Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Glass Math

A friend of mine recently visited The Corning Museum of Glass and he told me about something interesting that he saw there. At the exhibit featuring the Glass of ancient Egypt he noticed a sign saying the following:
Around 1200 BC, civilizations declined in Egypt, western asia and the eastern Mediterranean. Scholars are uncertain why this happened. Few luxury goods were made, and few glass items have been found. Then, around 900 BC glassmaking flourished again in Mesopotamia and Phoenicia. At the same time, the entire region revived."
This friend thought that this curious decline of civilization in Egypt and the surrounding area may have had something to do with Yetzias Mitzrayim and the massive devestation that accompanied it.

So he promptly whipped out his calculator and did some math.
  • Second Bais Hamikdash stood for 420 years, and was destroyed in the year 70.
  • Galus Bavel was for 70 years.
  • First Bais Hamikdosh stood for 410 years.
  • Mishkan Shiloh stood for 300 years.
  • The capture of the land (Kibush V'Chiluk) took 14 years.
  • Jews were in the desert for 40 years right after Yitzias Mitzrayim.
That comes out to 1184 BC, which (in his opinion) is close enough in the larger scheme of things (I doubt science can pinpoint an exact date, more likely a rough estimate).

Now, I'm terrible at math and I don't know my history well enough to know if all the dates work out. But, as a loyal reader of godolhador, I had a different question for him:
How can you accept the scientific dating of the glass and not accept any other scientific dating (i.e. the age of the universe)? Science can't work only when it's convenient for you and works out with your views. Either it works or it doesn't, you have to be consistant.

So he tried answering that the dating of glass is a different process than the dating of the universe. That may be true, but I don't know and he certainly doesn't. Even if it is true, my point was made.

What do you think?