Monday, March 21, 2011

Urban legends about science and religion

Occasionally I get asked about "chain emails" that make claims relevant to the relationship between science and Christianity. Here are two that I recently encountered.

1. A dialogue between an "atheist philosophy professor" and a student. [The full account is here]. It ends with the claim that the student was Albert Einstein and that he wrote a book "Science vs. God" in 1921.
The reported arguments in this email may be worth considering. However, there is no evidence that Einstein ever wrote  a book "God vs. Science"
or that the reported dialogue with the "atheist professor" actually happened.
Unfortunately, Einstein's name has been attached in an attempt to increase the credibility of the arguments. But, the arguments should be evaluated on their own merits. A careful analysis of Einstein's views on religion are in the book by Max Jammer.

2. NASA discovered a "missing day" in astronomical records and that this must be due to the day that the sun stood still in the Old Testament book of Joshua.
The text of the claim and a rebuttal of this urban myth is here.

Christians need a healthy dose of skepticism when encountering such claims.
The cartoon is from xkcd

1 comment:

  1. Speaking of urban legends there is an urban legend that has existed for 1700 years now. A legend that has quite literally crippled the religious consciousness of Western man.

    It is the urban legend that somehow the brutal murder of the God-man Saint Jesus of Galilee was or is "good" news. And the absurd belief in his alleged "resurrection", and how it was/is somehow THE most significant event in HIS-story, and that it relieves us of the burden of "sin", and that by believing in this urban legend we are somehow guaranteed "eternal life".