Simcha Fisher* has tried to weigh in on the issue of The Principle.
So that’s faith. Science is different. There is no magisterium in science; and we are never required to work as hard as we can to make ourselves accept an idea that seems wrong or false.
Are we really required to do that even in faith?
We are required to bow down to a magisterium which has been established by Christ and has worked over the soon fully 20 centuries. But does Holy Trinity sound wrong?
When I came across it (“and the Word was with God and the Word was God”), it seemed funny, but not wrong. I laughed, I asked ma, but I did not disbelieve.
I wonder if any genuine heretic ever had a genuine block as to a Catholic teaching. I knew a person who used to tell how in her youth she had asked after a film by Salvation Army “daddy, you don’t love me so much you will nail me to a cross, will you?” But since then she had had plenty of time to understand and accept that the one loved by God so much that He gave up His only begotten Son (to a death on a Cross) was not the Son directly, but the world, the creation called humanity. I think it is possible she had gone cocky over being thought intelligent for saying that – by more than one Atheist.
They (and they dragged her along with them towards Hell, wherever she went after she died) were not rejecting a Christianity they understood, but neither were they rejecting a Christianity they honestly misunderstood. They were fully content to cultivate misunderstandings like the one I recalled.
But what we are required in faith is to ask until we get an answer we can accept. If we are honest, but the answer is wrong, God knows how to put us right a bit later on, if the answer is too wrong. And if we remain honest.
Some scientists and atheists (and yes, alas a few of scientific community are atheists) are more than content of cultivating the misunderstandings and even mistakes already exposed as such.
Now as to what Simcha says about science, as opposed to faith:
If something sounds wrong, it is okay to look for another explanation from another source. It is more than okay: it’s the right thing to do.
We are also quite authorised to leave a purely natural question alone, as long as this does not interfere either with our believing Holy Faith or searching honestly for the answers. And as long as it is not our line of vocation. A doctor with a patient ailing towards a slow physical degradation and death is indeed obliged to seek scientific answers for what causes the condition and how to cure it. A lawyer may be very much obliged to get answers – and correct ones – on the properties of such and such a poison, to see if the corpse can have died of it and how it can have been administered and thus who can have administered it. But looking for answers about where we are in space and in history is to a natural mind more of a hobby and to a Catholic mind necessary only if it interferes in any way with the Faith. Whether it be our personal faith, or whether we are acting in some kind of for instance online Apologetics.
When the then Father Lefebvre taught philosophy in Mortain to Holy-Ghost Seminarians, he asked them what they believed so as to know what he should have to answer.
When I got onto forums, I met the errors of Atheists, and so they told me without asking what blocked them from accepting what the Church had to say against things so obviously wrong in themselves as abortion or contraception.
And since supposed error on behalf of Young Earth Creationism and even more directly cited the supposed error on behalf of Geocentrism in the Galileo case had taken its toll, I was obliged either to quit the Apologetics, which I was not willing to do, or to look for answers to some specific questions. If not for the case of those I debated against, at least for the sake of the common audience – a forum’s public.
But what if we are not scientists? What if we are not capable, because of time, temperament, training, or plain old brain power, to understand certain specialized information? We can’t all be experts in everything. Sooner or later, even intelligent people are going to come across something we don’t understand.
Sure. And one right thing is to leave it alone, but if for a certain reason we really want to know or if for a reason of duty like those sketched out we even ought to know, then we have basically a duty to make ourselves scientists in that field and in such fields as we consider legitimately related. We do not have a duty just to choose which expert to trust. If we reduce a duty of knowing to a duty of getting the right expert, then we are erecting “experts” into a Magisterium.
And Simcha said one true word about science: it has no such thing as a magisterium.
To know an expert is right usually implies two things at least. One is : has he looked on the right things? Sometimes this can also mean asking if he may have overlooked a thing. The other thing is : has he reasoned right about what he looked at? Sometimes this may also involve, but it can never be reduced to asking if he has done the maths correctly.
