Are Hares Ruminants?


I dialogue with an enthusiastic and engaging biologist on Twitter. He has staked a truth claim that the Bible is replete with contradictions. Given that God’s Word is inerrant, 2 Timothy 3:16, “all scripture is God breathed”, this is a counter intuitive claim. However, there are reasons for this unbeliever reaching his understanding and primarily it is because he lacks the fruits of repentance. He has not put his trust and faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ, 1 Corinthians 2: “the spiritual things of God are not understood by natural man”.

I am offering here a rational which might even be apparent to the secularist, for Jesus made it clear in the Gospels why he spoke in parables, Matthew 13:13, “so that hearing people would not understand”. You see the Bible explains that it is “the fear of the Lord that is the beginning of wisdom”. In other words, “you do not reason to God, you reason from Him”, for apart from him you could not reason; Colossians 2:3, “in Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”.

In this blog I aim to refute Ollie’s claim that Leviticus 9:6 is contradictory. I am using material gleaned from http://www.genesisnet.info Fundamentally we know that God’s Word is without error, so there cannot be contradictions. “While there may be many theories and ideas that contradict the biblical narrative, the facts never do”. Take for example the biblical flood. Most scientists deny that there was a global flood, preferring theories surrounding tectonic plate movements to explain why there are sea shell fossils in the upper reaches of the Himalayas. That’s true for we know that there was catastrophic movements in the earths surface when God flooded the world, however, if there had been a global flood you would expect to find millions of dead things buried in rock layers, laid down by water, all over the earth. Did you know that today we find, millions of dead things, buried in rock layers, laid down by water, all over the earth?

Theories and ideas may contradict the biblical account of world history, but the facts never do. Now let’s address the apparent contradiction of Leviticus 11:6 that says hares are ruminants:

The Bible truly isn´t a scientific textbook. The ruminating hare is mentioned in a different context: the command about unclean and clean beasts. Now in what way is the hare a ruminant? Let´s have a look in the encyclopaedia. Grzimek´s Animal life describes it in the twelfth volume:

“Morot published his observations concerning mucus-covered gastric pills of rabbits in a French veterinarian magazine in 1882. Besides a normal solid form of faeces these animals produce a second one – soft, moldable balls that are taken in and swallowed unchewed right after their deposition. They are collected in a certain region of the stomach (in the cardia region) and digested again. This way parts of the food pass the intestines twice and are macerated more effectively. In some way, this double digestion is similar to the rumination of most cloven-hoofed. The faeces (caecotrophe) is produced in the vermiform appendix and there strongly enriched with vitamin B1. Quoting studies of Scheunert and Zimmermann it contains four to five times more vitamins than normal faeces. For the lagomorphs the appendical or vitamin-faeces is essential, it probably also helps them to survive longer periods of fasting in suboptimal weathers.” (Italics not in the original.)

By the way, a friend of mine told me that his children watched the coprophagia of hares without knowing about this certain peculiarity. (I needn´t say, that they didn´t find it very appetizing.) What my friend´s children found out today has as well been noticed 3000 years ago. People didn´t “invent” the ruminating of hares – they just could observe it as well as modern zoologists.

What conclusion can we draw from this? The ruminating hare serves as an example that the Bible does have scientific relevance, certainly the remarks are not textbook-like, but do serve other purposes. The hare doesn´t belong to the bovidan ruminants, it belongs to another mammalian order than the other ruminants. Leviticus 11 doesn´t talk about zoological systematics. But whatever is described, is correctly presented in an illustrative, comprehensible way. For this, the coprophagous hare is a good example.

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36 comments
  1. @OllieTatton said:

    Just read through this again… Hilarious still. You’re incredibly blind and it portrays you as unintelligent. You’re a great advert for why christianity ruled the dark ages and why secularists rule the current age of enlightenment.

    • Thank you for your contribution Ollie, as eloquent and well reasoned as I’ve learned to expect. Did you apply invariant, immaterial and universal laws of logic when considering the matter.

