Msg#: 261                                          Date: 07-03-96  21:48
  From: Jim Henderson                                Read: Yes    Replied: No 
    To: John David                                   Mark:                     
  Subj: Moon over the Mountain
JD> OK, fine.  My assertion is that the Earth orbits the Moon.
  > Prove me wrong.   How can the Earth orbit the Moon?
  > That is the question I presume.

This question has been nicely obfuscated by an unexpected source.
Let me quote from a message on a local New York BBS, owned by a
politically prominent Orthodox Jewish group, the Lubavitchers:

                    L'CHAIM             ISSUE # 187 PART 5 OF 8
A letter of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
   I am in receipt of your letter in which you touch upon the question
of whether the sun revolves around the earth or vice versa, in view of
the fact that you heard from a college student that "the truth is that
the earth revolves around the sun."
   It greatly surprises me that, according to your letter, the student
declared that science has resolved that the earth revolves around the
sun. The surprising thing is that a person making such a declaration
would be about one half century behind the times insofar as the
position of modern science is concerned. For it is approximately one
half a century ago that the Theory of Relativity was expounded, which
was accepted by all scientists as the basis for all the branches of
science. One of the basic elements of this theory is that when two
bodies in space are in motion relative to one another (actually the
theory was initiated on the basis of the movements of stars, planets,
the earth, etc.), science declares with "absolute certainty" that
from the scientific point of view both possibilities are equally valid,
namely that the earth revolves around the sun, or the sun revolves
around the earth.
   An essential point in the above conclusion is that it is not based
on a lack of more definitive knowledge, but this is the inevitable
conclusion based upon the present position of science, namely that
in principle it is impossible that there could ever be scientifically
proven which of the two, the sun or the earth, revolves around the
   Needless to say, any particular scientist, like any individual,
is entitled to his own opinion as to which alternative he prefers,
or that he simply is inclined to believe in one rather than in the other.
However, this is only an expression of a personal preference which any
individual human being is entitled to. But it would not be true to say
that science has resolved the question in favor of one school of thought
against the other. To be sure, there were scientists who made such
declarations over one half century ago, as mentioned above, and this
provides at least some explanation why the textbooks in the elementary
schools have still retained that outdated position. However, it is
surprising that a college student, who has already passed through high
school and has entered college, and should therefore have some knowledge
of the Theory of Relativity, should attribute to science such an
unscientific and obsolete statement.
   To sum up the above, it is clear that where one says that it is
possible to be a scientist and accept the idea that the sun revolves
around the earth, and another one says that science rejects this idea
(I emphasize the word science, as distinct from scientist who is a
human being--no more, as mentioned above)--the first one has both his
feet firmly on a scientific foundation, modern science, while the second
one appears to have remained in the world and time of Copernicus.
   I assume from your letter that it is unnecessary to emphasize to you
the truth that a Jew's life and his daily conduct must revolve around
the Will of the Creator, the Creator of heaven and earth, in a way that
it is expressed in action, since, as our Sages said, the essential thing
is the deed.
___ FD 1.99c
! Origin: L'Chaim BBS - KESHERnet NYC node2 (718-756-7201) (1:278/610)
Copyright.Reprinted with permission.


 Published by Lubavitch Youth Organization
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 Rabbi Dovid Raskin - Chairman
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 Esther Altmann, Mordechai Staiman - Copy Editors
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 Editorial Committee
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