When illogical supertitions and rational knowledge cohabit

Biblical dinosaur - How can anyone who studied 65-million-year-old dinosaurs believe that the Earth and the life on it was created some 10,000 years ago?
@Thomas73 (1467)
Switzerland
February 14, 2007 5:14am CST
Many years ago, a colleague of mine -- very good scientist and really nice person -- admitted to me that, for a long time, he'd separated his work from his personal convictions. Whereas he was a researcher in cell biology, he also believed that life was created by God in an instant, and also trusted the rest of the legends contained in the Bible. To him, there were no clashes between his study of life and his beliefs in ancient superstitions, as he kept them completely apart in his mind. Being an intelligent man, he eventually found out that he couldn't reconcile the reality of his work and the fairy tales he'd been brainwashed with as a child, and he came to see the Bible as a compilation of parables that shouldn't be taken at face value. He kept his faith, but also opened his eyes to the reality of his scientific knowledge. I remembered this colleague as I recently read an article in the International Herald Tribune (http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/02/12/news/create.php) about a paleontologist who wrote his PhD thesis on mosasaurs, marine reptiles that went extinct about 65 million years ago. Yet, this man claims that the biblical story of creation is true and believes that the Earth is a mere 10,000 years old! He distinguished two separate 'paradigms' which didn't seem to constitute any kind of paradox in his mind: that of the paleontological methods, and that of the Scriptures. How can anyone who is intelligent enough to find and analyse facts for his PhD thesis have two radically different sets of mind? One part of him knows the paleontological facts, while another part believes in the -- very dubious -- legend of creation. Besides, this man is potentially dangerous in spreading the old superstitions, and the article rightly mentions that "the crucial issue is not whether Ross deserved his degree, but how he intends to use it". I am now waiting for your comments as I watch my star rating go further down...
17 people like this
17 responses
14 Feb 07
I think it is odd how people seem to ignore the scientific evidence we have to prove that God doesn't exist. Why are they denying this? Are we so insecure that we have to just believe in anything so we don't have to take responsibility for our own lives. Thanks for another thought provoking discussion. You aren't the only one whose rating is suffering, through interesting discussions.
5 people like this
@Thomas73 (1467)
• Switzerland
14 Feb 07
Well, we don't actually have any scientific evidence that a god or something similar doesn't exist. All we know is that there is no *need* for such an external entity as the origin of the universe and life as we know it. But I share your feelings concerning those people who refuse to even examine certified facts and prefer to take refuge into some kind of fairy tale world. And thanks a lot for the support! :)
7 people like this
• Netherlands
14 Feb 07
The problem this scientist has that he cannot see that the creation story is just the starting point for the written history of Israel and not to be applied to the rest of the world/cosmos. There is a whole period with no time definition before this that has been ignored but cannot be ingored scientifically (here come the dinosaurs).
2 people like this
@Eskimo (2317)
14 Feb 07
Thomas, I am a scientist and try to live my life by Christioan principles (ie not kill anyone, not steal from anyone etc). I believe that the bible was written 2000 years ago, in a way that the people living 2000 years ago could relate to and understand. The concept of the earth being 2.6 billion years old would be totally alien to them, and without modern methods, eg Carbon dating, seafloor spreading, Plate Techtonics then it is unlikely that scientists now would differ much from 2000 year old beliefs. (Incidentally did you know that there is a limit to carbon dating, once you go past a certain date(can't remember offhand what the date is) then Carbon dating is unreliable, 1 suggeston for this is that there could have been some kind of nuclear explosion which produced a large amount of Carbon14 which contaminated the atmosphere, there could also be a number of other reasons for this. It is difficult after 2000 years to know exactly what in the bible is true, and what has been changed over the years, some perhaps by mistranslation, (as the bible had to be copied by hand), or deliberately to fit in with Vatican ideals. However unless anyone was actually at the creation of the earth, then there will never be 100% proof that creationists are not right (even if they got the date wrong). I'm sure that I read somewhere that some Christian Scholors have used the date 4004 BC for the date of creation.
