Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Returning to the Cosmos - Reintroduction

Though it has been nearly three years since I last addressed this topic on my blog, the study of biblical depictions of the cosmos has remained a foremost area of study and thought. My discovery in late 2003 and early 2004 that the Bible depicts pre-scientific and incorrect models of the cosmos dealt a death blow to my faith in biblical inerrancy. Prior to this discovery I had always given the Bible the benefit of the doubt, trusting it despite the growing incongruence I was finding between my “biblical” and fundamentalist categories of veracity. I reasoned, “If the Bible depicted a cosmos consisting of an assumed flat earth with a solidly-domed cosmos over which the “waters above” were held at bay (one of the biblical models), and I could disqualify this model in the here-and-now, then why should I try to hammer out other inconsistencies such as internal contradictions and “old-earth” natural history?” The Bible became increasingly human, and my worldview became increasingly orphaned from the assumptions of biblical inspiration.

Really, if I had not been taught to expect an infallible record in the Bible by fundamentalist creationists, this discovery would have been far less likely to bring such a crisis of faith on me. I waivered for the next three to four years between ignoring the evidence and variously accepting its implications. Often in the same day or during the course of a week I would toggle between fundamentalism, atheism, and agnosticism. Again, to the fault of creationists, the thought of liberal models of religion never even crossed my mind. To me, as to the fundamentalist, the Bible was infallible and thus inspired or errant and thus uninspired.

Those who have followed this blog for any amount of time will recognize these posts—I posted them in the spring and summer of 2007, but I never completed the series. You are welcome to visit the originals and read the comments from others who have engaged me on this discussion; however, you will find no replies to the contrary that contribute anything but ad hoc and infertile propositions that detract from human ingenuity and knowledge of the natural world. I will re-post the first in the series tomorrow.

16 comments:

Fizlowski said...

"...if I had not been taught to expect an infallible record in the Bible by fundamentalist creationists, this discovery would have been far less likely to bring such a crisis of faith on me."

And how! As a Roman Catholic seminarian, the inaccurate cosmology of the bible was never a challenge to faith. Nobody questioned the truth of evolution or the big bang, and science was not detrimental to faith. Of my graduating class, I am the only atheist. The rest are either priests or actively-practicing Catholics. In fact, what ultimately led to my deconversion was the problem of theodicy, which is a theological issue, not a scientific one.

The fundamentalist belief that the bible is to be taken literally is an unsupportable belief (as you so often and so adeptly point out, Peter). Those who seek to propagate this belief are fomenting ignorance, and ignorance is the one thing that this country cannot afford to have more of.

Tandi said...

I wonder why other intelligent and educated people see things differently concerning the Cosmos.......including Catholics!

First Annual Catholic Conference on Geocentrism:

http://www.catholicintl.com/galileowaswrong/index.html

Peter said...

Tandi,

So, are you a flat-earth geocentrist? If not, why not?

Peter said...

Tandi,

With further thought, I want to let you know that I will not visit the link you posted. You will probably fault me for not being open-minded, etc, but I do not have time for intentional ignorance on the plate of my stuides. If you want to continue associated with groups that coalesce around platforms of forced or intentional ignorance, that is your perogative. The fact that there are people that associate with such ignorance is to be expected nor does it weaken the established fact of heliocentricsm.

And, just to throw you a tidibt for thought, how do heliocentrists deal with finding other stars, like our sun, with planets orbiting them? Is not the fact that our sun is just one minor star of over 200 billion in our galaxy alone (and our galaxy is only one of billions itself) suggest that geocentrism is raw egocentrism?

Tandi said...

I don't know how you can judge something as ignorant without evaluating it first.

As stated in the discussions of three years ago, you seem to want to reinforce a conclusion you have already come to and nothing is going to change your mind.

I don't know why you even bring this topic up again on your blog. And you change topics so quickly people have no time to research a response before you move on to more "drive by shootings" at Biblical truth.

Andrew T. said...

Tandi, does the thing you linked to not strike you as a superbly good example of people going to extreme lengths to justify something they have set their minds to believing?

What truly discerning person chooses to believe fringe Catholic seminarians with a massive axe to grind over mainstream astrophysicists? Give us a break on this one...

Andrew T. said...

Tandi,

Even assuming that their view is correct, it does not mesh with the Bible's depiction of the Earth as flat with a sheet-like firmament draped over it. How do you account for the contradiction?

Tandi said...

