Tuesday, May 27, 2014


The TV show the Big Bang Theory is being made into a movie, but the actors playing Sheldon, Leonard, Raj and Howard are changed but the comedy remains!

There are religious fundamentalists and then there are scientific fundamentalist. The latter is the most insidious. Of course we know from our solar system that the sun in the physical sense is at the center and all rotates around it?

But what rotates around God? All of creation. Who is the crown of God's creation? Man? What sustains life on earth? The strategic placement of where earth is located not only in our solar system but exactly where it is in all of creation so that human life can exist on earth.

Therefore, it is quite appropriate in the symbolic sense that earth is at the center and all revolves around earth, in God's divine plan of creation, to sustain us, the crown of God's creation.

A kindergartener could understand this. But some who think they are scientists focus on drawings that show earth isn't the center. They are scientific fundamentalists and just don't get it.

How about you?


Pater Ignotus said...

Unfortunately, Good Father, you know little of what Robert Sungenis, who I mentioned at the Deanery Priests Meeting today, resulting in your silly post, has actually said. Sungenis doesn't say that his geocentric solar system is metaphorical, but a literal reality.

He is an "interesting" character:

1. He claims an unaccredited Ph.D. in religious studies from Calamus International University, which describes itself as a “non-traditional” institution registered in the Republic of Vanuatu, a small island in the south Pacific. Others have characterized it as a diploma mill.

Sungenis has publicly claimed that he has, “accepted a professorship” at a college in Texas and “will be starting there in September 2014.” According to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, a degree from Calamus is considered to be “Fraudulent or substandard” and “illegal to use” – a class B misdemeanor.

2. Sungenis has stated, “Any intelligent person who has studied the issue is going to have doubts as to whether the United States had the capability to put a man on the moon in 1969 . . . ” . More recently, he has proposed the conspiracy theory that the lunar landings were filmed on a Hollywood set by Stanley Kubrick.

3. Sungenis wrote, “I also think crop circles can be made from space with lasers or plasma projectors. All NASA would have to do is put a digital pattern in a laser/plasma projector aboard a satellite and then shoot it down to earth, and presto, you have a crop circle. It gets everybody talking about UFOs. But really, all they are doing is getting our minds off the Bible and Christ by making it look like neither are true”

4. Sungenis wrote to journalist Jared Olar, “Yes, and I might as well tell you so I can beat Mr. Olar to the punch: I also believe 9-11 was an inside job and that the Muslims had nothing to do with it”

5. Sungenis: “Other Catholic organizations are also becoming fronts for Zionism. Catholic Answers in San Diego and the Eternal World Television Network seem to be the two mainstays. They are enamored with Jewish converts, but do very little to censor the erroneous theology being propagated by them.”

6. Sungenis believes that dinosaurs co-existed with humans, but that a conspiracy keeps that evidence “suppressed”: “So, has modern science found irrefutable evidence that dinosaurs co‐existed with humans? Yes, the evidence has been found but it is being systematically suppressed”

7. Sungenis has promoted a conspiracy theory on the sinking of the Titanic, calling it “The Blueprint for 9-11″

The idea of a heliocentric solar system does not originate with "scientific fundamentalists" but with observable facts.

Православный физик said...

Well, as a resident physicist who actually does read this blog, I have some thoughts.

1) There is no way to definitively prove either geocentrism or heliocenrism is true.

2) A spherical body perserves the law of conservation of energy in the most efficient way (It's surface area to volume ratio is the smallest) as such, it is entirely within the realm of possibility that a body would travel in a perfect circle.

3) Many of the Church Father's held to a geocentric view...this was of course before modern research.

4) Galileo's issue wasn't helliocentrism, but saying that the Scriptures were erroneous...which of course the Church was right. The thing is Galileo was pretty arrogant and did not have the formal proof of his theories, or rather the proof of his theories was quite weak.

5) The Copernican principle, was never actually advocated by Copernicus himself. His issue was making a more accurate calendar, his research would eventually lead to the Gregorian reforms on the calendar later.

6) Zionism is a heresy as it denies the Church as the New Israel...and as for 9/11 I believe not only did the government have more to do with it than is reported, but it wouldn't be beneath the gov't to do so. They lie often about different happenings in current events, why not about a terrorist attack?

