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15 Billion Years != 6 Days in Genesis

August 28, 2011

A pet peeve of mine is when people try to take scientific principles and try to somehow force it to match Biblical teachings.  Not only is this unnecessary, but it generally only makes that person look like an idiot or crackpot.  Today’s crackpot is Gerald Schroeder, and today’s Biblical teaching is Genesis 1.

Countless times people have debated how to reconcile the apparent contradictions between the creation story in Genesis with how scientists now believe the universe came into being.  Schroeder is certainly not the first, and won’t be the last.  Most of the time, Bible literalists claim some variation of, “a day back then is not the same length as today”.    Usually someone quotes 2nd Peter 3:8-9, which reads:  “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”

Schroeder takes a slightly different approach, invoking Einsteins Theory of General Relativity and time dilation to “prove” that the 6 days of creation in Genesis 1 is literally identical to the approximately 15 billion years since the Big Bang.  One reason why Schroeder has been taken serious by many people is that he does have a very nice resume.  He has several degrees from M.I.T., and has worked in the Nuclear Physics field.  Unfortunately, this does not make him immune to saying silly things.  (Another example of “smart” people saying silly things is NASA Astronaut Edgar Mitchell, 6th man to walk on the moon, and believes we’ve been visited by UFO’s and can heal people from a distance using psychic abilities.)

Schroeder uses lots of big words and big concepts, to try to prove his point– but he misses the obvious issues that lots of crazy math cannot reconcile.   Fortunately, analyzing the validity of his claims does not require crazy math or intimate knowledge of General Relativity.  As a side effect, we can evaluate the validity of ALL claims that 15 billion years equals 6 days in Genesis– regardless of how they justify it.

Genesis 1 lists, chronologically, how the universe was created.  It is:

  • Day 1:  Heaven, Earth, Night, and Day.
  • Day 2:  “The Expanse”, a.k.a more Heaven
  • Day 3:  Land, Ocean, and Fruit/Seed Producing Plants.
  • Day 4:  Sun, Moon, and Stars.
  • Day 5:  Sea creatures, and Birds.
  • Day 6:  Land creatures, and Man.

And here is a rough timeline for the creation of the universe, according to the scientific evidence (Note:  bya = billions of years ago, mya = millions of years ago):

On the 8th Day, God created Zombie Gingerbread Men

  • 15 bya:  The Big Bang
  • 13 bya:  Galaxies Formed
  • 4.7 bya:  Our solar system formed, including the Earth
  • 4 bya:  Liquid water
  • 3 bya:  Blue-Green Bacteria
  • 650 mya:  Jellyfish
  • 380 mya:  Insects
  • 250 mya:  Dinosaurs
  • 150 mya:  Birds
  • 40 mya:  Cows
  • 0.2 mya:  Neanderthals
  • 0.1 mya:  Modern Humans

We must assume that time in the creation story is monotonic, meaning that Day 4 follows Day 3.  No time-travel is allowed where day 2 comes after day 5, for example.  To allow for a non-monotonic time flow would be the same as magically or supernaturally breaking the laws of physics, which sort of defeats the purpose of comparing Genesis 1 to the scientific evidence in the first place.  So, time always travels forward, it just doesn’t have to always travel forward at the same speed.

When comparing these two timelines, Genesis 1 and the scientific evidence, we can see several conflicts.  The most notable is that birds are created before land animals in Genesis, while the fossil record shows that Dinosaurs came before birds.  Another is that land plants came before sea creatures in Genesis, while the opposite happened in the scientific record.  There are others, but you get the point.

Are we to believe that fruit/seed producing plants came before the sun?  Plants use the sun’s energy, and cannot function without it.  So to suggest that they were created before the sun seem implausible.   It is more implausible that night and day were created before the sun, after all it is the sun which defines night and day.  You cannot have one without the other.  And the moon, which was created from a massive collision with the Earth, could not have been created after Fruit/Seed producing plants, since the plants would have been wiped out in such a collision.

Schroeder tries to hand wave some of these discrepancies away.  For example, he says that the sun and moon were not created on Day 4 but that is when the thick primordial clouds disappeared and the sun, moon, and stars became visible from the Earths surface.  He also takes a very liberal interpretation of “fruit bearing plants” and “birds of the sky” to mean “blue-green ocean bacteria” and “water insects”.  I my opinion a very liberal interpretation of the Creation Story is required, but that negates any need for scientific justification.

Conclusion

Regardless how you map 15 billion years to the 6 days in Genesis, it doesn’t make sense.  Just because Gerald Schroeder uses fancy math and physics doesn’t make him any more correct.  Worse, it makes him seem desperate to justify his beliefs using science than just admit that Faith is Irrational.

Trying to equate 15 billion years of scientific evidence with a literal interpretation of the 6 days of creation is a fools errand.  It can’t be done.  The only way to make it “work” is if you either distort the scientific evidence or you depart from a literal interpretation of Genesis 1.  Distorting the evidence makes you dishonest.  Completely departing from a literal translation of the Bible makes you question the divine authority of the Bible.  Schroeder takes the way of the chicken and claims to be a literalist while glossing over the inconsistencies and hoping that nobody notices.

It is OK to for Christians and Jews to admit that Faith is Irrational.  Doing so does not take anything away from their belief system.  In fact, I would argue that it adds to it!  But more importantly, it removes the need or drive to badly use science to justify their ideology– because using science in that way just makes them look like an idiot or crackpot.

