Book review

Physics & Vertical Causation: The End of Quantum Reality by Wolfgang Smith Reviewed

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One of the proofs of God’s existence given to us by our good saint Thomas Aquinas is the argument from essential causal chains. (We have met this many times in our Summa Contra Gentiles review.) This proof has deep implications for physics.

The classic example is a man using a stick to move a stone. The stone’s movement is caused by the stick. The stick’s movement is caused by the hand and arm. But inside the hand and arm are muscles, and these are moved by individual cells. The cells are “moved”, i.e. changed, by the chemicals in the cells. The chemicals in the cells are changed or moved by the protons, neutrons, and electrons in them. These particles are themselves moved by quarks. The quarks are moved, some say, by strings. The strings are moved by possibly something underneath them.

And so on. But not and-so-on forever. This simultaneous chain of essential causes has to bottom out somewhere. It cannot proceed to infinity, or no movement would ever get started. There has to be a base first cause in this chain. Without (again) going into the details, it turns out this first cause has to be the same first cause in all change. And, as the man says, we call this first cause God.

Hold that in mind and let’s next recall a version of an EPR experiment. Two entangled photons are released, one heading north and the other south. According to quantum theory, neither of these photons has a single state of polarization, but each photon has all possible polarizations, represented by its wave function. Eventually, the northward bound photon is interacted with, or “measured”, which causes its wave function to “collapse” to a definite polarization. This interaction “causes”—the scare quotes are justified—the southward bound photon to take the opposite polarization instantly, even if the photons are so far apart that no signal could possibly communicate between them in time.

This fact about the world bothers many, because it doesn’t appear there is any theory involving ordinary essential causes that can explain it. Bell even proved no such essential cause can exist, not if one embraced locality. And locality is definitely out: there’s just no way for the photons to talk to each other.

Not if you heed exclusively to what Wolfgang Smith calls “horizontal causality”, which is the type of causation ordinarily encountered in physics—the science, that is. However, if you allow “vertical causality”, a metaphysical concept as is ordinary essential causality, the problem of how those photons can talk to each other goes away.

Smith does not mention the stick-moving-stone type of “horizontal” causal chains, but these chains, which are in every movement or change everywhere and everwhen, point to a simple “vertical” cause that is omnipresent, like we met above, a cause not in space or time, a cause not limited by locality, because, as it were, all points and all times are available to this vertical cause always.

Physicists can’t see this cause in their metaphysics, which excludes the spiritual and what Smith calls the corporeal world. If in your science all you have is a yardstick, then all that can exist is length. All other properties vanish, or rather are invisible. It would be an obvious fallacy to say that these other properties have no existence because they cannot be measured in your yardstick science. But that is the central mistake Descartes built into physics when he separated the world into two domains, res extensa and res cogitans.

The first, res extensa, is the realm of the yardstick, the second, res cogitans, is the playground of the mind, where all those things that cannot be measured live. That is, the non-length properties are only in the mind, or are a projection of the mind, and are not in things themselves. The opposite philosophy is realist: it is the corporeal world of experience that is tangible, and it is the mathematical abstraction of the corporeal world’s measurable or physical properties which is not. In other words (and regular readers will recognize this), the modern science of physics rests on the Deadly Sin of Reification.

You can only get so far with horizontal causality. It nicely explains many measurable phenomenon of interest, but it can’t explain everything. It can’t, for instance, explain us, our thoughts. No yardstick or probe can ever exist to measure vertical causality, but we can still prove it is there. Prove it to yourself: that stone never would have moved by the stick if you didn’t first will it. Will moves by vertical causality.

We also know the qualities the corporeal world are there, because we experience them, even if they cannot be measured. Of course, we have met many examples of attempts to quantify the unquantifiable—how sanguine are you on a scale of -42,003.7 to eπ2?—and we have seen how they all ultimately come to grief.

Smith’s latest book (his last?) is a culmination of his life’s work, with each chapter referring to his more detailed earlier writings. It is, if you like, a teaser. This is to its advantage. For instance, he introduces hylomorphism, giving its outlines but not bogging the concept down with excessive detail, which would distract new readers. There are plenty of other texts that provide formal proofs of these concepts (see anything written by Ed Feser). Smith gives enough material to allow the reader a grip, and then moves on.

Of which there is plenty. In a way, this is a shocking book. Shall I tell you of geocentrism, or leave the idea dangling? Does he dare call into question Einstein himself? Does he really have a solution to quantum mechanical measurement? How about free will?

Yes, all this and much more, all in a hundred and twenty some pages! So that’s—-

—-what’s that? You’d like a little more detail? Okay.

More Detail

There are many proofs our minds are not machines. The simplest is that machines have no self-awareness. We do. Some attempt an escape by saying our awareness is “illusion”—not grasping that it takes self-awareness to be able to have illusions.

One that will be new to some is that visual perception requires a “transcendence of temporal bounds.” We do not see movement like a camera, frame by frame, but “all at once“. See is doing double duty here. Parts of the body process the images, if you like, but it still takes a mind to see the images, and understand them for what they are.

There is a neat explication of Gödel’s theorem, which again shows that we need a mind to see, and thus we are more than “collections of particles”. I quote it in full because it is familiar territory for us.

By virtue of Part I [showing that proofs in an axiomatized math can be numbered], we may assume that there exists a function P(m,n), defined for all natural numbers m and n, such that, for every m, P(m,n) is a propositional function of n (an algebraic statement depending on n, which may be true or false) and a function Π(k) which orders all mathematical proofs in the given axiom system.

We now define the following propositional function: “There exists no k such that Π(k) proves P(w,w).” Since our enumeration P(m,n) of arithmetical propositions is complete, there must exist a natural number s such that P(s,n) is the aforesaid function. Now consider the proposition P(s,s): the first thing to note is that this proposition is unprovable (since our construction entails that “there exists no k such that Π(k) proves P(s,s)”; and the second is that P(s,s) is true: for indeed there exists no k such that Π(k) proves P(s,s).

Now if you can see that—comprehend it, grasp it, own it—you can also see that no computer ever can. It involves infinities of thought, which is impossible for any computer, which would be set chugging along never to realize the answer. Never as in never.

Like I always say, Gödel did it the hard way. We already knew there are true but unprovable statements in any axiom system. The axioms themselves. These are propositions everybody believes, but for which there is no proof. Not in the ordinary sense of that word. Again, we need to touch an infinite mind to know what cannot be proved by ordinary methods.

Hold onto your black holes. Smith really does put some difficult questions to Einstein. “Either Einstein is right and the equations of classical mechanics need indeed to be revised, or the equations of classical mechanics are correct as they stand, and it is actually his ‘relativistic’ mechanics that prove to be false.”

Here, dear reader, I am on less stable ground, not knowing as much about relativity as quantum mechanics, so I am not in a position to intelligently critique Smith. Einstein rejected the idea of absolute rest: Smith does not. Smith’s argues Einstein assumed too much: given the Mchelson-Morley experiment did not find a orbital velocity of the earth, yet Einstein still assumed it was there, and so forth.

But it didn’t stop with m&M. Others have since at least claimed to measure orbital velocity by, for instance, looking at Doppler shifts in starlight as (it is presumed) the earth moves. However, it is a possibility that the earth sits still and stars move. The measurements would be the same.

What I wish to emphasize is that Einsteinian relativity is actually predicated upon the assumption that there can be no such thing as an immobile reference frame, a K0 “at rest”: it is this denial that leads quite naturally to at least the special theory of relativity. But given that there exist not a shred of empirical evidence in support of that denial, one sees that Einsteinian physics cannot but be based ultimately on ideological grounds.

Well, what about that “not a shred”? Empirical verification of relatively must involve very sensitive measurement, given the effects are almost completely negligible for most things. “Misconceptions aside, the question whether special relativity has passed empirical muster proves an incurably technical issue. And no wonder, if at a speed of 1000 km/hr one needs to differentiate between 1 and 0.99999945!”

From here, Smith provides details of experiments (starting with the 1913 Sagnac experiment) showing anisotropy in light speeds. “Ruyong Wang et al. conducted an experiment in 2003, in which the ‘Sagnac effect is also obtained on a two-way linear path, by reversing a light beam sent out on a straight line on a moving platform and measuring the difference in return time.’ What the Wang experiment indicates is that the speed of light is not in fact c in every inertial reference frame, as Einsteinian physics demands.”

He has more, but I leave it here for those more familiar with the territory. If Smith is right, then there is a point in the universe that is at rest. I’ll let you guess where this point is. If he’s not, then it’s not of direct consequence to the rest of the book.

