The Principle

I just found out about a new film coming out this spring, which appears to exemplify exactly the dangers I was pointing to in my last posting. It’s entitled The Principle, and features physicists Michio Kaku, Lawrence Krauss and Max Tegmark, with Kate Mulgrew (aka Captain Janeway) as narrator.

You can take a look at the trailer, this blog, or this interview to start to get some idea of what’s going on. The person behind this is Robert Sungenis, a bizarre figure with extreme religious views. He holds a Ph.D from an institution located in Vanuatu, and is an advocate of the idea of “geocentrism”, the idea that the Catholic church was right, and scientists since Galileo have got it all wrong (see his web-site Galileo Was Wrong). For another Youtube video explaining what this is all about, see here.

As near as I can tell from all this, without having yet seen the full film, it appears that what probably happened is the following. Sungenis decided that the anthropic principle business in cosmology supported his views, so he went and got physicists like Kaku, Krauss and Tegmark to say silly things on camera, then edited this to suit his case. Maybe the trailer is misleading, and these people actually make a cogent case against Sungenis’s nonsense and for solid science, we’ll see…

Update: For a different point of view on this, from someone worried that geocentrists will discredit the Catholic Church, see here.

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136 Responses to The Principle

  1. Shooter says:

    I think the whole Galileo affair is misunderstood. The Church already knew of Kepler’s view of planetary motions and whatnot, and every cosmologist read his work. As for Galileo, he engaged in scientific misconduct, insulted the Pope, and a lot of other crimes. It is strange that Sungenis isn’t aware of these facts.

  2. Chris W. says:

    In its underhandedness and general level of intellectual dishonesty this film sounds like a reprise of What the Bleep Do We Know!? (released nearly 10 years ago).

  3. David says:

    Shooter, that’s a mischaracterization of history. The church did not examine whether Galileo had engaged in “scientific misconduct,” which of course is a concept that did not exist at the time. The church did indeed know about heliocentrism before Galileo published his book, and in fact Pope Urban asked GG to write about it, with a warning to not endorse heliocentrism. The insult to the pope is that GG wrote a character into the Dialog who used the pope’s own words – the character was named Simplicio and the pope’s words supporting heliocentrism were shown in the book to be foolish. Maybe GG brought it on himself by speaking forthrightly, but nonetheless, his conviction was for promoting heresy (that the earth moved, in contradiction to the bible). The church has, sort-of, apologized for GG’s mistreatment, but never actually said, in writing, that he was right and they wrong.

  4. srp says:

    Geocentrism? Really? I sure hope they mean that in some metaphorical way or else peoples’ neurons will actually die watching this film.

    Of course, by appropriate choice of coordinate system I’ve been able to define the srp-centric universe which is very convenient for me, but I don’t think that’s what they have in mind…

  5. Peter Woit says:

    Chris W.,
    Yes, this does look like the cosmology version of What the Bleep? (actually, maybe quite a bit loonier than that). I wrote about that film long ago here
    http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=83

  6. Rick DeLano says:

    I am the producer and writer of “The Principle”.

    The film is an examination of the Copernican Principle.

    As its title is intended to suggest.

    The precognitive reviewers are of course welcome to try their hands.

    The film will disappoint them, once it is not what they have channeled it to be.

  7. Yatima says:

    Meanwhile, the popular press on the popular topic of Hawking on the hot topic of firewalls.

  8. Dom says:

    Rick
    Thanks for your reply, one question though . . . What do your last three oddly-phrased sentences mean ?

  9. Peter Woit says:

    Dom,
    He’s just obviously referring to the fact that people are discussing the film only having seen the trailer.

    It’s true that until the whole film is available, it will be unclear what role the physicists play in it. There seems however to be a huge difference between the point of view of the physicists and that of the filmmakers, so, I at least am curious to see how that plays out., with one obvious guess that the views of the physicists get misrepresented…

  10. Neil says:

    The contrast between the Copernican principle and the Anthropic principle is interesting. Is our observational vantage point privileged [A], or is it mediocre [C]? It depends. Obviously the most plentiful location in the universe is the intergalactic void, not a planet in the habital zone of a stable star, so the earth is no doubt a privileged vantage point. It is hardly profound to understand why we have it, and if that is the anthropic principle then it is trivial. But asserting a multiverse is something else. We know the intergalactic void exists, we do not know other universes exist.

  11. Rick DeLano says:

    Peter:

    Thanks for correctly characterizing your guess as a guess.

