When Did Adam Live? Part 2: Does a Small Brain Make You Dumb?
By Glenn R. Morton
Note: If you haven't read Days ofProclamation: Historical Reading of Genesis 1, you should, it is the prerequisite for what I am doing in this series of posts. Part 1 of this series is below and covers religion. Also, as you will see below references to the consciousness/soul being immaterial, and not subject to matter. The best scientific evidence for that position can be found in the post by me and Gordon Simons, called Quantum Soul. Don't be afraid of that article, there is no math in it, but there is a link to some math if someone wants it.
The Image of God
In this post we will examine brain size as a delimiter of who can and can't carry the image of God. As we know, God said " Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:...". What does that mean? To whom does it apply? When did Adam Live?
People are all over the place on all three of those questions. What is the image of God? Malcolm Jeeves says,
" We are people who relate to each other as beings created in the image of God. This image is not a separate thing. It is not the possession of an immaterial soul. It is not the capacity to reason. It is not the capacity for moral behavior. It is not the possession of a “God spot” in our brains. It is acknowledging “our human vocation, given and enabled by God, to relate to God as God’s partner in covenant "1
Mark Strand defined it as personhood:
" The Bible uniquely describes humans as created beings who bear the image of God. All humans (and therefore all persons) bear this image, which serves as the foundation of personhood"2
I once defined it as the ability to make moral choices.3, but would probably define it now as the ability to commune with God, i.e., engage in religion which encompasses moral choices, personhood. and the ability to engage in a covenant with God. But unlike Jeeves, it must also entail language, and symbolic thought, or we could not engage in a covenant, have a religion, or have personhood.
To Whom Does the Image Apply?
This is another reason we need to know when Adam lived. Probably the majority of commentators place Adam within the past 10,000 years.. Dick Fischer places Adam at 7000 years ago (personal communication Wed, 01 Mar 2000 21:07:59 -0500 Dick Fischer).and says that Adam is only the father of the Semitic people. This would make my wife and kids the descendants of Adam but not me. Such views that differentiate people along this kind of line, are dangerous to me, but dangerous or not, none of the late Adam people can pinpoint any event that happened to one man in the last 20,000 years that would warrant calling him Adam.
Gregg Davidson considers both 200,000 and 20,000 as the time of Adam, and settles on 20,000 because of the activities listed in Genesis 4 seem to indicate a Neolithic age.4
John McIntyre puts Adam around 9,000 BC again because of the farming and herding and Cain's city.5
A Late Adam makes it impossible for him to be the father of everyone on earth. By doing this, we break theology of Christianity presented by Paul in several places. With Adam as father of all, and the original sinner, there is a symmetry in Romas 5: 12-19
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; ...For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) ... For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
I once read that from 50,000 years to the present there have been 150 billion people who have lived on earth Thus, with the Johnny-come-lately Adam, 1 Cor 15:47, which says, "The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven." should read, "The 98,356,236,694th man was of a dusty town of the earth; the 101,747,231,267th man is of heaven." Kind of has a ring to it, doesn't it?
Others, who move Adam back to 75,000 or even 200,000 years ago destroy the theology in Romans 5. Most of these people believe Adam was a population not an individual. One is used as a parallel with Jesus who is also one man. Making Adam a tribe or people means Romans 5 should read: "For if by many men's offences death reigned by many; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." Kind of a strange way to look at this parallel in Rom 5. George Murphy says,
"But it does seem unlikely that the present human race can be traced to a single male-female pair. As one example of the difficulty this idea faces, development of the present diversity of alleles of human histocompatibility genes from such a pair would require between five and ten million years.37 Unless we want to consider “Adam and Eve” the biological ancestors of all hominids, and perhaps even pongids, we must rule this out."6
It is interesting to me at least, Murphy's reference 37 says in part, "Glenn R. Morton does date the biblical Adam over five million years ago. See, e.g., his Adam, Apes and Anthropology (Dallas, TX: DMD Publishing,1997)." Thus he acknowledges at least one person who has followed the data where it goes. And only in this way can we match the genetic data and still believe in a single pair.
