More on the Bible’s Confused Relationship with Science

More on the Bible’s Confused Relationship with Science February 12, 2020

I recently analyzed claims made by some Christian apologists arguing that the Bible correctly anticipated modern scientific discoveries. It becomes plain that these were simply science-y sounding verses cherry picked (after the fact) to satisfy a Christian agenda when you see that none taught us anything new about nature. Any insights came exclusively from science.

Augustine (354 – 430) rejected the quest for science in the Bible. He said, “We do not read in the Gospel that the Lord said, ‘I am sending you the Holy Spirit, that he may teach you about the course of the sun and the moon.’ He wished to make people Christians, not astronomers.”

But many Christians ignore Augustine, and the flurry of claims continues. The previous posts analyzed Bible verses that seemed to accurately reveal science. Let’s move on to another category, science claims within the Bible that don’t line up with what modern science tells us. Do they reveal startling insights that modern science must explore, or are they simply the superstitions of primitive pre-scientific people?

We do find startling things in the Bible, but they’re not very scientific. Let’s start with claims about cosmology and the structure of the earth.

1. The earth is immoveable

The world is firmly established, it will not be moved (Psalm 93:1; see also Ps. 96:10, 1 Chronicles 16:30).

Real science tells us that the earth is anything but fixed; it orbits the sun, the entire solar system orbits the galactic center, and the Milky Way galaxy itself moves through space.

2. The earth rests on a foundation

For the foundations of the earth are Jehovah’s; upon them he has set the world (1 Samuel 2:8; see also Ps. 102:25, Ps. 104:5, Zechariah 12:1).

We’re also told what this foundation is made of.

He shakes the earth from its place and makes its pillars tremble (Job 9:6; see also Job 26:11).

Apologists might say that “pillars” simply refers to mountains or bedrock, but a more plausible conclusion is that the literal interpretation was the intended one and that the Hebrew cosmology imagined a flat earth surrounded by or suspended on an ocean, as was popular in ancient Greece, Egypt, Mesopotamia, and India.

3. The sky is solid

The cosmology in Genesis makes clear that the earth rests between water underneath and more water in a dome above. We see this in the Noah story when “the fountains of the great deep burst forth and the windows of the heavens were opened” (Genesis 7:11). For details, see my post on Noah and Hebrew cosmology here.

That dome must be solid to hold up the water. We also see this elsewhere in the Old Testament:

Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies (Ps. 148:4).

When He made firm the skies above, when the springs of the deep became fixed (Proverbs 8:28).

What is this dome made of? Job suggests that it’s made of metal:

Can you, with him, beat out the skies, strong as a mirror of cast bronze? (Job 37:18)

“Beat out” (“spread out” in some translations) is the verb used for hammering out metal.

We get one more clue from the equivalent Sumerian cosmology. (The Babylonian captivity from 597 – 539 BCE could be where the Hebrews picked it up, or it might have come through trade.) The dome might’ve been made of what the Sumerians called the “metal of heaven,” the metal we call tin.

4. The earth is flat

We’ve seen a flat disk of earth before.

[God] sits above the circle of the earth (Isaiah 40:22).

Our previous analysis showed that this is no reference to a spherical earth (they had another word for “ball” or “sphere”) but simply a flat disk. We also find other clues:

And there was evening, and there was morning, the third day (Gen. 1:13).

The six-day creation story assumes a flat earth because a time reference would’ve been necessary on a spherical earth. To see this, suppose God began creating the plants in the morning on Day Three based on the time in Mesopotamia. If the earth were a sphere, this would mean that God began this project in the evening of Day Two in much of the rest of the world (parts of North America, for example). Only with a time standard (“according to Mesopotamian Standard Time”) would this be unambiguous.

We also find a flat earth in the New Testament:

The devil took [Jesus] to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor (Matthew 4:8).

A high spot to see all the world is possible on a flat earth but not on a spherical planet. And consider that a mountaintop from which you could see everywhere on the earth could itself be seen from everywhere on earth. So go outside and look around. It’s there—the claim that it’s on the horizon somewhere is as reliable as the Bible itself.

5. The earth is at the center of the solar system and the universe

Here’s another verse we’ve seen before that makes clear that the sun moves around the earth.

The sun rises and the sun sets; and hastening to its place it rises there again (Ecclesiastes 1:5; see also Ps. 19:6).

Two more examples are when God played games with the sun, stopping its motion for hours so Joshua could continue killing Amorites (Joshua 10:13) and then moving it backwards to give a sign to King Hezekiah (2 Kings 20:8–11). It’s one thing for God to move things across the sky over a flat earth, but it gets complicated in a heliocentric solar system when “stopping the sun” would require stopping the earth’s rotation.

Could God have used magic to stop the earth’s rotation so that its inhabitants didn’t notice the deceleration and subsequent acceleration (and report it in the biblical accounts)? Could he have maintained the earth’s protective magnetic field that would’ve been lost if the molten iron core stopped rotating? Sure, but the much simpler explanation is that the human authors of the Bible wrongly thought that the earth was at the center of the universe, just like in neighboring societies.

6. Confused creation order

According to the six-day creation story in Genesis 1, God created the earth and land plants in the first three days, but the sun wasn’t made until the fourth. Photosynthesizing plants obviously couldn’t survive without the sun.