Smith’s resolution to quantum mechanical measurement is much easier, relatively speaking (he punned). This is to return to the beginning, to Aristotle and Heisenberg, to the idea that substances are composed of both potentiality and actuality. Even you, dear reader, have the potential to be somewhere other than where you are now, and it takes something actual to get you there, something actual to actuality the potentiality in you. This potentially is part of you, in a very real sense.

The quantum world is unfamiliar because it is composed of objects with much more potentiality than actuality. There is no wavefunction “collapse”, but a potentiality becoming an actuality by something actual—that interaction or measurement. We spent a lot of time with this elsewhere, and there is no reason to repeat it here. Read “Quantum Potency & Probability” for more detail on this.

Smith’s big idea, and one we share, is the return of the spiritual to scientific discourse. We all know it’s there. “The first point to be made is that this reduction of the animate to the inanimate—of the living to the merely ‘complex’—so far from being based upon scientific fact, is actually a groundless assumption, which gains strength from the fact that it is beyond our means to grasp whatever it may be that distinguishes the two.”

One moment your crazy uncle is raving about BLM, the next moment he is not. His soul has departed. Living beings are more than their constituent parts working together, just like water is more than just hydrogen plus oxygen. “This soul-generated [vertical causation] constitutes in fact the life force or élan vital of the organism, which both ‘produces’ its body or ‘corporeal sheath’ and renders it animate.” Any science that does not acknowledge this, and many other like things, is incomplete.

It is probably clear by now that vertical causality, unmeasurable in the traditional sense, is “what gives rise to horizontal causality.” Look: you knew this was true before you here today. All the gloried “laws” of physics and the nature of the world had to come from something. They could not make themselves. And we all know what this something is. Every attempt by scientists to explain this uncomfortable truth away has been an embarrassment. And always will be.

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Categories: Book review

51 replies »

  1. I’ve skimmed this article but as a physicist I have serious doubts that it impinges on the validity of special relativity, general relativity, or quantum mechanics. A serious objections is that it does not adhere to the rules of how the game of science is played, that is theories/math/empirical validation and takes interpretations of theories as necessary adjuncts. (see http://catholicscientist.com/2018/06/06/essay-2-how-we-believe-how-science-works/). But I may have more to say after I chew on this.

  2. The principle that governs creation is causality, the principle of cause and effect. It is axiomatic that before each and every creation is a cause. By definition, no cause can have any other purpose than the creation of effect. A cause without effect does not exist. Neither does an effect exist without a cause. Cause implies effect. Effect implies cause. If there’s no cause, there’s no effect. If there’s no effect, there wasn’t a cause. Effect can’t “create” or cause itself. A cause cannot remain without effect, because the intrinsic purpose of cause is effect. Hence, in creation, cause, purpose and the beginning of the effect coincide. They become one. Creation doesn’t take place “in the blind.” Of necessity and self-evidently, all creation involves a direct, certain and discoverable relationship between a cause and its postulated ? intended ? effect. Creation is never “thoughtless,” happenstance or taking place by chance. It requires a premeditated thought, a Logos, to begin with. Logos is the “thought” that orders ? organizes ? the structure of Creation, so that it can most efficiently and hamoniously function according to its purpose. Why “order” ? Because the principle of causality that governs creation also governs the cause-effect relationships between all the elements that form the inherently logical arrangement that expresses the essence of the creation. In the absence of cause-effect relationships, there is no arrangement, no order, no creation, no Logos. There was no cause.

  3. Oh, and a minor point: I wonder how one calculates satellite positions and enables GPS on the assumption that earth does not have an orbital velocity, or that principles of relativity don’t apply.

  4. Special relativity is nothing more nor less than the careful application of the Pythagorean principle. General relativity is nothing more nor less than the careful application of special relativity to objects in motion.

    Relativistic effects are also apparent in a space with a fixed inertial reference frame, given the effects of quantum mechanics. This is so incredibly simple that I do not understand how others do not see it. I blame the educational system. Space is not expanding, it simply is. Matter moves through space. There is an absolute time, else photons could not exist and gravity could not propagate. This is all much more simple than the physicists generally believe.

    There is no such thing as quantum entanglement. There is only conservation of properties. When two photons are created, they must have opposite spins from the instant of creation, lest spin be unbalanced. Scientific ignorance is masked by complicated theories and impressive terminology.

    Quantum computers are nothing more nor less than remarkably expensive analog computers. You can accomplish the same goals using hydraulics for a fraction of the price. This has already been done. If you must use an electronic computer, you can accomplish the same goals using a true random number generator, such as a cosmic ray detector. This has also already been done.

    Imaginary numbers are real. Physics must work in a universe that includes the entire complex number plane. And yet, our current understanding of physics resides entirely upon the real number line. So we, by definition, understand only a tiny fraction of what is possible. (Neutrinos and the poorly understood weak force both offer a glimpse.) I arbitrarily label the positive complex plane “heaven” and the negative plane “hell”.

  5. This guy Smith sounds like the cranks who send me emails about their grand unified theories proving that Einstein was wrong, all of physics is wrong, and only they have seen the truth, but the primitive scientists of today are just not ready to receive their wisdom, and that’s why they don’t even get a reply when they send their 1,000 page papers to Physical Review.

    Then the details follow. Just like Smith, it’s not only that they’re wrong; they don’t understand the language of science and use the concepts incorrectly in a fundamental way. The excerpts in this article show exactly this. But Smith certainly seems to have impressed Briggs. I wonder how that could be?

  6. Doesn’t your body store energy? And your muscles use the energy that is stored? So, isn’t just that we can choose when to transfer our energy to the stick? Aren’t our bodies just controlling the use of energy, by using energy itself to fuel are brain and the rest of our body as well, which we get by consuming other forms of energy (food)? Regardless of the mechanics of the cells, your arm could get tired at some point if you were pushing something very heavy, such as in weightlifting. At some point you can’t push the same mass. The energy runs out. Then you have to rest to store up more so you can expend more energy at once, again. It’s simple physics and transferring of energy. The first cause to me moving my arm goes WAY back before I was even born. We are just in a big giant math equation involving the transfer of energy.

  7. Bob Kurland –

    That’s the point. Relativity is bogus nonsense and should be tossed away for the house of cards that it is.

    And GPS factors in the Sagnac Effect that violates Relativity.

    Lee Phillips

    The ‘cranks’ are correct. And as is typical, they understand the science better than the ones wailing about how they don’t understand ‘da science.’ Especially hilarious about your protestation is the fact that Einstein himself essentially had to claim that “all of physics is wrong, and only he and his cronies have seen the truth” in order to push his nonsense that had to be accepted, or else the Scientific academies had to admit that they’d seriously &%^%ed up for hundreds of years and that the Catholic Inquisition that told Galileo to take a hike was correct. Especially in light of the CMB alignments and numerous other evidence that smashes the Darwinian/Copernican myth. Einstein is the next to be taken out back and shot for the sanity of us all.

    I recommend checking out ‘The Principle’ from the same makers of ‘The End of Quantum Reality’ doc.

  8. “Special relativity is nothing more nor less than the careful application of the Pythagorean principle. General relativity is nothing more nor less than the careful application of special relativity to objects in motion.”

    Special and general relativity theories both contradict each other. The only reason the General Theory exists is because the Special theory was untenable and didn’t take into account numerous things. To try and prop both up as valid forms of physics is akin to Transgendered physics where 2 = -2

    Relativity only exists so that scientists could find a way to explain the Michelson/Morley interferometer experiments and explain why they could never measure the Earth’s assumed movement around the sun. It returned a value of 0 instead of 30km/sec. Einstein then worked backwards to make 0 be 30 and then fudge everything on the other side of the equation and that meant having matter shrink, mass expand and time dilate so that they could get the answer they wanted to see instead of what they actually saw.

    This is because – Science is political. So whenever Lee Phillips wants to drag out the ol’ “but the primitive scientists of today are just not ready to receive their wisdom, and that’s why they don’t even get a reply when they send their 1,000 page papers to Physical Review…” and roll his eyes like an emoticon, you will understand what’s up by simply looking to see how the ‘consensus’ flips from time to time, and today they want your to get vaccinated for non-pandemics and wear masks and lock yourself up in your home, call women, men, and men, women, and make Caucasian skin the cause of every problem that happens in the world today, when they are not yelling at you to pay carbon taxes because the North and South poles were going to completely disappear years ago.

