Archive for the 'Exposed: 101 Scientific Facts in the Bible' Category

Conclusion: An exercise in missing the point?

Of course, Jonathan Mason is right to suggest that finding scientific “facts” in the Bible is to misunderstand the Bible and science. As I commented elsewhere, most Christians do not read a Bible for scientific enlightenment, and most Christians (at least in the West) have no problem accepting basic theory and findings, including evolution. Even some scientists have Christian or other religious beliefs – the idea that science is some sort of atheist conspiracy is absurd.

Nevertheless, when he then writes that the countering point-by-point the 101 “facts” is ‘exercise in missing the point‘ probably itself misses the point somewhat of what it was I was attempting to do. Which in part was simply a rebuttal to some ludicrous claims advanced on behalf of science – and Christianity for that matter. Granted, it will forever lie in the backwaters of the internet. Granted, it won’t convince the religious fundamentalist (but then, it wasn’t meant to). Rather, it remains a mere academic exercise to sketch out exactly what’s plain wrong with such claims, because the truth does actually matter.

But then again, Jonathan’s comment does rather nicely reveal how out of the mainstream Creationism – Young Earth, Old Earth, Intelligent Design: pick your flavour – actually is: and that is a problem for Creationists, rather than for me.

It shouldn’t be forgotten that Creationism of all kinds isn’t as marginal as perhaps it should be, largely because of poor scientific education in the UK and US, and it’s well-funded campaigns, but in the UK at least it is easy to overstate the threat of Creationism to the education system (although there are a handful of schools that do try to teach Creationism) or society at large; or the existence of fundamentalist Christian Unions on every campus at unviersities in the UK; or tiny but vocal groups such as Christian Voice. Although it is perhaps because of this vociferous minority, and the harm that it does to the image of mainstream Christianity, the Church of England have had to go at lengths to show that it has no problem with Darwin in particular and science in general.

Jonathan in fact expresses an opinion which I have expressed myself. This “series” was in part a sort of homage to users on Youtube in particular, such as Thunderfoot, Potholer54 and ExtantDodo, all of whom do a fantastic – and illuminating – job in bringing real science to bear on Creationist claims. Yet one can’t help feeling that they and others like them are going for an easy target, merely the extreme end of the Creationist minority (not even ID-Creationism). To a certain extent, they are – as he would put it – exercises in missing the point. Who exactly takes the claims of Kent Hovind, Ken Ham, et al, seriously? Certainly not mainstream Christianity, as represented by institutions such as the Catholic and Anglican Churches, among others.

This blog never started out as some sort of rebuttal against religious claims – Creationist or otherwise – as such, and as far as rebutting the claims of Creationism is concerned (at least, the Young- and Old-Earth versions), I shan’t be returning to the issue in any detail on this blog. There are more sophisticated debates to enter into, other issues to discuss. But if the nothing else the exercise has shown me just how absurd the claims made by some people and organisations, for both religion and science, actually are.

Science in the Bible – Review, pt10

The final eleven “facts” from the 101 given here. The aim of the exercise that Eternal Productions (who compiled the list) set themselves was to take a modern scientific claim or explanation, and to show us the Biblical verse which foretells or prefigures said claim/explanation. Thus far, after 90 such claims have been examined, none have withstood scrutiny; in fact, 51 – over half – have been revealed not to be any sort of scientific claim.

91.Animals do not have a conscience (Psalm 32:9). A parrot can be taught to swear and blaspheme, yet never feel conviction. Many animals steal, but they do not experience guilt. If man evolved from animals, where did our conscience come from? The Bible explains that man alone was created as a moral being in God’s image.

No scientific claim is being tested here.

92.Pseudo-science anticipated (1 Timothy 6:20). The theory of evolution contradicts the observable evidence. The Bible warned us in advance that there would be those who would profess: “profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge (science).” True science agrees with the Creator’s Word.

On the basis of the evidence of these “facts”, I’d beg to differ. No scientific claim is being tested here.

93. Science confirms the Bible (Colossians 2:3). These insights place the Bible far above every manmade theory and all other so-called inspired books. In contrast, the Koran states that the sun sets in a muddy pond (Surah 18:86). The Hadith contains many myths. The Book of Mormon declares that Native Americans descended from Jews – which has been disproven by DNA research. The Eastern writings also contradict true science.

No scientific claim is being tested here.

94. Human conscience understood (Romans 2:14-15). The Bible reveals that God has impressed His moral law onto every human heart. Con means with and science means knowledge. We know it is wrong to murder, lie, steal, etc. Only the Bible explains that each human has a God-given knowledge of right and wrong.

The etymology lesson is next to useless, because the earliest Biblical manuscripts were not written in neither English nor Latin (where the roots of the word “conscience” lie). No scientific claim is being tested here.

95. Love explained (Matthew 22:37-40; 1 John 4:7-12). Evolution cannot explain love. Yet, God’s Word reveals that the very purpose of our existence is to know and love God and our fellow man. God is love, and we were created in His image to reflect His love.

No scientific claim is being tested here.

96. The real you is spirit (Numbers 16:22; Zechariah 12:1). Personality is non-physical. For example, after a heart transplant the recipient does not receive the donor’s character. An amputee is not half the person he was before loosing his limbs. Our eternal nature is spirit, heart, soul, mind. The Bible tells us that “man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

No scientific claim is being tested here.

97. The cause of suffering revealed (Genesis 3; Isaiah 24:5-6). The earth is subject to misery, which appears at odds with our wonderfully designed universe. However, the Bible, not evolution, explains the origin of suffering. When mankind rebelled against God, the curse resulted – introducing affliction, pain and death into the world.

No scientific claim is being tested here.

