Earth’s History Requires a Leap of Faith

It’s been long observed that history is written by the winners. This is because the winner is able to re-write the narrative of the past. In this way, history repackages negative events- like genocide, into more positive concepts- like “Manifest Destiny”. We’ve seen this same kind of alteration with the apparent victory of science over faith that began in the 20th  Century.

Scientific discoveries made near the end of the 1800s resulted in a snowball of scientific theories in the early 1900s. Excited by these new discoveries, eager scientists quickly adopted these new theories continuing to that build upon these original foundations. With each passing decade, these theories were perpetuated as fact through educational institutions. Scientists seemed to have all the answers. They could even explain the formation of the universe and life on Earth through mathematics and a chain of evolutionary events. Scientific arrogance grew as scientists and lay people alike presumed these rapidly developing theories to be infallible. Because there was no scientific evidence of God, anyone who believed in God was dismissed as either naïve or ignorant.

The truth, however, is that these scientific theories were based on incorrect or unprovable assumptions. In fact, belief in evolutionary science requires the same leap of faith as belief in God and creation. During this rapid expansion of science, little time was spent actually evaluating the validity, accuracy, and reliability of findings. Without the answers to essential questions, theories had to rest upon sets of assumptions. Until relatively recently these assumptions remained unchallenged. However, new technology and recent discoveries have brought these assumptions into question because of growing findings that don’t fit the framework. Does science really have all the answers? Is there really no evidence of God? Prior inaccuracies and new discoveries have brought the truth of history back into question. Below I’ve summarized the history that we thought be true, followed by lesser known information to the contrary.

Cosmological Theory

  • Einstein developed the Theory of Relativity in 1915 which explains that the cosmos is not static but changing. From this LeMaitre hypothesized in 1927 that the universe started from a single point, a primeval atom, and was still expanding. Two years later, Edwin Hubble observationally confirmed this and developed an equation calculating the rate of expansion known as Hubble’s constant (1929). This equation was then used to reverse calculate the age of the universe. Coupled with physics principles, scientists began to theorize the evolution of the universe with a detailed narrative.

Improper Observations

In cosmology one faces the observational challenge that knowledge about distant regions of the universe is dependent on assumptions one makes about these regions which are themselves coupled to the observations. Within the framework of the Friedmann-Robertson-Walker big bang models the universe becomes opaque to its own radiation at z » 1,000 and the earlier, and more distant, regions of the universe are not directly accessible through observations. Other challenges exist such as possible merging
of extended distant sources and confusion of spectra from distant galaxies. One, therefore, encounters horizons in our understanding of the universe.

Knowledge Limits in Cosmology | Symposium – International Astronomical Union | Cambridge Core

In other words, because science is built on objective observations we cannot adequately observe the universe because we are a part of it. Since we can only observe from certain viewpoints we are unable to see the full picture. This altered perspective causes distorted conclusions.

Evolutionary Theory

  • In Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species (1859), the theory of Natural Selection is introduced with the conclusion that all organisms could be derived from a common ancestor. In 1866, Gregor Mendel identified patterns of inheritance through dominant and recessive traits. This lead to other genetic theories in the early 1900s like genetic mutation. Still, neither Darwin’s natural selection nor Mendel’s genetic theories could account for both microevolutionary (small scale) changes of living animals and macroevolutionary (large scale) changes demonstrated by fossils. Therefore, in 1942 Julian Huxley created a “modern evolutionary synthesis” by combining both theories within a mathematical framework to explain evolution.

Unprovable Assumptions

In his book Implications of Evolution (1960), G.A. Kerkut provided insight into the limitations of evolutionary theory. Acknowledging that evolution has not been proven a reasonable doubt, he lists seven assumptions that the theory is based on. These are assumptions which are both unproven and unprovable. Therefore, acceptance of the theory is done solely by faith and not on provable evidence. The assumptions are as follows:

  1. The first assumption is that non-living things gave rise to living material, i.e. spontaneous generation occurred.
  2. The second assumption is that spontaneous generation occurred only once.
  3. The third assumption is that viruses, bacteria, plants and animals are all interrelated.
  4. The fourth assumption is that the Protozoa (single-celled organisms) gave rise to the Metazoa (multi-celled organisms).
  5. The fifth assumption is that the various invertebrate phlya (organisms without a backbone) are interrelated.
  6. The sixth assumption is that the invertebrates gave rise to the vertebrates (animals with backbones).
  7. The seventh assumption is that within the vertebrates the fish gave rise to the amphibia, the amphibia to the reptiles, and reptiles to the birds and mammals.