    Relativity is the exact same scam. The great Enlightenment needs its symbol over that of the Church, and it is one of their sacred cows beside Charles Darwin. Unfortunately for them, when Einstein had to throw away the Special Theory for the General one, he had no choice but to make Geocentrism viable again and the physics then just worked out that each view was the inverse mathematics of the other. But the only reason Heliocentrism was chosen by the consensus was nothing to do with science, but philosophy. If you assume that God doesn’t exist or that God didn’t do any of what Genesis says He did, but everything was more a product of random chance, and BANG! BOOM! Michael Bay Hollywood physics where everything works out despite how many explosions occur around the protagonist, then Geocentrism was rejected as statistically unlikely, and because it implied uncomfortable things that would prevent Einstein’s conscience from having adulterous affairs.

    And also, as everyone knows by now, the establishment, whether of democrats or of science or of the mainstream media, but ALWAYS protect its integrity, even when they clearly know they are lying to your face. But in rare moments they are honest before the cameras, and this is why a film like ‘The Principle’ was heavily attacked with a concerted campaign of disinformation before it even left the editing room for anyone to see. That obviously didn’t work, so the next step is as as Lee Phillips said… to ignore them and never provide a reply.

    It’s time people opened their eyes to discover that mainstream science is the same sort of cult as the mainstream news media. Truth and objectivity can take a hike whenever its inconvenient to their secular religion and profit margins. The consequences be damned.

  9. Johno, rather than a statement “relativity is bogus nonsense,” I’d like you to cite specific instances where quantitative predictions made by relativity theory have been falsified. As a physicist (and a faithful Catholic), I don’t find your arguments convincing.

  10. We can see by the parallax effect that At different times in the year the earth has a different position. Closer stars move around in bigger circles than stars that are far away. This is how telescopes on Earth, and later satellites like Hipparcos and now Gaia are able to measure distances to said stars.

    Earth moving around the Sun is a much easier to understand mechanism to explain this effect than the stars themselves having this movement.

    And it is verifiable. Put Gaia-like satellites in orbit around different planets. The satellite around Venus will see much smaller circles as its orbit around the is smaller. At Mars you will see bigger circles. Also, the time to travel the circle is the same time as the planet takes to travel around the Sun.

    Further, you can put landers on some planets to measure other effects. On Mars, a satellite will see spectroscopic line shift in accordance with the movement of Mars around the Sun. It will also see that effect that depend on the travel of the Solar System as a whole are identical to the effects we see on Earth. One example is that the Solar System appears to travel to a certain point in the sky, another example will be the Hubble flow, which is the galaxies moving away from us.

    It will be very expensive, but these effects can be measured in other places in the universe.

  11. Imagine a series of watchtowers set one sound-minute apart. When the enemy is seen approaching, the sentry at tower A sounds an airhorn. When the sentry at tower B hears this (one minute later) he sounds his own airhorn, When C hears this (one minute later still), he toots his own horn.

    Notice that, except for attenuation, C will hear A, B, and C at the same time. He is one minute from B, 2 minutes from A.

    But A will hear the horns at widely separate intervals. It will take B a minute to hear A, and will take another minute for A to hear B’s response. For the same reason, A will hear C four minutes later.

    Thus, time is relative to the position of the observer.

    The principle of relativity as regards local motion goes back to the Middle Ages and Witello’s Perspectiva. Oresme used this Principle when he noted that to a man standing on the Earth, the heavens appear to revolve around him, while to a man affixed to the sphere of stars, the Earth will appear to rotate below him. This is why if your car is sitting still, it seems to roll backward if the car beside you pulls forward.

    The special theory of relativity deals with such “inertial” frames. The general theory extends the principle to accelerated motion.

  12. Still can’t get away from the idea that the Prime Mover has no cause – your basic premise is contradicted when you argue this. No matter how you twisted the logic. Similar to the the “Big Bang” explanation of the universe’s origin. Time has to be considered in these theories.

  13. Bob Kurland –

    We know it is falsified given the speed of light is not a constant, though it could well be treated that way for practical purposes on Earth. Light was merely picked to be a constant because Einstein needed something to lean on after disposing of everything else as illusory and malleable. This is also demonstrated by Sagnac, where light traveling in one direction against the aether Einstein rejected (but proved 100% 24 hour rotation between the Earth and the Aether in Michelson/Gale) is slowed down. For this and many other reasons the Special theory was jettisoned, and the General Theory refashioned, and where light was a constant in the Special, it can be any speed in the General, thus a direct contradiction of each other. Further, as Einstein explained, according to the general Theory, both Heliocentrism and Geocentrism are equivalent systems, and you could never experimentally tell one from the other, according to him.

    Ye Olde Statistician, makes the same philosophical mistake, where evidence is made to fit the theory, as they attempted to do with Michel/Morley, but ignored Michelson/Gale, and with Sagnac, where what violated Realtivity was then reinterpreted as proof of relativity. And whatever Relativity was supposedly touted as getting ‘right’ here and there is equally explainable under classical physics, thus making it nothing ‘special’ in the end, yet is it championed as the only explanation except for all the others.

    “Time is relative to the position of the observer” is nonsense. It treats time as some kind of substance that is malleable and alterable depending on how far you socially distance yourself to avoid COVID. Whether using sound towers, or cats in boxes in spaceships, it’s all ‘thought-experiment’ nonsense. It’s chalk on the chalkboard, and the physicist goes mad trying to make the numbers work in practicality, and little wonder he ends up in all manner of speculative places ranging from non-existent black and brown holes somewhere in space to multiverses or holographic universes where everything is illusion and nothing actually exists. That’s the consequence where ‘everything is relative.’ The only reason Time had to dilate is because Einstein needed his 30 km/sec, and ad hoc decided that the measuring apparatus was shrinking in the direction of movement to just that precise degree to return a null result, but this had consequences where the mass of the object in motion had to increase as it shrank, and in shrinking it still needed to reach the same spot every 24 hours otherwise it would begin to lag behind and increase the time needed to reach the same position with each revolution, and thus time had to be altered to account for the fact that we do have precise 24 hour days. It was a fudge factor. And to sell it, all of physics had to be upended, or the establishment had to bow to the Catholic Papacy and Tradition.

    At the end of the day, either the heavens are rotating around a fixed Earth, or the Earth is rotating against fixed stars. You can’t have both simultaneously any more than a person can be simultaneously a man and a woman.

    Sander van der Wal, should also learn that parallax is not proof of heliocentrism. As Relativity, particularly the Galilean Relativity the Inquisition and St. Robert Bellarmine well knew about at the time of Galileo, which is why the Church allowed for use of Relativistic mathematics presuming the Earth moving only as an abstract to supposedly help mathematicians make certain calculations ‘easier’, the parallax effects we observe along with other motions of abberation etc. work the EXACT SAME in both Copernican and Tychonic cosmological systems. People ignore Tycho and make their judgments based solely on Ptolemy. Heliocentrism is also more complicated in actuality than a fixed Earth against rotating stars when you picture the Earth around the Sun, around the Milky Way, which is also moving Lord knows where around something. There is an amusing animation on youtube that quite well illustrates this absurdity:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jHsq36_NTU

    ^ That is essentially the ‘easier mechanism’ Sander says it is and that the consensus subscribes to, versus the infinitely simpler system of a Central Earth fixed at the center of mass of the entire rotating universe system around which everything revolves, and subsequently smaller bodies around larger bodies where the center of mass is closer to.

    Sander also offers nothing other than more ‘thought experiments’ about what he expects to find concerning hypothetical satellites he could send out there, when the actual satellites, from WMAP, KOBE, and PLANCK, SLOAN etc. returned data that all point to a central Earth with the most distant poles of the CMB aligned with its general location, and the stars in concentric shells around it, which demonstrates a rotating universe as the only explanation.

    Why this is so hard to accept is simply because the establishment rejects God and Intelligent Design. That’s all it is. So we continue to receive more ad hoc musing and escape hatches into multiverses or holographic illusions to explain it away, whilst pretending there is no crisis in physics, not dissimilar to current U.S. politics where we carry on by redefining what is peaceful and overturn the entire medical datasets so that the New Normal can be brought into being.

    We witness in real-time how science can be manipulated in 2020 over a pathogen. Now picture that same nonsense occurring for roughly 500 years for equally political reasons where the heliocentric/geocentric debate became a very very symbolic deal for overthrowing the old order under the Church and especially the Pope. Some lies become politically entrenched truths that must NEVER be contradicted, because a lot is riding on it. The only difference is that the old revolutionaries were nowhere near as stupid as the current crop.

