Re: Dating Adam

Glenn Morton (
Sun, 26 May 1996 22:07:30

Terry Gray wrote:

>Glenn wrote:

>>Unfortunately, Paul, your friend's suggestion is about as workable as
>>saying that the speed of light has changed because it ignores a whole
>>lot of evidence for human activity prior to the advent of anatomically
>> modern humans. It also ignores the fact that when anatomically modern
>>humans first appear, they do nothing different for many millenia than
>>the older populations were doing. Evidence of human activity gradually
>>appears in the fossil record long before the appearance of anatomically
>>modern humans.
>[List of pre-anatomically modern humans' human behaviors excised.]
>Glenn and I have discussed this in the past and I guess have decided to
>simply disagree, but I thought I'd toss out this point again for the
>sake of discussion and for others to comment on.
>All modern humans are members of the the same species -- homo sapiens.
>The consensus seems to be that the multi-regional theory of orgins is
>wrong and that all modern humans descend from some common small ancestral
>population (Eve hypothesis--dating and location is controversial, but is
>irrelevant to my point). This conclusion is primarily derived from
>genetic data. I think that Glenn would agree with me.

Agreed. But due to some recently discovered problems with the methodology,
"Eve" may have been much longer ago than you seem to want (~100,000
years). Christopher Willis writes:

"The most probable divergence time between the ancestors of humans
and chimpanzees, it is now thought, lies somewhere between four million
and seven and a half million years ago. When I used transversions alone
to estimate the age of Eve, I found that humans had accumulated about
one-seventh as many transversions as had accumulated between us and the
chimpanzees. This meant that the mitochrondrial Eve probably lived
between six hundred thousand and a million years ago."~Christopher Wills,
The Runaway Brain, (New York: Harper Collins, 1993), p. 54-55 (see also
Trinkaus and Shipman The Neanderthals, 1992 p. 396)

If genetics now seems to imply an Eve of approximately 800,000 years ago,
then "Eve" was a Homo erectus. Anatomically modern men appear around
130,000 years ago.

>Glenn seems to have a problem with having human behaviors --tool making,
>weapon making, speech, art, burial rites, etc. present in "non-image of
>God bearing" beings. Some of his resistance to a recent Adam and Eve
> (recent in my book is within the past 100,000 years) seems to stem from
>this problem.
>I have no problem with the pre-humans displaying human-like behaviors.
> I see no reason not to expect it given the full complexity of what it
> means to be a human being and a human being in the image of God. I have
>no problem saying that modern homo sapiens, all deriving from the
>ancestral small population (among whom were Adam and Eve), ALONE bear the
>image of God.

One should not confuse technology with the image of God. Primitive
peoples, even stone-age peoples with very static cultures, have the image
of God. What they don't have is technology. Neither did Neanderthal, or
Homo erectus, or even archaic Homo sapiens. Since the earliest archaic
Homo sapiens behaved (archeologically speaking) identically as their
contemporaries (H. erectus), and since the earliest anatomically modern
Homo sapiens behaved identically as their contemporaries (Neanderthal),
then these facts leads to one of two logical conclusions.

1. It is possible to be an anatomically modern human but not have the
image of God. This conclusion was used to enslave the indians in Spanish
America. Kenneth Scott Latourette writes:

"At the outset, some Spaniards believed the Indians not to be really human
beings and to be incapable of receiving Christianity. Even a churchman,
J. de Quevedo, Bishop of Darien, was found who maintained that the Indians
were slaves by nature." _A History of the Expansion of Christianity_
Zondervan, 1970, p. 90

Luckily the Popes disagreed.

2. Modern man's early behavior does not reflect a lack of the image of God
but a lack of technology. The behavior of technologically primitive humans
(neanderthal, H.erectus, archaic homo sapiens) are not good enough to cast
them out of the family of God.

I go with the second.

>I believe that Glenn errs in cast the net of image-bearing too widely and
>that he doesn't allow for "anticipatory" properties and behaviors. This
>unnecessarily rules out the possibility of correlating the events of
>Genesis 2ff. with the origin of anatomically modern man. From a
>genetic/biological perspective such a correlation makes a great deal of
>sense and is not incompatible with much of Biblical theology.

A human is someone who behaves in a human fashion. A chimpanzee is an
animal who behaves in a chimpanzee fashion. Behavior is the criteria upon
which humanity MUST rest. You are human if you do human things such as
talk. But if you rest your definition of humanity upon the outward
appearance, (i.e. modern humans) then you get into trouble because the
cranial differences between the modern races is quite a lot. Shreeve
writes of the fossil Sangiran 17:

"What astonished Wolpoff was the fossil's face, especially the way it
projected out from the skull. Once he had completed the toothpick,
reconstruction, he could see that the jutting face was unlike anything
he'd seen in erectus specimens from africa or among the Peking Man casts
in Beijing, where he had been just days before. Though some 700,000 years
old, the face eerily resembled those of far younger, modern human fossils
from Australia. The 'robust' Australian sapiens were as modern in brain
size as any in the world, but they showed the same facial projection--big
browridges, thick bones, sloping foreheads, and heavy molars--that Wolpoff
saw in Sangiran 17. Many living Australian aborigines carry the same
traits today."
"Decades before, Weidenreich had suggested a connection between the
erectus fossils of Java and modern Australian aborigines. But Weidenreich
had only skullcaps to work from, like those of Solo Man from Ngandong. In
the face of Sangiran, Wolpoff saw the missing anchor to Weidenreich's
Australian lineaage. Another researcher had sJava.' For Wolpoff,
Sangiran was stunning proof. In their arguments, Alan Thorne had been
trying to convince Wolpoff that regional features would appear first at
the remote edges of the hominid range, farthest away from the African
birthplace of the earlist hominids. And here sat Sangiran 17, three
quarters of a million years old and about as far from the African 'center'
as one could get--but already full-fledged native Australasian."~James R.
Shreeve, The Neandertal Enigma, (New York: William
Morrow and Co., 1995), p. 102-103

Sangiran 17 is considered a H. erectus. And the age is about what Willis
calculated should be the age of "Eve".

Also remember that we may not have all of the data with which to judge
human activities.

"In western Australia today there are aborigines who make very
crude-looking stone tools. But their wooden implements are very
elaborate, with fancy painting on bark, and beautiful spearthrowers and
shafts. They also have extremely complex social systems, cosmology, and
narrative traditions. If you were to dig up one of their sites a thousand
years from now, however, all you would see would be the clunky stone
tools. Does this mean those aborigines were technologically inferior?
Not at all. They were simply relying on perishable materials."~James R.
Shreeve, The Neandertal Enigma, (New York: William Morrow and Co., 1995),
p. 249

You simply can not ignore the fact that what behaviors we do see in the
record are human behaviors (fire, tools to make other tools, weapons,
scalping other men, body painting, etc.)!

Foundation,Fall and Flood