Not A Joke

Make your reservation now for Galileo was Wrong: The Church was Right, the “First Annual Catholic Conference on Geocentrism”. Your $50 reservation fee includes a free lunch and plenty of entertainment, such as “Geocentrism: They Know It But They’re Hiding It” and “Scientific Evidence: The Earth in the Center of the Universe”.

(via)






81 replies
  1. 1
    dmsilev says:

    Hmm, if I’m reading that page correctly, as a physicist, I am in possession of information which supports their claim, yet am also involved in a conspiracy to hide this from the world at large.

    News to me.

    Of course, if I *were* in such a conspiracy, that’s exactly what I’d say…

    dms

  2. 2
    Scott says:

    A simple (facepalm) will simply not do. Maybe more of a (facesmack) or a (facecrush) or a (facepunchATOMICEXPLOSION).

  3. 3
    cleek says:

    @Scott:
    makes me want to punch myself in the neck

  4. 4
    celiadexter says:

    I know Sarah Palin isn’t Catholic any more, but am wondering if she’s going to make an appearance….

  5. 5

    I used to think the Church (any church) would have to have a spasm of modernism and catch up.

    I wonder if they want to.

  6. 6
    fouro says:

    That’s nothing. I have evidence that Tycho Brahe didn’t really have a tin nose and was, in reality, not an asshole but quite a personable guy.

  7. 7
    Cermet says:

    Well, yes the Earth is at the center of the Universe and so is the Moon, or Mars and the nearby star Alpha Centauri, or any star in the Milky Way and really, any point anywhere in the entire Universe. The correct view is that the expansion occurs relative to a higher dimension so all points in space are identical relative to the expansion and are in fact the center of the original start of the cosmos – big deal.

    These nut cases are trying to say that the earth is the only center of the universe and that is insane and they are also claiming that the earth does not move and this is because men that liked to fuck young children (mostly boys) had these same crazy ideas first (i.e. the ancient Greeks but too many Catholic Priest also seem to hold to that idea as well – might explain a lot.)

    Yet, these same crazies also say that the planet Mars does not exist.

    Most religious Americans that believe these crazy ideas are not just stupid – they are dangerous to the survival of all humans.

  8. 8
    dmsilev says:

    There seems to be a Young Earth Creationist on the speaker list as well. Good times.

    Reading through the stuff in more detail, it appears that they are a subset of the “relativity and cosmology must be wrong” set of cranks. As such things go, they’re not bad, though it’s hard to tell with all of their actual arguments presented in a $45 book rather than on the web. I’ve seen more entertaining variants though. My favorite was a guy who claimed that “Universe came into existence not in a Big Bang, but a big whoosh in three dimensions”.

    dms

  9. 9
    R-Jud says:

    @WereBear (itouch):

    I wonder if they want to.

    Of course not. That would mean acknowledging that they aren’t the only keepers of Truth in the universe. It’s not so much a geocentric philosophy as it is a belief that the world revolves around them (it’s certainly not a Christ-centered philosophy).

    Note: I could just be bitter, because I counted five trees cut down in my local park this morning, as part of preparations for the Pope’s visit on Sunday.

  10. 10
    debit says:

    I wonder if the Time Cube guy will be there.

  11. 11
    gnomedad says:

    Climate change denial was just a warmup for these guys.

  12. 12

    i really need to get into the grifter business. clearly, there are enough suckers out there to support me in a life of luxury. let’s see, maybe i can write a book about how only the Elect can perceive the truth that the sky is green, or how with enough faith, nuns really can fly. and charge folks 25$ a piece for each.

  13. 13
    ADM says:

    I bought a shirt that said “Heliocentricism is an atheist doctrine” thinking that if they wanted the world to know what they stood for then I’d only be too happy to oblige. Then I thought, “wait a minute, they mean this figuratively: the sun being at the center of the universe is an atheist doctrine because God’s at the center of theirs.” Made me feel kind of embarrassed denying them the benefit of the doubt that maybe, just maybe, they’re not the caricatures I was making them out to be.

  14. 14
    Emma says:

    Ohmygawd. I’m going back to bed now. Somebody call me when sanity returns to this planet. Not general, planet-wide sanity, mind you. A simple sighting will do.

