Thursday, July 29, 2010

"No One's Perfect": Scientific Errors of Galileo and 16th-17th Century Cosmologies Rescued From Inexplicable Obscurity

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_FOIrYyQawGI/TFIx0zNrVHI/AAAAAAAAC84/0Zjat-NlslQ/s1600/GalileoAssayer.png
Galileo's 1623 book, The Assayer, in which he argued (directly against a Jesuit mathematician) that the comets of 1618 were merely illusory

Why is it that one always hears about the notorious trials of Galileo and the errors made by (one faction of) the Catholic Church (on a sub-magisterial, sub-infallible level) about science in the early 17th century, but never about Galileo's own misguided dogmatism in some areas, and several flat-out errors? Some of those were held by Galileo even in the face of current superior research from other scientists and thinkers, like Johannes Kepler. The Catholic Church made a mistake; we've admitted it; we no longer deny the truth of heliocentrism, etc.

Protestants, by the way, are not without their own embarrassing errors in this regard. Luther, Calvin, and Melanchthon (and the later Calvinist Francois Turretin) all opposed Copernicus. Luther's successor Philip Melanchthon and even the renowned Lutheran theologian Martin Chemnitz were enthusiastic advocates of astrology (whereas St. Thomas Aquinas had opposed it 300 years earlier). Leibniz, the Lutheran philosopher (1646-1716) attacked Newton's theory of gravitation. Lutherans as a whole (at least as much as the entirety of Catholics, if not more so) were very slow to come around to heliocentrism.

But for some reason many of the more loudmouthed and absurdly overconfident advocates of (what they consider essentially materialistic) science and/or critics of Christianity are not so quick to admit that there is more than enough error here (hindsight is 20/20) to go around. Most Catholics in that early period of modern astronomy didn't get everything right, but neither did anyone else (including even the best scientists) get even some very basic facts of astronomy right. So why is one party excoriated, while the errors of the vaunted (and indeed brilliant) scientists are ignored, unknown, or suppressed, in a cynical effort at one-sided presentation?

The objective observer will note, I submit (upon a complete perusal of the relevant facts), that in most cases of supposed stark opposition of two competing ideas (especially ones as complex as those involved in science and philosophy), there is truth and error to be found on both sides. The reality of various conflicts in the realm of the history of ideas is not usually "good vs. evil." Just as individuals are radical mixtures, so are sets of ideas: with some falsehood mixed in.

Let me present, if I may, some basic facts:

Copernicus (1473-1543) erred in asserting circular orbits and in holding that the sun was the stationary center of the universe, with not only the earth and the other planets of the solar system, but also all the other stars, moving around it. He also believed that transparent rotating crystalline spheres carried the planets in their orbits.

Tycho Brahe (1546–1601) erred insofar as he was a geocentrist and held (Tychonic "geoheliocentric" system) that the sun and moon revolve around the earth, and the other five planets revolve around the sun: all in circular, not elliptical orbits. Also, in his system the earth did not rotate.

Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) was correct in asserting elliptical orbits of the planets around the sun, at varying speeds (both notions having been foreseen by the Catholic Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa in the 15th century), but continued to err in thinking that the sun was the center of the entire universe. The idea that the sun was but one of innumerable stars, was strongly advocated by the mystic heretic and scientist Giordano Bruno (1548-1600). According to the Wikipedia entry, Bruno understood several aspects of cosmology that even Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Tycho neglected to see:

Bruno believed . . . that the Earth revolves around the sun, and that the apparent diurnal rotation of the heavens is an illusion caused by the rotation of the Earth around its axis. Bruno also held (following Nicholas of Cusa) that because God is infinite the universe would reflect this fact in boundless immensity. Bruno also asserted that the stars in the sky were really other suns like our own, around which orbited other planets. . . .

Bruno's infinite universe was filled with a substance—a "pure air," aether, or spiritus -- that offered no resistance to the heavenly bodies which, in Bruno's view, rather than being fixed, moved under their own impetus. Most dramatically, he completely abandoned the idea of a hierarchical universe. The Earth was just one more heavenly body, as was the Sun. . . .

Under this model, the Sun was simply one more star, and the stars all suns, each with its own planets. Bruno saw a solar system of a sun/star with planets as the fundamental unit of the universe. According to Bruno, infinite God necessarily created an infinite universe, formed of an infinite number of solar systems, separated by vast regions full of Aether, because empty space could not exist. (Bruno did not arrive at the concept of a galaxy.)

Galileo (1564-1642) disbelieved in Kepler's elliptical orbits of the planets, considering the circle the "perfect" shape for planetary orbits:

Galileo’s two main published works were Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems in 1629 and Discourses and Demonstrations Concerning Two New Sciences in 1638. The first of these was fully ten years after Kepler published his third law of planetary motion, and twenty years after the publication of Kepler’s first and second laws, yet Galileo seemed oblivious to those developments – despite the fact that he was very familiar with Kepler’s works and had high regard for him (referring to him as “a person of independent genius”). Einstein described Galileo’s failure to take account of Kepler’s laws as “a grotesque illustration of the fact that creative individuals are often not receptive”. [source: "Math Pages"]

R. R. Reno referred to this error on 26 July 2010, on the blog First Thoughts (connected with the magazine First Things):

These days no educated person “acknowledges” Galileo’s heliocentric theory as “correct.” Galileo adopted Copernicus’s theory, which presumed lovely circular orbits, but that turns out to be wrong. Tycho Brahe painstakingly collected data about the positions of the planets in the sky, which was theorized by Johannes Kepler as eliptical rather than circular motion.

Interestingly, Kepler and Galileo corresponded, but Galileo insisted on defending Copernicus’ views. On this point, Galileo was mistaken, and not just because he did not have access to the scientific data and good arguments. He was, like many brilliant individuals, a vain and willful man.

Scott Rosmarin, in his article, "Galileo's Lapse - The Fallibility of Scientists" (29 March 2010), noted:

Johannes Kepler had provided plausible evidence that the planets move in elliptical, nor circular orbits, and not at uniform speeds, but variable speeds, depending on their distance from the sun. This seriously challenged the Copernican view. Galileo . . . simply rejected Kepler's view, clinging instead to the ancient belief that circular motion was "beautiful" and, therefore, privileged. . . . Galileo believed dogmatically in the Copernican view, not merely as a good starting hypothesis, or true subject to possible modifications, such as those offered by Kepler.

Galileo was also wrong in following Copernicus's (and Kepler's) view that the sun was the stationary center of the universe, with the earth and other planets of the solar system, and also all the other stars, moving around it. In this respect, he and Copernicus had hardly advanced beyond what was already posited by the ancient Greek astronomer Aristarchus (d. c. 230 B. C.). All three had merely moved the center of the universe 93 million miles from the earth, to the sun.

That is not all that different (knowing how large the universe is) from positing that the earth is the center. Both are vastly erroneous positions. But, oddly enough, we only hear about one error and not the other. Nicholas of Cusa (a Catholic Cardinal) and Giordano Bruno were closer to the truth in these respects than Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler. Truth is stranger than fiction.

Galileo, moreover, argued vehemently in his 1623 book The Assayer that the comets of 1618 were merely an optical illusion. The Wikipedia entry on the book states:

The book was a polemic against the treatise on the comets of 1618 by Orazio Grassi, a Jesuit mathematician at the Collegio Romano. In this matter Grassi, for all his Aristotelianism, was right and Galileo was wrong. Galileo incorrectly treated the comets as a play of light rather than as real objects. . . .

Although The Assayer contains a magnificent polemic for mathematical physics, ironically its main point was to ridicule a mathematical astronomer. This time, the target of Galileo’s wit and sarcasm was the cometary theory of a Jesuit, Orazio Grassi, who argued from parallax that comets move above the Moon. Galileo mistakenly countered that comets are an optical illusion.

The Wikipedia article, "Comet," observed that Galileo "rejected Tycho's parallax measurements and held to the Aristotelian notion of comets moving on straight lines through the upper atmosphere."

Furthermore, Galileo dismissed as a "useless fiction" the idea, held by his contemporary Johannes Kepler, that the moon caused the tides. He thought they were caused by the rotation of the earth. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Galileo comments on this notion and how it figured in the overall picture:

This argument, about the tides, Galileo believed provided proof of the truth of the Copernican theory. . . . Galileo argues that the motion of the earth (diurnal and axial) is the only conceivable (or maybe plausible) physical cause for the reciprocal regular motion of the tides. He restricts the possible class of causes to mechanical motions, and so rules out Kepler's attribution of the moon as a cause. How could the moon without any connection to the seas cause the tides to ebb and flow? Such an explanation would be the invocation of magic or occult powers. So the motion of the earth causes the waters in the basins of the seas to slosh back and forth, and since the earth's diurnal and axial rotation is regular, so are the periods of the tides; the backward movement is due to the residual impetus built up in the water during its slosh. Differences in tidal flows are due to the differences in the physical conformations of the basins in which they flow . . . .

One can see why Galileo thinks he has some sort of proof for the motion of the earth, and therefore for Copernicanism. Yet one can also see why Bellarmine and the instrumentalists would not be impressed. First, they do not accept Galileo's restriction of possible causes to mechanically intelligible causes. Second, the tidal argument does not directly deal with the annual motion of the earth about the sun. And third, the argument does not touch anything about the central position of the sun or about the periods of the planets as calculated by Copernicus.

Galileo (like Kepler) was an avid proponent of astrology (see my paper: "Science vs. Religion" Chronicles: 16th-17th Century Astronomers' Simultaneous Acceptance of Astrology [+ Part Two], and "Galileo's Astrology," by Nick Kollerstrom). For example, he wrote in a letter to Piero Dini, dated 21 May, 1611:

If, therefore, of the inferior causes, those which arouse boldness of heart are diametrically contrary to those which inspire intellectual speculation, it is also most reasonable that the superior causes (if indeed they operate on us) be utterly different from those on which courage and the speculative faculty depend; and if the stars do operate and influence principally by their light, perchance it might be possible with some probable conjecture to deduce courage and boldness of heart from very large and vehement stars, and acuteness and perspicacity of wit from the thinnest and almost invisible lights.

(From Kollerstrom; Opere XI pp.105-116,111; translation by Mike Edwards)
Galileo drew up astrological charts for his two illegitimate daughters, and composed character-judgments based upon them. For his oldest, Virginia, he noted:

The Moon is very debilitated and in a sign which obeys. She is dominated by family relationships. Saturn signifies submission and severe customs which gives her a sad demeanour, but Jupiter is very well with Mercury, and well-aspected corrects this. (Ibid.)

Galileo was not always right in his controversies with the Church. Eminent philosopher and historian of science Thomas Kuhn observed:

Most of Galileo's opponents behaved more rationally. Like Bellarmine, they agreed that the phenomena were in the sky but denied that they proved Galileo's contentions. In this, of course, they were quite right. Though the telescope argued much, it proved nothing. [The Copernican Revolution (New York: Vintage Books / Random House, 1959), p. 226]

I wrote elsewhere:

But the scientist (though basically correct) was overconfident and quite obstinate in proclaiming his scientific theory as absolute truth, and this was a major concern. Accordingly, St. Robert Bellarmine, who was directly involved in the controversy, made it clear that heliocentrism was not irreversibly condemned, and also that a not-yet proven theory was not an unassailable fact. Bellarmine actually had the superior understanding of the nature of a scientific hypothesis. Galileo was scientifically fallible, too. He held that the entire universe revolved around the sun in circular (not elliptical) orbits, and that tides were caused by the rotation of the earth. True heliocentrism wasn’t conclusively proven until some 200 years later.

Lastly, in my treatment of Galileo in my book, The One-Minute Apologist (p. 31), I dealt with the common notion that Galileo was tortured and maliciously handled by the Church:

In 1633 Galileo was “incarcerated” in the palace of one Niccolini, the ambassador to the Vatican from Tuscany, who admired Galileo. He spent five months with Archbishop Piccolomini in Siena, and then lived in comfortable environments with friends for the rest of his life (although technically under “house arrest”). No evidence exists to prove that he was ever subjected to torture or even discomfort until his death nine years later. Nor is there any evidence, as another myth goes, that he was deliberately blinded (he lost his sight naturally in 1637). Stories of Galileo’s “torture” are myths invented and proliferated by a strange alliance of (anti-Catholic) fundamentalist and (anti-religion) skeptics.

For further reading on the Galileo affair from a heavily-documented Catholic perspective (there are two sides to every story, after all), see:

Galileo: The Myths and the Facts (Dave Armstrong)

Dialogue on the Galileo Fiasco and Plea for Better Understanding of the Church's Error, Given the State of Scientific and Astronomical Knowledge in 1633 (Dave Armstrong vs. Eric G.)

Why the Galileo Case Doesn't Disprove Catholic Infallibility, Rightly-Understood / Sola Scriptura Redux (Dave Armstrong vs. Ken Temple and Eric G.)

Richard Dawkins and Double Standards in the "Religion vs. Science" Mentality / Galileo Redux (Dave Armstrong)

The Galileo Incident: Does it Prove that the Catholic Church is Not Infallible, or that it is Intrinsically Hostile to Science? (Steven L. Kellmeyer, Alexander R. Pruss, Michael W. Martin, and Brad Kaiser)

Catholic Encyclopedia, "Galileo Galilei"

The Galileo Controversy (Catholic Answers)

Why Did the Catholic Church Condemn Galileo? (Kenneth J. Howell, This Rock, May-June 2003)

Galileo and the Catholic Church (Robert P. Lockwood)

Galileo (Anne W. Carroll)

The Galileo Legend (Thomas Lessl)

Galileo Galilei (Bertrand Conway)

Galileo and the Magisterium: a Second Look (Jeffrey A. Mirus)

Twisting the Knife (Wil Milan, This Rock, Nov-Dec 1999)

1633 Letter Resolves the Legend About the Galileo Case, Says Vatican Aide: Urban VIII Was Sensitive Toward Astronomer's Health, Document Indicates (Zenit, 21 August 2003)

The Legacy of Galileo Galilei: Conference Discusses Scientist's Continuing Influence (Edward Pentin, Zenit, 3 December 2009)

Vatican to Publish New Volume on Galileo: To Include 20 Documents Discovered Since '91 (Zenit, 2 June 2009)

Pope John Paul II's Address Regarding Galileo (L'Osservatore Romano, 4 November 1992)

From Warpath to Wholeness: The Condemnation and Rehabilitation of Galileo Galilei (Mathew Chandrankunnel)

Actual documents of Galileo's trials (Vatican Archives)

Maurice A. Finocchiaro, "The Church and Galileo," The Catholic Historical Review (Vol. 94, No. 2, April 2008, pp. 260-282)

Galileo Revisited (Fr. Paschal)

Seven lengthy treatises on the trial of Galileo [all PDF; not necessarily all written by Catholics]

The Galileo Incident (Russell Maatman)

***

109 comments:

I.M Fletcher said...

Dave, thanks for the post. It was great reading. I also recommend the book 'How The Catholic Church Saved Western Civilization' by Thomas E. Woods. I bought the Kindle version from Amazon and it is well worth reading. See LINK for overview.

It was a real eye-opener for me to find out the contributions that the Church has made to science, learning, and law, and that the Religion vs Science idea simply isn't true.

[edit] I see that another person has mentioned it in a comment also.

snippet ---

It is all very well to point out that important scientists, like Louis Pasteur, have been Catholic. More revealing is how many priests have distinguished themselves in the sciences. It turns out, for instance, that the first person to measure the rate of acceleration of a freely falling body was Fr. Giambattista Riccioli. The man who has been called the father of Egyptology was Fr. Athanasius Kircher (also called "master of a hundred arts" for the breadth of his knowledge). Fr. Roger Boscovich, who has been described as "the greatest genius that Yugoslavia ever produced," has often been called the father of modern atomic theory.

In the sciences it was the Jesuits in particular who distinguished themselves; some 35 craters on the moon, in fact, are named after Jesuit scientists and mathematicians.

By the eighteenth century, the Jesuits

had contributed to the development of pendulum clocks, pantographs, barometers, reflecting telescopes and microscopes, to scientific fields as various as magnetism, optics and electricity. They observed, in some cases before anyone else, the colored bands on Jupiter’s surface, the Andromeda nebula and Saturn’s rings. They theorized about the circulation of the blood (independently of Harvey), the theoretical possibility of flight, the way the moon effected the tides, and the wave-like nature of light. Star maps of the southern hemisphere, symbolic logic, flood-control measures on the Po and Adige rivers, introducing plus and minus signs into Italian mathematics — all were typical Jesuit achievements, and scientists as influential as Fermat, Huygens, Leibniz and Newton were not alone in counting Jesuits among their most prized correspondents [Jonathan Wright, The Jesuits, 2004, p. 189].

Dave Armstrong said...

Great stuff. Thanks!

Christopher said...

Dave, some well known Catholics still believe in Geo-centralism. Have you seen this upcoming seminar?

http://www.galileowaswrong.com/galileowaswrong/

I'm sure you may know Robert Sungenis, he is a Catholic apologist as well. I've listened to some of his debates with protestants but I just recently learned about this theory of his. Interested to know your take....

I found the link to the above URL from his institution at: http://www.catholicintl.com/

john said...

Dave

You are a well known Catholic apologist. The Papal bulls referring to Galileo clearly state the earth is stationary is understood to be part of the faith.

What evidence do you have for a moving earth from scripture, tradition and science?

Why do you believe the earth is moving when the church fathers taught the earth is stationary?

John

Christopher said...

John, interesting comment and questions I must say:

"You are a well known Catholic apologist. The Papal bulls referring to Galileo clearly state the earth is stationary is understood to be part of the faith."

>>> I do not think the scientific theories of what orbits what is necessarily essential to our faith as Catholics. So saying it's "part of the faith" may be a bit misleading as it is not in the same arena of our core ethical/moral beliefs which are much more important.

"What evidence do you have for a moving earth from scripture, tradition and science?"

>>>A simple Google search might yield answers for you:

Here's a good site: http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/p92.htm


"Why do you believe the earth is moving when the church fathers taught the earth is stationary?"

>>> We do not treat everything that the church fathers say as free of error, especially when it comes to topics outside their expertise. Even our Popes are prone to error.


John, what is your angle on these questions? Can you dispense with the real bottom line question (your leading into) rather than beating around the bush with the preliminaries?

Perhaps you can save Dave some time in teaching basic astronomy to us again.

Dave Armstrong said...

For my opinions, see my paper:
Exchanges With Robert Sungenis on Geocentrism and Perceived Personal Attacks

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2009/01/reply-to-robert-sungenis-letter.html

And papers from others:

Scientific Disproof of Geocentrism (Ken Cole, with four replies by Sungenis and four counter-replies from Cole)

http://web.archive.org/web/20050828145515/catholicoutlook.com/cole.php

As the Universe Turns: Is it physically possible for the whole universe to orbit the earth? (Gary Hoge)

http://web.archive.org/web/20050925205057/catholicoutlook.com/centerofmass.php

Why the earth can't be the center of mass of the universe (+ Part II) (Gary Hoge vs. Robert Sungenis

http://web.archive.org/web/20050908155409/catholicoutlook.com/centerofmass2.php

http://web.archive.org/web/20050903110439/catholicoutlook.com/centerofmass3.php

john said...

Christopher

Popes wrote Bulls against Galileo and statements condemned a moving earth as being against the faith.

