Copernican Principle

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The Copernican Principle falsely attributes to Copernicus a view that the Earth has no special place in the universe. This idea is the foundation of the mediocrity principle, which says that there is nothing special about Man or the Earth. It has been called "one of the most useful and widely held tenants in physics."[1] According to some, this principle has an almost Biblical significance. For example, Encyclopedia Britannica says:

The implications of Copernicus' work can not be exaggerated. His views challenged the literal interpretation of Scripture, the philosophical and metaphysical foundations of moral theory, and even common sense itself. The result was a massive opposition to his reported ideas. It was the slow, sure acceptance of the heliocentric theory by natural philosophers that ultimately quieted the general clamor, however the name of Copernicus is still a battle cry against the establishment in religion, philosophy and science. In later years with Freud, man lost his Godlike mind; with Darwin his exalted place among the creatures of the Earth; with Copernicus man had lost his privileged position in the Universe.[2]

All of this would have been unrecognizable to Copernicus. His model was readily accepted to the extent that it agreed with observation, and abandoned when better models came along later. He didn't challenge any moral theory, and he got Catholic Church approval for his book. Not everyone views the history of science as the story of how Man became insignificant.

The Copernican Principle is incompatible with two of the leading creationist cosmological theories, Russell Humphreys’ White Hole Cosmology and Moshe Carmeli's Cosmological Relativity. [3][4] These cosmological models assume a privileged position of the earth in the universe, placing it at the center. They can be argued to be a new form of a geocentric view of the universe.


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