Dick Fischer deserves a hearing

From: Glenn Morton (glenn.morton@btinternet.com)
Date: Sun Dec 30 2001 - 23:58:07 EST

  • Next message: Walter Hicks: "Re: Dick Fischer deserves a hearing"

    A friend pointed me to Burgy's post and asked my opinion on it, so I decided
    to up this on the ASA board. Burgy says that Seely and Van Till didn't deal
    with Dick's research. I will deal with the archaeology of the technology
    which he uses to date the time when Adam lived. Conclusion--his research is
    sloppy.

    Burgy is correct that Dick deserves a hearing, as does anyone offering a
    suggestion or viewpoint. But one can't, as Burgy suggests, simply disparage
    the rejections which have been based on theological points. Like it or not
    theology is part of the issue here. Besides, Dick seems to engage in his
    own, supportive, theological arguments in these texts (his discussion of the
    image of God). You can't deny to his critics what he himself does.

    I will say that IMO Dick is absolutely correct that Christian apologetics
    MUST deal with the ancient peoples like H. erectus, who show all the
    attributes we would attribute to being modern human, including spirituality
    and art! (see my web page for this data
    http://www.glenn.morton.btinternet.co.uk/anth.htm )

    Dick's section on mitochondrial Eve leaves out some data that some genes in
    our cell's nucleus (as opposed to the 16 kbyte mtDNA) shows that we have a
    genetic connection which goes back up to 2 million years or more (see the
    above web site). This makes any mtDNA Eve-based apologetic scientifically
    outdated--not that that will bother many of the apologists. Dick is correct
    that any apologetic which wants to have a real Adam must take one of two
    positions--either Adam was millions of years ago as I have been suggesting,
    or that Adam was very recent and not the father of all humanity. The
    scientific data rules out any intermediate position (once again, not that
    this will bother most apologists who seem to be influential precisely
    proportional to the amount of scientific data they ignore. In support of
    this digression, consider how many books the young-earther's sell in
    contrast to the design advocates vs. the liberal apologetical works).

    Dick places Adam between 5000 and 4000 BC based upon when certain
    technologies were supposed to have appeared.
    (http://www.asa3.org/ASA/topics/Evolution/PSCF12-93Fisher.html#Part%201) and
    then writes (I have indented his paragraphs to make it clear what he wrote):

            "Lamech, a descendant of Cain, had three sons by his two wives (Gen.
    4:19-22). Jabal "was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as
    have cattle." A second son Jubal, "was the father of all such as handle the
    harp and organ."
            In just eight generations counting Adam, there are tents, livestock, and
    musical instruments; not caves, wooly mammoths, and hand axes. For many
    reasons, we can conclude that Adam was not contemporary with the
    "Flintstones." A wealth of Stone Age artifacts have been uncovered giving
    silent testimony to a culture long disappeared at this point. So where does
    Adam fit in the history of man" The next verse is explicit.
            In Genesis 4:22, one of Cain's descendants, Tubal-cain, was "an instructor
    of every worker in brass and iron." The Hebrew word for "brass" also means
    "copper," and copper tools were not in use before 10,000 years ago. Although
    iron smelting would be out of the question, there is evidence that bog iron
    was beaten into rudimentary tools, and iron was known as far back as 4000
    BC,11 or else what may have looked like iron could have been tin. Copper and
    tin together make bronze, and the Bronze Age is identifiable in history,
    starting about 3000 BC.12
            "That is the proverbial smoking gun. Adam belongs after the old Stone Ages,
    near the threshold of the Bronze Age, in a period called the Chalcolithic,
    when traditional stone tools were being gradually augmented by crude copper
    implements. Adam's descendants saw the dawning of the Bronze Age. "

    So he is claiming that archaeological data shows that these inventions
    occurred between 4 and 5000 BC. This claim is pure poppycock (not that it
    will cause Dick to alter his opinion). He is not at all paying attention to
    the archaeological evidence even which was available when he wrote the
    article (all the data I cite is 1993 or earlier).

    Lets start with musical instruments. They were in existence LONG before 5000
    BC (for documentation see
    http://www.glenn.morton.btinternet.co.uk/music.htm). The oldest flute (which
    was bone) is found at Haua Fteah, Libya and dates to 80,000 years old. It
    was most assuredly not the oldest flute as it was most likely preceded by
    millenia with reed flutes before someone went to the trouble to carve bone.
    Many modern primitive peoples make flutes out of reeds which would not be
    preserved in the archaeological record.

    Thus, if Dick is trying to say that the descendant of his Adam invented the
    flute, he is absolutely wrong. It was invented long before his Adam lived.

    As to Dick's claim that tents were invented between 4 and 5000 BC. Once
    again, poppycock!. Tents are found hundreds of thousands of years ago!

    32,000 years ago:
    "La Ferrassie contained a 5 x 3-m spread of limestone fragments possibly
    marking the base of a tent built within the cave. Pech de l'Aze 1 preserved
    a small part of a low dry-stone wall, and Combe-Grenal contained an apparent
    posthole." ~ Richard G. Klein, The Human Career, (Chicago: The University of
    Chicago Press, 1989), p. 315

    from the 200,000 year old site of Lazaret Cave:
            "There are a number of candidates for Preneandertal walls constructed of
    posts and perishable materials. The best known of these was part of a Riss
    habitation structure at Lazaret Cave. Despite Villa's reservations,
    artefact and charcoal distributions support the interpretation of a barrier
    existing along the line of postholes at Lazaret, separating intensely used
    areas from little used areas. Similar rock features surrounding voids have
    been found at Lunel-Viel and Organac III where they were interpreted as pole
    supports for walls." ~ Brian Hayden "The Cultural Capacities of Neandertals
    ", Journal of Human Evolution 1993, 24:113?146, p. 132

