Time as a Construct for Lemuria and Atlantis
Time is an important social construct for Lemuria and Atlantis. Until the 1780s, scientists believed the earth to be about 6,000 years old, based on calculations according to the Bible. However, the science of geology revealed a different time span of the earth transitioning over millions of years. Scientists saw their work as unlocking the secrets of nature and providing a method to understand God. It was not until their discoveries contradicted some information in the Bible did the scientists find their work more difficult.
In the nineteenth century, searching for fossils and extinct species became a preoccupation for scientists of history, geology, ethnology and prehistory. Eventually the science of geology was split into two camps: the uniformitariansits and the catastrophists. The uniformitarianists argued that earth changes are gradual, taking place over thousands and millions of years. The catastrophists argue that earth changes are sudden and without warning.
Hans Hoerbiger (1860-1931) offered an explanation about the rising, sinking and destruction of land mass in his Doctrine of Eternal Ice (1999). He argued that until 15,000 years ago, the earth had no moon. The erratic elliptical course of Luna traveled between the Earth and Mars. When it passed Earth, the tides rose and earthquakes occurred. Because of the gravitational pull of earth and the sun, Luna and the once independent planet became a satellite of earth. Consequently, earth’s gravitation pull was distorted. The new gravitational conditions would cause a redistribution of water.
It is expected that investigations of Atlantis and Lemuria look to the geological record for evidence to substantiate their existence. In the eighteenth century, scientists began to develop laws that explained the formation of the earth. Geology, the science of the earth, was based on catastrophe. “Catastrophe was God’s means of creation, and it fitted neatly with the church dogma, satisfied the religious tendencies of the scientists who propounded it and helped keep the general population frightened and obedient” (Warshofsky 1977). Historically, geologists sought to fit the geological record of earth into the literal time of biblical chronology, especially the catastrophic events related in Exodus and Genesis in the Old Testament.
Knowledge of the existence of fossils dates back at least to the ancient Greeks, who regarded fossils as the remains of mythological creatures. The Greek historian Herodotus was one of the first to take notice of fossils. Two other writers, Xenophanes of Colophon (570-480 BC) and Xanthus of Sardis wrote about fossils but their original works have been lost. All agreed that ocean levels had been higher in the past, which explained why sea animals like mollusks, were discovered on mountains. In addition, Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) noted that some areas must have been covered by the sea in the past.
Greek philosophers Aristotle and Theophrastus (371?-287? BC) believed fossils to be inferior to what nature intended and were generated within rocks. Theophrastus succeeded Aristotle as leader of the Peripatetics and refined his works of natural history, logic and metaphysics. The ancient Romans held superstitious views about fossils that continued into the Middle Ages. For the Romans, fossilized bones were attributed to a giant race that existed prior to humans. During this same time, Christian clerics proposed that fossils were the remnants of the pre-Deluge world.
The first to write about geology was Francis Bacon in Novanum Organum which noted that the continents fit together like a jigsaw puzzle, though he offered no further explanation. In 1650, James Ussher (1581–1656), the Irish Archbishop of Armagh wrote the Annals of the World in which he calculated the earth was created in 4004 BC. He added the lifespan of all the descendants of Adam to calculate the time of creation.
Later, John Woodward in his Essay Toward a Natural History of the Earth (1695) claimed that the biblical flood leveled the entire earth. As the waters receded, masses of earth were thrust upward and canyons created. The violence of the receding waters created the strata in our present day. Woodward also concluded that fossils are those that died in the flood and extinct animals are not extinct, but live at the bottom of the ocean.
Georges Dagobert and Jean-Baptiste Lamarck
French anatomist Georges Léopold Chrétien Frédéic Dagobert, Baron Cuvier (1769-1832) concluded fossils bones belonged to an extinct species. He noted that some fossils resembled modern species and some did not. Cuvier opposed Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829), who argued that species could be modified by the environment and acquired characteristics gained during an organism’s life could be inherited by the organism’s offspring. This was later disproved, though Lamarck was the first to propose the concept of evolution.
