A Concise Overview of the Media Barrage Against The Principle Documentary
[updated October 26, 2014, added to Krauss’ section]
“The Principle Movie earns the distinction of being the most reviewed movie ever, never having been seen by any of its reviewers”- – – Rick DeLano – Michael Voris’ “Mic’d Up” episode titled, “The Principle Under Attack“.
The Principle is an amazing low budget independent film which examines a key component of modern cosmology: The Copernican Principle. As we go through this concise history, please keep in mind the simple formula that seemed to escape the media giants of the modern age: The Principle is a documentary about The Copernican Principle. What makes The Principle so special is that amongst other things, it reviews powerful and controversial new evidence that the universe on its largest scales is correlated to our purportedly tiny and insignificant little earth, and most importantly, those who interview in it are some of the key scientists who have studied this correlation and who, even, have discovered the correlation.
In summary, on April 8, 2014 Lawrence Krauss and Kate Mulgrew simultaneously released statements critical of the movie and claiming they were tricked into participating, while joined by a simultaneous media blitz, which built upon these statements and added quotes from other participants.
This was clearly coordinated to hit simultaneously on April 8, 2014. The self described “journalists” involved did not bother to obtain information from the primary information source- the producer of the film!- indicating this was not an act of journalism, but rather a coordinated hit piece on a small independent film that asked important people uncomfortable questions that relate to life, the universe and everything.
Clearly the propagandists from Time, NPR, Yahoo, and various other media sources took time to research the movie, contact various participants, and form opinions, but neglected the most basic and critical task, which is to research the primary source for the story! By not contacting the primary source, they ended up creating a strawman thesis for the movie (i.e., that it promoted geocentrism), and scared/embarrassed many of the interviewees into reacting with negative statements. This represents a complete failure by media outlets to act competently, and is indicative of why many people do not trust mainstream media sources.
The truth is that The Principle is a very controversial movie with the potential to shake-up modern western civilization. The media participants are as confused and misinformed about this topic as is John Q Public, and frankly did not handle this very well. By not having the due diligence to consult primary sources, they ultimately failed miserably. Had they followed their own tried and true rules for journalistic investigation, there is a chance a more balanced outcome would have resulted. We must leave open the possibility that they did not want a balanced outcome, and would prefer that through the power of their deception, awareness of this movie would fade, and the information and ideas it contains would not become widely disseminated.
A brief overview of the history of The Principle
2010: Robert Sungenis and Rick Delano partnered, and The Principle was conceived.
2011-2012 Interviews were conducted with Lawrence Krauss, Max Tegmark, Michio Kaku, George F.R. Ellis, Max Tegmark, Julian Barbour, Bernard Carr, Robert Sungenis, and others, some of whom have and others of whom have not been included in the final film.
2013 Max Tegmark participates in a second interview after earth shattering evidence is confirmed by the Planck satellite. Kate Mulgrew, after serious study of the script and the science behind it, agrees to and does narrate The Principle.
Max Tegmark agrees to a scientific consultancy contract for The Principle.
December 2013: A trailer for The Principle is uploaded to YouTube.
December 2013 – April 8 2014: A few minor blogs comment on The Principle Trailer.
April 8, 2014: On a single day a coordinated media blitz is unleashed. This will be summarized below. Basically Lawrence Krauss and Kate Mulgrew claim they were tricked, and a series of other articles simultaneously explore this theme also adding quotes from Max Tegmark, George Ellis, Michio Kaku, and Julian Barbour, all whom appear in the trailer and movie. None of the interviewees, nor the article writers had seen the movie, only the two minute trailer. The movie was not complete at this point in time.
April 9, 2014: One reviewer who actually bothered to call the producers as part of his investigation writes a blog piece (Tony Ortega). The title of this piece is “I can tell you how Lawrence Krauss ended up in our film. He signed a release form and cashed a check”.
April 9-May 7, 2014: The media blitz continues, but less intense than the opening salvo on April 8.
May 8-present: After realizing that their blitz backfired on them, media silence ensues. Even as an opening date of October 24th, 2014 is announced in September 2014, the media silence continues.
