Group of Catholics: Galileo Was Wrong! July 4, 2011

Group of Catholics: Galileo Was Wrong!

We mock Creationists because, despite overwhelming evidence in favor of evolution, they cling to their Biblically-supported view that God created the world in six days and the Earth is only a few thousand years old.

Now, a group of Catholics is trying to give Creationists a run for their money in the game of Who Hates Science More?

They think the Sun revolves around the Earth (geocentrism), not the other way around.

A small group of conservative Roman Catholics is pointing to a dozen biblical verses and the Church’s original teaching as proof that the Earth is the center of the universe, the view that prompted Galileo Galilei’s clash with the Church four centuries ago.

“This subject is, as far as I can see, an embarrassment to the modern church because the world more or less looks upon geocentrism or someone who believes it in the same boat as the flat Earth,” said James Phillips, of Cicero.

Indeed, those promoting geocentrism argue that heliocentrism, or the centuries-old consensus among scientists that the Earth revolves around the sun, is nothing more than a conspiracy theory to squelch the church’s influence.

The best part about the whole article? They quote another science-denier, Ken Ham, to see what he thinks — because if there’s one thing Ham knows how to do, it’s how to ignore science when the Bible suggests otherwise.

And even he can’t understand where these Catholics are getting their misguided views from:

… Ken Ham, founder of the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., said the Bible is silent on geocentrism.

“There’s a big difference between looking at the origin of the planets, the solar system and the universe and looking at presently how they move and how they are interrelated,” Ham said. “The Bible is neither geocentric or heliocentric. It does not give any specific information about the structure of the solar system.”

It’s gotta be pretty bad when the guy who denies scientific reality at every opportunity tells you that you don’t get it.

Obviously, this is a fringe movement. But when you’re surrounded by people who think a consecrated wafer is the actual, physical body of Jesus Christ, should we be surprised when some of them also believe other completely irrational things?

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  • I actually attended a lecture and debate by Sungenis… sponsored by a local Catholic paris. It was, in a word, horrendous. I did video it, but in order to get his permission he made me sign a waiver that I wouldn’t post it to Youtube.

    I did blog about it though. This guy had nothing on the pastor who runs our tiny local Creation Museum. The guy is… special.

  • Rien Finch

    everyone knows the earth is flat too. like, duh.

  • Two things spring to my attention, apart from the obvious geocentric nonsense.

    The first is that some (however small) number of people didn’t previously think the Earth was in the centre of it all before the Catholic pseudoscientists persuaded them. A modicum of scientific education would have prevented this. That points to a collosal educational failure at some point.

    The second thing is the reference to the conspiracy theory they posit: geocentrism as a doctrine to reduce Church influence. And what is the evidence for this conspiracy? Who is in on it? Is no one checking the lies? Only they know? The scale of that kind of conspiracy must be bigger than all others ever proposed put together (moon landings, 9-11, etc.) And if the idea of the conspiracy is to reduce Church influence, how come the Church isn’t opposing it? Is the conspiracy so powerful that even the Vatican bought into it? (And its astronomers too?)

    These sorts of claims are what happens when the mind accepts that any text > basic reality. An educational tragedy. And quite preventable.

  • It’s also quite something to be condemned by the Church as being wrong about something.

  • abadidea

    It really bothers me how two-faced Catholicism is. On the one hand, you have their leaders, who ARE well-educated, saying to other educated people “yes, of course evolution is real, and of course Genesis isn’t literal, and of course we were wrong about xyz and things are different now, yadda yadda,” but the gears keep turning in their giant Ignorance Machine to cause serious harm in countries or regions where they are the majority religion.

    Shout-out to my reddit buddy NukeThePope.


    the roman catholic church is never wrong; it is just less-right at some times that at other times.

  • vexorian

    Isn’t Ken Ham wrong though? The bible does contain multitude of geocentric remarks (as mentioned by the small group of Catholics).

    Also, it is hilarious Ken Ham would say that. you could argue that the bible is neither against or for evolution and live happily ever after.

  • gski

    It is my opinion, that people who deny scientific facts, for example, the age of the Earth or that the sun is the center of the solar system are in fact denying god. Their world view is based on one thing, that the bible is the word of god. Even if the original writings were etched in stone by god itself, people have since translated, edited and printed their own versions. Obviously errors could be introduced.

    In contrast there is no way that people were involved in the creation of the natural world. The believer must conclude that god itself was the sole creator and that nature is a way for it to ‘talk’ directly to us.

