The Instigator
Ron-Paul
Pro (for)
Winning
15 Points
The Contender
truthseeker613
Con (against)
Losing
11 Points

The Bible Contains Scientific Errors

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Post Voting Period
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after 5 votes the winner is...
Ron-Paul
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/9/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,585 times Debate No: 27054
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (37)
Votes (5)

 

Ron-Paul

Pro

I challenge you to this resolution because you said you wanted to debate this a while back.

Full Resolution:

The Bible contains scientific errors.

Definitions:

The Bible: The Bible agreed upon by my opponent.

Contains: Has inside.

Scientific Errors: Statements that contradict science facts or accepted theories (for example evolution).

Rules:

1. The first round is for acceptance.
2. A forfeit or concession is not allowed.
3. No semantics, trolling, or lawyering.
4. Debate resolution, definitions, rules, and structure cannot be changed without asking in the comments before you post your round 1 argument. Debate resolution, definitions, rules, and structure cannot be changed from all moments after the debate has been formalized.

Voters, in the case of the breaking of any of these rules by either debater, all seven points in voting should be given to the other person.

Debate Structure:

Round 1: Acceptance and the choosing of a version of the Bible by my opponent
Round 2: Presenting all arguments (examples of errors) by pro, rebuttals by con
Round 3: Refutation of opponent's arguments (no new arguments)
Round 4: More refutation and defense
truthseeker613

Con

I thank my opponent for this important debate, I hope it is enlightening for both of us.

As a Jew, I will be choosing the Hebrew bible, also known as the old/original/1st testament.
Debate Round No. 1
Ron-Paul

Pro

I would like to thank truthseeker613 for accepting this debate. I will only point out 7 errors in this round.

I. Backwards Progression

In Genesis, God first creates the Heavens and the Earth, then light, then plants, then light producing objects. However, this contradicts accepted science. It goes the heavens (space), light producing objects, light, the Earth, plants.

"In Genesis 1:1, the earth and "heaven" are created together "in the beginning," whereas according to current estimates, the earth and universe are about 4.6 and 13.7 billion years old, respectively."[1.1]

"According to the Genesis creation myth, the Earth was formed before the Sun. Aside from bio-mechanical problems, this flatly contradicts the nebular hypothesis of stellar formation, in which planets form in the accretion disk created by a young star."[2]

"The Bible says in Genesis, Ch. No.1, Verse No. 11 to 13 - vegetation, the herbs the shrubs, the trees - they were created on the 3rd day And the Sun, Genesis, Ch. No. 1, Verses. 14 to 19, was created on the 4th day. How can the vegetation come into existence without sunlight, and how can they survive without sunlight ?"[3]

"In Genesis, the earth is created (1:1) before light (1:3), sun and stars (1:16); birds and whales (1:21) before reptiles and insects (1:24); and flowering plants (1:11) before any animals (1:20). The order of events known from science is in each case just the opposite."[1.1]

As shown, the creation of the world is flawed in the Bible.

II. Light

There are many fallicies regarding light.

First, Genesis 1:3-5, 14-19 claims that light came before light objects. However, there is of course that how can there be light before light producing objects? "God creates light and separates light from darkness, and day from night, on the first day. Yet he didn't make the light producing objects (the sun and the stars) until the fourth day."[1.1]

Then, Genesis 1:16 claims that the moon a "light" even though it is just a reflector. "In Genesis, the moon is referred to as a "light" ("lesser light" actually). The moon is merely a reflector of the sun's light, and produces no visible light."[2]

Finally, Genesis 1:17 asserts that the stars are set "to give light to the Earth". However, we can only see a few thousand of the quadrillions and quadrillions of stars made. They clearly weren't all for us. "Then why is only a tiny fraction of stars visible from earth? Under the best conditions, no more than a few thousand stars are visible with the unaided eye, yet there are hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy and a hundred billion or so galaxies. Were they all created "to give light upon the earth"?"[1]

There are many fallicies regarding just light.

III. Noah's Ark

There are many errors with Noah's Ark.

One, it's too small. "The ark is too small because there is not enough room for all the animals. It has been estimated that there are 4,5000 species of mammals; 6,000 species of reptiles; 8,600 species of birds; and 3,000 species of amphibians! In all, scientists have estimated that there are anywhere from 5 to 100 million species yet only 2 million have been identified!"[4] Not to mention all the food for 40 days for all those animals. What about the fish? They need water. Plants? They need sun.

And it's too big! "Noah's ark is 450 feet long. The largest wooden ships ever built were just over 300 feet, and they required diagonal iron strapping for support. Even so, they leaked so badly that they had to be pumped constantly. Are we to believe that Noah, with no shipbuilding knowledge, was able to construct a wooden ship longer than any that has been built since?"[1.2]

Then, there is the error of mere possibility. " (7:19-20) "The flood covered the highest mountain tops (Mount Everest?) with fifteen cubits to spare. Where did all the water come from? Where did it all go? Why is there no evidence of such a massive flood in the geological record?"[1.2]

There is a lot more evidence, but I will move on.

IV. Pi

The Bible miscalculates Pi.

"The mathematical number π is the ratio of a circle's diameter to its circumference. The value of π truncated at 10 digits is 3.141592653. The bible itself gives us a different value of π in 1 Kings 7:23:

Then he made the molten sea; it was round, ten cubits from brim to brim, and five cubits high. A line of thirty cubits would encircle it completely.