Brain size in the Hominids
The obvious objection to moving Adam back that far is that as one goes back in time, brain size generally gets smaller. I think this is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to the acceptance of my views. The picture below shows the range of brain sizes (cranial capacity) of various groups of fossil men. The data is taken from a variety of sources and the numbers vary from place to place about the range, and about the volume of individual specimens. That is to be expected from different methods of measuring these volumes and from different cut off values for what is normal.
So, as we look ahead we need to frame this issue correctly. Does brain size impact whether or not a being has the image of God? Where is the Bible verse that backs up this
"Las Casas had a good deal of influence on the powers back home, as did another cleric, the Dominican Bernardino de Minaya. Minaya deserted Pizarro in disgust and went to Rome to persuade Pope Paul III to issue a papal bull in 1537 that rejected the idea of Indians as mere brutes and declared them capable and desirous of embracing the Catholic faith. Not only that, the bull proclaimed, even those Native Americans who chose not to follow Christ were not to be enslaved or have their property taken. This was too much. Bristling with secular outrage, Emperor Charles ordered all copies of the bull confiscated and prevailed on the pope to rescind the bull altogether. For his efforts Minaya was thrown into jail by the head of his order."7
So, as we go through the data below, we want to be sure that we are not saying that those with smaller brains but normal intelligence are not capable of carrying the image of God. Why? Because if we view them that way, for the purpose of maintaining that early hominids couldn't have carried the image of God, then it affects how we treat them. If small brained early hominids can't carry the image of God because they have small brains, then can small brained H. sapiens carry the image? Such a view would be appalling. All modern humans can carry the image of God regardless of their brain size, and if we accept that as a given, then upon what basis do we reject the earlier hominids with the same brain sizes? I will discuss the issue of their technology vs ours below, but technology and invention are not the mark of a carrier of the image of God. How many patent applications does the average person submit?
The other thing we need to think about as we learn about the brains below is the issue of what is consciousness/soul, and does it arise from the material object of the brain. If we were to remove half the heart from someone, they would die. If you remove half the liver, they won't die because filtering the blood is simple compared to what the brain would have to do to create consciousness. So why when some brains are severely damaged does the consciousness seem whole? If consciousness/soul were a product of our entire brain then removing half of it should remove half the functionality of consciousness, yet as you will see, it doesn't. The way I interpret this data,, along with information from quantum mechanics, is that soul/consciousness is not material.
Dumb and Dumber
Over and over I have been told that hominids with small brains are incapable of carrying the image of God, because they have small brains. Well, some modern humans have small brains as well. But I want to preface what comes next. Yes, if you have a small brain today, as a modern H. sapiens, you are increasingly likely to be less and less intelligent the smaller your brain gets, BUT, there are small brained H. sapiens today who have normal intelligence, which says, it isn't the size that matters but the connectivity or some other factor. One further BUT, the small brained hominids in the record were never designed to have big brains like ours and they had to be pretty smart to avoid being eaten by lions, tigers, and bears. The average human with a hominid size brain today couldn't make stone tools, indeed, most big brained people can't make stone tools, not even the simplest Oldowan tools. But these small brained people were making stone tools with ease. Small brained humans are defective, but small brained hominids of the past were NOT defective, meaning, the comparison is one of apples to oranges and is invalid. With that lets play the limbo game: How low can you go?
