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Author Topic:   Do atoms confirm or refute the bible?
AnswersInGenitals
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Posts: 564
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 1 of 153 (359586)
10-29-2006 2:00 AM


The great geneticist and evolutionist Theodosius Dobzhansky is often quoted for his famous statement: "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution." By 'makes sense'. he is referring to the continuity and context in which all biological systems are found. He is essentially saying that evolution and the mechanisms by which it operates are as fundamental to the existence of biological entities and our understanding of them as atoms are fundamental to the existence of chemical entities and our understanding of those.

Before the atomic nature of matter was established beyond doubt (in 1905 by Einstein's paper quantitatively explaining the atomic origin of Brownian motion), there were two distinct scientific theories of matter: the atomic theory and the continuum theory. Each theory claimed experimental evidence in its support and a lot of empirical evidence could be interpreted to support both theories. The concepts underlaying these two theories and the heated controversies as to which was correct can be traced back to early Greek philosophies (and probably arose much earlier): Zeno's paradoxes assume the continuum theory, while Democrites' atomic theory was proposed in part to refute Zeno's paradoxes.

The point of this PNT is to ask if the bible, in any of its passages, takes a stand on this controversy. Can anyone quote a biblical passage that clearly states, or that can be interpreted to state that matter is either continuous or atomic in nature? "Atomic" here means made up of distinct units and includes molecules as well as atoms.

I will start the ball rolling with the second verse of Genesis: "And the earth was without form, and void..." 'Without form' clearly implies that the matter of the earth was continuous and not atomic in nature, for if it were atomic (and molecular), it would have the form of the atoms (and molecules) that make it up. Thus, either Genesis 1.2 or the atomic theory of matter is correct, but not both.

Any comments or other examples from the bible that support one theory or the other?

What forum? Bible inerrancy I suppose.


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Admin
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Message 2 of 153 (359600)
10-29-2006 6:26 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by AnswersInGenitals
10-29-2006 2:00 AM


AnswersInGenitals writes:

Before the atomic nature of matter was established beyond doubt (in 1905 by Einstein's paper quantitatively explaining the atomic origin of Brownian motion),...

While Einstein's Brownian motion paper made a contribution, weren't the contributions of Ernest Rutherford far more significant in this regard?


--Percy
EvC Forum Director

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AnswersInGenitals
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Posts: 564
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 3 of 153 (359638)
10-29-2006 10:37 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by Admin
10-29-2006 6:26 AM


While Einstein's Brownian motion paper made a contribution, weren't the contributions of Ernest Rutherford far more significant in this regard?

Rutherford's 1911 work elucidating the internal structure of atoms and correcting Thompson's 'plum pudding' model was certainly an important contribution to understanding atomic structure, but it is my understanding that it was Einstein's 1905 work that convinced the last holdouts for the continuum theory that matter had to be atomic in nature.

Almost all chemists were already convinced of the atomic theory by Dalton's work on the ratios of atoms in chemicals, but many physicists still adhered to the continuum model due to the laws of thermodynamics being based on continuum models and thermodynamics being the 'hot topic' in the late 19th century.

But I really didn't mean this thread to be concerned with science history. I only threw in the Einstein connection as a side interest. I will remove that comment if you think it confuses the issue I wish to see discussed: whether the bible appears to come down on one side or the other of the continuum vs. atomic conflict. I am, of course, looking to see if there is an issue besides geology (flood, etc.) and biology (creationnism, etc.) where bible literacy and modern science can be compared or contrasted, an issue that is hopefully more directly and less contentiously resolved.


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Admin
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Message 4 of 153 (359814)
10-30-2006 10:05 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.

jar
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Message 5 of 153 (359818)
10-30-2006 10:20 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by AnswersInGenitals
10-29-2006 2:00 AM


Really easy one.
The point of this PNT is to ask if the bible, in any of its passages, takes a stand on this controversy.

No. The Bible is not about the structure of matter.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion

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Equinox
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Posts: 329
From: Michigan
Joined: 08-18-2006


Message 6 of 153 (359850)
10-30-2006 12:10 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by AnswersInGenitals
10-29-2006 2:00 AM


Deafening silence
There are many of passages and even section in the Bible that talk about scientifically testable things, and about the physical nature of the real world (such as the passages in Psalms and Proverbs describing stars, the sky, weather, and such, the genetics of Gen 30, etc.). There also many places were a mention of atoms would have very nicely served the writer in what he was trying to say. For instance, in Gen 22 God is boasting about how many descendants Abram will have, saying “more than the grains of sand on the seashore” and “stars in the heavens”. Adding “atoms in the ocean” or some such fits nicely. (Of course, anyone who has even one surviving kid is likely to have literally millions of descendants in just a few centuries).

Or in Luke 12, Jesus is saying that God knows everything, and keeps track of it by numbering the hairs on your head (something that a human could conceivably do) – “atoms in your body” or in “the Jewish Temple” would have been more impressive.

Though the Bible never explicitly says atoms don’t exist (Gen1 is a good try, but I don’t think that really helps us). It certainly had a lot of places where it would have, if it were known by the writer. The Bible has over a half million words – only a couple sentences of those would be needed to tell us about the periodic table, or anesthetics, or radio waves, or electricity, or internal combustion engines, or vaccinations, or antibiotics, or even germs. Even less would be needed to explain atoms. The deafening silence on all of these points I think speaks volumes.