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36 comments

  1. In the beginning the Earth was formless and empty

    Day 1 “let there be light” the darkness was separated from the light. God called the light “day” and the darkness “night”

    Day 2 “let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.” God called the expanse “sky”.

    Day 3 “let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” God called the dry ground “land” and the gathered waters he called “seas”.
    then God said, “let the land produce vegetation: seed bearing plants and trees…” (Remember that there was already light from Day 1 for this vegetation to depend on and use for

    Day 4 “let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate day from night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years,…” sun and moon and stars – maybe even time????

    Day 5 “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth…”

    Day 6 “Let the land produce living creatures…” Land animals

    then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sean and the birds of the ai, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

    Day 7 God rested (ceased) from his work of creating.

    •15 bya: The Big Bang

    rapidly expanding universe – still dark due to high gravitational pull near the center of the big bang. All matter is still “formless and void”

    •13 bya: Galaxies Formed

    Day 1 “let there be light”

    •4.7 bya: Our solar system formed, including the Earth

    Day 2 – the expanse or sky was “formed” as the planet came together and gravity pulled gases down towards the planet. The atmosphere is a combination of gases and water vapor.

    •4 bya: Liquid water
    •3 bya: Blue-Green Bacteria

    Day 3 – the planet is cooling and the water vapor in the atmosphere is condensing and forming “seas”. The Bible doesn’t mention when bacteria was formed but anytime after the seas were formed would make sense. Your model doesn’t include vegetation which appeared between 1.3 bya and 435 mya

    Day 4 – The vegetation has been converting CO2 into oxygen, the planet is continuing to cool and the cloudy, foggy atmosphere clears and the sun, moon and stars are visible for the first time.

    •650 mya: Jellyfish
    •380 mya: Insects
    •250 mya: Dinosaurs
    •150 mya: Birds

    Day 5 Fish and birds – The fossil records even show that early dinosaurs are related to birds and may have even been capable of flight.

    •40 mya: Cows
    •0.2 mya: Neanderthals
    •0.1 mya: Modern Humans

    Day 6 Land animals and lastly “Man”

    Day 7 God “ceased” or rested from his work. Are there any creatures that have “evolved” since Man did?

    It would seem that the Bible is in accordance with the order of evolution. The 6 days vs. 15 billion years is the only mystery that is obvious here. One other mystery that isn’t as obvious is, where did the writers of Genesis come up with this particular order when they had no fossil record to follow nor any knowlege whatsoever of the formation of the universe? They even believed that the world was flat back then. (the four corners of the earth)

    How do you respond to this?


  2. One pet peeve of mine is that Christian Apologists generally do not know how to debate. Step 1, read what you are debating. Step 2, directly address the points brought up. What many apologists do is bring up new and sometimes irrelevant points in an attempt to sweep the original points under the rug.

    My response to you is simple: read my post and directly address the points it contains. Specifically the bible states that birds came before land animals, plants came before the sun, and night and day came before the sun. If you cannot address these problems then the rest of the discussion is pointless.

    The Genesis 16 clearly states that the sun and moon were created on day 4, yet seed-bearing plants and trees were created on day 3 (Gen 11). We know from scientific evidence that land plants started about 475 million years ago (mya) but the moon was formed about 4.5 billion years ago (bya)– and seeds started about 400 mya.

    The only way to reconcile this is by claiming that Day 3 occurred about 4 billion years AFTER Day 4. Of course the Apologists will make it fit by playing fast and loose with the facts– distorting the scientific evidence or or not taking a literal interpretation of the Bible. If you can solve this without doing either then, well, I want to see that!


    • `owph can mean flying creatures and winged insects, as well as birds, so the placement before dinosaurs is acceptable.

      The word in Genesis 1:1 is ‘bara which would mean to create, but the word in verse 16 ‘asah has many more meanings. You’ve assumed God created the sun and moon instantaneously, whereas as a Hebrew reading doesn’t suggest that, it seems to suggest they were present near Day 1 already, before the earth cooled, water pooled together and plant life formed, which would explain the first evening and morning. It’s perfectly acceptable to see from a scientific POV that the sun and moon appeared within the sky because the atmosphere had cleared out by then.


      • What I have been claiming is that it is silly to use sciency sounding words to justify a literal interpretation of the Bible. What you are saying is that you cannot have a literal interpretation of the non-Hebrew Bible. In that, we both agree.

        But I will further claim that you cannot take a literal interpretation of the Hebrew Bible. If the NIV is untrustworthy because it is a translation of the Hebrew, then the Hebrew is equally untrustworthy because it is the translation of thousands of years of oral storytelling, and even a translation of one dialect of Hebrew to another.

        I do not understand why an all powerful, all knowing, all present God would write down his inerrant word in such a way that its meaning would be debated for millenia– even between true believers, and believers who are native Hebrew and Greek speakers. Obviously, what people are quarreling over is not the inerrant word of god.

        Yes, what you say does make sense from a science POV, but only if what you say is the correct interpretation– but I doubt that you can do any better of a translation of the “original” Hebrew than the scholars who did the NIV/KJV/Etc translations. Based on what you have written so far, I am not likely to take your interpretation over other more established versions that you bemoan. In the end, your claims are just a variation of the “Special Pleading” logical fallacy.