Compare the order of creation with the order we’ve learned through science. In Genesis, it’s first earth, then land plants, sun and moon, fish, birds, land animals, and finally humans. Science instead tells us that it was the sun first, then the earth, then the moon. Single-celled organisms were the only life for several billion years. Then photosynthesizing organisms, then land plants, fish, land animals, and finally birds. The Genesis story fails. (The six-day creation story and the Garden of Eden story have many incompatibilities).

Nature is a jigsaw puzzle, and the Bible is the picture on the box top. We’ve been slowly putting the puzzle pieces together for centuries, and we now know the picture on the top is completely wrong.

Concluded in part 2.

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God
who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect
has intended us to forgo their use.

— Galileo Galilei

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(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 11/30/15.)

Image from Andy Murray, CC license

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  • Kurt 20008

    John Slattery writes in the liberal journal ‘Commonweal’:

    Science has not always aligned so well with modern values of equality and the common good. The history of science includes not only racial hierarchies, but also Western cultural supremacy, the militarization of scientific knowledge, and the subordination of scientific research to corporate profits.

    In the mid-nineteenth century, racist ideas pervaded the scientific, philosophical, and religious worlds. Atheists and religious alike owned enslaved people, as did prominent scientists, politicians, and philosophers. While revolutions raged in Europe, the industrial revolution brought remarkable advances in technology and wealth, largely on the backs of the enslaved. Into this social context Charles Darwin introduced his theory of “evolution by means of natural selection” in 1859. At the time of publication, most scholars still believed in the immediate creation of all human life by God or by Nature. Some, like Darwin, believed that all humans were one species, an idea called monogenism. Others, like David Hume, Louis Agassiz, and Josiah Nott, believed that humans were created as multiple species with different levels of intelligence, a theory called polygenism. While most abolitionists were monogenists and most pro-slavery advocates were polygenists, there were exceptions. Plenty of people who believed in monogenism (including many abolitionists) held that white Europeans carried the ideal form of humanity, and a few who believed in polygenism were in fact abolitionists themselves, arguing that the different human species were all equal. In the final line of Origin of Species, … Darwin’s idea of natural selection helped explain why white European men had conquered the world and were thus the most advanced examples of humanity….the program of eugenics would allow humans to do intentionally what nature does randomly: favoring the most biologically capable, the “fittest,” and gradually ridding the world of the unfit. Thousands of scientific experiments were performed on people against their wills, and countless laws inspired by eugenics were passed in the name of scientific progress.

    • Greg G.

      John Slattery writes in the liberal journal ‘Commonweal’:

      Is it a liberal journal because its mission statement calls for “civil, reasoned debate on the interaction of faith with contemporary politics and culture”? Is it the “reasoned debate” that qualifies it as liberal?

      In the mid-nineteenth century, racist ideas pervaded the scientific, philosophical, and religious worlds.

      Yes, science and Enlightenment philosophy were the new kids on the block in a society with a long history of Christianity which was always denouncing sinners, other religions, other Christianities, and so on.

      While revolutions raged in Europe, the industrial revolution brought remarkable advances in technology and wealth, largely on the backs of the enslaved.

      But the slave owners used the OT as a template for slavery laws.

      the program of eugenics would allow humans to do intentionally what nature does randomly

      Eugenics has more to do with animal husbandry and the results of the monk Gregor Mendel than Darwin’s theory. Darwin’s theory had to do with natural selection while eugenics is unnatural selection.

      • Kurt 20008

        Is it a liberal journal because its mission statement calls for “civil, reasoned debate on the interaction of faith with contemporary politics and culture”? Is it the “reasoned debate” that qualifies it as liberal?

        Possibly. Or it is a liberal journal because its editor line is generally center-left.

        Yes, science and Enlightenment philosophy were the new kids on the block in a society with a long history of Christianity

        Germany and England became Christian around 800 CE and the Enlightenment developed around 1700, so a few centuries. Hellenistic philosophy never went totally out of fashion.

        But the slave owners used the OT as a template for slavery laws.

        No. Roman and ancient era slavery was nothing like the race slavery of British North America. To say so really insults what was done to African-Americans. The Enlightenment era philosophers invented the new word “serf”, an anachronism as serf and their overlords never used the term. They just said “slave.” The Abolitionists however, did use the template of the OT for their crusade, such as the liberation of the Hebrews from Egypt.

        • flan man

          No. Roman and ancient era slavery was nothing like the race slavery of British North America. To say so really insults what was done to African-Americans.

          No, there was serfdom within the Hebrews, where a man could sell himself into indentured servitude. But people from foreign areas could be bought and kept as slaves and possessions, and inherited as property, and beaten, just like the African-American slaves.

          As for your male and female slaves whom you may have—you may acquire male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you. Then, too, it is out of the sons of the sojourners who live as aliens among you that you may gain acquisition, and out of their families who are with you, whom they will have produced in your land; they also may become your possession. You may even bequeath them to your sons after you, to receive as a possession; you can use them as permanent slaves. But in respect to your countrymen, the sons of Israel, you shall not rule with severity over one another. Lev 25:44-46

          “Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, 21 but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.” Ex21:20-21

          Pretty much exactly the same situation – there was indentured servitude among whites, but Africans were bought and sold and inherited as possessions, just like it says it’s ok to do up there in Lev 25.

          The Abolitionists however, did use the template of the OT for their crusade, such as the liberation of the Hebrews from Egypt.
          And anti-abolitionists quoted Leviticus to justify their support of slavery.

        • Kurt 20008

          As does the extremely secular Donald Trump. the fact remains that the Abolitionist movement was far more religious than even the present day anti-abortion movement.

