Friday, May 30, 2008

Darwinism: People before Adam and Eve?

In my last post I revealed how little scientific evidence supports Darwinist claims about gradual descent, natural selection, or survival of the fittest. Even worse, Darwinists are Dishonest. Worst of all, the Darwinist agenda is to destroy our faith in God, and thereby our morality.

At the same time, there is overwhelming evidence that the earth is about four and a half billion years old, and that a succession of life forms has come and gone on the earth for hundreds of millions of years.

I believe in God. I believe all true religion and all true science must inevitably agree. So when they appear to differ, I like to take a wait-and-see attitude. I'm pretty dogmatitic about some things, and not dogmatic at all about other things. Here is an article about Evolution from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism. It clarifies which is which.

The position of the Church on the origin of man was published by the First Presidency in 1909 and stated again by a different First Presidency in 1925:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, basing its belief on divine revelation, ancient and modern, declares man to be the direct and lineal offspring of Deity…. Man is the child of God, formed in the divine image and endowed with divine attributes.

The scriptures tell why man was created, but they do not tell how, though the Lord has promised that he will tell that when he comes again (D&C 101:32-33). In 1931, when there was intense discussion on the issue of organic evolution, the First Presidency of the Church, then consisting of Presidents Heber J. Grant, Anthony W. Ivins, and Charles W. Nibley, addressed all of the General Authorities of the Church on the matter, and concluded,

Upon the fundamental doctrines of the Church we are all agreed. Our mission is to bear the message of the restored gospel to the world. Leave geology, biology, archaeology, and anthropology, no one of which has to do with the salvation of the souls of mankind, to scientific research, while we magnify our calling in the realm of the Church….

Upon one thing we should all be able to agree, namely, that Presidents Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder, and Anthon H. Lund were right when they said: "Adam is the primal parent of our race" [First Presidency Minutes, Apr. 7, 1931].

I don't see any real, long-term conflict between science and religion. Or between creation and evolution. It is foolish to think the earth is only 6,000 years old. It is foolish to claim that the Bible is the "inerrant word of God", which could be the subject of a future post. These two beliefs are stridently proclaimed by the Creationist camp. It is equally ridiculous to believe that life arose and developed spontaneously - which is the Darwinist hue and cry.

Hominin cultures prior to about 12,000 years before the present (BP). There are some interesting science versus religion subjects. One of them is the well documented existence of fully human cultures many thousands of years before Adam and Eve came out of the Garden of Eden in roughly 4000 BC. Here is a brief timeline down to 12,000 BP just to show how rich an assemblage of information has been gathered over the past couple of hundred years. I've put in lots of links to external articles so you can learn more if you are interested. Were these fully modern humans? Some were, some weren't.

This timeline leaves out the other 6,000 years from 12,000 BP down to the time Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden of Eden.

Oldowan Handaxe

2,500,000 BP to 1,500,000 BPOldowan is an anthropological designation for an industry of stone tools used by prehistoric hominines of the Lower Paleolithic. The Oldowan is the very first stone tool assemblage in prehistory.

Acheulean Handaxe

1,400,000 BP to 125,000 BPAcheulean is the name given to an industry of stone tool manufacture associated with prehistoric hominins during the Lower Paleolithic era across Africa and much of Asia and Europe dating from around 1.4 million to 125,000 BP.

Homo erectus

300,000 BP to 200,000 BP or 500,000 to 125,000 BPClactonian is the name given by archaeologists to an industry of European flint tool manufacture that dates to the early part of the interglacial period known as the Hoxnian, the Mindel-Riss or the Holstein interglacial. Clactonian tools were made by Homo erectus rather than modern humans. The term is sometimes applied to early, crude flint tools from other regions that were made using similar methods.

Homo neanderthalensis

Mousterian Handaxe

300,000 BP to 30,000 BPMousterian is a name given by archaeologists to a style of predominantly flint tools (or industry) associated primarily with Homo neanderthalensis and dating to the Middle Paleolithic, the middle part of the Old Stone Age. It was named after the type site of Le Moustier, a rock shelter in the Dordogne region of France. Similar flint work has been found all over unglaciated Europe and also the Near East and North Africa. Hand axes, racloirs and points constitute the industry; sometimes a Levalloisian technique or another prepared-core technique was employed in making the flint flakes. In Northern Africa and the Near East these tools were also produced by anatomically modern humans.

300,000 BP to 30,000 BPJabroudian is a cultural phase of the Middle Paleolithic of the Levant (Syria, Lebanon, Palestine). It broadly belongs to the Mousterian culture, and shows connections with the European facies La Quina.

