Some Desiderata Not to be Overlooked
From the foregoing it will have become clear that the reigning relativity can indeed not pillory an Earth-centered cosmology. Accepting the second elucidation -the pencil at rest - of the data observable "inside" the Universe, I can stick to my geocentric guns. If Einstein is right the Tychonian quest amounts simply to forcing an open door. But therefore not yet to a much ado about nothing! Its knights-errant may then rightfully insist on a theoretical Equal Rights Amendment. What is more -allow me to repeat it! - there is the undeniable circumstance that their consistent all-out creationist position, based as it is on faith void of proof, can only be attacked by a conviction based likewise on an act of faith forever void of proof. That a post-Christian society should in consequence take Tycho seriously is therefore, I am afraid, a pipe dream. Superstitions are out of fashion in the Age of a Science Revered as Religion, except the basic faith assumption of Copernicus and
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Galileo. Only a demonstration that Einstein missed the mark may accomplish something. That is: something of indisputable value in the defense of at best a teleological world view. For that, in the present age, without God-given faith and without accepting the self-authentication of the Bible, mortal man can by reasoning progress beyond a "self-evident" Deism or non-specific theism I deem to be impossible. Only, to quote Pascal's well-known epigram, a heart having reasons that reason knows nothing of - and not suppressing those! - may yet long for a God, Who is Love. Seeking Him behind the relentless and unloving blind causality, which secular science must attribute to the present phenomenal world. And then find that God, because - again Pascal! - it would not seek Him if it had not found Him.(65)
And there, I readily admit, the matter will rest if Einstein is right..., but he is not! At least not yet! A plain experimental demonstration, as simple as Dingle's question for the Special Theory, may well put, I venture, the General Theory, as presently mathematized, outside the pale of responsible science. But before coming to that, first of all something that cannot be stressed enough: the whole Einsteinian enterprise rests on a logical fallacy. Consider: an Indian in the Amazonian jungle will never see snow and therefore declare that the white man's nonsense about such a cold stuff is just that: nonsense. And only a trip to the Antarctic will effectively undeceive him. Draw the obvious parallel: on our supposedly through space corkscrewing planet light reaches us from all directions at the standard speed c. But this does not prove that measurements on the Moon, or on any satellite in motion with respect to us here on Earth will also always give us that c. To extract from a
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localized phenomenon a universal application is unwarranted. Before we shall be constrained to assert that we move but cannot prove this, at least one control experiment is necessary aboard a platform rapidly moving with regard to Earth-bound laboratories.
In the summer of 1982 three of us performed an experiment, later published in the "American Journal of Physics", that I have been asking for since 1968.* Our heavy apparatus, a modified version of the Rayleigh refractometer, equaled in simplicity of construction the set-up employed by Hoek in 1868, but had the advantage of applying a single unilateral laser beam instead of the from opposite directions returning two light rays, with which that Dutchman operated. Our instrument was able to detect changes in the velocity of light, measured relative to itself, down to about 14.4 m/sec, and further refinements would have resulted in a still greater sensitivity.
Needless to say: rotating this refractometer employed as an interferometer we drew a blank. Not the slightest fringe shift could be observed. The apparatus "stood still". (66)
A portable form of the heavy device was subsequently constructed by our technician, Mr. M. Sanderse. And the proposal we now put forward will be clear: with this light-weight instrument the isotropy postulate should be tested on a fast-moving object, such as an airplane, a satellite, or a space shuttle.
The data obtained by such a control experiment, even a child can realize this, will either at last put Poincare's and Einstein's principle of relativity on a firm footing, or otherwise utterly disavow it. Now true science, it is always loudly proclaimed, will not leave a
*See Addendum 1
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stone unturned for a chance to disprove even its dearest theoretical deductions. And if there is one thing which amazes me then it is this that Einsteinians have not hurried to arrange such a trial as soon as it became feasible, but that - to name just a few - a Theocharis, a Zappfe, and my co-workers and myself remain voices clamouring in a wilderness of complacency and lack of even elementary logical insight. Yet on the other hand I understand this unwillingness all too well. The fall of the ruling paradigm will have such "unthinkable" consequences that for its adherents it is simply out of the question to envisage such a calamity. They cannot but beforehand declare it impossible that any test will ever topple their theorems, and therefore conclude that any effort aimed at disowning those would be a waste of time and money. However this prejudiced a priori "therefore" does not hold in the light of cold reason. Objectively appraised it represents an instance of ostrich policy, an act of willfully turning away from a contingency not wanted. For considering that contingency evokes the daunting spectre of the geostatic Universe evidenced by all solid and practical experiments ever performed. Scuttling their relativistic dogma will confine the reigning savants again, they realize, to the cul-de-sac out of which they by the grace of Einstein were delivered and compel them to re-think the "unthinkable".
