Pharyngula

Happy Creation Day!

Daniel Phelps just reminded me that today is 23 October, the date that James Ussher, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, determined to be the very first day of creation in 4004 BCE. That makes the world 6013 years old today, in his chronology (if you’re adding it up at home, remember that there is no year 0).

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Keep in mind that you now have excuses to party almost all week. Tomorrow, you should celebrate the creation of heaven and Space Water. You knew the earth was a floaty in a watery universe, right? I think the appropriate celebration is to drink.

Monday, you can celebrate Oceans and Plants day. Garden or go to the shore. And drink.

Tuesday is Moon Day. It’s also Sun Day. It took god a few days, but he finally got around to creating the celestial bodies. This should be a day sacred to werewolves and anathema to vampires. Celebrate by voting for Team Jacob. And drinking.

Wednesday is birds and fish day. This is a day of sorrow, because all the cephalopods will be weeping at their neglect — they don’t even get a mention in the book, except for a later declaration that they are generically unclean. Either that or the clueless idjits who wrote the book considered squid to be fish, which is highly offensive. Celebrate by contemplating cephalopods and raising many toasts to them.

Thursday is “Aw, screw it, I’m done” day, in which you just give up on your work, throw it all together in a big pile, announce that it’s good enough, and ship it. Celebrate by going out for ribs and putting your drink on, ’cause you aren’t doing a thing tomorrow.

That’s the plan, get out and implement it. Alternatively, you could look at the document above and recognize that it’s all an awesome load of absurd blatherskite and just toss it all in the rubbish.

I’m kind of leaning towards the latter plan.

Comments

  1. #1 piranhaintheguppytank#9ee73
    October 23, 2010

    A person living in bibical times could be called what the Encyclopaedia Biblica refers to as “the superficial observer”, accepting what one sees with one’s own two eyes as fact but never prying deeper to find the real meaning. (Woolsey Teller, Froth and Fraud in Fundamentalism)

    In the following post, I’m going to go through each verse (or series of verses) of Genesis 1 and take the Creation account at face value, describing what is actually being said.

    One thing I hope to show is that the Genesis account of Creation can in no way be reconciled with modern science.

    Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

    I believe that this opening verse is intended to summarize Creation. The verses that follow then supply the pertinent details.

    Taken literally, what this verse actually says is that God created the earth and the sky — and nothing else. Xtian apologists might contend that this verse is just a “metaphor” for the creation of the universe. However, as the details are filled in, we will see that the earth and the sky, as far as the bible is concerned, constitute the entirety of the universe.

    Gen. 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

    In this verse, God comes upon some uniform expanse of water. Since the waters are said to be deep and present a “face”, implying a level surface that can reflect an image, then we can infer that this passage refers to the “Sea”. But just where did this “Sea” come from? There is no mention of God creating it and it could not have any connection to the “earth” because at this stage the “earth” is said to be “without form, and void” (i.e., non-existent). In fact, the term “earth” meant something quite different to the biblical writers (and they certainly were not talking about a planetary body) and its true meaning (to them) will become clear later.

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

    God speaks photons into existence? Or is this just a “metaphor” for the Big Bang? Perhaps we should read a little further to make sense of this.

    Gen. 1:4-5 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

    Now we’re getting somewhere. God divides “light” from “darkness” creating daytime and nighttime. Quite a feat since the sun does not yet exist! He has also somehow created the 24-hour period we call a “day” even though the sun is absent.

    Leaving sarcasm aside for the moment, and as strange as this may sound, the ancient Hebrews saw no connection between daylight and the sun. But if you think about it, the sun does not appear, at least superficially, to be the source of daylight as light seems to emanate from all directions. There is also the presence of light at dusk and dawn when the sun is not in the sky. The biblical writers were unaware that the earth orbits the sun and that light from the sun is diffused in the earth’s atmosphere. Nor did they know that nighttime is the result of the earth rotating into its own shadow. Hence, Genesis posits a division of Day and Night, which we know today is nonsense.