@Thomas73 (1467)
• Switzerland
14 Feb 07
So you think that the Earth being created in a puff of smoke by some external entity is as likely as the accretion of elements around our nascent Sun under the influence of gravitational forces? As a scientist (may I ask in which field?), you probably have heard about Occam's razor.
4 people like this
@Eskimo (2317)
14 Feb 07
That's not quite what I said, I said Christians from 2000 years ago would believe that; as a scientist I will sit on the fence until one or the other side has definite proof that they are right, and as Shakespeare once put it:- There are more things in heaven and earth Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy" I have a mixed science degree, Chemistry, Biology, Biochemistry,Oceanography, & Computer Science, and work as a Biomedical Scientist. I have heard of Occam's Razor, simply put if there are lots of different theories, chose the simplest one.
3 people like this
@zavebe (122)
• United States
15 Feb 07
I think you've touched on something interesting. The fact that you don't see the bible as solid fact. Other, more devout christians, will see the bible as absolute fact. Not a fable or a collection of tales/records from the past. God didn't sit down and write the bible, people did in God's name. I think most intelligent people see that about the bible, and don't take it as absolute fact. But when you do take it as fact, you certainly have issues merging it into the scientific world.
3 people like this
• Canada
14 Feb 07
I think that it is funny that realistically intelligence, and intellect. Really play no part in the theory of organized religion, or at least to me they don't. I have seen and heard many an intelligent person stand on their soap box and shout about creationism, and try to disprove the theory of evolution. However to try to compartmentalize these two very different things seems next to impossible, I mean how can you say that these dinosaurs were here 65 million years ago if the earth her self is only 10,000 years old? Being a person who appreciates science I would have to give much thought before proceeding. I mean really do the math it doesn't add up, I myself am not an overly religious person, I believe in something but i am not sure what that something is. The words of the bible are antiquated and anecdotle at best,therefore I can not reconcile myself to beleive the idea, that we came from one man and one woman. How anyone else can believe such things is truly beyond me.
@Thomas73 (1467)
• Switzerland
14 Feb 07
I like a person who has a brain and uses it. :)
1 person likes this
• United States
14 Feb 07
One of the most basic functions of the human mind is the ability to compartmentalize. It allows people to hold completely contradictory beliefs and never feel any sense of conflict. Of course, the newly minted paleontologist is probably a total hypocrite. He had to know what he was doing, since he went directly to a teaching job as a fundamentalist college.
@Thomas73 (1467)
• Switzerland
14 Feb 07
Of course he's a hypocrite. He's even lying to himself!
1 person likes this
@zavebe (122)
• United States
15 Feb 07
Even if we compartmentalize things, I think a rational mind would learn to tie them together. And until they learn to do that, hold them seperate.
1 person likes this
• United States
14 Feb 07
That makes no sense to me. You know what's really funny? My dad is a geologist, and he actually believes something frighteningly similar. He believes the Biblical story, but what he argues is that angle in the Bible of God's time and man's time running differently. So, in essence, what's he's saying is that sure, Mosasaurus probably did live 65 million years ago in human time, but that may have only been day 3 for God. That would make my head hurt. I don't frankly see how the two can exists side by side. We argue all the time about evolution, since he teaches biology in a school that forces creationist drivel down people's throats. And he incorporates his own theory about man's/god's time. We never come to anything but an impasse, as you can imagine. And I gave you a positive response, in protection of your star rating.
3 people like this
@Thomas73 (1467)
• Switzerland
14 Feb 07
This yet again an argument about the time span. Does this also explain why the Tooth Fairy comes to give you presents when you lose your teeth as a child, and never bothers to show up anymore when you're retired and lose your last teeth? ;) And thanks for the '+'. My rating needs it!
