mercredi 25 février 2015

Creation Ministries International - a Galileo Fan Club?

1) New blog on the kid : Answering Simcha Fisher, David Palm, Alec Mac Andrew and in part too Sungenis, 2) And CMI also felt a need to "refute Geocentrism" ..., 3) It Seems Keating Wrote a Book, 4) Φιλολoγικά/Philologica : What has that got to do with it?, 5) Were Greek Philosophers Evolutionist? And How Does Geocentrism Conflict with Observation?, 6) HGL's F.B. writings : Debating slightly on CSL with Sungenis, 7) Creation vs. Evolution : Creation Ministries International - a Galileo Fan Club?

A few days ago, I had twice reason to note that.

Yestarday I saw a little gleam of hope.

CMI : Brainwashed! Life in a world of illusion and deceit
By Helen Doogue Vere
Published: 24 February 2015

The problem was that, in accepting Galileo’s philosophy that the Bible was about heavenly things and had no relevance to the natural world Christians could start believing that the creation account in Genesis contained gaps or was only symbolic. Once the creation account was called into question, doubts over the global Flood and the Tower of Babel swiftly followed.

Mortenson, T, Philosophical naturalism and the age of the earth: are they related?, The Master’s Seminary Journal 15(1):71–92, Spring 2004

Wow, there is even a link back to 2004:

CMI : Philosophical naturalism and the age of the earth: are they related?
by Terry Mortenson
This paper was published in The Master’s Seminary Journal (TMSJ) 15(1):71–92, Spring 2004

Two important people in the sixteenth century greatly influenced the development of old-earth thinking at the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth centuries. Those two were Galileo Galilei and Sir Francis Bacon. As is well known, Galileo (1564–1642) was a proponent of Copernicus’s theory that the earth revolves around the sun, not vice versa. Initially the Roman Catholic Church leadership had no problem with this idea, but for various academic, political and ecclesiastical reasons, in 1633 the pope changed his mind and forced Galileo to recant his belief in heliocentricity on threat of excommunication. But eventually heliocentricity became generally accepted and with that many Christians absorbed two lessons from the so-called ‘Galileo affair.’ One was from a statement of Galileo himself. He wrote, ‘The intention of the Holy Ghost is to teach us how to go to heaven, not how heaven goes.’ In other words, the Bible teaches theology and morality, but not astronomy or science. The other closely related lesson was that the church will make big mistakes if it tries to tell scientists what to believe about the world.

Galileo’s contemporary in England, Francis Bacon (1561–1626), was a politician and philosopher who significantly influenced the development of modern science. He emphasized observation and experimentation as the best method for gaining true knowledge about the world. He also insisted that theory should be built only on the foundation of a wealth of carefully collected data. But although Bacon wrote explicitly of his belief in a recent, literal six-day creation, he like Galileo insisted on not mixing the study of what he called the two books of God: creation and the Scriptures. He stated,

But some of the moderns, however, have indulged in this folly, with such consummate carelessness, as to have endeavoured to found a natural philosophy on the first chapter of Genesis, the book of Job, and other passages of holy Scripture—‘seeking the dead among the living.’ And this folly is the more to be prevented and restrained, because, from the unsound admixture of things divine and human, there arises not merely a fantastic philosophy, but also a heretical religion.

As a result of the powerful influence of Galileo and Bacon, a strong bifurcation developed between the interpretation of creation (which became the task of scientists) and the interpretation of Scripture (which is the work of theologians and pastors).

Notes from section:
3 Galileo, Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina (1615), translated and reprinted in Stillman Drake, Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo, Doubleday, New York, p. 186, 1957 , reprinted in D. C. Goodman, ed., Science and Religious Belief 1600-1900: A Selection of Primary Sources, The Open University Press, Milton Keynes, U.K., p. 34, 1973.
4 Much has been written about this complex Galileo affair. Helpful analyses can be found in Thomas Schirrmacher, The Galileo Affair: history or heroic hagiography? TJ 14(1):91–100, 2000, and in William R. Shea, Galileo and the Church, in God and Nature, eds. David C. Lindberg and Ronald L. Numbers, University of California Press, Berkeley, California, pp. 114–35, 1986. (Not endorsing Schirrmacher)
5 Francis Bacon, The Works of Francis Bacon, London, 2:480–88, 1819.
6 - for the quote - Francis Bacon, translated by Andrew Johnson from the 1620 original Novum Organum, London, p. 43, 1859 (Book I, part lxv). See also Francis Bacon, Advancement of Learning, Oxford, p. 46, 1906 (Book I, part VI.16).

