This post is dedicated to The Master’s Slave, who asked me to “let him know what I think.”
Some time ago, I posted information on the geocentricity versus heliocentricity debate that is still ongoing in some quarters. To many in Western culture, my reference to geocentricity is utter foolishness. After all, don’t you know that Galileo and Copernicus proved that the earth revolves around the sun? Haven’t you ever taken a science course? Aren’t you just some sort of stupid ignorant right-wing religious nut? The government, the media, and the education system all say the earth revolves around the sun. Science has proven it. Case closed.
Not so fast.
How does the average person “know” that the earth revolves around the sun? The average person has never been to outer space. The average person has never devised or conducted experiments aimed at proving the motion of the earth relative to the sun. The average person has never gained the higher mathematical and scientific understanding necessary for even being able to properly evaluate claims about the earth’s motion. So where does the average person’s “knowledge” come from?
May I make a suggestion? The average person “knows” how the earth moves because the average person has been told that it moves in such-and-such a way by someone the average person trusts.
Let’s face it: much of what each of us “knows” is not “knowledge” acquired through direct personal experience and evaluation of a certain set of cold, hard, objective “facts.” Much of our “knowledge” consists of beliefs about the world based on things we have read or heard. We read it in a textbook or were told so by a teacher. We saw it on television or read it in a newspaper. Our parents or someone we looked up to told us and we believed that what we were told was true. We can’t personally investigate every single claim about every single thing, and so we place our trust, or faith, in those who have.
“Knowledge” is often defined as “justified belief,” and for most of us, the justification ends up being that someone we trust has claimed that such-and-such is true. That is not to say that every claim made about this world is necessarily false. But it is to say that we had better at least question whether or not our sources are trustworthy.
Shall we trust the mainstream media, for instance? In December of 2011, British television viewers were enraged to discover that the BBC had faked footage in one of its documentaries that had aired across the nation. The documentary had portrayed a polar bear birth as occurring in the wild when, in fact, it had occurred in a German zoo. You can read more about the fakery, which also included portraying a caterpillar as if it was in the wild when it was really in a box, here. What was the BBC’s response when confronted with its misrepresentations?
Do you say this is a penguin, but actually it was a different penguin colony than this one and this one is a different one? Come on, we were making movies.”
So there you have it. They’re making movies, not portraying “reality.” Add to that the revelations that some reporters have even been caught making up quotes from their sources and perhaps you can understand why the media is not entirely worthy of trust.
Well, what about the government? We can trust the government, right? In July of 2012, the public learned that the American government routinely censors news stories. That’s right: the American government determines what information its citizens can and cannot be given by private media corporations. And it’s not just the American government. The Canadian government has been caught, amongst other things, dictating to its scientists what information can and cannot be released to the public when it comes to scientific research and discoveries. More about that here. By the way, former American President George W. Bush is reported to have engaged in the same sorts of tactics. Granted, a government should have a right to determine what messages it wants to give to its public from its own agencies. But when the media helps the government keep information from you, and you don’t know what that information is, how do you “know” the government and media are worthy of your complete trust?
Can the government be trusted to act honestly and in the public’s best interests at all times? Google “government lied” and over 40 million results come up. Not all of these are so-called conspiracy theories. You will find claims that the American government lied to a Federal District Court, that the Canadian government lied about the costs of fighter jets, and that the British government lied about a military action. If these governments lied about the above matters, is it not reasonable to ask what else they have lied or are lying about?
But it gets worse. Not only are the government and the media controlling what information the public has access to, but there is also evidence that someone is scripting a good bulk of the information we receive in the first place. Check out this video, which brings the role of the education system into this mess (the scripting issue is addressed about 6 minutes and 15 seconds in):
This is the same system where educators also openly say things like
You cannot bludgeon kids with truth (or insult their religion, i.e., their parents and friends) and hope they will smile and believe you. Yes, NOMA is wrong, but is a good first tool for gaining trust. You have to bring them over to your side, gain their trust, and then hold their hands and help them step by step. And on that slow journey, which will be painful for many of them, it is OK to use some inaccuracies temporarily if they help you reach the students.”
“If a student, like Natalie Wright who I quoted above, goes on to study biology, then he or she will unlearn the inaccuracies in time. If most of the students do not, but those cutesy examples help them accept evolution, then it is OK if they keep some of those little inaccuracies for the rest of their lives. It is perfectly fine if they keep thinking that Mickey Mouse evolved as long as they think evolution is fine and dandy overall. Without Mickey, they may have become Creationist activists instead. Without belief in NOMA they would have never accepted anything, and well, so be it. Better NOMA-believers than Creationists, don’t you think?”
“Education is a subversive activity that is implicitly in place in order to counter the prevailing culture. And the prevailing culture in the case of Campbell’s school, and many other schools in the country, is a deeply conservative religious culture.”
(Above quotes from: Bora Zivkovic, Online Community Manager at PLoS-ONE, in “Evolutionist: it’s OK to deceive students to believe evolution” by Jonathan Sarfati, Published: 24 September 2008 (GMT+10), available at http://creation.com/evolutionist-its-ok-to-deceive-students-to-believe-evolution).
Then consider this video on how to brainwash a nation. Is it true we are not all being brainwashed? Can the man in the video be trusted?
Having said all of the above, let’s turn back to the geocentricity versus heliocentricity debate. The government, the media, and the education system have all told me that the earth revolves around the sun. But my experience with the government, the media, and the education system is that They Lie. A Lot.
So who to trust? Do I trust the textbooks from my childhood that say the sun is fixed in space and the earth and other planets revolve around it? Or do I trust this scientist who says the earth is not, in fact, revolving around the sun at all:
And if this scientist is correct, then are these people really so crazy after all?:
But wait! Analyze these theories hard enough and you will soon find that each one is based on certain assumptions, or presuppositions, which are taken as givens and not proven. Change the presuppositions and you might end up believing this:
Or yes, even this (more parts available on YouTube):
So which, if any, of the above scenarios can we “know” are “true?” At present, I will refrain from throwing my hat into any specific camp. Suffice it to stay that the starting point with respect to which “knowledge” claim should be believed and which authority is trustworthy seems to be one’s presuppositions. I presuppose that the historic biblical Reformed Protestant Christian faith is true because of the impossibility of the contrary (though don’t ask me to engage in a debate on this as I’m still learning in this area!). As such, my starting point is what God, the authority I trust, has said about the motions of earth and sun, etc. in His Word, the Bible. So the first question I ask is does the Bible make a clearcut claim for either heliocentricity or geocentricity? And that is a question I haven’t fully resolved. Yet.