      • @OllieTatton said:

        Oh sweetie, still beating the same dead horse? The race is over. Remember when I asked you why you’d accept medicine from a doctor etc.? Analogy still stands and your points are still invalid and broadly incorrect.

        The fact that hares aren’t ruminants by classification, behaviour, physiology, and anatomy is why you’re wrong. Good day to you sir.

      • That’s a claim Ollie. Why avoid answering the question?

      • @OllieTatton said:

        I avoid answering it now because I spent months answering it only to have you constantly fail to understand and register my answer. If you’re too unintelligent to understand the english language and some pretty simple concepts, then that is YOUR issue – not mine.

        You still can’t accept that your book is wrong about hares. I even gave you the escape clause to just accept that the book’s authors were mostly unintelligent when it comes to classification of animals – thus, easy mistake for them to make.

        But no, you’re stuck in your Dark ages. Shame.

      • Thank you Ollie, I appreciate you taking the time to reply. I trust others, of my particularly limited readership, who condescend to read our exchange will allow the article and your observations to stand on their own merit.

        I can’t help noticing that in our dialogue you are expecting me not to lie, you anticipate integrity, an honest exchange (though clearly believe I am deluded), and you are pointing out ‘contradictions’. I deduce therefore that in your worldview contradictions are not allowed, that you hold to the logical ‘law of non-contradiction’. You are appealing to concepts of intelligence, understanding, knowledge and shame while displaying you value justice. You demonstrate passion and conscientiousness when defending your convictions and I am left with the impression you sincerely believe they are true.

        Tell me Ollie, “where do you get truth without God?”

      • @OllieTatton said:

        Rather than presenting a question which features an aspect that needs proving (your god), you should answer, “why do you need a supernatural power to have truth?”

        What do you even see the concept of truth as? Truth is simply the label of a statement which is both valid and consistent in accordance within reality. Do you agree?

      • Okay. So your answer to my question is that you determine truth by comparison, that which conforms consistently with reality. Thank you. My answer to your excellent question is, truth is, “that which conforms to the mind of God”. Not a god, your god or one god of many false gods but the ultimate, self existent, creator, the Christian God, revealed in His creation and through His Word.

      • @OllieTatton said:

        And back to your inability to prove anything you believe… Care to prove that said god and its mind exists?

        Good luck.

        P.S. Even if it does exist, the bible is still wrong about hares.

      • To ask for proof of God’s existence is as absurd as asking for proof that words exist, Psalm 19:1. Besides, who are you to demand proof from God?, Romans 9:20. To suppose that you are of any consequence that he should care to condescend to meet your demands shows a distinct lack of appreciation of who you are up against, Job 38:41. Beside you don’t reason to God, the Lord God is who you cannot reason without Colossians 2:3. Your creator is the necessary preconditions for intelligence; without Him there is no reasoning. If you find someone who has gathered all the evidence and determined they have found god then you’ve met an idolator, someone whose invented a God of their imagination, one who they are comfortable with, it’s why there are so many false religions in the world, Psalm 96:5. Evidence isn’t the issue Ollie. You demonstrate, simply by engaging in this dialogue, and appealing to transcendentals that you know God exists and have all the evidence you need. Sin is what’s ensuring you continue to suppress the truth, Romans 1:18. You are seeking God as much as the thief goes in search of a policeman, Romans 3:11. Your only hope is to throw yourself at Christ’s mercy, to beg forgiveness for your lawless deeds. Hebrews 10:17, your crimes against God’s righteous person, in the hope that he might extend his forgiveness to you and create in you a new heart, 1 Corinthians 7:10. Repentance Ollie is not a suggestion, it’s a command, Acts 17:30.

      • @OllieTatton said:

        Wrong, I can prove that words exist as both physical meaningful collections of symbols and as concepts. So you’re already starting off on a false premise – one that also comes from your silly book (more evidence that it is not perfect, always right and therefore inspired by an apparently all-knowing god).

        I am the arbiter of my life… and it is my right as the owner of a thinking, comprehending brain to demand evidence before I give belief.

