Tag Archives: Combatting Fanaticism

Questions About Answers in Genesis: Part 2-“Kind”

How Noah could have fit two or fourteen of every animal that has ever lived onto a boat with the floor space of about one and a half American football fields, has always been a major problem with accepting Biblical mythology as reality.  In recent years, creationists have tried to answer this problem by creatively interpreting the word ‘kind’.  Answers in Genesis and it’s founder Ken Ham rely heavily on this weak argument, to keep funding for their various money pits.

Two Bengal Tigers Breed, and I Get This

Two Siberian Tigers Breed, and I Get This

According to this wildly erroneous theory, the word kind as used in the King James Bible, generally means what real scientists would call “family” and that all animals belonging to a specific family were represented on the Ark by a single pair of animals from that family which later bred all of the various species from that family that we see today. For instance: a Siberian Tiger (Panthera tigris altaicia) which is a species of the, Genus: Panthera tigris, which is a group from the Sub-family: Panthernae,  of the Family: Felidae would have hybridized through breeding from the same pair of animals as the domestic cat.  In fact, according to this idea, all 55 living species of felids, from the 480 pound Bengal Tiger to the 3 pound Rusty-Spotted Cat, spread across five continents are hybridized naturally from two cats who walked into the Ark around 4,500 years ago. Although this sounds like an infantile representation of evolution, creationists flatly deny any similarity.

Occasionally, this classification causes problems, so creationists will change it to sub-family, order, or whatever other classification suits their needs.  In such cases, the apparent contradiction of this with other statements they make is completely glossed over, or just simply ignored.  By playing with the word ‘kind‘ these pseudo-scientists are able to claim a significantly smaller group of animals on Noah’s Ark than is stated by their own mythology.

For the sake of this post I won’t go into how this ‘theory’ still ignores an overwhelming amount of actual scientific findings; how it still doesn’t give enough room on the boat for the animals; how it doesn’t account for sea life; or how it only works for translations of the Bible which have been selectively edited into Shakespearean English.  Instead, I will just use their own fairy-tale book to show that they are starting from a flawed foundation, which consistently contradicts itself and reality.

What Does Genesis Say About “Kinds”:

The particular passages where “kind” is used in reference to the animals on the Ark are as follows:

Genesis 6:20–Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.

Genesis 7:14–They [Noah and his family], and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort.

Genesis 8:19 Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.

That’s right, of the 14 passages which talk about the animals on the Ark, three use the word kind.  So, what do the other 11 passages have to say about what animals were on the Ark?

Well first up we have Genesis 6:19:

And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.

This is the first passage which tells which animals and how many of each are to go onto the Ark.  It is also the passage which is the most damaging to the whole “kind” theory.  The key phrase in this passage is “…of every living thing, of all flesh,…” This passage clearly says that there are to be two of every sort of living thing of all flesh brought into the Ark.  Not two representatives of each family of animals, but two of every animal.

My assumption would be that the argument here would be that the following passage (shown above) clarifies this problem by saying “their” and “his” “kind” of animal.  If we are to take this literally, then we get male and female kinds of birds, male and female kinds of domesticated animals, and only male kinds of other land animals which means that there were females of every other land animal.  But, his could be used as a generic form of their, so we will overlook that, and focus instead on the word ‘sort’. 

If we are to accept that kind means ‘family’, then sort also means the same thing, since in Genesis 6:20 and 7:14 (see above) kind and sort are both used to describe the amount of animal representatives on the Ark.  This would do a good job of explaining away my passage if no problem could be found with the idea.

So, if sort means family in the biological classification sense, and the Bible is consistent and not contradictory in its word usage, then, what is meant by 2 Kings 24:14 which speaks of sorts of poor people?  A sensible reading of this passage, and the surrounding chapter would show that sort is being used just as we use it today, to break things down into specifics.  Just as a sensible reading of the passages above would show that sort or kind in the Genesis flood myth means every type, or what we now call species, of animal i.e. if the Bible is true, then tigers, lions, ocelots, and all the other sorts of cats were represented by a pair of tigers, pair of lions, pair of ocelots, etc. and not just by a single pair of cats.  The same would apply to all other animals, and we are back to having way too many animals to fit on such a relatively small boat.