      • We need to remember that the Bible is not a technical document. The first question I have is: Does it make sense or does it contradict science?
        Here is an example: Saying that computers have brains but no hearts, is not technically accurate but does not contradict the truth.


      • I agree that it is not a Tech Doc. My first question is actually: Does the Bible need to be held to scientific standards? Yes, and no! If you (a generic You, not You specifically) try to justify the Bible with sciency-sounding words then the answer is yes. And if you believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible, then yes. But if those do not describe you then I think that the Bible can be judged in a much more lenient way. The difference is in the importance/emphasis that you put on the Bible. I am perfectly fine with the 6 days of creation story being a literary tool used for teaching or whatever. But if you (still a generic You) try to invoke science to justify a literal interpretation of the Bible, then in my opinion you also raise to the level of proper scientific scrutiny. My complaint with Schroeder’s theory is not that he has that interpretation of the Bible, but it is that he tried (incorrectly, in my opinion) to use science to justify his views.

        In my opinion, faith and science do not, and cannot, mix. I’ve written other blog posts about that. The very definitions of “faith” and the “scientific method” make the two mutually exclusive. So when someone attempts to unite Faith and Science, like Schroeder and many others, it never ends well and usually just makes whoever is doing that look bad. And, again in my opinion, religion does not need science to back it up so there is no point in trying.


  3. I just want to say I agree with your statements regarding Schroeder’s creation model. I was first exposed to this watching a movie called The Genesis Code. Although as a bible believing Christian I was very interested in this theory. However I as disappointed to realize this theory requires extreme interpretive gymnastics in order to reconcile the details. I do believe there are parts of this theory that six day creationists such as myself cannot ignore such as the dilation of time, gravitational refraction, and that the speed of light is slowing down. I believe these things will help us to better understand the age of the universe. I don’t believe science and the bible cannot be reconciled. My faith is all about discovering truth. Science is supposed to be the search for truth. I believe both scientists and bible believing Christians need to be careful with interpretive assumptions. I believe the bible is the word of God and one day our understanding of science will catch up with the truth revealed in scripture. In the meantime believers and unbelievers should at least show respect towards one another and admit our interpretations of science and scripture may have flawed.


    • David, i’m curious, what do you make of the Cambrian Explosion?


      • Oh, I love a good explosion! Especially when the thud hits you just right in your chest! (Sorry, I just watched a Mythbusters video.)

        But seriously, your question is super-vague. Could you be a bit more specific?


  4. Hi David,

    I like how you use the labels idiot and crackpot! It adds credibility to you and your argument. Keep up the good work. God Bless you.


    • Flattery will get you nowhere! But seriously, on so many levels your comment brought a smile to my face all morning. Probably not for the reasons you intended, but a smile none the less.


  5. How do you measure time when earth was not yet created and there is no rotation around the sun? You use the source. You measure the visible progress of the big bang, which since objects move faster than light appears very slow.


    • Since 1967, we have defined a second as 9,192,631,770 vibrations of a Caesium-133 atom. So we do not require the earth or the sun to define the passage of time. Further, objects never move faster than light. Never. You comments make as much sense as Genesis 1, where Night/Day was created several “days” before the Sun and Moon. I have no idea what point you are trying to make.


      • A second is derived from the rotation of earth. How do you measure time before earth rotated?
        It is like asking a transistor how long it took to make the CPU. The answer would probably be billions of clock cycles and your finger is millions of gates wide.
        If you triggered the big bang, how would you measure time? No earth.
        It is not that objects don’t move faster than light as it is that light moves at the same speed near objects. If two spaceships leave earth in opposite directions near the speed of light relative to earth, the sun would say that they are flying faster than the speed of light from one another. What if one shoot a missile near the speed of light away from the system? The speed of light is constant for every object but the time it would take for a snapshot of an image to get from one place to another depends on the relative speed of the system.
        Even if earth was moving away from the center of the big bang near the speed of light, looking at the progress of the big bang we would see a huge delay in time. In theory it is therefore possible that when you measure time using the origin of the bang you might see just a couple of days passing by.


  6. Asaf Hcmos,

    You completely missed the point of my article. If you did, then you would know that I already addressed your issue. Let’s say that 15 billion years really does equal 6 days. If that is true then Genesis 1 is still wrong because the timeline it gives cannot be true (night/day before the sun/moon, etc.) and it doesn’t match the scientific record for how things “appeared” (land animals before sea creatures, etc.). Further, I suggest that you review your physics, because your comment is full of inaccuracies. But even if it was correct, your point is still invalid for the previously mentioned reasons.


    • The bible says that “the big crocodiles” were created in the sea. I can only assume that these are the Dinosaurs. Other than that the timeline is nearly fine. We need to look at the original text in Hebrew. There is a distinction between heaven and skyline (both use the same word in the original text, but one is sky/heaven and the other is sky/heaven-line/surface).
      It is fine that you have day and night before you see the sun because we measure the creation of the universe in years before there was a sun. Plants before sun corresponds to greenhouse effect before the land is cooled enough.
      I guess you are right about my physics… I am terrible with math.
      Fun chat…


      • If we believe that the Bible is the “infallible word of God”, then we cannot say things like, “other than that. . . it is nearly fine”, and “we need to look at the original Hebrew”. On the other hand, if we believe that the Bible has some innacuracies then there is no point in debating the Creation story(s).

