Tuesday, October 23, 2018

How and When Was the Earth Formed?

Much of the criticism we have received regarding South American as the location of Lehi’s landing site and the region of the Land of Promise—which causes scholars and historians of the Book of Mormon to reject it out of hand—is mostly based on five things:
1. South America is an entire continent and far too large for the more limited space of the Land of Promise illustrated within the Book of Mormon—nor was it ever an island;
2. The mountains “whose height is great” cannot be the Andes, since they existed millions of years prior to time of the Nephites—it would have been impossible for them to have risen in three hours at the time of the crucifixion;
3. Since South America as the Land of Promise is based on a creation of the Earth in a short period, probably beginning about 13,000 years ago, it is immediately rejected—after all, they claim, everyone knows the Earth is 4.55 billion years old;
4. Events regarding the physical world occur over long periods of time—therefore there was no universal Flood as described in the Bible;
5. Carbon-14 dating shows continued settlements and occupation in South America dating back long before the Tower and before the Flood, to near the time of the last Ice Age—this is based, in part, to the work of American archaeologist Anna C. Roosevelt.
Pedra Pintada cave in northern Brazil 

In fact, based on archaeological evidence from an excavation at Caverna da Pedra Pintada, an archaeological site in northern Brazil in the Amazonian Basin, human inhabitants first settled in the region at least 11,200 years ago (Anna Curtenius Roosevelt, et al., "Paleoindian Cave Dwellers in the Amazon: The Peopling of the Americas," Science, vol.272, Is.5260, April 1996, pp373–384). Formerly, researchers believed that Amazonian settlements arose later than those in the Andes, and were developed by migrants from the highlands (John Noble Wilford, “Scientist at Work; Anna C. Roosevelt: Sharp and To the Point in Amazonia,” New York Times. 23 April 1996). However, this has not been borne out by the cave dwellings found at Pedra Pintada. The site has cave paintings where hundreds of drops of paint and lumps of pigment have been found that date the cave's wall paintings, the results making them the earliest ones in South America and the earliest known cave paintings in the Americas as a whole. Images include a stick figure of a woman giving birth, geometric designs, and hand stencils in browns, reds, and yellows (Jessica E. Saraceni and Adriana Franco da Sá, “People of South America,” Archaeology, vol.49, No.4, July/August 1996).
The caves of Serranópolis in southwest Brazil

