The Instigator
elthagreat
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
zxycba
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

The Bible is Scientifically Inaccurate

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
elthagreat
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/5/2015 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 686 times Debate No: 78426
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)

 

elthagreat

Pro

The Bible is scientifically incorrect in a lot of cases which points to it being most likely a mythical book rather than it being divinely inspired.
zxycba

Con

1) To be able to respond to this I would need specific instances where it is scientifically inaccurate.

2) It would have to be a manageable amount of such examples (1-3) since there isn't enough space/time available here to adequately address more than that. So pick your best examples.

3) We would then need to make sure the examples you are giving qualify as scientific claims made by the Bible since there are passages in the Bible that are symbolic or poetic in nature.
Debate Round No. 1
elthagreat

Pro

The the creation story in genesis gets the order of events from the beginning of the universe to the origin of man wrong, and the dating of these events all messed up.
Here is the scientific order of events including dating: The Big Bang happens. After a billion years into the universes expansion Gravity makes hydrogen, and helium gas coleuses to form giant clouds that become galaxies. 15 billion years into the universes expansion smaller lumps of gas to form the first stars,. As galaxies cluster together under gravity the first stars die spewing, and creating heavy elements those will eventually turn into new stars, and planets.
Biological evolution began with microbial life 3,500 million years ago, and then plant life emerged 400 million years ago, fish evolved at around the same time as well. Amphibians emerged around 360 million years ago, insects around the same time as well, reptiles around 270 million years ago,mammals at around 200 million years ago, birds around 100 million years ago, and finally humans at around 200,000 years ago.
The bible put the earth as coming before the sun, and separates the sun as being a different type of stellar object from other star, of course we now know that the sun is a star. It also describes the moon as being a light, however it made of rock from the earth, and reflects the sun's light. The Bible also puts complex plant life like trees and fruits before sea life. also it places the birds creation before mammals.
zxycba

Con

To start with the easy part, making a distinction between the sun and other stars is only natural since the sun is the earth's main light source. Also, regardless of whether the moon has it's own light or not, it is still a light source at night. People make these distinctions today in common conversation and we don't blame them for it unless they make definite claims that the sun is not a star or that the moon has it's own unborrowed light.

Everything else you've mentioned falls under the topic of evolution, and, you are right, this IS a major problem for the Bible. In fact, I would say that it is the only real discrepancy between science and the Bible. Everything else could be explained fairly easily. So first, I want to clarify what the Bible does and does not claim on this topic and then spend some time on the definition of Evolution.

1) The Bible does not teach that the entire universe was created in 7 days 6000 years ago.
2) The text allows for the possibility that both the universe and the earth itself existed prior to the creation week.
3) There is even room to assume that microorganisms existed prior to the creation week and it was only the higher organisms that were created during that week.
4) The timing also could be anywhere between 6000 and 10-15 thousand years ago.
5) There are people that consider this entire section of the Bible a parable but, if we take the text at face value, this is about as far as we can go. In other words, we don't need to go as far as Young Earth Creationism (YEC) but we do have to accept Young Life Creationism (YLC) to stay faithful to the text.
6) YLC is still in major conflict with evolutionary science.

Now the theory of evolution addresses everything that happened from the first living organisms to the present (it does not address abiogenesis - life emerging from non-life). And, like with all science, methodological naturalism is used. In other words, in science, all work is done under the assumption that God (or any kind of supernatural) either does not exist or does not interfere.

To use an illustration, imagine that you are a detective, a murder was committed, and your chief tells you that you must figure out who did it. But, you are not allowed to conclude that the murder was committed by the victim's husband. If you exclude a person from your list of suspects a priori and conduct your investigation accordingly, there is a good chance that eventually you will find someone else to blame even if the husband did do it.