Years ago, I bought a copy of Guinness Book of World Records to obtain one fact, what was the smallest normal brain? It said that Daniel Lyons brain was the smallest one on record. Since I have been researching this topic again, I decided to further chase down information on Mr. Lyon. I found Newspaper articles on him from early 1908, but a scientific article wasn't published until 1910, after further lab work. This second article on Mr. Lyons tells about his life,
"According to Dr. Larkin's records Daniel Lyon died on the tenth of October, 1907, from asphyxia due to edema of the glottis. He was Irish, 46 years old, five and one-half feet high, and weighed 145 pounds. No relatives have been discovered and it is not known that any survive. At the time of his death he lived at 409 E 17th St., New York City, and was a watchman for the New York Contracting Company at the Pennsylvania Terminal, 34th St. The legal representative of that company says that 'from all reports there was nothing defective or peculiar about him, either mentally or physically.' No photography or hat measurement has been obtained. No information has been gained by inquiries addressed to his alleged fellow-workmen or former places of residence, but Dr. Larkin was informed that he could read and write; that we was regarded as competent and in full possession of his faculties; and that as a laborer he had worked in one position for twenty years. There seems to be no reason why he should not be regarded as of ordinary intelligence; "8
His death at age 46 meant he barely passed the life expectancy for a manual laborer of that time, which was 45.6 years for the average male.9 Everything about this man says average, yet his brain was half the size of the normal human brain!
"Shortly after death the brain was removed in the presence of Dr. Larkin and the coroner's physician, Dr. Philip O'Hanlon. No head-measurements were made, but it did not appear to be unusual in either size or shape. the brain filled the cranium; there was no excess liquid, and no evidence of compression. Upon accurate scales the brain was found to weigh exactly 24 ounces, or 680 grams, about one-half the average for male Caucasians. It was placed immediately in ten per cent. formalin, and there remained until sent to me more than two years later."10
It isn't like these two doctors were country bumpkins in Yahoosville. This was New York City and they had to autopsy people who died without a medical person in attendance. According to the Newspapers,(this account probably came from the NY City papers and was reprinted in Colorado) O'Hanlon had performed thousands of autopies,
"It is one of the most remarkable brains I have ever seen , said Dr , O'Hanlon , who has made thousands of autopsies , and it shows that the size of the brain does not necessarily : measure the intellect of man ."11
Wilder concludes his 1910 article with this,
"This brain is not ape-like. Even were it still smaller it is distinctly human....
"Upon the present occasion attention is particularly directed to this exemplification of the possibility that ordinary human intelligence may apparently coexist with a brain of only one-half the ordinary size, exceeding that of certain apes by only 180 grams (about six ounces), and not quite double the size of the brain of a congenital idiot."12
Using a brain density of 1.045 g/cc we find that the volume of his brain is 650 cc. So, let's see where Mr. Lyons lies on the chart of brain size.
Mr. Lyon's brain is at the lower range of Homo habilis!!! Surely we can't deny that Mr. Lyon's carried the image of God in 1907 just because he had a small brain, but normal intelligence, could read and write, and hold down a job for 20 years. This shows very clearly that intelligent consciousness is not tied to brain size. It is tied to the connections it makes, or it is something above and apart from the material world.
My brother died a horrible death by brain cancer. The cancer ate one hemisphere of his brain--it had been turned to liquid. Yet, he was lucid until a few days before his death--with half a brain. Intelligence, the image of God are not related to size, at least not straightforwardly, and indeed as we will point out below, maybe not tied to the material world.
At this point I am going to ask a question, in light of Mr. Lyon's brain, should we extend the range of normal brain size down, like in the chart below, making Mr. Lyons at the bottom end of human normal brain? After doing this, empirically, looking at this human range brains of normal intelligence we see that it covers the entire span of our evolutionary fore-fathers, with the exception of the Australipithecines.
But we are not through,
Microcephaly with normal intelligence
Before we get into the medical literature, I was criticized recently for citing a medical journal where the patient was not identified. Mr. Lyons was identified in the 1910 article, but today, that would be against medical ethics to identify the patient. As a cancer patient I am in about 40 different studies and each of them assures me in writing that my name will never show up in a journal's pages. This is medical ethics 101 today. Secondly, I was asked where I got this nonsense, and my answer was that I dig more deeply than others. How many of you non-doctors have gone off looking at medical literature so you can do something with a Scripture verse? With those caveats, let us proceed.