        “Nearly fine” is the same as saying, “there is at least one thing wrong with the Bible”. At that point you must agree that either the Bible is not the inerrant word of God, or that the translation is in error.

        You could blame the translation, and you do when you say that we have to refer to the “original” Hebrew. That is a whole ‘nother blob post! The stories in Genesis were first told as an oral tradition, then written down around 700 BCE by about 4 different authors, and then those individual stories were edited together by countless people since then. This editing process has been known by Biblical scholars for a long time. If assume 6,000 years since the Creation (my point is stronger if it has been longer), then there is 3,000 years of oral tradition and another 3,000 years of editing. So when someone says “original Hebrew”, I ask, “What is original?”

        The truth is that we do not know what the original source is. There is no longer any “original Hebrew”. There are at least 6 “main” versions of Hebrew used between 10th Century BCE and the 4th Century CE, and countless dialects. Which version is to be considered the infallable word of God? If us lowely humans place an arbitrary cutoff, saying that all Hebrew is infallable and anything after is suspect, or saying that this version of Hebrew is good while this other version is bad, then are we not doing an arbitrary editing process ourselves and thus introducing our own errors into the “word of God”?

        My point is this: What we know as the Bible, the English translations as well as the “original” Hebrew or Greek, is not infallable. There are errors. The Creation Story is just one example where it cannot possibly be literally correct. You even acknowledge that when you say “nearly fine”. And once you admit that one part of the Bible is incorrect then you cannot believe that the Bible is the divine word of God.

        Now, on to specific comments on your points:

        Heaven vs. Skyline: Irrelevant.

        Night/Day before Sun: Night & Day defines periods of light and dark, not elapsed time. You cannot have periods of light/dark without a sun, but you can have elapsed time without a sun. It makes no sense to say that Night/Day could exist before the sun. Trying to connect this concept to how we today track elapsed time is a non sequitur.

        Plants before sun: Plants require sunlilght to convert the chemicals they get from the ground and the air into usable energy. This is called photosynthesis. A major part of that “machinery” is chlorophyll, a chemical which helps in this conversion process. Plants are green because of chlorophyll. You cannot have plants before the sun, because they will die of malnutrition.

        Greenhouse effect: The greenhouse effect is when gasses in the planets atmosphere allow energy from the sun to warm the planet but then does not allow that energy to be radiated back into space. The greenhouse effect cannot possibly exist without a sun, and therefore could not exist before the sun.


  7. Dear David, last to first:
    Greenhouse effect can also happen when the ground is too warm and clouds cover the sky. If the ground is hot then low air is hot. If you happen to have clouds touching the hot air then cool air above cannot enter the system and cool air cannot cool the clouds because the entire system is too hot. It is possible for a hot planet to be covered with hot water and clouds for a long period of time, especially assuming that the planet was hot and then slowly cooled down.
    There is life in water. Also you can have plants in areas with very low light, many days of snow or cloudy sky. I can only assume that some UV gets through.
    You do not accept night and day before sun but you do accept years before earth’s rotation. The Hebrew version says evening and morning, not night and day, which is a transition and not a state.
    Wikisource: http://he.wikisource.org/wiki/%D7%91%D7%A8%D7%90%D7%A9%D7%99%D7%AA_%D7%90/%D7%9B%D7%AA%D7%99%D7%91
    Using google translate:
    And there was evening and there was morning one day

    I cannot tell you what is the original version of the text. I would however attack the original Hebrew version which was later translated to other languages. The wording in Hebrew have many meanings. Here is a fine example of a pitfall from Hebrew to English, using google translate:
    https://translate.google.com/?hl=en&tab=wT#auto/en/%D7%A9%D7%9E%D7%99%D7%9D%20%D7%95%D7%90%D7%A8%D7%A5
    https://translate.google.com/?hl=en&tab=wT#auto/en/%D7%A9%D7%9E%D7%99%D7%9D%20%D7%95%20%D7%90%D7%A8%D7%A5
    I don’t think that anyone has all the answers. If you want to attack the biblical story I would start with proving that dinosaurs could not be creature of water as the bible says (Translated as whales instead of crocodiles). So far Crocodiles look like creatures of water and the loch ness monster reminds me of a brontosaurus…
    I’m not going to make anyone feel differently about anything, and I certainly don’t expect anyone to pay money to some institute.
    When will we see a post talking about how poorly we understand the atom and how we cannot really predict properties of materials based on the model that we have?
    (no disrespect)


    • What you are describing as the “Greenhouse effect” is really the “Cloud Blanket Effect”. The blanket effect is specific to warm ground temps with dense cloud cover. The Greenhouse effect is specific to solar energy and so-called greenhouse gases (not dense clouds). While the underlying mechanism of these two effects is similar, they are distinct effects that should not be confused.

      You do not accept night and day before sun but you do accept years before earth’s rotation.

      Absolutely! Night/Day requires a sun to have meaning. Having the passage of time does not require an earth. The term “year” is just a unit of time measurement, while Night/Day is an event. Instead of saying 15 billion years I could have said 4.7 x 10^17 seconds. I could have said 4.35 x 10^27 vibrations of the Caesium-133 atom. There are a lot of ways to denote the passage of time that do not require an earth. However, there is only one interpretation for, “Got said let there be light, and there was light… and he separated the light from the dark and he called light, day, and darkness, night.”

