Several years ago while at the gym, I noticed the gym trainer reading a book, I think it was "The View From the Center of the Universe". We started talking, mostly me asking questions. He told me three very interesting (ie: absurd) things:

  1. Earth is, indeed, the Center of the Universe. Not sure where he got his calculations for an expanding universe from.

  2. Taking all sizes of particles floating about the universe, from large stars to dust particles, the average size of everything in the universe is "man-size". (Ok, Shaq or Mini-me?)

  3. The Sun orbits Earth. This is proved by all of the references in the Bible of "the rising sun", which aligns with "the rising son".

Being a "young" atheist, I was at a loss as to how best respond. I didn't want to outright laugh at him, y'know?

But you know what really blew me away? He stated that the Bible and Evolution are compatible, and not only that, he stated that the Bible proves Evolution. When asked "how?" he said that if you add up the days of Creation, times them by the "every day is as a thousand years to god", then add up some other days (I think the flood and days in the grave were some of them), then you'll arrive at the exact number of years for the evolutionary age of the earth. I wish I could remember the exact formula... I looked online for it but couldn't find it.

How is one supposed to counter such "educated ignorance", as I call it?

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Woah, in that site, I also found this gem:

"In some instances, God ordered the killing of entire populations, presumably including the killing of babies and children. Isn't God unrighteous in killing these innocent little ones? First of all, the Bible indicates that all people are sinners,8 including babies,9 and worthy of judgment.10 However, the Bible also indicates that children are incapable of making moral choices, so that they are automatically rewarded with heaven.11 So, in having babies killed, God is actually doing them a favor, since, if they had grown up opposed to God, they would have gone to hell. "

Thanks for the link - this site demands further perusal :)
this is freakin crazy.
I guess you should post this on the topics about abortion.
You could almost paste that in as a Christian argument for pro-choice.
Almost? That IS a Christian argument for pro-choice. BRILLIANT!
Earth is the center of the observable universe - it's just that pretty much everywhere in the universe also is. He could be right about being at the center of the entire universe - there's no evidence to say we're not there, although, certainly, it's preposterous to conjecture something like that.

The second thing is... I don't know. It's not objective in any way though. First off, he can't measure everything, so a poor/manipulated sampling of the data could be used to generate a statistic like that. Second off, if you measure particles, and suns, which are made of particles, it's hard to define what you're measuring.

The third thing is also subjective. Since there is no absolute position in the universe, technically, if you choose Earth as a point of reference, the sun moves around it. However, seeing as Earth's orbit has a radius of 1 AU and the sun's orbit is minuscule compared to that, Earth is definitely way more orbital than the sun.
The problem here is that the universe is constantly expanding and things are getting further and further away from one another, meaning no one object is probably the 'center'. I absolutely do not believe the earth itself is in the center of the entire universe. I think that's human egocentricism at work.
The only thing you can do is laugh, ignore them as the willfully ignorant person they are, or explain the real science to them.
For the sun orbiting the earth, start by looking up Tycho Brahe. Ask him about the retrograde motion of the other planets in the solar system that would be required for a geocentric model and exactly how it is explained with gravitational forces. Point out that based on calculations of the Earth going around the Sun, we have actually sent probes and rovers to Mars and sent probes out of the solar system altogether.
As for evolution, it sounds like he was dealing with thousands of years, not millions. Ask him what the exact evolutionary age of the earth is, and how it's different from the geological age.
As for particles in the universe, we can only see the very very large ones, so how can we know what the average is? What about dark matter? How big is that, and what does it look like, and does it form particles?
does he not realize that we have sent people into orbit and we have satellites that gives us proof that we are NOT the center?

thinking we are the center of the universe, and thinking that there is a god on our side is only the result of thinking you are any more important then anything else.
I totally agree with your second paragraph, Jon.

Milo put it very well, when he said that earth is at the center of the "observable universe"... of course you can see the same distance in every direction, right? So I guess I can understand where that idea came from.
OMG! Didn't everyone take a science class??? For The Flying Spaghetti Monster sakes!
How could they deny the almighty spaghetti monster?! Get in Science right now! :-)


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