        • flan man

          Bea-u-tiful deflection! Not going to address anything of substance there, eh?

          the fact remains that the Abolitionist movement was far more religious than even the present day anti-abortion movement.

          And? The Anti-Abolitionist movement from the Bible Belt was even more religious than the Abolitionist movement.

        • Michael Neville

          In 1845 the Southern Baptists split from other Baptists specifically over the question of slavery. It wasn’t until 2009 that the Southern Baptist Convention apologized for supporting slavery.

        • Kurt 20008

          Correct. The Baptist denomination was anti-slavery and by 1845 that became intolerable to the Southern dissidents.

        • Michael Neville

          Which shows exactly how immoral certain Christians are. It would seem that being Christian does not make one a better person. Rather the contrary.

        • NSAlito

          In 1845 the Southern Baptists split from other Baptists specifically over the question of slavery.

          It’s the economy, stupid. Human brains can find in the Bible whatever rationalization is needed to protect their tribes or self-interest. Abolitionists were freer to choose the Jesus “who is my neighbor?” and ignore the Ezekiel approach to black Africans as their northern industries didn’t rely on a plantation economy.

        • Michael Neville

          That people like William Wilberforce and William Lloyd Garrison (whose great-great grandson and namesake is an acquaintance) were religious adds nothing to your argument denying that the Hebrews practiced chattel slavery.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          The Abolitionist movement came from *Progressives*…and NOT being an xtian at that time was a ticket to being either dismissed as irrelevant or actively persecuted.

          Your claim is up there with the idea that white European ancestry was strong in the movement…true, but irrelevant.

        • Kurt 20008

          You are contrast the quotes of few in opposition to the Christian domination of the movement to end slavery.

        • Greg G.

          It goes both ways. The Southern Baptists split from the Baptist Church over slavery.

          Then there’s George D. Armstrong’s The Christian Doctrine of Slavery
          http://www.unz.org/Pub/ArmstrongGeorge-1857

        • Ignorant Amos

          Have you ever heard of a black ex-slave Christer minister called Jacobus Capitein. He was a particularly interesting chap for all the wrong reasons.

          Jacobus Capitein’s role in history has long been neglected or dismissed as a curiosity because, as a defender of slavery, he was an unlikely role model for black emancipation. However, Capitein’s position on slavery should be viewed in the light of his time. Capitein’s views fitted in the 18th-century climate in which the church had adapted to the slave trade, which had become one of the pillars of the Dutch republic’s powerful economy. A rejection of slavery on principle was not considered an option, although some did decry the excesses of the slave trade.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacobus_Capitein

        • Kurt 20008

          Interesting. What were the views of Dutch secularists towards slavery at the same time?

        • Ignorant Amos

          What were the views of Dutch secularists towards slavery at the same time?

          What does it matter?

          The Dutch were being ruled by a conservative elite. Abolition came late to the cloggies. It was driven by economics and it was for economical reasons it was abolished. Largely because of mounting pressure from the British. But the slave trade for the Dutch had already largely fizzled out in anycase.

          http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2236-46332016000300003

          The French were the first abolitionists and that came about as a result of post revolution secularism and the Enlightenment.

          During the Age of Enlightenment, many philosophers wrote pamphlets against slavery and its moral and economical justifications, including Montesquieu in The Spirit of the Laws (1748) and Denis Diderot in the Encyclopédie.[9] In 1788, Jacques Pierre Brissot founded the Society of the Friends of the Blacks (Société des Amis des Noirs) to work for the abolition of slavery. After the Revolution, on 4 April 1792, France granted free people of colour full citizenship.

          The Convention, the first elected Assembly of the First Republic (1792–1804), on 4 February 1794, under the leadership of Maximilien Robespierre, abolished slavery in law in France and its colonies. Abbé Grégoire and the Society of the Friends of the Blacks were part of the abolitionist movement, which had laid important groundwork in building anti-slavery sentiment in the metropole. The first article of the law stated that “Slavery was abolished” in the French colonies, while the second article stated that “slave-owners would be indemnified” with financial compensation for the value of their slaves. The French constitution passed in 1795 included in the declaration of the Rights of Man that slavery was abolished.

          As for the Dutch justification for slavery…

          Why did we trade black people as slaves instead of poor white people? That was purely a racist matter. We could barely see them as equal human beings and slavery was legitimated by the Bible. The Bible has always been a good tool to legitimize every morally objectionable activity, even though it presents itself as a moral guide. You could legitimize throwing gay people from flat buildings or not vaccinating your children and if you read it backwards it could even legitimize child abuse. Thank you Lord, for giving us the Bible!

          https://dutchreview.com/featured/dutch-slavery-our-dark-past/

        • gabrielle guichard

          Serfdom is the fact of pertaining to a land and not to the owner of the land. It’s not better, of course, but really different. And each time the question of serfdom is asked to the dalaï lama (would you take serfdom again if you ruled Tibet again) he tries not to answer. For what I know, he has not condemned serfdom yet. But I may have missed a declaration.

        • eric

          Roman and ancient era slavery was nothing like the race slavery of British North America.

          The classical period Greeks did it on nationality (i.e., you don’t enslave fellow Greeks, but you can enslave foreigners). That’s pretty race-based, the way they understood race.