      The only way Genesis 1:3-5 could be even remotely true is if God created a bright light, separate from the sun, which he destroys in Genesis 1:14-19 and replaces with the real sun. I would argue that if God did that then he royally screwed up. Either he is not all-knowing, or he couldn’t figure out how to write down his divine word in a way that makes sense to us mortals.

      If you want to attack the biblical story I would start with proving that dinosaurs could not be creature of water as the bible says (Translated as whales instead of crocodiles). So far Crocodiles look like creatures of water and the loch ness monster reminds me of a brontosaurus…

      In science, philosophy, and law the burden of proof is the one making claims that do not line up with the null hypothesis. In other words, it is your duty to prove your claims and not my duty to refute them. Your claims are outside of the established norm, even when considering what most mainstream Christians believe, and certainly outside of the scientific consensus. Therefore, the burden of proof is on you.

      I should also point out some more scientific misinformation that you have: The Lock Ness Monster is an urban legend that does not exist. The only “best” evidence is the so-called Surgeons Photograph, which has been exposed as a hoax by the people who made the floating model and took the photograph. Even so, the true believers think that the Loch Ness Monster is a decedent of the Plesiosaur, not a Brontosaurus. But even the name Brontosaurus is not “correct”. The correct name is Apatosaurus, although in less formal circles the term Brontosaurus is considered to be a synonym.

      So let me summarize this exchange: You are a person who plays fast and loose with what the Bible says, you go to the “original” Hebrew when it suits you, you get basic scientific facts wrong, you believe in known hoaxes, and yet you want me to believe that your pet theory on how Genesis 1 is right. And further more, you think that it is my duty to disprove you. The mind boggles. I’m still trying to figure out how you go from “Let the waters team with living creatures”, to whales are really crocodiles which are really dinosaurs and therefore the timeline is right. Go take a basic logic, reasoning, and critical thinking class and then get back to me.


  8. If anyone ever tells you that you are not funny, let me have a word with them.
    Did you see what just happened? I suggested that loch ness monster looks like a dinosaur and is actually a sea creature and you jumped into thinking the worst about me assuming that I believe that it exists. What I actually said was that the designers of this fake monster created a sea creature and came up with a dinosaur. How funny is that?
    Now, why would you assume that I am stupid instead of assuming that I may have a valid point? You don’t know me. Maybe I’m nice…
    You are probably right about Greenhouse effect Cloud Blanket Effect. It’s like that nice lady today that insisted that it’s not plastic, it’s polycarbonate… I add a translation layer behind my lips.

    You say that “Night/Day requires a sun to have meaning”. Don’t you expect year to need the sun too? Why can’t you have 24 hours as a base for measures?
    I am taking you back to the Hebrew text because sometimes you pick into the words. The document is not a technical document and you are criticizing a translation of it. I bet you could fail any factual report on a non-technical newspaper. I am pretty sure that you can read the story about NASA finding water on another planet and all the facts there are inaccurate and the wording is all wrong.
    I guess you already have an opinion and you are just waiting for the opportunity to not listen.
    That only shows that you are good with technology. Most are opinionated :)
    I guess that’s the beauty of it. It is mostly fans vs. fans, not logic vs. logic.
    Thanks. I learned a lot.


    • Asaf, I will be the gentleman and let you have the last word on this topic.


  9. the last word: Thanks


  10. how is it that the apostle peter knew the equation for the speed of light? Lucky guess right? I’m sure he rigged the numbers.
    http://www.christianlearninglounge.net/2-peter-38-and-einsteins-special-theory-of-relativity.html


    • Yeah, right. “Equation”, for the “speed of light”. I suggest that you re-read the first paragraph of my post. The article you link to got so much of the math of Relativity wrong, it is astounding. Further, your assertion that Peter knew the equation for the speed of light is not backed up by the article that you link to. What the article says is that the speed you need to travel to make 1000 years seem like 1 year is 0.999999999996 times the speed of light. (The article rounds that off to equal 1.0, which is not valid in this case.) At best, all you can say is that Peter understood that the speed of light is 1.0 times the speed of light. Great. Peter discovered the number 1.

      The article you link to really shows the two main things I hate about people like that: 1. Their sciency-sounding dissertations just shine a spotlight on the lack of their understanding of science and math. And 2. what they are doing is a disservice to Christians, because it makes them look bad. And looking bad is not what Christians need right now.


  11. [Important Note: This comment was edited heavily by me, David Kessner. Around 95% of the comment was removed because it was way too long, longer than my original article, didn't directly address my points, and more importantly didn't bring any new information to the discussion. My editing is just removing the fluff, while trying to keep the original intent.]

    [DK: . . .]

    In combination with verses which state that non-believers will say in their hearts that God is not real, and therefor will not hear the true Word of God, even if they read, or listen to the Bible, and/or teachers of it.
    Stating things like “it doesn’t make sense to me”, and illustrating your biblical ignorance and predisposition to conclude contrary to biblical views, is not logical, it is bias.
    In other words, I believe your interpretation is false and flawed fundamentally, its ignorant and arrogant, assuming, and asserting based on your personal ignorance of biblical teaching, and subjective perception, rather than objectively addressing the issue.

    Here is a break down of my interpretation. I don’t assume I am correct entirely, but I do believe my interpretation is a more accurate representation, and holds more weight, coming from a position of understanding, and biblical education, rather than a bias predisposition that initially disagrees and seeks to confirm that belief, rather than objectively view the verses.