Prehistoric Fossil Record

  • The earliest prehistoric fossils found were a leg bone and later giant teeth discovered in the mid 1800s. Sir Richard Owen coins the name “dinosaur” meaning terrible lizard (1841). First fossil excavation in the Rocky Mountains was followed by an explosion discoveries from other dig sites in the 1920s. Radiometric dating which was created in the 1930s was used to date the age of the fossils by applying the principle of superposition. (Principle of superposition assumes that rocks deposited on the Earth’s surface are laid down in order of age, with the oldest (first deposited) at the bottom. This principle applies to sedimentary rocks and lava flows. ) With this information, paleontologists deduced the appearance, behavioral patterns, and the surrounding environment providing a narrative of prehistoric events.

Data Collection Errors and Unaccounted Processes

  • In order to be used accurately for relative dating, the sedimentary rocks that are being studied shouldn’t be deformed or at least not deformed beyond 90°. This is because the original stratification, achieved by various natural processes, can be disrupted and deformed by a number of factors. Interference from animals, vegetation, and crystallization limestone contribute to the weathering and erosion of the strata over a significant period of time. Law of Superposition – Explanation, Considerations, Limitations and FAQs (vedantu.com)
  • Deformity and redistribution can also be caused by the process of liquefaction. This occurs when water-saturated sediment temporarily loses strength and acts as a fluid. This form of disruption and re-distribution of sediment is triggered by earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, and flooding.
  • Liquefaction is restricted to certain geologic and hydrologic environments, mainly areas where sands and silts were deposited in the last 10,000 years and where ground water is within 30 feet of the surface. Generally, the younger and looser the sediment and the higher the water table, the more susceptible a soil is to liquefaction. Areas of prior liquefaction can later experience repeat liquefaction.
  • Liquefaction enhances ground settlement and sometimes generates sand boils (fountains of water and sediment emanating from the pressurized liquefied zone). Sand boils can cause local flooding and the deposition or accumulation of silt. What are the Effects of Earthquakes? | U.S. Geological Survey (usgs.gov)

Radiometric Dating

  • Radioactivity was discovered in 1896 in both uranium and radium. A physicist, Earnest Rutherford, calculated the decay rate of uranium and proposed that the age of a rock could be measured by its radioactivity. By 1931 radiometric dating was standardized and considered a reliable tool for dating. Fossils were then dated using radiometric dating on surrounding rock layers. Radiocarbon dating was later developed in the 1940s, and quickly became the most widely applied dating technique. These dates have been used to understand prehistoric timing of events and rates of change to explain the processes of evolution. 

Unfounded Assumptions

  • There are changes in mineral composition within magma which occur in magma chambers prior to lava eruption. Many varieties of minerals are produced from the same magma by the different processes of crystallization. With varying compositions of these minerals, the the ratio of daughter to parent substances may be impacted. This process could allow rocks from the same eruption to appear to be from different time periods when dated. More Bad News for Radiometric Dating (unc.edu)
  • Radiocarbon dating uses standardized northern and southern hemisphere calibration curves to determine specific dates of artifacts. The use of these calibration curves is based on the assumption that carbon 14 levels are similar and stable across both hemispheres. Yet, plants in the northern hemisphere grow at different times in different regions, and atmospheric measurements over the last 50 years show varying carbon 14 levels throughout as well. These inconsistencies prompted new research which has called previous dating chronologies into question.

“Our data reveal an average offset of ∼19 14C years, but, more interestingly, this offset seems to vary in importance through time. While relatively small, such an offset has substantial relevance to high-resolution 14C chronologies for the southern Levant, both archaeological and paleoenvironmental. For example, reconsidering two published studies, we find differences, on average, of 60% between the 95.4% probability ranges determined from IntCal13 versus those approximately allowing for the observed offset pattern. Such differences affect, and even potentially undermine, several current archaeological and historical positions and controversies.”

Fluctuating radiocarbon offsets observed in the southern Levant and implications for archaeological chronology debates | PNAS

So why does any of this matter? Because it impacts our outlook on the meaning and purpose of our lives. If we believe the historical scientific narrative, we are the products of evolutional accidents. Therefore, life has no meaning or purpose. Subjective truth is the only truth there is. There is no objective right or wrong. We all need to look out for ourselves, even at the expense of others. However, if we believe the narrative from the Bible our perspective is completely different. Therefore, our life has purpose which is given to us by God, who loves us. Objective truth and goodness come from God, and He tells us right from wrong. We care for the needs of others, even at our own expense, because it is pleasing toto share God’s love with others. Either way, we are taking a leap of faith.

Human knowledge is a collection of discoveries, built upon by each passing generation. This ability to build off the past makes human beings unique. Our cumulative knowledge has lead to technological advances that have shaped the world. However, when we build our lives on a faulty foundation we despair when it crumbles. What are you building your foundation on?

 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

Matthew 7:24-27

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