A reader asked me to view the following two hour lecture on geocentrism. He promised me fifty bucks if I was not convinced. I wished I had asked for more. This was painful to sit through.
The man involved, Robert Sungenis, is, to put the matter kindly, a smug and dishonest crackpot without even the zealous honesty the other crackpots, flatearthers and theosophists, tend to radiate.
I was trying to count the number of scientific errors he made, and gave up counting when I realized every statement contained a scientific error but one. (He is correct that the microwave background radiation in space is not symmetrical).
The argument was grossly illogical, merely an assertion that there is a conspiracy theory among scientists to discredit the Bible, and that scientists falsify results and ignore contrary experiments due to personal prejudice.
It haunts and horrifies me that any educated person could be deceived by this man. Robert Sungenis is an uncharismatic version of Professor Harold Hill, the Music Man. Only not as amusing, and without the song and dance.
Here is the lecture.
Fairness requires me to at least list to the points I found unpersausive.
Professor Harold Hill (as I shall call him hereafter) begins with a fifteen minute explanation of his purpose, which is to show that the Earth is the center of the universe in order to undermine the atheist view that the Earth is in an insignificant area of a vast cosmos.
He repeats this several times, and the argument is never made more logically than this: he rejects anything other than a flatly literal interpretation of the Bible as discrediting the whole of the Bible, so that if an ancient writer speaks of the sun rising or the moon setting, this is support for geocentrism.
The problem with Biblical literalism is that it requires a firmament of water above the atmosphere, plants older than the sun, and the presence of unicorns in the wilderness, leviathans in the sea, and God having hands and feet and wings and so on.
As Roman Catholic, I am not bound to affirm that every non-scholarly flatfooted literal reading in translation of every passage of the Bible, taken out of context, means what the non-scholar says. So, to me, the idea that even one Christian lost his faith due to the Copernican theory is absurd (or, rather, that only absurd Christians would find this a challenge to their faith) much less that the orbit of the Earth around the sun is the main reason for loss of Christian faith in the modern day. The Copernican theory was not an issue for Christians until the Evengelical movement springing from the Protestant movement, some hundreds of years after the entire Christian world saw no conflict between astronomy and theology. It is a make believe problem believed neither by honest scientists nor by orthodox Christians.
The fight between faith and reason exists only the narrow minds of atheists who worship science without understanding it and heretics who worship the Bible without understanding it: two brands of idolaters, each a mirror reflection of the other.
As an ex-atheist, I solemnly assure you that not a single atheist, no, not one, would give a flying fig over whether geocentrism were proven true. Earth being in the center of the cosmos does not prove God exists, or even hint as much. How many atheist of your acquaintance fell down and worshiped God when the Big Bang became the standard model?
Lucretius the Roman philosopher and poet was an atheist (or, at least, a man who believed the serene gods never interfered in human affairs) and he believed the geocentric model.
Astronomy is not what makes atheist doubt the witness of the Christians. (More likely, it is our lack of charity and godliness that makes them doubt.)
The medieval writers who put Earth in the center of gravity, where are all the heavy, mundane, mortal, and un-divine material fell, regarded the center of the universe as the bottom, where hell was. The Earth’s surface was the roof of hell. The stars were the palaces of the saints and angels, the important part of the universe. We were the sewer.
And, as writers from Chesterton to Lewis have pointed out, in no sober man does the size of the universe show man to be too small for the concern of God, rather than stand in mute witness to His glory.
Man is indeed small in relation to the universe. For that matter, he is small in relation to the nearest tree.
Arguing that heliocentrism moves man from the central position of God’s love to a forgotten corner of the cosmos is as illogical as arguing that Caesar must be a god but Christ cannot be god, because Caesar was in Rome, adorned in purple, whereas Christ was born in a stinking stable in an obscure frontier of the Empire.
Only someone unfamiliar with (or perhaps an enemy of) both Christian humility and scientific honesty could make such a stupid argument as to claim heliocentrism erodes faith and geocentrism will restore it.
Therefore when Professor Hill says at the outset that his purpose is not to learn science, but to use science to teach about God, salvation and the eternity of the soul, he attempting gross malfeasance, first by identifying a wrong cause of atheism (it is not caused by heliocentrism) and second by identifying a wrong method of Biblical exegesis (expecting science to match tin-eared literalism of those heretics who worship the Bible, not Christ.)
So the introduction gave me the intellectual measure of the man: the question he approaches are above his mental pay grade.
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