[b-hebrew] Assumptions about ANE ages that just don't work.

Bryant J. Williams III bjwvmw at com-pair.net
Mon Oct 22 01:14:17 EDT 2007

Dear Yigal,

I, for one, do NOT subscribe to the presupposition that "One of the basic
premises of any science, including the study of history and of linguistics, is
that the laws of nature, and the rules that govern human behavior, were always
what as the are now." Furthermore, the fact that longer lifespans are mentioned
with the given ages of those people in no contradicts the physical evidence.
Just because there is an absence of physical evidence does not mean that there
was no evidence.

I must remind you that just because something is taken on faith does not mean
that faith is blind or without knowledge. Everyone everywhere uses faith in some
form. The question then lies as to the basis, content and object of that faith.
Faith and knowledge are both intuitive, intellectual and experiential. They are
both needed in this life. Now, reason and knowledge will take a person only so
far, but faith will act on previous evidence and proceed forward. The question
then hedges on the accuracy of the knowledge that faith will use. In this case,
the literary record clearly indicates that lifespans diminished over time. This
is especially true after the Noahic Flood. None of us present today were there.
Therefore, the question of according credibility comes the fore. How much
credibility (FAITH) do I give to the written testimony? Do not make the mistake
of separating faith from knowledge.
Furthermore, it is clear from Genesis 4-11 that mankind was "dying." Fulfilling
the promise of God in Genesis 2-3.

Regarding carbon 14 dating.

"The C-14 within an organism is continually decaying into stable carbon
isotopes, but since the organism is absorbing more C-14 during its life, the
ratio of C-14 to C-12 remains about the same as the ratio in the atmosphere.
When the organism dies, the ratio of C-14 within its carcass begins to gradually
decrease. The rate of decrease is 1/2 the quantity at death every 5,730 years.
That is the half-life of C-14. "

"The Limitations of Carbon 14 Dating "

"Using this technique, almost any sample of organic material can be directly
dated. There are a number of limitations, however. "

"First, the size of the archaeological sample is important. Larger samples are
better, because purification and distillation remove some matter. Although new
techniques for working with very small samples have been developed, like
accelerator dating, these are very expensive and still somewhat experimental. "

"Second, great care must be taken in collecting and packing samples to avoid
contamination by more recent carbon. For each sample, clean trowels should be
used, to avoid cross contamination between samples. The samples should be
packaged in chemically neutral materials to avoid picking up new C-14 from the
packaging. The packaging should also be airtight to avoid contact with
atmospheric C-14. Also, the stratigraphy should be carefully examined to
determine that a carbon sample location was not contaminated by carbon from a
later or an earlier period. "

"Third, because the decay rate is logarithmic, radiocarbon dating has
significant upper and lower limits. It is not very accurate for fairly recent
deposits. In recent deposits so little decay has occurred that the error factor
(the standard deviation) may be larger than the date obtained. The practical
upper limit is about 50,000 years, because so little C-14 remains after almost 9
half-lives that it may be hard to detect and obtain an accurate reading,
regardless of the size of the sample. "

"Fourth, the ratio of C-14 to C-12 in the atmosphere is not constant. Although
it was originally thought that there has always been about the same ratio,
radiocarbon samples taken and cross dated using other techniques like
dendrochronology have shown that the ratio of C-14 to C-12 has varied
significantly during the history of the Earth. This variation is due to changes
in the intensity of the cosmic radiation bombardment of the Earth, and changes
in the effectiveness of the Van Allen belts and the upper atmosphere to deflect
that bombardment. For example, because of the recent depletion of the ozone
layer in the stratosphere, we can expect there to be more C-14 in the atmosphere
today than there was 20-30 years ago. To compensate for this variation, dates
obtained from radiocarbon laboratories are now corrected using standard
calibration tables developed in the past 15-20 years. When reading
archaeological reports, be sure to check if the carbon-14 dates reported have
been calibrated or not. "