In other words, one might be starting to get somewhere with asking oneself if Galileo was wrong and the Church was right.

Today republishing an article by Russell Grigg is obviously trying to "undo the damage".

CMI : ‘Nevertheless, it moves!’: Copernicus, Galileo, and the theory of evolution
By Russell Grigg [specified it is a republish, but not from when, except after 1978]

The Church fathers of the Middle Ages, in the absence of any substantial scientific views to the contrary, adopted and taught as dogma the theory of Ptolemy of Alexandria (ad 85–165) that the earth was the centre of the universe, and that the sun, moon, planets, and stars all revolved around the earth in a series of inter-nesting spheres.

Patristic era is from end of Apostolic era (i e since St John left earthly life) to c. 1000. After that you get a scholastic era. Scholastics and Church Fathers are usually distinguished. Orthodox would usually claim that they share (most of) the Church Fathers previous to 1000 (not the Franks, perhaps) - while standing off from the Scholastics.

Ptolemaic system involves Earth being round and astronomic distances being so great that Earth in comparison to them is just like a spot - some Church Fathers took an opposite view (shared thus with Rabbinic Judaism) that Earth is one flat storey in a box shaped universe with Heaven above and Abyss below. And perhaps also that distance to Stellar parts of Heaven or even God's throne room above that was kind of comparable to distances on Earth. Scholastics never adopted the Ptolemaic system to the total exclusion of other explanations of orbits.

Although the Bible is not specific about which revolves around what, the Latin fathers thought that verses such as Psalms 19:6 and 93:1 supported Ptolemy’s views.

When it came to Earth being still and to Heaven and Sun moving.

Galileo in his eagerness to explain full compatibility with Scripture (as history) of his theory would drag in Joshua X - which drastically altered acceptability of heliocentrism. As he was to find out.

Although he had no telescope, he concluded from his visual observations and calculations that the earth was not the centre of the universe but only of the moon’s orbit, that the earth rotated daily on its axis, and that it revolved annually around the sun.

No, he concluded that this would give a simpler geometry for the orbits and make them more foreseeable than Ptolemy did. He did not dare to say in public that these hypotheses really were so.

Note on the "correcting tables note" that the Heliocentric Copernicus corrected tables of Ptolemy (or of such Ptolemaic astronomers as had been around), but Tycho Brahe who was a Geocentric (with a not quite Ptolemaic system) corrected those of Copernicus, and Kepler who was again a Heliocentric corrected those of Tycho Brahe. And Riccioli accepted Kepler's corrections, but not his Heliocentrism.

[Galileo Galilei] ... improved the simple telescope by building an instrument of threefold magnification, and further quickly improved it to a power of 32. With this he observed (inter alia) the movement of sunspots across the face of the sun. This, he maintained, proved that Copernicus was right and Ptolemy wrong.

Nobody in the Church had any problem of admitting Ptolemy was wrong on some items. But the question is if that proved Copernicus right.

In 1616, Galileo was ordered by Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, the chief theologian of the Church, that he must henceforth neither “hold nor defend” this doctrine, although it could still be discussed as a mere “mathematical supposition”.

There is no such position as "chief theologian". The Pope is the chief judge on theology, but not the chief theologian. However, St Robert was a Cardinal (a position next under Pope, but there are several such at any given time), he was an Inquisitor and he had tried the first book of Galileo (in 1616 Galileo wasn't tried yet, his first book was). St Robert died in 1621. The next trial, it was Galileo himself who was being tried and St Robert was not around.

However, he had done a lot of the scientific and philosophic groundwork for the second trial.

Among other things he had ordered the fellow Jesuit Clavius to look into the telescope and thus he got most observations of Galileo's confirmed. One was not: Clavius concluded about the Milky Way that yes, there were lots of stars in it, but there was a view of sth powdery still in the telescope not dissolved into stars - and that remains so with modern astronomy having much better telescopes.

For this he was hauled before the Inquisition in Rome on “vehement suspicion of heresy”. He was found guilty of having “held and taught” the Copernican doctrine and, on June 21, 1633, was ordered to recant. The next day he recited a formula in which he “abjured, cursed and detested” his past errors. His sentence carried imprisonment, but this was immediately commuted by the Pope to house-arrest, which remained in effect for the last eight years of his life.