3 people like this
@sigma77 (5385)
• United States
14 Feb 07
The world is full of these kind of thinkers. Religions do such a thorough job of brainwashing that one does not know that he does not know. This is a brilliant case of a totally confused mind. Is this guy a politician in his spare time? lol. Maybe he is really living in two worlds, and has a completely split personality. You make a great point that religions are based on so much superstition that it is impossible to accept it. For instance, the ground where a churh is built is accepted to be holy ground. That concept is all in the mind as no ground is more holier than any other. A++ rating.
3 people like this
@Thomas73 (1467)
• Switzerland
14 Feb 07
You rejoin nicely my discussion where I explained that faith-based education is basically child abuse. A rape of innocent young minds. And thanks for the '+'! :)
4 people like this
@achyuta (2853)
• United States
15 Feb 07
I have no problem with Jesus but I have found several falacies in Bible which dont hold on close introspection. However, to say that due to falacies in Bible and its inconguency with modern science, we can effectively deny existence of God is very untrue. You have assumed for example (without saying it) that when the church for Galieleo executed for saying Earth revolves round the Sun and not the other way round, that all spiritual paths agreed with the church. For example, in ancient vedic scriptures it is clearly mentioned that Earth moves round the Sun long before Galileo said so. I am all for scientific introspection and evaluation of scriptures. But it does seem to be that all people have with them to deny God's existence is to find falacies in Bible which has been (WITHOUT DOUBT) altered many many times to suit the times. Once again, let mme clarify that I have nothing against Jesus. However, to make wild claims like earth is 10000 old only when for example NASA has already found a man made bridge 17000 plus old around the park strait in Indian Srilankan Border, is so wild and foolish that it will drive people to athiesm. God bless.
3 people like this
@yanjiaren (9050)
14 Feb 07
you love debates don't you lol? i believe that when alot of the biblical recordings were being written down they were long before the julian calendar or what we call roman calendar existed and in those days defining time was different to how we define time today.. so although today's archeological findings maybe correct in terms of time..the spiritual aspect of How everything came into being is not disproven by this ..so yes one can still hold onto his spiritual beliefs..funnily enough islam is one religion that condones scientific research that is why so many mathematicians and scientist evolved out of early islam.. there were alchemists and scientists and mathematicians..like in medieval times in europe.. love your topics Thomas.i laways rate a plus lol happy valentines..hehe
2 people like this
@Thomas73 (1467)
• Switzerland
14 Feb 07
I do like a good debate, yes. And I can argue with you that Islam has only provided scientists studying already existing laws, like chemistry or mathematics. No Muslim would have gone as far as to experiment for something 'new', as everything is supposed to have been done, according to their beliefs. So the world cannot change in any way (still according to the Muslim view). Thanks for the '+' and enjoy your Valentine's Day with your beloved. :)
6 people like this
@yanjiaren (9050)
15 Feb 07
that was funny...well if you take away time and space..everything 'is' and 'isn't' isn't it lol? nothing needs to be done..exactly that nothing lol.. oh dear it's getting a bit deep in here lol. btw did you have a good day last night? 4 am i was mylotting and my hubby was jobhunting..very romantic valentine's lol..but we were both so nackered we are going to celebrate at the weekend..like we always do lol..
