Star Trek‘s Kate Mulgrew is the narrator, but after finding out what the movie was really about, she distanced herself from it immediately, saying on Facebook, “I am not a geocentrist.”
Scientists like Lawrence Krauss and Michio Kaku are also featured in the movie, but they’ve made it clear they didn’t know what the movie was really about either.
So you can imagine my surprise when I received an email last week offering me an interview with the film’s producer Rick DeLano.
Couldn’t say no to that!
I sent along my questions, which I thought were pretty straight-forward. I mean, given the nature of the film, he had to know they were coming…
However, a day later, I received this response:
I pushed back a bit, suggesting that I wasn’t sure how he was going to be able to do any interviews if he couldn’t handle my questions. At that point, I didn’t think I’d hear back from him. But then, yesterday afternoon, a week after those initial messages, I finally got his responses. As I promised I would, I’m reprinting them in full, with only minor edits for grammar and the addition of links where I felt they would be helpful:
Do you consider yourself well versed in science? What’s your scientific background?
I have been researching the scientific aspects of the Copernican Principle for this film for seven years, and my knowledge of these scientific aspects has been obtained directly from the writings — including peer reviewed and published papers — of leading scientists, a number of whom appear in “The Principle.”
As we know, the Copernican Principle involves a very broad discussion about the Earth’s place in the cosmos. In, “The Principle,” many different viewpoints have contributed to this dialogue.
I am not a scientist, however, this is not an issue because there is no need to be a scientist to produce a film about a question involving science.
If you really want to challenge the Copernican Principle, why not write a scientific paper?
Because of the latest findings in cosmology, some scientists have at least considered the idea that the earth may be in a favored or special place in the universe. Because of new research concerning the cosmic microwave background, for example, papers are being written that we believe will reinforce this reality. With, “The Principle,” we are trying to expose what we, and some mainstream physicists, believe could be a new frontier in astronomy, and so it is our goal to use the film to foster a public and professional dialogue with regard to these new fundamental questions.
And keep in mind that represented in the film are wide ranging and varied viewpoints concerning the Copernican Principle.
What is it about science that you understand but every other scientist (who accepts that the Earth is not the center of the universe) ignores?
The process of evaluating the Copernican Principle has raised questions which have caused scientists to want to investigate further, and these investigations have increased, not decreased, the validity of our view concerning the specialness of earth.
The purpose of ‘The Principle” is to bring this process to the attention of the broader public for consideration.
Some of these scientists include:
1. George Ellis, in Scientific American [Hemant’s note: This is from an October, 1995 issue]:
“People need to be aware that there is a range of models that could explain the observations,” Ellis argues. “For instance, I can construct you a spherically symmetrical universe with Earth at its center, and you cannot disprove it based on observations.” Ellis has published a paper on this. “You can only exclude it on philosophical grounds. In my view there is absolutely nothing wrong in that. What I want to bring into the open is the fact that we are using philosophical criteria in choosing our models. A lot of cosmology tries to hide that.”
2. Timothy Clifton, in Physical Review Letters :
“A fundamental presupposition of modern cosmology is the Copernican Principle; that we are not in a central, or otherwise special region of the Universe. Studies of Type Ia supernovae, together with the Copernican Principle, have led to the inference that the Universe is accelerating in its expansion. The usual explanation for this is that there must exist a `Dark Energy’, to drive the acceleration. Alternatively, it could be the case that the Copernican Principle is invalid, and that the data has been interpreted within an inappropriate theoretical frame-work. If we were to live in a special place in the Universe, near the centre of a void where the local matter density is low, then the supernovae observations could be accounted for without the addition of dark energy.”
3. Lawrence Krauss, in “The Edge“:
“But 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.”
[Hemant’s note: This is merely a hypothetical that Krauss raises. He goes on to say in the very next paragraph that he doesn’t believe this particular theory.]
Who are the scientists who agree with you on this issue?
If by “this issue”, you mean the necessity of continuing scientific tests of the Copernican Principle, there are many.
In addition to the above scientists, we have:
Hirano, Komiya, (2010):
“A natural interpretation is that concentric spherical shells of higher galaxy number densities surround us, with their individual centers situated at our location. However, if this interpretation reflected the actual physical concentration of galaxies existing at certain distances from us, it would definitely be incompatible with the cosmological principle that presumes uniformity and isotropy of our space–time.”
