Myths and Fables


Although a post about religion might seem unusual for a blog about science and science fiction, it is relevant as the majority of people on Earth believe in one God or another.

I’m not religious, but I respect those that find comfort in their beliefs and act with kindness and compassion toward others, making the world a better, brighter place. We need more love, not less.

Religious beliefs, though, should be in harmony with science. If they’re not, we’ve got a serious problem.

We seem more concern about past beliefs than current advances or the future

Religious beliefs that are based on a literal interpretation of the Bible or the Koran are anti-science and that makes them potentially harmful. How remarkable that the Bible itself warns people to be careful about what they believe.

But refuse and avoid irreverent legends and silly myths — I Timothy 4:7

How does religion become anti-science? By embracing fables as though they were true.

Noah’s ark is the classic example.

If the Bible is literally true, then Noah gathered at least two of every kind of animal (and in some cases seven pairs of ceremonially clean animals) onto a massive boat that would ride the waves of a flood for the best part of a year.

Noah’s ark is estimated to contain 1.5 million cubic feet. Given there are roughly 6 million land dwelling species (at the lower end of estimates), there simply wouldn’t be enough space for two of every kind (you’d have to fit them into spaces approximately 1.5 inches squared, or in cubes around 4 centimeters each, which is absurd).

Noah’s ark is a religious story that’s simply not true. It’s a fable—a legend. It’s precisely what the Apostle Paul warned us about.

For anyone that’s still not convinced, how did the flightless Kiwi from New Zealand get to Noah’s Ark?

Or the Australian Koala?

Can you imagine this guy walking all the way to the Middle East?

Koalas average a foraging distance of about 8 km per month. Given the distance between Australia and Israel is roughly 12,000km, if we ignore the oceans for a moment, it would take a koala 125 years to travel that far! Given Koalas only live for 12-15 years, this would have been a multi-generational journey for our marsupial friends. Oh, and after the flood, they need to get back to Australia, so it’s a minimum 250 year round trip. Oh, and they only eat eucalyptus leaves, which aren’t found anywhere along the way.

Clearly, Noah’s ark is one of the “silly myths” described in I Timothy.

Why is this important? Why does it matter?

Actually, it’s quite important because as soon as critical thinking is suspended to embrace a belief like Noah’s ark or the creation myth in Genesis, where all the animals are created in just a few days, someone is primed to dismiss good science, believing in myths rather than truth.

Noah’s ark might be a silly example, but what happens when it comes to beliefs/fears about vaccinations or 5G cellular towers, equal rights or covid-19?

How can someone that believes in Noah’s ark practice the critical thinking required to get to the truth about more important subjects? The answer is, they can’t. And this leaves them vulnerable to all sorts of wild, fanciful conspiracy theories.

Critical thinking is essential to our survival. I really don’t care whether someone believes in God or not, or which God they may believe in, what I care about is can they make their own judgements about important aspects of life? Or are they at the mercy of some supposed higher authority telling them what they should do?

Being honest with our beliefs is important.

We should question assumptions.

We should not blindly accept fallacies.

 

TL;DR — Don’t surrender your intellect to foolish notions because of religious peer pressure.

 

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