98. Death explained (Romans 6:23). All eventually die. The Bible alone explains why we die – “The soul who sins shall die” (Ezekiel 18:20). Sin is transgression of God’s Law. To see if you will die, please review God’s Ten Commandments (Exodus 20). Have you ever lied? (White lies and fibs count.) Ever stolen? (Cheating on a test or taxes is stealing.) Jesus said that “whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Have you ever looked with lust? Then you’re an adulterer at heart. Have you ever hated someone or called someone a fool? If so, the Bible says you are guilty of murder (Matthew 5:21-22; 1 John 3:15). Have you ever used your Creator’s name (Lord, God, Jesus, or Christ) in vain? This is called blasphemy – and God hates it. If you have broken these commandments at any time, then by your own admission, you are a blasphemer, a murderer, an adulterer, a thief, and a liar at heart. And we have only looked at five of the Ten Commandments. This is why we die.

No scientific claim is being tested here. It’s more of a sermon…

99. Justice understood (Acts 17:30-31). Our God-given conscience reveals that all sin will be judged. Down deep we know that He who created the eyes sees every secret sin (Romans 2:16). He who formed our mind remembers our past offense as if it just occurred. God has declared that the penalty for sin is death. Physical death comes first, then the second death – which is eternal separation from God in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8). God cannot lie. Every sin will be judged. His justice demands it. But God is also rich in mercy to all who call upon His name. He has made a way for justice to be served and mercy to be shown.

More theological claims. No scientific claim is being tested here.

100. Eternal life revealed (John 3:16). Scientists search in vain for the cure for aging and death. Yet, the good news is that God, who is the source of all life, has made a way to freely forgive us so that we may live forever with Him in heaven. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). God desires a loving, eternal relationship with each person – free from sin, fear, and pain. Therefore, He sent His Son to die as our substitute on the cross. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Jesus never sinned, therefore He alone qualified to pay the penalty for our sins on the cross. He died in our place. He then rose from the grave defeating death. All who turn from their sins and trust Him will be saved. To repent and place your trust in Jesus Christ, make Psalm 51 your prayer. Then read your Bible daily, obeying what you read. God will never let you down.

Science is not trying to cure aging and death as such – they’re certainly not searching “in vain”. A lot of theology, but no scientific claim is being tested here.

101. The solution to suffering (Revelation 21). Neither evolution nor religion offers a solution to suffering. But God offers heaven as a gift to all who trust in His Son. In heaven, “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

We end on preaching, rather than demonstrable scientific truth: No scientific claim is being tested here.

Astonishingly, not one of the eleven so-called scientific facts are scientific facts at all, and can therefore be dismissed. This means that only 39 of the 101 “facts” are genuine attempts to put an understanding of a scientific claim to the Bible. 62 are simply not any sort of scientific claim at all.

However, none – not a single one – of the 39 stand up: they either misread the Bible, or show an inadequate understanding of science.

I’m genuinely surprised at that over well over half of the 101 “facts” are not even attempts at scientific claims, but rather just comment or anti-evoltution rhetoric.

The final part in this series will attempt to derive some sort of conclusion from this exercies, and wrap up my own particular efforts at tackling the absurd claims of Creationism.

Science in the Bible – Review, pt9

Part 9 in the examination of Eternal Prodcuctions’ 101 Scientific Facts. So far, none of these “facts” have withstood examination..

81. Olive oil and wine useful on wounds (Luke 10:34). Jesus told of a Samaritan man, who when he came upon a wounded traveler, he bandaged him – pouring upon his wounds olive oil and wine. Today we know that wine contains ethyl alcohol and traces of methyl alcohol. Both are good disinfectants. Olive oil is also a good disinfectant, as well as a skin moisturizer, protector, and soothing lotion. This is common knowledge to us today. However, did you know that during the Middle Ages and right up till the early 20th century, millions died because they did not know to treat and protect open wounds?

In other words, modern science – not the Bible – has explained why olive oil and wine may be useful in the treatment of wounds. The application of modern science continues to provide treatments that would certainly seem miraculous to the incredulous people two thousand years ago. Nevertheless, medicine even in the middle ages was more effective in the treatment of wounds and broken bones we give usually give credit for – but modern science explains why the various herbal remedies and other home-spun techniques work. It’s safe to say that, to date, no medical technology has been derived from any holy scripture – only through the application of modern science.

In the verse cited, no scientific claim (distinct from traditional practice) has been advanced.

82. Man is “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). We are only beginning to probe the complexity of the DNA molecule, the eye, the brain, and all the intricate components of life. No human invention compares to the marvelous wonders of God’s creation.

No scientific claim has been advanced.

83.Beauty understood (Genesis 1:31; 2:9; Job 40:10; Ecclesiastes 3:11; Matthew 6:28-30). Beauty surrounds us: radiant sunsets, majestic mountains, brightly colored flowers, glowing gems, soothing foliage, brilliantly adorned birds, etc. Beauty is a mystery to the evolutionist. However, Scripture reveals that God creates beautiful things for our benefit and His glory.

Beauty is largely a subjective notion – it is, in the oft-repeated phrase – in the eye of the beholder. Evolution explains sexual attraction within animal species, but accounts for the processes behind naturally occurring variance; not beauty per se. Are vultures “brillianty adorned birds”? Is there beauty in cancer, or in the nematode worm that causes filariasis, a feature of which is this parasitic worm crawling over the human eyeball? (The adult parasite lives in no other animal: one is tempted to say that it has been designed to cause humans discomfort.)

No science is being presented in “Fact” 83.

84.Strong and weak nuclear force explained (Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:3). Physicists do not understand what binds the atom’s nucleus together. Yet, the Bible states that “all things consist” – or are held together by the Creator – Jesus Christ.

This claim is false – scientists are well aware of both strong and weak nuclear forces: and neither of these are in any way divine forces, but rather fairly explicable using the theories we currently have. Again, however, no scientific claim is being tested here.

85. Atomic fission anticipated (2 Peter 3:10-12). Scripture states that “the elements will melt with fervent heat” when the earth and the heavens are “dissolved” by fire. Today we understand that if the elements of the atom are loosed, there would be an enormous release of heat and energy (radiation).

The verses are taken out of context – the author of the letter is talking about the coming of the Lord, and is describing the destruction that usually accompanies such Biblical events. There is nothing to indicate that specifically atomic fission is indeed taking place. Indeed, it is factually incorrect to say that elements “melt” in nuclear fission. Verse12 ends “[b]ut in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.” Which is nice.

