Re: Genesis Flood and fossil man

Gene Godbold (
Wed, 1 May 96 12:57:59 EDT

I wonder if Glenn Morton and Dick Fischer might numerically "rate" the
points that they use to defend their respective positions. This would be
somewhat subjective, but it would give a feeling for what they feel gives
their argument the most support and for what they feel are the gravest
objections to the other's model. For instance, Glenn Morton seems to feel
that the *parochiality* of the recent Mesopotamian flood is a serious
objection to it while Mr. Fischer believes that the antiquity of the
Mediterranean flood is equally damaging to that idea. Now, numerically
rating the importance of data might be artificial and stilted, but I
wonder if it wouldn't in some cases help, especially when someone presents
a relatively long list of points. To take one of Mr. Morton's more recent
postings as an example: How important does he feel is the fossil evidence
for language?

> Adam had a language. (see Genesis 2) Homo habilis left fossil evidence of
> a language!
> "But monkeys don't have language and humans do. Are [141/142] there
> morphological manifestations of human brains that (a) correlate with
> functional lateralizations including language and (b) are capable of
> leaving traces in the hominid fossil record? Indeed there are. Shape
> asymmetries of the frontal and occipital lobes, known as petalias, exist
> in human brains (and to a lesser degree in brains of monkeys and apes) and
> are statistically associated with handedness in humans. Further, a
> characteristic sulcal pattern associated with Broca's speech area in left
> frontal lobes is present in human but not in ape brains. Both humanlike
> petalis and the pattern of sulci associated with Broca's area have been
> detected on endocranial casts (endocasts) from the early part of the
> hominid fossil record.
> "The oldest evidence for Broca's area to date is from KNM-ER 1470, a
> H. habilis specimen from Kenya, dated at approximately two million years
> ago. From that date forward, brain size 'took off,' i.e., increased
> autocatalytically so that it nearly doubled in the genus Homo, reaching
> its maximum in Neanderthals. If hominids weren't using and refining
> language I would like to know what they were doing with their
> autocatalytically increasing brains (getting ready to draw pictures
> somehow doesn't seem like enough)."~Dean
> Falk, Comments, Current Anthropology, 30:2, April, 1989, p. 141-142.

I will frankly admit that this sort of recreation of soft tissue from
bones strikes me as common is this practice and has it been
shown to give good results (examples from forensics perhaps)? If Mr.
Morton has similar doubts or the utility of this reasoning is unknown (if
not suspect) then he might give it a rating of 2 or 3. The tool use and
"naked lady" statuette may seem like stronger indications of spirituality
or some such. He might give that a 5 or 6. The geological suitability of
the Mediterranean for such a flood as he proposes might rate a 9 or 10 on
the scale.

This might help some of us who aren't in a position to evaluate the data
to know what those who are in such a position think about the relative
relevance of particular points.

Trying to be helpful,

Gene Godbold
Dept. of Biochemistry and Biophysics
University of NC-Chapel Hill