Comments

  1. shouldbeworking says

    Some of my physics students have already converted. Gravity acts in any way god wants it to.

  2. shouldbeworking says

    Yup, but it is confusing for a physics teacher when gravity can act in 35 different directions at the same time in the same class room. I may be getting too old for this new advanced physics.

  3. Donnie says

    All I hear on these comments is lazy, millionaire, union thug professors / teachers afraid of losing their power, prestige because they are now finding out the truth but willing to continue to push the lies that they learned in order to maintain their status quo as the dictators of knowledge.

    However, click HERE to learn about this one weird trick they do not want you to know!

    /do I really need a snark tag?

  4. Rob Grigjanis says

    jblumenfeld @1: Ezra chapter 2 has a list of numbers of people which doesn’t add up, if you have the time to check. Lots more, in the bible and quran.

    On the general principle of giving the benefit of the doubt wherever possible, I’m happy to accept Rabbi Nehemiah’s explanation of the pi controversy.

  5. jd142 says

    The Bible thumper looks like the original Barry Allen (The Flash) from the silver age. It’s the crew cut and jacket.

    It’s an insult to a real scientist, I tell ya.

  6. says

    @IncredulousMark #6 Ezra 1: 1-11 says King Cyrus of Persia wanted to build a temple in Jerusalem, and asked his people to “help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.”

    It’s made clear that the items which are enumerated were only those donated by King Cyrus himself, which add up to 2,499.

    The total number of “vessels” donated by him and his people (“And all they that were about them strengthened their hands with vessels of silver, with gold…and with precious things”) is given as 5,400.

    I agree that a literal interpretation of the Bible would force one to use the old Babylonian pi of 3, but this misunderstanding of Ezra 1 is a failed gotcha.

  7. says

    Hmm. So, based on this creative math, one can assume that “god’s” actual name would be Bergholt Stuttley Johnson, aka Bloody Stupid Johnson, whose inventions always worked, just.. never quite as intended, due to uhm… minor errors in measurements of one sort or another?

    A good example being the wheel that actually is based on PI being exactly 3, somehow, and ruined the Ahnk-Morpork post office because when used to power a machine to sort letters it ended up sorting out, for delivery, letters that hadn’t been written yet, or which people decided to stop writing, or which might have been written, but where not, yet, due to this quirk in his design, got delivered anyway, sometimes days, or even years, before they where supposed to be actually mailed (which, sadly it didn’t do reliably, or controllably, hence the disaster that followed when the post office tried to promise that they could deliver people’s mail days in advance of it being sent).

    Right.. Makes perfect sense… lol

  8. John Pieret says

    In the recent HBO documentary, Questioning Darwin, there was a pastor named Peter LaRuffa who said that, if he found a passage in the Bible that said 2+2=5, he would believe it and accept it as true and then do his best to understand it.

  9. scrawnykayaker says

    OK, I’ll bite. Clearly relious nuts can believe any nonsense, but is this particular pathology common? I would make a WAG that the ratio of evolution deniers to pi deniers would be > 1000:1. Which would still be like a million people in the US. :^{<

    Anyone got a reality-based number instead of a guess?

    @7. Yes, we always need the /snark tag, 'cause Poe's Law.

  10. kevinalexander says

    We need to listen to GOD’S need to stop the birth control abomination so we can all live a CHRISTIAN paradise like they do in Africa.

  11. stevem says

    I’m always speechless when apologists/accommodationists try to rationalize the “pi=3″ as a simple mis-measure of the vessel under discussion. That they measured the diameter on the inside of the vessel, and the circumference around the outside of it (or vice-verse) <yada, yada, yada> Completely missing the whole point; that the Bible is not a proper source of Mathematics. That it is just an anthology of Stories, a series of Fables, trying to teach morality/ethics lessons. “Absolute Facts” are irrelevant and pointless in such an endeavor. So why refer to the bibble for math and science, etc.? [“History”, maybe]
    What I’m asking, before I started ranting, is how to respond to those apologists for why the Babble says pi=3? Should I just slap them with, “Don’t be as stupid as those babble authors”, or just silently nod and let it pass, shrugging, “Okay, fine.”?

  12. moarscienceplz says

    #9

    It’s the crew cut and jacket. It’s an insult to a real scientist, I tell ya.

    Ha! Shows what you know. Tom Swift Jr.
    (OK, he always wears t-shirts instead of jackets, but he must be a scientist because he has a microscope and some lab glassware!)

  13. says

    Another explatation for pi=3:

    Anyone who works in the trades knows how important it is to always use the same measuring stick throughout a project, otherwise small errors may creep in. A cubit is generally accepted as the distance from fingertip to elbow. Maybe whoever measured the “vessel” measured the diameter himself, but had an assistant measure the circumference (or vice versa). Or maybe he measured both distances, but used his right arm for one measurement and his left for the other; I know from experience that most human bodies aren’t perfectly symmetrical, whether or not god “planned” it that way.