Now, this brings us to whether Sungenis has done his maths properly or, as some claim, not. But it also brings us, though this occurred neither to Sungenis nor to his opponent, to asking if the kind of maths done is the right kind.
Now even though Sungenis managed to get the centrifugal force wrong by a factor of a million, it is true that the centripetal force required to hold the Sun in annual orbit around the Earth is much greater than the gravitational force between Sun and Earth, in fact about 332,000 times greater. In other words, it makes no sense in Newtonian dynamical terms to say that the Sun revolves around the Earth once a year. (Sungenis also claims elsewhere that the Sun revolves around the Earth once per day on the Earth’s equatorial plane instead of the Earth rotating on its axis once per day – in this case the centrifugal force would be 1.57 x 1033 N, about 45 billion times greater than the gravitational force between Sun and Earth.) …
I do not know if he got the centrifugal force wrong by a factor of a million or if that is just the impression of his critic. Right now I don’t feel like checking. But more importantly, I have reasons to believe the question a bit irrelevant.
It becomes vitally relevant to those who believe an orbit can go on and on by an equilibrium between centrifugal and centripetal force.
If you spin around a stone held onto your finger by a string, such people will say that the string is or represents the centripetal force. They analyse the movement of the stone as an equilibrium of centrifugal force of movement and centripetal force of string.
Is this a good analysis?
I think not. I do not claim to be in the ordinary sense an expert – only to have acquired a kind of “informal expertise” like a lawyer might want to get on the exact properties of a poison. I do claim that for the experts to be right, they do not just have to have observed many stones around many strings, but also to have made the analysis correctly. And I think they made it incorrectly.
The stone is not held back from getting thrown away by an equal and opposite force of the string pulling in, but by a superior objective obstacle of the string being there and remaining whole. The cohesive forces of the string must be not equal to but higher than the centrifugal force of the stone. The point where the cohesive forces are only equal to it, the string is on the verge of bursting and if you sling the stone a bit faster it will burst. But if you can sling the stone a bit faster and the string doesn’t burst, it means the cohesive forces of the string were not equal to but superior to the centrifugal force.
This analysis of mine could be challenged that in each case, at each speed of the stone, only part of the string’s potential cohesive force is activated in response to the centrifugal force of the stone. So in each case only an equal centripetal force is actually at work. In this case, the centripetal force is not sth given by the hand and the stone, or of the two plus the string length either, but sth which the string can portion out, and the experiment is therefore a very bad parallel to the astronomic case, where gravitation is supposed to be the centripetal force actively at work. Since gravitation (supposing Newtonian model of it is correct at least, which has some probability) is Mass of object a times Mass of object b divided by square of the distance times a “gravitational constant” (which is not π or φ but which like these has its only use in geometric and physical surroundings and cannot possibly be straight arithmetic in and of itself), the gravitational attraction is predefined by the objects involved and their distance and therefore there is nothing portioning out the gravitational attraction as needed in response to the centrifugal force.
This means that the model is not so much “stone swinging on a string” as “stone swinging on a string about to snap”, unless it is instead the centrifugal force, the movement, which snaps first.
This means, before looking at the math as such, I think both Sungenis and his Heliocentric opponent are asking it the wrong questions.
So here’s the kicker – the thing that Sungenis fails to bring out in his buffoonery: we have already seen that the gravitational attraction between the Sun and Earth is 3.53 x 1022 N (given by Fg = Gmems/r2). So let’s calculate the centrifugal force if the Earth is revolving round the Sun once a year. We have seen that F c=mω2r and in this case:
m = 5.97 x 1024 kg
ω = 1.99 x 10-7 rad/s
r = 1.496 x 1011 m
So the centrifugal force of the Earth’s annual revolution is (5.97 x 1024) x (1.99 x 10-7)2 x (1.5 x 1011) = 3.54 x 1022 N. Therefore, the gravitational attraction between the Sun and Earth is equal to the centrifugal force of the Earth’s annual revolution.
Someone** is sounding very confident about calculating the forces to the exact N[ewton]. Let us remind ourselves first that this calculation is based on assuming the Heliocentric explanation with Newtonian physics and applying it to orbits as observed and then reinterpreted with Sun as, if not identic, at least near the inertial frame.
