Christian reader: the Bible predicts black holes

Oh dear; I have received another bizarre email from a Christian. Since I’m too tired to think, I’ll just put it up for your delectation. It’s in reference to the plaque from a donor of the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum that referred to animals as “creatures of God.” Some of us found that unseemly in a publicly-run museum, made a bit of a fuss, and the plaque was removed. This, of course, peeved the faithful, one of whom wrote me.

Dear Mr. Coyne:

As a Christian, I find it interesting that a person in Chicago would care about a plaque in Los Angeles.  However, that is your right, just as it is your right to NOT believe in God.  I fully support that right and you will probably hold that belief until you die.  I pray you don’t, but probably will.  It is at the time of death that you will no longer be an atheist as you will get the chance to meet God.  You see, God doesn’t believe in atheists!

You made the comment in the article I read that “… I needn’t remind you that science is done by ignoring God, and has never given the slightest bit of evidence for the intercession of God in the origin, evolution, and diversification of life.”  I find that very strange since science is continually proving the Bible to be true!

Do some research.  I challenge you to read Job 26:7.  Scientists have since CONFIRMED there are Black Holes in space.

Thank you for taking the time to read my message.

God bless you.

[Name redacted]
Indianapolis, Indiana

I accepted the reader’s challenge and read Job 26:7. Here it is in context from the King James Bible (I put verse 7 in bold):

5 “The dead tremble,
Those under the waters and those inhabiting them.
6 Sheol is naked before Him,
And Destruction has no covering.
7 He stretches out the north over empty space;
He hangs the earth on nothing.
8 He binds up the water in His thick clouds,
Yet the clouds are not broken under it.
9 He covers the face of His throne,
And spreads His cloud over it.

One would think, if that verse supposedly describes black holes, that a). God would be a bit more explicit, and b). The reader would do a bit of research on what black holes actually are, and how the Earth can’t possibly be construed to hang on one.

Muslims who are accommodationists—yes, there are some—also find such specious correspondences between verses in the Qur’an and the discoveries of modern science. You can see a particularly amusing collection here.

111 Comments

  1. gbjames
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    I’m curious what happens to the south, east, and west.

    • Posted December 28, 2013 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      It gets stretched into a quantum loop of stupid and then shot out the ass of a divine wormhole.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 30, 2013 at 6:06 am | Permalink

      I’m curious …

      And at that point, it’s all over between you and god. She can’t abide curiosity.

      • gbjames
        Posted December 30, 2013 at 7:24 am | Permalink

        That’s what I hear.

  2. George
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    The Big Book of Multiple Choice (aka The Bible) has vague phrases that, after the fact, can be interpreted as predicting just about anything. It would be nice if it made a very specific prediction like – boil your water and you will avoid a wide range of diseases. Or to demonstrate how moral it is, the first page should be, in big bold letters, NO SLAVERY! SLAVERY IS BAD!

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 28, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      Or in the 1930s there will be a guy called Hitler. Don’t let him lead anything.

      • Posted December 28, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

        Is that the 1930s according to the Hebrew calendar or the Gregorian one?

      • Posted December 28, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

        Ah, but we could have had Gloder instead.

        /@

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted December 28, 2013 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

          This would make a good movie. I know it’s been done before (the alternate history trope) but I think this one would be cool.

      • Posted December 28, 2013 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        Is that according to the Hebrew calendar or the Gregorian one?

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted December 28, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

          You forgot Julian.

        • NewEnglandBob
          Posted December 28, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

          Mayan calendar.

    • js
      Posted December 28, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      Haha.
      Or, ‘wash your hands after you go to the loo’.

      • Marella
        Posted December 28, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

        Use fresh water, not those stagnant baths the priests use and get schistosomiasis from.

      • Dermot C
        Posted December 28, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

        Prophecy evolved. Amos is the first prophetic source from the 760s to 740s BCE, emerging at the same time as the Greek oracular shrines.

        In general, of course, the prophecies were written after the fact: sometimes they would be inserted into a document which was already viewed as authoritative. Daniel is the famous example. In the early period the prophecies concerned events which were to happen soon.

        After Daniel, a change occurred in the Jewish culture of prophetic expectation. Very old prophecies could still come true. Possibly because 2nd century CE rabbinic texts reveal great ignorance about the post-Ezra and Nehemiah period (ca. 460-445 BCE) up to the first century CE. That’s how come the Gospellers mined ancient texts for fulfilment of the prophecies in Zechariah, Isaiah, Hosea etc. And first century CE prophets were expected to enact scenes which had been predicted.