300,000 BP to 30,000 BPAterian is a name given by archaeologists to a type of stone tool manufacturing dating to the Middle Stone Age (or Middle Paleolithic) in the region around the Atlas Mountains and the northern Sahara. The industry was probably created by modern humans (Homo sapiens), albeit of an early type, as shown by the few skeletal remains known so far from sites on the Moroccan Atlantic coast.

300,000 BP to 30,000 BPStillbay is the name given by archaeologists to a Middle Paleolithic stone tool manufacturing style which may have developed from the earlier Acheulean types. In addition to the Acheulean stone tools, use was also made of bone and antler picks. It is broadly analogous to the Mousterian culture in Europe and the Fauresmith culture in South Africa. It is named after the site of Stillbay in South Africa where it was first described.

300,000 BP to 10,000 BPEmirian refers to a culture that marks the transition between the Middle Paleolithic and the Upper Paleolithic in the Levant (Syria, Lebanon, Palestine). The Emirian culture apparently developed from the local Mousterian without rupture, keeping numerous elements of the Levalloisian-Mousterian, together with the locally typical but not common Emireh point. There are also numerous stone blade tools, including some curved knives similar to those found in the Châtelperronian culture of Western Europe. The Emirian eventually evolved into the Antelian culture, still of Levalloisian tradition but with some Aurignacian influences.

130,000 BP to 10,000 BPSangoan is the name given by archaeologists to a Paleolithic tool manufacturing style which may have developed from the earlier Acheulean types. In addition to the Acheulean stone tools, use was also made of bone and antler picks. It is broadly analogous to the Mousterian culture in Europe. It is named after the site of Sango Bay in Uganda. The Lupemban culture was derived from and replaced the Sangoan.

52,000 BPMousterian Pluvial starts in North Africa>. This was an extended wet and rainy period in the climate history of North Africa and lasted for about 10,000 years.

40,000 BP to 10000 BP – The Ordos culture the period from the Upper Paleolithic to the late Bronze age in the Ordos Desert, in the south of the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China, about 300 kilometers from modern Beijing. The Ordos were predominantly Mongoloid from their skeletal remains and artifacts, but numerous interactions between Europoid and Mongoloid might had also taken place there over the course of several centuries, until its occupation by the Qin and Han dynasties.

37,000 BP – Occupation of Zar, Yataghyeri, Damjili and Taghlar caves in Azerbaijan

35,000 BP to 27,000 BPChâtelperronian was the earliest industry of the Upper Paleolithic in central and south western France, extending also into Northern Spain. It derives its name from the site of la Grotte des Fées, in Châtelperron, Allier, France.

Chauvet Cave

35,000 BP to 23,000 BPAurignacian, also referred to as the Reindeer Age because of engravings and carvings associated with it, was located in Europe and south west Asia (the dates differ depending on the source). It may have been contemporary with the Périgordian (a contested grouping of the earlier Châtelperronian and later Gravettian cultures). The Chauvet Cave paintings date from this period.

32,000 BP to 14,000 BPLupemban is a central African culture which, though once thought to date between about 30,000 and 12,000 BC, is now generally recognized to be far older (dates of about 300,000 have been obtained from Twin Rivers, Zambia and Muguruk, Kenya, respectively). I’m leaving it here until I get more information about the Twin Rivers and Muguruk discoveries.

32,000 BP – The Gobustan culture begins in Azerbaijan.

32,000 BP – The Mousterian Pluvial ends in North Africa.

27,000 BP to 22,000 BPGravettian refers to a culture located in France, though evidence of Gravettian products have been found across central Europe and Russia.

25,000 BP to 16,000 BP - Solutrean is a culture located in eastern France, Spain, and England.

24,000 BP – Neanderthals become extinct in Europe. There is considerable variability in this date. There is also an ongoing debate about the intermingling of Neanderthal and modern human bloodlines. Some of the articles refer to this as intermarriage, but I don’t know if I’d go that far. In the 16 November 2006 issue of Science, scientists describe the extraction and analysis of ancient DNA from 38,000 year-old Neanderthal bones. Comparison of the DNA with human and chimpanzee DNA indicates that Neanderthal and human DNA diverged around 500,000 years ago. This means they were separate species. Any interbreeding would have produced mules. In other articles I’ve learned that human and chimpanzee DNA studies indicate we diverged about 5 million years ago.

24,000 BPLast Glacial Maximum Venus of Bassempouy, Grotte du Pape, Brassempouy, Landes, France, was made. The ice ages began and ended at different times in different parts of the world. This one lasted until about 17,000 BP.

