Archaeological Investigations, pt 3

Another reference for dating events comes in the form of dendrochronology, or the study of tree rings. Observing the cross section of a tree, one can easily see that there is a network of concentric growth rings throughout. Traditionally it is held that trees add one growth ring per year, consisting of a light portion and a dark portion. As there are a few kinds of tree that live for several thousand years, including the famous Bristlecone Pines, researchers have, through examinations of both individual tree rings and through cross-referencing the rings of a number of trees, produced “chronologies” that stretch into the past as much as 10,000 years! These in turn are sometimes used to assist in establishing the timing of various anthropological events. Of course, this poses a problem for those who trust in a literal rendering of the Bible, which seems to limit the age of the Earth to less than that.

What most people are unaware of is that the growth rings in trees are not necessarily limited to one per year. In fact, there are many trees, especially in relatively stable climates such as those of tropical regions, which produce no annual growth rings at all. For those that do produce rings, any number of stimuli can affect their production and width, including pest infestations, fires, diseases, the age of the tree, it’s size & proximity to other trees, and environmental conditions, such as access to water and sunlight, nutrients, temperature, and many others. 1 In fact, while the general consensus is that growth rings are slowly constructed over time, research has demonstrated that trees, in spite of otherwise slow rates of growth, can and do respond rapidly to a variety of stimuli, producing extra growth rings, or even none at all, depending on the circumstances. 

What’s more, if such trees experience a prolonged dry season interrupted by periods of heavy rain, the result seems to be that these trees produce several rings per year, essentially one per storm! 2 Given these insights, how accurate is it then to “date” the years a tree has lived by assuming that each growth ring represents a single year only? What’s more, for these trees that appear to have lived for several thousand years, if growth rings can truly be produced during periods of monsoonal storms and other weather disturbances, then there is ample reason to assume that much of their apparent “age” was generated through a period of environmental chaos some 4,300 years ago. 

Similar to this process is that which relies on ice core sampling. Like dendrochronology, the premise is based on observable phenomena. In this case, as it is known that various particulates, including dust, pollen, and others, are incorporated into ice sheets each season as snow and other frozen precipitation falls, researchers attempt to distinguish yearly accumulations based on the expected patterns of those particulates. To acquire this information, researchers bore down through the ice sheet taking long, cylindrical core samples which provide a cross section. Through this process, researchers confidently proclaim that ages of several hundred-thousand years can be seen amidst the layers of the ice.

Few things however are as straightforward as they initially appear. Here again, as with other dating methods, critical assumptions are firmly at play. In this case, the assumption comes in the form of an already established belief in deep-time and the uniformitarian processes of nature. Believing that the ice sheets are already of a great age, possessing no confidence that such accumulations of ice could have built up rapidly, mainstream researchers see what they expect in the data, a series of layers demarcated by fine striations of particulates and isotopes, which they in turn present as annual accumulations.

Adding to the confusion is the expectation by these researchers that older layers will be thinner, compressed over vast ages by the accumulated weight above. Not only does this expectation come into play through visual examination of a core sample, but also in other examinations, such as that which measures the oxygen isotopes contained within the ice. You see, as with tree rings, the problem is that we cannot have any confidence that each “layer” identified by the researchers in each core actually represents a single year. If the ice sheet has truly existed for hundreds of thousands of years, then yes, there would be substantial compression on the lowest layers. Alternatively, the argument could, and should, be made that, like tree rings, the various striations seen in those lowest layers are not reflective of annual accumulations, but rather incidents of periodic storm deposits, oscillating over a period of time with warmer and cooler temperature fluctuations and precipitation rates. 

Some have countered that, by measuring the oxygen isotopes preserved within each layer of the ice cores, we can rule such notions out, effectively demonstrating the veracity of the great ages proposed by the secular researchers. In testing for these telltale isotopes, researchers take eight samples per layer and compare them, establishing, based on various changes, the passage of a set period of time. That method however should be in doubt given the fact that these researchers tend to already assume a vast expanse of years, as detailed above. With such preconceptions, the researchers likely are sampling a single annual layer far too many times, as they, in their expectation to find older, deeper layers tightly compressed, are in fact testing much more recent, far less compressed layers several times over, perhaps even hundreds of times, thereby yielding false results. 3

In the end, like dendrochronology, what we are left with is a wealth of data that means little without a solid point of reference, requiring that researchers, who have no way of determining the veracity of their own claims, rely on outside sources to provide corroboration for their interpretation of the data. What’s more is that the preconceived expectations of those researchers vastly biases their findings and their published claims, thereby in cyclic reciprocation, one secular paradigm continues to reinforce the next and so on…

Aside from these dating techniques, from radiometric studies to dendrochronology and ice core sampling, there are more practical investigations that are used regularly by archaeologists and others, including examinations of tools, artifacts, and written records, whereby investigators attempt to assemble timelines based on changes in styles or methods of tool or artifact production, or simply by understanding the records left by past civilizations. In this – particularly in regard to ancient chronicles and other remnant histories – come some of the most persistent arguments against the Biblical timeline of events. Do the histories of Greece, Egypt, and others actually discredit the believability of the Bible, or is there another side of the story that is too often missed?

– This was an excerpt fromRemnants of Eden: Evolution, Deep-Time, & the Antediluvian World.” Get your copy here today. God bless! –

References:

  1.   Morris, J., “Tree Ring Dating,” 2012. Tree Ring Dating. Acts & Facts. 41 (10): 15., http://www.icr.org/article/tree-ring-dating/, retrieved August 29th, 2015
  2.   Ibid
  3.  Oard, Michael, “Frozen in Time: The Woolly Mammoth, The Ice Age, and The Bible,” pp 103-105, Masterbooks, Green Forest, AK, 2004

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