Examination and annihilation of the claims
Lawrence Krauss laments on April 8, I Have No Idea How I Ended Up in That Stupid Geocentrism Documentary in an article written by himself on Slate. He goes on to state: “A month or so ago, and again last night, my email, Facebook, and Twitter accounts began to buzz about clips of me appearing in some purported new documentary film promoting … wait for it … geocentrism!”
Let’s stop here for a moment. Remember what we said The Principle was about? It is about The Copernican Principle. So why is he making the case that it is about geocentrism? Ok, let’s give him some benefit of doubt. Some of the minor blogs were reporting this based on the trailer, in which geocentrism was mentioned. Most modern astronomers consider geocentrism ancient history, and it is understandable that Lawrence Krauss might be embarrassed if he thought he were tricked into supporting it. The movie, being about The Copernican Principle, not remarkably, does contain interviews with geocentrists. Geocentrism of some form becomes a real possibility once the Copernican Principle is questioned.
But Lawrence Krauss continues: ” I have no recollection of being interviewed for such a film, and of course had I known of its premise I would have refused. So, either the producers used clips of me that were in the public domain, or they bought them from other production companies that I may have given some rights to distribute my interviews to, or they may have interviewed me under false pretenses, in which case I probably signed some release. I simply don’t know.”
Let’s take these claims one at a time:
1. “I have no recollection of being interviewed for such a film…”. Ok, he may have forgotten, but the interview occurred, and he signed for it. Here is a view of Lawrence Krauss’ release form, which he signed.
2. “…had I known of its premise I would have refused…”
What premise? That there is new evidence regarding the validity of The Copernican Principle? No, he means the promotion of geocentrism, which is not what The Principle is about. Lawrence Krauss was quite aware that The Principle would contain controversial views, as this line in his release states:
” “Interviewee…agrees that the footage… will be used in a feature documentary … interviewee also understands Producer will seek out … unconventional interpretations and theories as well as mainstream views.””
3. Lawrence Krauss continues: “So, either the producers used clips of me that were in the public domain, or they bought them from other production companies that I may have given some rights to distribute my interviews to, or they may have interviewed me under false pretenses, in which case I probably signed some release. I simply don’t know.”
On May 22, 2014, Lawrence Krauss clarifies the situation for us on the Rationally Thinking weblog (watch the first 7 minutes) when he states:
“Well…I didn’t really know how it happened, but now I put things together after the fact…”
“…they interviewed me…”
Ok, that clarifies it, he was interviewed, and yes, he signed a release. Clearly it was not under false pretenses, but we will leave it to the verbage of the release form to argue that point.
He continues, “I thought they used footage of me… from another interview…that maybe they bought…”
Ok, that clarifies that this point was not correct “
So, either the producers used clips of me that were in the public domain, or they bought them from other production companies that I may have given some rights to distribute my interviews”
He continues, “…and of course they cut and paste and of course and apparently I come out promoting the earth as the center of the universe…”
No one in The Principle had to cut and paste anything to get Lawrence Krauss to say this, as he has published it himself in 2006 after observing the WMAP satellite results (THE ENERGY OF EMPTY SPACE THAT ISN’T ZERO A Talk With Lawrence M. Krauss[7.5.06]):
“But when you look at CMB map, you also see that the structure that is observed, is in fact, in a weird way, correlated with the plane of the earth around the sun. Is this Copernicus coming back to haunt us? That’s crazy. We’re looking out at the whole universe. There’s no way there should be a correlation of structure with our motion of the earth around the sun — the plane of the earth around the sun — the ecliptic. That would say we are truly the center of the universe.”
Lawrence Krauss was ASKED about this quote in his interview. His response as well as that of other prominent scientists tell an important story for The Principle. And Lawrence Krauss does not promote geocentrism specifically in The Principle, but you will have to watch The Principle to see for yourself. He did a pretty good job in the quoted article though!
Lawrence Krauss may be embarrassed that he made this observation in 2005. His interview was in 2011, and there was still a chance that the Planck satellite could demonstrate that this observation he commented on was some type of fluke or error in the WMAP satellite data or analysis. Once Planck returned its results in 2013, there was little question that the observation was real.