Pope Paul V, stated ``absurd, false in theology, and heretical, because absolutely contrary to Holy Scripture, ``was the proposition that ``the sun is the centre about which the earth revolves''; and what was condemned as ``absurd, false in philosophy, and from a theological point of view, at least, opposed to the true faith,'' was the proposition that ``the earth is not the centre of the universe and immovable, but has a diurnal motion.''

http://www.cscs.umich.edu/~crshalizi/White/astronomy/retreat.html

Pope Alexander VII condemned “all books teaching the movement of the earth and the stability of the sun.”

From the above Papal statements a stationary Earth is taught by the church to be part of the faith and to say the earth moves is to speak against the faith. These statments have never been overturned by other Popes, so the statements are still binding on the church.

Council of Trent tells Catholics to find the faith in the consent of the church fathers. The fathers taught geocentrism as revealed by God and therefore it has been revealed by God. John Salza has a good page documenting many quotes from scripture, the church and the fathers concerning the issue of geocentrism. http://www.scripturecatholic.com/geocentrism.html

He notes the following concerning the fathers –

1) The Fathers never say the earth moves, except at the end of time.
2) The Fathers always say the earth is at rest at the center of the universe.
3) The Fathers never say the sun is the center of the universe.
4) The Fathers never say the sun does not move around the earth, even in their scientific analysis of the cosmos.
5) The Fathers always say the earth is the center of the universe.
6) The Fathers always say the sun moves as the moon moves.
7) The Fathers recognize that some of the Greeks held that the earth moves and rotates, but they do not accept that teaching.
8) The Fathers accept the Chaldean, Egyptian and Greek teaching that the earth is at the center of the universe and does not move.
9) The Fathers hold that the earth was created first, by itself, and only afterward the sun, moon and stars.
10) The Fathers hold that light was created after the earth, but that this light preceded the light of the sun and stars.

Theologically geocentrism is a revealed truth found in scripture, the fathers and formal church teaching.

I’ve reviewed your web link and the objections are standard stuff answered in Galileo was wrong by Robert Sungenis. I request you have a closer look at the revealed truth of geocentrism.

John

john said...

Dave

I suggest if you haven't read Galileo Was wrong and you point your readers to an old dialogue with Robert Sungenis where you've made some basic errors, then your opinion on geocentrism is largely uniformed.

Your statement concerning the fathers on geocentrism as science and not faith is overturned by the Papal bulls which state a stationary earth is a matter of faith. Therefore as a faithful Catholic you should review your position on the matter.



John

Dave Armstrong said...

Thanks for your opinion.

Jordanes said...

The opinion of the Fathers on matters of science are only relevant to the Catholic Faith if they touch on a doctrine in the deposit of faith. To loosely paraphrase St. Augustine, whether the earth is the fixed center of the universe or rather is in motion like everything else in the universe doesn't matter a hill of beans. The Holy Spirit revealed nothing about such things that do not help us in any way to be Christians. God would not distract us with curiosities that do not aid our salvation.

As for the claim that the Church infallibly condemned the denial of geocentrism as heretical:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06342b.htm

"Can it be said that either Paul V or Urban VIII so committed himself to the doctrine of geocentricism as to impose it upon the Church as an article of faith, and so to teach as pope what is now acknowledged to be untrue? That both these pontiffs were convinced anti-Copernicans cannot be doubted, nor that they believed the Copernican system to be unscriptural and desired its suppression. The question is, however, whether either of them condemned the doctrine ex cathedra. This, it is clear, they never did. As to the decree of 1616, we have seen that it was issued by the Congregation of the Index, which can raise no difficulty in regard of infallibility, this tribunal being absolutely incompetent to make a dogmatic decree. Nor is the case altered by the fact that the pope approved the Congregation's decision in forma communi, that is to say, to the extent needful for the purpose intended, namely to prohibit the circulation of writings which were judged harmful. The pope and his assessors may have been wrong in such a judgment, but this does not alter the character of the pronouncement, or convert it into a decree ex cathedra.

"As to the second trial in 1633, this was concerned not so much with the doctrine as with the person of Galileo, and his manifest breach of contract in not abstaining from the active propaganda of Copernican doctrines. The sentence, passed upon him in consequence, clearly implied a condemnation of Copernicanism, but it made no formal decree on the subject, and did not receive the pope's signature. Nor is this only an opinion of theologians; it is corroborated by writers whom none will accuse of any bias in favour of the papacy. Thus Professor Augustus De Morgan (Budget of Paradoxes) declares

"It is clear that the absurdity was the act of the Italian Inquisition, for the private and personal pleasure of the pope — who knew that the course he took could not convict him as pope — and not of the body which calls itself the Church."

"And von Gebler ("Galileo Galilei"):

"The Church never condemned it (the Copernican system) at all, for the Qualifiers of the Holy Office never mean the Church."

"It may be added that Riceloll and other contemporaries of Galileo were permitted, after 1616, to declare that no anti-Copernican definition had issued from the supreme pontiff."

And of course, as anyone will know who takes the time to study the Galileo matter, St. Robert Bellarmine admitted at the time that if science were ever to prove that the earth orbits the sun (as it in fact has, pseudo-scientific claims of geocentrists notwithstanding), then the Church would have to reexamine the question of what the Bible actually says about the motions of the earth and the heavenly bodies around it. He couldn't have said that if the Church had really infallibly and irreformably condemned the denial of geocentrism.

Dave Armstrong said...

Do you have an exact quote from St. Robert Bellarmine and a source for what you said in the last paragraph?

Maroun said...

Hi Dave.
I found this quoting in the new advent catholic encyclopedia under the key Galileo Galilei , by cardinal Bellarmine .
I say that if a real proof be found that the sun is fixed and does not revolve round the earth, but the earth round the sun, then it will be necessary, very carefully, to proceed to the explanation of the passages of Scripture which appear to be contrary, and we should rather say that we have misunderstood these than pronounce that to be false which is demonstrated.
GBU

Suburbanbanshee said...

That one astronomer/grammarian guy in Mexico thought something like that about comets, I think. Can't remember, but I think Sor Juana wrote a poem about it. Must look that up.

As for science stuff, St. Irenaeus wasn't particularly troubled by the Bible not containing all science knowledge. Look up what he says in Against Heresies, Vol. 2, Ch. 28.

As for Bellarmine, his comment about reinterpretation is following the principle laid down by St. Albert the Great, the teacher of St. Thomas Aquinas, that there is only one truth, not one truth for science and another for Scripture; and that if truth seems to contradict Scripture, obviously you're misinterpreting Scripture. (Can't find the exact quote just now.)

Dave Armstrong said...

Excellent elaborations on that matter. Thanks, guys. I think it is an important aspect of the whole thing that needs to be more known.

Jordanes said...

St. Thomas Aquinas wrote in his Summa:

"In discussing questions of this kind two rules are to be observed, as Augustine teaches (Gen. ad lit. i, 18). The first is, to hold the truth of Scripture without wavering. The second is that since Holy Scripture can be explained in a multiplicity of senses, one should adhere to a particular explanation, only in such measure as to be ready to abandon it, if it be proved with certainty to be false; lest Holy Scripture be exposed to the ridicule of unbelievers, and obstacles be placed to their believing."

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1068.htm

Jon said...

I don't see the relevance of showing that Galileo and others made mistakes. What do you expect of 17th century scientists?

None of this absolves Rome though. I have a brief description of the relevant facts, often obscured by RC apologists, at the following link:

http://bigwhiteogre.blogspot.com/2009/05/facts-concerning-galileo.html

Dave Armstrong said...

Hi Jon,

I'll take a look at your paper as soon as I can set aside a chunk of time. Thanks for alerting me to it.

The point is not merely to note that scientists make mistakes (a thing anyone with a lick of sense knows) -- as if that is some big revelation [no pun intended] --, but rather, that Christians are not the only ones who make mistakes (specifically with the Galileo incident in mind) and that there are many aspects to the Galileo affair that many are unaware of.

In other words, this is an exercise of pointing out double standards of presentation, by presenting (fairly) certain facts of history.

Catholics got some things wrong in 17th century cosmology? So did everyone else, etc. So why are we always discussed, and all this other stuff ignored and unknown?

THAT is my point, that I already expressed in the paper, so that there shouldn't be any mystery here as to what I think I am accomplishing by this post.

Dave Armstrong said...

"in this instance the church opposed demonstrable science because of their understanding of the Bible. This is an excellent example of some of the problems with religious thinking."

There's nothing in this paper that I haven't already dealt with in my several papers on Galileo.

To generalize from one instance where mistakes were made, to "religious thinking" is absurd. So one (non-infallible, non-magisterial) Catholic tribunal got it wrong. Why should it be such a big deal? Someone noted that this actually proves the fact that the Church is not opposed to argument: since Galileo is the one "stock argument" trotted out ad nauseum (just as Popes Honorius, Vigilius, and Liberius are always trotted out to supposedly disprove papal infallibility).

Jon wouldn't argue that Communism, Stalinism, Maoism, Naziism, eugenics, phrenology, astrology, alchemy, sterilization of black men, Piltdown and Nebraska Man, etc., were all indicative of "problems with atheist thinking" that he has to waste time defending atheists against these charges, as if such a broad generalization can be made in the first place . . .

The overall historical picture has to be taken into account. it is for this reason that I am currently at work on my big project of "Christianity and Science": to smash the prevalent myths, caricatures, half truths, outright lies and propaganda (Hitchens, Dawkins et al), and straw men.

Jordanes said...

"in this instance the church opposed demonstrable science because of their understanding of the Bible."

That claim is precisely what you, Dave, have demonstrated in not the case. The scientific claims of Galileo in those days were NOT demonstrable. Galileo knew they weren't, but bullheadedly refused to admit it.

Dave Armstrong said...

And, as Thomas Kuhn and others have stated, St. Robert Bellarmine actually had the more sophisticated, "modern" conception of what scientific theory and hypothesis are: not dogmas, but provisional, and never absolutely proven. Hence, Newton could be overthrown by Einstein and Planck and Heisenberg, etc. Bellarmine didn't consider heliocentrism proven beyond all doubt, and in that respect he was right. It was not solidly established, based on experiment, till the early 1800s.

But ol' Galileo thought it was, based on his erroneous view of tides.

In essence, then, it is a case where one non-magisterial tribunal of the Church was wrong about astronomy for (partially) the right reasons, and Galileo was partially right about astronomy for (partially) the wrong reasons.

We openly admit the mistakes we made, whereas the ones who want to keep throwing Galileo in our faces don't seem willing to consider the larger picture and aspects where Galileo got it wrong (beyond just an arrogant attitude: to actual scientific facts).

So it is a double standard in the initial judgment, and a double standard in who is willing to honestly admit what real mistakes were made (as opposed to mythical fictions and legends that supposedly occurred).

Jon said...

The reason it's a big deal is this. The RCC claims to be God's representation on earth. Failing to be subservient to that authority was done on pain of imprisonment (in Galileo's case house arrest) or death. Now, that was logical. If the RCC is God's spokesperson and God is telling you one thing and you are affirming another, then you are defying God. That's why pain is warranted. We can't have people defying God's statements.

Well, the RCC wasn't magisterial and infallible in this instance you say. I think reasonable people can see this as excuses. I mean, imagine you hire a guide to take you on a trip and he says that his guidance is infallible. You come to a fork in the road and you go left on his advice and find yourself at a dead end. As you retrace your steps your guide says "Well, my advice to go left was only being offered in my unofficial capacity."

Or you have a doctor that claims infallible powers and he issues prescriptions that lead to the death of his patients. "But I didn't sign my name in the special way and I didn't use the special paper. Those were my unofficial, non-magesterial pronouncements." Wouldn't we call this doctor a scam artist?

There's only one distinction that makes sense with regards to infallibility. If it's offered in an official capacity it should be regarded as infallible. If not, then no. If "Thou art Peter" means infallible guidance for Peter and his successors I can understand that it might not mean he's right in every action that he does. But he has to be right when he acts in his official capacity as a representative of Christ on earth, which is exactly what occurred in the case of Galileo.

There are only going to be few cases where the erroneous nature of the claims of the faithful are so strikingly demonstrated. Today the RCC has learned the important lesson. The Pope is regarded as a guide, but he doesn't act that way. He hangs back without leading at all on various questions until a consensus emerges and then he steps forward and pronounces the consensus correct. This is not how a real guide acts, but is how a wise arbiter would act. Let the disputing parties fight it out until they've exhausted themselves and come to conclusions themselves, then step forward and pronounce who's right.

So take evolution. The lesson of Galileo has been learned. The Pope isn't going to step up and tell us who's right, as you would think might be done of Christ really intended an infallible guide on the earth to resolve controversial disputes. He's going to hang back until everyone's pretty much on the same page. Maybe a few stragglers that don't have sufficient influence. Then he'll let us know the answer. He says nothing because he's not really a leader and doesn't even believe in his own infallibility.

Dave Armstrong said...

Oh my; this is a goldmine of logical fallacy and muddleheaded thinking. I'll reply in a little while; gotta finish up a few things first.

Dave Armstrong said...

Hi Jon,

Here we go!

The reason it's a big deal is this. The RCC claims to be God's representation on earth.

So far so good; though we don't make Christianity or saving faith exclusive to our ranks.

Failing to be subservient to that authority was done on pain of imprisonment (in Galileo's case house arrest) or death.

Infallibility and the obedience of professed Catholics to the Church are two different things. The Church had the right and prerogative to penalize someone who wanted to, in effect, speak for the Church and impose dogmas onto the Church that were not yet proven even in scientific terms.

"Death" is merely a melodramatic flourish and can therefore be dismissed as a non sequitur.

As for the house arrest, I noted the nature of it in my most recent paper on Galileo:

"In 1633 Galileo was 'incarcerated' in the palace of one Niccolini, the ambassador to the Vatican from Tuscany, who admired Galileo. He spent five months with Archbishop Piccolomini in Siena, and then lived in comfortable environments with friends for the rest of his life (although technically under 'house arrest'). No evidence exists to prove that he was ever subjected to torture or even discomfort until his death nine years later."

Now, that was logical. If the RCC is God's spokesperson and God is telling you one thing and you are affirming another, then you are defying God.

No; you are defying the Church, which speaks for God on this earth; it doesn't follow that the Church never makes mistakes, as it did here. We claim different levels of authority for different things.

The Church had authority in the way that a parent has authority over a five-year-old child. Does that mean that parents are always, absolutely right in every instance of punishment or correction? No. Does it mean, then, that they should not have authority and that the child should not obey? No.

That's why pain is warranted. We can't have people defying God's statements.

I have explained it in logical, rational terms. You are the one trying to caricature what happened, according to the usual stereotypes of skeptics who have used this incident for almost four centuries to mean far more than what it actually meant.

Dave Armstrong said...

[cont.]

Well, the RCC wasn't magisterial and infallible in this instance you say. I think reasonable people can see this as excuses. I mean, imagine you hire a guide to take you on a trip and he says that his guidance is infallible. You come to a fork in the road and you go left on his advice and find yourself at a dead end. As you retrace your steps your guide says "Well, my advice to go left was only being offered in my unofficial capacity."

Or you have a doctor that claims infallible powers and he issues prescriptions that lead to the death of his patients. "But I didn't sign my name in the special way and I didn't use the special paper. Those were my unofficial, non-magesterial pronouncements." Wouldn't we call this doctor a scam artist?


This is plain silly. It's not an excuse at all; it is simply what it is. The non-Catholic skeptic and critic doesn't determine the nature of Catholic belief with regard to infallibility; we do that. Here is the logic of it:

Catholic Church (CC): Our belief is that the Church possesses infallibility in carefully defined circumstances: when something that has long been widely believed and has strong support in Scripture and Tradition, in the area of faith and morals, is declared to be infallible, by a pope, or an ecumenical council in harmony with a pope.

Skeptic Caricaturist (SC): But I say that matters of science are included within the purview of infallibility!

CC: That's irrelevant. You don't change the reality of what a thing is by desiring that it be something else. It's a straw man. The first rule of any sensible dialogue is to understand the position of one's opponent.

SC: But that is just a lame excuse, because you are embarrassed that the Galileo incident disproved the infallibility of the Church.

CC: How can it do that, since it had nothing directly to do with either the faith or morals?

SC: Well, it has to do with the doctrine of creation, which is part of the attributes of God, no?

CC: The discussion of heliocentrism vs. geocentrism (with both being wrong insofar as the earth or sun is thought to be at the center of the universe) are particular astronomical theories. Whether one or the other is true does not affect the doctrine that God created everything in the universe. But in any event, it has no bearing whatever on infallibility since the subject matter is outside of faith and morals, and the erroneous proclamations about heliocentrism were made by neither a pope nor an ecumenical council.

Dave Armstrong said...

[cont.]

There's only one distinction that makes sense with regards to infallibility. If it's offered in an official capacity it should be regarded as infallible. If not, then no.

Again, you exhibit the same foolish fallacy:

1) Catholic Church says infallibility means X and is applied to particular situations Y and Z (the Galileo affair not being either Y or Z).

2) Jon says no; infallibility actually means, or should mean (because he says so!) A, and should be applied to the particular situation of the Galileo affair, which he says is indeed within the category of Y and Z.

3) So the Church says that the Galileo affair is not an instance of Y and Z, but Jon says it is. The two positions contradict each other.

4) So who should reasonably determine where infallibility applies or doesn't apply?

5) We say the Church obviously determines that, because it is the entity making the claim in the first place; therefore it is sensible that it defines the parameters of its own claimed authority.

6) Jon says he knows better than the Church about its own level of authority. He says every "official" Church decree must also be infallible, because, well, because he says so . . .

Etc., etc. One either sees the self-evident illogical goofiness of such a position or they do not.

If "Thou art Peter" means infallible guidance for Peter and his successors I can understand that it might not mean he's right in every action that he does. But he has to be right when he acts in his official capacity as a representative of Christ on earth, which is exactly what occurred in the case of Galileo.

No it ain't. The pope didn't even sign the decree. It was not an infallible statement. It wasn't made by a pope or an ecumenical council in line with one. It didn't have to do with faith and morals. There was simply a mistake made about the earth going around the sun. Big wow. Galileo made other mistakes, as I have documented, and was also over-dogmatic when he shouldn't have been, according to the parameters of proper science.

There are only going to be few cases where the erroneous nature of the claims of the faithful are so strikingly demonstrated.

I suppose so, since this Galileo incident is always bandied about, as if it proves anything. All it proves is that some folks in the Church were incorrect about geocentrism and about the supposed teaching of it in Scripture.

Dave Armstrong said...

[cont.]

Today the RCC has learned the important lesson.

I think the lesson was learned that dogmatic pronouncements about science and the interpretation of Scripture are excessive, yes.

The difference is that our mistakes are discussed forever and caricatured and distorted, but mistakes of either Galileo or science in general through the centuries are glossed-over, ignored, and it is pretended that there is this huge qualitative difference between our mistake here and any of the others.

The Pope is regarded as a guide, but he doesn't act that way. He hangs back without leading at all on various questions until a consensus emerges and then he steps forward and pronounces the consensus correct.

For once you get something (partially) right (and you intend it to be a criticism LOL). That's exactly how infallibility works. This is why, e.g., the Immaculate Conception and infallibility of the pope was proclaimed in the 19th century, and the Assumption of Mary in the 20th. Lots of deliberation there. In the meantime, there is lots of guidance, even at a lower level of infallibility (what is called the ordinary magisterium).

