Walking through a shady forest, you take in your surroundings, enjoying the stringent smell of the pines, the warm breeze rustling the branches above. A few yards ahead, just barely discernible through the trees, you spot a cave on the face of a hill and your curiosity drives you to investigate it. Standing at the entrance, you peer in as something catches your eye. In the deep quiet of that place, your vision strains to pierce the darkness, to confirm your suspicions. The caws of a murder of crows chill you for a moment, and you shift your attention above. The dark eyes of the birds meet your own for a brief moment before quiet normalcy returns. Turning back, straining again against the shadows, you see something incongruous with the surroundings. You see the telltale flicker of a candle!
Foregoing all hesitation, shedding whatever caution may have been present, you step forward, away from the feathered watchers, into the cool air of the cave, walking quietly up to the candle on a sandy little outcropping. Questions fill your mind. Aside from the obvious inclination to wonder how a candle found itself lit in a cave, other thoughts abound. Who lit the candle, and since they apparently are no longer here, how long has it been burning? You reason that perhaps you can reach some conclusions in the candle itself, for understanding how long it had been since the candle had been lit would give an indication as to how long the cave has been vacant, and perhaps even some clue as to who lit it.
Looking at its shape and size, the drippings running down the side and pooling round the base, observing for a moment the rate at which it burned, you could tentatively formulate some answers. By considering the size of what remained of the candle and estimating how the drippings pooled around the base correspond to that data, you could estimate the height of the candle before it was lit, and taking that with the rate at which you observe the candle melting, you could roughly ascertain just how long the candle had been burning. Right?
In actuality, even with those variables understood, there are some dreadful assumptions at work in that scenario. First, who is to say how many times the candle had been lit? Could whoever lit it have used it frequently over time, adding to its degraded condition? No matter how closely one could estimate the mass of the unburned candle, the fact remains that that data alone does not provide insight into how many times the candle had been lit over the course of its life, and that fact is critical to one’s assessment of how long the candle had been burning.
Similarly, the shape of the candle too must be considered. If all that remained was the cylindrical stump of a pillar candle, then it stands to reason that, intact, the candle was of a typical cylindrical shape. There again however is an assumption, as it may have been that the candle was shaped oddly, flaring at the top or otherwise possessing an altogether distinctive form, and that information, lost to the passage of an unknowable amount of time, critically affects the assessment one could make based on reconciling the remaining stump with the calculations provided by the drippings.
Even the very rate at which the candle burns is questionable. As you observe it you are certain that it burns at a relatively constant rate, yet what is unknowable is if this rate had changed before your observations began. Could it have increased in its rate of burning as fresh oxygen was drawn into the cave earlier? Could it instead have slowed over time, retarded by a building concentration of carbon dioxide in the cave from its smoke? There is no way for you to know for certain amidst the situation you find yourself in…
In the end you are forced to accept that there are far too many variables at play to feel truly confident about any conclusion you could reach based on what you can observe about the candle and its condition. You are left with a choice at that point: Do you continue to look around for clues to answer your question, honestly appraising their worth and factoring them into your consideration, or do you, based on your previous assessment of the scene and the condition of the candle, summarily construct a timeframe that fits your expectations?
What you will find is that, like the scenario described above, mainstream advocates of deep-time tend to subscribe to the latter method, reasoning by merit of limited observations, that this reality exists now at the present end of billions of years past, and that sweeping ages have sprawled on since the beginning across great gulfs of time, with the formation of the universe, the stars, the planet, and life all falling within precise aeons across that sea of epochs. What we must address however is if their conclusions are any more reflective of the truth than those of the individual who noted the condition of the candle and ignored all other relevant data.
– This was an excerpt from “Remnants of Eden: Evolution, Deep-Time, & the Antediluvian World.” Get your copy here today. God bless! –
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