In addition, Altair Sales Barbosa of the Catholic University of Goiás has discovered two fossilized skeletons of a man and a child in a cave at Serranópolis in central-west region of Brazil at 2460 feet elevation, tentatively dated to 11,000 years ago. In this cave location near the Verde and Corrente rivers in the southwest corner of the state of Goiás in central Brazil there are at least forty caves with paintings of lizards, emas (emu), parrots and geometric designs left by early inhabitants, in an area where the earliest European occupation did not take place until the 1880s.
   The well-preserved remains were of a 25- to 30-year-old man in a fetal position with one hand pressed against his forehead. A child's skeleton in poor condition was also recovered, along with necklaces made of human teeth and mother of pearl. Barbosa determined the age of the skeletons by carbon dating plant and animal remains found in the same strata; samples of the bones themselves have been sent to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., for carbon dating, and archaeologists await Barbosa's published results, though carbon dates of 13,000 years ago (11,000 BC) have been obtained from several sites east and south of Amazonia, but have been inconclusive—but by 11,000 years ago (9000 BC), two lithic traditions were widespread in the area, that of the Uruguai tradition, and the Itaparica tradition (Pedro Ignacio Schmitz, “Prehistoric Hunters and Gatherers of Brazil,” Journal of World Prehistory, vol.1, no.1, Springer, New York, March 1987, pp53-126).
    Now here we find distinct evidence of the claim of scientists that the remains and settlement in Brazil predates the Bible’s dating of the Flood by over 9,200 years, and the time of Adam by over 7,500 years. Obviously, in this case, science and the Bible do not support one another. More accurately, here we see how scientific findings do not support the carbon-14 dating evidence. Just as obviously, one or the other is inaccurate. Of course, scientists who have been forcefully schooled in a 4.55-billion-year-old Earth, clearly will claim that the Bible is wrong. Also of course, while they claim the Bible cannot be proven and is only a believability issue, they do not realize that their claim to factual knowledge is what they have been taught, which history is “a series of beliefs, assumptions, and theories masquerading as facts.”
According to Richard Harter (Changing Views of the History of the Earth, 1998), there was a time (1600 AD) when the Earth was believed to be 6000 years old, by the 1700s, it had become 75,000 years old; in the 1800s the age was believed to be somewhere between 20 (Kelvin) to 55 million (Wolcott) years, and by 1899, it was 90-100 million years old (Joly). By 1911, Arthur Holmes claimed a dating from 340 million (Carboniferous sample) to 1640 million (Precambrian sample) years old. By 1920, the lower figure had grown to 570 million years; but in 1921, that age was upped to 3.4 billion years old; then 3 to 4 billion, and 4.6 billion by 1929, according to Henry Russell. In 1941, those earlier estimates were changed to only 3.2  billion years by E. Gerling; then to 3.3 billion in 1946 by Arthur Holmes; then in 1953, F.G. Houtermans computed an age at 4.5 ± 0.3 billion years old; and in 1956, the age was thought to be 4.55 ± 0.07 billion years; and in 1998, the figure was adjusted to 4.55 ± 0.02 billion years. It should be noted that Harter also claims that the current figure “is almost certain to encompass future changes as well.”
    Whether this will be changed at some point in the future cannot be said, nor can it, based on experience, be claimed that this last figure is the final figure that will be proposed. Science, after all, has never had the last word on almost any such matter. As Harter claimed at the end of the above report, the current figure “is almost certain to encompass future changes as well.
    While science continually changes as additional and more accurate information is obtained, discovered, and improved, none of this is meant to ridicule science or its efforts. Many great and important knowledge has come through the sciences. All that is being suggested here is that at any period in history, the then current knowledge was altered as time passed and more knowledge was achieved. Consider as an example, regarding the Age of the Earth—if science was not governed by pre-determined, mostly agnostic to atheist people, other avenues to search might be taken—one such example is the concept that the Earth was not created ex nihilo, meaning “out of nothing,” but was organized by a Supreme Being ex materia, meaning “out of existing, eternal matter.” In Ancient Middle East religions, such as Judaism, as well as Ancient Near Eastern mythology, it was envisioned that the creation took place ex materia, created by God, or the gods, out of already-existing eternal or primeval matter, known as chaos, which was then seen as a complete disorder and confusion.
    As an example, an early 50 AD conflation of Greek philosophy with the narratives in the Hebrew Bible came from Philo Judaeus of Alexandria (Julius Philo), who came “de genere sacerdolum,” or from a priestly family, and a contemporary of Jesus, wrote in the context of Hellenistic Judaism, a Jewish philosopher trying to develop speculative and philosophical justification for Judaism in terms of Greek philosophy, equated the Hebrew creator-deity Yahweh with Aristotle’s primum movens (First Cause), in an attempt to prove that the Jews had held monotheistic views even before the Greeks. However, this was still within the context of creation from pre-existing materials, that is, "moving" or "changing" a material substratum.
Science’s Big Bang theory is the current prevailing cosmological model for the creation of the universe; shown here in a timeline of “inflation through expansion” from a high-density, temperature state about 13.8 billion years ago

