.431

0 entries satisfied your request.


But switching to Tycho Main we do get one, namely the one I started with. Parallax -904.4 mas. More than a thousand times greater negative parallax than the one I read (when rereading correctly) for 63 Ophiuchi.

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