Florida evolution opinion roundup

St. Petersburg Times columnist Howard Troxler does a decent job putting the so-called debate over evolution and intelligent design into perspective. The only thing I see that he leaves out is when people have a strict, very literal view of the Bible or other religious text. This comment left here at FCS illustrates one such view. Otherwise, Troxler hits the need to separate science and intelligent design on the head.

“Look, evolution does not have anything to do with what people believe about God. All this theory does is try to explain the changes that we have observed.”

The St. Petersburg Times is all over this issue. Another columnist, Robyn Blumner, talks about how insane it is to slip religion into science classes. The column focuses on politics, but still makes some valid points on the current issue. A trend that I’m seeing here is that it’s painfully obvious that complaints about evolution and attempts to insert intelligent design into the classroom are all religiously motivated, no matter how much the person doing the complaining claims it’s not. Every one of these columnists can see it.

Florida is also now in a dust-up due to the inclusion of evolution in its proposed science standards. Donna Callaway, who was appointed to the state Board of Education by former Gov. Jeb Bush, said she’ll oppose the new standards because of it.

Really folks, in this information age when scientific innovation is the key to our nation’s future, we don’t have the time to be mucking around in this tired debate. You don’t produce doctors and scientists by teaching science from the Bible. Period.

Miami Herald writer Fred Grimm reviews the history of what’s happened in this state science standards battle and warns that political meddling and creationist activism could set Florida back.

And the specter of political interference was resurrected last week. Republican House leader Rep. Will Weatherford of Wesley Chapel told the St. Pete Times, ”I’m not a scientist, but I will tell you in general, evolution is one of the theories,” said Weatherford, who added that portraying evolution as “more important or more accurate than the rest, I’m not so sure I’m in favor of that.”

”I just can’t see how Florida could reject these standards,” said Joe Wolf, president of Florida Citizens for Science, the citizens activists pushing the new science curriculum. “It would really look bad.”

But Wolf admitted that a major fight was coming. “Many, many Christians have no trouble with evolution. Science and God can co-exist. But the creationists can generate thousands and thousands of letters.”

All those thousands of letters could send Florida scrambling back to the know-nothing curriculum that politicians forced on science teachers back in 1996. Call it devolution.

It’s good to see all of this press in favor of sound science education. Please send these writers a note of thanks.

About Brandon Haught

Communications Director for Florida Citizens for Science.
This entry was posted in Analysis/Commentary, Our Science Standards. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Florida evolution opinion roundup

  1. John M says:

    Mr. Haught,

    The link to my comment in the first paragraph of your entry doesn’t seem to work (at least, not in IE7), so I’ll re-paste my entry below:

    ———-
    Prof Mac,

    As a fellow Southern Baptist (and youth Sunday school teacher), I disagree that evolutionary theory is compatible with Christian doctrine (especially evangelical doctrine). My reasoning is as follows:

    Evolutionary theory, to my understanding, holds that modern man exists in his present state due to small, beneficial changes in the biological structure of prior organisms (e.g., neanderthals, and others, onwards back to primates). Now clearly, according to evolutionary theory, these prior organisms all perished BEFORE modern man arose. But the Bible teaches that nothing perished before the entry of sin into the world in the Garden of Eden. And, of course, Adam existed (for however long) before he sinned, which implies that Adam could not have arisen from the death of prior organisms (because there was no death). So, in summary, here is the concise contradiction:

    The Bible’s Account: (1) Man exists. (2) Living things die.
    Evolution’s Account: (1) Living things die. (2) Man exists.

    Thus, I hold that it is impossible to subscribe to the fundamental Christian doctrine of sin (and thus, likewise, salvation from it’s effects–death), and evolutionary theory.

    ————————

    I have two points in reply to your position that a “literal” interpretation of scripture is problematic.

