Observations on life; particularly spiritual

The telephone game

Did you know that researchers are more likely to believe oral stories that have been transmitted like the telephone game than written stories?More orally transmitted Aboriginal stories

A message can become unreliable if it passes through many intermediate speakers between the original speaker and the final listener. This is demonstrated in the telephone (Chinese whispers) game in which one person whispers a message to the ear of the next person through a line of people until the last player announces the message to the entire group. What usually happens is that the statement announced by the last player differs significantly from that of the first player. Obviously, if a message (or story) has been retold by many people, some of it can change if people forget parts of what they are told.

Did you know that researchers are more likely to believe oral stories which have been transmitted like the telephone game than written stories? It doesn’t make sense. Previously I have given an example of accounts of the lower sea level during the ice age. In that case researchers proposed the transmission of oral Aboriginal stories over 400 generations. But they would reject the transmission of written biblical stories over 138 generations!

View of Tower Hill Warrnambool, painting by Daniel Clarke 1867In 1947 an axe head was found beneath volcanic ash near Tower Hill near Warrnambool in Victoria, Australia. The ‘Bushfield axe’ was serendipitously discovered during the sinking of a post hole through a sequence of finely layered volcanic ash from the Tower Hill Volcanic Complex. This human-modified basalt tool shows that people were there prior to the eruptions. And the Aboriginal name for Tower Hill is Koroit, which is suggestive of volcanic activity.

Recent argon (40Ar/39Ar) radiometric dating (Matchan et al, 2020) put the age of the volcanic deposit at Tower Hill at about 37,000 years ago (according to the geologic time scale; Appendix A). As the local Aboriginal people’s oral traditions refer to volcanic activity, it’s alleged that these Aboriginal stories date back tens of thousands of years. This is astounding; 37,000 years is 1,480 generations!

Discussion

As the volcanic rock at Tower Hill is above sedimentary rock, these volcanic eruptions occurred after the sedimentary rock was formed. According to the Bible, most of the sedimentary rocks were laid down during the flood about 4,350 years ago, and there would have been enhanced volcanism during the following 500 years when ice accumulated up to the peak of the ice age (Appendix B).

After the global flood, people and animals migrated across the globe and repopulated the earth. This migration took place during the ice age, when sea levels were much lower than they are today.

So when were people at Tower Hill before the volcanism? According to the Bible it could be about 4k years ago, which represents 160 generations.

What is more believable: a story about volcanism was transmitted orally across 1,480 generations (37k years) or across 160 generations (4k years)? Obviously, the latter is a more believable explanation of the likely time period for the oral transmission of a story.

Researchers claim that the earliest evidence of humans in Australia is 40-65k years ago (according to the geologic times scale). As noted above, this time estimate is over an order of magnitude greater than that from recorded history in the Bible.

Obviously some of the assumptions made in the radiometric dating calculations are incorrect. But these presuppositions are never assessed or documented although they are inherent in atheistic uniformitarian historical science. It takes a lot of faith to accept ancient dates determined by radiometric dating and the geologic time scale because they are based on huge extrapolations from known conditions today.

Lessons for us

Researchers are willing to believe an oral story that they believe is about 37,000 years old, but they are unwilling to believe a written story that is about 3,460 years old. That’s inconsistent! It shows their bias against the Bible.

As the Bible provides a more credible explanation of these orally-transmitted Aboriginal stories than the geologic time scale, let’s be sceptical of the geological time scale. Unfortunately, many people are willing to believe an inferred history and reject a recorded history. They more likely to believe that oral stories have been transmitted like the telephone game than that written stories have been transmitted for a shorter period of time. This means their belief about the past is driven by an anti-biblical presupposition.

Appendix A: Geologic time-scale

The geologic time scale is a system of chronological dating that relates geological strata to time. It attributes most of the rock strata to geological processes occurring slowly over a long period of time. This hypothetical method relies on presuppositions such as:
– Slow deposition of rock strata over millions of years.
– Fossil succession based on biological evolution.
I am not aware of any research that has tested these assumptions. They are the naturalist’s “Bible”. Evolution and the geologic time scale have become academic dogma, and those who question them are regarded as heretics.

Appendix B: Different explanations of geological history

The earth’s geological and climatological history has determined the current geomorphological and geological structure of the earth. At present there are two main explanations of the earth’s geological and climatological history. One (Biblical) is based on recorded history in the Bible and the other (Uniformitarian) is based on assuming that the present (processes today) is the key to the past (ancient processes) and on the hypothetical geologic time scale. The biblical explanation allows for catastrophic events (such as the flood of Noah), whereas the Uniformitarian explanation minimizes the role of catastrophic events (because it has a preference for gradual events). The biblical explanation mainly involves rapid processes over short periods of time, whereas the Uniformitarian explanation mainly involves slow processes over long periods of time.

Biblical explanation – God created a harmonious mature universe about 6k years ago. Then the universe was cursed after humanity rebelled against God. This is the cause of suffering and death. The global flood about 4.5k years ago and associated tectonic activity and volcanism produced enormously thick sequences of sedimentary rocks over a short period of time. Fossils represent the order of burial during the flood. The flood was followed by an ice age during which there were volcanic and glacial impacts.

Uniformitarian explanation Sea levels changed gradually over millions of years to produce the enormously thick sequences of sedimentary rocks that record the long history of geological time. Fossils represent the biological evolution of species. There were multiple ice ages over millions of years. The most recent ice age ended about 10k years ago.

Reference

Matchan E L, Phillips D, Jourdan F, and Oostingh K, 2020, “Early human occupation of southeastern Australia: New insights from 40Ar/39Ar dating of young volcanoes”, Geology, 6 Feb. 2020.

Written, February 2020

Also see: Heads I win, tails you loose
Six reasons to be skeptical of the geologic time scale

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