There are astrophysicists who support geocentricity. These Catholic apologists are just the latest to join a growing chorus of voices, even some Jewish:

Alexander Nussbaum "Creationism and Geocentrism Among Orthodox Jewish Scientists." Reports of the National Center for Science Education, Jan-Apr 2002, 38-43."

Dr. Bouw, Ph.D, is currently working on an update of his book, Geocentricity. He is not Catholic.

The Bible does not teach a flat earth. Job talked about the Earth hanging on nothing. (Job 26:7)

http://www.geocentricity.com/astronomy_of_bible/flatearth/doesbibleteach.html

Tandi said...

Links:

Does the Bible Teach a Flat Earth? (Dr. Bouw)

http://www.geocentricity.com/

Click on Astronomy of the Bible to access the article.

James Patrick Holding articles:

http://www.tektonics.org/af/earthshape.html

http://www.trueorigin.org/flatearth01.asp

No time to dialogue.......the open minded will research these things before drawing conclusions.

Peter said...

Tandi,

Really?? "Drive-by-shootings". Give me a break.

Who is doing irresponsible, drive-by, shoddy-sloppy link slinging? Who replies with links upon links upon links of ear-itching teachers? I am processing this material at my speed. If you can't keep up with it, that is not my problem. I am already going to lengths to simplify what I am presenting to make it readable in a blog format.

But, you are accusing me of exactly the tactic that you use. Instead of understanding the issues, you find others with different opinions and throw around their links like a smoke screen to hide the real issues.

Yes, the Bible teaches an incorrect view of the cosmos. This need not negate a belief in inspiration as evidenced by the Evangelicals and others who accept this conclusion but still maintain belief in inspiration and even inerrancy.

Peter said...

another comment on drive-by....

Um, the fact that I gave you three years to process posts that I already posted, and the fact that I play to complete a total of a dozen posts on this topic about the Pentateuch alone....is that not enough time to make me not a drive-by?

The fact that my posts are up for people to reply to for the past three years on this blog, is that not enough time for the "drive-by" antagonist to be caught?

I think you need to look in the mirror before you call me a drive-by.

Peter said...

Tandi,

I have processed all of the articles on the links you posted. Most of them I read first before 2007. They are garbage for the closed-minded whose conclusions are made before they begin reading the Bible. They are mental porn.

Fizlowski said...

I thought Tandi was going to spare me her idiocy, but then she posts a link to a flat-earth geocentrist site and expects us to take her seriously? Expects us not to mock and ridicule her? The earth was shown to be spherical, and its circumference measured within a reasonable margin of error by Eratosthenes some 200 years BC. You can duplicate his methods and see for yourself if you don't want to take someone else's word for it. With that being the case, yes, we can dismiss what the site has to say without looking at it, and any "astrophysicist" who says there's merit to flat-earth geocentricism is not an astrophysicist at all but a class-A moron.

Fizlowski said...

Geocentricism can also be debunked by your own observations. If every month or so you observe the positions of the planets in the night sky, you will see a slow progression from west to east. But every one to two years, you will also see an apparent retrograde motion of the planets Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune - a west to east motion. This retrograde motion was a mystery to the astronomers prior to heliocentric theory but now is easily explained. The planets only appear to be retrograding for the same reason a race car on the opposite side of the track appears to be going in the opposite direction as a race car you yourself are driving. But the race car you are driving is not the center of the race track; if it were, you would not see this retrograde motion.

Tandi said...

Time only for a quick response........

Peter, my "drive by" comment was because you switched topics from "sola scriptura fundamentalism" to "heliocentric cosmology" so quickly. I never know when your topic will change and I have little time to research responses these days.

Loved your "shoddy, sloppy link slinging" remark though. : )

Eric, I am having a hard time refraining from calling you "Fiz-louse-ski" when you continue to insult me mercilessly, but my inspired, authoritative Bible tells me to bless those who curse me.

Just so you know, my astrophysicist friend, Dr. Bouw, does not believe in a "flat earth" and neither do I. Obviously you are judging the matter before reading anything at the links. He also discusses retrograde motion, geosynchronous satellites, and other common criticisms of geocentricity.

You are all reading pagan mythology into the text of Scripture in my opinion. There is no conflict between the Bible and Astronomy.

Sabbath peace and blessings. I will continue to love those who hate me, by the amazing Grace of God who is the Ultimate Author of the Bible I read and live by.

Fizlowski said...

Can the sanctimony, Maureen, and reply to what's being said.