Staggering indeed, I do not deny it, are the features of the model that emerges for an astronomy no longer able to apply the Lorentz Transformations. I even hesitate to catalogue those "unthinkable" integrants facing him, who bids Copernicus et al farewell - ten to one he will reject them out of hand. Yet I shall take the
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astronomy measures - its practitioners believe - the distance to even the furthest distant stars. (That quasars are now upsetting the applecart somewhat I pass by) Paring down the matter to its essentials, the procedure is the following. Since the Earth annually describes, they think, the ellipse AB around the Sun S, the comparatively near stars S1 and S2 are yearly tracing very small, for the unaided eye imperceptible ellipses against the background of the more distant stars. Telescopic observations of S1 and S2 from the Earth at A and six months later at B, combined with the known length of axis AB, determine hence the two triangles. Simple trigonometry provides us thereupon with the lengths of Sun - S1 and Sun - S2, that is, with the distance to those stars. The angles at S1 and S2 are, of course, very small: even for the nearest star the total displacement is no more than about 1".5, and only for some 700 stars the parallaxes are large enough to be measured with acceptable accuracy. The distances to most of them must thus be found by other means, that is by less certain indirect and statistical methods. Which implies modus ponendo ponens deductions that are in the nature of things not verifiable "on the spot". Listing the more important of those methods the late George Abell uses in less than a page five times the adjective "apparent", three times the verb "to estimate", once the verbs "to infer" and "to assume", once the adjective "approximate", and last but not least the phrase "an intelligent guess".(67) I leave it to the reader to appraise the trustworthiness of such procedures, and to calculate the probability of the obtained results being correct. Sufficient is it to say that, Copernicus being right, according to direct measurement the nearest stars would be 4.3 light years away.
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Yet... "We know now that the difference between a heliocentric and a geocentric theory is one of motions only, and that such a difference has no physical significance".(68) Referring the reader to the elementary geometric steps used in determining the distance to a star from a Sun-centered perspective, I hold that hence nobody can blame me for using the same steps in an Earth-centered model. Allow me for a few moments to return to that analogy of a super-scientific three-dimensional view on the two-dimensional "Flatland" paper Universe used in the foregoing. We - "bystanders" remember! - see the truth that the Earth-bound, viz. our pencil-bound observers, cannot see. And like Sir Fred Hoyle assures us, we may in our turn assure an imaginary Tychonian down there on the paper that his view is "as good as anyone else's - but no better". For, to quote Hoyle a second time: "Since the issue is one of relative motion only, there are infinitely many exactly equivalent descriptions referred to different centers - in principle any point will do, the Moon, Jupiter.. "(69)
Suppose that we want the Flatland Universe we have created with respect to us centered on the Martian moon Phobos. Then it will be more difficult to shuffle the paper accurately, but for an observer on Phobos nothing is different. Furthermore: if we change the analogy to the one of a frictionless expanding balloon representing the unbounded and yet finite curved space propagated by Einstein, then the same considerations hold. Only an "outsider" can "know" - "insiders" can only guess and believe or not believe what the "outsider" tells them.
Unhappily there is a fly in the ointment of such a relativistic treatment of the problem. Whatsoever member of the Solar System we select to be the System's
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centre, that treatment requires this member to move relative to the spatiality around it. Or, if we prefer to say it the other way around: that spatiality must be taken to move relative to the member in question. Returning to the Earth under our own feet: for the accepted explanation of stellar aberration and parallax it is a conditio sine qua non that our home in the Heavens runs a near-circular track through space, in which space light travels in a straight line through an aether to which, according to Einstein, the idea of motion may not be applied.
Apart from the question how we shall understand these words; and leaving aside Stefan Marinov, et al., and their "chopping" of radiation results about absolute velocities,(70) a fact is that not a single lateral motion of the Earth has been hard and fast experimentally demonstrated. Not only that: Einstein's theories predict that this is the case for all celestial bodies, whether natural or artificial, moving with respect to us here below. Observers on all of them will always measure the absolute speed of light c to be c, unless perhaps we travel to the stars in the far blue yonder.
Now suppose the control experiment here proposed to have been performed and to have proffered data effectively disqualifying the principle of relativity. That is to say: aboard an artificial body moving at V km/sec with regard to the surface of the Earth, the Sanderse interferometer did register a fringe shift compatible with an "aether drift" of this v km/sec. Hoyle's "as good as anyone else's, but no better", then will have to be rephrased as "not only better, but true" - a twist he may be loath to accept, yet will find difficult to refute. Referring the perplexed reader to the Flatland
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Universe depicted on page 63: the aberration of starlight, in his a-centric model still caused by the relative orbital velocity of the Earth, must now, I agree with van der Waals, be ascribed to a motion of the stars. The astronomer on the Earth "at rest" in space has to accept a Sun running the race through space that Copernicus erroneously assigned to our abode. What is more: he sees the Moon monthly orbiting the Earth, and the planets obeying Newton's laws in their trajectories around the Sun. In short: he and we shall still observe the "facts" mankind always has observed.
