Monday, April 24, 2017

Contest Ends on Friday, May 5th


Student submissions for the new blog header must be received by the teacher by 3:20 pm on Friday, May 5th. You may submit these on a USB drive or by e-mail.

The guidelines are written in the class notes section of your Technology-STEM Discovery notebooks. The name of the school or the school logo must appear on the header. Also the header should have the name of the course: Technology-STEM Discovery, with emphasis on the word "discovery."

The submission will be shown to the 7th and 8th grades classes and the students will vote for the top three headers. Those headers will be improved, based on suggestions from the teacher and classes, and then a second vote will determine the top choice. The creator of the top choice will receive a $75.00 gift card.

If you have questions, see Ms. Linsley.


Related reading: Designing a Blog Header on Google;




Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Brick Making in the Ancient World


Mud or clay bricks were used throughout the ancient world. The bricks were pressed into molds and then dried in the sun or baked in ovens (kilns). The molds made it possible to produce bricks that were fairly uniform in size and shape.


Baked bricks form this fortification wall. The strength and height are increased by alternating rows of bricks running in different directions.

Kiln-baked bricks were stronger and these were used for the outer walls of structures. Archaeologists have found clay or mud brick structures, often in ruins, dating to as early as 3800 B.C.

Brick kilns (shown below) were discovered at Egyptian Teudjoi (Ankyronpolis) south of Beni Suef, on the east bank of the Nile. 

Genesis 11:3 tells us that the towers in Mesopotamia were built of fired brick, Mud or clay bricks were used to build temples, palaces, entrances to royal tombs, houses, walls, and pyramidal towers called ziggurats.  The Mesopotamian ziggurats were built with a core of sun dried mud brick and an exterior covered with kiln-baked brick. Ziggurats were stepped temples.

The Sumerians used bricks to create arched entrances to royal tombs. Sumerian arches were made by stacking bricks on top of each other in steps that met in the center. Around 3000 B.C, builders created a special wedge-shaped brick mold that allowed the bricks to fit even more closely together above a doorway.

The Sumerians and ancient Egyptians built shrine cities and fortifications using clay bricks mixed with straw. According to Exodus 5:7, Pharaoh ordered the Egyptian taskmasters: "You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw."


To increase the production of bricks teams of brick makers competed against each other. This image (above) of men making bricks appears on the wall of the tomb of Rekmara, a ruler of the Eighteenth Dynasty (1550-1292 BC). 

The land of Canaan and it's principal cities, such as Hazor, Kadesh, and Jerusalem, were under Egyptian rule during the Eighteenth Dynasty. Cities under Egyptian rule were fortified with walls many feet thick. The north wall protecting Lachish was 17 feet thick and the outer walls of Gezer were 14 feet thick. These fortified shrine cities are called the "high places" in the Bible. Jerusalem was named Jebus (Yebu) because it was the city of the Jebusites who built their royal complex on the south-eastern hill of Jerusalem.

Bricks were used to lay out the structure of a new building. Stacked bricks served as markers. Some buildings contained bricks that were inscribed with prayers and dedications, as is done today on the corner stones of new buildings.

Related reading: The High Places

Friday, April 7, 2017

Enevoldsen's Periodic Table Highlights Uses



In high school chemistry we learn the periodic table, but rarely do we learn how these elements are used. Keith Enevoldsen from elements.wlonk.com has come up with this awesome periodic table that gives you an example for every element except for the superheavy elements that do not occur in nature and can only be produced in the laboratory. Such elements are discovered by smashing together light nuclei and tracking the decay of the resulting superheavy elements.

Uranium was used to create "vaseline" glass and is moderately radioactive. This green-yellow glass is a popular collectable. Thulium is used for laser eye surgery, krypton for flashlights, strontium for fireworks, and xenon for lighthouse lamps. Samarium is used with cobalt to make magnets.

Discover more uses here.

Related reading: Element 117 Named; Four Newly Named Elements

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Judean Palm


When the Romans invaded Judea in 63 B.C., there were thick forests of date palm trees stretching over a range of 7 miles across the Jordan valley from the Sea of Galilee in the north to the shores of the Dead Sea in the south. The trees grew to a height of 80 feet and had branches all year round.

When the people greeted Jesus as he entered Jerusalem, they greeted him with palm branches as a king to be enthroned. Ceremonial installation of rulers with palms was an ancient tradition in Jesus' time. Fresh palms are still used among many peoples of Central and East Africa at the enthronement of a sovereign and a priest of high rank.

In greeting the King, palm fronds and olive branches were used in Biblical times among the Jebusites who controlled Jerusalem (Yebu). Even today. fresh palm tree fronds are used ceremonially at the installation of Ijebu rulers and to decorate places of worship. Jude Adebo Adeleye Ogunade writes in his memoir about growing up Ijebu. He was warned not to touch the leaves of the Igi-Ose tree because, as his Mama Eleni explained, "That tree is the tree whose leaves are used to install Chiefs and Kings of Ijebu and as your grandfather was a custodian of the rites of chieftaincy and kingship you must not play with its leaves." The University of Oxford, Institute Paper, n° 7, (1937) on Medicinal Plants lists the leaves of the Igi-Ose as a blood purifier.