There is no science contained within these verses, so the claim is simply false.

86. The Pleiades and Orion star clusters described (Job 38:31). The Pleiades star cluster is gravitationally bound, while the Orion star cluster is loose and disintegrating because the gravity of the cluster is not enough to bind the group together. 4,000 years ago God asked Job, “Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, or loose the belt of Orion?” Yet, it is only recently that we realized that the Pleiades is gravitationally bound, but Orion’s stars are flying apart.

To begin with, this verse is not describing anything, but asking a question of Job – the implication being that only the power of God could loosen the belt of Orion or bind the stars of the Pleiades. As it happens, it’s gravity, not God – a fact not mentioned in the verse.

The Pleiades is a cluster of stars; Orion on the other hand, is a constellation – not a cluster – of stars, and as such only appear to be in relation with each other, from the point of view of earthbound observers. In fact no relationship exists, but this fundamental difference is not mentioned in the verse. This suggests that is was not known, as it makes comparison pretty pointless.

Further, current estimates are that, 250 million years time, the stars of the Pleiades cluster will have in fact dispersed: they are not “bound” together, as implied in the verse.

The claims here are false.

87. Safe drinking water (Leviticus 11:33-36). God forbade drinking from vessels or stagnant water that had been contaminated by coming into contact with a dead animal. It is only in the last 100 years that medical science has learned that contaminated water can cause typhoid and cholera.

Modern science discovered the causes of typhoid and cholera – their causes are not revealed in Levicitus; the diseases are not mentioned at all, in fact. Rather, some rather basic hygiene rules seem to have been arrived at, in common with many other societies, based upon observation. To think anything less is to not credit Bronze Age societies with any intelligence at all.

Scientific understanding would come a lot later with, er, science, and not the Bible. No scientific claim can be found in these verses; only a straightforward divine injunction.

88. Pest control (Leviticus 25:1-24). Farmers are plagued today with insects. Yet God gave a sure-fire remedy to control pests centuries ago. Moses commanded Israel to set aside one year in seven when no crops were raised. Insects winter in the stalks of last year’s harvest, hatch in the spring, and are perpetuated by laying eggs in the new crop. If the crop is denied one year in seven, the pests have nothing to subsist upon, and are thereby controlled.

Not only is modern agriculture, thanks to modern science, not “plagued” with insects, but that the above prescription would not control pests during the six years of harvests. In fairness, the aim was not pest control: this is a misreading of the text.

Anyhow, the claims are false.

89. Soil conservation (Leviticus 23:22). Not only was the land to lay fallow every seventh year, but God also instructed farmers to leave the gleanings when reaping their fields, and not to reap the corners (sides) of their fields. This served several purposes: 1) Vital soil minerals would be maintained. 2) The hedge row would limit wind erosion. 3) The poor could eat the gleanings. Today, approximately four billion metric tons of soil are lost from U.S. crop lands each year. Much of this soil depletion could be avoided if God’s commands were followed.

This verse in fact says nothing about soil conservation, or hedgerows (unknown in Bronze Age farming communities) – the injunction clearly relates to leaving the edges and any gleanings left in the field for the poor, as was the custom. It parallels other verses, to make the point clear (if further clarity were needed):

Deuteronomy 24:19: If you forget to bring in a stack of harvested grain, don’t go back in the field to get it. Leave it for the poor, including foreigners, orphans, and widows

Lev. 19:10: Don’t strip your grapevines clean or gather the grapes that fall off the vines. Leave them for the poor and for those foreigners who live among you.

The claim is false.

90. Animal instincts understood (Job 39; Proverbs 30:24-28; Jeremiah 8:7). A newly hatched spider weaves an intricate web without being taught. A recently emerged butterfly somehow knows to navigate a 2,500-mile migration route without a guide. God explains that He has endowed each creature with specific knowledge. Scripture, not evolution, explains animal instincts.

No scientific claim is being made here – merely anti-evolution rhetoric.

That raps up the penultimate ten. At the end of that, we’ve crossed off another six “facts” off our list of 101. 51 in total have been dismissed in such a manner – well over half. The remaining 39 have been shown to be false – either the science is wrong, or the verse that purports to show an unambiguous scientific fact does not clearly do so.

In the next part, I shall examine the remaining 11 “facts”.

The final part in this series will try to come to some conclusions on the exercise.

Science in the Bible – Review, pt8

Part 8 of this Review looks at “Facts” numbered 71 to 80 on the Eternal Productions 101 Scientific Facts and Foreknowledge web page, which claims that the Bible has at least 101 scientific facts that have subsequently been verified by modern science. So far, none of the previous 70 so-called “facts” as presented have stood up to scrutiny, and almost half of the “facts” presented thus far were found not to be actually scientific at all.


71. Life is more than matter and energy (Genesis 2:7; Job 12:7-10). We know that if a creature is denied air it dies. Even though its body may be perfectly intact, and air and energy are reintroduced to spark life, the body remains dead. Scripture agrees with the observable evidence when it states that only God can give the breath of life. Life cannot be explained by raw materials, time, and chance alone – as evolutionists would lead us to believe.

An example of non-scientific claims labelled as one of the 101 “facts”, and a very muddled entry at that. Science tells us that life is made of matter and energy, and nowhere there is no observable evidence at all for a ‘breath of life’ that ‘only God can give’, whatever that might mean. Evolution does not purport to ‘explain’ life, but the variety of species of life – and the Evolutionists referred to are in fact scientists – the bunch of people who are allegedly discovering the very things that are supposed to already exist in the Bible. It seems – as has been noted before – that there is a very selective use of scientific facts that are tested against the Bible.

72. Origin of music explained (Psalm 40:3). Evolution cannot explain the origin of music. The Bible says that every good gift comes from God (James 1:17). This includes joyful melodies. God has given both man and angels the gift of music-making (Genesis 4:21; Ezekiel 28:13). Singing is intended to express rejoicing in and worship of the Lord (Job 38:7; Psalm 95:1-2).

Another non-claim: science doesn’t purport to explain the origin of music per se, much less the theory of evolution.