    (1) Since you offer no counter-argument that my original logic is in error, I must assume that you, indeed, agree that if one holds to a literal interpretation of scripture, one cannot likewise hold that evolutionary theory is true. Now, to my knowledge, there are very few Christian denominations that do NOT attest to the physical existence of Adam. For, to deny Adam’s bodily existence is to deny that Luke’s writings are authentic, because Luke traces the lineage of Jesus himself back to Adam (see Luke 3:23-37). And, I can say with near-certainty that most of Christendom accepts as canon Luke’s writings (although I claim no omniscience here). So to say that a literal interpretation of the Genesis account of mankind is saved for merely some (implied evangelical) “people”, you are effectively including (nearly) ALL of Christendom. So I believe my point is validated again–one cannot accept Christianity (or what may be recognized as such) and concurrently accept evolutionary theory.

    (2) If I have convinced you that, at least concerning the topic of the origins of life, Christianity is incompatible with evolutionary theory, then you must agree as well that either (a) one theory is correct and one is incorrect, or (b) they are both incorrect. Either way, at least one theory is incorrect, which implies that the crux of the matter is whether the Bible’s account of the origins of life (i.e., creationism) is true or false. And, of course, considering that the purpose of FCS is seemingly to hold that evolutionary theory should be taught as (for all purposes) “gospel truth” (this is irony) in the public schools, and creationism vehemently spurned, FCS must hold that the Bible is, flatly, false. Therefore, I conclude that FCS desires to teach in the public schools that Judaism (and thus Christianity) is false, which is illegal. I strongly urge all interested readers that are, in fact, Christians to reject their belief in evolutionary theory (if they presently subscribe to it) and support leaders who oppose the teaching of the falsity of Judaism/Chrisitianity in the public schools.

  2. Jonathan Smith says:

    John M

    I would agree that it is a false dichtomy to equate the Xtian faith with a non allegorical conception of the creation account found in the bible.
    However your conclusion that those (including the FCS) who reject the premise of a literal creation story are presenting the Judo/Xtian faith
    as false, is not only a non sequitur it is disingenuous.

    The question of whether or not the Bible is scientifically valid has been debated for hundreds of years by critics and supporters alike.We are not now endeavoring to reconcile science with the Bible, but to reconcile the Bible with science.

    For those believing the Bible to be scientifically precise they should read, and remember the following assertions contained within its pages.

    (a) the bat is a bird (Lev. 11:19, Deut. 14:11, 18);
    (b) Some fowls are four-footed (Lev. 11:20-21);
    (c) Some creeping insects have four legs. (Lev. 11:22-23);
    (d) Hares chew the cud (Lev. 11:6);
    (e) Conies chew the cud (Lev. 11:5);
    (f) Camels don’t divide the hoof (Lev. 11:4);
    (g) The earth was formed out of and by means of water (2 Peter 3:5 RSV);
    (h) The earth rest on pillars (1 Sam. 2:8);
    (i) The earth won’t be moved (1Chron. 16:30);
    (j) A hare does not divide the hoof (Deut. 14:7);
    (k) The rainbow is not as old as rain and sunshine (Gen. 9:13);
    (l) A mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds and grows into the greatest of all shrubs (Matt. 13:31-32 RSV);
    (m) Turtles have voices (Song of Sol. 2:12);
    (n) The earth has ends or edges (Job 37:3);
    (o) The earth has four corners (Isa. 11:12, Rev. 7:1);
    (p) Some 4-legged animals fly (Lev. 11:21);
    (q) The world’s language didn’t evolve but appeared suddenly (Gen. 11:6-9; and
    (r) A fetus can understand speech (Luke 1:44).

    The unscientific aspect of biblical teachings is also shown in the fact that many mythological creatures are spoken of as if they were, in fact, real.

    cockatrices (Jer. 8:17, Isa. 11:8 59:5),
    unicorns (Deut. 33:17, Psalms 22:21. 29:6, Job 39:9-10),
    satyrs (Isa. 34:14, 13:21)
    fiery serpents (Num. 21:6),
    and flying serpents (Isa. 14:29, 30:6).

