Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – The illegible post, part 1

Church-Lightning-RodSo here we are with the first installment of the review of a Christian’s blog post. The numbers in his post seem to be meaningless since I have used no such numbering in mine. It is anyone’s guess what he might be referring to when, for instance, he claims we agree on something. I believe he thinks that numbering sentences makes them footnotes since he mentioned using such things in a personal email to me, though I could be wrong. Those of us who have written academic papers know this is not the case. 

Rather than address the usual claims of martyrdom that are evident, I shall show how the claims presented as facts are wrong.  The Christian in question, Joseph Armstrong, is quite amusing with attempts to shill a book supposedly full of the “truth”.  Rather than pay $5, you can get it free here, misspellings, tired old lies and all.  I did a little Googling about this book and it’s always good to see creationists attack each other over what they think is the “truth”.  We have young earth creationists (those who think that Bishop Ussher’s calculation of around 6000 years is accurate) insisting that old earth creationists (who accept various ages up to and including the current estimate of  13.77 billion years) are utterly wrong and damned.  And this doesn’t even start on how folks who believe in theistic evolution fit into the mix.  When you have no evidence for your claims, like these folks, then it becomes a free for all, each insisting that they are the only TrueChristianstm. Indeed, this post starts with the Christian’s claim that his version of the religion and his faith are the only right ones, and that anything else is a coward’s faith, which then evidently doesn’t exist since this Christian claims he hasn’t seen such faith other than his own.  He hasn’t looked very far.

Also, be aware that this Christian writes out his “evidence” on poster paper using lots of colors and drawings and takes pictures of them; those are the jpg files he refers to in his post.  It is my opinion that  it ’s a rather transparent tactic to avoid having his words directly quoted by a cut and paste and a vastly silly attempt to impress someone with what looks like it should be in third grade show n’ tell.   They are a bit more legible than yellow text on red. 

For those who have shown concern that I am beating my head against a wall in futility or that I have a tarbaby by the hand, I am quite aware that no matter how much I might write, there will be people who will not accept it but as the poster image above states, the argument is much a moot point.  To ignore reality in favor of their fantasies is their choice.  However, their willful ignorance doesn’t change reality no matter how hard they may pray. They will still be wrong and their numbers continue to dwindle.  This also helps folks who haven’t spent as much time as I have on research to see a lot of info in one place.

Christians have claimed that their god exists and affects the physical world.  The claims range from the supposed events in the bible to claims that miracles happen in the world today.  Various Christians have claimed that they do have evidence to support the existence of the Christian god (God) and the events essential to their religion. This supposed evidence falls into some broadly defined groups  

  • stories that are not supported by original contemporary sources e.g. books considered to be divinely inspired and thus “true’
  • anecdotes that are not supported by other evidence
  • physical evidence that is presented out of archaeological context and thus useless (ivory pomegranate, ossuaries, etc)
  • physical evidence that is refused access to (religious relics)
  • physical evidence that is unaccessible (on a mountain, under a sea, missing)
  • physical evidence presented with a false dichotomy
  • claims that their god is better/different than any others but lacking evidence to support this other than personal belief
  • claims that their god and only their god created the universe
  • claims that miracles occur, those that break physical laws and those that considered from God but are indistinguishable from coincidence or hard work by humans
  • claims that “many scientists” are or have become theists
  • claims to have “scientific evidence” but the evidence is not presented
  • claims that certain ideas have been disproven and failing to admit that it was not theists who disproved them
  • Outright lies

 There will be a lot of these that will come up.  I really should have made a scorecard.  Get a whole set and Bingo!

Now, let’s start into the meat of this.

In #4, we have a claim that there is evidence for a world-wide flood. It is claimed that there is “22 verified such evidences”.  These are not presented unsurprisingly.  In the case of this Christian, he is a Bible literalist, sure that most, if not all, the events of the bible did in fact occur in the past just as written.  He is also a young Earth Creationist, who believes that the earth was created the night before October 23, 4004 BC of the Julian calendar (Ussher again, assuming that God uses the Julian calendar).  This rather sounds like the scene in Monty Python’s Life of Brian as the movie opens (after the nativity scene and the credits, around 6:36 on the video) and  at the Sermon on the Mount, which is claimed to be “Judea, AD 33, Saturday afternoon . . . about tea time”.  In this Christian’s proposed timeline, the biblical flood must occur between now and 6017 years ago. 

Now we have a time frame that we can place this global flood in.  We have a few clues offered from the bible about what attributes this flood has. We do not have a date mentioned but there have been many dates put forward by Christians who wish to prove their religion true.  Flavius Josephus, the fellow so famous for Christians claiming that he wrote about Jesus, claims it was 1556 years after “creation”.  If we use Ussher’s date, that would make it around 2448 BC.  The King James bible claims it was 1656 years, 2348 BC. Now these dates are dependent on believing that humans lived very very long in the antediluvial world.  This has not been supported with evidence. Thus the dates claims are based on information that cannot be confirmed at all and seems to require magic to possibly happen. We have here where a Christian is sure that it happened in 4990 BC and they’re sure that they are correctly counting too.