But PI is right on the things that he has posted on Sungenis...but I'm of the opinion that if we want to have a discussion on the issue, let's do so.

Pater Ignotus said...

Joe - So seeing the solar system from space, with the sun in the center and the planets orbiting around it, does not prove the sun is the center of the solar system?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Fundamentalism alert! I am speaking of the earth as the symbolic center in which everything else revolves to support the life of the crown of God's creation. It isn't the physical placement of things in some kind of rotating center but something much more profound and Mysterious!

Steven Surrency said...

I am lost. I feel like I am walking into the middle of a conversation that didn't start on the blog.

Pater Ignotus said...

But, Good Father, the conversation you and I had at today's deanery meeting,the origins of this thread, was about Robert Sungenis' absurd argument that the solar system is earth-centered, not about your idiosyncratic metaphorical musings.

There's nothing mysterious about 1) the heliocentric solar system or 2) the bizarre theories of Robert Subgenis who you are defending.

And there is no "scientific fundamentalism" behind the fact that the sun, not the earth, is the center of our solar system.

rcg said...

Dang, PI, all that time I thought the Carly Simon song was about Mick Jagger.

This hillbilly understood FrAJM was speaking reductio ad absurdum as a way to prove a point.

Conversely, would you deny Sungenis' belief in the Trinity, if he were to espouse it, because of his outlandish beliefs outlined here?

Gene said...

RE: Sungenis…can you say "paranoid schiz?"

Pater Ignotus said...

rcg - You were not a part on the conversation that caused Good Father McDonald to initiate his silly post about "scientific fundamentalism."

"Dr" Sungenis' bizarre assertions about scientific facts, not the Trinity. If his outlandish beliefs included wackerloon theories about the Trinity, yes, I would use them to denounce him.

Православный физик said...

PI, considering the vast size of space it is impossible to prove that the sun is the exact geometric center of the universe, and the same goes the other direction. I'm not saying that I support Sungenis' theories (I'm of the opinion that depending on frame of reference, each could be seen as the center...or elements of truth in both arguments)

The question becomes, as I believe from the council of trent that when the Church Fathers are unanimous on a particular issue that we can't disagree with them, does the theory of geocentrism fall into this statement?...Which is a discussion I'm up for having...but bear in mind astrophysics is not my specialty...atomic physics however is.

George said...

All this brings up to me another issue.
The earth in its infancy was composed only of physical matter-molten rock, iron ore and certain chemical compounds. How did living, reproducing, organisms develop out of this inert matter? If I was one without faith in God this would be a conundrum. For one who has faith in a Divine Creator it is not a problem. Even the most primitive of life forms is highly complex and not likely by probability to have assembled through random processes. Believing in Evolution without a Creator itself takes faith. There are those who posit that life may have come to earth on a comet. This does not solve the problem of life origin.
Both living and non-living things are composed of atoms and molecules. And yet there is a vast difference between a pebble and a flower and that flower and a human being. It is a source of wonderment to me that living things are composed of atoms and molecules which in themselves have no life.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Again the discussion that no one but PI and few other priests might have over heard between PI and me was about the earth being the center. My position, as clearly stated, is not a physical center or a center of revolving around something else, but rather that God position the earth exactly where it is and everything else from the sun to the planets to the solar systems and the entire order of creation that goes to infinity to sustain human life, the crown of his creation, on earth. That makes us the spiritual center of all creation around which, in a figurative non fundamentalist science sense, everything else circulates to sustain life, human life and other life that supports us on earth!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

In other words, this isn't about the silly creature Sungenis, but about God and God placing the earth in the center to sustain the crown of his creation, human beings created in His image and likeness. If Sungenis believes this, fine, if not, he's merely a scientific fundamentalist like PI who doesn't get it and can't speak figuratively since he and PI are fundamentalists.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

To Sungenis and PI, scientific fundamentalists that they are, tsk! tsk!

qwikness said...

Sungenis is producing a movie about Geo-Centricism. Here is the trailer.
The Principle.

Pater Ignotus said...

Joe - Geometric exactitude is not the issue, nor is the position of the sun relative to the universe. The sun, not the earth, is the center of our solar system. Ptolemy, Copernicus, Galileo, et al were right about this.

Good Father, you can turn the lint in your belly button into a religious metaphor if you like, but that in no way influences the lint.