Venus of Willendorf

24,000 BP to 23,000 BPVenus of Willendorf is crafted in Austria.

20,000 BP to 12,000 BPKebaran is the name of the first anatomically modern human culture to live in the eastern Mediterranean area. The Kebaran were highly mobile nomadic hunters and gatherers in the Levant and Sinai areas.

Cosquer Cave

18,500 BP – Paintings in Cosquer cave, Cap Margiou, France.

18,000 BP – Spotted Horses painted in Pech Merle cave, Dordogne, France.

18,000 BC to 12,000 BPMammoth-bone village in Mezhirich, Ukraine is inhabited.

18,000 BP to 11,000 BP – Ibex-headed spear thrower is made in Le Mas d'Azil, Ariege, France.

18,000 BP to 10,000 BPMagdalenian is a culture that left evidence from Portugal to Poland during this period. Different sources give different approximate dates for many of these cultures. They expanded and contracted over time so that remains are dated at different times in different locations. Typologically the Magdalenian is divided into 6 phases which are generally agreed to have chronological significance.

17,000 BP – Spotted human hands are painted in Pech Merle cave, Dordogne, France.

Lascaux Caves

17,000 BP to 15,000 BP – The Hall of Bulls is painted in the Lascaux caves.

17,000 BP to 15,000 BP – A Bird-Headed man is painted with bison and Rhinoceros in the Lascaux caves.

17,000 BP to 15,000 BP – Lamp with ibex design, from La Mouthe cave, Dordogne, France, is made.

17,000 BP to 12,000 BPIbero-Maurusian (or Oranian, after a site near Oran) is the earliest blade industry in North Africa. The industry appears to have spread throughout the coastal regions of North Africa between 15,000 and 10,000 B.C.

17,000 BP to 8,000 BPHoabinhian is a term first used by French archaeologists working in northern Vietnam to describe Holocene period archaeological assemblages excavated from rock shelters. It has become a common term to describe stone artifact assemblages in Southeast Asia that contain flaked cobble artifacts.

16,000 BP to 10,000 BP – Pregnant woman and deer, from Laugerie-Basse, France was made.

15,000 BP – Bison, Le Tuc d'Audoubert, Ariege, France.

14,500 BP to 11,500 BPNatufian is a culture that existed in the Mediterranean region of the Levant. It was a Mesolithic culture, unusual in that there were permanent settlements before the introduction of agriculture. The Natufians were probably the ancestors of the Neolithic people of the region, possibly the first people to make that transition. The Natufians seem to have begun deliberate cultivation of cereals, and made use of wild grasses, living in a central location so the wild cereals could be harvested in all three zones. As the climate became drier the Natufians became limited to areas with permanent water. Evidence for grain storage can be seen at some sites. The Natufians also hunted gazelles. The culture is a successor of Kebaran culture.

14,000 BPPaleo-Indians searched for big game in what is now the Hovenweep National Monument.

14,000 BP – Bison is painted on the ceiling of a cave at Altamira, Spain.

14,000 BPDomestication of Reindeer and Dogs.

13,500 BP to 12,000 BP – Wooden buildings in Chile, South America. First pottery vessels (Japan). First use of bow and arrow.

13,000 BP – Beginning of the Holocene extinction event. The large number of extinctions span numerous families of plants and animals including mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and arthropods. A sizeable fraction of these extinctions occurred (as is happening today) in rainforests. This extinction event is sometimes referred to as the sixth extinction following the previous five extinction events.

13,000 BP – First evidence of human settlement in Argentina.

13,000 BPArlington Springs Man dies on the island of Santa Rosa, off the coast of California.

13,000 BP – Human remains deposited in caves which are now located off the coast of Yucatan.

12,900 BP – The Younger Dryas Stadial, named for the alpine or tundra wildflower Dryas octopetala, and also referred to as the Big Freeze, was a brief (approximately 1300 ± 70 year long) period of colder climate following the Bölling/Allerød interstadial at the end of the Pleistocene. It preceded the Preboreal of the early Holocene. In Ireland, the period has been known as the Nahanagan Stadial, while in the UK it has been called the Loch Lomond Stadial and most recently Greenland Stadial 1 (GS1). The prevailing theory holds that the Younger Dryas was caused by a significant reduction or shutdown of the North Atlantic thermohaline circulation in response to a sudden influx of fresh water from Lake Agassiz and deglaciation in North America. There is a strong connection between this event and the current Global Warming controversy that would make a good subject for a post to this blog.

