Biblical Maths Tries To Keep Noah’s Ark Afloat

June 23, 2009

There was a hilarious attempt (below) by a supporter of the Noah’s Ark myth to explain how Life on Earth arose from the “survivors of a great global flood” who were apparently cajoled into a wooden ark that had a storage capacity equivalent to 522 railway stock cars. The letter writer’s use (or abuse?) of biblical maths gives a whole new meaning to the term Imaginary Numbers. I think it is far easier to understand Complex Numbers, rather trying to wrap my head around the rubbish churned out by Christians trying to explain their fairy tales.

The replies (also below) easily trump the “Biblical Maths” letter by being even funnier and much more sincere.

Related Post:
Raiders of the Lost Ark’s Intelligent Design

Reference (SCMP; subscription required)

Biblical maths explains how it was possible

Jun 07, 2009

I would be happy to help Ian Stones (“Ark attack”, May 31) with his mathematical and philosophical (not scientific) problem of accepting the biblical account of the Flood.

On the 10 million species: most present-day species stem from interbreeding within a genus (that is, the animal “kinds” spoken of in the Bible). Instead of 10 million, Mr Stones should take a more scientific figure of around 8,000 genera. This equals 16,000- plus animals, considering two of each kind were taken onto the ark. Biblical dimensions of the ark give a volume of 43,200 cubic metres (the equivalent of 522 railway stock cars). It was not necessary for the animals to be fully grown when they entered the ark, and their median size would have been that of a rat. Indeed, research suggests only 11 per cent of the animals would have been larger than a sheep.

Obviously the ark was of a sufficient size to contain 16,000 animals and enough food for them. How long does it take for introduced species to spread throughout a new territory? Much less time than you’d be willing to allow, Mr Stones.

I hope the above offers Mr Stones an explanation of some simple biblical maths.

Gordon Arthur, Sai Kung

Ark points to part of wider, important debate

Jun 07, 2009

Ian Stones’ letter (“Ark attack”, May 31) serves to bring into focus a matter that is being debated in Hong Kong’s theological and academic circles – whether Darwinism or creationism (the belief that God created the universe) should be included in Hong Kong’s public school science curriculum.

This debate has raged for years, especially in the United States, and one thing is certain: these two concepts cannot coexist in one system as they are totally incompatible.

Creationists are almost certainly theists in their orientation and hold that intelligent design, a euphemism for God, is responsible for the whole of creation, or at least the important parts. However, Darwinists hold that it is solely Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution that creates the living world as we see it today.

This matter is so important to me because I would want my child to be educated on the basis, at least so far as science is concerned, of scientific fact and evidence, and not in any way influenced by biblical mythologies.

What I do not want to see is any furtherance of any of these misinformed ideas of seemingly benign religious zealots, moving stealthily along a path that will lead to a situation where we are all expected to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of our gardens. Intelligent design is a misnomer for prejudicial ignorance and archaic superstition.

Paul Gifford, New Territories

Bizarre theory

Jun 14, 2009

Gordon Arthur’s letter (“Biblical maths explains how it happened”, June 7) in reply to my letter (“Art attack”, May 31) deserves applause for its creativity.

All cultures have wonderful creation stories such as the Hindu Brahma trinity. Mr Arthur takes literally, the Hebrew story that God disliked the humans he had created, so except for the family of one 600-year-old man, he drowned the lot. Despite all the genetic evidence, Aztecs, Eskimos, Africans, Indians and Chinese are all supposed to be descended from that old Hebrew.

To try to explain the rich diversity of life we see in every habitat around the world, Mr Arthur redefines the concept of biological genus and claims baby ancestors of all plants, animals and fungi were crammed on a supertanker-sized boat for nine months. It should be obvious why this kind of myth needs to be kept out of science classes.

Ian Stones, Mid-Levels

A very long hop

Jun 14, 2009

Concerning the “Great Flood”, could Gordon Arthur (“Biblical maths explains how it was possible”, June 7) please explain how kangaroos got to Australia from Mount Ararat?

Since they can neither fly nor swim, they must have gone overland through modern-day Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, India, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, a distance of some 14,000km. Given that the last 5,000km are made up of thousands of islands, is he suggesting that they “hopped” across? And where are the kangaroo colonies that one would expect to find along the way?

Perhaps he could also explain how kiwis (New Zealand), rheas (South America), bison (North America), and giant tortoises (Galapagos Islands) came to their indigenous locations?

Patrick Bateman, Mid-Levels

0148 HKSAR Name of the Day

June 22, 2009

Astina Au Sze Ting (Miss), student, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

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#16 HKSAR Name of the Day

June 22, 2009

Think about it
Renee Claire and Rosina Maria Arquati lead meditation and channelling. Feb 3 (Tuesdays), 7.15pm-9pm, New Age Shop, 7 Old Bailey St, SoHo, HK$150 (US$19).

