Guy Consolmagno, Head of Vatican Observatory, Will Not Deny Geocentrism
On Monday, August 28, 2006, the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) interviewed Robert Sungenis, Ph.D. and Guy Consolmagno, S.J., Ph.D. on the show "The Today Programme." Guy Consolmagno was born on September 19, 1952, in Detroit, Michigan, and obtained his bachelor of science in 1974 and master of science in 1975 in Earth and Planetary Sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his Ph.D. in Planetary Science from the University of Arizona in 1978. From 1978-80 he was a postdoctoral fellow and lecturer at the Harvard College Observatory, and from 1980-1983 continued as postdoc and lecturer at MIT. Presently, Consolmagno runs the Vatican observatory in Arizona, and travels back and forth between there and the Vatican to stock the Vatican archives with his findings, especially his meteor collection.
During the interview, Consolmagno was quite a gentlemen and a good representation for the more liberal side of Catholic scientific endeavors.
Interstingly enough, in a highly unusual move, the BBC is not carrying the program on their website. The reason for the BBC's reticence is that Bro. Consolmagno did more to hurt their evolutionary/heliocentric agenda than help it.
Here is Robert's account of the program:
I could sense the interviewer getting frustrated right from the getgo. When he went to Consolmagno for relief, Consolmagno didn't give him any.
In the show (which, they told me, was supposed to cover only Intelligent Design) the interviewer comes on before the program and says: "Dr. Sungenis, we are going to introduce you as the author of Galileo Was Wrong." I said, "OK, that's fine." I thought to myself, "hey, here's free advertisement."
Lo and behold, the the first half of the program was about geocentrism. So I knew they were just trying to set me up. I assumed they wanted Consolmagno to deny that geocentrism was possible, and then they were going to hit me with the one-two punch and get Consolmagno to deny Intelligent Design as well. But they got the shock of their life. Here is how the first part of the interview went to the best of my recollection:
Interviewer: "So, Dr. Sungenis, you believe that the sun goes around the earth, is that correct?"
Sungenis: "Yes, and so do a lot of other people."
Interviewer: "Like who?"
Sungenis: "Well, they won't come right out and admit it, but they do hold that geocentrism is just as valid a model of cosmology as heliocentrism."
Interviewer: "And who are these people?"
Sungenis: "Oh, people like Albert Einstein, Ernst Mach, Julian Barbour, Bruno Bertotti...."
At this point, the interviewer interrupted and turned to Guy Consolomagno.
Interviewer: "Bro Consolmagno, do you believe that the sun revolves around the earth?"
Consolmagno: "Well, let's put it this way. It's easier to make calculations with the earth going around the sun."
At this point I could tell the intereviewer sensed that the whole thing was exploding in his face. So he tried to pin Consolmagno down to denying geocentrism.
Interviewer: "But Bro Consolmagno, we are talking here about reality. Regardless of whether the math works easier, is it true or not that the sun goes around the earth?"
Consolmagno: "Well, like I said, it's easier to make calculations with the earth going around the sun."
There were more things said, but I can't remember them now, but the above is an accurate rendition of how the conversation went. In brief, Consolmagno would not admit to the interviewer that the sun did not go around the earth.
Actually, when Consolmagno said the math worked easier with heliocentrism, I wish I could have chimed in at that point, since I could have shown that the math actually works easier with geocentrism. In fact, it works so much easier that NASA and the Jet Propulsion Lab use geocentric mechanics to send up their spaceflights, and they correct the Solar Barycentric Model by using the Fixed Earth model!
Then, seeing that he was making absolutely no headway in making the baffoon out of me that he intended, the interviewer switched to the promised discussion on Intelligent Design. Here, too, the interviewer was getting frustrated. I simply told him and Consolmagno that
"Intelligent Design is very simple. The evolutionist always complains that the creationist has his head in the clouds, so to speak, since he depends on Genesis and its literal interpretation. So here we come to the evolutionist on his own turf with scientific arguments. The scientific argument says that, organisms cannot function unless they have all their parts, and we have proof that such is the case with all organisms. You can't get much more scientific than that. So we are giving the evolutionist what he wants, science, and the most logical and irrefutable science available."
At this point the Bro Consolmagno answered by saying that a lot of ID advocates use science to advance their own religious convictions, and we shouldn't make those kinds of impositions on either science or religion. I rebutted him with the usual common sense response.
After reading some of Consolmagno's interviews and hearing him myself on the BBC program, I think it's possible to work with him. I don't think he's locked into a paradigm from which he won't budge. We'll see.
At the end of the program (which only ran about 6 minutes) the interviewer gave Bro. Consolmagno the last word. He asked him whether there was room for ID in the debate between creationists and evolutionists. Bro Consolmagno said that, "at this time," he didn't think it would be useful. This was the only time in the interview that Consolmagno said what the interviewer was hoping he would say.
With that, the program ended. The fact that the BBC decided not to air the interview doesn't surprise me in the least. It simply backfired on them. Their real target was geocentrism, but compared to Intelligent Design, geocentrism came out smelling like a rose, since Bro. Consolmagno simply would not admit to the interviewer that the sun could not go around the earth.
If any of you would like to read the book that I and Dr. Bennett wrote (Galileo Was Wrong) you can go to www.galileowaswrong.com and order a CDrom of the 1150-page book. It also has animations and pictures. A print version will be available in about 6 weeks, but it will cost about $75.00
Dr. Gerry Bouw (Ph.D. in Astronomy) wrote this in his review of Galileo Was Wrong:
"...these two gentlemen have done a stupendous work....Its honesty, depth, perspectives, and insights have convinced me that I have to print out a hard copy....The animations on the CD are excellent....The authors have done an admirable job all around. For the scientific and historic aspects of geocentricity, this book has no equal. Very highly recommended."
Another Ph.D. in Physics wrote to me yesterday and said that he accepts all the arguments in Galileo Was Wrong for geocentrism, and I have asked him to write a review for us as well.
Over and out.
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Catholic Apologetics International