        Besides Jesus, there was Agabus, a foretelling prophet mentioned in Acts 21:11. He predicted the mid 40s CE famine: but all he had to do was to know that the Egyptian harvest had failed the previous year and the prophecy was entirely er…predictable.

        There was Theudas who wanted to part the Jordan: the ‘Egyptian’ who wanted to destroy the walls of Jerusalem in an echo of Jericho. Josephus mentions prophets in the Judaean desert promising divine intervention.

        Slaínte.

        • Posted December 28, 2013 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

          My favorite is that the Koran predicts the world is round. A Muslim who discussed this with me said that no one knew the world was round until Magellan circumnavigated it.

          He had never heard of Eratosthenes of Cyrene.

          • pacopicopiedra
            Posted December 28, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

            I think it’s safe to say that pretty much everyone has never heard of Eratosthenes of Cyrene.

            • Dermot C
              Posted December 28, 2013 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

              Wow, what a man, Eratosthenes. Btw. Magellan didn’t circumnavigate the world: his fleet did. He died somewhere in the Far East.

              Slaínte.

              • Simon Hayward
                Posted December 29, 2013 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

                Humm – Magellan travelled east, to somewhere around the Philippines. Picked up a “servant” there and came back to Europe. Later he set off west and, as you say, his fleet carried on in that direction and eventually got back without him. However, he got past the point that he’d been to in the other direction earlier – the clue was reaching a place where the natives spoke a language close to that of the servant. So, although it wasn’t done on one voyage, one could say that the two of them (Magellan and servant) did complete the first circumnavigation.

            • Diane G.
              Posted December 28, 2013 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

              :D

            • Posted December 29, 2013 at 2:20 am | Permalink

              Who?

              /@

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted December 29, 2013 at 3:32 am | Permalink

              I thought everyone who had an interest in the history of science – like, enough to have heard of Archimedes, say – had heard of Eratosthenes. He certainly deserves recognition, check the Wikipedia article on him.

              • Posted December 29, 2013 at 5:45 am | Permalink

                Well of course> I’ve heard of Eratosthenes – as would anyone who watched Sagan’s Cosmos series back in the ’70s. But who is this pacopicopiedra? Should I even believe such a person exists?

            • Posted December 29, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

              Actually, it’s fairly safe to say that nearly everybody has heard of him — or, at least, his sieve:

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sieve_of_Eratosthenes

              I can’t imagine making it through high school without learning about prime numbers, and I can’t imagine teaching about prime numbers without the Sieve.

              …not, of course, that that means that people actually remember any of it — or, for that matter, anything else they ostensibly learned in high school….

              Cheers,

              b&

          • Latverian Diplomat
            Posted December 28, 2013 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

            Apparently, he had also never heard of Al-Biruni.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_geodesy#Biruni

        • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
          Posted December 29, 2013 at 10:19 am | Permalink

          Claims in need of a real reference; all that assumes the myth is fact, which is unlikely (and mostly refuted by archaeological finds).

  3. Larry Gay
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    The letter from the Christian is coherent and easy to read. So how can someone more or less sane think that somehow the discovery of black holes confirms something in the Bible? It just beats me. I really have no answer. What goes on in their *minds”?

    • gbjames
      Posted December 28, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      Coherent only if you think that “He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing.” is a description of a black hole.

      And how does [Name redacted] know that God doesn’t believe in atheists?

      And if that happened to be true, wouldn’t that make the Deity monumentally stupid? Like me saying I don’t believe in Christians.

      • pacopicopiedra
        Posted December 28, 2013 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

        The very first sentence is terrible. What is it about being a Christian that makes him so sensitive to geography?

      • Latverian Diplomat
        Posted December 28, 2013 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

        I wonder if the writer heard some sermon about how this verse describes gravity (it doesn’t, but its closer) and then said sermon went on to claim that every result of gravitational theory up to and including black holes could be deduced from this one verse. Sermonizers love shit like that.

  4. dunnfjfrancis
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    //

  5. Craig Good
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Nostradamus predicted that these verses in Job would be interpreted this way.