Also, the position of the earth supports not only human life, but all forms of life from bryozoa to cephalopoda,from bacteria to the rats living in your rectory. There is no "scientific fundamentalism" involved in this, just simple observation.

And by the way, the uncreated Trinity, not humans, is the spiritual center of all creation around which everything circulates.

Your misguided anthropocentrism, not to mention your theological amateurism, is showing.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

PI did you miss the video I posted in updating this????

Lint in my belly button is a result of Original Sin and actual sin if I don't follow proper hygiene. Yes God is the center of all creation. And man--second to God, bar none, not even the angels and Pope Francis recently taught. All created things serve to assist man's life on earth, including "also, the position of the earth supports not only human life, but all forms of life from bryozoa to cephalopoda,from bacteria to the rats living in your rectory."

Rats in fact are a good source of protein and can be quite tasty if cooked properly (ask Andy Zimmerman) and can in fact be our friends in the rectory or elsewhere when they help with medical experiments and help phobic priests get over their rataphobia.

qwikness said...

What if there is other intelligent life out there? Are humans (Earthlings) still going to be the "center" of the Universe? (btw I don't believe in aliens)

qwikness said...

Also here is a video on Michael Voris' Mic'd Up with Sungenis.

Gene said...

Quickness, RE: Other intelligent life out there…I am more concerned with finding intelligent life here…LOL!

Anonymous 2 said...

Good question, Quikness. Aliens should be regarded like every other scientific hypothesis – gather evidence (also through experiment if possible), apply reason to it, and see if the hypothesis can be falsified.

So far, the rational arguments and empirical evidence for the heliocentric theory are quite compelling (they were not for a couple of centuries after Copernicus first published it, posthumously I believe). The arguments and evidence for aliens are mixed. I retain an open mind about aliens, as I must. One thing is for sure. Should the existence of aliens be demonstrated, the Church will accommodate it within our belief system. That is why the Catholic Church will survive, unlike some religious fundamentalist groups that deny compelling scientific evidence. The Church learned its lesson about this, thank God.

Gene said...

Ignbotus, I think most of us understood clearly what Fr. was talking about. How come you can't?
And, you accusing anyone of "theological amateurism" is like a mountain accusing a tree of having altitude.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - You were not involved in the conversation Good Father McDonald and I had that caused him to post his silly thoughts about "scientific fundamentalism."

Ergo, you don't know the context, so you can't know what he was talking about.

Gene said...

PI, I can read what he said in his post for what it is.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - What "it" says is based on an earlier conversation, but you wouldn't know that because you weren't there.

So, without knowing the context or the hearing conversation that occasioned Good Father McDonald's silly comment about "scientific fundamentalism," you cannot possibly know what he was talking about.

rcg said...

Dang, again, PI. The the post is funny. I suppose 'silly' is still used by some folks as a synonym for funny. But I took it as perforation. That was a serious reaction to a light hearted opportunity for a preacher to give a lesson. It seems like a good thing for someone to see a teaching moment in a comical situation. Not to defend my possibly oblique point, still I clarify that the question was would you deny Dr. Strangelove's belief in the Trinity by the inertia of denying his Black Helicopter cosmology? It may be that your observation that I was not part of the original conversation is an attempt to shut me up. But once something is on an Internet blog it is there for all to see and comment much like those unfortunate 'selfies' I posted last year.

Perhaps the use of Dr. Sinusoid's lecture was distracting as a setting to contrast the silly with the sublime. But Now you know how I feel in a NO Mass.

Seriously, I think your motivations, if I read them correctly, is to protect the sacred by distance from the foolish. I think that is a good thing. But I also think it is a good thing that separation cannot be done or none of use would ever get near it.

Benjamin Land said...

I am currently a physics PhD student at UC Berkeley and I will accept the title of scientific fundamentalist if necessary but I would like to point out a few important things here because I am also well informed.

1) The linked trailer to the documentary "The Principle" contains many incidences of high profile scientists whose recordings were carefully spliced and arranged to misrepresent their opinions. This rather unscrupulous move on the part of the producers is fairly well documented in the media and I invite you to do your own research to confirm, but here is a report from NPR on the matter I personally would not use "The Principle" to support any claims I would like to make and have taken seriously.