How Many Species of Humans Do You See?

How Many Species of Humans Do You See?

But, we’re not talking sensible here, we’re talking fundamentalism.  So, according to the creationist kind theory, 2 Kings is telling us that princes and blacksmiths belong to different sub-families of hominid, which means that there are more than one species of humans, only one of which was represented on the Ark which would violate God’s command, and leave the question:  where did all of these other different kinds of humans come from, and where are they now?

The next passage to pose a problem for the kind theory is Genesis 7:2

Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.

This passage not only contradicts the number given in Genesis 6:20 above, but says “every” “beast”, with no division by kind.  But, with the theory of kind “every…beast” cannot mean every beast. So, if every beast does not mean every beast then ‘beast’ also has to mean kind or family.  So, you would need only 14 bovids total, and not 14 cows, and 14 sheep,  and 14 musk oxen, etc.  But if beast and kind mean the same thing, then what is meant by ‘kinds of beasts’ in Genesis 7:14 and 8:19 above.  To conform to the theory, it would mean that there are families of families, or kinds of kinds which completely changes the meaning of kind back to the original meaning of individual types of beasts, or, as we call it today, species.  This, in turn, destroys the whole kind theory espoused by these quack-scientists.

The division of animals in the passage above into clean and unclean, brings us to another place in the Bible where kind is used for animal classification: Leviticus 11.

In this chapter of Leviticus we are told what animals we can eat, and what we can’t.  Ignoring the Biblical classification of a jack rabbit as a ruminant (Lev 11:6), and the Biblical classification of a bat as a bird, we see that vultures, kites, owls, hawks, night hawks, and cormorants are all different “kinds” of birds. Since actual scientists put hawks, owls, and vultures into the same family then kind can’t be family.  In this part of the Bible kind is shown to be a classification closer to species.  This is again shown clearly in Leviticus 11:22 which separates locusts of two different types and grasshoppers by the word “kind.”  Since locusts are specific species of grasshoppers, then clearly, kind would either mean species, or it would simply mean type as is “a type of grasshopper”, which brings us back to the huge number of animals again, and once again, destroys the whole kind theory.

There are other instances of kind clearly meaning species, such as Genesis 1-3 wherein fruit trees are separated from other fruit bearing trees, but I think it’s clear by now just how stupid and illogical the kind-theory truly is.

The Overall Problem With This Theory

Simply put, the overall problem with this theory is that it relies on a belief that the Bible is a literal representation of reality.  If we are to believe that the Bible is anything more than a collection of mythological stories, then we have to take everything as correct, and there can be no contradictions with itself or easily observable reality.

The passages used to back up the whole kind stupidity not only contradict each other as to what a kind is, but they even contradict each other on other things, such as how many cows were on the Ark: 2 according to Genesis 6:20, and 14 according to Genesis 7:2.  And, the whole thing flies in the face of common sense, since kind, as it’s used here, clearly means what we would call today: species, despite what creationists would want it to mean.

Yep, They're Real, Because the Bible Tells Me So

Yep, They’re Real, Because the Bible Tells Me So

If creationists really want any sensible person to believe that the Bible is a scientifically accurate depiction of history and the natural World, then they have to stand by their belief and scientifically prove that rabbits chew their cud and have multiple stomachs like other ruminants, that bats are birds not mammals, and that there are distinctively different species of humans, which can be biologically classified according to social status and occupation.  When they can do this I will give them some credibility, and I will also believe that fire-breathing dragons, unicorns, and satyrs are real instead of merely mythological creatures like other Bible story participants such as:  Adam, Eve, Noah, a talking donkey, and God.

Discussing the Noah’s Flood Fairy Tale

As I’m sure you know, there’s a big Russell Crowe movie about Noah’s Flood set to hit theaters.  Personally I will probably watch it, because I love a good action fantasy movie.  This movie is no different than the Star Wars movies, or the Lord of the Rings movies, and I enjoyed all of those.  Although, I must say that Star Wars and Lord of the Rings come from better written and more easily believed source material.