This is not how a real guide acts, but is how a wise arbiter would act. Let the disputing parties fight it out until they've exhausted themselves and come to conclusions themselves, then step forward and pronounce who's right.

Again, we have the ludicrous situation of you (who scarcely even comprehends infallibility and how it works in the Catholic Church) acting as if you understand it better than we do. Disagree if you must, but please do us the courtesy of at least attempting to correctly understand what our view is. As a former anti-Catholic Protestant, you obviously have a lot of that baggage left in your views.

So take evolution. The lesson of Galileo has been learned. The Pope isn't going to step up and tell us who's right, as you would think might be done of Christ really intended an infallible guide on the earth to resolve controversial disputes.

Evolution has nothing directly to do with the Catholic faith. It's like you want it both ways. You don't want the Church to proclaim about science, cuz it ain't her purview, yet on the other hand you do. which is it? If we proclaim and do so wrongly (even if sub-infallibly), then that is distorted and used as anti-Catholic and anti-Christian propaganda for 400 years. If we don't, then you go after infallibility, as if that has anything to do with matters of science.

Popes have, in fact, made statements about precisely those areas where evolution might intersect with Christian theology: in Humani Generis in 1950, Pope Pius XII stated that Catholics must believe in a primal human pair, and that God creates every individual soul. Beyond that we have the perfect freedom to believe in evolution (which doesn't disprove God's existence in the slightest). St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas both adhered to views that at the very least left open the possibility of transformationism.

He's going to hang back until everyone's pretty much on the same page. Maybe a few stragglers that don't have sufficient influence. Then he'll let us know the answer. He says nothing because he's not really a leader and doesn't even believe in his own infallibility.

A classic case study in relentless non sequitur . . . C'mon Jon. I know you can make a better argument than this (and I mean that as a compliment, not a put-down). You can do better. This is simply a poor, weak, fallacious argument on many levels.

Jon said...

Dave, you wrote:

"Death" is merely a melodramatic flourish and can therefore be dismissed as a non sequitur.

I don't understand what you are saying. A non-sequitur is a claim that the conclusion does not follow from the premises. What are the premises and what is the conclusion I'm drawing that doesn't follow?

CC: How can it do that, since it had nothing directly to do with either the faith or morals?

Yes it did. It had to do with the accuracy of Scripture as interpreted by the RCC. Interpretation of Scripture is a matter related to faith. It's fine to say the RCC is infallible only on matters of faith, but there are times when faith and science coincide. Science is nothing but a method of determining truth. If the truth is related to a Scriptural matter than faith and science will be interlinked. Saying that the RCC doesn't get necessarily get it right in such cases is simply saying that the RCC doesn't necessarily get it right in matters that can be checked. So why should we believe the RCC in matters that can't be checked? Jesus said that if you can't trust me on earthly matters, why should you trust me on heavenly matters. I agree.

Jon says he knows better than the Church about its own level of authority. He says every "official" Church decree must also be infallible, because, well, because he says so . . .

What I'm doing is using induction. In order to spot a phony I use certain techniques. If the fraudulent doctor claims his infallible perscriptions are only infallible when he uses the special paper (after his patients have died) I recognize this as a shyster's method. He could respond as you do. "But Jon says that all perscriptions are infallible despite my own declaration that it only counts on special paper." Well, yeah, I suppose that's what he'd say since he's been busted. What would you say to the doctor? If you treat him differently than the RCC ask yourself why.

Jon said...

"Again, we have the ludicrous situation of you (who scarcely even comprehends infallibility and how it works in the Catholic Church) acting as if you understand it better than we do."

In a sense that's true. In the same way you might think that you understand better the workings of the chiropracter better than the committed acolyte. I don't mean it as a put down, but just to say that since obviously I think you're wrong about the RCC and infallibility I view you as more prone to accept their excuses and more blind to misleading nature of their rationalizations. Sometimes the outsider does see some aspects more clearly. That's true in any situation. Suppose someone you know has a family feud. You might be more objective in evaluating it, whereas parties to the conflict might say "What do you know about it. I'm in the middle of it. I know more." Maybe that's the very reason you can't evaluate it objectively.

Evolution has nothing directly to do with the Catholic faith. It's like you want it both ways. You don't want the Church to proclaim about science, cuz it ain't her purview, yet on the other hand you do. which is it?

I wish she would actually because it would expose the true nature of the church. Again, evolution is related to faith. Go to any Christian book store and you'll see. Origins of humanity are a matter of faith obviously. If we descended from ape like ancestors that is obviously relevant to God's attitude towards us.

This is simply a poor, weak, fallacious argument on many levels.

How so? It's an inductive argument. People that genuinely believe they are right and don't make mistakes act in certain ways, and those ways seem very inconsistent, if not the opposite, of the way Popes, protected with the charism of infallibility act. Of course the Pope's supposed gifts are slightly different, but there are still points of similarity. To evaluate how we should expect the Pope to act we can do nothing but consider analogous cases and contrast with the Pope's behavior. That's what I'm doing. It's not a deductive argument, so I'm not pretending that the conclusions follow with necessity.

Dave Armstrong said...

We are at an impasse, then, because you are denying that a=a (Catholic infallibility is what it is). Since you have redefined Catholic notions at your whim and fancy, you're fighting a straw man, and there is nowhere else to go with this. I can't defend a phantom of your making. What I'm defending is the Catholic conception of infallibility.

We're not discussing infallibility per se, but rather, whether the particular of the Galileo fiasco is related to it.

If we claimed to be infallible concerning absolutely everything, then your argument would have some force, but since we don't, it has to be determined if the Galileo affair is within the purview of infallibility or not. It certainly is not (clearly so), yet you want it to be so badly (for polemical purposes), that you simply pretend that it is.

Even if I granted that it did indeed have to do with the faith, directly, there is still no "procedural" infallibility involved, as I have already explained, because this was not a solemn, binding decree made by a pope or by an ecumenical council in conjunction with a pope. Those are the conditions of infallibility; therefore, this situation does not fall into the category. Period. Case closed. It's really not that complicated. It ain't even toy rocket science. :-)

You can believe we're merely "rationalizing" if you wish. I say you don't understand what it is you are discussing, as indicated by the convenient, cynical redefinition of terms. This fails the most fundamental requirements of true, constructive dialogue (accurately comprehend the opponent's view, so as to avoid straw men).

If infallibility is out of the picture, then it is merely a matter of a fallible decree by a non-infallible organ of the Catholic Church. They made a mistake. No one thought it was impossible for Catholics or even the Church to make a mistake in the first place (on the sub-infallible level). So it is much ado about nothing (i.e., in terms of ramifications for infallibility).

I think it was a serious mistake, that clearly had negative repercussions for years to come (it would be much better if it had never happened), but it has no bearing on the status of Catholic authority.

It's one thing to assert:

1) X is erroneous because of A, B, and C.

. . . and then reject X on those grounds. But what you are doing is something different:

2) Pseudo-X (i.e., X as I arbitrarily redefine and distort it) is erroneous.

Since I don't believe in Pseudo-X, I am under no intellectual obligation to defend it. In fact, it would literally be dishonest for me to do so, because I would be granting your false premise, and I can't honestly do that.

Therefore, the discussion is at a dead-end until such time as you correctly understand what X (the Catholic doctrine of infallibility) is.

Nothing personal; I'm just being consistent with my own principles and belief-system and applying simple logic (primarily, a=a).

Jon said...

I agree that this is kind of an impasse. You are defending the doctor with the prescriptions that have caused death by saying that he didn't use the special signature and special paper. You say that you get to define what qualifies as an infallible prescription. You can do that and logically evade the charge of error.

When the decree was issued it was understood as coming from the Pope in his official capacity. See the intro to Newton's Principia and Galileo's tract on the motion of comets. Kind of like patients confidently getting prescriptions filled imagining them to be infallible.

Then when they aren't the prior decrees die the death of a thousand qualifications. Is it logically possible that in fact they are right though they are acting like the phony doctor would? Sure. But the question is, is that a reasonable belief? Don't confuse my claim with a claim that my position is conclusively demonstrated like some mathematical theorem. My claim is that this is a reasonable understanding of the facts. Can you at least understand how it looks to an outsider? Doesn't it look like a phony doctor?

Dave Armstrong said...

When the decree was issued it was understood as coming from the Pope in his official capacity.

To some extent that was probably true. But that's the distinction between authority and infallibility that I drew earlier. The former is a much larger category than the latter. They aren't identical.

Can you at least understand how it looks to an outsider? Doesn't it look like a phony doctor?

If you don't understand the nature of Catholic ecclesiology (and some of the rationale for it, that is provided by apologetics), sure. In this respect you and the anti-Catholic Protestants you used to hang around are in almost exactly the same boat: neither will take the time to learn how Catholic ecclesiology works, and you won't take the word of folks like myself (who defend the system as my occupation) that you don't understand it. Because you don't comprehend it, you can only view it as some sort of sleight-of-hand or casuistry (I love that word) in order to desperately uphold a fundamentally irrational and internally contradictory system.

You know full well when Christians are misrepresenting the thoughts and motivations of atheists. I know
when Catholicism is being vastly misunderstood and caricatured.

You seem to not even comprehend the logic of the argument I am making. This suggests to me that the basis of your objection from the start is merely emotional rather than rational. You despise the Catholic system to such an extent that it is of no concern to you whether you accurately describe it, in order to shoot it down. And so you hold firm to your erroneous convictions, no matter what I say.

Unless you better understand the nature of infallibility, there is no possibility of further discussion. It'd be like trying to discuss geology with a guy who thinks the earth is flat. It can go nowhere because the starting assumption is so ludicrous and non-factual.

You are defending the doctor with the prescriptions that have caused death by saying that he didn't use the special signature and special paper.

Again, you have misconstrued my argument. I'm not defending the decision to condemn Galileo in the slightest. I think it was wrongheaded and a serious error (though it continues to be poorly understood in its entirety).

My reply presupposes your assertion that all of this is a big deal and is somehow a knockout argument against the Catholic Church. It's not. I'm not defending the thing itself, but rather, the cynical, erroneous conclusions drawn from it. And I am opposing double standards.

You say that you get to define what qualifies as an infallible prescription.

Every system is understood by its practitioners to be of a certain nature, yes (self-understanding and self-definition). That's self-evident. Scientists resent outsiders coming in and telling them how to do their business. They see that as the height of presumptuousness, ignorance, and folly (and often it is: I mostly agree with them). Likewise, Catholics don't care for outsiders coming in and claiming to understand our system and how it works when they clearly don't, and won't take the time to learn and get up to speed.

You can do that and logically evade the charge of error.

As I said, I'm not denying that an error was made, as I have said over and over again. I'm denying that this was a disproof of infallibility and other conclusions drawn from it that don't follow at all.

Dave Armstrong said...

By your reasoning, why wasn't Galileo a "phony" scientist when he asserted that the tides proved heliocentrism, or that astrology conveyed much truth, or that orbits were circular rather than elliptical, or that planets in orbit traveled at constant, rather than variable speeds, or that the entire universe went around the sun, that was at its center, or that comets were optical illusions, or that heliocentrism was "proven" in the early 17th century when there was as of yet no hard proof for that?

Why are there are these grand, melodramatic conclusions about the Catholic Church because of one error it made at one specific time (about cosmology and science, not theology or morals), but Galileo and other scientific whoppers that have occurred (in retrospect) get a huge pass and no criticism is directed towards those things?

Is that not Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee, as far as error is concerned? In fact, I would say that Galileo's errors are more foolish, insofar as he was dogmatic from the epistemology of science, where that has no place. One expects religious bodies to be dogmatic by their very nature, because we claim to be conveying revealed truths of revelation. But dogma supposedly has no place in science (Thomas Kuhn and Stephen Jay Gould thought quite otherwise, insofar as how science is actually practiced).

It was simply erroneous for those in the Galileo tribunal to interpret the Bible as if it precluded either heliocentrism or a rotating earth. The Bible's not a science book and it has to be interpreted according to the principles of phenomenological description and anthropomorphism and anthropopathism.

We do this ourselves, naturally, all the time, by saying "the sun rose at 5 AM" or "the stars moved across the sky."

But I look at Galileo's factual scientific errors and I give him a pass because he was early in the modern scientific scene. Science builds on the shoulders of past giants, and at that time there weren't many "giants" in terms of modern scientific method. So one can excuse these things.

I go on to say that you ought to excuse the Church of that time on the very same basis, rather than going on and on about it. Logically, if you wish to do that (even on your fallacious basis), you should direct equal (if not more) ire at Galileo for his errors. You should criticize both equally, on roughly the same basis, or neither. But it is inconsistent to blast the Church and call us "phony," etc., while giving Galileo a complete pass.

But you don't and won't do that because he opposed the big bad boogeyman: the Church. Protestants act in much the same fashion when it comes to Luther. No matter how often he is wrong, he's the Big Hero because he stood against Rome, the Beast (he used to be one of mine, too, so I understand that from the "inside"). So he is idealized and all his manifest faults are winkled at, as of no consequence or import.

But (don't get me wrong) I admire Luther in many ways, too, just as I do, Galileo . . .

Dave Armstrong said...

Please excuse at least two typos that I found (e.g., "winkled" instead of "winked" -- LOL), but I don't want to re-post the whole thing.

Jon said...

I really don't despise the RCC in the least. I'm very effusive in my praise of Catholic leadership in many areas, especially their vast efforts regarding human rights and what Hans Kung calls "the preferential option for the poor" emanating from Vatican II. I do criticize what I see as immoral behavior as well, but I know that Catholicism is not all about child molestation, as some anti-theists might pretend. I admire much biblical teaching and regard it as morally challenging, despite some moral errors that were largely a product of the time they were written.

I'm just calling it the way that I see it with regards to infallibility. Nothing you've said is new to me. I'm well aware of the distinctions you make, how authority is not infallibility, how faith and morals are the purview as opposed to science, etc. These are actually distinctions I accept as reasonable. But I do not accept them as reasonable as applied to some specific cases. You confuse my unwillingness to accept the reasonableness of the applicability of these distinctions in this case with the view that I actually don't comprehend the distinctions. Not true.

The distinctions are one of two things. They are either reasonable distinctions or they are after the fact rationalizations. I draw the latter conclusion. But I can walk in your shoes and understand why you think they do apply. There's no misunderstanding. I would put you in the boat with James White. Anybody that rejects his conclusions he dismisses as not understanding Christianity and not understanding his views. You know that's false. A person can understand him and disagree with him.

The Mormon prophets early on believed blacks were inferior and not destined for celestial heaven. Today they've retracted that view, and I suppose they layer the prior proclomations with various distinctions that mitigate the prophecy. A person can simultaneously understand the distinctions that disqualify the prior proclamation as erroneous and yet reject the distinctions as after the fact rationalizations. Do you misunderstand Mormonism, or do you understand it and reject the distinctions? Your distinctions may be more plausible than the Mormons and I can still rationally understand them and reject them as being reasonable.

Dave Armstrong said...

I really don't despise the RCC in the least. I'm very effusive in my praise of Catholic leadership in many areas, especially their vast efforts regarding human rights and what Hans Kung calls "the preferential option for the poor" emanating from Vatican II.

Okay; good. All the more reason to accurately understand our teaching on infallibility and all the more inexplicable that you don't seem to be willing to do that, or accept any correction on it.

I do criticize what I see as immoral behavior as well, but I know that Catholicism is not all about child molestation, as some anti-theists might pretend.

Of course. That is a tiny percentage of priests: disproportionately of homosexual orientation (80% or so of the victims being young boys).

I admire much biblical teaching and regard it as morally challenging, despite some moral errors that were largely a product of the time they were written.

Good.

I'm just calling it the way that I see it with regards to infallibility.

That doesn't dispense you from the responsibility of accurately portraying that which you critique, and defining it correctly.

Nothing you've said is new to me. I'm well aware of the distinctions you make, how authority is not infallibility, how faith and morals are the purview as opposed to science, etc. These are actually distinctions I accept as reasonable. But I do not accept them as reasonable as applied to some specific cases.

Huh? Unless you respond to my arguments directly, I have no idea what you mean.

You confuse my unwillingness to accept the reasonableness of the applicability of these distinctions in this case with the view that I actually don't comprehend the distinctions. Not true.

I'm happy to take you at your word. So then you make an exception in this case. But how and why would anyone do that?

The distinctions are one of two things. They are either reasonable distinctions or they are after the fact rationalizations. I draw the latter conclusion.

If you accept the large principle you have to establish why this becomes an exception to it. I still don't think you have a case, even with these clarifications you make now.

But I can walk in your shoes and understand why you think they do apply. There's no misunderstanding. I would put you in the boat with James White.

Right. We are two peas in a pod: White and I! LOL

Anybody that rejects his conclusions he dismisses as not understanding Christianity and not understanding his views. You know that's false. A person can understand him and disagree with him.

If you truly do understand infallibility and how and when it applies (little of what you have argued thus far suggested to me that you do, but I am glad to cut you slack, based on the present comment), then why don't you give us all a nice little synopsis of that, and then explain to us why you make the Galileo affair an exception to the rule. I look forward to it!

Dave Armstrong said...

[cont.]

The Mormon prophets early on believed blacks were inferior and not destined for celestial heaven. Today they've retracted that view, and I suppose they layer the prior proclamations with various distinctions that mitigate the prophecy. A person can simultaneously understand the distinctions that disqualify the prior proclamation as erroneous and yet reject the distinctions as after the fact rationalizations.

Prophecy is a completely different ballgame than infallibility. Prophecy is much more like positive biblical inspiration, whereas infallibility is merely a protection from error in certain circumstances. Therefore, this analogy (though interesting) doesn't really apply: a mistaken prophecy is a false prophecy and that calls into question the entire claim of having living prophets. The same is the case with Jehovah's Witnesses (a group I have studied in some depth).

Do you misunderstand Mormonism, or do you understand it and reject the distinctions? Your distinctions may be more plausible than the Mormons and I can still rationally understand them and reject them as being reasonable.

If something was a purported prophecy and was later overturned, that is a huge problem, and I would agree with you if they tried to rationalize it away. But it is not analogous to Catholic infallibility.

There are basically four choices here, in order of lesser to greater import damaging and implication:

1) The Church (or, I should say, a high-level tribunal in the Church) made a mistake in science (on a sub-infallible level). Since that is to be expected by definition (fallible entities make mistakes), then it is of no further consequence. Nor should it be all that notable, in light of Galileo's many errors, and those of scientists through the centuries. People are generally fallible. It is only in rare instances that they are not.

2) In this mistake regarding Galileo, the Church showed that its claims to infallibility were bogus. That's false, as I have been explaining, since the topic does not come under the purview of infallibility; nor was an infallible pronouncement made, according to the usual conditions where that occurs.

3) The Church showed by this act that it is inexorably anti-science. This is sheer nonsense, and I am demonstrating that by my present series on Christianity and science.

4) The Church proved that it can't be trusted for anything, even in theology, if it could be so wrong about the sun supposedly going around the earth. This fails by the same reasoning that #1 does: science and theology being two ways of knowing with very different epistemological methods. Being wrong on one scientific matter at one time does not prove that the theological doctrines are untrue.