  14. Pierce R. Butler says

    jd142 @ # 9 & moarscienceplz @ # 18: … looks like the original Barry Allen (The Flash) from the silver age. … Tom Swift Jr.

    Hah! He’s plainly Doc Savage in a brand-new bow-tie, shirt, & jacket.

  15. robro says

    stevem @#17

    [“History”, maybe]

    Nope, not particularly good for that either. Internal historical inconsistencies abound, and there is very little external evidence for anything in it and much of that is disputable.

  16. woozy says

    I agree that a literal interpretation of the Bible would force one to use the old Babylonian pi of 3, but this misunderstanding of Ezra 1 is a failed gotcha.

    Only if you assume the biblical description was meant to be entirely precise and accurate and meant to illustrate a value of pi. Which is kind of a whacko idea. Admittedly modern bible thumpers *do* claim the bible is an inviolate and authoritative word of god and meant as precision and “textbook” and that is whacko. But I think we’d be hardpressed to claim that when, say the ark measured 40 cubits (or whatever) that means it measured exactly 40 cubits, not 41, not 38, not 40.127 but precisely 40 cubits and not a micron more nor less.

    The 10 cubits diameter and 30 cubits circumference is accurate within 5% which seems to me perfectly adequate for the purpose which was a rough description using ancient modes of measurement.

    This is a good counter argument to the hyper-literalist “bible as textbook” crowd but I think as a general “gotcha– the bible is wrong” it falls a little short. But just a little. It does show the bible writers/god wasn’t concerned with precision nor with teaching us math.

  17. says

    As I posted elsewhere

    I want to know why this supposedly rational god chap created irrational numbers in the first place.

    It would be so much better for all concerned if π actually were 3 and if e were also 3.

    Of course Euler’s life would have been much less interesting. :-(

  18. says

    It does show the bible writers/god wasn’t concerned with precision nor with teaching us math.

    Perhaps … but then when the babble was being written the invention of the decimal point was still about a millenium in the future. They dealt in whole numbers.

  19. says

    @woozy #22 I wasn’t clear; the failed gotcha was the one where the cartoon says the sum of those numbers is 5,469. Not only does that verse not say that (it says 5,400), the context makes it clear that the amount of items enumerated (which total 2,499) was not the total of all donations, just those from Cyrus.

    As for being wacko, I think limiting oneself to taking everything in the Bible literally is very wacko, but that’s exactly what some hardcore fundies do. They’re not hard-pressed at all to not take it as exactly it’s written.

  20. moarscienceplz says

    #20 Pierce R. Butler

    He’s plainly Doc Savage in a brand-new bow-tie, shirt, & jacket.

    Pshaw! Doc Savage will wear a bow-tie when Habeas Corpus sprouts wings and flies to the Fortress of Solitude!

  21. woozy says

    @woozy #22 I wasn’t clear; the failed gotcha was the one where the cartoon says the sum of those numbers is 5,469. Not only does that verse not say that (it says 5,400), the context makes it clear that the amount of items enumerated (which total 2,499) was not the total of all donations, just those from Cyrus.

    No, I get you. But the Kings and Corinthians quotes don’t say that pi = 3 either. It says that there’s a bowl (fountain? something?) that is 10 cubits across and 30 cubits around. Well, that’s more or less accurate when measured to the nearest convenient measure. It’s certainly not a case of god being wrong any more than comments like “Saul was a head taller than all men” or “Whatserface’s eyes were more limpid or whatever than anyone’s” were.
    But we’ve get the modern Ken Hams that believe somehow that god’s would is inviolate and unchangeable (if that’s so, I still want to know why god allowed rheem, a gazelle like antelope, to be translated into the KJV as unicorn) and somehow instructional. That if it’s in the bible it must signify something and there is no room for doubt or wavering. That’s kind of whacko. To a degree.
    I mean, I guess the “Ha! circumference/diameter = 3, not pi!” is kind of a “I caught a fudge!” type alert (a bit like “Don’t eat these birds: cormorant, hawk, or bat” “Wait, a bat is a bird?” fudge) but I wouldn’t say either is a bonafide “gotcha”. (Why on earth should god, in speaking to ancient hebrews, use modern taxonomy?) At least, I wouldn’t. It’s a matter of degree, I guess. I mean, urban legends and Rabbi whatsisface wondering why god allowed such inaccuracies aside, no one is actually claiming that pi = 3 so we’re … well, we’re responding to arguments no-one made. They’re fun to note but we can’t really rub the fundies’ faces in them when the fundies never made the argument in the first place.

    Kinda. Maybe.

    Anyhow, the bible makes a crappy text-book.

  22. says

    My favourite.

    – 666 is the 36th triangular number.

    – 36 is 6×6

    – And 6 is a perfect number.

    Thus the bible is perfect. QED.

  23. Sili says

    Paul ,

    Perhaps … but then when the babble was being written the invention of the decimal point was still about a millenium in the future. They dealt in whole numbers.

    But in whole numbers the circumference should be 31 cubits.