Category Archives: Science

What Are Ya Gonna Believe?

Today we have another great article at the Christian Post, which describes itself as “the nation’s most comprehensive Christian news website.” They have a comments icon, but it doesn’t lead to any comments. Their headline is Are You a Victim of Bible-Bashing? It was written by Dan Delzell, pastor of the Wellspring Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska.

We’ve written about the rev’s wisdom a few times before — see, e.g.: Science and Religion: The Battle of Two Kings, and also Creationist Wisdom #649: Evolution Is Faith, and also Beware the Folly of Scientism. Here are some excerpts from the his latest, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Do you find it difficult to view Scripture as the infallible Word of God rather than the personal opinion of man? Do you struggle to accept the fact that the Bible is true and completely trustworthy? If so, you are likely the victim of Bible-bashing. [Egad!] Sadly, many people have been hoodwinked by critics who present false information about Scripture.

Have you been hoodwinked, dear reader? Then pay attention. The rev says:

Victims of Bible-bashing are at a huge disadvantage when it comes to grasping the spiritual dynamics all around them. Attempting to discern the truth about God and salvation is next to impossible if you believe the Bible is a flawed document. The alternative of course is to accept this simple fact: “All Scripture is God-breathed.” [scripture reference]

[…]

Isaac Newton said, “I have a fundamental belief in the Bible as the Word of God, written by those who were inspired. I study the Bible daily.” [Wow!] In addition to being one of the most influential scientists of all time, Newton also understood that the Word of God transcends science because science is incapable of providing you with eternal salvation. While science is definitely a blessing from our Creator, it is far below theology in the grand scheme of things. Science cannot tell you how your sins can be forgiven or how you can be reconciled to God.

Science is so limited! The rev tells us:

If you make the decision to underestimate the significance of the Bible, it is only natural to try to fill the void with something else. And many choose to make science the king of their soul. [The Fools!] Sadly, science has a very poor track record of keeping anyone out of hell and delivering their immortal soul into the perfection of paradise. In fact, there is not one soul in heaven today who was brought there by scientific knowledge or reliance upon science. … Science is clearly unable to provide you with supernatural power, divine revelation, and the forgiveness of your sins.

Fantastic! And persuasive too. He continues:

So that brings us back to the Bible. If you have fallen into a pit created by Bible-bashers [The horror!], you can either choose to remain a victim or you can become a believer. … God gave you free will when He created you. This means that among other things you get to choose how to view the Bible. And the testimony of millions of believers over the centuries is that they were transformed after accepting the Bible as the Word of God rather than the opinion of men.

Why would anyone ignore the testimony of millions of believers? Let’s read on:

When you stand before God on Judgment Day, you will see why the message of the Bible is by far the most relevant and critical communication ever given by anyone, anywhere, and at any time. Just as the Bible transcends science, God transcends our finite and limited thinking. You and I are not all-powerful or all-knowing. The sooner we come to terms with this fact, the closer we get to accepting God’s Word with the faith of a child. That is, the faith quick to receive and believe the message of eternal redemption in God’s love letter to His children.

Your Curmudgeon is overwhelmed! And now we come to the end:

If you have been led astray by false information about the Bible, you can make the decision today that you will no longer be a victim of Bible-bashing. So will you take this step of faith and begin to take God’s Word seriously, or will the Bible-bashers have the final word on the destiny of your soul?

Okay, dear reader, the rev has clearly presented your choices. So what’ll it be — godless science, or The Truth?

Copyright © 2018. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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People Think God Looks Like They Do

We’ve seen at least 50 headlines about this story, so we’ll give you the information from PhysOrg. Their headline is Researchers ask Americans ‘What does God look like?’ Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

A team of psychologists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have used a new technique to construct what a large sample of 511 American Christians think God looks like. Participants in the study saw hundreds of randomly varying face-pairs and selected which face from each pair appeared more like how they imagined God to appear. By combining all the selected faces, the researchers could assemble a composite “face of God” that reflected how each person imagined God to appear.

Truly, this is valuable research! PhysOrg says:

Their results were both surprising and revealing. From Michelangelo to Monty Python, Illustrations of God have nearly always shown him as an old and august white-bearded Caucasian man. But the researchers found that many Christians saw God as younger, more feminine, and less Caucasian that popular culture suggests.

