June 17, 2011

When Were Adam and Eve?

There have been a number of indications that modern, human intelligence arose somewhere around 150,000 years ago. Certain indicators of human intelligence are the ability to create fire, wear clothing, fashion and use tools, speak, read and write, build lodging, think abstractly, create music, and cook. Most evolutionists believe that there was a pattern of increasing intelligence over hundreds of thousands of years. However, the evidence is flimsy, in my personal opinion. I believe intelligence was rising, but only to a certain point and only in discrete steps determined by genetic coding. When Adam was finally given spiritual life by God, he was instantly smarter than any immediate ancestors.

Fires. Now, ability to make fires supposedly goes back much farther than 150 Ka. The problem with the evidence is that it is mostly circumstantial evidence. Finding burnt materials (or even flint) around Homo erectus or Homo sapiens is not proof of the ability to start fires. It could indicate merely that early hominids were interested in fire and collected burnt materials. The finding of “hearths” is also speculative and requires a measure of interpretation. I doubt that Homo sapiens were making fires before 100 Ka. Either way, though, using flint to make fire isn
t necessarily indicative of a high level of intelligence that would require the kind of self-awareness that we possess.

Tool making was relatively primitive up until roughly 100 Ka, also. Even apes and monkeys are able to make and use tools.
[2] Early hominids were nothing more than smart animals that could produce crude tools, yet somewhat more efficiently than apes. There is some evidence that tool making improved over time, but the improvements were mostly minor.

Clothing use has recently been dated to around 170 Ka, based on mitochondrial DNA of clothing lice.  However, the idea of using molecular clocks is a newer science that is based on a shaky assumption. It is assumed that genetic mutations occurred in the past at a relatively constant rate. On that point, see this article that shows an example of how molecular clocks can be way off: http://blogs.sciencemag.org/origins/2009/11/penguin-dna-may-reset-the-mole.html. Genetic mutations may have occurred “two-to-six times faster than previously estimated” for penguins. That’s what you call being way off. So, the 170 Ka date for the invention of clothing is premature—or at least highly tentative. Clothing, according to the Bible, didn’t come into being until Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve probably weren’t around until about 80-60 Ka, in my view.

Abstract Thinking. The beginnings of abstract thinking is hard to pin down. Some of the earliest evidence is found in the Blombos Cave in South Africa, and dated to around 75 Ka (as an upper limit due to the type of dating used). There are lines in stone that look decorative and would likely indicate symbolic thought. The problem with this evidence is that the marks in the stone are imprecise and could have other explanations. They could be nothing more than doodles by early pre-humans. Regardless of the interpretation, I have no problem believing that pre-humans had the ability to think more abstractly than ordinary animals, since God was preparing them to receive His image and to become fully self-aware beings. These marks in stone still indicate a relatively primitive intelligence. Also found in the cave were many perforated shells with possible wear marks. It is suggested that these shells were made into a necklace. Other explanations could be possible, but the ability of pre-humans to make a crude necklace wouldn’t shock me. It seems likely that pre-humans had the ability to think symbolically to some degree. Note, however, that the primary dating method (thermoluminescence dating) provides an upper limit rather than a precise date. This means that the artifacts in the cave probably are from a much later time, like 40 Ka, as I understand it.

Summary. As for the other indicators of advanced (modern) intelligence, the evidence for speech and lodging and cooking could easily indicate a very late date of origination. There is nothing evidentially that contradicts the idea that mankind suddenly gained a spiritual nature along with the ability to speak, create buildings, and cook sometime around 90-65 Ka. Thus, it is reasonable to place Adam and Eve around this time. (I place Adam and Eve around this time because the Out-of-Africa event likely took place around this time, and the Bible indicates Adam and Eve lived in Mesopotamia and not in Africa.)

Religion (Edit): I want to add a word about religion. Because of the Flood, most of human history from about 80 to 55 Ka would have been mostly erased, or at least obscured, in Mesopotamia. When looking for evidence of religious practices among Homo sapiens, there is nothing concrete until about 50 Ka, which would have been roughly around the time of the Tower of Babel when people dispersed from the Near East throughout the world. Indeed, because of this, some scholars suggest that this is about the time when humans first began having a religious nature. Some have suggested that animal worship was occurring as early as 70 Ka in Africa, but the evidence for that is in dispute among scholars. The only solid evidence of religious practices is from after 50 Ka, which fits with the idea that true humans began c. 70 Ka and Noah's Flood happened c. 55 Ka and the Tower of Babel happened c. 52 Ka. True humans have always had a religious nature. So, though religious practices do go back to about ~70 Ka, in my theories, the evidence is wanting because of the Flood and the limited geographical range of humans before the Flood.

Music (Edit). As for music, the earliest concrete evidence of musical skill are Paleolithic bone flutes[1] that date to about 40 Ka, as I understand it. This is also not too long after the Tower of Babel. Because evidence was destroyed in the Flood, it is not surprising that there is no evidence
of musical instruments before 50 Ka.


[1] http://www.livescience.com/20563-ancient-bone-flute.html
[2] http://phys.org/news/2016-10-monkeys-stone-flakes-humans-unique.html [Edit: Link added 10/29/2016]

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