    [DK: At this point the commenter includes his very long interpretation of Genesis 1, which I have removed. This expose included listing the Hebrew translation, as well as dictionary definitions.]


    • Dustin, sorry for the massive editing, but it had to be done. Very few people would have read it in the original form, so I had to distill it down to the basics and keep it on topic.

      My main comment to you is: You prove my point that there are many interpretations of the Bible, and a literal interpretation is impossible. Your interpretation differs from the interpretation of many believers.

      Your “logical reasoning” says (highly paraphrased), “I claim that anyone who disagrees with my interpretation is a non-believer and therefore wrong, because the Bible says so.”

      As for “personal ignorance of biblical teaching”, you make too many too many incorrect assumptions. I won’t list the whole resume (that would be bragging), but let’s just say that I was a very active evangelical christian for 40+ years. At one point I was accurately described as a “Jesus Freak”. I am many things, but ignorant of biblical teaching is not one of them.


      • No, your twisting my comments by stating that anyone that disagrees with me is wrong. A hasty generalization of my position.
        I clearly stated that my opinion is likely not 100% accurate, and no 1 individual or group likely is. Rather a vague claim is made that in order to logically challenge the authority of God/Bible, you must assume in your premise, what you’re attempting to prove in your conclusion.
        I agree with your statement, basically stating that Agnostic is the only intelligent scientific view. However, I could make the same argument against “Dark Matter/Energy”, the Multiverse, String Theory, abiogenesis, and many other accepted theories, yet these are accepted scientific theories or the prominent leading hypothesis’ and considered scientific, not pseudo.
        So what makes the general concept of God any different? Your claim is basically that without direct empirical evidence, it is not valid science. Yet we have more than 1 major theories which violate the same principal and are accepted by scientific community.
        I could go in great detail about the improbability of many of these in general and specifically, such as the value of dark energy in the universe being 10 to the -22 (22 decimal 0s followed by a 1), and requiring a 10 to the 500 different dimensions, and seemingly infinite number of different universes, including different variations and even exact copies of our own, as well as a majority of universes which contain no mass, and never form stars, matter ect.
        All of which, is unfalsifiable/verifiable, and rely on highly improbable, speculative assertions/assumptions to justify logically. Yet they are accepted by the scientific community as valid hypothesis/theory.
        There is no evidence of Dark Matter/Energy, we assume, based on indirect observations, that it must exist. We make assumptions/assertions based on what is known, to speculate what is not known, and make general claims about what one could expect in a Universe containing, or ran by these laws.
        Likewise, if we didn’t do this in the past/present, we wouldn’t have, and/or would stop making scientific advancements, because we confine ourselves to a sub set of data (what is known), which will never conclude outside of that sub set (what is not known.)
        The same logic can be applied to God in general. The concept is still the leading hypothesis if nothing else, the only competing scientific hypothesis is “a universe from nothing”, which is equally unverifiable/falsifiable, and IMO much more illogical, and requiring many more assumptions/assertions which cannot be directly observed/verified.
        The point isn’t that God is proven, or provable directly, but rather insinuated indirectly, logically, using the same reasoning that allows us to make such claims as mentioned above (dark matter, ect).
        And I used a number of accepted theories, such as the Big Bang Theory, the first law of thermal dynamics (Law of conservation of energy), General Relativity, and I could go on and on giving detail of probabilities that insinuate the likeliness of the Universe in many stages is “finely tuned”, and highly inprobably/plausible.
        Which I believe is indirect evidence of God. If any/all contrary hypothesis require more assertions/assumptions to justify, and rely on probabilities that can be simplified to 0, over and over, and they can be considered valid scientific hypothesis/theory, the general claims regarding God, specifically the Christian God Yahweh, which allows us to make specific claims regarding what this God must be by definition, which allows us to compare with what is known scientifically, and allows us to verify/falsify claims indirectly in many instances.
        Again, absolute proof, direct observation is not available, this does not mean evidence does not exist, or even scientific evidence.
        As I pointed out in previously deleted comment, all mentioned theories support biblical claims of a beginning, starting with light, ever expanding universe, eternal creator/source of, ect, either directly or indirectly verifying biblical claims that challenged what was considered “scientific” for over 2000 years, and proved to be more accurate than Greek Philosophy that dominated our knowledge for over 2 millennium.
        How is that not evidence of God?
        Or rather, explain to me how, if the Bible is not divinely inspired, the biblical authors were able to nail so many predictions/claims, long before science/technology was able to verify such claims?
        Again, I believe that your logic starts and ends with God is not real. Nothing to do with my beliefs, statements, or personal interpretations of biblical text. Just a general vague, and objective statement regarding the fallacious roots of claims refuting God/Bible.


      • I think that it was wrong to edit out the long text by Dustin because he put some efforts into it and you should always let the community speak its mind. I got the unedited version by email anyway.
        I do agree that it was very long. Dustin, I think that you might want to open you own post for that.

        Asaf


      • I do not edit comments lightly. But if someone comes into your house and drops a turd on your floor, will you not clean it up? An overly dramatic analogy, for sure, but this is my “house” and you are my guest. It isn’t censorship, because people are free to start their own blog and spew forth under their own terms.

        I do feel bad that I had to delete his hard work, but honestly it didn’t add much to the discussion and the edited form is actually more likely to be read by others. People tend to skip over lengthy and rambling posts.