However, this movie will no doubt reinvigorate Bible literalists who believe the flood actually happened and the apologists will be out in force.  I have recently finished my covering of this part of the Bible on my other blog, so won’t go into detail about it here, but I will prepare you for the coming statements of ‘proof’ and explanation, by discussing some of the B.S. that has been thrown at me over the years.

So here are a few of my favorites:

“Fossils of sea life have been found on tops of mountains.  This proves a flood happened.”

This is one of my all time favorites.  This actually proves the mechanics of plate tectonics, and since the fossils are still laid down in the order predicted by evolutionary science, it supports evolutionary science as well.

“Genesis 6:20 says that Noah is to take two of every “kind” of animal, so he didn’t have to have two of every animal.”

This one tries to play to ignorance of what the Bible says. You can avoid this altogether by asking why, if it says two of each here, does it say seven of some in 7:2/  Most of the people who throw this haven’t actually read the source material.  But, if you want to pursue it:  6:20 does say “kind” but, 6:19 says: “And of every living thing of all flesh…” which clearly means every animal.  If this isn’t clear enough, Genesis 7:2 says : ”Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female” which clearly says every beast, as well as adding confusion about how many.

“The fossil record shows that the heavier dinosaurs are on the bottom while lighter animals such as saber-toothed cats are above them.  This is how water would sort out animals with heavier ones sinking first, thus proving the flood and disproving evolution.”

Yes I have seriously heard this one.  If it were true, then all of the dinosaurs which were smaller than a Mammoth would be above Mammoths in the record, however there is not one single instance of a Mammoth being lower in the record than any dinosaur.  Then there’s the issue of all of the sea dwelling dinosaurs, which would have been able to swim as well if not better than whales, and the record for them is the same as for Mammoths and Dinosaurs.

There are better examples, such as human ancestors lower that Mastodons, but keeping it simple with chicken-sized dinosaurs and Mammoths generally stops the debate.

“God killed the dinosaurs with the flood because he knew that the post-flood environment wouldn’t support them.”

Combine both of the arguments above, paying special attention to words like “every.”

“God sent baby dinosaurs to the Ark to save room.”

They still don’t fit, and see the previous dinosaur-fossil arguments.

“The fact that other cultures also have flood stories proves that it happened, the other people just got the how and why wrong.”

Actually, when you look at maps of all of these ancient cultures you see one glaring constant. They are all centered around rivers.  Rivers flood.  Ignorance of why rivers flood, combined with superstition clearly explains the abundance of flood stories.

Or, you could point out that many of these were written before the Bible version, which means that their story and Gods might be the “correct” ones.

Then there’s the issue of there being absolutely no evidence of a planet wide flood ever, much less in 2348 BC, when the Egyptians, Sumerians, and others were busy writing stuff down, yet making no mention of 29,000 feet of water above their heads.

“The Devil, Satan, ‘ole Scratch, (whatever his name) put the fossils in the ground to fool us into not believing.”

 Aside from being stupid, this argument has no basis whatsoever simply because according to Job 1:1-12 Satan has to ask God’s permission to do anything like that, and he doesn’t have powers of creation.

So, these are just a few arguments that I have had thrown at me.  If you come across any more I would love to hear them, and help formulate responses.

Be safe, and Watch out for Fanatics,  Ron.

The link below is to an argument which isn’t covered here, but it is a very well done response to a really stupid creationist argument about how animals could have been dispersed after the flood.

Why Do People Laugh at Creationists Part 39

 

Reading vs Reading

A question which is bound to pop into the heads of most people on either side of Atheist vs Christian debates about the Bible goes something like:  

How do Christians and Atheists read the same exact Bible and yet sometimes see totally different things?

This question occurred to me many years ago, and led to the formulation of my theory of Reading vs Reading.  According to this theory, the differences arise because most Atheists tend to read what is written, while most Christians read what they have been told is written.  In other words, an Atheist is reading it as he or she would read anything else, while a Christian has already been taught what the book says, so they tend not to read it accurately.  It’s similar to a person trying to edit something they have written and completely missing things that they would see quite clearly in something another person has written.