However, let us look at what was happening in the world around those dates around 2400 BC since our Christian is a KJV onlyist and is sure that it and it alone has the “truth”.   Wikipedia has a nice list of events with lots of links. We see ancient Egypt going along nicely, the Akkadian empire is busy trading with other cultures etc. Metallurgy is starting to expand and this era is often called the Bronze Age.  We do have the Akkadian empire collapsing but from ocean bottom cores, it seems to be from a drought (extra dust in the cores) and is a couple of centuries after the supposed flood.  We see no widespread disruption of culture and we do not see any layer of world-wide flood debris.  Even if there were spots of erosion that resulted in unconformities,  it should easily found in the majority of excavations into the stratigraphic column (cue the claims of the UN and black helicopters now). We would be able to identify this layer because of its components and hydraulic features.  

But it would be amiss not to mention that, like how not all Christians agree about the age of the earth, they also do not agree with how the Great Flood of Noah happened (or if it happened at all: Google “noah flood metaphor” and see) and the method does impact what evidence we can consider. 

The bible gives few descriptors of the flood and how it started.  It is a myth, similar to many others (about floods and not) and there is magic (aka God’s power) involved.  Here are the pertinent points from Genesis – KJV version (I will not be addressing the ark and the animals in any detail. You can find out about that mess in the first four sections here.)

  1. Rain for 40 days and nights
  2. “fountains of the deep” breaking open
  3. Enough water to cover the highest mountains. (Everest 29,029 ft now, in flood time approx. 28,972 ft. The mountain most literalists think Ark on, Ararat, multiple peaks that range between16,825 and 12,782 feet. Deepest part of ocean, Marianas Trench, around 36,000 feet)
  4. Everything, except that which is on the ark, dies. (plants die if underwater for months; salt-water fish die in fresh, and vice versa)
  5. Water remains at this depth for 150 days
  6. Ark is stopped by “mountains of Ararat” but it is unseen
  7. About 2.5 months and the tops of the mountain reappear
  8. 40 days after the 150 ended (debatable but makes sense since it would be after the first bits of land seen), Noah opens ark window, lets raven out (doesn’t come back) and dove out. Dove returns, still waters on the face of the whole earth
  9. 7 days after this, dove goes out again and comes back with olive leaf.
  10. 7 more days, and Noah finally looked out and found that the ground where he was was dry
  11. 2 months later the whole earth was dry.

But in this age of science and evidence, some Christians wish to appeal to that rather than say “It was magic.” They wish to appeal to evidence since they know other religions also claim magical occurrences and they want the validation that they perceive science will give them.   There are four major ways that various bible literalists claim caused the flood and all of them are defined by physical laws, if they don’t want to just say “poof!”. By the nature of the claims, only one can be right among them. This is of course assuming a global flood happened at all.  We need one that can make all of the above occur, within the limits of known physical laws and not kill Noah in the process. If we don’t have this, then it’s just magic again. All these ideas below are described in detail here as are their many many problems. I’m going to add my own pithy comments. 

Vapor Canopy hypothesis – needs a layer of water suspended somewhere to rain down, in addition to the supposed “fountains” sufficient to cover the earth and all of its mountains. This is assuming that the oceans we know are already in place. If this is a big cloud layer, then it’s very dark. If it’s above the atmosphere, the friction of it falling cooks Noah. If it’s in the atmosphere, then we have much higher pressures, and if it’s just poofed into place for a one time event, it’s magic. 

Hydroplate hypothesis – Brown, and others, have claimed that there was a layer of water about 10 miles down that was released by a rupture, those “fountains of the deep” and then that water rains down.  Things 10 miles down are very hot. At a gold mine in South Africa, around 2.4 miles deep, it’s 131 degrees. Further down and you’re getting higher and higher until the mantle is reached which is between 300 and 700 degrees. Very hot water coming out, so poached Noah again. We also have no idea where such amounts of free water would come from. There is no evidence of chambers, collapsed or otherwise.  The waves from earthquakes would reveal them handily since they depend on rock density. Where are the fissures and the rock blown out of them? Where was the armor on the ark that kept the rocks away?  What kept the ark afloat in such horrifically heavy seas? Magic? I thought so. 

Comet –  Yep, here comes the ice-teroid.  This is Hovind’s hypothesis.  The problem is that a cometary impact would have to be huge to get actual liquid water to the surface. Meteors burn up, water vaporizes.  Cooked Noah again.  

