For anyone interested, I'd like to leave my commentary on the Article linked in the OP...................
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WHAT is "The Principle"? Five-hundred years ago, you were crazy if you thought the Earth was going around the sun. Today, you are crazy if you think it is not. What changed? That is a fascinating question, one which involves profound issues of science, faith, and identity. While most people assume that it has long since been experimentally proven that the Earth is orbiting the sun, no such experimental proof ever has been obtained. As historian Lincoln Barnett states in The Universe and Dr. Einstein (which contains a foreword by Albert Einstein): "We can't feel our motion through space, nor has any physical experiment ever proved that the Earth actually is in motion."
When I read this far, I was thinking, "This is too good to be true. How could a modern magazine get an entire paragraph so right without sneaking in a few weasel words from the very start?"
And then I read the second paragraph and my suspicions were validated.
Remarkably, physics had to be reconceptualized entirely by Einstein
It did?? Gee. I wonder what their reason for that would be???
at the beginning of the 20th century, in part because no experiment directly had been able to measure this universally-assumed motion of the Earth around the sun.
I'm glad they said "in part" because it's true that is a PARTIAL answer. But the part they don't mention is FAR MORE INTERESTING but might be the part they left out, because as Tod Tamberg told me in 1998, "It's not a question of prudence but rather one of intelligence." In order to be an editor of a major periodical (like USA Today) you have to be smart enough to know which side your bread is buttered on, and what your MASTERS demand of you, even though they are not specifically giving you orders on what to do and how to do it. You could get in real trouble for saying something like the following;
Einstein had to re-conceptualize physics by bending the rules to match observed data. They tried to say the measuring stick stretched (or shrank) as an explanation, and that didn't fly with the general population even though most of them were uneducated in science, so then along came Mr. Fuzzyheadstein to announce that TIME shrank (or stretched) and THAT is the reason the Michelson-Morely experiment of 1887 could not verify that the earth is moving through the aether. Since the experiment is repeatable, and now, we could even use a more sophisticated apparatus, the un
desirable results had to be explained away so as to accomplish the number one priority, which is, to protect the hypothesis (some say it rises to the level of a "theory") that the earth orbits the sun and revolves on its axis.
What Einstein could not foresee, however, was that the reconceptualized physics he offered in his special relativity theory in order to keep the Earth moving and the speed of light constant was superseded 10 years later by his general relativity theory which, by his own covariance equations, allowed the Earth to remain fixed and the speed of light to be variable.
This seems to be a fair assessment.
Like Sisyphus rolling the huge rock up the hill only to see it fall down right before he reached the peak, in a strange way the principle of relativity made Einstein's own theories relative. Perhaps he realized this truth in his 1938 book, The Evolution of Physics, in which he said: "The struggle, so violent in the early days of science, between the views of [Claudius] Ptolemy and [Nicolaus] Copernicus would then be quite meaningless. Either coordinate system could be used with equal justification. The two sentences: 'the sun is at rest and the Earth moves,' or 'the sun moves and the Earth is at rest,' would simply mean two different conventions concerning two different coordinate systems."
What amazes me is that some physics courses are able to get through this material without addressing this matter, which is on record. Nor has there been any students who have successfully SUED their school for supporting the unjust discrimination of a liberal professor who habitually passes judgment against the work of any of his students who have shown that they support the alternative "theory" which even the demigod Einstein said was not to be discarded for it "could be used with equal justification."
Nor has the philosophy department stepped in and said that this is rather a matter for philosophical discussion and not for inquiry by natural scientific investigation, because it is outside the realm of physics, chemistry, engineering, astronomy or mathematics. But the philosophy departments are all a joke now, anyway, for they do not have sanity anymore, so it's no big surprise. They crank out garbage like the "hemeneutic of continuity" of B16, which is good for a birdcage liner. Provided the bird can't read.
Physicist Stephen Hawking said much the same in The Grand Design: "So which is real, the Ptolemaic or the Copernican system? Although it is not uncommon for people to say that Copernicus proved Ptolemy wrong, that is not true. As in the case of our normal view versus that of the goldfish, one can use either picture as a model of the universe, for our observations of the heavens can be explained by assuming either the Earth or the sun to be at rest."