Palm branches were also used to decorate sacred places and in worship. Watch this video of Christian women worshiping with palm branches.

In ancient Israel the Judean nut palms were stripped of many branches for the Jewish festival of Tabernacles or Booths (Sukkot). Branches were cut to make roofing for the booths. The palm branches also were used to thatch the roofs of homes and sheep cotes, to create canopies over open market spaces, and for ceremonies like weddings, etc. They were used so extensively that the Judean date nut palms disappeared from the Jordan valley.

Hayany Date Nut Palm of Upper Egypt

There are efforts to bring back the Judean nut palm. In 2005, Dr. Elaine Solowey germinated a 2000-year seed that had been recovered decades earlier from an archaeological excavation at the fortified high place Masada. The so-called the Methuselah tree (shown below) is growing in a protected environment at a laboratory in Jerusalem. Genetic tests indicate that Methuselah is closely related to an ancient variety of date palm from Egypt known as Hayany (shown above). The ancient flora and fauna of the Jordan Valley and the Nile Valley are similar.

Ten years after sprouting from the ancient seed, the Methuselah date palm is now producing dates. These are the kind of palm branches that would have been used to hail King Jesus as he entered Jerusalem.

The Methusleah Tree


In the ancient world palms grew in arid regions at oases. These trees provided shade for those who lived at the oasis and the dates were eaten and used to sweeten foods. Dried dates were used to make date cakes and these were usually eaten at celebrations. At Bedouin weddings guests are typically served dates and Arabic coffee as they arrive for the days-long celebration. According to 1 Chronicles 16:3, after David had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord, and distributed to each person a date cake.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

HeLa Cells


Henrietta Lacks died on 4 October 1951 at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore

Henrietta Lacks died of cervical cancer and since her death in 1951, cells taken from her tumor have been responsible for important medical advances such as the polio vaccine, chemotherapy, cloning, gene mapping, and IVF. Her cells are called HeLa, taking the first 2 letters of the first and last names.

HeLa cells have been reproduced and are now so plentiful that one researcher estimated that, laid end-to-end, they would wrap around the planet at least three times. HeLa cells are a constantly reproducing line of cells that have been used in all kinds of research and experiments.

Sadly, the Lack family never benefited from the advancements in medicine that came from the extraction of Henrietta's cells.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Georges Cuvier


Georges Cuvier
1769-1832

"Why has not anyone seen that fossils alone gave birth to a theory about the formation of the earth, that without them, no one would have ever dreamed that there were successive epochs in the formation of the globe." -- Georges Cuvier, Discourse on the Revolutions of the Surface of the Globe


Davis Jones
Grade 7

Mary Anning (1799-1846) has been called "The Greatest Fossilist" in the world. She explored the cliffs of Lyme Regis in Dorset, England, where she collected fossils. She spent more than 30 years collecting and describing fossils found mostly in rocks of the Jurassic age. Anning discovered fossils that she later described as a plesiosaur, an early marine reptile. The discoveries of Anning and the French naturalist, Georges Cuvier, provided a better understanding of organic life in the Jurassic age.

If  Mary Anning is the "mother" of paleontology, Georges Cuvier is certainly the "father" of paleontology. Besides their love of fossil hunting, they shared the Christian Faith. Both made important discoveries and confronted opposition based on limited religious beliefs. Anning faced a challenge from Christians who believed that the earth is only about 6000 years old. She considered that many of the fossils she found were older than 10,000 years. Anning’s work helped to change the way people thought about prehistoric life on Earth.

Georges Cuvier proposed that there had been an "age of reptiles" before the time of mammals. This idea of earth’s organic life changing over time presented a challenge to the Young Earth Creationism of the churches in Cuvier’s time. Cuvier was a Lutheran who regarded his faith as a private matter. He supervised government educational programs for Protestants in France and was instrumental in founding the Parisian Biblical Society in 1818. From 1822 until his death in 1832, Cuvier was Grand Master of the Protestant Faculties of Theology of the French University in Paris.

Cuvier served in Napoleon's government and served under three successive Kings of France. He was knighted and made a Baron and a Peer of France. He was respected for his devotion to science. His contribution to understanding vertebrate and invertebrate zoology and paleontology is significant.




Cuvier is credited with demonstrating the reality of extinction over time. However, he did not believe extinction confirmed Darwin's evolutionary theory. Instead, he believed that all species were created around the same time in the past and that some species became extinct due to natural causes such as environmental catastrophes.

Related reading: Baron Georges Cuvier


Find Answers to Bible Technology Cards Here!


