Welcome back to Monday School! "The Fast-Acting Antidote For Any Mind Poisons They May Have Fed You Yesterday!"
Today's Lesson: Does Science Confirm Or Refute The Bible?
Many people seem to believe that there is no conflict between modern scientific knowledge and the Bible. Many say that science and the Bible either reveal a common truth, or deal with truths that do not overlap.
I disagree with both these sets of people. I believe an objective examination of the evidence reveals many sharp disagreements between the findings of science and many of the specific truth claims of the Bible.
1) Miracles The Bible claims many miracles have occurred. That is to say, the Bible claims that God and His agents have repeatedly intervened in human affairs in ways which defy the known laws of physics. Creation was a miracle. The Flood was a miracle. The plagues sent to Egypt were miracles. The parting of the Red Sea was a miracle. The ancient Hebrews won wars with the help of miracles. Mary's conception of Jesus was a miracle, his birth was heralded by miracles, he performed miracles, his resurrection was a miracle, his followers allegedly can perform miracles, his return will be another miracle. Miracles by their very nature are contrary to science and logic. Science and logic depend upon natural laws operating predictably and always, everywhere. Miracles - by definition - constitute a violation of natural law. To say that something is a miracle is to say that in a certain place, at a certain time, the laws of logic and science were violated. By their very nature, miracles are beyond the reach of rationality.
Taking it one step further: Science and logic say that when two explanations explain a set of facts equally well, the simpler explanation is to be preferred. If facts and forces we know exist can explain an event, there is no need to hypothesize unknown facts and forces.
The Bible presents us with mere words on paper. Those words claim that countless miracles have occurred. One explanation for these claims is that these miracles somehow actually occurred. Other explanations include that the people who wrote about or allegedly witnessed these miracles were hallucinating, mistaken about what they saw, or lying. Science and logic demand that we believe these latter explanations before we believe the former. After all, we know that people hallucinate, make poor witnesses, and lie. We have no reason to believe that the laws of physics can be violated.
But the Bible actually expects us to believe these miracles occurred instead. And its authors apparently expect us to believe they occurred without offering us any evidence. They don't understand that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence - not blind faith. In this they are profoundly anti-science and illogical.
Finally, even if we grant that the miracles of the Bible did occur, that is no reason to grant that they prove what the Bible or its followers claim they do. Once one denies the connection between reality and science/logic, all bets are off. Reality becomes chaotic - not necessarily God-directed. The Bible itself seems to understand this when it says that Pharaoh's own magicians performed miracles (Deut. 13:1-3), and again when it says that false Christs shall arise and perform miracles of their own (Matt. 24:23-24 and Mark 13:21-22). If miracles can have an ungodly cause, they cannot be used to prove God. In effect - according to the very Bible which claims their existence - miracles are irrelevant and pointless.
2) Creation The Bible story of Creation contradicts modern science in many, many ways. Among them:
A) Figures given by the Bible allow one to calculate that the universe was created approximately 6000 years ago. Science calculates the age of the universe to be between 10 billion and 20 billions years. (Many stars exist which are so far away that it has taken far longer than 6000 years for their light to reach us.)
B) The Bible says everything was created in 6 days. Science says that things have been continuously created (and destroyed) for billions of years.
C) The Bible says that things were created in their present form and have not significantly changed since their creation. Science says that both living and non-living things have evolved, changing their forms many times over the eons, and often spinning off whole new forms.
D) The Bible says that the sun wasn't created until the fourth day. Since a day is defined as the time between sunrises (or between sunrise and sunset), there is no logical basis on which to distinguish the first three days. Similarly, there is no basis for saying that there was a morning and an evening on each of these first three days of creation as the Bible says there was.
E) The Bible says that the Earth was created before the sun. Science says that the sun came before the Earth.
F) The Bible says that vegetation was created on the third day and the sun on the fourth. Science says that the sun came into existence long before vegetation.
G) The Bible says that vegetation was created on the third day and that life arose in the sea on the fifth day. Science says that life existed in the sea long before it existed on land.
H) The Bible says that fish and birds were both created on the fifth day. Science says that fish appeared long before birds did.
I) The Bible says that creeping reptiles were formed on the sixth day - one day after the birds. Science says that birds appeared after such reptiles and most likely evolved from them.
J) Genesis 1:30 says that all animals were created as plant-eaters. Where then did the carnivores come from? (Note: Exodus 20:11 says that everything was created in the first six days.)
(To be continued....)