Sunday, October 24, 2010

Happy Creation Week!

Quite aside from any personally important anniversaries that might have occurred yesterday on October 23, it is important to mark the Judeo-Christian Day of Creation itself, as determined centuries ago by Archbishop James Ussher, a noted biblical scholar 350 years ago.

Although this chronology has fallen out of favour in any mainstream theological sense, and is totally irrelevant in any science-based view of the world, it (or its variations) remain popular with young-Earth creationists like convicted criminal and conspiracy theorist Kent Hovind, the anti-evolution Discovery Institute, or the biblical-literalism promoting Creation Museum. Ussher based his chronology on a synthesis of the most current scientific and historical scholarship available at the time; the explosion of knowledge since then has made science and history incompatible with a literal reading of any of the many versions of the Judeo-Christian bible. It is ironic that those who uphold young-Earth creation ideas can only do so by ignoring Ussher's approach of reconciling the most current science with Biblical scholarship.

For this week only, N1S has been redesignated "the only begotten son", and during the course of the week, there are various significant events to celebrate:

Yesterday on October 23: God creates light ("Let there be light!")[Gen 1:3] The light is divided from the darkness, and "day" and "night" are named. Although yesterday was a Saturday, 4004 BC October 23 fell on a Sunday.

Today, the second day: God creates a firmament ("Let a firmament be...!")[Gen 1:6–7] The firmament is named "skies".

Monday: God commands the waters below to be gathered together in one place, and dry land to appear [Gen 1:9–10]. "Earth" and "sea" are named. God commands the earth to bring forth grass, plants, and fruit-bearing trees. Botanists rejoice!

Tuesday: God creates lights in the firmament [Gen 1:14–15] to separate light from darkness and to mark days, seasons and years. Two great lights are made (most likely the Sun and Moon, but not named), and the stars (including the array of objects ranging from GRB090423 to Andromeda -- all of which in a young-Earth view would have been created with light and radiation already in transit because as we all know, God delights in confounding scientists and leading human thinkers to untruths.

Wednesday: God commands the sea to "teem with living creatures", and birds to fly across the heavens [Gen 1:20–21]. He creates birds and sea creatures, and commands them to be fruitful and multiply. Biologists (particularly marine biologists) should rejoice today. Suggested celebratory dinner to include shrimp. Or better yet, squid.

Thursday, Day 6: God commands the land to bring forth living creatures [Gen 1:24–25]. He makes wild beasts, livestock and reptiles. He then creates humanity in His "image" and "likeness" [Gen 1:26–28]. Humanity, or at least the first two individuals are told to "be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it." The totality of creation is described by God as "very good." Thursday night, we are having ribs! As noted previously, October 23 in 4004 BC fell on a Sunday, which would have placed Day 6 on the first Friday after Creation, causing the Sabbath to fall on Saturday, just as it does in the Jewish tradition.

Friday, October 01, 2010


NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, through its podcast website called Blueshift, has a contest on this week. The prize is a beachball, which has been printed with the WMAP sky image, and signed by Nobel laureate John Mather. How cool is that??

I am a sucker for this sort of thing, so naturally, I entered. I only found out about this today, and the deadline is 5 o'clock ET today. If I win, I will hold the beach ball in my hand and cackle maniacally, something along the lines of "The universe! It's mine, all mine!"