6/23/2010 | Share this article:By WizenedSage (Galen Rose) --
I happened across an utterly fascinating and totally hilarious web site the other day that I just had to share with you people of reason. The web site is called “Jesus, Dinosaurs and More.” The specific article I read was titled, “Were people in the Old Testament really that Old?”
The anonymous author is referring to the numerous men in the Bible who lived to be several hundred years old. He (or she?) lists seven, including Adam, who lived over 900 years and writes, “When you look at the age of the Patriarchs (Adam's descendants) in Genesis you will see two things. One, is that from Adam to Noah the average life span was somewhere in the neighborhood of 900 years.”
He also provides a really neat graph with data points for ages at death of some Biblical men and some Kings of England, showing how the average life span of humans declined from about 900 at the start, through a period of 200 to 500, and then down to less than 100. As he explains, “The life span of man has been declining since the flood. The average age of man quickly dropped to less than 100 in the 200 years after the flood.” Given this info and the data plot, it is clear that the flood occurred around 1400 BCE. Unfortunately, he doesn’t mention why the ancient Sumerians, Egyptians, Greeks, etc. never mentioned this flood in their writings of this period, or why there is no geological evidence for this worldwide cataclysm.
Anyway, you’re probably just dying to know how those guys lived so long. Well, according to the author, “These people lived in a very different world than we do today (this was at a time before the flood described in Genesis). God created the earth perfect. But when Adam sinned this world began to decay. Then when the flood came, things really got wrecked.”
Then comes one of my favorite parts of the narrative, “Some Creationists believe that the pre-flood vapor canopy (the firmament in GEN 1:6) would filter out radiation, and hold in incoming solar heat making the earth a warmer place to live. This "expanse" separated the "waters above" from the "waters below" in the Creation week. I believe that the firmament may have collapsed at the time of the flood.” Aha! The “firmament” collapsed. Talk about a cataclysm!
And after the firmament collapsed? “As a result harmful radiation can enter the earth more easily than before, bringing with it all kinds of damaging effects.” So there you have it. Curiously, the author doesn’t explain why people today typically die from heart failure, cancer or other diseases (and accidents), but almost never from the measurable effects of radiation.
Now, please observe how the author uses science to make SOME of his points. He says, “Some critics claim that the 900 years of life mentioned in the Bible were not literal years. They claim that back then people counted each month as a year.” Then he proves this argument makes no sense by showing that the Bible says Cainan had a son when he was 70, which would make Cainan only 5 years-old at the time (if we were dividing 70 by 12) and, as he says, “This is impossible.”
I was frankly a tad surprised that the author finds anything impossible, although, in his defense, he also noted that, “Moses compiled Genesis. He could clearly differentiate between a month and a year. He did so many times in his writing.” He then followed that argument with this incontestable logical gem, “Also, when Jesus came to earth he taught us many things. If the Patriarchs did not live as long as the Bible claims then Jesus would have told us.” Well there you have it, proof positive!
As the TV hucksters say, “But that’s not all!” The author then goes on to buttress his case by noting a number of facts about Neanderthals (patience, I’ll explain!). As he says, “This page will show you that these people were human, but had odd facial features resulting from living to great ages.” Yep, you guessed it, the Neanderthals lived for 900 years or so and, as numerous studies have shown (which he cites), the face and head of humans (now including Neanderthals, remember) never stop growing throughout their lives. This, of course, leads us to the obvious conclusion, that the author never mentions; those really old guys in the Bible, like Adam, Seth, Noah, and Methuselah, were Neanderthals!
At the end of his article, the author writes, “I was surprised at first to find how many people had never heard that the Bible teaches Adam and his descendants lived for hundreds of years. Then I realized, if no one knew this fact, then no one could apply that fact to the fossil record and interpret it correctly.” I guess we should be thankful to this guy for clearing things up, but I think there might still be some lingering confusion somewhere. You see, from the sediment layers their fossils are found in, and from several different, yet consistent radiometric dating methods, we now know that the Neanderthals went extinct at least 25,000 years ago. Now, according to the author’s plot, that was at least 20,000 years before Adam was created. Hmmm.
He closes his article with an invitation to e-mail him any questions or comments the reader might have. Of course I couldn’t resist.
My e-mail: “Thank you so much for posting this ‘explanation.’ I have not laughed so hard in... I don't know how long. Your "scientific" explanations of Biblical myths are so harebrained, so infested with scientific ignorance, that no comedy writer could possibly come up with such hilarious nonsense. You really need to consider that perhaps you believe the Bible is fact only because you have been told it is, and not because the stories in it are plausible.”
Okay, I’ve had my fun with this guy, and he is a ridiculously easy target, but… I am left with a very uneasy feeling. You see, his article was actually pretty well written, articulate and with very few, if any, grammatical errors. He is frightfully ignorant and gullible, yes, but he is not stupid. I always find it genuinely scary when I come across intelligent people who believe utter nonsense. Such people can’t just be written off since they are smart enough to be convincing to many others. These are the type of people who write religious books, build media empires and creation museums and keep the nonsense very much alive. As Valerie Tarico has written several times on these pages, truly intelligent people are very clever rationalizers. They are often very good at fashioning nonsense into fascinating, and occasionally plausible shapes – plausible to some people, anyway.
What appears to be lacking in the intelligent believers (the honest ones, anyway) is a functioning bullshit detector, so I’ll say it again; a course in critical thinking, including some very basic science and probability theory, should be taught in every American high school. I know, I know… fat chance the believers in charge are going to give kids the tools necessary to dismantle their teachers’ and parents’ delusions. But I can dream, can’t I?