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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Schöpffer's List– German scientists question Copernicanism; Part 18a

      This continues from Part 17, 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.
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[2016-10-23: See added note at bottom referencing article by C.A.T. Selle]
     In this next sub-series of posts, I want to go beyond my previous post on the German scientist of the mid-1800s who almost single-handedly confronted the scientific community against Copernicanism – Dr. Carl Schöpffer.  But what is most striking is that he exposed a list of famous scientists who at least questioned Copernicanism.  And like the dubious nature of the "science" of Copernicanism, so too this list is embarrassing for today's historians of science.  Some may question this list since it only comes from one man, but it was "borrowed" by another writer of the 1800s, August Tischner, who "borrowed" and publicized it in English in his 1885 book – The Fixed Idea of Astronomical Theory, (pages 33-35).  Curiously, Tischner did not credit Schöpffer for his list of scientists.  — Later, in 1900, Schöpffer's lecture was directly translated into English and published under the title The Earth Stands Fast.  In this same book, Tischner is quoted by Frank Allaben as if Tischner were original in producing "Schöpffer's List" (Part XVI, pages 59-60), but again, it was clearly Schöpffer's List, not Tischner's.
      As I translated Schöpffer's full account and compared it with Tischner's abbreviated "borrowing", I marveled at Schöpffer's experience.  Schöpffer's narrative reminds me of John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, for he was truly a pilgrim in his native Germany.
      Again, as I read this account of "Schöpffer's List", I recalled somewhere in my youth, perhaps as Junior or Senior in High School, hearing of it, and as I was walking home from a Sunday morning worship service, I thought
"Why isn't this list published more?"
Now I have that honor  the honor of publishing "Schöpffer's List" to the world again... not that it has not been available, but that it has been hidden because "popular science" doesn't want the general public to know about it.
Highlighting, hyperlinks, text in brackets [ ] are mine.

To my justification.
In previous years as a teacher, when I connected my pupils sensually with the orbit of the earth around the sun, it struck me each time that the daily rotation cannot be combined with the annual circulation.  I did not know then that Copernicus had already made this observation and it weighed so heavily on him that he therefore postponed the publication of his book up to the final passing of his life and without the constant urging of his friends unknown to astronomy, certainly would not have given it for publication.  With this fact unknown, I was content  that surely astronomers would understand the matter better than I, and continued to lecture  without concern.   Actually almost all lessons would have to stop if the teacher himself had to check.  Who would then want to teach history?  We do not even know from personal experience the history of our time, let alone the past centuries and millennia.  We have to accept on faith what the so-called historians tell us before and also these — we can only believe.  Even if we consider the traditional news carefully when trying to examine the opposing ones, it is all only based on the individual faith in the credibility of any reporter or any source.
If even the researcher can only basically believe, all the more the teacher has not the time and the means available for research.  And thus I also believed in the Copernican system until I wrote my [page 2] Lehrbuch of Physik für das weibliche Geschlecht [Physics textbook for women, especially for teachers and students of higher girls’ schools].  It was really my intention to write this work comprehensibly and clear, but while working on the Copernican system, so many contradictions were yet to be met, that I deleted the whole paragraph again.  I let the matter rest.
As it so happened, early in the year of 1853, a man who was more than a dilettante in astronomy, Dr. Menzzer from Halberstadt next to Quedlinburg, came there to repeat the Foucault pendulum proof of the earth's rotation.  In an introductory lecture, he showed that they had yet had no proof of the Copernican hypothesis, that previous proofs could rather be accepted as so many contradictory evidences upon closer examination; only the Foucault pendulum proof demonstrates obviously and irrefutably the rotation of the earth. The pendulum was tied, the thread burned, the oscillations began and the pendulum deviated off to the left, instead of right.  It was hastily brought back to rest.  New burning off of the thread.  This time the deviation was the desired one, and we were invited on the following morning again to appear at 8 pm in the church to convince us that the divergence agreed with the theory.  The following morning, however, revealed that the pendulum had in the night changed its mind, and from the deviation to the right had reversed to the left again.
Alexander von Humboldt
"no evidence"
It seemed to me this new evidence was not yet quite right.  My faith in the Copernican doctrine had but become unstable by the lecture of Dr. Menzzer, and I decided to travel to Berlin to gain insight.  Once again I saw the pendulum experiment, and curiously it turned with a deviation to the left; so I proceeded to Alexander von Humboldt [† 1859], who was always the first refuge of those seeking instruction, and thereby was so complacent that he dismissed no one, that he even answered every letter conscientiously.  He received me very kindly and [page 3] said the memorable words: “I have also known this long ago that we do not have any evidence for the Copernican system; but the first attack on it, I would never dare.  Do not poke into this hornet's nest; you will incur only the scorn of the unthinking crowd.  If an astronomer with a name once rises against the current view, so I will also share my observations, but to act first against views that have become dear to the world, I do not feel the courage.”  But I was encouraged by those words, because I realized from them that the famous scholar also had his doubts.
... (to be continued)
Schöpffer sure got my attention as he published one of the greatest names in science history, 10 years after Humboldt's death.  I shall remember Humboldt, not for his other major scientific works, not that he advised President Thomas Jefferson, but that he at least questioned Copernicanism.
      This list is just getting started as I continue the "List" in Part 18b...

[2016-10-23: I have discovered that the old Missouri publication Evangelisch-Lutherisches Schulblatt from 1870 published a 2-part article by the Pastor C.A.T. Selle highlighting Schöpffer's works.  See >> here << for extracted text document and further links to resources.]