Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 4721 days)
Re: Time for Evidence
Okay, let's start with the anthropological and then get into the biological.
First of all I will recap some things about the Catholic perspective of the anthropological consensus of man's earliest memories. Then, when discussing the biological, I'll be quoting mostly from Ken Westby's article just so you have a reference.
I'll add other thoughts as I go through.
Catholic Understanding of the Bible
In tracing human history, it is generally believed by old-school Catholic theologians that the primal knowledge of the Lord was often supplanted in religions by concepts of gods which are "more accessible." In doing such, the gradual monotheistic knowledge of a monotheistic God seems to deteriorate into a pantheon of divinities whose attributes seems to be defined more by nature and/or human characteristics. Even still, despite this supposed deterioration, these religions often carry a distant memory of this "Sky-God" whom they have lost most contact with. He is sometimes, on the surface, either perceived as 1) no longer caring or 2) so omniscient -- since he already hears and sees everything -- that there is no reason to talk to him.
More specifically, with further investigation, he is often referred to as Father. Within this paternal context, he is generally conceived in one of three ways; either as 1) a transcendent principle of divine order; 2) a senile or impotent deity who has been replaced by a set of other, more active and involved gods; or finally 3) he has become so remote, having removed himself so far from human affairs, that he is all but forgotten.
Nonetheless, having stated this, he still nonetheless seems to have these traits in common regardless of the culture he emerges from:
He lives in, or above, the sky -- anthropologists refer to him as the "Sky-God", although the name the peoples have for him is more commonly one meaning "Father" or "Creator".
He is like a man, or a father.
However his form cannot be physically represented, and so there are almost never idols of him.
He is the creator of everything.
He is eternal (i.e. He existed before anything else, and He will never cease to be).
He is all-knowing.
All that is good ultimately comes from him.
He is the giver of moral law.
He is good, and abhors all evil.
He is all-powerful.
He judges people after their death.
People are alienated from him due to some misdemeanor in the past.
The obvious response to all these traits, when presented more respectably, is, "Where have I heard that before?" The more obvious answers is that it sounds suspiciously like the Christian, Hebrew and Muslim concept of God. It becomes, in the minds of many catholics, even clearer when one notes the various concepts expressed in religions around the world. As many critics have noted, there are many pre-Christian religions and philosophies which teach doctrines which bear a striking resemblance to doctrines within the church. Although some similarities are certainly hyperbole or exaggeration of the part of the critic, such as most of those commonly attributed to the cult of Mithras, there are yet certainly more than a fair share of similarities to Christianity expressed in some ancient religions. When applicable, the Catholic Church tends to view these similarities in the sense of a kind of dialectic process leading to the re-emergeance of a faith that once existed in its fullness in the beginning but was lost to our first two parents long ago.
There are more than a few points to consider when examining this:
The Great Deluge
Primitive Sky Gods
Tower of Babel
Mystery Religions: Nimrod, Queen Semiramis, and Tammuz
Melchisedek & Abraham
Resurections by the Dozens?
Isaiah Prophesized Virgin Birth: Woman or Virgin?
Thus Spake Tharathrustra
Mithraism's Virgin Birth?
The Oracles of Sybil
Stoicism and the Demiurge
Messianic Expectations of the Essenes
The Romans Expectations of the Great King
The Visit of the Magi
The Revelation of Christ
God's Triune Nature
Sheol, Purgatory and the Nature of Death
The Transformation of Lucifer from Bearer of Light to a Burden Thereof
The Roman World: Paul's Dedication to the Unknown God.
Philo and the Logos of the Hellenistic World
The Fertile Ground of the Greek Philosophers
After Two Days He Shall Revive Us
The Catholic Church holds a deep conviction in regards to what is called semina Verbi (seeds of the Word) present in all religions. She does this in order to trace a common path against the backdrop of the contemporary world from our first two parents and on throughout human history. The position of the church in this regard is inspired by a universal concern -- she is guided by the faith that God the Creator wants to save all humankind in Christ Jesus, the only mediator between God and man. As such, the church still proclaims, and is bound to proclaim that Christ is 'the way and the truth and the life' in conformity with the Christian Scriptures found within the John 14:61. It is within Christ that one must find the fullness of religious life and in whom the Father has reconciled everything to himself.
