Thursday 10 March 2016

136) “Many people think that modern astronomy’s ability to accurately predict lunar and solar eclipses is a result and proof positive of the heliocentric theory of the universe. The fact of the matter however is that eclipses have been accurately predicted by cultures worldwide for thousands of years before the “heliocentric ball-Earth” was even a glimmer in Copernicus’ imagination. Ptolemy in the 1st century A.D. accurately predicted eclipses for six hundred years on the basis of a flat, stationary Earth with equal precision as anyone living today. All the way back in 600 B.C. Thales accurately predicted an eclipse which ended the war between the Medes and Lydians. Eclipses happen regularly with precision in 18 year cycles, so regardless of geocentric or heliocentric, flat or globe Earth cosmologies, eclipses can be accurately calculated independent of such factors.”

Here is a remarkable thing. At last, Mr Dubay has made a claim that is at least partly true! Make the most of it – it doesn’t happen often. And it’s only partially true.

Yes, Ptolomaic astronomy worked pretty well in making such predictions. Mind you, it did so by assuming every more complicated ‘epicycles’ (wheels within wheels within wheel) so that it became somewhat improbable as a physical description, and very awkward to calculate, long before it was finally refuted by Galileo and later scientists’ observation and experiment.

Still, Dubay is right for once, in some respects, because simple predictions alone do not settle the question, either way.

However, the modern scientific view of the universe is far from heliocentric. The view of the solar system, perhaps, but that is very far from the whole universe.

Ptolemy was able to predict lunar eclipses with certain accuracy because it is fairly easy to do and they occur roughly twice a year for every place of observation on earth, but certainly not for six hundred years. What Mr. Dubay fails to mention is that Ptolemy was nowhere near predicting solar eclipses, especially not with the accuracy we have today and, more importantly, had no valid explanation for his funky concept of planetary epicycles:

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