There are – as it happens – plenty of scientific theories that cannot explain the origin of music, such as the theory of general relativity, as proposed by Einstein. So evolution isn’t alone.

73. Our ancestors were not primitive (Genesis 4:20-22; Job 8:8-10; 12:12). Archeologists have discovered that our ancestors mined, had metallurgical factories, created air-conditioned buildings, designed musical instruments, studied the stars, and much more. This evidence directly contradicts the theory of evolution, but agrees completely with God’s Word.

No, it doesn’t contradict the theory of evolution at all, which describes how humans came to be on the planet. Further, there is nothing in archeaology that contradicts the theory of evolution. Nevertheless, no scientific claim has been made that has been shown to be foretold in the Bible – just another anti-evolution statement.

74. Cavemen described in the Bible (Job 30:1-8). Four thousand years ago, Job describes certain “vile men” who were driven from society to forage “among the bushes” for survival and who “live in the clefts of the valleys, (and) in caves of the earth and the rocks.” Therefore “cavemen” were simply outcasts and vagabounds – not our primitive ancestors as evolutionists speculate.

Evolutionists do not speculate about early human societies, so this again is factually incorrect. Archealogists have uncovered a huge amount of data on how early humans lived, and it is very clear that complex societies emerge from less complex ones; that the older neolithic societies are more “primitive” from the Bronze age ones that characterise the Middle East 3,000-4,000 years ago, for example. However, no scientific statement is being made in this the above claim.

75. Environmental devastation of the planet foreseen (Revelation 11:18). Though evolution imagines that things should be getting better, the Bible foresaw what is really occurring today: pollution, destruction and corrupt dominion.

This is getting tedious: an utter lack of understanding of the theory of evolution is being made in point after point. Suffice to say that, firstly, theory of evolution explains observable variation in living organisms. It does not say that “things” are getting “better”. Secondly, no scientific claim has been made.

76. The seed of a plant contains its life (Genesis 1:11; 29). As stated in the Book of Genesis, we now recognize that inside the humble seed is life itself. Within the seed is a tiny factory of amazing complexity. No scientist can build a synthetic seed and no seed is simple!

If anyone else can spot the scientific claim here that has been correctly foretold in the Bible, I’d love to hear it: as it stands, it’s another non-claim about nothing.

77. A seed must die to produce new life (1 Corinthians 15:36-38). Jesus said, “unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” (John 12:24). In this verse is remarkable confirmation of two of the fundamental concepts in biology: 1) Cells arise only from existing cells. 2) A grain must die to produce more grain. The fallen seed is surrounded by supporting cells from the old body. These supporting cells “give their lives” to provide nourishment to the inner kernel. Once planted, this inner kernel germinates resulting in much grain.

The “fundamental concepts” are not actually fundamental to biology at all and arguably not “fundamental” – cells are in turn made up of things that are of interest to biologists, for example, DNA; proteins, etc. The theory of evolution certainly is fundamental – upon this entire fields within biology rest: biochemistry and genetics to name two. However, one has by now the decided impression that the good people at Eternal Productions do not like evolution…

No scientific claim has been made here, frankly.

78. The order of creation agrees with true science (Genesis 1). Plants require sunlight, water, and minerals in order to survive. In the first chapter of Genesis we read that God created light first (v.3), then water (v. 6), then soil (v. 9), and then He created plant life (v. 11).

We also see that God created the stars (v16) after the land, plants and seas on the earth. We know from “true science” that this is not the case. We also know from “true science” that birds evolved from land animals; they do not predate land animals as suggested in vs.22-24. Moreover, this is a re-telling of the Babylonian creation myth, and not peculiar to the Bible.

The claims made for the accuracy of this Chapter are false.

79. God created “lights” in the heavens “for signs and seasons, and for days and years” (Genesis 1:14-16). We now know that a year is the time required for the earth to travel once around the sun. The seasons are caused by the changing position of the earth in relation to the sun. The moon’s phases follow one another in clock-like precision – constituting the lunar calendar Evolution teaches that the cosmos evolved by random chance, yet the Bible agrees with the observable evidence.

Evolution is shown to be again to be misunderstood in this claim. No scientific claim or explanation exists in 1 Gen 14-16.

80. The Bible speaks of “heaven and the highest heavens” (Deuteronomy 10:14). Long before the Hubble Space Telescope, Scripture spoke of the “heaven of heavens” and the “third heaven” (1 Kings 8:27; 2 Corinthians 12:2). We now know that the heavens consist of our immediate atmosphere and the vast reaches of outer space – as well as God’s wonderful abode.

The Hubble Telescope failed to find God, of course – if it’s being suggested that he’s somewhere “out there” in outer space. Again, no scientific claim about the nature of the Universe is being made in the three verses cited.

This ten has fared quite badly, with no fewer than 9 being dismissed as non-claims.

This means, after 80 “facts” examined, 45 can be safely dismissed as not containing any recognisable scientific claim. The remaining 35 “facts” are not facts at all, but shown to be in error. 21 left to examine.

Science in the Bible – Review, pt7

Part 7 in this Review looks at the claims numbered 61 to 70 of 101 scientific “facts” that are said to have been prefigured in the Bible. So far, we’ve found that 29 of the first 60 are claims that have turned out to be false, while in 31 cases, no scientific claim as such was being made.

61. Medical quarantine instituted (Leviticus 13:45-46; Numbers 5:1-4). Long before man understood the principles of quarantine, God commanded the Israelites to isolate those with a contagious disease until cured.

More precisely, in Lev. 13.45, God commands that ‘The person with such an infectious disease must wear torn clothes, let his hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of his face and cry out, “Unclean! Unclean!”

But some sort of understanding of quarantine does appear in verse 46, and in the Num. 5:1-5. There my be natural reasons as to how a society stumbles upon the idea of quarantine. But it takes science to explain why and how it works – there is little scientific value of such an injunction, without explanation: it simply says do it because God commanded it. Indeed, a scientific truth is not described here, but rather a pattern of behaviour that – with the benefit of science and hindsight – we might understand better.