          The exception was the Spartans. They enslaved Greeks as well as foreigners, and in fact kept whole populations – entire towns and communities – as slaves, not admitting any individual as a Spartan citizen unless they had the right parentage. That also bears some similarities to the antebellum south, with it’s “one drop” rule. (It’s also why essentially every male spartan citizen was a soldier rather than a farmer or other profession; they used slaves to do the farming, acted as overseers, and their primary ‘profession’ was using force to stop revolts and escapes).

        • Kurt 20008

          They didn’t enslave fellow citizens. They enslaves those of defeated entities. Your efforts to minimize the guilt of American slavery are simply not in accord with history.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Minimize? You might want to read Eric’s comment again, you might learn something. At the very least, you’ll hopefully learn to slow down and seek to understand, because you clearly failed to do so in this instance.

        • Greg G.

          Indentured servitude was a thing in the colonies. So were foreign slaves. The foreign slaves were treated like slaves, just like it says in the Bible.

        • Rudy R

          Eric is countering your false notion that OT slavery was a kinder form of slavery than American slavery. Are we to assume that it is moral to own another human being and to beat a slave with a rod so long as they recover after a day or two?

        • Greg G.

          beat a slave with a rod so long as they recover after a day or two?

          I think the verse actually means as long as the beaten slave doesn’t die within a day or two. They were allowed to treat their foreign slaves harshly so if they recovered, there was no problem. There would be no reason to add a verse to say that. It seems to be a translation thing to get around the harshness.

          Of course, the next day began at sundown, so that would probably good enough. They didn’t bother to specify a punishment.

        • Greg G.

          the race slavery of British North America.

          They bought slaves from foreigners per Leviticus 25:44-47. Their fellow citizens were indentured servants, per the Old Testament.

          To say so really insults what was done to African-Americans.

          I don’t defend slavery. It was cruel. But it followed the OT law. Leviticus 25:44-47 said they had to treat their fellow countrymen without harshness but foreign slaves were exempted from that restriction as the verse says they were to be treated like “slaves”.

      • NSAlito

        Post-modernism is usually considered an attack on science from the left, especially when science undermines a fluffy-bunny, nature-is-wonderful view of the world.

        [Ooh! My Covetton House catalog just arrived!]

    • flan man

      Not sure what the point is. Science has been misused? Of course it has. It’s just human beings doing it, and human beings can do all sorts of nasty things.

      The Bible is supposedly the divinely inspired Word Of Almighty God, and so presumably above simple errors like thinking that rabbits chew their cud and the earth is immovable and there’s a place on earth where Jesus could see the entire world. And tiny details like supporting slavery. It’s hard to see how the Word of Almighty God could make so very many mistakes. Of course, we can just view it as the mistaken views of mere mortals, but then I don’t see any reason to treat the Bible as anything other than a literary curiosity from the ancient world.

      • Kurt 20008

        The Bible is supposedly the divinely inspired Word Of Almighty God, and so presumably above simple errors like thinking that rabbits chew their cud

        What does that have to do with divine inspiration? Christianity has long taught that the Bible is divinely inspired as the message and family stories that God want to communicate to humanity. Is the Bible a history or veterinary book? Well, that is an assertion of Protestant Fundamentalism, which was a 19th century American development. It is rather Chauvinistic to think Americans have some superior right to speak for Christianity as well as thinking the 19th century has some special status.

        • flan man

          How could a god that created rabbits make such a silly error?
          Is the Bible a history or veterinary book? Neither. The fact remains that the Bible does make claims about things like rabbits chewing their cud. Why did God choose to include this erroneous bit of biology in his communication to humanity? His ways are strange.

        • Kurt 20008

          God didn’t make the error.

        • flan man

          Who did? The divinely inspired authors?

        • Kurt 20008

          Yes. Are you looking at the Bible as understood by some 19th century American Protestants (I understand you might be limited to only references of your own time and society) or as understood by the great majority of theologians?

        • flan man

          Well, then who knows what else they were wrong about. If they could be so very wrong about something so very simple, who would trust
          them on anything.

          I don’t really care a fig what a majority or minority of theologians think when they do mental gymnastics to resolve issues with the Bible. (I understand you might be limited to only references of your own time and society)

          And with your condescending comment, we’re done. Good day.

        • Michael Neville

          Theologians are in the business of making excuses for the inconsistencies, ambiguities and outright lies of their religion. Sometimes they can’t find a consistent, coherent rationalization for religious nonsense so they declare “it’s a mystery” and “there are some things men cannot know” or some such flimflam.

        • epeeist

          Theologians are in the business of making excuses for lying about the inconsistencies, ambiguities and outright lies of their religion.

          FIFY

        • Zeta

          What are theologians good for? How do they know whether their theology is “true” or not? Did they have a direct line to their god? Wikipedia lists a few hundred Christian theologians in history. Do you think they agree among themselves? When they disagree, how do they decide which one is the TRUE theology?

        • Lord Backwater

          “Theology is a subject without an object.” – Dan Barker

          I am more interested in what textual scholars think of the Bible than what theologians think about anything.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Demonstrate this ‘god’ actually *exists*, or that’s just so much gibberish.

        • Lord Backwater

          So Mr. Omniscient couldn’t find better translators, and inspite them not to make errors? Not much of a God, is He?

        • Kurt 20008

          You are referencing the theory of Biblical dictation, a 19th century understanding of the Bible held by a small minority or Protestants. I think it is unfair when some people claim that atheist led governments are responsible for mass murder (i.e. Stalin, Mao, etc). in that those leaders represent only a particular subset of atheism. Also unfair would be suggesting that the Dictation theory is anything but a minority or marginal part of Christianity.