Anthropology
Confirmation of Biblical Populations
The Pyramid Builders
Petra Reflects Horite Beliefs
Circumcision and Circles of Standing Stones in the Judean Hills
Horite Temples
The High Places
The Shrine City of Nekhen
Europe's Oldest Prehistoric Town Unearthed in Bulgaria
The Trapezoid in Ancient Architecture
Sheep Cotes

Astronomy
The Sunlight Cycle in the Northern Hemisphere
Priests of the Ancient World Studied Astronomy
Nabta Playa and the Ancient Astronomers of the Nubian Desert
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
Marcus Byrne: The Dance of the Dung Beetle

Biology

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
Genetic Types: A few basics
Haplogroups of Interest to Biblical Anthropologists
The Sub-Saharan DNA of Modern Jews
DNA Confirms Mixed Ancestry of Jews
A Kindling of Ancient Memory
80,000 Year Ancestor of Chinese Men

Climate
Mega-Lake Chad
Mega-Nile
The Reality of Climate Change
Katherine Hayhoe on Climate Change
Climate Cycles Indicate a Dynamic Earth
Complex Climate Changes
In Search of Green Arabia
When the Sahara Was Wet
Saving the Animals in Times of Flooding
Antarctica Once Had Baobab Trees
Volcanic Eruptions and Climate
South American Glaciers Growing
Climate Data Fudge Factor
Kansas Bill Calling for Objectivity in Climate Science Fails
Reality Climate Ideologues Won't Face
Climate Change and Genesis
Lower Solar Irradiance, Higher Atmospheric Temps?
Climate Cycles and Noah's Flood
Climate Studies and the Book of Genesis
Genesis and Climate Change
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

Forestry
Trees as Boundary Markers
Trees of the Bible
The Trees of Prophets
What Happened to the Cedars of Lebanon?
The Judean Nut Palm
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

Genetics
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
80,000 Year Ancestor of Chinese Men

Linguistics
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

Materials
Archaic Shell Technology
Stone, Shell and Egg Technologies
"Easter" Eggs in Antiquity
Brick Making in the Ancient World
Why Zipporah Used a Flint Knife
Stone Work of the Ancient World
Noah's Ark
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
Afro-Asiatic Metal Workers
Ancient Miners Venerated Hathor

Medicine
Medical Care in Ancient Egypt
Medical Care in the Ancient World
The Edwin Smith Papyrus
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

Navigation
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

Zoology
Dogs in the Bible
The Animals on Noah's Arc
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
The Red Heifer
Ram Symbolism of the Ancient World
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


Friday, March 31, 2017

Finding Exoplanets



An artist's rendering of Kepler-34b, an exoplanet believed to orbit two stars. 
Credit: David A. Aguilar, Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics


It has been 85 years since the discovery of the planet Pluto, and astronomers want to find a new planet by looking for a pulsar. A pulsar is a highly magnetized, rotating neutron star or white dwarf, that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation.

By carefully observing the light from a distant star, astronomers can detect the changes in the wavelengths of light called redshifting and blueshifting. They detect an exoplanet by observing over years the orbital wobble the occurs due to gravitation pull between the planet and the star.

An instrument called HARPS-North helps NASA's planet-scouting Kepler spacecraft confirm new planets.This spectrograph detects the tiny radial velocity signal induced by planets if they orbit close to their star.

"HARPS" stands for "High-Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher." A spectrograph splits the light from a star into its wavelengths or colors, similar to the way a prism splits wavelengths and produces a colorful array. Chemical elements absorb light of specific colors, leaving dark lines in the star's spectrum. Those lines wobble slightly due to the gravitational tug of an orbiting planet on its parent star.

There are 5 ways to find an exoplanet. They are described in this NASA presentation.


Related reading: The TRAPPIST-1 System


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Medical Care in the Ancient World


These bronze surgical instruments date from 40 B.C. to 400 A.D.  The privately owned collection includes spoons used to scrape out wounds (lower right), a forked probe (among the spoons), knife and scalpel handles (center), spatula probes for working in wounds (lower left), forceps (upper left), hooks used to hold the skin back (left of center), and cupped tools used to clean wounds (top center).


Photo: Zev Radovan


These tools would have belonged to priest-physicians, as medicine in the ancient world was the work of these specialists. The sick were brought to them at the temples and shrines, and some temples and shrines were especially famous places of healing.

Plants and minerals were used to prepare ointments and medicines for disorders ranging from indigestion to headaches. Bees wax and honey were used to seal wounds as these help to prevent infection. The Nubians laced their beer with the antibiotic known today as tetracycline.

Surgical procedures are described in the Edwin Smith papyrus, the world's oldest known surgical document (c. 1600 BC). It is written in the hieratic script and gives detailed descriptions of anatomy, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of forty-eight types of medical problems. It describes closing wounds with sutures, preventing and curing infection with honey and moldy bread (both known to contain antibiotics), application of raw meat to stop bleeding, and treatment of head and spinal cord injuries.

