The Instigator
SoS
Pro (for)
Losing
10 Points
The Contender
rougeagent21
Con (against)
Winning
27 Points

Literal biblical creation is unbelievable.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 7 votes the winner is...
rougeagent21
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/5/2010 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,605 times Debate No: 11645
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (15)
Votes (7)

 

SoS

Pro

My simple contention is that believing in a literal interpretation of genesis as an historical fact is an absurd position for any educated person to take.

Even putting aside the mountains of evidence against such a literal interpretation, I still would assert that it is intuitively "unbelievable".

The important word to consider here is "literal" and I would appreciate if my potential opponent would consider this before joining. I realise this puts me in a win/win scenario but it's my first debate.
rougeagent21

Con

Greetings, all. Seeing as how my opponent is both the instigator AND the affirmative, it is his duty to post an opening argument. As of now, I will post a rather simple opening statement to reduce the amount of white space in my box. :)

As of now, my opponent has mentioned but provided absolutely NO evidence in support of his case. As such, there is no argument for me to attack. However, I will say that I believe in biblical creation, and it is thus believable.

I await my opponent's arguments so that the real debate may begin. Good luck.
Debate Round No. 1
SoS

Pro

First may I thank my opponent for joining and second may I offer an apology if my first post was insufficiently detailed. As I said before this is my first online debate and I am consequently unfamiliar with the format. So let the debate begin in earnest.

There are two ways to approach this debate from my position, one would be to cite scientific evidence against the literal interpretation of Genesis, however I wish to avoid such an approach since I do not believe it is necessary. The other would be to look at the passages in Genesis itself and see if it bares up to critical scrutiny, based upon our experiences of the world as it is. This is the approach I shall prefer, however I will not eliminate scientific evidence from my argument if it is relevant.

Genesis Chapter 1

1) The creation of light. After the creation of light (verse 3) there is reference to evening and morning, and yet we have an entire 2 "days" until the creation of the sun. Surely evening and morning are functions of the sun and could not exist without it.

2) Verses 6 and 7. Here heaven is created between the waters of the earth and other waters (having been separated). I see no other interpretation than the ignorance of the authors in interpreting the blue sky as "water" above the heavens. Furthermore, there is no credibility in the concept of waters above the earth, gravitionally it is impossible.

3) Verse 28. Here man is given dominion over the other living creatures of the earth and commanded to subdue it. This, for me, shouts out as the author giving license to man to do what he will with the planet and although not a particularly strong point against it being unbelievable, it certainly points strongly to it being a human construction and not a literal account of history.

Genesis Chapter 2

1) Creation of Eve. The creation of light, the sun, the moon, the planets, the stars and every living thing on earth was done from nothing, but Eve must be made from a part of Adam. Why this exception, except to make clear this passage "Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh". This is an odd passage to include before the "fall", since the sins of procreation were not yet established.

2) God makes man a second time. Chapter 1 verse 27, Chapter 2 verse 7.

Genesis Chapter 3

1) Talking snake. I honestly don't think this needs any clarification, just talking snake.

2) "upon thy belly shalt thou go". Not exactly a punishment for a snake.

Genesis Chapter 4

1) Cain gets a wife when his mum is the only woman in the whole world (verse 17)

2) Cain builds a City when there's only himself, his miraculous wife, Adam, Eve, Abel (deceased), and Enoch in existence (verses 1-17)

And I haven't even begun on the flood chapters.

I believe I have made sufficient points to warrant an actual debate now, and I hasten to add that my position is against a literal interpretation of Genesis: suggesting an allegorical interpretation will not suffice in repsonse.

Good luck.
rougeagent21

Con

I am terribly sorry, but I no longer have the time to post a full argument this round. However, to help my opponent see where I will be going with this, I ask him to bring up only what he believes to be logical impossibilities, not simple "funny" facts. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2
SoS

Pro

My opponent seems unwilling even to discuss the matter, which is disappointing. I will follow his request regardless.

Chapter 1
1) The creation of light. I'm not going to repost what I said last round but I offer the contention that evening and morning without the sun IS a logical impossibility.

