Tue
Apr 8 2014 4:30pm

I Seriously Doubt Kate Mulgrew Believes the Sun Revolves Around the Earth

Kate Mulgrew Captain Janeway Star Trek

Hey, guess what? Kate Mulgrew took a voice-over gig that has turned out to be narration for a documentary made by a Holocaust-denier that is titled The Principle, which claims that the sun revolves around the Earth. So now we know, for sure, that the Captain Kathryn Janeway that we (sort of) grew up with believes something that was disproved hundreds of years ago.

The evidence that other news re-aggregators on the internet are citing is the one line of narration from Mulgrew that is featured in the trailer for the documentary. That line is:

Everything we think we know about our universe is wrong.

It’s in a trailer for a documentary that doesn’t even have a release date, so it must be true. If anything Mulgrew says in her role as an actor is true then that also means this is true:

But I eat a lot of chicken, so I’m biased.

Look, I understand that this is the internet and that as such article headlines are designed to elicit an emotional response for the purpose of click-throughs, even if they’re bending the truth. And I understand how enraging the idea is that Captain Janeway herself would believe that the universe is geocentric when every observation we’ve made of the cosmos past the 17th century has proven that incorrect.

But outright claiming that Kate Mulgrew supports the claims of this documentary promotes the same lack of critical thought that The Principle itself espouses.

Noted popular scientists Michio Kaku and Lawrence Krauss are also featured heavily in the documentary trailer, but take a look at how their testimony is used. Neither man is actually talking about geocentrism in their clips. They’re excited about a redefinition of how we understand the universe, yes, but that’s because they’re talking about dark matter and dark energy. The talking heads that follow up on the noted scientists’ excited proclamations are the ones actually speaking about how the Earth is the center of the universe as they try to reclassify or ignore scientific findings by shoehorning them into Bible lore. The juxtaposition is probably deliberate. A way for filmmaker Robert Sungenis to legitimize his claims using, ironically, the very legitimacy Krauss, Kaku, and more have received by doing actual, verifiable science.

Don’t believe me? Lawrence Krauss says right here that he is being outright misrepresented by this documentary, and that the footage of him must have been purchased from other projects. Considering how disingenuous the trailer is in regards to Krauss, I find it easy to give Mulgrew the benefit of the doubt here. Especially since we’ve only heard her state an incredibly vague, “Everything we think we know about our universe is wrong.”

Phil Plait shares my sentiment in this regard, if you want to dig further into the matter.

Also? Mulgrew loves supporting real science! Check out these life stories of over 26 women throughout science and engineering history, as narrated by Kate Mulgrew.

Finally, there's one important fact that puts me squarely on her side. This statement she released through Facebook:

I understand there has been some controversy about my participation in a documentary called THE PRINCIPLE. Let me assure everyone that I completely agree with the eminent physicist Lawrence Krauss, who was himself misrepresented in the film, and who has written a succinct rebuttal in SLATE. I am not a geocentrist, nor am I in any way a proponent of geocentrism. More importantly, I do not subscribe to anything Robert Sungenis has written regarding science and history and, had I known of his involvement, would most certainly have avoided this documentary. I was a voice for hire, and a misinformed one, at that. I apologize for any confusion that my voice on this trailer may have caused.

Captain Janeway is awesome. Don't ever forget.

(Awesome Janeway TOS photoshop from here.)

22 comments
Douglas J. Glassman
1. Douglas J. Glassman
Mulgrew confirmed on her Facebook page that she doesn't believe in Sungenis' BS and the contents of it were misrepresented when she recorded the script.
Chris Lough
2. TorChris
Yup! It's at the end of the article and, fortuitously, popped up just as I was finishing this.
Douglas J. Glassman
3. Jason P Hunt, SciFi4Me
For the record, the Bible doesn't ever claim that the universe circles the Earth. In fact, many scientific facts were written in scripture before they were ever proven scientifically. This notion that Christians reject science is silly -- and is that not the same leap to judgment Christians are accused of making?
Chris Lough
4. TorChris
Jason, just to clarify, are you referring to the trailer for The Principle? There are two individuals in it that vocalize a view of the universe as depicted in the Bible, which is what I am referring to when I mention the "talking heads" in the above article. At no point in the article do I make a blanket claim that Christians reject science.
Douglas J. Glassman
5. Evan H.
Nobody ever seems to hold Leonard Nimoy responsible for the much greater crime against science called In Search Of...
Douglas J. Glassman
6. Alright Then
#5