A circle with a diameter of 10 units should have a circumference of about 31.4159265358979(") units (10"π) and not 30. Alternatively, if we used these numbers to calculate π (circumference " diameter) we would get a result of precisely 3."[2]

Pi can't change.

V. Rabbits

Leviticus 11:5-6 misrepresents coneys and hares.

"The bible says that hares and coneys are unclean because they "chew the cud" but do not part the hoof. But hares and coneys are not ruminants and they do not "chew the cud."[1.3]

This is incorrect.

VI. Insects and Birds

The Bible claims that insects have four legs, when they have six.

"[Leviticus 11] 20 All flying insects that walk on all fours are to be detestable to you.
21 There are, however, some winged creatures that walk on all fours that you may eat: those that have jointed legs for hopping on the ground.
22 Of these you may eat any kind of locust, katydid, cricket or grasshopper.
23 But all other winged creatures that have four legs you are to detest.[1]
"Is this an error -- since insects have six legs, not four, and since "fowl" have two legs, not four."[2]

VII. Leprosy

Leprosy cannot be cured this way:

"In the field of medicine, the Bible says in the book of Leveticus, Ch. No.14, Verse No.49 to 53 - it gives a novel way for disinfecting a house from plague of leprosy"" disinfecting a house from plague of leprosy. It says that" "Take two birds, kill one bird, take wood, scale it - and the other living bird, dip it in water" and under running water - later on sprinkle the house 7 times with it."Sprinkle the house with blood to disinfect against plague of leprosy? You know blood is a good media of germs, bacteria, as well as toxin."[3]

The Bible indeed contains scientific errors.

Sources (Note: Voters, please count all three links with souce 1 as one source):

All Talmud verses from here: http://www.biblegateway.com...; Version ESV
[1.1]: http://skepticsannotatedbible.com...
[1.2]: http://skepticsannotatedbible.com... (and please see Genesis 6 also)
[1.3]: http://skepticsannotatedbible.com...
[2]: http://rationalwiki.org...
[3]: http://www.discoveringislam.org...
[4]: http://reasonalliance.blogspot.com... (please check TalkAtheism archive if link is broken)
truthseeker613

Con

My opponent has made many points, and sub-points, I hope I will have space to address all of them. If not, I will get to them in the next round, or touch on them briefly in this round, and elaborate on it in the next round.

REBUTAL
I. Backward Progression

There are 2 main approaches to Genesis,
a) literal
b) Not literal [1]

If we take the non-literal approach there is no problem. The bible is replete with such instances, for example, "song of songs". (If you find this approach acceptable, skip to "II light")

Even if you take a literal approach, there is no contradiction, provided that you have a proper command of the Hebrew language, and familiarity with biblical style:

Let"s take the 1st point that my opponent makes, that according to genesis, earth was created before light.
He does not write were he got this from, but I presume he gets it from the 1st verse.
There are 2 basic ways of reading/understanding this verse:
a) As an introduction to the creation story
b) In the beginning of God's preparing the heavens and the earth --[2]

Either way, that verse is not describing the order of creation, and thus there is no contradiction.

II. Light

Here too, if we go with the non-literal/metaphoric/symbolic approach there is no problem.
(If you find this approach acceptable, skip to "III Noah's ark)

If we go with a literal reading, the answers are as follows:

In my opponents 1st point on light he presumes that the only light producing object is the sun and stars.
Take something as simple as fire, a light bulb, etc.
Besides if god is creating ex nihilo does he really need light producing objects to create light, He can just create photons/ light waves /light partials/ light waveicals, whatever you want to call it.

Next my opponent is bothered that, "Genesis 1:16 claims that the moon a "light" even though it is just a reflector"[sic].

Gerald Schroeder PhD answers:
"Actually the light reflected by the moon does not have the same wave length as the incident light so it is a source of its "type" of light, i.e. the wavelength. The moon is a great light in the heavens. The text does not claim that the moon makes its own light, merely that it is a light and it is."
(It is also interesting to note that the Hebrew word for light/luminary and the Hebrew word for mirror are nearly identical [3])

Lastly for this section my opponent is bothered by:
"Genesis 1:17 asserts that the stars are set "to give light to the Earth""
There are a number of answers:

1) Schroeder - "Light from all stars within our light cone reaches the earth. We merely cannot see them with the unaided eye. "In other words, even though you don't see them with the naked eye, the light from them still reaches the earth.

2) The verse is somewhat ambiguous, it states "and God pu them in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth," it is not clear what "them" refers to. Based on the context and scriptural style "Them" can be referring to just the sun and the moon, or the sun, moon, and some of the stars.

3) Even if they are not visible with the naked eye, they are visible with modern technology. It is entirely plausible that this is what god means. Our discovery & realization of the vastness of the universe is really something very special to contemplate and be aware of, (not to mention fascinating), regardless of what you believe.

III. Noah's Ark

Again if we go with the non-literal approach there is no problem.
(If you find this approach acceptable, skip to "IV pi".)

If we do go with literal understanding these problems can be answered as well.

1) "It's too small" This is really a practical/ logistics problem, not a scientific one.

