Tuesday, October 21, 2014

#1186: Robert Sungenis

We recently covered geocentrist Thomas Strouse, but the leading proponent of geocentrism in the US is Robert Sungenis. Sungenis is a Catholic apologist, founder of The Bellarmine Report, and president of CAI Publishing, Inc. It is probably needless to point it out, but Sungenis has no scientific background relevant to astronomy or physics; rather, he possesses a “Ph.D.” from the Calamus International University, a private distance-learning institution located in Republic of Vanuatu, which is, diplomatically put, not a recognised or accredited university within any jurisdiction of the world. But he offered them a 700-page dissertation on geocentrism (since number of pages can ostensibly make up for lack of actual research), later expanded to 1000+ pages and published, with one Robert Bennett, as the two-volume set Galileo Was Wrong: The Church Was Right, a work aiming to “give Scripture its due place and show that science is not all it’s cracked up to be.” For years his website would offer a $1000 reward to anyone who could prove heliocentrism, though before you submit your attempt, remember that Sungenis himself would be the judge of whether any entry counted as proof, and Sugenis doesn’t have much time for science or empirical observation interpreted without presupposing the inerrancy of the Bible.

Even hardcore young earth creationist cranks such as Todd Wood have dismissed modern geocentrism as … well, Wood seems unwilling to call them “crazy”, but he seems very, very tempted to do so. Criticisms of modern geocentrism can be found here, here, here and here, if for some reason you should need it. Of course, once again, Sungenis and Bennett are pretty much forced to reject all of modern science (evolution is just the start) in the process – and most of modern technology – but they are perfectly ready to do precisely that. A report on one of the Sungenis gang’s attempts to make a documentary can be found here – and yes, they tried, and managed, to catch (and judiciously edit) real scientists in the process by approaching them without telling them that they were geocentrists. Since nothing makes baby Jesus happier than a good deception in his name. They did get Kate Mulgrew to narrate it, though she claims – reasonably – foul play.

It is worth mentioning that Janet Porter’s group Faith2Action has used Sungenis’s website as a source of information to support their anti-gay campaigns. Here is their communications director, Ross Conley, trying to justify that.

Given his rather tenuous relationship with truth, accountability, and reason, it is little wonder that Sungenis is the victim of a severe case of crank magnetism (NASA, for instance, needs to be part of a Satanic conspiracy). The Southern Poverty Law Center calls him “virulently anti-semitic,” partially because of his expressed doubts about the Holocaust (“there was no large difference between the number of Jews living in 1939 as there were living in 1948;” that SPLC article also covers such Catholic luminaries as John “Few have the courage to speak the truth about the six million Jews that supposedly died in the concentration camps of Germany” Maffei and Catholic conspiracy theorist John Vennari). Sungenis has also written about the involvement of Jews and Israel in a Zionist Satanic conspiracy aimed at world domination. The views have caused some problems for his relationship with the Catholic Church, but that hasn’t prevented Sungenis from later reminding his readers that the 1911 edition of the Catholic Encyclopedia “predicts the anti-Christ will come from Jewry” or posting several articles, for instance by Ted Pike, attacking Jewish “power.” Sungenis is also a columnist for The Remnant, where, in a piece entitled “The New World Order and the Zionist Connection,” he detailed a massive conspiracy aimed at getting Satan to rule Earth: “Among the major forces in the ascent of the New World Order,” he explained, “are the Jews, Judaism and the land of Israel.”

Diagnosis: Yes, there really is a community of anti-science loons that even your village young-earth creationist would consider pseudoscientists, and yes, they do seem to have a modicum of influence in certain circles. A relatively recent survey shows that 79% of Americans agree that the Earth revolves around the Sun. That leaves a scary number of millions of people. I don’t have the figures for Holocaust denialism.


  1. Sungenis's local bishop took exception to Sungenis's anti-Semitic comments and told Sungenis to put a sock in it, and Sungenis ignored his bishop's demand. One of Sungenis's colleagues in the geocentrist scam is the daffy Solange Heriz, who wants to return to medievalism and has some truly wacky ideas. Ms. Hertz would be a great subject for this blog.