RE: Peer review and ID

From: Alexanian, Moorad <>
Date: Mon Oct 24 2005 - 11:02:36 EDT

Whenever I hold the Bible in my hand, I am amazed that it was written
almost two thousands years ago and how small of a book it is. The
physics textbooks that my students use are much bigger and contain more
words. However, the text deals only with a very limited aspect of the
field and more advanced texts are needed for a truer understand of the
whole subject. The Bible is highly condensed and so it gives rise to the
need for interpretation. If one is very aware of the need for a Creator
to explain all that exists, then the context of the Bible falls into
place. No one will know how the Creator interacts with His creation. It
is a puzzle and mystery. I, for one, will be the last to dismiss parts
of it as nonsense just becomes it escapes my intellectual ability, be it
scientific or otherwise.


-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of
Sent: Monday, October 24, 2005 10:37 AM
To: George Murphy
Cc: Jim Armstrong;
Subject: Re: Peer review and ID

This is my first post as a new member, so let me know if any of this is
out of
line, or if clicking "reply to all" is not the correct way to post into
this thread.

George Murphy states it well. There is an absurdity in our
preoccupation with
this. But it is an archetypal concern touching on the surface of
significant questions. E.g. how far are Christian scholars willing to
go to
maintain concordance - or at least a non-contradictory relationship
Biblical understanding and modern scientific sensibility? The pi
question is
probably a "safe" place to gently play this argument out since it is
such a
minor detail with no large theological ramifications. Other questions
encroach in a more threatening way -- "Did the sun really 'stop' in the
sky for
24 hours for Joshua?" This is a much more challenging whopper to the
than the pi dilemma would be to the mathematician (which is easily
anyway - and Mr. Murphy answers well.) If we entertain this doubt of
incredible miracle (the sun), then we are beginning to go down what many
see as
the slippery slope thinking of increasingly larger sections of the
Bible as
benevolent mythology. This threatens some Christians, and perhaps
rightly so -
because taken to its logical extreme we would end up like Jefferson and
deists (or the current Jesus Seminar folks) who stab right at the heart
of the
whole enterprise by denying all miracles including the resurrection.
But I
don't think that those extremes necessarily invalidate the need to
doubts regarding our western Biblical analysis with its scientific
mindset. I
think a lot of what C.S. Lewis wrote on these issues ("Reflections on
Psalms") gives good insight in how the Bible as literature delivers
Since literature (and not science) was Lewis' area of expertise, he was,
perhaps, better equipped to see the Bible for what it is, than we with
scientific eyes are. -When all you have is a hammer, everything looks
like a
nail (which applies to the literary scholar as much as the scientist --
but the
literary tool is probably the more appropriate one for Biblical
exegesis). But
we certainly can't escape our own worldview and what it brings to our
understanding. I think Lewis recognized this as he didn't run from the
scientific questions, but applied his curiosity on this front as well
with an
intriguing "outsider's" perspective.

--Merv Bitikofer

Quoting George Murphy <>:

> Pi = 3 to one significant figure.
> Anyone who's been on this list very long knows that I'm not a
concordist &
> don't feel required to try to show that the scientific views of the
> writers were in accord with our modern scientific picture of the
world. The
> sky isn't a solid dome. Nevertheless, pi IS 3 to one significant
figure &
> even the strictest inerrantist &/or concordist ought to be content
with that.
> The only consistent alternative is to demand that the biblical writer
> say that the circumference of the molten sea was 30 cubits, or 31.4
> or even 31.4159 cubits but that it be expressed in terms of an
> series for pi or something like that. And such a demand would be, I
> absurd - which shows the absurdity of the whole enterprise.
> Shalom
> George
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Jim Armstrong
> Cc:
> Sent: Monday, October 24, 2005 1:17 AM
> Subject: Re: Peer review and ID
> Y'know, all in all, I think we're asking a lot of these folks in
their own
> time by expecting them to arrive at an approximation of pi that is
much more
> accurate than 3.
> The string/rope/whatever model you suggest seems both plausible and
> in the absence of something like steel chariot tires.
> It is quite an achievement (and pretty exciting, I expect) to have
> discovered the constancy (and probably mystery) of that ratio,
whatever it
> might be in detail.
> Having discovered it, there would likely also be a compelling desire
> find this strangely constant ratio to be exactly 3 from their mystical
> perspective.
> In any case, their approximation of 3 is for them a good working
> approximation, no less valid than our 3.14 (or 3.14159, or whatever)
for most
> practical purposes that do not involve the precision required of
> (or tire-making). JimA
> gordon brown wrote:
> On Sat, 22 Oct 2005, D. F. Siemens, Jr. wrote:
> Gordon,
> You can produce a possible explanation for the ratio of the laver. But
> lagomorph (hare, Strong's 768) or hyrax (coney, 8225) chews the cud
> (1625). The root of the last (1641) has a primary meaning of drag or
> away, and is specifically associated with bringing up the cud. The
> scriptures thus present the erroneous natural history of antiquity.
> claim I have encountered that the hare ingesting some of its feces is
> chewing won't wash. The scriptures are not, contrary to a popular
> scientifically inerrant. Consequently, I consider it wiser to
recognize a
> crude estimate of pi, less exact when measures were a cubit, a span, a
> hand, a fingerbreadth, a pace--all connected to human movement or, in
> other cases, activity
> Dave
> .
> I don't expect the Bible to be written in such a way as to be
> with the scientific understanding of its original readers, but I would
> expect people who had made measurements to realize that pi is
> greater than three. I would guess that the measurement of the
> circumference of the laver would be made by putting a string around
> cylinder (if it was a cylinder) and for the diameter by laying a rod
> across the top, thus including the protrusion there.
> Gordon Brown
> Department of Mathematics
> University of Colorado
> Boulder, CO 80309-0395
Received on Mon Oct 24 11:05:05 2005

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