Pharyngula

Why is it called biblical literalism?

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How nice—having an open thread overnight provided me with some entertaining reading this morning!

Henrik Aasted Sørensen mentioned this fascinating description of a creationist comic book—it has an account of evil angels leading the dinosaurs on a last-minute assault on Noah’s Ark, and announces that ‘THIS EVENT IS NOT A FABLE AND IS NOT A “MYTH”…IT IS VERIFIABLE SCIENTIFIC FACT! It looks like a fun story, but what might the evidence for this be?

The fossil remains of numerous dinosaurs have been found with their heads and necks arched upwards, as if in their death throes they were straining to to keep their heads above water!

Wow. I’ve seen lots of dead birds with their necks arched in that same way, and in the deserts of Utah and Eastern Washington I’ve found deer and antelope skeletons in the same pose. I’d always thought that it was because when neck ligaments dried, they tended to pull the head back. I guess instead they must have all drowned.

The author also throws in the old story that the Chinese character for “boat” is verification of the Noah’s Ark myth: a story that has been debunked, but still gets wafted around in creationist circles.

The description says that the book can’t be bought anymore, but I discovered that this is not true. The author, Jim Pinkoski, has a website and sells the book and many others for the low, low price of $4.95. I had to order a copy to add to my collection. I also ordered the one that gives the Christian interpretation of The Day the Earth Stood Still, which shouldn’t be too much of a stretch at all.

Comments

  1. #1 No One of Consequence
    August 9, 2006

    So…. God is killing everyone and everything on the planet, but some of the angels are “evil”, just for trying to finish the job that God started?

    And what makes dinosaurs on the side of evil anyway?

  2. #2 Ed Darrell
    August 9, 2006

    This particular kind/style/type of crap rises up against evolution, against American history, and against sex education. What do evolution, American history and sex education have in common that baits the lunatics?

  3. #3 Bronze Dog
    August 9, 2006

    This particular kind/style/type of crap rises up against evolution, against American history, and against sex education. What do evolution, American history and sex education have in common that baits the lunatics?

    Prudes don’t like sex, so they talk and think about it in every obsessive way they can. I believe Freud called it a “negative perversion”.

  4. #4 Paul
    August 9, 2006

    As Eddie Izzard pointed out – a Flood is a pretty dumb way to destroy all life on Earth and start clean, though it does explain why ducks are so darned evil…

    “So Noah goes around the world getting two of everything: two dogs…two sheep…two cats…two ducks.
    The ducks go: “we’re not coming”.
    “Well there’s going to be a huge fuckoff flood!”
    “SO?”

  5. #5 Talen Lee
    August 9, 2006

    I… I weep. I honestly was taught this stuff, growing up. No, I kid you not. This, and that the Catholic Church was ruled by a negro who wore all black and was the ‘evil pope’.

    *sigh* I wish I hadn’t had the ACE system telling me my science. Finding out these things I assumed were true to be false is making me very dour about how much I don’t know.

  6. #6 just john
    August 9, 2006

    Do people who say every word in the Bible is literally true ever address the parables and dreams which are in the text?

    F’rinstance, from Genesis 40:

    40:8 And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you.
    40:9 And the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, In my dream, behold, a vine was before me;
    40:10 And in the vine were three branches: and it was as though it budded, and her blossoms shot forth; and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes:
    40:11 And Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand: and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand.
    40:12 And Joseph said unto him, This is the interpretation of it: The three branches are three days …

    Do people who consider themselves strict Biblical literalists believe that 40:10 is literally true, despite that it’s announced as a dream and despite its botanical unlikelyhood?

  7. #7 quork
    August 9, 2006

    What about PYGMIES and DWARVES?

  8. #8 HP
    August 9, 2006

    Prudes don’t like sex, so they talk and think about it in every obsessive way they can.

    It never occurred to me before, but evolution is about sex. It’s about reproductive fitness, and sexual selection (i.e., who gets laid and who doesn’t — I think a lot of prudishness is rooted in envy), and about mutations and variations introduced through sexual reproduction. Evolution is eggs and sperm and competition for mates and lots of gettin’ it on.