    Perhaps more than anything else the inclusion of “miracles” prove the Book lacks scientific validity. Miracles, by definition, have supernatural causes, and science, by definition, doesn’t work with the supernatural. If the changing scientific “zeitgeist” seems to present problems to your core beliefs,I would suggest that a personal reformation may be required. Only staunch fundamentalists such as yourself, continue trying to erase the handwriting on the wall. In the 5th chapter of Daniel, Belshazzar didn’t try to erase the handwriting on the wall,he listened and acted accordingly as many people of faith are now doing,perhaps you should give this a try before you make any more infounded accusations.

  3. JLO says:

    Well done Jonathan Smith.

  4. John M says:

    Well, Johnathan, I’m glad that we at least agree that Christianity is incompatible with evolutionary theory. Unfortunately, too many Christians hold otherwise.

    As for the latter half of your post, I want to make sure I understand your argument correctly. Here’s what I gather you are saying:

    You state, “However your conclusion that those (including the FCS) who reject the premise of a literal creation story are presenting the Judo/Xtian faith as false, is not only a non sequitur it is disingenuous.”

    So, you hold that evolutionary theory does NOT imply that Judaism/Christianity (I’ll use J/C) is false, and here is your supporting argument (that I can gather):

    (1) The Bible contains many passages that are not scientifically correct (e.g., miracles, and the like, you listed).
    (2) Therefore, the Bible is incompatible with science.
    (3) But science is true.
    (4) Therefore the Bible is false. (Because the Bible is incompatible with science, from (2).)
    (5) Yet, J/C is true.

    I do not see how (5) follows from (4). I believe it is impossible to hold that the Bible is false but Judaism/Christianity is true, because Judaism/Christianity is based solely and utterly on the Bible.

    Or rather, are you merely making a point (using the list of passages) that the Bible is incompatible with science, and NOT trying to shoot down my position that evolution implies that Christianity is false?

    If I’ve misunderstood you, reply back!

  5. Jonathan Smith says:

    John M

    You cast a large net of dispersions with your “either /or ” philosophies
    regarding the implications of evolutions compatability with religious
    convictions.
    Let me address your arguments.

    (1)&(2) I would agree(as would many mainstream J/C) that a
    literal interpretation of some scriptures are incompatible within
    the context of science.
    How ever, as a religious person your convictions are not based on
    scientific evidence,but rather on faith,assurances and personal
    affirmations are they not?
    If you are prepared to except that many passages in scripture
    are not to be taken literally and are allegorical in nature, there
    is no conflict.

    (3)”But science is true.”

    Yes, in the context that science is a self
    correcting system and that our understanding of any scientific
    theory is open to correction based on empirical evidence.

    (4)”Therefore the Bible is false”.

    Again that is a non sequitur,many parts of the bible are historically or
    geographically accurate and contain ideologies (do unto others) which
    a person may choose as a truth to live by.

    (5)” Yet, J/C is true.”

    Yes, to its practitioners, in a transcendent fundamental or spiritual way,
    but not in a absolute way.

    If of course, you wish to apply a literal interpretation to the account
    of creation found in the book of Genesis, you will, create a problem
    in one crucial area

    No Adam and Eve – no original sin
    No original sin – no need for redemption
    No need for redemption – no need for a redeemer

    Frankly I do not have a personal solution to this perplexity,I will
    leave that in the hands of the theologians.
    What I will maintain is that a great percentage of religious people,
    (including many members of the FCS) have no problem in making
    their faith and evolution compatible.
    As a individual you must make your own decision,but to imply that
    (by your reasoning) the FCS desires to have religion berated in Public
    Schools is nothing more than a prevarication

  6. John T says:

    To John M:

    The discussion between you and Jonathan Smith might be less frustrating to observe if you were to research and understand fully the concept of allegory. The bible is allegory. Allegory is not a bad thing, John.

  7. Jonathan Smith says:

    Thank you John,does this help?

    Allegory: Having hidden spiritual meaning that transcends the literal sense of a sacred text.

  8. John M says:

    Very well, I understand your argument now. It is this (I think):

    (1) The Genesis account is allegory.
    (2) Then, Adam never existed.
    (3) Therefore, evolutionary theory is compatible with J/C.