2) The Big Bang Theory is a comedy television show (that I personally don't like for various unrelated reasons though it is pretty funny and entirely unscientific except for a brainy pun every now and then). The Principle is a misrepresentation of scientific facts designed, in attempt, to persuade ignorant people to become more ignorant. The two are not in the least bit comparable.

3) The linked image of a geocentric solar system contains some strange loops on the orbits (in this image more properly referred to as the deferents) of the planets. The curious reader may ask, "what are these loops, and why are they relevant?" Since it demonstrates a valuable point, I will elaborate. They are called epicycles. When observing the planets travel across the night sky, occasionally they will seem to slow down, possibly go backwards for a while, then continue on their normal trajectory. Early proponents of a geocentric universe invented deferents, the normal orbit of the planet, and epicycles, when they appeared to slow and reverse, to attempt to explain the path the planets took assuming they were orbiting the earth. This theory had no basis in nature and could not accurately predict the paths the planets would take. Thus, it was rejected by science in favor of the heliocentric model of the solar system because the heliocentric model was based on the same natural laws that cause an apple to fall from your hand when you release it, had the predictive power to pinpoint the location of any body in the solarsystem at any point in time knowing only the current velocities and positions of the objects in the solarsystem, and did not require faith in some inexplicable phenomenon. The epicycles are purely a result of the wrong perspective - a perspective that leads one to believe things are inexplicable and must be taken on faith.

Call it scientific fundamentalism if you will. Portray it as insidious. Claim that a kindergartener could easily see otherwise. But please remember, science is testable and provable by anyone who puts forth the time and effort necessary, science does not make claims that cannot be supported and demonstrated, and science will not encourage you to live in ignorance or attempt to mislead you.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Ben Faith and reason walk hand in hand and this post is a bit tongue in cheek but not entirely. But my point is that while the Church teaches faith and reason together many of the secular sciences don't, they only emphasize reason. Thus the fundamentalism charge which in many cases fits but it is a secular fundamentalism.

Gene said...

Well, I still like the quote attributed to Galileo when he was being questioned by the Church…"Science tells us how the heaven's go, not how to go to heaven."

Physics and theology do not mix well. They are not antagonistic, but physics simply has no way of testing meta-physical statements. But, I do wonder sometimes if the discoveries and frustrations of string theory, quantum mechanics, and the search for the GUT are not somehow giving us glimpses of eternity…God's eternity…right now, it appears that, beyond a certain point, even physics breaks down into indeterminacy...

Pater Ignotus said...

Good Father, your expectation that science should emphasize faith represents a significant misunderstanding of science.

The scientific method works whether scientists believe in God or not. And the results of experiments carried out by researchers will be repeatable (or disprovable) by other scientists without regard to the religious beliefs of any of the scientists involved.

While many scientists are people of faith, no cancer researcher needs faith to carry out his/her research, no engineer needs faith to determine the weight load that can be supported by a certain structure, and no environmental scientists needs faith to measure the effects of the release of pollutants into a watershed.

The scientific method is, by definition, concerned only with natural phenomena, with those that can be measured by natural means.

This is not "scientific fundamentalism." It is simply the way science works. The entire system is predicated on reason, not on faith. When you combine hydrogen and oxygen under the right conditions, you get water. When you add water to a strong acid, you get splattered.

It is most certainly a secular reality, but that's exactly what it is supposed to be.

Ben - You may be aware that in the Kitzmiller v Dover "intelligent design" case in Pennsylvania a few years ago, the judge excoriated the proponents of "faith" because they lied and falsified data in their attempt to force their version of faith into the curriculum of science courses. It is not unlike the dishonest editing used on Sungeneis' "The Principle."

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

PI the converse is true too in terms of emphasizing science to promote faith. Just as the scientific fundamentalist does not need faith and can be quite content with his science alone so too the religious fundamentalist can dispense with science, and still rely upon God ahpnd grace and the literal interpretation of creation in Genesis and still be saved by Christ and act morally.

Pater Ignotus said...

Good Father - A religious fundamentalist who eschews science dies an early death and lives, by our standards, a difficult life.

His/Her early death will be caused by pneumonia (cured by science), polio (cured by science), mumps (cured by science), etc. His torn ACL will cripple him, because the arthroscopic surgery used to repair such injuries is the product of - you guessed it - science.

A religious fundamentalist who eschews science will have no cell phone, no microwave, no household cleaning products other than sand from the river bed. He/She will have no air bags in his/her car, no AC or Heat Pump, no plastic cling wrap to store food.

