A Short Defense of the Geocentric Model

Letters: Earthy philosophy

From Amnon Goldberg

Tel Aviv, Israel

The letter quoting Ludwig Wittgenstein on Geocentrism (Letters, 23 March, p
) reminds one of Bertrand Russell’s observation: “Whether the earth rotates
once a day from west to east as Copernicus taught, or the heavens revolve once a
day from east to west as his predecessors held, the observed phenomena will be
exactly the same: a metaphysical assumption has to be made.”

And in a letter to New Scientist (16 August 1979, p 543), Darcy
Readyhoff, lecturer in navigation at RAF Cranwell, wrote: “One can of course
believe anything one likes as long as the consequences of that belief are
trivial. But when survival depends on belief, then it matters that belief
corresponds to manifest reality. We therefore teach navigators that the stars
are fixed to the Celestial Sphere, which is centred on a fixed earth and around
which it rotates in accordance with laws clearly deduced from common-sense
observation. The Sun and the Moon move across the inner surface of this sphere,
and hence perforce go around the Earth. This means that students of navigation
must unlearn a lot of the confused dogma they learned in school. Most of them
find this remarkably easy, because dogma is as maybe, but the real world is as
we perceive it to be.”

After all, the most straightforward explanation of the zero-velocity result
of the Michelson-Morley experiment and the positive-velocity of the
Michelson-Gale experiment is that the universe really is going around a fixed

From New Scientist, here.

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