  6. Jesper Both Pedersen
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    There may be a massive black hole at the center of our galaxy, but I doubt that is what this dude has in mind.

    • abrotherhoodofman
      Posted December 28, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      Oh but it is exactly what he has in mind now…
      ;)

  7. Sastra
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    As a Christian, I find it interesting that a person in Chicago would care about a plaque in Los Angeles.

    Wait a minute — she’s in Indiana. And you’re in Illinois!

    That’s interesting. But I guess …. *sigh* … she has that right and I fully support it. So she can be relieved of that big concern. It’s okay if she looks outside. She doesn’t have to comprehend, or be right, or make any sense at all.

    Belief in the Bible predicts black holes. Information goes in … and never escapes the circularity of the Biblical world view, which sucks up all the light.

    • Jeff D
      Posted December 28, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      Indianapolis, Indiana. Another damaging whack to the general credibility (what is left of it) of the human inhabitants of the Circle City / ‘Naptown.

      I have no idea how numerous the terminally incurious, scientifically illiterate, no-nothing “concerned Christian” Indianapolis residents like [Name Redacted] are, but in my daily workday activities, I am not encountering them regularly.

      “Some drink at the fountain of knowledge, and others merely gargle.” Larry Kusche (original source unknown)

  8. Posted December 28, 2013 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    “You see, God doesn’t believe in atheists!”

    How does he know?!

    • js
      Posted December 28, 2013 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      Yes, exactly.
      I’m currently reading ‘A manual for creating atheists’ and the most salient point of the book is that when someone tells you something about their religion, ask them ‘how do you know that?’.

      • Posted December 28, 2013 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

        This would only work for the more “honest” religious folks. I’ve tried this and got mired in a parade of scripture after vague scripture. They answer as if it were an elaborate tapestry of mysteries that only the chosen ones are able to comprehend. No, when asked “How do you know that?” the religious “know” because their special Ikea God Manual of various languages, authors, prose, and instruction is a one size fits all answer to skeptical inquiry.

        • jimroberts
          Posted December 29, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

          > They answer as if it were an elaborate tapestry of mysteries that only the chosen ones are able to comprehend.

          But that’s exactly how it is. All four evangelists have Jesus explain that: here, for example, Matthew

          And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

    • Sastra
      Posted December 28, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      Well, the writer explains.

      It is at the time of death that you will no longer be an atheist as you will get the chance to meet God.

      So no atheist will remain atheist forever. They can’t. God would know this and thus wouldn’t “believe in” atheists as a permanent category. Of course, the Christian could also bring up that puerile verse about how everybody knows God exists because duh, they can see what He made and so they only pretend to be atheists, like spoiled children rebelling against authority.

      Of course, either one of these opens up a whole can of worms. Why couldn’t God make His presence just as obvious in this life as “at the time of death?” And if you’re so convinced that atheists are willfully perverse, why try to evangelize them at all?

      • js
        Posted December 28, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

        Yes, the one thing that god is really good at is making it seem like he doesn’t exist.

        • Posted December 28, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

          And the invisible and the nonexistent look very much alike.

        • James Walker
          Posted December 28, 2013 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

          As Woody Allen said (can’t remember which film), God may not play dice with the universe but he plays hide and seek …

          • Diane G.
            Posted December 28, 2013 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

            Never heard that one. It’s great!

    • Posted December 28, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      Assuming that God really exists, not only would he believe in atheists, but atheists would be part of God’s plan.

  9. Alan Feuerbacher
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    A take on Job 26:7 that’s new to me, and even more of a stretch than I’ve seen before.

    Many years ago, as I unwound myself from my Jehovah’s Witness upbringing, I considered the Watchtower Society’s take on this passage: it describes the earth as a sphere hanging upon nothing in empty space. Sounds good to the faithful, but many Bible commentaries understand this to mean that God supports the earth not by any material means, namely, by “no thing”, i.e., nothing material, but by his supernatural power. Of course, we know that the very concept of “suspension” of the earth is nonsense, ala Einstein. Either way, Job obviously says nothing about the physical nature of gravity and so forth.

    No matter how fundamentalists go through apologetic gyrations, they just don’t get to their goal.

    • Alex Shuffell
      Posted December 28, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      A Jehovah Witness tried using this passage at me too, she didn’t believe in gravity.

      • Walt Jones
        Posted December 28, 2013 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

        Oh, biblical support for intelligent falling.