To quote Mr. Spock: Fascinating! They tell us:

In fact, people’s perceptions of God tended to rely partly on their political affiliation. [Huh?] Liberals tended to see God as more feminine, younger, and more loving than conservatives. Conservatives also saw God as more Caucasian and more powerful than liberals.

Liberals have a nice god, but the god of conservatives is grumpy. This is great social science! PhysOrg continues:

“These biases might have stemmed from the type of societies that liberals and conservatives want,” suggested Joshua Conrad Jackson, the study’s lead author. “Past research shows that conservatives are more motivated than liberals to live in a well-ordered society, one that would be best regulated by a powerful God. On the other hand, liberals are more motivated to live in a tolerant society, which would be better regulated by a loving God.”

This is so sweet! Let’s read on:

People’s perceptions also related to their own demographic characteristics. Younger people believed in a younger-looking God. People who reported being more physically attractive also believed in a more physically attractive God. And African Americans believed in a God that looked more African American than did Caucasians.

Here’s the researchers’ explanation for that:

“People’s tendency to believe in a God that looks like them is consistent with an egocentric bias,” said Professor Kurt Gray, the study’s senior author and a psychology professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill. “People often project their beliefs and traits onto others, and our study shows that God’s appearance is no different — people believe in a God who not only thinks like them, but also looks like them.

And this is the end

Interestingly, however, people did not show an egocentric bias on the basis of gender. Men and women believed in an equally masculine-looking God.

Here’s a link to the published paper in PLOS ONE: The faces of God in America: Revealing religious diversity across people and politics. You can read it online without a subscription. They have several pictures that resulted from the study. We tried to copy one to put above our post, but we couldn’t. That’s okay, it may be subject to copyright.

Well, dear reader, how do you visualize Yahweh — a burning bush, a Zeus-like figure, or maybe King Kong?

Copyright © 2018. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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More for Creationists To Worry About

Creationists live in terror that we might discover life on other worlds, because that would contradict their endlessly-repeated claim that Earth was uniquely created for life. Each time a new planet is disccovered that might be a good candidate, they go through all kind of gyrations to assure their drooling followers that their faith is secure because those godless scientists haven’t found anything yet.

But now they have a whole new bunch of worries. We just found this at PhysOrg: Researchers have identified 121 giant planets that may have habitable moons. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

We’ve all heard about the search for life on other planets, but what about looking on other moons? [Huh?] In a paper forthcoming in The Astrophysical Journal, researchers at the University of California, Riverside and the University of Southern Queensland have identified more than 100 giant planets that potentially host moons capable of supporting life. Their work will guide the design of future telescopes that can detect these potential moons and look for tell-tale signs of life, called biosignatures, in their atmospheres.

You can see a draft of the paper here: EXPLORING KEPLER GIANT PLANETS IN THE HABITABLE ZONE. PhysOrg explains:

Since the 2009 launch of NASA’s Kepler telescope, scientists have identified thousands of planets outside our solar system, which are called exoplanets. A primary goal of the Kepler mission is to identify planets that are in the habitable zones of their stars, meaning it’s neither too hot nor too cold for liquid water — and potentially life — to exist.

Terrestrial (rocky) planets are prime targets in the quest to find life because some of them might be geologically and atmospherically similar to Earth. Another place to look is the many gas giants identified during the Kepler mission. While not a candidate for life themselves, Jupiter-like planets in the habitable zone may harbor rocky moons, called exomoons, that could sustain life.

As you know, your Curmudgeon doesn’t like the term “exoplanets.” We prefer calling them extra-solar planets. Now we’ll need to contend with exomoons. PhysOrg tells us:

“There are currently 175 known moons orbiting the eight planets in our solar system. While most of these moons orbit Saturn and Jupiter, which are outside the Sun’s habitable zone, that may not be the case in other solar systems,” said Stephen Kane, an associate professor of planetary astrophysics and a member of the UCR’s Alternative Earths Astrobiology Center. “Including rocky exomoons in our search for life in space will greatly expand the places we can look.”

Very interesting. One last excerpt:

The researchers identified 121 giant planets that have orbits within the habitable zones of their stars. At more than three times the radii of the Earth, these gaseous planets are less common than terrestrial planets, but each is expected to host several large moons. Scientists have speculated that exomoons might provide a favorable environment for life, perhaps even better than Earth. That’s because they receive energy not only from their star, but also from radiation reflected from their planet. Until now, no exomoons have been confirmed.

