*

Offline Bette Davis Eyes

  • *
  • Posts: 43
  • let's eat some apples and get naked
    • View Profile
Stephen Hawking, you sneaky little Geocentrist
« on: April 04, 2019, 08:04:16 PM »
You know that illusion where the moon sometimes looks a lot bigger than usual?  Cool, hold on to that please.

Stephen Hawking wastes no time in a Brief History of Time (I don't know if it's because he took the title very seriously or just because that's what terminally ill people tend to do).

In the fourth paragraph of the first Chapter (Our Picture of the Universe) I think Stephen Hawking is saying he thinks the Earth is, or could be, the center of the Universe.
He writes:

"Ptolemy’s model provided a reasonably accurate system for predicting the positions of heavenly bodies in the sky. But in order to predict these positions correctly, Ptolemy had to make an assumption that the moon followed a path that sometimes brought it twice as close to the earth as at other times.  And that meant that the moon ought sometimes to appear twice as big as at other times!  Ptolemy recognized this flaw, but nevertheless his model was generally, although not universally, accepted."

Ptolemy’s model by the way, was geocentric (Earth was the center, not the sun).  Remember you answered yes, that you've seen the moon on nights when it looked much bigger and note that Stephen Hawking has never heard of or seen that, as he uses it as the reason why Ptolemy's Earth centered Universe doesn't make sense.  It's also the only reason he uses.

Here's the preceding paragraph so you have full context (it can be skipped).  I'll walk through the reasoning right after.

“Aristotle thought the earth was stationary and that the sun, the moon, the planets, and the stars moved in circular orbits about the earth. He believed this because he felt, for mystical reasons, that the earth was the center of the universe, and that circular motion was the most perfect. This idea was elaborated by Ptolemy in the second century A.D. into a complete cosmological model. The earth stood at the center, surrounded by eight spheres that carried the moon, the sun, the stars, and the five planets known at the time, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. The planets themselves moved on smaller circles attached to their respective spheres in order to account for their rather complicated observed paths in the sky. The outermost sphere carried the so-called fixed stars, which always stay in the same positions relative to each other but which rotate together across the sky. What lay beyond the last sphere was never made very clear, but it certainly was not part of mankind’s observable universe.

Ptolemy’s model provided a reasonably accurate system for predicting the positions of heavenly bodies in the sky. But in order to predict these positions correctly, Ptolemy had to make an assumption that the moon followed a path that sometimes brought it twice as close to the earth as at other times. And that meant that the moon ought sometimes to appear twice as big as at other times!  Ptolemy recognized this flaw, but nevertheless his model was generally, although not universally, accepted."

If you don't see it at all and it sounds stupid to you, you may very well be right, and I may very well learn the slightly disappointing reason why I always think everyone else is crazy.  But here's how I see it anyway:

1. Ptolemy’s model provided a reasonably accurate system for predicting the positions of heavenly bodies in the sky.

2. But in order to predict these positions correctly [that required] ...

3.  ...that the moon followed a path that sometimes brought it twice as close to the earth as at other times

4.  And that meant that the moon ought sometimes to appear twice as big as at other times!

5.  Ptolemy recognized this flaw...

Why does Stephen Hawking put an exclamation mark at the end of #4?  And why does he refer to the moon needing to sometimes appear twice as big as a "flaw"?

A.  It could be that he often went from the ramp to the van and back to the ramp, so he never really saw the moon.

B.  Possibly one time a long time ago when he took his glasses off he put someone else's glasses back on by mistake because when he has his off, he doesn't see very well, which is why of course he wears glasses.  From that day forward and for the rest of his life (because he didn't believe a person should buy a second pair of glasses) his whole world was blurry, but never knowing non-blurry he was just happy he could make out the top of stairs, and he never even noticed the moon...

C.  Maybe Stephen Hawking wasn't a very observant person?  Or even more troubling, maybe he is one of the first documented cases of someone with glasses whose handicap resents the sense of sight so much that his own subconscious, as a form of rebellion, alters the images his brain is processing including his ability to see the moon because he also resents his imprisonment in a chair which displays itself in his inability to see anything that doesn't look shackled - like balloons, and the moon....

D.  Or the possibility I lean towards, is that just like you've seen the moon look bigger, and I've seen it look bigger, and my Mom sure as hell has seen it look bigger because she calls me ever damn time to tell me it's beautiful, and even mainstream science agrees it sometimes looks bigger, that most likely Stephen had heard of this (most likely of course he saw it just like everyone else does).

