Episode 54. Continuing with the topic of ancient science, let's now consider Egyptian and Mesopotamian Science. In a period roughly between 3000 to 500 BC BCE, these were the first great literate societies. And if you will recall, key thought number two and the trend in the history of science. The further back we go into the past, science is connected to religion and we will see this trend in both Egypt and Mesopotamia. With regard to the science of mathematics, everyone knows that the Egyptians were amazing in engineering as seen with the construction of pyramids and math was critical in their construction. In Mesopotamia, the Babylonians developed mathematical astronomy and were even able to make celestial predictions. They had a simultaneous base 10 and 60 numbering system. And yes, we've inherited some of this base 60 numbering with 60 minutes in an hour and 360 degrees in a circle. The importance of developing mathematics is that quantification is the language of science. Yet the science of mathematics was closely connected to religion. For mystic mathematicians, numbers were viewed as divine. Common mystical numbers in the ancient included 7, 10 and 60 and their multiples. Let me offer an example. Please turn to page 11 in the handouts, for a Sumerian King list before the flood. Ancient Sumer was located Southern Mesopotamia near the Persian Gulf. Archaeologists have discovered a number of lists of Sumerian Kings. This one is called Weld-Blundell 62 or simply W-B 62. It is a list of kings that reigned before the flood. As we'll see later in this course, the Mesopotamians believed there was a catastrophic flood in the past. Notably, these kings had extremely long reigns of tens of thousands of years. As well, these reigns are all multiples of a hundred. Even more interesting, most of these reigns can fit into a mathematical formula with the Mesopotamian mystical number of 60. The purpose of using this mystical number is mostly to legitimize the divinity of the kings. The use of mystical numbers in the ancient leads us to an excursus on Biblical genealogies and stylistic numbers. It's important to note that in the Bible there's no hint of divinity in numbers. But as you'll see, numbers were sometimes used stylistically to make a point. Please turn to page 11 in the handouts to the genealogy of the Hebrews before the flood found in Genesis 5. You will observe that each individual had a very long lifespan, with an average of 912 years. You will also see that 15 of the 20 numbers are multiples of 5 ending in either a 0 or a 5. In a random set, there should be only about 4 in 20. Also note that the 5 non-multiples of 5 becomes a multiple of 5 if you subtract 7. Statistics reveal that there is about a 1 and 7 million chance of Genesis 5 being a real or natural genealogy. As you know, real genealogies do not feature such a symmetrical pattern and the repetition of a number like 5. Of course, the question everyone asks once they see these patterns in the Genesis 5 genealogy is, why the emphasis on the number 5? First, like the numbers in the Sumerian King lists these long life spans and numbers are used to legitimize the importance of the Hebrews. Second and this is just a speculation I have, maybe the number 5 is used stylistically to emphasize that the Hebrews are the people of the five books, that is the Pentateuch, which is the first five books of the Bible. There is a very significant implication for the origins debate regarding Genesis 5. The numbers in this genealogy are stylistic, therefore genealogies cannot be used to date the age of the earth. And this is exactly what young earth creationist do. They add up the genealogies and claim that the world is 6,000 years old. But this approach fails because the numbers in the Genesis 5 genealogy are not literal, but stylistic. It's important to note that not all numbers in the Bible are stylistic. For example, here are the reigns of the kings of Judah. As you can see, the length of each reign is within normal ranges and they vary like a normal list of reigns. It's also worth noting that this list comes from 1 and 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles, which are historical books in the Bible. The lesson to be learned from these Excusus is this. We must always ask, is a number in the Bible literal or stylistic? And with bit of a practice you will become proficient in determining this. End of episode.