Dave’s 1st Post

Author: afdave1 [ Mon Jun 04, 2007 6:28 am ]
Post subject:

WRITTEN RECORDS ARE THE MOST ACCURATE FOR DETERMINING EVENTS OF THE PAST

This may seem like an obvious statement, and indeed it would have been for most people prior to the “Great Darwinian Subversion” of academia which began in the late 19th century.

THE HISTORICAL RECORD OF GENESIS
Actually, beginning as far back as the middle of the 18th century, skeptics began questioning everything that had been established and accepted up to that time, including historical accounts like the book of Genesis. A great myth (though mixed with a little truth) was invented by Jean Astruc, Julius Wellhausen and others which later became known as the “Documentary Hypothesis.” Bottom line with this theory was that the Pentateuch was not of Mosaic authorship after all. It was a compilation (partly true it turns out) which was written down many hundreds of years after the actual events described from oral traditions (disproved). This theory was based upon the notion (later discredited by archaeological finds) that writing was unknown by Moses and his countrymen at the time of the Exodus and for several hundreds of years following, which in turn, was inferred from speculations about human cultural evolution, which of course was influenced by evolutionary thinking.

But this theory has been discredited. Thanks to the massive efforts of 20th century archaeology, we now know …

1) that Moses and his countrymen DID know how to write and kept meticulous records … the skeptics were wrong
2) that writing was known in all nations long before Moses, i.e. all the way back to the Flood and Tower of Babel eras, c. 2750BC and 2500BC, and extending back all the way to Adam
3) that Genesis was probably a compilation, but not of oral tradition. Rather, it was a compilation of written records, passed down through generations and received by Moses, who compiled and edited them, then added his own accounts to form what became the Pentateuch.

Elsewhere I have pointed out clear statements by leading archaeologists such as Nelson Glueck and William F. Albright who spent their lives personally investigating the historicity of the Old Testament. Both of these investigators are quite clear in their contentions that the Old Testament including the Book of Genesis is highly accurate in its historical accounts.

OTHER HISTORICAL RECORDS
Anyone who has studied the history of Ancient Egypt is familiar with the names of Herodotus and Manetho. Encyclopedia Britannica, in their article on Ancient Egypt, in the section subtitled “Sources, Calendars and Chronology” notes that …

Quote:
For all but the last century of Egyptian prehistory, whose neolithic and later phases are normally termed “predynastic,” evidence is exclusively archaeological; later native sources have only mythical allusions to such remote times. The dynastic period of native Egyptian rulers is generally divided into 30 dynasties, following the Aegyptiaca of the Greco-Egyptian writer Manetho of Sebennytos (early 3rd century BC), excerpts of which are preserved in later writers.

“Egypt, ancient.” Encyclopedia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 4 June 2007 http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-22286

The important item to notice relevant to our Dendrochronology discussion is that …

Most of our knowledge of Ancient Egypt comes from the WRITTEN RECORD of Manetho and his king lists.

We also have inscriptions on monuments and other written records.

But I hope you will not miss the fact–seemingly lost on some modern historians such as “Fronkey” at this forum–

that WRITTEN RECORDS have always been and will always be the most reliable means of determining events of the past.

*********************************************

CARBON 14 DATING OF ARTIFACTS
That said, we now have a background for understanding the relatively new (1950’s) field of Carbon 14 dating and the attempts to use it to increase our accuracy in dating events of the past.

Carbon 14 dating is sound in principle, but only if proper ASSUMPTIONS are made, namely, the assumptions about …

the C14 ratio in the atmosphere throughout the history of the planet

If the world C14 inventory were in equilibrium (say for the last 100,000 years or so) and there had been no major global events of the past to alter C14 ratios significantly, then C14 dating could be assumed to be relatively accurate. Relatively minor variations in C14 ratios during the historical period of the world (up to ~6000 bp) should be able to be calibrated by various methods, of which Dendrochronology is one such proposed method. However, if one overlooks a major historical event such as the Great Flood of Noah, then Carbon 14 dating is called into question because of the massive alterations in Carbon 14 which would be expected to occur in such a cataclysm.