1 person likes this
@zavebe (122)
• United States
14 Feb 07
Well, I'm not a scientist. Nor am I a christian. So remember that as you read my opinions. lol I find that religion and science should work hand in hand, together. And I think it's perfectly possible for that to be. For example, when I was in High School I had a Physics/Chemistry teacher who was devoutly christian. Every so often he would make side comments that tied his religion into the class (not to convince us, but more as interesting tidbits). One example he used was the periodic table. After the table had been reformed numerous times, we've come across an organization of the table that makes complete sense. And, there were once gaps in the table that have since been filled. As if we found the layout for all elements on our planet. As the teacher said "It's as if someone planned it all out before hand." I think if you are truly religious, you wont merely believe in your religion, ignoring facts. But instead learn to merge the two together. That's what any rational, intelligent person should do. I was raised Mormon, so I'm not unaware of the christian religion or anything. In the Church, we have some extra scholastic works. For example, when God created the world, he didn't make it in literally 6 of our days. Instead, 6 of his days. Mormons have the book of mormon, which many other christian groups dislike, but in this book theres a section that explains how God keeps time. A star called Kolob is 'nearest to the throne of god' and one cycle of this star around where God is, is a day for him. But it 1000 years for us. Or some number like that. Essentially that if god created the earth in 6 days, it was actually 6000 years, or so. But that concept that perhaps a God has a timeset in a different way, could be twisted into accepting that god created earth. Even if we find fossils older than what we thought. Then, if you are a believer, you try to decode the bible to have it fit with the facts. The same way we had to re-think the periodic table, to have it fit the elements we found. I don't think it's wise to have two mindsets, and accept them on their own terms as fact. That's just sillyness. They should be compatible with each other.
@Thomas73 (1467)
• Switzerland
14 Feb 07
Indeed, facts are the most important to draw your conclusions, even if they don't quite match your original ideas. This is one of the reasons why I admire someone like Darwin, as he went out to see something, but saw something else he hadn't expected, yet reported the facts and drew quality conclusions. He may not have been a scientist, but he certainly had a very scientific approach.
6 people like this
@xphile777 (428)
• United States
15 Feb 07
People will believe what they want to believe. It's hard to change belief systems that are drilled into people usually at a young age, such as religion is. In your friend's case, "denial ain't just a river in Eygpt." ;) The best advice I ever heard came, ironically enough, from a TV show that was on in the mid-60s, when I was around 6 years old. I can't remember the name of the show, but Jimmy Stewart played a teacher or a college professor. He told his students, "I don't want you to answer my questions as much as I want you to question my answers." From the moment I heard it, that line stuck with me. I realized that people should question everything their parents, teachers, priests/ministers and the whole of society tells them. Put what you're told and taught up against real life. Does it hold water? Or are there little holes in there? Or maybe big, gaping holes, like those that fill the Bible. ;) I have the feeling your friend might have attempted in his life to question somethings, but not everything he was told. ;) (BTW, I can't believe that you, of all people on mylot, are only rated a 5. Sheese! More proof that mylot's rating algorithm is flawed.) :P Algorithm = what Al Gore uses when he dances. ;) Sorry, I couldn't resist. :P
@arkaf61 (10881)
• Canada
14 Feb 07
I don't see why you would expect your star rating to go down with this discussion. It is quite pertinent. I have often wondered about that as well. How some people can conciliate things that often contradict themselves in such way. That is not a matter of compartmenting, or pair up similar ideas.. I mean you either believe in one thing or the other there is not bridge between then. I just have trouble understanding how it works - but it obviously works for this person.
2 people like this
@Lardiel (280)
• Romania
18 Feb 07
well i think that this is a relly nice discussion u have started here. i for one belive more in science . i mean i think that there might be a greater power out there but it can be called nature and evolution as well as some migt call it god for whatever reason they want to. as far as beliving in the bible as well as in scientific discoveries... well i don't belive that the hystory as depicted in the genesis is only 10000 years old. and man for instance was not created in a day. but if you start analyzing the facts the bible might be refering to a day as natural hystory refers to an era of evolution. but it used the concept of day, as a time period, to describe and understate god's power and might as to religious beliefes.
@Thomas73 (1467)
• Switzerland
18 Feb 07
Science is not something you believe in. It's a frame of mind that allows you to draw conclusions after observation and experimentation. Religion does quite the opposite and instead starts with the conclusion.