Another papyrus that describes medical treatments is the Ebers Papyrus (1550 B.C.). One of the remedies described in this papyrus is medicinal clay made from red and yellow ochre. The Ebers papyrus has a treatment for asthma. The patient was to sit over a mixture of herbs heated on a brick and inhale the fumes.

It appears that the priest-physicians specialized. Writing in the first century B.C., the Greek historian, Diodorus Siculus, observed: "The study of medicine with them was divided between specialists; each physician attending to one kind of illness only. Every place possessed several doctors; some for diseases of the eyes, others for the head, or the teeth, or the stomach, or for internal diseases." (Bibliotheca historica, i. 91)

Diodorus Siculus also reports that there were embalming specialists at the temples and shrines. "The men called embalmers, however, are considered worthy of every honour and consideration, associating with the priests and even coming and going in the temples without hindrance, as being undefiled." (Lacus Curtius, p. 313). The embalmers used palm wine, cedar oil, myrrh, and cinnamon.

There is evidence that some of the healer-priests practiced dentistry. Below is an image of a 2.5 millimeter wire in this tooth’s canal. This was discovered in a grave at Horvat En Ziq, a Nabatean fortress in the northern Negev. The incisor contains a bronze wire filling, dating to about 200 B.C.


Photo: Israel Antiquities Authority


The teeth of people buried roughly 2,000 years ago in an ancient cemetery called Al Khiday 2 had surprisingly few cavities, abscesses, or other signs of tooth decay. Researchers found that these people were cleaning their teeth with Purple Nutsedge, a weed that has antibacterial properties. It appears that this was medical knowledge received from their ancestors. People buried at Al Khiday 8,700 years ago also consumed the Purple Nutsedge tubers.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

What Happened to the Cedars of Lebanon?


“But the righteous will flourish like a palm tree and grow big like a cedar in Lebanon.” (Psalm 92:12)



Lebanon once had great forests of cedar trees. The flag of Lebanon is emblazoned with an image of a great cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani).

The cedars of Lebanon are mentioned more than 70 times in the Bible. The Hebrew word for “cedar” is 'erez. These tall evergreen trees were valued for the high quality of the wood and for the fragrant cedar oils and resins that were used to prepare medicines, perfumes, and ointments. The wood of the Lebanese cedar is resistant to rot and insects, has virtually no knots, and produces straight lumber. The old forest cedars grew to heights of over 160 feet.

Today the cedars can been found in Lebanon, southern Turkey, and Syria. A few have been found on the island of Cyprus. However, compared to the ancient cedar forests, the number of Lebanese cedars today is small. Reforestation efforts are being made in Lebanon.

The cedars of Lebanon were almost depleted 1700 years ago. Depletion of the cedar forests can be explained, in part, by the high demand among the ancient rulers. The rulers of many kingdoms used Lebanese cedars for their royal building projects. These included the kings of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Tyre, Sidon, and Israel. The ports of Tyre and Sidon played a special role for shipments of Lebanese cedar heading to Egypt and Israel.

The Palermo Stone indicates that cedar was imported to Egypt during the reign Sneferu (B.C. 2613-2589). The resin of the cedar was used in mummification of the dead. Modern science has shown that the resin extracted from the bark of Lebanese cedar contains antimicrobial properties that would help to preserve the bodies.

The Egyptians used the cedars of Lebanon to build their ships and they had a large fleet of ships for commercial purposes. The tall cedar logs were ideal for ship masts. This is mentioned Ezekiel 27:5, “And they took a cedar from Lebanon to make a mast for you.”

Sargon of Akkad (B.C. 2334-2279) used Lebanese cedar for his royal building projects and King Nebuchadnezzar (B.C. 605-562 ) ordered the construction of a route through the mountains to bring the cedars from Lebanon to Babylon.

The king of Tyre was named Hiram. Hiram used cedar to build palaces, temples and the royal treasury. An intriguing Bible passage describes the king of Tyre as full of wisdom: 
"Son of Man, raise a lament over the king of Tyre and say to him: Thus says the Lord God: 'You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and flawless beauty. You were in Eden, in the Garden of God; every precious stone was your adornment... and gold beautifully wrought for you, mined for you, prepared the day you were created.'" (Ezekiel 28:11-19)
This connects the Horite rulers of Tyre and Israel back to Eden, a vast, well-watered region that extended from the Upper Nile to the Tigris-Euphrates Valley. 2 Samuel 5:11 explains how "King Hiram of Tyre sent messengers to David, along with cedar logs, carpenters, and stonemasons. They built a palace for David."

David's son, Solomon, also used cedar to build his palace and the temple in Jerusalem. The walls of the inner sanctuary of Solomon's temple were covered with cedar panels from floor to ceiling, and the ceiling beams were made of cedar.