By way of example, I give you a story about an episode of a particular long running debate which I had years ago with a man I worked with.

So, back in the late eighties I was working at a tool and die shop with a particularly nice young man whom we’ll call Mark.  Mark and I had a long running debate on my assertion that the Catholic Church was the more sensible of the Christian belief systems I had seen.  Mark was one of the many Christian Fundamentalists out there who believes that the Catholic Church is, or at least is the source of, the Anti-Christ:  my late wife’s late mother always said that the Anti-Christ was actually me, but that’s a whole different story.

One evening (we worked second shift) while Mark and I were discussing whether or not ‘speaking in tongues was silly’, he told me to read Acts 1-2 and I would see his point.  So, at lunch, while I sat in my car eating a sandwich I did as he suggested (I had taken to carrying a King James Bible around for just such occasions so I could point at something directly).  When I read the passages he suggested I saw the part about speaking in tongues, but I also noticed Acts 1:17-19:

17 For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.

18 Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.

19 And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.

This section of Acts is talking about choosing a replacement for Judas who is discussed above.  Now, you must remember that I was reading these chapters for information about speaking in tongues, so a discussion of Judas was far from my mind, however when I read these three verses they jumped out at me like a Great Dane in a bunch of cats.

Have you seen what I saw yet?  Well, according to these verses: after Jesus was taken away by the Romans for crucifixion, Judas took the money he made by betraying Jesus and bought a field with it.  Then when he was walking through this field he fell down and exploded.  Since everyone in town knew what had happened there, they began calling the field “Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.”  I was shocked, I had never noticed this before.

You see yet?  Well the story of Judas that everyone knows is the story from Matthew 27:3-8 which says that after the Romans took Jesus away Judas began to feel bad about what he had done, so he took the money he had been given back to the chief priests and elders and threw it down on the floor of the temple, then went and hanged himself.  The priests took the money and bought a field to bury the poor in which is why the field “was called, The field of blood, unto this day.”

Two completely different accounts of how Judas died, who bought the field, and why it was called what it was.

When I came back in from lunch, I told Mark (who had also read the same two chapters in preparation for my opinion) that I had seen what he meant, but that what Acts had to say about Judas had really stunned me.  He had no idea what I was talking about, so he re-read Acts 1, and still didn’t know what I had seen that was so shocking.  It was only after I went through the verses above with him word by word after work that he saw the contradiction.

Mark had read Acts 1 a minimum of three times before he saw what I did:  once before having me read it; once while I read it; and again after I told him I found something odd.  Not once, even after I mentioned that I saw something odd about Judas, during those three readings did he see that verses 17-19 were in direct contradiction to something he believed, it’s as if his mind just blocked them out or changed them to fit with what he believed they should say.  Yet, I saw them right away while looking for something completely different.  I was reading what the words said while he was reading what he believed.  This selective reading is a common sidekick to blind faith.

In the years since that night, I have seen this phenomenon a lot.  It occurs quite often on all sides and tends to be a huge stumbling block in a debate.  This is why I believe that all Atheists should at least have a working firsthand knowledge of the Bible.  There is no better way to debate the Bible than to use the Bible.  Using science, scholarship, logic, common sense, history, morality or any other thing that is not the printed words in the Bible will get you nowhere when you are talking to a fundamentalist Christian, and the Bible is the best tool to use when discussing your position with people who are losing their belief in the supernatural, but still have fear tying them to their mythology.

So I say, spread the word of the “Lord.”  Show people what the good book actually says, and you will show them just how idiotic the whole thing is when it’s used to support a dying religion.  If you don’t have a copy of the Bible and don’t want to buy one, I would suggest the YouVersion app. and/or Biblegateway.com.  Both of these resources are free, searchable, and give access to many of the popular versions of the Bible used by different Christian sects.  If these resources had been around years ago I probably wouldn’t have over a dozen different versions of the Bible in my library.  By way of self-promotion I also suggest checking out this blogs sister: The Bible for Atheists.  It’s a work in progress, but contains, in my opinion, some useful information.

Until next time.  Beware of fanatics, and use your brain.