...a blog by Richard Flowers

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Day 2456: A Seventh Day Sceptic Writes…


Do you believe that the Earth is a flat disc that sits on pillars in a bottomless ocean?

Do you think that the sky is a ginormous glass dome with stars stuck onto the outside? Do you think it rains for forty days and forty nights when the sky windows are opened?

Do you think that the sun goes around the Earth? Do you think it can stop?

Do you think that the ratio of the distance all round the outside of a circle to the distance across it, π, equals three? If you do, can you make a clock work?

Do you think that bats are birds? Do you think that rabbits chew the cud?

No, of course you do not. If you went round saying these things, people would LAUGH and POINT.

So why do people still get away with saying: "I believe the bible is LITERALLY true; I believe that the Earth was made in seven days"?

And ANYWAY, it is SIX days, you nincompoop!


Jonny Wright said...

Millennium, you're basically right, and if you believe the Bible is literally true, every word, then you're either utterly schizophrenic or you haven't read it properly.

Just a couple of things I disagree with:

The "bats are birds" business is a total non-point, sorry. The ancient Israelites didn't have any idea of modern taxonomy. The classical Hebrew word for "bird" doesn't mean bird in the modern, academic sense of the Aves class. It pretty much means any flying thing with wings that's big enough not to be an insect. The ancients just lumped everything birdlike together into one category, very unscientifically.

Incidentally, most modern translations from the original Hebrew substitute "flying creatures" for "birds" in that verse.

The other thing I wanted to take issue with is your point about pi. I have a sneaking suspicion that a cubit wasn't an entirely exact unit of length, because it was (if memory serves) the length from your shoulder to your fingertips, or somesuch. It's entirely possible that a measurement in cubits isn't able, and isn't intended, to be more than a rough idea. If it used "paces" rather than cubits, you'd be able to forgive it for ignoring the decimal places!

Now, I'm off to lie with man as I would with woman ...

Jonny Wright said...

Oh yeah - one other point.

You can argue that it's 7-day creation, rather than 6-day creation: the Orthodox Jewish perspective is that the Sabbath itself was an integral part of the creation of the world, and should be included in the number of days!