A new book by the founder of Catholic Answers addresses the scientific mistakes, theological errors, and conspiracy-minded promoters of geocentrism
Karl Keating is founder and senior fellow at Catholic Answers (www.catholic.com), the country’s largest apologetics and evangelization organization, and the author of several books of apologetics, including Catholicism and Fundamentalism and What Catholics Really Believe. His most recent book is The New Geocentrists (Rasselas House, 2015). He spoke recently with Carl E. Olson, editor of CWR, about the book.
CWR: Your new book, The New Geocentrists, takes on a topic you’ve followed and addressed for many years. First, what is geocentrism? Second, when and why did you first become interested in it?
Keating: Just as heliocentrism is the theory that the Sun is the center of our planetary system, so geocentrism is the theory that the Earth is the center. Geocentrism is the ancient understanding, best known in the formulation given by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy. The Ptolemaic theory was modified substantially in the sixteenth century by Tycho Brahe. Most modern geocentrists adhere to a variant of the Tychonian theory.
My interest in geocentrism goes back to my university days. I took a course in the history of science from Prof. Curtis Wilson, then and until his death in 2012 considered the top American expert on Johannes Kepler, who started out as Tycho’s assistant.
In Wilson’s course we took the ancient observational data, worked through the calculations, and discovered that, as observations became ever more precise, the Ptolemaic and Tychonian theories failed to account for the movements of the celestial bodies. It was this failure that led Kepler to develop his three laws of planetary motion, and it was this course that sparked my interest in geocentrism.
CWR: Why the need for a book-length treatment of geocentrism and its main proponents?