Moreover, there are a whole host of injunctions in Numbers and Levicitus that are not adhered to by otherwise Bible-believing Christians for whatever reason (because Jesus established a new covenant, etc., etc. And, again, see Lev.13:45!), so one is forced to conclude that it is only in the light of science, actually, that we can only now see the value of those particular verses rather than others.

There is no scientific claim that’s being tested here, in fact – just a scientific explanantion for prescribed behaviour.

62. Each star is unique (1 Corinthians 15:41). Centuries before the advent of the telescope, the Bible declared what only God and the angels knew – each star varies in size and intensity!

Which is not what this verse says. It depends on the translation, but it’s usually translated as saying that the sun, moon and stars differ in “splendour” or “glory” – not that the stars themseleves differ in “size” and “intensity”, and which cannot reasonably be read into “glory” or “splendour”.

Not a scientific claim, then, that’s been proposed as having a counterpart in the Bible.

63. The Bible says that light can be sent, and then manifest itself in speech (Job 38:35). We now know that radio waves and light waves are two forms of the same thing – electromagnetic waves. Therefore, radio waves are a form of light. Today, using radio transmitters, we can send “lightnings” which indeed speak when they arrive.

Radio waves are not a form of light – light waves have a different frequency to radio waves, but both are electromagnetic waves that utilise photons. The verse talks of lightning bolts – that is, electricity – “reporting” to God; not light generally, and it does not directly say that lightwaves can be used to send speech. Further, it does not represent scientific understanding to see “lightnings” as some sort of radio wave transmission.

If any book of the Bible can be taken literally, it is NOT the book of Job: even other Creationists recognise this. The (Young Earth) Creationist web site, Answers in Genesis, frequently linked to in by Eternal Productions, says that the claim “There is amazing modern scientific insight in the Bible” should NOT be used by Creationists and that ‘We should interpret the Bible as the author originally intended, and as the intended readership would have understood it. Therefore we should be cautious in reading modern science into passages if the original readers would not have seen it‘, and that the claim “There is amazing modern scientific insight in the Bible”. In particular, this ‘applies especially to poetic books like Job and Psalms.’

No scientific claim is being tested here.

64. Laughter promotes physical healing (Proverbs 17:22). Recent studies confirm what King Solomon was inspired to write 3,000 years ago, “A merry heart does good, like medicine.” For instance, laughter reduces levels of certain stress hormones. This brings balance to the immune system, which helps your body fight off disease.

The verse says nothing about the medical effects of laughter – as noted, it merely says that laughing is “good”, presumably because after a good laugh, like taking medicine, you feel better. It’s taken real science to discover things such as the hormones and immune system cited, however.

No scientific claim is being tested; only a scientific explanation offered.

65. Intense sorrow or stress is harmful to your health (Proverbs 18:14; Mark 14:34). Researchers have studied individuals with no prior medical problems who showed symptoms of stress cardiomyopathy including chest pain, difficulty breathing, low blood pressure, and even heart failure – following a stressful incident.

None of which is indicated in either of these passages. There is little or no scientific insight in Proverbs 18:14 (for example): ‘A man’s spirit sustains him in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?‘ It is mere poetry. The claim is false.

66. Microorganisms anticipated (Exodus 22:31). The Bible warns “Whatever dies naturally or is torn by beasts he shall not eat, to defile himself with it: I am the LORD” (Leviticus 22:8). Today we understand that a decaying carcass is full of disease causing germs.

The claim here is again simply false: no one can read the existence of microbes in ‘”You are to be my holy people. So do not eat the meat of an animal torn by wild beasts; throw it to the dogs.’ (Exodus 22:31). This could, to all intents and purposes, be part of the fetish for clean and unclean habits that charactises the latter four books of the Pentateuch, and condemns shellfish as ‘unclean’.

67. The Bible cautions against consuming fat (Leviticus 7:23). Only in recent decades has the medical community determined that fat clogs arteries and contributes to heart disease.

The Bible does not ‘caution’ here – it positively demands that fat from goats, sheep and cattle should not be eaten. Duck, chicken and goose fat however – no problem… (Cf. Lev 11:13-19). The claim is false.

68. Do not consume blood (Leviticus 17:12). A common ritual in many religions in the ancient world was to drink blood. However, the Creator repeatedly told His people to abstain from blood (Genesis 9:4; Leviticus 3:17; Acts 15:20; 21:25). Of course, modern science reveals that consuming raw blood is dangerous.

The passages cited refers to the consumption of blood generally, or to the eating of blood – previous religious practices are not mentioned, and there is no reason to believe that it is these that are being refered to. Further, in Part 1, we noted that eating blood was a widespread and scientifically safe thing to do. Hence, this is a false claim at best.

69.The Bible describes dinosaurs (Job 40:15-24). In 1842, Sir Richard Owen coined the word dinosaur, meaning “terrible lizard,” after discovering large reptilian-like fossils. However in the Book of Job, written 4,000 years earlier, God describes the behemoth as: the largest of all land creatures, plant eating (herbivore), with great strength in its hips and legs, powerful stomach muscles, a tail like a cedar tree, and bones like bars of iron. This is an accurate description of sauropods – the largest known dinosaur family.

Scientifically inaccurate because science tells us that dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago, and that humanity is c.150,000-200,000 years old: the verse implies the behemoth is among humans. So the claim is false.

Further, scholarly consensus has it that the book of Job is thought to be not much more than 2,600 years old, and that the Behemoth may refer to a hippotamus or elephant. One of difficulties of the verses in question is that, rather than being accurate of anything, it is in fact too vague to say what it is – dinosaur or otherwise: a strong, large, animal that feeds on grass and has a penchant for hiding in water among reeds isn’t much to go on.

70. Pleasure explained (Psalm 36:8). Evolution cannot explain pleasure – even the most complex chemicals do not experience bliss. However, the Bible states that God “gives us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). Pleasure is a gift from God.

Evolution cannot explain pleasure as it does not deal with how experiences feel, but rather living animals and the appearance of species. No scientific claim is being examined here.