    I am not guessing.

    Your guess is wrong.

    “The Principle” is noteworthy, first and foremost, not because of the exceptionally high quality of its interviewees.

    You can see most of these guys on the Discovery Channel any night of the week.

    “The Principle” is noteworthy, first and foremost, because it is, so far as I can tell, the first film focused on the Copernican Principle itself.

    It is interesting that this foundational *assumption* of the modern world should never have presented itself to anyone else as a worthy subject of a documentary film.

    Sometimes one has to look at the world differently, in order to see what the consensus doesn’t.

    I do not expect you to approach my film as you would any other; you will pre- cognitively review it.

    That is fine.

    You are wrong, and when the film is released you will see just how wrong.

  12. Peter Woit says:

    Rick,
    OK, looking forward to seeing how the obvious difference between the point of view of these physicists and that of the filmmakers plays out…

  13. Rick DeLano says:

    Thanks, Peter.

    It plays out, as any good drama should, in a wonderful intellectual slugfest that includes excellent punches from all sides.

    I know it is hard for some to believe, but I am interested in making an excellent film.

    I know it is harder for some to believe, but the Copernican Principle is very seriously challenged by observations…….

    and always has been.

  14. CJ says:

    Dear Rick,

    You write, “I know it is harder for some to believe, but the Copernican Principle is very seriously challenged by observations.”

    Where can we read about these observations? Or do we have to wait for the film? Do Michio Kaku and Max Tegmark reveal the Kaku/Tegmark observational satellite in the film, alongside the new data found in a parallel universe?

    That alone would be worth the price of popcorn these days. 🙂

  15. Bill says:

    Any publicity is good publicity. Ok, the post about MUH was necessary but, Peter, why not use your connections and the popularity of your blog more often to give visibility to interesting things going on in physics and mathematics instead?

  16. CJ says:

    Dear Bill,

    Peter *does* use this blog to regularly report on cool things going on in science and math! Have you read the last several posts?

    What Peter also does, which too few folks/”science” reporters do, is call out all the modern-day hokem, hype, and snake oil, sold as science.

    Also Bill, when certain folks are using multi-million-dollar war-chests to promote personal, faith-based, science-free initiatives as “science,” Peter provides an invaluable service in pointing this out, as such faith-based initiatives both displace and disgrace professional physics and physicists.

  17. Peter Woit says:

    CJ,
    If you look at the long interview linked to in the posting, at one point there’s a segment from the film featuring Max Tegmark. He’s explaining about the “axis of evil”, and I gather the film makers see that as evidence against the Copernican principle (although others claim it as evidence for the multiverse and thus for a larger “Copernican principle”).

    Bill,
    The two postings this weekend about twistors and about the debate over Platonism were I thought exactly what you are asking for. Debates over philosophy of mathematics are not to everyone’s taste, and I guess there’s no form of that debate you can watch, but there was a bit of content in my post amidst the silliness. About twistors, I’ll undoubtedly write more sometime, but I highly recommend the Andrew Hodges web-site I linked to. It gives a lot of detail about this story, with excellent references to follow up. It does a far better job than I ever could of writing about the technical aspects of this story.

  18. CJ says:

    Dear Rick,

    In addition to including scientific luminaries such as Max Tegmark and Michio Kaku, does your film also include Einstein?

    Albert Einstein stated, “Once it was recognised that the earth was not the center of the world, but only one of the smaller planets, the illusion of the central significance of man himself became untenable. Hence, Nicolaus Copernicus, through his work and the greatness of his personality, taught man to be honest.” (Albert Einstein, Message on the 410th Anniversary of the Death of Copernicus, 1953)

    It seems that many are not content to only attempt to undo the scientific work of Einstein and Copernicus, but they also must undo the spiritual work of Einstein and Copernicus, and “teach men to be dishonest.”

  19. Bill says:

    Peter, yes, I did enjoy your post about amplituhedron, and I went to Andrew Hodges website and read his story, which was fun. That post would be even more interesting to me if it had nothing to do with Nima. As for stories involving Edward Frenkel (another common character), instead, I would prefer more updates about mathematics, like recent work of Vincent Lafforgue. In any case, I shouldn’t have sounded so critical, since I do enjoy your blog.