        The point is that if your god cared and wanted me to believe, then it would prove itself to me (something that it could do easily since it’s meant to be all powerful and that).

        You can’t reason with your god? No wonder it supports slavery, genocide and all manners of atrocities. It doesn’t give a shit that it’s a vile being. Explains a lot.

        You keep asserting that there is no reasoning without your god… but you fail to prove it. You fail to prove your god exists. You fail to defend your book – because you can’t as it is factually incorrect on many occasions. Silly man.

        Tell me, how do you distinguish your religion as true apart from the countless other religions (including the 10,000 other denominations of your own religion) since you all have the same amount of evidence for your gods (NONE)?? Tell me that.

        Evidence IS this issue Adrian.

        Wrong, I do not know that any god exists. And you still can’t prove any mechanism or valid and sound logic that your god is needed for these reasons etc. etc. etc. I told you all this before mate. Yawn.

        I don’t even believe that sin exists as anything other than conjecture. For sin to exist, there needs to be a god and there needs to be conditions whereby that an infinite god can be offended by finite and arbitrary “crimes”.

        Agreed, I’m not searching for god. Firstly, I don’t seek that which all existing evidence indicates will be a fruitless search. Secondly, it is not my burden to prove such a god – or any god.

        AS far as I can tell, no laws have been broken by me, nor do I have any reason to believe that your jesus exists (at least past any point that a normal man did), nor that he would do anything for me if I were to repent… etc. etc. etc. I told you all this before mate. Yawn.

        Commands are useless and meaningless, if the commander does not exist.

        Also, you know full well that citing the bible for anything is useless on me until you can prove that it is worth of being an authority.

        Oh Adrian, you really haven’t learnt anything, have you? This is the problem. You have blocked yourself from learning.

      • Thank you Ollie. There are three fundamental laws of logic: law of non-contradiction, excluded middle and identify. These laws are universal, invariant, and immaterial. Your contribution flouts each of these therefore you’ve refuted your own position. It would now be the rational thing for you to abandon it, repent of your sin and turn to Christ. It is your hope. Please consider these matters further. Thank you again, I really appreciate your helpful contribution.

      • @OllieTatton said:

        My worldview accounts for the logical absolutes. So you’re already wrong in saying that I refute my own position. I doubt you even know the specifics of my position.

        It is incredibly dishonest of you, or perhaps rather telling, to not defend any of the points I raise… Is it because you have no logically sound and consistent defenses?
        I expect that to be the case if one of your authorities is an incredibly flawed, out-dated book.

      • @OllieTatton said:

        Ohhhh I think I struck a nerve 😉

        Tell me, why do you only debate or argue until you are cornered… then just move on to new people with the same arguments? An intellectually honest person would change the arguments.

      • Having ruminated on the matter I’ve learned that our ruminations are expressed in language that explains the world we see within the confines of our current knowledge. Since our exchange I’ve learned much about unbelieving worldviews. In desperate attempts to pretend God doesn’t exist and resist his call to repentance, they take passages out of historical context, authorial intent, and genre, to seek to demonstrate contradictions. It’s a beautiful illustration of how the Imago Dei atheist uses the very senses and reasoning, uniform laws of science, logic and morality to continue in rebellious sin. Has your conscience been softened in previous seasons Ollie? Do you want to know your creator? Do you desire to turn to Jesus Christ, the one who condescended to step into human history to rescue men like you and me? Have you come to acknowledge your a wretched sinner whose only hope is the Christ, the Son of the living God?

      • @OllieTatton said:

        I see that you have learned absolutely nothing in your time away from our conversations and are still spouting nonsensical and unsupported claims.

        Can you prove that sin exists outside of a concept? For you to do that you must prove that a specific deity exists; that said deity set forth rules based on what offends it; and that said deity is capable of being offended by any mortal act.

        It is quite disheartening to see you inability (or perhaps unwillingness) to learn as I like to think that no person is beyond help.