  14. Bob Kurland:

    //Oh, and a minor point: I wonder how one calculates satellite positions and enables GPS on the assumption that earth does not have an orbital velocity, or that principles of relativity don’t apply.//

    GPS uses the ECI frame. The earth does has no diurnal rotation in ECI:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth-centered_inertial

    GPS involves a master clock with no relativistic corrections- GPS time is absolute throughout the system. There is no “relativity of simultaneity” in GPS:

    https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a516975.pdf

  15. It does no harm to the Catholic faith to understand the history of the “natural” analogy of being.

    The fable that Thomists tell themselves is that all the intellects in the world, except them, gradually succumbed to corruption, via some combination of the world, the flesh, and the devil. This explains, for example, why hardly anyone but them thinks that the Thomist proofs of God’s existence are convincing. But, the story continues, happily some valiant souls in every generation resist the baneful influences of fourteenth century nominalism, or eighteenth century Enlightenment, or etc., and find their way back to the simple pure truth.

    The real story is that these “natural” proofs of God’s existence — which taken together rely on the “natural” analogy of being — had long ago been found to collapse under their own weight. Everybody but Thomists noticed.

    While the influence of Plato’s Timaeus was still effective in the Thomist metaphysics, by way of the tradition stemming from Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, coloring the notion of the natural with a religious significance and value, this nostalgia was irreconcilable with the dogmatic rationalism of the Aristotelian act-potency analysis. This has the consequence that the usual “Thomist” analogy of being set up a radically contradictory postulate of a transcendent creator who is “naturally” known to be the metaphysical absolute, for it is immediately evident that of the transcendent absolute precisely nothing is or can be known, as a matter of definition: of the ineffable, nothing is said. This had been worked out in the Latin West by the close of the thirteenth century and, since the nominalist triumph of logic over cosmology in the next century, only a school loyalty coupled to a religious obedience, now unavailing, has kept the Thomist “natural” or philosophical analogy in use…. [ Keefe, Donald J, SJ. Covenantal Theology, Vol. II n. 37, p. 278. ]

    But since all possible versions of the “natural” analogy of being fail, the venerable philosophical and pseudo-theological ‘move’ to ‘spiritualize’ man by finding something immaterial in him, perforce fails also. Even an infinite number of demi-urges cannot enable this ‘man’ to touch the sky. For the scheme self-generates a paradox: there is no path from essence to Esse. As Fr. Keefe pointed out, this had already been worked out, at least in outline, by the end of the thirteenth century.

  16. Rick DeLano: relativistic corrections are applied to satellite positions in order to enable accurate GPS positions: see here:
    http://www.astronomy.ohio-state.edu/~pogge/Ast162/Unit5/gps.html
    but you’re right about orbital motion of the earth being irrelevant.
    Jonno: you still haven’t supplied any instances where predictions of special or general relativity are falsified. Your arguments I don’t understand–pardon me for being a physicist of little brain.

  17. Bob Kurland:

    As long as we are clear that there is no orbital motion of the earth in GPS, and there is no relativity of simultaneity in GPS, then I think both your objections have been answered.

    Next we might examine whether the speed of light postulate in SR holds in GPS- of course, if you think through the implications of the second point above, you will not need further demonstration.

    It’s isn’t.

  18. Rick DeLano:
    I don’t understand your comment. As the article I cited clearly points out, relativistic corrections are required in order that time measurements from satellites be accurate to the required nanosecond. If the article errs, please point out where it does so.

  19. Let me try and be clear.

    You asked how GPS works without earth’s orbit.

    I showed you.

    You agreed.

    That’s done.

    You asked whether the principles of relativity apply to GPS.

    I showed you that the *fundamental* principle of GPS- relativity of simultaneity- does not apply, directly out of the first sentence of the official US Naval Observatory’s technical paper on GPS.

    I then pointed out that since this fundamental principle of relativity does not apply, its follows that the other- constancy of light speed for all observers in an inertial frame- obviously also does not apply.

    If you want me to demonstrate why, please say so.

    I assume it is obvious.

  20. JohnK,

    I am not familiar with Keefe’s work. But, I find the quoted passage quite obtuse and loaded with ad hominem attack rather than a valid argument. I admit I could be wrong based on just those words.

    Once Aquinas reached the conclusion that the unmoved mover or the unactualized actualizer are what we call God, then I disagree that we can know nothing more about God. God created everything and sustains everything here and now. Next come all the physical laws, then the concepts of truth and good and evil. Everything follows. It may not be perfect but it will do.

  21. Still can’t get away from the idea that the Prime Mover has no cause
    That should be either “…the Prime Mover has no mover” or “…the Uncaused Cause has no cause.” Not sure what part of “unmoved’ or “uncaused” is problematic. If First Cause had itself a cause,then it would not be a first cause. But recall that ‘motion’ meant a change in Greek, as when an apple moves from green to red, and is more akin to an acceleration than to velocity. And primary of first do not mean ‘first in time’ but first in logical priority.

    A useful example is a kitten that crosses a room because it apprehends a saucer of milk. The saucer moves the kitten, but is not moved by the walking. Thus, it is an unmoved mover.

  22. Rick DeLano, you have evaded my question: if relativistic corrections are necessary to get accurate time and position measurements for satellites (i.e. for GPS) why then do not the principles of relativity apply? A scientific theory is something that is coherent whole. One doesn’t pick parts that you like and discard parts you don’t like. What other theories would you choose to make relativistic corrections? And, I would add, these must be theories that are concordant with general principles of science (see the link in my first comment).
    By the way, other comments in this thread give adequate evidence for the orbital motion of the earth. Indeed, this was done early on by Galileo when he showed the orbital phases of Venus.
    And this will be my last comment in this thread. There is what is termed the fallacy of “invincible ignorance,” such that rational discourse is not possible.

  23. They do not apply, Bob, for the reasons I have set forth.

    1. Relativity requires relativity of simultaneity. This is not incorporated into GPS.

    2. Relativity requires a constant speed of light for all observers in an inertial frame. This is not observed in GPS.

    For the clock corrections, many different theories can apply. It is an observed fact that clocks tick at different rates in different gravitational fields, for example.

    It is not an observed fact that this is a consequence of relativity.

    It might be a physical consequence of the clock’s environment.

    But it is irreducibly necessary for relativity to apply to GPS that its fundamental postulates be applied to GPS.

    As we have discussed at some length, Neither relativity of simultaneity nor constancy of light speed in for observers (receivers) in an inertial frame are in fact applied to GPS.

  24. I do n toy believe I have evaded your question, Bob. Perhaps I am simply emphasizing something more fundamental; that is, whether relativity applies to GPS.

    It doesn’t, regardless of the clock corrections.

    It doesn’t because Relativity can not apply to any system which involves a non-constant speed of light for observers (receivers) in an inertial frame.

    GPS involves a non-constantly speed of light in an inertial frame for observers (receivers).

    Clock corrections are a consequence of an observed change in the rate of clocks in different environmental conditions (gravitational fields, for example).

    But this observed fact is not exclusively explained by relativity.

    The clocks could be mechanically affected by the environment, and so this correction cannot be adduced as a proof of the theory.

    A non- constant speed of light in an inertial frame, on the other hand, is a conclusive falsification of the theory.

  25. Holy crap. I can’t remember when I’ve seen so much lunacy packed into a confined space. But I haven’t had to go to a faculty meeting in a while. Aside from Bob Kurland (what a patient man), every comment here, and Briggs’ article, evokes “Twilight Zone” music in my head.

  26. The one thing that is missing from the proofs of the Prime Mover is the necessity of Christ. It’s very Islamic almost in its view of God as Mechanistic mover of all things. Where is love in the first cause?

  27. Given the most important thing on Christianity is the Cross, I don’t see how arguments for the Prime Mover leads anywhere except to the god of muslims and jews. A unkown “force”, not the persons of the Trinity.

  28. Nate, a plausible argument or so-called “proof” for the existence of God is not aimed at proving all the attributes of God, nor proving Christianity per se. So obviously proving that there’s an unmoved Mover alone is going to be open to different interpretations and religious traditions on God. The argument alone will not tell you whether you should endorse Islam, some form of Christianity or Deism for instance. All that discernment would rely on other pieces of evidence besides the first Mover argument.