Please note that this respect toward other faiths should not be mistaken for a 'spiritual blindness'. With reference to other religions, the Catholic Church sees a great difference between them and herself -- a great difference. The other religions are believed to be expressions of the human soul seeking the Lord, with some beautiful spiritual insights, but also not without errors. Christianity, however, is rather the opposite -- the Lord seeking humanity. Even though Vatican II declares the Church as being necessary for salvation, it should be added that people who do not know Christ are nevertheless included in the Lord's plan of salvation.
Having said this, however, there are conditions for the Lord's plan of salvation to apply. For example, they must be sincere in their seeking of the Lord. They also must be open to the secret but real action of the Holy Spirit in them. Likewise, they should follow their conscience in all matters of right and wrong. A human's religious response to the Lord should be free -- a principle that, tragically, the Church has not always respected. To say that every individual has the right to religious freedom is not to condone religious indifferentism or irresponsibility, nor is it to promote the installation of a supermarket of religions.
In examining the concept of the Sabbath as a 'sign', it should be noted that within the Hebrew Scriptures there are many signs given by the Lord in order to vindicate his authority as sovereign Lord. This authority as sovereign Lord was primarily focused on the ancient Israelites -- but also extended beyond them to incoorporate the nations of the entire world in one form or another. In discussing these things, it should also be noted that the physical evidence of a sign could take on a wide range of outward appearances. In many cases, the physical evidence of a sign could range anywhere from a mark or a token, a badge or a standard, or even a monument or a memorial.
The physical evidence of the signs given by the Lord usually almost always includes aspects of having a clearly definitive message pronounced as a warning, omen, or prodigy in conjunction with it. Likewise, in almost all cases, some form of deeper spiritual symbolism is present -- although many would argue over the semantics and reality of the symbolic meaning behind the physical evidence. On the more exceptional occasions, a miracle (or miraculous sign) was given to otherwise establish the proof of his presence and to demonstrate the seriousness of his intentions.
In analyzing the concept of designated 'signs' within the Hebrew Scriptures, it should be noted that the Hebrew word for 'sign' is ot. The Hebrew word 'ot' signified something which could be shown or confirmed, and pertained to the past, present and future. As highlighted above, it is generally understood that the confirmation was an inducement to believe what was affirmed, professed, or promised. At the most basic level, it was considered the 'acid test' of prophecy -- as a true prophet was identified by the fact that the wonders or signs he predicted in the name of the Lord came to pass.
Signs 'ot' to Lead to the Lord
Coming back to the central focus of the meaning of any given 'sign' -- it ought to be noted that the Hebrew word 'ot', when used exclusively, is generally an indicator or signal of something greater. This 'something greater', is usually some form of covenant promise which the sign points toward in one way or another. Again, ultimately coming full circle in one way or another, it points straight back to the Lord again.
In some cases, the usage of 'ot' may be simply employed for the marking of time. An example of this is outlined within a section of the Genesis account of the Lord's Creation quoted below:
|And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so. |
Genesis 1:14-15 (NIV)
It is interesting to note that society's seven-day calendar week appears to be the only major rhythm of human activity that is totally oblivious to external nature. This is to say, its timing seems to be rather "set apart" or "works "independently" from the natural rhythms of nature. This so-called "social week", as far as we are able to determine, seems to rest on mathematical regularity alone.
Now one may casually assume that our week is actually a division of the moon cycle. However, if that is one's assumption, they seem to conveniently forget that the lunar cycle is not a twenty-eight-day cycle, but approximately twenty-nine days, twelve hours, forty-four minutes and three seconds -- or 29.5306 days between new moons. A precise quarter of the lunar cycle amounts to the uneven figure of 7.38625 days. So any week using that true length would begin at different times of the day every time the cycle started. Simply put, there is just no way to neatly divide the lunar cycle into weekly blocks of complete days.
