Response to kmabom
First of all, thank you for your compliment and for commenting on my blog. You, likewise, seem very handy with words.
Now, for my critique, I find your blind faith in reason to be a bit naive. You yourself admit the limitations of subjectivity, but then go on to act as though we can know things through "physical evidence," without providing any reason why so called "physical evidence" is preferable to so called emotional, spiritual, intuitive and personal evidence.
All physical evidence is mediated through our faculties, meaning there is no guarantee of any fidelity to any objective reality. Furthermore, we have very good reasons to believe that we are not very good at observing reality, free of interpretation. Hence, Nietzsche's statement that "there are no facts, only interpretations." That which we observe is more a reflection on internal mental structures than on an external objective reality. Philosophers of science Kuhn and Feyerabend have shown very clearly that paradigms determines the observations (and not the other way around) - phenomenon that contradict theory are simply unobservable prior to the acquisition of a new conceptual framework from which to observe them. Hence Copernicus precedes Galileo.
Furthermore, I find it interesting that you should use Galileo as your example of someone who used "physical means to uncover a better explanation," because both ideas - that Galileo relied on physical evidence and that his explanations were better - are highly problematic.
In Against Method, Paul Freyerbend has conducted research that shows that Galileo's theory was not only radical, but was also just flat-out irrational.
None of Galileo's observations or experiments could ever be duplicated by his peers in the scientific community - i.e. the academics of his age. Records tell of Galileo bringing his instruments to dinner parties. He would claim to observe incredible things in the night sky, but no one else at all could ever see the things he was claiming to see. As reproducibility of outcomes is a central tenant of "objective" scientific research, it cannot be said with a straight face that Galileo's theory was based on reasonable "physical means". Furthermore his drawings, "maps", of the moon and mars appear to be entirely works of fiction, as they have absolutely no fidelity to the surface of the moon, as viewed today from modern telescopes (And again the people of his day never saw anything like Galileos drawings when they looked through his primitive spy-glass). Furthermore, Galileo's calculations, derived from his theory, of the movement of celestial bodies, were grossly inaccurate; On the other hand, the much more strongly developed Aristotelian theory with its mathematically sophisticated epi-cycles, was much better at predicting the movement of planets in the night sky. Thus, Galileo's theory actually confirmed much worse to physical evidence then the dominant theory of the day.
Therefore, given that, at the time, the Geo-centric Aristotelian theory produced results which were more closely aligned with observed phenomenon, it is ironic that you would stake your claim that "reason" and "physicality" should be the basis for determining beliefs on Galileo. It was only because people like Galileo pursued their theories in spite of the irrationality of said theories that these beliefs were eventually developed - through arduous series of refutations and refinements - into what we have today. Therefore, the take-away lesson from Galileo is that if one feels intuitively that something is true and right, then one should develop that belief, regardless of the irrationality and "physical" evidence to the contrary. All beliefs systems, theories, and religions should be developed into their most sophisticated manifestations. The pursuit of truth is thus multifaceted and conditional, with multiple lines of inquiry.
Finally, there's also a good argument that your insistence on "reason" as a way of revealing nature, is part of an ongoing heterosexual male narrative of dominion (domination) of nature, which is not entirely devoid of sexism. But I'm not going to develop this idea any further at this time.
Now, what you fail to recognize is that among the myriad of interpretations and "truths" out there, there is no singular "Truth" with a capital 'T'. In assuming that there is an objective knowable Truth out there which can, and should, "sort among all these" differences in an authoritative fashion, you make the same mistake of idolatry (trying to force the name of God unto something physical and therefore transitory and unsustainable) as the inquisitors of Galileo's day (and all other absolutists). (This mistake is limited to your logic, and I don't mean to trivialize the awful experience of those who live in oppressive regimes, and I'm of course not saying that you are guilty of the inquisition, merely that your guilty assuming something without basis.) All phenomenological experience exists on an even playing field - so called physical evidence is just as compelling as intuitive and "spiritual evidence" - and no more so.
I'm afraid many mormons, like me, also commonly make the same mistake of idolotry in assuming they have "the Truth". I'm hoping to somewhat disabuse some of them of their naivety with this talk. However, I share a common paradigm with the mormon community within which I was raised. Furthermore, I have had experiences which seem to support these beliefs, and therefore feel comfortable expressing this shared communal beliefs with others - such as how prayer, love of neighbor and community involvement (church) all seem to better my life. If someone feels something as a result of hearing my words, and wants to join this community of church-goers that's fine, if they don't that's fine too, I'll still try to love them, because they have their own truth to pursue. This is the proper attitude for mormon missionary work.