2) I already stated that waters above the earth is gravitationally impossible, logically impossible too.

3) I'll scratch this part, although it still points strongly to the bible being of human construction as I said.

Chapter 2
1) Creating Eve from a rib is also logically impossible, only cloning would be an explanation that fit with observable reality. If Eve were a clone then her genetic make up would be identical to Adam and there would be no way of meiosis contributing to variability. Consequently all offspring of this couple would be almost identical.

2) Genesis reads, in its early stages, as chronological account. It is made quite clear that God created man and woman on day 6, then sanctified the 7th and created man again the next day. If a literal interpretation is taken then either there were two Adams and two Eves or one of the days is wrong. If something is wrong in the account then it cannot be taken literally.

Chapter 3
1) Snakes are unequipped to produce speech. Their tongues, palette and teeth (those snakes that have them) do not allow for the complex movements required to make the plethora of consonant sounds humans can produce. Eve clearly takes part in a conversation with this snake - a logical impossibility.

2) I'll admit I was just having fun with this one. Ignore it.

Chapter 4
1) Cain's wife is a logical impossibility since a literal interpretation means that the only people on earth are Adam, Eve and Cain prior to this moment. The only way this can be possible is if unmentioned offspring of Adam and Eve are brought into the story, however since a literal interpretation does not allow us to add information to the account it remains a logical impossibility.

2) A city is a conurbation which can only exist on an agricultural surplus, this surplus is necessary in order to feed the specialists upon which a city depends - the craftsmen and traders who do not have the time to farm. A city requires government and organization, these people also will live off the agricultural surplus. The city of Enoch could not have had such a surplus as the population was far too small to provide it, the population was also far too small to allow any man to become a specialist and is therefore logically impossible.

My opponent has so far not offered a single rebuttal, choosing semantics over genuine discourse. If he wishes to win by semantics that is fine of course (technically, the fact that people DO believe a literal account of genesis as historical fact makes my position difficult).

However, I believe that my original post makes clear what my position actually is. If I could change the resolution it would read more like this excerpt from my OP:

"Believing in a literal interpretation of genesis as an historical fact is an absurd position for any educated person to take."

(Note to self: Next time don't choose a sound bite for a resolution.)
rougeagent21

Con

I apologize again for my absence last round. I recommend that other debaters do not accept new debates during 15-page AP US History papers. I will allow my opponent to post his closing argument in the comments section if he wishes due to my absence. However, I'm not sure that such an argument could change the voters' minds. The negative wins this debate because my opponent has not posted a single logical impossibility throughout the debate. Contrary to what my opponent has said, I have not actually offered any semantics arguments, nor any argument for that matter. I simply asked a clarifying question. On to the debate. I will be addressing both his second and third round arguments, so please bear with we if I begin to sound redundant.

"1) The creation of light. After the creation of light (verse 3) there is reference to evening and morning, and yet we have an entire 2 "days" until the creation of the sun. Surely evening and morning are functions of the sun and could not exist without it."

As I am sure my opponent is well aware, the Bible was not originally written in English. (Genesis was written in Hebrew) It makes perfect sense to use the term "day" to describe the separateness of the light and dark. "Day" has numerous meanings even in English. Scientifically, it means an approximately 24-hour cycle involving the Earth and the Sun. Practically, it means the waking hours of a given date. Figuratively, it means an opportune time. (His day will come) My opponent is even incorrect when using the scientific definition, for a "day" is a section of time equal to the time elapsed between two consecutive returns of the same terrestrial meridian to the sun. (A "day" for Jupiter is about 10 hours long, while a "day" on Pluto is over 153 hours long)

"2) Verses 6 and 7. Here heaven is created between the waters of the earth and other waters (having been separated). I see no other interpretation than the ignorance of the authors in interpreting the blue sky as "water" above the heavens. Furthermore, there is no credibility in the concept of waters above the earth, gravitionally it is impossible."

