Galileo had a rough time going against the “privileged ideas” of Ptolemy back in the 1600′s.1
Nothing much has changed. Every culture has ideas that are voiced and advanced over other ideas…
… for at least two reasons.
One reason is that, although certain “privileged ideas” may not be true, they do serve to maintain or advance a vision of some desired reality their proponents want to create or preserve.
That motive can be manipulative but rather harmless. We often, for example, unfairly equalize the behavior of an entire group simply to improve the behavior of a few members within the group. All of us agree with that, don’t we? [If you're paying attention, that last statement exemplifies the technique.]
Sometimes though the tactic of asserting false realities in the hope of creating new ones is not so benign.
In ancient times, “Caesar Kurios” (“Caesar is Lord”) was a privileged idea contrary to fact. Many disbelieved it, but everyone had to say it…
…well not exactly everyone. Any person could decline, but the consequences were torture and death.
Enter early Christians, who not only refused the Roman’s privileged idea, they offered an alternative–”Christos Kurios” (Jesus is Lord).
That substitution is the likely context of 1 Corinthians 12:3, “…no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’” except by the Holy Spirit.”
It wasn’t that it took inspiration (the Holy Spirit) to simply say the words. Rather, it took divine help to bear the consequences.
In the end, “Caesar Kurios” was no match for “Christos Kurios.”
So another reason for privileging certain ideas over others is that they’ve proven to be true– they have prevailed. They correspond to objective realities– objective realities of peace, order, prosperity, justice, and endurance.
Therein lies a compelling response to those who devalue the Judeo-Christian values and traditions that underlie American society. Empty history of those values and traditions and America would not exist.
The same is not true though of alternative values and traditions– homosexuality, evolution, Islam, for example. Empty history of them and America would remain– even prosper.
So when people want to depreciate the values and traditions that have served America so well in preference for alien substitutes, it is good to ask the question, “from whence comes such gratitude– or in other words, what have these alternatives ever done for us?”
Until there’s a good answer to that question, let us privilege without apology the values and traditions that have made us great.
Galileo has been so lionized at the expense of the Roman Catholic Church that most people don’t know the counter arguments to Galileo’s position. Consider the following:
Galileo’s Diaglogue Concerning the Two Great World Systems presented a false choice by totally ignoring the leading theory of astronomy at the time, that of Tycho Brahe, which explained the existing empirical data as well as Galileo’s theory.
Galileo could have used his telescope equally well to prove either Copernicus or Brahe. Instead, he used it simply to argue Copernicus was right because Ptolemy wrong.
Galileo incorrectly asserted that circular motion is “natural.” Thus he ignored Kepler’s argument for elliptical orbits for the planets, insisting on circular ones instead, and thereby failed to adequately explain the empirical data available to him.
Galileo insisted his theory was “true” with a capital “T.” The Roman Catholic Church objected to his over-reach. Ironically, modern science would have to agree.