Archive for Thursday, May 12, 2005

Secular dogma

May 12, 2005

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To the editor:

The supreme illustration of ecclesiastical incompetence must surely be the belief that the Earth was the center of the universe. The frequency with which this example is cited and its unquestioned acceptance attests to this supremacy. Reference could be made, for instance, to Leonard Krishtalka's opinion article, "Expand the 'culture of life'" (Journal-World, May 5) and to Pedro Irigonegaray's comments during the recent hearings on Kansas science standards. Apparently, such references illustrate the folly of religious dogma -- the foolishness of asserting unexamined assumptions.

The assertion that Galileo and Copernicus proved that the Earth was not the center of the universe is, ironically, just such an assumption. Note that those who make this claim never identify the true center of the universe. Admittedly, the task is difficult seeing that the area is indefinite. What Galileo and Copernicus did prove (in the sense of providing convincing evidence) was that the sun, rather than the Earth, was the center of the solar system. It does not follow that the Earth is not the center of the universe unless we assume that the sun is. Many who read this piece will be certain that I'm wrong but unable to prove it. They have merely exchanged religious for secular dogma.

Michael Riley,

Lawrence

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