Posted 11 March 2005 - 11:43 PM
I think a layman can prove that the earth orbits the sun in his own context. For me this proof is all the following things taken together:
I have been taught the heliocentric theory all my life, which I realize, in itself is almost as good as nothing, and would make a reasonable person wonder, if there was nothing else.
But there are other things too. I have seen drawings of our own solar system in what I thought were reputable science books with illustrations, though not at school. I have seen explanations of it in encyclopedias and science books over and over.
The heliocentric theory, as far as I tell, has been accepted by virtually every reputable scientist on earth for the last several hundred years. If it has not, then there must be a huge conspiracy to keep me from finding out about this reputable group of protesting scientists who have evidence against what I have always understood to be a theory that has not been in serious dispute since Galileo's time and some period of time after that, which time-span I don't know for certain.
I have known of not one reputable person in my lifetime to offer arguments against it. And if today's scientists do not know as much as what Copernicus theorized and Galileo offered evidence for, according to history books, hundreds of years ago; then I don't see how they could do advanced things, like sending men to the moon, sending satellites into outer space that take photographs of distant galaxies, etc. And what would 'distant galaxy' even mean, if there were no such thing as our own solar system, not to mention a few others?
Granted this is not technical at all. But I think I would be a fool if I were not certain given this evidence, which I say constitutes overwhelming proof on the level of a layman.
Now if I'd been going to the Van Damme Academy I would probably be able to prove the heliocentric theory in a much more educated way, but I went to public schools. I do not think they even pretended to teach us science that I remember, until high school. Actually, now that I think of it, maybe they did pretend to. But that was all they did, pretend.
It is actually very interesting to me that the most lame support for the theory I ever experienced was in school, when I observed other children, during the presentation of "science" projects, presenting Styrofoam models of the solar system, alongside the papier-mache 'volcanoes' with vinegar, baking-soda, and food-coloring 'lava' flows.
current avatar is a color-tinted b&w photo of Lillian Gish.
Fantasy is not a form of cognition. -- Leonard Peikoff, Expanded 2nd ed. of Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, p. 116