    And then, of course, your thesis correctly follows that evolutionary theory does not imply that J/C is false. (But I think we might have saved lots of time had you simply written this succinctly from the get-go.)

    But I can counter this. I will show below that even if we assume that the Genesis account IS allegory, it still implies that Christianity is false:

    Assume that the Genesis account is allegorical.
    (1) Then, Adam never existed.

    (2) Then, Luke’s lineage of Jesus is false. (because Luke traces Jesus back to the man, Adam–Luke 3:38)

    (4) Therefore, Luke’s writings are false (how can we trust any of his writings if he is wrong about Jesus’ lineage?).

    (5) But Luke’s writings are considered as canon (i.e. inspired by God and holy) throughout ALL Christianity.

    (6) Therefore, the entire canon is false. (how do you now determine which ones are true, if one–Luke–has been shown untrustworthy?)

    (7) Then, the entire Bible is false. (that is, unable to be trusted)

    (8) Then, J/C is false. (in the same sense as the Bible being false–untrustworthy)

    So here I have shown that whether one takes the Genesis account literally or allegorically, J/C is implied to be false (or, at least, unable to be trusted, which is essentially the same as being false). So now we arrive at a deadlock:

    (1) If one holds the Genesis account to be LITERAL, then evolutionary theory (directly) implies that J/C is false.

    (2) If one holds the Genesis account to be ALLEGORICAL (so as to be, indeed, compatible with evolutionary theory), then again, J/C is implied to be false.

    Either way, to teach evolutionary theory is to teach that Judaism and Christianity are false!

  9. Jonathan Smith says:

    Your argument and conclusions are the product of your circular
    reasoning,and your mindset is quided by that.
    Let me make one final attempt to enlighten your misplaced logic.

    Using your definition of reasoning,look at this statement.

    “God is good and cannot do evil”
    If evil exists god must be false
    There for J/C must be false?
    So it must follow:
    “To teach that evil exists is to say Judaism and Xtianity are false”

    At what ever point you first became a Xtian were you not cognizant of
    the many scientific dilemmas contained in the scriptures?
    Were you not aware that the earth was round not flat and that
    we lived in a heliocentric solar system,and this conflicted with the
    biblical account? Did this stop you from being a Xtian? obviously not!
    So if we teach the aformentioned facts, by your logic we are teaching that
    J/C are false.

    Perhaps you should read the following Statements from Religious Organizationshttp://www.ncseweb.org/resources/articles/7445_statements_from_religious_org_12_19_2002.asp

    Table Of Contents:

    188 Wisconsin Clergy (2004) *
    American Jewish Congress
    American Scientific Affiliation
    Center For Theology And The Natural Sciences
    Central Conference Of American Rabbis
    Episcopal Bishop Of Atlanta, Pastoral Letter
    General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) (2002) *
    The General Convention Of The Episcopal Church
    Lexington Alliance Of Religious Leaders
    The Lutheran World Federation
    Roman Catholic Church (1981)
    Roman Catholic Church (1996) *
    Unitarian Universalist Association (1977)
    Unitarian Universalist Association (1982)
    United Church Board For Homeland Ministries
    United Methodist Church
    United Presbyterian Church In The U.S.A. (1982)
    United Presbyterian Church In The U.S.A. (1983)

    Let me quote from one.

    1) We testify to our belief that the historic Christian doctrine of the Creator God does not depend upon any particular account of the origins of life for its truth and validity. The effort of the creationists to change the book of Genesis into a scientific treatise dangerously obscures what we believe to be the theological purpose of Genesis, viz., to witness to the creation, meaning, and significance of the universe and of human existence under the governance of God. The assumption that the Bible contains scientific data about origins misreads a literature which emerged in a pre-scientific age. Persons are called “to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” Within the Reformed tradition, this calling is God’s act of grace. On the Christian’s , side the act of grace is affirmed through commitment. But commitment is not simply the acceptance of the truth of certain doctrinal statements. It is much more the embodiment of the lifestyle of Jesus. This embodiment takes place in the everyday struggle to make decisions about the common life of God’s creatures.

    This will be my last response,I hope you find peace.

