Abstract

When a scientific theory “saves the appearances” of certain phenomena with which it is concerned, there is no guarantee that such a theory has hit upon their true explanation, a proviso, incidentally, that holds for all philosophical systems and religious dogmas. Certainly the history of science bears out this limitation with its tale of many theories held as gospel truth once upon a time, but sooner or later disposed of by the impact of newly discovered data.

That appraisal certainly stands for astronomy, the queen of the natural sciences. From Antiquity until 1543 Ptolemy “fitted the facts”; then from about the first half of the seventeenth century until 1919 Copernicus ruled supreme, though never experimentally verified, let alone irrefutably proven. From that year on, aided by the relativistic mindset of the age, Einstein has been in the ascendant, and the tenets of modern astrophysical theories have become so tainted with anomalies that they defy the mind which tries to evaluate them.

The present essay focuses on a few aspects of the Special Theory of Relativity that are seldom sufficiently realized. To be sure, if Einstein is right, neither the orbital, nor any other velocity of our Earth can be measured directly. And indeed, no one has ever experimentally demonstrated that the Earth circles the star called Sun. Hence one might well conclude that in fact Einstein is right.

That is, alas, an overhasty inference, resting, as it does, on an unwarranted generalization. Upon close, logical inspection the Special Theory of Relativity turns out to be no more than a lopsidedly supported

hypothesis. For if in the Sahara no icefields can be found, this observation does not thereby prove that icefields exist nowhere. If here on Earth the velocity of light is the same for all observers, then that fact does not yet thereby confirm that this “apparent paradox”, as the Ridpath Encyclopedia of Astronomy and Space calls it, is equally valid for observers on the moon, which is in motion relative to us. At least one control experiment is necessary to make the paradox credible, and two simple tests for just that purpose are readily available. Both have already been performed, the one by Hoek in 1868, the other by the author and his co-workers in 1982. Their outcome in a laboratory at rest on the earth indeed supports Poincaré’s “principle of relativity” squarely. This result, however, does not deliver proof, logically. Only after the same experiment has been executed in e.g. a Concorde or Space shuttle, and its results still uphold Poincaré’s principle, will Einstein’s Relativity have become a viable theory.

Yet even after such a verification it will still suffer from two incurable weaknesses. In the first place its two axioms cannot be observed except through the very phenomenon they are invented to explain, i.e. a non-apprehensible Maxwellian demon manipulates the measured data. What is worse, no one has ever proven the Earth to be in motion, and hence there remains the possibility that this phenomenon of our moving through space, which Einstein considers “already proven”, after all does not even exist. Furthermore there are several theories, disregarded but extant, which address themselves to the enigma of Earth’s seeming immobility They exhibit the same shortcoming as Einsteints reworking of Mach’s principle, but are logically less

jarring and frustrating. One may, for instance, go back beyond Mach to Leibniz, who appears to be the first one to have argued a “no matter, then no space”. And then one may opt for Wilfred Krause’s “Eigenspace” monadology, a proposal dialectically at least as acceptable.

In this paper the author goes back even further. Under the aegis of the prevalent astrophysical paradigm, the pre-Copemican geocentric view is after all “as good as anyone else’s, but no better”, or, as a prominent astronomer privately expressed it, “scientifically undisprovable, but philosophically acceptable”.

This paper argues, however, that the long discarded Tychonian theory is in fact better on all counts. It is free of the defects that inhibit all the efforts to replace it, because it is founded on the logically impeccable modus tellendo tollens. In other words, this “unthinkable” cosmic model will be verified or disproven by the same experiments to test special relativity discussed above. “If P, then Q”, but “If no Q, then no P”. In the event that the speed of light measured from a fast moving platform turns out to be Einstein’s earthly absolute “c“, he stands vindicated. But if a change of c is observed, equal to the speed of that platform measured relative to the Earth, then he will be discredited. Or geometrically formulated, if that change in c is observed, then the Earth is at rest, and it is the standard of rest for the light in the spatiality around us, whatever that spatiality’s properties and extension may be.

The consequences of such an unexpected corollary, which “saves the appearances” in the simplest way possible, are drawn and analyzed. Reasons are given for the fact that in all likelihood testing Einstein from a moving platform will be deemed unnecessary by

contemporary astronomers, while at the same time Pope Paul II is urged to rehabilitate Galileo. If relativity were wrong, the whole modern Weltanschauung would be in jeopardy. But is it scientifically correct to show logic the door, when it points to a possibility which a priori is judged unacceptable? Is it right to conclude that geocentrism must be wrong because we do not want it?

The eternal silence of the Copernican-Newtonian spaces terrified Pascal. They terrified the writer, until he found out that there is not one unassailable astronomical observation which compels acceptance of the ruling a-centric paradigm rather than any of the others put forward and believed in throughout human history. This paper argues that man sees what he wants to see, and that he cannot avoid a metaphysical basis for his views, be they religious or astronomical.