    • Posted December 28, 2013 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

      When I was in my late teens to early 20′s I studied off and on with various Jehovah’s Witnesses. I have to say that they were, in general, some of the nicest and most loving people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. No organization is without its flaws, but my very limited experience with them was overall positive. I was drawn to the whole “paradise” concept – especially the nightly community picnics in a perfectly landscaped park while a toddler snuggles next to a lion and a black women unveils her hot apple pie. Seriously however, I was never a believer – and they were never pushy or impatient with me. I learned more of the bible from them than I probably would have with any other church. I certainly learned all I needed to know about that particular book.

      • gbjames
        Posted December 29, 2013 at 9:03 am | Permalink

        The “unloving” part is generally reserved for family members who leave the faith.

  10. Posted December 28, 2013 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    I think “He” must, in this case, refer to interstellar Helium.

  11. Sastra
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    One would think, if that verse supposedly describes black holes, that a). God would be a bit more explicit

    Yes, one of the problems with the accomodationist insistence that science and religion are compatible because religious claims are inherently untestable is that they clearly are not. A satisfactory example of an explicit prediction of black holes in an ancient holy text would be surprising; dozens and dozens of them would shift the status of the religious claim in a positive direction. As this Christian reader says, it is conceivable that “science is continuously proving the Bible to be true!”

    Conceivable, and yet wrong. Not “in completely different categories” like trying to perform an experiment to see if Beethoven is ‘better’ than Mozart and preferring Eine Kleine Nachtmusik is wrong. Just wrong wrong, in the usual sense.

    • gluonspring
      Posted December 28, 2013 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. It would be very simple to encode proofs of the Bible’s veracity within the text given the considerable resources that omnipotence and omniscience provides. As a trivial but effective example, one could encode chunks of the decimal expansion of pi corresponding to the computing power of various ages, so that as our computing capacity improved we could go back and re-verify the text.

  12. Richard Olson
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    All too often I have not a smidgeon of an idea what the hell the writer is talking about in two-millennia previous popular apocalyptic fiction, and Job 26:5-9 is no exception. I have siblings who meet with groups once a week to hash this material out in intense & serious discussion that last hours. It is rare that consensus on meaning is arrived at, from all indications, yet these sessions are as faithfully attended as the equally unedifying sermons at church. Mysteries seldom resolved.

    Verse 9 takes pains to note that He not only covers the face (?) of His throne, but also spreads His cloud over it(?). I gather this plot device is employed in the 4 verses to ratchet up by degree the ominous scene taking place at this stage in the story.

    Does it mean to convey that He pouts within this shroud? My personal choice for childish Biblical drama, but more likely it would turn out to be yet another of the seemingly near-infinite wrath episodes, where “He” simmers while “His” fury builds to an explosive climax followed by many suffering horribly and/or heinously murdered by their Maker.

    I’m not stimulated enough to grab the book and review this silly story I’ve long forgotten. Now, if it was one of the Greek mythology stories, maybe it would be worth a second look. I’ve forgotten most of them, too, but on the whole they are a little better written, usually.

    • Alektorophile
      Posted December 28, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      You’re right, the Greek myths are more fun, and the characters so much more interesting and believable, with a full range of emotions rather than Yahweh’s limited one of jealous god/petulant god/angry god. If Americans were to choose their god the way many are said to choose their president, i.e. someone you’d enjoy having a beer with, Zeus would be a lot more popular.

  13. Mark Joseph
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Sheol is naked before Him

    I dunno. That sounds pretty racy to me. And just who is this Sheol chick, anyway? It is a misspelling of “Salome”? I thought the bible was supposed to be a moral book…

    • Jesper Both Pedersen
      Posted December 28, 2013 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      Sheol is anagram for *gasp* Holes!

      The prophecy is true!

      • gbjames
        Posted December 28, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

        And I thought this was a family friendly web site.

      • Sastra
        Posted December 28, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        ‘Sheol’ is also an anagram for ‘helos’ which is ancient Greek for ‘nails.’

        Another prophesy of the crucifixion! Will wonders never cease!

        And I note per google that ‘helos’ also means ‘helicopter.’ How could they have known … back then?

        It just gets better and better, doesn’t it?

    • Grania Spingies
      Posted December 28, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      Sheol is definitely a man, a cute one. It is true, because it was revealed to me.

