We are going to see another round of discussions about whether the Bible is literally true. New computer simulations suggest the possibility that winds could have created a temporary land path over the Red Sea.
Of course, there is no independent scientific evidence that any of the Biblical stories earlier than about 650 BCE (which encompasses almost all the period covered the Old Testament) are true but religious people tend to be desperate these days and are likely to seize upon this as ‘proof’ that the Bible is true.
Of course, this leaves the sophisticated theologians, those who argue that the reason there is no evidence for god is because he exists ‘outside of space and time’ in a quandary. Does god act within our space and time or not?
What we will see once again is religious people saying that science has no relevance to religious beliefs, except when it appears to provide some support for it.
Update: The lead author of the paper has a Christian website. Why am I not surprised?
I’m curious about your particular derision of the “outside space and time” argument. Though, I’m not trying to be a religious apologist by any means.
Particularly, I’m curious about how multiple-universe theories would relate. Doesn’t the existence of other universes require that meaning be given to that which is outside our own universe’s space and time?
Perhaps I just don’t understand the subtleties of multiple-universe theory (which is certainly the case either way). I’m just unsure of whether that argument should be the particular subject of derision. If these ideas are in fact unrelated, could you explain why?
The reason I deride the ‘outside space and time’ argument is that people use it to explain away why we never see any evidence for god, but at the same time do not see any problem with describing actions and characteristics of god. How could they know if god is outside our space and time? I discuss this more in this post.
In the case of the multiverse theory, there are some versions that suggest that those universes may have a detectable effect on ours, and people are trying to see if that is the case. If they do not have any effect on ours, then it makes no difference to us whether the se other universes exist or not and we can assume just as well that they do not exist.
If people were willing to say the same thing about god, there would be no problem. But with god, they want to avoid providing evidence while at the same time have god act in our universe. You can’t have both.
Steve LaBonne says
Isn’t it kind of self-defeating for them to come up with natural explanations for these legendary events instead of “goddiddit”? They should consider where that kind of thinking might lead them!
(Of course “Red Sea” is a mistranslation of the source, to begin with. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossing_the_Red_Sea)
Jeff Hess says
I too saw the story on the BBC yesterday and had a good laugh when the piece said that a 63 mph wind would have been sufficient to expose the land bridge.
I immediately had an image of people trying to walk into a 63 mph head wind.
The author jumps over that small problem, however.
When you think about it for a moment, it is very sad that there is no cooperation between religion and science and it’s hard to say if this will ever change. Of course, simply speaking religion is abstract while science focues on the logical side of life, but in the end the question if there is understanding and cooperation is up to the people standing behind these blocks.