Re: BIO: Help wanted explaining evolution to students

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Sat, 20 Sep 1997 20:25:46 -0500

Fred Foldvary wrote:
> On Fri, 19 Sep 1997, Max More wrote:
> > but he MUST also believe the earth was created in six days (and
> > that God, pooped out after that effort took a day off to recuperate)
> > because it clearly says that in the Bible.
> > Max
> If it's so clear, please explain to those of us who are ignorant
> in such matters what "day" means in the original Hebrew and in
> the other references to that word in the Bible. Some scholars
> say that some terms in the Bible are symbolic or metaphors, so
> explain why this incorrect, since it should be clear.

Although he is a 'fundamentalist' (in the take-it-literally sense), he is not
a Christian fundamentalist in the TV sense of which the term has connotations.

If you were to ask him how to reconcile the two, he might point out that God
told Adam that he would die on the 'day' in which he ate from the Tree, and
yet Adam lived considerably longer. And, he might say, there exists a
tradition relating the two uses, demonstrating that 'day' does not necessarily
refer to a 24-hour period. He would also be very careful to explain that you
can't just point out things at random and say they're metaphors; the alternate
usage of a _word_ has to exist _in_the_Bible_ and there has to be a
pre-existing tradition that the two are related.

I am making this particular explanation up, but we have discussed religious
issues from time to time, and I am adapting one he used. The real explanation
might be quite different. Ask your local priest, mullah or rabbi.

--       Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

Disclaimer:  Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
everything I think I know.