Runaway subductionSubduction is when continental or oceanic crust goes beneath another chunk of crust.  That’s what causes the problems in California, Indonesia, etc from earthquakes and volcanoes.  Baumgardner is actually a geophysicist, however even a degree doesn’t change reality if you’re wrong. In his hypothesis, the ocean floor gets sucked under the continents all of the sudden, (even Baumgardner admits this and has to change the laws of physics to get it to work “Such large-scale tectonic change cannot be accommodated within the Biblical time scale if the physical laws describing these processes have been time invariant.” aka magic), he also says that the oceans boiled to get the rain up where it needs to be.  Need I say it again? Poached Noah. 

The fifth thing mentioned on the talk origins site speaks about new ocean basins. This is the excuse that the earth was as flat as a cueball when the flood happened so one doesn’t need to cover a 28 thousand foot mountain. According to this, the ocean basins appeared, perhaps from the collapsed chambers that Brown claims,  and that’s where the water went after the flood.  This makes no sense in at least two ways:

  • No mountains and no seas?  No one would know what a mountain was to claim they were covered.   
  • If we take the experiment that Potholer54 does, and make a slurry of sediments and water by shaking them up (our catastrophe), we have our flood. Then let’s take that slurry and pour them over a newly textured earth.  Where will most of the sediments end up?  Yep, in the basins, not on the raised bits.  Alas reality shows that this nonsense is also untrue.   

Each of these hypotheses have adherents who are sure that the others are wrong.  But considering the lack of evidence of a global flood of any kind (the geology specifics have been mentioned before and will be addressed again later), much less evidence for any of these supposed methods, it’s hard to see where each gets their confidence from.  It is indeed time for them to convince each other that they are right. But that is not likely since each knows that their claims fail much in the same way as the next. It’s a fairly rare occurence that you see bible literalists eating their own.  AiG does a lovely job here where it says that some of the favorite YEC claims shouldn’t be used, because you know, they’re silly.

#5 has a claim that I agree with the Christian.  Since I have no idea what he’s talking about, I will wait for him to clarify and point out the exact place. I suppose I might agree with him on something. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.   

Next, #6 where the bible is claimed to show that there is no life anywhere else in the universe.  Because if we find it, it’s really “demons” or “crystals”.  🙂

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21 responses to “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – The illegible post, part 1

  1. Have you pressed him for his “22 verified such evidences”? Just curious.

    I have considered similar debates, but not along biblical lines. I enjoy the philosophical arguments, and there are a few WordPress apologists that put forward various versions of the Ontological, Cosmological, etc. Anyway, one of these days I’ll get around to responding to them.

    As for your flood discussion, I recently visited Answers in Genesis. They’re currently trying to reconstruct Noah’s Ark (with the help of funding from credulous fools). I made a comment, which I thought deserved a legitimate answer, but I was censored instead. I simply asked, “Why aren’t you constructing a floating exhibit? Why is it land-based? I mean, it is a boat.”

    Instead of responding they deleted my comment. I presume they did so because they’re aware that a boat of that size, made entirely out of wood, simply will not float; it’s physically impossible. I’ll expand on this soon, but I thought you would find this interesting.

    Great read!

    • Alas, that doesn’t work well when Christians try to proselytize. Then we see them telling each other that their god *does* have to make sense to others. I do recall Christians killing each other over such things, say during the Reformation? But your attitude does explain why we have thousands upon thousands of different religions and sects. You all make up your very own gods and they are nothing more than imaginary friends that approve of you.

    • It could be, I think. To tell a child that their imaginary friend is real and encouraging actions based on delusion isn’t the way to teach them to deal with reality. We’ve seen enough harm done by people who were sure that their god/angels were talking to them, up to and including murder. I think prayer would also fit this.

      • I agree. It’s difficult to get people to see the connection between prayer and the more subtle poor decisions … like choosing the wrong friends, partners, jobs, etc …

        I can tell you that I’ve made a lot of bad decisions in the past, because I thought God would take care of me.

        No more.

  2. A comment on the photo you posted, I like it how Doug McLeod puts it:
    I still say a church steeple with a lightning rod on top shows a lack of confidence.

  3. “This also helps folks who haven’t spent as much time as I have on research to see a lot of info in one place.”

    And yes I do see a lot of info in one place. And I am trying to keep up with most of it….well some of it. 🙂
    Thanks!

  4. Am glad I waited, this is quite interesting. In my christian days, I did believe the ark story was true but it didn’t occur to me science could support it, so I treated it just like I treated other bible stories, as things to be believed. I didn’t have cause to question them. For a person claiming to be intelligent to insist they are factual and supported by science when there isn’t an iota of evidence for the same to me is a case of intellectual laziness!
    Thank you club for beating this dead snake, we will beat it together till when it will not rear its ugly and deformed head again.

  5. Pingback: Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – The illegible post, part 3 – On fictional characters and the nature of reality | Club Schadenfreude

  6. Pingback: Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Part 10 – and I’m done …. for now | Club Schadenfreude

  7. Pingback: Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – a list of questions | Club Schadenfreude

  8. Pingback: Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Evidence and personal experience | Club Schadenfreude

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