I don't think a program that explores the myths of Bigfoot, Loch Ness, UFOs and the like, something that Star Trek did on occasion by the way, can compare to some weird contrarian video that outright rejects hundreds of years of scientific fact.
Douglas J. Glassman
7. neiana
Well "Bible lore" is actually quite scientific. It's these crazy "humans" that create additional "facts" and call it "biblical" that get us into these crazy messes.

Science and the Bible has never been at odds. It's the people behind each that are at each other. Unfortunately, one group is just better at debate than the other.
Douglas J. Glassman
8. Jonellin StoneBreaker
neiana@7:

The 4 corners of the earth?
The mustard seed is the smallest of seeds, but becomes the largest of bushes?
The Earth was formed before the Sun?
You can cure leprosy by washing seven times in river?

We are all entitled to our own opinions; the moral "truths" of the Bible (and whose Bible? Catholics? Orthodox? Jehovah's Witnesses?) may very well be valid and living by them may be an optimal way for humans to live (or not).

But scientifically, this is a primarily Iron Age book, written by a people with an Iron Age understanding of science.

We are not entitled to our own facts.
Marilynn Byerly
9. MByerly
I read an interesting article today on the legal rights of documentary victims, people who have been lied to about the subject mater of a film, to sue the person who lied. Here it is.

http://www.trademarkandcopyrightlawblog.com/2014/04/does-the-first-amendment-allow-journalists-to-lie-to-their-subjects-u-s-senator-accuses-documentary-film-makers-of-fraud
Douglas J. Glassman
10. JM1
Kate Janeway should have been court-martialed on her return to the Alpha Quadrant.

Kate Mulgrew, on the other hand, is extremely cool.
Douglas J. Glassman
11. JackIK
@Jonellin Stonebreaker:

"The 4 corners of the earth?"
Metaphorical.
"The mustard seed is the smallest of seeds, but becomes the largest of bushes?"
Actually, what it says is 'largest garden plant', and at the time, the mustard seed was probably the smallest seed they knew. Also, props for not putting that in context, like everyone else who misinterprets the Bible. Which includes anyone who says that the sun revolves around the earth, by the way.
"The Earth was formed before the Sun?"
Who's to say it DIDN'T? I mean, really - all we've got right now is speculation that the Earth was a piece of rock that broke off of something bigger. Or that it accumulated over time.
"You can cure leprosy by washing seven times in river?"
Congratulations for missing the point yet again. Ritual cleanliness as a part of Jewish sanctification process.
Derek Broughton
12. auspex
Now, hang on. You've made two assertions about what the "documentary" says about the Earth's place in the universe, and only one of them is incorrect.

Of course the Sun doesn't rotate about the Earth.

But as I said to my wife tonight, as we listened to Laura Mvula sing "Who made you the center of the universe": PHYSICS! As the universe is expanding almost uniformly, ANY point in the universe is reasonably considered its center.
Christopher Bennett
13. ChristopherLBennett
If the makers of a film have to lie to its own participants about its contents and how their words will be represented, that tells you all you need to know about their integrity and credibility. I'm reminded of that anti-Muhammad film that a hate group made a year or two ago, and how the actors in the film came forward and told how they were deceived about what kind of story they were making and how their material would be edited and dubbed.

It's one thing to debate with people who hold a sincere difference of belief. But there's a growing trend, it seems, for certain people to embrace deliberate big-lie propaganda and consciously attempt to deceive people. They know the truth isn't on their side, so they try to win the argument by cheating. How do you deal reasonably with people who find honesty itself inimical?
Douglas J. Glassman
14. Evan H.
#6

In Search Of... didn't "explore the myths" of Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster and so forth, it enthusiastically wallowed in them. The show was forever presenting things as "mysteries" that weren't mysterious at all, and omitting truths when they undermined its agenda of woo. One episode told a story of a ship vanishing without a trace in the so-called "Bermuda Triangle" which, in real life, had sunk within sight of land and was photographed while doing so; another flatly asserted, as a scientific fact, that the story of Noah was based on an actual worldwide flood. It was actively anti-knowledge, pro-ignorance, and indefensible.