Of course, one may also wonder, "Then what about the sun? Doesn't the cycle of seven relate to the center of our solar system?" Again, apparently not. The 7-day week is also apparently independent from the annual solar cycle of 365 1/4 days. This is to say, a "year" of 52 weeks would have just 364 whole days -- neither is the week in harmonic sympathy with the star year of 366 1/4 days. Star days or "sidereal days" are about four minutes shorter than solar days (an observer will see a particular star at the same position four minutes earlier on successive nights).
In short, there are no known external rhythms in nature that could explain the near universal existence of the seven day social week. Having said this, the importance of the seven-day week -- or heptad, a series of seven -- is monumental, likened unto a 'sign'.
For example, Eviatar Zerubavel, in his book The Seven Day Circle: The History and Meaning of the Week, notes that:
|...a continuous week, for the establishment of settled life with a high level of social organization [is indispensable]. . . .Only by defining the week as a precise multiple of the day, rather than as a rough approximation of a fraction of the lunar month, could human beings permanently avoid the problem of having to handle loose remainders and, thus, introduce into their lives the sort of temporal regularity that they could never attain with the quasi week.|
Professor Zerubavel is essentially saying that a regular, predictable week plays a major role in the development of human civilization.
Many seem to take for granted the commonness of a world-wide seven-day week, especially since that hasn't always been the case in all the particular times and places of human history. "Weeks" varying in length from three to nineteen days have existed in past cultures. For example, in parts of Africa three, four (especially along the Congo river), five, six and eight day weeks are found -- and always in association with market days. Along the Congo the word for week is the same as the word for market. In North America the Mayas of Yucatan -- skilled mathematicians and pyramid builders -- had clusters of five-day weeks. In South America the Muyscas had a three-day week, the Persians and Malaysians a five-day week.
The ancient Etruscans, who inhabited the land the Italians do now, had an eight day market week which they passed on to the Romans no later than the sixth century B.C. As Rome expanded it encountered the seven-day week and for a time attempted to include both. But the coexistence of two weekly cycles was simply unworkable. The popularity of the seven-day rhythm won out and the eight-day week disappeared forever. Contrary to the pagan accusations made toward him, it was Emperor Constantine who eventually established the seven-day week in the Roman calendar -- and, who in 321 A.D., set Sunday as the first day of the week.
Apart from the Hebrew Scriptural record, historians have had difficulty placing the precise beginning of the seven-day week. For many, it is simply acknowledged as an ancient practice of very early origin in the evolution of civilization. The historical record becomes specific, however, with the appearance of Israelite religion and culture. In the millennium before Christ the distinctive of Israel's (and Judaism's) seven-day week became widely known. Its special seventh day devoted to worship and rest -- the Sabbath -- became an identity trademark that has endured to the present.
It is interesting to note that so tightly linked is Saturday to the Sabbath that in over 100 languages (one source says 160) the name for Saturday is some variation of the word "Sabbath." English is one exception as Saturday is named after the Roman Pagan god Saturn. Jeremy Campbell, in his comprehensive inquiry into the human nature of time, jauntily titled Winston Churchill's Afternoon Nap, gives Israel full credit for introducing the seven-day week.
|In all the ancient world, so far as is known, there was no seven-day calendar cycle except for the Jewish week, which existed at the very beginning of the monarchical period in Israel [approximately 1000 B.C.] and perhaps even earlier than that. A seven-day week was unknown among the ancient Greeks, whose holidays were held at very irregular intervals, since they fell on the days of religious feasts in different cities up and down the country.|
Besides the Israelite heptad, or seven day period, another tradition contributed to the forming of our modern seven-day week.