    The wall was of perishable material--like animal hide. THis is a tent type
    of structure.

    from 400,000 years ago another tent with evidence for animal skins.
            "The most interesting results of the excavation were the traces in the
    sand of a series of eleven large, carefully constructed dwellings, each
    built on roughly the same spot as the previous year's. They were oval in
    shape and roughly measured 12 metres (40 feet) long by 6 metres (20 feet)
    wide. They were constructed from walls of young branches supported in the
    center by a row of sturdy posts. The people of Terra Amata placed large
    stones around the base of the walls so as to add extra support against the
    northwest wind.
            "The importance of the discovery is not so much the construction itself
    but the glimpses of activity within. A hearth was built near the centre of
    each hut. A scatter of stone flakes indicated the work of a tool-maker, and
    an area in the middle which was clear of flakes showed the place where he
    squatted as he worked. One set of eleven flakes could be reassembled to
    form the original pebble: clearly the tool-maker knapped some flakes and
    then made little use of the products. The hut dwellers used animal skins for
    comfort, probably both for sitting on and for sleeping on. A curious
    depression in the sand could have been made by a long-vanished wooden bowl.
    Most intriguing of all, though, are traces of worn ochre of the sort that
    French historian Francois Bordes has suggested was used for body-painting.
           "Remains of red deer, elephant, an extinct species of rhinoceros,
    mountain goat and wild boar reveal the hut dwellers' taste for meat. many
    of the animals brought to the camp were young, indicating that they were
    hunted rather than scavenged. Shells of oysters, mussels and limpets show
    that these people made some use of the resources of the sea. As usual,
    there is little to suggest what plant foods were collected and eaten
    although the groves of bushes and trees beyond the beach must surely have
    provided many items of food.
            "Henri de Lumley knows that the seaside camp was occupied during late
    spring from an analysis of pollen contained in the occupants' fossilized
    faeces. the faeces contained the pollen of broom which flowers only in late
    spring. He also knows that each year the newly built camp was inhabited for
    just a short wile: a longer occupation would have compacted the sand in the
    area of the hut." ~ Richard E. Leakey, The Making of Mankind, (New York: E.
    P. Dutton, 1981) p. 124

    And there is one controversial tent from nearly 2 million years ago.
    Microwear analysis of Lower Paleolithic (>700,000 years ago) stone tools
    were used to scrape animal hides sometimes. Derek Roe,"The Handaxe Makers,"
    in Andrew Sherratt, editor, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Archaeology, (New
    York: Cambridge University Press, 1980), p. 72

    What of copper work, which Adam's descendant supposedly invented sometime
    after 5000 BC according to Dick? Renfrew writes:

    "Reddish copper is found in the free metallic state in nature; this native
    copper was first used (c.8000 BC) as a substitute for stone by Neolithic
    man." ~ "Copper", Encyclopedia Britannica, III, (Chicago: Encyclopedia
    Britannica,1982) p. 134

    What of livestock?

    Dick seems to think that livestock farming didn't happen until 5000 BC.
    Poppycock! A carved horsehead dating from 13,000 years BP has what appears
    to be a bridle on it. One can see a picture of this in Jan Jelinek, The
    Pictorial Encyclopedia of Human Evolution, (London: Hamlin, 1976), p. 311

    Goats and sheep were domesticated between 7500 and 9000 years ago. (see O.
    Bar-Yosef, "The Role of Western Asia in Modern Human Origins," Phil. Trans.
    R. Soc. Lond. B, 1992, p. 193-200 esp. p. 199 and Victor Barnouw, An
    Introduction to Anthropology: Physical Anthropology and Archaeology, 1,
    (Homewood, Ill: The Dorsey Press, 1982), p.193) Yet Dick uses a mythical
    date for livestock farming to 'date' his Adam.

    Only with iron and brass does Dick have an archaeological case. All else is
    fictional and without foundation in the archaeological record.

    Dick's statement "Stone tools would have been of little use to Noah when he
    needed to construct a massive watertight ark. " is also silly. There was no
    metalurgy in all of Polynesia (they lack metal ores) yet they (Tahitians)
    were able, with their stone tools, to make boats bigger than those James
    Cook used to 'discover' them (not that they needed any discovering--they
    knew they were there). The Tahitians used breadfruit sap for caulking their
    boats. They accomplished what Dick says is impossible. What research did
    Dick put in so that he could make such a patently historically false
    statement? Such statements reflect a western bias, a 21st century bias that
    primitive peoples were incapable of doing anything of value, an ignorance of
    what is possible with stone tools and a lack of research. Reference John R.
    Whiting,"Boat and Boating" The Software Toolworks Encyclopedia, 1992 Ed.
    version 1.5. Text Copyright Grolier Inc. 1992 and "Polynesians," Microsoft
    (R) Encarta. Copyright (c) 1994 Microsoft Corporation.

    How can Dick use a set of false and fictional invention dates to tell us
    when Adam lived? This is the accepted apologetical procedure, that is how!
    Decide what the answer is BEFORE looking at the data. It is a shame that no
    reviewer caught these silly archaeological/anthropological errors during the
    publication process.

    As I mentioned, with the evidence out there today, if one wants to have a
    historical Adam one must chose either a young Adam who is not ancestral to
    humanity, or have Adam be quite old. All other options are falsified.
    However, Dick is quite wrong in the 'evidence' he uses to 'date' when Adam
    lived.



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