        As a “consolation”, I did try to preserve the intent and feeling behind his post– despite me not agreeing with it. I also made it abundantly clear that his post was edited.

        I also don’t delete comments lightly. I actually have deleted very few. I can’t remember how many, but only 2 or 3 including the one I deleted from Dustin (not the edited comment).

        In the future, there will be more rules about comments and they will be more strictly enforced. I am currently working out how that will be done. The reason for this is that most people have no clue how to have a constructive discussion, and the comment area gets congested with text that nobody will read through. In engineering terms, the signal to noise ratio in the comments is very bad– and Dustin’s comments (insults aside) are a perfect example of that.


  12. Schroeder states that 1,000,000,000,000 light seconds is the time it takes for the BB to send us a message, if this is true, then his math is more correct that even he gives himself credit for.
    Because beyond his simple equation which estimates a 16.4bil year old universe, which is fairly close, you can look at the sub set of data, and narrow the time down even further.
    The average day is 2.7 bil years, since the creation of light didn’t take place until the end of day 1, it’s safe to assume that up to 2.7bil years can be removed from the total estimate. (minus the amount of time after the creation of light, before the end of day one)
    The math is simple, and using exact math 5 day estimate comes out to 13.69bil years, just .01bil years short of science current estimates.
    Assuming it happened before the end of day 1, you could argue it’s 13.7bil or more, more being undefined, but assuming it isn’t much since the creation of light is followed by the end of day, there is no in between events, tells us it should be very close to 13.7bil.
    13.7bil was the current estimate, recently more accurate measurements claim 13.8 with in a margin of error, regardless, it is very close to scientific estimates.
    And I don’t see how anyone can get past our universe being smaller than a nucleus of an atom, 100,000 times smaller than an atom, having all information/energy the current universe has today, appearing out of no where, and not think God is a plausible solution.
    I think people have a problem with predispositions regarding God, the Bible, and so on, and just assume they’re faith based opinions is true regardless of and even despite evidence.
    I don’t think God will ever be proven or disproven, I don’t think that is possible, but I do believe it is the most logical solution available today, and until someone develops a more plausible solution, that resolves the creation/origin of the universe, it is as valid if not more valid than any other hypothesis.


    • Science cannot prove the existence of (a generic) god. Science also cannot prove the nonexistence of God. The only logically valid conclusion then is that god may or may not exist. Any other conclusion is not a rational decision based on scientific evidence. This includes the hard-line Atheist stance that god does not exist.

      So when you say that you believe that God exists, and that it is the most logical solution, that is your opinion not supported by the evidence. Essentially, it is an opinion based on faith and not evidence. Which is fine so long as you accept it as faith and not attempt to present it as anything else (as what Schroeder does).

      I do not know if a god exists or not. I can be swayed by any new evidence if some shows up.

      I do not believe that the Bible is a trustworthy source of information. It is a gold mine of translational inaccuracies and interpretation bias. Even true believers cannot agree on what it means. It is very frequently twisted to support almost any claim that someone wants to make (http://davidkessner.wordpress.com/2011/09/04/quote-mining-and-the-bible/). Many people twist it and don’t even realize they are doing it.

      To remove translational inaccuracies and interpretation bias you “must” only use a a literal interpretation. However, a literal interpretation shows a flawed manuscript.

      So what do you want? Flawed interpretations or literal inaccuracies? I pick door number three: The Bible is an untrustworthy source of information.

      It is also my opinion that if god is all powerful and all knowing then he/she wouldn’t have left us such a terrible manual for how to live our lives– and if a god did actually do that then he/she is not worthy of our praise and adoration.


      • “So when you say that you believe”
        Indeed it is my opinion, as I stated. However “not supported by evidence” is an assertion you don’t provide evidence of, and is actually contrary to evidence until you do, as I have presented a number of accepted scientific theories, which do support biblical claims.
        You simply assert it is not scientific/backed by evidence, you ignore the evidence presented (You even deleted the claims so no one else could view them), this is fallacious reasoning, and is invalid.
        The major difference between my claims and yours is, I vaguely supported my claims by accepted scientific theory, you simply assert my claims are supported by evidence, and make multiple other fallacious claims, hasty generalization of my position, misrepresenting my position/claims, and asserting my claims and are false, based on your faith based opinion, which is contrary to the evidence I presented.
        Further you claim; “The Bible is an untrustworthy source of information.” based on translation errors, and individual interpretation errors, which have no direct connection to the Bible itself as a valid/trustworthy source, but rather attacks indirect translation/interpretations of it. And/or individual/group beliefs/opinions, not the source itself.
        I could claim many biblical passages are verifiable, demonstrating it is reliable (in some instances at least), you would need to present empirical evidence, which directly contradicts biblical claims in order to support your argument.
        “To remove translational inaccuracies…”
        I covered this in my original post as well. The Bible states that it is not interpretive, there is only 1 accurate interpretation, the problem is, only Christ had the authority to interpret it 100% accurately/entirely.
        Again, you must separate individual beliefs/opinions/interpretations, from what can be clearly defined, stated as “biblical claims” so to speak.
        And I simply pointed out that the interpretation given in the original article, makes false assertions which rely on the premise that God doesn’t exist in the first place. You make it clear, and have directly stated you believe the Bible is not trustworthy source of information, however your logic is fallacious in arriving at this conclusion, you present no evidence supporting your view.
        You claim to have been a “Jesus freak”, and many atheists, and anti-theists make this claim, to claim an authority regarding biblical translations.
        However the Bible states the Word of God can be read/heard, but if a non believer says in their heart “God is not real”, they wont understand.
        Your comments/views perfectly typify this, because your conclusions, require faith based assertions that insinuate God/Bible is false/fake in the premise, in order to conclude the very same point(s), which is fallacious, circular reasoning.
        A true scientific approach would remain objective, accept the Biblical definition/authority for arguments sake, in order to make biblical claims, which can be tested/verified/falsified.
        Your personal inability to understand why God does what He does, or why the Bible is the way it is, or why you don’t understand it, or it doesn’t make sense or seem logical to you, is equally your faith based opinion, and bears no direct reference to the claims as true or false, and it is fallacious to make such a connection as well.
        And in general, all non believers, including yourself, that I have interacted with, demonstrate this ignorance, and make these claims, a sort of personal, individual appeal to ignorance, which attempts to conclude “It doesn’t make sense to me, therefor whatever I believe instead, my logic is absolute”.
        It is ignorant, and arrogant, in biblical terms, and scientific, and is fallacious at every step.