So evolution is the conclusion we have to come to if we assume beforehand that God had nothing to do with it. If, like the Bible claims, God WAS involved however, at least some of the conclusions of evolutionary science could be wrong. And, until scientists develop an alternative theory to evolution that takes into account the possibility of divine involvement, there is no basis on which to determine to what degree the Bible is wrong, if at all.
Debate Round No. 2
elthagreat

Pro

You failed to speak on how the genesis story gets the order of events wrong. For example why it says that the earth came into existence before the sun, which is just plain wrong. Even if the distinction between the sun and other stars is based on the sun being most visible in the sky (which I disagree with) it still paints the sun as being the first star to be made. Of course thanks to modern science we now know that there are billions of other stars much older than the sun.
As far as the moon goes you would be correct if genesis said the moon was a light "source", but it doesn't. It says that the moon is a light. Calling something a light is much different than calling something a light source.
The bible also says that these "lights" were placed in the sky Genesis 1:17 says "God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth" Again thanks to modern science we now know that the sun is 93 million miles away from Earth and you could line up 109 Earths across the face of the sun. The sun's circumference is about 2,713,406 miles. The moon is off course also in outer space. And most of the stars are not even in our galaxy.
The bible does teach that the earth was created in 7 literal days hence why it specifies the end, and the beginning of each day with 'there was evening and there was morning".
The age of the Universe and the Earth dates way further back than 10-15 thousand years ago. In fact human have been on this earth for about 200,000 years.
In Genesis chapter 2 (which contradicts the first chapter concerning what came first, man or other animals) God makes man before all other animals. In Genesis 2:18-20 it says that "The Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."
Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals." This is also scientifically incorrect
Your detective example is flawed because scientists never rule out anything. If there is some event in earth's history that was supernatural, scientists wouldn't come up with an alternative natural explanation, they would just consider it an unexplained event in the mean time while still trying to figure out the explanation. Evolution isn't an alternative natural explanation, it's a fact in science with overwhelming amounts of evidence to the point that we now use it in medical science. For example vaccines are improved every year because diseases evolve to become immune to the previous vaccines the year before.
For the thing that we don't know about the history of life, those are left unexplained until scientists find an explanation Scientists don't just make up a natural explanation.
zxycba

Con

I'm going to let the evolution stuff go because the topic is fairly advanced and you don't know enough about science to have a competent discussion. Maybe find someone with an advanced biology degree and I'll debate them instead.

As far as the rest of what you are saying, it all boils down to you demonstrating that someone 4000 years ago writing a one page summary of the history of the earth for people also living 4000 years ago is under some kind of obligation to mention the exact circumference of the sun and its distance from the earth. Do you also go through public libraries and insist that they throw out any book that mentions the sun without mentioning its exact circumference?

According to Genesis 1:1, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. So all the events that happen in the rest of the chapter happen after the universe was already created. In fact, the creation of the universe in verse 1 could have taken place billions of years before the events described in the rest of the chapter.

Now it does give the impression that the sun was created at that same time. But that isn't necessarily the case since in verse 2 it explains that there was darkness over the earth. It could be that the sun was there all along but that it was being blocked off by something (volcanic ash for example) so that the earth was still in darkness.

Part of the problem is that when you read the Bible you think that if this book came from God He either wrote it Himself or He dictated it to someone word for word. Basically God said to Moses, write down x,y,z and Moses wrote down x,y,z, (assuming Moses is the author of Genesis). But that is not how most of the things in the Bible were written. Instead, God shows certain events to the prophets (Moses, Samuel, Isaiah) and they then write things down in their own words and describe them the best they can.

For example, if God wanted Moses to write a chapter about creation, He didn't just tell Moses what to write but instead gave him a vision so that he witnessed the actual events, sort of like a movie. So what Moses writes down would be his perspective of what he actually observed during that vision. If in vision he was standing on the earth and it was dark, he doesn't know whether the sun isn't there at all or the sun is just being obstructed. All he knows is that it's dark.