My opponent makes numerous false assumptions in this problem that I will point out.
a) How big was the ark? The bible uses a unit called "Amah" which is not known, (there are those who claim to have a general idea, but it cannot be proved).
b) He assumes all species that scientists estimate exist today were in the ark. Perhaps he only took in one species from every Genus.
c) My opponent asks about food. There need not be so much food; the offspring of one animal provides food for another.
d) My opponent asks about fish. Fish were not in the ark. Remember, this is a flood.
e)"They need water." Again, this is a flood. Just open the window.
f)"Plants need sun." There are many problems with this point, Due to lack of space I'll just mention one, and that is as I said before this is a flood, live plants need not be saved. The seeds will grow after the flood is over.

Another approach is that indeed it was too small, and it was simply a miracle. [4]

2) "It"s too big"

(1st of all as mentioned previously, we don't know the size of the ark.)

But this is not a science based question at all. My opponent mentioned no scientific fact or theory which restricts the possible size of Noah's boat.

Just one final point that really irks me is that my opponent makes a most baseless assumption that Noah had no ship building knowledge. Where did that come from? If you want to criticize the bible you have to know it first.

3) Where did the water come from and where did it go?
With regard to the question, here, again it is not a scientific error. It is a practical question, which can have many possible answers. The simplest one being God created it ex nihilo and then made it nihilo. Or perhaps he took it from mars or some other place in this vast universe and then put it back. I could go on the point is there is no scientific error here.
Lastly my opponent asks why there is no geological record; the link he provides does not say that there is no geological evidence.
Furthermore lack of evidence does not always mean evidence of lack. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't no explanation is provided here why lack of evidence is evidence of lack in this case.
Lastly many say that there is evidence [5]

IV. Pi

The most simple and obvious approach to this problem is that the number is not intended to be exact but rather rounded. [6]

V. Rabbits

2 points here:

1) Mistranslation - Remember what you are reading is a translation. The terms used in the bible are; arneves & shafan. The true identity of these creatures is unclear. It is not even certain that they still exist. [7]

2) Even if the translation is correct these creatures can be considered to "bring up their cud":
11:5 - Since it has a maw like ruminant it is considered to "bring up its cud."
11:6 - I can be considered to "bring up its cud", since it regurgitates its food in the early morning and eats it latter. [8]

VI. Insects and Birds - the verse implies they have 4 legs.

"Fowl" - In this case it wasn't even a mistranslation, and they still messed it up.
The verse, even in the English translation quoted, does not say "fowl". It says "winged creatures".

Flying insects - The "hind legs" are not counted, since they are for jumping not walking or standing.
(Alternatively the back 4 are called legs, while the front 2 are called "hands")

VII. Leprosy

Again a translation error.
It is not leprosy. As is evident from the scripture speaking about it appearing on clothing, and walls.
See also http://www.webspawner.com...

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] Living Torah, based on Rashi & Targum Onkelos. See also, http://yltbible.com...
[3]http://translate.google.com..., http://translate.google.com...)
[4] Ramban ad loc.
[5]http://en.wikipedia.org..., etc.
[6] See art scroll, the Rubin addition of the early prophets" page 73. See Ralbag & Malbim.
http://ohr.edu...
[7] http://bible.cc...
http://www.zootorah.com...
http://osdir.com...
[8]Living Torah ad loc.
http://carm.org...

Out of space.
Debate Round No. 2
Ron-Paul

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent for presenting his rebuttals. As with him, I am probably going to have to concentrate on a few arguments and maybe drop one or two.

I. Backward Progression

Genesis 1:1-2: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. (God creates the heavens and the earth at the same time, which is a scientific error, and he creates the earth.)

Genesis 1:3: And God said, Let there be light, and there was light (Then God created light. So he created the earth before light, which is an error.)

Genesis 1:14-19: And God said, Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth. And it was so. And God made the two great lights the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day. (Then God creates light producing objects, even though light should have been around for three days already. Where did the light come from for those three days? This is a logical and scientific contradiction).

God created the heavens and the earth, he didn't prepare it. It says so in the Bible.

Even so, we must take the literal approach:

Matthew 15:9,13 - We must not teach man-made doctrine.

" *True believers must accept Bible records of miracles as literal, historic fact.

The power of miracles as evidence rests entirely on their validity as historic fact. Unless they are contrary to natural law but nevertheless occurred as true, historic fact, then they prove nothing about God or His will.

So to deny the literal, historic Bible descriptions of miracles - to claim that some supernatural aspects are legendary or symbolic - is to deny the accuracy of the Bible and to belittle the force of the miracle. This encourages rejection of the evidence for God, the Bible, and Jesus. And the more fundamental a miracle is to our faith, the greater are the consequences if we deny its historic validity."[1]

So yes, the literal version is required.

Not to mention, even if it isn't literal, it is still an error regardless.

II. Light

My opponent claims that this isn't literal either, which I have already refuted (it is still an error regardless). The only light around (since humans aren't alive yet) is the natural light of the universe (i.e. stars).

Also, you haven't responded to my point that the the heavens came before the sun, which came before the earth, not the other way around.

