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Quote# 3803

Einstein's disciple Prof Lincoln Barnett said: 'We cannot feel or motion through space. Nor has any experiment actually proved that the Earth is in motion!'. If you say that Geocentricity is 'silly', then you have to say that Einstein (and Mach and Barnett) are also 'silly'!

Prince, Bad Astronomy Bulletin Board 10 Comments [8/1/2003 12:00:00 AM]
Fundie Index: 4
WTF?! || meh

Tormentor of Religion

A. "'We cannot feel or motion through space. " What in the sam hell does THAT mean??
B. Citation needed
C. Never, ever mention the names "Einstein" and "Mach". You're unworthy.

3/28/2009 11:25:44 AM

Table Rock

A fundie taking words in a book completely out of context and twisting them to fit their world view! What a surprise!

In the book "The Universe and Dr. Einstein" Lincoln Barnett is discussing, among other things, Einstein's Theory of Relativity which is why he qualifys the quote you provided with this one:

"Motion is a relative state; unless there is some system of reference to which it may be compared, it is meaningless to speak of the motion of a single body."

So until you know what you are talking about, STFU.

3/28/2009 3:37:02 PM


I think it is Foucault's Pendulum experiment that suggests earthly rotation...if a large pendulum is made to swing in a N-S direction marking the groud on each sweep, then it will show a slight eastward drift over time. Presumably Barnett is referring to motion around the sun, or his superior knowledge of physics explains the phenomonon relativistically?

4/6/2009 5:56:30 PM

Anonymous Tau

Coriolis effect, bitches!

Rotation produces a change in velocity ie acceleration, without a change in speed.

6/29/2010 1:38:06 AM

David B.

Yes, intrinsically you can't tell the difference between a planet in orbit around the sun and a sun in orbit around the planet. The planet's rotation about its axis is a different matter and can be shown by several methods as others have described above. But a planet can turn on it's axis in a geocentric model as easily as it can in a heliocentric one, so that doesn't really address the point being made.

A similar situation exists in freefall. If you were in a box plummeting towards the ground or one in orbit above it, you would not be able to determine which from the forces acting upon you in the box (not entirely true but I'm taking the ideal case for simplicity). So how would you find out which it was?

Assume the box has a window, would orbit and plummet look the same if you had external points of reference to compare your motion against? Obviously not, if you plot your progress against a distant marker, plummet is fairly distinct from orbit.

So what we need are some suitably distant points of reference, visible through some sort of transparent canopy above the Earth...

Any ideas?

6/29/2010 2:19:31 AM


Actually iirc Foucault's Pendulum doesnt prove earthly rotation. I've read that if the earth were actually still and the entire universe were rotating around it, Relativity would predict the same behavior in the Pendulum. Relativistically, the two descriptions are actually identical,andhence no experimencandistinguish between themm asthey are actually the same thing. Mind boggling but then that's Physics... That presumably explains the Barnett quote.

6/29/2010 4:22:05 PM

Pro-Christian Anti-Fundie

Of course we can't feel it. We're moving at the same rate, so it feels like we're standing still, when we're actually moving through the universe at mind-boggling speeds.

Isn't science wonderful?

12/12/2011 3:43:54 AM

David F Mayer

Flunked Astronomy? Or never took it?

12/9/2012 12:50:51 PM

Dr. Shrinker

I don't know which annoys me more, the blatant attempt at quote mining or the blatant attempt at appealing to authority.

Let's just say the Prince is blatantly silly

12/9/2012 2:46:44 PM


Relativity is a real mind-fucker isn't it?

However, geocentricity means the earth is the center of the solar system, which means that everything orbits the earth. However, they are orbiting the sun, not the earth. Therefore, geocentricity is wrong.

Also, relativity's weirdness can be solved when you take the whole universe (or in this case, what we can see of the universe) into account. The Earth orbits the sun which orbits the center of the Milky Way, which is moving away from the center of the universe.

Another thing: You need to take the mass of the sun into account. Because the sun is much more massive than the earth, it is more likely for the earth to be orbiting the sun than vice-versa.

12/9/2012 2:47:53 PM