Now you might say, why didn't God make sure that Moses was scientifically accurate, but every author has a certain purpose in writing a book and it's unlikely that God's main concern was to write something that would satisfy only 21th century readers to the exclusion of everyone else over the other 4 millenniums.
Debate Round No. 3
elthagreat

Pro

It's funny how you say I don't know enough about science when I'm the one providing scientific facts. However I'm just going to assume that you're avoiding the topic of evolution because it's stumbling block for your side the bible debate.
You also failed to rebuttal any of my arguments. You just gave excuses as to why the bible is vague, and wrong when it comes to science. Which is what I expected.
You stated that Genesis gives the impression that the sun was created at the same time as the earth. You say "Now it does give the impression that the sun was created at that same time". First off I don't know how you could possibly come to that conclusion. Especially when Genesis specifies that the sun was made on the fourth day. And no, the events in the rest of the chapter after Gen 1:1 could not have taken place billions of years because the chapter clearly states "And there was evening, and there was morning"the first day". Day not years.
You also state that Part of the problem is that when I read the Bible I think that if this book came from God He either wrote it Himself or He dictated it to someone word for word. Yes for a book that claims to be divinely inspired, and the "Word of God" I hold it to a high level of scrutiny as if it was dictated by God to someone word for word. This is why minor errors in the book can't be simply brushed off because if God is so perfect, and this is his word, then why are there mistakes. Why would God have his only method of communication to humans be some old manuscript written from 3000 to 2000 years ago. Why not a much more accurate more up to date method of communication that can't be easily refuted as just imperfect writings from lunatics.
Yes God should have made sure that Moses was Scientifically accurate because those "sacred" writings are supposedly representative of himself? Hence why Christians call it the "word of god". This is also not about 21 century readers that are contradictions in the bible that don't need modern science to be found out.
However this debate was about the scientific inaccuracies of the bible which you vaguely avoided and went on to talk about Moses, but you talking point was just so unreasonable that I had to correct them.
I hope your rebuttal deals more with the science of the bible, and not a bunch of excuses.
zxycba

Con

Let me translate what you are actually saying:

1) If God decides to write a book, he has to write it the way you want it to be written regardless of what his purpose is for writing it or that he clearly explains how it should be interpreted in other parts of the book.

2) You expect God to write something that would be considered scientifically accurate by today's standards even though that would cause it to be considered scientifically inaccurate by people who lived in the previous three millennia.

3) What you're saying is the equivalent of a mother trying to explain where babies come from to a four year old and you calling her stupid because she told him nothing about fallopian tubes and ovaries.

4) Out of more than a thousand chapters in the Bible God devotes one chapter to the beginning of history so he can explain where sin came from and you insist that this chapter should have been a science textbook.

5) You read the text in English and think every word can only be interpreted in a very specific way even though what you are reading is actually a translation of a translation.

6) You think that if God writes a book he should use the opportunity to teach science when God is actually trying to save people from eternal damnation. If your son was in a burning building, you wouldn't be giving him science lessons.

I never said there could have been billions of years IN BETWEEN the first and second day of creation (the evening and morning.) I said there could have been billions of years BEFORE the first day. Read carefully:

(1) In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

(2) The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

------------- insert billions of years here

(3) Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.

(4) And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.

(5) God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.

Verse 1 says God created the heavens and the earth IN THE BEGINNING. Only in the third verse does the creation week begin. There is no explanation as to how long ago 'the beginning' was and there's no reason it could not have been eons ago.

So in the beginning God created the entire universe and at some point he also created our solar system, including the earth. The earth was in bad shape probably due to all the volcanic activity. It was covered in water and was dark probably due to all the volcanic ash. The fact that there was water shows that the solar system had already been created as water would freeze or vaporize unless the planet was already at the right distance from the sun. Then, on the first day of creation God said, 'let there be light.' Now you read this as saying that God created light for the first time then and there while I read it as God cleaning up the volcanic ash from the atmosphere so that the light from the sun could get through. But, the sky was probably still covered in clouds so the sun, moon and stars were not yet visible until the fourth day when the clouds were dispelled and these became visible as well. Maybe this was done because prior to that the atmosphere was not yet ready to protect the planet from UV light. And, because all this was written down by someone actually watching the events occur from the ground (in vision), all they could see is darkness prior to the first day, then light on the first day and then the sun on the fourth day and that's how he wrote it down.

As already mentioned, the only part of all this that comes into direct conflict with modern science is the creation of plants, animals and people. And, like already mentioned, this is a problem with science, not with the Bible.