Long before the Greeks, Babylonian astronomers began to identify and name the seven heavenly bodies (sun and moon included as "planets") which they observed moving about the sky. Lacking our modern telescopes, they did not spot Uranus, Neptune or Pluto. Neither did they name weekdays after those seven "planets." Assigning planets to the days of the week is attributed to the Egyptians. But once a planet became attached to a day, the seven day "planetary week" came into existence.
|...The planetary week, however, was a relative newcomer compared with the Jewish week....[and] may have evolved from [it], and was undoubtedly influenced by it. Presumably the seven-day structure of the Jewish week came first, and later people began to call the days of the week after the names of the planets. Our modern week is a blend of both traditions.|
Zerubavel concludes that:
|...the astrological seven-day week, which evolved in Alexandria during the second century B.C., was introduced to the West through Rome sometime toward the end of the first century B.C. If it was Alexander the Great's conquest of Greece, Babylonia, and Egypt that, in bringing those three civilizations together, was indirectly responsible for the evolution of the astrological week in the first place, it was Julius Caesar's conquest of Egypt that, in making Rome heir to the glorious Hellenistic heritage, was responsible for importing that oriental cycle to the Occident. |
He also concludes that while the Jewish and astrological weeks evolved independently, they were eventually joined together by another power.
|...It was the Church that was responsible for integrating the Jewish and astrological weeks together and spreading the seven-day cycle throughout most of the world. Yet Christianity was by no means the only carrier that helped spread the Jewish week around the globe. Starting from the seventh century, Islam was responsible for importing this seven-day cycle to the east coast of Africa, the Sudan, Central Asia, large parts of North and West Africa, and even as far as to the Malay peninsula and parts of Indonesia.|
Both Christianity and Islam inherited the seven-day week from the Jews. Both established worship days separate from the Jews: Sunday for the Christians, Friday for the Muslims -- both days touching the original Sabbath. These three religions with their three worship days clustering together have played key historical roles in bringing the beat of a seven-day week to all the world.
Trying to Change Set Times and Laws
Due to the bond between religion (Christianity especially) and the week, there have been two major attempts in modern times to obliterate the seven-day week in favor of a different length week.
The first attempt came in the late 1700s. The humanistic French Revolution promised the people a new Age of Reason to replace regressive religious superstitions. A new secular, "rational" week of ten days was devised and approved by the ruling Convention in October, 1793. The ten-day "decade" was patterned after the decimal principle, having ten days divided into ten hours, of 100 minutes each with each minute divided into l00 decimal seconds. Every tenth day, the "decadi" was reserved for rest and celebration of various natural objects and abstract ideas. Notre Dame was renamed the Temple of Reason.
"The real target of the reform campaign," notes Zerubavel, "was the Christian [Church]....and from a symbolic standpoint, the abolition of the seven-day 'beat' expressed the wish to de-Christianize France far more than the attempt to make life there more 'rational.'"
During the Reign of Terror the ten-day "decade" was imposed by force. Churches were closed and allowed to open only on the tenth day. People were even forbidden to wear their good clothing on the traditional Sunday, with severe fines and even jail sentences given to violators. Religion, however, proved too resilient and the attempt to destroy the seven-day week (1793-1805) failed completely....as did the First Republic of France.
Not learning a thing from France's failure, the Communists ruling the Russian Revolution tried a second, even more radical experiment 140 years later. Their aim was the same: abolish religion by abolishing the seven-day week. The Soviet scene was a five-day continuous work week which called for 80 percent of workers to be on the job on any given day -- a plan which left 20 percent to share a day off. There was no longer a national day off. The advertised reason for the new rotating five-day week was to increase production.
After eleven years of disappointing production and epidemic irresponsibility in the work place (1929-1940) Stalin called it quits and gave the Soviet people back their seven-day week. Concludes Zerubavel, "In both France and the Soviet Union, some desperate attempts were made by two of the most ruthless totalitarian regimes in history to completely destroy the Judeo-Christian, seven-day week. In both societies, to this day, it still remains the dominant 'beat' of social life."
|"He gave me this explanation: 'The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time. [a]|
" 'But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.'
