RELIGION AND SCIENCE MYTHS
- Category: THE SCIENCE IN TORAH
- Written by Dr. Gerald Schroeder
The flood ruined the accuracy of scientific methods of dating.
The argument that the flood at the time of Noah affected the fossils to the extent that they are no longer valid indicators of history does not stand up to scrutiny. And here is why! We read in Genesis 4:22, that Tuval Cain, son of Lemach, developed the sophisticated working of bronze metal. Though the ages of Cain’s progeny are not listed in the Bible, by juxtaposing Cain’s progeny with those of Seth we can estimate that Tuval Cain lived approximately in the Biblical year 1,000 (that is 1000 years after Adam). The Flood occurred in the Biblical year 1659, 600 years after Tuval Cain. Thus Tuval Cain did his work prior to the Flood and so the waters of the Flood should have upset the relics of his work. Yet along comes the archaeologists and discover the relics of an age that they label as The Early Bronze Age. Scientific dating places it at approximately 2800 BCE or in the Biblical year approximately of 1000, overlapping the Biblical timing of Tuval Cain. If the Flood did indeed alter or change the fossil record, it should also have altered the relics of Tuval Cain. But it did not. The implication is the Flood did not alter the fossil record. The Flood is a poor choice to discredit the fossil record as a measure of true history.
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Radioactive Carbon dating is unreliable because the amount of carbon in the atmosphere is always changing.
True it is that the amount of carbon in the atmosphere has changed over time. And this indeed affects the precision of radio-carbon dating. Yet we can test carbon dating against tree ring data. A tree produces a new ring in its trunk each year. Look at the stump of any tree and you see the annual rings. Counting rings tells how long ago a specific ring was formed. This can then be compared with the radio-carbon date for the carbon in that ring. We find that for at least the past 3,000 years, carbon dating is good to within 10%. Whether or not carbon dating is accurate, there are other parallel radioactive “clocks” not dependent on carbon (for example, uranium – thorium) that corroborate the carbon data. And more over, carbon dating is only useful for very recent relics that have carbon remaining, such as bones. Once petrified (morphed into stone as over eons of time the minerals in the soil replace the organic matter of the relic) carbon is no longer present. For longer periods of time, there are other “longer-lived” radioactive clocks. In general the different radioactive clocks agree among themselves about to within 15%. The dual myths of the Flood confounding the fossil record and radiocarbon being highly flawed simply fail upon scrutiny.
The Big Bang Theory disproves God (and is therefore heresy).
On the contrary, the big bang theory is good news for God and the truth of the Bible. Until the mid-1960′s, the overwhelming opinion of the scientific community was that the universe was eternal, never had a creation. This is in direct contradiction to the opening sentence of the Bible, Genesis 1:1. Then two scientists at Bell Labs in New Jersey, USA, Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, while scanning the heavens with a special antenna, detected a weak radiation filling all of space. Working with P.J.E. Peebles at Princeton University, this ubiquitous radiation was identified as the residual energy of the big bang creation. It is now known as the cosmic microwave radiation background. Penzias and Wilson were awarded the Nobel Prize for their discovery, and rightly so. Their discovery changed humanity’s understanding of our universe. There was a creation, a beginning to our universe. The Bible got it right and 3000 years later science confirmed the fact. As we say, better late than never. The big bang theory does not specify what caused the creation. That is under intense scientific debate. The Bible of course gives answer as God.
Dinosaurs are an invention of scientists, as they are never mentioned in the Bible.
