F Rosa Rubicondior: God The Ignorant Biologist

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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  1. God provides it doesnt state that God told him to do it jacob isnt God hes also not a scientist God looks after jacob so jacob got what he needed nothings impossible for God people seem to forget that God wrote the science that you guys use the deal was jacob receives those particular colours so God makes those the majority

    1. Don't you believe the Bible is your god's inerrant word? If so, do you think modern sheep breeders will get the same result if they follow the advice in the Bible?

      Nice example or rationalisation, btw. Did God order you to abandon intellectual integrity and perform those mental summersaults to make sense of the Bible?

  2. Well no they wont because God favoured jacob hence why he was made israel

    1. The relevance of that escapes me. Does it have any?

  3. What Keiran70 is saying is that God specially chose Jacob from among the people of the world for blessing, as Genesis 28:1-4 explains, even stating: "And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee..." The idea to set up these rods for the flocks to conceive in front of, which would encourage the increase in the marked ones, was Jacob's idea, which maybe you could say he did out of ignorance, or maybe not--the end result was that it worked because of God's supernatural hand in the matter as He blessed Jacob. God knew what Jacob meant by the rods he set up. God does as He pleases, He doesn't have to follow the natural laws of genes. Or, it could even be that God encouraged the proper animals to breed and at the place that Jacob appointed.

    And modern sheep breeders would not get the same result because they are not being blessed like Jacob was blessed by God; they would have to follow the normal laws of nature that God has put in place.

    1. So the colour of a sheep depends on what the yew was looking at as she was mated or because of the genes inherited from their parents? The fact s that whoever wrote that part of the Bible had no idea how the colour of a sheep's wool is determined.

      I sometime wonder how God would manage without apologists to 'interpret' his inerrant word for him because he can't make himself clear. Amazing that he decided to write something vital for mankind then chose obscure metaphors that can only be understood by a few people to say it with, eh?

    2. According to Genesis 30,the rods that Jacob set up determined the design on the fur of the goats and sheep, as I have already stated. That it worked was a supernatural act of God and has nothing to do with the natural course of genetics.

      The Bible never states in the account that this was the "natural way" in which this happens. It simply works because God blessed Jacob (Genesis 28) and made him successful in his endeavors. So, if Jacob wanted to grow his flock and he said: "Hey, I'm going to split the flock with Laban and I'll get all the marked animals while he gets the rest, and then set up this rod to encourage more of the animals to be born with marks," God is going to take advantage of Jacob's work and bless him for that, as God said He would.

      I didn't have to go read any articles from apologists to figure this out. I simply read the Scriptures using simple, straightforward, literal interpretation. I read that "with God all things are possible" (Matt. 19:26), that God is blessing Jacob and causing Him to prosper, and when I put those two things together as I read Genesis 35 that it doesn't matter what odd or unscientific idea Jacob gets, he knows God will bless him in his endeavors.

    3. Yes, I know the story, thank you. You might have noticed I wrote a blog post about it. What you need to deal with, though I doubt you'll confront it, is that the coat colour of sheep is not determined by what the yew is looking at when she is mated, but by the genes they inherit from their parents. Of course, you couldn't expect the ignorant Bronze Age goat-herders who make up the tales in Genesis to have known that, hence their silly mistake. This is why, if the Bible were discovered for the first time today, we could date it and place it geographically by the scientific ignorance of the authors.

  4. You're still not grasping what was said even though it was described perfectly by michael in the bible it doesnt say God told him to do it as previously stated it was Jacob's idea and God blessed jacob thus giving him what he wanted

    1. Well, well! So Michael is no more capable of expressing himself clearly than God is!

      Now, how about you try to deal with wht Michael failed to deal with and explain why the author of the Bible seemed to believe what something the yew was looking at when she was mated determined the colour of her lamb's coat, not the genes they inherited from their parents? Wouldn't you expect the designer of living things to know how they worked rather than being as ignorant as a Bronze Age goat-herder from a time before we understood genetics?

    2. You seem pretty set in your mind. It was mentioned several times that the author of Genesis did not necessarily condone the logic that Jacob used. Genesis 31:9 records Jacob acknowledging that it was God who gave him the sheep and not his weird method of placing the rods in front of his sheep. The passage does not disprove the inerrancy of scripture "without a doubt". Even if this passage did sound as ridiculous as you make it sound, the variety of prophetic statements located elsewhere that were made about historically proven events are fantastic evidence for God's omniscience. The book of Daniel is a great example of this as the history of the relation between the Babylonians, Medo-Persians, Greeks, and Romans.

    3. I note you're unable to explain why the authors of that part of the Bible thought it was what a ewe looked at while being mated that determined the colour of the lamb's coats - which of course, is nonsense.

      I also note you were unable to substantiate your claim that other parts of the Bible are historical fact. I assume you would have done so, if such substabtiation actually existed outside your imagination.

      Please try to grasp the simple fact that opinions are not facts that need be taken seriously, if they can't be substantiated, no matter what your mummy and daddy believe.


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