Ashkok Singal (2013):
“Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR) observations from the WMAP satellite have shown some unexpected anisotropies, which surprisingly seem to be aligned with the ecliptic. This alignment has been dubbed the “axis of evil” with very damaging implications for the standard model of cosmology. The latest data from the Planck satellite have confirmed the presence of these anisotropies. Here we report even larger anisotropies in the sky distributions of powerful extended quasars and some other sub-classes of radio galaxies in the 3CRR catalogue, one of the oldest and most intensively studies sample of strong radio sources. The anisotropies lie about a plane passing through the two equinoxes and the north celestial pole (NCP). We can rule out at a 99.995% confidence level the hypothesis that these asymmetries are merely due to statistical fluctuations. Further, even the distribution of observed radio sizes of quasars and radio galaxies show large systematic differences between these two sky regions. The redshift distribution appear to be very similar in both regions of sky for all sources, which rules out any local effects to be the cause of these anomalies. Two pertinent questions then arise. First, why should there be such large anisotropies present in the sky distribution of some of the most distant discrete sources implying inhomogeneities in the universe at very large scales (covering a fraction of the universe)? What is intriguing even further is why such anisotropies should lie about a great circle decided purely by the orientation of earth’s rotation axis and/or the axis of its revolution around the sun? It looks as if these axes have a preferential placement in the larger scheme of things, implying an apparent breakdown of the Copernican principle or its more generalization, cosmological principle, upon which all modern cosmological theories are based upon… The axis of evil passes very close to the line joining the two equinox points, and so does the dipole direction representing the overall motion of the solar system in the universe. Also our plane dividing the two regions of asymmetry passes through the same two equinox points… there is no denying that from the large anisotropies present in the radio sky, independently seen both in the discrete source distribution and in the diffuse CMBR, the Copernican principle seems to be in jeopardy… There is certainly a cause for worry. Is there a breakdown of the Copernican principle as things seen in two regions of sky divided purely by a coordinate system based on earth’s orientation in space, shows a very large anisotropy in source distribution? Why should the equinox points and the NCP should have any bearing on the large scale distribution of matter in the universe… The apparent alignment in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) in one particular direction through space is called “evil” because it undermines our ideas about the standard cosmological model.”
There are of course many scores of other examples.
Were you up front about your film’s intentions with Kate Mulgrew, Lawrence Krauss, Michio Kaku, George Ellis, and others?
Of course we were.
Each participant who was contacted was informed of our intention to make a documentary examining complex aspects of cosmology, was given a full opportunity to ask questions about the project in any way desired, and was supplied with requested information.
All participants, including scientists, signed a full and clear release form.
Why do you think all of those people have distanced themselves from your movie?
Unfortunately, there was a lot of misinformation about what was contained in “The Principle” movie when the trailer was released.
None of this misinformation was based on having actually seen the movie, but instead was based on conjecture and prejudice.
The scientists who commented were confronted by this misinformation and reacted personally and emotionally to what they were told the movie was about.
All of the scientists have been given the opportunity to see the completed movie, and as positive support for the film and the broad range of viewpoints presented in it continues to build, we look forward to an ongoing dialogue.
The facts are set forth at [this link], as they have been in the movie.
What’s the best evidence you have for geocentrism?
This is not the issue, or the purpose of “The Principle.”
Geocentrism is one of many viewpoints presented in “The Principle.”
That being said, it is interesting to note that no experiment was ever able to directly measure the universally assumed orbital motion of Earth around sun, and this puzzling question resulted in the adoption of entirely new theories of physics and cosmology- which are themselves the subject of further discussion and analysis.
Are you aware that the fine tuning argument, which you make in the film, has been debunked repeatedly?
The arguments related to fine tuning are made by the participants, notably including Bernard Carr and George Ellis.
Ellis is Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of Capetown, and the co-author (with Stephen Hawking) of “The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time.”
Carr received his undergraduate degree at Trinity College, Cambridge, and studied under Stephen Hawking at the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge, and is professor of mathematics and astronomy at Queen Mary University of London.
In one memorable exchange from “The Principle,” Carr says to Ellis:
“The fine tunings, George, are really hard to explain unless you want to invoke a creator…”
It is clear that many scientists — including, even, multiverse theorists like Bernard Carr — simply do not agree with your conclusion above, and they speak for themselves in “The Principle.”
Much of what DeLano says about the voluntary participation of different scientists is in stark contrast to what they themselves have said. Krauss said that if he filmed anything for this film, it was under “false pretenses.”
More obviously, there’s no question about Earth revolving around the sun. There’s as much doubt about that among scientists as there is about evolution — which is to say there are crackpots, but not very many of them. DeLano managed to scoop up a couple of folks on the fringe of this issue and is now passing their views off as if they’re mainstream. If you want to claim we’re somehow special, that may be an interesting theological debate, but it’s not a scientific one.
It should also be noted that the papers published on arXiv, many of which DeLano cites, are not peer reviewed. Some of them may end up in journals in the future, but the papers on that site are posted by their authors without editorial oversight.