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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Apologia General Science, Module 5, The History of Life: Archaeology, Geology, and Paleontology

What we did at Sahm-I-Am

Quizlet M5

• Tree-Ring Dating Lesson Page (I used the lesson part only)
Tree-Ring Science (student page)
Flood Legends
See these and more at Debbie's Educator's Resources.  (Thanks, Debbie!)

(1) p. 111-112a, How Do We Learn About the History of Life

Archaeology - the study of past human life as revealed by preserved relics.

Geology - the study of earth's history as revealed in the rocks that make up the earth.

Paleontology - the study of life's history as revealed in the preserved remains of once-living plants and animals.


(2) p. 112-116, Archaeology and History

There are three tests to evaluate historical documents:
  1. The internal test evaluates whether or not the document contradicts itself.
  2. The external test checks whether or not the document being examined contradicts any other known historical or archaeological facts.
  3. The bibliographic test is the most important and makes sure the document is essentially the same as the original.
    To do this, this test requires 1st- or 2nd-hand reports based on eyewitness accounts.
    Two other important factors are (1) how many different copies are made by many different people, further clarifying that the copies were accurate, and (2) if the copies were made not too many years after the original.  The shorter the time period, the more reliable.
When using the internal test, we must always apply Aristotle's dictum because what seems to be a contradiction might not be a contradiction due to difficulties in translation.
Any unverified inconsistencies must be examined, taking into account that language and its use changes over time.
Aristotle's dictum:  The benefit of the doubt is to be given to the [historical] document itself; not assigned by the critic to himself.

Here is an example of how the English language has changed.  This example is only from about 600 years ago!
Brace yourself - you'll either cringe or laugh!  =D


For the next several sections, I could find no videos.
I did give brief descriptions above of the three tests applied to historical documents, but that is all.  =)


(3) p. 124-128, Archaeology in the Absence of Historical Documents

Dendrochronology - study of tree rings to determine the age of a tree

Dendrochronology is not a completely accurate way of dating artifacts; the calculated age from a dating method such as dendrochronology is called an absolute age.
An absolute age is not absolute, however -- it just means that through calculations, an age has been assigned to the item being studied.
A known age is much more accurate, and in archaeology, is the only one that is certain.
  • Known age – the age is determined by a date printed on it (ex. on a coin) or a reference to the artifact in an authentic work of history (like a tomb or king was referenced in a document)Very few artifacts have known ages.
  • Absolute age – the calculated age of an artifact from a specific dating method [such as dendrochronology] that is used to determine when the artifact was made.Absolute ages are dates that are assigned to an artifact or document.  Absolute age does not mean it is totally correct.  It is a close estimate.
The only ages that are certain in archaeology are the KNOWN AGES.

Ages determined by dendrochronology [dendrochronology ages are absolute ages] are upper limits for the age of an artifact.  In other words, that is the oldest it could possibly be, but it might be younger. 
Sometimes trees have 2 rings in one year, so dendrochronology shows the oldest that the tree could be, or the oldest that the artifact associated with the wood could be.
Examples of artifacts that may be studied are old ships, Pilgrim dwellings, a Navajo canoe.

An absolute age is a close estimate, and in the case of dendrochronology, it is generally a high estimate.  It can’t be a low estimate, because a tree will not ever skip growing a tree ring that year.

Radiometric dating (also called Carbon-14 dating) is using a radioactive process to determine the age of an artifact.  This method is used on fossils (dinosaurs, etc), and is very unreliable.
IF the item is less than 3,000 years old, it is a little more reliable – about like dendrochronology – approximate, but not certain.
Radioactive/Carbon-14 dating gives an absolute age, which means a date has been assigned, but it is not  KNOWN AGE, which is the only age in archaeology that is certain.

Wow!  A huge dendrochronology laboratory!

►Dendrochronology testing of Doucet Hennessy House in Bathurst, New Brunswick
►Sometimes narrow rings do not indicate dry weather, but a crowded forest.  Video 1, Video 2
Learn more.  Intro to dendrochronology with Tom Windes (rhymes with kinds)
Learn a lot more with Tom Windes (Parts 1-8 total around 40 minutes)


(4)  p. 129-131, Relative Dating and the Principle of Superposition; What Do We Know about Human History?

It's fairly simple - the Principle of Superposition - but not necessarily true.

If you made a layer cake, and you have 5 layers of yellow cake, and each layer had creamy chocolate frosting in between, you can know when the layers were put there.
But you cannot tell whether the cake or the frosting was made first.

The Principle of Superposition says that when artifacts are found in rock or earth that is layered, the deeper layers were laid down first, and hold the older artifacts.  This is not necessarily true.  
When Noah’s Flood occurred, a lot of earth, rocks, bones, fossils, etc, were mixed together. 
If you have a jar with rocks, sand, and fine dirt in it, and mix it all up with water, the rocks will settle first, then the sand, then the dirt.
After the Flood, all this stuff had to settle back down, and it did so in layers called strata.  (Strata starts with the same letters as stripe, so that may help you remember it.)
Archaeologists often assume that layers are formed one at a time, over millions of years.
Layers can form one after the other as in the case of volcanic ash, but to say that all the artifacts found all over the world in the different layers were put there in order is false.

Archaeologists often get the relative age by using the Principle of Superposition.
The term "relative" means how something is positioned related to something else.

If I was in the audience and saw you standing on a platform, I might say you were on the left of the platform.
But you might say you were on the right of the platform.
Where we each say you were standing is relative to where we are ourselves.

If I laid a book on the table and asked you if it was moving, you would say no.
But if I asked an astronaut on the moon, he would say yes.

So because of the relativity of the layers, archaeologists often assume they were put there over time, and not simultaneously.  Many times artifacts are said to be millions of years old because they actually sank first with the more dense layers of sediment after the world-wide Flood.

"This law only applies to the rocks if they have not been scrambled up; if they have not been 'unconformed'."
But they have been scrambled up - by The Flood.  =)

No time-gap between the layers such as wind erosion, or plant life.

Did the Colorado River flow uphill?

Ark Hunter, Jeremy Wiles, joins Eric Hovind and Paul Taylor to discuss stories gathered from around the world while on a journey to find evidence of Noah's Ark.
(Jump up to about 3:55, and skip both commercials - about 1 min. each.)

Some interesting points:
If it was only a local flood, why build a boat?  Why not just go elsewhere during the flood?
How would anyone have had knowledge or even time to build a large boat in advance?
Why have birds onto the ark if it was only a local flood?
There are so many stories of the Flood all over the world!

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