John Travis wrote:
“In microcephaly, the cerebral cortex grows unusually slowly and reaches a size no bigger than that of early hominids.”13
Microcephaly is a very sad disease in which the brain of the human ceases growth, either in utero or shortly after birth.
ScienceDaily says this:
"The microcephaly genes have been hot candidates for a role in the evolutionary expansion of the human brain because mutations in these genes can reduce brain size by about two-thirds, to a size roughly comparable to our early hominid ancestors" Microcephaly genes associated with human brain size"14
According to Rushton, the average human brain is about 1265 cc.15 Two thirds of that is 421 cc. So, one must wonder when one reads the medical literature (yes, my quest for information has even gone there), and one sees these papers saying microcephalic patients can have normal intelligence:
"We describe nine patients with an apparently new genetic disorder characterized by: 1 (microcephaly with normal intelligence; 2) “bird”‐like facial appearance; 3( cellular and humoral immune defects; and 4) increased risk for lymphoreticular malignancies.." 16
"The authors describe a family with two children with microcephaly and normal intelligence, in which acute lymphoblastic leukemia developed in one of the siblings.."17
They performed intelligence tests on these children and concluded:
"In the two siblings in the family reported, average or low average intelligence was confirmed on performance testing, and they therefore fit the description of familial microcephaly with normal intelligence"18
Ok, so maybe they won't be physicists or surgeons, but there are plenty of big-brained people who perform average or low average too. Are we to deny these normally intelligent people the image of God merely because their brains are small and abnormal?
"We report on 3 sibs (2 boys and a girl) with a previously apparently unrecognized combination of anonychia congenita and microcephaly with normal intelligence." 19
Yes, I had to look up anonychia congenita, it means no finger nails. But to the point, all these people have small brains, but normal intelligence. But we are not through. So now, our table is filling up with small brained humans of normal intelligence. Our picture now looks like:
Some people as children have epilepsy so badly that the only solution is to remove one hemisphere of the brain. Isn't life just a bowl of cherries when parents have to face that decision; remove half your child's brain or watch him die as the epilepsy kills off the other half of his brain? These patients, unlike Mr. Lyons, have an abnormal brain after the surgery. Daniel Lyons had a small but normally configured brain. Can non-normal configuration carry normal intelligence, normal consciousness/soul? The answer is surprisingly yes. These patients are located on the chart above in the area of Mr. Lyon's brain but the structure is quite different. I wrote in Adam, Apes and Anthropology, Dallas: DMD Publishing, 1997, p. 159-160 (reference numbers changed to match this paper's references:----
"Other people with other types of brain damage also can have normal intelligence. The two halves of the brain are called hemispheres. These hemispheres are connected by a cable of neurons called the corpus callosum. Occasionally people will develop severe epilepsy in which the epilepsy starts in one brain hemisphere and spreads to the other hemisphere. The resulting electrical storm can threaten to destroy the healthy hemisphere. In severe cases, the only solution is to remove the diseased half of the brain. This procedure is done only as a last resort to save the life of the individual. It is called a hemispherectomy.
"Effectively this procedure results in a human being with a brain size of around 600-650 cubic centimeters. This is smaller than the brain size of a gorilla, and is within the range of the australopithecines. Yet the effect of this drastic reduction in brain size does not result in a corresponding decline in intelligence. Most patients with hemispherectomy end up with IQs averaging one standard deviation below normal.20 It is not what we would consider an advantage, but it is certainly great enough to be human.
"Another type of procedure, called a hemidecortication severs the frontal cortex from the rest of the brain. Even this procedure when performed early in life does not totally destroy intelligence. Patients with this procedure have post-operative IQs averaging 70.21 However, one of these patients has been reported to have an IQ of 103.
