The Math of Creation Doesn’t Compute

The bible says God took 6 days to make the earth. Now for the believer reading this before you start polishing up your metaphorical sword1  to do battle on the topic, hold on a sec ’cause the Fridge already knows what you’re thinking.

A day isn’t really a day right? It is some sort of span of time, could mean years, thousands of years or even millennia of millennia. Your argument is a day is just a period relative to God’s point of view. 2 We aren’t really sure how long it is because we don’t measure time the same way God does. The beauty of this metaphor is that the person that it helps the scientifically minded still believe, you know the type, happy with the fact science gave us things like computers, medicine and Facebook. They like to think of God as the kind of guy that uses the physical reality to accomplish his whims, only resorting to magical God power when no one can actually measure it. You know, to keep faith relevant and all that. 3 But I digress.

Let’s say a God day is whatever length you want it to be. You decide. Because no matter how long you make it, the math of the creation story doesn’t make any sense. Let me explain why.

In the bible God took 3 days to make the earth and only one day to make the stars. 3 days for this little old rock we all live on was 3 times as long as he spent working on all the rest of creation. And there are a lot of stars out there.  About 10^24 of them, that is 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars, a septillion and that is the low side estimate based on what we can actually see with telescopes these days.

Even if you don’t count the fact we are discovering planets around all those starts out there4 it’s still a lot of stuff!

Lets make it into a story problem, yeah I know you probably hated story problems, but trust me this is fun.

First the basic facts:

  • Time to make earth = 3x (or eons if you will)
  • Time to make the stars = 1x
  • Mass of earth relative to the sun 1/333,000 solar masses.

 

That means just in stars alone there is (330,000 * 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) or 330,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times as much stuff as there is in the earth… and it still took 3 times longer to make the earth?

It is not only illogical, it’s stupidly illogical.

It is like saying it takes you 3 times longer to individually place 1 grain of sand than to individually place all the grains of sand on the entire planet…times 5.

My point is if you do the algebra it doesn’t matter how long the creation periods are, it still doesn’t make sense. It would absurd to insist otherwise.

Maybe I can spill forth the light of the Fridge in another way. Lets assume for a minute that the universe is as old as science currently says. Call it 13.8 billion years. We divide that by 6 (because there were 6 periods of construction) that means each ‘day’ would be 2.3 billion years long. Now if God were making all the stars in one ‘day’ as the bible said, God was making 5 billion stars every second of every day for 2.3 billion years. 

Now sure you can say God is really good at making stuff, he is God after all. But then you have to ask the question, if God can make 5 billion stars every second, then why did he need 6.9 billion years to make the earth?

Still think it makes sense? The Fridge inspired me to do a little more math to help you grasp the concept.

Lets assume all the stars are much, much tinier that our sun. For a moment say you could hold one in your hand. If every star was a 1 inch marble in size, all of them piled together would be about 100 times larger than the earth. Even if all the stars in the visible universe 5 were the size of a shooter marble it would take 1 day to make something 100 times bigger that the thing that took 3 days to make. Even when you do something as absurd as shrinking the size of stars down to marbles, it still doesn’t make sense. Not even remotely.

Here is the thing though, to the shepherds and priests and old guys looking up at the stars without a Hubble telescope the stars were just tiny dots. They looked pinholes in a curtain that they had named heaven. They didn’t have things like GPS and astronomy or even a crappie telescope when they were writing the bible  so you can’t really fault them. They were just trying to make sense of the world with the best tools they had at their disposal in their day and age, plus they liked telling stories around the campfire.

The roots of religion are about discovering truth, human nature however has a tendency to twist ideas into dogma over time. Science has picked up the bastar math memenner of truth discovery that religion started and taken it much, much farther. It does this by finding ways to get past our natural tendency to create dogma from something that sounds plausible and figure out ways to prove it is right. In both cases our desire is truth, it is only the method that changes.

 

And just because a little math might actually disrupt some of our deepest convictions, doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy telling a good story around the campfire.

