Taking a quick break from discussing geocentrism and galactocentrism, here’s an interesting discussion on whether particular “sceince” approaches in the Christian community have helped build the atheist movement. My two cents…bad science from Christians didn’t create the problem, but hasn’t helped either.
As discussed last time, modern geocentrism is a widely held belief that many people may not even be aware exists. Unlike in ancient times, when such beliefs were commonly accepted by the religious and irreligious alike, today such models are held for primarily religious reasons. Geocentrism is deduced from a certain set of presuppositions regarding the interpretation of scriptures, rather than induced from examining the phenomena of the physical world. These phenomena must then either be reinterpreted or ignored in order to “preserve the appearances” of the model.
Fortunately, YEC organizations such as Answers in Genesis the Institute for Creation Research explicitly deny strict geocentrism. What does the adjective “strict” mean, however? It refers specifically to the Ptolemaic system discredited by Copernicus and Galileo. This leaves the door open, then, for a more common form of contemporary geocentrism, which could most easily be described as “relative geocentrism”. This theory posits that Einstein’s theory for general relativity provides scientific justification for a viewpoint in which the Earth was created first and the rest of the cosmos later created around it. Take the following comments posited by Dr. Gerrald Aardsma:
Apart from the intricate structure of Medieval cosmology, geocentrism was the default position for much of the ancient world, including the ancient Hebrews. One of the most fascinating aspects of geocentrism is that it has never entirely died out. When looking for some pictures (such as the one here) to include in a class presentation, I was surprised by some of the current support for the theory I found, and not just from fringe nutcases such as this or this. I think it is fair to say that such support starts with certain religious presuppositions regarding the interpretation of scripture, rather than from any scientific examination of the universe we actually live in. The type of logic used to justify a literal rather than contextual understanding of the Bible in support of a Geocentric universe is rightly rejected by nearly everyone I’ve ever met, although many young earth creationists (YEC) are vehement that the method of metaphorically interpreting verses in a culturally appropriate context (such as 1 Chronicles 16:30, Psalm 93:1, and Psalm 104:5) should only be applied to those passages which appear to support a geocentric cosmology. Following the geocentric rabbit hole, however, led to some bizarre places within the YEC subculture.
In preparation for a class assignment I recently had a chance to revisit The Discarded Image, one of my favorite books by C.S. Lewis. Different in tone and substance from much of his other writings, it is a series of lectures on the Medieval worldview drawn from his lectures on Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Oxford University.
One of my primary interests in the book is the aesthetic beauty of an outmoded view of creation, the “discarded image” of the title. Lewis’s description of the geocentric model is a stunning tour-de-force which invites the reader to truly understand how people viewed the world in a bygone culture. Drawn from classical sources such as Aristotle and Ptolemy, and passed on by early Medievals such as Lucan and particularly Boetheus, the model was appropriated by the Christian church, grafted into Biblical interpretation, and served as a foundational cosmology for nearly a millenium. Most literate adults are most familiar with a version of this model from Dante, but Lewis presents a portait that encompasses a vast swath of literature and poetry. This view of the universe did not only influence the imagination of the past, but has continued to provide influence for composers (such as Orff’s Carmina Burana) and writers such as Tolkein, Lewis’s own Narnia series, and even arguably for more recent fantasy writers such as Rowling. It is a universe filled with light, intelligence, and love. It is one of the most detailed, rational, and internally coherent cosmologies ever constructed.
And of course, it was wrong.
Here’s a book review that I first posted on my “old” blog back in 2008 for starters. The book has an authentic perspective on the real frustrations of attempting to maintain a sense of professionalism as an educator.
Brian Crosby has been in the “trenches” of the education system for a long time. As a twenty-year veteran of the Los Angeles school system and a National Board Certified teacher, Mr. Crosby brings a bluntly honest perspective to the topic of education reform in his latest book, Smart Kids, Bad Schools: 38 Ways to Save America’s Future.
Mr. Crosby’s book contains a little bit of something to offend everybody. This is a good thing when dealing with a system as entrenched and archaic as the public education system. His book is literally packed with ideas on ways to make the school system work better, such as creating career ladders for teachers, curtailing the power of teachers unions, modeling administration training on MBA programs, increasing vocational education, and near and dear to my heart, mandating arts education.
Smart Kids is at its best, however, when Mr. Crosby tackles all the little indignities which pile up on teachers to destroy their sense of professionalism. His blood truly boils as he describes the “Sweatshop Schoolhouse”. Anyone who has ever worked in a public school will immediately sympathize with his description of buildings and schedules which are nearly indistinguishable from prisons, teachers denied keys to their own offices (classrooms…as if most teachers had an office!), and administrators who take meticulous roll at faculty meetings but never visit classrooms. In what other profession do adults with masters degrees need to ask permission to use the bathroom? What other profession asks employees to put in countless hours of overtime without financial remuneration? Mr. Crosby hits the nail on the head as he describes the lack of trust afforded classroom teachers by administrators, and the lack of respect given by parents and communities.
Those who have never taught yet think that teaching is an “easy” job with great perks and benefits owe it to themselves to read books such as Mr. Crosby’s Smart Kids, or his first book, The $100,000 Teacher. The stark reality of what teachers face every day can truly be a shock for those who have never stood on the teacher’s end of the desk. If we are ever to truly reform our educational system to provide students with the opportunities they deserve, we need more brave educators like Brian Crosby to stand up and be honest about the failings of our system.
Here I am with my second attempt at a blog. My first lived a short life at another blogging site which shall not be named…needless to say customer service there is non-existent, particularly if you forget your password or change your e-mail address. I have a couple posts from that site that I will repost here just to get things going. Here’s to wasting hours on line which would be better spent (!?) on coursework for my degree…