"Smith performed a long-term study of infants who had hemispherectomies. He wrote:
"At a 25-year follow-up; each had obtained a college degree and had enjoyed a successful career as an executive, following a right hemispherectomy in one case and a left hemispherectomy in the other. Thus, as Smith noted, the findings demonstrate that at birth each of the two cerebral hemispheres contains the neuroanatomical and substrate necessary for the development of normal or even superior adult language and verbal and nonverbal cognitive functions."22-----
The bolding I did above shows that cutting out half the cortex doesn't stop someone from functioning. Remember, these brains are damaged brains, but the brains of habilis and erectus are not damaged, but normal evolved organs that give their owner enough intelligence to survive in a tough setting. It gives them enough intelligence to make stone tools, control fire, make clothing, and shelter etc. I think that is the mistake everyone makes, comparing damaged people with low intelligence and thinking somehow, that applies to fossil man. it doesn't. it is a category mistake.
Consider this, even speech can be recovered even if the speech center is removed. A question I will discuss below is, "Is it that the brain has spare capacity or is it that the soul/consciousness doesn't arise from the material brain?"
"Instances of extensive recovery from brain damage suggest that the brain has spare capacity. In a follow-up of 50 infantile hemiplegics who sustained surgical removal of all neocortex of one hemisphere for intractable seizures or other injuries, Wilson (1970) reported that all but one developed normal speech or recovered it completely irrespective of which hemisphere had been removed (Wilson, 1970, p. 166). Smith and Sugar (1975) carried out a comprehensive neuropsychological follow-up on a patient at ages 21 and 26 who had had left hemispherectomy for seizures as a 5 1/2-year-old boy. He demonstrated superior language and intellect, including WAIS verbal IQ of 126 and performance IQ of 102, had graduated from a university, and was working as a traffic controller. Normal psychological function also was observed in 279 cases of hydrocephalus with onset before the end of the first year of life (Berker et al., 1983). Most remarkable is one young man in whom a CAT scan shows ventricular dilatation occupying over 95% of the intracranial space. When tested on the Michigan Neuropsychological Battery at age 25, he had graduated from Sheffield University with honors in mathematics, had a verbal IQ of 140 and performance IQ of 130, and had been successfully employed for several years.23
The bolding in the quotes above it showed that having half a brain didn't stop one from living his life and by the way, carrying the image of God.
Finally, we come to the most enigmatic fossils anthropology has found, Homo floresiensis, the 'Hobbit'. This population will challenge everyone's view of who has the image of God. This being is believed to be the descendant of H. erectus, or H habilis who had undergone severe island dwarfism. Often on isolated islands, evolution shrinks the size of large animals so that they match the available calories on the island. Karen Baab says:
"Two main evolutionary scenarios have been proposed to explain the presence of the small bodied and small-brained Homo floresiensis species on the remote Indonesian island of Flores in the Late Pleistocene. According to these two scenarios, H. floresiensis was a dwarfed descendent of H. erectus or a late-surviving remnant of a older lineage, perhaps descended from H. habilis. Each scenario has interesting and important implications for hominin biogeography, body size evolution, brain evolution and morphological convergences. Careful evaluation reveals that only a small number of characters support each of these scenarios uniquely. H. floresiensis exhibits a cranial shape and many cranial characters that appear to be shared derived traits with H. erectus, but postcranial traits are more primitive and resemble those of early Homo or even australopiths."24
One of the interesting things about this creature, with his small brain, he was still able to manufacture stone tools with the same methodology as used by H. erectus 700,000 years earlier. Brumm states:
"In the Soa Basin of central Flores, eastern Indonesia, stratiﬁed archaeological sites, including Mata Menge, Boa Lesa and Kobatuwa (Fig. 1), contain stone artefacts associated with the fossilized remains of Stegodon ﬂorensis, Komodo dragon, rat and various other taxa.These sites have been dated to 840–700 kyr BP (thousand years before present)1. The authenticity of the Soa Basin artefacts and their provenance have been demonstrated by previous work, but to quell lingering doubts, here we describe the context, attributes and production modes of 507 artefacts excavated at Mata Menge. We also note speciﬁc similarities, and apparent technological continuity, between the Mata Menge stone artefacts and those excavated from Late Pleistocene levels at Liang Bua cave, 50 km to the west. The latter artefacts, dated to between 95–74 and 12kyr ago, are associated with the remains of a dwarfed descendant of S. ﬂorensis, Komodo dragon, rat and a small-bodied hominin species, Homo ﬂoresiensis, which had a brain size of about 400 cubic centimetres"25
In the article they note:
"Despite being separated by 50 km and at least 700,000 yr, there are remarkable similarities between the stone artefact assemblage from Mata Menge and that found with H. ﬂoresiensis at Liang Bua "26
While this is still a very controversial hominid, one thing does seem certain. this small brained being was able to not only make stone tools but pass that information on to its offspring. H. floresiensis has the smallest of the small brains among the hominids. He is not a human ancestor, but with this tiny brain, he was able to manufacture stone tools. This should put to rest the concept that Adam couldn't have a small brain. No I don't think Adam had a brain as small as the floresiensis, but however much bigger his was, it could have carried a fairly intelligent soul.
The Makapansgat Pebble
Desmond Morris, describes this Jasperite pebble found in a limestone cave and dated to 3 million years ago.:
"As it so happened, my first book The Biology of Art, published many years earlier, had been an attempt to trace the origins of the most ancient of all forms of adult play and to see how, from biological roots, the great tree of human art could blossom. The earliest evidence we have of this activity is a staggering three million years old. In 1925 a strange object was found in a rock shelter at a site known as the Limeworks Quarry in the Transvaal in southern Africa. It was a water-worn, reddish pebble that seemed curiously out of place. Investigations revealed that it could not have come from the cave where it was found and must have been carried from a location about three miles away. What made it special was that it had the shape of a human skull, on one side of which were small cavities that looked like a pair of sunken eye-sockets above a simple mouth. There is no suggestion that this 'face' had been artificially manufactured but its accidental resemblance is so striking that it seems certain the object was collected and brought back to a favoured dwelling place as a 'treasured possession'.
"Known as the Makapansgat Pebble, after the site where it was found, it is thought to be the most ancient art object in the world. What makes it so extraordinary is that the cave where it was discovered was not occupied by prehistoric man but by the early man-apes known as the Australopithecines. they may not have been capable of fashioning a model head themselves but they were at least able to see one in the natural surface-weathering on a pebble and to be so impressed by the image that they were moved to carry it home with them, over a long distance.
In performing this seemingly simple action of collecting an unusual pebble, those primeval man-apes were in reality taking a giant step. They were seeing a face that was not a face. They were reacting to something that stood for something else. By responding to the image on the pebble they were indulging in a primitive form of symbolism. They were struck by a resemblance, by an accidental echo, and were so fascinated by it that they carried it for three miles. This long journey, carefully transporting the pebble, reveals that their interest in the pebble-face was not a fleeting reaction but a serious preoccupation.
"Fashioning an image, as distinct from collecting one, appears to have been beyond these man-apes, and was still a long way off in the future. Until recently, it was thought to be a creative act that occurred only in the last fifty thousand years of the human story. A recent discovery in the Middle East has now pushed that date back to three hundred thousand years, but even this is still quite young compared with the Makapansgat Pebble".27
What is interesting about this pebble, is that the human who found it in 1925 saw a human face on it, and then realized the stone was foreign to the limestone cave and had to be carried their by Australopithecus. But what was not known for years was that if you turn the pebble upside down, it has an Australopithecine face. Above it is showing the Australopithecine face. Raymond Dart describes this,
"A complete perceptual transformation had taken place. The two little rounded 'eyes' retained their visual status though their contours looked more square and adult. The huge 'brain' and ridiculously pinched infantile 'mouth' that had involuntarily prevented us sapient observers from orientating it otherwise, were now replaced by a dwarfed, flattened, and indented 'skull-cap', above a broadly-grinning, robust and typical australopithecine 'face'. Its broad 'cheeks' and gaping 'mouth' have become so wide that even the total absence of nostril openings would have been incapable of preventing any perceptive Australopithecus from recognizing it as anything other than a caricature of one or another of his extremely flat-faced male or female relatives in a positively hilarious mood.
