John Steward of Jesus
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What is Wacky?

(D) reminded us all that what is wacky or insane and what is sane or real is relative to the frame or reference, starting point, seat of judgment from which one views all else. I was reminded of this in another context recently regarding a matter which I mentioned recently to some of you.

Let me get into it by asking whether the rising and setting of the sun is evidence that the earth rotates, or evidence that the sun revolves around it. If you have been conditioned like me, your answer is instinctive. The earth rotates. But before Galileo the instinctive answer was the other. Why? The textbooks I was required to read and science specials on PBS conditioned me well to believe that the "church" had blindly taught that the earth is the fixed center of the spacial systems until Galileo uncovered all the scientific evidence that the sun is the center and earth revolves around it while itself rotating. Galileo's mathematical formulas explained how all this could be calculated. A beautiful and impressive system.

Only recently did I read a serious challenge of these assumptions.
Reportedly, even Galileo himself acknowledged that all his mathematical formulas could be worked out as consistently, though with much more difficulty and complexity, on the assumption that the earth was at rest in the "center". When asked why he believed that the sun was the center while all others and tradition taught otherwise, he said he believed it simply because he chose to. He chose his starting point, his center of reference.
It is, as Einstein said later, all "relative" to a fixed center point, for
which nobody has yet found "scientific" evidence. The Michelson and Morley experiment in the late 1800's was intended to establish the evidence and given advance hype in Scientific American, but when all the evidence turned out to be the opposite, it was quietly set aside. All this information was so startling to me that I checked for verification with several of the best sources available to me, including someone with a Ph.D. in physics and an interest in such matters. He confirmed that it is only a matter of choosing the assumption which makes the concepts and mathematics easier to handle. His analogy was that of seeing a ballerina do her twirls in the middle of a dance floor. All descriptions of relative motion will be consistent whether we assume that the dance floor is fixed and she is twirling, or assume that she is at rest and all is twirling around her.

Now, all of this is in a sense an insignificant curiosity. Except that the
media to which I have been exposed pretend that the "church" was hopelessly blind and stubborn for holding to its assumptions, while Galileo was scientific, rational, and sane. That is simply not so. With respect to the issue, one can choose his chair of judgment. Simplicity and understandability are on the side of Galileo ("heliocentricity"). But if one believes (as many do) that there is scriptural evidence that the earth is the fixed center of the spacial arrangement ("geocentricity"), he can hold to his view without being less sane, rational, or scientific than his critics.

I do not regard this matter as an issue which will win or lose the cause of the kingdom. But it does remind all of us, as (D) has done, that whether we are sane or wacky is all a matter of "the standard of sanity" being used.
The standard is not a matter of proof. It is a matter of faith. Whom (or
what) do we trust?