We are making a little progress, I think, and this is stimulating me to many thoughts, which I always appreciate in a dialogue opponent. In defending, we clarify quite a bit. Perhaps we can actually achieve a real dialogue if the encouraging trend continues. Please answer the request I asked of you: to explain infallibility as you understand it, and why Galileo is an exception to that.

Jon said...

That doesn't dispense you from the responsibility of accurately portraying that which you critique, and defining it correctly.

Of course. My point though is that the charges that I'm drawing my conclusions because of hostility is completely false.

I'm happy to take you at your word. So then you make an exception in this case. But how and why would anyone do that?

I'm not making any exception. I'm applying a consistent standard. The church, via an inquisition called by the Pope, issued in it's official capacity a ruling on a matter of faith (related to the interpretation of Scripture and position of our planet in the universe). The ruling was erroneous and so the RCC is not infallible.

Had the Pope been asked to rule on a question, say perhaps he was asked his personal opinion on the motion of planets, and off the cuff he just asserted that heliocentrism is false, then I would say that's not a ruling in his official capacity, and as the question is stated it's not being treated as a matter of faith (as the Galileo inquisition treated the question), so I would say in that case his error would not disprove RCC infallibility.

You say it's not a matter of faith, but I say it is. I say it was treated as a matter related to a proper interpretation of Scripture and that is a matter of faith. You say it doesn't meet certain conditions (long held beliefs, supported by Scripture and tradition, ecumenical council in harmony with Pope, etc). All fine and I understand that is your view. I understand this is today's claim by many RC apologists. But I see it as after the fact additions and qualifications installed to absolve the charge of error.

For instance, this view that these are the conditions required for infallibility is not a universally held view today as far as I know but more improtantly it wasn't universally held in the past. There have been a variety of views affirmed by devout RCC's, including the Gallican view, which is that infallibility lies with the church diffusive and that the Pope is not an essential element of infallible proclamations. Some have held that it is councils alone. Some have held that it is the Pope alone. Today you offer your own view.

Jon said...

Your assertions that these are the conditions and there is not some other set of conditions and you know because you're Catholic is belied by the fact that other good and devout Catholics have seen things differently, many of whom were highly placed members of the institution, not layman as yourself. I understand that you have your arguments for your view and other RC's have their arguments for their own views as well. I interpret these various disagreements in large part to be efforts to absolve claims of error. Reject my opinion if you like, but don't charge me with misunderstanding what is meant by infallibility just because I don't think your assertions about when the conditions are met are necessarily reasonable or even agreed upon by Catholics historically.

I'm entitled to draw conclusions about what I think are reasonable distinctions and what I would expect to be reasonable behavior regardless. We're told that Rome is infallible for various reasons, including the need to have a consistent interpretation of Scripture that doesn't lead to heresy. In my mind if God really did intend to offer such an instrument he would let us know how we can tell when the instrument is being implemented (the fact that Catholics can't agree is already an indication in my mind of the falsity of the claim).

Your claim that I don't get to decide what is reasonable and Catholics must be permitted to define their own conditions for infallible proclomations is not reasonable. Consider an erroneous Mormon prophecy and the prophet after being proven wrong says "But I didn't spin around 3 times after saying it, and that is a necessary condition." I am entitled to render my own judgment about whether that is a reasonable distinction. For you to object would be like a Mormon saying I have no right to object to the spinning criterion. Only they get to define conditions and if you don't accept those conditions as reasonable you must not understand prophecy. No, I understand it perfectly. I reject the distinction as reasonable. I'm not saying I regard your distinctions as just as silly as a spinning criterion. I wouldn't expect Mormons to offer such a silly criterion because it is transparently ridiculous. I would expect them to offer sophisticated qualifications. My point though is that in principle it is not unreasonable for me to make a judgment about whether I think the qualifications are after the fact rationalizations or legitimate distinctions. The fact that I render that judgment is not proof that I fail to understand Mormon beliefs.

Dave Armstrong said...

I'm not making any exception. I'm applying a consistent standard. The church, via an inquisition called by the Pope, issued in it's official capacity a ruling on a matter of faith (related to the interpretation of Scripture and position of our planet in the universe). The ruling was erroneous and so the RCC is not infallible.

Jeffrey A. Mirus, in his article, Galileo and the Magisterium: a Second Look,

http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=559&CFID=43615496&CFTOKEN=73831879

. . . disabuses any fairminded inquirer of these notions:

"[T]he sentence itself bears the signatures of seven of the ten judges; the Pope, in other words, did not officially endorse the decision (there was, of course, no reason why he should, since the Court was simply exercising its normal powers).

"The conclusions to be drawn are perhaps obvious. First, the declaration that Galileo's propositions were heretical was never published as a teaching of the Church, and it was never intended to be such. It was intended and taken as the advice of certain theological experts who worked in the Holy Office, of value in a legal case, but hardly a norm of faith for the Church as a whole. Second, as noted earlier, Pope Paul V did not endorse this theological opinion, but rather ordered in an in-house directive only that Galileo be commanded to stop holding and advancing his own opinion. This action, then, stemmed from a judgment of prudence about the promotion of ideas which could not be easily reconciled with Scripture. Even as a private document, therefore, the declaration of heresy received no formal papal approval. Third, there is no evidence that Pope Urban VIII ever endorsed any public document which included the declaration of heresy, especially the sentence at Galileo's trial. That no pope ever promulgated any condemnation of Galileo's ideas removes the Galileo case entirely from discussions on the historical character of the Church's teaching authority.

"It is clear, then, that not even the ordinary Magisterium has ever taught or promulgated the idea that the propositions of Copernican-Galilean astronomy are heretical or errors in faith. Thus it can in no way be claimed that 'the Church' has taught that such views are heretical. To make such a claim would require that we locate the teaching authority of the Church in those theologians who claim expertise, a mistake which many make today, but one which the Galileo case should, at long last, serve to correct."

Dave Armstrong said...

You say it doesn't meet certain conditions (long held beliefs, supported by Scripture and tradition, ecumenical council in harmony with Pope, etc). All fine and I understand that is your view. I understand this is today's claim by many RC apologists. But I see it as after the fact additions and qualifications installed to absolve the charge of error.

This is sheer nonsense, too. Notions of conciliar and papal infallibility had long since been believed by the Church: long before Galileo. For example, they were asserted in the debates with Martin Luther a hundred years earlier. See:

Gene Bridges' & Steve Hays' Errors Regarding the History of Papal Infallibility (Incl. Details on Luther's Dissent at the Leipzig Disputation in 1519)

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2007/10/gene-bridges-steve-hays-display.html

Moreover, a Doctor of the Church, St. Francis de Sales, in his book, The Catholic Controversy, completed in 1596 [again, 20 years before the Galileo controversy], remarkably anticipates the later fully-developed dogma of papal infallibility, as pronounced at the First Vatican Council in 1870 (that obviously drew from it in its language):

"When he teaches the whole Church as shepherd, in general matters of faith and morals, then there is nothing but doctrine and truth. And in fact everything a king says is not a law or an edict, but that only which a king says as king and as a legislator. So everything the Pope says is not canon law or of legal obligation; he must mean to define and to lay down the law for the sheep, and he must keep the due order and form.

"We must not think that in everything and everywhere his judgment is infallible, but then only when he gives judgment on a matter of faith in questions necessary to the whole Church; for in particular cases which depend on human fact he can err, there is no doubt, though it is not for us to control him in these cases save with all reverence, submission, and discretion. Theologians have said, in a word, that he can err in questions of fact, not in questions of right; that he can err extra cathedram, outside the chair of Peter. that is, as a private individual, by writings and bad example.

"But he cannot err when he is in cathedra, that is, when he intends to make an instruction and decree for the guidance of the whole Church, when he means to confirm his brethren as supreme pastor, and to conduct them into the pastures of the faith. For then it is not so much man who determines, resolves, and defines as it is the Blessed Holy Spirit by man, which Spirit, according to the promise made by Our Lord to the Apostles, teaches all truth to the Church."

(translated by Henry B. Mackey, Rockford, IL: TAN Books, 1989 from the 1886 publication [London and New York], 306-307; available online)

Therefore, using this reasoning, as I and the Church do, can hardly be an example of "after the fact additions and qualifications installed to absolve the charge of error," since it was already in place explicitly at least 20 years before Galileo, and in essence for hundreds of years before that, including in the Catholic response to Martin Luther's arguments.

Dave Armstrong said...

For instance, this view that these are the conditions required for infallibility is not a universally held view today as far as I know but more improtantly it wasn't universally held in the past. There have been a variety of views affirmed by devout RCC's, including the Gallican view, which is that infallibility lies with the church diffusive and that the Pope is not an essential element of infallible proclamations. Some have held that it is councils alone. Some have held that it is the Pope alone. Today you offer your own view.

This is another fallacious argument with the same false premises we see repeated in your arguments:

1) The Catholic Church cannot reasonably determine its own beliefs with regard to authority and infallibility and determine what is orthodox and what is not. Or if it can do so, no one is able to figure out what the orthodox view is, anyway.

2) The outsider understands these better than the Church herself, and her apologists.

3) What the Church teaches is rendered uncertain merely by the presence of heretics and schismatics and those of erroneous sub-magisterial opinions through the centuries (in this case the Gallicans and conciliarists of the late Middle Ages).

Galicanism was never taught as Catholic dogma. Period. Therefore, to bring up those who espouse it as if it were just one more acceptable opinion is utterly wrongheaded. I have written about this at great length contra the Presbyterian Polemicist and self-proclaimed [pseudo-]"scholar" Tim Enloe, who argued in exactly the same fashion, contending that conciliarism was as orthodox a view as the orthodox papal / conciliar: see the section "Infallibility and Conciliarism (Orthodox and Heretical)" on my Church web page, for more than 30 papers in conciliarism and infallibility:

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2006/11/church-index-page.html

Jon said...

"[T]he sentence itself bears the signatures of seven of the ten judges; the Pope, in other words, did not officially endorse the decision (there was, of course, no reason why he should, since the Court was simply exercising its normal powers)."

The decision states otherwise. It states that the earlier decision (found here) was "the declaration made by our Lord the Pope, and promulgated by the Sacred Congregation of the Index" that the Copernican view was contrary to Scripture and therefore cannot be defended or held.

According to George Salmon writing in The Infallibility of the Church, the Pope directed in 1633 that the sentence against Galileo be provided to all Apostolic Nuncios, and that it be read to professors and mathematicians, especially those in Florence that might be sympathetic to Galileo's positions. That decision includes the lines above, indicating that the earlier decision declaring the Copernican view "formally heretical" was the declaration "by our Lord the Pope."

"The conclusions to be drawn are perhaps obvious. First, the declaration that Galileo's propositions were heretical was never published as a teaching of the Church, and it was never intended to be such."

Why doesn't the decision of the Inquisition, ordered to be read publicly far and wide, which discusses the "formally heretical" nature of the Copernican views, qualify as a church teaching? And if it's not taught why are subsequent mathematicians writing intros talking about their obsequious obedience to the Pope in that the do not accept Copernicanism? Why isn't this, which is later deemed to be "the declaration made by our Lord the Pope" obviously in his official capacity as Pope and not as a private theologian church teaching?

Jon said...

This Holy Tribunal being therefore of intention to proceed against the disorder and mischief thence resulting, which went on increasing to the prejudice of the Holy Faith, by command of His Holiness and of the Most Eminent Lords Cardinals of this supreme and universal Inquisition, the two propositions of the stability of the Sun and the motion of the Earth were by the theological Qualifiers qualified as follows:

The proposition that the Sun is the center of the world and does not move from its place is absurd and false philosophically and formally heretical, because it is expressly contrary to Holy Scripture.

The proposition that the Earth is not the center of the world and immovable but that it moves, and also with a diurnal motion, is equally absurd and false philosophically and theologically considered at least erroneous in faith.


"It was intended and taken as the advice of certain theological experts who worked in the Holy Office, of value in a legal case, but hardly a norm of faith for the Church as a whole."

Not true. It was taken as church teaching as the intro to Principia demonstrates. It was promulgated by the Pope as church teaching.

"Second, as noted earlier, Pope Paul V did not endorse this theological opinion, but rather ordered in an in-house directive only that Galileo be commanded to stop holding and advancing his own opinion."

Just a blatant falsehood. Why would the Pope go out of his way to direct his people to ensure that the conclusion of the Inquisition be distributed far and wide if he didn't endorse it?

"This action, then, stemmed from a judgment of prudence about the promotion of ideas which could not be easily reconciled with Scripture."

Once again a blatant falsehood. Do the documents recommend prudence due to the difficult nature of Scripture interpretation, so we should proceed with caution? No. The claims regarding the movement of the earth are deemed false, contrary to Scripture and "formally heretical."

Dave Armstrong said...

Your assertions that these are the conditions and there is not some other set of conditions and you know because you're Catholic is belied by the fact that other good and devout Catholics have seen things differently, many of whom were highly placed members of the institution, not layman as yourself.

Whether I am a layman or a bishop or a Doctor of the Church is irrelevant to the fact that a=a. The Catholic Church has set its rules and determined what is orthodox and what isn't. I am simply pointing out what the teaching is. People can say all kinds of things. There are liberals and dissidents in virtually every Christian body: distorting and redefining what the particular communion historically and creedally believes.

I understand that you have your arguments for your view and other RC's have their arguments for their own views as well. I interpret these various disagreements in large part to be efforts to absolve claims of error. Reject my opinion if you like, but don't charge me with misunderstanding what is meant by infallibility just because I don't think your assertions about when the conditions are met are necessarily reasonable or even agreed upon by Catholics historically.

I think your arguments are shot through with fallacies all through, as I believe I am demonstrating. Whether you truly understand or not is almost beside the point, with so much illogic going down. Just about the only coherent thread is that you have to disagree with me at every turn. :-)

I'm entitled to draw conclusions about what I think are reasonable distinctions and what I would expect to be reasonable behavior regardless.

You can't redefine a thing in order to refute it, cuz then you ain't refuting A but Pseudo / Straw Man "A": a caricature of the real thing.

We're told that Rome is infallible for various reasons, including the need to have a consistent interpretation of Scripture that doesn't lead to heresy. In my mind if God really did intend to offer such an instrument he would let us know how we can tell when the instrument is being implemented (the fact that Catholics can't agree is already an indication in my mind of the falsity of the claim).

Orthodox Catholics have an extraordinary amount of agreement, because we accept what the Church teaches. If one wants to reject that, then there is all kinds of disagreement, of course. The disagreement is precisely because the dissenter has rejected what all parties know is Catholic teaching (e.g., contraception, homosexuality, divorce, female "priests" and so forth. The dissenters know full well what the Church teaches. They are trying to change or redefine it. But the Catholic Church is not Anglicanism, where they play those games all the time.

Dave Armstrong said...

[cont.]

Your claim that I don't get to decide what is reasonable and Catholics must be permitted to define their own conditions for infallible proclamations is not reasonable. Consider an erroneous Mormon prophecy and the prophet after being proven wrong says "But I didn't spin around 3 times after saying it, and that is a necessary condition." I am entitled to render my own judgment about whether that is a reasonable distinction.

If you think what I have offered is equivalent to that silly scenario, it is more proof to me that you still aren't grasping the fundamentals of the discussion and the nature of infallibility.

For you to object would be like a Mormon saying I have no right to object to the spinning criterion. Only they get to define conditions and if you don't accept those conditions as reasonable you must not understand prophecy.

Of course, the analogy you use is completely silly, so this proves little. Straw men again.

No, I understand it perfectly. I reject the distinction as reasonable. I'm not saying I regard your distinctions as just as silly as a spinning criterion. I wouldn't expect Mormons to offer such a silly criterion because it is transparently ridiculous. I would expect them to offer sophisticated qualifications. My point though is that in principle it is not unreasonable for me to make a judgment about whether I think the qualifications are after the fact rationalizations or legitimate distinctions.

So you exaggerated to make a point (good), but still have not offered a solid point that is the least bit persuasive.

The fact that I render that judgment is not proof that I fail to understand Mormon beliefs.

Just make a substantive argument, and that will show me that you do understand and simply disagree. But whether you understand or not, I reject your arguments on the grounds I have stated.

Dave Armstrong said...

The decision states otherwise. It states that the earlier decision (found here) was "the declaration made by our Lord the Pope, and promulgated by the Sacred Congregation of the Index" that the Copernican view was contrary to Scripture and therefore cannot be defended or held.

You link to the 1633 decree, not the 1616 one. And I don't find the words you cite from the 1633 decree, so you need to clarify what it is you are citing.

According to George Salmon writing in "The Infallibility of the Church",

First of all, you are getting this stuff from a half-baked anti-Catholic tract. Salmon is exceedingly ignorant about Catholicism. I read his book when I was fighting against the Church, right before I converted. And I have read a book-length rebuttal of it, that blows it out of the water:

The Church and Infallibility: A Reply to the Abridged "Salmon" (B.C. Butler)

http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/num11.htm

He points out basic errors in Salmon such as the following:

# badly misrepresents Cardinal Newman on the First Vatican Council and papal infallibility;

# misrepresents Newman on the Immaculate Conception of Mary;

# misunderstanding of Catholic theology on infallibility;

# misuse of the Church Fathers on the Rule of Faith and "Bible reading";

# misrepresentation of Cardinal Manning on "appeal to antiquity";

# misunderstanding of the nature of the Church;

# confusion of "certainty" with infallibility;

# misreporting of the history of Vatican Council I;

the Pope directed in 1633 that the sentence against Galileo be provided to all Apostolic Nuncios, and that it be read to professors and mathematicians, especially those in Florence that might be sympathetic to Galileo's positions.

This supports my argument, not yours (more evidence of Salmon's stupefied noncomprehension). Infallible decrees are binding on all the faithful: not just instructions to bishops and Catholic academics.

That decision includes the lines above, indicating that the earlier decision declaring the Copernican view "formally heretical" was the declaration "by our Lord the Pope."

Again, you need to better document these words. I didn't find those words. Perhaps I missed them. Here is what the link you provided, read:

"This Holy Tribunal being therefore of intention to proceed against the disorder and mischief thence resulting, which went on increasing to the prejudice of the Holy Faith, by command of His Holiness and of the Most Eminent Lords Cardinals of this supreme and universal Inquisition, the two propositions of the stability of the Sun and the motion of the Earth were by the theological Qualifiers qualified as follows:"

Why doesn't the decision of the Inquisition, ordered to be read publicly far and wide, which discusses the "formally heretical" nature of the Copernican views, qualify as a church teaching?

It's not an infallible Church teaching that can never be overturned. That is the subject under consideration. The pope didn't even sign it, so it can't possibly be an instance of infallibility.

And if it's not taught why are subsequent mathematicians writing intros talking about their obsequious obedience to the Pope in that the do not accept Copernicanism?

Because they followed the decree that was made. It doesn't follow that it is infallible or couldn't possibly be wrong.

Why isn't this, which is later deemed to be "the declaration made by our Lord the Pope"

I think that is distorted. Where did you get that line: from Salmon? It sounds exactly like something he might do: taking words out of context.

obviously in his official capacity as Pope and not as a private theologian church teaching?

He didn't sign the 1633 declaration . . .

Dave Armstrong said...

Mirus: "It was intended and taken as the advice of certain theological experts who worked in the Holy Office, of value in a legal case, but hardly a norm of faith for the Church as a whole."