  10. John M says:

    Very well, two last things, then:

    (1) Good argumentation, of course, requires a thesis and (at least one) clear supporting argument. My thesis is that evolutionary theory implies that Christianity is false, and I’ve offered proofs , I believe, to show this as clearly as I can (both assuming the Genesis account to be literal and non-literal).

    Your thesis is the opposite–that is, evolutionary theory does NOT imply that Christianity is false. Your supporting argument for this is, basically, that my arguments include many logical errors, and you have attempted to demonstrate this through several examples and explanations. Now, this method of critique (that is, non-sequitur) does not prove that my thesis is, indeed, false. It merely shows that a logical error exists in the reasoning (although I disagree that this has been presented convincingly against my arguments), and that the conclusion does not follow. The history of mathematics shows that non-sequitur merely forces the proof-writer to return to the problematic premise and find a way around the problem. Then, the proof may flow again. (For example, consider the recent proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem. Andrew Wiles slaved for years on finding a proof, and then found one, and then a non-sequitur error was discovered, and then he worked another year on it, and then got it right.) Indeed, the only way to truly show that your thesis is correct is to offer a clear, logical counter-argument that concludes with the last premise stating, “Therefore, IT IS NOT THE CASE that evolutionary theory implies that Christianity is false.” And you have not done this (although I have twice attempted to decipher such an argument for you from your writings). So I do not believe my thesis has been adequately refuted.

    You do, however, bring up some difficult and long-standing problems with Biblical interpretation (e.g., your first impressive list of passages), for which I do not feign to offer conclusive replies. I also am aware of many logical paradoxes relating to God’s existence (e.g., can God kill himself?), but these are obviously outside the scope of this blog, and not pertinent to my strict focus on the Genesis account (and its analogs–Luke). It is the case, however, that at no point in my arguments do I base any logical reasoning on personal faith or wistful hope. Indeed, I believe my arguments may be re-stated by the most secular thinkers, if they so desired. So the inclusion of problem passages and theistic paradoxes in your arguments in no way implies that my thesis is false. Again, this must be proved. I will lastly say in this section that I do in fact have an open mind, and if anyone should convince me that evolutionary theory does not imply that J/C is false, I will change my mind.

    (2) As for my contention that FCS desires to teach that J/C is false in the public schools, perhaps I should tone down this rthetoric a notch to say that (most of) FCS does not EXPLICITLY desire to do this. However, I would be contradicting myself if I changed my mind completely on this, as I do not believe my arguments have been refuted. Further, I see that you are a member of the Board of Directors of FCS, which implies that you do, in fact, speak for them. Now, if I recall correctly, on two occassions in the course of your writings, you advised me to either recant my religious convictions or radically alter them, in order to conform to the doctrines of science. Thus, when you say that FCS does not desire to teach that J/C is false, yet you, a spokesperson for FCS, openly call for me to deny my religious faith solely because of scientific findings, I think you are contradicting yourself.

    Now, your list of Christian denominations that possibly have doctrinal statements in support of evolutionary theory is, again, impressive indeed. However, I can only be consistent in my beliefs by stating that these denominations are flatly wrong. May it never be the case that I change my mind on a fundamental teaching of the Bible simply because many others have. Besides, I might venture to say that all these other denominations all hold to the allegorical idea of Genesis (note: I did NOT find the Baptist Faith and Message of the Southern Baptist Convention included in your list–obviously, we are the hold-outs). Of course, I trust my proof, though admittedly possibly containing errors, that to hold that the Genesis account as allegorical implies that Christianity is false. How else can I stand and not contradict myself? Indeed, I heed the words of Paul: “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” (2 Timothy 4:3) Still however, it is true that many, many people in these denominations are really Christians. To be a Christian doesn’t depend on what you believe about creation, or the earth, or even in any of the miracles–only about what your state of mind is towards Jesus.

    With that, then, I would be derelict as a evangelical not to offer the fundamental reason for all of my writings: If anyone believes that he is a sinner, and that Jesus’ blood (yes, his physical blood) and death paid God to erase the person’s sins, he will be saved from God’s final judgment.

