Tuesday, 1 March 2016

GWW got Aristotle and St Thomas wrong.

1) New blog on the kid : GWW got Aristotle and St Thomas wrong. · 2) HGL's F.B. writings : What Mechanism? Are "Angelic Movers Outside Natural Sciences"? · 3) Φιλολoγικά/Philologica : GWW vs Plato, HGL vs GWW · 4) New blog on the kid : Was There No Celestial Mechanics for Tychonian System? Oh, yes! · 5) Φιλολoγικά/Philologica : One More Quote, if I May, Please! · 6) HGL's F.B. writings : Sungenis Countering Flat Earthers - with Some Lacks in his Argument · 7) Φιλολoγικά/Philologica : Any Fathers NOT Supporting Round Earth? Any Authorities that DO support Angelic Movers? · 8) HGL's F.B. writings : Debating with Sungenis, Mainly

I will give a few quotes, interspersed with my comments. My own comments are introduced by NOTE (as in NB, NOTA BENE, or NO, NOTA OPTIME). Narrative and comments from Galileo Was Wrong (Robert A. Sungenis, Ph.D. and Robert J. Bennett, Ph.D.) are introduced by GWW, quotes in it are introduced by quoted authority and end with the note of reference given by GWW. Each bit or string of bits is also followed by a page reference.

Swerdlow via Barbour:
…in his commentary on the Commentariolus that Copernicus probably discovered the Tychonic [geocentric] system at the same time as his own Copernican system. Why, Swerdlow wondered, did Copernicus choose his own system in preference to the Tychonic one, which avoids all the dynamical problems of terrestrial mobility, to say nothing of the theological problems? Swerdlow concluded…that Copernicus was strongly swayed by purely mechanical considerations to do with his acceptance of the theory that the planets are carried by material spheres. For in the Tychonic system Mars would have to pass at some points in its motion through the sphere of the sun, and Swerdlow believed that Copernicus must have found this an insuperable difficulty, therefore opting for the intellectually much more daring heliocentric system with a mobile earth.

[note 53 : Julian B. Barbour, Absolute or Relative Motion, p. 255-256. Although Barbour doesn’t necessarily agree that Swerdlow’s thesis about the spheres is what motivated Copernicus to reject the Tychonic model; and although Barbour agrees that Copernicus did, indeed, use Aristotle’s crystalline spheres, he admits that “Copernicus seems to be on the point of advancing the Tychonic system as an explicit possibility…” but turns against it because of “Neoplatonic sympathies to see the center of the planetary system as an ideal location for the sun.]

If true, the sheer irony is that by employing a later-to-be-discredited Aristotelian theory of planets orbiting the sun by being attached to rotating crystal spheres, Copernicus was led to deny the perfectly viable and less complicated geocentric model for the much riskier “terrestrial mobility” of heliocentrism. It was precisely for these kinds of haphazard developments that critic Arthur Koestler titled his book, “The Sleepwalkers,” since the record showed numerous examples that the history of science was comprised of one serendipitous thought process after another, whether good or bad.

pp. 19-20

Aristotle considered the planets, including Sun and Moon orbit EARTH by being attached to rotating crystal spheres. The outermost, rotating with fixed stars, moved by God. St Thomas agrees with this, and if crystal spheres are refuted, Copernicus/Tycho style, sth similar can be said of rotating (in the daily motion) along the rotation of an aether moved by God.

Aristotle finally could not comprehend why a God perfectly blissful should WANT to do so, so he came up with an idea (taken over by Averroes but NOT St Thomas) that God did not move the outermost sphere by HIS intention, but by ITS love of Him. In other words, Aristotle or his commentator Averroes at least posited, below God, a kind of "world spirit" which loved God and moved itself with its "body-the-world" around Earth out of love of a more perfect God.

Giordano Bruno was going to blaspheme that: this world spirit is unique only for each what we would call Solar System and, on top of that, in each of them identic to the "Holy Spirit" of that particular "world" (or as we would say : Solar System). This blasphemy is of course not related to what Aristotle thought about movers of the planets, but due to his ideas about God's perfect bliss making "action about lesser things" kind of "psychologically impossible" to God. Hence also the eternity of the world, which St Thomas obviously did not agree with Aristotle on. But perhaps this was just a slip of the pen?

Nevertheless, Aristotle did NOT at all think planets move around SUN in crystal spheres.

As noted earlier, the very reason Copernicus rejected the simpler geocentric model (later to be demonstrated by Tycho Brahe) was that it required him to reject the Greek’s concept of crystalline spheres, even though he had already rejected their geocentrism. Apparently, the spheres were very important to Copernicus. One reason is that spheres are essentially extended circles, and Copernicus believed, as a fundamental scientific fact, that all celestial motion had to occur by means of circles. He rejected Ptolemy’s non-circular model based on that very premise.

pp. 25-26

GWW is not quoting any passage from Copernicus directly, but he is relying on Swerdlow for his assessment of Copernicus' motive. Probably correctly so, I have no reason to doubt Swerdlow on Copernicus, since he read him and I didn't.