  15. 15
    jonas says:

    This is a farce. If these people were even remotely serious, they’d have a panel on the Big Lie about the earth being round. Cosmas Indicopleustes was right!

  16. 16
    Walker says:

    To be fair, this whole notion of “center” is really a statement about mathematical models and not a statement of metaphysical truth. With enough epicycles, Ptolemy’s model works out (some people joke that if Ptolemy had a computer, we would still be using his model). And if you pick the right reference frame, you can claim that the Earth is “motionless”. The heliocentric model is ideal because it makes computation and prediction simpler, not because it is metaphysically true.

    But somehow I doubt that this is the approach these guys are taking? How can I tell? That would be the young Earth lecture at the end of the conference.

  17. 17
    Winson Smith says:

    This is really a conference on a coordinate transform.

    Relative to the center of the Milky Way, Sol and earth are basically orbiting each other. Sol is just way bigger, so it’s the daddy.

    Go Benedict! He’s returning the Catholic Church to its former glory as a tool of oppression. PJP II almost ruined it, forgiving Galileo and all that (against Cardinal Ratzinger’s objections, BTW).

  18. 18
    WereBear says:

    @R-Jud: I’d be bitter too; I’d rather have the trees than this pope.

  19. 19
    Morbo says:

    Also, anime is satanic. Honestly at least one of those people speaking has to just be out there to troll the rest of them. Or maybe the money’s just that good…

  20. 20
    gnomedad says:

    @Walker:

    The heliocentric model is ideal because it makes computation and prediction simpler, not because it is metaphysically true.

    The marginalization of “metaphysical truth” is exactly what drives these people bonkers.

  21. 21
    WereBear says:

    @Morbo: It takes a lot of effort to push against the entire weight of the culture you are living in.

    Ya need help with it. Paid help.

  22. 22
    R-Jud says:

    @Winson Smith:

    Go Benedict! He’s returning the Catholic Church to its former glory as a tool of oppression.

    He’s pretty much come out and said that– he would rather have a smaller, “purer” church than a big one with lots of diverse opinions in it.

  23. 23
    Breezeblock says:

    This just makes me more determined to become an ex-pat in my retirement and dotage.

  24. 24

    @R-Jud:

    Note: I could just be bitter, because I counted five trees cut down in my local park this morning, as part of preparations for the Pope’s visit on Sunday.

    My sympathy on the loss of the trees. They were probably lovely and peaceful and beneficial to all living things, as opposed to . . . . . . .

  25. 25
    John PM says:

    Is this conference being moderated by the guy who hawks those “Diet Secrets ‘They’ Don’t Want You to Know About”?

  26. 26
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    So next year it’s gona be what? Pi is exactly 3? Infertillity can only be caused by women? Bleeding as a remedy?

    B4B 4 EVAH!

  27. 27
    Jakebnto says:

    You know, since everything in the universe is moving away from us (except for some small local stuff like the moon) you could argue logically that the earth IS the center of the universe.

    At least if you ignored the fact that no matter where you stand in the universe everything is moving away from you. And even that may not be that much of a hurdle if you believe human beings are unique!

  28. 28

    Are we sure this isn’t just one huge prank? I find it funny.

    It would be interesting to see who turns up, though.

  29. 29
    Paris says:

    It was on the internet so it must be true.

  30. 30
    Objective Scrutator says:

    So do they support the
    Tychonic System, or will they stick with Ptolemy’s model, which wasn’t inspired by treefrogs whatsoever? Or is that the debate they’re going to have?

    Also, anime is satanic.

    So are Furries. So are platypusses.

    To be fair, this whole notion of “center” is really a statement about mathematical models and not a statement of metaphysical truth. With enough epicycles, Ptolemy’s model works out (some people joke that if Ptolemy had a computer, we would still be using his model). And if you pick the right reference frame, you can claim that the Earth is “motionless”. The heliocentric model is ideal because it makes computation and prediction simpler, not because it is metaphysically true.

    I’m no astronomer, but didn’t the appeal of the Ptolemaic model rest on the claim that there was no stellar parallax? How would a modern geocentric model take that into account?

