Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Michael Faraday: Man of Faith and Science

Michael Faraday's father, James Faraday, was a blacksmith from Yorkshire in the north of England. His mother, Margaret Hastwell, was the daughter of a farmer. Early in 1791 James and Margaret moved to Newington Butts, a village outside London. They already had two children, a boy Robert and a girl,  and Michael was born only a few months after their move on September 22, 1791.

The Farraday family were Sandemanians, a group of Protestants which had split from the Church of Scotland. The Sandemanians interpreted the Bible literally and this approach had a lasting influence on Michael. Faraday came to view the view the Bible as speaking about spiritual things whereas science explores material things. He did not see a conflict between the Bible and Science. His attitude was typical of many 19th century Christians in the sciences. The proper way to pursue science was a matter of great concern to him. He was very much a British empiricist.

The sciences that interested Faraady most involved magnetism, electricity, and chemistry. These are not explicitly mentioned in the Bible. He once said, “I will simply express my strong belief, that that point of self-education which consists in teaching the mind to resist its desires and inclinations, until they are proved to be right, is the most important of all, not only in things of natural philosophy, but in every department of daily life.”

In 1804, Michael served as an errand boy for the bookseller George Riebau. One of his tasks was to deliver newspapers. Faraday read many books during the seven years that he worked for Riebau. One work that captured his attention was Isaac Watts' The Improvement of the Mind.

Riebau wrote a letter in 1813 in which he described how Faraday spent his days as an apprentice (see for example:
After the regular hours of business, he was chiefly employed in drawing and copying from the Artist's Repository, a work published in numbers which he took in weekly. ... Dr Watts's Improvements of the mind was then read and frequently took in his pocket, when he went an early walk in the morning, visiting some other works of art or searching for some mineral or vegetable curiosity. ... His mind ever engaged, besides attending to bookbinding which he executed in a proper manner.

In October 1812, Faraday took a position as a bookbinder but still he hoped to become involved in science. He wrote to Humphry Davy, whose chemistry lectures he had attended. He sent, him copies of the notes he had taken at Davy's lectures. Davy arranged a meeting with Farraday and advised Faraday to keep working as a bookbinder, saying:
Marble statue of Faraday
in the Royal Institution

Science[is];a harsh mistress, and in a pecuniary point of view but poorly rewarding those who devote themselves to her service.
However, Faraday's fortune was about to turn. Davy's assistant lost his job for fighting and Davy invited Faraday to fill the empty post. In 1813 Faraday took up the position at the Royal Institution. He then had access to scientific equipment in a laboratory.

Faraday worked on chemistry until 1821 when he began experiments with electricity. He was interested in the work of some scientists in Paris, including Arago and Ampère, who established a relation between electricity and magnetism. Davy became interested in this and this provided Faraday the opportunity to work on the topic. Faraday published On some new electro-magnetical motions, and on the theory of magnetismin the Quarterly Journal of Science in October 1821. Pearce Williams writes:
It records the first conversion of electrical into mechanical energy. It also contained the first notion of the line of force.
Faraday's work led to deep mathematical theories of electricity and magnetism. The mathematical theories developed by Maxwell relied on the laws Faraday had established by his experiments. 

The Christian message of Jesus as the Incarnate God was important to Faraday. This, of course, is the message of Christmas. Beginning in 1826, Faraday presented a series of six Christmas lectures for children at the Royal Institution, and continued to do so for the rest of his life. These lectures gave Faraday a venue in which he could discuss two things he loved: Christianity and science.

In the years 1859 and 1860 he gave the Christmas lectures on the forces of matter. The following Christmas, he gave the children's lectures on the chemical history of the candle. These two final series of lectures by Faraday were published. The Christmas lectures at the Royal Institution, begun by Faraday, continue today but now reach a much greater audience since they are televised.

In August 1867, Faraday died in his Hampton Court Green home after a period of declining health. He was 73. He was buried in Highgate Cemetery, London N6. As an elder in the Sandemanian Church, he was buried in the Sandemanian plot of the Western Cemetery. His wife Sarah was buried there in January 1879.