Sometimes I wonder if Hawking isn't a goldfish. It's funny he defers to one.
So, two of our greatest scientific revolutions--the Copernican revolution and relativity--intimately are associated with this question of Earth's place in the larger scheme of things.
Correction: The "Copernican revolution" was not scientific. It was theological, and indirectly philosophical, but so-called science ripped it off.
The Copernican Principle simply states that the Earth is not in any special or central location in the cosmos.
Which is a philosophical proposition outside
of the realm of science to address.
It is sometimes generalized as the "cosmological principle," which holds that there are no special locations in the cosmos. On this fundamental assumption, which modern cosmology defines as the "isotropy and homogeneity of the universe," everything will look very much the same everywhere we look, and it will look very much the same no matter where we might be looking from.
Rick DeLano has a lot to say about this. The hecklers like to hurl this "isotropy" topic at him and his movie as though he and it are some kind of willful enemy of the truth. This might be actually where the real battle lines are now drawn. They have the advantage of knowing that the general public doesn't really know nor do they care, what isotropy is or what it means. As for homogeneity, they're a lot more interested in another kind of homo-something. And I don't mean milk.
If, for instance, we examine a bottle of homogenized milk, we see that there are no lumps of fat circulating in the milk nor resting on top. The milk would look the same no matter what part of it we examined. The Copernican and cosmological principles say much the same about the universe. Its matter and space are homogenized, as it were. To say it another way, these principles state that we are not able to distinguish one place from another in the universe. There is no up nor down, no left nor right, and no place where either we nor ET can claim to be in a special or central location.
Every now and then you hear something that clashes with all of right reason, like RU-486 or gun control or "inciting racial unrest" just by stating historical fact. And this is one of those times. Any amateur astronomer can tell you that the North Star, Polaris, is always found in the same place in the sky, and that it processes in a little circle that takes some 24,000 years to make one cycle. He can tell you that the various nebulae and star clusters are identifiable by appearance alone and they are nothing like each other. They can tell you that the horrendous variety of galaxies all over the sky and therefore the universe spin in different ways and are oriented in different directions, and they at least seem to be that way in a most stable manner for they are not showing up as changing direction or flipping over any time soon.
But here is the know-nothing know-it-alls saying that there are "principles" which demand that "We are not able to distinguish one place from another in the universe. There is no up nor down, no left nor right, and no place where either we nor ET can claim to be in a special or central location."
That sounds too much like Roe vs. Wade, the Federal Reserve, or the new Obamacare legislation. We're supposed to vote our approval without thinking about its consequences, because arguing it in court would be too 'expensive'.
This principle is named after Copernicus, since, in the 16th century, he revived the ancient Greek Pythagorean model that took Earth out of the center and put it among the other celestial bodies.
Actually, he wrote a book about his wild imaginings and that book would have set on his shelf unnoticed until after he had died, had not a protestant friend of his found it one day and had encouraged him to go "public" with it. It's not too different from how the protestants contributed to Vat.II.
As we then grew in our knowledge of the vastness of the universe from such icons as Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton, Ernst Mach, and Edwin Hubble, it was then we found out precisely what Copernicus' removal of Earth from the center meant, as Carl Sagan stated so eerily in Cosmos: "We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost between two spiral arms in the outskirts of a galaxy which is a member of a sparse cluster of galaxies, tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people."
If Sagan wanted to be REALLY "eerie" he should have had a poet work for him. Imagine what Poe or Shakespeare could have done with that.
What Sagan claimed that we had found was just his own wild imagination coming to life -- or should I say death? He said "we are nothing" and that's supposed to be fun? What a dolt. Now, the know-nothing know-it-alls are saying that "In the beginning there was nothing, and then nothing exploded and so here we are, with everything." Everything from nothing, eh? How can we be so sure that it won't then suddenly UN-explode one not-so-fine day?
Did this new view of Earth's position have an effect on mankind's view of himself, his culture, and even his reason for existence? It most certainly did, and in the most profound way. As the poet Goethe put it: "But among all the discoveries and corrections probably none has resulted in a deeper influence on the human spirit than the doctrine of Copernicus ... considering all that went up in smoke as a result of realizing this change."