The cedar timbers were imported into ancient Israel from Lebanon. They were brought overland to the seaport of Tyre and then floated as rafts to Joppa on the coast of Israel. From Joppa, the logs were hauled overland to Jerusalem. King Hiram sent this message to King Solomon:
"My servants will bring them down from Lebanon to the sea, and I will make them into log rafts to go by sea to the place that you designate to me. I will have them broken up there, and you can carry them away. In exchange, you will provide the food that I request for my household.” (1 Kings 5:9)

The commercial interests, ship construction, and royal building projects of the ancient rulers lead to the near-total denudation of the Lebanese cedars. The Roman emperor Hadrian (A.D. 117-138) was so alarmed at the depletion of the Lebanese cedar forests that he designated what remained as a protected Imperial preserve. But the unsustainable logging of the cedars continued under the Ottoman Turks who used the wood to build railroads. During the First World War, the British and the Turks used most of the cedar that remained for the war effort. Is it any wonder that the cedars of Lebanon almost disappeared from the surface of Earth?

Related reading:  Trees of the Bible: Trees of Prophets; Trees as Boundary Markers

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Trees of Prophets

Alice C. Linsley

In the Old Testament we find that trees are associated with wise counselors known as morehs, prophets, or judges. The word "Torah" means instruction and is associated with a prophet or a seer sitting under a tree. These trees were important landmarks.

Women prophets, like Deborah, sat under the date nut palms and male prophets sat under oak trees. In Judges 4:4-6 we read that “Deborah, the wife of Lappidoth, was a prophet who was judging Israel at that time. She would sit under the Palm of Deborah, between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites would go to her for judgment."


Deborah's duties included settling disputes, instructing leaders, providing guidance to people, and rallying the people to defend themselves in battle. According to Judges 4 and 5 the people of Israel had peace for forty years under Deborah’s rule.

Deborah judged from her palm tree (tamar) between Bethel and Ramah, on a north-south axis. Deborah's tree was between two important shrines. It marked the "sacred center" between Ramah to the south and Bethel to the north. Ramah means high or lifted up, and Bethel means house of God.

Abraham pitched his tent at the “Oak of Moreh” (Gen. 13), between Ai to the east and Bethel to the west. The Oak of Moreh, or the Oak of the Seer, is described as “the navel of the earth” in Judges 9:37. Here we find a parallel to Deborah's palm tree at the sacred center. The oak was an important landmark near Shechem where Abraham camped after he arrived in Canaan. It is likely that he went there seeking divine guidance. Sacred oaks were known elsewhere, according to Deuteronomy 11:30.

Ramah was Samuel's hometown. The elders of Israel came to Ramah to demand that Samuel appoint a king to rule over them. David fled to Ramah for Samuel's help when Saul was pursuing him to take his life. Ramah and Bethel were important shrine cities long before the time of David. As Samuel's father was a Horite Hebrew priest, we might assume that Ramah was a Horite Hebrew shrine city.

Deborah's tree was at the center of a north-south axis between Ramah and Bethel. The oak where Abraham camped was at the center of a east-west axis between Ai and Bethel. It appears that among the ancient Hebrew, the date nut palm (tamar) and the the north-south axis were associated with the feminine while the oak and the east-west axis of the solar arc were associated with the masculine.The pillar-like oak resembled the male reproductive organ and represented masculine virtues. The open nut of the tamar resembled the female reproductive organ and represented feminine virtues.

Trees as Boundary Markers


Alice C. Linsley

Trees served as border markers for the ancient Hebrew.  Terebinth trees marked the northern and southern boundaries of Abraham's territory between Hebron and Beersheba. Sarah, Abraham's half-sister wife, resided in Hebron, and Abraham's cousin-wife resided in Beersheba. The wives' settlements marked the northern and southern boundaries of Abraham's territory in ancient Edom.

Hebron and Beersheba (where Keturah lived) are in Idumea (Edom). 


The Horite Hebrew rulers of Edom are listed in Genesis 36. Abraham's territory was entirely in the region of Edom. It extended on a north-south axis between Hebron and Beersheba and on an east-west axis between Engedi and Gerar. This region was called Idumea by the Greeks which means "land of red people."

One of the rulers of Edom was Seir the Horite. He was a contemporary of Esau the Elder. He married Adah. Esau the Younger is described as red and hairy. He married Oholibamah.




After offering Isaac at Mount Moriah, Abraham didn’t return to Sarah in Hebron, but instead went to live in Beersheba with Keturah (Genesis 22:19). There he had built an altar and planted a terebinth. A terebinth marked the northern end of Abraham's territory (Gen. 12:6) and after Abraham formed a treaty with Abimelech, he planted a terebinth at the southern end of his territory (Gen. 21:22-34).

People often were buried under oaks and terebinths (Gen. 35:8; I Chronicles 10:12). This helped to ensure that the boundaries were observed since people stayed away from burial grounds, fearing the spirits of the dead.