        • Greg G.

          It the doctrine of Bible Inerrancy, and it is a sizable portion of Christians in the US to this day.

          Stalin and Hitler had mustaches. Mao and Pol Pot ate rice. The people responsible for 20th century atrocities had mustaches and/or ate rice. Those have as much to do with atrocities as being atheist.

        • Lord Backwater

          If a Being with infinite knowledge and infinite power wanted to deliver a clear message to humanity, but didn’t take any care to have that message dictated and transmitted faithfully, then what are we to make of that? Are His powers not as great as believed, or does He actually want people to burn eternally in Hell for not receiving the message clearly?

        • Kurt 20008

          I don’t imagine He wanted to give a clear message on animal husbandry. He gave us our wits for that.

        • Lord Backwater

          Anyone with sufficient wit will see that teh Bible is chock full of scientific errors, historical errors, moral errors, and contradictions. Are there any truths in teh Bible? Accidents do happen from time to time.

        • Lord Backwater

          He was apparently less generous to some than others.

        • Otto

          Or the Bible…

        • eric

          Is the Bible a history or veterinary book? Well, that is an assertion of Protestant Fundamentalism

          Untrue. Pope Pius XII declared that it is official Catholic doctrine, not rejectable by any lay member, that all humans descended from a single couple – Adam and Eve. He even declared that church doctrine of original sin would make no sense if this was not true (a statement which, I think, many nonbelievers would agree with). Supporting quote at the bottom of this post.

          So, first problem with your claim is that in saying this, the Pope – the head of the Catholic church – is treating the Bible as a history book. You’re just plain wrong in claiming that ‘treating the bible as a history book’ is just some Protestant thing. Catholics do it too. The Pope himself does it.

          The second problem is of course that the Pope got it wrong. Science has demonstrated that this is not true. So the ‘origin in Adam and Eve’ claim is another great example of what Bob is saying – i.e. that Christianity ignores Augustine, that they believe the Bible makes scientific claims…and that it gets them wrong.

          Quote: “37. When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which, through generation, is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.[12]”-ENCYCLICAL HUMANI GENERIS OF THE HOLY FATHER PIUS XII, 12 August, 1950.

        • Kurt 20008

          The papal teaching was considered a rebuke of Fundamentalism, in that it rejected polygenism (of which racist theories are based) but accepted evolution.

        • eric

          It does more than reject racism, it insists all humans are descended from a single ancestral pair. Which is scientifically untrue. And it insists this claim is necessary for the faith.

          Seriously, the Pope is not unclear. Is there some part of his statement that you don’t understand? Or are you just ignoring that part of his statement it because you don’t want to address the issue?

        • Ficino

          the Bible is divinely inspired as the message and family stories that God want to communicate to humanity

          This is too vague to do any work. We have to start unpacking the stories. Shall we start with the world-wide Flood story? God wanted a do-over, because he somehow, being omnipotent and omniscient, set up a world that got screwed up from the get-go? So He killed bunnies and kittens and puppies and babies … but that’s OK?

          You can try to pull some morally edifying family story out of this, but I say that the morals it teaches suck.

    • So what caused that kind of thinking to be sidelined by modern science? Better science.

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        Yes, religion shares every flaw except is has none of science’s accomplishments and no capacity for self-correction. But what good is this tu quoque fallacy if we aren’t gonna use it, amirite?

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      Whoever this Slattery fellow is, he hasn’t the foggiest idea about evolution!

      • epeeist

        Whoever this Slattery fellow is,

        If you read this article by him you can see what his background is.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      So?

      What fixed it?

      Enlightenment values and MORE SCIENCE…*not* religion.

    • Geoff Benson

      This isn’t really a critique of science, rather it’s a philosophical discussion of ways in which science can be misdirected.

      • Kurt 20008

        I can accept that.

    • What article does this come from? Also, what point were you trying to make here? I think we’re all aware of these things.

    • NSAlito

      Science has not always aligned so well with modern values of equality and the common good. The history of science includes not only racial hierarchies, but also Western cultural supremacy…

      The unproven hypotheses of early scientists have been wrung out by the corrective nature of science itself. In The Mismeasure of Man Stephen Jay Gould gives several examples of human bias influencing the measurements and conclusions of early researchers into anthropology. Yet the very same physical evidence, handled under an increasingly more rigorous approach to measurement, actively disproved their early conclusions.

      Epicycles explained the motion of the sun and other planets around Earth, but the adopted approach of parsimony led to heliocentrism, which led to the understanding of gravity and space-time itself.

  • anxionnat

    One that always makes me laugh is in the section having to do with kosher laws: insects are grouped with four-legged creatures. This claim, of course, could be swiftly disproved by any first-grader with a fly swatter. And, yes, that’s what the reference says in the biblical Hebrew–I’ve read it. When that reference was read in my Biblical Hebrew seminar, there was stunned silence, then the whole group of grad students erupted in giggles. The prof swore he’d never teach that section again (I think it’s in Leviticus, which is batsh*t crazy anyway), as people in the department were laughing at him and his seminar for *weeks* after. The Bible never misses an opportunity to entertain, does it?

  • It is quite telling how literalism is a XIX century invention. That said, it would be better talk about what is not mentioned there, in “the book”, and known to exist (subatomic particles, the American continent, galaxies, etc). Listening Fundagelicals attempting to mix it with the Bible is often priceless, especially given its ignorance of even simple science.

    I also still remember a SDA who claimed in the comments section of a skeptic blog that “the Bible described the shape of the Universe” (read: it’s curvature) in Isaiah 40:22

    • flan man

      Huh?

  • D. C. Sessions

    Don’t forget four-legged insects.

  • Lynn-no-duh

    “Real science tells us that the earth is anything but fixed; it orbits the sun, the entire solar system orbits the galactic center, and the Milky Way galaxy itself moves through space.”

    Do you understand that “real science” (lower case “s”) is measurable, repeatedly?
    Belief in Scientism, on the other hand, is taken on faith, which appears to be what you are doing.

    If Earth is in fact spherical, then it’s curvature will be measurable over every large body of water, as water always seeks its level. That is not what we observe, however………anywhere. In fact, when we set out to measure this alleged curvature, what we find are shorelines, bridges and monuments that should be obscured by hundreds of feet, and sometimes miles, of curvature. The evidence does not fit the spinning ball Earth theory. No scientific experiment has ever proven Earth to be in motion. In fact, experiments setting out to such proved just the opposite.

    I suggest you consider the difference between actual science, which is measurable, repeated, and the religious faith in Scientism, doctrines preached by Ministers of Science from most every pulpit.

    • Michael Neville

      Take your flat Earth/geocentric nonsense and try to peddle it to the ignorant. We know that the Earth is a oblate spheroid.

    • Lord Backwater

      Methinks it is like a weasel.

      • epeeist

        Methinks it is like a weasel.

        Methinks it is another Kool Aid drinking füicking idiot.

    • RichardSRussell

      “When people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together.” —Isaac Asimov (1920-1992), American science-fiction writer

      • Ignorant Amos
      • eric

        In this case, it’s arguably worse. When people think Trump is part of a grand conspiracy to fool them about the shape of the Earth, they are wrong. When people thought Nancy Pelosi is part of a grand conspiracy to fool them about the shape of the Earth, they are wrong. But anyone who thinks Trump and Pelosi could be working together to fool them about the shape of the Earth is wronger than both of them put together.

    • eric

      I lived in Australia for a bunch of years. Christmas in the summer was great, even if we always had to hang on to the Earth with one hand. 😉

      • Greg G.

        I lived in Australia for a bunch of years.

        Below is Jesus speaking. Could you tell us if verse 55 is objectively true?

        Luke 12:54-55 (NRSV)54 He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, ‘It is going to rain’; and so it happens. 55 And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’; and it happens.

        • eric

          Sadly, the first is an untested hypothesis. I don’t ever remember seeing a cloud rising in the west and then immediately stating “it is going to rain” to see if it did. Honestly I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cloud rising over the horizon at all.

          Right now I’m in the northern hemisphere, and the wind is currently blowing NW. But if it changes direction, I’ll try part II of the quote and tell you the result. Given it’s winter, I’m skeptical “scorching heat” will be the result…

        • Greg G.

          I am thinking the wind blowing from the south in Australia would be like the north wind here, bringing frigid air.

          I was in Melbourne and Sydney for a week and a half two years ago in January. The weather was beautiful and never changed.

        • Michael Neville

          “Scorching” is relative. In Canada, northern US and northern Europe that means “above freezing”.

        • Greg G.

          There are only two seasons: Winter and July 19th.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Here where I live, it’s not unusual to get all four seasons in the one day.

        • Phil

          And a ‘Crowded House’ song t’boot!

        • al kimeea

          That’s Newfoundland.

        • epeeist

          I don’t ever remember seeing a cloud rising in the west and then immediately stating “it is going to rain” to see if it did.

          Can’t find a good link, but you might want to look up the “cross winds rule”.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Belief in Scientism

      YOUR KIND claim this ‘scientism’ *exists*…demonstrate that.

      *SCIENCE* provides results, including the internet YOUR KIND abuse to spread your superstitious memetic poison to afflict the unwary.

      • Lynn-no-duh

        Absolutely! Please, show me this alleged curvature, which is proving more evasive than Waldo!

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Math is involved, so you wouldn’t be interested.

          Also evidence.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      If Earth is in fact spherical, then it’s curvature will be measurable over every large body of water, as water always seeks its level. That is not what we observe, however

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e4f3150ef1736a97f38e5331eec815059a13ac6a27961f02da4b1e26161c6dbf.jpg

    • gabrielle guichard


      If Earth is in fact spherical, then it’s curvature will be measurable
      over every large body of water, as water always seeks its level.” and it’s easy to observe: go to a 10km long lake, you at one end and a friend at the other. Your feet are at the same level, but you won’t see each other in your binoculars. And as the article “A First Rate Click bait” concludes: you discover that there are sloping lakes for water skiing.

      • Lynn-no-duh

        Clearly you have not tested your own suggestion. There are numerous experiments proving your claims false. We observe, and measure shorelines, bridges and monuments that would be obscured by hundreds of feet (sometimes miles) of curvature, if Earth were indeed spherical.

        • gabrielle guichard

          I know nothing about bridges and monuments of more than 10 km. But I know what it is to go sailing and looking at the people on the shore losing their feet, then their knees. (I never sail too far from the coast.)

    • Thanks4AllTheFish

      Hilarious, professor duh!

    • Contractions of Fate

      Huh?

      Did I sleep for 2 months and wake up on April 1st?

      I still laugh at the memory of Jeranism et al’s comment of “Hmm… Interesting….” when the laser across the lake did exactly the opposite of what the FlatTards predicted would happen on a flat plane, and precisely what they said it should do on a spherical planet.

    • Gord O’Mitey

      Y’all know I created the Earth six thousand years ago, eh. ‘Cus that’s whut is implied in My book, the Bible. An’ of course it’s flat, an’ it don’t feckin’ move, like it says in My book, eh. Ya un’erstand, I had ter keep it simple fer Bronze Age tribesmen, ‘cus they were feckin’ ignorant, an’ they wouldn’t un’erstand nothin’ complicated like modern astronomy, eh. An’ I wouldn’t either.

    • Geoff Benson

      What? Is this intended seriously?

      • al kimeea

        Hard to believe it’s not a Poe.

        • Geoff Benson

          Just checked comment history and it’s the real thing. What gets me is the complete denial of evidence, much the way creationists deny the evidence for evolution. It’s one thing to attempt to refute evidence with better evidence, but to deny it is weakness of character.

        • epeeist

          Just checked comment history and it’s the real thing.

          Yep, conspiracy theory nut-job.

          File under “Never argue with an idiot”.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Your GBS quote is very apt on this occasion.

        • al kimeea

          Quite. It’s a characteristic found in any flavour of woo & that there might be better evidence, but it’s just a matter of opinion or belief.

          A counter-argument to the notion of the ‘scientific method’ revealing the true nature of something is that it is akin to faith because faith is required even after millions of supporting trials or applications – it might not work the next time. Imagine, one day hydrogen will cease to rapidly oxidise producing water, dooming the nascent industry relying on that process to power vehicles…

    • Kuno

      Just out of curiosity, how do you calculate how much of a building should be hidden by the curvature?

      • Greg G.

        Just out of curiosity, how do you calculate how much of a building should be hidden by the curvature?

        Probably with Roman numerals.

        • Otto

          I was thinking fingers and toes.

      • al kimeea

        There is “math” involved & “fisheye” lenses…

      • Lynn-no-duh

        Using spherical geometry.
        There is an “Earth Curve Calculator” [ https://dizzib.github.io/earth/curve-calc/?d0=30&h0=10&unit=imperial ], which provides the basis for its calculation there. I test that answer with an approximation using the Pythagorean theorem, as my trigonometry and calculus are rusty.

        I encourage you to ask a professor of Mathematics how to calculate the rate at which the circumference of a sphere drops.
        They will affirm that spherical geometry dictates a sphere with a diameter of 7917.5 miles will have topical curvature that drops at a rate of 7.98 inches for every mile squared. As with any exponential rate, the curvature will prove dramatically more pronounced with distance. This, however, does not jive with the measurements we observe, repeatedly. In fact, the lack of curvature is what is so remarkable. The only way the actual measurements could be in agreement with a spherical Earth is if Earth has been dramatically errantly underestimated in size. But you will only consider this information in light of the facts if you have a mind capable of freeing itself from the indoctrination we all were raised with. js.

        • Kuno

          I encourage you to ask a professor of Mathematics how to calculate the rate at which the circumference of a sphere drops.

          They will affirm that spherical geometry dictates a sphere with a diameter of 7917.5 miles will have topical curvature that drops at a rate of 7.98 inches for every mile squared

          Thank you, that was the answer I was expecting. Nice of you to show us that your idea of “[having] a mind capable of freeing itself from the indoctrination we all were raised with” is listening to and believing some guy on Youtube.

        • Lynn-no-duh

          While Mathematics Professors can have their testimony documented on YouTube, they are actual people.
          I am not a Mathematics Professor, though I have a fair grasp of mathematics. I encourage you to consider the formulas that apply. That is why I test the results using the Pythagorean theorem, for approximation of the result. YouTube has nothing to do with it.

    • Ignorant Amos

      Bwaaaaahahahahahahahahaha!

    • Rudy R

      Please cite the peer-reviewed scientific article documenting the measurable, repeated experiments that supports the non-spinning ball Earth theory.

      • Lynn-no-duh

        Why do you rely on other people’s reviews of experiments?
        Are you incapable of thinking things through yourself?
        I suggest you look into the Michelson–Morley experiment; the Bedford Level Canal experiment; Rob Skiba documenting the Chicago skyline from Michigan, to name a few.

        Now, name a single scientific experiment that has ever proven Earth to be in motion (and you can’t use NASA, as it’s readily proven that NASA lies.)

        • Greg G.

          Everybody who comments on this blog already knows that the world is a disc that rests on the backs of four elephants who stand on the shell of the Great A’Tuin, the Giant Star Turtle, of the species Chelys galactica.

          Your work is done. You can go elsewhere.

        • gabrielle guichard

          And there are turtles all the way down.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Bug nutty, bat shite crazy, barking at the moon, lunatic crackpots, like that fruitcake should not be given a platform. They are a danger, to themselves and the imbeciles that surround them.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Why do you rely on other people’s reviews of experiments?

          That’ll be a no then.

          It’s not just other people’s reviews ya dipstick, they have to be experts in the field under review. It’s called, “checks and balances”.

          Are you incapable of thinking things through yourself?

          Spoiiiiiiinnnng!!!!

          I suggest you look into the Michelson–Morley experiment;

          Which one? Not the one dubbed the “most failed experiment ever”?

          https://flatearth.ws/aether-experiments

          the Bedford Level Canal experiment;

          You mean the one thoroughly debunked by Alfred Russell Wallace, who was an actual surveyor? And subsequently by Henry Yule Oldham…right?

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Yule_Oldham

          Rob Skiba documenting the Chicago skyline from Michigan,…

          You mean the one that actually inadvertently demonstrates the curvature of the earth?

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-_U5Yhlcck

          …to name a few.

          Among all the crackpots out there ya mean?.

          Now, name a single scientific experiment that has ever proven Earth to be in motion…

          Whaaaa? You mean you haven’t done the research ya Dime Bar?

          https://flatearthbusted.blogspot.com/

          https://flatearthlunacy.com/

          (and you can’t use NASA, as it’s readily proven that NASA lies.)

          Ah, a conspiracy theory nut job too…figures. Where’s yer tinfoil hat?

          Get lost, ya daft fecker.

        • Rudy R

          Just as I anticipated, you can’t cite any peer-reviewed scientific articles. And don’t you think you are hypocritical stating I am ncapable of thinking things through yourself all the while suggesting I look into other people’s experiments?
          The Michelson–Morley experiment, Bedford Level Canal experiment and Rob Skiba have been thoroughly debunked. What makes those experiments compelling?

          And are you really a member of the clan that believes NASA lies? That’s conspiracy theory stuff and relegates you to the children’s table.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Then YOU explain the evidence to support your assertion (NO, it doesn’t even rise the the level of ‘hypothesis’).

          Foucault’s Pendulum *works*…explain how if your ideas are correct…with MATH.

    • larry parker

      You have spent too much time in the no spin zone.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foucault_pendulum

    • al kimeea

      Book a flight to another continent. Get a window seat.

      • gabrielle guichard

        Commercial planes don’t fly high enough. That’s why the flatists can repeat they don’t see the curvature.

        • Luther Dorn (deplorable)

          Isn’t Space X supposed to be booking space flights now? What will the flat Earthers do to rationalize the view?

    • Geoff Benson

      Hmm..seems you really are a flat earther. Oh dear. I can only suggest you get some help as I have doubts as to your mental health. I don’t suppose you will but please don’t go telling kids your ridiculous ideas.

  • Lord Backwater

    Real science:

    Anesthetized Monkeys Wake Up Instantly When Researchers Stimulate Brain Region Linked to Consciousness

    Exciting news, but keep in mind that consciousness is poorly defined; and her it is used to mean “awakeness”, not “capability for self-awareness and abstract thought.”

  • Michael Newsham

    Some fundamentalist Muslims do this to the Quran, spinning passages to ‘prove’ it anticipates modern science, using the same techniques as Christian Fundies.

  • Connie Beane

    If the Bible’s “science” isn’t understood and accepted as valid until after Science discovers and proves it, what good is it?

  • I’d say most modern Christians agree with Augustine (who also didn’t take Genesis literally-Biblical literalism really wasn’t common at the time). However, those with the contrary view are loud and prominent in the US, giving an opposing impression here sometimes.

    • Lord Backwater

      Contrary to popular opinion, however, Augustine believed in the young earth. As he writes in Book 12, Chapter 10 of the City of God:…

      link

    • Greg G.

      AIUI, Augustine thought that the six day creation was crazy because God could have done it instantaneously.

      • Yes, he did think that. Of course, this makes sense if you think an all-powerful deity exists. Unfortunately, in doing this he wrongly rejected Egyptian and Greek cosmologies which said this all took millennia (even more than Young Earth creationists today), which is nearer the truth. He can’t be blamed, though they can. Interestingly, he also dismissed another of their ideas, that the Fall caused actual changes in the universe. He stated that Adam and Eve were already mortal before this.

  • Anyone with scientific knowledge?

    Question: Are fountains of water underneath earth’s surface?

  • Lynn-no-duh

    1. “Real science tells us that the earth is anything but fixed;”
    “Real science” is measurable, repeatedly. There has never been a single scientific experiment that ever proved Earth to be in motion. In fact, every experiment that set out to do so proved that Earth is stationary. Research the Michelson Morley experiment.
    2. “The Earth rests on a foundation…… but a more plausible conclusion ……”
    How would you know? Mankind’s equipment hasn’t even gotten a full 8 miles deep into Earth. If Earth were spherical, that is a mere 1/10th of 1% of its diameter. The fact is, we have no idea what lies beyond 8 miles.
    I suggest you stop mistaking opinion for science.
    3. “What is this dome made of? Job suggests that it’s made of metal:……strong as a mirror of cast bronze?”
    It’s sad I need to point this out, but the term “as” is a comparison; Job is by no means suggesting it is “made out of metal”.
    He is suggesting that whatever the dome is made out of, it is strong AS a mirror cast of bronze. He’s right. Have you watched a rocket hit the dome? It’s truly like hitting a solid mirror! Have you seen the “sky stones”? They are a mysterious, and capable of withstanding temperatures higher than any known metal without effect, and turns from blue to clear under a microscope. I suggest you stop regurgitating what NASA tells you, and begin thinking for yourself.
    4. Yes, the Bible points to Earth being flat, not spherical, but not because of the creation time-line as you suggest. The same concerns apply to both models.
    While the Sun and Moon were created on the 4th day, the Light was created on the 1st day, so prior to the 4th day, a single day does not mean our 24 hour day, and The Light, provided whatever light was needed.
    5. You are correct that Scripture supports a stationary, plane-like, Earth. The verses cited in Matthew, Joshua and 2 Kings would not be possible on a spherical Earth. Either the Almighty is lying or NASA is, and there is much proof that NASA lies.
    6. See #4.