"This is the end of the matter. I, Daniel, was deeply troubled by my thoughts, and my face turned pale, but I kept the matter to myself."
a: Or "for a year, two years and half a year."
In light of the massive failures attributed to the Age of Reason and the Russian Revolution, one must face the question, "Why seven?" Or, expressed more clearly, since the seven-day cycle is not a naturally occurring event in our external environment, can culture alone explain how a whole society six billion strong now beats to a seven-day rhythm?
Tracking the development of the seven-day week in human events, as we have briefly summarized above, has been a far easier task for historians than explaining how the cycle originated in the first place. Researchers really have only two choices: 1) say that the week is a cultural/religious invention of unknown date which gradually took root in the ancient world, evolving with time to the near universal acceptance we find today, or, 2) take the Hebrew Scriptural record of the origin of the week as recounted in Genesis chapters 1 & 2 at face value -- it was made by God at Creation.
For convenience we may call option one, a standard, textbook explanation, "the cultural/religious outgrowth model." Option two naturally becomes "the Scriptural model." It comes as no surprise that most modern historians reject the second, or Scriptural model, and spend their ink documenting the first one, attempting to explain the strange phenomenon of a seven-day week. Yet, however one rates those attempts, recent discoveries revealing innate body rhythms of about seven days now seem to call that cultural outgrowth model into question.
The Chronobiology of Life
Mankind has always been aware of rhythms -- they surround us. We live with daily rhythms of tides, light and darkness, monthly rhythms of the moon, seasonal rhythms of birth, growth, harvest, hot and cold, and annual cycles of the sun, migrations, floods and drought. We have also observed cycles in our bodies which interact with those around us such as our daily sleep rhythms, daily temperature and blood pressure fluctuations, and the menstrual cycle which follows the lunar cycle precisely averaging 29.5 days.
However, until recently science has been aware of only the more obvious rhythms. Now the new science of chronobiology has begun to roll back frontiers revealing a universe replete with rhythms. The relatively new science of chronobiology has uncovered some totally unexpected facts about living things, as Susan Perry and Jim Dawson report in their book The Secrets Our Body Clock Reveal.
One section of text reads as follows:
|Weekly rhythms -- known in chronobiology as "circaseptan rhythms" -- are one of the most puzzling and fascinating findings of chronobiology. Circaseptan literally means "about seven;" see chart. Daily and seasonal cycles appear to be connected to the moon. But what is there in nature that would have caused weekly rhythms to evolve?|
At first glance, it might seem that weekly rhythms developed in response to the seven-day week imposed by human culture thousands of years ago. However, this theory doesn't hold once you realize that plants, insects, and animals other than humans also have weekly cycles....Biology, therefore, not culture, is probably at the source of our seven-day week.
Campbell summarizes the findings of the world's foremost authority on rhythms and the pioneer of the science of chronobiology:
|Franz Halberg proposes that body rhythms of about seven days, far from being passively driven by the social cycle of the calendar week, are innate, autonomous, and perhaps the reason why the calendar week arose in the first place.|
Franz Halberg, the brilliant scientist and founder of modern chronobiology, first began his experiments in the 1940s and now heads the Chronobiology Laboratories at the University of Minnesota. He offers us this rather detailed description of his field:
|Chronobiology is the eminently interdisciplinary science of interactions in time among metabolic, hormonal, and neuronal networks. It involves anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, physiology, and pharmacology, at the molecular, intracellular, intercellular, and still higher levels of organization. The compounds coordinating a time structure -- proteins, steroids, and amino-acid derivatives -- provide for the scheduling of interactions among membrane, cytoplasmic, and nuclear events in a network involving rhythmic enzyme reactions and other intracellular mechanisms. The integrated temporal features of the processes of induction, repression, transcription, and translation of gene expression remain to be mapped... |
Simply put: Chronobiology is the study of how living things handle time.