"The 'facial proportions' from this new aspect are thus in excellent general agreement with those that reconstructional efforts have caused each modern artist, with minor variations, to produce for Australopithecus. This concordance of itself is sufficient justification of the inference that conceptual processes of a similar nature caused an australopithecine to transport the pebble to the cave at Makapansgat. In addition, the curious and to some extent corroborative fact is that once one admits the possibility that an Australopithecus had the intellectual ability to detect the presence of a face on this alien natural stone, then the social responses that capacity evoked, follow. The pebble would have had no point without an ability on his associate's part to comprehend and share the emotional reactions, the puzzlement and amusement, that the discoverer had had. And from this it may also be deduced that he and his fellows at the australopithecine phase of human evolution had already reached a humanoid level of self-realisation and self-awareness."28
I raise this pebble because clearly the Australopithecine had the intellect to recognize a symbol of himself. This is far beyond the abilities of chimpanzees. Chimps can be taught to use symbols but only after lots of training, which one can interpret as being conditioning rather than the chimp actually knowing what a symbol is. Chimps never use symbolism in the wild. But here we have a 3 million year old small brained hominid who was able to engage in symbolism. Symbolism is the very basis of language, where a word is a symbol for something else. Our ability to use and understand symbols is the very basis of our technological culture, our religion, our art, everything. And the small brained Australopith proved that he recognized a symbol of himself, picked up the pebble and carried it 3 miles home as a prize. We don't know much about what Australopithecines could do, but this is a significant thing they could do.
Does the Level of Technology mean anything?
I must discuss this here because many will object that human inventiveness, human technology is a sign of the image of God. There is no greater falsehood. Rana and Ross contend that technology differentiates man with the image of God from those earlier primates:
“Stone tools became smaller in size and were made with more precision man those recovered from Middle Stone Age and other comparable ancient sites. Often these later stone implements were intentionally dulled at one end and attached to wooden handles and shafts. Other tools were cut from bone and ivory, then carefully carved and polished. The first humans made projectile points, awls, punches, fishhooks, harpoons, and needles with eyes. They lived in solidly built dwellings and made fireplaces and hearths bordered with stones for heat retention. Compared to the earlier hominids, the first humans behaved in sophisticated ways that reflected superior cognitive abilities and technical inventiveness.”
“Closing In for the Kill”
“The hunting practices of the first humans also showed greater sophistication than those of Middle Stone Age hominids (as seen at sites in southern Africa). First, the animal remains from these Late Stone Age sites are much more diverse than those collected from Middle Stone Age locales. Late Stone Age sites contain many more fish and fowl skeletons. Fish gorges and net sinkers also have been found in Late Stone Age digs. The design, manufacture, and use of these implements required sophisticated cognitive capacity..”29
Many believe this view, but are we really going to suggest that fishing is the sign of the mark of God on us? Or 'solidly built dwellings' marks the image of God? Really? Material possessions as a sign of spirituality? I find this view risable at best.
The thing people forget in all this is that there were some Homo sapiens who were so isolated that their technology was comparable to the technology of chimpanzees. Let me tell you about the Tasmanians. I referred to them above as enduring the longest isolation of any group in human history. Josephine Flood observes that the Tasmanians were gradually cut off from Australia between 12,000 and 8,000 years ago,
"No other surviving human society has ever been isolated so long or so completely as were Tasmanian Aborigines over the last 8000 years. (the land bridge was gradually inundated between 12000 and 8000 BP-....)"30
There were only about 4,000 Tasmanians on the island, and 4,000 people is not sufficiently large to maintain even the technology of the Australian aborigines, which the original Tasmanians started with. Old archaeological sites show the loss of technology over time.
