If we arrange people with knowledge or expertise of a subject vertically, where the experts (fewest) are are the top, and people that are fooled by mechanics selling blinker fluid (lots of people) at the bottom, we would have something like a triangle. (If you like bell curves, take the “little knowledge”, and “no knowledge” population and combine, then flip upright.) These areas of expertise could include cosmology, biology, Egyptology, astrophysics, geology, archaeology, genealogy, philology, and psychology, among others. At the top, few people are experts. Below that, some people know a lot. Below that, more people know a little. And at the bottom of our triangle, lots of people barely know what the area of study even entails.
I chose those areas specifically as examples, because they are areas that directly deal with claims of the bible. Now, there are people that believe the bible is completely inerrant, and there are those that take it less literally. And there is a trend with respect to our triangle: Religious people at the top of the triangle are far less likely to accept literal bible interpretations. No matter how strong their religious convictions, experts do not accept the bible as the inerrant word of god, faithfully and perfectly transcribed through the ages.
Now, you would be forgiven if you didn’t notice this over at any of the apologist websites. You are forgiven because this is done by design. They intentionally ignore the major, substantive differences in the beliefs and the arguments, whitewash the whole thing, and just call it a day. As far as they are concerned, a legitimate scientist or researcher or expert agrees there is a god, so that’s good enough for them. But those scientists, researchers, and experts don’t agree with them. Yeah, they still say they believe in god, but the god they believe in is totally different than the god the other apologists believe in. The god of the scientists, researchers, and experts created laws and systems which have then been allowed to run their course. The god of the uneducated triangle bottom dwellers has no such systems, just makes things happen on a daily basis according to his mood that day, and wrote a highly specific and accurate book detailing his exploits on earth. This god meddles, while the god of the experts is a hands-off visionary.
Let’s look at some examples:
Dr. David Falk is an Egyptologist. Like, an actual Egyptologist, not some schmuck that saw a movie and claims to be so. No, Dr. Falk got an actual PhD in Egyptology from a real school (University of Liverpool). And I’m starting with him, because he is a seemingly rare breed- an Egyptologist that believes in the Exodus. (The mass migration of a few million Jews from Egypt as laid out in the bible book bearing the same name.) But does he really? No. Well, sort of. He believes there was AN exodus, but just hundreds of years later, and with a much smaller crowd. This is to say that he does not take literally the genealogy, the dating, the reported numbers of people, the order of destruction of the cities, the actual nature of the destruction, nor does he take into account all the cities. He finds a couple cities that somewhat fit his alternative (and non-peer reviewed) timeframe, and the rest are ignored as hyperbole. He not only is one of the very few Egyptologists in the entire world that believes there was ANY exodus, but he doesn’t even believe the majority of the story. And when I say one of the few Egyptologists, this is because Jewish Egyptologists have spent nearly a century trying to find evidence for the exodus (as it is the literal foundation of their claims of land in the region they are currently at war fighting for), and almost to a number they have admitted it never happened. The more they know, the less they believe the bible was literal.
Dr. Hugh Ross is an astrophysicist. The creationist liars LOVE to bring this guy on their shows. An ACTUAL scientist that believes in creation! Checkmate, atheists! But no, not really. This guy does not believe the world was created 6000 years ago in 7 days. He doesn’t believe in the genesis order of creation. He doesn’t believe it came from nothing. No, Ross identifies as an “old earth” creationist. What is that, you ask? Well, it is a religious person that accepts the big bang theory. You see, Hugh has literally sat on the creationist podcasts or video shows and explained how we know the universe is old and expanding. He discusses the actual measurements, how they were done, why they are accurate, and the conclusions that are drawn from the evidence. So why does he call himself a creationist? Well, he has a tight handle on reality back to about 13.8 billion years ago, as do the body of scientists that work in the field. But literally one second before the big bang, nobody has any idea whatsoever what was going on. We don’t even know how we could try to find that out. We don’t even know what we could look for to help us know. It is a big unknown. And that is exactly where Dr. Ross says “god did it.” Well, nice god of the gaps there, Hugh. But the point is, a literal Genesis account? No, not at all. The more he learned, the more he was involved in looking and measuring and confirming and checking, the less he could believe the bible was literal.
Dr. Michael Behe is a legitimate biologist, and a creationist. But is he really a creationist? No, of course not. Well, maybe a little bit. But he definitely does not believe that the first ever human was made from dirt by god, then a rib taken from him to make a woman, then they had sex and their children engaged in incest to produce the entire world’s population. No, he believes in evolution and that we are indeed primates with a common ancestor to all the other primates. He accepts the order of emerging species from biology, not the bible. He accepts the scientific consensus on the age of the earth and universe. So why does he consider himself a creationist? Well, his very un-scientific conclusion is that some things are too complicated to have evolved. Although he dismisses the entire bible story outright, he postulates that there must have been a god tinkering with regular evolution to help it along through the more complicated construction segments. He even said as much in court while defending “Intelligent Design” (which is creationism with a new name to hide the religious shit) in court for the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case. In response, the plantiff brought in a mountain of documentation (and by mountain, I mean a stack of peer-reviewed papers that dwarfed Behe in the witness box) all explaining the process by which simple functions were able to evolve with very small steps to create the complicated structures we currently see. Faced with this mountain of evidence demonstrating he is wrong, Behe just ignored it and maintains his stupid idea to this very day. But what he does NOT do is think the bible is literal.
Dr. Bart Ehrman is a Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He literally can read ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. He is acutely aware of pretty much any ancient scrap of biblical text anywhere in the world. He has written numerous books and given not only talks on the subject, but continues to lecture on the subject for academic audiences. And before anyone gets ahead of me, Dr. Ehrman is such an expert in his field that not only does he not believe that the bible is inerrant, he is no longer religious. Yes, he entered the field of Religious Studies as a Christian, and it turns out, the more you know, the less you believe.
Now, I’ve only talked through a couple of notable people here as examples, but at this point I could still be accused of cherry picking. So let’s explore that. Depending how you slice it, around half of scientists don’t believe in god. Only about 5% of scientists of ALL academic areas do not accept evolution, evolutionary biologists specifically accept evolution at over 98%, but the US population as a whole has only a little over half accepting the theory. So this is not cherry picking, this is what happens when you are educated and know a lot about something in reality. Nearly all of the people at the upper tiers of the triangle do not believe in a literal bible. The more you know, the less you believe the bullshit.
And last, I have to quickly discuss other “scientists” or “doctors” that claim to be literal bible-believing Christians. They are not scientists, doctors, researchers, or experts. They make up their own fake school, give out fancy sounding credentials on a worthless piece of paper, and then go on the apologetics road show. For example, Kent Hovind claims he has a PhD, but in reality has no legitimate degree past High School. All of his supposed degrees beyond that come from unaccredited diploma mills literally established to give people credentials they did not earn. And he didn’t even get his fake degrees in any scientific field. His degrees are Religious Studies, Christian Education, and Christian Education. He couldn’t even get legitimate Christian Education degrees! That’s how dumb this guy is. Kent Hovind talking about science is like a 3 year old talking about how to fix your car. Everything is wrong. He is the very, very bottom of the triangle.
Christians don’t attack academics because they have a legitimate complaint. They DO whine and tell people that Universities are “liberal brainwashing centers” and they attack evolution as “just another religion”. But they do it because anyone at all that actually studies a field for which the bible claims knowledge will quickly realize that the bible is wrong. People that know things don’t accept the inerrancy of the bible. And even worse for the churches, people that know things don’t buy the bullshit.
The Spartan Atheist