  31. 31
    Ash Can says:

    I clicked on the link hoping I’d find some indication that this was an elaborate prank. Alas, no. Nevertheless, I’m still tempted to call that phone number and say, “This is a joke, right? Come on, you guys are just messing with the ND profs, aren’t you? You can come clean; I don’t even live in South Bend.”

    Good grief, WTF is going on? Did Pope Ratz send Section XIII out to rub out all the Jesuits? If I’m working at any kind of educational institution affiliated with the Catholic Church, I can’t possibly feel comfortable these days.

  32. 32
    Chad N Freude says:

    My favorite among the book review quotes:

    “Now that the Enlightenment is over

    So, John, when do we get “Endarkenment” as a tag?

  33. 33
    Walker says:

    @Objective Scrutator:

    I’m no astronomer, but didn’t the appeal of the Ptolemaic model rest on the claim that there was no stellar parallax? How would a modern geocentric model take that into account?

    As I said, enough epicycles. The observation that Ptolemy’s model can be suitably extended is equivalent to the fact that the Fourier basis is dense in the set of all continuous functions.

  34. 34
    Ken says:

    @Objective Scrutator: You could handle stellar parallax with epicycles on the stars.

    The problem with the epicycles was that they were added as needed, when observation showed a deviation from the prediction. There was no way to ever say for sure that the process was done. Contrast that with Gauss’ method for calculating an orbit (using the Heliocentric/Keplerian model) from three observations.

  35. 35
    MattF says:

    I’m not gonna click that link. Not not not not not.

  36. 36
    Chad N Freude says:

    @MattF: Then you’ll be missing comedy worthy of the Onion’s science section.

  37. 37
    Chad N Freude says:

    Since I don’t follow the supermarket checkout publications, I’m curious: Are People and Us reporting on the problem of epicycles on the stars?

  38. 38
    Ash Can says:

    And PS, the sponsor, CAI Publishing, is as fishy as the day is long.

  39. 39
    bago says:

    Planets. How the fuck do they work?

  40. 40
    ppcli says:

    @celiadexter:
    Even with the big book on geocentrism selling at $85 plus/minus epsilon a pop (says Amazon), I don’t think they can afford her.

    More evidence of the persecution of orthodox-Vatican I-believing scientists.

  41. 41
    Walker says:

    @ppcli:

    More evidence of the persecution of orthodox-Vatican I-believing scientists.

    I used to work at a (Catholic) university with a non-trivial number of Pius X’ers . Fortunately, they left those of us in the science building alone.

  42. 42
    PurpleGirl says:

    @R-Jud: My sympathies on losing the trees. I hope (maybe) that trees will be planted in their place after the visit.

  43. 43
    liberty60 says:

    Jeebus H Christ.

    Whenever I wanted to mock the creationists, I would refer to the “So-called RE, or ‘Round Earth’ Theory” as an example of the carried-to-absurdity lengths of religious fundamentalism.

    Reality has trumped my ability to mock it.

  44. 44
    liberty60 says:

    Jeebus H Christ.

    Whenever I wanted to mock the creationists, I would refer to the “So-called RE, or ‘Round Earth’ Theory” as an example of the carried-to-absurdity lengths of religious fundamentalism.

    Reality has trumped my ability to mock it.

  45. 45
    Chad N Freude says:

    @bago: The real question is: Planets. Work of the Devil?

  46. 46
    ppcli says:

    @Chad N Freude:
    I expect the conference is coming soon. Except the title will be more like: “Planets: Satanic Deception or Obvious Fraud?”

  47. 47
    scav says:

    @ppcli: forget afford, do you really think she’d show up at any venue that even indirectly implied the universe didn’t circle around her?

  48. 48
    quaint irene says:

    Next Up:
    The Trouble All Started With Guttenberg,

  49. 49
    JR says:

    Pfft, all those scientific minds and not one break-out session explaining how WTC7 came down. And they call that a “conference!”

  50. 50
    Poopyman says:

    @fouro: He may have been an asshole, but not much of a bladder.

    This whole thing looks like a lame attempt to sell some books. Now where have I seen that MO before?

  51. 51

    Shouldn’t this “conference” be held in either Midland, Texas, or, more appropriately, a locked ward in the local insane asylum?

  52. 52
    Galileo says:

    ….what the fuck?

