The Day The Earth Stood Still

Not, not the pure awesome 1951 Michael Rennie film (the first scifi film to ever feature the now-iconic theremin in the score). I’m talking about the time that allegedly happened in the Bibble.

I started a bit of a debate with a chap on Youtube. Here’s the vid that kicked it all off:

You’ll find me in the comments thread there quite a bit, giving and getting a few spiky comments. But, gosh-darn it, there are some really bloody rude theists out there. And some really, really stupid ones.

Anyway, I got into it a bit with a guy called acenaspheru. We digressed from the topic of Satan and, eventually, the comment length stymied the exchange. A little later he sent me a message, which reads thus:

i’d have replied there but apparently i exeeded the comment limit.

i wasn’t aware that i spelled anything wrong. Though in my experience, most people at least in America, don’t spell perfectly.

I base my beliefs on scientific findings. The purpose of the bible is more for morals than it is an account of actual history, though there are sevral documented events that have been proven through science.

To believe there is a creator who brought everything into existance isn’t a stupid idea. To believe that the devil placed dinosour bones to make is think the earth is older than 6000 years, is. I don’t pretend that all religious ideas are right. I am not a follower of the catholic or any church for that matter. Dispite my spelling mistakes, I am a very intelegant person.

while a lot of the claims can be scientifically explained *the plagues, the parting of the Reed Sea, the destruction of sodom and Gamorah, the flood, ect…* how do you explain scientifically the sun standing still in the sky? This was documented by many civilizations across the globe, whom christianity had not yet touched. In China, they reported that sun didn’t set for many days while here in America my very ancestors tell of a time when the sun didn’t rise for several days. in order to conclude this a natural phenomenon, you have to assume the earth stopped rotating suddenly. If this had happened, what stopped it? what restarted it? if the accounts are even remotely correct the earth would have also revolved backwards a bit. That day is why we have leap year.

Now, can i say for sure that god stopped the earth? no. but i can also not find any other explenation for it. something obviously happened that has yet to be explained.

so you see not everyone who believes in a devine being is unintelegant.

My reply:

Hi, apologies for my lateness, RL etc…

Before I say anything else, I must point out that you keep spelling “intelligent” wrong 🙂

I’m pleased you’re not one of those who believe in a 6000 year-old Earth. I’ve found those that do are very frustrating to talk to about this stuff and I wouldn’t have responded.

As you would no doubt know, the Earth moves around the sun and not the other way around, which means that when the “Sun stood still in the sky”, it actually means the Earth would have suddenly stopped dead. Without exaggeration, such an event would have been catastrophic for every living thing on this planet.

Get this: our planet rotates at about 1100 miles (1770 km) per hour. If it were to stop suddenly, because of inertia our atmosphere would still be spinning at that speed! Imagine a global windstorm of over Mach 1.5 – it would scrub the Earth clean! Every ounce of topsoil, every plant, every animal and anything not anchored to the bedrock would be swept up into the atmosphere, turning into a massive cloud of deadly airborne debris. We’re talking a disaster a billion times worse than that tornado in The Wizard Of Oz.

That’s not even considering the gigantic quantities of water that will now be sloshing around as massive, continent-sized tsunamis, washing away what ever the wind doesn’t blow away. Think about how hard it is to drive or sit in a moving car and try to keep a bucket from spilling (or even just half a cup of water) and think about what happens when you stop suddenly. Multiply it by several trillion.

If the Earth had suddenly stopped rotating at any time in our history or pre-history, we would be able to see evidence in the layers of soil beneath us: the remains of displaced animals & people as well as plants and soil & rock types to name just a few indicators. No such evidence has been found by any scientific survey – I would go so far as to say that the idea of the planet suddenly stopping in its tracks would be much too ridiculous to contemplate for any scientist.

Basically, the Earth suddenly standing still – even for a moment – would be an unmitigated disaster for every man, woman, child and living thing on the entire planet. The fact that several cultures have legends about the sun standing still reveals something about their scientific knowledge – clearly, back in Jesus’ time people thought the sun orbited the Earth and not the other way around. I’m not sure what era of China that particular story comes from, or who your ancestors were, but that shows merely that such catastrophic stories – illustrating the enormous power of gods – are common in many cultures. Almost every culture ever discovered had stories about the world ending or being scrubbed clean in some way – Noah’s famous flood, for example, is a carbon copy of the much earlier global flood story in the Epic of Gilgamesh from ancient Babylon. Stories and ideas spreading across boundaries of geography and culture are the biography of the human race. That some are ancient in origin or believed by many is no indicator of their accuracy.

Of course, if someone believes in a supernatural power they could say “Well, a god could have stopped all that destruction easily”. Well, sure. Why not? A god should be able to anything he wants. But for me and everybody else interested in verifiable fact, that’s not enough. It’s just an easy rationalisation for an event which didn’t happen, a way of convincing someone else (or yourself) of the truth of an ancient story.

Now, I certainly don’t believe all religious people are idiots – it’s not like I was raised in some sheltered atheist commune away from the rest of the world and I was a Christian myself in my teens. But when you open that door to superstition and miracle, your standards of evidence have to be lowered as a result. You’re much more likely to believe something for which there is – and can be – no proof & no evidence other than an ancient scripture or the world of a priest. That’s fine for some, but not for me.

If you’re a religious person, ask yourself why it is you believe what you believe. Then ask yourself why you don’t believe in all the other religions out there – then you’ll understand why I don’t believe in any of them.

Thanks for your message, hope my reply wasn’t too long


Afterwards, I realised I’d forgotten to address the leap year question so I sent him this link which spells it out pretty nicely (why is it so often that religious people don’t seek their own answers?):

I was really glad to continue our debate in private because it gave both of us room to move and spell out our positions clearly. This guy isn’t your common or garden anti-science comment-troll, but he certainly holds some misguided ideas. He seems like a respectful & smart guy, so I responded in kind (he’s no fundie – no CAPS LOCK fury for one thing). No point baiting the guy and getting all “you’re delusional & credulous, baaaw” when all he clearly needs is the right information (I’m just assuming it’s “he” – 99% of Youtube religionists seem to be dudes).

The right information: that’s all any person needs really, religious or otherwise – as long as they’re receptive to it. I hope acenaspheru is.

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document.write(unescape(“%3Cscript src='” + gaJsHost + “’ type=’text/javascript’%3E%3C/script%3E”));

var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-5094406-1”);


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