    I might also add that the “earth” is absent too. Remember that just a few verses ago it was stated that the “earth” is “without form, and void”. The only tangible thing that actually exists at this point is that expanse of water mentioned in verse 2. You’ll see where I’m going with this later.

    Gen. 1:6-7 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

    God spends a whole day creating a fantastic structure called the “firmament” and sets it between “the waters” (the Sea?), dividing the waters “above” from the waters below. Incredibly, this means there is a huge ocean in the sky! (Could this be why the sky is blue?)

    The biblical writers must have regarded the firmament as a major engineering achievement. After all, it not only holds up a colossal sky-ocean, but it also serves as the framework for everything that is to come afterward in Creation. This is why it took an entire day to build. The only problem is, this structure doesn’t actually exist! (Don’t take my word for it, ask NASA.)

    Gen. 1:8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

    The firmament is called “Heaven”. God makes no bones about the fact that Heaven is located quite literally in the sky. (And with that big ocean up there, this has lead some to wonder if God has gills.)

    The bible further describes the (non-existent) firmament as being hard, crystalline, and very strong. Moreover, so confident is God of his handywork that he walks around on top of the firmament (Job 22:14) and has even placed his throne there as well! (Ezekiel 1:26)

    Gen. 1:9-10 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

    Notice that the “dry land” is called “Earth” and the “Seas” are set apart from the Earth. In other words, the oceans are not part of the earth! This certainly does not sound like the kind of earth we are familiar with. Indeed, the writer here seems to be saying that the earth is “flat”. Or more specifically, it is a massive landmass set above the waters (on pillars, we later learn in the bible) contained inside the firmament. This would also explain how there can be waters above and below the earth. We also later learn that there are “windows” in the firmament that God can open when he wants it to rain.

    (Today we use the word “earth” to the refer to the planet we live on, and it contains both land and sea. But to the biblical writers, the earth was just a large landmass sitting upon some vast expanse of sea.)

    Gen. 1:11-13 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day.

    On the third day, God creates plant life, but he still hasn’t yet created the sun. One might ask how the photosynthetic process in plants can be driven without the sun. Don’t bother to ask because remember God has already created “daylight” (Duh!). Still, there is the question as to how trees can bear fruit without insects to pollinate their flowers.

    Gen. 1:14-16 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: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. 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.

    God creates the sun, moon, and stars (which are created almost as an afterthought: “he made the stars also”). Now if we apply this to our modern understanding of the universe, we would have God creating the moon (a planetary body), the sun (a hot gaseous body many times larger than the earth), all the stars (trillions upon trillions of them), the planets (both solar and extra-solar), and the galaxies (which number in the billions) over the course of a single day. But why is it taking God so long to finish the earth? Also, why even bother to create a superfluous “sun” if daylight already exists independently of it? Furthermore, if the moon (“the lesser light”) is charged with ruling the night, why does it frequently appear in the daytime?

    Strange also that God creates the sun, moon, and the greater universe for seemingly no other purpose than to provide “signs”, to mark the seasons, and to serve as a visual aid in distinguishing day from night. And then there are the trillions of stars created to provide the earth with some feeble lighting at nighttime, of which only a paltry fraction are near enough to serve as a light source. Talk about overkill!

    Of course, to point out such things would be to give the biblical writers too much leeway. As we read further we will see that a broader universe beyond the sky was not what the biblical writers had in mind at all.

    Gen. 1:17-19 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

    Notice that the celestial objects are said to be set “in the firmament” for the purpose of “giv[ing] light upon the earth”. In other words, the sun, moon, and stars are nothing more than lights in the sky — and stars are akin to celestial Xmas lights. (That the celestial bodies lie inside the firmament should be obvious, otherwise they would get extinguished pretty fast by all that water up there wouldn’t they?)