Friday, September 15, 2017

RIP Cassini. Job well done!

NASA received its last data transmission from the Cassini spacecraft at 4:55:46 a.m. PDT (7:55:46 a.m. EDT, 1146 GMT) on Friday, Sept. 15, before losing contact with the probe as it hurtled into Saturn's atmosphere and broke apart.

Cassini orbited Saturn for 13 years before its fiery grand finale. NASA officials expect that Cassini broke apart about 45 seconds after that final transmission, due to the intense friction and heat generated by the fall.

Cassini's descent into Saturn was intentional. The spacecraft was rapidly running out of fuel, after spending nearly 20 years in space, and NASA scientists decided to make use of the mission's inevitable conclusion. By crashing into Saturn, Cassini had the opportunity to see what the planet's upper atmosphere is made of, and that's the data that the probe sent back to Earth during its final few moments of life. Read more here.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Robots that Hand Off Leadership

Retired mechanical engineer Paul Hanner helps students build a robot
 for the Meltdown Robo-Challenge at Newton’s Attic

A team of scientists led by Marco Dorigo (Free University of Brussels) has created robots that work together and decide which one will lead them. These autonomous robots know how to work as a team and even how to choose the best leader. By linking up, these Voltron-like robots can create a kind of central nervous system.

If the head robot breaks, another will take the lead. The team built a robot that can link up to another robot, react to its environment, and delegate authority to a single member of a group. The robots have an internal map of the robots that are connected to them, and that map looks like a hierarchical tree.

When two groups of robots join together, the leader of the first group can transfer its internal map of the other robots to the leader of the second group, giving up the leadership position.

Read more here.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Monster Solar Flares

The sun fired off another powerful solar flare on Sunday, Sept. 10. It was the seventh solar flare in seven days.

There are three categories of solar flares, and Sunday's was the highest classification: an "X" event. Two of the other recent flares were also X-class, including Wednesday's (Sept. 6) X9.3 flare, the strongest solar blast in 12 years.

The effects of such powerful flares include interruption or degraded communications on land and at sea.

Read more here

Friday, September 8, 2017

Technology-STEM Discovery Course

Fall 2017
Alice C. Linsley

The Middle School elective called "Technology-STEM Discovery"exposes students to 15 sciences and asks them to integrate their learning with Bible through the use of technology.

The students read, discuss, and complete projects on topics in agriculture, anthropology, archaeology, architecture, astronomy, biology, climate studies, earth science, forestry, genetics, linguistics, materials science, medicine, navigation, and zoology.

The Technology-STEM Discovery course has three components:
Component One: Computer Skills, History of Technology
Component TwoChristians in STEM throughout History
Component Three: Bible Technology Cards
Component One: Typical topics include:

The Power of the Internet
Google Docs
Internet Research/Search Engines
Style Sheets
Chrome Books
Creating and Managing a Blog
Animation: Pow Toon, Generator, Animoto
Digital storytelling: Toontastic tutorial

Cooperative Technology Project

The Technology-STEM Discovery classes will do internet research on the technologies throughout history. Students select a period of history and research the main technologies. This is a cooperative technology project. They are to produce a 6-page newsletter about the technologies of that period: archaic world 3000 BC to 500 BC; ancient world 500 BC to 200 AD; medieval world 200 AD to 1200 AD; or modern world 1200 AD to present.

Component Two

Students are not aware that an estimated 60% of pioneers in STEM have been Christians. Component Two introduces them to some of these people. Each student will produce a Powerpoint or Google slide presentation on a person from the list below. No dates after the person's name means they are living and can be interviewed by the student.

