The New Flat Earthers: Catholic Geocentrists May Shadow the Republican Presidential Primary

There’s a budding movement among Catholics to assert that Galileo was, indeed, wrong about the earth going around the sun, and you can read a whole article in the Los Angeles Times about this movement here.

In my view, the Catholic geocentrism movement could easily cast a shadow on the Republican presidential primary (if the candidates were simply asked about it):

As a candidate for president, perhaps you’ve learned that there is a movement among conservative Catholics, reported on in the Los Angeles Times, to deny that the earth goes around the sun. Would you please tell us whether you regard geocentrism to be a scientifically absurd position, and, if so, is it scientifically more or less absurd than the claim on the part of many Evangelicals that the earth is 10,000 years old?

I’d love to see Rick Santorum and Michelle Bachmann squirm on that question, wouldn’t you?

As to the biblical proof text that Catholic geocentrists use to support their position, the Times reports the following:

There is proof in Scripture that Earth is the center of the universe, [Robert] Sungenis said. Among many verses, he cites Joshua 10:12-14 as definitive proof: “And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, while the nation took vengeance on its foe.… The sun halted in the middle of the sky; not for a whole day did it resume its swift course.”

But, according to the Times, not even Ken Ham, the well-known young earth creationist, is convinced:

Ken Ham, founder of the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., said the Bible is silent on geocentrism.

“There’s a big difference between looking at the origin of the planets, the solar system and the universe and looking at presently how they move and how they are interrelated,” Ham said. “The Bible is neither geocentric or heliocentric. It does not give any specific information about the structure of the solar system.”

Just as Ham challenges the foundation of natural history museums by disputing evolution, Sungenis challenges planetariums, most notably the Vatican Observatory.

So, here we have a real debate: a conservative Catholic and a conservative Evangelical publicly squaring off over geocentrism. Let’s hear from the Republican presidential candidates on this!

By the way, how do you “challenge” a planetarium? Do you lobby the planetarium’s director to put black paint over the telescope lenses? Or do you just start your own geocentric planetarium and museum complex (in which the telescopes are in place but when you look through them you find that they are blacked out)?

I suppose in the foyer of such a museum, instead of a human riding the back of a mechanical dinosaur (as you might see at Ken Ham’s Kentucky museum), you would find a wax figure of Galileo pacing his quarters, the devil whispering anti-biblical scientific theories in his ear while he’s under house arrest.



And they were white.

Since there are so many levels of silliness at work in religious fundamentalism, it might also be informative to ask the Republican presidential candidates about Adam and Eve as well. It’s a big topic of conversation among Evangelicals right now (because geneticists insist that Adam and Eve simply could not, in fact, have literally existed. In our evolution from primates, at no point has our ancestral population ever bottlenecked down to two contemporaneous individuals).

So, two questions for the Republican presidential candidates might be these:

Geneticists say that the existence of a literal Adam and Eve is impossible. What say you? And do you support federal funding for genetic research even in areas where it sheds light on human origins?  

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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