Re: Adam and Recognizing the Creator...

Glenn R. Morton (
Tue, 24 Nov 1998 20:13:56 -0800

At 02:02 PM 11/24/98 -0700, John W Burgeson wrote:
>Here is your argument, as I read it.
>About 3-5 MY ago, the data shows, some beings showed love and nurture
>toward a member of their species who was, apparently, unable to
>contribute to the survival of the tribe.
>This kind of action is found only in humanity, not in other life forms
>currently on this planet.
>Humanity is "imago dei."
>Therefore the tribal beings 3-5 MY ago must also have been "imago dei."
>Have I stated it correctly?
>In ELEPHANTS WEEP, a number of incidents are shown where other organisms
>currently residing on this planet show love and nurture toward a member
>of their species, indeed, on occasion, toward a member of another
>This kind of action is found in humanity, who are "imago dei."
>Therefore, either these other organisms, geese, elephants, etc. are also
>"imago dei" or the character trait of showing love and nurture is not a
>characteristic which can distinguish between imago dei and non-imago dei.
>All I am pointing out, friend Glenn, is that your argument here is a weak
>one. The beings 3-5 MY ago may, or may not, have been "imago dei." This
>particular argument does not give a strong reason (it does give a weak
>reason) for believing so.

Two things you missed in my argument. First the minor thing is the time.
It is not 3-5 MYR but 1.6 MYR was when the oldest case of provable
compassionate behavior occurred. It was KNM 1808. Secondly, I
specifically showed that this was NOT a Chimp trait as sick and injured
troop members are attacked and driven out of camp (Jane Goodall In the
Shadow of Man, pp 218-224). In that respect the behavior of Homo erectus
was different than the ancestral pattern.

And of this particular argument I would agree that it is not a strong
argument, of itself. But added to this is the fact that the first art
work, a phonolite pebble with a visage pecked into it comes from the same
time (see below), the fact that those ancient homo erectus' could plan for
actions days in advance (chimps can only plan actions about 30 minutes in
advance). Homo erectus was carrying rare obsidian hand axes for 100
kilometers from its source. This is a 3-4 day trip and means that the
person had to remember each day to pick up the ax and carry it to the place
where it was used. And there are lots of these obsidian axes from that site.

It is the totality of arguments that makes the case, not necessarily a
single argument.

Of the oldest case of care, I have seen this type of argument used in
Christian apologetic books, like Wiester:

"There is additional evidence of those qualities associated with humanity
at the Shanidar cave. The analysis of undeveloped bone structure indicates
that another man, known as SHanidar I, was a severe cripple from birth.
HIs right arm was entirely useless and may have been amputated just above
the elbow. Extensive bone scar tissue indicates that he was blind in his
left eye. He was apparently cared for by his people until his death at age
forty, a very old age by Neanderthal standards. This is the first sign of
compassion and tenderness in the archeological record."John Wiester, The
Genesis Connection, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983), p. 181

My point (at least in the book) for using it is to show that if this is
good to show neanderthals as human, it must also apply to homo erectus.

Oldest art:

"In concluding this review of the lithic material from Oldowan and
Developed Oldowan Sites the grooved and pecked phonolite cobble found in
Upper Bed I at FLK North must be mentioned. This stone has unquestionably
been artificially shaped. But it seems unlikely that it could have served
as a tool or for any practical purpose. It is conceivable that a parallel
exists in the quartzite cobble found at Makapansgat in which natural
weathering has simulated the carving of two sets of hominid-or mre strictly
primate- features on parts of the surface. The resemblance to primate
faces is immediately obvious in this specimen, although it is entirely
natural, whereas in the case of the Olduvai stone a great deal of
imagination is required in order to see any pattern or significance in the
form. With oblique lighting, however, there is a suggestion of an
elongate, baboon-like muzzle with faint indications of a mouth and
nostrils. By what is probably no more than a coincidence, the pecked
groove on the Olduvai stone is reproduced on the Makapansgat specimen by a
similar but natural groove and in both specimens the positions of the
grooves correspond to what would be the base of the hair line if an
anthropomorphic interpretation is considered. This is open to question,
but nevertheless the occurrence of such stones at hominid sites in such
remote periods is of considerable interest." ~ M.D. Leakey, Olduvai Gorge
3 Excavations in Beds I and II, 1960-1693, (Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1971), p. 269

happy thanksgiving to you also.

Adam, Apes and Anthropology
Foundation, Fall and Flood
& lots of creation/evolution information