Not true. It was taken as church teaching as the intro to Principia demonstrates. It was promulgated by the Pope as church teaching.

Why would Newton (an Arian, and not even an orthodox Protestant, let alone a Catholic) be any sort of expert on Catholic infallibility? It's true that this was the temporary opinion in Catholic circles, but it is simply not infallible. If you're deriving inspiration from Salmon, then you follow his error of "misunderstanding of Catholic theology on infallibility."

Mirus: "Second, as noted earlier, Pope Paul V did not endorse this theological opinion, but rather ordered in an in-house directive only that Galileo be commanded to stop holding and advancing his own opinion."

Just a blatant falsehood. Why would the Pope go out of his way to direct his people to ensure that the conclusion of the Inquisition be distributed far and wide if he didn't endorse it?

Mirus meant that he didn't formally endorse it, as an example of magisterial teaching. You have to interpret words in context.

Mirus: "This action, then, stemmed from a judgment of prudence about the promotion of ideas which could not be easily reconciled with Scripture."

Once again a blatant falsehood. Do the documents recommend prudence due to the difficult nature of Scripture interpretation, so we should proceed with caution? No. The claims regarding the movement of the earth are deemed false, contrary to Scripture and "formally heretical."

The documents were in error. That is not in dispute. We disagree on the implications of the error, not on whether any error was made. Obviously there was one made.

Dave Armstrong said...

B. C. Butler in his refutation of Salmon writes the following:

"But it is equally clear that these decrees do not conform to the conditions laid down by the Vatican Council for an ex cathedra definition of doctrine. First, because they do not define doctrine. Church law distinguishes between disciplinary and doctrinal decrees, and the doctrinal motives stated or implied in a disciplinary decree are not part of its formal intention. Secondly, these decrees, though approved by the Pope, were each a decree of a Congregation, not formally an act of the Pope, and even his approval could not make either of them into an ex cathedra definition.

"I cannot therefore agree with Salmon that if the Pope did not speak infallibly in these decrees 'it will be impossible to know that he ever speaks infallibly.' On the contrary, the circumstances of the definition of the Immaculate Conception certainly conform to the Vatican Council's conditions for an infallible definition, while those of the Galileo decrees certainly do not."

http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/num58.htm

Dave Armstrong said...

I found this great comment from an online forum (ironically, while searching for something else, that Aquinas stated):

"Galileo never did come up with empirical proof. He proposed the motion of the tides as proof, but this was known to be bogus. Aquinas had mentioned the role of the moon in causing the tides; and Kepler had also shown that there was a connection. Galileo denounced these views as "occult." (Just as he denounced Kepler's ellipses.)

"More damning, his "ultimate proof" contradicted his own inertial reasoning about the air and the arrow (apparently cribbed without attribution from Oresme). The oceans would also be moving toward the east and would also have inertia.

"The required empirical proof came about in the late 1790s, when Guglielmini dropped balls from the tower of the University of Bologna, doing so indoors down the center of the spiral staircase, so wind would not intervene. A colleague in Germany replicated the experiment using a mineshaft. Both of them found the predicted eastward deflection. The earth was definitely spinning. In 1803, Calandrelli reported parallax in the star a-Lyrae and published. The earth was revolving around the sun. Note that these are direct manifestations of the two motions.

"Settele put these discoveries in his new astronomy text, and took it to the Holy Office. The Office looked it over and said, "Yup, that's the empirical proof that Bellarmine wanted, and they lifted the ban on teaching the method as empirical fact. Settele's book came out in 1820."

http://jameshannam.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=display&board=history&thread=615&page=1#5864

Dave Armstrong said...

From Catholic apologist Bertrand Conway:

"In the trials of 1616 and 1633, the Popes order, but the Congregations act; it is they who pronounce the sentence. If, therefore, infallibility be an incommunicable prerogative, it is clear that their decisions cannot be infallible.

"That these were not infallible pronouncements was recognized by many scholars and theologians of the time. Bellarmine, Caramuel, Descartes, Fromont, Gassendi, Riccioli, Tanner and others."

http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/science/sc0021.html

I found Salmon online at Internet Archive.

http://www.archive.org/stream/infallibilityofc00salmiala/infallibilityofc00salmiala_djvu.txt

It's patently obvious that he doesn't have the slightest idea what he is talking about, in the Galileo section (pp. 229 ff.), when he deals with infallibility issues. This is par for the course for Salmon: like how he also completely, embarrassingly butchers the viewpoints of Cardinal Newman (someone I happen to know a great deal about, as he was key to my own conversion).

The height of Salmon's folly is perhaps his inane, ridiculous remark on p. 250: "That he did not speak infallibly then we need not
dispute; but if he did not speak infallibly then, it will be
impossible to know that he ever speaks infallibly."

Huh???!!!!

So he sez the pope didn't speak infallibly here (as I have been saying), but, that being the case, now no one can ever know when he does, and infalliblity crumbles nevertheless.

It's shockingly clueless "reasoning" even by Salmon's already subterranean standards of proof and argumentation. He follows this up with another dazzling observation on p. 251:

"With regard to the question when the Pope speaks ex cathedra, the only rational distinction is between his official and non-official utterances."

He doesn't have the slightest idea what he is talking about. It's breathtaking to behold.

Jon said...

I wonder if we could back up just a sec here Dave and look at simply some style issues of the debate here. A couple of things.

First, I want to ask you to read my entire post before writing a reply. It is obvious that you are basically responding as you work your way through reading what I've written. It gives me the impression that you are not really internalizing what I'm saying. So for instance last time I offered a silly after the fact distinction on a Mormon prophecy in order to illustrate the point that IN PRINCIPLE qualifications on prophetic/infallible utterances can be questioned by reasonable people that in fact do understand what prophecy/infallibility is. You reply to it as if I'm suggesting your qualifications are just as silly even though had you kept reading you'd have seen that this was not the point. And then when you did get to the point where I explained that I'm trying to demonstrate a principle, not show that your qualifications are equally silly, you reply but don't even go back to correct your prior misunderstanding. It gives the impression that you aren't really putting much thought into this.

Do not initiate a rebuttal to this yet. Please read the remainder of my response before doing so.

You are free to respond in whatever manner you like obviously. But my preference is that you take a moment and at least try to understand where I'm coming from. Read the entirety of this post and think about it a little. That's what I do with yours. I don't just read part and reply to that and read part and reply to that. I read it all and try to think about it.

Here's another thing. Your posts throughout contain assertions of your own dominance and erroneous nature of your opponents arguments. This is a key Triablogue method and honestly I think you're better than them. "I'm demonstrating that your arguments are shot through with fallacies, there is so much illogic, why don't you make a substantive argument, etc". I'm going to make the same point to you that I make to them. Why do you feel the need to pontificate on the superiority of your own arguments? Obviously you are going to conclude that your arguments are superior and the arguments of your opponent are feeble. So what value does it bring to make those assertions? Any reader can see if in fact your arguments are superior and if you've demonstrated fallacies. Why don't you let the argumentation speak for itself?

At Triablogue of course they do this and nobody can stop them. It was interesting though that when Jason Engwer stuck with this methodology over at str (where the Christians are quite charitable) he was reprimanded by the Christian moderator. It was a lot of "Joe doesn't make good arguments, Joe commits fallacies, etc). After repeated warnings about this behavior Amy finally threatened to ban him with these words.

"We can see what people do. You don't need to take time away from your arguments to tell us." She goes on to say "if you can't represent Christ to people--Christ, who treats you in a way you do not in the least deserve--then you can't stay."

So I say the same to you. People can see that I'm engaging in various fallacies IF in fact that is what I'm doing. Your assertion that this is what I'm doing doesn't really add anything. You are a party to the argument. We expect you to conclude that your own arguments are superior. You have to be rather oblivious to your own biases to not see that. Notice that I don't do that. I think your arguments are weak. I think you misrepresent my views. But I stick with demonstration rather than assertions that this is proved. I don't expect you to agree with my conclusions about what I've demonstrated, so what value does it bring to assert them?

Jon said...

Now, this charge of fallacy I take very seriously, and I find it quite irksome that you continue to throw it around. The reason is because if I engage in a fallacy I genuinely want to know, and I genuinely cannot discern where my fallacy is based on your reply. Yes, I see the assertions that a fallacy has been committed. I find no substance. I want you to justify your claims of fallacy.

So for instance you spoke of my claim of the penalty of "death" being a non-sequitur. As I said in response a non-sequitur is a particular thing, and I want you to show how it applies to my claim. Don't just make assertions of the commission of fallacies. Do the work and show what is a fallacy. You did not even attempt to justify your charge of non-sequitur, though the assertions that I'm guilty of fallacies remain.

Now here's a genuine fallacy:

Jon-According to George Salmon writing in "The Infallibility of the Church",

Dave-First of all, you are getting this stuff from a half-baked anti-Catholic tract. Salmon is exceedingly ignorant about Catholicism. I read his book when I was fighting against the Church, right before I converted. And I have read a book-length rebuttal of it, that blows it out of the water:

Let's note what's actually happening here. You provide the writings of a Catholic apologist saying that the Pope did not officially endorse the decision nor promulgate it publicly. In response I provide a Protestant apologist saying the opposite.

The relevance of my response is obvious. What we have here is a disagreement on fact. It doesn't matter if Salmon in fact is Hitler. It doesn't matter if he erred regarding Newman. I've read Butler's reply to Salmon. I concede that it does appear that he is wrong about Newman. But I can also say that in my opinion his rebuttal to the specific arguments about infallibility completely fail. That's my opinion. You won't agree. But you know what? It doesn't matter. What matters is there is dispute about the factual claim made by your Catholic apologist. A rational response is to consider that factual claim and attempt to evaluate the truth of it. An irrational reply would be to point out other errors that you think the source is guilty of. That's a fallacy in the technical sense. It is called a red herring.

Once again, it doesn't matter if Salmon was guilty of other errors. That is a red herring. What we have is a factual dispute.

You repeatedly charge me with the fallacy of straw man. You say I redefine Catholic notions. I want you to show where I've done this.

Jon said...

I do not assert that Infallibility as understood by Catholics applies to an Inquisition like what Galileo was subjected to nor does my argument require this.

What you need to do is this:

Jon claims RC's believe X.
In fact RC's believe Y.

Have you done that? This is a very straightforward thing. Put it down right now in response to this question. Show me the views I attribute to you and how they are inaccurate. Be very precise please. Vague assertions that I'm guilty of a straw man simply are not helpful. I believe you will find if you take the time to do this that you cannot show that I've attributed views to you that you don't hold. I'm issuing you this challenge. Prove your assertion of straw man.

With regards to the words you are having trouble finding, look for this:

"in which certificate it is declared that you had not abjured and had not been punished but only that the declaration made by His Holiness and published by the Holy Congregation of the Index has been announced to you"

I pulled mine from something at Google Books called "Decrees Concerning Galileo" or something like that. The translation was slightly different than what was at the link I provided. The meaning is the same.

So the declaration from 1633 asserts that the earlier declaration insisting that Copernicanism was "formally heretical" was via the Pope himself, so the assertions of the apologist you quote claiming that the claims were neither endorsed or promulgated by the Pope are directly contradicted by the very words found in Galileo's condemnation.

Now at this point I could talk about how any "fair minded" person would see things my way, and there's various fallacious reasonings contained in your writings, but I don't really see that as helpful. Let the arguments speak for themselves. My assertions of my own dominance don't seem value added.

Dave Armstrong said...

Hi Jon,

Yes, I did read all of your three responses through. I generally do that. Occasionally I forget and do my usual point-by-point replies or "answer as I read." Point granted.

I wonder if we could back up just a sec here Dave and look at simply some style issues of the debate here. A couple of things.

First, I want to ask you to read my entire post before writing a reply. It is obvious that you are basically responding as you work your way through reading what I've written. It gives me the impression that you are not really internalizing what I'm saying. So for instance last time I offered a silly after the fact distinction on a Mormon prophecy in order to illustrate the point that IN PRINCIPLE qualifications on prophetic/infallible utterances can be questioned by reasonable people that in fact do understand what prophecy/infallibility is. You reply to it as if I'm suggesting your qualifications are just as silly even though had you kept reading you'd have seen that this was not the point. And then when you did get to the point where I explained that I'm trying to demonstrate a principle, not show that your qualifications are equally silly, you reply but don't even go back to correct your prior misunderstanding. It gives the impression that you aren't really putting much thought into this.


I knew this would come up. I was answering as I read, and I did later acknowledge that you were exaggerating. My point still remains, that if the analogy is so extremely exaggerated that even you renounce it as a one-on-one correspondence to catholic teaching, why make it in the first place? It has to have some semblance of analogy to work as an argument. I exaggerate to make a point a lot, too, but if I make an analogy I try to find something at least close to what I am comparing it to.

You are free to respond in whatever manner you like obviously. But my preference is that you take a moment and at least try to understand where I'm coming from.

I do and I disagree; precisely as you say about me. You objected to me saying that you didn't understand. Now you are doing exactly the same back. So let's call that a wash and proceed to the argument. I used to argue almost exactly as you do when I was a Protestant. My big bugaboo was infallibility. I read Salmon and Kung and Dollinger. So I not only understand your view; I used to hold and passionately defend it, myself. But you have never been a Catholic, to my knowledge.

Read the entirety of this post and think about it a little. That's what I do with yours. I don't just read part and reply to that and read part and reply to that. I read it all and try to think about it.

I try to do my best in reply. Readers can judge if I have succeeded in raising some legitimate points or not. I usually answer fast because that is the pace of my work, I have limited time (lots of other stuff on my plate, as always), and I love debate, so I am eager to jump in and participate. I don't mind getting something wrong. That's what debate is about. You can correct me if I do. But I have written about many of the things we are discussing at great length (and thought about them for years), so it's not like this is anything new.

Dave Armstrong said...

Here's another thing. Your posts throughout contain assertions of your own dominance and erroneous nature of your opponents arguments. This is a key Triablogue method and honestly I think you're better than them. "I'm demonstrating that your arguments are shot through with fallacies, there is so much illogic, why don't you make a substantive argument, etc". I'm going to make the same point to you that I make to them. Why do you feel the need to pontificate on the superiority of your own arguments? Obviously you are going to conclude that your arguments are superior and the arguments of your opponent are feeble. So what value does it bring to make those assertions? Any reader can see if in fact your arguments are superior and if you've demonstrated fallacies. Why don't you let the argumentation speak for itself?

[. . .]

People can see that I'm engaging in various fallacies IF in fact that is what I'm doing. Your assertion that this is what I'm doing doesn't really add anything. You are a party to the argument. We expect you to conclude that your own arguments are superior. You have to be rather oblivious to your own biases to not see that. Notice that I don't do that. I think your arguments are weak. I think you misrepresent my views. But I stick with demonstration rather than assertions that this is proved. I don't expect you to agree with my conclusions about what I've demonstrated, so what value does it bring to assert them?


Here you make some excellent points. I would reply by saying that one can always be more charitable, sure; of course. I am passionate about argument, I love it, and so I can get carried away at times. Some of it comes from frustration, if I feel I am repeating myself and it's not getting through. But I am always disagreeing with arguments without trying to insult people. Sometimes the line can be fine, granted. And people have different sensitivities.
But I'm a "bulldog" in argument; there is no doubt about that. This offends some people. Different strokes for different folks. It may offend you. But I will basically be the way I am. I can't somehow not be passionate about ideas. It's just how I am. You have met me in person so I think you understand this at least to some degree. I have to be accepted for who I am, just as I try to do the same with you and everyone else.

So I plead guilty as charged to excessive polemics and rhetoric; however, I would note also that I'm not simply pointing to fallacies and illogic, etc., but also at the same time, I think, demonstrating the fallacies. I have provided much information that you haven't replied to at all. I've made all kinds of arguments that are, thus far, untouched and unresponded to. That's simply a fact. It's not an overly-polemical claim.

And that happens, oftentimes, when the opponent does not deal with arguments in a socratic, point-by-point basis. They are basically in their own world and saying what they want to say, but insofar as they don't directly deal with the opposing argument, it is not really dialogue.

I understand that people have different styles and methods, but it remains true that at some point all of the opponents' arguments ought to be dealt with for the discussion to progress forward.

And here we are discussing about methodology and style rather than the point at hand. That's okay as a temporary diversion and directive to avoid excess, but I hope it doesn't replace the substantive content of what is under dispute.

Jon said...

My point still remains, that if the analogy is so extremely exaggerated that even you renounce it as a one-on-one correspondence to catholic teaching, why make it in the first place? It has to have some semblance of analogy to work as an argument.

I absolutely disagree. I am challenging what I perceive to be a principle you have claimed. An infallible institution must be permitted to determine for themselves the conditions of infallibility, and questioning the validity of these conditions demonstrates some sort of lack of understanding about what infallibility is. If you really believe this then the conditions don't matter. The conditions can be absolutely outrageous. So let's apply an outrageous condition and see if you sustain the principle. You do not. It is practically essential that I use an outrageous condition in order to test your claim.

Take a totally different subject. For instance Bush says that if you harbor terrorists you are just as guilty as the terrorists and bombing your country is a legitimate act. OK, if that's the principle he wants to adhere to let's put it to the test. Orlando Bosch is undisputably a terrrorist. Involved in various terrorist atrocities in Cuba, including the bombing of a civilian airliner, he resides in Miami and isn't being extradited to Cuba despite their requests. Doesn't anybody think that entitles Cuba to bomb Washington? No. It's an outrageous claim. So Bush doesn't adhere to the principle. Using outrageous illustrations is exactly what tests whether or not you really adhere to the principles you claim to adhere to.

Once again you say you've demonstrated fallacies. Then why not focus on them right now as my challenge requested? Explain the details of the non-seqiutur fallacy you charged me with in regards to death penalties. Show, with my words, how I attribute positions to you that you don't hold. Assertions that you've shown things is another Triablogue method. "If only you'd go back to prior writings you'd see." Well, I genuinely don't see.

On the other hand I have with specificity described your red herring fallacy and you haven't addressed it. I see this as a key difference between us. I am talking about specific incidents with regards to fallacies (do I attribute to you the view that the Galileo Inquisition is infallible, does discussion of the penalty of death in some sense show a non-sequitur, does BC Butler's reply to Salmon have any relevance to my claim that the conclusions about Copernicanism were publicly promulgated and endorsed by the Pope). Pick any one and address it? You choose not to but instead stick with vagueries, though I specifically asked you not to if you can really back up your claims. Let's note your words:

I'm not simply pointing to fallacies and illogic, etc., but also at the same time, I think, demonstrating the fallacies. I have provided much information that you haven't replied to at all. I've made all kinds of arguments that are, thus far, untouched and unresponded to. That's simply a fact. It's not an overly-polemical claim.

There is no way for me to evaluate this claim because you have not pointed to any specific fallacy that I'm supposedly guilty of. Seriously, show me one.

Dave Armstrong said...

Now, this charge of fallacy I take very seriously, and I find it quite irksome that you continue to throw it around. The reason is because if I engage in a fallacy I genuinely want to know, and I genuinely cannot discern where my fallacy is based on your reply. Yes, I see the assertions that a fallacy has been committed. I find no substance. I want you to justify your claims of fallacy.