    Merry Christmas to all because of that. So to all of FCS, change your mind about Christ so you can live, and then, plainly, drop evolution.

  11. Jonathan Smith says:

    I must respond to one of your statements,you wrongly accuse me
    proposing that you: “either recant my religious convictions or radically alter them, in order to conform to the doctrines of science. Thus, when you say that FCS does not desire to teach that J/C is false, yet you, a spokesperson for FCS, openly call for me to deny my religious faith solely because of scientific findings”
    I said “IF the changing scientific “zeitgeist” SEEMS to present problems to your core beliefs,I would SUGGEST that a personal reformation MAY be required”.and
    In the 5th chapter of Daniel, Belshazzar didn’t try to erase the handwriting on the wall,he listened and acted accordingly as many people of faith are now doing,PERHAPS you should give this a TRY before you make any more infounded accusations.
    I never have, nor would I, suggested that you or any one else should deny their faith for science,and I bitterly resent your implications.

  12. E. Morriss says:

    To Mr. Jonathan Smith,

    Applying modern meanings to ancient words shows either ignorance or the will to be obviously disingenuous. Picking words form different versions of the Bible and making claims that *the* Bible contains errors is not an honest treatise of the subject.

    Translation from one language to another is never perfect, and quite often words and phrases do not have a literal translation, or may have multiple possibilities or uses of which the translator must choose one.

    Just one example, also mentioned below, is the word Unicorn found in the KJV. Unicorn is found only in the KJV. All other versions use a more correct form of the original word seraph. See details below.

    Does that invalidate Scripture? Of course not. The original words in the Scripture were and are correct and very well understood by those who received them. Only when we try to translate to another language do things get a bit more difficult. However keeping an open mind to the overall context of the message is essential to understanding. Also, what was true and accurate then, may be quite different today therefore one must consider whether that difference alters the overall meaning of the message or story.

    In applying modern meanings to ancient words also remember, for example, that animal classification as we know it today did not exist in the OT or NT eras. Claiming that “bats are not birds” as proof of a Bible falsehood, AND ignoring the context and actual meaning of the original Hebrew or Greek word(s) is not only a source of much laughter, it is also proof of ones ignorance and willingness to self destruct by ignoring the truth.

    Like science, the translation and understanding of the Bible is a self correcting process. As knowledge of the original Hebrew and Greek are better understood, we can provide better word choices in some cases, but we will never be able come to 100% agreement on every word.

    Nevertheless, lets look at just a few of the more interesting (humorous) examples. Keep in mind that it is not necessary to evaluate every item Mr. Smith listed to see where this is going.

    ***********************************************
    “For those believing the Bible to be scientifically precise they should read, and remember the following assertions contained

    within its pages.”
    ***********************************************

    First of all, what we call science today was unknown in the days of the OT and NT. I suppose Mr. Smith might claim God should have given Adam an entire classification system for all plants and animals from day 1.

    ***********************************************
    (a) the bat is a bird (Lev. 11:19, Deut. 14:11, 18);
    ***********************************************

    The original Hebrew word includes these meanings:

    1) flying creatures, fowl, insects, birds
    a) fowl, birds
    b) winged insects

    Animal classification as we know it today did not exist at the time this was written.

    ***********************************************
    (d) Hares chew the cud (Lev. 11:6);
    (e) Conies chew the cud (Lev. 11:5);
    ***********************************************

    While it is true that these animals do not chew a cud as most people think of it, the reference here is not to the mechanics of the process itself, but to the fact that hares and coneys eat their own partially digested food (along with waste material) as do cows and other animals that chew a cud. The Hebrew word gehrah which used nowhere in the Old Testament besides these verses in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, does not mean dung and as such is a reference to the chewing or eating of partially digested food whether it is a true cud or in the form used by hares and coneys and the like.