  53. 53
    Poopyman says:

    @Jakebnto:

    …except for some small local stuff like the moon…

    The moon is moving away from the earth at a rate of ca 4 cm/year. Therefore, their hypothesis must be correct!

    (Of course, tides are -burning off-transferring momentum, which is causing the increase.)

  54. 54
    Bella Q says:

    Holy rollerskating fuck. Do you think they’ll have an after conference bus trip to the creation museum? Apparently the Enlightenment was an ancient Illuminati plot, which some are escaping. In the 21st century.

  55. 55
    ppcli says:

    @fouro: The Palinites have already disowned Tycho, on account of his pet moose.

  56. 56
    PaulW says:

    Is the Catholic Church seriously supporting this, or was their name hijacked by some fringe element of the church and the Vatican lawyers haven’t chimed in yet?

    If the Catholic Church is seriously backing this… then that’s it. I’m sorry, but given the A) child sex abuse cover-ups, B) political hypocrisy with the use of excommunication to punish people violating their pro-life tenant BUT NOT any other church-held doctrine (anyone get excommunicated yet for supporting war? anyone?), and C) other high crimes and misdemeanors, the Catholic Church deserves to lose their tax-exempt status right now. ‘Course, it’ll never happen because that Mooslim President of ours needs to maintain his cover as a fake Jebus hugger so we’re stuck, aren’t we?

  57. 57
    ppcli says:

    @PaulW: I’m sure that the Church is completely embarrassed by these clowns and wishes they would go away. Note that the conference is being held in South Bend, Indiana, but there is no advertised participation by any Notre Dame institutions or individuals.

  58. 58
    Cronin says:

    Huh, this is funny. My company provides and administers the network for the hotel where they’re having this conference. This could get (more) hilarious.

  59. 59
    Luthe says:

    This wins the WTF? award for the day and it isn’t even noon yet. Athena save me from the crazies.

    @Objective Scrutator:

    So are platypusses.

    Platypodes. See also “octopodes.”

  60. 60
    Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac says:

    So, i’m guessing their explaination is that because you can set up your physics equasions with any point as your origin, that the earth doesn’t move.

    Using this idea, the leftover spaghetti in my fridge is the center of the universe according to some calculations I just did, proving that the FSM is true.

    Also: I was just taking some astronomy photos this weekend, thinking in my head how great it was that this was such easily verifiable science that it would be a fun expiriment to do with kids.

    Amazing.

  61. 61
    DanF says:

    @debit: You word animals have betrayed your educated ignorance!

    Are you too dumb to know there are 4 different simultaneous 24 hour days within a single rotation of Earth?
    Greenwich 1 day is a lie.
    4 quadrants = 4 corners, and 4 different directions.

    Time cube guy would fit hand and glove with these folks, but he’s also hates religion:

    My 4 simultaneous Days is above god mentality.
    Evil education is based upon Evil Religion.
    Teachers of evil ONEness, should be hanged,
    for all life creation is composed of opposites –
    pulsation for Life and alternation for motion.

    What a nutter.

  62. 62
    Judas Escargot says:

    I wonder how many of them will use GPS to find their way there.

  63. 63
    ronin122 says:

    I should mention here that the Vatican itself actually supports the Heliocentric model (and evolution, for that matter). So in essence, these people are breaking with the Pope. Ironic that their faith dooms them to hell based on their beliefs (of papal infallibility)

  64. 64
    stormhit says:

    @PaulW:

    No, they are not.

  65. 65
    trollhattan says:

    The sentient mind boggles. Has anybody seen George Deutsch lately? This sounds right up his (unpaved) alley.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Deutsch

  66. 66
    Ash Can says:

    @ronin122: The concept of papal infallibility applies only to ex cathedra scriptural pronouncements (which are actually extremely rare), and as far as I can tell, the Church’s official views on heliocentrism and evolution don’t fall anywhere near this category of pronouncement. Hence, they’re fair game to these wackjobs.

  67. 67
    Jager says:

    @John PM:

    No, its backed by the 200mpg secret that “they” don’t want people to know about.

  68. 68
    jeff says:

    Robert Sungenis is a former Protestant fundamentalist who converted to Catholicism. He’s now a Catholic fundamentalist and rationalizer of the highest order.

