Saturday, 4 April 2015

God The Ignorant Biologist

Jacob's lambs
Of all the passages in the Bible, even allowing for the nonsense about thinking with your heart and breathing 'life' into things, there is one passage which shows the author was utterly ignorant of basic biology. If this was a creator god then it is no excuse that we hadn't discovered basic genetics in the Bronze Age when this stuff was first made up; any decent intelligent designer should understand how its creation works.

That passage is:

And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chesnut tree; and pilled white strakes in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods. And he set the rods which he had pilled before the flocks in the gutters in the watering troughs when the flocks came to drink, that they should conceive when they came to drink. And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstraked, speckled, and spotted.

And Jacob did separate the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the ringstraked, and all the brown in the flock of Laban; and he put his own flocks by themselves, and put them not unto Laban's cattle. And it came to pass, whensoever the stronger cattle did conceive, that Jacob laid the rods before the eyes of the cattle in the gutters, that they might conceive among the rods.

Genesis 30:37-41

If anyone needs proof that the Bible was not written by a god which designed and made all living things then this passage from the Bible is it.

This is an experiment which can be repeated over and over again. You will never change the markings on an animal's coat, nor put markings on an unmarked one, by making them look at striped wood or wood with some of the bark stripped away, whether mating at the time or not.

What we have here is a simple, irrefutable, illustration of the ignorance of the Bible's authors and an example of the assumptions and easy answers of a pre-scientific culture. This was a society that had not yet developed the critical skills or scientific techniques of controlled experimentation with which they could have falsified what was nothing but a guess at worst, and an assumption based on mistaken observation and false conclusions at best.

Of course, we now know the genetic basis for an animal's markings and can even isolate and manipulate the genes and have even produced a whole range of attractive and decorative varieties of sheep and goats, as well as goats and sheep for milk, meat and wool by selective breeding. Never ever have we produced them by showing them patterns as they mated as though what the ewe or nanny was looking at influenced the genes of her offspring. This claim is, if anything, even more idiotic than the claim that the relative position of stars billions of miles away at the time of your birth can influence your life and in ways which relate to the patterns which can be fitted into imaginary shapes when seen from one hemisphere of one insignificant planet out of trillions of possible planets in this one galaxy.

This single passage, if intended to be presented as the inerrant word of an omniscient god, blows that entire claim out of the water. Whoever wrote it was an ignoramus so far as basic biology is concerned, just as they were an ignoramus about cosmology, geology, evolution, physics and history.

Sorry creationists, but Jacob's sheep prove beyond doubt that your Bible was written by an ignoramus, not by an inerrant, omniscience creator god. The Bible is a self-falsifying book of false claims and scientific ignorance.

It also blows out of the water any notion that somehow a god manipulated evolution so it produced humans - the new creationist disguise of 'Intelligent Evolution' being advocated by Alvin Plantinga and Francis Collins as 'intelligent design' falls into disrepute in the face of overwhelming evidence against it and the continuing inability to find a single piece of peer-reviewed scientific support for it.

Any god capable of manipulating evolution to produce a desired outcome could not possibly be so ignorant of genetics as to imagine inherited traits change because an animal looks at stripes. This would be the equivalent of expecting a homeschooled creationist who thinks disease is cause by bad magic to produce a cure for cancer.

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