      • Kevin
        Posted December 28, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

        Funny.

      • BillyJoe
        Posted December 28, 2013 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        Well, I guess if he was naked before you then, yes, it was revealed to you. But makes it cute. My wife’s says I’m cute. But, stuff cute, I jus’ wanna be bigger. |:

  14. js
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Is there any mention of cats in the bible?

    • Sastra
      Posted December 28, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      I don’t know — but PZ Myers gives a convincing talk about how the Bible apparently hates dogs. Virtually every reference is intensely negative.

      Of course, if Ceiling Cat is God then the Bible mentions cats all the time.

    • js
      Posted December 28, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      I know that noms are mentioned, such as the loaves and fishes story, and there was the wine fiasco but not even any mention of whether it was red or white or of what vintage.
      I guess they were happy to get whatever they were given.

      • Posted December 28, 2013 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

        LOL. I find this particularly funny. I live in Napa. Jesus wouldn’t have been able to pull that one off here as the w(h)ine snobs would have raised a cacophony of bitching. They also would have charged Jesus a corkage fee.

  15. Alektorophile
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    I had to check out the Quran site linked to above, and it is indeed hilarious. Gosh, little did I know that it did contain such accurate descriptions of CPR, radio transmissions, and yes, black holes! I am sure that if looked hard enough I am bound to find a description of the Tardis in there as well.

    • Sastra
      Posted December 28, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      Taner Edis is a (new) atheist who writes extensively on Islam’s conflict with modern science. I recommend his book An Illusion of Harmony: Science and Religion in Islam.

      According to Edis, many factors have contributed to a highly common, deeply imbedded anti-science Islamic attitude towards the world — all while extolling the virtues of science in illuminating the divine nature of reality! I’ve run across Muslims who play the bizarre game of reading complicated scientific discoveries into simple lines of text as if they’ve now proven something to the reasonable skeptic. They’ve got no idea how strained and ludicrous they seem to us.

      • gravityfly
        Posted December 28, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

        I’ve read that Edis book and it’s excellent. The only beef I have is that he focuses too much on Turkey – to the exclusion of other Muslim countries.

        When it comes to finding correspondence between the Quran and scientific discoveries…Muslims take the cake!

    • Posted December 28, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      If course you realize that the Doctor can use the TARDIS to insert any prediction he likes into any book of scriptures at any time in any place. He can then travel to the appropriate time to make sure that his predictions are fulfilled.

  16. Josh
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    I’d be fascinated to see how Muslims and Christians go about dismissing the supposed (and thought vindicated) scientific claims of one another’s holy books. It is necessary for them to do so, after all, if they are to argue that such “claims” exclusively verify their chosen text.

    I’d predict that they would use the same argument to dismiss the supposedly accurate “claims” of the opposing book that atheists do to dismiss the claims of both. Namely, the “post-doc selective and far-fetched interpretation of utterly ambiguous scripture” argument. Nevertheless, they somehow fail to appreciate that the exact same argument applies to, and equally undermimes, the putative claims of their own book. This blindspot is sustained, I think, by the tacit a-priori assumption that their own book is truly divinely inspired. Hence, their unsubstantiated beliefs are sustained by circular logic, without (in most circumstances, I suspect) even realising it.

  17. Taz
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    If he thinks a black hole is “nothing” he’s welcome to get close to one some day.

  18. Posted December 28, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    I’m looking at the Job quote above, and I don’t really see anything about black holes in Job 26:7. But I’m much more confident that Job 26:5 is about zombies, and Job 26:9 is about God farting.

  19. Andrikzen
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Dear Christian Reader,

    When you blow out a candle, where does the flame go?

  20. Posted December 28, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    but, but the *other* Truechristians say that the “nothing” is space and/or gravity not black holes.

    Oh, drat. Which ignorant twit should I believe?

  21. Posted December 28, 2013 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    “It is at the time of death that you will no longer be an atheist as you will get the chance to meet God. You see, God doesn’t believe in atheists!”
    ____

    The biblical god since it is pure fiction does not believe in theists either.

  22. Stu
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    “…God doesn’t believe in atheists”

    This is a Ray Comfort line although I’m not sure if he came up with it. That shows you what you’re dealing with. It’s the type of thing that makes most theists back away.

    • Grania Spingies
      Posted December 28, 2013 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, it’s clearly meant to be some witty rejoinder as well as some sort of gentle threat.