    ***********************************************
    (g) The earth was formed out of and by means of water (2 Peter 3:5 RSV);
    ***********************************************

    The actual verse from the KJV (not RSV):

    2Pe 3:5: For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of

    the water and in the water:

    I dont see where this says the earth was “formed” out of or by means of water, maybe that is why Mr Smith chose to complain about the RSV version of the verse. The Greek word used in the KJV verse (synistēmi) has these

    meanings:

    1) to place together, to set in the same place, to bring or band together
    a) to stand with (or near)

    2) to set one with another
    a) by way of presenting or introducing him
    b) to comprehend

    3) to put together by way of composition or combination, to teach by combining and comparing
    a) to show, prove, establish, exhibit

    4) to put together, unite parts into one whole
    a) to be composed of, consist

    Even by stretching the imagination to the breaking point I cannot see any validity in your claim. The RSV version you cite does not make that claim:

    “They deliberately ignore this fact, that by the word of God heavens existed long ago, and an earth formed out of water and by means of water,…”

    Lets consider “d” below:

    From the Greek hydor (water)

    1) water
    a) of water in rivers, in fountains, in pools
    b) of the water of the deluge
    c) of water in any of the earth’s repositories
    d) of water as the primary element, out of and through which the world that was before the deluge, arose and was compacted
    e) of the waves of the sea
    f) fig. used of many peoples

    In light of d) it would appear the KJV was more accurate, however neither version claims the earth was made from water as Mr Smith seems to imply even though he did not use the word *made*. This verse is clearly descibing the rising of the land from the sea (“formed out of water”). If the verse had said “formed of water” or “formed by water”, Mr Smith would have a valid argument.

    ***********************************************
    (h) The earth rest on pillars (1 Sam. 2:8);
    ***********************************************

    I honestly cannot believe Mr. Smith went this far on this one.

    The entire verse:

    “He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, [and] lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set [them] among princes, and to make

    them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth [are] the LORD’S, and he hath set the world upon them.”

    This is so obviously NOT talking about literal pillars holding up the earth. That would not make sense in this verse since it

    would have absolutely nothing to do with the description of how God takes care of his people. This verse is talking about how

    God will cause the “meek to inherit the earth”. The “pillars” are those who are steadfast in their faith, not actual pillars.

    This is but one of many places in the Bible where faithful people are referred to as pillars. Today, when we say he/she is a

    “pillar of the community”, we are not saying they are a literal pillar physically supporting the community.

    ***********************************************
    (i) The earth won’t be moved (1Chron. 16:30);
    ***********************************************

    The verse:

    “Fear before him, all the earth: the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved.”

    The Hebrew word used was “mowt” (like mote) which means to totter, shake, or slip. Sounds like a reference to earthquakes, and

    not meant to say the Earth is stationary in space.

    ***********************************************
    (l) A mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds and grows into the greatest of all shrubs (Matt. 13:31-32 RSV);
    ***********************************************

    It is interesting to note how Mr. Smith jumps from one version (RSV) to another (KJV) picking words to argue over while ignoring the fact these are differences in the translators choices, not Biblical errors, lies or unscientific claims. Not once does he ever mention the actual meaning or uses of the original Hebrew or Greek word(s). Not once has he complimented any version doing a better job of translating.

    So telling isn’t it?

    Please note that Jesus was not comparing the mustard seed to all other seeds in the entire world, but to seeds that a local,

    Palestinian farmer might have “sowed in his field” i.e., a key qualifying phrase in verse 31. And it’s absolutely true that the

    black mustard seed (Brassica nigra = Sinapis nigra) was the smallest seed ever sown by a first-century farmer in that part of

    the world.

    It’s also true, as many modern-day encyclopedias will tell you, that the black mustard seed in Israel will typically grow to

    heights of 3.7 meters, or twelve (12) feet) — plenty large enough to hold a bird nest. Of course the size and weight of the bird would be a factor.

    The KJV uses the word “herb” instead “shrub” as found in the RSV. Does it really change anything? Does it change the meaning and value of the message?

    ***********************************************
    (m) Turtles have voices (Song of Sol. 2:12);
    ***********************************************

    Here Mr. Smith jumps back to the KJV without mentioning that fact and misses the obvious difference in translation choices.