    I personally don’t endorse the unmoved Mover argument myself or at least most versions of it like from Aquinas and Aristotle for reasons that it seems to imply that God is temporal or in time and not timeless. But aside from that, the argument does have some merit to it. The argument, at least, conforms to Ockham’s Razor or simplicity principle where you opt for the simplest sufficient explanation. A single Unmoved Mover is favorable over a superfluous endless series of moved movers or dependent sources of change and motion. Likewise, a single First Mover is more reasonable to favor over several first Movers by Ockham’s principle. The second proof from Aquinas, the causal argument, which I think is a better argument, also adheres well to Ockham’s Razor. By Ockham’s Razor, it’s more reasonable to favor a single self-existent Being as the first Cause of all things over an infinite series of finite beings causing each other to exist all happening now (or stretching into the past as far as that goes).

  29. Nate
    The one thing that is missing from the proofs of the Prime Mover is the necessity of Christ.

    This is also missing from the Pythagorean Theorem and my auto maintenance manual.

    Bobcat
    the unmoved Mover argument …seems to imply that God is temporal

    Time is the measure of change in corruptible being. If something does not change (by virtue of being purely actual) then it is not subject to time. Perhaps you are not familiar with the argument or its context.

    Bob Kurland
    the orbital motion of the earth… was done early on by Galileo when he showed the orbital phases of Venus.

    Galileo never demonstrated the motions of the Earth. The phases of Venus, observed by Lembo and others, were incompatible with the Ptolemaic model but were perfectly compatible with the immobile Earth of the Tychonic model, which was mathematically equivalent to the Copernican model. Motion was not demonstrated until the discovery of stellar aberration by Bradley in 1729.

    Note: That a model makes correct predictions, as Tycho’s did, does not obligate the physical universe to go along with the gag. If you hold something constant — like the Earth or the velocity of light in vacuum — you can adjust all the other variables to accommodate it. That doesn’t mean that it is physically true. It may be, and it may be the best guess until a better comes along, but the success of predictions is the logical fallacy of “Asserting the Consequent.”

    [BTW, I’m still not getting notifications of follow-up comments.]

    A brief chronology can be found here: https://tofspot.blogspot.com/2013/10/9-great-ptolemaic-smackdown-from.html

  30. Nate
    The one thing that is missing from the proofs of the Prime Mover is the necessity of Christ.

    This is also missing from the Pythagorean Theorem and my auto maintenance manual.

    Bobcat
    the unmoved Mover argument …seems to imply that God is temporal

    Time is the measure of change in corruptible being. If something does not change (by virtue of being purely actual) then it is not subject to time. Perhaps you are not familiar with the argument or its context.

    Bob Kurland
    the orbital motion of the earth… was done early on by Galileo when he showed the orbital phases of Venus.

    Galileo never demonstrated the motions of the Earth. The phases of Venus, observed by Lembo and others, were incompatible with the Ptolemaic model but were perfectly compatible with the immobile Earth of the Tychonic model, which was mathematically equivalent to the Copernican model. Motion was not demonstrated until the discovery of stellar aberration by Bradley in 1729.

    A brief chronology can be found here: https://tofspot.blogspot.com/2013/10/9-great-ptolemaic-smackdown-from.html

    Note: That a model makes correct predictions, as Tycho’s did, does not obligate the physical universe to go along with the gag. If you hold something constant — like the Earth or the velocity of light in vacuum — you can adjust all the other variables to accommodate it. That doesn’t mean that it is physically true. It may be, and it may be the best guess until a better comes along, but the success of predictions is the logical fallacy of “Asserting the Consequent.”

    [BTW, I’m still not getting notifications of follow-up comments.]

  31. YOS, a principle for rating scientific theories is “simplest is best,” i.e “elegance” is a major criterion. I did know that the phases of Venus could be explained by a stationary earth (see the cited reference in my first comment). That also makes explanations which are complicated and cumbersome not to be preferred. And as far as models being “physically true,” we have no way of knowing that. Only predictions or falsification can be taken as judgments. Indeed, as d’Espagnat has said of quantum mechanics, there is a “veiled reality” that will not be penetrated by our theories.

  32. Bob Kurland
    Agreed. Aristotle’s Principle of Parsimony is a metaphysical imposition on physical theory, and is epistemological, not ontological. That is, it is a limitation on our knowing, not on the world as it is. In Ockham’s formulation of the principle, he said that our models of the world had to be kept simple not because they would be more true but because otherwise we would not understand our own models.

  33. I first heard of Wolfgang Smith 5 or 6 years ago when I came across a short book of correspondence between him and Malachi Martin. I then read Smith’s wonderful book “Christian Gnosis: From St. Paul to Meister Eckhart” which explains and differentiates the “orthodox” Christian idea of Gnosis from the debased versions most think of when they hear the term “Gnosticism” (various bizarre Manichean sects, Cathars, etc. – mostly known from Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria, the Nag Hammadi texts and other early non-canonical scriptures).

    At the time I wasn’t much interested in Smith’s more scientific & physics oriented writings, but a couple months ago I saw both “The Principle” and the new film based on Smith’s life and work, “The End of Quantum Reality,” and also read Smith’s companion book, “Physics and Vertical Causation.”

    Frankly, I’m not too sure what to think of all of it, as I don’t have adequate physics background to asses the details. It seems convincing from a certain philosophical standpoint, especially his effort to separate physics as such from the philosophy or theology of physics (though I’m not quite clear on his distinction between “corporeal” and “physical”, which I had always seen as basically synonymous). Unfortunately, the latter film seems rather schematic, and without the book or knowledge of Smith’s previous work, would not be very convincing or clear (I thought “The Principle” was a better film – though not about Smith as such. He does not even feature in it).

    Several of the people interviewed in “The Principle” later denounced the film and claimed they were deceived or their interviews distorted in some way, though they seemed to me to be given plenty of space in the film to make their views clear. I think they are engaging in some post-facto CYA to avoid the risk of being tarnished in the academy and the eyes of their peers for having appeared in this “heretical” film at all). Smith also seems to rely heavily of William Dembski’s controversial work. I can’t tell if the criticisms some have of Dembski’s work is purely mathematical, or whether the scientific establishment, committed as it is to materialism and secularism is just circling the wagons and doing everything to discredit any ideas that open the door for belief in God.

    The stuff in “The Principle” about the CMB lining up with the ecliptic was quite interesting, and you could see a couple of the interviewees struggling in to avoid drawing the conclusions from it that they felt the science otherwise would compel them to (because it contradicts their prior philosophical commitments regarding the place of earth in the cosmos).

    I tend to see geocentrism as a metaphysical and spiritual truth about Man’s place in the cosmos, one that doesn’t depend on the earth being literally stationary or placed at the physical center (How could one ever determine the center anyway unless we could define the actual boundaries of the universe?). And in any case, isn’t our view of the cosmos necessarily geocentric in that we can only view the universe from where we are and have no vantage point outside the universe from which to look into it (from a God’s Eye view as it were)?

    I posted substantially the same comment as in the above few paragraphs at the website Gornahoor (a site devoted to Christian esotericism and hermeticism – very much influenced by Tomberg, Guénon, Evola, and Dante – and run by a man who goes by the name “Cologero”) a couple months ago in response to a post at that site about Wolfgang Smith (https://www.gornahoor.net/?p=12341). With reference to Dante’s geocentric conception of the universe, Cologero replied as follows: “But Dante understood that as the soul’s spiritual ascent to God, not as a physical journey. Otherwise, you could reach Heaven just by building a nice rocket ship…We will accept whichever model accords with observation and physics; we don’t ‘root’ for any particular physical model to be true. However, the description of the soul’s assent to God through the spheres is much more important. That is non-negotiable.”

  34. Bob – “you still haven’t supplied any instances where predictions of special or general relativity are falsified.”

    For something like this, we’d have to go on a case by case basis. Relativistic mathematics does work using abstracts, and has been used for ages to help mathematicians find solutions by interchangeably assuming something at rest in motion and something in motion at rest, for example. All which is perfectly in accord with classical physics. So as I said, depending on what you are trying to solve here, 2+2=4 in a relativistic framework, just as it would in a classical one. Therefore these examples working out is not proof of what Einstein is pushing. Relativistic math worked long before Einstein, and it will work forever after him.

    This is quite different from capital-‘R’ Relativity of Einstein’s which makes claims about light being constant one second, versus being any speed the next, and reifying Time so that it is something like atoms that becomes very flexible, which is philosophically flawed because Time is an entirely conceptual observation of changes, and we can use any changes to define time, from the rising and setting of the sun, cast shadows, dripping water etc. And for which other consequences follow where even space itself must then be flexible and curve and twist and be something entirely different to what we perceive with our own eyes. Hence why this culminates in scientists psychotically believing in the end that everything around us is an illusion, and even our own thoughts.