    Therefore by denying what nature is telling us, that is to say what god is telling us, is to deny god. It is science not religion that brings us god’s word.

  • A major part of Sungenis’ argument against heliocentrism was that the Catholic Church only rescinded its condemnation of Galileo by “subterfuge.” In other words, the Catholic church used to be right, and now it’s less right, but if we can prove it was initially right (as opposed to now) it will be the epitome of right-ness once more. He legitimately argued that if the universe if indeed geocentric, the Catholic doctrine is proved correct once and for all.

    Of course, he did not argue that if it was heliocentric, the Catholic doctrine was falsified once and for all. It wouldn’t surprise me if he took notes from Ken Ham – he was there to “debunk” modern astrology and physics (including Newton), not to present evidence for geocentrism as a viable alternative.

  • Claudia

    That’s funny because one of my favorite memories from my trip to Florence was the visit to Galileo’s tomb (inside a lavish Catholic church), a tomb that was actually made for him almost 100 years after he died. Besides noting how prominently displayed he was, I was amused and I’ll admit a little touched by the engraving that graces the very center of it.

  • It’s gotta be pretty bad when the guy who denies scientific reality at every opportunity tells you that you don’t get it.

    Yep, seriously.

  • Miko

    vexorian: Note that Ham says “presently.” Those Bible verses (aka Magic 1.0) only prove that the universe was geocentric when the Bible was written. How they move “presently” is based on Magic 2.0.

  • Steve

    So where is this scientific evidence the article speaks of

  • Gordon

    This just in from the Department of Things That Go Without Saying.

    Isn’t Ken Ham wrong though?

  • JD

    That’s quite an ignorance parade, are they for real?

    Do they at least explain (and hopefully predict) the apparent reversing of orbits? Do they predict eclipses as accurately using their model?

  • Larry Meredith

    when I was a kid I believed the world revolved around ME.

    … Maybe these Catholics just haven’t grown up yet.

  • That’s great. Set the kooks at each other. There should be a museum that’s not just a creation museum (both Christian and Islamic), but also has representatives from geocentrism, Flat Earthers, anti-vaxxers, moon-landing hoaxers, homeopaths, 9/11 Truthers – the possibilities are staggering.

  • mihoda

    In defense of the nutcases, you can compute apparent forces(like centrifugal force and Coriolis force) in any inertial frame and still be consistent.

    …in other words, geocentricism is fine provided you do the transformation (in which case you come up with wacky “forces” that cause the erratic apparent motion of the planets, the wanderers).

  • I’m confused — What year is this?

  • @Claudia

    Thank you for the Galileo link. I never saw a photo of his tomb before.

  • As vexorian says: “The bible does contain multitude of geocentric remarks (as mentioned by the small group of Catholics).”

    More to the point, the universe as portrayed in the Bible has no resemblance to the real universe. The universe described in the creation mythos of Genesis is, for all intents and purposes, a snow globe, with Earth as a mostly-flat disc and the heavens suspended above.

    If the universe was constructed as Genesis portrays it:
    – the Earth is flat and smaller than the size of the Old World
    – the sun and moon are about the same size (and both produce their own light)
    – planets and moons aren’t worlds, they’re just lights in the firmament of heaven.

    Now, since neither Ken Ham nor these Catholic extremists probably don’t think that Mars is just a point of light, this must mean that they actually aren’t taking Genesis literally.

  • GregFromCos

    This is one of my favorite things to bring up with Creationists. Far more authors pushed the idea that the Earth was the center of the Universe, than ever pushed a 6 day creation. It’s especially important because this was the general belief of the day. So to say the authors meant it metaphorically is simply untrue. The belief of the day was that the Earth was the center of the universe.

    However, at one point I convinced a creationist that the earth must be the center of the Universe. It was truly a facepalm moment.

  • Lefty

    Also, it is hilarious Ken Ham would say that.

    What I’m wondering is, why did they seek an opinion from Ham anyway? Was it something like this: “These batshit geocentrists are just not crazy enough. Let’s bring in a quote from the guy who runs the Creation Museum just to send it over the top.”

  • Jeff

    Sungenis’ degree may be from a diploma mill, but here’s a guy with a PhD from Case Western, who’s been hawking geocentrism online for years:

    It’s becoming harder and harder to justify letting these people have access to oxygen.

  • Kandy

    I remember as a girl in Catholic high school that there were “Charismatic Catholics,” who seemed to want to be Catholic but wanted the show, the speaking of tongues, the holy spirit seizures, etc. I still don’t get it.