My opponent seems shocked at the idea of water above the Earth. Perhaps he would feel more comfortable if we called the water "clouds?" I suppose clouds are gravitationally impossible then?

"3) Verse 28. Here man is given dominion over the other living creatures of the earth and commanded to subdue it. This, for me, shouts out as the author giving license to man to do what he will with the planet and although not a particularly strong point against it being unbelievable, it certainly points strongly to it being a human construction and not a literal account of history."

'And have dominion over the fish of the sea, and the birds of the heavens'
Doesn't it make sense for God to tell his most beloved creation to not be eaten by fish or birds? This doesn't seem unbelievable, it seems logical. "Hey human, don't let the birds push you around OK?"

Genesis 1 Affirmed

"1) Creation of Eve. The creation of light, the sun, the moon, the planets, the stars and every living thing on earth was done from nothing, but Eve must be made from a part of Adam. Why this exception, except to make clear this passage "Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh". This is an odd passage to include before the "fall", since the sins of procreation were not yet established."

What is hard to believe here? If matter can be formed out of nothing, surely it is less difficult to form something out of a previously existing something? My opponent is correct in that it does uphold that passage. How observant.

"2) God makes man a second time. Chapter 1 verse 27, Chapter 2 verse 7."

This is but a simple literary concept. The outline is set in previous verses, and then you go back to fill in details. Not hard to understand. EVEN IF man was created a second time, it would not be unbelievable given the fact that man had already been created. Something becomes much more plausible after it has been done.

Genesis 2 Affirmed.

"1) Talking snake. I honestly don't think this needs any clarification, just talking snake.

2) "upon thy belly shalt thou go". Not exactly a punishment for a snake."

My opponent wishes for me to drop these points, so I shall.

Genesis 3 Affirmed.

"1) Cain gets a wife when his mum is the only woman in the whole world (verse 17)"

Oh right, because it would be practical to list every single human that was born since creation. The notable people are usually listed, and the not-so-important ones usually aren't. Is it really that hard to believe that Eve could have bore both boys AND girls? Inconceivable!

"2) Cain builds a City when there's only himself, his miraculous wife, Adam, Eve, Abel (deceased), and Enoch in existence (verses 1-17)"

If those were the only people alive, then the city wouldn't have to be very big now would it? If there were more people, then the building would go faster. What seems to be the problem? We see cities all around.

Genesis 4 Affirmed.

Now to move on to my opponent's second batch of arguments.

-----repeats, skipped over-----

"Chapter 2
1) Creating Eve from a rib is also logically impossible, only cloning would be an explanation that fit with observable reality. If Eve were a clone then her genetic make up would be identical to Adam and there would be no way of meiosis contributing to variability. Consequently all offspring of this couple would be almost identical."

Hmm, I must have forgotten that we have human clones walking around. Those are really believable.
Uh, no. Please apply my previously stated arguments. In addition, current cloning methods require the fused egg to be placed in a foster mother's womb. If Eve were a clone, there would have been no woman to birth her. My opponent's suggestion is the illogical one here.

"2) Genesis reads, in its early stages, as chronological account. It is made quite clear that God created man and woman on day 6, then sanctified the 7th and created man again the next day. If a literal interpretation is taken then either there were two Adams and two Eves or one of the days is wrong. If something is wrong in the account then it cannot be taken literally."

No, no, no, no, no, no, NO. Please see my previously stated arguments. The days are not incorrect, literary devices are being used.

"Chapter 3
1) Snakes are unequipped to produce speech. Their tongues, palette and teeth (those snakes that have them) do not allow for the complex movements required to make the plethora of consonant sounds humans can produce. Eve clearly takes part in a conversation with this snake - a logical impossibility.

2) I'll admit I was just having fun with this one. Ignore it."

I suppose snakes have not changed in the slightest in about 6,000 years? I do not wish to put words into my opponent's mouth, but I will assume he believes in common theories of evolution. That being the case, minor changes such as jaw transformations should not be hard to cope with.