    Pop in a movie like Christopher Nolan’s INTERSTELLAR, if you want to see Relativistic beliefs in action, which essentially is a time-travel movie with paradoxes upon paradoxes and the future informs the past retroactively etc. That is the world of Relativity. But all that yarn is based on a erroneous reification of Time, which Einstein had to do in order to fudge his equations to find the 30km/sec of the Earth’s velocity around the sun that every experiment completely failed to do.

    Here is a great video going into detail about that error that I recommend taking the 16 mins to listen to, this by itself exposes capital-‘R’ Relativity for the nonsense that it is.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OvltlOA8XE

    Time is nothing other than the observation of uniform sequential events, for which we could pretty much pick anything that matches that criteria and use it as a standard. In Genesis, God establishes a human standard based on the transition of Evening to Morning using the Earth as the fixed standard reference frame against the rotation of light. A day defined by Earth will be longer on Jupiter’s which is significantly shorter in its transition of light. But assuming atmospheric and gravitational conditions were the exact same, with only the day/night transition length being different, the length of a 1 minute long video made on Earth on a player will still play simultaneously for the same 1 minute Earth time on Jupiter. It won’t play faster. If a person lived on Jupiter, his cellular make-up would be the same as a human on Earth, and would have no difference in aging in Earth time, where he and his doppelganger would still live just as long and die at the same simultaneous moment. Now if we took into account Jupiter’s actual atmosphere and gravity, this can affect the lifespan of someone on Jupiter where we presume the effect of gravity on the body alone would tax it compared to Earth’s with negative effects that shorten it. But ‘Time’ itself has no relevance, except by what standard we use to observe this decay. Much like the gravity would effect the mechanism of the video player or the mechanical clock’s springs, but just because your clock is broken or lagging behind, even on Earth, doesn’t mean the day hasn’t moved on without you. Actual Time didn’t distort at your locality, and exiting your door to go outside and finally catch up with the world didn’t mean you time traveled between your room and the street, and when you return home to the lagging clock, you don’t gain that ‘time’ back. If your mass happened to change, it’ll depend on your calories lost to movement or gained by eating, and not as a direct consequence of the clocks on the wall.

    Much the same for the GPS. ‘Time’ itself isn’t changing anywhere. The GPS is adjusted to surmount known atmospheric effects that interfere with its mechanical ability to track uniformly the standard set by the Earth’s Day/Night cycle along with the uniform Sun’s yearly cyclical revolution and physically fixed triangulated distances.

    We have reached the point where the scientists believe their mechanical contraptions and measuring devices govern the universe when in fact the universe and its changes are indifferent to us, being subject to a higher power, Who can violate them beyond our comprehension as He did at Fatima, Portugal, or in Joshua’s day.

  35. Dennis – “though I’m not quite clear on his distinction between “corporeal” and “physical”, which I had always seen as basically synonymous”

    It is basically the world we experience (corporeal) and the world that scientists believe governs us all from down below as movements of tiny things (physical). Many obsess with the idea that everything is defined from the bottom up, an inverted vertical causation, and as a result therefore deny the existence of free will. Smith’s is the opposite. That the corporeal takes precedence over the physical. The corporeal object beholden as the Apple IS the Reality. Not the vibrating atoms that make up the Apple at the physical level. And what defines the Apple as the Apple and keeps Apples, Apples and not Bananas, much to the chagrin of the trans-fruity community, is the Will of the Creator above our own corporeal reality. So all things are an act of the top down. And even our own measurements where the quantum plane collapses are not us measuring something at the base that is occurring, but something at the base occurring because we above it are willing it to collapse by our desire to measure it. It is potential acting according to what is desired above.

    The question as to the Earth centrality, is more a proof from Revelation, implicit from the inerrancy of Scripture inspired by the Holy Spirit, from which both Hebrew and Catholic Tradition maintained as Geocentric from many implied details. Natural observation also bore this out, and even today Scientific findings are well in harmony with it.

    The question as to what cosmology is correct is a result of forces that precisely wished to challenge the authority and legitimacy of Catholicism. Catholicism maintained legitimacy from its consistency, claiming to have received, preserved and passed on inerrant Revelation from God Himself, beginning with Moses to the then current Vicars of Christ.

    Because Scripture implicitly demonstrated a Geocentric framework, this was consistently applied by the Jews and the Church Fathers, even when in their own day competing models were at play in the Greek schools. And this had to be defended. The Greeks, largely geocentric, argued that Earth was the universe’s lowest point by being at the center, it’s ‘anus’ because the Heavens were where the gods resided. Thus they reasoned that the Incarnation of God as Christ was at odds with their understanding of the nature of gods by coming to reside on this filthy place. The Fathers, who could’ve just appealed to Pythagoras, and used a heliocentric framework where the Sun was the center and therefore the lowliest place with the Earth circling around it in the Heavens, as an alternative, but they did not, because it contradicted the long-standing Tradition, and instead they argued that the Earth being central was because it was the crown jewel of the entire universe, upon which God would incarnate and live amongst us, as if the Earth were the Tabernacle. All the Fathers were overwhelmingly uniformly geocentric in their writings, which was taken as evident of something that was clearly Apostolic in origin. Infallible Church Councils, fighting against the heresies of Protestantism, then defined with full authority that wherever the Fathers were in Consensus over topics of Scripture, was to be taken as Infallible.

    When Copernicus and Galileo wanted to interpret the cosmos otherwise, this meant that they were contradicting what is revealed in Scripture and maintained by the Fathers and the Church, and defined as infallible by Popes and Councils. Therefore the Inquisition had to rule against them. Because there were many who wanted to throw off the authority of the Church to pursue their own ideas in politics and academia, the Geocentric/Heliocentric worldview was taken as a ‘wedge issue’, much like the topic of ‘slavery’ in the American ‘Civil War’ despite the fact that as documented that neither side really cared about it except to use it to help undermine the legitimacy of the other side, when really it was about something much much bigger.

    If the Church and the Papacy and councils and Fathers could’ve been shown to have erred on this, then their claims about nigh everything else were up for grabs and every heresy and modernist belief was up for fair validation and discussion. It would essentially break people’s faith in the Popes and the Church as a trusted institution. And from that all other ramifications would follow.

    The Inquisition knew this, as did the Popes, and hence why they took pains to exercise the full might of their authority to censor and denounce it. Contemporary history likes to paint this as stubborn pride that stood in the way of scientific advancement, but it was so much more, and we can see all that it has resulted in today.

    So, man’s place in the cosmos, is not a light thing we can just conveniently ignore. As St. Robert Bellarmine stated, if one could find Scripture to have erred in one place, it is therefore convenient to claim it has erred elsewhere. Even if the item in question is by itself of no importance as far as the impact it makes to our lives overall, it would be just as erroneous to say that the Earth was not central, or its position is indifferent, as it is to say that Jesse had x number of sons and it doesn’t really matter. But it does, because it calls into question the reliability of Scripture, the Church and ultimately about the nature of God Himself. The whole order was being overthrown.

    That’s what we witness in the U.S. and worldwide today with historical and scientific revisionism. We can see the results. The truth about the past and what actually happened and what reality actually is, DOES matter, even in the smallest of details.

  36. “[I]f there were a true demonstration that the sun was in the center of the universe and the earth in the third sphere, and that the sun did not travel around the earth but the earth circled the sun, then it would be necessary to proceed with great caution in explaining the passages of Scripture which seemed contrary, and we would rather have to say that we did not understand them than to say that something was false which has been demonstrated. But I do not believe that there is any such demonstration; none has been shown to me. It is not the same thing to show that the appearances are saved by assuming that the sun really is in the center and the earth in the heavens. I believe that the one demonstration might exist, but I have grave doubts about the other, and in a case of doubt, one may not depart from the Scriptures as explained by the holy Fathers.”
    — Cardinal Roberto Bellarmino, Letter to Foscarini

    “But we do not read in the Gospel that the Lord said: ‘I am sending you the Paraclete to teach you about the course of the sun and the moon. After all, he wanted to make Christians, not astronomers. But it is enough for human purposes that people know about these matters as much as they have learned in school.”
    — St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, Contra Felicem Manichaeum, I.10

  37. I am very reliably informed that Prof. Smith has one more work in preparation, of which I have read the preface. (It’s not what you know, it’s…)

    I will make, yet again, another shameless plug for “The Reductionist Delusion,” on YouTube and Gloria.tv, presenting an argument against Reductionism.