>> Genesis 1:16

"This contradicts what we know from science, though, because the moon is not a light like the sun. The moon only reflects light from the sun. It's an error to claim that the moon is any sort of source of light like the sun and stars are."[2]

But it would be one great light, not two. On top of this,

"The second error lies in the fact that even though we normally see the moon at night, it hardly "rules over" the night. On the contrary, the moon is in the daytime sky about half the time " we just don't see it. The moon is only described as ruling over the nighttime sky because of our subjective impression of its importance, not because of any objective or scientific measure of its role."[2]

The moon is not a light and it doesn't rule over the night. Again, the Bible claims the moon as a seperate light, not a reflector, so it is still an error.

>> Genesis 1:17

The verse: And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth...

It talks about the stars.

Then, they are not created to give the Earth light is the point. All of the starts are meant to give light to the Earth.

This is still an error.

III. Noah's Ark

>> It's too small

a) Not enough to hold two of every species of animal. "The ark is too small because there is not enough room for all the animals. It has been estimated that there are 4,5000 species of mammals; 6,000 species of reptiles; 8,600 species of birds; and 3,000 species of amphibians! In all, scientists have estimated that there are anywhere from 5 to 100 million species yet only 2 million have been identified!"[6]
b) Then why is there so much genetic diversity?
c) What?
d and e) "A Flood to the magnitude of Noah would have destroyed the habitat of fish because some require cool clean water, some need brackish water, some need ocean water, some need fresh or salt water."[6]
f) "Plants would have had a difficult time surviving because many plants and seeds would be killed simply from being submerged for a few months. It would have been even harder to survive had this been in salt water. This is because submergence impedes exchanges of O2 and CO2 between leaves and the environment.

And you have to prove miracles exist; you can't just go around flounting them.

>> It's too big

Yeah, I did - boats can only be of a maximum size; no bigger.

Also, where does the Bible say Noah had shipbuilding experience?

And, "The longest wooden ship ever built (i.e. historically verified) was the USS Wyoming. This vessel, which was, at 110 meters long, a full 50% shorter than Noah"s ark, was found to be so unstable that it could only be used for short coastal hauls to avoid rough conditions further out in the sea."[6]

>> Size conclusion

My opponent has not responded to these arguments:

The boat was too small to hold millions of animals.
The boat was too big to be seaworthy.
What about all that food?

>> Water

But you have to prove ex nihilo's existance first.

There is a huge scientific error here.

Then, as for no geological evidence:

"How do you explain the relative ages of mountains? For example, why weren't the Sierra Nevadas eroded as much as the Appalachians during the Flood?

Why is there no evidence of a flood in ice core series? Ice cores from Greenland have been dated back more than 40,000 years by counting annual layers. [Johnsen et al, 1992,; Alley et al, 1993] A worldwide flood would be expected to leave a layer of sediments, noticeable changes in salinity and oxygen isotope ratios, fractures from buoyancy and thermal stresses, a hiatus in trapped air bubbles, and probably other evidence. Why doesn't such evidence show up?

How are the polar ice caps even possible? Such a mass of water as the Flood would have provided sufficient buoyancy to float the polar caps off their beds and break them up. They wouldn't regrow quickly. In fact, the Greenland ice cap would not regrow under modern (last 10 ky) climatic conditions.

Why did the Flood not leave traces on the sea floors? A year long flood should be recognizable in sea bottom cores by (1) an uncharacteristic amount of terrestrial detritus, (2) different grain size distributions in the sediment, (3) a shift in oxygen isotope ratios (rain has a different isotopic composition from seawater), (4) a massive extinction, and (n) other characters. Why do none of these show up?

Why is there no evidence of a flood in tree ring dating? Tree ring records go back more than 10,000 years, with no evidence of a catastrophe during that time. [Becker & Kromer, 1993; Stuiver et al, 1986]"[3]

In addition, "The global flood, had it occurred, would have destroyed many geological formations. If you look at pictures of the ocean floor, you will notice there are very few rocks piled up in columns. A study done by several creation "scientists" puts the ocean speed at varying between 40 and 80 meters a second. Rock pillars are unable to survive currents this fast. Even oceanic currents of normal speeds would have destroyed some of the more fragile specimens that are in existence today."[4][5]

I will drop the other due to space and concentrate on these three.

I look forward to my opponent"s arguments.

Sources:

Bible verses from the same site provided earlier.
[1]: http://www.gospelway.com...
[2]: http://atheism.about.com...
[3]: http://www.talkorigins.org...
[4]: http://rationalwiki.org...
[5]: http://www.icr.org...
[6]: http://talkatheism.wordpress.com...
truthseeker613

Con

Rebuttal:
My opponent rejects taking a non - literal approach to the bible, based on the following:

"Matthew 15:9,13 - We must not teach man-made doctrine.
" *True believers must accept Bible records of miracles as literal, historic fact. "

1st of all this is a misquoting of the bible, it neither says, nor implies, that the bible must be read literally
Mathew 15:9 - "Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God"
Mathew 15:13 - "Jesus replied, "Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted,"
No implication that, "True believers must accept Bible records of miracles as literal, historic fact".

More importantly, I'd like to remind my opponent of round 1, in which he wrote:

"Definitions:
The Bible: The Bible agreed upon by my opponent."

To which I responded:
"As a Jew, I will be choosing the Hebrew bible, also known as the old/original/1st testament."

Matthew is part of the N.T., not O.T..

My opponent further argues that even if taken non-literally it still contains scientific errors.