"Finally, although radiocarbon dating is the most common and widely used
chronometric technique in archaeology today, it is not infallible. In general,
single dates should not be trusted. Whenever possible multiple samples should be
collected and dated from associated strata. The trend of the samples will
provide a ball park estimate of the actual date of deposition. The trade-off
between radiocarbon dating and other techniques, like dendrochronology, is that
we exchange precision for a wider geographical and temporal range. That is the
true benefit of radiocarbon dating, that it can be employed anywhere in the
world, and does have a 50,000 year range. Using radiocarbon dating,
archaeologists during the past 30 years have been able to obtain a much needed
global perspective on the timing of major prehistoric events such as the
development of agriculture in various parts of the world."
tml). BTW, I am using 1 of 1,900,000 results.

Rev. Bryant J. Williams III

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Yigal Levin" <leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il>
To: "b-hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Sunday, October 21, 2007 9:07 PM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Assumptions about ANE ages that just don't work.

> One of the basic premises of any science, including the study of history and
> of linguistics, is that the laws of nature, and the rules that govern human
> behavior, were always what as the are now. This allows scientists to use
> carbon 14, for example, to date organic material - since the C14's rate of
> decomposition has been the same for thousands of years. Since there is NO
> physical evidence that would show that people's lifespans were ever
> significantly different than they are now, taking the long lives in Genesis
> (or in any other ancient text) literally is a matter of faith, not science.
> Insisting that "everyone" lived longer back then is a leap of faith, not
> even mentioned in the text. Insisting that "it would not be wise to
> contradict Moses" is a statement of faith - science is built upon
> contradicting and challenging old assumptions. This list is NOT a forum for
> the discussion of faith. Unless anyone has anything really new to contribute
> to the matter, I suggest that we end this thread.
> Yigal Levin
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Shoshanna Walker" <rosewalk at concentric.net>
> To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Sent: Monday, October 22, 2007 4:12 AM
> Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Assumptions about ANE ages that just don't work.
> > Not ALL OF US don't believe that the ages in Bereishit are correct.
> >
> > Also I don't think it is accurate that the Torah mentioned these ages
> > of only a select few individuals who lived hundreds of years (I think
> > someone on this list mentioned this).
> >
> > The first men, the Nefilim, were giants and had lifespans of nearly
> > 1000 years, but they were physically too strong, at the expense of
> > their spiritual selves.  The remedy was to reduce their lifespans and
> > physical strength.
> >
> > So in Bereishit 6:3, G-d tells us of His plan to reduce the human
> > lifespan to 120 years.
> >
> > And He did it gradually.  Noach's son, Shem, lived 350 years less
> > than Noach, and his son, Arphaxad, lived less than he.  By the time
> > of Avraham, the tenth generation after Noach, the lifespan had
> > dropped to 175 years with Yaakov living 147 years.  After that it
> > dropped to 70 years, with exceptions that approach 120 years.
> >
> > So Sarah at 90 years was old - even too old to bear children, and the
> > reason for her beauty at that age, was that she became beautiful as a
> > result of G-d's angels communicating to her, just as the Midrash
> > tells us that Queen Esther, when she approached Achashverosh without
> > his summoning her, at great danger to herself, had angels accompany
> > her when she went in to see him, and cause her to be irresistably
> > beautiful to him, otherwise, he could have been angry enough to have
> > her killed.
> >
> > Shoshanna
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > What are the presuppositions/assumptions being applied that would
> > justify taking
> > the ages = season? It appears that just because we do not believe that the
> > ages
> > in Genesis are correct because "no one could live that long" does not
> > necessarily mean that that is so. The ages mentioned are in the text.
> > There is
> > NO justification or evidence to prove that they are incorrect.
> > Furthermore,
> > since Moses wrote it that way, and he was closer to the source(s) than any
> > of
> > us, then it would be wise not to contradict him especially in comparison
> > to the
> > Sumerian Kings List.
> >
> > Rev. Bryant J. Williams III
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