After examining 70 “facts” from the Bible, we’ve found 0 scientific claims in the Bible, 34 false claims, and 36 non-scientific claims. 31 more to go!

Science in the Bible – Review, pt6

So to Part 6, then, in our quest to examine one-by-one the 101 scientific facts to be found in the Bible. We’re half way through, and unfortunately for the people at Eternal Productions – a Creationist outfit – things don’t seem to be going that well: we’ve had 24 disqualifications, and goalposts that appear to move as to which bits of science is acceptable (see posts passim).

So, 51-60.

51. The sun goes in a circuit (Psalm 19:6). Some scientists scoffed at this verse thinking that it taught geocentricity – the theory that the sun revolves around the earth. They insisted the sun was stationary. However, we now know that the sun is traveling through space at approximately 600,000 miles per hour. It is literally moving through space in a huge circuit – just as the Bible stated 3,000 years ago!

Which scientists, I wonder, did the scoffing? Modern science is at best three hundred-odd years old, and Galileo – a pioneer of the scientific methodology – suffered for his scientific conclusions at the hands of religious authorities – not scientific authorities – and it was they if anyone who did the “scoffing”.

The sun takes one galactic year to make one complete orbit. That’s 220 million years, roughly. Whereas the impression one gets from verses 4 to 6 of Psalm 19 is distinctly earth-bound: “Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. In them he has set a tent for the sun. Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.” [My emphasis]. It takes an awful lot of imagination to read anything useful about a galactic year here.

Moreover, if these verses actually refers to the galactic year, one wonders whatever Pope Paul V was worried about regarding Gallileo’s defence of the heliocentric view of solar system. On balance, we have to say that the claim here is false – the Bible does not say anything about a galactic year, as understood by modern science.

52. Circumcision on the eighth day is ideal (Genesis 17:12; Leviticus 12:3; Luke 1:59). Medical science has discovered that the blood clotting chemical prothrombin peaks in a newborn on the eighth day. This is therefore the safest day to circumcise a baby. How did Moses know?!

Presumably by trial and error – they kept cutting the penises of newborns, and found that the blood clotted quicker after eight days. Prothrombin does reach a peak after eight days from the time of birth, which does aid blood clotting – that’s the science. But nowhere in Genesis, Levicitus or Luke is this offered as the reason; rather, it’s simply stated as an injunction from God to cut off a male child’s foreskin at eight years old. Scientific claims, remember, explain something about the world around us. An instruction from a deity does no such thing, and consequently does not advance human knowledge at all. It is false to claim that there is any science, or any indication of any scientific understanding in these verses; nothing about blood clotting, for example.

53. God has given us just the right amount of water to sustain life (Isaiah 40:12). We now recognize that if there was significantly more or less water, the earth would not support life as we know it.

The verse asks simply ‘Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand […]?‘. It says nothing about having enough water to sustain life.

The claim advanced here makes little or no sense – science has not set a specific volume of water that is critical for ‘life as we know it’ (whatever that means) to be supported. No theory or fact has been obviously referred to, so I can only conclude that it is not a scientific claim that has been tested here.

54. The earth was designed for biological life (Isaiah 45:18). Scientists have discovered that the most fundamental characteristics of our earth and cosmos are so finely tuned that if just one of them were even slightly different, life as we know it couldn’t exist. This is called the Anthropic Principle and it agrees with the Bible which states that God formed the earth to be inhabited.

Inhabited by what, though? For three gigayears of earth’s 4.5 gigayear history, microrganisms were the only living thing. Humanity – Homo sapien sapiens – has only been around for 200,000 years. A blink of the proverbial eyelid.

The temptation is to move onto the tired arguments about “fine tuning” and the “Anthropic Principle”, which are as discredited as the original Argument from Design is (but for a recent, robust, refutation of these variants, see Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion).

However, this would be a mistake: we need to focus on the job at hand, which is 1) examine the scientific claim and 2) examine the claim made for the Bible to see if the two match.

To begin with, no ‘fundamental characteristics’ are actually cited. But it is a truism to say that if the environment on earth was ‘different’ in some way (how much different?), then life well may be different, or may not even exist. But, however banal it is, one has to concede that this a claim that science would agree with. However, science does not say anything at all about God creating the universe, and would not ‘agree’ with any literal reading of the accounts of Creation in the Bible, as suggested. (For this reason, Creationism and Intelligent Design “Theory” is not science – the claims made are religious ones and not ones that you find in science).

Thus – taken overall – the claim advanced is not a scientific claim.

55. The universe is expanding (Job 9:8; Isaiah 42:5; Jeremiah 51:15; Zechariah 12:1). Repeatedly God declares that He stretches out the heavens. During the early 20th century, most scientists (including Einstein) believed the universe was static. Others believed it should have collapsed due to gravity. Then in 1929, astronomer Edwin Hubble showed that distant galaxies were receding from the earth, and the further away they were, the faster they were moving. This discovery revolutionized the field of astronomy. Eisntein admitted his mistake, and today most astronomers agree with what the Creator told us millennia ago – the universe is expanding!

To be fair to Einstein, he simply could not accept the conclusion of his own work, that the Universe was expanding, and fiddled the figures so that his equations fit in with the static view of the Universe. Actually, Hubble’s work verified Einstein’s theories, and Einstein is on record as regretting not trusting his own equations.

The verses state very clearly that either God ‘stretched’ or ‘stretches’ the heavens: indeed, ‘He’s the only one who can spread the heavens out’ (Job 9:8). Science, however, does postulate the existence of God in the ever-expanding Universe; the astonishing thing about science is the way in which it explains naturally occurring phenomena without recourse to any god or divine intervention at all. Clearly, the claim advanced on behalf of science above is not a scientific claim.

56. Law of Biogenesis explained (Genesis 1). Scientists observe that life only comes from existing life. This law has never been violated under observation or experimentation (as evolution imagines). Therefore life, God’s life, created all life.

Evolution is an observable fact and imagines nothing. The theory of evolution says nothing about where life comes from, but merely explains the observable fact of evolution (the fact being the appearance of change over time).