Cuvier also questioned Carolus Linnaeus, who argued that species had not changed since the beginning of time. Cuvier proposed that there were four separate creations, not one. The first was the creation of marine invertebrates, then reptiles, mammals and finally, humans. At the end of each episode, God destroyed the earth with a universal cataclysm. This theory allowed an explanation for fossils discovered at different strata in the Earth’s crust and for chaotic rock formations.
18th Century Geology and Science
In the eighteenth century Georges Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (1707-1788) in Natural History of the Globe, of Man, of Beasts, Birds, Fishes, Reptiles, Insects and Plants (1831) challenged Archbishop Ussher’s date of the earth’s origin. Ussher calculated the earth to be 74,832 years old and that fossils are extinct species that existed at different times during the cooling periods of the earth; each period closed with a catastrophe. In antiquitated knowledge, the universe was regarded as unstable and temporary where there were cycles of destruction and repair, with long periods of unbroken tranquility, broken by catastrophes.
Henry Alleyne Nicholson (1980:3) writes, “it has been maintained, as a metaphysical hypothesis, that there exists in the mind of man an inherent principle, in virtue of which he believes and expects that what has been will be; and that the course of nature will be a continuous and uninterrupted one.” Once the catastrophe ended, land was populated once again and species returned to populate the earth. Geologists in the nineteenth century argued that there were much more catastrophes in ancient times than today because the earth was much more violent. The sun and earth are cooling now, having been much hotter in the past.
Nineteenth Century Geology – Wright, Lyell and Darwin
For nineteenth century geologists, the last glacial period was explained by two opposing viewpoints. The first was an astronomical theory that explained the solar system is moving through space. Frederick G. Wright argued that from the Tertiary Period (65 million years to 1.8 million years ago) to the beginning of the last glacial epoch, earth was traveling through warm stretches of space; glacial epochs occurred when the solar system moved through a cold area of space. There are also unknown electrical forces in the sun that make the temperature rise and fall on earth. The second theory of the causes of a glacial period is an unequal attraction of the planets and the orbit of Earth changes, moving closer and further form the sun. The earth will be colder when away from the sun and warmer when closer to the sun.
Charles Lyell and Charles Darwin were the first to argue against castastrophism. They argued a slow, gradual change known as Uniformitarianism, a theory of geological processes that states changes in the earth’s surface that occurred in past geologic time are referable to the same causes as changes now being produced on the surface. The basic concept was first developed by Scottish geologist James Hutton (1726-1797) in his Theory of the Earth (1788) and was further expanded on by John Playfair in his Illustrations of the Huttonian Theory (1964).
Lyell wrote Principles of Geology (1860) that synthesized four basic components of geology: the first is that natural laws are constant in time and space; second, the processes forming the earth now should be used to study how the earth was formed in the past; the third is that geological change is slow and steady; lastly, the earth has been relatively unchanged since its beginnings. Lyell argued that the earth is millions of years old, not thousands and therefore, there was no need for cataclysms. Darwin was able to demonstrate how species were not fixed but modified over time, lending further evidence to the theory of Uniformitarianism.
Uniformitarianism does not explain rapid catastrophic changes in the environment because it is a theory based on gradual change. Niles Eldredge and Steven Jay Gould proposed the concept of punctuated equilibrium. Punctuated equilibrium is often confused with castastrophism and thus, mistakenly thought to oppose the concept of gradualism; it is actually more properly understood to be a form of gradualism. Even though changes are considered to be occurring relatively quickly in terms of geological time, they are still occurring gradually, with no great changes from one generation to the next. Eldgredge and Gould argue without a major disturbance in the environment, there would be stagnation in evolutionary changes. Thus, small upheavals are useful for evolution. It is only in this way, castastrophism complements punctuated equilibrium.