News
The Power Of Light Works
July 2019
LightSail 2 is changing its orbit using only the power of sunlight. The Planetary Society announced this week that their LightSail 2 solar sail is working well, and actually raising the orbit of the spacecraft as it travels around the Earth. According to mission managers, they've been able to raise the orbit of the spacecraft by about 2 kilometers at the high point of its orbit. Unfortunately, they'll only be able to go for about a month before the sail dips into the atmosphere at the low point of its orbit and it crashes.
Sci-Fi Writers Include Religion
October 2018
At his appearance at the American Writers Museum in Chicago, John Scalzi said that it is important that science fiction writers include religion in their universes, "When 5 billion people out of 7 billion very strongly have professed religious belief of some sort or another, to ignore it, minimize it or just say it doesn't matter is foolish," he said.
Genesis and The Big Bang
James C. Rocks
Fundamentalists will often use the argument attempt to claim that the bible and science are compatible in that Genesis can be interpreted as predictive of modern-day scientific knowledge. The implications of such a claim, were it to be demonstrated as true would be immense ... whilst it would not automatically demonstrate the bible as being correct from cover to cover it would certainly lend it a great deal of credence.

The purpose, therefore, of this article is to compare the first chapter of genesis with current scientific knowledge and attempt to establish whether there is common ground between the two and from that determine whether the bible was right in what it says about the development of the universe.

Discussion
Some thirteen to fifteen billion years ago the universe was compressed to a point with no dimensions. This, in lay terminology, was the moment before time and space existed ... there was no matter/energy, time, or space, literally NOTHING.

Genesis and The Big Bang The universe started.

  1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

On this level it is easy to compare current scientific theory with scriptural statements such as Genesis 1:1 but where such comparisons fall down is if one goes further levels into scientific theory. Where does the fact that “the universe started” actually start and end? If we wish to be strictly accurate then the start of the universe was something that occurred over a time period that was too small to measure so in effect the very first statement of the bible has merit. However it must be recognised that there is no way in which science can recognise the existence of a creator god ... a creator god would have to be beyond nature for it to exist at this point and to create the universe within which we would eventually come to exist i.e. it would be supernatural and science can, therefore, safely ignore it.

  1. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

The first point to note is that the bible has skipped a few hundred thousand years to reach this point conveniently missing out the expansion of the central singularity, the formation of various forces such as electromagnetism and gravity, photons, positrons, neutrinos (and their corresponding anti-particles), deuterium, ionised plasma, nucleosynthesis of helium and its cooling to a temperature of 10,000 Kelvin over a period of 300,000 years. At this point the first light is seen and it is here that we start to find sequencing problems with the biblical tale and the theory advanced by science.

According to the bible water is already in existence (presumably floating free in space) and the Christian god (or rather his “spirit”) is able to move across it. This water is not in or of the Earth because the Earth has not yet been formed.

  1. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
  2. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
  3. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

Presumably, this refers to the period 300,000 years after the start of the universe when light is first seen and it is easy to accept that a supernatural deity, observing his creation, might consider the light to be good and that it was distinct from the dark. However the fact that this god then decides to refer to light as Day and dark as Night (further confirmed by the passage of the first day) indicates that cyclical day and night (the kind only found on planetary bodies) had begun ... at this point no galaxies or stars (let alone planets) existed just an ever-expanding cloud of rapidly cooling plasma. The reference to the time as a single day having passed is at odds with the observation that the universe at this time was already considerably older than the entire modern hominid history.

  1. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
  2. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
  3. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

Again, it is hard to rationalise this with any kind of science in that it appears to be referring to the division of heaven from the rest of the universe. Additionally, there is (yet again) a clear reference to the total amount of time having passed (two days).

  1. And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
  2. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called the Seas: and God saw that it was good.

This is the third day and at this point it appears that the Earth has been created which means that the bible has mysteriously skipped forward around 6 or 7 billion years to the point of the Earth’s formation. Time for the Christian god does not appear to be in any way particularly constant.

In fact, time has skipped forward a fairly significant amount (a hundred thousand years or so) into the Earth’s early history rather than stopping at the point of the just formed Earth (by which I mean the first point at which one could observe the Earth and definitively state that it was a planetary body). Both land and water now exist.

  1. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
  2. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
  3. And the evening and the morning were the third day.

The first vegetation appears and indeed vegetation likely did appear prior to true animal life at least on the planets land surface. The third day ends.

  1. And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
  2. And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
  3. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
  4. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
  5. And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
  6. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

Ah ... so Genesis says that the stars, the sun & the moon were created after the Earth? Strange that ... current cosmological thought indicates that the Sun would have formed either slightly before or at the same time as the Earth and the rest of the solar planetary bodies and the moon slightly after. Moreover, the only apparent reason for their formation is to rule either day or night and to allow for signs (astrology?) and seasons. The only purpose of stars is to provide light for the Earth it would seem.

  1. And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
  2. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
  3. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
  4. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

No particular problem here though I note that no mention is made of earlier life forms than fish, fowl, whales etc. certainly nothing microscopic or even vaguely dinosaur-like.

  1. And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
  2. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

Simplistic but, again, no major problems.

  1. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
  2. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Well, it isn’t the way science would have it i.e. that we evolved from a common man-ape ancestor.

  1. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
  2. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
  3. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
  4. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Final orders I suppose.

Conclusion
Currently, on the basis of a brief analysis of Genesis 1 alone, it can be seen that there are significant sequencing (order of creation) flaws and huge vistas of time unaccounted for not to mention the fact that Genesis 1 refers to the process of creation over a period of 6 days.

Whether or not one regards this as an accurate account of creation largely depends upon one’s belief system and the type of interpretation one wishes to apply. The majority of fundamentalists tend to be rather literal with regard to biblical interpretation and so the claimed six-day creation period cannot be reconciled with the scientific account of universal development. Furthermore the evidence indicates that planetary bodies would have been created (at best) at the same time as their local star so the sequencing of universal development is not compatible with scriptural.

A less rigid interpretation might allow for flexibility in time (days) but does not account for the wild variance in terms of the length of each day.

A purely allegorical view of Genesis makes most sense as a method of uniting the two disparate worldviews i.e. that the bible was meant as a scriptural work aimed at simpler people in a time long past.

And that leads me to a quote from a one-time debate friend, the Reverend Rob Miles, ULC:

"The Bible? A book written by ancient, ignorant, superstitious mystics who had no clear understanding of the world around them and made up stories that sounded good at the time. What little truth is contained in the Bible is accidental, at best. Fundamentalists & creationists? Ignorant, superstitious moderns who have no clear understanding of the world around them and believe made-up stories that sound good to them. What little truth is contained in what they say is accidental, at best."

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