I've been making arguments all along, replying to you point-by-point, just as I am now doing. There is no need to repeat myself. If you will deal with my arguments individually, then I can clarify further how I think you got it wrong. But there is no need to repeat things that are already on the table and unresponded to. This is the point where dialogues get bogged down in method, complaint and repetition. And talk about "irksome": that is one of my big pet peeves. We all have them, don't we?

So for instance you spoke of my claim of the penalty of "death" being a non-sequitur. As I said in response a non-sequitur is a particular thing, and I want you to show how it applies to my claim. Don't just make assertions of the commission of fallacies. Do the work and show what is a fallacy.

Galileo's mild treatment after his house arrest (living in luxurious palaces, etc., and not prevented to do any of his scientific experiments) shows that the death penalty was hardly in play. So I have already answered by documenting that. Therefore, to throw out the likelihood of his being executed is indeed a non sequitur. It was a melodramatic flourish rather than a serious argument based on the events of the time. You complain about my style, but that one word of yours contained a whole world of hostile, polemical assumptions and contra-Catholic stereotypes. And it is by no means the only instance of that in your arguments.

Now we're getting bogged down in minutiae and missing the larger picture, which is another thing that stalls and stymies dialogue, and drives me nuts.

You did not even attempt to justify your charge of non-sequitur, though the assertions that I'm guilty of fallacies remain.

Now I have. You'll simply disagree, so what was accomplished? I have to now defend at length every word that I utter, while you ignore entire posts of mine?

Now here's a genuine fallacy:

[. . .]

Let's note what's actually happening here. You provide the writings of a Catholic apologist saying that the Pope did not officially endorse the decision nor promulgate it publicly. In response I provide a Protestant apologist saying the opposite.


He's not just a Protestant apologist, but an anti-Catholic polemicist from 1888 with an axe to grind and a known record of shoddy misrepresentations (which even you grant is the case with Cardinal Newman). I have the right to reserve judgment on whether one is a lousy scholar or not. Salmon is. So my point is that you can find far better sources than him if you wish to make your arguments in this vein. Why do you rely on a guy like that? I, OTOH, quoted a recent treatment by a Catholic scholar with a doctorate: Jeff Mirus.

The relevance of my response is obvious. What we have here is a disagreement on fact.

"What we have here is a failure to communicate." -- prison guard in Cool Hand Luke (1967)

It doesn't matter if Salmon in fact is Hitler. It doesn't matter if he erred regarding Newman.

He is a lousy researcher. I've already shown this. He's an ignoramus in his understanding of Catholic infallibility.

I've read Butler's reply to Salmon. I concede that it does appear that he is wrong about Newman.

Then that should be sufficient to discredit him as a source. It's not like there are no other arguments about Galileo you can draw from. There are hundreds of articles. But you choose Salmon?

Dave Armstrong said...

But I can also say that in my opinion his rebuttal to the specific arguments about infallibility completely fail. That's my opinion. You won't agree. But you know what? It doesn't matter. What matters is there is dispute about the factual claim made by your Catholic apologist. A rational response is to consider that factual claim and attempt to evaluate the truth of it. An irrational reply would be to point out other errors that you think the source is guilty of. That's a fallacy in the technical sense. It is called a red herring.

It is relevant to point out that a particular appealed-to "expert" is sufficiently lousy so as to be discredited as a source. He's incompetent. This is not simply the genetic fallacy. He has shown that he shouldn't be taken seriously. An entire book was written about him. You have even read it and concede a major point (his treatment of Newman). I read his book, too, in 1990, as a Protestant who was quite willing to sop up all his anti-Catholic arguments. That was my big issue.

Once again, it doesn't matter if Salmon was guilty of other errors. That is a red herring. What we have is a factual dispute.

He doesn't even understand the basics of Catholic infallibility: Infallibility 0101. Therefore, he ought to be dismissed, let alone utilized as a main source to back up one's views. We're back to the denial that a=a again.

You repeatedly charge me with the fallacy of straw man. You say I redefine Catholic notions. I want you to show where I've done this.

I've been doing that throughout my arguments. No need to repeat it. I'm spending several hours even answering these posts, and they're not even about the topic at hand, but methodology. You claimed, e.g., that Catholics were rationalizing the Galileo affair after the fact. I appealed to the disputes with Luther and an important 1596 quotation about infallibility from St. Francis de Sales. This was completely ignored as if I had never written it. Now you want me to repeat the whole thing, and lots of other stuff, too? Just scroll up and go read it! :-)

Dave Armstrong said...

I do not assert that Infallibility as understood by Catholics applies to an Inquisition like what Galileo was subjected to nor does my argument require this.

I see. You're all over the ballpark in your claims about infallibility, so this is a puzzling remark.

What you need to do is this:

Jon claims RC's believe X.
In fact RC's believe Y.

Have you done that?


Yes. Several times.

This is a very straightforward thing. Put it down right now in response to this question. [ . . . ] Prove your assertion of straw man.

I've already done it in my previous comments. I've explained to you over and over how Catholic infallibility actually works. You ignore most of that, for reasons I know not.

With regards to the words you are having trouble finding, look for this:

"in which certificate it is declared that you had not abjured and had not been punished but only that the declaration made by His Holiness and published by the Holy Congregation of the Index has been announced to you"

I pulled mine from something at Google Books called "Decrees Concerning Galileo" or something like that. The translation was slightly different than what was at the link I provided. The meaning is the same.


Okay. The pope telling Galileo not to write about certain things in 1616 is not an infallible decree; sorry. As Dr. Mirus describes it, this is what occurred:

"In any case, the next day the Pope (Paul V) was notified of their judgment. His response was simply to direct Cardinal Bellarmine to warn Galileo to abandon his opinion: failing that, to abstain from teaching or defending or even discussing it; failing that, to be imprisoned. Galileo, according to a report of Bellarmine on March 3rd, submitted."

If you want to learn what we believe about infallibility, you can read the Vatican I decree on that:

http://www.ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/V1.htm#6

Or what the Catechism says:

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P2A.HTM

Or the Catholic Encyclopedia article on infallibility:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07790a.htm

So the declaration from 1633 asserts that the earlier declaration insisting that Copernicanism was "formally heretical" was via the Pope himself, so the assertions of the apologist you quote claiming that the claims were neither endorsed or promulgated by the Pope are directly contradicted by the very words found in Galileo's condemnation.

We're talking about the formalism of making an infallible decree, not all acknowledgment whatever. This is what you don't seem to grasp. This is why the whole thing has no bearing whatever on catholic authority. it was a mistake by a high-level body on a matter of science that didn't affect infallibility in the slightest.

Now at this point I could talk about how any "fair minded" person would see things my way, and there's various fallacious reasonings contained in your writings, but I don't really see that as helpful. Let the arguments speak for themselves.

And let all my arguments be addressed, as I have done you the courtesy of doing, with your arguments: even your complaints about method and style that I am now spending two hours of my time dealing with, because I think that is the responsibility of the debater: to grapple with all aspects of his opponents' arguments.

My assertions of my own dominance don't seem value added.

I've admitted polemical excess. I'm not perfect. Never claimed to be. My points about the actual arguments back and forth still stand, regardless of how poorly I may have conducted myself, in your eyes.

Like you say, there are facts in play here that need to be dealt with.

Dave Armstrong said...

Hi Jon,

ME: "My point still remains, that if the analogy is so extremely exaggerated that even you renounce it as a one-on-one correspondence to Catholic teaching, why make it in the first place? It has to have some semblance of analogy to work as an argument."

I absolutely disagree. I am challenging what I perceive to be a principle you have claimed. An infallible institution must be permitted to determine for themselves the conditions of infallibility, and questioning the validity of these conditions demonstrates some sort of lack of understanding about what infallibility is. If you really believe this then the conditions don't matter. The conditions can be absolutely outrageous. So let's apply an outrageous condition and see if you sustain the principle. You do not. It is practically essential that I use an outrageous condition in order to test your claim.

The Catholic claims are completely reasonable and sensible and self-consistent. One may disagree with them, of course (join the crowd), but they are not internally ludicrous. We are simply saying, "these are the conditions we claim for ourselves, where we say we are giving infallible decrees, under the special charism from God."

I already made an argument that this was fundamentally different from Mormon prophetic claims (that you ignored). So I think my point stands. You uses a far-fetched Mormon example as an "analogy" to the Catholic principle of infallibility, admit yourself that it is exaggerated; yet now you want to argue that you could have done it no other way? The fact remains that it is not analogous. The argument fails. Period. I already showed, I think, how it did (it's basically a case of apples and oranges).

What is so outrageous about a religious institution clarifying about when its statements are to be regarded as infallible or not? Scientists all the time (particular atheist ones) say stuff like, "evolution [even materialistically perceived] is a fact, and no thinking person can possibly deny it." They think it is an indisputable matter of scientific fact. So why is it that a religious institution cannot make the same sort of claims from a religious perspective: "the Trinity and the incarnation and redemptive sacrifice of Jesus and the resurrection and the Immaculate Conception of Mary are dogmas and facts that no Catholic is allowed to dispute"??? The atheist thinks that is absurd, but it doesn't follow that the underlying principle of asserting facts of religion is absurd in and of itself.

In the present dispute, I am showing you in many different ways that the Galileo decrees are simply not matters of infallibility, rightly-understood. You haven't overthrown that at all.

Dave Armstrong said...

[cont.]

Take a totally different subject. For instance Bush says that if you harbor terrorists you are just as guilty as the terrorists and bombing your country is a legitimate act. OK, if that's the principle he wants to adhere to let's put it to the test. Orlando Bosch is undisputably a terrrorist. Involved in various terrorist atrocities in Cuba, including the bombing of a civilian airliner, he resides in Miami and isn't being extradited to Cuba despite their requests. Doesn't anybody think that entitles Cuba to bomb Washington? No. It's an outrageous claim. So Bush doesn't adhere to the principle. Using outrageous illustrations is exactly what tests whether or not you really adhere to the principles you claim to adhere to.

Reductio ad absurdum (a technique I love myself, and use all the time) only works as an argument when you take the thing itself and show that it leads inexorably to absurd conclusions or results. You didn't do that. You compared Catholic infallibility to Mormon prophecies about black men being inherently inferior. That is not only not a legitimate reductio; it is a completely inept analogy, since the two things are quite different from each other. The very fact that you view them as similar enough to attempt the analogy, shows once again that you have not yet understood infallibility. I asked you to repeat back to us, infallibility as you understand it. You didn't do that. You haven't shown that you understand the conditions under which it applies, in our system.

You're trying to make a criticism of the internal contradictions of Catholic infallibility, but that can't be done, either, if you don't properly understand Catholic infallibility. And you can't do it by making an illegitimate reductio to Mormonism.

Once again you say you've demonstrated fallacies. Then why not focus on them right now as my challenge requested? Explain the details of the non-seqiutur fallacy you charged me with in regards to death penalties.

I did above, in one of my recent replies. Why do you not see what I have already written? This is becoming extremely frustrating. That works both ways, you know. You may find me exasperating (and you're not the only one; Socrates himself was quite unpopular and exasperating to many folks, so was a Person named Jesus; so was the Apostle Paul, or David Hume, etc.), but you can't deny that I at least offer some reply to everything you throw out. At least I do that. But you don't extend to me the same courtesy, and instead demand that I repeat over and over things I have already dealt with at length.

Dave Armstrong said...

[cont.]

Show, with my words, how I attribute positions to you that you don't hold. Assertions that you've shown things is another Triablogue method. "If only you'd go back to prior writings you'd see." Well, I genuinely don't see.

Then this dialogue is over, I reckon. I'm not gonna spend valuable time repeating things over and over. They are truly there: in this thread. And you have not responded to many of them (perhaps that is why you think they aren't there in the first place: they just pass by your brain, like ethereal vapor and are long forgotten). I assume in charity that you have at least read them. But the way you are carrying on, I even wonder about that.

On the other hand I have with specificity described your red herring fallacy and you haven't addressed it. I see this as a key difference between us. I am talking about specific incidents with regards to fallacies (do I attribute to you the view that the Galileo Inquisition is infallible, does discussion of the penalty of death in some sense show a non-sequitur, does BC Butler's reply to Salmon have any relevance to my claim that the conclusions about Copernicanism were publicly promulgated and endorsed by the Pope). Pick any one and address it? You choose not to but instead stick with vagueries, though I specifically asked you not to if you can really back up your claims.

Okay; now you're projecting your method onto me. You seem to think you're me and I'm you. I'm through with all this minutiae about method and style and supposedly what I haven't done, after today. What progress is being made? None that I can see. Obsession about methods and accusations rarely achieve anything constructive. You brought this up, today. I didn't. I'm willing to interact with it today, but no more. I have neither the time nor patience.

Let's note your words:

"I'm not simply pointing to fallacies and illogic, etc., but also at the same time, I think, demonstrating the fallacies. I have provided much information that you haven't replied to at all. I've made all kinds of arguments that are, thus far, untouched and unresponded to. That's simply a fact. It's not an overly-polemical claim."

There is no way for me to evaluate this claim because you have not pointed to any specific fallacy that I'm supposedly guilty of. Seriously, show me one.


Go read. One suspects at this point that your conscious method is to wear out your opponent by relentless minutiae and non sequitur repetition. In this style (since you keep comparing me to Triablogue) you are very much in line (almost uncannily so) with an anti-Catholic guy who calls himself "Turretinfan." It is a seeming hard and fast unwillingness to grapple with the opponents' arguments, and instead a literal obsession with miniutiae: not seeing the forest for the trees. Jason Engwer is also the same way. I proved that he was deliberately ignoring much of my material in his replies (I even did the word counts of what he cited from me, to prove it). Then after I said I was through playing ring-around the-rosey, he went into excruciating detail, knowing I wouldn't be replying again.

You compared me to others (that you know I don't care for) first; I'm returning the favor. So if you don't like that, then don't initiate it by comparing me to an anti-Catholic who is on record declaring me to be a "schizophrenic" and "evil" etc. Goose and gander . . .

Jon said...

Dave, let's focus on these charges of fallacy that you are claiming to demonstrate. Here's the chain of thought on the first one.

Jon-The RCC claims to be God's representation on earth. Failing to be subservient to that authority was done on pain of imprisonment (in Galileo's case house arrest) or death.

Dave-"Death" is merely a melodramatic flourish and can therefore be dismissed as a non sequitur.

Jon2-I don't understand what you are saying. A non-sequitur is a claim that the conclusion does not follow from the premises. What are the premises and what is the conclusion I'm drawing that doesn't follow?

Dave2-No answer. Vague claims that fallacies have been comitted remain.

Jon3-So for instance you spoke of my claim of the penalty of "death" being a non-sequitur. As I said in response a non-sequitur is a particular thing, and I want you to show how it applies to my claim.

Dave3-Galileo's mild treatment after his house arrest (living in luxurious palaces, etc., and not prevented to do any of his scientific experiments) shows that the death penalty was hardly in play.

Just looking at this exchange, can you understand the difficulty I'm having responding to what you say? Your first reply is a vague claim regarding a fallacy. How am I supposed to reply to that? Where is the fallacy? Is Dave3 giving the answer? The death penalty wasn't in play in Galileo's case? Isn't that exactly what I initially said? The fact is I put that statement in parenthesis in hopes of preventing you from going down a rabbit trail as if I was suggesting that the death penalty was in play in this specific instance. It didn't even matter. You still attribute that view to me and accuse me of a fallacy to boot. Then it's post after post talking about how you've shown my logical fallacies and you wonder why I don't reply. I don't even understand the argument you're making against me.

And by the way an error in fact is not a fallacy. This is another problem that is exacerbating the communication barrier here. Your charge against me is a charge of a fallacy, but based on Dave3 it sounds like you're accusing me of an error (I think?). That's not the same thing as a fallacy. Take a look at the exchange here. A charge of non sequitur is a charge that I've made an argument that draws a conclusion that doesn't follow from the premises. That's a pretty basic thing. So what would be helpful is if you listed the supposed premises that define my argument and then show how the conclusion violates the logical form.

Or you could withdraw the charge of fallacy, which is what I think you should do.

Jon said...

Let's move to the straw man.

Jon-You repeatedly charge me with the fallacy of straw man. You say I redefine Catholic notions. I want you to show where I've done this.

Dave-I've been doing that throughout my arguments. No need to repeat it. I'm spending several hours even answering these posts, and they're not even about the topic at hand, but methodology. You claimed, e.g., that Catholics were rationalizing the Galileo affair after the fact. I appealed to the disputes with Luther and an important 1596 quotation about infallibility from St. Francis de Sales. This was completely ignored as if I had never written it. Now you want me to repeat the whole thing, and lots of other stuff, too? Just scroll up and go read it! :-)

See the problem here? A disagreement on fact is not demonstration of a fallacy. Let's assume you're completely right. I claimed that Catholics rationalized Galileo and you showed based on an earlier ruling that the standard was consistent and applied prior to Galileo. That does not show that I committed a logical fallacy. That shows that I made a mistake. There is a major difference. This is an important distinction that you should keep in mind if you want to communicate effectively. Your charge of logical fallacy is totally wrong. Let's say I granted your charge of error (which I don't). That is not the same as granting that I committed a straw man fallacy.

Your position is that Catholics have long regarded certain conditions as necessary for a statement to qualify as "infallible" and hence those conditions must be met for any case wherein the doctrine of infallibility is to be put in question. Since the Galileo affair in your view didn't meet these conditions then it is irrelevant to the question of infallibility. If I were to engage in a straw man I'd portray you as if you argued something different. I don't do that. I know what you are arguing and I'm addressing it. We disagree on the FACT of whether these various conditions were regarded as necessary for a statement to qualify as infallible. You think de Sales mitigates the issue and I disagree (though I haven't delved into it at this point). The fact that we see things differently on this question of FACT does not demonstrate that you or I have committed a logical fallacy. That's a totally different issue.

Dave Armstrong said...

I don't even understand the argument you're making against me.

All the more reason to believe that this dialogue has exhausted itself. Now we are into extreme minutiae about single words, and excruciating critiques of style and method. We're a universe away from Galileo.

This is what I call "beating the bones and guts of what once was a horse" or "seeing the cells and bark and sap of a tree rather than the forest."

I thought the dialogue started out well, and I was enjoying it back when we were actually discussing the issue. What a shame that it has been reduced to this . . .

See the problem here? A disagreement on fact is not demonstration of a fallacy. Let's assume you're completely right. I claimed that Catholics rationalized Galileo and you showed based on an earlier ruling that the standard was consistent and applied prior to Galileo. That does not show that I committed a logical fallacy. That shows that I made a mistake.

SIGH More of the same . . . If you had simply admitted the mistake, minus the lecture, then we could move forward. I admitted excess in polemics. You admit that you blew a fact. That's how progress is made.

There is a major difference. This is an important distinction that you should keep in mind if you want to communicate effectively. Your charge of logical fallacy is totally wrong.

How you interpret words of others almost entirely divorced from overall context is totally wrong. Did you major in analytic philosophy?

Let's say I granted your charge of error (which I don't). That is not the same as granting that I committed a straw man fallacy.

Oh, so you didn't make a mistake? I thought you said you did.

Your position is that Catholics have long regarded certain conditions as necessary for a statement to qualify as "infallible" and hence those conditions must be met for any case wherein the doctrine of infallibility is to be put in question. Since the Galileo affair in your view didn't meet these conditions then it is irrelevant to the question of infallibility. If I were to engage in a straw man I'd portray you as if you argued something different. I don't do that. I know what you are arguing and I'm addressing it. We disagree on the FACT of whether these various conditions were regarded as necessary for a statement to qualify as infallible. You think de Sales mitigates the issue and I disagree (though I haven't delved into it at this point). The fact that we see things differently on this question of FACT does not demonstrate that you or I have committed a logical fallacy. That's a totally different issue.

Whether we can interact intelligently and constructively anymore after all this massive diversion into logical and linguistic minutiae is the issue now, as far as I am concerned. Certainly the initial fun and stimulation of this dialogue has now descended to drudgery and tedium, in my opinion.

If that's partly my fault, then I an happy to take my share of the blame. If I had any idea we'd be in this present rut I wold have tried my utmost to temper my usual enthusiastic passion for debate and used less strong language (that seems to have set you off down this path).

Jon said...

Dave, we're just not able to communicate. No, I did not admit a mistake. Maybe in person will work better.

Dave Armstrong said...

Oh, I see what happened now. You wrote: "Let's assume you're completely right." Somehow that didn't register, so I thought you were actually admitting a mistake. My bad.

So you have been infallible in this debate about infallibility.

And I have ocean land in Kansas to sell you . . .

Dave Armstrong said...

There's no way I would continue this debate in person, with the way it has descended into minutiae and endless fruitless disputes about words and methods. No way Jose.

Rick DeLano said...

There are two key instances in Catholic history where the Church has abandoned (not reversed!) teachings of Scriptural origin with unanimous Patristic consensus:
1. The condemnation of usury
2. The condemnation of heliocentrism

These two abandonments have had awful consequences.

The first has given rise to global usury, which presently immiserates billions and heaves and quakes in its death-throes, as the usurers create ever-expanding oceans of fictitious capital out of thin air and then lend it out at interest (usury), leveraging it hundreds and thousands of times along the way.

The second has given rise to the global religion of scientism (see Stephen Hawkings' recent pontifications on the universe having self-created based upon the workings of its laws- this hilarious bit of pseudo-metaphysical claptrap has received far more media attention than any papal encyclical of Pope Benedict's glorious reign).

This scientism has accomplished a devastating undercutting of the faith of the common man in the veracity of Scripture, as consistently interpreted by the Catholic Church from the beginning.

The Council of Trent condemns any interpretation of Scripture which is against a unanimous consensus of the Fathers.

There is a unanimous consensus of the Fathers that the Earth is at rest, and the Sun is moving, for the excellent reason that Scripture plainly tells us that this is exactly what is happening.

The tragic and endless botch jobs of those many Catholics attempting to explain away this truth is disgraceful, indeed embarrassing.

Jon, Galileo was wrong, Bellarmine was right, and no scientific experiment in history has ever demonstrated the motion of the Earth, either diurnal or translational.

Dave Armstrong is not qualified to address the scientific aspects of this, but I am. Please feel free to contact me: catholicdad@gmail.com.

Adomnan said...

Usury?

Who's going to lend to people whom they don't know personally, letting them use their capital and thus forgoing the use of it themselves, unless they're compensated for that? That compensation is what interest, or "usury," is.

Would you lend your money to someone, other than a friend or relative, "gratis," as Shakespeare put it? If so, could you pay off my nephew's credit cards? He'll pay you back in ten years or so, with no interest of course. Thanks.

Oh, and those ancient people saw the sun rise and set and so they assumed it was going around the earth, because it looked like that to them. They weren't doing physics or astronomy, just describing what they saw. The science came much later. Why does that bother you so much? Doesn't bother me or most Catholics.

Rick DeLano said...

A asks:
Usury?

>>Yup. Usury.

Who's going to lend to people whom they don't know personally, letting them use their capital and thus forgoing the use of it themselves, unless they're compensated for that? That compensation is what interest, or "usury," is.

>>No. Usury is that form of theft which is predicated upon the scandalous lie that if I loan you something- say, a shovel, or a bicycle, or a dollar, that I am somehow entitled to two shovels, or a bicycle and a half, or a dollar and a quarter, in return. As Thomas Aquinas makes very clear, the second shovel, the extra half-bicycle, and the extra quarter dollar do not exist, and hence constitute a form of thievery:

"To take usury for money lent is unjust in itself, because this is to sell what does not exist, and this evidently leads to inequality which is contrary to justice."
**********
Would you lend your money to someone, other than a friend or relative, "gratis," as Shakespeare put it?

>>I do it all the time. Don't you? Don't you ever put money in the hands of the poor, or in the hands of the needy, and not expect a gain from this action- or more precisely, not expect or desire a return on this loan in this world?
************
If so, could you pay off my nephew's credit cards?
>>If he has credit cards, he is not near the top of my list. I am sorry that he has given a pledge to the usurers, but I do my lending to the actually poor, not the ones with access to the plastic.
******
He'll pay you back in ten years or so, with no interest of course. Thanks.

>>Oh, not at all. I believe I'll jes mosey right on over and lend to the poor instead. Thanks.
***************
Oh, and those ancient people saw the sun rise and set and so they assumed it was going around the earth, because it looked like that to them.

>>Yes, you have made this error before. God is the Author of Scripture, and He would be in a position to tell the difference between appearance and actuality. Unlike ancient (or modern) people.
*************
They weren't doing physics or astronomy, just describing what they saw.

>> They were describing what God inspired them to describe, exactly as God inspired them to describe it.
**************
The science came much later. Why does that bother you so much? Doesn't bother me or most Catholics

>>The science you do not know, but I will assist you again to learn it. Meet Albert Einstein:

"The struggle, so violent in the early days of science, between the views of Ptolemy and Copernicus would then be quite meaningless. Either CS [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 CS [coordinate systems]."
 
---"The Evolution of Physics: From Early Concepts to Relativity and Quanta, Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld, New York, Simon and Schuster 1938, 1966 p.212

Now since the science does not support Galileo, indeed since science now shows that every supposed proof Galileo advanced has been experimentally falsified, we are left with the rather astonishing fact that "most Catholics" have failed to uphold an apostolic and Patristic unanimous consensus which science just happens to have admitted it cannot disprove......after four hundred years of trying. It has had to invent a new form of physics- Relativity- in order to avoid the problem that it cannot demonstrate that the Earth is moving.

Isn't it interesting that, just as the usury system buckles and heaves toward collapse, science is now discovering geocentric orientations in the largest structures ever observed in this Universe?

Rick DeLano said...

A asks:
Usury?

>>Yup. Usury.

Who's going to lend to people whom they don't know personally, letting them use their capital and thus forgoing the use of it themselves, unless they're compensated for that? That compensation is what interest, or "usury," is.

>>No. Usury is that form of theft which is predicated upon the scandalous lie that if I loan you something- say, a shovel, or a bicycle, or a dollar, that I am somehow entitled to two shovels, or a bicycle and a half, or a dollar and a quarter, in return. As Thomas Aquinas makes very clear, the second shovel, the extra half-bicycle, and the extra quarter dollar do not exist, and hence constitute a form of thievery:

"To take usury for money lent is unjust in itself, because this is to sell what does not exist, and this evidently leads to inequality which is contrary to justice."
**********

Rick DeLano said...

A: Would you lend your money to someone, other than a friend or relative, "gratis," as Shakespeare put it?

>>I do it all the time. Don't you? Don't you ever put money in the hands of the poor, or in the hands of the needy, and not expect a gain from this action- or more precisely, not expect or desire a return on this loan in this world?
************
If so, could you pay off my nephew's credit cards?
>>If he has credit cards, he is not near the top of my list. I am sorry that he has given a pledge to the usurers, but I do my lending to the actually poor, not the ones with access to the plastic.
******
He'll pay you back in ten years or so, with no interest of course. Thanks.

>>Oh, not at all. I believe I'll jes mosey right on over and lend to the poor instead. Thanks.
***************
Oh, and those ancient people saw the sun rise and set and so they assumed it was going around the earth, because it looked like that to them.

>>Yes, you have made this error before. God is the Author of Scripture, and He would be in a position to tell the difference between appearance and actuality. Unlike ancient (or modern) people.
*************
They weren't doing physics or astronomy, just describing what they saw.

>> They were describing what God inspired them to describe, exactly as God inspired them to describe it.
**************
The science came much later. Why does that bother you so much? Doesn't bother me or most Catholics

>>The science you do not know, but I will assist you again to learn it. Meet Albert Einstein:

"The struggle, so violent in the early days of science, between the views of Ptolemy and Copernicus would then be quite meaningless. Either CS [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 CS [coordinate systems]."
 
---"The Evolution of Physics: From Early Concepts to Relativity and Quanta, Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld, New York, Simon and Schuster 1938, 1966 p.212

Now since the science does not support Galileo, indeed since science now shows that every supposed proof Galileo advanced has been experimentally falsified, we are left with the rather astonishing fact that "most Catholics" have failed to uphold an apostolic and Patristic unanimous consensus which science just happens to have admitted it cannot disprove......after four hundred years of trying. It has had to invent a new form of physics- Relativity- in order to avoid the problem that it cannot demonstrate that the Earth is moving.

Isn't it interesting that, just as the usury system buckles and heaves toward collapse, science is now discovering geocentric orientations in the largest structures ever observed in this Universe?

Rick DeLano said...

A: Would you lend your money to someone, other than a friend or relative, "gratis," as Shakespeare put it?

>>I do it all the time. Don't you? Don't you ever put money in the hands of the poor, or in the hands of the needy, and not expect a gain from this action- or more precisely, not expect or desire a return on this loan in this world?
************
If so, could you pay off my nephew's credit cards?
>>If he has credit cards, he is not near the top of my list. I am sorry that he has given a pledge to the usurers, but I do my lending to the actually poor, not the ones with access to the plastic.
******
He'll pay you back in ten years or so, with no interest of course. Thanks.

>>Oh, not at all. I believe I'll jes mosey right on over and lend to the poor instead. Thanks.
***************

Rick DeLano said...

A: Oh, and those ancient people saw the sun rise and set and so they assumed it was going around the earth, because it looked like that to them.

>>Yes, you have made this error before. God is the Author of Scripture, and He would be in a position to tell the difference between appearance and actuality. Unlike ancient (or modern) people.
*************
They weren't doing physics or astronomy, just describing what they saw.

>> They were describing what God inspired them to describe, exactly as God inspired them to describe it.
**************
The science came much later. Why does that bother you so much? Doesn't bother me or most Catholics

>>The science you do not know, but I will assist you again to learn it. Meet Albert Einstein:

"The struggle, so violent in the early days of science, between the views of Ptolemy and Copernicus would then be quite meaningless. Either CS [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 CS [coordinate systems]."
 
---"The Evolution of Physics: From Early Concepts to Relativity and Quanta, Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld, New York, Simon and Schuster 1938, 1966 p.212

Now since the science does not support Galileo, indeed since science now shows that every supposed proof Galileo advanced has been experimentally falsified, we are left with the rather astonishing fact that "most Catholics" have failed to uphold an apostolic and Patristic unanimous consensus which science just happens to have admitted it cannot disprove......after four hundred years of trying. It has had to invent a new form of physics- Relativity- in order to avoid the problem that it cannot demonstrate that the Earth is moving.

Isn't it interesting that, just as the usury system buckles and heaves toward collapse, science is now discovering geocentric orientations in the largest structures ever observed in this Universe?

Dave Armstrong said...

Patrick M' O'Neil writes about the history of usury:

http://www.ewtn.com/library/THEOLOGY/FRNOONAN.HTM

Consider the Church's stand on "usury"—the charging of interest for the borrowing of money. It is true, of course, that there are passages in the Old and New Testaments which forbid usury, but misinterpretation of such passages does not appear to be at the root of the Church's centuries-long ban on the charging of interest. Once that proscription had been abandoned, the reinterpretation of those scriptural verses presented little difficulty because it had long been recognized that some of the laws imposed by God on the Israelites[6] did not arise from the intrinsic morality directly derived from the natural law, as did Divine commands such as "Thou shalt not kill" or "Thou shalt not steal," but instead derived from the extrinsic moral realm (malum prohibitum) through the Divine law, whereby (amongst other things) God prescribed special statutes for Israel on account of that holy nation's unique position in Sacred History (and in the economy of salvation) and because of its special covenantal relationship to God.

The New Testament instances—more specifically Christ's injunction to "Lend freely, hoping for nothing thereby"[7]—could then be seen as related to one of the evangelical counsels. The evangelical counsels—such as absolute celibacy, absolute pacifism, absolute poverty—are supererogatory counsels of perfection, and it would not seem to be a great stretch in logic to say that if Christ could recommend absolute poverty as a counsel of perfection, He could likewise exhort followers to a lesser, but still supererogatory, standard of action. If selling all one's goods and donating the proceeds to the poor is praiseworthy,[8] it can also be virtuous (albeit to a lesser degree) to forego requiring the payment of interest on loans to the poor, to friends, or to the general public, for that matter.

Also, apart from supererogation, in certain circumstances, an interest-free loan might be a moral obligation where one has a duty of charity and where, for prudential reasons, an interest—free loan would prove preferable to an outright gift. Prudential reasons might include but would not be limited to—the existence of other obligations which preclude outright donation, the desire to stimulate responsibility and industry in the beneficiary, and the need to maintain sufficient resources for other charitable works. If a direct grant of aid without any duty of repayment is in some circumstances morally required, then a fortiori, the lesser act of giving an interest-free loan to an unfortunate may also be such an obligation. This explanation can, perhaps, reconcile scriptural exhortations with the "new" Church position on the charging of interest, but how does one explain the change in the Church's position? Noonan, of course, has written extensively on the history of the prohibition on usury.[9]

6 E.g., Lev. 25:35-37, Ezek. 18:5-9, Ps. 14:5 (directly); and Amos 8:46 and Deut. 15:7-10 (by interpretation).

7 Lk. 6:35.

8 Lk. 18:20-27.

9 John T. Noonan, Jr., The Scholastic Analysis of Usury (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1957).

Dave Armstrong said...

[cont.]

The Church may err in falsos testes—because of inaccurate testimony (whether that inaccuracy be willful or inadvertent). This includes expert testimony in the literal sense of the sworn statements of laymen and scholars alike, as well as general scholarly opinion, or even the general popular opinion, in an area outside of faith and morals, but related to those judgments made regarding issues of faith and morals.

In the papal bull Apostolicae curae, Pope Leo XIII declared Anglican orders to be "absolutely null and utterly void," on the basis of certain irregularities of form and defects of intention, but the existence of the facts backing the existence of such irregularities and defects depended on the assumption of the correctness of certain historical accounts by ecclesiastical historians.[10] Pope Leo's judgment concerning the validity of Anglican orders is, in effect, two judgments. The "faith and morals" part, which partakes of papal infallibility, should be stated as a hypothetical, "If these events (S, T, U) occurred, then Anglican orders are invalid, because the validity of priestly orders depends upon conditions X, Y, Z." This hypothetical is undoubtedly correct, but it is followed by a second premise, "Events S, T, U did occur," the truth of which is not a matter of faith and morals, but of historical fact. Matters of historical fact, except for those facts attested by Scripture or which are logically entailed by doctrines of the faith, do not enjoy any assumption of inerrancy, but are held probabilistically and corrigibly.

The error concerning the charging of interest is an example of correct moral principles (against economic exploitation and so forth) mistakenly applied on account of the inadequacies of early economic theory. When better economic theory became available (along with the lessons of practical experience), the Church could change its position because the fundamental form of her judgment was: "If W is the economic function involved in the charging of interest, then the charging of interest is immoral, because economic activities must adhere to rule X (or rules X, Y, & Z)." Changes under these circumstances do not threaten the claims of the magisterium of the Church in any way. The discovery that the charging of interest does not (necessarily) involve exploitation, but represents instead legitimate payment for the time-value of money and for the risk factors endured by the lender, denies the antecedent of the hypothetical.[11] Anti-usury laws (as well as anti-loan-sharking laws) which prohibit excessive interest rates—at least on certain types of loans—reflect the wide-spread public recognition of the correctness of the Church's moral judgment in this area—albeit the Church's judgment as modified by improving economic expertise.

10 John Jay Hughes, Absolutely Null and Utterly Void: The Papal Condemnation of Anglican Orders, 1896 (Washington, DC: Corpus Books, 1968).

11 This does not partake of the fallacy of "denying the antecedent," because the Church's judgment that the charging of interest is permissible is based not only on the denial of the antecedent, which simply prevents the conclusion of impermissibility, but also on the absence of support for any conclusion of impermissibility.

Rick DeLano said...

Thanks for your opinion, Dave. Now Catholicism is a matter of Faith, not opinion, and the teaching of a solemn ecumenical Council is not reversed by the opinions of men.

Here is the authentic Catholic teaching, given with the Authority of Christ Himself, at the ecumenical Council of Vienna in 1311 (please note that its abandonment has given rise to the New World Order in all its stupendous moral degradation and financial flim-flammery):


"[29]. Serious suggestions have been made to us that communities in certain places, to the divine displeasure and injury of the neighbour, in violation of both divine and human law, approve of usury. By their statutes, sometimes confirmed by oath, they not only grant that usury may be demanded and paid, but deliberately compel debtors to pay it. By these statutes they impose heavy burdens on those claiming the return of usurious payments, employing also various pretexts and ingenious frauds to hinder the return. We, therefore, wishing to get rid of these pernicious practices, decree with the approval of the sacred council that all the magistrates, captains, rulers, consuls, judges, counsellors or any other officials of these communities who presume in the future to make, write or dictate such statutes, or knowingly decide that usury be paid or, if paid, that it be not fully and freely restored when claimed, incur the sentence of excommunication. They shall also incur the same sentence unless within three months they delete from the books of their communities, if they have the power, statutes of this kind hitherto published, or if they presume to observe in any way these statutes or customs. Furthermore, since money-lenders for the most part enter into usurious contracts so frequently with secrecy and guile that they can be convicted only with difficulty, we decree that they be compelled by ecclesiastical censure to open their account books, when there is question of usury. If indeed someone has fallen into the error of presuming to affirm pertinaciously that the practice of usury is not sinful, we decree that he is to be punished as a heretic; and we strictly enjoin on local ordinaries and inquisitors of heresy to proceed against those they find suspect of such error as they would against those suspected of heresy."

Isn't it remarkable how different magisterial Catholic teaching is, from your cited (garbled and turgid) opinion of men, Dave?

Dave Armstrong said...

Dave Armstrong is not qualified to address the scientific aspects of this, but I am.

What are your scientific credentials, Rick?

Rick DeLano said...

My scientific credentials, Dave, extend to being able to explain to you why the astronauts were not able to tell whether the Earth was rotating when they looked down at it.

Hilariously, you have left a paper up on this website which contains just that (stupendous) elementary blunder.

There is no cure for willful ignorance, Dave, and believe me when I tell you, your paper claiming that the astronauts could tell the Earth was rotating from space is a *colossal* blunder.

But you have been told that, over and over again, by everybody from me to Bob Sungenis to Albert Einstein, and you have not corrected your blunder.

So that makes it willful.

Doesn't it bother you at all, Dave, that you post drivel like that usury piece, instead of authentic catholic magisterial teaching?

I mean, doesn't it bother your conscience even a tiny little bit to post things that argue that even a papal decree on the nullity of Anglican Orders is reversible, just so long as the wax-nose neo-Catholic folderol-shovellers decide some aspect of it is?