I will now explain why I think that"s not true:
Science only relates to what actually happens in our world.
If the description of creation and the flood as described in the bible are not to be taken literally, than the bible isn't saying that it actually happened. If it isn't saying that it actually happened, than it really has nothing to do with science, it isn't talking about the same thing science talks about. They're talking about 2 different worlds so to speak. It may have said the words "x y z", but it wasn't saying that "x y z" actually really happened.
All science says, is that "x y z" did not happen, which the bible may be in total agreement with.
So you can't say they contradict one another.

A couple of quick analogies:

Theologically speaking god does not have a physical body.
But the bible in numerous places refers to "the hand of God", "the finger of God" etc.
Are we to conclude that the bible is theologically inaccurate? Obviously not. The bible is speaking metaphorically and the theology speaking literal.

Another example: we are all familiar with the term red state / blue state. The media often shows maps of the U.S., with some states shaded blue, some red, some in between etc.
Now, obviously, the states are not actually red or blue. Should we now say all these are inaccuracies?
Obviously not. Red and blue were not referring to the actual color of the state, so there is no contradiction.

If for whatever reasons the none-literal approach is not convincing, I will attempt to show that even a literal approach does not contradict science:

Problems with genesis 1:1-3:

My opponent is bothered that the bible implies that:
a) Creation of heaven and earth occurred at the same time, &
b) Earth was created before light

If you will remember this argument was made in round 2, and I responded to it as follows:

"There are 2 basic ways of reading/understanding this [the 1st] verse:
a) As an introduction to the creation story
b) In the beginning of God's preparing the heavens and the earth --[2]
Either way, that verse is not describing the order of creation, and thus there is no contradiction."

To which my opponent responded:
"God created the heavens and the earth, he didn't prepare it. It says so in the Bible."

1st of all, the translation I gave was sourced, http://yltbible.com....

2nd of all, that wasn't the point, (perhaps I wasn't clear enough in stressing this). The point was the word, "of".
The verse is to be read, "In the beginning of god's creation of heaven and earth..."
This is the way Rashi (see http://en.wikipedia.org...) &
Genesis Rabbah (http://en.wikipedia.org...) understand the verse
The reason the verse must be read this way is because the bible uses the word "berashit", as opposed to "baryshonah". "Berashit" means "beginning of", as we see from; Genesis 10:10, Deut. 18:4, Jeremiah 26:1, etc.

Another interesting thing is that the word translated as earth, "Aretz", can be referring not to the planet
Earth but rather to matter in general / the universe in general, the word for heaven is that which is beyond/without "Aretz" (i.e. space) / beyond the universe (i.e. past where the universe reaches.)

The other interpretation, that of the Ramban (http://en.wikipedia.org...) in his commentary to the bible ad loc. is eerily similar to that of the big bang. I will quote a translation of the Ramban words:
..."He brought forth from absolute nothing a very thin substance devoid of corporeality but having a power of potency, fit to assume form and to proceed from potentiality into reality. This was the primary matter created by god and it is called by the Greeks hyly (matter). After the hyly, he did not create anything, but formed and made things with it, and from this hyly He brought everything into existence ... This that the Greeks call hyly (matter) is called in the holy language "tohu"...

The 2nd verse which says "the land was void and without form" uses the word "tohu" which according to the Ramban would seem to be the tiny little bit of matter which the universe came from. Which would be the universe before it started expanding.
In the 3rd verse god said let there be light. This refers to the beginning of the big bang. In which:
"The remaining protons, neutrons and electrons were no longer moving relativistically and the energy density of the Universe was dominated by photons" [2]
And there you have it, light before planet earth, the sun, and stars.

II. Light:

Light before sun has already been addressed.
Light is simply photons, the same way he created everything else he can create photons.
My opponent rejected my examples of non-sun/star light because they were man made.
2 points:
a)If man can do it god could do it.
b)There are lights that are neither man made nor come from sun/stars. Like lightening.

Then my opponent is bothered by the bible calling the moon a source of light. I already addressed this by quoting Gerald Schroeder PhD.:
"Actually the light reflected by the moon does not have the same wave length as the incident light so it is a source of its "type" of light, i.e. the wavelength. The moon is a great light in the heavens. The text does not claim that the moon makes its own light, merely that it is a light and it is."

Lastly my opponent makes a new argument based on the verse saying the moon rules over night.
I honestly have no idea what his problem is, this is obviously not literal.

III. Noah's Ark

It's too small:
Basically there is too much information missing for this to be a conclusive argument; how big was the ark, what animals were in it, how big where they, etc.

There is an entire book " Noah's Ark: A Feasibility Study" with approximately 1,200 references.
The conclusion is that it is theoretically possible.

I suggested that Noah only took in from every genus.
To which my opponent asked "Then why is there so much genetic diversity?"
To which I respond "Punctuated Equilibrium" / breeding.

In claiming it's too big, my opponent offers no scientific evidence that there is a maximum size that can float.
All he says is that, it hasn't been done.
So?

Lastly he asks a number of other questions on the flood which I don't have space to go into individually, so I'll use a meta-answer:
There seems to be a misconception that an unanswered question makes something unscientific.
Just because there are unanswered questions doesn't make it unscientific.
In fact many, (if not most/all), scientific theories have/had unanswered questions:
http://cogprints.org...
http://rationalwiki.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...