  38. Johnno –
    Wow, that’s an amazing amount of BS you have dropped here on this page. How does one come to so thoroughly misunderstand simple things?

  39. Ye Olde Statistician –

    As St. Bellarmine states, he didn’t believe there is any such demonstration. He’s correct. As even contemporary supporters of Relativity noted, if the Michelson/Morley and Michelson/Gale experiments were conducted in Galileo’s day, the Church and the entire scientific establishment of the time would’ve established into perpetuity the fact that the Earth was central and unmovable.

    Augustine was also thoroughly Geocentrist. And to trot out the point about the Scriptures not being science or astronomy book, while technically correct, is also just as pointless to leverage as an argument as to say that the Scriptures are not an engineering manual, or Google Maps – but when the Scriptures state that the Temple should be built by this many cubits, or that so-and-so lived in this town located in this vicinity during xxxx B.C. , then it is making statements of fact, upon which other natural assumptions can be drawn.

    “But more dangerous is the error of certain weak brethren who faint away when they hear these irreligious critics learnedly and eloquently discoursing on the theories of astronomy or on any of the questions relating to the elements of this universe. With a sigh, they esteem these teachers as superior to themselves, looking upon them as great men; and they return with disdain to the books which were written for the good of their souls; and, although they ought to drink from these books with relish, they can scarcely bear to take them up.”
    -St. Augustine

    “But he must not on that account consider that it is forbidden, when just cause exists, to push inquiry and exposition beyond what the Fathers have done; provided he carefully observes the rule so wisely laid down by St. Augustine – not to depart from the literal and obvious sense, except only where reason makes it untenable or necessity require.”
    – Pope Leo XIII, Providentissimus Deus

    “First. I say that it seems to me that Your Reverence and Galileo did prudently to content yourself with speaking hypothetically, and not absolutely, as I have always believed that Copernicus spoke. For to say that, assuming the earth moves and the sun stands still, all the appearances are saved better than with eccentrics and epicycles, is to speak well; there is no danger in this, and it is sufficient for mathematicians. But to want to affirm that the sun really is fixed in the center of the heavens and only revolves around itself without travelling from east to west, and that the earth is situated in the third sphere and revolves with great speed around the sun, is a very dangerous thing, not only by irritating all the philosophers and scholastic theologians, but also by injuring our holy faith and rendering the Holy Scriptures false.”
    – Robert Cardinal Bellarmine to Fr. Paolo Antonio Foscarini

  40. No problem, Dennis.

    I’ll also add in the fact that the change of cosmology didn’t leave society untouched, in fact it had great psychological repercussions for society at the time that lasted generations later. Much like how we would observe how this current COVID fiasco has made a psychological impact on the people living now, literally afraid of death outside, and how the Theory of Darwinian Evolution likewise impacted its followers to reduce the dignity of humanity to being nothing different from that of the animal kingdom and pond scum. Heliocentrism also didn’t leave the people of its era untouched –

    “Haven’t you heard of that madman who in the bright morning lit a lantern and ran around the marketplace crying incessantly, ‘I’m looking for God! I’m looking for God!’ Since many of those who did not believe in God were standing around together just then, he caused great laughter. Has he been lost, then? asked one. Did he lose his way like a child? asked another. Or is he hiding? Is he afraid of us? Has he gone to sea? Emigrated? – Thus they shouted and laughed, one interrupting the other. The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. ‘Where is God?’ he cried; ‘I’ll tell you! We have killed him – you and I! We are all his murderers. But how did we do this? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Where is it moving to now? Where are we moving to? Away from all suns? Are we not continually falling? And backwards, sidewards, forwards, in all directions? Is there still an up and a down? Aren’t we straying as though through an infinite nothing? Isn’t empty space breathing at us? Hasn’t it got colder? Isn’t night and more night coming again and again? Don’t lanterns have to be lit in the morning? Do we still hear nothing of the noise of the grave-diggers who are burying God? Do we still smell nothing of the divine decomposi­tion? – Gods, too, decompose! God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him! How can we console ourselves, the murderers of all murderers! The holiest and the mightiest thing the world has ever possessed has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood from us? With what water could we clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what holy games will we have to invent for ourselves? Is the magnitude of this deed not too great for us? Do we not ourselves have to become gods merely to appear worthy of it?”
    – Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science

    “But the conscious, modern man can no longer refrain from acknowledging the might of the psyche, despite the most strenuous and dogged efforts at self-defence. This distinguishes our time from all others. We can no longer deny that the dark stirrings of the unconscious are active powers, that psychic forces exist which, for the present at least, cannot be fitted into our rational world order. We have even elevated them into a science-one more proof of how seriously we take them. Previous centuries could throw them aside unnoticed; for us they are a shirt of Nessus which we cannot strip off.

    The revolution in our conscious outlook, brought about by the catastrophic results of the World War, shows itself in our inner life by the shattering of our faith in ourselves and our own worth. We used to regard foreigners as political and moral reprobates, but the modern man is forced to recognize that he is politically and morally just like anyone else. Whereas formerly I believed it was my bounden duty to call others to order, I must now admit that I need calling to order myself, and that I would do better to set my own house to rights first. I admit this the more readily because I realize only too well that my faith in the rational organization of the world-that old dream of the millennium when peace and harmony reign-has grown pale. Modern man’s skepticism in this respect has chilled his enthusiasm for politics and world-reform; more than that, it is the worst possible basis for a smooth flow of psychic energies into the outer world, just as doubt concerning the morality of a friend is bound to prejudice the relationship and hamper its development. Through his skepticism modern man is thrown back on himself; his energies flow towards their source, and the collision washes to the surface those psychic contents which are at all times there, but lie hidden in the silt so long as the stream flows smoothly in its course. How totally different did the world appear to medieval man! For him the earth was eternally fixed and at rest in the centre of the universe, circled by a sun that solicitously bestowed its warmth. Men were all children of God under the loving care of the Most High, who prepared them for eternal blessedness; and all knew exactly what they should do and how they should conduct themselves in order to rise from a corruptible world to an incorruptible and joyous existence. Such a life no longer seems real to us, even in our dreams. Science has long ago torn this lovely veil to shreds. That age lies as far behind as childhood, when one’s own father was unquestionably the handsomest and strongest man on earth.

    Modern man has lost all the metaphysical certainties of his medieval brother, and set up in their place the ideals of material security, general welfare and humanitarianism. But anyone who has still managed to preserve these ideals unshaken must have been injected with a more than ordinary dose of optimism. Even security has gone by the board, for modern man has begun to see that every step forward in material “progress” steadily increases the threat of a still more stupendous catastrophe. The imagination shrinks in terror from such a picture. What are we to think when the great cities today are perfecting defense measures against gas attacks, and even practice them in dress rehearsals? It can only mean that these attacks have already been planned and provided for, again on the principle “in time of peace prepare for war.” Let man but accumulate sufficient engines of destruction and the devil within him will soon be unable to resist putting them to their fated use. It is well known that fire-arms go off of themselves if only enough of them are together.

    An intimation of the terrible law that governs blind contingency, which Heraclitus called the rule of enantiodromia (a running towards the opposite), now steals upon modern man through the by-ways of his mind, chilling him with fear and paralyzing his faith in the lasting effectiveness of social and political measures in the face of these monstrous forces. If he turns away from the terrifying prospect of a blind world in which building and destroying successively tip the scales, and then gazes into the recesses of his own mind, he will discover a chaos and a darkness there which everyone would gladly ignore. Science has destroyed even this last refuge; what was once a sheltering haven has become a cesspool.”
    – The Spiritual Problem of Modern Man by C.G. Jung

  41. McChuck, feel free to join Lee Phillips at his faculty meetings… Don’t forget to put on your mask, even while on Zoom.