So if basically everyone sees the moon look twice as big sometimes, including Stephen, then why would he use it as the reason he thought Ptolemy was wrong?  It would make no sense because it makes no sense.  All of his lab partners would be coming up to him after they read the first page going "Hey Stephen, great book, loved your take on that time stuff, but umm...hey - do me a favor and look at the sky realy quick.  Do you see like a really big white circle anywhere?  No?...".

If he wanted to just say Ptolemy was wrong he would have said anything else, including that what Ptolemy didn't know was that the moon looking bigger was just an illusion, as modern science later learned.

No, instead he writes like he's confident no on in the world could ever think a bigger moon wasn't the silliest thing they ever heard.  It would be like writing "Newton's biggest problem with his gravity theory was it didn't explain why people kept floating away and no one can stick to the ground!"

Some reasons why he wouldn't just come out and say it ...  First, the people he loved, or at least those with power of attorney, would have wheeled him into a locked facility before he could say "Beautiful Mind".   Then of course there's his career.  Also, some people feel like certain things need to be kept hidden in such a way that only those ready to find it will.  Something about being responsible, letting others kind of self-select when they are ready and able for more (If that seems dumb, because you think why would finding something out be hard, then please,  don't read anything I write again, I just make things up and post whatever sounds the weirdest).

And that's how you know Stephen Hawking was not sold on the whole Sun model.  Sorry, I know I'm using only reason and that it's not well respected, but the guys dead so it's all I got this time.  I'm open to any other explanation that makes more sense (to me).

Totally unrelated question: anyone think Stephen Hawking wasn't his real name and that he created that name to represent his two greatest passions - His Love of owls, especially hawks, and of course his guilty obsession with the great writer Stephen King?  I'm just saying...probably for some it's a lot more plausible than the other thing I was saying.  At least go for one of 'em....

That was wordy, I am wordy, sorry. 

Thanks,
Crazy 8's (or Bette Davis Eyes, or me, or you, or us, or not, or)

Thanks again.  Nick.
I can't believe I'm still fucking trapped in the infinite Universe....Anyone got something for claustrophobia or anxiety?

Yesterday is here to show us how far we’ve come.
Today is here to show us what fool’s we have remained.

Re: Stephen Hawking, you sneaky little Geocentrist
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2019, 08:11:41 PM »
Well it has been asked if Stephen Hawking was actually in control of the voice on his chair, or whether it was just being fed messages from government officials. It would have been the ultimate act of cruelty for him not to have been able to scream out and tell people that the lies from the chair were others pretending to be him for wicked purposes. His own private hell.
Rate this post.      👍 6     👎 1

Re: Stephen Hawking, you sneaky little Geocentrist
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2019, 08:36:50 PM »
(...)everyone sees the moon look twice as big sometimes(...)
You pulled that "twice" out of thin air. And even Ptolemy and contemporaries could easily verify with simple tools that it was just impression. So flaw in Ptolemy's geocentric theory still holds.

*

Offline Bette Davis Eyes

  • *
  • Posts: 43
  • let's eat some apples and get naked
    • View Profile
Re: Stephen Hawking, you sneaky little Geocentrist
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2019, 08:50:29 PM »
Well it has been asked if Stephen Hawking was actually in control of the voice on his chair, or whether it was just being fed messages from government officials. It would have been the ultimate act of cruelty for him not to have been able to scream out and tell people that the lies from the chair were others pretending to be him for wicked purposes. His own private hell.

Damn, you know I clicked on that damned thumbs up image like 5 times before I looked at where it was linking me too?  Click, YouTube page opens, stupid video, close.  Click, YouTube page opens, stupid video, close.  Click...

At least I came to before 30 years went by.  whew.

Yeah, the voice in the chair seems to make a lot more sense than them not using a pied piper to feed messages into people.  Though I would think there'd be no reason not go that extra horrifying mile and first plant triggers in his mind that when activated shift his perspective from himself, to the chair, and vice versa.  Then on a randomized range of 2-20 minutes you move his consciousness to the chair or to him, so he never knows if he's the real Stephen Hawking or the machine.  All while keeping him on a constant light-medium dose of ketamine so every minute right before he is about to grasp what’s happening, he gets confused and forgets for 30 seconds, only to see it and get close but no, what was he thinking about again?  Maybe every 4 years let him come too locked in solitary confinement, with a 5 day countdown until he loses all reality again along with another 4 years.