Dave Armstrong said...

That diversion doesn't tell me your scientific credentials. What education do you have, and from where. What science courses did you take?

Rick DeLano said...

That diversion doesn't answer my demonstration that you have willfully maintained a falsehood on your website.

On what basis do you refuse to correct your blunder, and continue to maintain knowably false representations concerning the ability of an astronaut to establish the diurnal motion of the Earth?

Dave Armstrong said...

What is your education? What are your scientific credentials? One more hedge and my readers will surely know that you have either none, or ones hardly commensurate with your grandiose, loudmouthed claims.

Otherwise, why would you possibly be reluctant to share them with us?

Dave Armstrong said...

While we're waiting for a response, it looks like Our Boy Rick doesn't have an MA or MS degree, since he is listed on a page with a bunch of folks who have their degrees listed, and there is no such listing for his name:

http://www.remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/2009-second_international_declaration_pope_benedict.htm

Perhaps it was an oversight, or he obtained a degree in the interim . . .

Rick DeLano said...

One more dodge and your readers will have confirmed what they already know, Dave. What they already know is that you are a blustering and ill-qualified blunderer, who doesn't know enough to be able to understand the reason why we cannot tell, just by looking, whether it is the Sun that is rising above the horizon, or whether it is the Earth that is rotating upon its axis.

The matter of your grotesque ignorance in this regard is not a great thing: it would have been fine to have admitted it and corrected the blunder.

Instead you have resorted to the typical tactics of the Pharisee and the fakir: since you know you are wrong on the facts, attack the opponent who has so inconveniently caught you out.

I am a tenth grade dropout, Dave, and as I have truthfully reported, and hereby repeat, and openly invite all readers of any scientific background or none at all:

I am qualified to address the scientific aspects of the question of whether geocentrism has been experimentally disproven (it hasn't).

Dave Armstrong is not qualified to address this question, not merely because of his inability to grasp the basis principle of Relativity which renders his foolish example of astronauts "seeing the Earth turn beneath them" such a blunder, but also because Dave Armstrong would rather attempt to obfuscate his own blunder, than to ameliorate or defend it.

As for me, I stand ready at any time, to address the scientific questions associated with geocentrism, with any one, regardless of academic credential or lack thereof.

Christ, after all, did not limit His Wisdom to the recipients of degrees, and certainly not to those whose credentials depend upon the maintenance of a scientific falsehood: to wit, that it has ever been demonstrated by any scientific experiment in all of human history that the Earth is in motion, either translational or diurnal.

It has never been so demonstrated.

Dave Armstrong said...

I am a tenth grade dropout, Dave.

I see. Thanks! So you don't even have a high school diploma, let alone a college degree, and the requisite courses in science. Yet you fancy yourself equipped to take on 99.9% of the world's scientists (if not more) who are arrayed against you?

Did you at least take biology and dissect a frog before you dropped out of high school?; perhaps a bit of chemistry? Didja have a chemistry set at home, as I did?

I had three years of science in high school: chemistry, biology, and physics (also a year of geometry and two of algebra: four semesters), and took geology and biology in college (as well as philosophy of space and time).

That doesn't particularly prove anything at all, as to levels of expertise on this specific question, and I'm as big of an advocate of self-eduction via books and other means as anyone is, but I think it is relevant, given your grandiose, melodramatic claims, and I think it gives me enough scientific education to know that you are full of hot air on this topic (to use a "helium-centric" metaphor).

Rick DeLano said...

DA: I see. Thanks! So you don't even have a high school diploma, let alone a college degree, and the requisite courses in science. Yet you fancy yourself equipped to take on 99.9% of the world's scientists (if not more) who are arrayed against you?

>>Actually, Dave, it is 99.9% of the world's scientists who are arrayed against *you*. Unlike you, they understand the basic principle of Relativity, which renders your claim that the astronauts could observe the Earth's rotation from space an appalling blunder. 99.9% of the world's scientists know that this blunder is precisely the same blunder by which one assumes one can determine merely from observation whether the Sun is rising, or whether the Earth is rotating upon its axis.

Now even if 99.9% of the world's scientists *were* to say that it has been experimentally demonstrated that the earth is moving, *they would, all of them, each and every last one, be wrong, and their credentials could do nothing at all to save them*, Dave.

But 99.9% of the word's scientists do *not* say this, Dave.

Any scientist that *did* say it would be a drone, an incompetent.

Let us examine what *actual* scientists have to say about this, shall we, Dave?

Rick DeLano said...

Here is some food for thought, Dave, the next time you go foolishly chirping about "99.9% of scientists". Or, for that matter, about whether astronauts can "see the Earth rotating beneath them from space"


"The struggle, so violent in the early days of science, between the views of Ptolemy and Copernicus would then be quite meaningless. Either CS [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 CS [coordinate systems]."
 
---"The Evolution of Physics: From Early Concepts to Relativity and Quanta, Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld, New York, Simon and Schuster 1938, 1966 p.212
***************************


"...Thus we may return to Ptolemy's point of view of a 'motionless earth'...One has to show that the transformed metric can be regarded as produced according to Einstein's field equations, by distant rotating masses. This has been done by Thirring. He calculated a field due to a rotating, hollow, thick-walled sphere and proved that inside the cavity it behaved as though there were centrifugal and other inertial forces usually attributed to absolute space.

Thus from Einstein's point of view, Ptolemy and Corpenicus are equally right."

Max Born "Einstein's Theory of Relativity",Dover Publications,1962, pgs 344 & 345:
******************************


"We know that the difference between a heliocentric theory and a geocentric theory is one of relative motion only, and that such a difference
has no physical significance."

Sir Fred Hoyle,Astronomy and Cosmology - A Modern Course, (San Francisco:W. H. Freeman & Co.), p. 416,1975.

Now examples can certainly be multiplied Dave, but for a guy like you, who has dug himself into such a deep hole here (and against a mere tenth grade dropout no less!), may I suggest to you first that you put down the shovel..........

Rick DeLano said...

Oh, here's just one more for you, Dave:


“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.”---cosmologist George Ellis, quoted in Scientific American, George Ellis, a famous cosmologist, in Scientific American, "Thinking Globally, Acting Universally", October 1995

Now isn't it remarkable that a tenth grade droupout knows this, and you don't?

Perhaps this will assist you to grasp more sensuously why the "Argument from Academic Credential" is among the most pathetic of all logical fallacies......

Dave Armstrong said...

As for the earth's rotation, one evidence of that is nutation:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nutation

. . . discovered by James Bradley in 1728.

Precession of the equinoxes is another indication:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precession_%28astronomy%29#Astronomy

... as is polar motion:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polar_motion

In 1851, French physicist Léon Foucault provided an experimental demonstration of the rotation of the Earth on its axis. This was achieved by considering the rotation of the plane of oscillation of a freely suspended pendulum in the Panthéon in Paris.

In 1913, American physicist Arthur Compton devised another demonstration method for the Earth's rotation:

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/citation/37/960/803

See also:

"Experimental Proofs of the Earth's Rotation," William M. McKinney, Journal of Geography, Volume 61, Issue 4 April 1962 , pages 171-174.

Rick DeLano said...

I gotta give you credit for working the old google button pretty hard at least, but you just don't get it yet.

Every. Single. Example. You. Post. Must. Be. Explainable. From. A. Geocentric. Reference.

Otherwise. You. Have. Experimentally. Disproven. The. Theory. Of. Relativity.

You would win a Nobel Prize if you could do that, Dave, even given your lack of scientific credentials.

But let's see why you won't, shall we?

DAVE: As for the earth's rotation, one evidence of that is nutation:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nutation

. . . discovered by James Bradley in 1728.

>>What do you suppose makes nutation *only possible to explain* from within the context of a rotating Earth. Dave?

Come on use your own words now, or else google up somebody else's.

Let me save you the time.

Nutation is explainable as:

1. The slight wobble of the Earth as it rotates upon its axis.

2. The slight wobble of the Universe as it rotates about its barycenter.

To claim that 1 can be proven, while 2 cannot, will win you the Nobel Prize, as Einstein already told you, remember?

"The struggle, so violent in the early days of science, between the views of Ptolemy and Copernicus would then be quite meaningless. Either CS [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 CS [coordinate systems]."
 
---"The Evolution of Physics: From Early Concepts to Relativity and Quanta, Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld, New York, Simon and Schuster 1938, 1966 p.212

Now get busy there Dave and tell us why 1 above must be true, while 2 above cannot.

Hint: You can't.

Strike One.

Dave Armstrong said...

For info. on the earth's rotation being incorporated into Einstein's relativity, see:

"Spacetime and Spin," by James Overduin (January 2008)

http://einstein.stanford.edu/SPACETIME/spacetime4.html

Einstein (like virtually all scientists) believed that the earth rotates:

"Such displacements may take place as the consequence of comparatively slight forces exerted on the crust, derived from the earth’s momentum of rotation, which in turn will tend to alter the axis of rotation, which in turn will tend to alter the axis of rotation of the earth’s crust.

"In a polar region there is continual deposition of ice, which is not symmetrically distributed about the pole. The earth’s rotation acts on these unsymmetrically deposited masses, and produces centrifugal momentum that is transmitted to the rigid crust of the earth."

(Foreword to The Path of the Pole, by Charles Hapgood)

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/ends-of-the-earth-einstein

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/ends-of-the-earth-einstein#ixzz0zGSvEG4J

"Einstein's drag: two satellites reveal how Earth's rotation warps space-time"

Article Abstract:

"An international team of Italian, Greek-American and Spanish researchers have hit upon a novel idea to measure the Lense-Thirring effect. The researchers utilized two satellite systems which accounted for gravitational perturbations to measure space-time warp as the Earth rotates.
author: Ariza, Luis Miguel
Publisher: Scientific American, Inc.
Publication Name: Scientific American
Subject: Science and technology
ISSN: 0036-8733
Year: 1998"

http://www.faqs.org/abstracts/Science-and-technology/Einsteins-drag-two-satellites-reveal-how-Earths-rotation-warps-space-time.html

Rick DeLano said...

Dave tries again:
***********
DA: Precession of the equinoxes is another indication:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precession_%28astronomy%29#Astronomy

>>No it isn't. Precession is merely the change of orientation of the rotational axis of a rotating body. Equinoctial precession is therefore explainable as:

1. The change of orientation of the Earth's rotation with respect to the Universe over time, or

2. The change of orientation of the Universe's rotation with respect to the Earth over time.

To claim that 1 can be proven, while 2 cannot, will win you the Nobel Prize, as Einstein already told you, remember?

"The struggle, so violent in the early days of science, between the views of Ptolemy and Copernicus would then be quite meaningless. Either CS [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 CS [coordinate systems]."

---"The Evolution of Physics: From Early Concepts to Relativity and Quanta, Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld, New York, Simon and Schuster 1938, 1966 p.212

Now get busy there Dave and tell us why 1 above must be true, while 2 above cannot.

Hint: You can't.

Strike Two.

Rick DeLano said...

Poor Dave. You just don't seem to get it yet, but I have high hopes for you.

It's 0 and 2 for you big fella, but maybe you can pull one out here in the bottom of the ninth...let's see:

Dave swings again: ... as is polar motion:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polar_motion

>>This one is truly hilarious, since your own source admits: "This is measured with respect to a reference frame in which the solid Earth is fixed (a so-called Earth-centered, Earth-fixed or ECEF reference frame)."

Needless to say, this does not bode well for your third swing, Dave, since you are attempting to prove that the earth centered earth fixed reference frame is nonexistent.

That's a big Strike Three for ya there pardner, but let's continue and give you another swing at the ball.....

Dave Armstrong said...

More evidence of the earth's rotation from a satellite in space:

"Testing the spin effect: how far the the world turns according to Einsteinian physics," Steve Jones, Telegraph, 18 May 2010.

"If Einstein is right, the spinning discs would – like Foucault's pendulum – drift slightly over time in response to the space-time distortion caused by the Earth's mass and rotation."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/steve-jones/7734055/Testing-the-spin-effect-how-far-the-the-world-turns-according-to-Einsteinian-physics.html

See also Paul Davies, "Einstein, the first spin doctor," The Guardian, 10 April 2004.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2004/apr/10/spaceexploration.comment

Rick DeLano said...

DAVE AGAIN: In 1851, French physicist Léon Foucault provided an experimental demonstration of the rotation of the Earth on its axis. This was achieved by considering the rotation of the plane of oscillation of a freely suspended pendulum in the Panthéon in Paris.

>>Uh oh, here comes that pesky Einstein feller again, Dave. Do you suppose he might have some of them thar' scientific credentials you wuz talkin about earlier?

“One need not view the existence of such centrifugal forces as originating fromthe motion of K’ [the Earth]; one could just as well account for them as resulting from the average rotational effect of distant, detectable masses as evidenced in the vicinity of K’ [the Earth], whereby K’ [the Earth] is treated as being at rest.”

--Albert Einstein, quoted in Hans Thirring, “On the Effect of Distant Rotating Masses in Einstein’s Theory of Gravitation”, Physikalische Zeitschrift 22, 29, 1921

That's Strike Four.

Am I getting through to you Mr. Armstrong?

Rick DeLano said...

Dave, I think I see the problem here. You say "Einstein believes the Earth rotates".

But that is completely irrelevant, isn't it?

Since science establishes its credibility based on experimental demonstration, not belief, to merely "believe" one or the other possible explanation for an experimental result is a matter of philosophical preference, not scientific proof, isn't it Dave?

Remember what George Ellis tried to teach you, earlier, Dave?

“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.”

Now if you wish to say that you philosophically prefer the possible explanation that the Earth rotates, then say so, and we can proceed to an examination of Catholic teaching on this score.

If you wish to claim that you can scientifically prove the Earth's motion, then you are going to continue to get creamed here by a tenth grade dropout :-)

So what's it gonna be Dave?

Dave Armstrong said...

So what's it gonna be Dave?

I'm gonna go back to working on my new book about Mary, and then on to the next one about soteriology. You can rant and insult and make a fool of yourself here if you wish.

Rick DeLano said...

Well, there you have it sports fans.

Always a pleasure Dave.

Til next time :-)

Rick DeLano said...

Oh, just a bit of housekeeping Dave...you posted regarding the test of Einstein in Gravity Probe B, remember?

Umm, I got some news...
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13938-gravity-probe-b-scores-f-in-nasa-review.html

The short version: It failed.

Cheers!

Dave Armstrong said...

Fare thee well and thanks for stopping by. One treasures all these precious moments of instruction from a profound intellectual and expert on science such as yourself.

Rick DeLano said...

Well, just trying to help, Dave. After all, your excellent work in areas where you possess actual expertise ought not be compromised by your regrettably monumental blunders with regard to geocentrism.

Next time, I suggest you ask Bob Sungenis to help you out before you post on this issue.

It'll save a lot of bother.

Adomnan said...

I see some validity to the theory that the center of the universe is not the earth or the sun or some other place, but is, in actuality,...Rick!

Given that, as Einstein says, we can choose any coordinate system we wish, then why not opt for a Rickocentric universe? Thus, when Rick walks down the street, as we say using conventional language, we should instead regard Rick as standing still and the street (with the rest of the world) moving past him.

Thus, to paraphrase Einstein, the two sentences, "the street is at rest and Rick moves", or "the street moves and Rick is at rest", would simply mean two different conventions concerning two different CS [coordinate systems].

And if Rick does a pirouette, he isn't really twirling at all, but it's actually the universe revolving around him in a very complex (and rapid) motion.

Rick DeLano said...

Welcome back, Adoman, and while I get the nice attempt at sarcasm there, you have actually raised a very significant point.

It is a very troubling aspect of Einstein's Theory that *it absolutely requires* that, in your delicious phraseology:

"Thus, to paraphrase Einstein, the two sentences, "the street is at rest and Rick moves", or "the street moves and Rick is at rest", would simply mean two different conventions concerning two different CS [coordinate systems].

And if Rick does a pirouette, he isn't really twirling at all, but it's actually the universe revolving around him in a very complex (and rapid) motion."

You see, Adoman, it is not Rick, but Einstein who *absolutely insists* that the laws of physics do not permit us to assign one or the other reference frame as absolute.

In fact, poor Albert is required to go *even further*.

He is *required, by the necessary logic of his Theory*, to assert that there is *no physical difference whatsoever* between the two statements:

1. "the street is at rest and Rick moves", or

2. "the street moves and Rick is at rest",

since, as Einstein assures us, this

"would simply mean two different conventions concerning two different CS [coordinate systems]."

Now.

Why in the world would a fellow as smart as Einstein- a man with an entire *wall* full of scientific credentials- be compelled to embrace a Theory which absolutely *requires* him to assert that which you find so absurd, above?

And that's not all, Adoman.

He requires you to believe that rods shrink in the direction of motion, that time elapses at different rates for bodies in different states of motion......it just goes on and on.

Now if you were interested in getting to the real meat of the matter (not that I expect that you are, but....) you might ask yourself:

What drove Einstein to propose such apparent absurdities, and *what drove the scientific establishment to adopt them*?

The answer is:

The utter failure of every terrestrial experiment to show the motion of the Earth in its orbit that had been assumed by every scientist since Bessel's identification of the first stellar parallax.

They had to reinvent physics, you see, because none of their experiments were showing that motion.

Know why the rods shrink?

They have to, in order to explain the results of the Michelson Morley experiment.

Know why time moves at different rates?

It has to, and for the same reason.

And the cost of these shrinking rods and different rates of time?

You guessed it: This means that Rick pirouetting or the Universe pirouetting around "would simply mean two different conventions concerning two different CS [coordinate systems]."

That's the price they paid to keep the Earth from standing still.

Thanks for the opportunity Adoman. Excellent observation.

Adomnan said...

Rick DeLano:
Thanks for the opportunity Adoman. Excellent observation.

Adomnan:
You're most welcome. Now how about that interest-free loan for my nephew?

Dave Armstrong said...

ROFL

Adomnan, you're becoming the resident comedian. You've been on a real roll lately. Hilarious stuff . . .

I think I'll opt for an Enloecentric cosmology. That would explain a lot.

Rick DeLano said...

Well, I suppose in light of your very helpful post I ought to consider, in Christian charity, a gesture in response to your request. After all, Our Lord asks us to give to those who ask.

I am not a wealthy man (in terms of this world's measure of wealth) and so I can offer only a small loan.

Since your nephew is not among the poor, however, I would have to ask for standard documentation of the loan, and for you to co-sign as surety for your nephew.

I will loan precisely one tenth of one ounce of gold, and will require just that much- nothing more-in return, in ten years' time.

You may, if you wish, repay the loan at any time prior to its due date without incurring any penalty at all (since there is no usury attached).

Please contact me at catholicdad@gmail.com in order to effectuate the necessary paperwork.

Thanks again- your very clever post was supremely helpful.

I hope your nephew is able to secure deliverance from his unwise subjection of himself to the usurers through this loan, and I sincerely hope that it will not work too much of a hardship for him to repay the loan, since I am not wealthy, and only offer this in light of your very helpful post, and your subsequent request.

Cheers!

Adomnan said...

Rick DeLano:...and for you to co-sign as surety for your nephew.

Adomman: Deal's off.

Thanks anyway.

Rick DeLano said...

:-)