        Alas, we have digressed quite severely from the original post’s focal point – that lagomorphs are not ruminants, nor are they that closely related by common descent.
        The day you give me a hare that has a rumen and “chews the cud” so to speak, is the day that I’ll accept that your silly old book got this particular claim correct. Until then, you and your book are demonstrably wrong. I use the word “demonstrably” because I can demonstrate that lagomorphs do not have a rumen and, therefore, (by the simplest of logic that even a child could follow) are not ruminants.

        Good day to you and I look forward to your next comment where I fully expect you to not address the issue, nor any point I raise, and simply stick to the proselytising that hasn’t worked for years on me (a fruitless endeavour on your part I feel). I will be converted with facts and evidence. Plain and simple.

  2. Thank you Ollie. I am encouraged, you seem more courteous than when we last met. I see, unsurprisingly, you ignored the substance of my comment which was about hermeneutics. That’s okay, 1 Corinthians 2:14, amongst other passages, explains why. As for your comment about lagomorphs, let me ruminate on that. I’m interested in your comment on sin: Torture and murder for personal pleasure I trust you agree is wrong. Torture and murder is a phenomena of what can be termed sin and thus above you classify sin as a concept. Is that a reasonable representation of your position?

    • @OllieTatton said:

      Infinite punishment for finite crime is wrong. That’s as simple as it comes on sin. I acknowledge sin as a concept as part of many religions mythologies. No, representing torture and murder as sin is not a reasonable representation of my position, nor the concept itself.

      Hermeneutics is the apologist excuse for when they cannot reconcile falsehoods in the bible.
      As for your quote from the book… I’ll take 1Corinthians seriously when you prove that the book is divinely inspired and not riddled of incorrect information – such as claiming that lagomorphs chew the cud… which they demonstrably do not.

      Care to address that point?

  3. You reject hermeneutics and consider yourself a scholar? Come now Ollie, you are an academic, you can do better than that. To your request for proof. Proof presupposes facts, facts presuppose truth. Do you accept truth exists? Truth being that which is true, non contradictory, logically coherent, for all people in all places.

    • @OllieTatton said:

      For, like, the seventeenth time, I am not going to follow along with your nonsensical premises and presuppositions.

      I reject hermeneutics as an EXCUSE. I do not reject the fact that scholars must delve into the correct interpretations of certain passages. However, when a claim is stated as a fact, then hermeneutics are not required as the claim can be weighed, judged, and tested. When this occurs, in many instances, the bible is left wanting.

      Now, can you address the point of whether lagomorphs have a rumen?

      • You are our resident biologist so I take you at your word. Hares are not ruminants. However, that does not resolve the issue of Christ’s resurrection and the command God has given you to repent, Acts 17:30. Unless you bend your knee to your creator and seek his forgiveness you will receive what you’ve earned, Romans 6:23. I know you don’t believe but your convictions and reality will come into stark contradiction when you die. Do you want to know God Ollie, his forgiveness and regeneration?

      • @OllieTatton said:

        Wow… That’s very mature of you! I’m impressed! You’re learning and you’ve actually conceded a point.

        Let’s move on to the logical conclusion from the point that hares are not ruminants (FYI, I’m a zoologist and ecologist, not just a biologist – specifics are important).

        So you admit that there is a fault and incorrect claim in the bible…
        Now I’d like to ask you two things:

        1) Since there is an agreed false claim in the bible, how do we go about distinguishing other claims in the bible – specifically the ones that cannot be scientifically tested?
        &
        2) Which position do you hold regarding the incorrect claim(s) in the bible – do you believe that your god inspired the bible and was wrong about relatively simple anatomy and physiology? Or do you believe that the bible is a human construct and, since humans are fallible, the bible is clearly NOT reliable as evidence for the existence of your, nor any other’s, god?

        To answer your question, IF your god exists as described in the bible, then no. No I do not want to know your god as it is a terrible being for a cavalcade of reasons. Simple.

    • @OllieTatton said:

      Your shortest comment yet! Is someone a little upset at what they just admitted to?

      Care to answer my follow-up questions? Doesn’t matter, you already admitted that the bible has a false claim in it.