      Unfortunately, to an atheist it is as menacing as “May the hair on your toes never fall out!”

  23. NewEnglandBob
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    I don’t like it when you post letters from an eight year old. A twelve year old would see right through it.

  24. Marella
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    “I pray you don’t, but probably will.”

    Even “redacted” knows that prayer doesn’t work.

    “7 He stretches out the north over empty space”

    This sounds like an Earth that is not only flat but square as well, as in the four corners of the world. I have the feeling science has disproved this idea.

    A bit of reading of people who know what they’re talking about (Richard Carrier, Robert Price etc) has shown me that things were so different in the Ancient world, that if you haven’t made a thorough study of that time, you have no hope of interpreting the Bible or any other stories accurately.

  25. Dave
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    OK< I broke my rule against reading anything that begins, "As a Christian …" and actually slogged through his letter. I can tell you where the black hole is.

    • Kevin
      Posted December 28, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      Really funny…where the black hole is. He he

      Religion is a black hole. And bring it on if any religious person wants to discuss black holes…having solved over sixty problems in the big black book of death (only physicists would get that).

  26. Rob
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    If science was always proving the Bible true, we wouldn’t need the Bible, because it (the Bible) would already be telling us everything we need to know. Since it doesn’t tell us everything we need to know, that is why we do science.

  27. Posted December 28, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    For some reason, my comments on this post were listed as being from “Eric Blair” instead of “E.A. Blair” and are awaiting moderation. I don’t know why this happened. I will re-post those comments. Someone please delete the earlier duplicates.

  28. Posted December 28, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    If that was supposed to tell us something about black holes, how come it doesn’t mention that r(s)=2Gm/c^2?

    Cheers,

    b&

    • Achrachno
      Posted December 28, 2013 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

      And how come it doesn’t even mention a single “black hole” or explain what they are?

  29. Posted December 28, 2013 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    See that the letter came from Indiana,Kinda figures, sure seems like there are a lot of “God Fearin”, Bible believin folks in this state.

  30. Posted December 28, 2013 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    The Bible certainly causes black holes, in a person’s intelligence when they begin to believe what it says.

  31. ladyatheist
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    Now you see why it was up to someone from Illinois to take up the cause of students at Ball State who were having religion shoved down their throats in a “science” class. Indiana is infested with fundamentalism of the worst sort, and they have intimidated everyone else. This is how they can imagine their Bible could actually say something scientific – they have not been taught to think in what passes for “schools” here because nobody would dare risk the ire of fundamentalist bullies.

  32. Posted December 28, 2013 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    I dunno, but that’s the trouble with metaphorical compositions….. open to all kinds of interpretations. When I read that Job passage about throne and waters and dark clouds and such matters, it sounds very much like god is doing his toilette.

  33. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    As the Buddhist (albeit a secular Buddhist) who often posts here, I hate to admit there is a long history of a specious and silly attempts to show Buddha predicted everything from evolution to black holes. It’s all krappe! It has been rightly pointed out that since Buddhism often among Westerners acts a surrogate/replacement for lost Christianity, there is a deep desire to show that Buddhism is compatible with modern science. A good recent study of this (unfortunately written from a “other ways of knowing” point of view but historically sound) is Donald Lopez’s recent book “The Scientific Buddha”.

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted December 29, 2013 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      The main problem with these things is to show that the myth is a factual historical person before claiming that “he” predicts anything. If not, whatever is predicted, factual or not, fails anyway.

    • Posted December 29, 2013 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      lovely example of the classic foot-stamping TrueChristian who is sure that their nonsense is the only “truth”. As always, nothing to support it at all.

      • John Rhino
        Posted December 30, 2013 at 8:53 am | Permalink

        Especially:

        “In the Bible account, each of the six creative days could have lasted for thousands of years”.

        Evidence?

  34. Jeffery Walz
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    What was that quote that I think is attributed to Einstein? “There are two infinite things: one is the universe; the other, human stupidity, and we’re not sure about the universe!”

    I like the book of Job, as it illustrates perfectly the absurdity of the Babble:
    (1) It portrays God to be either extremely juvenile and/or insane, as God accepts a childish “bet” from Satan that Job will curse God if tortured enough (of course, God being all-knowing, he already knows how this scenario will turn out)

    (2) It shows that, if there IS a “God”, he plays an equal role to Satan in the manifestation of evil and suffering in the world: he actually controls Satan (which, being all-powerful, anyone ought to be able to figure out) and forbids him to kill Job.