  • A not too close wording of Genesis does seem to give a geocentric Earth and arguably an outright flat Earth. In that regard, these people are being more consistent than Ken Ham is. The issue really seems to be that 1) there’s a degree of evidence that even gets through Ham’s head 2) Geocentrism doesn’t post the same theological problems as evolution for Christianity so it is easier for him to accept it.

  • Neon Genesis

    The belief of Christian geocentricism comes from the story where God stopped the sun in the sky so Joshua could slaughter all their enemies. Since Joshua was able to stop the sun in the sky, it was assumed that the Earth was the center of the universe and the sun revolved around the Earth.

  • This is important. The geocentric model is just a model. The heliocentric model is just a model. Having a model where the orbits are around the sun is simpler and more elegant but there is nothing actually wrong with putting earth (or the well known Cosmic Teapot that can be found in the asteroid belt) as the centre of the solar system. The models will be much more complex in order to account for the observed motion of the planets but it is still valid. If these morons Catholics want to use a needlessly complicated model then let them.

  • dune

    @Neon Genesis
    Perhaps he stopped the Earth and it appeared that the sun has stopped. They just expressed it that way, just like we do now – e.g. sun is rising or setting, sun is high or low, when in fact we know it is not moving.

    Of course it most likely wasn’t the case. I’m just saying that all this is easily rebuttable.

  • There are people who still think the Earth is flat.

    The director/leader/whatever of Flat Earth Society isn’t even religious, I think I read an interview where he believes in global warming, the rights for gays to marry, etc.

    People are stupid, religious only helps them along.

  • OverlappingMagisteria

    Honestly, I think that geocentrism is more rational than transubstantiation. At least it looks like everything revolves around the Earth without careful observation. That cracker looks like a cracker no matter how you look at it.

  • James Phillips

    Those wishing to get beyond this thread which appears to largely be a self admiration society wrapped up in derogatory comments about the Catholic Church and geocentrism can take a look at Dr. Robert Sungenis’ sites concerning the latter: and Those who don’t are, of course, free to continue with their infantile feeding frenzy extrapolating from a 7-4-2011 article in the Chicago Tribune, a secular rag not exactly noted for a fair and balanced treatment of the Catholic Church.

    By the way, the Catholic Church, contrary to much misinformed public opinion, has never reversed its official doctrinal teaching on geocentrism.

    Oh, just one other thing. Despite what you apparently have been heard since you were knee high, heliocentrism has never actually been proven, nor has geocentrism ever actually been disproven. That said you are free to scoff as much as you wish.

  • Jeff

    Don’t worry, James – soon enough, we’ll all be in hell, and you can point and laugh to your heart’s content.

    I’m sure that will give you a great deal of pleasure.

  • Anyone know which Bible verses they use to support this?

    Perhaps James Phillips above has some information?

  • Neon Genesis

    Is James Phillips a Poe or something?

  • The Pint

    Wait a minute wait a minute – we’re on the same side as Ken Ham on this one because even he thinks these guys are off their rockers?

    Maybe that insane storm that rolled through Chicago last Thursday really was a prelude to the apocalypse.

  • Louis Tofari

     This press release was just posted on SSPX.ORG:

    PLATTE CITY, MO (8-30-2011) A recent news report implied that the Priestly Society of St. Pius X promotes the scientific theory of geocentrism as a Catholic teaching based upon the Bible. The SSPX holds no such position.

    The Church’s magisterium teaches that Catholics should not use Sacred Scripture to assert explanations about natural science, but may in good conscience hold to any particular cosmic theory. As a religious congregation of the Catholic Church, the SSPX holds to these principles and does not teach any solar scientific theory. click here to read more:

    Rather interesting information about the nature of Sacred Scripture, and the relation of it (and the Faith) to scientific theory.

  • Peterj2226

    The retrograde motion of Mars is exactly explained in the Geocentric system. In fact Keplar used the very same measurements which were taken by Geocentrist Tycho Brahe. Not many people are aware of Tycho Brahes Geocentric model which shows that the earth is in the centre of the universe. The sun orbits the earth while the planets orbit the sun. As mihoda explained above it is simply a co-ordinate transformation. There is no relative difference between the Geocentric model and the Heliocentric mode.
    What make’s me laugh is the moron’s here who accuse Geocentrists of ignorance. They know absolutely nothing about astronomy or physics and yet. Yet they are happy to mock and deride even though they know nothing. The fact is that mocking and derision is the only weapon of conventional science who are defending a house of cards which is on the verge of collapsing. 

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