 

camp truth

 

  1. if you like double entendre as much as I, please share this post to further the work of spreading irony and gospel of to all that will perchance hear and stare into their own Fridges in search of truth
  2. Ole Holy Joe Smith told us in the PoGP that each God day was 1000 years, which puts Adam and Eve 2000 years before noah and making all sorts of cool numerological assumptions implying the earth would end 6000 years after creation and fit in nicely with a Sunday coming up on the weekend for that 1000 years of millennial peace.
  3. Metaphorical interpretation of the bible helps you to keep the metaphorical shelf up! Ironic, isn’t it 🙂
  4. Really you want me to add that in the calculation? I’m be a math nerd but even for me too much math only gives you headaches, so lets just say this is a low side estimate and agree any additional material only enhances my point. So we will just toss out the fact the universe is probably 3 times larger than what we observe as well as all the planets and non star stuff
  5. Remember the estimated known universe is still at least three times larger in volume than the visible universe, which because it is volume would make it 9 times as many stars on average

10 Comments

  1. It really bugs me when people try to use scientific or evidence based arguments to debunk religion. The whole point of religion is that it is based on faith, or in other words entirely disregarding evidence. Anyone who changes their mind about god after reading this would have to be extra-extra stupid, because God is supposedly an all-powerful being that can do whatever he/she/it wants, and doesn’t have to follow the guidelines of logic, reason, or math.

    I think that people who are already religious are a lost cause. Some of them may see the light and come over to the side of reality-based living, but the vast majority will stay where they are because where they are is a place that defies any evidence-based attempt to get somewhere else. To me it all comes down to strengthening critical reasoning-based education, so that we can produce a generation of people who don’t just do anything out of faith.

    1. I can appreciate your view point, but personally I have a different take, I do not think all faith is bad. Faith in the face of a true unknown is a driving force in humanity, a scientist has some measure of faith in his hypothesis or he wouldn’t even try testing it. I think humanity is actually kinda crazy, crazy enough to try things that seem to defy reason and once in a while that leads to a break through of enormous success. My point, uber rationality isn’t any more successful than uber faith. Faith despite mounds of evidence to the contrary can truly be a bad thing, and religion in generally is a place for that to flourish. Are there people out there so entrenched in the streams of cognitive dissonance that they would disregard every bit of evidence? Absolutely. Should we give up on reaching them? I don’t think so because I have faith that with the right explanation using reason logic, emotion and humor someone out there will have a second thought about the things he or she has taken for granted all their lives. Then that second though will lead to a third thought and so on. Only by reaching the adults are you going to change society at large and create a growing movement of reason and logic. Thing is people aren’t just made of reason and logic, so there needs to be a message of emotion and hope as well. Cause like it or not, we are all a little crazy in our own right.

      1. Basically until we get a critical mass of people to think for themselves and question by and large things don’t change to much.There in lies the challenge .Human history has taught or demonstrates that change happens very slowly( kinda like evolution) when it comes to free thinking human rights etc .I hope that the human race can escape it’s close minded ,just accept and believe past and there are several great examples of this happening,however we are creatures of habit and it’s very hard to overcome our very human feelings etc.Faith extends way beyond religion and is not confined to such a narrow and stunted view point.At least I have faith that it does cheers

      2. Is I disagree the measure of craziness is co dependent on your socio economic status.Simply put Rich people are eccentric.Poor people are crazy

  2. Maybe god just really, really, really, really, really, really, really likes us so he took his time designing the perfect planet for us. Or maybe he used a backhoe to make oceans instead of using his pixie dust.

    Or maybe…

    1. The all powerful being that can make 5 billion starts in one second, needs 6.9 billion years to make you?

      If that really makes sense in your mind, I got some ocean front property in Arizona I’d like to show you 🙂

      1. You mean “god” doesn’t have a special plan for me.Or maybe it’s so special he can’t tell yea yea that’s it.My aren’t roses red today

  3. Religion was mankinds first attempt at explaining his physical world in abscence of any real knowledge.As you can imagine when you cannot explain simple things like thunder lightening and the various diversity that was observable etc(the list is long and distingushed).The only explanation was “A God made it”,perfectly reasonable explantion when you cant explain or understand it(numerous videos and documentaries on youtube etc to help explain and understand the cosmos etc).However once you gain more knowledge by questioning and trying to understand.The whole “God did it”goes out the window.Which imho makes this whole earth thing ,life the universe etc even more spectacular and awe inspiring.When you comtemplate the cosmos etc and try to understand its meaning and your place its incredibly inspiring,humbling and spectacular.I don’t believe any kind of “God” could design or come up with anything so grand(Dont get me started on intelligent design).

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