The Younger Dryas is often linked to the adoption of agriculture in the Levant. It is argued that the cold and dry Younger Dryas lowered the carrying capacity of the area and forced the sedentary Early Natufian population into a more mobile subsistence pattern. Further climatic deterioration is thought to have brought about cereal cultivation. While there exists relative consensus regarding the role of the Younger Dryas in the changing subsistence patterns during the Natufian, its connection to the beginning of agriculture at the end of the period is still being debated.

These people lived and loved and fought and cried down through all those thousands of years. They struggled with many of the same things we face today. They needed clothing, shelter, and food. They formed families. They banded together in larger groups and societies. They were sometimes superstitious and sometimes religious. They marvelled at the forces of nature and were awed by the sun, moon, and stars. And they did these things for many thousands of years before Adam and Eve were driven from the Garden of Eden.

Does the existence of human (or hominin) cultures before Adam and Eve detract from my faith? Absolutely not.


At 8/11/09, 9:52 AM, Blogger Maddie said...

I am an atheist but I enjoyed reading your post. I just wanted to comment though on the first few things you said and let you know that Darwinian theory does not at all strive to crush your faith or your morals. We should all have faith in the things that keep us going and we should all be moral and humane, Darwin merely had an idea and it is ideas, afterall, that make the world interesting and diverse and keep us thinking and growing. I believe we should all be open minded to all the ideas that humankind comes up with. :)

At 12/15/10, 10:48 PM, Blogger thewordofme said...

Don't you think that the appearance of modern Homo-sapiens about 200,000 years ago detracts from or falsifies the Adam and Eve myth?

At 12/16/10, 11:24 AM, Blogger Grant said...

Answer to thewordofme.

Please see the last two paragraphs from the article above. Does that answer the question?

I guess it didn't so I'll say that concept of a "chosen" people has always been about the right to the priesthood, and there have been repeated apostasies and restorations - usually called dispensations - of the priesthood and the saving ordinances it administers. The number of people who have held the priesthood in any past dispensation has been a very small percentage of the total population. Perhaps Adam and Eve, when they came out of the Garden of Eden, were a very small percentage of the total population in 4000 BC.

When all the information is available there will be - there CAN be - no disagreement between science and religion. But we don't have all the facts yet, and so we must proceed on faith.

Science is OK as far as it goes, but people who consider themselves to be "rational" often parrot the prevailing notion about the way things are without having ever critically thought about the basis for those beliefs.

Global Warming is one of those politicized non-issues upon which many people would willingly sacrifice the financial and technological future of mankind. Global warming is a religion. It is NOT science. The earth's temperature goes up and down. Get used to it.

Read all my articles on Darwinism with an open mind. People who claim we are the result of organic evolution without any creator God are expressing their belief. Darwinism is a religion. It is NOT science.

One thing you'll notice if you read my blog about the existence of hominin cultures many tens of thousands of years before Adam and Eve is that their tool industries often remained exactly the same for very long periods of time. There was no gradual innovation. That's the way animals behave, not humans. Humans like to improve things. We like to see if we can do things better than those who went before us, or even than the guy next door.

Read through the blog about which you've posed your question and notice when innovation began. I think you'll find that things began to progress rapidly about 4,000 BC.

Perhaps when Adam and Eve came out of the garden of eden, armed with truly human spirits, they were surrounded on all sides by the other cultures who had evolved - with the help of their creator God - over tens or even hundreds of thousands of years. The blood of Adam and Eve mingled with the blood of these pre-existing peoples, down through the centuries that followed, and at various and sundry times: Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and so on, the priesthood was restored to one family, one tribe, one lineage out of all the "family of man".

The bottom line here is that ultimately, when all has been revealed, there can be no disagreement between science and religion. Until then we should prove all things and hold fast to that which is good. We can prove all things by study and also by faith.

I also try to hold my speculations firmly at arm's length and not ever let them mingle with or become confused with the writings of prophets and apostles past and present. To the law and to the testimony!

I hope this answer is satisfying. It is just one possible answer out of many. Won't it be great when we have all the truth?!

At 10/18/12, 10:24 PM, Blogger BunBun4life said...

The image of homo neanderthalis should be removed and replaced with a more ACCURATE example of what neanderthals were known to look like. WHITE.

every pre-human wasn't black.

At 10/19/12, 9:43 PM, Blogger Grant said...

You make an excellent point. But...

We don’t know what Neanderthals looked like except that they were more “robust” than “modern” humans. A properly groomed and attired Neanderthal, so we are told, could walk down the street and nobody would pay him the slightest attention. Well, some ladies might swoon at the size of his biceps. But I digress... The size and shape of Neanderthal bones and muscle attachments tells us a lot about their musculature and locomotion, but bones don’t tell us anything about eye or skin or hair color.