1 person likes this
@Lardiel (280)
• Romania
19 Feb 07
yes but if you start questioning those conclusions you see that the genesis in the bible is not so different from the begening of the wolrd as stated by the natural hystory of eatrh. you just have to look beyond the time unit they used :)
1 person likes this
@Thomas73 (1467)
• Switzerland
19 Feb 07
Here's something that I found at the Skeptic's Annotated Bible: "And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree." -- Genesis 1:11 "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." -- Genesis 1:24 "Notice that God lets 'the earth bring forth' the plants and animals, rather than create them directly. So maybe the creationists have it all wrong. Maybe Genesis is not so anti-evolution after all." Source: http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/interp/evolution.html My next question would be: how did they know? Wild guess? Ancient wisdom that has since been lost? Even the 'man made of clay' story seems to be echoed by the latest 'life from a rock' theory...
2 people like this
@Melizzy (1381)
• United States
19 Feb 07
God and Science - God and Science can and do exist together!
I believe in science and I believe in God. I believe that we have evolved (how else do you explain the appendicts?) and that creatures are still evolving as we sit here typing away on myLot. I choose to believe that all the science (I love biology and the like)derives from God. That yes, you can believe the world existed the way id did/does and be a Christian. They are not exclusive.
@Thomas73 (1467)
• Switzerland
20 Feb 07
True. Science and beliefs aren't necessarily mutually exclusive, I agree. Being religious doesn't always entail being blind to the facts. It's annoying when it does, though!
@James72 (26829)
• Australia
19 Feb 07
Interesting..... I have only just found your topic yet I posted a topic myself today asking the very question of science versus religion and how can one be objective with both? It is an obvious struggle for most to separate their "inbred" beliefs from self determined realities as underlying guilt will cause a massive internal psychological conflict. It certainly doesn't hurt to play both sides of the fence when covering any topic in general but were his ultimate findings expressed?? If not, it appears that the guilt factor I outlined above won out!
1 person likes this
@Thomas73 (1467)
• Switzerland
19 Feb 07
The abrahamic religions are based on fear and guilt, two notions that are indeed so deeply ingrained in humans that proper reasoning is often occulted. You make a very good point here, James. Thanks a lot!
@stibigirl (291)
• United States
18 Feb 07
Another intelligent post that I just have to respond to. I had a teacher of Geology that told our class the first day that basically the theories that he would present in class were the most current and up to date geological theories that he could offer us. He followed this statement by saying that if there was anyone in the class that was religious and believed in creationism that they might not want to be in his class. He told us that he would not allow religion to interfer with the SCIENCE that we were suppose to be learning in class and that he would have no arguments to this affect. Needless to say two people dropped the class that day, it is strange to see the beliefs that can keep us from even seeing the other side of the coin.
@Thomas73 (1467)
• Switzerland
18 Feb 07
The fact that people refuse to be educated is actually quite sad. If this professor's shoes, I'd have tried to retain those students who left and explained unambiguously what the facts are -- provided they'd be willing to listen!
@Zebrochka (333)
• Brazil
16 Feb 07
Well, isn't it a perfect example of the Renaissance secularization? It's alost like the famous Italian Renaissance artists who would be creating some chef-d-oeuvres depicting God, and at night would be drinking and other sins.
• United States
15 Feb 07
This is the reason I do not believe in religion, God created man, man created religion. Religion is not a creation of God. My theory of how life was created is this: God has always been, God does not actually have a name, humans gave God name because they needed to identify what had created everything, God is not male or female, but a life force or pure energy, God used the "Big Bang" to create the Universe, God saw some planets and said "let's put life on some of these planets" in it's own settle language, God did it through evolution. To quote Professor Xavier of the X-Men,"Mutation, it is the key to our evolution, it is what enabled us to evolve from a single celled organism into the dominant species of the planet. This process is slow and normally taking thousands and thousands of years, but every few milennia evolution leaps forward." In simplification, we all came from a cell created in the planet, that was created by God. We did not come out of nowhere, we came into being through a process. Everything goes through a process. We all start out as cells or genes from our parents, we spend nine month changing and growing in the womb and then we are born, but the truth is, we were born the minute we were conceived because we had that life force that told us to grow.
1 person likes this