Interestingly in relation to the media blackout: in an April 8 article titled, New Documentary Will Make You Question Everything You Trusted About ‘Star Trek: Voyager’ the author writes, quoting Krauss, [emphasis mine]:
“…Lawrence M. Krauss. Well, he’s already written a full piece on Slate to contest the film’s insane thesis and express his displeasure with somehow being edited into sounding like a moron.
‘For those of you who are scandalized that a film narrated by a well-known TV celebrity with some well-known scientists promotes geocentricism, here is my suggestion,’ he writes, ‘Let’s all stop talking about it from today on.‘ And so we shall.”
Oh, and to this day, as far as the producers know, Lawrence Krauss has not seen the film. This is supported by his own statement that he “apparently” supports geocentrism in the film.
On the same day as Lawrence Krauss released his Slate article claiming a lapse of memory, Kate Mulgrew posted a statement on her facebook page:
“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. Kate Mulgrew”
Let’s break this down:
“… 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.”
Was Krauss misrepresented? Recall that on the day this was released, he had a memory lapse, and it was not until perhaps a month and a half later that he regained his memory and recalled that in fact he was interviewed. So, Kate Mulgrew was basically told a falsehood (whether purposeful or not), i.e., that Lawrence Krauss was misrepresented (in a movie he has not seen anyway).
“ I am not a geocentrist, nor am I in any way a proponent of geocentrism.”
Given that The Principle is about The Copernican Principle, the movie that Kate narrated did not require her to state whether or not she was a geoncentrist.
As one observer wryly noted: Kate no more had to be a geocentrist to narrate The Principle then she had to believe in warp drive to play Captain Janeway in Star Trek.
Apparently she has been misled on what The Principle is about or she misinterpreted the trailer or both.
“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.”
Yes, Robert Sungenis is a geocentrist, and in the interest of exploring The Copernican Principle, which historically relates to geocentrism vs. heliocentrism Robert Sungenis was interviewed. And yes, a few people have been unhappy with some of his controversial work on other topics in the sphere of Catholic apologetics, but this film has no relation to those topics. It is a movie about cosmology.
“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.”
Well hardly anyone has even seen this film, including Kate Mulgrew. I think it was a bit premature for Kate Mulgrew to apologize for the use of her voice, which adds greatly to The Principle. Clearly Kate Mulgrew was scared into making this statement in concert with the media blitz.
Max Tegmark plays a pivotal role in the cosmology that is explored in The Principle. Max Tegmark played a pivotal enough role that he was interviewed twice (once before release of the Planck satellite data and once afterwards), and was hired as a scientific consultant for The Principle.
Max is quoted in at least two articles. The first on the thinkprogress website, in an article titled “Orange Is The New Black’ Star Duped Into Narrating Film That Says The Sun Revolves Around The Earth”
“I was told that this would be a science documentary by independent filmmakers who wanted to increase public appreciation for science. I should clearly have asked for more details in advance! These geocentric arguments are about as unscientific as things get.”
Let’s break this statement apart:
“I was told that this would be a science documentary by independent filmmakers who wanted to increase public appreciation for science.”
Rick DeLano and Robert Sungenis are independent filmakers. They clearly want to increase public appreciation for science (thus they made this film).
” I should clearly have asked for more details in advance! ”
Max was a scientific consultant for the project. He should have asked more questions? Well the producers have a long chain of email correspondence with Max Tegmark on questions of interest to the CMB and The Copernican Principle. I think Max probably knew quite a bit about what the movie was about.
“These geocentric arguments are about as unscientific as things get.”
He may find, after he actually views the film that some of the arguments put forward by the geocentrists in the film are not to his satisfaction. That is his right. Everyone gets their views expressed in The Principle. No big issues here. Again, keep in mind that the media spun the topic of this movie to being about geocentrism, which would be fine if it were. The movie is about The Copernican Principle, and that is what was represented to Max.