Related reading: Edom and the Horites; Trees of the Bible; The Trees of Prophets; What Happened to the Cedars of Lebanon?


Trees of the Bible


Alice C. Linsley

The Bible contains a great deal of information about trees and tree symbolism. In Psalm 1:3 we read that the person who delights in the Lord is "is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither-- whatever they do prospers."

In Genesis 3:3 we read about the Tree of Life that grew in the middle of the garden. The idea inspired C.S. Lewis. The Tree of Life appears in different forms in Lewis'd tales; sometimes as an apple tree and sometimes as a lantern. Lewis places the tree and lantern "in the midst of the garden" (Gen. 3:3) or in the midst of the wood. Here Lewis builds on a detail in Genesis which places the Cross or Tree of Life at the sacred center of the cosmos. The tree and lantern in the Narnian wood are symbols of the Jesus Messiah, who comes from another place (heaven) and gives light to the world. The Church Fathers regarded the Tree of Life in the midst of the garden to be a symbol of the Cross upon which Jesus Christ died to give life to the world. Peter declared to the Jews gathered for Passover, "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging Him on a tree." (Acts 5:30)

The Tree of Life is very old motif as is evident from its wide diffusion across Africa, Asia, Australia and South America. In Anthropology, the principle of diffusion states that the oldest culture traits, beliefs, or practices are those that are most widely diffused globally.

In Genesis we read how the serpent tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In ancient images the serpent is often appears with a tree, as in the image below.

Ra's cat killing Apophis at the tree of life.

The trees known to have grown in the region of Abraham’s ancestors include acacia, cedar, date nut palms, sycamore fig trees and baobab. Let's consider the significance of each of these.

An acacia tree in East Africa

Acacia (Hebrew: sittah; Egyptian: sunt) and cedar (Hebrew: 'erez; Egyptian 'arz) were used in the construction the Tabernacle and later in the construction of the Temple built by Solomon. Both trees are drought resistant and fragrant. Acacias grow into spreading shrubs and thorny trees with clusters of fragrant, yellow-orange puffball flowers that attract bees. Cedar is in the pine family and once grew in abundance in the mountains of Lebanon. The sea-faring Egyptians used cedar to build their ships and they used cedar oil in embalming the dead.

Women prophets, like Deborah, sat under the date nut palms and people came to them for wise counsel. Judges 4:4-6 tells us, “Deborah, the wife of Lappidoth, was a prophet who was judging Israel at that time. She would sit under the Palm of Deborah, between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites would go to her for judgment."

Some scholars believe that the fruit eaten by Eve in Eden came from Sycamore Fig tree (Ficus sycomorus). In many works of art the fruit is shown as an apple. An older tradition maintains that the fruit was a fig growing on the Sycamore figs trees which grew near the rivers in the region of Eden. This tradition is also represented in paintings by the fig leaves covering Adam and Eve's private parts.

Range of the Ficus sycomorus

The Syacmore fig is a large edible fruit which ranges from green to yellow or red when ripe. In its natural habitat, the tree can bear fruit year round, peaking from July to December. Jesus “cursed” the Sycamore Fig tree when it failed to produce fruit. In Mark 11:12-14, we read:
The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.

The baobab tree was an important tree for Abraham's people. It looks as if it grows with its roots up (see image below). This story surrounding the baobab warns against never being content:
The baobab was among the first trees to appear on the land. Next came the slender, graceful palm tree. When the baobab saw the palm tree, it cried out that it wanted to be taller. Then the beautiful flame tree appeared with its red flower and the baobab was envious for flower blossoms. When the baobab saw the magnificent fig tree, it prayed for fruit as well. The gods became angry with the tree and pulled it up by its roots, then replanted it upside down to keep it quiet.

In the wet months the baobab stores water in its thick, corky, fire-resistant trunk for the long dry period ahead. The water is tapped when drinking water becomes scarce in the dry months.

1000 year Baobab tree in Africa

The bark of the baobab tree is used for cloth and rope, and the leaves are prepared as condiments and medicines. The baobab’s fruit is called "monkey bread." This tree has a spongy bark because it retains water which desert nomads are able to extract by slicing the bark. In the Sahara and in the arid parts of the Arabia this tree sustains life. The motif of water flowing from a tree is found across the ancient world and is associated with the Tree of Life. This idea of waters flowing from a tree is found in Revelation 22:1-2.

Egyptian image of water flowing from a tree.

This image of water flowing from a tree is found in India.

Related reading: Trees in GenesisAntarctica Once Had Baobab TreesThe Fig Tree in Biblical SymbolismTheories About the Tree of LifeThe Tree of Weeping; Cedars of the Lord; Trees of the Prophets; What Happened to the Cedars of Lebanon?

