Tell the kids we really don’t know
To the editor:
Well it’s been about a month since my Nov. 13 “Please stick to science” letter, and no one has responded with proof that the Earth goes around the sun.
A little history might help. In the 1500s,1600s and 1700s Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler and Newton theorized that the Earth moved around the sun, but really did not have empirical tests to prove it. In the 1800s, scientists made great efforts to prove the earth is moving, i.e. experiments done by D.Arago, A.Fresnel, A.Fizeau and G.B. Airy all of which failed to detect a moving earth.
In 1881, Michelson and Morley devised an interferometer that would detect an interference pattern between two light beams moving in opposite directions. The idea being that if the Earth is moving around the sun at 66,000 mph, the beam sent west would go up against the ether of space and be slowed down, while the beam sent north would not be going against this “wind resistance.”
The experiment showed a tiny bit of ether, and they called the results null, but in essence this result said the Earth was not moving. This experiment threw the scientific community into a panic, (what an embarrassment if Galileo was wrong!) So to get around the problem, Lorentz and Fitzgerald came up with the theory that the measuring instrument shrinks as it moves at 66,000 mph around the sun; but they had no empirical evidence for it, so they invent the “Lorentz Transform” equation to give this wishful thinking some kind of scientific respectability, (you can do anything with math, but it does not have to reflect reality).
Some will say there simply is no ether and that is why they detected no movement of Earth around the sun. However, in 1925 Michelson and Gale oriented an interferometer to look for evidence that the earth is spinning on its axis once per day (which can also interpreted as space spinning around a non-moving earth.) The results showed that a daily rotation does exist, therefore so does ether. In other words, earth is the center of the universe.
So now along comes Einstein to rescue Galileo and company, with his theory of the transformation of co-ordinates and times from a stationary system to another system; essentially making the whole universe “relative,” but without empirical proof. His propaganda stuck, because that’s what many people wanted to hear back then; and still do today.
Educators: If you don’t have solid proof for earth going around the sun, why not just tell the kids “we really don’t know?”