The Skeptical Teacher

Musings of a science teacher & skeptic in an age of woo.

Science Confirms the Bible? Hmmm, Not So Much…

Posted by mattusmaximus on August 2, 2011

So while I was at The Amaz!ng Meeting 9 in Las Vegas a few weeks ago, as I was hanging around the vendor tables I encountered a nice man who came up to me, handed a small pamphlet to me, and said, “Carl Sagan would want you to read this.”  He then went on his way and repeated this process all around the hall.  When I looked at the pamphlet, I was rather amused by what I saw: it was titled “Science Confirms the Bible”.  A virtual copy of the handout can be found at Living Waters, the website of evangelical Christianity espoused by none other than Ray “The Banana Man” Comfort.  Here’s what it looks like…

Yup, the folks over at Living Waters are seriously making these arguments.  Ray Comfort should have just stuck with the banana thing; at least that bit had a sight gag :)

Now I’m going point out just a couple of specific things about this pamphlet that shows it (as well as the argumentation behind it) are just way off base.  Suffice it to say that others have already analyzed some of these points, such as at a recent Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast, but I’ll just give my thoughts here:

First, look at the format of this pamphlet: it shows a Biblical verse, a claim about what science “then” was saying (btw, “then” was supposedly 2000-3000 years ago), and a claim about what science now says.  The implication is that current science supports what the Bible is saying.  Now before I get to specific claims in this pamphlet, let me first say that it is ironic that Ray Comfort and his band of evolution-denying evangelicals are claiming that modern science supports their interpretation of the Bible, because their interpretation of the Bible conflicts with modern evolutionary science!  So if Ray Comfort is claiming what he is in this pamphlet, then he’s messing things up from every direction (but what do you expect from a guy who thinks that banana’s are “The Atheist’s Nightmare”?)

Not to mention, if a literal reading of the Bible (according to the manner in which Ray Comfort would read the Bible “literally”) is supposed to be scientifically accurate, then how can one account for blatant inconsistencies such as that in these verses from Genesis?

Genesis 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

1:4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

Genesis 1:13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.

1:14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

1:15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

1:16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

1:17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

[Addendeum (8-2-11): How could there have been light before there were stars?  The only scientifically viable option is to invoke the big bang model of cosmology, which many creationists such as Ray Comfort are loath to do, since they don’t like the fact that it clearly shows the universe is about 13.7 billion years old.  So there’s another contradiction.] Okay, so there was day and night in the sky and on the Earth before there was a Sun (the greater light).  How exactly does that jibe with our understanding of modern astronomy?  Oh wait… it doesn’t.

Folks, this sort of thing is just a taste of the multitude of inconsistencies found between a “literal” reading of the Bible and modern science.  If you really want to see more, I suggest checking out the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible.

Now, on to some specific criticism regarding this Living Waters pamphlet.  Let’s just take a look at the very first line in the claims about how the Bible supposedly predicts that the Earth is a sphere, from Isaiah 40:22.  What exactly does Isaiah 40:22 say?  Here it is…

Isaiah 40:22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:

So the Earth is described in this Bible verse as a circle.  A circle.  For those who may not have mastered basic, high school geometry, a circle is a flat, two-dimensional object.  Yup, basically the Bible is arguing for a Flat Earth (because remember that, hey, circles are FLAT!!!) This is in direct conflict with the findings of the ancient Greeks (about 2000-3000 years ago) when natural philosophers such as Erastothenes of Cyrene proved, using simple measurements and geometry, that the Earth was a sphere.  Two additional points should be noted:

1. The fact that the ancient Greeks knew the Earth was NOT flat is also in direct conflict with the claims in the Living Waters pamphlet, which states that the ancients two or three thousand years ago thought the Earth was flat.

2. Modern science actually states that, due to the Earth’s rotation, our planet is not perfectly spherical.  In fact, it is an oblate spheroid.  So this fact is two steps removed from the text of Isaiah 40:22 – first that verse states the Earth is a circle, not a sphere; and second, if the Bible really were so accurate scientifically, why didn’t it just say “oblate spheroid”?

[Addendum (8-2-11): I would think that if the Bible were so amazingly accurate in predicting the behavior of the universe in scientific terms that it would have said something about quantum mechanics, general relativity, or how to do something practical like build an airplane or make a vaccine.  Nope, nothing like that in the Bible, either.]

I could go on, but I think that by now you get the idea.  Feel free to take a look at some of the other loony claims made by this pamphlet, read through the Bible verses for yourself, and have a good hearty laugh.  Because that’s all this pamphlet is good for: a laugh :)

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7 Responses to “Science Confirms the Bible? Hmmm, Not So Much…”

  1. DataJack said

    I am astonished that Ray and people like him believe it is perfectly ok to deceive (or even outright lie – see their version of Origins of Species), in order to support their agenda.

    Ray actually uses the 10 commandments in his weak “everybody is a sinner” test, and during that test, specifically says that to “bear false witness” covers any kind of lying.

    Total hypocrisy.