    It gets worse. As if the biblical writers could not do a greater disservice to modern-day Creationists, we even have the sun and moon (which the biblical writers regard as “lamps”) subject to remote control by humans (see Isaiah 38:8 and Joshua 10:12) and the stars so loosely attached to the firmament that they can be dislodged and can fall to the earth. Moreover, fallen stars are so tiny that they can be stepped on! Some will contend that the biblical writers were simply “speaking metaphorically”, but think of how absurd it would be to speak of squashing a distant mountain under your foot simply because it looked small from your vantage point.

    At no time do the biblical writers give the impression that the sun, moon, and stars might be places comparable to the earth. Rather, they are mere light sources (though sometimes the celestial bodies are referred to as demi-gods [see Job 38:7, Psalm 38:7] which further compounds the biblical writers’ ignorance about their true nature). Nor were the biblical writers aware that the earth is round and that it rotates and revolves around the sun.

    To show that the biblical writers were not aware of the earth’s rotation, consider the explanation given for why the stars move across the sky at night. Isaiah 40:26 says that God commands them to move across the sky like a great army, and “because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power not one of them is missing!” (Edward T. Babinski has a great analogy for this: “Like telling people who start their cars and step on the gas that, ‘God leads forth the trees which speed by on the roadside… Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power not one is missing!’”.)

    Gen. 1:20-23 (On the fifth day, God creates whales and other sea life, and birds.)

    Gen. 1:24-25 (On the sixth day, God starts off by creating land creatures and insects.)

    After supposedly creating countless planets, stars, and galaxies in what amounts to a wink of an eye, God is for some reason taking his own sweet time in populating the earth with living things. Coding DNA must be a real challenge for God. (Of course, both plants and animals are made of DNA, so why make them separately?) Nonetheless, no mention is made of the creation of microorganisms.

    Birds are created before insects, but the evidence indicates that insects appeared before birds.

    Insects are finally created, but as I have said before fruiting plants require insects for pollination, so why the delay? Do you suppose if the writers of Genesis had known the relationship between plants and insects they would have had them being created at the same time?

    Gen. 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

    God creates man “in our image”? Why not “in my image”? And just who has God been speaking to this whole time? Are there other gods?

    Or perhaps this style of writing simply reflects the ancient belief in sympathetic magic (or in this case, “word magic”). Just as a magician must intone “Abracadabra” before conjuring up a bouquet of flowers so too must God literally speak things into existence.

    Gen. 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

    This is important. Notice that according to this verse, God creates man and woman at the same time. More on this later.

    Gen. 1:28-31 (God does some finishing up work.)

    Gen. 2:1-3 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

    God rests on the seventh day. But how is it that a Supreme Being can become fatigued?

    If you continue reading from this point, you will find a second creation account in which most of the order is reversed and man is created before woman, with Eve following later having apparently been cloned from one of Adam’s ribs — which makes Eve Adam’s sister! Or more precisely, another copy of Adam with, presumably, an accompanying sex change operation.

    (One might contend that the second creation account is intended to expand on the first. However, this assertion does not hold up because the second account frequently contradicts the first. A likely explanation is that the two creation accounts had different authors and were stitched together to form an uneven narrative. See Paul Tobin Responds to The Infidel Delusion (Part 1).)

    Also, Genesis 2:7 has God forming Adam “of the dust of the ground”. But human beings are made mostly of water. Furthermore, I read somewhere that our blood is chemically similar to sea water! Perhaps Genesis would have been closer to the mark if it had had God forming man from a salty mud puddle.

    Sources:

    Biblical Nonsense – Science To The Rescue

    Heaven and Its Wonders, and Earth: The World the Biblical Writers Thought They Lived In

    Interpretations of Biblical Cosmology

    Scientific Boo-Boos in the Bible

    Sun, Stand Thou Still by Louis W. Cable
    http://www.inu.net/skeptic/sunstil.html
    (dead link?)

    The Skeptic’s Annotated Bible

    The Flat-Earth: Still an Embarassment to Bible Inerrantists

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