Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I Agree with Pat Robertson

Someone needs to check whether or not hell has frozen over because I find myself in agreement with Pat Robertson.

The other day, on his CBN show, Robertson said that you had to be "deaf, dumb and blind to think that this earth that we live in has only 6,000 years of existence."

You got that one right Pat. In 2009 I wrote an entry about Ray Comfort talking to Pat Robertson where I expressed the opinion, based upon the look on Robertson's face, that he was humoring Comfort but thought he was nuts. I suppose I was right.

Ken Ham, of Answers in Genesis and the Creation museum, isn't taking kindly to this and claims that Robertson's comments were "beyond ignorant," that Robertson was "undermining the authority of the word" and "any attack on the word is an attack upon the person of Jesus Christ who is the word."

Now Robertson is not well versed in science and some of his remarks, in particular talking about carbon dating and millions of years, did display some scientific ignorance. But that doesn't change the fundamental accuracy of his main point, YOU DO HAVE TO BE DEAF, DUMB AND BLIND TO THINK THE WORLD IS ONLY 6,000 YEARS OLD.

As for an attack upon "the word," I'd like to point out to Ham the Ignorant that NOWHERE in the Bible is the claim that the earth was created 6,000 years ago. Something that I'm sure Ham knows very well.

The number is based upon a calculation by  Bishop James Ussher that creation began at nightfall preceding Sunday October 23rd, 4004 BCE.

He arrived at this number by (1) adding up the ages of the supposed unbroken male lineage from Adam to Solomon and then (2) from Solomon on, cross referencing the events in the Bible to other known rulers, events and cultures.

It is in fact a fairly impressive calculation based upon the facts and assumptions that were known at that time.

However in history as in science one must be willing to re-evaluate one's conclusions when new information becomes available. I absolutely guarantee you that if Bishop Ussher knew then what we know now from natural science, history and archaeology, he would discard his 6,000 year conclusion.

Even based upon Ussher's limited knowledge there are several glaring faults with his calculation especially the part related to adding up the ages of the males from Adam to Solomon.

1. The classic assumption is he is assuming the "days" in Genesis were consecutive 24 hour days when there is no real justification for that in the actual Hebrew. Most Christian Bibles give the distinct impression of counting with "the first day," "the second day," "the third day" and so on but the actual Hebrew is different.

In the actual Hebrew text the word "yom" has no definite article so better translations would be "one day," "a second day," "a third day" as in most Jewish translations and the New American Standard Bible (NASB). So there is no guarantee of the length of the day OR how much time may have passed BETWEEN the days.

2. He is assuming that the ages in the version of the Bible (which I assume was the KJV) he used are correct. The fact is that different Bible versions give different numbers. For instance the Septuagint apparently gives ages that add 1500 years. I suppose that's why you hear some hedging by Creationists about the age of the earth.

3. He is assuming that every male in the lineage is listed and he has to be assuming the age of the father at the birth of the son because that isn't always specified.

4. How can he possibly know how long Adam and Eve were in the garden before getting booted out?

Of course we now know, with pretty much absolute certainty, that Ussher's calculation of 6,000 years is wrong just as we know that Lord Kelvin's calculation in the 1890s was wrong. Kelvin calculated that the earth was between 20 million and 100 million years old based upon the thermodynamics of a cooling solid earth. Kelvin's calculation was wrong because he didn't know about radioactivity, which generates heat, and his assumption that the core of the earth is solid was wrong. It's actually molten.

While Kelvin never issued a retraction of his estimate he did concede privately that radioactivity made some of his assumptions unworkable. Even the best scientists can become dogmatic and dig in their heels when a favorite conclusions of theirs is attacked. That's why there are no authorities in science and peer reviews are so critical.

OK, I went off on a bit of a tangent there. The point is, if you believe in evidence, and if it matters to you what the truth is, you cannot escape the conclusion that the earth is something like 4.5 billion years old.

Robertson is right and Ham, as usual, in my opinion, is delusional.

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