Re: Peer review and ID

From: Vernon Jenkins <>
Date: Wed Oct 26 2005 - 15:05:33 EDT


You wrote, "As for I Kings 7:23-26 and II Chron. 4:2-5, shouldn't we consider that the diameter and circumference given there might be of two different circles?" I quite agree, and offer the some further comments:

(1) To believe that those involved with the planning and execution of this work were ignorant of the fact that the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter exceeds three is IMO unreasonable in the extreme, for consider:
(a) the Egyptians were well aware of this circa 2589 BC - having incorporated it into the dimensions of the Great Pyramid where an approximation of pi to within 0.04% of its true value may be found. [see and];

(b) Israel was translated to Egypt circa 1700 BC and remained there for
430 years - during which time Moses was educated as a prince in Pharaoh's court;

(c) Solomon's long reign occurred in a time of peace and prosperity when close ties with Israel's neighbours would have been established - notably, with the Egyptians [see 1Kings 3:1, 5:4];

(d) In any age, no person involved in building and measurement is likely to be unaware of the error of 4.5% when the circumference of a circle is held to be just 3 times its diameter.

(2) In 1Kings 7:46 we read that the brass castings (which included the 'molten sea') were produced " the clay ground between Succoth and Zarthan". I suggest we are all able to guess what the mould for this structure would look like. At the centre would be a solid cylinder of clay - diameter and circumference (d and c, say - both readily measurable). Around this, an annular 'ditch' of width 'one handbreadth' (h, say) [1Kings 7:26] - its outer diameter and circumference, D and C, say. We can therefore write, c = pi.d (i), and C = pi.D (ii) - and pi is determined if _either_ c and d, or C and D, are given. But what happens if c and D, or C and d, are the pair of dimensions intended? Might not the ambiguity be purposeful so that the whole number ratio, c/D - representing divine completeness and perfection - is manifested in the dimensions of the laver that would serve the requirements of God's house? Viewed in this light it surely represents a simple and most appropriate feature of purposeful design.

I therefore suggest that a good approximation of pi was already known from the outset of this exercise (indeed, had been known for centuries before!), and that on this basis the dimensions of the laver - including its wall thickness - were meticulously planned to achieve the ratio c/D = 3 by intent! In other words, as unbiased and intelligent beings, we are expected to read '...ten cubits from the one brim to the other' as the outer diameter and '...a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.' as the inner circumference (easily measured in the mould, but not so readily in the finished product).


----- Original Message -----
From: "gordon brown" <>
To: <>
Sent: Saturday, October 22, 2005 9:04 PM
Subject: Re: Peer review and ID

> On Fri, 21 Oct 2005, Freeman, Louise Margaret wrote:
>> Are you also offended when your child is taught that bats are not birds, that rabbits don't chew
>> cuds, or that pi equals 3.14, not 3?
> When an English translation of the Bible has a statement that contradicts
> what should have been obvious to almost all the author's contemporaries,
> why should the first reaction be that the author must have been an idiot?
> It seems more reasonable to assume that he might not have been an idiot
> and that we should try to determine the correct interpretation of what he
> said. An important tool in deducing the true meaning of words and phrases
> in ancient languages is to find the contexts in which they are used. It
> shouldn't seem surprising that the ancients constructed their taxonomies
> based on different criteria from those that are used in 21st century
> science.
> As for I Kings 7:23-26 and II Chron. 4:2-5, shouldn't we consider that the
> diameter and circumference given there might be of two different circles?
> The sea had a lip protruding from the top, under which there were figures
> of gourds, presumably fixed to the outside of the sea. A tangential
> observation about these passages is that it can be noted that there is a
> copyist's error in either I Kings 7:23 or II Chron. 4:5.
> Another comment: Children should be taught that 3.14 is an approximation
> to pi, not equal to pi.
> Gordon Brown
> Department of Mathematics
> University of Colorado
> Boulder, CO 80309-0395
Received on Wed Oct 26 15:06:36 2005

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