Have a fun day-


-Equinox

_ _ _ ___ _ _ _
You know, it's probably already answered at http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/...
(Equinox is a Naturalistic Pagan - www.naturalpagan.org)


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Dr Adequate
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Posts: 16111
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 7 of 153 (359851)
10-30-2006 12:12 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by AnswersInGenitals
10-29-2006 2:00 AM


I will start the ball rolling with the second verse of Genesis: "And the earth was without form, and void..." 'Without form' clearly implies that the matter of the earth was continuous and not atomic in nature, for if it were atomic (and molecular), it would have the form of the atoms (and molecules) that make it up. Thus, either Genesis 1.2 or the atomic theory of matter is correct, but not both.

It "clearly implies" no such thing. If I were to speak of, for example, a "formless lump of clay", then you would not take my words to "clearly imply" that the clay was not made of atoms.


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Faith 
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Posts: 35298
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001


Message 8 of 153 (359853)
10-30-2006 12:18 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by AnswersInGenitals
10-29-2006 2:00 AM


I will start the ball rolling with the second verse of Genesis: "And the earth was without form, and void..." 'Without form' clearly implies that the matter of the earth was continuous and not atomic in nature, for if it were atomic (and molecular), it would have the form of the atoms (and molecules) that make it up. Thus, either Genesis 1.2 or the atomic theory of matter is correct, but not both.

I don't think this follows. You appear to be assuming a particular notion of "form" that the text doesn't. We may speak of a blob of something, say, peanut butter, or spilled milk, as without form, without implying that it is not atomic in nature. This may not be what the text means by "without form" either, of course.


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AnswersInGenitals
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Posts: 564
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 9 of 153 (359855)
10-30-2006 12:30 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Dr Adequate
10-30-2006 12:12 PM


Dr. A writes:

If I were to speak of, for example, a "formless lump of clay", then you would not take my words to "clearly imply" that the clay was not made of atoms.

Only, there is no such thing as a "formless lump of clay". Every lump of clay has some (lumpy?) form. And since your words, to the best of my knowledge, have not had the power to create an entire universe, I don't put your pronouncements in the same category as the word of god. Unlike you and me, god is 'scale free': you do not preceive the atoms in the clay, but to god an atom is like a universe and the universe is as an atom.


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AnswersInGenitals
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Posts: 564
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 10 of 153 (359859)
10-30-2006 12:37 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Faith
10-30-2006 12:18 PM


See my response to Dr. A in post 9. You seem to be implying here that the words of the bible are entirely subject to ones personal interpretation. Is god really so lacking in communication skills that we have to guess and surmise and debate as to his actual meaning when it is so easy to just take him at his word: The earth, when first formed, was without form. Period. No form at any scale. He said it. I read it. Don't dread it.

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Dr Adequate
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Message 11 of 153 (359861)
10-30-2006 12:39 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by AnswersInGenitals
10-30-2006 12:30 PM


Only, there is no such thing as a "formless lump of clay". Every lump of clay has some (lumpy?) form.

But that is not what I would mean. And surely the word "formless" applies to something, or why do we have it?

And since your words, to the best of my knowledge, have not had the power to create an entire universe, I don't put your pronouncements in the same category as the word of god.

Well, now I'm just insulted.

Unlike you and me, god is 'scale free': you do not preceive the atoms in the clay, but to god an atom is like a universe and the universe is as an atom.

I still think you're reaching a bit. Especially when there's so much else in Genesis which you could point to instead.

I do, after all, know about atoms, but I would still describe something as "formless" without meaning to deny that it was made of atoms.

Moreover, I don't see why such a statement, if it works against the atomic theory, does not also work equally against the proposition that matter is continuous. Doesn't continuity count as a form? Are you not trying to have your cake and eat it?


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Faith 
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From: Nevada, USA
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Message 12 of 153 (359865)
10-30-2006 12:41 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by AnswersInGenitals
10-30-2006 12:37 PM


See my response to Dr. A in post 9. You seem to be implying here that the words of the bible are entirely subject to ones personal interpretation.

Yes, Dr. A and I seem to be on the same page for once. I would say it is you who are limiting God to a personal interpretation of your own. There are many ways "formless" can be understood. You are insisting on a very limited definition.

Is god really so lacking in communication skills that we have to guess and surmise and debate as to his actual meaning when it is so easy to just take him at his word: The earth, when first formed, was without form. Period. No form at any scale. He said it. I read it. Don't dread it.

Well, you are going to argue for this very narrow definition you personally prefer no matter what anyone else says about it, so I will leave you to it.

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.


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kuresu
Member (Idle past 1064 days)
Posts: 2544
From: boulder, colorado
Joined: 03-24-2006


Message 13 of 153 (359869)
10-30-2006 12:46 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Faith
10-30-2006 12:41 PM


don't you just hate literalists?

You are insisting on a very limited definition

don't you also do this? Such as with the fall, the flood, creation, sticking with exactly what the bible says?

How funny--a literalist arguing that the literalist position should not be taken.

keep up the satire, AninGenitals


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Wounded King
Member (Idle past 2646 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 14 of 153 (359871)
10-30-2006 12:50 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by kuresu
10-30-2006 12:46 PM


keep up the satire, AninGenitals

Shurely shome mishtake?

Don't mind me, I'm just talking nonsense.

TTFN,

WK

Edited by Wounded King, : No reason given.

Edited by Wounded King, : No reason given.


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Faith 
Suspended Member
Posts: 35298
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001


Message 15 of 153 (359872)
10-30-2006 12:57 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by kuresu
10-30-2006 12:46 PM


don't you also do this? Such as with the fall, the flood, creation, sticking with exactly what the bible says?

No, I don't do anything like what AIG is doing. And I'd point out that the Bible does not *say* that "formless" means "without atoms."

Edited by Faith, : No reason given.


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