Should science every come to the conclusion that study on the creation of the Earth affirms God's purpose and role, while recognizing creation as organization of preexisting materials, and not created from nothing, such as a “big bang,” an future understanding of the Earth’s age would be drastically curtailed. However, it is extremely doubtful that science ould ever consider such an intellectual pursuit, let alone base any credibility on what evidence exists to support such a matter.
    Despite the fact that there are Flood legends in almost every country of the world, all dating to antiquity or pre-history, and almost all having common ingredients in each, by 1836, the idea of a Noachian flood as a source of major geological change was abandoned by scientists in favor of postulated numerous antediluvian catastrophes. It is amazing that, despite so much geologic evidence of a world-wide flood, that so many scientists have rejected a diluvial theory and treat the idea of a universal flood as some local anomaly, postulating countless suggestions as to an alternative explanation. The ideas floated to explain away a universal flood cover from a dam breaking; heavy rainfall; a meteor striking the earth; a comet passing close to earth; rising sea water; ancient observation of inland seashells and fish fossils; undersea earthquake causing a tsunami that flooded coastal lands; flooding of an inland sea, and many others.
    The problem with all such theories is that they are evaluated against known knowledge, or what is believed to be known knowledge. It is like programming a math base into a computer. If you feed it wrong information as its base, such as 1+1=3, it will always give accurate analysis of math problems based on that criteria—a problem like 632+548 would not equal 1,180 (the answer if programmed that 1+1=2), but would give you a correct answer according to its basic math program of 1+1=3), which is 2,950. Now, since every math problem presented would be off by .5, or the number one would always be 1.5 in every equation,  the answers over time would always be correct from one another, though far from accurate with correct math. Of course, we understand that principle in math and would know the answer is inaccurate.
    However, when it comes to, say, carbon-14 dating, since the program has been altered by its inventor, Willard Libby that though his initial testing showed the Earth to be less than 20,000 years old, he altered the figures since, according to his autobiography, “everyone knows the earth is millions of years old.” Thus the C14 testing is off somewhat, and has to be adjusted for several reasons when tests do not agree with known dates, which is called “calibration of radiocarbon dates.”
The Carbon-14 radiocarbon dating system most commonly uses an accelerator mass spectrometer to reach its findings

In fact, although Libby had pointed out as early as 1955 the possibility that the C14  and C12 ratio might have varied over time, it was not until discrepancies began to accumulate between measured ages and known historical dates for artifacts that it became clear that a correction would need to be applied to radiocarbon ages to obtain calendar dates (M.J. Aitken, Science-based Dating in Archaeology, Longman, London, 1990, pp66-67).
    In addition, when Libby’s first results showed what he considered an error, i.e., dating the Earth as being quite young, he altered the measurement base from a non-equilibrium model, meaning the earth was not old enough to have acquired a balance in atmospheric radiation, which has been determined to take about 30,000 years, to an equilibrium model, meaning the same amount of the Earth’s atmospheric radiation is lost into space as enters from the sun, thus the earth is over 30,000 years old.
    At the time of Libby’s experiments, it was generally believed that the earth’s atmosphere was not in equilibrium, resulting in his setting his original clock base for non-equilibrium measurement, which gave him a young reading. Following Libby’s experiments and announcement of his clock, the atmospheric radiocarbon was measured in 1968 by Melvin A. Cook of BYU, who found the radiation in the earth’s atmosphere was only about one-third of being balanced, meaning the earth was about 10,000 years old.
    Thus, Libby’s alteration of his clock basis gave a totally inaccurate measurement. Fortunately for him, there were few ways to know that it was in error, and the clock gained wide recognition, giving scientists in many fields a method of measuring past dates that had not previously existed. Thus, when Cook’s findings were published, there was an immediate reaction by the scientific community. And it has grown remarkably resistant to any change in the clock setting or its results exponentially over the ensuing years until today, any attempt to discuss the above is met with instant negative reaction by the scientific community, and many people in general, since the C14 Time Clock is well established in the public conscience.
    However, their fervor does not change the fact that the understanding of equilibrium was well understood at the time of Libby’s development of the time clock, and the reason why he set it for a non-equilibrium basis. However, when it came up with the information based on that factor, he believed it was wrong and recalibrated his model to an equilibrium basis, because he, like all scientists of his day, knew the Earth was older than 30,000 years.
Giving computation figures the wrong date to use as a basis used to be called in the early days of computing, GIGO: Garbage In, Garbage Out! This was a concept common to computer science and mathematics: the quality of output is determined by the quality of the input. So, for example, if a mathematical equation is improperly stated, the answer is unlikely to be correct, though it will be consistent each time the equation is used for comparison, verification, etc. 
    Of course, evolutionist, geologists, and scientists in general balked at this discrepancy, and enormous effort was underfoot to find a way to deal with the discrepancy, which “creationists” jumped on and claimed the error of the time clock. Naturally, scientists have come up with several reasons why Libby’s change was validated. It is still an ongoing debate between “Old Earthers” and “Young Earthers,” and not likely to be resolved any time soon, since both are dedicated to their point of view.
    The point is, science has never had the “end all” understanding it claims to have. If we do not understand that, we are doomed to the erroneous conclusions that follow such ignorance and bull-headed thinking.

1 comment:

  1. I find this Creationist version of the origin of the fossil record quite believable:

    Noah's Flood and Catastrophic Plate Tectonics