About Hong Kong Hocus Pocus

0147 HKSAR Name of the Day

June 21, 2009

Sunny Yan Man Chi (Mr), demonstrator, Institute Of Textiles & Clothing, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong

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0146 HKSAR Name of the Day

June 20, 2009

Geran Yuen Kit Sum Department of Fine Arts, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

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0145 HKSAR Name of the Day

June 19, 2009

Able Ho Kin Lap (Mr), Technician, Dept. Applied Social Studies, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

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Dismissing Creationism and Intelligent Design part 6

June 19, 2009

Two more letters to the editor (below), again supporting reason, science and evidence. It should be clear to the Education Bureau (at least) that there are rational people in Hong Kong who care about the proper teaching of science.

Previous Related Posts:
Dismissing Creationism and Intelligent Design part 5
Dismissing Creationism and Intelligent Design part 4
Dismissing Creationism and Intelligent Design part 3

Reference (SCMP; subscription required)

Creationism has no place in the science class


May 29, 2009

I have been following the ongoing debate on the teaching of science and creationism in Hong Kong with interest.

The teaching of intelligent design, now referred to as creationism, has no place in a classroom. We currently have no proof that an intelligent entity created the entire universe. The various arguments put forward by creationists to justify their belief are based on half-baked criticism of the well researched and proven theory of evolution. They provide no hard testable scientific evidence to support their claims. Creationism is therefore not a scientific theory at all.

If creationism is not science, should we be teaching it in a science class? I think not. Firstly, a science class is for teaching science and how science impinges on our daily lives. It is not in the business of giving religious beliefs air time. Secondly, there is no debate to be had, as creationism is not science. Thirdly, to accept creationism into the science class opens the doors to any religious idea independent of any scientific proof. Not only that but, whatever creationist story you choose, you run the risk of offending someone of a different faith. These three points alone should be sufficient to exclude creationism from a science class.


Debate over creationism should be out in the open


Jun 12, 2009

I am writing in response to two recent cases our group (Concern Group of Hong Kong Science Education) encountered regarding the new secondary biology curriculum.

Our group submitted a paper to the Legislative Council on April 16, urging for clarification from the Education Bureau regarding the statement that is the cause of the current row over creationism.

The article “Creationism row hots up as objectors fight” ( Education Post , May 15) mentioned a paper by a group of more than 60 educators, scientists and professionals – dubbed the Creationist 64 – which was sent to the Legco panel. The article argued that creationism was an acceptable topic for inclusion in the biology syllabus.

Recently we learned of another similar submission to Legco by a University of Hong Kong associate professor, Dr Pauline Chiu.
In contrast to our group’s transparent approach, these submissions to Legco are not available on the Legco website. As a result, the public has no idea who is approaching Legco about this controversial issue, or what their viewpoints are.

Our group was able to obtain the documents and, to our dismay, we found that both submissions contained misleading information aimed at undermining science. They also contained propaganda concerning creationism and/or intelligent design, ideas which have been debunked (a fact not acknowledged in the paper), and repeated attempts to dilute science to allow supernatural ideas such as intelligent design to be taught in science classes.

The two submissions show many parallels with the behaviour of their counterparts in the USA:

* Attempts to avoid public criticism by preventing the public from seeing their views and their identity. Our group, by comparison, is transparent: our submissions are available for public view and critique; moreover we can be found on Facebook.
* Undermines the definition of science and even avoids mentioning it to allow supernatural ideas be “smuggled” into the science class.
* Failing to be open about their true position and agenda as creationists or proponents of intelligent design – the “Creationist 64” used almost exclusively creationist/intelligent design propaganda but did not reveal that fact in the papers to Legco and the Education Bureau.
* Omitting crucial facts. Dr Chiu omitted the fact that intelligent design embraces supernatural causes – not science – and is unsupported by evidence,
* Not revealing themselves as Christians, who are bound to oppose evolution and support creationism/intelligent design because of their personal beliefs.

We respect Christians and their belief in divine creation by a deity but we strongly oppose their attempt to smuggle personal and religious beliefs into the science classroom and call it science.

To influence legislators and officials in the Education Bureau by such acts is not what we expect in a democratic society such as Hong Kong, especially from “educators, scientists and professionals”.

To allow an open discussion, we have put both of their papers on our website

It is unfair in a public debate to hide true opinions from public scrutiny.

We have also issued rebuttals to their papers which are also available on either the Legco website or on our site.

VIRGINIA YUE (convener and spokesperson), Concern Group for Hong Kong Science Education

0144 HKSAR Name of the Day

June 18, 2009

Canis Lee Ka Lam (Miss), student, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

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0143 HKSAR Name of the Day

June 17, 2009

Elita Lam Yee-nee (Ms), demonstrator, Institute Of Textiles & Clothing, Institute Of Textiles & Clothing, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong

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0142 HKSAR Name of the Day

June 16, 2009

Pedith Chan Pui (Ms), Department of Fine Arts, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

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Name Category: Creation; Insertion