For the votaries of Copernicus, I am aware, there is then still a way out: a semi-Copernican solution after the fashion of Stokes, nowadays championed by the Schesis Theories of Theo Theocharis and Carl A. Zappfe.(48) Whether their hypotheses can really be considered to be outlawed by Latham and Last's dismissal of a "tied" aether I must leave undecided.(71) I dare to hope against hope that the artificiality of those schemes will forestall their acceptance. An Easphere, rotating in a Heliosphere, carried along by a Galactosphere! Their model is, properly speaking, Copernicanism with a vengeance. That their Easphere is in motion they know only because everybody knows that the Earth is in motion, and they introduce that sphere to steal a march on Einstein, whose postulates they rightly consider unacceptable. United, however, they and I clamour for that long overdue space test. With them I will only be at loggerheads after our shared antirelativism shall have been vindicated. Not to mention many other anti-geocentric theorists, as, e.g., Stefan Marinov in his Eppur Si Muove, and W. Krause, in proposing an intriguing Leibnizian "Eigenspace".(70)
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So far, so good. Unhappily - or depending on one's point of view: happily - there is more that inevitably follows in this Tychonian scenario. And it will require a careful analysis just to make this "thinkable". For not to fence about the affair: if the Earth would be shown to be truly at rest in a - as it appears to us to be - by matter evoked or matter harbouring spatiality, then it may well reside at the centre of a finite Spherical Universe bounded by a huge shell of stars. Whether finally the Heavens around us diurnally rotate relative to the Earth or vice versa is, I agree with Bertrand Russell, a question that astronomy in the present age and stage of God's Great Plan cannot answer. I believe it is the Heavens, but any orthoscientific evidence for that conviction I do not have and cannot have.
Who, the reader will retort, is going to believe such nonsense? I do - at least until the control experiment I insist on will have produced a negative result, and I thereby am compelled to fall back on either Einstein's cosmic model or one of its Copernican rivals, evaluated as belief systems by the light of Russell's Reminder and the Armstrong Alert. That is to say: I shall still adhere to the conviction that for the Creator, and only Bystander in regard to all things seen by us, the Earth is the unmoved focus of spatiality. And be forced to admit that mankind in our time can only either believe or disbelieve this metaphysical truth.
It has, however, as already intimated, not yet come to such a fideist impasse. I may well be wrong, for in the last resort I only know that I am and ergo can think, but not much more. Yet nobody can rob me of the credential that according to the most hallowed scientific code of behaviour I also here have proposed a simple
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experiment with which to prove me mistaken. For in my turn I unabashedly declare it nonsense without more ado to conclude that because on the Earth's surface we cannot measure motion in respect to spatiality, therefore we cannot measure this anywhere - the inference is logically null and void. From which follows firstly that until further notice the theory of relativity, as already argued, is no more than a far-fetched hypothesis sorely in need of extra-terrestrial confirmation, and secondly that the Tychonian theory, with all solid evidences favouring it, should at least be granted a hearing.
These evidences, i.e. the observational facts that in the present context play an indispensable role are aberration (from Latin "aberrare" - to diverge from a straight path) and parallax (from Greek "parallaxis" -mutual inclination of two lines forming an angle). Both have in the foregoing been referred to and explained, but in a geocentric Universe such a totally different interpretation applies to them that the term "aberration" becomes a misnomer.
Analogous to van der Waals' explanation of aberration used in the foregoing, the customary expedient employed in most textbooks is that of a man on a windless day walking in the rain and carrying a stove pipe. As long as he is standing still, holding the pipe vertically, the raindrops will fall straight through the length of the pipe. But if he starts walking he must tilt his crude apparatus slightly forward. Otherwise the drops entering the top will be swept up by the pipe and not emerge from the bottom end. Furthermore: the faster our man walks, the greater the necessary tilt. Also keep in mind the corollary: on a windy day the pipe will have to be tilted when the observer is standing still, and that
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exactly to the same degree in respect to the wind speed as in the first case it had to be done in respect to his walking speed. Last of all: we can improve the quality of the analogy by using in it a tube of, e.g., wire netting.
In the same manner, thus the reasoning goes, because of the Earth's orbital motion telescopes must be tilted forward, with the result that the direction in which we observe any star will be slightly displaced from its geometric position. And the velocity of light being about ten thousand times that of the Earth, a simple calculation will tell us what the angle of the tilt will be, accurately now 20"496. Or to say it otherwise: this angle of 20"496 is subtended by the semimajor axis of the tiny imaginary orbit in which we should see all stars circling in the source of a year. This is what the astronomers observe. Q.E.D.: the Earth goes around the Sun, and aberration is caused by our 30 km/sec velocity.
That we have an invalid modus ponendo ponens conclusion here, I have already demonstrated. Starting from Einstein's point of view we may even go further. It is twenty of the one or a score of the other whether we explain aberration by means of us moving relative to the stars, or the stars moving relative to us. Agreed - but what if we take the latter of these "either-or" models seriously?
The physical data then staring the astronomer in the face are, I agree, staggering. Seen from the ruling point of view, that is. However, should the theoretical context of "flat", i.e. three-dimensional space have to be reinstated in case Einstein's downfall will abolish his space-tirne continuum, then this "either-or" will fall with it. For then the logically and ergo kinematically binding modus tollendo tollens Boscovich reasoning compels us
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to conclude that stellar aberration is caused by stellar motion. Unless - as already mentioned - we succeed in demolishing the disproofs for the existence of a "tied aether" and opt for the ad hoc of a spaces-orbiting-in-or-around-spaces scheme after the style of Stokes and his present-day followers.