    Here is the verse in the KJV:

    The flowers appear on the earth;
    the time of the singing [of birds] is come,
    and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land

    Here is the same verse from the NIV:

    Flowers appear on the earth;
    the season of singing has come,
    the cooing of doves
    is heard in our land.

    The original Hebrew word is towr, which means turtledove. Nuff said.

    ***********************************************
    (n) The earth has ends or edges (Job 37:3);
    (o) The earth has four corners (Isa. 11:12, Rev. 7:1);
    ***********************************************

    So obvious it is not worth the effort.

    ***********************************************
    The unscientific aspect of biblical teachings is also shown in the fact that many mythological creatures are spoken of as if

    they were, in fact, real.

    unicorns (Deut. 33:17, Psalms 22:21. 29:6, Job 39:9-10),
    ***********************************************

    It amazes me why Mr. Smith thinks the Bible is supposed to be “scientific”. Surely he cannot actually believe science was then as it is today.

    The Hebrew word was re’em, which is the wild-ox called re’em (Strong’s # 07214) in the Bible (Numbers 23:22 and 24:8, Deuteronomy 33:17, Job 39:9-10, Psalms 22:21, 29:6, 92:10 and Isaiah 34:7) is occasionally associated with the aurochs and has incorrectly been translated as ‘unicorn’ in the past (The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Entry for ‘Wild Ox’, Copyright, 1939, by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.).

    The Aurochs, now extinct but once common throughout the area, had horns that swept forward “like” a Unicorn, instead of to the side as most horned beasts.

    The differences in translation do not invalidate the Bible. Consider the absence of the word Unicorn in the in all other versions.

    ***********************************************
    fiery serpents (Num. 21:6)
    ***********************************************

    The Hebrew word sä·raf’ could have many interpretations depending on context. The use in Num 21:6 in masculine noun form is

    actually describing a venomous serpent known for its inflamed (fiery) and or venomous bite which causes severe pain.

    1) serpent, fiery serpent
    a) poisonous serpent (fiery from burning effect of poison)

    ***********************************************
    and flying serpents (Isa. 14:29, 30:6).
    ***********************************************

    The entire verse:

    “Rejoice not thou, whole Palestina,
    because the rod of him that smote thee is broken:
    for out of the serpent’s root shall come forth a cockatrice,
    and his fruit [shall be] a fiery flying serpent.:

    Looks like Mr. Smith missed an opportunity to complain about “fiery flying serpents” and to make the claim that the Bible says cockatrices come from the roots of fiery flying serpents which we all know is not scientifically possible because there are no fiery flying serpents.

    Look at the context of that verse and tell me you *honestly* believe it was meant to be literal.

    I hope Mr. Smith can find it in himself to review his claims after reseaching the meanings and uses of the original words of the Scriptures.

  13. A Moore says:

    I believe in creation. Most who know me would not call me ignorant or uninformed. However, I am tired of Christians arguing against this and that. Why not argue for something? For example, instead of arguing against including evolution in science classes, why not argue that school districts allow creation theory clubs. Similar to Chess Clubs or Positive Mental Attitude Clubs.

    These Clubs could use any of the myriad materials from scientists who accept intelligent design and young earth creationists. You could invite outside speakers in and offer literature for students.

    These Clubs would have much more impact than debating what to include in science classes.

  14. E. Morriss says:

    A Moore Says:
    February 20th, 2008 at 6:03 am

    “I believe in creation. Most who know me would not call me ignorant or uninformed. However, I am tired of Christians arguing against this and that. ”

    Would you have Mr Smith’s intentional misleading of less knowledgeable readers go unchallenged?

    “Why not argue for something? For example, instead of arguing against including evolution in science classes, why not argue that school districts allow creation theory clubs. Similar to Chess Clubs or Positive Mental Attitude Clubs.”

    So because I didn’t argue your point in this thread means I dont argue your point at all? How did you come to know so much about me?

    Expand your reading. There are plenty who do exactly as you describe. Try it yourself and see how far you get.

  15. Pingback: Florida Citizens for Science » Blog Archive » Those not in favor of good science education, raise your hand.

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