Is this an amazing coincidence? Of course it’s not. It’s the simple consequence of Earth’s orbit around the Sun – the force of the Sun’s gravitational attraction is exactly equal to the centripetal force required for the Earth’s annual orbit at its distance of ~150 million kilometres from the sun – no magical media to “absorb” the centrifugal force is required, just straightforward orbital mechanics based on standard Newtonian physics, such as can be applied to all the planets, including the Earth.
The problem is, masses of Earth and Sun are not given independently of this calculation. They are extrapolated from it, by other scientists, before being put back into it, by this defender of Heliocentrism. Their reasoning adds up to “my rearrangement as compared to actual geocentric observations is right, because my analysis is right” (which is a straight and circle free argument as far as it goes) and behind that we get “my analysis is right because its results of given masses coincide with reinterpreted observations, and the masses are given because if such they coincide with the analysis giving results that coincide with the orbits of reinterpreted observations”. Which is circular in argument. Analysis is proven by its agreement with known masses. Masses are proven known because agreeing with the analysis. Neither agree with observations as made, though both agree with observations as reinterpreted. Conventional science – here represented by Alec Mac Andrew – is acting snake oil salesman – and Sungenis is not doing all he can to expose that. Alec Mac Andrew has a rare opportunity to gain credit for one of his props among Christians, because on his own site he is espousing clearly anti-theistic thought, like making publicity for books attacking Intelligent Design. And he is getting this rare opportunity from Catholics eager to disagree with Sungenis to show “scientific community” they are no longer making the supposed mistake of St Robert Bellarmine and Pope Urban VIII.
Such Catholics are actually doing what Simcha said we should not be doing when it comes to science : treating Science as having a Magisterium. Some of them even confirm that blunder by repeating the non-Theist Jew Stephen Gould’s theorem of Non-Overlapping MagisteriA. No, Science is not in and of itself a magisterium, it is a field of free enquiry. And my own criticisms of Geocentrism are as licit as those of Sungenis, if free enquiry is the rule.
Now, my solution differs from that of Sungenis. In parts, though he has been helpful with clarifying certain things to me. As to many others, despite Simcha and David Palm. As he would be to many others if Simcha and David Palm were not treating Sungenis as a heretic and therefore science as a magisterium.
My own solution to the physical problem of orbits is my agreement with St Thomas Aquinas and partly Riccioli. Both agreeing with me that individual celestial bodies, obviously including the Sun are moved by angels. And Saint Thomas Aquinas agreeing with me that the Solar angel’s own contribution is moving the Sun Eastward through a space which in its turn has a daily rotation around Earth induced by God and superior to both masses and angelic movements of any planet.
You see, in this case the question about forces purely inherent in the bodies becomes a bit moot. If I held a pen above the ground and asked a scientist where it would fall if I dropped it, he would tell me he could not quite foresee where it would bounce, but first impact would be just below the point where I was holding it, i. e. in a straight line towards the centre of the Earth. But if instead I held the pen to a paper and asked him what I was going to write, he would not be right to explain the movements in my writing by blind forces. And my point is : angels are using the celestial bodies given them to write out a theme which they are meant to write out : the Glory of God. And the same God whom they glorify is also the one who gave them fully adequate means to cope with whatever “number of Newtons” it takes to move the celestial bodies in relation to the daily movement of the Universe, having Himself an Omnipotence fully adequate to cope with that movement.
Hans Georg Lundahl
St Titus Bishop of Crete,
* Read more: But what if we’re not scientists?
September 15, 2014 by Simcha Fisher
** Alec Mac Andrew hosted by David Palm: GeocentrismDebunked : Elementary Physics Blunders in Sungenis’s Reply to Sky and Telescope’s Carlisle
See also his own page: Alec's Evolution Pages
*** As in not a Martyr but still very holy, confessing the faith if not by his death at least by his life. Yes, it is the man to whom St Paul wrote an Epistle in the New Testament.