Thinking outside the ‘heliocentric box’

To the editor:

Sometimes when writing something controversial, I will get a response from an anonymous online commenter, who will say: “Isn’t this the guy who wrote letters a few years ago about the Earth being at the center of the universe?” ( I hold the ‘geocentric’ viewpoint); see March 6 letter on homosexual marriage.

The idea I suppose is to get people to believe that I cannot be relied on to deliver a trustworthy opinion on other subjects.

I do not have absolute proof that the Earth is at the center of the universe, but it appears that the preponderance of evidence does indeed support that viewpoint. Do those who teach the non-geocentric viewpoint have absolute proof for their position? They do not; but it is their viewpoint that gets absolute dogmatic status within the education establishment, with generous support from the media.

Imagine yourself sitting at the center of a merry-go-round in a large dark room, the only light is coming from the horses going around you. You feel no vibration and sense no inertial movement from the equipment or floor, and it is completely silent. How do you know if the horses are going around you; or if they are standing still and the room in which you are seated is turning around? Same idea extends to the sun going around the Earth or Earth going around the sun.

It’s understandable that some people get quite emotional when asked to think outside the “heliocentric box.” But please consider the views of some big name physicists and astronomers:

1. Stephen Hawking “…the evidence, (galaxies moving away from us) seems to indicate we are at the center of the universe.” However, he also makes an assumption that the universe might look the same at any other point in the universe but admits we have NO EVIDENCE for or against this assumption.

2. George F.R. Ellis- “I can construct for you a spherically symmetrical universe with Earth at its center, and you cannot disprove it based on observations. You can only exclude it on philosophical grounds.”

3. Max Tegmark- “Our entire observable universe is inside this sphere of radius 13.3 billion light years, with us at the center”. (after analyzing the distribution of cosmic microwave background)

4. Max Born. “Thus we may return to Ptolemy’s point of view of a ‘motionless earth’ This has been done by Thirring. He calculated a field due to a rotating, hollow, thick-walled sphere and proved that inside the cavity it behaved as though there were centrifugal and other inertial forces usually attributed to absolute space.”

5. Albert Einstein seems to be saying that a stationary Earth and a rotating Earth are equally justified under relativity.

Finally, science writer Kitty Ferguson profoundly sums up the situation in her book “Measuring the Universe:” “School children learn that we live on a planet that revolves on its axis and orbits the sun.” .. “Yet our own contemporary science backs away and tells us that when it comes to proving what moves and what doesn’t, and whether or not there is an unmoving center no one can make an air tight case that any answer is right or wrong.””Scientists today merely prefer to picture everything in motion and nothing as being the center, but no one can prove that the Earth moves.”

P.S. : Getting back to the March 6 letter; online commenter Eburke posted an interesting question for it on March 15 at 9:34 p.m. What does the pro-homosexual marriage camp offer for response?

Phil Drietz