Go for it, Goethe! What went up in smoke? Speak for yourself! The so-called doctrine (it wasn't doctrine) of Copernicus amounted to the cockle sown in the field and both grain and Goethe have grown therein.
Historian Herbert Butterfield, in The Origins of Modern Science, indicates that the Copernican revolution "outshines everything since the rise of Christianity and reduces the Renaissance and Reformation to the rank of mere episodes, mere internal displacements, within the system of medieval Christendom ... while transforming the whole diagram of the physical universe and the very texture of human life itself, it looms so large as the real origin both of the modern world and of the modern mentality, that our customary periodization of European history has become an anachronism and an encumbrance."
Just remember, clowns like this Butterfield actually make a LIVING writing this kind of nonsense. While the Copernican revolution is more profoundly significant than Galileo, even though most eggheads think the opposite, the proposition that it defines our future is simply bilgewaterscum.
Even more profoundly, the famous God is Dead movement of the 1960s, which had its roots in the late 19th-century nihilism of Friedrich Nietzsche and moved him to write the philosophical novel, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, blames the "death of God" on the Copernican revolution. As Zarathustra put it: "Where has God gone? I shall tell you. We have killed him--you and I. We are his murderers. But how have we done this? ... What did we do when we unchained the Earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving now? Away from all suns? Are we not perpetually falling? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there any up or down left? Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space?"
How exactly does one "feel the breath of empty space?" Don't forget this is the kind of thinking that says that "First there was nothing and then it exploded, and now, it's everything." If Friedrich Nietzsche wasn't possessed by the devil then there is no such thing as demonic possession.
Hey, maybe Newchurch can Newcanonize him, along with Rasputin and the demigods Charlie! Now there's a project. Throw in Karl Marx for good measure.
The implications and repercussions of the Copernican Principle are far-reaching, but there is one important fact that no one should forget: the Copernican Principle is not a scientific fact; rather, it is a metaphysical assumption. It is that one assumption that is the basis upon which all the evidence from our telescopes and microscopes is evaluated, and modern academia has shown itself deeply disinclined to entertain any other metaphysical assumption.
Another fair statement. Rack 'em up. Note the non-sequitur: modern academia contains departments called "philosophy" and they have topics called "metaphysics." But this metaphysical discussion is one that is not addressed because they are "disinclined to entertain any other metaphysical assumption."
IOW, the philosophy departments are incapable of philosophizing. So what good are they?
So let us ask: what if the Copernican Principle is wrong? If it is wrong, we only can conclude that everything we think we know about our universe also is wrong. For the first time in the modern age, it is precisely this question about the "metaphysical assumption" known as the Copernican Principle, and its implications, that are addressed in "The Principle."
Oh! That sounds like a good reason to hide this article so s2srea and others can't read it!
More specifically, this film engages with the leading cosmologists, physicists, and theoreticians who presently are wrestling with the implications of recently obtained observational evidence from NASA and the European Space Agency probes that this foundational assumption of our scientific world view--the Copernican Principle--indeed may be wrong, and that our Earth may be very special after all.
Now THAT'S what should be in bold font. Here. I'll fix it. There. Fixed.
The observations are numerous, but perhaps the most puzzling is the so-called "Axis of Evil," a name which was borrowed from Pres. George W. Bush's labeling of Iran, Iraq, and North Korea. In cosmology, the "Axis" is dubbed "Evil" because, if it does exist, it completely nullifies the cherished Copernican Principle upon which modern cosmology presently is based, and ultimately destroys the foundation of modernity itself.
..............and, that would be a GOOD thing................
(Note -- he didn't say "Modernism" but rather "modernity." -- Perhaps because he doesn't know what Modernism is, or, perhaps it's not a question of prudence but rather one of intelligence, because he knows which side his bread is buttered on.)
Briefly, the Axis of Evil is a never-before-seen alignment of the Earth with the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB), a radiation that spans the entire known universe. In other words, it is like saying that the whole universe is centered on or aligned with our tiny Earth. A little thought will show the astounding nature of this Axis. It would be like saying that our solar system of some 6,000,000,000 miles in diameter is aligned with a basketball.
Poor analogy. A basketball gets to move all over the place. He should say the dome of St. Peter's Basilica or the Rock of Gibraltar or the gallows of Greenwich.
