Wednesday, July 13, 2011
No sense of proportion
As Douglas Adams has observed, the universe is so mind-bogglingly big that a sense of proportion can be a dangerous thing to have. That is, at least, if you want to maintain your equanimity and sense of self-worth.
Nevertheless, the absence of any sense of proportion appears to be one of society's major ills. It manifests itself in various forms of innumerate inanity and scientific delusion. I have three very different examples in mind, the toxic impact of which should be readily apparent to any minimally rational reader. Today I'll present the first one, which is a delightful mix of religion and pseudoscience.
Forgive me. I overstate the situation just a little. Sungenis is actually a geocentrist rather than an egocentrist (although I suppose it's possible that he could be both). An ultramontane Catholic apologist who is far outside the mainstream of Catholic thought, Sungenis is a Bible literalist who believes in young-earth creationism and argues that Joshua couldn't have ordered the sun to stop in the sky (Joshua 10:12-13) unless it circled the earth—and not the other way around. Logical, right?
Sungenis is considered an embarrassment to the Catholic hierarchy even though he is trying to defend its old accusations against heliocentrist Galileo Galilei. However, his diocesan bishop has deemed some of his essays anti-Semitic and has ordered him to stop writing such material. You'd think the Church fathers would be grateful!
I have encountered Sungenis before. Any Google search on Catholic apologetics brings up his “Catholic Apologetics International” website, although it has since been renamed the “Bellarmine Theological Forum.” I was reminded of his rabid geocentrism upon being directed to an amusing post on The Greenbelt, where The Ridger gently eviscerates the campaign by Sungenis to discredit Galileo. As she points out, “When Ken Ham finds you too wacky, you are definitely in need of help.”
Oops. The speed of light is only about 186,000 miles per second. Unless Neptune has warp drive, it can't possibly be traveling faster than the speed of light.
Please note that we were discussing the simple case of a relatively close planet—one that shares the same solar system as the earth. Imagine how much more ridiculous the results would be if we merely extended them to the nearest star, approximately four light-years away. Or the Andromeda galaxy, about a million light-years away. (The folks in Andromeda must be as dizzy as hell!)
Of course, this refutation of geocentricity assumes that Einstein was right. I'm sure that Sungenis is prepared to contradict Einstein in his discussion of “Jewish science.” You know, perhaps we should revisit the “egocentric” issue in his case.