  13. “It is also my opinion that if god is all powerful and all knowing then he/she would not have left us such a terrible manual for how to live our lives– and if a god did actually do that then he/she is not worthy of our praise and adoration.”
    As you state, this is or opinion, and is based on your ignorance. claiming to have once believed doesn’t qualify you to make assertions you cannot back up with evidence.
    I personally view the “manual” as divine, including undeniable evidence when broken down, from genealogy of Adam to Noah by definition of original Hebrew names spelling out the general concepts of the NT, concealed with in the OT, which opposed/es Jewish beliefs, revealing Christ, to creation story of Genesis 1 being almost entirely supported by scientific theory.
    The only contrary view you’ve expressed I’ve proved to be ignorant, and illogical, and based on ignorance of the text, and a predisposition to agree with your bias faith based opinion which is clearly established long before reviewing the data.
    The only valid claim contrary to biblical narrative, is the plants before the sun, which is basically an appeal to ignorance, and requires false, unverifiable assertions and a narrow minded point of view, and I directly addressed how this can be resolved.
    Understand, my position isn’t to prove my position, rather to express the plausibility, scientific compatibility, and point out the fallacious reasoning in the contrary views expressed, as well as the ignorant/bias interpretations of text you’re disqualified from interpreting by not believing in, by definition.
    You claim you will accept evidence if it is presented, but you dismiss evidence when I supply it, not based on logic, or reasoning, or evidence of the contrary, but only based on your bias predisposition to disagree with contrary opinion, dismiss contrary evidence, and continue to assert/assume anything which supports your opinion and/or refutes the contrary, even contrary to the evidence.
    You demonstrate an inability to remain objective, and fallacious arguments demonstrate the ignorance and invalid reasoning behind your claims.
    I don’t expect to convince you that God is real, or the Bible is accurate, rather demonstrate that there is scientific evidence supporting both views, and until you or anyone else provides empirical evidence contrary, they are valid, not proven necessarily, but valid, just as Dark Energy is a valid solution for the expansion of the Universe, even though we have no direct observational/empirical evidence telling us it does, or must exist.
    I believe the combination of accepted theories not only supports biblical views/claims regarding God and creation, but even indirectly insinuates parallel claims absent of any direct biblical claims being considered, we arrive as similar conclusions scientifically.
    The Universe did have a beginning, both space-time. Which insinuates a point of creation, which insinuates a Creator.
    The source is outside of space-time, and therefor eternal by default, which is a major disputed plausibility, yet it is common sense when considering accepted scientific theory.
    And many more specific details I won’t list again, out of fear that you will simply delete my comments.
    In the least, you should concede, as you already stated, that the purely agnostic stance is the only scientifically justifiable position to assert, simply “we don’t know enough” therefor, cannot conclude either way.
    But again, that doesn’t mean we cannot postulate plausibility, and put biblical claims to the test. And those claims have been tested, and have been verified. There will never be enough verification to claim outright God is real or isn’t real, but there is enough empirical evidence to assert it is a plausible and valid solution.
    If you disagree with this, you assert a bias opinion contrary to evidence, unless you can provide evidence of the contrary.
    That doesn’t mean subjective perception, and statements like “It doesn’t make sense to me, therefor is invalid, and therefor, assert fallacious connection to my predisposition here”. That is your logic through out this argument, it is fallacious and invalid, and I have not extended my claims beyond the realm of what can be backed up by evidence.
    I clearly separate my opinion from fact, and do not assert anything as undisputed fact, I simply demonstrate the many ways in which the Bible’s claims has withstood the test of time, turned out to be right when it was assumed wrong for over 2000 years, and continues to get expanded on with every scientific discovery we’ve made in the last 100 years.


    • tl;dr See Gish Gallop:

      I see that no rational discussion can take place with you. Your diatribe cannot refrain from making insulting comments about me at frequent intervals. You seems to lack the basic understanding of the scientific method, yet you claim to have offered scientific evidence.

      There are days when I would gladly take on someone like you, but that is not today. You are simply not worth it.

      I will leave your existing comments up, unedited, just for the humor of it all. Any further post from you that does not have a civil tone will be deleted. As well any post I think is just too damn long.



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