I think the reason is more likely to have been if not exclusively, which is also possible, at least equally, the non-descriptiveness of what we now call spirograph patterns by what geometry had to offer in the days of Copernicus.

If this didn't occur to Swerdlow and Barbour, it is possible that they were thinking in terms of "that's not an argument".

Well, maybe it is in a world in which heavens are still considered eminantly spiritual realities and in which all heavenly movements must therefore by in some sense perfect (especially as angelic movers of celestial bodies are all unfallen angels, not demons!).

First of all, circles as movements are very close to observed and concluded reality - of daily movement. Of any heavenly body. In six months, Sun does not rotate 183 perfect circles, but does a very close spiral either inward or outward which has 183 turns that are at least very close to perfect circles, since moving along the daily movement of the Universe.

The Greeks, especially after their model was refined by Aristotle, believed that the whole cosmos was structured upon dozens of transparent spheres. Each sphere had an inner and an outer wall. Attached to the inner wall were various celestial bodies. For example, Mars would be embedded into the wall of a sphere and the whole sphere rotated around the earth and thus carried Mars with it, but since the sphere was transparent, it looked as though Mars was revolving around the earth by itself. These spheres were permitted to exist far away from the earth and rotate freely because they were composed of the fifth element, aether (the other four elements were: air, water, fire and earth), which was the lightest or most rarified element of the five.71 Most important is the fact that any extensions in the planets’ movement caused by epicyclic or eccentric variations were permitted in the space between the inner and outer wall of the sphere. Further, Aristotle believed that each sphere rotated around the earth because it was being pushed by one of the gods – who was the “unmoved mover.” The medievals who later used an Aristotelian framework (but did so through Ptolemy’s model) rejected the polytheistic cosmos and replaced it with only one Prime Mover who moved the outermost sphere which in turn moved the rest of the spheres.

p. 26

Here GWW gets Aristotle wrong.

In Aristotle as in St Thomas, the outermost sphere, that of the fixed stars is moved by God alone as Prime Mover.

In Aristotle and in St Thomas, all inner spheres are moved along this outermost sphere by contact with it.

And, in St Thomas as well as in Aristotle, all inner spheres have also another movement than this daily one, which is attributed to lesser spirits than the Prime Mover. Aristotle identified them with Pagan gods. St Thomas says they should not be worshipped and identified them as angels.

In a passage of one popular catechism, the one on the creed, St Thomas (speaking in popular language but taken down in Latin) says that Pagans who worship the Sun are like poor men approaching the palace of a king. They come to the gates and see a servant in a very fine livery and have not seen the king yet - and they think that servant is the king.

This is a very explicit endorsement of the Aristotelic view, in all except its giving divine honours to the spirits that guide Sun through the year, Moon through the month and so on.

Riccioli goes even further. His, not Aristotele's, is the view which GWW attributes to the latter.

Aristotle seems to have been wrong on spheres being impenetrable at edges. So Tycho does away with them. Consequently, instead of Sun, Moon, stars, etc sharing a common westward movement which God produces on a daily basis, Riccioli thinks that Sun, Moon, stars are instead INDIVIDUALLY moved westward on a daily basis. At different paces. Riccioli actually thinks St Thomas should abandon the argument for God's existence from God as Prime Mover (of the outermost and hence all spheres in the daily movement) and instead stick to the argument which we know from Descartes too. He ALSO clutters up the point about angelic movers.

St Thomas says they move matter by a mere act of will. Riccioli introduces a distinction by which there needs to be an "executive faculty" between will and result. This is a false parallel from St Thomas psychology about human will, where "acts of will" without "executive faculty" result in nothing, but this is spoken about the difference between wishing and willing with decision. Angels really by nature do have the faculty of moving matter locally (as opposed to substantially or qualitatively) by a direct act of will. And angelic wills are really not given to the kind of hesitation man often shows, which is why St Thomas introduces an executive power in his very will - unless it be spoken about nervous system, since man cannot move feet or fingers without functioning nerves. Also a bad parallel as to what angels can and cannot.

But despite his cluttered philosophy, Riccioli accurately records that to St Thomas as well as to nearly everyone else, angels move the individual bodies we see up there. By "direct act of will", even if Riccioli thinks St Thomas "must have meant" via the "executive power".

St Thomas agreed with Aristotle in all except two things : he believed the spiritual movers or intelligences moving spheres or stars should not be adored. And, unlike Aristotle not believing in astrological determinism, he believed that there are both human free wills and lots of angelic movers within our very close environment, far below all celestial bodies.

And, unlike above, these are both unfallen, like St Michael, and fallen, like Satan. Hence the exorcisms and so on.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre University Library
Tuesday after III Lord's Day of Lent

1 comment: