PDA

View Full Version : Space Kate Mulgrew (Capt. Janeway) do a documentary arguing Geocentrism



Cikomyr
2014-04-07, 03:08 PM
Not sure if I read the article wrong. Or if I took the wrong conclusion, so I present this article to this august assembly so they may actually give me some perspective on the topic.

It actually took me by surprise..


http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/04/07/star-trek-actress-lends-her-gravitas-to-film-promoting-idea-that-sun-revolves-around-earth/

Ravens_cry
2014-04-07, 03:45 PM
Eh, another day, another dollar. Still, attaching your name to filth like this can't be good for ones career.

BWR
2014-04-07, 03:46 PM
You read that right. One can only assume she needs to pay the bills like anyone else, and feels confident that only idiots will believe the idiocy of the film and sensible people will just shake their heads and ignore it.
OTOH, she may be one of those loonies. I'll go with the first because I like to assume people are sensible until proven otherwise.

PallElendro
2014-04-07, 03:50 PM
When someone hasn't worked in tele for a while, they decide to delve into the dark side. Examples include this film.

Soras Teva Gee
2014-04-07, 05:17 PM
Poe's Law anyone?

Zrak
2014-04-08, 01:05 AM
Is that the one that says artistically talented people get one "freebie" crazy decision, like endorsing geocentrism or marrying their teenage cousin, or the one where anyone who does something crazy like endorsing geocentrism or marrying their teenage cousin is probably going to die spouting gibberish wearing a stranger's clothes?

Or are you referring to the rule that says people with funny-shaped heads make weird decisions, because that's just called physiognomy and geocentrism is silly but two wrongs don't make a right, okay?

Seriously, though, kids. Don't marry your teenage cousin, no-matter how drunk you are, and don't endorse geocentrism, unless it's a joke that's just hard to pick up on without knowing your true intentions.

CarpeGuitarrem
2014-04-08, 10:01 AM
No, it's "90% of any given media is awful". Applied to this case, it's "actors work a lot of stuff; expect some of it to be dreadful". Which is rather true, if you start digging through actors' credited performances.

It's like flipping hamburgers at Mickey D's.

And, really. I'm all for science, but "endorsing geocentrism" is hardly something I consider to be a great wrong against humanity. There's also far, far worse things one could endorse.

Zrak
2014-04-08, 10:11 AM
That's actually Sturgeon's Law. Poe's Law is that it's difficult to tell the difference between a sincere belief in something and a parody of that belief without a clear statement of authorial intent.

CarpeGuitarrem
2014-04-08, 10:12 AM
That's actually Sturgeon's Law. Poe's Law is that it's difficult to tell the difference between a sincere belief in something and a parody of that belief without a clear statement of authorial intent.
Gosh dangit, muddling my laws again.

At least I didn't mix it up with Godwin.

TroubleBrewing
2014-04-08, 12:58 PM
Gosh dangit, muddling my laws again.

At least I didn't mix it up with Godwin.

Yeah, because then you'd be some kind of fascist. :smalltongue:

Dire Moose
2014-04-08, 04:30 PM
Apparently, she was actually misinformed about the purpose of the documentary and tricked into looking like she supported geocentrism. (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/04/08/star-treks-kate-mulgrew-i-am-not-a-geocentrist/)

Eldan
2014-04-09, 02:47 AM
That blog, however, is hilarious. Thanks for that.

Zrak
2014-04-09, 08:52 AM
Apparently, she was actually misinformed about the purpose of the documentary and tricked into looking like she supported geocentrism. (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/04/08/star-treks-kate-mulgrew-i-am-not-a-geocentrist/)

Yeah, I thought that might be the case when I googled the documentary and saw the other names attached to it. I figure they gave a vague description of the documentary being about "controversial" or "exciting" ideas in astronomy or astrophysics and gave pretty generic interviews that they then quote-mined for brief snippets that could be seen to support geocentrism. The worst part is that a pretty cool documentary about actual science probably got left on the cutting room floor.

I didn't look much into the rest of the blog. I had to stop when I started to worry about tearing an ocular nerve from how hard I was rolling my eyes at the post about how nonsensical horoscopes make just as much sense as real ones. I figured there was going to be something like "Copper bracelets for arthritis? Pretty much exactly the same as driving a railroad spike through your wrist, am I right?" further down the page.

Tragak
2014-05-01, 07:56 AM
This is patently offensive at the face of it.

If you're going to film a documentary about how the Earth doesn't go around the Sun, and you're going to trick a respectable actor into sounding like s/he agrees with you, then it should be Benedict Cumberbatch :smallbiggrin:

Grinner
2014-05-01, 08:04 PM
Eh, another day, another dollar. Still, attaching your name to filth like this can't be good for ones career.

That's some awfully harsh language. I don't think you should smear someone's beliefs simply because you disagree with them.

Tebryn
2014-05-01, 08:36 PM
That's some awfully harsh language. I don't think you should smear someone's beliefs simply because you disagree with them.

When said beliefs are ignorant, hateful (as some of the directors are) or otherwise patently wrong we can be as dismissive as we want to them. It's not because we disagree with them, it's because they're -wrong- and trying to pass them off as real.

Grinner
2014-05-01, 09:12 PM
When said beliefs are ignorant, hateful (as some of the directors are) or otherwise patently wrong we can be as dismissive as we want to them. It's not because we disagree with them, it's because they're -wrong- and trying to pass them off as real.

You can be as dismissive as you want. You certainly need no license to do so. However, it seems downright unegalitarian to me. It's up to every man to form his own beliefs, and yours, no matter how well-evidenced they may be, are still yours. It's not your place to castigate someone else for being different from you, particularly when they've done you no harm.

It's easy enough to just say, "I disagree." There's no need to punctuate it with a fistful of mud.

Tebryn
2014-05-01, 09:41 PM
You can be as dismissive as you want. You certainly need no license to do so. However, it seems downright unegalitarian to me. It's up to every man to form his own beliefs, and yours, no matter how well-evidenced they may be, are still yours. It's not your place to castigate someone else for being different from you, particularly when they've done you no harm.

It's easy enough to just say, "I disagree." There's no need to punctuate it with a fistful of mud.

You're certainly entitled to your opinions however you're not entitled to your own facts nor are you entitled to be shielded from being told you are -wrong- when you're -wrong-. I'm sorry if that seems unegalitarian to you but I want to live in a world where the truth is valued over what someone "believes" or "feels". If you believe the Earth is flat...you're wrong. And you don't get to hide behind "Well, that's your opinion." to save you from the criticism or for people to point out the flaws in their beliefs or opinions.

Grinner
2014-05-01, 10:02 PM
You're certainly entitled to your opinions however you're not entitled to your own facts nor are you entitled to be shielded from being told you are -wrong- when you're -wrong-. I'm sorry if that seems unegalitarian to you but I want to live in a world where the truth is valued over what someone "believes" or "feels". If you believe the Earth is flat...you're wrong. And you don't get to hide behind "Well, that's your opinion." to save you from the criticism or for people to point out the flaws in their beliefs or opinions.

I disagree.

See, wasn't that easy? :smallsmile:

Woot Spitum
2014-05-01, 10:02 PM
You're certainly entitled to your opinions however you're not entitled to your own facts nor are you entitled to be shielded from being told you are -wrong- when you're -wrong-. I'm sorry if that seems unegalitarian to you but I want to live in a world where the truth is valued over what someone "believes" or "feels". If you believe the Earth is flat...you're wrong. And you don't get to hide behind "Well, that's your opinion." to save you from the criticism or for people to point out the flaws in their beliefs or opinions.Ironically, this sounds awfully like the sort of thing people said to Galileo when he proposed heliocentric orbit in the first place.

russdm
2014-05-01, 10:12 PM
Its most likely that she agreed to read some material or narrate. Did so, but then the editors cut it so that everything she provided supported their own viewpoint without telling her. Since a few others have mentioned being quoted out of context here, I think we can accept the same thing happened here as well.

Beside, most (not all) basic elementary school science teaches how the planets revolve around the sun.

One could prove that Geocentrism is true in that everything revolves around us because we are also moving so the appearance is made. This doesn't mean it actually happens though, but it could/can look like it.

Tebryn
2014-05-02, 12:49 AM
Ironically, this sounds awfully like the sort of thing people said to Galileo when he proposed heliocentric orbit in the first place.

Yeah, and what bore out at the end? Despite obstructionism and threats and blacklists and the rest of it. We're here laughing at the dude making a movie about the geocentric theory. The time to start believing something is when we can prove it (as much as we can prove anything) and when the facts are on your side you shouldn't relent to accepting wrongheaded assertions for the sake of being polite. There aren't always two sides of every story. The people who want to argue the Earth is flat or is the center of the universe don't get to be on the same stage as people who actually know things.

MLai
2014-05-02, 04:12 AM
I disagree.
See, wasn't that easy? :smallsmile:
Actually no it's not.
Science is under attack in this country and it's the job of every educated rational-minded human being to defend it.
Because otherwise we have this:
1 in 4 Americans doesn't know Earth circles Sun. (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/02/15/newser-earth-circles-sun/5508413/)

Woot Spitum
2014-05-02, 06:52 AM
Actually no it's not.
Science is under attack in this country and it's the job of every educated rational-minded human being to defend it.
Because otherwise we have this:
1 in 4 Americans doesn't know Earth circles Sun. (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/02/15/newser-earth-circles-sun/5508413/)By calmly and rationally presenting the facts and explaining the reasoning behind them, or simply shouting "you're wrong" to people? The latter isn't going to convince anyone. If anything, shouting people down will convince them that they were right in the first place since no one has disproved them. This serves to make the problem worse, not better. While 1 in 4 Americans may not know the earth revolves around the sun, I am willing to bet most of the remaining Americans can't explain why it revolves around the sun, thus exacerbating the issue. What good is it to defend truth if you can't explain what makes it truth in the first place?

Grinner
2014-05-02, 07:52 AM
While 1 in 4 Americans may not know the earth revolves around the sun, I am willing to bet most of the remaining Americans can't explain why it revolves around the sun, thus exacerbating the issue. What good is it to defend truth if you can't explain what makes it truth in the first place?

It's true, unfortunately. I don't really know why people believe in heliocentrism. All I know is that my 6th grade science teacher said it was true, so it must be true. There was also something about Venus and some complex math. I also remember reading a short story about astronomy.

In the end, I just don't want to be ostracized for believing in geocentrism, so I instead take heliocentrism on a matter of faith.

Tragak
2014-05-02, 08:30 AM
It's true, unfortunately. I don't really know why people believe in heliocentrism. All I know is that my 6th grade science teacher said it was true, so it must be true. There was also something about Venus and some complex math. I also remember reading a short story about astronomy.

In the end, I just don't want to be ostracized for believing in geocentrism, so I instead take heliocentrism on a matter of faith. What do you do for a living?

Grinner
2014-05-02, 09:18 AM
What do you do for a living?

I'm afraid I don't see the pertinence to the ongoing discussion...

By ostracism, I meant ostracism from the small "community" here. If I actually advocated geocentrism here, about six to eight people would simultaneously leap for my throat. They might also call me stupid. :smalltongue:

In spite of the rather prominent LGBTA community here, I've not found these forums to be particularly respecting of opinions or stances outside the established norm.

Nourjan
2014-05-02, 09:26 AM
I've not found these forums to be particularly respecting of opinions or stances outside the established norm.


Don't be disheartened , it is quite normal for people to flip out when presented with opinion that goes against proven facts, logic or even basic reasoning.

Heck, If I goes around saying that "you're already dead" ,I'm bound to have people ridiculing me.


I am curious however as to why you believe that the Sun orbits the Earth.Care to explain this.

Grinner
2014-05-02, 09:47 AM
Don't be disheartened , it is quite normal for people to flip out when presented with opinion that goes against proven facts, logic or even basic reasoning.

Heck, If I goes around saying that "you're already dead" ,I'm bound to have people ridiculing me.

I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic or not... :smallconfused: Facts are slippery things, particularly when you consider how fundamentally limited the human perspective is. Some things can be said to be true with great confidence, but they can never be absolutely true.


I am curious however as to why you believe that the Sun orbits the Earth.Care to explain this.

Read my earlier posts. You'll find that I said no such thing.

LCP
2014-05-02, 09:53 AM
It's true, unfortunately. I don't really know why people believe in heliocentrism.

Ten minutes on google will enlighten you.

Nourjan
2014-05-02, 10:05 AM
I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic or not... :smallconfused: Facts are slippery things, particularly when you consider how fundamentally limited the human perspective is.

It is a lot simpler than that.Facts are thing that have been proven validity, it is not affected by perspective nor the faith( or lack of it).If it cannot be proven , then it can't be a treated as a fact.There is nothing slippery about it.


Some things can be said to be true with great confidence, but they can never be absolutely true.

Care to give any examples of this?


Read my earlier posts. You'll find that I said no such thing.

I was referring to this


I just don't want to be ostracized for believing in geocentrism, so I instead take heliocentrism on a matter of faith.

NichG
2014-05-02, 10:13 AM
I'm afraid I don't see the pertinence to the ongoing discussion...

By ostracism, I meant ostracism from the small "community" here. If I actually advocated geocentrism here, about six to eight people would simultaneously leap for my throat. They might also call me stupid. :smalltongue:

In spite of the rather prominent LGBTA community here, I've not found these forums to be particularly respecting of opinions or stances outside the established norm.

You keep bringing up 'the norm'. If you advocate geocentricism, people won't leap at your throat because you're violating the norm. People will leap at your throat because you're advocating something that is factually and empirically shown to be incorrect.

If you assert 'My belief is that concrete actually has the shear strength of carbon steel.' that is not just 'opinion' - its incorrect. Not only that, but it would be a very dangerous error if you had a job that put you anywhere near architectural design or engineering. Because of the incorrectness of that belief, large amounts of money, resources, and maybe even human lives would be harmed. Arguing 'well can we really know something?' ignores the fact that if we were that wrong about the material properties of concrete, the buildings we design wouldn't support themselves long enough for us to finish building them.

If you advocate 'the sun revolves around the Earth' that is also not just opinion, but pushing something that directly contravenes reality. If you had a job at a space agency, that belief would prevent you from being able to accurately design orbits and space missions; if somehow it went unexpressed and you worked it into the orbital path of a probe, and for some reason no one caught it, then that belief would wind up wasting millions of dollars.

Someone's sexual orientation or whether they like football or baseball or other things like that are not assertions of facts about the world, they're an assertion of one's own persona. Its a fundamentally different issue - no space probes are going to be lost because of who you're attracted to.

the_druid_droid
2014-05-02, 01:44 PM
Since this thread is still around, and we seem to be getting into murky waters, I thought I should clarify something about the science here:

The problem with this movie and it's backers is not really about them using a geocentric reference frame. In fact, an underlying axiom of relativity theory is that no matter which frame you use, the physics must work out correctly and consistently. So in that sense, an earth-centered frame is as valid as a sun-centered one; the problem comes from the fact that the geocentric folks behind this movie are trying to paint an earth-centered frame as the only valid reference.

That part flies directly in the face of relativity, as well as the last century or so of experimental physics, starting from Michelson and Morely. Even worse, their own arguments seem to want to emphasize that "everything works out the same in a geocentric frame" while ignoring the fact that it's just as correct to say that "everything works out the same in a heliocentric frame", and thus the only real basis for choosing one over the other is to make the math easier in a given situation.

As a semi-historical note, the reason we typically view the earth orbiting the sun, rather than the other way around, is because the center of mass around which the combined earth-sun system rotates is much closer to the sun than the earth (to the extent that I believe it's actually inside the solar envelope). So from an a-terrestrial frame of reference, it would appear more obvious to talk about the earth going round the sun, rather than vice versa. This argument has even more weight in a pre-relativity context, where there should exist some absolute frame, and everyone was trying to find it.

NichG
2014-05-02, 02:04 PM
The problem with this movie and it's backers is not really about them using a geocentric reference frame. In fact, an underlying axiom of relativity theory is that no matter which frame you use, the physics must work out correctly and consistently. So in that sense, an earth-centered frame is as valid as a sun-centered one; the problem comes from the fact that the geocentric folks behind this movie are trying to paint an earth-centered frame as the only valid reference.


Nit-pick: In relativity you can't distinguish between different inertial reference frames. You can however detect if you're in a non-inertial reference frame. In GR, that effect is necessary to resolve the twin paradox (in the sense that, if one twin stays on Earth and the other flies away in a ship and comes back at relativistic speeds, if you ignore the fact that the ship has to undergo acceleration to loop around and return then relativity would predict that both of the people are older than eachother (because if you do the calculation in the ship frame, the twin on Earth appears to be moving at relativistic speeds and should age slower, but if you do it in the Earth's frame the twin on the ship should age slower).

The resolution then is that the two frames are not actually equal - you can tell if you're on the ship because you experience a change of reference frame when accelerate to relativistic speed to leave, as well as when you turn around and come back; that period of acceleration is actually what breaks the symmetry in the twin paradox.

(I should also say, even a solar frame of reference isn't quite inertial both because of the barycenter offset and because we're slowly rotating around the galactic core.)

Knaight
2014-05-02, 02:34 PM
In fact, an underlying axiom of relativity theory is that no matter which frame you use, the physics must work out correctly and consistently. So in that sense, an earth-centered frame is as valid as a sun-centered one; the problem comes from the fact that the geocentric folks behind this movie are trying to paint an earth-centered frame as the only valid reference.

If you're looking at specifically an earth-sun system, then sure. That's not what geocentrism is though - geocentrism also involves plenty of other things. For instance, other planets (when they are even regarded as planets and not wandering stars) are claimed to orbit in ellipses around the earth. This is flat out wrong, and relativity doesn't help here at all.

MLai
2014-05-02, 03:30 PM
By calmly and rationally presenting the facts and explaining the reasoning behind them, or simply shouting "you're wrong" to people?
In most cases, ignorance of some esoteric fact warrants calm and rational explanation. But some cases are so extreme, the explainer is rendered so flabbergasted that etiquette flies out the window in shock. Can also be attributed to notsureifserious.jpg.


While 1 in 4 Americans may not know the earth revolves around the sun, I am willing to bet most of the remaining Americans can't explain why it revolves around the sun, thus exacerbating the issue. What good is it to defend truth if you can't explain what makes it truth in the first place?
This is more than whether or not you still remember the math/physics from primary/secondary school. This is an indication of whether or not you are cognizant of basic reality.

I don't really have a problem with someone who says "I forget the math behind how gravity causes orbits, but I know the sun is much bigger than the earth so that's why gravity makes earth circle around sun rather than vice versa. Also we have telescopes and satellites and space program; all this has been measured." That is not taking science on faith; that is being aware of the world you live in.

Edit: I already know that the above example statement is only superficially accurate. For example, Gallileo didn't need Hubble or space shuttles to mathematically prove heliocentrism. I was making the point that even superficial understanding denotes functional rationality.

Lord Torath
2014-05-02, 05:20 PM
Sounds like its time to throw in a link to my favorite science blog: Bad Astronomy (http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy.html)

The concrete vs steel analogy is a fair one, but ultimately, unlikely. No one gets far in the architecture/engineering business without a firm basis in strength of materials. Far more sinister than the Geo-centrism movement is the Anti-Vaxx movement, which is leading to a resurgence of preventable diseases. Even Steven Colbert (http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2014/05/01/anti_vax_stephen_colbert_takes_on_anti_science.htm l) can come down on the right side of this one. One of the problems with this one is that not everyone can get vaccinated. Some people are too young (infants) or have compromised immune systems. So by choosing not to get your kids immunized, you're also putting at risk those who can't be immunized. Recently an infant (not yet old enough to be vaccinated) in Colorado died of Pertussis because someone visiting him hadn't been vaccinated.

Phil Plait even shares his thoughts on The Principle (http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2014/04/08/the_principle_a_documentary_about_geocentrism.html ).

One of the things I really love about his blog is that if he makes a mistake, he owns up to it. If it happens on his current blog post, he will correct the mistake, and state that he made one. If it's not his current post, he will make a new post pointing out the error he made in the old post, and correct the mistake.

Tragak
2014-05-02, 06:09 PM
Far more sinister than the Geo-centrism movement is the Anti-Vaxx movement, which is leading to a resurgence of preventable diseases. Hey, I've been vaccinated my whole life, and I can say that I've suffered a great number of nasty side effects:

Living long enough to be diagnosed with Aspergers/Autism
Living long enough to be diagnosed with OCD
Living long enough to be diagnosed with ADD
Living long enough to be diagnosed with an IQ below 140
Living long enough to experience bone fractures

OK technically that last one was from being punched in the face in High School, but would that have happened to me if I hadn't been vaccinated my whole life? I think not :smalltongue:

Woot Spitum
2014-05-02, 06:41 PM
In most cases, ignorance of some esoteric fact warrants calm and rational explanation. But some cases are so extreme, the explainer is rendered so flabbergasted that etiquette flies out the window in shock. Can also be attributed to notsureifserious.jpg.


This is more than whether or not you still remember the math/physics from primary/secondary school. This is an indication of whether or not you are cognizant of basic reality.

I don't really have a problem with someone who says "I forget the math behind how gravity causes orbits, but I know the sun is much bigger than the earth so that's why gravity makes earth circle around sun rather than vice versa. Also we have telescopes and satellites and space program; all this has been measured." That is not taking science on faith; that is being aware of the world you live in.

Edit: I already know that the above example statement is only superficially accurate. For example, Gallileo didn't need Hubble or space shuttles to mathematically prove heliocentrism. I was making the point that even superficial understanding denotes functional rationality.One can be cognizant of basic reality and still be ignorant or misinformed. Moreover, believing something to be true without investigating it personally is the very definition of taking something on faith. Not that taking something on faith is bad if the sources are reliable (and in this specific case, the sources of knowledge such as primary and secondary school teachers are quite reliable). But without testing, it is faith, not reason.

Zrak
2014-05-02, 07:05 PM
By calmly and rationally presenting the facts and explaining the reasoning behind them, or simply shouting "you're wrong" to people? The latter isn't going to convince anyone.

I don't know. People hate facts and are pretty fond of yelling.

Grinner
2014-05-02, 07:17 PM
It is a lot simpler than that.Facts are thing that have been proven validity, it is not affected by perspective nor the faith( or lack of it).If it cannot be proven , then it can't be a treated as a fact.There is nothing slippery about it.

Care to give any examples of this?


I was referring to this

Listen, I have two hours to eat, clean dishes, and screw around before I need to be in bed. I really don't want to get into this game of chopping each others posts into sentences and debating individual points to no end.

I'm not going to debate epistemology with you, especially when you seem to have no interest in epistemology. As we have shown, you can always cast something in a new light by changing the frame of reference. In the case of geocentrism, I think it requires restructuring accepted theories on gravity, but it can be done. Hell, you can just say a wizard did it and wash your hands of the matter altogether.

Woot Spitum
2014-05-02, 07:32 PM
I don't know. People hate facts and are pretty fond of yelling.I don't mind a little competitive yelling to pass the time, but when people start acting like the survival of the human race depends on yelling at people it takes all the fun out of it.:smallwink:

the_druid_droid
2014-05-03, 01:35 AM
If you're looking at specifically an earth-sun system, then sure. That's not what geocentrism is though - geocentrism also involves plenty of other things. For instance, other planets (when they are even regarded as planets and not wandering stars) are claimed to orbit in ellipses around the earth. This is flat out wrong, and relativity doesn't help here at all.

Well, assuming they're proposing the Ptolemaic geocentric system, it isn't really ellipses. There's some bizarrely complicated thing with cycles and epicycles and upteenth-order corrections to get the planetary motions to match what's actually observed from Earth. Which is really half the argument against it - yes, you can get it to work out, but it takes so much elbow grease that no sane person wants to bother with it after seeing the relative ease of working things out in a heliocentric frame.


The concrete vs steel analogy is a fair one, but ultimately, unlikely. No one gets far in the architecture/engineering business without a firm basis in strength of materials. Far more sinister than the Geo-centrism movement is the Anti-Vaxx movement, which is leading to a resurgence of preventable diseases. Even Steven Colbert (http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2014/05/01/anti_vax_stephen_colbert_takes_on_anti_science.htm l) can come down on the right side of this one. One of the problems with this one is that not everyone can get vaccinated. Some people are too young (infants) or have compromised immune systems. So by choosing not to get your kids immunized, you're also putting at risk those who can't be immunized. Recently an infant (not yet old enough to be vaccinated) in Colorado died of Pertussis because someone visiting him hadn't been vaccinated.


So much this! Anti-vaxx is a huge problem.

NichG
2014-05-03, 01:16 PM
Well, assuming they're proposing the Ptolemaic geocentric system, it isn't really ellipses. There's some bizarrely complicated thing with cycles and epicycles and upteenth-order corrections to get the planetary motions to match what's actually observed from Earth. Which is really half the argument against it - yes, you can get it to work out, but it takes so much elbow grease that no sane person wants to bother with it after seeing the relative ease of working things out in a heliocentric frame.


Not just ease, but also consider the amount of information you need to put into the model versus the amount of information you can predict. The Keplerian model means that you need the mass of the barycenter, the gravitational constant, and six numbers for each each planet's orbit that have to be measured: the semi-major axis, the eccentricity, the orbital inclination, the ascending node position, the angle of the periapsis, and the current phase. Conveniently, this is exactly the set of numbers needed to specify a body's position and velocity in 3D space, so this is actually the bare minimum you would need to capture the current state of an object in classical mechanics, plus two 'system-wide' parameters that appear spurious (although given that Newtonian mechanics generally cares about the mass of objects, the absence of the mass of the individual planets is surprising).

Once you have those numbers then everything else about that orbit could be predicted (up to the precision they were capable of in those days, so missing relativistic effects; though you could go straight to N-body interactions if you also knew the planet masses by backing out the positions/velocities at time 't' and integrating the full coupled system forward in time, doing so was basically beyond the technological abilities of that era).

Epicycles on the other hand, need five numbers for each epicycle you use (radius, phase, frequency, angles to the plane). So once you need a pair of epicycles to describe a particular orbit, you're already requiring more information to be measured in order to achieve the same degree of predictive power as the Keplerian case.

Essentially, you can think of 'theory' as a sort of lossy compression algorithm on the universe. Theories in which you can put less information in, but achieve the same degree of information preservation (predictive power) in the output, are encoding more information about the structure of the data (the behavior of the universe) than theories which require larger sets of empirical parameters. This is important because you can mathematically always fit some arbitrary set of functions to a data set given a sufficiently large number of fitting parameters, so 'getting it right' isn't the only criterion. You have to 'get it right' but put in less information than you get out, to see that your theory is actually capturing any information about the underlying nature of the universe.

Zrak
2014-05-03, 01:47 PM
Which is really half the argument against it - yes, you can get it to work out, but it takes so much elbow grease that no sane person wants to bother with it after seeing the relative ease of working things out in a heliocentric frame.

I'm not sure how true this is, but I've been told that De revolutionibus orbium coelestium managed to get printed, or at least avoid censorship, by including a preface essentially stating that the Earth didn't really revolve around the sun, but the math was easier if you pretended that it did.

Kato
2014-05-03, 02:39 PM
As a semi-historical note, the reason we typically view the earth orbiting the sun, rather than the other way around, is because the center of mass around which the combined earth-sun system rotates is much closer to the sun than the earth (to the extent that I believe it's actually inside the solar envelope).
Iirc, that's true for all planets except Jupiter, and even there barely. The sun is just HUGE. Unimaginable huge. The same goes for Jupiter, but like... 1/1000 of it or so? (*insert "your momma" joke here*)


If you're looking at specifically an earth-sun system, then sure. That's not what geocentrism is though - geocentrism also involves plenty of other things. For instance, other planets (when they are even regarded as planets and not wandering stars) are claimed to orbit in ellipses around the earth. This is flat out wrong, and relativity doesn't help here at all.
Well, without having seen the "documentary" I guess any approach like that is just stupid. But putting Earth in the "center" of the universe works out (and then have stuff revolve normally on other scales), it's just a pretty self-centered way to look at things.


