Clearly feeling the need for self-affirmation, Andrew Schlafly has just posted a word-salad called “Quantifying Order“. I’m not sure what he’s trying to say, but it’s something along the lines of “God created order and here’s some examples.”
The self-affirmation bit is clear as not only does he quote from his own bastardisation of the Bible, which now renders the opening lines of John as “In the beginning was perfect order, and this perfection was with God, and this perfection was God.” (I kid you not), but he has another dig at the Theory of Relativity by stating:
“The theory of relativity developed to explain the then-observed shift in Mercury’s perihelion of 43 arc-seconds per century. Subsequently, however, more accurate measurements with more sophisticated technology have determined this precession to be 55 arc-seconds per century, nearly 30% off the number provided by relativity.”
In true Andy “I-pulled-this-number-out-of-my-ass” style, he doesn’t provide anything to back up this statement. – not to mention the hideous English of the first sentence. Enter our heroine, Ms Sorenson (who seems to work for NASA and is involved with the Gravity Probe B project, unless my sources are mistaken. Either way, this young lady knows her stuff). Quite respectfully and quite rightly, she asks Andy for a citation for his claim.
Does Andy provide one? Of course not. Instead we get another non-answer:
I’m urging you to look beyond what you’re taught. I went through the same physics curriculum as others, and it is what isn’t taught that matters. Earnestly.–Andy Schlafly 17:53, 14 November 2009 (EST)
It’s made for some wonderful discussion, with Kate poking holes in his statement and Andy replying with such rubbish as “Relativity pulls people away from reading the Bible and relativity is pushed big-time by liberals” and “The political grip on this issue is intense. In fact, to be honest, I would advise against your criticizing it in any way.” Here’s a capture of the talk page, as it stands as of Sunday morning (when CP’s night editing mode kicked in) because I have a feeling that sooner or later Terry Koeckritz or John Patti will do the conservative thing and delete it – and then it will never have happened, of course.
Clearly he has no proof, or else he’d provide it, in order to help her “look beyond what you’re taught.” Once again, in typical Andy style, he’s making up numbers to prove his own point. However, now he’s up against somebody who can’t be baffled by his bullshit – and who knows it too. “Okay. Let’s find a way of making that point without quoting an incorrect value for the Mercury anomaly then? Cause putting in a number that’s not actually supported by observations just to make a philosophical point seems kind of … I dunno. Deceptive?’ is a killer reply to his garbage.
How long will it be before Andy loses all credibility by blocking her, or will she – in a fit of frustration at his mindless debating technique – end up poking her head through her PC’s monitor? Time will tell, but we’ll enjoy Andy flailing wildly in the meantime.
Actually, now it’s getting interesting. Andy replies and says to Google “5599.7 Mercury”. I see he’s also calling her Kate now – is he reading RationalWiki again? Anyway, I thought I would type that into Google and see what comes up.
First up is Wapedia, which discusses the Perihelion precession of Mercury. I’m not going to begin to understand it, but they quote the following numbers:
Sources of the precession of perihelion for Mercury
Amount (arcsec/century) Cause
5025.6 Coordinate (due to the precession of the equinoxes)
531.4 Gravitational tugs of the other planets
0.0254 Oblateness of the Sun (quadrupole moment)
42.98±0.04 General relativity
They conclude by saying the exact opposite of Schlafly, namely, “Thus, the predictions of general relativity perfectly account for the missing precession (the remaining discrepancy is within observational error).”
Gravityspheres go one step further and claim that Einstein made two mistakes in his calculations, namely that the number assigned to gravitational tugs of the other planets is wrong, because the gravitational force fields would not reach Mercury from Mars, Uranus and Neptune. Secondly, that Einstein’s computations are based on erroneous assumptions. Space does not curve, gravity does. Also, Einstein did not take into account the tug by the sbh at the center of our galaxy. However, this means that the actual precession advance is 45 arcseconds per century, giving a total as above of 5599.7 – matching the observed figure.
Finally – because I don’t like flogging a dead horse – Gresham College refers to it, in an article titled “Proving Einstein right. One can only assume that, as with Lenski, Andy’s habit of skimming articles has once again let him down.