Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Central Issue; or Location Isn't Everything

July 13, 2013: I have temporarily removed the content of this post because it has some similarities with an article I wrote that is being published in an academic journal. Even though a blogpost probably doesn't count as having previously published the material, I'm taking the content of this post offline in order to avoid the appearance of impropriety. I'll put it back online in a year or so.


Ronan said...

Dude, thanks for this and all the other great 'history of science/christianity' pieces you've posted in the past.

Just a couple of things you might wanna fix; am fairly sure you mean 'heliocentrism' where you put 'geocentrism' in paragraph 5, and the link to the pale blue dot article is broken. But thanks for pointing out this Danielson guy, he seems like a really good resource.

JB said...

When you write that "the most vociferous denunciations of geocentrism were not made by the church but by the scientific establishment of the time", do you mean to say "the most vociferous denunciations of heliocentrism were not made by the church but by the scientific establishment of the time"?

At any rate, excellent post as always.

Jim S. said...

Arrrgh! Thanks guys. I replaced "geocentrism" with "heliocentrism" and fixed the link. It should work fine now.

IlĂ­on said...

Concerning "geocentricity" and/or "galactocentrism" ... and mockery of same --

According to modern science, there is no "center of the universe" ... or, to put it another way, *all* points in space are at the "center of the universe."

My point is that, according to modern science (and to the extent that one can believe the pronouncements of it), those who mock the simple souls who seem to have some need to believe that we are in some manner at or near the physical “center of the universe” are themselves *also* simple, and eminently mockable, souls.

Jim S. said...

My understanding is that the universe is an expanding three-dimensional surface on a four-dimensional background. Just as no point on the surface of a sphere is in the middle of it -- just as no point on the surface of the earth is at the center of the earth -- so no point in the universe is at its center. So it's incorrect to say that since no place is its center, everywhere is its center.

The solar system is rightly conceived as heliocentric because it's the gravitational attraction of the sun that causes the motion of the planets around it. Of course you could take any planet, moon, or whatever, call it the center and configure how everything revolves around it in that sense. But it wouldn't be that planet that causes the motion of the other planets and the sun across the sky. In other words, there's a reason why we conceive the solar system as heliocentric, and that reason does not transfer over to other potential centrisms.