The Bible Gets a Free Pass on Bats … Sort Of
I am going to be generous and point out that one commonly held scientific error of the Bible may not be the same blunder as many people believe.
There is a common misconception that the Bible classifies bats as birds. However, this is not quite true.
Let us look at Leviticus 11:13-19, which is the reason so many people cite this as a scientific error:
And these you shall detest among the fowls; they shall not be eaten; they are detestable: the eagle, the bearded vulture, the black vulture, the kite, the falcon of any kind, every raven of any kind, the ostrich, the nighthawk, the sea gull, the hawk of any kind, the little owl, the cormorant, the short-eared owl, the barn owl, the tawny owl, the carrion vulture, stork, the heron of any kind, the hoopoe, and the bat.Leviticus 11:13-19
Whups. The Bible just said that the bat is a fowl, that is a bird. Or did it?
Well, the King James Bible translates the word “owph” as fowl. A better translation would be “winged things”. So while it does not classify bats as birds as such, it does seem to classify bats as “winged things”.
Lumping together birds and bats as “flying things” has little scientific value. But this verse does not assert that bats are birds. Merely that they are unclean flying things.
Still, this is rater sloppy classification and is hardly very scientific.
We gave the Bible a bit of a free pass on the bats being classified as birds thing. But we have nonetheless accumulated a lot of evidence that the Bible is at odds with science.
This is hardly surprising. It was written by a bunch of authors that were ignorant even by the standards of their own time!
For instance, despite the Bible describing a flat Earth, it was known during the time some of the chapters of the Bible was written, that the Earth was a sphere.
Other people probably knew that the mustard seed was not the smallest seed and that the mustard plant was not a tree.
They could easily have deduced that insects had six legs. They surely would not have been the only people to deduce this.
Kings was composed in the last few centuries before the Common Era. Many cultures already knew that the ratio of a circles circumference to its diameter was not a whole number.
So why were the people that composed the Bible so ignorant? Because devoutly religious people do not care about the truth. If they did, they would not be religious.
Religion is the practice of faith and faith is:
The blind acceptance of assertions in the absence of any evidence or proof, on the basis of emotion or wishing that claim to be true.Dwayne Davies
Should it be surprising that people that assume things for no reason would make claims that are at odds with reality?
No, not really. If they were intellectually honest, they would find out how things actually are, instead of just assuming whatever they want to believe.
Is it surprising that so many people today do not question what the Bible says? No. Is it surprising that they will believe it even though it is easy to show that it is obviously wrong about a great many things? No.
They are told that the Bible is the inerrant word of God. And that it must be accepted without question and against all reason. So, no they are not going to question it.
They will rationalize and try to argue that it is not wrong. They will try to argue away the fact that Noah had impossible Ark full of animals. Even though we know that what the Bible describes is not possible.
If they cannot bring themselves to accept a literal interpretation of what it says, they will argue that the Bible did not mean that literally.
Even though such people habitually argue that the Bible must be taken literally in many other cases. But not when the Bible would seem to be embarrassingly wrong.
Which is it? Are we to take the Bible literally or not? Is the Bible the literal, inerrant word of God of a collection of plagiarized mythologies?
Perhaps we should question the accuracy of the Bible! Devoutly religious people will never do this. Because faith is all about believing things for no reason.
It does not matter that what they believe can be shown to be false. If they were interested in the facts, they would not believe things for no reason.
So, yes, the Bible is clearly at odds with science. But that does not matter to religious people. Because faith is all about believing things for no reason. And as we have seen, in many cases, even when you should know better!
The Bible contradicts reality but it does not matter to those that want to pretend reality is not what it is. Leave them alone. You cannot convince those that try to rationalize reality away.