Was there really a distinct prison sentence before a house arrest commutation? I thought the then word "prison" / "praehensio" meant house arrest, while "immuration" / "immuratio" meant a walled prison, what we think of as a prison. But I could be wrong. That might have been earlier, like 13th C. in which lots of not quite finally condemned heretics were condemned to "immuration" (i e prison) until they could either in good conscience abjure or in the good conscience of the Inquisitors be extradicted to secular arm. Or Galileo could, unknown to me, have had a first sentence running on immuration - but that seems unlikely, since he had abjured. Meaning, I think Russell Grigg is wrong in taking the house arrest as a commuted sentence.

Now Russell Grigg made three comparisons, which I will look at in some detail.

The first one is this quote:

The Church of Galileo’s day was a monolithic structure in which there were no men of science of the calibre of Copernicus or Galileo in positions of authority. Today the Church is made up of many different denominations, comprising many different congregations, in which there are many men and women of science in positions of leadership or influence, who hold to the creationist position and whose scholarship is not one whit less than that of any evolutionist.

The Catholic Church of Galileo's day was condemning the already then extant Protestant denominations. St Robert Bellarmine had had a debate rather prolonged with James VI & I of Scotland and England.

It was not monolithic. If the men in highest authority were not men of science in the sense of being of Galileo's calibre it is rather that they were a bit too professional, they were not so amateurish. But as Copernic shows, there was room for amateurism on lower levels. That said, science as such was amateurish rather than a profession mimicking the episcopal structure of the Church.

It is a bit as if Russell was unaware that his own denomination was outside the Catholic Church. Whether it existed itself or only in its predecessors already separate from Catholicism, it was distinct. The many different denominations were there. A few decades later Bishop Bossuet of Meaux taunted the Calvinists and Anglicans with Protestantism already being split into about 100 denominations.

[T]here are many men and women of science in positions of leadership or influence, who hold to the creationist position and whose scholarship is not one whit less than that of any evolutionist.

That is exactly how I would describe St Robert and Clavius and Riccioli back then. Just exchanging heliocentric for the word evolutionist.

Second comparison, first quoting:

Galileo, by using his telescope to view the sunspots and to track the motion of the planets with respect to the sun, was able to do repeatable experiments of observation to confirm the Copernican theory. Today, there is no experiment that any evolutionist has ever done (much less a repeatable one) either to observe or to confirm the theory of evolution.

Galileo had infirmed details of Ptolemy's world view. All supralunar bodies are perfect? Galileo showed sun spots. Immutable? Galileo showed the sunspots moving (and Tycho Brahe observed a nova). No body is direct centre of an orbit except earth? Or you can have only two but not three circular movements around each other with a centre moving around a periphery? Galileo showed four moons of Jupiter. Sun moves around Earth. Jupiter around Sun (and not just around a void centre moving in orbit around Earth). Moons of Jupiter around Jupiter (and thus a third degree of circling movement).

Now, Galileo was never told to retract Moons of Jupiter or Spots on the Sun. He was told in good scientific discourse by the Tychonian St Robert Bellarmine that these do not prove Earth to be moving or Sun to be still.

Today, there is no experiment that any evolutionist has ever done (much less a repeatable one) either to observe or to confirm the theory of evolution.

What about Miller Urey? Hasn't it shown amino-acids can form abiotically? Yes, but as CMI time after time has pointed out, this neither proves cell structure can have originated that way, nor that the DNA code could have done so. And C14 measures and K-Ar measures don't prove ages older than creation? No, they don't. BUT in that case one could ask whether any repeatable experiment has since those days proven either Earth's rotation or Earth's orbit. I have looked into the question - such conclusions suffer from very similar problems of logic.

Put another way: the matter of the earth’s motion was in principle capable of test by the scientific method in terms of settling the question once and for all

OK, have you observed Earth zigzagging from space missions? Or have the space missions been observed zigzagging from Earth? That would suggest that Earth were moving in and out of origo of the trajectories of them ... but if space is a medium even that is not a sure conclusion and on top of that finding confirmation for such an observation having taken place is somewhat difficult:

Catholic Answers Forums > Forums > Apologetics
Has Cassini-Huygens spacecraft earth flyby in 1999 disproven geocentrism

Since Didymus means Thomas, I wonder if this is Tom Trinko ... but after I was banned from the forum I tried to find confirmation for such an observation again:

Correspondence of Hans Georg Lundahl : Asking an Erudite for Optical Proof

today the origins issue is in principle not capable of being so resolved. As Dr Henry Morris says in his book Scientific Creationism: “A scientific investigator, be he ever so resourceful and brilliant, can neither observe nor repeat origins!”

