Saturday, 17 September 2016

This is hardly an apology.

Oolon Callufid - The most popular thinker in two multiverses.
This fact verifies The Hitchers' Guide to the Galaxy
(aka the Gospel according to Ford Prefect) as a document of
historicity and veracity.
Recently a claim that the bible contained scientifically accurate claims appeared in my twitter feed.  I have been around long enough to view these claims with suspicion, but in this occassion I felt it could worth the click to see what they had to say. I wasn't disappointed.

The post offered 7 supposed scientific claims in the bible.

1. Written by different men over 1500 years

"The Bible is a collection of 66 books which were written by about 40 men over a period of 1500 years or more. " at least the 66 books part is accurate. But the 1500 years only covers the work on the Old Testament, not the 2nd and third-century works.  No one knows with any degree of certainty who these individuals were but four main groups have been loosely identified The J, E, P and R groups.

However even if we know who these people were, it does not stop them from writing allegory, poetry, historical fiction(Abe lincoln is of course widely known for his vampire hunting career).

Where are the women at? Notice the claimed authors are almost all Male.

2. Scientific Accuracy of the bible

Five points are offered here

"The Earth is round not flat as once believed. (Isiah 40:22)"

It is He who sits above the circle of the earth,
And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,
Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
Sure it's a spun dinner plate because no one has yet seen a soccer ball let alone stood on one or used filthy language like "oblate spheroid". Note also that "heavens" which for the most part is as close to nothing as anything in the universe is likened to a fabric that one would definitely notice especially if it was your turn to do the laundry.

Atmospheric circulation (Ecc 1:6)

The wind goes toward the south,
And turns around to the north;
The wind whirls about continually,
And comes again on its circuit.
Any farmer or their children could tell you that the wind changes direction, this passage says nothing of regional or global wind patterns. While sailors might have known of prevailing winds, most of the were limited to the Mediterranean Sea or that lake in the west bank Israels fascists keep try to drive the Palestinians into. No mention is made of wider patterns. This is not deep meteorology by any means.

Field of Gravity (Job 26:7)

He stretches out the north over empty space;
He hangs the earth on nothing.
Ok where is the F = G x (M1 x M2)/d2? This text says nothing about the motion of things or a force. Clearly, a mention of a curve in space/time is too much to expect. But the story is well known for its plot in Job gets ass kicked by his god for being a sycophantic moron to an all of power on a drunken bar bet - not a discussion of physics, the motion of celestial bodies or cosmology. Job was referring to real-estate.

Biological importance of blood to life (Lev 17:11

For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.
This is an interesting lawyering of text. Blood sacrifice was and remains an important theme in Judaism. Some still swing a chicken around their heads before giving it away to the poor (but not before cutting its throat - apparently poor people don't need eggs).
That said with all animal sacrifice, it would not have been hard to figure out the blood had some role in the continued operation of members of the animalia kingdom.

Bible refers to Dinosaurs (Job 40:15, 41:1)

Look now at the behemoth,[a] which I made along with you;
He eats grass like an ox.
Can you draw out Leviathan[a] with a hook,
Or snare his tongue with a line which you lower?
Note that even the cited website used as a source describes these animals with "exact identity unknown". So even they are saying, "no it doesn't refer to dinosaurs" Behemoth could be mammalian megafauna, but is most likely an Elephant. The Rhinosaurus and the Hippotomus are both herbivores and both fit the description. Leviathan could be acetaceann or large shark species. But there is no suggestion of large reptilian species, however salt water crocadile would be impressive to a 5 foot tall plainsman with a spear and blunt bronze sword, but it is no T-Rex.

3.Phophetic accuracies about Jesus Christ(Jhn 5:39)

The best way to write a prophecy is after it happens. Indeed in many cases this is exactly what happened. Another really effective way to write a prophecy is to make vague claims eventually some series of events will fit. But interestly, there is a third way - take a line or three that in isolation seems to fit but in context is actually taling about something else entirely. Bob Dutko, can tell you how he's done it. The thing is, in Judaic tradition the idea that Jesus is the Messiah of their tradition is a heresy. The Character Jesus, being Jewish is rebuking those who think he's the dude in the books.

4. The Bible is endorsed by Jesus Christ (Mat 5:17-18)

Not so quick, this is only an endorsement of the old testament, well the law - really. So what does that mean? Throw rocks at your bratty kids, forced marriage after rape, genocide, sexual slavely, slave labour, Stoning the neigbour who works weekends, wears poly cotton shirts, and eats a red lobster. But especially stoning Larry and Steve because even though Steve Fashion sense is impecable, and Larry is an interior decorator par excelance Jesus despises their Macarana. Remember the going rate for your daughter is about US$450 in silver. Just so we are clear - the cheque is in the mail.

5. Its survival (Mat 24:35)

Trephanation predates the bible by tens of thousands of years. It is also important to note that works of Oolon Callufid are very popular with time lords, and so span time from the big bang to the heat death of the universe. Both making the 3500 year span of the biblical text rather trivial.
Unfalsifyable baseless assumption can stick around for quite some time. especially if they become popular - possibly the worst thing to happen to a baseless idea. People can do all sorts of stupid stuff with baseless ideas, inquisitions, holocausts, and keeping trans-people from peeing in public bath rooms. Let's not forget witch burning - it still happens. These examples were all chosen because the have their roots in the bible - at least according to their major accolytes.

6.Archeological Evidence(Romans 1:20-21)

Archeology says two things that are important with respect to the bible. First The exodus did not happen and that the Israelites are the decendants of Canaanites; and second Nazarith didn't exist in the first century but is a later Byzantyne settlement. 

7. Life Changing Power

Adopting any new paradigm will naturally change your life. There of course many options popular at one time or another, from the Art of War by Sunzu, 1984- George Orwell, Zen and the art of motor cycle maintenance, Mein Kampf, the collected works of Oolon Callufid. The better Angels of Our Nature - Steven Pinker. The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Loose Cannon.
Of course, it takes one book to think we have all the answers, and two books to realise that all we really have are questions and that these are more valuable. Ignorance in a world of knowledge is no virtue.

See Also

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