So, sure, a religious fundamentalist can "dispense with science" but it would not be in his/her best interest to do so.


Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Not in the best interest of a science fundamentalist to dispense with faith; it would lead to damnation despite the fact the science fundamentalist could not disprove it scientifically. Glad you are using your reason to agree with me!

Benjamin Land said...

A religious fundamentalist will pick and choose the elements of science that he wishes to "believe in" out of convenience just as he does with his faith. He will likely never abandon science entirely, though I suppose in theory he could and still be saved by Christ if he did. Relatively few humans alive today in any first world country can choose dismiss science entirely as it is the basic foundation of your food supply, utilities, goods, transportation, communication, and medical support.

Anonymous 2 said...

As is often the case, I believe that Father McDonald and Pater are both right. Matters are often more complex than they appear.

As I understand the matter, the scientific revolution of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries might well not have occurred without religious faith. This is because the great pioneers such as Copernicus, Kepler, even Gaileo and Newton were driven in particular by the conviction that humans might finally be able to understand something of the mind of God and His great Truth about the cosmos.

Up until Kepler, however, both the Ptolemaic geocentric theory and the heliocentric theory (both first articulated in the Hellenistic era and the latter “republished” as it were by Copernicus) lacked explanatory power, the first because it was so unwieldy and complex as Ben aptly explains, the latter because it was even more inaccurate than the geocentric theory and even had to use epicycles sand deferents itself to explain the observed movements in the heavens. It only improved in predictive and explanatory accuracy when Kepler realized that the orbits might be elliptical rather than circular and demonstrated mathematically that this would explain the observed movements and dispense with epicycles and deferents. Galileo and Newton clinched the deal, the former with additional observations using the telescope and challenging the premises of the geocentric theory (showing, for example, that other planets also had moons going around them and that the lunar surface of our own moon is very irregular and imperfect), the latter with the theory of mechanical motion.

And, of course, natural philosophers (aka scientists) began working in other areas of endeavor too – what we now know as physics, chemistry, geology, etc. The powerful scientific method they used, of course, could be secularized and is not dependent on faith for its operation. However, without the faith of the early pioneers, and indeed without the reason that the earlier Scholasticism had emphasized along with faith even, we might well still be wallowing in ignorance.

If I have any specific detail slightly wrong, perhaps Ben or Pater will correct me.

I agree with Gene, too, that the universe is much stranger than we might think, also at a macro level not just at a subatomic level. It all calls for a bit of humility.

All that said, Sungeris and his associates do faith no favors, if as appears to be the case they use deception to champion the cause of the God of Truth.

Pater Ignotus said...

Um, did you lose my post upon which you commented at 10:15 a.m.?

George said...

The physical matter that scientists work with, the laws and principles they "discover",and indeed they themselves as observers all have their origin in a Divine Creator whether or not these scientists believe in Him. Belief in a Superior Being and religious principles brings a moral governance to scientific research, a guidance to discern what should be done as against what can be done. We have reached a stage in our modern world where in some areas of research, what is possible is frightening.

Gene said...

George, The axiom of science and technology today is, "If it is possible, it is necessary."

Unknown said...

You all might find this website helpful.

It covers the teaching of the Church on geocentrism in great detail.

thepalmhq said...

Joe Potillor said...
"The question becomes, as I believe from the council of trent that when the Church Fathers are unanimous on a particular issue that we can't disagree with them, does the theory of geocentrism fall into this statement?...Which is a discussion I'm up for having..."

Hello all, I argued on my web site that was linked above that Trent, Vatican I, and Leo XIII all made clear that this binding unanimity of the Fathers only applies to faith and morals, not to matters of natural philosophy. Although the new geocentrists try to make geocentrism a matter of faith and morals, not only is it clear that the Magisterium itself does not think so, but we would then also have to hold as matters of faith such views as that the whole material universe is made up of four elements--air, earth, fire, and water--and also that the physical and emotional health of the human body is governed by the balance of the four humours--blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile. I'll be presenting evidence that the Fathers and Doctors of the Church held those views as well, but it's clear that the Magisterium does not treat those as matters of faith. I think this adequately answers the claims of the new geocentrists concerning the Fathers. So I hope you check back at the web site in the next few weeks to check out the new articles:

God bless!