Why Impossible?

As far as astronomy is concerned: Pope Sylvester II improved and introduced, among others, the so-called astrolabe (from Greek astron-star and larnbanein – to take), in essence the ancestor of the multiform instruments now used to measure and, presumably, thereby in abstracto to master the architecture of the celestial sphere around us.

In the museum at Torun, Poland: “There exists a most remarkable painting of Copernicus that allows insights on his background. It shows Copernicus praying with open eyes. On his right a crucifix with a corpus is portrayed. On the opposite side of the crucifix astronomical instruments are shown. Clearly set off is the astrolabe introduced by Sylvester II.” And significant is Copernicus’ prayer underneath the painting. “I do not ask for the grace granted to Paul, neither do I demand the forgiveness of Peter, but I incessantly pray for the forgiveness which thou on the wood of the cross hast granted to the murderer.”(85) Did Copernicus have an inkling of the consequences his theory would have? In the modern Universe God is a superfluous luxury. As far as up-to-date astrophysics is concerned He is dead and has had His day. To quote Alexander Koyré about astronomy’s progress after the wholesale acceptance of Copernicanism: “The infinite Universe of the New Cosmology, infinite in Duration as well as Extension, in which eternal matter in accordance with eternal and necessary laws moves endlessly and aimlessly in eternal space, inherited all the ontological attributes of Divinity. Yet only those – all the others the departed God took with Him.”(86) And when at the close of the nineteenth century it had become insuperable to reconcile the Newtonian celestial clockwork of that New Cosmology with observational data, the most plausible inference was left out of consideration. The possibility of a basic misconception in the defunct system remained outside the theoretical field of vision. Not for a moment did anybody bethink himself whether the clash between “new” facts and the fiducial – but never proven! -Galilean natural philosophy was, maybe, due to the sacrosanct Copernican revolution. Astronomy opted for an approach that made short shift with even those remaining ontological divine attributes by assigning irrational and impossible qualities to the Creation’s mode of being. For when in their never-never land of relativity the distances between a number of clocks are increasing a wondrous thing is happening, we must conclude. Believe it or not: then each of those clocks works more slowly than all the others – which, I am sure we will agree, is impossible in our real world.(56)

3. The Tychonian interpretation offers the simplest possible solution among all those ever proposed of Olbers’ paradox – a given that they who like to operate with Occam’s razor may well take into account.

4. Nothing, but nothing will change as far as observations are concerned. When somebody once remarked to him how stupid medieval men must have been in thinking that the Sun was orbiting the Earth, Wittgenstein is said to have replied: “I agree. But I wonder what it would have looked like if the Sun had been circling the Earth”. In his excellent The Day the Universe Changed , a book that everyone should read, James Burke, telling this anecdote, comments: “The point is that it would look exactly the same. When we observe nature we see what we want to see, according to what we believe we know about it at the time”.(87)

5. What would drastically change are the extrapolations from our observations. I simply cannot withstand the temptation to repeat a warning by Eddington, which I have already quoted. “For the reader resolved to eschew theory and admit only definite observational facts, all astronomical books are banned. There are no purely observational facts about the heavenly bodies (Eddington’s emphasis, v.d.K.). Astronomical measurements are, without exception, measurements of phenomena occurring in a terrestrial observatory or station; it is only by theory that they are translated into knowledge of a universe outside.”(42)

You will say to me: “Physician, heal thyself. Your weird scheme is a theory too, and certainly the weirdest possible.” Agreed, it is a theory, and if and when the experiment I propose shall have put Einstein’s ideas at long last on a firm footing, I grant everyone the right to call me a misguided fool. But not before this will have happened! For I challenge until then, and therefore here and now, all modern scientists to come forward with one non-relativistic reasoning that, without affirming consequences and introducing ad hocs, succeeds in rebutting the straightforward theoretical conclusions here drawn from the panoply of the celestial phenomena. They cannot do this, and the foremost thinkers among them know this all too well!

So far regarding the ratiocinations of those who refuse to honour and accept any otherworldly input. A few remarks over and above that I must add, more directly aimed at the men and women who with me have been impelled to believe that the Bible is the Book of Wisdom given to us by the Great Creator God in Whom we live, and move, and have our being.

6. “Nonsense”, I have painfully found out, they exclaim almost to a man. I ask: “Why nonsense?” Why should the oldest model, being the strangest, not be the truest? Does the stupendous variety of life forms and landscapes displayed within the Earth’s tenuous biosphere not perfectly match with a likewise kaleidoscopic panorama of a stellar sphere encompassing creation as a whole? Do these two Hebrew words “and (the) stars” by the farthest stretch of imagination invite us to distill out of them a Divine act of such a size and grandeur that by comparison even the creation of the so-called Solar System is less than a drop in a bucket?

7. “Yes, but science…” – that theistic evolutionists of all stripes demur I can understand. For them, with regard to the creation account, the time-bound results of ever incomplete human research are first, and the Scriptures a second-best, adapted as Genesis is, they allege or settle without word of mouth, to the understanding of Homo Sapiens barely risen above the mental capacities of monkey-dom.

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