A common claim from believers is that scripture, correctly interpreted, predicts scientific discoveries centuries (or millennia) ahead of when those discoveries are made. The implication being, of course, that if mere mortals wrote the scriptures without divine aid, they could not have possibly known these things.

This claim can be approached from several different angles, the most obvious being: Did people at that time really not know this information? Often, what we see is that modern apologists are not giving our ancestors enough credit. A perfect example is the claim that Stonehenge must have been built with the help of technologically advanced aliens because it’s just too hard to imagine that people alone could have done so without the aid of modern machinery. Huge blocks of stone, transported long distances, no forklifts – pretty convincing, right? Well, all it takes is one person actually giving it a try to prove how little faith we have in the resourcefulness of our fellow humans.

But this all involves too much research. It’s much simpler to approach the question with a little armchair reasoning! So in the interests of laziness, I’ve created the Scientific Predictions Test.

Basically, the test attempts to get at the question of whether the interpretation that sounds like a prediction of later knowledge is legitimately sola scriptura, or whether it requires knowledge of the scientific discovery to reach that interpretation. The perfect way to test this is to see when people started proposing the interpretation that lines up with the science: before the science was done or after? If that interpretation only came out post hoc, after the science was already established, we can be pretty certain that it comes from the reader and not from the text.

All this is ignoring the many instances of blatant contradiction between modern scientific understanding and the text of scripture that must then be explained away as “poetics.” It seems rather unfair to judge whether something is poetry or hypothesis based on whether it happens to be later proven correct or not!