From: gordon brown (email@example.com)
Date: Thu Jun 05 2003 - 18:07:30 EDT
I find it rather interesting that you allow mathematics to influence your
decision on how to interpret a verse of Scripture but are adamantly
opposed to allowing any other science to do the same.
Department of Mathematics
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO 80309-0395
On Wed, 4 Jun 2003, Vernon Jenkins wrote:
> I'm currently digesting your response to my recent posting. For now, let me
> just challenge your closing words, "I simply go by the text." - referring to
> your belief that the Hebrews of Solomon's day believed pi to be 3 - a
> deduction based upon the data provided by II Chronicles 4:2. But you surely
> realise there is ambiguity here. All real cylinders have an inner diameter
> (d, say) and an outer diameter (D, say); an inner circumference (c, say) and
> an outer circumference (C, say). Does "...ten cubits from brim to brim..."
> represent d or D? Does "...a line of thirty cubits did compass it round
> about." represent c or C?
> You must therefore agree that the data here provided is insufficient to
> support your claim. It needs the additional information given in verse 5 of
> the same chapter to bring the solution a little closer. Here we are told
> "And the thickness of it (the cylinder wall) was an handbreadth..." (t,
> say). A 'handbreadth' is defined as a measure of four fingers, equal to
> about four inches, and a 'cubit' as the distance from elbow to to the tip of
> the longest finger of a man - about 18 inches.
> Clearly, pi may be determined as either of the ratios c/d or C/D, but not as
> c/D or C/d. Thus, only by reading the 30 cubits as the _inner_ circumference
> (c), and the 10 cubits as the outer diameter (D) do we make sense of the
> data, thus:
> d = D - 2xt = 10x18 - 2x4 = 180 - 8 = 172 inches
> c = 30x18 = 540 inches
> pi = 540/172 = 3.14 (which we recognise as a commonly used approximation
> for pi).
> There can be little doubt that the intrinsic ambiguities associated with
> IIChr.2:4 are here satisfactorily resolved, and why anyone should, (a) have
> believed the Hebrews incapable of detecting a 4.5% error in the value of pi
> (by assuming it to be 3 rather than its true value), and (b) have assumed
> that Egyptian knowledge of this constant would have stopped short of its
> border with Israel, is really beyond understanding - unless, of course, the
> principal motive was the undermining of the Judaeo-Christian Scriptures.
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