Science does not say that life on earth started with an act of creation by any god, so the claim here is false, with wholly inaccurate comments regarding evolution thrown in for good measure.

57. Animal and plant extinction explained (Jeremiah 12:4; Hosea 4:3). According to evolution, occasionally we should witness a new kind springing into existence. Yet, this has never been observed. On the contrary, as Scripture explains, since the curse on all creation, we observe death and extinction (Romans 8:20-22).

Another scientific claim which apparently does not meet the requirement of a scientific claim that has been prefigured in the Bible, and only much later verified by modern science. I would love to know the criteria by which such scientific claims chosen or discarded.

Nevertheless, science does not claim that new species of animals and plants ‘spring’ into existence ‘occasionally’: evolution claims a continuing process, day-by-day, that in some cases ultimately results in the emergence of distinctively new species. The entire fossil record and living DNA evidence are testimony to this – the latter utterly unknown to Darwin, of course.

Some observed examples of speciation with full citations can be found here and more here, but, again, so-called “fact” 57 is an attempt to contradict scientific claims, and consequently, no scientific claim has been made.

58. Light travels in a path (Job 38:19). Light is said to have a “way” [Hebrew: derek, literally a traveled path or road]. Until the 17th century it was believed that light was transmitted instantaneously. We now know that light is a form of energy that travels at ~186,000 miles per second in a straight line. Indeed, there is a “way” of light.

The verse asks the “way to” the source of light in a number of translations, rather than describes the nature of light. Examples include the New International Version (which has the verse read ‘What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside?‘ – my emphasis), New American Standard Version, King James Version, 21st Century King James Version, English Standard Version, etc. But the New Century Version uses the word “path”, thus ‘What is the path to light’s home, and where does darkness live?‘. But in case we’re not clear that the verse is asking for directions, rather than describing the nature of photons, the New International Readers’ Version has ‘Where does light come from? And where does darkness reside?‘ I don’t think you need a degree in theology to work out what that verse is asking.

However, to be clear, light does not have ‘a path’. It exists either as a particle or as a wave – something that the word “path” utterly fails to capture, but it’s nevertheless one of the intriguing insights into the nature of light in the last century.

So not only is there no scientific claim being made, but the Biblical one is decidely questionable, too!

59. Air has weight (Job 28:25). It was once thought that air was weightless. Yet 4,000 years ago Job declared that God established “a weight for the wind.” In recent years, meteorologists have calculated that the average thunderstorm holds thousands of tons of rain. To carry this load, air must have mass.

The New International Version – and others, such as the New Living Translation – suggest that it’s the force of the wind that’s being talked about, rather than weight.

Moreover, in the intepretation given, it is not clear whether one is talking of air mass (an area of uniform temperature and pressure), and which may have some bearing on the creation of thunderstorms (cf. Job 18:26); or the mass of air (molecular mass), alluded to above, but which plays no role in the formation of thunderstorms.

Again, no scientific claim is really being advanced here of which can be sensibly talked about.

60. Jet stream anticipated (Ecclesiates 1:6). At a time when it was thought that winds blew straight, the Bible declares “The wind goes toward the south, and turns around to the north; The wind whirls about continually, and comes again on its circuit.” King Solomon wrote this 3,000 years ago. Now consider this: it was not until World War II that airmen discovered the jet stream circuit.

Jetstreams (plural) exist 10-15 kms up in the atmosphere, and certainly do NOT go ‘south’ and ‘turns around to the north’ and ‘whirls about continually’. The major jetstreams flow west to east. Moreover, there is nothing in the verse to indicate that an usual wind phenomenon is being talked about, but, rather, wind (singular) in general. Hence, in a previous verse, it incorrectly states that: ‘The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises.’ It doesn’t hurry back anywhere, of course: it’s the earth that moves around the sun. But asides from that, the idea – that things repeating and returning back to where they started – is the same one repeated in the subsequent verses, 19:6 and 7. Note the other astonishing insight offered in Eccl. 1.4, that the earth will last forever. Er, no, it won’t.

Anyhow, the claim that jetstreams are anticipated in this verse is clearly false.

And that’s another ten examined; four false claims, and six “facts” dismissed.

Back soon with 61-70.

Science in the Bible – Review, pt5 have put forward 101 scientific facts that apparently existed in the Bible before science came along and “verified” these facts. After examining the first forty of these facts, we’ve had to chuck out 20 as simply not being any sort of scientific claim at all, while the remaining twenty represent misunderstandings, errors or claims that were not in any way unique to the Bible but existed as folklore in other cultures, as well. In Part Five, I tackle the so-called “facts” numbered 41 to 50.

41. Healthy dietary laws (Leviticus 11:9-12). Scripture states that we should avoid those sea creatures which do not have fins or scales. We now know that bottom-feeders (those with no scales or fins) tend to consume waste and are likely to carry disease.

Which isn’t what Levicitus 11 says, of course. Verse 12 states ‘Anything living in the water that does not have fins and scales is to be detestable to you‘ – not just bottom-feeders, amd not just because of health risks, but also shrimps, crabs, oysters, mussels, frogs, lobsters, etc., etc. Moreover, fish is no more of a health risk than any other sea food. The 121 species of Puffer Fish (Tetraodontidae), which are all perfectly acceptable according the Levicitus dietary laws, are notoriously poisonous and will very easily kill you if not prepared correctly. Nevertheless, they are routinely eaten in east Asia. Another false fact.

42. The Bible warns against eating birds of prey (Leviticus 11:13-19). Scientists now recognize that those birds which eat carrion (putrefying flesh), often spread disease.

Science does not say, however, that one mustn’t eat them. Moreover, the list of birds cited in verses 13-19 contain birds that do not live off carrion (eg the Hoopoe, the Cormorant). Again, simply false.

43. Avoid swine (Deuteronomy 14:8). Not so long ago, science learned that eating undercooked pork causes an infection of parasites called trichinosis. Now consider this: the Bible forbid the eating of swine more than 3,000 years before we learned how to cook pork safely.

