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Zetetic Astronomy, by 'Parallax' (pseud. Samuel Birley Rowbotham), [1881], at


As an instance of the logical dilemma produced by theory and false doctrine, it may be mentioned that when it is proved by the most direct and practical evidence that the earth is stationary, and that the sun and stars move over its surface in concentric paths, immediately, and regardless of all considerations but defence of opinion and hypothesis, the cry is raised--Is it likely, is it consistent with all that we see and know of economy in the application of power, that a vast body like the sun, 850,000 miles in diameter, should revolve round a mere speck like the earth? If, in roasting a goose, the "spit" were made fast, and the fire so contrived as to be carried round it, would not such an arrangement be sheer folly? And would not the great sun revolving round the little insignificant earth be quite as foolish and improbable? The author of a recently published pamphlet advances the subject a little more learnedly, perhaps, in the following words:--

"It is certain, from the change in the appearance of the starry heavens at different seasons of the year, that either the sun moves round the earth once in twelve months, or the earth round the sun. After what we have ascertained of the enormous magnitude of the sun as compared with the earth, 850,000

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against less than 8000 miles, we shall be prepared to admit that it is infinitely more reasonable that the little dark earth should move round the great and glorious sun, than that that magnificent and self-luminous globe should have to revolve round our small, and comparatively insignificant, planet. It would be, according to the old homely simile, making the whole fire-place and kitchen and house turn round the joint of meat."

Another writer (Arago) says:--

"In the first place, if we compare the earth, we shall not say merely with the globes of our system, but with the infinity of stars which, as we have seen, are nothing else than suns at least as large as ours, and probably centres of as many planetary systems, we must own that it is but an imperceptible point when contrasted with these enormous masses; and it will no doubt appear monstrous that an atom should be the centre round which circulate so many immense globes. Our amazement will be vastly enhanced if we think of the incredible velocity with which these bodies must move to describe, in such brief times, incommensurable circles; and as this velocity must augment with the distance, it will be necessary to admit that the earth attracts all the stars with a force the greater the further they are from it. We must, therefore, abandon a notion which would lead to such conclusions as these, and put the question to ourselves, whether this apparent revolution of the heavens may not be the effect of an illusion of our senses. Thus we shall be led to suppose the movement of the earth; and this supposition being admitted, the phenomena will be explained logically and easily."

The only argument contained in the above remarks is that founded upon analogy and probability. It certainly

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would seem very foolish, and contrary to creative genius and consistency to make a body 850,000 miles in diameter, and, at a distance of 91,000,000 of miles, move round an object only 8000 miles in diameter, merely for the purpose of giving it light and heat, and causing day and night. But when it is demonstrated that such distance and magnitude are purely fanciful, that the sun is only a few hundred miles from the earth, and is, therefore, much the smallest object, all such tawdry notions and counterfeit reasonings must fall to the ground.

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