    “The problem which now faced science was considerable. For there seemed to be only three alternatives. The first was that the Earth was standing still, which meant scuttling the whole Copernican theory and was unthinkable.”
    – Einstein: The Life and Times

    “The data [of the interferometers] were almost unbelievable…There was only one other possible conclusion to draw – that the Earth was at rest. This, of course, was preposterous.”
    – Bernard Jaffe, Michelson and the Speed of Light

    “Always the speed of light was precisely the same…Thus, failure [of Michelson-Morley] to observe different speeds of light at different times of the year suggested that the Earth must be ‘at rest’…It was therefore the ‘preferred’ frame for measuring absolute motion in space. Yet we have known since Galileo that the Earth is not the center of the universe. Why should it be at rest in space?”
    – Adolf Baker, Modern Physics & Antiphysics

    “In the effort to explain the Michelson- Morley experiment…the thought was advanced that the Earth might be stationary….Such an idea was not considered seriously, since it would mean in effect that our Earth occupied the omnipotent position in the universe, with all the other heavenly bodies paying homage by revolving around it.”
    – Arthur S. Otis, Light Velocity and Relativity

    “This conclusion directly contradicts the explanation of the phenomenon of aberration which has been hitherto generally accepted, and which presupposes that the Earth moves.”
    – Albert A. Michelson, “The Relative Motion of the Earth and the Luminiferous Ether,” American Journal of Science

    “I have come to believe that the motion of the Earth cannot be detected by any optical experiment.”
    – Albert Einstein, How I Created the Theory of Relativity, speech delivered at Kyoto University, Japan.

    “Properly understood, a mathematical hypothesis does not claim that anything exists in nature which corresponds to it….It erects, as it were, a fictitious mathematical world behind that of appearance, but without the claim that this world exists. [It is] to be regarded only as a mathematical hypothesis, and not as anything really existing in nature.”
    – Karl Popper, Conjectures and Refutations

    “…in the language of mathematics we can tell lies as well as truths, and within the scope of mathematics itself there is no possible way of telling one from the other. We can distinguish them only by experience or by reasoning outside the mathematics, applied to the possible relation between the mathematical solution and its supposed physical correlate.”
    – Herbert Dingle, Science at the Crossroads

    “In spite of the great aesthetic and philosophical appeal of Einstein’s general theory of relativity, it is still, after 50 years of widespread acceptance, one of the least well-founded theories in physics as far as experimental confirmation is concerned.”
    – Einstein: The Life and Times, citing Nature, ‘Einstein in Crisis?’

    “The Ptolemaists did their thing and the Copernicans did theirs and at the end the Copernicans scored a propaganda victory …. Therefore the acceptance of the Copernican theory becomes a matter of metaphysical belief.”
    – Imre Lakatos and Elie Zahar, “Why Did Copernicus’ Research Program Supersede Ptolemy’s,” The Copernican Achievement

  42. Fr. John Rickert, FSSP:

    Right you are- Wolfgang’s (*probably* final) book will be released this autumn, entitled “The Vertical Ascent”.

    I am happy to report that recent research by George Ellis and associates concerning, especially, the measurement problem in quantum mechanics, represents a true crisis for reductionism in physics.

    That particular pillar is crumbling, not just wobbling.

    The other fundamental dogma of modernity- that the world reduces to quantity- remains.

    It involves applications of information theory as the “secret sauce“ by which to (quantitatively) account for instances of “top down” causation in physics and biology.

    It will fall, eventually, in the face of its inability to explain the qualities.

  43. The main trouble with Geocentrism is exactly the same as with Darwinism; it assumes that the Universe is not ordered by consistent (thereby intelligible) physical laws that can be discovered and used according to the Divine mandate to “fill the Earth and subdue it”. Both Darwinism and Geocentrism require a fickle and arbitrary Voodoo magic that is not consistent with observable and easily demonstrable “laws of nature” that have been intuitively known in essence since Adam… although they have been refined in their particulars as necessity demands and technology allows.

    Rick de Looney may not recall that I have had long and pragmatic arguments with him some years ago that resulted in something of a stalemate whereby his team said that it is so because the Bible says so and we can interpret observations accordingly. I said that the Bible does not say so except as an observation that is easily conceptualised by us humans in a particular circumstance.

    If we take subjectivism as the supreme arbiter of “reality” then anyone at all can be the “centre of the Universe” and interpret everything else as moving toward, away from, or around an entirely supreme and static self.

    I think it would be inopportune to start a “discussion” of just what time, space, and the combination called “movement” (as distinct from the classical philosophical notion of movement as any kind of change) because all that stuff is irrelevant, if not incomprehensible, to anyone determined to give Thomism and the Scholastic Method the flick.

  44. Oldavid – “it assumes that the Universe is not ordered by consistent (thereby intelligible) physical laws that can be discovered and used according to the Divine mandate”

    That is the single biggest BS strawman I’ve ever seen levelled at Geocentrism, and that’s really saying something…

    I’m not sure what opposite-land you came from, but over here, Geocentrism is what precisely argues for an orderly consistent universe. Rather it is heliocentrism that found itself needing to be backed by Relativity that needs voodoo magic to keep the whole thing afloat.

    Easily demonstrable laws of nature mean very natural three dimensional space and Newtonian physics where all rotating systems produce a center of mass within which the Earth will not move.

    Your precious ‘everything can be the center’ circus requires entirely abstract process such as time and even space itself to do breakdance performances in and out of invisible-realms upon which you haplessly attempt to slap the label of ‘Thomism’ upon so that you can still have a seat at the scholastic lunch-room table of modern academia, all so that you can explain the utter failure of interferometer experiments to detect the Earth’s motion. And when evidence from large scale measurements such as the CMB are presented to you, you have to dismiss it as illusion and instrumental malfunctions, despite trying to fix it on 3 different occasions and only achieving a clearer picture of the same result.

    Also not everything in the Bible is ‘subjectivism’, Christ either died crucified on a cross and resurrected in Bodily form on the 3rd day, or He did not. Either the Sun and Moon were both stopped equally in their trajectories in the sky at Joshua’s command, or they did not. Either the Earth was created on Day 1 before anything else existed, or it did not. And either the final say on where ‘subjectivism’ ends and dogma begins lies with the Apostles, the Fathers, Dogmatic Councils and the Papacy, which ruled your ‘pragmatism’ formal heresy, or it does not. There’s no subjectivism there, unless you’d like to join the Protestants, or just chuck it all out and join Dawkins or Hawking in the grave.

    If it is soooo irrelevant as you say, then why are you so eager to say this discussion is ‘inopportune’? And if it is so incomprehensible to you, then by what means are you to judge how in line any of this is with regards to Thomism, especially considering St. Thomas Aquinas was a Geocentrist, as were all the Fathers?

    “The Earth stands in relation to the heaven as the center of a circle to its circumference. But as one center may have many circumferences, so, though there is but one Earth, there may be many heavens”
    – Summa Theologica, “Treatise on the Work of the Six Days,” Question 68, Article 4.

    “Reply Objection 3: According to the third opinion given, the waters above the firmament have been raised in the form of vapors, and serve to give rain to the earth. But according to the second opinion, they are above the heaven that is wholly transparent and starless. This, according to some, is the primary mobile, the cause of the daily revolution of the entire heaven, whereby the continuance of generation is secured. In the same way the starry heaven, by the zodiacal movement, is the cause whereby different bodies are generated or corrupted, through the rising and setting of the stars, and their various influences. But according to the first opinion these waters are set there to temper the heat of the celestial bodies, as Basil supposes (Hom. 3 in Hexaemeron). And Augustine says (De Genesi ad literam ii, 5) that some have considered this to be proved by the extreme cold of Saturn owing to its nearness to the waters that are above the firmament.”
    – Summa Theologica, Bk 1, Ques. 68. Art 2.

    “Reply OBJ 3: According to Ptolemy the heavenly luminaries are not fixed in the spheres, but have their own movement distinct from the movement of the spheres. Wherefore Chrysostom says (Hom. 6 in Genesi) that He is said to have set them in the firmament, not because He fixed them there immovably, but because He bade them to be there, even as He placed man in Paradise, to be there. In the opinion of Aristotle, however, the stars are fixed in their orbits, and in reality have no other movement but that of the spheres; and yet our senses perceive the movement of the luminaries and not that of the spheres (De Coelo ii, 43). But Moses describes what is obvious to sense, out of condescension to popular ignorance, as we have already said (Q67, A4; Q68, A3). The objection, however, falls to the ground if we regard the firmament made on the second day as having a natural distinction from that in which the stars are placed, even though the distinction is not apparent to the senses, the testimony of which Moses follows, as stated above (De Coelo ii, 43). For although to the senses there appears but one firmament; if we admit a higher and a lower firmament, the lower will be that which was made on the second day, and on the fourth the stars were fixed in the higher firmament.”
    – Summa Theologica, Part 1, Question 70, Article 1, Reply to Objection 3.

    “The knowledge proper to this science of theology comes through divine revelation and not through natural reason. Therefore, it has no concern to prove the principles of other sciences, but only to judge them. Whatever is found in other sciences contrary to any truth of this science of theology, must be condemned as false.”
    – Summa Theologica, I, Ques. 1, Art. 6, ad. 2.

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