You think my detective illustration is bad since scientists never rule out anything. The way science works is that when scientists try to figure out how something happened, they come up with a hypothesis and then make predictions based on that hypothesis. So let's use an example that is not part of evolution but still applies, abiogenesys. At this moment in time scientists don't have a working model of how the first living cells emerged from non-living matter. They have some ideas but they are nowhere near solving the puzzle. So you would think that at least some scientists might consider the possibility that God created those first living cells. But you can search all the reputable peer-reviewed scientific journals you want and not once will you find a single scientist proposing a hypothesis and researching the possibility that God created those first cells. With all the scientists trying to solve abiogenesis not one is studying the possibility that God did it, and that is the very definition of bias. Saying that science does not have a bias for naturalism and against God is like saying that there has never been any form of racism in the United States. Of course, if you exclude God from the equation from the beginning and only look for natural explanations for everything you will end up finding only natural explanations.
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
****************************************************************
>Reported vote: Midnight1131// Mod action: NOT Removed<

3 points to Pro (Arguments). Reasons for voting decision: Arguments to Pro. This was a pretty simple debate for Pro, because they essentially only had to provide 1 scientifically inaccurate statement in the Bible for their resolution to be correct. And they found a few in fact. They state that the bible states that the earth was created in 7 days. This proves their resolution correct, and surprisingly Con failed to mention this in their rebuttals. That's enough reason to vote for Pro. Another statement that Pro mentioned were the age of the Earth, which Con states in the bible can be interpreted as anything from 6 - 15 thousand years, which is inaccurate, as the Earth is way older than that, as Pro mentioned. In the end, these two instances in the Bible mentioned by Pro prove that it is scientifically inaccurate, therefore arguments to Pro.

[*Reason for non-removal*] I'm not seeing any of the bias that the person who reported this vote insinuates. He clearly states the basis for his vote and examines what aspects of the debate contribute to his decision. The voter clearly read through at least some of the debate, and with the burdens as he sees them (which weren't clarified throughout the debate by either debater), it seems unnecessary for him to go through every single argument. What probably should have been mentioned in this RFD was temporal concept of what is and is not scientifically inaccurate, i.e. through what time period we should be allowed to judge the Bible. But it seems as though this argument really only came up in force in the final round, and it's unclear whether or not this has a substantive effect on this voter's perception of the burdens.
******************************************************************************
Posted by missmedic 2 years ago
missmedic
The BIBLE is nothing more than an Astrotheological Literary Hybrid.
Posted by iqpiblog 2 years ago
iqpiblog
science is not a magical discipline that can determine the truth about past events

the bible also s not a magical discipline that can determine the truth about past events

according to science man cannot walk on water, but it cannot prove that no man has ever walked on water or will do so in the future

according to the bible jesus arose from the dead, but it cannot prove that the words contained in it are totally truthful

both science and religion are equally foolish in their claims since it is impossible to prove events of the past that havent been witnessed first hand

any probability offered by either, of past events having occurred, is worthless.

science cannot prove that water wasnt a bright pink colour in the unwitnessed past
Posted by dsjpk5 2 years ago
dsjpk5
Well, since it never claimed to be a science book... That in no way is evidence that it's not inspired.
Posted by Alpha3141 2 years ago
Alpha3141
What do you mean by "scientifically"?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Midnight1131 2 years ago
Midnight1131
elthagreatzxycbaTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Arguments to Pro. This was a pretty simple debate for Pro, because they essentially only had to provide 1 scientifically inaccurate statement in the Bible for their resolution to be correct. And they found a few in fact. They state that the bible states that the earth was created in 7 days. This proves their resolution correct, and surprisingly Con failed to mention this in their rebuttals. That's enough reason to vote for Pro. Another statement that Pro mentioned were the age of the Earth, which Con states in the bible can be interpreted as anything from 6 - 15 thousand years, which is inaccurate, as the Earth is way older than that, as Pro mentioned. In the end, these two instances in the Bible mentioned by Pro prove that it is scientifically inaccurate, therefore arguments to Pro.