Biblical Science Falls Where Others Stand

Posted: November 30, 2013 in religion, science
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Well, that’s what the title of David Rives’ latest video probably should have been. In actuality, he entitled it, “Biblical Science Stands Where Others Fall.” His video starts out describing how science works but then goes on to say “the Big Bang is science fiction,” proceeds to give no reason why scientists think the Big Bang happened, but he instead cherry picks passages from the Bible that he’s then able to fit into the – *gasp* – modern picture of the universe. He ends with an argument from authority and claims that Galileo, Newton, and Kepler all based their ideas a Biblical framework. Funny … I kinda remember Galileo being put under house arrest when the leading Bible interpreters at the time said his ideas conflicted with it.

The reason that I’m bothering to even talk about his latest is that I find it somewhat humorous as well as mildly fascinating but incredibly reassuring that Rives gets almost no positive feedback on World Net Daily. Yes, there are 11 ratings for an average of 3.73/5 stars, but there are also 14 comments. An inordinate amount of them are are negative to Rives’ creationist view and positive towards science. A few others are pro-Bible but anti-“literal” interpretations that result in Young-Earth Creationism.

Perhaps the best comment has 3 up- and zero down-votes, by “Steven Thompson”:

1. The Big Bang theory does make specific predictions, most notably about the relative cosmic abundances of hydrogen and helium, the distribution of galactic redshifts, and about the cosmic microwave background. Meanwhile, it seems to me that Rives’ young-earth creationism makes implicit predictions of its own: we should not be able to see, through telescopes, galaxies billions of light-years away since [a] there would not be time for their light to reach us since it was emitted and [b] they are in any case invisible except to powerful telescopes, and therefore useless as “signs for seasons, days, and years.”

2. It is probably worth noting that prior to Hubble’s work on redshifts during the 1920s, no biblical exegete interpreted “spreading out the heavens” as referring to the expansion of space or growing distances between galactic clusters. Indeed, tents (the thing to which the heavens are being compared in the quoted verse) aren’t supposed to stretch out indefinitely. They do have to be “stretched out” in order to be set up (rather like a dome) over a flat spot of ground, which is the interpretation of this verse by its earliest exegetes (see, e.g. the flat-earth cosmology of the authors of the book of Enoch and of the first-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus).

3. I think that old-earth creationist Hugh Ross would be astonished to learn that he is an atheist (for that matter, long-time — if late — Big Bang critic Fred Hoyle might be surprised to learn that his own views were not those of an atheist). Indeed, there seems no reason for Rives to insist that the Big Bang theory is not an explanation for the origin of the universe except to leave open the possibility that God caused it (a rather common position among old-earth creationists and ID proponents).

4. It is not in any case a deficiency of a scientific theory that it explains only what it explains, and not something else: atomic theory doesn’t explain where atoms came from, for example, and neither Newtonian mechanics nor their Einsteinian refinements explain the formation of the planets whose orbits they do explain.

5. Newton, Galileo, and Kepler all challenged the prevailing (and entirely plausible) interpretation of scripture: that when the Bible, e.g. described Joshua as commanding the sun, not the Earth, to stop moving, or the Psalms describe the Earth as being fixed and immobile, that meant that the Earth did not rotate on its axis and orbit the sun, but that rather the sun orbited the Earth. This was the view not only of Pope Urban but of both Luther and Calvin. If Rives cites them as good scientists, he implicitly criticizes his own assumption that his interpretation of scriptures is the final word on scientific questions.

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