Later, May 7 2014, Max gets quoted in an article in Popular Science. The article is titled, “The Conspiracy Theorist Who Duped The World’s Biggest Physicists“.
Max is quoted: “They cleverly tricked a whole bunch of us scientists into thinking that they were independent filmmakers doing an ordinary cosmology documentary, without mentioning anything about their hidden agenda or that people like Sungenis were involved.”
Again, Rick DeLano and Robert Sungenis are independent filmmakers. What is an “ordinary cosmology movie”? A puff piece like Cosmos, where establishment assumptions are presented as fact? Sorry, Max, The Principle is not a puff piece. That is why you were brought in as a scientific consultant. As to the hidden agenda: once again, Max Tegmark has not seen the film. How does he know what, if any, hidden agenda exists? The film is about The Copernican Principle not geocentrism as spun by the media.
As to not being told Robert Sungenis was involved? Robert Sungenis was involved in creating the idea for the film and funding it, plus developing content and ideas at a high level. Rick DeLano wrote and produced the film, and director KTEE Thomas, along with the film crew, were the feet on the ground. They were the people that Max came into contact with. There were a lot of people involved in the film that Max probably did not know about. Sorry, Max, you strike out on this one. You were duped by the media, and spoke without thinking.
The PopSci article is another in which the author actually contacted the producers (about 1 month after the initial blitz).
George F.R. Ellis
George Ellis is the only scientist contacted by the media in their hoax/blitz who put some thought into his answer. In the cleverly titled (not) livescience propoganda piece (also carried by Yahoo), “Clever Editing’ Warps Scientists’ Words in New Geocentrism Film“, The author states: “George Ellis, a mathematics professor emeritus at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, said geocentrism never came up in his interview.” (emphasis added)
Maybe that is because The Principle is about The Copernican Principle and not geocentrism, and thus, there was not a reason to interview George Ellis about geocentrism? I guess this profound thought never crossed the author’s mind. Nor did the thought of perhaps calling the producers of the film to interview them.
George Ellis upholds this as he is quoted: “The interviewers never put that idea to me…”
So, George Ellis was not interviewed about geocentirsm in The Principle. One would think that if The Principle were principally about geocentrism, he would have been interviewed about it given that in Scientific American, “Thinking Globally, Acting Universally”, October 1995, George Ellis stated:
“People need to be aware that there is a range of models that could explain the observations,” Ellis argues. “For instance, I can construct you a spherically symmetrical universe with Earth at its center, and you cannot disprove it based on observations…You can only exclude it on philosophical grounds…we are using philosophical criteria in choosing our models. A lot of cosmology tries to hide that.”
Dangerously enough, The Principle joins George Ellis in trying to expose that.
Back to the “clever” title of the news story. This is likely based the 2005 New Scientists title “‘Axis of evil’ warps cosmic background“, which indicates that the media hoaxters knew a bit about one of the themes of the film, which indicates they were probably not acting out of complete ignorance, and likely were coordinating a hit piece on the movie.
Julian Barbour was also quoted in ‘Orange Is The New Black’ Star Duped Into Narrating Film That Says The Sun Revolves Around The Earth. He is quoted in an update to the story:
“I was alerted to the existence of the film about 10 days ago. I never gave permission to be included in the film and certainly do not agree with its thesis.”
Julian Barbour’s release form is displayed in Michael Voris’ Mic’d Up “The Principle, Under Attack,” an interview with the producers of The Principle. Clearly Julian Barbour did give his permission to be in the film. As to the thesis, he is clearly referring to the media-hoax strawman-thesis that the film is promoting geocentrism. So, Julian Barbour also was misinformed by the media hacks.
In the article, ‘Clever Editing’ Warps Scientists’ Words in New Geocentrism Film, Michio Kaku states:
“It borders on intellectual dishonesty to get people to be a part of a debate they don’t want to be a part of…”
Again, Michio Kaku was duped into believing The Principle is about geocentrism. If only the bulk of reporters had contacted the primary information source for the story, they would have gotten this right. But then again, was their intent ever to get it right?
