User voted Yes.
1 vote
Sep 15, 2016

In terms of the literal accounts: Yes. The order of living things emerging in Genesis is all wrong. The advice in the Bible for one to have goats breed while staring at something that matches the color pattern (striped or streaked or spotted) that one wants directly contradicts genetics. The idea of "kinds", even though it's not at all clear that that was intended to be some kind of robust terminology, is wrong. The sheer number of species for Adam to name and Noah to save on the Ark makes both stories preposterous. And evolutionary and biological theory make clear that behemoths, leviathans and pazuzus almost undoubtedly could not have existed. Camels were not domesticated by the time of many Biblical accounts, and snakes do not eat dirt. It's not just Genesis 1 and 2 that evolution discounts, but numerous other passages throughout the Bible.

Of course, evolution is actually one of the softer rebuttals to the creation account in the Bible. Both meteorology and astronomy teach us that the rain does not come from outer space and that there is no firmament. Modern cosmology has an array of models for the universe that do not need and in fact have no room for a God.

But even if we want to be more broad, the reality is that life was one of the few areas where the theist still had an upper hand over an atheistic or secular view. God helped answer a number of questions: the origin of life, the origin of consciousness, the origin of the universe, why objects in the heavens moved, the origins of weather. We now have the way that life emerged understood to a pretty high degree of accuracy, with only some (albeit important) details about the processes and the constraining factors; we have a tremendous understanding of how the brain operates and why it's possible for it to be the source of consciousness, and why (thanks to particle physics) nothing else could be; we have increasingly good cosmological models, as noted above; our meteorology is getting increasingly precise and granular, and there is no need for the weathermen to put a footnote to the effect that Thor's anger may cause unexpected lightning bolts; and we know that there is no need for an unmoved mover. It's not a coincidence that evolution and atheism have been so associated, even though they are logically independent positions. Immanuel Kant once said that there would never be a Newton for a blade of grass, and then Darwin came along and became exactly that.

Nor does the "It wasn't meant to be literally true" dodge work. Ancient peoples really believed their creation myths. Why offer an account of creation if you're going to just admit it doesn't work? Our ancestors were curious individuals who wanted to understand the workings of the cosmos, just like us. So they looked around and found clues as to how the world worked. The crust of the earth looks like a turtle shell: heck, maybe it is a turtle! The sky looks like a dome: it must actually be that! This wasn't dumb, or superstitious (though later superstitions did evolve). And we know from the ancient Greeks that, when they thought more deeply, they started thinking about the universe being fundamentally fire, or fundamentally water, or that the universe was made of indivisible small things called "atoms", or that the sun was the size of the Peloponnese, or that the moon reflects the sun's light. What's remarkable about how smart the Greeks were in this respect is that they mostly got there with logic and a few observations: The world must be round because you can see sails on the horizon before the ship; the universe must be made of small indivisible things because it's absurd to imagine the contrary and we can cut between objects showing that they are divisible; and so forth.

It's actually an insult to the curiosity and intelligence of the Hebrews to say that Genesis 1 was metaphorical. They were working off of the best of Babylonian astronomy, and had clearly updated their beliefs from Genesis 2. The idea of sacred history as immutable and fixed isn't exactly totally modern, but it's not really that deeply rooted in ancient thought either. These were living documents of evolving tradition. They were learning and growing. But they did literally believe, at one point, that the Earth was floating in water: wouldn't you think that if the only thing you had ever seen float was in water?

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