Sunday, April 27, 2008

Turretin - Copernicus - Einstein - Advantages of Time

One of the few criticisms of Turretin that one is wont to find among theologians during the Industrial Revolution, was that Turretin rejected Copernicus' heliocentricism. If science had never progressed beyond Copernicus, we might (as part of the necessary bowing and scraping to the religion of science) likewise criticize the great reformer for insisting that it is the Earth which is still and the Sun that moves.

Science, the ever-changing oracle whose mind is firmly set but continuously in motion, has changed, however. No longer is Copernicus heliocentricism fully accepted. It has been recognized that there is a sort of relative orbit of our entire solar system with respect to the galaxy center, and then a sort of mutual distancing of all galaxies from each other in the current acentric model of the universe.

Combining an acentric model of the universe and Einstein's theory of relativity, we may justly "pick" the Earth as our stationary point, and describe the other motions with reference thereto. While it is possible that "aether" theories of the Universe may come back, for now they have been banished, such that it is impossible to objectively say that the Sun is moving and the Earth is still, or vice versa. Accordingly, under current scientific theory, the movements are relative. Picking the Sun as the stationary point makes the math easier when we are calculating orbits and so forth within in our Solar System, but there is no absolute requirement in this regard.

Furthermore, ultimately, Turretin is basically right. Whether or not he understood the matter this way, the Earth is the teleological center of the Universe. It is the focal point of history. The Universe is vast, but this dust speck has been given prominence. It is our reference point, whether or not it can fairly be said to move in an objective sense or not.



Mr Stuart Graham said...

Just a question, where abouts did Turretin specifically reject Copernicus, I have Turretin's Institutes but I have not yet found a direct or detailed refutation heliocentrism, can you guide me?

Francis Turretin said...

There may not be any discussion in the Institutes. His treatment of the subject is in volume 4 of his works, but that volume has not be published in English in its entirety.