Monday, September 3, 2007

E pur si muove

This isn't terribly surprising, but....

Via Tiny Frog, who mocks the creationist / intelligent design movement by applying their "reasoning" to the theory of gravity, I've come across this: a geocentrist offering a $10,000 prize for "proof" that the Earth revolves around the sun and rotates on its axis (well, $5,000 for either):
[R.G. Elmendorf] has spent more than two decades offering a reward to anyone who can prove what almost everyone believes: The Earth revolves around the sun. He recently upped that reward offer from $1,000 to $10,000: five grand to anyone who offers "scientific proof positive" that the Earth orbits the sun; another five grand to anyone who proves that the Earth rotates on its axis.

Of course, he purports to have an open mind, claiming that he just thinks that it's an "open question"--which means that really he's attacking anyone who doesn't agree with him as stifling scientific inquiry. They're close-minded ideologues who aren't open to new ideas.
He's not sure, mind you. He just believes it's an open question....

And, of course, he requires ridiculous amounts of evidence before he'll be convinced:
"The required proof must be direct, observable, physical, natural, repeatable, unambiguous and comprehensive -- in other words, conclusive scientific evidence of the celestial state of affairs," his reward offer states. "Hearsay, popular opinion, 'expert' testimony, majority vote, personal conviction, organizational ruling, conventional usage, superficial analogy, appeal to 'simplicity' or other indirect means of persuasion do not qualify as scientific proof."

In short, he is harder to convince than the O.J. jury.

And of course, he's "debunked" the evidence that's already out there for a heliocentric system:
Don't tell him about the Foucault Pendulum, the 19th-century device that purportedly shows that our planet rotates beneath a pendulum whose motion remains fixed in space. Elmendorf self-published an 82-page book in 1994 declaring the pendulums fakes.

"I've pretty much concluded the proof isn't out there," he said.

Does it surprise anyone that he's an engineer and a fundamentalist Christian?

Well, I write in present tense, but the column I've been quoting was written in 2002, when Elmendorf was already 74 years old. So maybe he's dead now.

No comments: