The Bible’s Confused Relationship with Science

The Bible’s Confused Relationship with Science February 1, 2020

Christian apologists are eager to tell us that scientists didn’t inform us of many of the facts about modern cosmology, physics, and biology. No, they were in the Good Book all along if we just had the faith to trust it!

One supportive source they often cite was a winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics, Arno Penzias. He said in 1978:

The best data we have (concerning the Big Bang) are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the Bible as a whole.

Really? From the Old Testament you get at 13.8-billion-year-old universe? Expansion from a singularity? A beginning to time? A universe that’s not only expanding but whose expansion is accelerating? Dark matter and dark energy?

If it’s all there in the Bible, tell us the rest: what caused the Big Bang, if anything? Is there a multiverse? How are Relativity and quantum physics unified? While you’re at it, tell us if string theory and the zero-energy universe hypothesis are correct.

It seems to me that the Bible is as useful at informing us of scientific realities as The Bible Code is for predicting the future (and for exactly the same reasons), but let’s consider some of the Bible verses that apologists think are so clairvoyant and see if the wild claims hold up.

First up are claims about cosmology.

1. The Bible says that the earth is a sphere.

[God] sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers (Isaiah 40:22).

Well, we’re actually looking for the earth as a sphere, but that does sound intriguing. First, though, consider another verse in the same book of the Bible:

[God] will wind you up tightly into a ball and throw you into a wide, open land. There you will die. (Isaiah 22:18)

These are two different words—chuwg (circle, compass) and duwr (ball). The first word means typically circle in the sense of a perimeter—think of a guard walking the perimeter of a camp. The second verse shows that Hebrew had a word for sphere, and if the author wanted to identify the earth as a sphere, the correct word would’ve been used. Notice also that this verse isn’t written as if it’s passing on scientific knowledge. It mentions the earth as a flat disk only in passing.

2. The Bible knows that the earth is in empty space.

He stretches out the north over empty space and hangs the earth on nothing (Job 26:7).

This is scientifically vague and gives no clear description of our solar system. The earth isn’t just there; it moves around the sun. If you’re hoping that Job had a planetary model in mind, just four verses later we read about the “pillars of heaven.”

3. The Bible knows that the number of stars is uncountable.

Therefore there was born [of Abraham] as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number, and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore (Hebrews 11:12).

How many descendants did Abraham have when this book was written in the first century? A million people? Whatever it was, “As many descendants as stars in the sky” is hyperbole. The author can’t have meant that there were then 1021 Jews in the world (which is roughly the number of stars). Again, the Bible is saying nothing remarkable.

If the point of any of these verses were to give new, surprising scientific knowledge, they would make that clear. Each reads as if it’s just using ideas accessible by the people of the time.

These passages have been picked by modern Christians because they vaguely sound like information that science has taught us. But that’s backwards. Instead, imagine giving each passage to an unbiased reader of that time. Would they derive the science that these apologists imagine? Would they deduce a heliocentric solar system, for example? The apologists need to show that these facts came from biblical insights rather than modern science, but they can’t.

Let’s move on to earth science.

4. The Bible knows about the water cycle.

Many verses are cited to argue that the Bible understood the water cycle where water evaporates from the ocean, condenses into clouds, falls as rain, and flows back to the ocean.

He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; who makes lightnings for the rain, who brings forth the wind from His treasuries (Psalms 135:7).

For he draws up the drops of water, they distill rain from the mist, which the clouds pour down (Job 36:27–28).

All the rivers flow into the sea, yet the sea is not full. To the place where the rivers flow, there they flow again (Ecclesiastes 1:7).

This shows nothing that anyone from Old Testament times wouldn’t have noticed. Water left in a pot will gradually vanish into the air. Rain comes from clouds. The sea doesn’t get deeper even though rivers keep flowing in, and so on.

And the primitive understanding of meteorology is evident when these passages are taken at face value. God is given credit for water turning to vapor and falling as rain, but we know that physics is sufficient. Imagining storehouses for the wind (from the first verse) would be cute coming from a child, but this is not wisdom from the omniscient creator of the universe.

Or take the third passage above. Just two verses earlier we see the geocentric solar system of the time:

The sun rises and the sun sets; and hastening to its place it rises there again (Ecc. 1:5).

5. The Bible knows that wind circulates as cyclones.

Blowing toward the south, then turning toward the north, the wind continues swirling along; and on its circular courses the wind returns (Ecc. 1:6).

Here’s a visualization of a month of the jet stream’s movements over North America. Sometimes the wind flows in a circle, though usually not.

Yes, wind comes from different directions. This verse gives us no new insights.

6. The Bible knows about ocean currents and undersea mountains.

The Bible tells us of “the springs of the sea” (Job 38:16). It also talks about birds and fish traveling “the paths of the seas” (Psalm 8:8), whatever that means. David imagines God blowing away the water to reveal “the channels of the sea” (2 Samuel 22:16), and Jonah, thrown into the ocean, imagines descending to “the roots of the mountains” (Jonah 2:6).

Why is this impressive? Fishermen of the time surely observed that the ocean has currents, and swimmers and sailors would have noticed that some parts of the Mediterranean dropped steeply, just like on land.

The Bible could’ve told us something new. Science has only recently revealed the deep sea geothermal vents and the ecosystems that live there, which is a candidate for the first life on earth. Also, the deep trenches created by tectonic forces at plate boundaries. Also, the magma flow that drives oceanic spreading at mid-oceanic ridges. If God were determined to pass along science through the Bible, why not this?

Every example they have is backwards, going from verified science to a related Bible verse. The claim that the Bible delivered important science to humans is easily refuted by asking, “Like what?” Modern science learned nothing from the Bible.

But there’s more! Concluded in part 2.

Once your forefathers and foremothers realized
that [the scientific method] generated results,
in a few generations your species
went from burning witches and drinking mercury
to mapping the human genome and playing golf on the moon.
David McRaney

.

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 11/23/15.)

Image from NASA, CC license
.


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  • Michael Neville

    Anyone who claims the Bible is a scientific book is ignorant about science or the Bible or both.

    • Polytropos

      Usually both.

  • B.J. Blazkowicz

    So like the other anti-semite Xtains at the time. They stole the knowledge from someone else.

  • Joe_Buddha

    You want me to take the Bible as Science Book crap seriously? Don’t reinterperet bible verses to claim the science was in the Bible all along. Find a verse that describes something we don’t know yet, and prove that it describes an actual trait of the universe. Everything else is just apologist crap.

  • I miss how according to some Fundies, probably taking that BS from AiG, claims the mitochondrial Eve proves be Adam and Eve tale to be true. Yeah, right.

    Perhaps the Fundagelicals who claim that BS could explain in what Bible verse galaxies, the large scale structure of the Universe, or just the moons of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn, or the Milky Way being made of a whole lot of stars are mentioned. That creationists are always in tow of scientists, not viceversa, should give a hint about the credibility of the Bible as a scientific book.

  • Norman Parron

    I love how LIARs4jesus say the buyBull says the world is a sphere when anyone knows a ‘circle’ does not mean sphere cuz the flat earth can be a circle!!!

  • Bob Jase

    The bible is being retconned asap to make it look as though it contains actual scientific information. I’ve seen apologetics as to why insects really do have only 4 legs, why bats are birds and that shadows really do cause goats to have stripes. Anything rather than admit its a collection of ignorance and, false history and myth.

  • Jim Jones

    > All the rivers flow into the sea, yet the sea is not full. To the place where the rivers flow, there they flow again.

    How Much Water is There on Earth?

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/96ff664f9d1a56f0730303e8953fc79473e09fe0c3504e96ace4776e68d19cdd.jpg

  • Lex Lata

    I invite anyone who construes the Bible as a science book to run the experiments:

    “And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all . . . .”

    A Nobel Prize awaits!

    • ephemerol

      Or a vast fortune at least…

      Matthew 17:20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

      Mustard Seed Apologistics. No Load Too Large or Too Small! Low Prices and Instantaneous Service!

      Wing & Prayer Movers. Nothing Is Impossible For Us!

      Global Teleportation Services. We’ll Beam You Up!

      etc…

      • Greg G.

        Just think how cheap it would be to build a road if Matthew 17:20 worked. Instead of buying huge dump trucks, cranes, bulldozers and their operators, they could get two believers for the cost of the guys holding the flags.

        • ephemerol

          Just think how much easier it would have been to construct if they could have simply moved Cheyenne Mountain, built the base, and then moved the mountain back again.

  • Kaja

    The “Bible says the earth is round (Isaiah 40:22)” is one that has been used by fundamentalists around here for quite a while. I had these types try to pull this con on me twice(the people who were using it weren’t being dishonest, they just didn’t know until I told them. The leaders who promote this stuff ? I’m not going to be so generous.) and both times I pulled out Bob’s argument – the Hebrew’s had a word for “sphere” and didn’t use it. Along with Isaiah 22:I8 I offer them Strong’s Hebrew Concordance numbers to actually look up the words in one of their own resources (“ball” is #1754). Of course they drop the subject really quick or divert when they confront someone who totally knocks down their ‘ironclad’ proof. In the first instance, the person changed the subject. In the second instance, the person tried again with the “circumcision” proof which goes like this: ‘According to the Bible, circumcision is to be done on the 8th day after the birth of the child because normal clotting doesn’t occur until the 5th to 7th day after birth. Now how would the Hebrews have known that ?’ Answer: Simple observation, after a priest does quite a few circumcisions, he would probably start to notice that there was less bleeding if he waited to day 8. No gods needed. That ended the Bible part of the second conversation.
    It’s a shame how many fall for this “Bible says the Earth is round.” argument because the refuting argument is not well known.

    • Kaja

      Also, I always mention that a circle is two dimensions = flat, like the Babylonian model of the circular flat earth with a dome- and a sphere is three dimensions.

    • Lord Backwater

      The most interesting part of such discussions is finding out if they will keep using the argument after you have refuted them.

      • Drat

        Some of them don’t even seem to realise that it’s dishonest to keep using an argument they know is wrong. And those who do realise it don’t care.

  • Cozmo the Magician

    Oddly some OBSERVATION makes those countless starts very countable…
    Assuming just naked eye observation we get on average a little aprox 9k stars total around the world. Dived that 1/2 for each hemisphere and you get about 4.5k visible stars*.

    I remember back in school we were each given a simple thing to do to estimate # of visible stars. Take a Toilet Paper tube. Aim it at various points in the sky and look through and record how many stars you see. Average those #’s and multiple by the inverse of the fraction of sky you see through the tube. You will have an estimate on the # of visible stars without trying to count each and every one. Of course YYMWV depending on weather, ambient light, your vision, terrain, and other factors. So multiple observations over many areas by many people will yield better results. And NOTE that this does not require any new-fangled satan inspired stuff like telescopes. Just a tube to look through and some math.

    And yet, the bible says ‘countless stars’. Epic Fail.

    And even with MODERN tech where we can actually observe the greater universe we have damn good ideas as to how many stars make up the whole thing. Again, STILL NOT COUNTLESS. Again EPIC FAIL.

    * https://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-resources/how-many-stars-night-sky-09172014/

    • Michael Neville

      You have to remember that the ancient Hebrews considered 40 to be a very large number. They were not a particularly numerate bunch.

      • Cozmo the Magician

        but da maffs all came from gawd! he even told noah EXACTLY how big a boat to make (:

    • Greg G.

      And NOTE that this does not require any new-fangled satan inspired stuff like telescopes.

      Toilet paper is not mentioned in the Bible. Do not be fooled. It is a tool of the devil.

      Just a tube to look through and some math.

      Only if you use the Bible value of pi.

      • While ignored by the bible, ( QUOTE )

        Islamic toilet etiquette, called the Qadaa al-Haajah, contains rules that predate the invention of toilet paper. According to the strict code, Muslims must squat or sit – but not stand – while relieving themselves. They also must remain silent while on the toilet and leave with the right foot while saying a prayer. Apr 8, 2015 ( UN-QUOTE )

        Now, some progress . . .
        Muslims can now use toilet paper: Turkey’s top religious authority April 8, 2015
        https://nypost.com/2015/04/08/muslims-can-now-use-toilet-paper-turkeys-top-religious-authority/

        QUOTE Diyanet last month also gave its blessing to hand sanitizers containing alcohol.
        “While it is forbidden to drink substances containing alcohol that
        were produced for cleaning purposes, it is acceptable to use them for
        cleaning. Therefore the places that were cleaned with such substances
        need not be washed before performing a prayer,” the Diyanet said . .
        UN-QUOTE

        • Bob Jase

          “They also must remain silent while on the toilet”

          Muslims must not eat much cheese.

        • Even Muslims are confused about the correct way to deal with their post-crap activities – we “know” this thanks to the powers of social media!

          Islam Question & Answer- It is permissible to use just tissues to clean oneself after defecating JAN 2002
          https://islamqa.info/en/answers/10257/it-is-permissible-to-use-just-tissues-to-clean-oneself-after-defecating

          QUOTE “Question
          ok the proper way to use the washroom in Islam is to sit down. I know this. But one friend told me he thinks that we are supposed to clean are butts after taking a crap with water and not “JUST” kleenex. I wash my hands after taking a crap but I only use kleenex to clean the behind. Is there an Islam rule that says we must use water for the butt wiping part? I hope not because its so hard and annoying, everytime i try to use water it spills all over the place.
          “ UN-QUOTE

          Rules Are for Schmucks: Islam vs. Toilet Paper 28 April 2016
          https://thehumanist.com/voices/rules_are_for_schmucks/rules-schmucks-islam-vs-toilet-paper

          QUOTE “It’s not the kind of headline you see every day: “Chef prepared curry after wiping bottom with his bare hands ‘for cultural reasons.’”

          When health inspectors visited the kitchen of a restaurant called “Yeahya Flavour of Asia” (in Swindon, England), they found an empty bottle covered with brown crust that they later concluded was fecal matter. The bottle belonged to Chef Mahbub Chowdhury, age forty-six. He explained that he filled the empty milk bottle with water from the kitchen taps before using it to clean his backside after going to the toilet.

          The chef, who no longer works at the restaurant, pleaded guilty to ten counts of breaching food hygiene regulations at Swindon Magistrates Court. Apparently this isn’t his first violation. He was fined more than £5,000 (the equivalent of over $7,000) last year for ten similar offences relating to food hygiene.

          Just last year, in fact, the Directorate of Religious Affairs for the Republic of Turkey finally got around to publishing a decree to tell Muslims that it was “acceptable” to use toilet paper. Acceptable, but not preferred. The preferred method is to use water, as Chef Chowdhury was doing. “If water cannot be found for cleansing, other cleaning materials can be used,” reads the decree. “Even though some sources deem paper to be unsuitable as a cleaning material, as it is an apparatus for writing, there is no problem in using toilet paper.”

          (Outside of Turkey) One English-language Muslim website,which claims to have had over 2.9 million visitors, provides a number of helpful rules for the perplexed: (NOTE- SIX Rules have been omitted here- for the others, it is suggested to follow the provided LINK under “Rules Are for Schmucks: Islam vs. Toilet Paper”)

          ● One should enter the toilet with one’s left foot and exit with one’s right foot.
          ● The right hand is placed on the right cheek and the left hand is placed on the left one. When there is the need to use a hand, the right hand should remain on the right cheek and the left hand should be used. This is the proper way.
          ● Cleaning the private parts with stones and similar materials is an acceptable substitute for cleaning them with water.

          None of this is parody; all the website information is presented here nearly verbatim. ” UN-QUOTE

          A Muslim’s Guide to Anal Hygiene This story is over 5 years old
          https://www.vice.com/en_au/article/vdp838/how-clean-is-your-arse

          QUOTE “My ass is as hygienic as an intensive care ward. Why? Because, just like millions of other Muslims, I wash my backside after every visit to the toilet using a magical chalice—a small pot filled with water called a lota. To me, using tissue paper alone to wipe clean my crack is like vacuuming an entire house with a Dustbuster—you’re inevitably going to miss bits. And missing bits, as a Muslim, is not cool.
          A lot of people are often—vocally—bewildered by the presence or very idea of a lota or any other anal ablution device. I’ve heard it all when new people come to my home for the first time, the incessant, “What, so you actually touch your poo?” line of questioning. They’re frightened, perhaps, by the idea of making contact with your own bumhole after doing your business.
          ANAL CLEANLINESS ISN’T A CHOICE—IT’S OUR FAITH
          Islam teaches that the condition of the body affects the condition of the spirit, so it’s essential to be clean at all times—especially before offering prayers—which is why lots of Muslims use lotas. Unlike you may have been lead to believe, Muslims don’t just throw their hands between their cheeks and have a good root around after we’ve been to the toilet. Any, “Ooh, watch out, you shouldn’t shake the left hand of a Muslim” myths—implying, again, that our hands are permanently dusted with shit particles—are ridiculous and offensive. We are—I am—incredibly clean. Using a lota is like a mini douche . . .

          CRAPPING AT WORK IS PROBLEMATIC
          A lot of people ask me what I do when I need to “go” at work—it’s something of an anathema for lota lovers. If you can’t hold it in until home time or if that office canteen korma has left you in a state, you can fashion a makeshift lota with an empty bottle or disposable cup.
          ” UN-QUOTE

          https://images.vice.com/vice/images/content-images/2014/12/11/how-clean-is-your-arse-body-image-1418297136.gif

  • flexilis

    I just listened to an old podcast by a Bible teacher named Chuck Missler. As an aside in the middle of talking about one of the chapters in First Corinthians he brought up Paley’s watchmaker argument, only changing it to an astronaut landing on Mars and finding a wristwatch. Same old PRATT. He obviously expected his audience to applaud his wit.

    • Lord Backwater

      Hoo boy. Chuck Missler, the peanut butter guy. One of the few people who attempts to make Ray “Banana man” Comfort look like a genius by comparison.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZFG5PKw504

      • Michael Neville

        When these folks don’t know the difference between evolution and abiogensis then they’re telling me they don’t know what they’re talking about.

        • Drat

          That’s the ‮tihs‬ that always gets me with the creationist fuckers who brag about having “studied the science for X years.” They invariably spout ‮tihs‬ that they should have realised was wrong after less than X minutes of actual study. The basics of what the Big ‮gnaB‬, Abiogenisis and Evolution are, and the differences between them, could be summed up in a minute-long video, but they still can’t get it right. Then of course there’s the classics like “If evolution is true, then (*)?”, “How come explosions don’t make planets?”, or of course the Peanut Butter Argument.

          *why don’t we see species X (transform into/give birth to/suddenly sprout a feature of) species Y, or find some bizarro chimera of species X and Y.

          I’ve been watching a series of video lectures on the search for a Theory of Everything, and most of it is way over my head. I didn’t pay too much attention in science class in high school, and I never really studied higher maths. I’ve forgotten a lot too, it being 20 years since I graduated HS. My studies in the time since aren’t science-related. I’ve picked up a bit of knowledge over the intervening years thanks to the internet, but it only goes so far. To have a hope of really getting my head around these lectures, I’d need several years of university courses.

          But the creationist misunderstandings are of even the lowest-level stuff. This isn’t Science 101, it’s Science 0.101. If they really did the study they claim, the average person shouldn’t be able to critique them at all; everything they say would be way above our understanding. But instead, what they say is on a similar level of stupid as “If wings make birds fly, why can’t I fly by flapping my arms up and down?” or “If nuclear bombs work by splitting atoms, then why doesn’t chopping wood create big explosions?”

        • But you don’t need to be an expert on the science. You can just lean on the consensus view. It’s the Creationist who insists on overturning the science, and he’s got to step up with the credentials that give credence to his argument.

        • Greg G.

          This isn’t Science 101, it’s Science 0.101.

          Nice analogy. Perhaps a minus sign in front, too.

        • Or, one could term it AntiScience: Antiscience is a position that rejects science and the scientific method. People holding antiscientific views do not accept science as an objective method that can generate universal knowledge.

          Antiscience Wiki
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antiscience

          QUOTE: William Blake reacted strongly against the work of Isaac Newton in his paintings and writings, and is seen as being perhaps the earliest (and almost certainly the most prominent and enduring) example of what is seen by historians as the aesthetic or romantic antiscience response. For example, in his 1795 poem Auguries of Innocence, Blake describes the beautiful and natural robin redbreast imprisoned by the materialistic cage of Newtonian mathematics and science. In Blake’s painting of Newton, he is depicted “as a misguided hero whose gaze was directed only at sterile geometrical diagrams drawn on the ground”. UN-QUOTE

        • al kimeea

          antiscience wooligans favour the word scientism when their pet idea has no scientific bona fides

          birds are no less delightful for knowing the science and history of their existence

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1695887de4a3d6922b94cbe9f53bb41d898843054540a83fbbec30a6d150e1b5.jpg

        • Leads one to wonder if folk who do not accept the science (i.e. Knowledge and Theory concerning a particular subject of study) pertaining to both Gravity, and the Theory of Gravity- would condemn such as “Gravitism“, and be quite in favor of just Floating Away?

          https://live.staticflickr.com/3073/13038052755_a23d6bbabb_c.jpg

        • al kimeea

          iirc, the English word ‘gravity’ wasn’t just laying around waiting for us to discover its secrets according to postmodern “wisdom” & there are those who condemn sphereism…

        • Greg G.

          Gravity has been pulling animals out of trees for eons.

        • We have the word “grave”, and I’m visiting the facilities of Merriam-Webster for this, with two meanings.

          Firstly, there’s the common ‘excavation for burial or internment‘ of the deceased.

          But Secondly, we have-
          a: meriting serious consideration : important
          grave problems

          b : likely to produce great harm or danger
          a grave mistake

          c : significantly serious : considerable, great
          grave importance

          d obsolete : authoritative, weighty

          But still we should ALL be aware (and I’m addressing those folk who seem obvious of danger when seeking their Perfect Selfie) that the danger of loosing one’s balance, when perched at the edge of a standing location where the mean height-above-sealevel does change with significant measure, can produce a situation which can have grave consequences

          in there cases, those folk should be aware of the Gravity of that Situation!

          https://media.farandwide.com/e1/3b/e13b54d28f14453eaee51934f4c10963.jpeg

        • Greg G.

          (and I’m addressing those folk who seem obvious of danger when seeking their Perfect Selfie)

          “(and I’m addressing those folk who seem obvious oblivious of danger when seeking their Perfect Selfie) ”

          FTFY to give it more gravitas.

        • Thank you. This website’s system classes my posts as Spam if I dare to perform my own Edit repair jobs more than once after I Post to view my initial text for appearance on screen.
          So, unless I prepare my text FIRSTLY in TextEdit (on a Mac), then often I am forced to just let errors be.

          Gravitas was one of the Roman virtues, along with pietas, severitas, gravity, and self-control, or disciplina, dignitas, and virtus, that were particularly appreciated in leaders. (from Wikipedia)

        • epeeist

          That’s the shït that always gets me with the creationist fuckers who brag about having “studied the science for X years.”

          Which, at best, means the they have read a few popular articles on the subject. Normally it means that have read articles on AiG or similar websites.

        • Rudy R

          Evolution is just a “theory” is another tip-off that creationists don’t understand science.

        • Drat

          Ben Stein thinking that “Darwinism” is supposed to be a Theory of Everything:
          “But, as a theory that explains everything in terms of evolution–in terms of development of life, it explains very, very little. Darwinism doesn’t explain where gravity comes from. It doesn’t explain where thermodynamics comes from. It doesn’t explain where the laws of physics come from. It doesn’t explain where matter came from.”
          https://www.beliefnet.com/entertainment/movies/2008/04/why-is-ben-stein-talking-about-darwin.aspx

        • Rudy R

          That interview is proof that Ben Stein’s understandings of evolution is flawed and incoherent. But that won’t stop him from being the darling of the scientific illiterate. His acting skills remind me of Conservative comedians funniness: non-existent.

        • al kimeea

          “If wings make birds fly, why can’t I fly by flapping my arms up and down?”

          We can on one of the moons with light gravity & a heavy atmosphere

    • Fun fact: Paley defeats himself. He’s imagining a pocket watch on the ground that looks quite different from the dirt, rocks, leaves, and sticks that’s also on the ground. But if the watch looks different (and so must be designed), the natural stuff must not look designed.

      The watch looks distinct or not–you can’t have it both ways.

      • BertB

        Right. Take away the watch, and what is it about the natural scenery that demands the intervention of a supernatural designer?

  • Lord Backwater

    Interesting science trivia you won’t get from the Bible:

    Drying Up the Mediterranean

    … The water of the sea is therefore subject to a very high evaporation (140 cm per year), compensated only for 75% by rainfall and river inflows (UNEP/WG. 171/3, 1987

    Where does the water of the Mediterranean Sea come from?

    Did you know that, each year, the Mediterranean Sea “looses” nearly one meter of water through evaporation? Where comes the water which balances this loss from ?

    Well the Mediterranean is not emptying itself, so water must come from somewhere to “fill the gap”. The origins of this water are:
    a small quantity coming from the rivers and the rain (1200 km3 per year);
    a very small quantity coming from the Black Sea (200 km3 per year);
    and most of it comes from the Atlantic Ocean, through the Strait of Gibraltar (35 000 km3 per year).

    The Strait of Gibraltar is not very wide (around 14 km at the narrowest point) and quite shallow (300 m deep). Therefore, there is a very strong current going through the Strait, coming from the Atlantic into the Mediterranean Sea…

    P.S. Disqus sucks badly for inserting hypertext into comment windows. You would think that making it easier to write comments would be a higher priority for them.

    • Greg G.

      If it has more saltwater coming in than fresh water, it would be saltier than the ocean.

      I just looked it up. Since it is saltier, the water is denser so there is a subsurface outflow through the Strait of Gibraltar. That helps balance the salinity.

      I had always expected that it would be less salty because it had freshwater sources. You learn something everyday no matter how curmudgeonly you get.

      • I understand that there are places on the bottom of the Mediterranean that have 1km deep salt. Apparently, the Gibraltar opening was closed at some point, and it all evaporated.

        This is part of the refutation to the Creationist claim that a 4.6B year old earth is impossible because the seas would be saltier. They don’t know that there are mechanisms for salt to be removed as well as added.

        • Michael Neville

          During the last Ice Age the ocean level dropped enough that the Gibraltar opening was closed. The Mediterranean evaporated, leaving a few very salty lakes. Then, when the ice age ended, the sea rose again. Eventually, it breached the land bridge, creating what was called the Gibraltar Falls. Recently a team from the Institut de Ciències de la Terra Jaume Almera in Barcelona reviewed and analyzed data from boreholes and seismic studies. The team concluded that the flood into the Mediterranean began as arelative trickle. Over the next several thousand years, the rapidly growing stream carved a notch deeper and deeper into the land, until the inflow of seawater became overwhelming–containing possibly 1000 times more water than the Amazon River does today. Although the flood built up gradually, it nevertheless grew to enormous proportions. Up to 90% of the refilling took place in less than 2 years–perhaps only a few months–raising the water level in the Mediterranean basin by more than 10 meters a day at its peak, the scientists argue tomorrow in Nature. The action of that much water carved a 200-kilometer-long channel right through the center of the straits, deepening it by as much as 0.4 meter a day.

          Due to tectonic plate movement the Strait of Gibraltar will be closed in about 600,000 years. Within a thousand years after that the Mediterranean will have evaporated.

        • Pofarmer

          Wow.

        • A helpful addition. Thanks.

        • The Bonkers Real-Life Plan to Drain the Mediterranean and Merge Africa and Europe
          https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/the-bonkers-reallife-plan-to-drain-the-mediterranean-and-merge-africa-and-europe

          QUOTE: German architect Herman Sörgel devoted his whole life to promote his grand scheme to drain the Mediterranean and unite Europe and Africa into one super continent.

          In 1929, Sörgel wrote a book on his ideas under the title The Panropa Project, Lowering the Mediterranean, Irrigating the Sahara. Three years later he rebranded his project in another book, called Atlantropa, the name by which his utopian project is still remembered.

          Sörgel’s Atlantropa design envisioned three gigantic dams which dwarf contemporary superstructures . . . The biggest barrage would be built across the Straits of Gibraltar between Spain and Morocco, separating the Mediterranean from the Atlantic Ocean. A second dam would block the Dardanelles and shut off the Black Sea. As if that were not enough, a third dam would stretch out between Sicily and Tunisia, cutting the Mediterranean in two, with different water levels on either side. UN-QUOTE

          The “plan” even featured brief mention in the Prime-streamed series The Man in the High Castle: a story set in a grim alternative future, where the Axis Powers have won World War II, and which was expanded from the ideas in a Philip K. Dick classic published in 1962. (Maps appear to show a land route, road or rail, from Berlin-Rome-Naples-to Tunis via Sicily.)

          https://assets.atlasobscura.com/article_images/34198/image.jpg

        • Lord Backwater

          A pet peeve of mine: Sea Salt

          First of all, it’s all sea salt. It’s just a question of whether it’s modern seal salt or prehistoric sea salt.
          And really, which is more exotic?
          When one considers all the toxins we are pumping into the oceans, why isn’t prehistoric sea salt the preferred merchandise?

        • Michael Murray

          Yes but sea salt doesn’t have chemicals in it so it’s better.

        • Jane Ravenswood

          NaCL aren’t chemicals???

        • Michael Murray

          Sorry it was a joke about all the people I see doing this 🙂

        • Sample1

          Himalayan sea salt is often touted as being pure. Well, in one technical respect it is. Ancient seabeds were raised hundreds of millions years ago, covered in lava and then ice, shielding those seabed layers from modern pollutants. Fine.

          However, the claim to purity ends there. The pink colorization of that salt is from contaminants. 75% of which are not known to offer any nutritional benefits over more commonly used salts (Science based medicine.com). What’s more, some of those contaminants are radioactive and technically poisonous. And lastly, there is no evidence that a few atoms of some elements found in these boutique salts are efficacious in any way to deter true metabolic deficiencies in humans.

          Perhaps it’s taste or aesthetics that appeals to some. Fine. But nutritionally, there are solid good reasons to not pass that kind of salt.

          Mike
          (Most of this info paraphrased from the aforementioned link, one I read a while back but your post reminded me of it.)

          Edit done.

        • al kimeea

          “Pure Himalayan” salt lamps that sell for their “therapeutic benefits” & $40-$50, depending on size, are mined in Pakistan for $2.50 per tonne. Rust explains the pink flavour that some enjoy licking.

        • Prehistoric salt domes are mined for that old-fashioned salt (not this newfangled evaporated crap).

          (Tangent) But salt domes are often drilled for natural gas. Sometimes that causes problems:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_iZr2-Coqc

    • Michael Neville

      The inbound current at Gibraltar can be as great as six knots (7 mph/3 mps). During World War II German U-Boats would enter the Med just using the current. However no U-Boats ever exited the Mediterranean, they were all sunk or scuttled by their crews.

      • Pofarmer

        Never exited because they couldn’t or because they were destroyed?

        • Lord Backwater

          Yes

        • QUOTE “I estimate that the Nautilus covered a track of some 600 leagues under the waves of this sea, and this voyage was accomplished in just twenty–four hours times two. Departing from the waterways of Greece on the morning of February 16, we cleared the Strait of Gibraltar by sunrise on the 18th.” UN-QUOTE
          (extract from Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea by Jules Verne)

          So it would seem that the Nautilus had a greater underwater turn-of-speed than WWII U-Boats?

          (Illustration below of a 1/100 scale model of the Nautilus, built by Silvio Premuda following Verne’s text and studying the illustrations in the original edition of 20,000 Leagues. From the website: https://www.vernianera.com/Nautilus/Catalog/index.html )

          https://www.vernianera.com/Nautilus/Catalog/images/Silvio.gif

  • Michael Murray

    Interesting they don’t use the multiverse to explain the discrepancies between the Gospels. It would also explain why Jesus appears to have been wrong about the apocalypse. He wasn’t. It just didn’t happen in our bit of the multiverse but in His. Bummer.

    • Greg G.

      It probably took that other place in the multiverse by complete surprise since all the prophecies were given over here.

    • Jesus missed out on the comfort of a Elijah-style chariot (the fiery kind) for his ascension. He seemed to have empty air just under his feet – scarey!! No visible means of support indeed!?
      2 Kings 2:3–9

      Maybe Alternative Universe One Jesus had the comfort of a flying chariot, Alternative Universe Two Jesus had a modded flying Honda Accord like the flying autos in Back To The Future (we are informed that he liked this model, although he usually didn’t not mention that fact), Alternative Universe Three Jesus had a cross between Angel Wings, and a first-century souped-up model Hiller VZ-1 Pawnee, while Alternative Universe Four Jesus had somewhat of a thrill ride upwards due to strap-on Ankle-Rockets built by Tony Stark, and Time-Transported back more than 1960 years into Tony’s past!?!

      https://pics.me.me/jesus-ascending-to-heaven-in-front-of-disciples-colorized-humorforjesus-45468727.png

      2 Kings 2:3–9

    • TheBookOfDavid

      That’s just what They want you to think!

  • Sample1

    Theistic evolution. Animism ➡️ Ancestor worship ➡️ Polytheism ➡️ Monotheism

    Oh wait…

    Mike

    • Greg G.

      Theistic evolution. Atheism ➡️ Animism ➡️ Ancestor worship ➡️ Polytheism ➡️ Monotheism ➡️ Atheism

    • Greg G.

      BTW. Sifu, how do you do “➡️”? I just copied and pasted.

      • Sample1

        Use your emoji keyboard. ⛩

        Mike

        • Greg G.

          Thanks.

          I found it looks different in Internet Explorer. In Chrome, it is a blue square with a white arrow inside. IE shows a blue arrow.

        • Sample1

          Ah, I’m using a phone w/iOS.

          Mike

  • Michael Neville

    Completely off-topic: It’s palindrome day 02/02/2020.

  • Zeta

    Arno Penzias: “The best data we have (concerning the Big Bang) are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the Bible as a whole.”

    He predicted what? This is yet another example of a scientist offering his silly opinion on something outside his field of expertise. He sure talked big and talked rubbish in this case. I would say that he and co-winner Robert Wilson were very, very lucky to win that Nobel Prize. He is not as great as what others think.

    They were astronomers working at the Bell Labs in New Jersey. Around 1965, they modified a Bell Labs antenna to study radio waves from the fringes of the Milky Way. They found a persistent hiss from their antenna but had absolutely no idea at all about the source and meaning of this hiss. This was because they did not have the necessary background knowledge.

    Due to some coincidences, Penzias managed to get in touch with Princeton physicist Robert Dicke who, together with a younger physicist Jim Peebles, had earlier theoretically dealt with an important consequence of the Big Bang Theory: The Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMB or CMBR) and its temperature was estimated to be 10 degrees Kelvin (Accurate value is 2.725 degrees K). The Princeton group which had excellent theorists and experimentalists was already doing an experiment to measure this residual radiation from the Big Bang but Penzias and Wilson, through sheer luck, measured it first without knowing what they were measuring. Dicke had to explain to Penzias and Wilson what they had really measured. The rest is history. In fact Penzias called Dicke when the latter was in the middle of a research meeting, and Dicke told his group. “Well, boys, we’ve been scooped.” The Princeton group already had the theory and they were actively trying to measure what their theory told them but…

    Note:
    1. In 1948, another physicist, George Gamov and collaborators calculated that the temperature should be around 5 degree K, even more accurate than that of the Princeton group.
    2. In 1961, another Bell Labs engineer already detected such a hiss at 3 degrees K but there was no follow up.

    The above is extracted from the book:

    “The 4 Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality”
    by Richard Panek
    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011

  • Drat

    Eratosthenes figured out the circumference of the Earth over 2000 years ago, within a pretty damn good margin of error given the time and methods used. We know this because it was written down and he detailed the way he went about determining the value. All that was needed was translation into modern language. There was no creative interpretation needed, no metaphors, allegories, etc.

    Contrast this with the bible, where they have to take stuff that science has already figured out, then set about finding somethingthey can twist and interpret to try and tease out the meaning they want. I’m sure these same people would not be impressed by the similar claims for the Qur’an. Hell, what if we ever developed teleportation technology, and it turned out to work kinda-sorta-vaguely in a similar sense to one of the types of teleportation magic in the Harry Potter series?

    • Ignorant Amos

      Hell, what if we ever developed teleportation technology, and it turned out to work kinda-sorta-vaguely in a similar sense to one of the types of teleportation magic in the Harry Potter series?

      Teleportation magic? That’ll be put down to being first described in the buybull too. It’s called resurrection and ascension though.

  • Jane Ravenswood

    amazing how Christians always lie about their bible. Even physicists who happen to be Christians.

  • MR

    If you’re hoping that Job had a planetary model in mind, just four verses later we read about the “pillars of heaven.”

    And forget not:

    Who shakes the earth out of its place,
    And its pillars tremble

    • Bob Jase

      Which also shows unintelligent design – engineers will tell you that he should have used columns which are load bearing while pillars are merely decorative.

  • RichardSRussell

    Religion’s unbroken record of failure:

    Name one scientific principle revealed thru prayer.

    Name one medical cure discovered by reading the Bible.

    Name one work of literature translated from tongue-speakers.

    Name one catastrophe averted by a holy amulet.

    Name one amputee healed by a miracle.

    Name one supernatural event from the Bible accepted as such by historians.

    Name one flood or lava flow held back by the literal, visible hand of God.

    Name one mountain — or even one grain of sand — moved by faith.

    All these claims of religion — all of them, 100% — have been failures.

    Each time. Every time. All the time.

    Those who made the claims were either deluded fools or outright liars.

    Religion is beyond worthless and well into outright harmful.

    If you knew of a horse which had lost its previous 999 races, would you still bet on it for #1000?

    • Greg G.

      If you knew of a horse which had lost its previous 999 races, would you still bet on it for #1000?

      Maybe if I knew that every other horse had similar records, I might bet on the one with the best jockey or if one was running on Lasix for the first time.

    • Sample1

      A person of religion can give an affirmative example to every single one of these points, both in prose and poetry.

      Their explanatory method, however, subsists in a tribal culture lacking a tradition of criticism.

      Mike

  • Mamacat90807

    “ The Bible’s Confused Relationship with Science”

    Um…one can just stop after “Confused”. Its relationship to EVERYTHING is confused, LOL

  • Ignorant Amos

    1. The Bible says that the earth is a sphere.

    Then why ta fuck didn’t those reading the bloody thing notice?

    Well after there was an acceptance of a spherical world, some buybull bashers were still at odds with the idea. The idea of a spherical world was not informed by the buybull.

    Theological doubt informed by the flat Earth model implied in the Hebrew Bible inspired some early Christian scholars such as Lactantius, John Chrysostom and Athanasius of Alexandria, but this remained an eccentric current. Learned Christian authors such as Basil of Caesarea, Ambrose and Augustine of Hippo were clearly aware of the sphericity of the Earth. “Flat Earthism” lingered longest in Syriac Christianity, which tradition laid greater importance on a literalist interpretation of the Old Testament. Authors from that tradition, such as Cosmas Indicopleustes, presented the Earth as flat as late as in the 6th century. This last remnant of the ancient model of the cosmos disappeared during the 7th century. From the 8th century and the beginning medieval period, “no cosmographer worthy of note has called into question the sphericity of the Earth.”

  • Regarding that rule to enter the toilet with the LEFT Foot, the punishment imposed in the following account would tend to make that compliance a “wee” bit difficult:

    Iran: Criminals Lose Hands And Feet As Shari’a Law Imposed January 2008
    https://www.rferl.org/a/1079325.html

    QUOTE Five convicted criminals in southeastern Iran have received the seldom-used form of punishment of amputation – carried out in Zahedan, the capital of Iran’s southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan Province. The five men were found guilty of armed robbery, hostage taking, and firing at police, though officially they were convicted of “acting against God” and “corruption upon this Earth.”

    With doctors watching, the convicted men’s right hands and left feet were amputated. Traditionally, the right hand is amputated for a first serious offense and the left foot for a second serious offense. The right hand-left foot amputation is referred to as “cross amputation.” UN-QUOTE

    One could (also) imagine the plight of a Moslem in a Wheelchair – just how could one comply with that “LEFT Foot” first entry rule?
    Must we conclude that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) may just have been a whole lot Anally Obsessed?