Well, “gem” is perhaps not the right term. Perhaps I should start a new category: Gutenberg Coal.
I’ve been interested in (and have from time to time posted here about) the seemingly never ending conflict between science and creationism. I found this book to be an interesting glimpse 80 years into the past, to see how people argued against evolution even before the famous Scopes trial.
It contains gems like this exchange:
The population of the world, based upon the Berlin census reports of 1922, was found to be 1,804,187,000. The human race must double itself 30.75 times to make this number. This result may be approximately ascertained by the following computations:
At the beginning of the first period of doubling there would just be two human beings; the second, 4; the third, 8; the fourth, 16; the tenth, 1024; the twentieth 1,048,576, the thirtieth, 1,073,741,824; and the thirty-first, 2,147,483,648. In other words, if we raise two to the thirtieth power, we have 1,073,741,824; or to the thirty-first power, 2,147,483,648 Therefore, it is evident even to the school boy, that, to have the present population of the globe, the net population must be doubled more than thirty times and less than thirty-one times. By logarithms, we find it to be 30.75 times. After all allowances are made for natural deaths, wars, catastrophes, and losses of all kinds, if the human race would double its numbers 30.75 times, we would have the present population of the globe.
Now, according to the chronology of Hales, based on the Septuagint text, 5077 years have elapsed since the flood, and 5177 years since the ancestors of mankind numbered only two, Noah and his wife. By dividing 5177 by 30.75, we find it requires an average of 168.3 years for the human race to double its numbers, in order to make the present population. This is a reasonable average length of time.
Can you spot the problem? Let’s imagine that he’s right. 5077 years ago, there was only Noah and his wife. It takes them 168.3 years to produce two children, and double there numbers. If we allow for 3000 years to pass, bringing us roughly up to 2000 years ago, around the time of Christ, the world population would have almost 18 doublings, bringing the total world population to about 260,000. Worldwide.
Inappropriate extrapolation is one of the silly errors that creationists use to argue using mathematics. But as they say, creationists use mathematics like a drunk uses a lamp post: for support, rather than illumination.
Read the entire thing, it’s really quite astounding.