Search This Blog

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Pieper on reports of Einstein; Becker's ridicule; Copernicanism Part 27

[2018-10-31: added link to bottom addendum to copy of 1924 Lutheran Witness article; 2018-04-13: added newspaper reports contemporary to Einstein's Theory in red at bottom]
      This continues from Part 26c, 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.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
      Since it was Franz Pieper's coverage of "Copernicanism" in his Christian Dogmatics work that showed that the teaching of the old (German) Missouri Synod lasted as long as he lived, I want to address again the matter that Prof. Matthew Becker ridiculed on his blog some years ago.  First I will repeat the ending of Pieper's footnote on this subject:
By the way (übrigens), about a year ago, the newspaper writers threatened that Einstein's relativity theory will take the life out of Copernicanism.
The "year ago" he speaks of would be about 1923, since his original German Volume 1 was published in 1924.  On this statement by Pieper, Prof. Matthew Becker of Valparaiso University commented:
While I had my doubts about Pieper's view of the Bible, the world, and theology already in seminary (who wouldn't, given that he doubted the verity of the Copernican Theory and thought that Einstein's theories of relativity would eventually vindicate a geocentric biblical cosmology?!)
Prof. Becker incorrectly restates Pieper's point.  Pieper did not say that he thought these things, but that the "newspaper writers" of 1923 wrote about these things.  Pieper was reporting what was the "buzz" in his day in the newspapers.  He may have wondered whether the report might have some scientific truth to it but Pieper did not say what Becker says he said.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
      I have already presented the statement of Sir Roger Penrose elsewhere:
“Nevertheless, we might not today regard the geocentric perspective as quite so outrageous...” — Roger Penrose, Fashion, Faith, and Fantasy (p. 14)
But I want to show evidence of Pieper's point.  Nobel laureate (and atheist) Steven Weinberg stated the following in his book To Explain the World, p. 252:
When Einstein’s theory was confirmed in 1919 by the observation of a predicted bending of rays of light by the gravitational field of the Sun, the Times of London declared that Newton had been shown to be wrong.
So we see evidence of the truthfulness of Pieper's report in 1923... that the newspaper writers were indeed reporting that Einstein's theory would disprove (or prove) all manner of things.  Although I have not come across the exact newspaper reports that Pieper references, I have no doubt that there were such reports. [2018-04-13: see below appendix in red] —  Then Weinberg goes on to admit on the same page:
General relativity itself is doubtless an approximation to a more satisfactory theory.
Doesn't this admission by Weinberg put the faith of Prof. Matthew Becker in jeopardy?

      Dr. James Hanson states in his book The Bible and Geocentricity, pp. 139-140:
The Michelson-Morley experiment has been repeated over and over again since 1887 and with many variations and greatly improved accuracy; but the result is always the same. In 1887 all of science found itself in the horrifying position of returning to pre-Copernican cosmology, and admitting they were dead wrong for 344 years. As we shall see, Einstein, with relativity, came to the rescue and in doing so inadvertently made the reality of geocentricity loom even larger.
We see that indeed there was a basis for the newspaper stories that Dr. Pieper spoke about.  Dr. Hanson goes on to expose a surprising piece of information (pgs. 141-142):
In 1915 Einstein himself had benignly proposed a geocentric cosmology which was later developed by Thirring.
      And Dr. Gerardous Bouw, in his book Geocentricity: Christianity in the Woodshed, states the following (p. 475):
...relativity was invented to make every spot in the universe look as if it is at rest in the center of the universe.
I believe this fairly represents the motive behind the development of Einstein's Theories. — For anyone skeptical of Dr. Bouw's credentials in these matters, I would point out that even Frank R. Zindler, an evolutionist and Copernican, said this about Bouw's understanding of Einstein (here):
...Bouw made adroit use of Einsteinian principles to "prove" the adequacy of the earth-centered universe
"Adroit" use?  This comes from a former professor of biology and geology, an avowed atheist, and one who ridicules creationism and geocentrism.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
      I believe the above shows that indeed the newspapers were reporting what Pieper stated, that there was great excitement over these matters, that science was feverishly attempting to explain away the scientific evidence for a stationary Earth, that "relativity" was invented to explain the unexplainable, and that indeed Copernicanism was inadvertently in jeopardy with the advent of Einstein's theories.  Surely we would not want to admit this now, would we?  ... as Penrose has admitted: that geocentricity is not quite so outrageous?... even if Prof. Matthew Becker and the LCMS/CTCR disagree. —  I conclude my series on Copernicanism in the final Part 28.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
2018-04-13: In Theodore Engelder's Scripture Cannot Be Broken (CPH, 1944), p. 145:
A. Sommerfeldt writes in Sueddeutsche Monatshefte (Vol. 18, 1921, No. 2) concerning the effect of Einstein’s theory on astronomy as follows: ‘Hereafter none must be prohibited from saying: The earth is stationary, and the firmament revolves around the earth, or: The sun moves, and the earth stands in a focus of its orbit. According to Einstein’s theory a firmament revolving around a stationary earth develops the same centrifugal forces in the earth that according to Newton are developing in a revolving earth, and this has been demonstrated mathematically by Thirring. It will always be more convenient, and for the purpose of astronomical computation more practical, to work from the basis of the Copernican system. But it is not unreasonable to accept the Ptolemaic. Indeed, the theory of relativity has been able to make its conquest just because it has shifted its standpoint regarding this question.’ In Unsere Welt (1920, No. 3) Doctor H. Remy discusses ‘The Physical Principle of Relativity’ and says: ‘From this point of view the usual conflict between the Copernican and Ptolemaic systems finds its definite solution. We cannot deny that it is senseless to call one of these systems the only correct one and to designate the other as being false.’ It seems as if the world do move.” (Dr. Th. Graebner, in The Lutheran Witness, 1924, p. 149.) See Christliche Dogmatik, I, p. 578 (1924) [Archive copy; English vol. 1, p. 474]: “By the way, the newspaper-men threatened about a year ago that Einstein’s theory of relativity would knock Copernicanism on the head.”