REPLY #83 TO
are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.
prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.
My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text
and are prefaced by my initials (MB)
(R) This has used information from Dr. Ken Hovind,s website Creation Science Evangelism.
(MB) Even in the shaky intellectual world of Xian apologetics, you could do *far* better than to rely on laughingstocks like Hovind. He can't even be honest when confronted with the facts on how he got the bogus Ph.D. that he brandishes and he flatly refuses to engage in written debates where there would be a record of his intellectual dishonesty. How can you trust him with much of anything else?
(R) I Kings 7:23–26 and II Chronicles 4:2–5 describe a huge brass bowl built by King Solomon. If the diameter of this bowl was 10 cubits, then the circumference should have been 31.415926...cubits, not just 30 cubits! Any math student will tell you that the circumference of a circle is found by taking the diameter times Pi (3..141592653589793...). This apparent mathematical error caused me, as a new Christian, to doubt the accuracy of the Bible.
(MB) Hovind never doubted the accuracy of the Bible. Like so many other blind faith apologists, he was simply worried that he might not be able to concoct a harmonization for this problem. Of course, he wouldn't address the issue at all if he had not slapped together some sort of answer. It won't matter whether or not the answer makes any sense, either. It's an answer, it supports his view of the Bible and he believes it, so that's all that matters to him. Let's examine his drivel...
(R) The diameter of 10 cubits is from outer rim to outer rim, the way anyone would measure a circular object. The circumference of 30 cubits, however, was of the inner circle, after subtracting the thickness of the brass (two handbreadths—one for each side) from which the bowl was made. This would be the number needed to calculate the volume of water.
(MB) There are a couple of problems here. First, the relevant verses do not report measurements being made both around the outside of the bowl and around the inside. All verses report exterior measurements. For example, 1 Kings 7:23 reports the circumference measurement as "...a line thirty cubits did compass it round about". Hovind's apologetic requires putting text into the Bible that is not there and, in fact, directly contradicts the meaning of the phrase "compass it round about" that is used in the Biblical description.
Second, if you actually calculate the amount of water that it would take to fill such a bowl and then read further into the story to find out that the bowl was supposed to contain "3000 baths" (in the 2Chr version) or "2000 baths" (in the 1 Kings version, another contradiction). For 3000 baths to fit into the described bowl, each "bath" would be an amount of water that is only barely able to fill a small cube 8.83 inches on a side. Would that really be enough water for a bath? Incidentally, the smaller figure for "baths" in the 1 Kings version would give a cube only 10.11 inches on a side.
Incidentally, in a 1991 version of this apologetic, the writer says that a "bath" is equal to 8.5 gallons of water. It should be clear from the facts just presented that 8.5 gallons of water can't possibly fit into a cube only 8.83 to 10.11 inches on a side. In fact, a cube 12.52 inches on a side would be required. Such a cube would have nearly double the volume of the one obtained by the most generous Biblical description (1963.5 in^3 vs. 1033.46 in^3). One can only assume that the writer's math is as poor as his reasoning.
Third, Hovind's argument is not original with him, so he could hardly have figured it out in order to resolve any doubts about the accuracy of the Bible. Basically, he accepted somebody else's apologetic and related it without giving any credit.
Lastly, it is not very likely that the bowl was made out of brass. Most likely, it was actually made out of bronze. Bronze is highly resistant to corrosion and is very suitable for molding and sculpture since it expands when it cools. This allows it to precisely fill an encasing mold of the type that is normally used to create the design work described as adorning the outside of the bowl. True brass wasn't introduced into the area until hundreds of years after Solomon when the Romans did so while bronze had already been in wide use throughout the area for centuries prior to Solomon.
(R) Rest assured God makes no mistakes, mathematical or otherwise. The Scriptures do not contain error. By the way, Solomon built this sea in 1000 B.C., long before the Greeks rediscovered Pi (p).
(MB) Whether or not God makes mistakes is axiomatic. What's clear is that his followers certainly make egregious mistakes and Hovind contributes more than his share. Hovind also seems unable to understand that it is not necessary to know the value of Pi (or even to know that such a value exists) to be able to make a circular bowl and measure it. Hovind also seems not to know (or wishes to obscure) the fact that such early civilizations as the Egyptians, Babylonians, and Sumerians knew the value of Pi prior to Solomon's bowl building.
In reality, most skeptics don't consider the "value of Pi" question to be one worthy of much debate. The "3000 baths" vs. "2000 baths" contradiction is more difficult for apologists as are many other aspects of the entire story of Solomon's temple. For example, did it really require 153,300 workers a total of 7 years to construct a building only about 90 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 45 feet high (1 Kings 5:15-16)? Were there 18 pillars (1 Kings 7:15) or 35 (2 Chr 3:15)?
(R) We may not understand some things at first glance, but the problem is with us, not with the Bible.
(MB) The problem is certainly with the apologists -- who often make bad situations worse with their contrived and nonsensical "explanations". Hovind and his ilk do more harm than good.
(R) Please be sure you are on the solid foundation of God’s Word, saved by the blood of Christ.
(MB) This is a meaningless speech that assumes a great deal while actually demonstrating nothing at all outside of the blind faith of Hovind.