Now suppose the control experiment here proposed to have been performed and to have proffered data effectively disqualifying the principle of relativity. That is to say: aboard an artificial body moving at V km/sec with regard to the surface of the Earth, the Sanderse interferometer did register a fringe shift compatible with an “aether drift” of this v km/sec. Hoyle’s “as good as anyone else’s, but no better”, then will have to be rephrased as “not only better, but true” – a twist he may be loath to accept, yet will find difficult to refute. Referring the perplexed reader to the Flatland Universe depicted in Figure 4: the aberration of starlight, in his a-centric model still caused by the relative orbital velocity of the Earth, must now, I agree with van der Waals, be ascribed to a motion of the stars. The astronomer on the Earth “at rest” in space has to accept a Sun running the race through space that Copernicus erroneously assigned to our abode. What is more: he sees the Moon monthly orbiting the Earth, and the planets obeying Newton’s laws in their trajectories around the Sun. In short: he and we shall still observe the “facts” mankind always has observed.
For the votaries of Copernicus, I am aware, there is then still a way out: a semi-Copernican solution after the fashion of Stokes, nowadays championed by the Schesis Theories of Theo Theocharis and Carl A. Zappfe.(48) Whether their hypotheses can really be considered to be outlawed by Latham and Last’s dismissal of a “tied” aether I must leave undecided.(71) I dare to hope against hope that the artificiality of those schemes will forestall their acceptance. An Easphere, rotating in a Heliosphere, carried along by a Galactosphere! Their model is, properly speaking, Copernicanism with a vengeance. That their Easphere is in motion they know only because everybody knows that the Earth is in motion, and they introduce that sphere to steal a march on Einstein, whose postulates they rightly consider unacceptable. United, however, they and I clamour for that long overdue space test. With them I will only be at loggerheads after our shared antirelativism shall have been vindicated. Not to mention many other anti-geocentric theorists, as, e.g., Stefan Marinov in his Eppur Si Muove, and W. Krause, in proposing an intriguing Leibnizian “Eigenspace”.(70)
So far, so good. Unhappily – or depending on one’s point of view: happily – there is more that inevitably follows in this Tychonian scenario. And it will require a careful analysis just to make this “thinkable”. For not to fence about the affair: if the Earth would be shown to be truly at rest in a – as it appears to us to be – by matter evoked or matter harbouring spatiality, then it may well reside at the centre of a finite Spherical Universe bounded by a huge shell of stars. Whether finally the Heavens around us diurnally rotate relative to the Earth or vice versa is, I agree with Bertrand Russell, a question that astronomy in the present age and stage of God’s Great Plan cannot answer. I believe it is the Heavens, but any orthoscientific evidence for that conviction I do not have and cannot have.
Who, the reader will retort, is going to believe such nonsense? I do – at least until the control experiment I insist on will have produced a negative result, and I thereby am compelled to fall back on either Einstein’s cosmic model or one of its Copernican rivals, evaluated as belief systems by the light of Russell’s Reminder and the Armstrong Alert. That is to say: I shall still adhere to the conviction that for the Creator, and only Bystander in regard to all things seen by us, the Earth is the unmoved focus of spatiality. And be forced to admit that mankind in our time can only either believe or disbelieve this metaphysical truth.
It has, however, as already intimated, not yet come to such a fideist impasse. I may well be wrong, for in the last resort I only know that I am and ergo can think, but not much more. Yet nobody can rob me of the credential that according to the most hallowed scientific code of behaviour I also here have proposed a simple experiment with which to prove me mistaken. For in my turn I unabashedly declare it nonsense without more ado to conclude that because on the Earth’s surface we cannot measure motion in respect to spatiality, therefore we cannot measure this anywhere – the inference is logically null and void. From which follows firstly that until further notice the theory of relativity, as already argued, is no more than a far-fetched hypothesis sorely in need of extra-terrestrial confirmation, and secondly that the Tychonian theory, with all solid evidences favouring it, should at least be granted a hearing.
These evidences, i.e. the observational facts that in the present context play an indispensable role are aberration (from Latin “aberrare” – to diverge from a straight path) and parallax (from Greek “parallaxis” -mutual inclination of two lines forming an angle). Both have in the foregoing been referred to and explained, but in a geocentric Universe such a totally different interpretation applies to them that the term “aberration” becomes a misnomer.
Analogous to van der Waals’ explanation of aberration used in the foregoing, the customary expedient employed in most textbooks is that of a man on a windless day walking in the rain and carrying a stove pipe. As long as he is standing still, holding the pipe vertically, the raindrops will fall straight through the length of the pipe. But if he starts walking he must tilt his crude apparatus slightly forward. Otherwise the drops entering the top will be swept up by the pipe and not emerge from the bottom end. Furthermore: the faster our man walks, the greater the necessary tilt. Also keep in mind the corollary: on a windy day the pipe will have to be tilted when the observer is standing still, and that exactly to the same degree in respect to the wind speed as in the first case it had to be done in respect to his walking speed. Last of all: we can improve the quality of the analogy by using in it a tube of, e.g., wire netting.
- The Heart of the Matter
- The Discarded Image Vindicated Experimentally