-BDE
I can't believe I'm still fucking trapped in the infinite Universe....Anyone got something for claustrophobia or anxiety?

Yesterday is here to show us how far we’ve come.
Today is here to show us what fool’s we have remained.

*

Offline Bette Davis Eyes

  • *
  • Posts: 43
  • let's eat some apples and get naked
    • View Profile
Re: Stephen Hawking, you sneaky little Geocentrist
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2019, 09:03:28 PM »
(...)everyone sees the moon look twice as big sometimes(...)
You pulled that "twice" out of thin air. And even Ptolemy and contemporaries could easily verify with simple tools that it was just impression. So flaw in Ptolemy's geocentric theory still holds.

You got me.  That phone book of a post was hinging on my sneaky use of the word twice, because without that the entire thing crumbles.

I'm absolutely cool if you want to not use twice and insteadc choose anything you want so long as it's not  "always the same size" - since we know it's not that.  If you want it to be .5  I'll concede that point.  If you want it to be 1.7 I'll concede that point.  If you prefer something more esoteric like 3.14etc we can use that too.  I'm not being a smartass - I'm earnestly saying it doesn't matter to me.

I know we don't know each other and you probably don't like me, but if you can just let me say that the post was about Stephen Hawking, a moderately respected voice of science, possibly writing in his book that he didn't think the Earth rotated around the sun.  That's it.  I don't claim  anything more.  So no need to prove it wrong with an experiment because....the post wasn't about it being right, it was about what someone might have believed.  That's all I'm shooting for, then y'all can either take it across the finish line or not, I can rest knowing it'll happen eventually.

-BDE
I can't believe I'm still fucking trapped in the infinite Universe....Anyone got something for claustrophobia or anxiety?

Yesterday is here to show us how far we’ve come.
Today is here to show us what fool’s we have remained.

*

Offline QED

  • *
  • Posts: 863
  • As mad as a hatter.
    • View Profile
Re: Stephen Hawking, you sneaky little Geocentrist
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2019, 09:18:45 PM »
(...)everyone sees the moon look twice as big sometimes(...)
You pulled that "twice" out of thin air. And even Ptolemy and contemporaries could easily verify with simple tools that it was just impression. So flaw in Ptolemy's geocentric theory still holds.

You got me.  That phone book of a post was hinging on my sneaky use of the word twice, because without that the entire thing crumbles.

I'm absolutely cool if you want to not use twice and insteadc choose anything you want so long as it's not  "always the same size" - since we know it's not that.  If you want it to be .5  I'll concede that point.  If you want it to be 1.7 I'll concede that point.  If you prefer something more esoteric like 3.14etc we can use that too.  I'm not being a smartass - I'm earnestly saying it doesn't matter to me.

I know we don't know each other and you probably don't like me, but if you can just let me say that the post was about Stephen Hawking, a moderately respected voice of science, possibly writing in his book that he didn't think the Earth rotated around the sun.  That's it.  I don't claim  anything more.  So no need to prove it wrong with an experiment because....the post wasn't about it being right, it was about what someone might have believed.  That's all I'm shooting for, then y'all can either take it across the finish line or not, I can rest knowing it'll happen eventually.

-BDE

This is a good lesson that SRH was trying to teach: how cherry-picking particular claims throughout history can be used to weave a narrative antithetical to the one intended.

You have demonstrated the pitfall beautifully, and brilliantly deposed it.

You win one internet.
The fact.that it's an old equation without good.demonstration of the underlying mechamism behind it makes.it more invalid, not more valid!

- Tom Bishop

We try to represent FET in a model-agnostic way

- Pete Svarrior

*

Offline Bette Davis Eyes

  • *
  • Posts: 43
  • let's eat some apples and get naked
    • View Profile
Re: Stephen Hawking, you sneaky little Geocentrist
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2019, 10:27:54 PM »
(...)everyone sees the moon look twice as big sometimes(...)
You pulled that "twice" out of thin air. And even Ptolemy and contemporaries could easily verify with simple tools that it was just impression. So flaw in Ptolemy's geocentric theory still holds.

You got me.  That phone book of a post was hinging on my sneaky use of the word twice, because without that the entire thing crumbles.