Evidence of flood:
crinoids-on-mount-everest
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://www.answersingenesis.org...

out of ro
Debate Round No. 3
Ron-Paul

Pro

I would like to thank truthseeker613 for this debate.

I. Genesis

I apologize for including a passage from the New Testament of the Bible. Here is a more relevant argument:

"1. There is the internal evidence of the book of Genesis itself. As already mentioned, chapters 12–50 have always been regarded by the Jewish people as being the record of their own true history, and the style of writing contained in chapters 1–11 is not strikingly different from that in chapters 12–50.

2. Hebrew scholars of standing have always regarded this to be the case. Thus, Professor James Barr, Regius Professor of Hebrew at the University of Oxford, has written

‘Probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1–11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that: (a) creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience (b) the figures contained in the Genesis genealogies provided by simple addition a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the biblical story (c) Noah’s flood was understood to be world-wide and extinguish all human and animal life except for those in the ark. Or, to put it negatively, the apologetic arguments which suppose the "days" of creation to be long eras of time, the figures of years not to be chronological, and the flood to be a merely local Mesopotamian flood, are not taken seriously by any such professors, as far as I know.’

3. One of the main themes of Genesis is the Sovereignty of God. This is seen in God’s actions in respect of four outstanding events in Genesis 1–11 (Creation, the Fall, the Flood, and the Babel dispersion), and His relationship to four outstanding people in Genesis 12–50 (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph). There is thus a unifying theme to the whole of the book of Genesis, which falls to the ground if any part is mythical and not true history; on the other hand, each portion reinforces the historical authenticity of the other."[1][2][3]

Even if the Bible wasn't meant to be taken literally, my no-matters argument still stands.

For example, if I say "Absolute zero is freezing point", even if it is in, say, the science fiction genre, it's still a scientific error.

For another example, take Star Wars. There are obviously many scientific fallacies in those movies, but it is in the science fiction genre. However, it is still acknowledged that Start Wars contains scientific errors.

Therefore, the Bible contains scientific errors, whether or not it is meant to be taken literally (which I have already proven it is literal).

As for my opponent's first analogy, he is using a figurative phrase. Even so, that might be literal anyway. And his second isn't really that relevant because that isn't even a story. It's again a figurative phrase.

Now on to countering my opponent's literal arguments:

>> Genesis 1:1-3

One translation says "prepared", but most others say "created". Even so, preparing or creating, the heavens came before the Earth - by about nine billion years -, so they could not have been prepared simultaneously either.[4]

2 the earth hath existed waste and void, and darkness is on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God fluttering on the face of the waters,
3 and God saith, 'Let light be;' and light is

Therefore, the Earth existed before light.

"God makes heaven and a formless earth, and light and dark.

The earth was formed 9.2 billions years after the big bang, not even remotely close to each other in time periods...

And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

Evening and morning the first day... hmm... that sounds like a 24 hour day (6 days of 24 hour periods). The timeline of the big bang however is in the billions of years

God raises up the land on a watery earth, and then he creates trees and grasses.

Plants and grass were later arrivals in the history of life and earth. Grasses arose in the Cretaceous, angiosperms evolved in the Jurassic. This would put them past day 5 (after fish)."[4]

This is an error.

II. Light

"The Moon is not a light source, it does not make its own light.

The moon reflects light from the sun.

We can see the Moon because light from the Sun bounces off it back to the Earth.

If the Sun wasn't there, we wouldn't be able to see the Moon."[5]

It doesn't matter if the Bible doesn't say that the moon makes it's own light; it isn't a light; it is a reflector. If light from a light bulb shines on a mirror, the mirror isn't a "light" whatsoever.

The moon is not a light.

III. Noah's Ark

The total number of non-bacterial species in the world has been estimated at 8.7 million.[6]

There could not be so much genetic diversity if only two animals from each genus survived.

For example, take the Felis genus:

The genus Felis is currently considered to consist of six living species, although the domestic cat and Chinese mountain cat are sometimes considered subspecies of F. silvestris.
  • Felis chaus – jungle cat
  • Felis margarita – sand cat
  • Felis nigripes – black-footed cat
  • Felis silvestris – wildcat
  • Felis catus – domestic cat
  • Felis bieti – Chinese mountain cat
  • Felis attica – (extinct)
  • Felis lunensis – Martelli's cat (extinct)
[7]

Only one of those species would still be around; however, all but two are still around. And no, five species could not come out in four and a quarter thousand years.

As for the it's too big claim, the biggest ship ever built was extremely unshipworthy, the USS Wyoming. And Noah's Ark was 50% bigger than that. "This vessel, which was, at 110 meters long, a full 50% shorter than Noah’s ark, was found to be so unstable that it could only be used for short coastal hauls to avoid rough conditions further out in the sea. The huge structural stresses that developed in the USS Wyoming made the ship sag and, well, it leaked. Water thus had to be pumped out continuously to prevent the ship from sinking. Now, here we have Noah’s ark, built with wood, before the invention of steel and hydraulic pumps, undergoing the turbulent conditions of the flood unscathed. It is simply an engineering impossibility.”[8] Noah's ark was unseaworthy.