Well, dinosaurs may have been discovered among the fossils by scientists, but certainly they were not an invention of scientists. First of all, not being mentioned in the Bible does not mean they never existed. Oranges are also not mentioned in the Bible and it would be a rare theologian that would push aside a glass of orange juice because of that omission! But beyond that, there does in fact happen to be a hint in the Bible if dinosaurs. How? Genesis 1:21, “and God created the big taneneem …” The term big taneneem has a range of translations into English. The entire problem originates with the 2200 year old translation of the Hebrew Bible in to Greek, The Septuagint. There big taneneem is translated as big whales. Elsewhere I have seen big crocodiles, even big dragons. There is an irony of these multiple misunderstandings to the word, taneneem, since it is essentially defined in the second book of the Bible, Exodus. Moses is at the Burning Bush and God tells him to throw his shepherd staff on the ground. It becomes a snake. In Hebrew the word for snake is nahash (Exodus 4:3). This meaning of nahash as snake is well known in the Bible. The meaning of taneneem is the question. Moses with his staff returns to Egypt. Joined by his brother Aaron, they confront Pharaoh: “Let my people go.” Pharaoh demands that they show him a miracle. Aaron at this point throws Moses’ staff on the ground and it becomes a taneen, the singular of taneneem (Exodus 7:10). Since neither Moses nor Aaron express any surprise at the appearance of a taneen, clearly taneen has within it the meaning of nahash, snake. If the staff had become a whale or a crocodile as previous translations in Genesis, obviously Moses and Aaron [and Pharaoh too] would had shown amazement. But the Bible makes it clear that they were not surprised. So now we know two facts. Nahash means snake. That is certain from its multiple uses elsewhere in the Bible. We also know that since taneneem is used in the opening chapter of the Bible it must be a general category, since other than Adam, only general categories are used in that chapter. Hence taneneem is the general category within which snake falls. The category into which snakes fall is reptile. The correct English translation of big taneneem is the big reptiles. The irony is that if we translate big reptiles, the big taneneem, into Greek, as was the task of the Septuagint, we read dino (big or terrible) saurus (reptiles), dinosaurus. Had the Greek translation 2200 years ago been faithful to the Hebrew we would have read in Genesis 1:21 something similar to: “and God created the dinosaurs!”
Adam was the first of the Homo-Sapiens.
Adam was the first human, the first Homo sapiens with the soul of a human, the neshama. That is the creation listed in Genesis 1:27. Adam was not the first Homo sapiens. Maimonides in The Guide for the Perplexed (part 1 chapter 7) described animals co-existing with Adam that were identical to humans in shape and intelligence, but because they lacked the neshama, they were animals. The Guide for the Perplexed was published in the year 1190, seven centuries before Darwin and long before any evidence was popular relative to fossils of cave men and women. So from where did these ancients get the knowledge of the pre-Adam hominids? They learned it, correctly we discover, from the subtle wording of the biblical text. Those animals in human shape and intelligence would be the “adam” listed in Genesis 1:26, when God says “Let us make Adam.” But in the next verse God creates “the Adam,” the Adam, a specific being [a nuance in the Hebrew text first pointed out to me by Peggy Ketz and totally missed in the English translations!]. The Mishna in the section, Keli’im, discusses “masters of the field” that were animals but so identical to humans that when they died one could not tell them apart from a dead human. Masters of the field implies farming – a skill that predates the Adam by at least 2000 years according to pollen studies in the border area between Israel and Syria. Nahmanides (year 1250; the major kabalistic commentator on the Torah), in his long discussion of Genesis 2:7, details the flow of life that led to the Adam, the first human. He closes his comments there with the statement that when this spirituality was infused into the living being, that being changed to “another kind of man.” Not changed to man but another kind of man, a homo sapiens / hominid became spiritually human. The error in the term “cavemen” is in the “men.” They were not men or women. Though they had human shape and intelligence, they lacked the neshama, the human spirit infused by God. Cave men or women were never a theological problem for the ancient commentators. And they did not need a museum exhibit to tell them so. It is science that has once again come to confirm the age-old wisdom of the Torah! (For a detailed discussion of the ancient sources cited here, see the two relevant chapters in my second book, The Science of God.)