On the exact same note : we cannot observe Earth and Sun from the edge of the universe. If we have a firm place within, it is earth and sun and universe up to stars is shown moving. If it isn't earth, we have none, and earth cannot be shown to be moving, even if it is.

Third comparison:

Although the Church fathers in Galileo’s day mistakenly thought that the Bible supported a geocentric system, there was nothing intrinsically atheistic about the notion that the earth moved. By contrast, the theory of evolution is a non-theistic or atheistic explanation of origins and as such has become the scientific ‘justification’ for the anti-God belief system of humanism, which pervades society today.

Heliocentrism also if contrasted with the Geocentrism of St Thomas. Riccioli is abandoning the thesis that God moves all Heaven (meaning he is beginning to accept space as a void) because he saw on example of Epicurus one could be a Geocentric believing Heaven moved around earth and yet be an Atheist - but Epicure showed a very unsubtle grasp of essentially Ptolamaic Geocentrism - there are so many details in it, even more in Tychonian one, that show design.

Christians who believe in evolution would do well to consider that while not every evolutionist is an atheist, all atheists are evolutionists.

And how many of them are Thomistic and Tychonian Geocentrics? How many Atheists believe Cosmos is moved each day by one great and wise power around Earth? How many Atheists believe that angels regulate slower movements of heavenly bodies in relation to this daily movement?

All Atheists are Heliocentrics or Acentrics.

As with all erroneous theories, there were some things that the Ptolemaic system did not explain, such as the apparent backwards-and-forwards motion of Mars across the sky.

Except that Ptolemy did explain it.

To account for this and other anomalies the geocentric astronomers invented a complex system of planetary movement involving large circles called deferents and small circles called epicycles.

Tychonian Geocentrism makes Sun = epicentre for all planets except Sun itself and Moon. With Earth not a planet, nor stars, obviosly.

By the sixteenth century, this system had become so vast and fantastically involved that Copernicus wrote in the Preface to De Revolutionibus that the astronomical tradition that he inherited had finally created a monster.

I read somewhere the system had about twice as many circular movements as Copernicus' own system, how about checking it out? For the moment I can't.

But the comment itself shows how Copernicus wanted an easy visualisation to accept a concept. Yes, Tychonian orbits are less obviously regular and simple than Galilean ones. So?

Copernicus acted like a Renaissance non-scientist who rejected the Medieval science because it was conceptually too complex - but in his case, the Ptolemaic astronomy was only geometrically too complex to visualise.

Yet so ingrained had the idea become that the earth was the centre of the universe that hardly any of the astronomers of the day heeded the growing unreality and impossibility of the whole system.

If angels are moving each orbit and God is moving day and night carrying all the orbits with them, where do you find any actual "impossibility"? We are not required to be able to draw everything which we believe happens. And even Tychonian orbits can be drawn by a good artist with lots of patience - or by a computer programme.

In other words, though I agree that the lesson of the affair is we should oppose Evolution, I think it was provided by St Robert Bellarmine's opposition to Galilean Heliocentrism, not by Galileo's beating the Ptolemaic dead horse, since Geocentrics in his day (unless backward and illinformed) were already Tychonian or even like Riccioli accepting Kepler's variations on Tycho - excepting the demotion of Earth to higher spheres.

It is instructive to see the non-Theological qualifications of the three CMI writers. Theologically all three were when writing Protestants, which is a disqualification, but not for every question. Tas Walker is a Protestant, I'll trust him over Teilhard de Chardin any day of the week. But when it comes to the non-Theologic qualifications, who of the three should be speaking about the Galileo affair?

Helen has a Bachelor of Arts in English Letters. Presumably including early modern period, which is in some part concerned with when the question was a piece of debate rather than a set piece of school knowledge. Terry has at least done some history of a science, and as geology is a young one, one may even hope it is conducted in a more exact way than history of mathematics or history of science in general. For Russell, I see nothing which corresponds to that. I mean him no disrespect in chemistry, I would gladly submit my doubts about measurability of half lives of isotopes having longer ones than C14 to him, but history of ideas is really not his academic field. Or close to it. And his essay doesn't convince me of a very good amateur in it either.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Day after St Matthias

PS: Can this "his sentence carried imprisonment, but this was immediately commuted by the Pope to house-arrest, which remained in effect for the last eight years of his life" simply have arisen due to Milton saying he visited Galileo "who was prisoner of the Inquisition"? That would certainly refer to the house arrest, since prison was a word currently so used.