Obviously, this alignment between Earth and the CMB is highly problematic, since the Copernican Principle assumes that, on the largest scales, no preferred direction or space exists in the cosmos. There is such a preferred direction in the CMB, however. Three separate missions have confirmed it--Cosmic Background Explorer in 1990, Wilkinson Microwave Anistropy Probe in 2001, and Planck in 2009. While there are many ideas concerning what this alignment might mean, the observational fact of its existence no longer can be ignored. The Axis is there and it is not going away.
The Axis is there and it's not going away -- how true! The know-nothing know-it-alls are most severely flummoxed over the thought that they are going to DIE and they will not be able to change this Axis in their lifetime. That means that no amount of doublespeak or propaganda is going to make it just go away. And that makes them really TICKED OFF.
Even though the foibles irk me, nonetheless, we ought to all be reading this nice article before we go see "The Principle" because it is a great introduction. I have no doubt that Rick DeLano would not disagree.
Even more puzzling is the fact that this is not just any preferred direction. The direction is aligned with the ecliptic plane (the plane of the orbit of the planets around the sun), and with the equinoxes (the equatorial plane of supposedly insignificant Earth). In other words, the entire known universe is aligned within the 23.5 degree margin of tilt between the Earth and the sun. How can this be?
Don't forget that The Principle has a scene in it regarding Stonehenge in the Salisbury pain of England where it shows how the ancient stone columns are arranged so as to also align with this same 23.5 degree margin, and unless one considers this margin, the stone columns make no sense whatsoever. Did the ancient British know something we moderns have forgotten?? Were they destroyed in the Flood of Noah, for example?
Physicist Lawrence Krauss of Arizona State University boldly addressed the implications in 2006: " ... When you look at CMB map, you also see that the structure that is observed is, in fact, in a weird way, correlated with the plane of the Earth around the sun. Is this Copernicus coming back to haunt us? That's crazy. We're looking out at the whole universe. There's no way there should be a correlation of structure with our motion of the Earth around the sun--the plane of the Earth around the sun--the ecliptic. That would say we are truly the center of the universe."
What's funny is, Krauss can't even broach the topic without getting in his barbs of denial, once, twice, thrice, four times (in bold, above) before he gets to the point.
Many other cosmologists have admitted the same. For example, in a 2010 paper, the team of Craig Copi, Dragan Huterer, Dominik Schwarz, and Glenn Starkman, which has done extensive research into the CMB anomalies, not only confirmed the Axis' alignment with Earth, but ruled out any alignment with our Milky Way galaxy, stating: "Our studies indicate that the observed alignments are with the ecliptic plane, with the equinox or with the CMB dipole, and not with the Galactic plane." This means that the CMB is Earth-centered, not galactic-centered, an astounding fact to contemplate.
As I recall, this statement from the team of Craig Copi, Dragan Huterer, Dominik Schwarz, and Glenn Starkman is not mentioned in the movie, or, if it is, it came when I was too overwhelmed with data to avoid being brain-numbed. Nor are these 4 names mentioned. The editors had to make judicial decisions. This movie could be a hundred hours long, but they kept it down to one hour and twelve minutes. They don't want people to walk out before it's over. And they would if the pounding hard line were to go on for an hour and a half, which it very easily could have done.
This question of the Earth's placement in the larger scheme of things, which already has launched two great scientific revolutions, seems, as Krauss said, to be coming back to haunt us. As astronomer Lawrence Vescera put it: "The discovery that the CMB is cosmically aligned to the Earth should make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. It points to the fact that the Earth is at a special place in the universe and that God wants it to be known."
Actually, the fact that The Principle is being released
means that God wants this cosmic alignment pointing to the Earth being in a special place to be known.
If we consider the dramatic changes in culture and world view that accompanied previous cosmological revolutions, it is not too early to begin to consider what it would mean for our future, and the future of our children, if it were to be established that the Earth is in a special position in the cosmos--that we truly are, in some sense, the center of the universe?
Hey, we might actually have to start capitalizing the word, "Earth."
Rick DeLano is the producer of "The Principle," due for release this spring.
COPYRIGHT 2014 Society for the Advancement of Education
If they don't want their article copied then they ought to open up comments about it on their website. Readers should be able to post comments SOMEWHERE.