Monday, March 27, 2017

Ian Hutchinson: Christian Plasma Scientist


Modern science is already, in a very serious sense, Christian. It germinated in and was nurtured by the Christian philosophy of creation, it was developed and established through the work of largely Christian pioneers, and it continues to draw Christians to its endeavors today.--Ian Hutchinson

Ian Hutchinson

Jesse Pome’ (Grade 8)

Ian Horner Hutchinson was born 7 June, 1951. He is a nuclear engineer and physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He holds an M.A. in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University (1972), and a Ph.D. in Engineering Physics from the Australian National University (1976), where he was a Commonwealth Scholar.

He first became interested in plasma physics as an undergraduate at Cambridge University. In a June 2003 article that appeared in the Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation, he wrote:
"My conversion as an undergraduate was founded on a conviction that the Christian faith made intellectual sense of the world, of history, and of personal experience. For me, despite the expectation of my secular friends, there was no inherent contradiction between a thorough Christian commitment and the pursuit of natural science. That harmony of thought is something I have sought and treasured through my professional life and in my service of God, though it always has not been easily maintained."

To young people interested in science careers, especially to young Christians, Dr. Hutchinson offers this message: "The scorn sometimes heaped on Christians by scientists and by other students is unjustified. There is no inherent incompatibility between science and Christianity. However, there are some interpretations of the Bible as if it were as scientific text book (which it isn't) that science has shown to be mistaken."

Dr. Hutchinson has written extensively about the relationship between science and religion. He authored a book on the philosophy of science in which he argues against scientism-- the view that all real knowledge is knowable by science alone.

Throughout his professional career, Dr. Hutchinson has spoken about science and the Christian faith to university and church groups. At Veritas Forum, he engages students in conversations about modern life and the relevance of Jesus Christ.

At MIT, Dr. Hutchinson founded the Faith of Great Scientists Seminar, which explores how the Christian faith has influenced many scientists throughout history. He has assisted the American Association for the Advancement of Science in their Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion, and he is a Fellow of the American Scientific Affiliation (ASA). Here is text of his 2002 address to the American Scientific Affiliation.


Professional Life

Dr. Hutchinson has made a number of important contributions to the fields of nuclear engineering and nuclear physics. His primary research interest is plasma physics, especially the magnetic confinement of plasmas (ionized gases). He and his MIT team designed, built and operate the Alcator C-Mod tokamak, an international facility with one of the earliest tokamaks to be operated outside of the Soviet Union. He directed the facility for 15 years. The magnetically confined plasmas, with temperatures beyond 50 million degrees Celsius, are prototypical of a future fusion reactor.

Dr. Hutchinson did research for the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority. He returned to MIT in 1983 as a faculty member in the department of Nuclear Engineering Department, and served as the Head of the Department of Nuclear Physics and Engineering from 2003 to 2009.

The second edition of Dr. Hutchinson’s monograph book Principles of Plasma Diagnostics was published by Cambridge University Press in 2002. This book presents a "systematic introduction to the physics behind measurements on plasmas. It develops from first principles the concepts needed to plan, execute, and interpret plasma diagnostics."

Dr. Hutchinson has served as editor-in-chief of the journal Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, and was the 2008 Chairman of the Division of Plasma Physics of the American Physical Society.

Hutchinson is the author of the computer program TtH a TeX to HTML translator, a program for web-publishing of mathematics. He has written more than 160 journal articles on plasma phenomena and nuclear fusion. He was the 2008 Chairman of the Division of Plasma Physics group of the American Physical Society. Hutchinson is a contributor to the BioLogos Foundation.


Faith and Family

About his conversion to Christian faith, Ian Hutchinson has said, “Many of my secular friends thought that I was committing intellectual suicide by my conversion to Christianity. I can't say that I was surprised by their reaction - I was perfectly aware of the antagonism between much modern thought and Christianity - but I definitely had no sense of repudiating my intellect. If God and Christ were true, as I had come to believe, then that truth must be consistent with intellectual truth and I would with time understand how their respective claims might be reconciled.”



Dr. Hutchinson and his wife, Fran, have been married for 35 years. They have two adult children. Dr. Hutchinson is an enthusiastic choral singer. He sings baritone/tenor with the Newton Choral Society. He is a squash player and a fly-fisherman. Dr. and Mrs. Hutchinson worship at All Saints Anglican Church in Belmont, Massachusetts.

Related reading: Ian Hutchinson's Professional Page; Ian Hutchinson's Personal Page; Science: Christian and Natural by Ian Hutchinson Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation, Volume 55, Number 2, June 2003.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Overview of the WCA Technology-STEM Curriculum



Alice C. Linsley

Wesleyan Christian Academy in High Point, North Carolina, has implemented an elective called "Technology-STEM Discovery." The course 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 anthropology, archaeology, architecture, astronomy, biology, climate studies, earth science, forestry, genetics, linguistics, materials science, medicine, navigation, and zoology.

