On the Internet, I’ve hard a few reports that former Star Trek: Voyager star Kate Mulgrew would be lending her voice to a movie “documentary” that allegedly claims that the sun revolves around the Earth. The project strikes me as small, and that it has garnered any attention at all is likely due to the dissonance between an actress who played the woman who led a starship across the galaxy lending what credence she has to someone who clearly has a spectacularly ignorant (and defiantly ignorant) viewpoint. I strongly suspect that geeks, like me, who have read this report, are somewhat disappointed by Ms. Mulgrew.
There’s not much detail in this story. We don’t know why Ms. Mulgrew took on this assignment, if she believes in what she’ll be reading, or if she just needs the money. However, I can only shake my head in disbelief at the people who are actually backing this project with real money. You thought that the whole debate over evolution versus creationism was weird; how do you respond to people who wish to refute Copernicus?
You know, if one in four or one in five of Americans (a number that’s actually comparable to percentages seen throughout the world) still believe that the Sun revolves around the Earth, that in and of itself is not a terrible thing. It’s simple ignorance of a people that haven’t had a chance to learn about the truth, and for whom this truth doesn’t really have a big factor on their lives. Witness how Conan Doyle has Sherlock Holmes be surprised to learn that the Earth revolves around the Sun; in Moffat’s reboot, Holmes articulates why this isn’t so surprising, since his mind is fully focused on the cases he’s trying to solve, what room is there for cosmology (though I do like that Watson is able to point out, soon after, that one of his cases does turn on a point of cosmology)? On the other hand what kind of willful ignorance does it take to actively attack the real, solid, mathematical evidence that is out there? Who refuses to believe what astronauts have witnessed? Who continues to believe something so obviously wrong when technology today (like cellphones) depends upon the simple truth of the scientific universe in order to function?
As a Christian, I am sick and tired of being embarrassed by these ignoramuses. Indeed, I feel that God himself would be ashamed by these guys’ actions. I’d go as far as calling such defiant ignorance of the facts as downright sinful.
As a Christian. I believe in a creator of the universe. I know that’s not the coolest thing to believe among some of the people I know, but it is still my choice. It gives me comfort, and it forms a core of my being.
That said, I also believe that God gave us eyes to observe the universe, and a brain to interpret the results. The scientific method that most everybody in the rational world follows, whether they are Christian, Muslim, Jew or Atheist, is bullet proof. It observes. It assesses. It concludes. Whatever it can’t see directly, it still makes predictions that we can test. And it admits when it’s wrong.
In fact, being wrong is a good result, because it advances knowledge. It tells us that one theory about how the universe came to be is inaccurate, and it makes us to look elsewhere until we find the truth. By this process of elimination, the truth is revealed. Scientists who were Christians and Muslims and Jews and other faiths charted many of the scientific discoveries we now take for granted, from electromagnetism to evolution.
For us as religious people, we have to work with these truths. Turning away from the scientific method because we can’t understand it due to our limited education or, worse, because we don’t like the conclusions, is turning away from the rational universe — a universe that I believe was created by God, who set down the rules that scientists are now demarcating.
Indeed, to turn away from the scientific method is, in my opinion, a sin against God, because it forces us to misuse the eyes God gave us to observe, and it forces us not to use the rational minds God gave us to interpret the results.
The scientific method continues to produce answers which challenge our view of our lives, or our view of God. But truth often does this. It is our responsibility to conform our religious views to the rational facts of science, and not the other way around. To do otherwise is to embrace lies and sin.
(Update: Wednesday, 8:54 am): Ms Mulgrew has issued a statement, saying that she does not believe in the movie’s precepts. Indeed, she’s rather ticked at having been tricked into doing it in the first place.
Hmm… So the movie makers actively lied in order to peddle their ignorant untruths. Why am I not surprised?