  20. Peter Woit says:

    Thanks Bill,
    I’d also like an update on the Vincent Lafforgue stuff, unfortunately I don’t think I can provide it due to lack of expertise. Every so often I try and ask my colleague Herve Jacquet about it since he is an expert. If I ever understand his answer I’ll try and write something here…

  21. Rick DeLano says:

    CJ:

    It is difficult, for me, to reconcile Einstein’s comment concerning how Copernicus “taught men to be honest” (they were dishonest before Copernicus??), with his own view of reality, expressed below:

    “I have come to believe that the motion of the Earth cannot be detected by any optical experiment.”

    “…to the question whether or not the motion of the Earth in space can be made perceptible in terrestrial experiments. We have already remarked…that all attempts of this nature led to a negative result. Before the theory of relativity was put forward, it was difficult to become reconciled to this negative result.”

  22. CJ says:

    Dear Rick,

    Firstoff, are you and your film stating that the earth does not move, like the pre-Copernicuns?

    As Einstein never stated thusly. Instead, in 1922 he stated, ““I have come to believe that the motion of the Earth cannot be detected by any optical experiment.” -http://physicslink.ucsd.edu/students/courses/winter2011/physics2d/einsteinonrelativity.pdf

    This has nothing to do with a geocentric universe, and everything to do with the fact that the laws of physics are the same in all inertial frames–a famous postulate of relativity.

    Throughout your film, do you just pull quotes at random, take them out of context, and reassemble them at will, having Michio Kaku and Max Tegmark mouth them? While not science, perhaps your film is postmodern performance art?

    At any rate, good job on the publicity. I love comedies and am very much looking forward to it on Netflix.

  23. Rick DeLano says:

    CJ:

    We do agree that Einstein believed the motion of the Earth could not be detected by any optical experiment.

    We apparently differ on whether that fact is of interest, in a documentary about the Copernican Principle.

    I understand you to be quite opposed to the idea of a film made by those who view the evidence differently than you do.

    Oh well.

    On the other hand, the filmmakers consider it important not to impose a particular conclusion on the audience.

    You might not like that either.

    Oh well.

    Thanks, by the way, for your compliment about the publicity.

    We have made an interesting film, on a subject that has a great deal of interest, clearly for the public.

  24. Andrew Foland says:

    Anyone interested in observational evidence of motion through the solar system should read about calibration of the WMAP experiment, for instance, at http://oberon.roma1.infn.it/lezioni/laboratorio_specialistico_astrofisica/pdf/lezione12.PDF .

    Motion of the earth around the sun shows up as an easily-detected 300 uK annual modulation in the CMB dipole data.

  25. CJ says:

    Dear Rick,

    You write, “We do agree that Einstein believed the motion of the Earth could not be detected by any optical experiment. We apparently differ on whether that fact is of interest, in a documentary about the Copernican Principle.”

    Yes, every physicist knows that Einstein’s statement that “the motion of the Earth could not be detected by any optical experiment” has nothing to do with the Copernicun Principle, and everything to do with Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.

    And yes, I almost agree with your second statement, but there’s a typo. You meant to write, “We apparently differ on whether that fact is of interest, in a comedy about the Copernican Principle, starring Max Tegmark and Michio Kaku.”

    If one’s goal is to make a bit of money by taking Einstein’s words out of context and leveraging the general public’s (& general science reporters’ and even some famous professors’) lack of knowledge regarding science, Copernicus, and relativity, then I imagine you are quite pleased with your creation.

    I mean, after all, what the bleep do we scientists know? 🙂

  26. Rick DeLano says:

    CJ:

    Pre-cognitive reviews are always interesting, I will certainly add yours to my collection.

    The film will be released this spring, and then we will publish all the pre-cognitive reviews.

    Thanks!

  27. Rick DeLano says:

    @Andrew Foland:

    Thanks for the interesting link.

    Our film examines the Copernican Principle, and the question of the motion of the Earth is a crucial part of the history of the development of that principle.

    What the evidence shows is that there is a relative motion between Earth and CMB.

    This is interpreted in your link as a motion of the Earth wrt the CMB.

    I would be curious to know whether any other possible explanation might exist, because if not, then we have established Einstein to have been in error when he stated that no optical experiment could detect the motion of the Earth.

    Is it your understanding that Einstein is proven wrong in this assumption by the data presented at your link?

  28. CJ says:

    Dear Rick,

    My words are not a pre-cog review.

    Rather, my words are pointing out not only your complete lack of understanding of the Principle of Relativity and one of its Postulates, but your lack of character and honor in actually creating an entire film based off faulty science to both mislead the general public and make money off them.

    You are the one stating that your film conflates Einstein’s Postulates of Relativity with a stationary earth in a geocentric universe which denies the noble work of Copernicus and countless others.

    You are telling us that this is the central premise of your film, and we are merely pointing out the fallacy of the central thesis which you claim underlies your film.

    Thus our words are not a pre-cog review of your film, but rather they are a post-cog review of you, your misguided words, and your unscientific thought process.

    Posting your extremely severe misunderstandings here a few years ago could have saves a lot of time and trouble. 🙂 But as your film will help Michio Kaku and Max Tegmark sell more sci-fi books, all is not lost. 🙂

  29. Danny says:

    It would be a tremendous disappointment, and a minor betrayal of our ethical commitment to society, but perhaps there should be a discussion in the community about closing ranks — and not saying anything stupid, at all — until such time as the current flock of hypothetical ideas are either experimentally verified or put on a solid theoretical foundation? As it is, idiots like Mr Delano and poor media coverage are causing too much damage to the long-term health and reputability of our field.

  30. Rick DeLano says:

    CJ:

    I must say you are approaching hysteria in your pre-cognitive reviews.

    What is it that has you so profoundly disturbed by a film which recounts the history of how we view our place in the cosmos?

    One that you have not seen?

    One which you insist you understand better than I do, when I wrote and produced it?

    One of the interesting aspects of “The Principle” is the truly remarkable degree of passion it seems to stir up.

    I think this is going to be an important part of the story.

  31. Rick DeLano says:

    @Danny:

    The ranks do not seem closeable to me.

    There is a growing sense of unease, in the minds of the best theorists, about the foundations upon which our cosmology rests.

    This is understandable.

    96% of the universe’s mass/energy must exist in undetected forms, in order for the consensus cosmology to stand.

    We haven’t found the easier form, dark matter, despite 50 odd years of exquisitely sophisticated attempts.

    I don;t think the ranks are closeable at this point.

    I think we live at one of those remarkable times when real change is in the air.

    I hope so.

  32. Jesper says:

    Reading comments from Rick DeLano sounds an awful lot like climate-change deniers and creationists, now going for Copernicus – this is one that I didn’t see coming.

  33. In the January issue of Scientific American we published a feature story titled “The Case Against Copernicus,” which detailed the excellent (as of the 17th century) scientific arguments against the heliocentric universe. The story is online here, although it’s behind our subscriber paywall:

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-case-against-copernicus/

    (If you are at an institution that subscribes to Nature you can also get it via the Nature site.)

    Here’s the story in brief: In a heliocentric universe, we should observe annual parallax as Earth goes around the sun. Astronomers of the 17th century could not detect parallax, implying that the stars were unimaginably distant. Since each star has a finite apparent width, this width and their distance implied that the stars should be unaccountably large–many orders of magnitude larger than the sun. This argument, along with a few others, kept heliocentrism from being adopted more widely. (Also, Tycho Brahe had come up with a hybrid model of the universe—geo-heliocentrism—which was the preferred alternative until the 18th century.)

    Of course, the star size problem was illusory. The apparent width of stars was due to diffraction. Parallax was eventually observed. And Newtonian gravity provided an explanation of how a heavy, solid like Earth could move in an ellipse through space.

    Now, why anyone in the 21st century would doubt heliocentrism is beyond me. I agree—this documentary sounds a lot like What the bleep do we know? But then again, I admit that I am “pre-cognitive.”

  34. CJ says:

    Dear Rick,

    I understand the panic that is now setting in as you are becoming aware that the entire thesis of your film, which you shared with us, is based on a gross misunderstanding, whence you mistakenly conflated Einstein’s Principle of Relativity with a geocentric, pre-Copernicun universe.

    Rick–the great thing about science is that there is no shame in admitting you were wrong, correcting your mistakes, and moving forward.

    As there is plenty of time before your film is released, you have plenty of time to add a disclaimer at the beginning, stating:

    “Shortly after completing this film, it was brought to my attention that when Einstein stated that “the motion of the Earth could not be detected by any optical experiment,” in a 1922 lecture on the origins of Relativity, he was not opposing the Copernicun view nor stipulating that the earth was stationary nor at the center of the universe, but rather, he was restating one of the postulates of relativity that states that ‘The Laws of Physics are the same for All Inertial Observers.'”