The purpose of this course is to awaken reason and to investigate the claims of the Bible and the "real sciences" so that students might grow in faith and in intellect. Consider what C.S. Lewis wrote in The Screwtape Letters:
Screwtape to his nephew demon Wormwood:
"Jargon, not argument, is your best ally in keeping him from the Church. Don’t waste time trying to make him think that materialism is true! Make him think it is strong, or stark, or courageous — that it is the philosophy of the future. That’s the sort of thing he cares about. The trouble about argument is that it moves the whole struggle onto the Enemy’s own ground. By the very act of arguing, you awake the patient’s reason; and once it is awake, who can foresee the result?
Above all, do not attempt to use science (I mean, the real sciences) as a defense against Christianity. They will positively encourage him to think about realities he can’t touch and see. There have been sad cases among the modern physicists. If he must dabble in science, keep him on economics and sociology…"
The curriculum does not impose Darwinian evolution or Young-Earth Creationism. Instead, students are to discover how the data of the Bible and the data of science aligns. This is essential for an effective defense of the Biblical worldview in a society that values science.

The Technology and STEM Education Curriculum for Middle School students has three components:

Component One: Computer Skills and Computer Literacy
Component Two: Biographies of Christians in STEM throughout History
Component Three: Bible Technologies and Science
Component One: Typical topics include:

Digital Citizenship
Cyber Etiquette and Social Media Do's and Don'ts
Review of keyboarding
Plotting Polaris and Little Dipper
Creating a Digital Robot or Animal
Connectivity and Internet Access
Navigating and Links
The Power of the Internet
How to Assess the Reliability of a Website
Internet Security and Downloading Tips
Google Applications
Good Research Sites for Students
Internet Research/Search Engines
How to Use Style Sheets
Chrome Books
The Power of Blogs
Creating and Managing a Blog
Students create new header for the class blog
Introduction to Video and Video Editing
Function keys and other shortcuts
Glossary of computer terms (intermediate level)
Image archives: Haiku Deck, Artnc.org, Public Domain Pictures
Animation: Pow Toon, Generator, Animoto
Digital storytelling: Toontastic tutorial (setting based vs. character based)
Power Point and Google Slide presentations on topics from the approved list:

Ancient Monuments of the Biblical World
Gem Stones of the Bible
Plants of the Bible
The Two Highest Mountains of the World
The Two Longest Rivers of the World
The Tides
Circles of Standing Stones
Pyramids around the World
Plate Tectonics
Tsunamis
Canyons
The Mariana Trench
The Great Barrier Reef
The Dead Sea
Theories of Time and Eternity
Time Measuring Devices Throughout History
Snowflakes (related to work of Wilson Bentley
Technologies of the Greco-Roman World
The Amazon Rain Forest

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. Students learn about the lives and contributions of the following Christians in Science, Technology. They research the lives of the persons they select, write a script about the person's life, and then produce a video about the person for public viewing. They select a Christian in STEM from the list below.

MEN

Robert Grosseteste 1168-1253
Erasmus 1466-1536
Nicholas Copernicus 1473-1543
Francis Bacon 1561-1627
Galileo Galilei 1564-1642
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 LemaĆ®tre 1894–1966
Oliver R. Barclay 1919-2013
Victor Elving Anderson 1921-2014
John Polkinghorne 1930-present
Austin L. Hughes 1949-2015
Ian H. Hutchinson 1951-Present
John Lennox 1943-Present


WOMEN

Hildegard of Bingen 1098-1179
Maria Gaetana Agnesi 1718-1799
Mary Anning 1799-1847
Agnes Giberne 1845-1939
Sister Mary Celine Fasenmyer 1906-1996
Jocelyn Bell Burnell 1943-Present
Rhoda Hawkins
Katharine Hayhoe
Ann Marie Thro
Leslie Wickman
Jennifer Wiseman
Robin Pals-Rylaarsdam
Nola Stephens
Chris Done
Katherine Blundell 

Students select a card from the Bible Technology Card Box. These cards provide 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:
Anthropology - gold
Archaeology - blue
Architecture - pink
Astronomy - green
Climate Studies - purple
Earth Science - black
Forestry - teal
Genetics - red
Linguistics - brown
Materials - bright yellow
Medicine - orange
Navigation - white
Zoology - salmon

Anthropology
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


Archaeology
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


Architecture
The Pillars of Solomon's Temple
Monuments of the Ancient Kushites
Kushite Shrines
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


Astronomy
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
Marcus Byrne: The Dance of the Dung Beetle


Biology
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


Climate
Mega-Lake Chad
Mega-Nile
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


Forestry
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


Genetics
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


Linguistics
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


Materials
Archaic Shell Technology
"Easter" Eggs in Antiquity
Stone Work of the Ancient World
Stone, Shell and Egg Technologies
Noah's Ark
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


Medicine
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


Navigation
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


Zoology
Dogs in the Bible
The Animals on Noah's Arc
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