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Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of Noahide Nations
Scientific discoveries and the fossil record have proven Darwin’s Theory of the Gradual Evolution of Life
The exact opposite is the case. As Niles Eldredge, curator at the American Museum of Natural History, NYC, wrote in the New York Times, “The fossil record that we were told to find for the past 150 years (since Charles Darwin ) does not exist.” Darwin insisted that “natura non facit saltum,” that nature does not make jumps. In fact, the flow of life as recorded in the fossil record has many jumps in complexity. The great trade secret of paleontology is that the fossil record does not confirm Darwin. Never did I expect to read in the esteemed, peer reviewed journal, Science, the following: “Did Darwin get it all right?” And the sub-title was no, species appear with a most un-Darwinian rapidity. The problems of evolution begin with the origin of life (Richard Dawkins attributes the origin of life to “luck.”) and continue through the fossil record. Most precisely, the oldest rocks that can bear fossils already have fossils of microbes, some undergoing cell division. Nature “invented” DNA, RNA, cell structure, cell function with startling rapidity. The Theory of Evolution is based on selection by nature (survival of the fittest) and therefore is not a random process
Not true. The Theory of Evolution as understood today is a two stage process, the first of which is totally random: First stage: random mutations produce changes in the DNA (the genetic library that stores the information to form the specific organism) and so yield variations in the progeny of the organism; and, second stage: the environment challenges the altered organism. If the mutation was beneficial, the improved version survives and flourishes. If the mutation was detrimental, then relative to its better neighbors, it will decrease in abundance and possibly perish. This is what is referred to as survival of the fittest. If there ever was a phrase with circular reasoning, this is it. We define the fittest as those that survive. We could just as well have written survival of the survivors. Note that the second stage, the challenge by nature, is not random. But the first stage, the mutations in the DNA, must be random. If not random, then certain mutations are favored by nature, which would imply an inherent direction to the flow of life, which in turn would imply a Director. The late Stephen Jay Gould, then professor of paleobiology, Harvard University, referred to it as channeling.
The Big Bang Theory disproves God (and affirms atheism)
Not at all. The big bang (theory or fact) is merely jargon for the creation of the universe. The opening sentence of the Bible states that there was a creation. What caused the big bang is still being debated. Scientists suggest that within the laws of nature, the concept of a quantum fluctuation could create a universe. This of course assumes that: 1) the laws of nature (not physical nature, but totally abstract, non-physical laws of nature) pre-date the universe; 2) that these laws are eternal or timeless, outside of time; and 3) that within these eternal laws is the property of a quantum fluctuation that under extreme conditions can produce the physical universe from absolute nothing. Now all this sounds very much like the biblical definition of God. The Bible tells us that the eternal, non-physical God created the universe – perhaps working through the laws of nature. Recall that in the Exodus account, God used a force of nature, a strong east wind, to split the sea (Exodus 14:21). And that the only name for God in Genesis One is Elokim, God as made manifest in nature.
The mystery of the origin of life has been solved
Of all the many mysteries in nature, the origin of life is one of the three key that have resisted solution. At the present there is no viable explanation for how the complexity of even the “simplest” of microbes arose over many stages, but starting with rocks, water and a few simple molecules. Consider that molecules or atoms must have joined together perhaps in some pool of water or by a thermal vent and then built a chain of molecules gleaned from that puddle. This growing-in-length molecule must have been able to reproduce itself and do so with some changes that advance its complexity. The number of assumptions required increases with each stage in the proposed development. The other two conundrums are why there is something rather than nothing, why there is existence of any thing in any form; and, what is the origin of consciousness, self-awareness in life that arose from seemingly inert, non-living matter.
Very occasionally monkeys hammering away at typewriters will type out one of Shakespeare’s sonnets
Not true, not in this universe. But it is a popular assumption that the monkeys can do it, a wrong assumption that randomness can produce meaningful stable complexity. But let’s look at the numbers to see why the monkeys will always fail. I’ll take the only sonnet I know, sonnet number 18, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day …” All sonnets are 14 lines, all about the same length. This sonnet has approximately 488 letters (neglect spaces). With a typewriter or keyboard having 26 letters, the number of possible combinations is 26 to the exponential power of 488 or approximately ten to the power of 690. That is a one with 690 zeros after it. Convert the entire 10 to the 56 grams of the universe (forget working with the monkeys) into computer chips each weighing a billionth of a gram and have each chip type out a billion sonnet trials a second (or 488 billion operations per second) since the beginning of time, ten to the 18th seconds ago. The number of trials will be approximately ten to power of 92, a huge number but minuscule when compared with the 10 to power 690 possible combinations of the letters. We are off by a factor of ten to power of 600. The laws of probability confirm that the universe would have reached its heat death before getting one sonnet. We will never get a sonnet by random trials, and the most basic molecules of life are far more complex than the most intricate sonnet. As reported in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, when the world’s most influential atheist philosopher, Antony Flew, read this analysis of complexity and several analyses related to the complexity of life brought in my third book, The Hidden Face of God, and Roy Varghese’s excellent book, The Wonder of the World, he abandoned his errant belief in a Godless world and publicly apologized for leading so many persons astray for the decades that his atheistic thoughts held sway.
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Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of Noahide Nations