What is the nature of reality.
Starting to read Hawking's new book. I find the chapter on the nature of reality a bit confusing. Maybe folks here can clarify. He and Mlodinow describe a model-dependant reality eg. Ptolemeic geocentric and Copernican heliocentric theories of the universe are different versions of reality. The Coperincan theory does not disprove Ptolemeic theory. Therefore is it rational to say that from a certain frame of reference that it is correct that the sun revolves around the earth?
Basically all that is required to scientifically describe reality is a set of rules (usually mathematical constructs) that fit a set of observations such that the model is:
1. Is elegant
2. Contains few arbitrary or adjustable elements
3. Agrees with and explains all existing observations
4. Makes detailed predictions about future observations that can disprove or falsify the model if they are not borne out.
Therefore is reality totally relative? With this sort of reasoning, couldn't reality then be subject to the prevailing ideology of a group? For example suppose there is a totalitarian religious society that only permits the geocentric view of the universe. It seems that according to Hawking that their version of reality is not incorrect within their censored frame of reference.