    (3) It portrays God as being arrogant, conceited, and demanding (although Xtians might claim that this “demanding” aspect is a GOOD thing): Job suffers all these torments, yet refuses to curse God, choosing to curse himself instead. What does God do? He “chews out” Job for not worshiping him MORE: “Where were YOU when I did this; where were YOU when I did that?” Then, satisfied as to his own magnificence, God restores everything to Job- I guess for being a “good sport” about it all.

  35. Posted December 29, 2013 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    “You see, God doesn’t believe in atheists!”

    which indicates that this god, if it exists, is quite stupid. I can say that I don’t believe in apricots but if apricots exists…

    • Posted December 29, 2013 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      Just like the bible exists, so I guess I’d have to say I believe in it (i.e., that it is an actual book) but I don’t believe it (i.e., accept it as truth, fact ot a guide for living).

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted December 30, 2013 at 1:57 am | Permalink

        Shades of meaning can trip you up here. ‘Believe’ is a very tricky word.

        “Believe in it” could mean one believes in its validity or efficacity rather than just believing in its existence. In fact I guess one could believe in its efficacy without actually believing it (as many non-fundamentalist Xtians seem to).

        I believe I’ll have another beer… ;)

    • Dave
      Posted December 29, 2013 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      Good response – I wish I’d thought of it when the local Lutheran Liar put that @!*^ up on his church marquee.

      • Posted December 29, 2013 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

        thank you. I fear that the response to this would be the usual claims that atheists aren’t “really” atheists, aka the theist has psychic powers to know what atheists “really” think. :)

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted December 29, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

          Of course they do – they claim to know what their god thinks, namely in this instance that he doesn’t believe in atheists. :)

  36. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted December 29, 2013 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Ha. How come all these religious emails are all fractal errors? Is making one sane claim too much for a mind on religion?

    it is your right to NOT believe in God

    It isn’t a human right, it is the default position that magic or anything else doesn’t exist before being well tested.

    The human right is the freedom to choose in religious beliefs, none, some or all of them.

    God doesn’t believe in atheists

    That is quite all right, atheists doesn’t believe in magic in the first place.

    It’s a win-win for empiricism. =D

    science is continually proving the Bible to be true!

    Oh dear Darwin. One of the oblivious.

    The reverse is a fact, science continually rejects what is left of the myths:

    - Archaeology uncovered the Dead Sea scrolls, which shows that there wasn’t any modern abrahamistic sect before ~ 2 200 years ago. So we can scratch all abrahamistic myth, a reaction to the hellenistic rule, up to that point.

    - None of that myth can be pressed into the nominal 200 years before the christianist mythical magical zombie appears. Archaeology has shown no major population movement in the area, no sudden influx of new culture.

    - None of the specific christianistic myth has any historical evidence despite that it should (zombie, kings, et cetera). Except for the roman rule of the area, which the judistic-christianistic sects are a reaction to.

    And of course the natural sciences has rejected precisely all of the specific creationist parts of the myths, besides the historical problem mentioned earlier.

    - The basic creation myths are actually two, with different ordering. (Genesis 1-2). So the myth rejects itself.

    Or, if one still want to argue it for the sake of argument, it is with inflation expansion nowadays tantamount to a claim of dilution of potential initial magic on the order of homeopathic magic claims.

    - Famously, the single human breeder pair myth was rejected 2011 by genetic sequencing of the Neanderthal genome. And multiple times after that with every new sequencing:

    The African population was never less than 10 000 breeder pairs [bps], the Out-Of-Africa, Neanderthal, Denisovan and Erectus populations were likely never less than 1000 breeder pairs before they mixed – the OOA for sure larger.

    I have just read Pääbo et al’s latest, which shows the 4-way mixing.

    Their figure 4 of inferences of population size change over time is most intriguing. If the African bottleneck, which the 3 OOA, N, D hominids all show, is ~10 000 bps, the shared hominid population swings between 20 – 40 000 in Africa.

    This makes us “the (previously) unsuccessful ape”, because chimpanzee’s numbers in 100′s of thousands still and their bottleneck has been estimated at ~ 20 000 bps IIRC.

    - The flood myth is rejected by geology and biology.


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