Francis Bacon 1561-1626
Johannes Kepler 1571-1630
Blaise Pascal 1623-1662
Georges Cuvier 1769-1832
Michael Farraday 1791-1867
James Clerk Maxwell 1831-1879
George Washington Carver 1864-1943
Robert Runnels Williams 1886–1965
Roger John Williams 1893–1988
Georges Lemaître 1894–1966
Austin L. Hughes 1949-2015
Raymond V. Damadian
Ian H. Hutchinson

Mary Anning 1799-1847
Agnes Giberne 1845-1939
Mary Celine Fasenmyer 1906-1996
Chris Templar
Katharine Hayhoe
Ann Marie Thro
Jennifer Wiseman
Robin Pals-Rylaarsdam
Nola Stephens

RUBRIC: The presentation is to have between 15 and 20 slides. The first slide is the title page with the student's name. The last slide is to be a summary of 5 or 6 main points. All slides, except the first and last, should have at least one image and no more than 10 words per slide.

Component Three

Students select a card from the Bible Technology Card Box. The cards address topics in 15 fields of science. Each card provides background information and context for students to research up to 3 questions per card related to science, technology, engineering and math in the Bible. Students are to complete 12 cards per semester (or 6 cards per quarter). The cards are color coded as follows:

Agriculture/Horticulture - sea foam green
Anthropology - gold
Archaeology - blue
Architecture - pink
Astronomy - bright green
Biology - blue
Climate Studies - purple
Earth Science - black
Forestry - teal
Genetics - red
Linguistics - brown
Materials - bright yellow
Medicine - orange
Navigation - white
Zoology - salmon

You will find answers to the Bible Technology Cards by clicking on the links below. The articles are listed under the branch of science. Be sure to check the "related reading" at the end of the articles for further information.

Horticulture in the Ancient World
Threshing Floors and Solar Symbolism
Olive Oil Production in the Ancient World

Confirmation of Biblical Populations
Getting the Facts About Human Origins
The Rising Star Expedition
Rising Star Expedition Update
Science in Progress: The Rising Star ExpeditionNoah's Sons and Their Descendants
More About Noah's Descendants
Nahor and His Descendants
The Marriage and Ascendancy Pattern of Abraham's People
The Mighty Men of Old
The Pyramid Builders
The Genesis King Lists
The Antiquity of the Edomite Rulers
Two Named Esau
Edom and the Horite Ha'biru
Priests, Shamans and Prophets
Three-Clan Confederations and Twelve-Clan Confederations
Some Marks of Prehistoric Religion

The Stone Age
Symbols of Archaic Rock Shelters
David's Zion Found
Jerusalem Virtual Pilgrimage
What Are Bullae?
3000 Year Temple Seal
Yahu Seals
Purity Seal From Herod's Temple
2400 BC Tomb of Purification Priest (Also read this.)
Sudan is Archaeologically Rich
Sixteen Pyramids Unearthed at Kushite Cemetery
70,000 Year Settlement Found in Sudan
Why Nekhen is Archaeologically Significant

The Pillars of Solomon's Temple
Shrine Cities Were Sun Shrines
Monuments of the Ancient Kushites
Kushite Shrines
The Temple of Winged Lions
Tumuli of the Ancient World
Petra Reflects Horite Beliefs
Prehistoric Obelisk Found in Judah
Circumcision and Circles of Standing Stones in the Judean Hills
Horite Temples
The High Places
The Shrine City of Nekhen
77,000-Year Settlement in Sudan
Europe's Oldest Prehistoric Town Unearthed in Bulgaria
The Trapezoid in Ancient Architecture
Sheep Cotes

Saros Cycles and Eclipses
The Sunlight Cycle in the Northern Hemisphere
The King Planet's North Pole Has Changed to Gold
The Celestial Dance Observed by the Magi
Who Were the Wise Men?
Horite Expectation and the Star of Bethlehem
The Sun and Moon as a Binary Set
The Sun and the Sacred
Ancient African Astronomers
Threshing Floors and Solar Symbols
Solar Imagery
A Tent for the Sun
The Sun and the Sacred
The Sun and Celestial Horses
Dung Beetle and Heaven Lights
Marcus Byrne: The Dance of the Dung Beetle

Genesis Has No Evolutionary Framework
Questioning the Common Ancestry Hypothesis
What is Meant by the Term "Kind" in Genesis?
Cambrian Explosion: The Binary Feature Signals Greater Diversity
The Genetic Difference Between Humans and Apes