Chronobiology is no longer a minor science. Perry and Dawson note that it...
|...is now being studied in major universities and medical centers around the world. There are chronobiologists working for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), as well as for the National Institutes of Health and other government laboratories. Chronobiology is becoming part of the mainstream of science, and it is changing our way of looking at life and time.|
Perry and Dawson further warn, "Don't confuse the science of biological rhythms with the quackery of biorhythms....The two are as unlike each other as astronomy and astrology."
There are five major rhythms that beat in our bodies to insure our health and happiness. They are recorded in the chart below.
The daily or circadian rhythm (from the Latin for "around a day") is the easiest to detect and measure. We are born with our own set of circadian rhythms that in time become synchronized with our environment. Our rhythms vary slightly from individual to individual (23.6 hours, 24.3 hours, 25.4 hours, etc.) and they usually shorten as we age. For some unknown reason, women tend to have shorter circadian cycles than men.
|Humanity's Inner Rhythms Type of Rhythm Length Examples |
Ultradian Less than 24 hours Heartbeat. 90-min. fluctuations in energy levels & attention span. Brain waves.
Circadian About a day Temperature. Blood Pressure. Sleep/Wake Cycle. Cell Division.
Circaseptan About a week Reject of organ transplants. Immune response to infections. Blood & Urine chemicals. Blood Pressure. Heartbeat. Common Cold. Coping hormones.
Circatrigintan About a month Menstrual cycle
Circannual About a year Seasonal depression. Sexual drive. Susceptibility to some diseases.
If all our individual cycles vary from a precise 24 hour day or 168 hour seven-day week, wouldn't we in time get terribly out of sync?
Fortunately, according to Perry and Dawson, our bodies are able to reset themselves each day to the twenty-four hour rhythm, thanks to many powerful time cues. Chronobiologists call these cues zeitgebers, German for 'time givers.' Some can be found outside our bodies, some are located within, and others are part of our daily lives.
|As if we didn't have enough zeitgebers to keep our bodies in sync with the world, our internal rhythms also help synchronize each other, for none of the myriad rhythms within our bodies works in isolation. Some rhythms rise while others fall -- like a modern dance in which the dancers move seemingly independently of each other, but which actually has been carefully choreographed. The dance is so complex that chronobiologists are only beginning to understand the interrelationships of the rhythms.|
The most intriguing of all biological rhythms are those set to a clock of about seven days. In his chapter "The Importance of Time," Jeremy Campbell reports:
|These circaseptan, or about weekly, rhythms are one of the major surprises turned up by modern chronobiology. Fifteen years ago, few scientists would have expected that seven-day biological cycles would prove to be so widespread and so long established in the living world. They are of very ancient origin, appearing in primitive one-celled organisms, and are thought to be present even in bacteria, the simplest form of life now existing.|
In the Ancient Days of Old
One of Franz Halberg's amazing discoveries is that of an innate rhythm -- about seven days -- occurring in a giant alga some five million years old on the evolutionary time line. Because this microscopic cell resembles a graceful champagne glass, the alga (plant) is popularly known as mermaid's wineglass (Acetabularia mediterranea). When this "primitive" alga is subjected to artificial schedules of alternating light and dark spans of varying length over many days, this single intact cell is somehow able to translate all that manipulation of light and darkness into the measurement of a seven-day week.
As Campbell says, this inherent rhythm has to do with the internal logic of the body, not with the external logic of the world. Many more examples could be given. Involved experimentation with rats, face flies, plants and other life have revealed circaseptan rhythms similar to that of the mermaid's wineglass. However, perhaps it should be noted that origin of life's inherent rhythm becomes potentially even more difficult to explain by purely evolutionary models when one realizes that the ancient days of old were quite different from how we experience them today.
For example, as proffessor John W. Wells notes, astronomers seem to be generally agreed that while the period of the Earth's revolution around the Sun has been constant, its period of rotation on its polar axis, at present 24 hours, has not been constant throughout Earth's history. This is due to the fact that there has been a deceleration attributable to the dissipation of rotational energy by tidal forces on the surface and in the interior, a slow-down of about 2 seconds per 100,000 years according to the most recent estimates. It thus appears that the length of the day has been increasing throughout geological time and that the number of days in the year has been decreasing. In other words, for example, at the beginning of the Cambrian period, the length of the day would have been about 21 hours.