Carbon 14 chronologists today are operating under the following assumptions …
1) World C14 inventory is in equilibrium and has been so for > 100k years
2) There have no major perturbations in atmospheric C14 ratios during this period (i.e. they deny the Global Flood at c. 4750 BP)
3) There have been minor variations in C14 throughout the last 50,000 years (max range of C14 dating), but these can be accounted for by calibration methods such as Dendrochronology, Ice Cores, Varves, etc.

which of course, brings us to the subject of this debate.

It is my belief that Dendrochronology, while it can possibly be used in a limited way to calibrate Carbon 14 dating back to ~3000 YBP (maybe as much as 4000 YBP), it cannot be used to determine accurate dates beyond this period because of the huge perturbation in C14 ratios caused by the Global Flood.

Now I am quite happy to be proven wrong if BWE can do so, but I think it will be a significant challenge for him.

Dr. Don Batten, a plant physiologist with much commercial success in his field to his credit, has written …

Quote:
Claimed older tree ring chronologies depend on the cross-matching of tree ring patterns of pieces of dead wood found near living trees. This procedure depends on temporal placement of fragments of wood using carbon-14 (14C) dating, assuming straight-line extrapolation backwards of the carbon dating. Having placed the fragment of wood approximately using the 14C data, a matching tree-ring pattern is sought with wood that has a part with overlapping 14C age and that also extends to a younger age. A tree ring pattern that matches is found close to where the carbon ‘dates’ are the same. And so the tree-ring sequence is extended from the living trees backwards.

Now superficially this sounds fairly reasonable. However, it is a circular process.

http://www.creationontheweb.com/content/view/2441

and he goes on to explain why he thinks it is a circular process.

***************************************

I THINK IT’S A CIRCULAR PROCESS, BUT FEEL FREE TO PROVE ME WRONG

And so, my good friend BWE, I challenge you to convince me that it is NOT a circular process. To do this, I will ask the same questions I have asked elsewhere …

My starting point with this subject is SAWells’ (a physicist) post found HERE

I follow Wells just fine on his first two points, but then he makes an incredible LEAP here …

Quote:
iii) now you take an even older specimen and match its later rings to the early rings of specimen (ii) and carry on for as long as you can find overlapping specimens. This turns out to be a VERY long time- using building beams from Bronze-age dwellings etc we can go back about 15,000 years by this method.

Let’s just stop right there for a while. Please explain to me in detail how this process was done. Where can I go and see these original tree samples which were used to create the master sequence? I have in my mind’s eye, a picture something like this …

tree_ring_overlap
(taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dendrochronology)

that would extend off to the right far off the page. How am I doing? Is that how this works?

So I would like to see this entire master sequence and examine it closely. Can I do this? Where can I go to do this? What trees were used to build this Master Sequence? From where? What species? How long did they live?

In short, please give me the details of how we get all the way back to 15000 YBP, considering the fact that the oldest livingtree is only ~4700 years old (Methuselah).

Now I did read the article you linked which supposedly extends dendro back to 13000 YBP, but I was tripping over so many assumptions and unexplained items that it left me very confused about how this is really done. Maybe I’m just ignorant, I don’t know, but to me, this debate is all about EXPLAINING the basis for all these various assumptions and determining if they are valid or not. For example, from the Intro …

Quote:
With the recent establishment of an unbroken West European tree ring sequence spanning the past 7272 years Pilcher et al 1984 the calibration of the 14C time scale was advanced considerably.

Well how about we just start right there and ask how we got an “unbroken West European tree ring sequence spanning the past 7272 years” ??

NOTE: We’ve each taken our shots now … you at Creationism and me at Darwinism, so I suggest we leave more of that aside for other places and other times and make our focus razor sharp on the present questions. 🙂

Over to you.

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