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By Pascal Richet

For many of heritage, humans relied on mythology or faith to supply a solution to the urgent query of the earth's age, even supposing nature abounds with clues. In "A normal background of Time", geophysicist Pascal Richet tells the interesting tale of the way scientists and philosophers tested these clues and from them equipped a chronological scale that has made it attainable to reconstruct the background of nature itself. the search for time is a narrative of ingenuity and resolution, and prefer a geologist, Pascal Richet rigorously peels again the strata of that background, giving us an opportunity to wonder at every one layer and actually have fun with how a long way our wisdom - and our planet - have come.

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No one had “done more to prove that man is 16 TIME WITHOUT A BEGINNING? related to the stars and that our souls are a part of heaven,” commended Pliny the Elder (23–79) in his Natural History. He did a bold thing, that would be reprehensible even for God—he dared to schedule the stars for posterity, and tick off the heavenly bodies by name in a list, devising machinery [the astrolabe, to be specific] by means of which to indicate their several positions and magnitudes, in order that from that time onward it might be possible to discern not only whether stars perish and are born, but whether some are in transit and in motion, and also whether they increase and decrease in magnitude—thus bequeathing the heavens as a legacy to all mankind, supposing anybody had been found to claim that inheritance!

13–54) offered a response to this question in his Allegorical Interpretation of Genesis that Plato himself would not have condemned: It is quite foolish to think that the world has been created in six days or in a space of time at all. Why? Because every period of time is a series of days and nights, and these can only be made such by the movement of the sun as it goes over and under the earth: but the sun is part of heaven, so that time is confessedly more recent than the world. It would therefore be correct to say that the world was not made in time, but that time was formed by means of the world, for it was heaven’s movement that was the index of the nature of time.

At that time the Babylonian sources of the Bible were unknown; they were discovered in 1834, when excavations in Mesopotamia unearthed thousands of cuneiform tablets that had been buried under the ruins of lost cities. After being brought to light by exegesis, the heterogeneity of the biblical texts was bitterly debated from the seventeenth century on. The naturalists who were then attempting to decipher earth’s history using the fossils as a key perhaps did not realize that the text of the Bible had also kept a memory of its past.

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