By further analyzing number of growth-lines per annum in fossil corals, it has been suggested quite reasonably that the length of ancient years can be measured in days. A number of people have noticed the fine ridges on the surface of the coral epitheca, a fundamental skeletal structure in tabulates, rugosans, and scleractinians -- the basic material not only of the exterior of the corallum but in various guises as septa and dissepiments. Whenever epitheca is present and unmodified these ridges are present, although in many fossil specimens they are apparently obliterated by post-mortem wear.
Coming to the point, just as rings within a tree reveal its age in years, the number of ridges along a coral reef can be used to determine the annual growth-rate. Although this has not been directly tried on living corals in the field, some have have tested it indirectly on one or two recent corals the annual linear growth-rate of which is fairly well known. To their gratification, they found that the number of ridges on the epitheca (of the living West Indian scleractinian Manicina areolata) hovers around 360 in the space of a year's growth. This strongly suggests, subject to experimental confirmation, that the growth-lines are diurnal or circadian in nature. It may be noted in passing that they may provide a much more sensitive caliper for measurement of annual growth-rates than the larger yearly simulations.
Going back to the fossils of ancient days, however, it has unfortunately been found that few fossil corals are sufficiently well preserved to show clearly the supposed diurnal growth-lines. In addition to this, it is not easy to determine the annual rate in any event. In epithecate recent corals the growth-lines are commonly abraded or corroded even before death of the polyp. The best of the limited fossil material that have been examined by some so far is from the Middle Devonian of New York and Ontario, especially specimens of Heliophyllum, Eridophllum, and Favosites.
Diurnal and annual growth-rates vary in the same individual, adding to the complexity, but in every instance there are more than 365 growth-lines per annum, usually about 400, ranging between extremes of 385 and 410. It is probably too much, considering the crudity of these data, to expect a narrower range of values for the number of days in a year in the Middle Devonian. It has been admitted that many more measurements will be necessary to refine them. A few more data may be mentioned however. For example, Lophophllidium from the Pennsylvanian (Conemaugh) of western Pennsylvania gave 390 lines per annum. In addition to this, Caninia from the Pennsylvanian of Texas, gave 385 lines per annum.
If accurate, these results imply that the number of days a year has decreased with the passage of time since the Devonian, as postulated by astronomers. Hence that values of the isotopic dates of the geophysicists do seem to agree well with the astronomical estimates of the age of the Earth.
It is not claimed that coral growth proves that either is right; but it is suggested that paleontology may well be able to supply a third stabilizing, and much cheaper, clue to the problem of geochronometry -- and that further search for diurnal oor circadian records in groups other than corals may result in strengthening this weak anthozoan proposition.
Coming back to the biological principles in relation to anthropological theory, it is interesting to note that no one appears to have predicted the extreme regularity of molecular relationships that we now call the molecular clock, but this phenomenon became "just what evolutionary would predict" -- after the theory was substantially modified to accommodate the new evidence. Even then, as noted above, the circaseptan rhythm still seems to have no natural parallel within nature to tune itself to -- if indeed the origin of species was the result of purely naturalistic causes.
If the seven-day week is an invention of culture and religion, as most historians would have us believe, how do we explain innate circaseptan rhythms in "primitive" algae, rats, plants and face flies? These forms of life have no calendar, can't read the Torah and don't know Saturn from Santa Claus.
It seems more plausible to those who are not biased toward purely materialistc causalities that the rhythms found in the cells of all life are exactly what they were designed to be by God -- a 'sign' that God was active in the creation of all life all along just as the Scriptures claimed from the beginning.
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
Would you like me to elaborate more on this?
This message has been edited by Mr. Ex Nihilo, 10-22-2005 02:59 AM
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