For the moment, creationists can scoff, but we see a lot of potential here. It’ll be fun to watch their reactions.

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Bible Astronomy Is Always True, Part 2

This is a virtual replay of Bible Astronomy Is Always True, but with a different creationist author. It’s titled What Does the Bible Say About Astronomy?, and it appears at the website Beliefnet. Wikipedia has a write-up on them, which says: “Beliefnet is independent and not affiliated with any spiritual organization or movement.”

Our readers already know what the bible says — see The Earth Is Flat!, and also The Earth Does Not Move!, and a series of other posts such as Creationists and Cosmology, Part 2.

We can readily understand the limited view of the authors of scripture. Their knowledge of the Earth was limited to their ability to travel short distances. For observing the sky at night, they had only their eyes, which had evolved sufficiently for us to survive on Earth, but which give us virtually no information about the universe beyond it. What we can’t understand is theocratic opposition to improved sources of information, which resulted in such barbaric abominations as the Galileo affair.

Anyway, let’s see what Beliefnet has for us. Their article was written by Megan Bailey, about whom we know nothing. That website has a comments feature, but there aren’t any yet. Here are some excerpts from Megan’s opus, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections [that look like this]:

All the sciences are investigations into God’s creation, and astronomy is no different. Many people fear that the Bible condemns Christians from studying astronomy; however that’s not the case. God created our heavens and earth and knows how everything works together. He did make it after all. The Bible gives us information about the history of the universe and how God built it. It is our foundation on how we can come to understand the universe.

Great beginning! Then she says:

People typically rebuttal [sic] this by saying that the Bible isn’t a science textbook. This is true, because textbooks are created by imperfect humans. Textbooks have to change year after year when humans discover new things, or find evidence that contradicts previously held beliefs. The Bible never changes and it never has to, because it was perfectly inspired by God. When it covers a specific topic, we can understand that it is a truth held by God.

Great. You only need one book. After that she tells us:

[M]any in the scientific community … see their scientific findings above the historical account given the Bible. Astronomy is one of the hardest of the sciences to understand, mainly because the objects of study are so far away and not subject to human interaction. Because so many noted scientists are atheists, their work naturally does not take into consideration the existence of a creator. Christians that seek to study astrology [Huh?] and understand it must go in with the mindset that the Bible is the true account of all things, and that it cannot be contradicted. Science and faith can completely coexist, but we have to be wary of the devil trying to redirect our mind.

Yes, we must always be wary of the devil. Megan continues:

The Bible was ahead of its times when it came to understanding the universe, because God already knew everything about it. For example, the Bible indicates that the earth is round. Isaiah 40:22 mentions this when it says “circle of the earth.” From our own scientific studies, we know that this is true.

[*Groan*] We discussed that in The Earth Is Flat! The word used means “disk.” There is a Hebrew word for “ball” which was used elsewhere in Isaiah, so although the author had both words at his disposal, he didn’t use “ball” in his “circle of the earth” passage. Let’s read on:

Job 26:7 also suggests that the earth floats in space when it says God “hangs the earth on nothing.” Although this is very poetic sounding, it does seem to suggest that the earth isn’t sitting on top of a pedestal or hanging off of a limb.

[*Groan*] We discussed that in The Earth Does Not Move!, where we said:

It’s the same earth that the same book of Job says has a place and rests on pillars (Job 9:6 — “Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble.”), and that also has a foundation (Job 38:4 — “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth”). Whatever “hangeth the earth upon nothing” means, it definitely doesn’t say that the earth moves (except when God shakes it) or that it’s located anywhere other than the central hub of the universe.

This is great, huh? Here’s another excerpt:

One incredible piece of scripture comes from Isaiah 40:22 that teaches us that God is had expanded or “stretched out” the universe. The verse says that God stretches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. Most astronomers today believe that the universe is indeed expanding and growing, just like the Bible suggests.

Yeah, okay. And now we come to the end:

The Bible teaches us the truth and history about our universe, as it was created by God lifetimes ago. Astronomers once mocked Christians for believing some of the teachings found in the Bible, but as we grow as a scientific community the truths are revealed. Continue to study the stars with a Christian outlook, and the more you learn the more we will be pointed back toward God.

Well, dear reader, we don’t know about you, but we think Megan Bailey’s article was a giant ark-load of Oogity Boogity!

Copyright © 2018. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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