Lawrence Krauss initially claimed lack of memory, but eventually ‘fesses up to being interviewed in The Principle. Lawrence Krauss has not seen the film, and certainly did not see it when his statement was released (the film was not even complete at that point). It is clear that his statement was released on the exact day that Kate Mulgrew’s was, and the rest of the media blitz was unleashed. About a month and a half later, Lawrence Krauss back-pedaled on his charges, putting into question all the other charges from the other interviewees. Interestingly the self described “journalists” did not bother to obtain information from the primary information source- the producer of the film, indicating this was not an act of journalism, but rather a coordinated hit piece on a small independent film that asked important people uncomfortable questions that relate to life, the universe and everything.
Kate Mulgrew was intimidated into dismissing the movie, and claims to have been misinformed about its topic even after she narrated it! She did a great job in the narration of the film.
Max Tegmark, a scientific consultant to the film, apparently had second thoughts about his participation, long after the fact. Still his role in cosmology and in The Principle are key.
George Ellis’ statements actually support the contention that The Principle is not primarily about geocentrism, just as presented by the producer. The false idea is clearly created by the media hoaxters (who in general did not bother to even call the producers for facts).
Julian Barbour’s claim that he did not extend permission to be in the film is easily dismissed as false by presentation of his release form.
Michio Kaku was misled as to the topic of The Principle by the media hoaxters, and commented on a strawman argument.
A related article I submitted through a news outlet June 2014:
Top Scientists Freak Out Over New Documentary Questioning Copernican Principle- Which They Appeared In!
In a previous article, I reported on a new documentary, The Principle, which discusses recent evidence questioning the Copernican Principle. Many eminent scientists were interviewed for the film, including Lawrence Krauss, Michio Kaku, Max Tegmark, Julian Barbour, and George Ellis. The film was narrated by Kate Mulgrew (Captain Janeway of Star Trek). All of them signed releases, were paid, and agreed to be interviewed for a film that would address controversial as well as main stream cosmological ideas. All of them interviewed before the Planck satellite returned its results in 2013 (except Max Tegmark who came for a second interview after the results were released).
When the trailer was put up in December 2013, things were quiet for a while, but suddenly in April 2014, there was a media fury (Google search “Krauss Mulgrew geocentrism”). Media outlets from Rawstory to Time to Der Spiegel were onto the story. It started when Lawrence Krauss denounced the movie on Slate, followed immediately by Kate Mulgrew claiming she was not a geocentrist, and apologizing to her Star Trek fans for her involvement! Of course none of the denouncers had even seen the movie, so it is not clear what they were denouncing. It turns out they were denouncing a movie that a minor Catholic blogger stated was trying to prove geocentrism. In fact geocentrists were interviewed in the documentary, which would make sense in a piece about the Copernican Principle, especially given the obsevations that are discussed (correlations of the universe at large with the earth). Nevertheless, this led to the movie being known as the “most reviewed film ever by reviewers who had never seen it”. The media blitz proclaimed, without consulting obvious sources (such as the producers), that the scientists and Kate Mulgrew were tricked into interviewing for the movie.
There are two interesting facets to this event. Why would the scientists interview, cash their checks, and go on with their lives for three years, then suddenly make this an issue? The producers believe that the media storm was ignited by two causes. The first was the intervention of the Catholic blogger, which embarrassed Lawrence Krauss. Second, and more interestingly, is the fact that most of the interviews were done before the release of the Planck satellite results in March 2013. As explained in the previous article, and explained in more depth in these linked articles, the Planck results packed a significant and unexpected blow to the Copernican Principle, practically a dogma to mainstream cosmology. For more on the ‘why’, see here.
UPDATE: For yet another reason why Lawerence Krauss may have freaked out (relates to his buddy Jeffrey Epstein), see here and here. It even ties in to the 2016 presidential campaigns! #Copernicusgate.
The producers discuss these issues, plus show some of the release forms, and some very interesting clips from raw footage of the interviews on Michael Voris’ Mic’d Up show on May 28th. The story continues to change, and grow more interesting. The Principle will be released October 24th. Stay tuned for further updates.