Life — How Did It Get Here? By Evolution or by Creation?
Life—How Did It Get Here? By Evolution or By Creation? is a book published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. As the subtitles indicate, it is about whether life came about via evolution or creationism.
Chapter 17: Can You Trust the Bible?
This chapter attempts to demonstrate that the Bible is trustworthy by showing that:
- it contains knowledge unavailable to its authors,
- it is an accurate record of events,
- it has "internal harmony around a central theme", which is unlikely if it was written by multiple independent authors.
While this approach is sound, the execution is flawed.
To support the latter claim, the book cites the fact that the translators of the Douay version of the Bible used the word "globe" in the translation of Isaiah 40:22, ignoring the fact that most other English translations use "circle". This is cherry picking.
The book uses Ecclesiastes 1:7 to claim that the author knew about the water cycle:
7 unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.
However, this verse is rather vague, and can apply to anything from evaporation to giant underground pumps.
The section on history mainly falls prey to the Spiderman fallacy: the fact that archeology has confirmed the existence of many of the people, places, and ordinary events (such as battles) in the Bible does not confirm that extraordinary events such as Noah's flood or Joshua's long day ever took place.
Finally, the chapter claims that the authors of the Bible displayed unusual honesty: for instance, in Deuteronomy Moses admits failings that prevent him from entering the promised land. The book never attempts to establish that Moses ever existed, or that he wrote the book of Deuteronomy.
The Bible is also said to have "internal harmony around a central theme", which would be unexpected in a book written by over 40 authors over 16 centuries. This claim fails on two counts.
Secondly, this argument ignores the extensive editing and redacting that the Bible underwent.
Lack of update
The book is copyrighted 1985. Despite having been criticized many times over the years, as of the 2006 printing, it has not been updated in response to this criticism.
Aside from the fact that this gives the mistaken impression that critics of the book have no valid arguments, this also means that many of the criticisms of evolutionary theory are out of date, since it does not reflect many of the advances made in the last twenty years, such as the completion of the Human Genome Project, the discovery of Tiktaalik, and so forth.