"Chapter 4
1) Cain's wife is a logical impossibility since a literal interpretation means that the only people on earth are Adam, Eve and Cain prior to this moment. The only way this can be possible is if unmentioned offspring of Adam and Eve are brought into the story, however since a literal interpretation does not allow us to add information to the account it remains a logical impossibility."

Well, didn't we add the supposition that the atmosphere produced breathable air? Yes. Why? Because we can see the effects: Adam and Eve did not immediately suffocate. Did Adam and Eve have other children? Yes. How? Because Cain married one of them.

I have run out of characters, so I must end my contentions. I apologize for not attacking my opponent's last point, but please observe it as a simple semantical argument. How hypocritical. I u
Debate Round No. 3
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by SoS 7 years ago
SoS
Clarification on the voting situation. I am not receiving the necessary text to allow my vote, but if I did I would vote:

B/A: Pro
Conduct: Pro
Spelling/grammar: Tie
Arguments: Pro
Sources: Tie
Posted by SoS 7 years ago
SoS
Thank you, RoyLatham, for pointing out the logical impossibility/unbelievable issue. I was planning on commenting to that effect but since you did it so eloquently I'll leave it at that.

But I would like to address this point from rouge:

"I suppose snakes have not changed in the slightest in about 6,000 years? I do not wish to put words into my opponent's mouth, but I will assume he believes in common theories of evolution. That being the case, minor changes such as jaw transformations should not be hard to cope with."

Let us consider communication from a genuine evolutionary perspective. Most animals have communicative abilities, many of these are visual, for example the impressive cobra displays. Pheromones also play a big part, my King snake musks on me all the time, and of course the aural signals, hisses and, of course, the rattle snake.

All of these messages are used to say one thing: "Keep away from me"

Animals 'say' other things too like "I'm ready to get jiggy with you" and "I don't want a fight" and why do they do it? Because it helps them survive which is all that matters to evolution.

Now producing pheromones is metabolically expensive and posturing displays often require physical exertion so we can see why they might be abandoned for a more effective form of communication, were it to evolve. However the ability to convey unambiguous aural messages with specific meaning is clearly an advantage (chimps have a danger call to alert others to escape to the trees - why would they lose that ability? They have no idea they are evolving as a species and all natural selection cares about is if you survive long enough to breed).

So here we have a snake 6,000 years ago that could unambiguously communicate its desires and intentions yet has no survival advantage. Unbelievable! Unless it had a speech centre in its brain which would make the head so big it could barely move.

(This is what you get for bringing up evolution)

:)
Posted by rougeagent21 7 years ago
rougeagent21
Fair enough. I did stray a bit from the "unbelievable" to the "illogical."
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
The resolution did not require that logical impossibilities be presented. Clearly, things can be unbelievable even if they are logically possible. Half the things that politicians say while campaigning are unbelievable, even though logically possible. I think a talking snake is contrary to the definition of "snake." If it talked it would have to be a snake-like creature that was not a snake. In general, I think Con was pressing non-literal interpretations as being literal.

Forfeiting is a conduct penalty, even with a darn fine excuse. New arguments made in the final round ought to be ignored. Pro might have agreed to waive the rules, but did not.
Posted by rougeagent21 7 years ago
rougeagent21
Whoops, it cut off the end of my argument. It said I had four characters left...It reads: I urge a CON vote.

B/A: CON
Conduct: PRO. I forfeited a round
Spelling/grammar: CON
Arguments: CON
Sources: Tied
Posted by popculturepooka 7 years ago
popculturepooka
SoS - NONE of the examples you listed are logical impossibilities.
Posted by rougeagent21 7 years ago
rougeagent21
I mentioned that in my first "argument," but that would be a rather boring debate. In the event that I do not win by conventional means, I do have a fall back ;)
Posted by wjmelements 7 years ago
wjmelements
The resolution is negated by the mere fact that people do believe it.
Posted by Kinesis 7 years ago
Kinesis
That should be fine.
Posted by rougeagent21 7 years ago
rougeagent21
Sorry, I posted right after you did. Does next weekend sound good?
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AntibacterialSpray
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rougeagent21
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