Search This Blog

Monday, May 23, 2016

Schöpffer meets Encke, von Raumer– questions Copernicanism; Part 18b

      This continues from Part 18a, a series on Copernicanism and Geocentricity (see Intro & Contents in Part 1) in response to a letter from a young person ("Josh") who asked if I believed Geocentricity ... and did not ridicule me in his question.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
      We continue with Carl Schöpffer's narrative after he finished his visit with Alexander von Humboldt.  In between his visits with the great scientists, he describes his (in)famous lectures "The Earth Stands Fast" which came to be published, and the reactions he received from them:

To my justification.
J. F. Encke
hypotheses; no advice
(continued from Part 18a)
From  Humboldt I went to [Johann Franz] Encke.  I was certainly not well received.  Gruffly Encke explained that astronomers have other things to do than to bother with hypotheses; he had not the time to instruct anyone who had any doubts; there were books enough about astronomy, which I should read. I replied that I had already read the books written for a wider audience by Littrow and Mädler, but could find no real information in them.  Encke remarked then that if these books were not enough for me, he could also not advise me further.  Whereupon I left him and bravely gave a lecture in which I expressed my concerns about the Copernican hypothesis.  I had expected opposition, hoping instruction — but none of this.  A newspaper editor who was in the audience tried to make me mad and make himself  important by only smiling mockingly, and then he left the hall; an old gentleman stepped up to me after completion of the lecture and asked me if I knew calculus, — that was everything that I achieved.  My appearance would probably have passed without a trace and would have had no farther consequences for me, except that I lost my wallet.  I don’t know how it happened except that it probably was stolen in a crowd.  I was much embarrassed by this because I did not know how I was to pay the bill and for my return trip.  I turned to the bookseller Sacco whom [page 4] I had already known fourteen years earlier in Magdeburg, and asked him for a loan. Sacco used my momentary embarrassment and demanded that I sell him the manuscript of my presentation.  This came about and so it was held as a lecture by me, although it was still very premature, under the title: Die Erde steht fest [The earth stands fast].  It was printed and sold in the course of the year 1853 at least 50,000 copies, while the attacks of the Kladderadatsch and of other newspapers only became just so many advertisements.
The wide distribution which my little booklet achieved was the reason for numerous and sometimes strange acquaintances.  Almost all enthusiasts and maniacs with fixed ideas appealed with letters to me, believing to have found in me their man.  But most nobly, I met people persecuted unjustly because of their faith and it opened up my eyes to a picture of hostility, which had to appear more horrible therefore than everything that one knows of what was similar from other countries and from past centuries, because one understood that by disseminating untrue information one could falsify the judgment of the world. I recall only one instance of the reports of fraud which came out most recently about the so-called Königsberger Mucker.
Meanwhile, some rebuttals of my assertion of the fixedness of the Earth were tried [see here for one example, here for another], but failed so sorrily that it was evidence to me that I could not be refuted.  My courage could be only increased, and I wrote the brochure: Die Bewegungen der Himmelskörper [The movements of the heavenly bodies], which appeared in the last days of 1853 by Oehme and Müller in Braunschweig and contained a bit more than the first brochure: “The earth stands fast.”   In addition, I revealed the vulgar, clumsy, irritable attacks and failures that several magazines allowed themselves against me, the great weakness of my opponents.  Where there is bitter scolding, where one proceeds with inquisitions and persecutions, there one is never entitled, [page 5] but only has the feeling of weakness, the awareness of injustice.  Earlier I was often attacked when I rebelled against the errors of Pharmacology, against the aberrations in politics; I had already endured some harsh persecution when I appeared with strength for justice and truth; only now I had never experienced anything like it.  In the Magdeburg newspaper a correspondent stated outright that he wanted to destroy me.  Such a wild rage has always been to me inexplicable.  I allow each his view, but why does one not acknowledge the same right for me?
Karl von Raumer
gentle hints
G. F. Brandes
Tycho over Copernicus

The year 1854 was particularly eventful for me.  I made a trip to southern Germany at the beginning of this year and on this occasion also visited the wonderful Karl von Raumer in Erlangen. He frankly confessed to me that he was also no friend of the Copernican hypothesis, but had never dared to give more than gentle hints against it.   So in his Kreuzzüge [Crusades] p.119, he writes: “Yet now every schoolmaster teaches according to hearsay, that the earth moves around the sun, without thinking or laboring even remotely for himself and his students to understand the planetary motions. Not so lightly, of course, did the great minds of the earlier time make of it, a Tycho Brahe, Riccioli, Baco.”  And in his Lehrbuch der allgemeinen Geographie [or Textbook of General Geography] 2nd edition, p. 101 [sic p. 102], he argues that according to the remark of astronomer Brandes [† 1791] “the Tycho Brahe system has for himself more of an appearance of truth than the Copernican system.”   As I departed from von Raumer, he sincerely wished me luck in my efforts to establish the truth of their cause but doubted that it would soon be possible to win against the fanaticism of the world.
...(to be continued)

A sympathetic scientist (von Raumer), and an unsympathetic one (Encke) Schöpffer met a range of responses.  The irony with von Raumer is that his brother, Friedrich Ludwig Georg von Raumer, the great historian, fought bitterly against Pastor Knak and his confession of Holy Scripture.
      It amazes me how Schöpffer could himself meet with such great names of science.  But we are not yet done with our travels alongside... Dr. Carl Schöpffer.  Next up, Part 18c.

[2018-01-25: I was surprised to learn more of the geologist, Karl Georg von Raumer. He is reported on further by Deutsche Biographie (Google Translated): "He was exposed to many attacks because of the religious orientation of its teaching. After a visit to the educators → Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746-1827) in Yverdon he decided to devote himself entirely to Youth Education. He worked intensively with the history of education, with geography, "Augustini Confessions" and issued a collection of hymns... His hymnbook played a part in the the beginnings of Walther's hymnbook -- see Carl Schalk, The Roots of Hymnody in The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, p. 13
2018-02-17: Karl von Raumer also supported Friedrich Wyneken's plea for help for the German Lutherans in North America, see this The Distress of the German Lutherans in North America, p. i]