  2. Thanks for the article Matt. I’m going to link to this on my Bible reading blog.

  3. I would like to add that I find the Skeptics Annotated Bible is a little harsh/heavy handed when it comes to interpreting the bible. As an Atheist who is reading the King James Bible this year as a blog project (http://thekingandi-bibleproject.blogspot.com), I’m seeing that it tends to criticize a word or sentence without taking it into the context of the whole chapter.
    The site is still entertaining and it has many great comparison pages that show the many contradictions within the bible.

  4. May all be informed:

    Based from the Bible revelations of Teacher Eraño Evangelista in the link:

    http://www.thename.ph/thename/revelations/greatestdeception-en.htm

    There is a Word of God about Jesus-the descendant/offspring of King David that we should know:
    2 Samuel 7:12-14
    New International Version (NIV)
    12 When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. WHEN HE DOES WRONG, I WILL PUNISH HIM WITH A ROD WIELDED BY MEN, WITH FLOGGINGS INFLICTED BY HUMAN HANDS

    In the said verses: 2 Samuel 7:12-14 – we can read that God speaks of a coming offspring of David and not a literal “son of God” as what the religions preach.

    Is it really true that Jesus was a descendant of David?

    …to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David.
    The virgin’s name was Mary.
    Luke 1:27 (NIV)

    Jesus’ true father is Joseph who belongs to the house of David. So if we are to believe the teaching of the religions that Jesus is the “son of God,” then it should be Mary who should belong to the house of David.

    And:

    You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.
    Luke 1:31 (NIV)

    And who was Jesus’ father?
    He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David.
    Luke 1:32 (NIV)

    “will be called” – As you have read it, Jesus was only a son or a descendant of David not a real son of God;” he was just a man.

    Is it true –that Jesus is a son of David? In Matthew 1:1

    A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham-Matt 1:1

    Now we can see that the prophecy in 2 Sam7:12-14 about a coming descendant of David and not a son of God has been fulfilled.

    Considering the prophecy in II Samuel 7:12-14 that if the descendant of David commits a wrong or an iniquity, he will be punished with the rod of men. Maestro Evangelista says Jesus was also punished by men. What is the proof?

    All the people answered, “Let his blood be on us and on our children!” Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
    Matthew 27:25-26 (NIV)
    Indeed, Jesus was flogged by men which when we read again what God stated in the prophecy in 2 Sam 7:14:
    14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. WHEN HE DOES WRONG, I WILL PUNISH HIM WITH A ROD WIELDED BY MEN, WITH FLOGGINGS INFLICTED BY HUMAN HANDS

    We can discover for ourselves that based on what God said in the prophecy that the real reason why He allowed Jesus -the descendant of king David to be beaten by men was not for our sins but for his (Jesus) own wrongdoing.

    It appears now that the Apostles-the writers of the New Testament who claimed that Jesus was sent by God to be beaten for our sins were hiding from us what really happened to Jesus.

    Worse than that, the apostles made us worship Jesus -who in reality was punished by God for his own wrongdoing!
    How will God hear our plea of salvation if we worship the one whom He has punished! We are indeed cursed as written in Deut.11:28 because we worship a false god made by the apostles.

    It is a shame that we even question God why we are suffering today. The truth is we allowed ourselves to be deceived by the teachings of the apostles!

    The pastors would say it was King Solomon who was prophesied in 2 Samuel 7:12-14 but he wasn’t flogged by men when he committed sin against God.

    It was Jesus -the offspring of David – who was flogged and beaten by the rod of men.

    Again, Read this link: http://www.thename.ph/thename/revelations/greatestdeception-en.htm
    May you visit the website http://www.thename.ph and http://www.thenameonline.info and read its main page now to be informed of God’s judgement upon the religious leaders, priests and pastors as written in the prophecy in the Bible that was revealed by Teacher Eraño Martin Evangelista and what they can do to avert it. Thank you.

  5. tim said

    People believe what they want, if you take God out of the picture , people live how ever they want, i Know the bible is true because it changed me. meaning i was a drug abuser and now i have been delivered from the things most people cant break away even with professional help, been clean for 8 years , it gave me a new since of worth and because of this, the other parts of the bible seem to be so true,,, it depends on what YOU want to believe ,God or Freedom to live how you want .. I used to believe in evolution but now i believe it to be a fairy tale for the mind who cant except that there is a God who created & rules the universe, i respect your view and if you are right you wont have any thing to worry about,,, Amazing Grace, i once was blind but now i see. Sincerly Tim

  6. calen said

    The amount of atheist that cant handle more evidence just humors me lol

  7. Stacey said

    You contradict yourself in trying desperately to prove the
    Bible wrong. It is obvious that you did not look up the Hebrew meaning of the word used for circle. Why don’t you do your homework before you spew nonsense and know what you are talking about? You speak of the evolutionary ‘big bang model of cosmology’ as if it were fact….that you absolutely know without any doubt that it clearly shows the universe is about 13.7 billion years old. Right. Talk about a fairy tail. Prove that one. You can’t and that is why you squirm….

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