>”The Bible’s purpose is not to educate people on science, it is to reveal the nature of God.”

The main topic of a book does not have to be nature in order for it to contain mistaken assumptions about nature. What is the reasoning here? That errors somehow don’t count if they were in areas other than the author’s intended focus? No, what that sounds like to me is rhetorical sleight of hand.

>”And like all good communicators, it communicates at the level of its intended audience.”

If I also started from the unshakable assumption that my religion was true, that’s probably how I’d rationalize the errors in its holy text. In no small part because it’s an infinitely versatile explanation which can apply to absolutely any claim.

The Bible could say 2+2=5 and you’d still be saying that sort of thing. That it “reveals something of God’s nature”, a generalizable horoscope-style non-explanation employed by bullshit artists from every background.

Muslims do it, for example. Go and search Youtube for “Scientific miracles of the holy Qur’an”. You’ll get hundreds of results, videos claiming that ambiguous Qur’an verses are actually scientific foreknowledge Muhammad could not have known back then, but as you put it, “communicated at the level of its intended audience”.

Does that convince you? It must not, otherwise you’d be a Muslim. When that defense is used by practitioners of other religions you recognize how weak it is. Somehow it’s fine for defending the Bible though.

>”I remember in high school chemistry how the textbook invariably showed molecules with pictures of colored balls connected by rods and how when I got to college my chemistry professor spent the better part of one lecture railing on about how that is not what molecules look like and how we were idiots if we had even ever considered it to be true. That is what this line of inquiry reminds me of. Was the author of the high school chemistry book ignorant of science. Did he really believe that molecules were composed of balls and sticks? I doubt it. No, he was attempting to present his knowledge at a suitable level of abstraction so that his intended audience could grasp some of these new, often difficult, concepts. His goal was to educate high school students, not impress future generations with his comprehensive understanding of chemistry.”

That sounds so superficially reasonable, wow. You’re really practiced at this, you ought to take up politics. One small problem though. According to the Genesis account, Earth existed before the sun, the sun before all other stars, and birds before land animals.

That’s the wrong order. We know very concretely that the sun predates the Earth, as we have seen how planets accrete around stars from gravitationally captured debris. We know the Sun is not the oldest star. Birds evolved from land animals, and thus cannot predate them.

Your defense doesn’t work here. This isn’t a simplified, streamlined abstraction meant to communicate a complicated concept at the level primitive people could understand. Nothing about putting those events in the correct order would’ve made it any simpler or easier to communicate. It’s just the wrong order.

So then we must ask, is this intentional, to reveal something of God’s nature? What, that Yahweh’s a liar? That he’s a trickster? Even if the wrong order was left in scripture by negligence or indifference, that doesn’t work either. If you believe the Bible to be the sole valid handbook for attaining salvation, then it would be Yahweh’s responsibility, not ours, to ensure the contents are accurate.

Permitting false claims to remain in scripture, causing anybody smarter than a fifth grader to doubt the veracity of Biblical claims in general, would lead those people to damnation. Yahweh could no longer reasonably hold anybody accountable for reading the Bible, seeing it’s wrong about many things and concluding its supernatural claims are no more credible than its natural ones.

Funny how all the mistakes which you contend were actually simplified expressions of modern, true knowledge just so happened to be stuff widely believed at the time of writing in neighboring cultures, and which the authors of the OT wouldn’t have had the means to personally investigate.

Funny how it was all things that would only become possible to know the answer to with knowledge that was unattainable until much later, like evolution, Earth’s sphericity, or the order in which the major components of our solar system formed, or the evolution of various species on Earth. Stuff we should reasonably expect them to guess wrong about if they were, in fact, frauds.

Funny how I don’t see you putting forth this elaborate, impassioned defense on behalf of Egypt, or Babylon, both of which just-so-happened to also have flat earth cosmologies, and share borders with ancient Israel. You’re content for them to simply have been wrong, making what seemed like reasonable guesses for the time, proven wrong by the steady increase in scope, over time, of what science is able to investigate. What’s that about?


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Alex Beyman

Alex Beyman

I post text here, often accompanied by images and sometimes video. People then clap or don't depending on whether they enjoy what I posted.