Kate Mulgrew may not have known what she was doing, but Nimoy should've, and if she's to be blamed for this one unfortunate voiceover appearance, I think he should catch commensurate blame for 5 years of weekly on-camera nonsense.

(Also, priceline? Nowhere near as awesome as Shatner said. There, I said it. :) )
Douglas J. Glassman
15. LDB
........ and this explains why Captain Janeway was lost in space
Sky Thibedeau
17. SkylarkThibedeau
Psssshhhawww! Everyone knows the sun the moon and the stars all revolve around ME!
Douglas J. Glassman
18. ASG
@TorChris I don't think people are saying you in particular believe Christians are anti-science. It is a common belief though, especially among bloggers, etc who are writing about this documentary. I did a search to see if I could find out more information about this and came up with multiple blogs taking that tone. As a Christian myself who works in a science related field, I'm interested to see how or why anyone can rationally believe that the sun orbits the earth.

It's disappointing to me that a few people like the producer of this documentary and his followers can taint the reputations of the majority of Christians who are rational in their approach to science. Any rational Christian understands that the Earth orbits the sun. The most rational Christian view in my opinion is that God used certain processes to create life and matter. Human scientists discovering these processes does not necessarily remove God from the equation. As a scientist you might say the simplest answer is the best and that is a good motto to live by. However, it is not always true. In the end, if the Big Bang Theory is correct, we still don't know what came before the Big Bang. It's impossible to know. We know, or at least have a pretty good idea of how life evolved on the earth, but we don't know how the first living organism came to be. In my view, there is plenty of room for God in the universe.
Michael Johnston
19. JohnstonMR
ASG: It's regrettable that those few taint an entire system of belief, but it's human nature. The loudest bark gets noticed, and the anti-science crowd is loudest. So anti-science Christians are seen as more representative than they are, and derpy guys in badly-made Klingon masks are often taken as representing all SF fans by the general public. *shrug*
Chris Lough
20. TorChris
I don't think people are saying you in particular believe Christians are anti-science.

@ASG. I hope not! That isn't something I personally believe and my experiences with those who work and live in those disciplines doesn't at all support that kind of generalization. Like other commenters have said more eloquently in this thread, the extremes tend to get the most attention and end up obscuring the majority. (On either side of the argument, really.) Hopefully I haven't made anyone feel too heckled in this article.

I get what you mean in terms of the overall sentiment of online articles being reactionary against , though, and it's something I get more and more tired of myself. The whole Kate Mulgrew thing wasn't entirely about her, really. The more extreme reactions were just using it as a platform to vent frustration over other related viewpoints. (I'm guilty of this to some extent. I used the Kate Mulgrew story to vent frustrations about lack of due diligence when reporting on news.) In the end, responding in the extreme just seems to lead to generalizations that produce extreme reactions that are themselves generalizations. The cycle perpetuates, either/or ultimatums pop up, and the nuances are lost. Like this lovely statement...

Human scientists discovering these processes does not necessarily remove God from the equation.

Can I just say that I love this? I love this. It sums up the complementary aspects of faith and objectivity so nicely.
Douglas J. Glassman
21. bigK
At some point we may discover that God is the greatest scientist of them all.
Douglas J. Glassman
22. houseboatonstyx
As for nuances, the number of them in The Great Ptolemaic Smackdown approaches astronomical.

Mostly, iirc, TOF says it was the Catholics and the astrologers who observed what was observable, namely motions of light spots in the sky, made careful calculations, and were able to accurately predict where each spot would go next, and eclipses. Hard science and hard math.

While the early heliocentrists were going by 'woo':

Well, you see, Fire is nobler than earth and the center is a nobler position.

So fire has to be in the center. QED.There are many names for this sort of thinking, but “scientific” is not one of them.

http://tofspot.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-great-ptolemaic-smackdown.html
Kelley J.
23. anothernovelread
"Captain Janeway is awesome. Don't ever forget."

YES.

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