Consider this: people have been happily tucking into pork for thousands of years, while Deutronomy 14:8 forbids the eating of pigs generally because they does not chew cud, and therefore unclean. It says nothing about undercooking pork or the accompanying risks. Again, there are risks in undercooking any meat or poultry that is perfectly acceptable, according to Deutronomy and Levicitus. Again, the claim is false.

44. Radical environmentalism foreseen (Romans 1:25). Two thousand years ago, God’s Word stated that many would worship and serve creation rather than the Creator. Today, nature is revered as “Mother” and naturalism is enshrined.

This is a non-scientific claim. It is also a decidely inaccurate claim – revered and enshrined by whom, precisely?

45. Black holes and dark matter anticipated (Matthew 25:30; Jude 1:13; Isaiah 50:3). Cosmologists now speculate that over 98% of the known universe is comprised of dark matter, with dark energy and black holes. A black hole’s gravitational field is so strong that nothing, not even light, escapes. Beyond the expanding universe there is no measured radiation and therefore only outer darkness exists. These theories paint a seemingly accurate description of what the Bible calls “outer darkness” or “the blackness of darkness forever.”

The relevant passages, respectively, are:
And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth
They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.
I clothe the sky with darkness and make sackcloth its covering
I’m confused as to how we get dark matter and black holes – very specific scientific concepts – from these passages, given the context in which they appear. Where is the sackcloth, precisely, of which Isaiah speaks? Where is the mention of that most of the Universe consists of Dark Matter? No meaningful scientific claim has been made.

46. The Second Law of Thermodynamics (Entropy) explained (Psalm 102:25-26). This law states that everything in the universe is running down, deteriorating, constantly becoming less and less orderly. Entropy (disorder) entered when mankind rebelled against God – resulting in the curse (Genesis 3:17; Romans 8:20-22). Historically most people believed the universe was unchangeable. Yet modern science verifies that the universe is “grow(ing) old like a garment” (Hebrews 1:11). Evolution directly contradicts this law.

This represents a scientific misunderstanding (at best) vis-a-vis evolution, and the return of an old friend – the selective use of scientific facts, without giving an explanation as the selection process or the rationale, particularly as the object of the exercise is simply to juxtapose a modern scientific claim next to the relevant Biblical text. Anyhow, evolution does not contradict the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics as it operates within an open system, deriving energy (ultimately) from the sun. Moreover, science does not claim that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics nor Entropy came about because of a rebellion against any particular deity, but rather it simply describes how the Universe in fact works. The claims made here are false.

47. Cain’s wife discovered (Genesis 5:4). Skeptics point out that Cain had no one to marry – therefore the Bible must be false. However, the Bible states plainly that Adam and Eve had other sons and daughters. Cain married his sister.

Nothing to do with science here. That’ll be another off the list, then.

48. Incest laws established (Leviticus 18:6). To marry near of kin in the ancient world was common. Yet, beginning about 1500 B.C., God forbid this practice. The reason is simple – the genetic mutations (resulting from the curse) had a cumulative effect. Though Cain could safely marry his sister because the genetic pool was still relatively pure at that time, by Moses’ day the genetic errors had swelled. Today, geneticists confirm that the risk of passing on a genetic abnormality to your child is much greater if you marry a close relative because relatives are more likely to carry the same defective gene. If they procreate, their offspring are more apt to have this defect expressed.

Other cultures also had their incest laws, of course – it’s hardly unique to the Bible. This is precisely the horror that lies in the non-Biblical story of Oedipus Rex, for example. Nevertheless, science does not claim that there was a time when it was possible for a brother to marry his sister or that the genetic pool was more “pure” than it is now, which appears to be the implication in the above comment. Moreover, it should be noted that Levicitus 18:6 merely forbids sex between close relations – it does not point to any scientific consequences for children born of such a union to do with genes, etc. It is precisely this why – from a scientific point of view (ie not a moral one) – why it’s not a good idea. One has to say that, in Levicitus 18:6, no scientific claim is being made.

49. Genetic mixing of different seeds forbidden (Leviticus 19:19; Deuteronomy 22:9). The Bible warns against mixing seeds – as this will result in an inferior or dangerous crop. There is now growing evidence that unnatural, genetically engineered crops may be harmful.

In their injunctions against planting two types of seed in the same field, the Leviticus and Deuteronomy passages appear to warn against the dangers of hybridisation rather than “genetic engineering” per se. Nevertheless, it goes without saying, that hybrid crops of one sort or another have been eaten safely for centuries, and that there is no evidence that genetically modified and genetically engineered crops are harmful to humans purely because they are engineered or modified. The claim is false.

50. Hydrological cycle described (Ecclesiastes 1:7; Jeremiah 10:13; Amos 9:6). Four thousand years ago the Bible declared that God “draws up drops of water, which distill as rain from the mist, which the clouds drop down and pour abundantly on man” (Job 36:27-28). The ancients observed mighty rivers flowing into the ocean, but they could not conceive why the sea level never rose. Though they observed rainfall, they had only quaint theories as to its origin. Meteorologists now understand that the hydrological cycle consists of evaporation, atmospheric transportation, distillation, and precipitation.

This is a first. After 49 so-called “facts”, the Job verses cited do appear – at first glance – to describe the the hydrological cycle (the other three verses simply do not). It may even be that such an account existed nowhere else in the world at the time – I’d need to do further research to establish that. But there is one glaring difference between the account in Job and modern meterology. The view today is that the hydrological cycle is a purely natural phenomenon. Job suggests that God actively intervenes in the process. This a critical point, of course – science has repeatedly shown us how things happen which previously humanity had ascribed to a deity or some other supernatural being. Not so. When Job (38:29) asks: ‘Who can understand how he spreads out the clouds, how he thunders from his pavilion?‘, we can assert “us” – we now understand such things, or have the intellectual tools that will enable us to understand. And God, it has to be said, is notoriously absent from any scientific explanation to date – including the hydrological cycle. The claim is false.

After fifty “facts”: Science: 26 – the Bible: 0. 24 disqualifications.

Coming up soon: Part 6, in which we’ll examine claims 51 to 60.