I'm absolutely cool if you want to not use twice and insteadc choose anything you want so long as it's not  "always the same size" - since we know it's not that.  If you want it to be .5  I'll concede that point.  If you want it to be 1.7 I'll concede that point.  If you prefer something more esoteric like 3.14etc we can use that too.  I'm not being a smartass - I'm earnestly saying it doesn't matter to me.

I know we don't know each other and you probably don't like me, but if you can just let me say that the post was about Stephen Hawking, a moderately respected voice of science, possibly writing in his book that he didn't think the Earth rotated around the sun.  That's it.  I don't claim  anything more.  So no need to prove it wrong with an experiment because....the post wasn't about it being right, it was about what someone might have believed.  That's all I'm shooting for, then y'all can either take it across the finish line or not, I can rest knowing it'll happen eventually.

-BDE

This is a good lesson that SRH was trying to teach: how cherry-picking particular claims throughout history can be used to weave a narrative antithetical to the one intended.

You have demonstrated the pitfall beautifully, and brilliantly deposed it.

You win one internet.

**I'm apologizing, you're right, I was a jerk.  If you end up wanting to read below I promise I'm just appologizing and not trying to push any opinions, etc.  Thanks.

Hey I'll just give it a shot - is there something I wrote in my first post that annoyed you and made angry at me?  If so and if you want to let me knbow what it is maybe I can not do it the next time to someone else.

Also, I know my response to you was not nice, or respectful, and that I'm asking you a big favor just to read my post because you don't know me - and what I should have done was thank you for taking time to hear me out - and say that you made my night just by reading it.  Also you're 100% right that my response was trying to win instead of talk (if it's cool though I would love not to win the internet because then I'll have to spend all my time with people acting the way I did, which really is a horrible way to spend any time at all).

Anyway I thought I owed you an apology as well as a thank you.  Also, I consider you a friend - as crazy as that may sound.  And so if you ever need anything or whatever - want to shoot the shit, and for some reason want to reach out - please do.  Otherwise I hope you have a good night and thanks again for reading what I put up.

Also, assuming I can edit my original post I'll fix the whole "twice" screw up (which I should have done the moment you mentioned it), and this time I'll try not to improvise anything.

Thanks again,

Nick
I can't believe I'm still fucking trapped in the infinite Universe....Anyone got something for claustrophobia or anxiety?

Yesterday is here to show us how far we’ve come.
Today is here to show us what fool’s we have remained.

*

Offline Bette Davis Eyes

  • *
  • Posts: 43
  • let's eat some apples and get naked
    • View Profile
Re: Stephen Hawking, you sneaky little Geocentrist
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2019, 04:55:04 AM »
The word "twice" is correctly quoted from the book.  In case there's ever anyone who needed to know, in case it ever makes a difference for someone, I'm writing this for you.  You are not alone and you are cared for - so much so that instead of feeling ridiculous for writing this confirmation of a meaningless word, i'm happy.  Thanks.

21 years ago, when I was 22 I started reading "A Brief History of Time", though mostly I bought it because I felt very impressed with myself for all the serious books I had read.

21 years ago I was about 1 page into this book and I read the line "And that meant that the moon ought sometimes to appear twice as big as at other times!".  I read it and it was like having the rug pulled out from under me but looking up and feeling like the magic and adventure  I'd been looking and wishing for my whole life all at once was there.  Stephen Hawking has just said the Earth didn't rotate around the Sun.  This wasn't someone on Public Access cable, this was Stephen Hawking. This was the person everyone believed and believed in.

I think I took a walk around the block.  Kept thinking excitedly "holy f*ck the sun rotates around the f*cking Earth - wow, yes.  I couldn't have asked for a better first time.  Anyway it never mattered to me what the answer was, and I've never cared to look farther than that paragraph (and I haven't).  But in 21 years this is the only place I've posted it.  This is the first time I feel like there's people who might get a chuckle out of it, whether they agree or not, and maybe some others it might excite.  It's still the only thing my brain sees when I read it, and though it doesn't change anything for me whatever it is, I wouldn't have put it here if I didn't still believe it sure could be true.

Thanks.
I can't believe I'm still fucking trapped in the infinite Universe....Anyone got something for claustrophobia or anxiety?

Yesterday is here to show us how far we’ve come.
Today is here to show us what fool’s we have remained.