As for the Mount Everest claim:

"The top of Mount Everest is composed of fossil-bearing marine limestone (Mount Qomolangma Formation, the ancient seafloor of the Paleozoic Tethys Ocean) that is believed to be lower to middle Ordovician in age."[9]

"The Ordovician is a geologic period and system, the second of six of the Paleozoic Era, and covers the time between 485.4 " 1.9 to 443.4 " 1.5 million years ago."[10][11]

That was way before the flood. Why are marine fossils there then? Because Everest was once under the sea.

And, my opponent doesn't seem to realize that the flood, according to the Bible, was around 2250 BC, so fossils from millions of years ago are irrelevant. The flood was around 4360 years ago, meaning fossils can't be used from before that.[12]

Sources:

[1]: Letter from Professor James Barr to David C.C. Watson of the UK, dated 23 April 1984. Copy held by the author.
[2]: Adapted from J. Sidlow Baxter, Explore the Book, Vol. 1, pp. 27–29
[3]: http://creation.mobi...
[4]: http://en.allexperts.com...
[5]: http://resources.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk...
[6]: http://www.plosbiology.org...
[7]: http://en.wikipedia.org...
[8]: http://talkatheism.wordpress.com...
[9]: http://www.montana.edu...
[10]: Gradstein, Felix M.; Ogg, J. G.; Smith, A. G. (2004). A Geologic Time Scale 2004. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
[11]: http://en.wikipedia.org...
[12]: http://www.answersingenesis.org...;


truthseeker613

Con

"As already mentioned, chapters 12-50 have always been regarded by the Jewish people as being the record of their own true history,"

This is simply not true. I just went back through the entire debate my opponent did not say this once.

But really this is not relevant at all. Chapters 12 - 50 were not mentioned by my opponent as examples of scientific inaccuracy. The fact that they are historical events does not necessitate saying that the 1st 2 stories are literal historical accounts. The entirety of the book 5 books of Moses & prophets is devoted to the continues story of the Jewish people
The 1st 11 chapters are indeed out of place and unlike the rest of the bible. The only parts of the bible that are not about Jewish history are all metaphoric.

My opponents point can be said to support the non-literalist approach, my opponent says 12 - 50 have always been taken literally. Exactly 12 - 50, have always been taken literally, but not 1-11. The reason being that it is not literal

Then my opponent quotes some professor. who says that genesis 1-11 must be taken literally.
I already showed in R2 that there are many scholars who take a non-literalism approach.
Jews and Christians have long considered the creation account of Genesis as an allegory instead of as historical description, much earlier than the development of modern science. Some examples; Augustine of Hippo (4th century), 1st century Jewish scholar Philo of Alexandria, Zohar, Maimonides, Nahmanides, Saadia Gaon, Solomon ibn Gabirol, Abraham ibn Ezra, Jacob Anatoli, Gersonides, Natan Slifkin, etc.
In fact some religious historians consider that Biblical literalism came about with the rise of Protestantism; before the Reformation, the Bible was not usually interpreted in a completely literal way. [1]

Finally pro states "Even if the Bible wasn't meant to be taken literally, my no-matters argument still stands."
He rejects my analogies on the basis that they are "figurative", and brings counter examples from science fiction.
What my opponent fails to understand, is that taking a non-literal approach, does not means fiction.
According to the non-lateral approach the bible is figurative. There is an important difference between figurative and fiction. In fiction the author is conveying a story, made up, but a story. In the case of the bible if it is to be understood non-literally, the "story" that uninformed readers read, is not what is being communicated.

The literal approach:
Again my opponent harps on the word "prepared". I already wrote in R4 that my point was not the word "prepared", but rather the word "of". Making the 1st verse an intro, rather than part of the narrative. & I detailed why it must be read that way.

Then with regard verse 2, I showed how the word "aretz" which is usually translated ground, land, country, earth, can be used to refer to the; universe as a whole / matter as a whole / or the pre big bang "earth". I brought some support in the previous round based on a top medieval commentary there but there are many others who understand the word aretz this way (not just recent scholars but ancient scholars as well). See "Artscroll Tanach Series" an anthology for more commentators, evidence, & examples. Being that my opponent did not contest this translation I did not bother to bring more evidence than I already have.

And as I said the light of the 3rd day could be photons that are not from the sun /stars. It could be the energy/ light that was produced by the big bang. This to my opponent did not refute.

Then my opponent asks a bunch of new questions in violation of the rules stated in R1.
One approach is Gerald Schroder:
"When the Bible describes the day-by-day development of our universe in the six days following the creation, it is truly referring to six 24-hour days. But the reference frame by which those days were measured was one which contained the total universe," -- a universe that was rapidly expanding. Because of the time/velocity connection, that change in perspective changed the meaning of time -- or of, say, six days."[2]

Light II

"It doesn't matter if the Bible doesn't say that the moon makes its own light; it isn't a light; it is a reflector. If light from a light bulb shines on a mirror, the mirror isn't a "light" whatsoever."

1st of all my opponent doesn't address the 1st answer which was; "the light reflected by the moon does not have the same wave length as the incident light so it is a source of its "type" of light, i.e. the wavelength."

But even the 2nd answer is valid:
Even in English the moon is referred to as a light. Ex. moon light, light of the moon, etc.