    Then, Rick, before you cut to Max Tegmark mimicking an explosion or the big bang, you could present the audience with another piece of information you just became aware of today:

    Albert Einstein stated, “Once it was recognised that the earth was not the center of the world, but only one of the smaller planets, the illusion of the central significance of man himself became untenable. Hence, Nicolaus Copernicus, through his work and the greatness of his personality, taught man to be honest.” (Albert Einstein, Message on the 410th Anniversary of the Death of Copernicus, 1953)

    Dear Rick, please feel free to use this invaluable science freely. I need no reference nor payment for it. All I ask is that, in the spirit of science, you share it freely with your audience in your film, as I shared it with you.

    Best,

    CJ

  35. Jesper says:

    This is probably hugely off-topic (and just off in many other ways), but since you’ve come to discuss the more colorful “science films” I thought I’d mention the movie “Hortons hears a who”. I watch the movie as a funny and cute analogy to the string theory landscape and all the multiverse stuff. Especially viewable is the 59th minute, where there is a fantastic view of the entire landscape (zillions of universes, all pink!), and also the fantastic Katie line (“In my world , everyone eats rainbows and poops butterflies”) at the 29th minute. Seriously, its a must watch for any serious physicist.

    Sorry – couldn’t help it 🙂

  36. Rick DeLano says:

    @CJ:

    I am increasingly amused by your observations concerning my film, but it seriously appears to me that “panic” is something more appropriately describing you here.

    But we do seem to be talking past each other at this point.

    I assure you, no such disclaimer as you propose would be necessary, or even appropriate, given the development of Relativity in the historical context of the failure of all experiments to detect the universally-assumed motion of Earth around Sun.

    That historical context is what is present in “The Principle”, and absent in your panic-stricken attempts to tell us what it is pre-cognitively.

  37. Dom says:

    I am reminded of one of Tom Tomorrow’s excellent cartoons regarding a similar subject
    Sphericated v Flaticular

  38. Rick DeLano says:

    @Michael Moyer:

    Certainly very few things have ever been as plausible as the Copernican notion of heliocentrism, as developed successively by Kepler and Newton.

    Remarkably, the only nail that never could get hammered down was the direct measurement of that universally-assumed motion of Earth around Sun.

    Everything was perfectly plausible.

    But the motion was never measured by any experiment.

    This seemingly minor detail destroyed Newton’s absolute space, and required us to either (a) admit the Earth was not orbiting the Sun, or (b) insist that absolute motion was a fiction, and that physics could account for parallax, for example, no matter whether the Earth was taken to be fixed, or the Earth was taken to be moving.

    Einstein makes this point here:

    “The struggle, so violent in the early days of science, between the views of Ptolemy and Copernicus would then be quite meaningless. Either CS [coordinate system] could be used with equal justification. The two sentences, ‘the sun is at rest and the earth moves’, or ‘the sun moves and the earth is at rest’, would simply mean two different conventions concerning two different CS [coordinate systems].”

    Certainly Einstein does not agree with you, that parallax constitutes that “optical experiment” which detects the motion of the Earth.

    Einstein came to believe no such experimental demonstration was possible.

    Do you disagree with him?

  39. CJ says:

    Dear Rick,

    Yes, “are talking past each other,” as I am quoting Einstein on Relativity and Copernicus, while you are warping words to merely build hype for a film based on a primal, embarrassing misunderstanding and misconception–a true rookie mistake that any freshman physics student would have quickly realized, and corrected their erroneous ways.

    However, the horse has left the barn so there is little use in shutting the door, and with the luminary cast of Tegmark/Kaku et al., the film should bring you a modestly handsome monetary profit, and an even greater sense of accomplishment along your bizarre crusade against science, philosophy, honor, physics, and reason. 🙂

  40. CJ says:

    Dear Rick,

    Are you really

    1) insisting that the Earth Does Not Move.
    And that 2) Einstein actually stated that there is no proof that the earth moves?

    Because Einstein never said thusly, and too, the Earth Moves.

    Rick, your vast and resounding errors and misunderstandings have been shown, but now you are treading on new ground, in not only being wrong, but exacerbating your dire, desperate situation by peddling and promoting a film which knowingly misleads and misinforms the public, all for private profit. Is it legal to profit off of fraud?

  41. Rick DeLano says:

    CJ: “I am quoting Einstein on Relativity and Copernicus”

    Einstein on Copernicus: “The struggle, so violent in the early days of science, between the views of Ptolemy and Copernicus would then be quite meaningless. Either CS [coordinate system] could be used with equal justification. The two sentences, ‘the sun is at rest and the earth moves’, or ‘the sun moves and the earth is at rest’, would simply mean two different conventions concerning two different CS [coordinate systems].”

