Module 5: The History of Life – Archaeology, Geology, Paleontology Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Module 5: The History of Life – Archaeology, Geology, Paleontology Deck (31):

Define: life science

Encompasses all scientific pursuits related to living organisms.


Define: archaeology

The study of past human life as revealed by preserved relics.


Define: artifacts

Objects made by people, such as tools, weapons, containers, etc.


Define: geology

The study of earth's history as revealed in the rocks that make up the earth.


Define: paleontology

The study of life's history as revealed in the preserved remains of once-living organisms.


Define: Aristotle's dictum

The benefit of the doubt is to be given to the document itself, not assigned by the critic to himself. The document 'speaks' for itself.


Define the term 'known age':

The age of an artifact as determined by a date printed on it or a reference to the artifact in a work of history.


Define: dendrochronology

The process of counting tree rings to determine the age of a tree.


Define: radiometric dating

Using a radio active process to determine the age of an item.


Define the term 'absolute age':

The calculated age of an artifact from a specific dating method that is used to determine when the artifact was made.


Define: 'The Principle of Superposition'

When artifacts are found in rock or earth that is layered, the deeper layers hold the older artifacts.


If you wanted to learn about the history of life other than human life, would you use archaeology or paleontology?


(archaeology concentrates on human life)


Name the three tests used to evaluate documents that claim to be historical.

Give a brief description of each of these tests.

The internal test
The external test
The bibliographic test

The internal test makes sure that the document does not contradict itself.

The external test makes certain that the document does not contradict other known historical or archaeological facts.

The bibliographic test makes certain the document we have today is essentially the same as the original.


In evaluating documents, what test is Aristotle's dictum used?
Why must we use it?

Aristotle's dictum is used in the internal test.

We must use it because what seems to be a contradiction in a document might not be a contradiction.

(It might just be our inability to understand the language in which the document was written.)


There are two reasons to believe that the copy of an ancient document might not be the same as the original. One is that the person making the copy might have made some unintentional mistake. What is the other reason?

Often those who are making a copy or those who are ordering the copy to be made will make intentional changes.

(Kings have done this in an effort to make themselves or their ancestors look better in history. Religious groups have been known to do this to make themselves look more important or to make there view look "right".)


What two things help a document pass the bibliographic test?

First, there should be a small time period between when the original was written in when the first available copy was made.

Second, there must be a lot of different copies from a lot of different sources.


Does the Bible contain any contradictions that make it fail the internal test?

The Bible passes the internal test as well as any document of its time.


Does the Bible have any difficult passages that might seem like contradictions?

Because of the difficulty of translating ancient languages, there are some difficult passages. All documents of history have such passages.


Why are the two accounts given in Acts 9:7 and Acts 22:9 not contradictory? Feel free to use the Bible to look up those verses.

This is a translation problem. The verb "hear" used in Acts 9:7 simply means that the men heard sound. The verb "hear" used in Acts 22:9 requires that the hearer must actually understand intelligible language.

These verses then, compliment one another. The first tells us that men heard 'sounds', but the second tells us that man could not 'understand' those sounds.


Why are the two genealogies of Christ given in Luke 3 and Matthew 1 not contradictory? You can use your Bible.

One of the genealogies traces Mary's line, while the other traces Joseph's line.


Why can we say that the Bible passes the external test better than any other document of its time?

We can say this because no other work has had so much archaeological evidence compared to it. The Bible has been tested by archaeology more than any other documents of history, and it passes with flying colors!


Suppose a document passes the internal and bibliographic tests but some of the conclusions of archaeologists go against what the document says. If the document has some other external support (other historical documents or some archaeological evidence), why should you not automatically say that it failed the external test?

Sometimes, it turns out that archaeology is wrong, so you cannot discount the validity of a document if archaeology does not fully agree with it. Remember, several archaeologists thought that the Bible was wrong on several occasions. It turns out that it was the archaeologists who were wrong, not the Bible.


Why can you say that the New Testament passes the bibliographic test better than any other document of its time?

The New Testament has significantly shorter time spans between original and copy as compared to any other work of the same time period. It also has thousands more supporting documents than any other document of its time.


Does the Old Testament pass the bibliographic test?

Yes the Old Testament passes the bibliographic test just as well as any other document of its time.


The age of an ancient settlement is determined by using dendrochronology on some firewood that has been chopped down but never used by the inhabitants. Does the settlement have a known age or an absolute age?

The age is absolute, because a dating method was used to determine it.


A coffin of a great king is discovered. The date of the king's death is recorded in a document of history. Does the coffin have a known age or an absolute age?

The coffin has a known age, because it is referenced in a document of history.


If an archaeologist gives an absolute age for an artifact, does that mean we know for certain how old the artifact is?

No. Absolute does not mean certain. Even the most accurate dating method has error in it, and some dating methods can be very unreliable.


Why does an archaeologist use master tree ring patterns?

Master tree ring patterns help the archaeologist determine the age of preserved logs.

Master tree ring patterns are cataloged for each region of the world, and they correspond to weather patterns that have already been dated. If an archaeologist finds a master tree ring pattern on a log, he or she knows when the tree ring pattern was formed and can use that to determine the age of the log.


What is the underlying assumption of The Principle of Superposition?

The Principle of Superposition assumes that (in rock or soil that is layered, the layers are formed one at a time). This is not necessarily true.


Suppose an archaeologist uses dendrochronology to determine that a city was built in 2500 B.C. Several years later, another archaeologist is digging deeper under the site of the city and, in the lower layer of soil, he finds the remains of another city. Unfortunately, there is nothing he can use for any dating technique. He can still conclude something about the age of the city. Assuming the Principle of Superposition is true in this situation, what can he conclude?

He can conclude that the city he found was built before 2500 B.C. Assuming the Principle of Superposition is true, the lower layers of rock are older than the upper layers. Since he found the city in the lower layer of rock, it must be older than the city that was discovered in the upper layer of rock.


Besides being discussed in the most accurate historical document of its time, what other historical evidence exists to indicate that a worldwide flood actually did occur?

There are many seemingly unrelated cultures that all have a worldwide flood tale. If the flood did not really occur, you have to assume that they all made up the tale independently, because many of the cultures had no contact with one another.