The Neanderthal skull reveals that their brains were, on average, larger than the typical “modern” human brain. While size by itself does not indicate superior intelligence, perhaps it is premature to characterize Neanderthals as “brutish.” They might have lacked our capacity for symbolic language, and this could have made it hard for them to compete. They were around for a very long time, which is certainly one measure of success.

Maybe we “out of Africa” types were more aggressive and warlike. Maybe Neanderthals were of the “live and let live” persuasion and didn’t believe “might makes right.” That would certainly have given “modern” man a competitive edge. A lot of people would agree that we’d live in a much better world if “modern” humans had stayed in Africa; or if Europeans had stayed in Europe; or at least if the English had stayed in England. One can speculate endlessly and pointlessly about these possibilities. And there are as many theories as there are experts.

Wikipedia tells us the Neanderthal Genome Project, founded in 2006, "faced many difficulties, including the contamination of the samples by the bacteria that had colonized the Neanderthal's bod(ies) and humans who handled the bones at the excavation site and at the laboratory." If you wade through the experimental methods and the conclusions of the project, you may feel, as I do, that our current understanding of Neanderthal DNA is rudimentary at best, and quite controversial. I’m not at all dogmatic about any of this: I haven’t chosen a "side". I’m excited about all new revelations. Perhaps one day the Neanderthal genes for hair color, eye color, and skin color will be known.

Might it be possible that Neanderthals varied in these characteristics as much as the rest of us “out of Africa” types? Maybe their skin color varied, as does ours. Maybe some of them had blue eyes, some brown, and some green. Some of them might even have looked like Bon Jovi, as the link in your comment suggests. I wonder how he feels about this comparison?

One area that fascinates me is whether or not “modern” humans have Neanderthal DNA? Did H. sapiens and H. neanderthalensis interbreed? This is another very controversial area. Google “Neanderthal” (images) and you’ll find several reconstructions with pale skin, blue eyes, and reddish blonde hair. The most recent National Geographic article reports a new study indicating Neanderthals and “modern” humans shared DNA, indicating they did interbreed.

One article I read many years ago suggested the tall northern European blonde or red-haired blue eyed types had more Neanderthal characteristics and the shorter brown or black-haired brown eyed southern European types had more Cro-Magnon characteristics. That was long before any genome projects had been dreamed up, and I’ve never been able to find the article again. But this points out that people have been thinking about these things for a very long time. I suggest we take a “wait and see” attitude and ... keep on Googling!

I haven’t written anything in my blog since 2008, but I’m always thrilled when someone indicates they’ve read parts of it. Thanks so much for your very insightful comment.

At 11/5/13, 9:00 PM, Blogger Bill G said...

Many things have been going on in the world of science since we last 'talked' here.

Much of the Old Testament is proven wrong by circumstantial evidence.

Yes we know that mankind was never just two people in a garden.

We have known for several centuries that there was never a Noachian flood some 4500 years ago.

We know there was never a Tower of Babel incident.

We know there was never a Exodus of Hebrew slaves (or not) from from Egypt.

We know that Joshua's conquest never happened....well maybe one city, but not all of them, and not Jericho.

We are pretty confident that Moses never wrote the was probably a pious fraud written in or shortly after the Hebrew exile in Babylon.

We also now know that modern humans and Neanderthals did mate and as a consequence many, many people alive today carry Neanderthal genes/blood.

Also, I have heard that modern humans did start progressing more rapidly around 50,000 years ago...not 4,000 years ago.

There is DNA evidence that humans were NEVER down to one mating couple. As far as the lack of innovation for so many ears, just think of how hard it would be on a people that had absolutely nothing to begin with and had to survive n a world that was NOT friendly in any way towards them. It's a wonder that we survived at all.

Your theory that some god created a separate, somehow higher breed of people and then had them breed/mix genes with a lower order of humans makes no sense to me at all.

Gene flow and archaeological, Paleoanthropology seem to agree that mankind, more or less. progressed as the scientists have been saying for years.

At 11/5/13, 9:28 PM, Blogger Grant said...

I'm always happy to read what people have to say. Even when they don't seem to have read what I wrote. But I write a lot of words, and so maybe I can't blame someone for that. I address many of your points in the response I wrote to The Word of Me on 12/16/2010. The bottom line, as I see it, is that many things have to be taken on faith, with a wait-and-see kind of attitude. I feel certain that we will all be surprised by how wrong many of our most cherished beliefs turn out to be when we die and go on to the next stage of our existence. Or, if we merely wink out, as you apparently believe, then we probably won't be surprised at all. I, for one, plan to discuss these things with you when we both get there.


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