  42. Rick DeLano says:

    CJ:

    It is illegal to profit off of fraud.

    You could, if you wish, allege it in court.

    We would certainly be prepared to respond.

    But, should you ever wish to seriously (in court) allege our film to be fraudulent, may I suggest you watch it first, before filing your claim.

    Just sayin’…..

  43. CJ says:

    Dear Rick,

    When you write,

    “Einstein on Copernicus: “The struggle, so violent in the early days of science, between the views of Ptolemy and Copernicus would then be quite meaningless. Either CS [coordinate system] could be used with equal justification. The two sentences, ‘the sun is at rest and the earth moves’, or ‘the sun moves and the earth is at rest’, would simply mean two different conventions concerning two different CS [coordinate systems].””

    You are merely restating Einstein’s Postulate of Relativity that the Laws of Physics are the Same in all Inertial Frames.

    Then, you are misinterpreting, mis-extrapolating, and misappropriating the quote to teach blatant falsehoods as truth, denying that the earth moves, while stating that Copernicus was wrong.

    Dear Rick, do you also claim that the earth is flat after you drive down a straight road with Max Tegmark for a half hour in your film? Also, do you set up a camera at the beach whiel sunning with Michio Kaku to record the rising and setting sun, to show that really the sun is moving, while the Earth is stationary? 🙂

    What was the budget on your foundationally fallacious film? & who funded it? Certainly not physicists!

  44. Rick DeLano says:

    CJ asks if I am “1) insisting that the Earth Does Not Move.”

    >> Einstein insists no experiment can *detect* any such motion. I insist that is a very interesting thing to know, in the context of a film about how we have come to view our place in the cosmos.

    “And that 2) Einstein actually stated that there is no proof that the earth moves?”

    >> Here is what Einstein actually stated. I know you have a hard time believing him, but that is your problem, not mine:

    “I have come to believe that the motion of the Earth cannot be detected by any optical experiment.”— Albert Einstein

  45. Anonyrat says:

    Mr DeLano, on Google Books, there is a book from 2005 “Physics Before and After Einstein” edited by Marco Mamone Capria. A passage in there seems specially addressed to you (see section 14 of chapter 5), titled “Was the Copernican Controversy a Pseudo-Problem?”
    http://books.google.com/books?id=SdLLsj-0rqIC

    Since this was written years before your film was a gleam in your eye, you can hardly claim “pre-cog review”. And it specifically addresses the Einstein-on-Copernicus quote that you are hawking.

    The key quote is: “Coming back to the main physical issue which was at stake in the Copernican controversy, does general relativity make any difference to the distinction between locally inertial and non-inertial (e.g., rotating) systems? Not much. As two Italian physicists pointed out in 1929, in general relativity a locally rotating system, for instance, is as easily distinguishable from a locally inertial system as it is in classical mechanics. In other words, inertial effects exist also in general relativity! If this was not the case, general relativity would simply contradict ordinary empirical evidence.”

  46. Anonyrat says:

    If that was not clear enough, even more explicitly “Our conclusion is that, though repeatedly and authoritatively endorsed, the claim that general relativity finally ‘solved’ the Copernican controversy by showing that Copernicus and Ptolemy were ‘both right’ is based on several mistakes, concerning both the gist of their disagreement and the scope of ‘general covariance’. However such a claim was probably decisive in winning for Einstein’s theory a cultural and philosophical place second to no other physical theory of his time.”

  47. Anonyrat says:

    Regarding Einstein’s “no optical experiment can detect the motion of the earth” – he could not have meant that in general, because he himself gave an explanation in special relativity of stellar aberration. See the Wiki article:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aberration_of_light

  48. Peter Woit says:

    CJ/Rick,
    Enough, you really need to find another topic to argue about.

    To say one thing in favor of these filmmakers, I don’t think this is going to make them rich, seems unlikely they’re doing it for the money…

  49. kashyap vasavada says:

    @ Rick DeLano: I am reading very interesting debate between you and other readers of this blog. I do not know about your scientific literacy, but it seems that you did not take physics even in high school. Correct me if I am wrong. Any way let me point out something which surprisingly other people have not mentioned. Do you believe that earth is very small compared to the sun and there are stars which are millions of time bigger than sun? Even if we ignore all scientific theories, is it possible that everything in the entire big universe revolves around the tiny little earth? This would totally defy common sense.

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