Further more pro makes the fallacy of assuming that the Hebrew word "or" has the same implications as the English word "light". omnis traductor traditor - EVERY TRANSLATOR IS A TRAITOR http://en.wikipedia.org...(O)

A more accurate translation would be "luminary"[3].
Luminary - An object, such as a celestial body, that gives light. [4]
Literary something, such as the sun or moon, that gives off light. [4]
The luminaries were what traditional astrologers called the two astrological "planets" which were the brightest and most important objects in the heavens, that is, the Sun and the Moon. [5]

Noah's ark

"The total number of non-bacterial species in the world has been estimated at 8.7 million."

Pro repeats his position without giving data to back it up. Many of those species are minuscule like dust mites, flees, insects etc. Pro has not laid out the #'s to show that it is impossibility, he just makes baseless assumptions. Without doing the math to back it up.

As I pointed out there is an entire book, " Noah's Ark: A Feasibility Study" with approximately 1,200 references.
The author actually goes through the facts & math. The conclusion is that it is theoretically possible.

(Pro similarly asserts that it is impossible for Noah to have take only from each genus, and get many species in so short a time. I maintain that through, mutations &, breeding, god could do it. It's not much worse than the theory of punctuated. Pro simply states, that it's imposable, there by not fulfilling the BOP, which is on him.)

With regard the boat being too big my opponent continues with his history lesson about how it was never done, and when they tried it failed. He does not provide any scientific / engineering basis showing that it is actually scientificly imposable.
This is a logical fallacy, has not been done does not = cannot be done.

My opponent addressed only one of the pieces of evidence for the flood. But there were a couple more, which he did not address.
With regard pro"s questions on the flood:
Pro does not dispute my point that lack of evidence is not always evidence of lack.
That a question does not make something unscientific.
If it did, evolution would be unscientific because there are problems with the fossil records.
Many/most/all scientific theories have / had unanswered questions.
Unanswered questions do not make it unscientific.
My opponent gave no response to this, explaining why his questions should make it unscientific.

"...It is obvious today that every field of scientific inquiry stands incomplete...For instance, quantum theory, regardless of the issue of determinism, stands incomplete since we do not have a quantum theory of gravity and have still many unanswered questions surrounding the behavior of subatomic particles."[6]

"The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers; he's one who asks the right questions."
- Claude L"vi-Strauss

I have refuted all pro's arguments. + my non literal aproach. VOTE CON
OOR
[1]http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] Genesis and the big bang
[3] Young's literal translation ad loc.
[4] http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org...(astrology)
[6] http://cogprints.org...
http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu...
Debate Round No. 4
37 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Ron-Paul 4 years ago
Ron-Paul
Thank goodness.
Posted by truthseeker613 4 years ago
truthseeker613
For all those who are confused by the previous post, it was in reference to a weird & disgusting post, which has since been removed.
Posted by Ron-Paul 4 years ago
Ron-Paul
What was that?
Posted by LaL36 4 years ago
LaL36
@microsuck mine wasn't yours was. And I at least gave a reason your vote was just completely based on my vote.
Posted by LaL36 4 years ago
LaL36
@muted so me saying something irrelevant is irrelevant to you voting for con
Posted by truthseeker613 4 years ago
truthseeker613
The part that is, is valid RVD. The part that isn't is his own personal opinion. Nothing wrong with that.
Posted by truthseeker613 4 years ago
truthseeker613
Part of it is & part of it isn't.
Posted by Muted 4 years ago
Muted
@LaL, you're judging the debate based on information from outside the debate.
Posted by LaL36 4 years ago
LaL36
@muted what was wrong with mine?
Posted by Muted 4 years ago
Muted
Vote remains till Nidhogg explains himself
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Microsuck 4 years ago
Microsuck
Ron-Paultruthseeker613Tied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: LaL36 is an obvious votebomb.
Vote Placed by LaL36 4 years ago
LaL36
Ron-Paultruthseeker613Tied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Well I believe the Torah/Hebrew bible. Pro kept using the logic if you can't understand G-d's ways, therefore it is an error. This is G-d and he is little more sophisticated and goes beyond human comprehension. Also pro went beyond 8000 charecters. Everyone still assumes the bible has to be taken literally. If I say I am so hungry I could eat a horse I don't actually mean I could eat a horse but rather I'm so hungry. Another thing to consider is that there are religious scientists.
Vote Placed by Muted 4 years ago
Muted
Ron-Paultruthseeker613Tied
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Total points awarded:61 
Reasons for voting decision: See comments.
Vote Placed by Nidhogg 4 years ago
Nidhogg
Ron-Paultruthseeker613Tied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro's entire argument rested upon a literal interpretation of the bible, which Con proved not valid.
Vote Placed by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
Ron-Paultruthseeker613Tied
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Total points awarded:41 
Reasons for voting decision: I awarded a conduct point to Con, for reasons that appear in the comments. The debate centered around the premise that any biblical statements contradict any accepted scientific theories. Therefore, only literal translations can be considered: they must be compared with literal science. Pro laid out a very clear premise, that there are statements in the bible that cannot be reconciled with science. He gives several examples, which cannot reasonably be considered as scientifically accurate. Con never seriously attempts to rebut any of these examples. In order to rebut them, Con was required to show how these examples are in line with accepted theories - but he does not. Instead, he tries to "explain them away." The following statement exemplifies my decision to award arguments and S&G to Ron Paul: "Besides if god is creating ex nihilo does he really need light producing objects to create light, He can just create photons/ light waves /light partials/ light waveicals," more in commen