Reply to Tanner
Thu, 11 Jun 1998 19:03:26 -0700

I am familiar with some, but not all the evidences you give for
"religious and other human behavior" I have some of the references,
but it will take some time to dig them up. The rest will require a
visit to the university library.

One reference immediately caught my eye because I recently reread the
original article. Given your citation of Gowlett, I am assuming your
reference to fire usage at 1.5 m.y.a. is in regards to the baked clay
found at Chesowanja. The interpretation of Gowlett, Harris, Walton and
Wood is by no means universally accepted by the anthropological
community. In fact all the references I could get my hand on last night
are sceptical of the claim. Glynn Isaac, (Nature, 295(?):870); M.H.
Day,(Guide to Fossil Man, pp. 224), and even Tattersall (The Fossil
Trail, pp. 209), whom you just reviewed, express doubt that the evidence
indicates the deliberate control of fire. In addition to "evidence of
fire", Gowlett, et al also found numerous artifacts and associated
hominid fossils at this site. The fossils, however, are not Homo, but
robust australopithecines. If fire was controlled at Chesowanja, it was
not by Homo.

While I am not quite as antagonistic towards your article, I believe I
understand Tanners critcism with regards to "could have been." I am
assuming you are attempoting to push back "modernity" back to over at
least 1.5 million years. Yes, fire could have been controlled by humans
that long ago, but it is far from proven. Another example is the
Neandertal flute, while I doubt it is a fire starter, I am not entirely
convinced it is a flute either

I believe I have indicated to you in personal correspondence some of my
own views on the relationship of mainstream science and history as
presented in the Bible. I am secure in my faith and have no problem
investigating and accepting mainstream science (inflationary (?)Big
Bang, old earth, evolution, and the apparent descent of modern humans
from more *Primitive* forms. I also have indicated to you my firm
adherance to the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy.

I respect your desire and applaud your efforts to find a meaningful
concordance between the bible and the observational data of science. I
like the fact that you have not placed special conditions on the data of
any particular field. The immanance of God in Nature Personally, I am
still at the point of saying "yes, the Bible says such and such, and the
observational data indicates this and that, but I can not honestly say I
know how to draw lines between an observation and a passage in the