      VICTORY.

      • Congratulations. You are an esteemed advocate of your worldview. Having secured that triumph does this mean that your view is true?

      • @OllieTatton said:

        No, having you admit that the bible is wrong about hares was the triumph. Don’t backpeddle now. We were making some headway out of the waters of ignorance and into the vast ocean of potential knowledge. Stick with it Adrian.

  4. Thank you. Do you want to reconsider or maybe clarify your reply to my question Ollie?

    • @OllieTatton said:

      Which question? You ask many when you’re trying t avoid my points.

      If it’s the last question you asked, then the answer depends on your definition of “view”. Do you mean my specific belief regarding ruminants and the exclusion of lagomorphs from said group? Does you agreeing with me make it true? No. It’s truth makes it true. Start with the simple, basal facts – essentially, a set of axiom as they are absolutely true as defined labels. Follow the most rudimentary of syllogistic logic:

      Ruminants are defined as even-toed ungulate mammals with a rumen.
      Lagomorphs are neither ungulates (of any type), nor have a rumen.
      Therefore, lagomorphs are not ruminants.

  5. Cool, I’ve got that thank you. I like what you said about it’s truth that makes it true. The apple ‘is’ green. This is a statement of an objective truth. “You are reading this”, is a truth statement. Truth being universal, invariant and logically consistent. My question was referring to your worldview. From our conversation I would describe it within the category of, ‘philosophical naturalism’. So my question remains, ‘is your worldview true?’. In answering that question I would commend Tyler Vela’s podcast, ‘The Freed Thinker’. I reckon you’ll appreciate his discussion with atheists Cory Markum and another with Dr Graham Orpy: http://freedthinkerpodcast.blogspot.co.uk/

    • @OllieTatton said:

      I thought you’d be referring to my worldview. Do you not see how ridiculous it is to judge an entire worldview by the truth of one claim?
      For your information, I am a methodological naturalist – one of the many, many labels that I use.

      Here’s the scoop:

      It is my methodological naturalism that allows me to assess the evidence and information that leads to the logical syllogism above. The worldview comes first… At a starting point of a null hypothesis, the worldview is applied to the evidence and the conclusion is reached. i.e. it is due to my worldview that I came to the conclusion that hares do not chew the cud. You seem to word your rhetoric as if the claim confirms the worldview, when it is the worldview that confirms the claim.
      And guess what! The great thing about science is that it is dynamic. If the evidence refutes a claim, then that claim will not be believed. It’s almost a tautology. The point is that support of a claim is dependent on existing evidence. If new evidence comes into play then the accepted hypothesis may need to change.

      HOWEVER, in the case of a hare, with a mapped out anatomy, not having certain features – the claim of them not being ruminants will never change.

      • I see. And how did you reach the understanding that methodological naturalism is true?

      • @OllieTatton said:

        Methodological naturalism is a tool or strategy to approach the evidence provided in reality. It is not “true” or “false” in the same way that a hammer is not “true” or “false”.

        Care to get back on topic?

  6. Okay, that makes sense I agree. We are on the topic from the blog that notes you do not reason to God, for He is the one you cannot reason without. I’m trying to determine your standard, your starting point by which you come to methodological naturalism to determine its validity. What’s your standard?

    • @OllieTatton said:

      My standard for what? Truth? Validity? What?

      And the starting point, as I have told you before, is based on axioms and necessity.

  7. True is that which is true for all people everywhere. if the apple is green it is an objective truth. You may be colour blind and not able to identify the colour accurately, however, the colour doesn’t change, it remains true that it is green. How do you validate necessary axioms? For example if you believe that the laws of logic, {non contradiction, excluded middle, identity}, are necessary, how do you know that?

    • @OllieTatton said:

      I did not say that they are necessary axioms. I said that we rely on axioms AND necessity. The necessity is a separate point and concept.

      Axioms are essentially accepted to be true – not that they can’t be separately validated.

      What is your point Adrian? I agree that the laws of logic are true. Make a claim and support it or ask a question that makes a point.

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