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If, in the year AD 1600, you had asked an educated European how old the planet Earth was and to recount its history he would have said that it was about 6000 years old and that its ancient history was given by the biblical account in Genesis.If you asked the same question of an educated European in AD 1900 you would have received a quite different answer.Other critics, perhaps more familiar with the data, question certain aspects of the quality of the fossil record and of its dating.These skeptics do not provide scientific evidence for their views.Example: analyzing changes in tree growth patterns via tree rings to date a series of landslide events.

The rejection of the validity of fossils and of dating by religious fundamentalists creates a problem for them: Fossil sequences were recognized and established in their broad outlines long before Charles Darwin had even thought of evolution.Definitions The Principle of Cognitive Classification The Principle of Crossdating The Prinicple of Trees as Dynamic Entities The Principle of Plurality and Parsimony The Principle of Aggregate Tree Growth The Principle of Limiting Factors The Principle of Replication across Spatiotemporal Scales The Principle of Site Selection (dendron = tree, chronos = time, logos = word = the science of): The science that uses tree rings dated to their exact year of formation to analyze temporal and spatial patterns of processes in the physical and cultural sciences.The science that uses tree rings to date when timber was felled, transported, processed, or used for construction or wooden artifacts.Our understanding of the shape and pattern of the history of life depends on the accuracy of fossils and dating methods.Some critics, particularly religious fundamentalists, argue that neither fossils nor dating can be trusted, and that their interpretations are better.

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