Mega-Lake Chad
Katherine Hayhoe on Climate Change
Climate Cycles Indicate a Dynamic Earth
Two Environmentalists Knock Heads
Climate and Wealth Redistribution
Climate Change and Human Innovation
Antarctic Ozone Hole Smaller
America's Wake Up Call on Climate

Earth Science
The Pillars of the Earth
Volcanic Eruptions
Earth's Magnetic Pole Reversals
Reversals of Polarity: The Magnetic Flip
Afar Rift
The Lake Suigetsu Varve
Walking Rocks
The Atacama RockTumbler

Trees in Genesis
The Trees of Prophets
Trees as Boundary Markers
The Judean Nut Palm
What Happened to the Cedars of Lebanon?
Antarctica Once Had Baobab Trees
The Fig Tree in Biblical Symbolism
Congo Basin Forest Ecology
Amazon Basin Forest Ecology
Theories About the Tree of Life
The Tree of Weeping

Genetic Types: A few basics
Haplogroups of Interest to Biblical Anthropologists
R1b Profile of 64% of European Men
Ashkenazi Represent Judeo-Khazar Admixture
The Sub-Saharan DNA of Modern Jews
DNA Confirms Mixed Ancestry of Jews
A Kindling of Ancient Memory
The Bible and the Question of Race
80,000 Year Ancestor of Chinese Men

What is a Phoneme?
Phoneme Study Pinpoints Origin of Modern Languages
Early Written Signs
Ancient Canaanite Inscriptions
Symbols of Archaic Rock Shelters
The Urheimat of the Canaanite Y
Is Hebrew an African Language?
The Aleph as Ox/Bull Head
Technology to Preserve Languages on the Verge of Extinction
Conversation about the Beginning of Spoken Language
Navajo-Ket Linguistic Connection
Dr. Nola Stephens on Linguistics and Faith
The Generative Divine Word

Archaic Shell Technology
"Easter" Eggs in Antiquity
Brick Making in Antiquity
Bronze Serpent on Moses's Staff
Stone Work of the Ancient World
Textiles of the Ancient World
Stone, Shell and Egg Technologies
Noah's Ark
The Religious Symbolism of Gold
The Gold of Ophir
Kushite Gold
A Silver Lining at Abel Beth Maacah
Paradise of Ancient Memory
Afro-Asiatic Metal Workers
Red and Black Smiths
Why Zipporah Used a Flint Knife
Afro-Asiatic Metal Workers
Ancient Miners Venerated Hathor

Medical Care in Ancient Egypt
Medical Care in the Ancient World
Prehistoric Humans Used Plants Medicinally
The Ancient Nubians Used Antibiotics
Neolithic Medical Care
Herbs Used for Healing in the Bible
Dental Health of Ancient Sudanese

Noah's Ark
Pythons Used for Sea Navigation
The Ancient Egyptians were Seafaring
4500-Year Harbor at Wadi al-Jarf
Boats and Cows of the Nilo-Saharans
When the Nile Was a Mega-River
Swimming and Diving: Activities of Archaic Peoples
Boat Petroglyphs in Egypt's Central Eastern Desert

Dogs in the Bible
The Animals on Noah's Arc
Dung Beetle
The Ostrich in Biblical Symbolism
The Rooster in Biblical Symbolism
Religious Symbolism of Long Cow Horns
Why Cows Were Sacred in the Ancient World
Cows of the Proto-Saharans
The Fatted Calf
Jesus: From Lamb to Ram
Elephants in the Time of Abraham
Abraham's Camels
Sea Birds Use Sense of Smell to Navigate
Celestial Horses
Noah's Birds
The Lion and Judah
Animal Totems Used to Trace Ancestry

Additional helpful reading:

INDEX of Topics
Who Laid the Foundations of Science and Technology?
Using the Bible to Test Hypotheses
When is the Evidence Sufficient?
Why Biblical Anthropology?
INDEX of Topics at Biblical Anthropology
INDEX of Topics at Just Genesis
The Key to Science and Scripture Alignment
Ancient Seats of Wisdom
Science and Technology in the Ancient World
The Oldest Known Calculator
Find Answers to Bible Technology Cards
Ancient Shrine Cities
Medicine in the Ancient World
Tumuli of the Ancient World
Clepsydra, an Ancient Time Device
The Sand Hourglass or Clepsammia
How Globes Are Made
A Brief History of Map Making
How Telescopes are Made
Ancient Textile Technologies

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Religious Symbolism of Gold

This crescent-shaped gold collar (lunula) was found in Cornwall, England. The Penwith Lunula is dated to the Early Bronze Age (2500-1550 BC). It was worn by a ruler in England around the same time Abraham established himself as a ruler in ancient Edom.

Alice C. Linsley

From ancient times, gold has been a highly prized commodity. Gold is mentioned over 400 times in the Bible. The word for gold is similar in these Afro-Asiatic languages: Ancient Egyptian - nub (nwb); Akkadian - dahh-ubu; Arabic - dha-hab; and Hebrew - za-hab.

Some of Abraham's ancestors lived in the region of Kush, at the source of the Nile River. Kush was a great chief and one of Noah's grandsons.

Genesis 2:11 calls this Ha'vilah, indicating a place where the waters form a V at the source of the Nile. Ha'vilah is said to be rich in gold. This area of the Upper Nile is also known as Nubia, which means "land of gold".

In 2007, archaeologists from the Oriental Institute discovered a 4000 year gold-processing center along Nile. The site is called Hosh el-Guruf and is located about 225 miles north of Khartoum. More than 55 grinding stones made of granite-like gneiss were found at the site. The ore was ground to recover the gold and water was used to separate the flakes from the particle residue. Similar grinding stones have been found at Timnah in southern Israel.

A temple dedicated to Hathor was discovered at the southwestern edge of Mt. Timnah by Professor Beno Rothenberg of Hebrew University. In his book Timna, Rothenberg concluded that the peoples living in the area were "partners not only in the work but in the worship of Hathor." (Timna, p. 183)

Another area described in the Bible as being rich in gold is Ophir. Ophir was in southwest Arabia. This is the territory of Sheba and Ramah (see map below). Every three years Solomon received tribute of gold, silver, sandalwood, precious stones, ivory, apes and peacocks from Ophir. Solomon's navy traveled to Ophir, taking "four hundred and twenty talents of gold from there" (1 Kings 9:26-28; 22:48; 2 Chronicles 8:17-18; 9:10).

This map shows Ha'vilah's eastern range. 
Genesis 2:11 states that Ha'vilah is in the land of Kush in the Nile Valley.

This gold of Ophir was mined heavily and became scarce. This is attested in Isaiah 13:12, which says,"I will make mortal man scarcer than pure gold and mankind than the gold of Ophir."

The Religious Symbolism of God

In ancient times gold was associated with rulers and with the sun. The rulers among Abraham's ancestors were believed to be appointed by God to rule as the Creator's representative of earth. The sun symbol appears as the initial Y (a solar cradle), in the names of many biblical rulers: Yaqtan (Joktan); Yishmael (Ishmael); Yishbak; Yitzak (Isaac); Yacob (Jacob); Yosef (Joseph); Yetro (Jethro); Yeshai (Jesse) and Yeshua (Joshua/Jesus).

The solar cradle is also seen on images of Hathor. She wears a headdress of bull horns shaped like a Y. She is the only woman in the history of the Horite Hebrew to be shown in ancient images as divinely appointed to bring forth the son of God.

The divine appointment of rulers was sometimes indicated by a solar symbol such as this tattoo on the ruler's cheek.

This is one of the Tarum Mummies found in China. The mummy dates to 1000 BC and is called the "Ur-David" mummy, or Chärchän Man. He was tall and had red hair and a red beard. This mummy's hair is similar to that found on the redheaded man in Burial no. 79 at Nekhen on the Nile.
 Divine appointment was depicted in ancient images with the sun overshadowing the ruler. Solar imagery also was used to designate the chosen woman who would conceive Messiah, and the animal to be sacrificed. Here are some examples.

