Was Galileo Wrong?
To most academics, the question of the position of the earth in the solar system is no longer a subject of discussion. There are, however, people who claim that the earth, rather than the sun, is located at the centre of the solar system; and they do provide what they think of as evidence supporting their position. This paper examines such evidence, particularly the exploitation of isotropic distribution and the general theory of relativity by geo-centrists to try to prove that the earth is at the centre of the solar system (or the universe).
For starters, geo-centrists claim that since the mapping and categorizing of the universe has revealed an isotropic distribution of matter in the universe, the idea that the earth is at the centre of the universe is reinforced. By this argument, since there is an even distribution of celestial bodies around us, it can only be concluded that the earth is at the centre of the universe (Wyatt, 2008). Otherwise, if the earth were moving, then its motion would continuously distort the isotropic distribution. Thus, the earth can only be stationary.
Another isotropic distribution is the phenomenon of redshift. The claim that redshift is an evidence of a geocentric universe capitalizes on the interpretation of redshift as a gravitational phenomenon, in the sense that the motion of celestial bodies, which is responsible for redshift, is a consequence of gravitational pull. According to Paul Davis, the earth needs to be centered in the universe, gravitating bodies towards itself to produce the isotropic redshift that is observed around the earth, thus implying an earth-centered universe (as cited in Wyatt, 2008).
Yet another astronomical phenomenon whose isotropic distribution seems to bolster the idea of a geocentric universe is gamma ray bursts. Gamma ray bursts have been observed to be isotropically distributed around the universe. According to Wyatt, the isotropic distribution of gamma rays as observed from the earth implies a spherical source centered at the earth, which in turn implies that the universe is geocentric (2008).
The three claims, from the surface, seem to be affirmative of a geocentric model; but they have weaknesses that render them less scientifically convincing. Firstly, the notion that the earth needs to be stationary to account for the isotropic distribution of matter (heavenly bodies) in the universe fails to account for the fact that, owing to the infinitesimal size of the earth relative to the universe, any motion would not noticeably distort the observed isotropic distribution. Secondly, Paul Davis’ apparent claim that an isotropic distribution of redshift is only possible if celestial bodies are gravitating towards the earth, fails to account for the fact that redshift is a phenomenon of relative motion. Lastly, the same argument for the distribution of matter applies to the distribution of gamma ray bursts. Thus, the claim that the observations of isotropic distributions are confirmative of geo-centricity only comes across a pseudoscience.
Pseudoscientific as the claims may sound, advocators of geo-centricity still go on to argue that Einstein’s general relativity (GR) is consistent with a geocentric universe, and is violated if the frame of reference is relocated, for example to the moon. Firstly, Wyatt argues that GR’s consideration of the force of gravity as a curvature of space-time must include a force to make the body “roll down” the curved space-time (2005). Using the earth as the reference frame, GR yields a geocentric universe, with the rest of the universe revolving about it. So should a relocation of the reference frame to the moon place the moon at the center of the universe. However, according to Wyatt, solutions of Einstein’s field equations from the moon would produce a Schwarzschild solution that predicts that the moon should fall to earth (2005). Since, according to Wyatt, GR has only been tested with the earth as the reference frame, it follows that it only works on earth, and therefore the earth has to be the center of the universe (2005).
Like the uniformed allusion to isotropic distribution, the attempt to exploit GR to reinforce the idea of a geocentric universe has only served to expose a limitation in geo-centrists’ understanding of the theory. The general theory of relativity describes gravity as a geometrical curvature of space-time, which means that what is perceived as a force is actually a manifestation of a curvature of space-time (Ashtekar et al, 2015). Thus, there is no need for an additional force to “roll matter down” space-time. Furthermore, no explicit calculation has been provided to support the geo-centrists’ proposition that the moon should fall to earth if it is used as the reference frame.
In conclusion, an evaluation of the arguments presented by geo-centrists only reveals that they lack attention to details, and therefore arrive at the wrong conclusions. Or rather they are simply trying to cherry pick scientific ideas to reinforce a model of the universe that does not contradict scriptural accounts. No conclusive evidence has been provided to refute heliocentricity.
Ashtekar, A., Berger, B., Isenberg, J. A., & MacCallum, M. A. H. (2015). General relativity and
gravitation: A centennial perspective
Wyatt, M (2005, Aug 1). Geocentricity 101, Part I. Retrieved from
Wyatt, M (2008, April 10). Observations Indicating Geocentrism Retrieved from