I'll be leaving later this evening for Seattle to see the Dead Sea Scrolls. They were found in 1947 near the Dead Sea. The scrolls, also called the Qumran texts are dated two centuries or more before the time of Christ. They are on display at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle through January 7th.
Here's the thing about these scrolls. Over the centuries, it has been a common question as to how a book written so many years ago - The Bible - can have withstood the test of time as believers claim. One typical responses to a claim would sound something like this.
"There are countless passages in the bible that have lost the intended meaning through translation."
Which passages? What intended meaning was lost? If there are ‘countless passages’, surely people could find at least ONE illustrated point. Moreover, where is proof? Can you produce or point to ancient biblical manuscripts in the original languages with a different intended meaning? While there are many atheists that try to press that canard, there is an overwhelming amount of manuscript evidence supporting the reliability of Scripture.The Dead Sea Scrolls, which have many fragments of ancient manuscripts, included a copy of the entire book of Isaiah (dated 150 B.C.) that was essentially identical (no loss of ‘intended meaning’) to the earliest copy that had been in our possession prior to the discovery (dated to AD 900). There are also thousands of partial and complete ancient New Testament manuscripts that have literally identical verbage and meaning. Since these ancient manuscripts can be inspected, you may want to consider that there would be a deafening cry of ‘fraud’, by biblical and secular scholars who can read the original languages, PARTICULARLY if there were linguistic deviations in the more recent manuscripts, BUT THERE ARE NONE!!!!!
So, here's what I would kindly suggest (if this is you), is that you rely on the results of reliable scholarship rather than the oft-refuted assertions of pedantic athiests who neither exhibit interest in learning the ancient languages themselves nor offer proof of their fabrications.
Nothing has withstood the test of time and utmost vehement hostility towards what it claims other than the Bible. The dead sea scrolls are more than enough to authenticate the historical accuracy of the Bible. The proof is in the pudding.
When arguing that life could have arisen by chance, evolutionists will often state that—given enough time—anything could happen, regardless of how improbable it might seem.1 For example, prominent evolutionist Julian Huxley (1887–1975) said that, given enough time, monkeys typing randomly could eventually type out the complete works of Shakespeare.2
Since then, others too, such as Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins, have made similar pronouncements about monkeys’ random typing being able to produce one of Shakespeare’s sonnets, or at least a sentence from one of his plays.
But when Plymouth University (UK) researchers installed a keyboard and computer screen in the monkey enclosure at Paignton Zoo, home to six Sulawesi crested macaques, it didn’t result in a nicely typed set of the complete works of Shakespeare. Neither did they get a sonnet. Nor even a single word of Shakespeare.
No, when the researchers gave six monkeys one computer for a month, what they got was … a mess.3
The first thing the lead male did was to find a stone and start bashing the computer with it. Subsequently, the younger ones came and pressed some of the keys. But most of the macaques’ time was spent sitting or jumping on the computer, or using it as a toilet. (The computer was protected by a transparent plastic covering in such a way that the monkeys could nevertheless hit the keys with their fingers.) After one month, the monkeys had produced five pages of text, composed primarily of the letter ‘S’. But there was not a single recognizable word in sight. The letter ‘A’ was the only vowel to be used, and it did not make an appearance until page 4.
Despite the outcome being gobbledegook, the combined efforts of monkeys Elmo, Gum, Heather, Holly, Mistletoe and Rowan have been made available for sale in a limited edition book, bound in the style of a Shakespearean play, entitled Notes Towards the Complete Works of Shakespeare.4,5
Towards Shakespeare? Hardly—evidence for evolution, the monkeys’ performance certainly isn’t. And, as calculations have shown, even if monkeys could type randomly at a rate of one key-strike per second, without ever stopping, then to get a simple line of intelligible text would take many billions of times longer than the assumed evolutionary age of the universe.1
Addressing the idea that time plus chance could have created life, Sir Fred Hoyle said, ‘Now imagine 1050 blind persons [that’s 100,000 billion billion billion billion billion people—standing shoulder to shoulder, they would more than fill our entire planetary system] each with a scrambled Rubik cube and try to conceive of the chance of them all simultaneously arriving at the solved form. You then have the chance of arriving by random shuffling [random variation] of just one of the many biopolymers on which life depends. The notion that not only the biopolymers but the operating program of a living cell could be arrived at by chance in a primordial soup here on earth is evidently nonsense of a high order.’ [Emphasis added.]
References and notes
- Grigg, R., Could monkeys type the 23rd Psalm? Creation 13(1):30–34, 1990.
- Sunderland, L., Darwin’s enigma, Master Books Inc., Arkansas, USA, pp. 70–71, 1988.
- Adam, D., Give six monkeys a computer, and what do you get? Certainly not the Bard, The Guardian, 9 May 2003, p. 3.
- Also can be viewed at the website:
, 15 May 2003.
- It is not altogether clear what the researchers were trying to achieve in this exercise. Associated website documentation says that Notes Towards the Complete Works of Shakespeare was produced in response to the ‘familiar idea’ that monkeys with typewriters will eventually produce the complete works of Shakespeare. ‘[The project] aims to raise questions in the minds of viewers … as to the role of chance in evolution and the creative process. An orthodox Darwinian view of evolution is that … only the fittest survive and produce offspring. This not only oversimplifies the issue but also makes an unacceptable political metaphor—where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. … The project aims to address these ideas, … and in turn provide a much more acceptable political metaphor.’
, 15 May 2003.
Similarities don’t prove evolution
Charles Darwin believed that similar structures in different animals strongly suggested a common evolutionary ancestor for them.
‘What can be more curious’, he said, ‘than that the hand of a man, formed for grasping, that of a mole for digging, the leg of the horse, the paddle of the porpoise, and the wing of the bat, should all be constructed on the same pattern, and should include similar bones, in the same relative positions?’1
Darwin concluded that this similarity was, as he quoted Professor Flower, ‘powerfully suggestive of true relationship, of inheritance from a common ancestor’.2
This idea that a fundamental similarity in structures is due to common descent is called homology. But this still-common idea is not in the slightest a proof of evolution. It is simply an assumption by those who reject creation.
Darwin revealed this was his position when he said some believe ‘that it has pleased the Creator to construct all the animals and plants in each great class on a uniform plan’. He finished that sentence by saying, ‘but this is not a scientific explanation.’3 He was therefore ruling out the possibility of creation based on a common plan by implying it was not scientific, so he wouldn’t believe it whether it was true or not.
In many cases what are called homologous organs are produced by the action of different genes.4 For example, you could change by mutation the gene that governed the development of the alleged ancestral vertebrate forelimb a million times and never produce, say, a seal’s flipper or man’s arm. Their development is controlled by different genes.5 (See ‘A serious problem for homology’ also in this magazine.)
Even similarities among somewhat similar creatures reveal that the differences are more important than the similarities. For example, look at the hands of four primates: tarsier, gibbon, chimpanzee, and human. Despite the similarities in their hands, the differences are what makes each most suitable for its way of life. The tarsier leaps and clings, and has large finger pads to help it do this. The gibbon swings from the trees, so has long, strong fingers for swinging. The chimpanzee may be able to manipulate very crude tools with its stubby thumb, but the human’s thumb faces the forefinger, which provides dexterity for countless purposes—from threading a needle to mountain climbing…from carving wood to buttoning a shirt.
So-called homologous structures are no proof of common descent, so are no proof of evolution. Darwin’s approach—to reject the creation explanation as unscientific because you don’t want to believe it—is not rational. This is particularly so when the facts are readily explained as the product of a Designer who created each unique structure to fulfill a different purpose.