    Could fundie discomfort with evolution be sexual?

  9. #9 Keith Douglas
    August 9, 2006

    just john: “Strict biblical literalism” means “everything means exactly what I say it does, and if you disagree, you’re going to hell”.

    HP: In part the discomfort is, and the reminder that humans are animals.

  10. #10 Grand Moff Texan
    August 9, 2006

    Jesus spoke in parables. People who call themselves “Christians,” but who deploy this modern attitude toward texts, are engaging in both blasphemy and hypocrisy. Blasphemy because they’re twisting an ancient text they pretend to hold sacred, and hypocrisy because so-called “literalists” will read anything into any part of the bible, no matter how strained, if it confirms them in what they already want to believe.

    In short: not Christians, and not very bright.
    .

  11. #11 Joshua
    August 9, 2006

    Funny how dinosaurs assaulting the ark only became God’s Own Truth after scientists started digging up dinosaur fossils…

    Or, hey, for that matter, did anyone wonder if maybe Behemoth was a real creature and start looking for it? No? Gee, I wonder why not. I mean, they’re pretty convinced now that Behemoth was a secret Bible codeword for dinosaur, so it would only make sense.

    Yeesh. Sometimes it feels like Creationists retcon even more than Trekkies do.

  12. #12 BlueIndependent
    August 9, 2006

    Wow. This sounds like the script for Jurassic Park 4.

  13. #13 Rick @ shrimp and grits
    August 9, 2006

    I wish I hadn’t had the ACE system telling me my science.

    Pretty much everything in the ACE science paces is utter garbage. (They can’t even do taxonomy without messing it up with fundie nonsense.)

    Having said that, ACE minitries ought to hire Pinkoski. He probably shares most of their views and, unlike the illustrators of the ACE materials, he can actually draw.

  14. #14 Fernando Schuh
    August 9, 2006

    It´s funny to see those wackos writing… why so many words on caps, and when they think those damned words on caps aren´t enough, they underline them. What do they think? It´s something like, “my text is so stupid that I have to make it look stupid!”?

    Like… the guy used even a word on caps, underlined it, and it was in bold. Hope they don´t discover CSS… or maybe it would be good, they would put so many tricks on their texts that it would be impossible to read it (thus preventing destruction of the brain cells of the unaware!).

    Anyway, just to finish.
    I´m brazilian, and my grandpa was german. He´s dead now, so… HOW COME THERE ARE STILL GERMANS??!?!?! AND OF MY OWN FAMILY!

    😀

  15. #15 John
    August 9, 2006

    Grand Moff Texan, that was beautifully put. That’s the best way to attack creationist BS.

  16. #16 Bronze Dog
    August 9, 2006

    Yeesh. Sometimes it feels like Creationists retcon even more than Trekkies do.

    At least I’m honest about my retconning… And I freely admit my source material is fiction.

  17. #17 Diogenes
    August 9, 2006

    As a teacher of mine once said about an oral presentation “That sounded like the preacher who got to the part of the sermon that says ‘No evidence, yell louder'”. When your argument is weak you need smoke and mirrors, but on the internet underline and bold will suffice.

  18. #18 Mena
    August 9, 2006

    I looked at the stuff available at Pinkoski’s site and had to wonder what he would think of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series. I suspect that spontaneous human combustion could result from him reading it.

  19. #19 mark
    August 9, 2006

    Or, hey, for that matter, did anyone wonder if maybe Behemoth was a real creature and start looking for it? No? Gee, I wonder why not. I mean, they’re pretty convinced now that Behemoth was a secret Bible codeword for dinosaur, so it would only make sense.

    Of course! Didn’t you see the glorious movie, “Giant Behemoth” (Allied Artists, 1959)–there was the Biblical reference plus inspection of a paleontology text showing an illustration of either a pleisiosaur or a saurapod.

  20. #20 The Ridger
    August 9, 2006

    Hasn’t he (or anyone who buys that) ever seen a dead animal? I don’t care how much it was straining, leaping, swimming, whatever – when it dies, it goes limp.

    Oh. Unless God makes it stiffen up suddenly, I guess.

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