    Do not ever get involved in a email exchange with him. He will publish what you send him on his website despite promises not to. He will omit information that hurts his argument or just leave large portions of it out. I know this from first hand experience.

    It’s sad to see the lengths to which people will go to defend the indefensible.

  69. 69
    jeff says:

    @Winson Smith:

    The Catholic Church Hierarchy has nothing to do with people like Robert Sungenis. These are extreme fundamentalist Catholics who used to be Protestant fundamentalists. They are their own magesterium. They are, in essence, sola scriptura Catholics. There’s a whole new generation of these types. People like James Akin, Scott Hahn, Patrick Madrid, etc.

  70. 70
    Cermet says:

    @Jakebnto: You didn’t read my post – that is exactly true (for all points in the Universe (but NOT the Cosmos) and is what modern cosmology theory say’s.

  71. 71
    Mark S. says:

    I am shocked, shocked, that this Robert Sungenis character has problems with anti-Semitism to the point that his bishop had to tell him to knock it off. Catholic fundies don’t get the press that evangelical fundies get, but they are every bit as crazy even if they throw in a few Latin words to make them look less stupid. They also tend to hate Jews and flirt with Holocaust denial.

  72. 72
    jeff says:

    @Mark S.:

    You’re right Mark. I intended to point this out. He is definitely part of the lunatic fringe.

  73. 73
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Judas Escargot: The GPS satellites actually do circle the earth, so we really do live in a geocentric GPS world.

  74. 74
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Luthe: Thank you. I always thought the plural was “platypussies”. As in “Australia has platypussies galore.”

  75. 75
    kestrel says:

    The astronomy nerd in me is weeping openly at this. Gotta send this to my dad who works on telescopes. If I’ve got to feel the pain of Teh Stoopid, then dammit, so does he.

    Is it too early to start drinking yet?

  76. 76
    Joshua says:

    According to Slashdot, 18% of Americans believe in geocentrism, but… 19% of Britons believe in it. You know what that means! There’s finally a category where we aren’t the stupidest bunch of people!

    Of course, 18% of Americans is a lot more people than 19% of Britons, but… shut up.

  77. 77
    Objective Scrutator says:

    @Luthe: According to Wiki, the most common spellings are ‘platypuses’ or ‘platypus’, although ‘platypodes’ is also correct. ‘Platypi’ is pseudo-Latin.

    @Walker and Ken: My question was poorly thought out, but thank you for the additional information. My understanding is that the amount of epicycles added would be unfalsifiable (because there’s too many free parameters), while both Lambert’s and Gauss’s methods are falsifiable methods of testing orbits.

  78. 78

    @Chad N Freude: I am so stealing “the Endarkenment” as a tag for my blog.

  79. 79
    Ken says:

    @Objective Scrutator: That’s pretty much it. Epicycles have no underlying theory; they are an ongoing ad hoc process of data-fitting. Thus every observation can require addition of more epicycles, but no observation can falsify the model [1].

    Gauss, in contrast, requires a limited number of observations, and additional observations can only falsify results. In fact, they have falsified them, since Gauss requires conic-section orbits which don’t actually exist, what with perturbations and relativistic gravity. It’s still a useful first approximation and is used when calculating the orbit of a new asteroid or comet.

    [1] I suppose that does have to be limited to observations of planetary positions made from the surface of the Earth. The fact that none of the space probes have ever run into an epicycle would tend to disprove the model. Although now that I think of it, the Ptolemaic model also tied into Aristotelian physics, so the epicycles would be made of the aetherial matter of the planetary realms. Thus one might argue that the epicycles would not interact with the mundane matter of the probes. I would not bring that up, except that Aquinas (IIRC) spent some considerable time showing that transubstantiation was consistent with Aristotle’s physics, so it’s possible that some of the persons attending this conference might want to reject the more recent discoveries about the nature of matter.

  80. 80
    Gus says:

    @jeff:

    Jeff,

    I wouldn’t put Akin, Hahn and Madrid in the same category with Sungenis. Night and day there.

  81. 81
    Frank says:

    More about Sungenis “credentials” here http://sungenisandthejews.blog.....0doctorate

    Please note that Sungenis has no official capacity in the Catholic Church and was forced by his bishop to take the name “Catholic” off of his organization. Thank you.

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