Hathor the Overshadowed

Hathor was appointed to bear the "son"of God, Horus. In this image she is shown overshadowed by the sun, the emblem or symbol of the Creator. Hathor foreshadows the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Messiah. When Mary asked the angel how she would conceive a child, seeing that she "knew" no man, Gabriel explained, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God." (Luke 1)

Horus the Golden Calf

Hathor's animal totem was the long horn bull. Her offspring, Horus, is sometimes portrayed as the golden calf. 

Horus the Golden One

One of the most famous depictions of Horus was found at Nekhen, one of the oldest known site of Horite Hebrew worship. This shows Horus under the sign of his totem, the golden falcon.

This great gold plumed falcon represents Horus, the son of the Creator. Nekhen was named for Horus of the Falcon: Nekheny.

Gold was associated with Horus. This is evident in the Babylonian word for gold hur-asu. The Egyptian word hr means "the One on high." The Turin Canon, which provides important information on Egypt's early history, describes the predynastic rulers as "Followers of Horus" and Horus as the "Ruler of the Two Horizons."

Important references to gold in the Bible

Genesis 13:2 says that Abraham was very rich in livestock, in silver and in gold.

Genesis 24:22 says that Abraham's servant delivered a gold ring and two gold bracelets to Rebekah as a gift from her future husband, Isaac.

Exodus 28:6 says that the ephod worn by the high priest was made of gold.

Exodus 32:2 says that Aaron fashioned the golden calf from the gold rings worn by the Israelites.

Related reading: The God of Ophir; Minoan Golden Bee; The Urheimat of the Canaanite Y; Kushite Gold; Nubia in Biblical History

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Tar as an Adhesive and Sealant

For thousands of years tar has been used as an adhesive and a sealant. This material is mentioned in Genesis 11:3 in connection with the construction of buildings made of brick. The bricks were mortared together using tar. The substance they used is called bitumen and is also known as asphaltum. It is a black, oily form of petroleum that occurs in nature as a byproduct of decomposed plants.

Tar pits are found all over the world. Genesis 14:10 reports that "the valley of Siddim [in Israel] was full of tar pits." The La Brea Tar Pit in California is a tourist attraction. Tar deposits are found in Africa, the Dead Sea, at various sites along the Indus River (Isa Khel), in Central and South America, in Switzerland, and in northeastern Alberta, Canada.

Throughout the biblical world, bitumen was used for the construction of buildings and water-proofing of reed boats like the one shown in the image above. The earliest known reed boat to date that was coated with bitumen, was found at the site of H3 at As-Sabiyah in Kuwait. The boat dates to about 5000 BC. 

According to Genesis, Noah's ark was made of reeds (gopher). Noah was a great Proto-Saharan ruler. He would have had boat builders (shipwrights), household servants, and gardeners. He is remembered for having a vineyard (Gen. 9:20). As a king, Noah had access to the best and the most plentiful supply of boat building materials.

The historicity of Noah’s concern for animals is supported by the discovery that Proto-Saharan rulers kept royal menageries of exotic animals. The oldest known zoological collection was found during the 2009 excavations at Nekhen on the Nile. The royal menagerie dates to about 3500 BC and included hippos, elephants, baboons, and wildcats. 

Noah would have known about the shrine city of Nekhen. It was one of the earliest worship centers for the Horite Hebrew.

The Neanderthals used bitumen at sites such as Gura Cheii Cave (Romania) and Hummal and Umm El Tlel in Syria. Here archaeologists have found stone tools with bitumen adhesive to fasten handles to tools and blades to spears used for hunting. The tar adhesive helped to strengthen and waterproof bindings made of sinew, hide, or plant fibers used to attach bone or stone tools and weapons to handles. The technique is known as hafting with tar.

Related reading: The Archaeological History of Black Goo; The Animals on Noah's Ark