Wednesday, April 24, 2024

The problem of group think. . .

The liberals love to point to the flat earth idea or the idea that the earth is the center of the universe (or at least our solar system) and giggle about the foolishness of the Bible and of Christianity.  Why, nobody but a fool would take that at face value, right?  And, of course, the authority of the Roman Catholic Church made possible the continuation of a lie so obviously in conflict with the data (read science here), right?  Giggle, giggle.  Yes, how utterly stupid, naive, and foolish are those Christians who take the Scriptures at face value!  God gave us an intellect, didn't He?  That is why we need to use that intellect to correct the foolishness of the Bible.

Okay.  It was sarcastic and simplistic but it is pretty much the way people poo poo creationism and nearly everything else in Scripture that does not fit their worldview.  But could the very problem be the blinders of their worldview?  The interesting reality is not that people watched the sun rise in the East and set in the West and the stars cross through the night sky.  The interesting reality is that this idea of the earth at the center of our solar system was thoroughly attested by the data of the time.  It was not a lie jealously guarded by the Roman Catholic Church so much as it was the observable truth as people knew it.  So 500 years ago or more, there was one commonly held scientific phenomenon that gave credence to one commonly held scientific conclusion.  The earth was the center of the solar system (and perhaps the universe) and it did not move but everything around it did.  All of this was observable and noted by the great minds of the time all the way back to Ptolemy.

The very reason for the success of this geocentric model for so long wasn’t groupthink but the evidence which supported these conclusions -- better, in fact, than any alternatives including the truth. While some bemoan Christianity and its power to enforce groupthink as the reason for the mistaken, the reality is that the evidence people observed did fit this conclusion.  So, you pick the more reasonable conclusion:

  1. Either the earth is stationary, and the heavens (and everything in them) rotate about the earth (rotating 360° every 24 hours) with the moon and planets almost also in motion, OR,
  2. The stars and other heavenly bodies (except the earth) are all stationary, while the earth rotates about its axis 360° every 24 hours.

Practically everyone in the ancient, Christian, classical, and medieval world opted for the first explanation -- not the second.  The problem was not that there was no evidence for the first but that there was even less evidence for the second.  A false scientific principle was born: “absence of evidence” means “evidence of absence.”  It was the 17th century work of Lutheran Johannes Kepler to dismiss the Copernican assumption that planetary orbits must be reliant on circles and postulate the accurate heliocentric model.  He did overcome the dogma of the day with regard to this and did observe a great deal of skepticism and rejection but in the end he actually employed laws of planetary motion to prove the heliocentric model.  The problem was fixed not by rejecting the dogma of the day but by employing the laws to deal with the problems in the theory.

Groupthink today is doing the same thing -- now to discredit the Biblical integrity.  Absence of evidence has become evidence of absence in the hands of liberals and progressives.  They have become the dogmatic ones who insist that just about everything in the Biblical timeline and record must be suspect.  Archeology is proving to be the Kepler of the day, finding evidence where there was thought to be none and thus proving the Biblical timeline must be dealt with.  The example of the existence of Biblical peoples like the Hittites who were once thought to be myth until archeological record provided the evidence.  The same could be said about the Pontius Pilate's existence.  Groupthink today has marshaled the forces of a false science which is no longer open to challenge or question to insist that evolution must be the only explanation for the origins of life and all things.  We have a false science that refuses any challenge as opposed to the real science which does not automatically presume that a lack of evidence is evidence of the lack of truth.  Maybe we need a few Lutheran Keplers today to poke necessary holes in so many lines of thought that have become truth that must be held and dare not be questioned -- in everything from the origins of life and all things to sexual desire, from gender identity to the shape of marriage, from euthanasia to reproductive technology.  

Real science is never above the challenge and real science does not run away from any real confrontation.  The reality, however, is that we have in our culture, educational system, and government policy things that parade as science that are charlatans and liars.  Christianity is neither the source of this untruth nor is it the power behind it.  We are the victims of a conspiracy of lies, half-truths, and errors that have been half baked into unassailable truths that are now governing just about everything in our lives -- from the university to the legislature to the business domain.

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