I'm not sure how true this is, but I've been told that De revolutionibus orbium coelestium managed to get printed, or at least avoid censorship, by including a preface essentially stating that the Earth didn't really revolve around the sun, but the math was easier if you pretended that it did.
On the other hand I don't see how that could possibly work...

the_druid_droid
2014-05-03, 05:39 PM
Essentially, you can think of 'theory' as a sort of lossy compression algorithm on the universe. Theories in which you can put less information in, but achieve the same degree of information preservation (predictive power) in the output, are encoding more information about the structure of the data (the behavior of the universe) than theories which require larger sets of empirical parameters. This is important because you can mathematically always fit some arbitrary set of functions to a data set given a sufficiently large number of fitting parameters, so 'getting it right' isn't the only criterion. You have to 'get it right' but put in less information than you get out, to see that your theory is actually capturing any information about the underlying nature of the universe.

I certainly agree with you, I would just tend to roll that into ease/complexity for this sort of discussion.

EDIT: And I did say computational ease was only half the issue - Occam's razor is the other half :smallwink:

NichG
2014-05-03, 05:54 PM
I certainly agree with you, I would just tend to roll that into ease/complexity for this sort of discussion.

EDIT: And I did say computational ease was only half the issue - Occam's razor is the other half :smallwink:

Actually, this particular sort of compressed theory can be at odds with computational ease. For example, general relativity is more 'compressed' that Newtonian mechanics in the sense that it accurately predicts more phenomena than Newtonian mechanics does with about the same number of empirically measured inputs. But if I'm trying to simulate grain in a silo then Newtonian mechanics will be computationally easier. Computational ease doesn't actually directly correspond to how much information the theory is providing versus how much information the inputs are providing, so it doesn't necessarily speak to how fundamental a particular description is.

The information content argument could in principle let one quantitatively rank different theories against each-other based on how many bits of information per degree of freedom per time the theory provides or something like that.

Loreweaver15
2014-05-03, 09:19 PM
Listen, I have two hours to eat, clean dishes, and screw around before I need to be in bed. I really don't want to get into this game of chopping each others posts into sentences and debating individual points to no end.

I'm not going to debate epistemology with you, especially when you seem to have no interest in epistemology. As we have shown, you can always cast something in a new light by changing the frame of reference. In the case of geocentrism, I think it requires restructuring accepted theories on gravity, but it can be done. Hell, you can just say a wizard did it and wash your hands of the matter altogether.

So...wait. You say you believe in geocentrism, then you're asked to explain why you believe in geocentrism, to which you respond with an insistence that you never said you believed in geocentrism...and when you're quoted the part where you said you believed in geocentrism, you get angry that your posts are getting chopped up?

Grinner
2014-05-03, 09:30 PM
So...wait. You say you believe in geocentrism, then you're asked to explain why you believe in geocentrism, to which you respond with an insistence that you never said you believed in geocentrism...and when you're quoted the part where you said you believed in geocentrism, you get angry that your posts are getting chopped up?
{Scrubbed.}

Loreweaver15
2014-05-03, 10:37 PM
{Scrub the post, scrub the quote}

Yes, and I just went and read it again to be sure. You said you didn't get why people believed in heliocentrism, but don't want people jumping down your throat, so you roll with other people's belief in the earth orbiting the sun rather than advocating geocentrism--which sentiment implies you think geocentrism has an equal or greater weight, in your mind.

The rest of the thread went as I stated, with the added bonus of you defending others who advocate geocentrism. For the record, I agree that shouting people down is entirely counterproductive; still, we've measured and studied the way each large body in the solar system moves in relation to each other, and Sol is at the center. There's no question; there's nothing that geocentrism has going for it.

Fortuna
2014-05-04, 12:21 AM
Yes, and I just went and read it again to be sure. You said you didn't get why people believed in heliocentrism, but don't want people jumping down your throat, so you roll with other people's belief in the earth orbiting the sun rather than advocating geocentrism--which sentiment implies you think geocentrism has an equal or greater weight, in your mind.

The rest of the thread went as I stated, with the added bonus of you defending others who advocate geocentrism. For the record, I agree that shouting people down is entirely counterproductive; still, we've measured and studied the way each large body in the solar system moves in relation to each other, and Sol is at the center. There's no question; there's nothing that geocentrism has going for it.

...no, I think you're misinterpreting. To me, that read like 'I have no particularly compelling evidence for heliocentrism beyond the consensus of society around me, so I subscribe to it out of social pressure rather than personal belief'.

Roland St. Jude
2014-05-04, 12:35 AM
Sheriff: This thread seems off-topic and increasingly hostile. Locked.