"Bone tools were also present at Rocky cape. Seven thousand years ago people here were using a considerable number and variety of bone artefacts: large, rounded tipped points or awls made from macropod shin bones, small, sharp needle-like points (without an eye), broad spatulae, and an assortment of split slivers of bone fashioned ot a point at one end. The people were using one bone tool to every two or three stone ones.
"A remarkable change took place over the next four thousand years: bone tools dropped out of use. By 4000 years ago only one bone tool was being used for every fifteen stone ones, and by 3500 years ago they had disappeared from the Tasmanian toolkit altogether. This disappearance of bone tools in Tasmania about 3000 years ago has been confirmed by the evidence of several other sites in both the north-west and east of the island." 31
Then, with fish all around them, the Tasmanians stopped fishing--a real no-no for Rana and Ross, did the Tasmanians lose the mark of the image of God?
"Even more surprising is the incontrovertible evidence that after eating fish for many thousands of years the Tasmanians dropped fish from the diet about 3500 years ago. Early explorers were amazed that the Tasmanians did not eat scale fish and did not even seem to regard it as human food. Those who could bring themselves to believe this astonishing fact ascribed it to the extreme primitiveness of Tasmanian culture. Certainly the Tasmanians had no nets or fish-hooks, so it seemed logical to some scholars, steeped in Darwinian evolutionary theory, that these most primitive representatives of the human race should be unable even to catch fish, one of the basic foods of mankind."This concept of a people too far down on the evolutionary ladder to have learnt how to catch fish was not seriously challenged until fish bones were found in the middens of Rocky Cape. Yet fish bones were not at the top, but at the base, of the middens. The Tasmanians had once eaten fish but later gave up this excellent source of food.
"In Rocky Cape South Cave there were 3196 fish bones in the lower half of the midden, dated to between 3800 and 8000 years ago, and only one fish bone in the younger, upper half."32
It is not surprising that fishing stopped because bones were often used to carve fish hooks.
"That the simplest material culture should be found among the people who experienced the longest isolation in the world is significant. Rhys Jones sees analogies with the reduction in the number of faunal species on islands that become separated from their parent continents. He considers the 4000 people isolated on Tasmania and divided into several different language groups were too few to maintain indefinitely their Pleistocene culture, and that they were therefore, doomed--'doomed to a slow strangulation of the mind.'"33
Technology requires a sufficient population size.
Jared Diamond agrees
“Remember that Tasmania used to be joined to the southern Australian mainland at Pleistocene times of low sea level, until the land bridge was severed by rising sea level 12,000 years ago. People walked out to Tasmania tens of thousands of years ago, when it was still part of Australia. Once that land bridge was severed, though, there was absolutely no further contact of Tasmanians with mainland Australians or with any other people until the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman arrived in 1642, because both Tasmanians and mainland Australians lacked watercraft capable of crossing those 130-mile straits between Tasmania and Australia. Tasmanian history is thus a study of human isolation unprecedented except in science fiction—namely, complete isolation from all other humans for 12,000 years.“If all those technologies that I mentioned, absent from Tasmania but present on the opposite Australian mainland, were invented by Australians within the last 12,000 years, we can surely conclude that the Tasmanians did not invent them independently. Astonishingly, the archaeological record demonstrates something further: Tasmanians actually abandoned some technologies that they brought with them from Australia and that persisted on the Australian mainland. For example, bone tools and the practice of fishing were both present in Tasmania at the time that the land bridge was severed, and both disappeared from Tasmania around 1500 B.C. That represents the loss of valuable technologies: fish could have been smoked to provide a winter food supply, and bone needles could have been used to sew warm clothes. What sense can we make of these cultural losses?
“The only interpretation that makes sense to me goes as follows. All human societies go through fads in which they temporarily either adopt practices of little use or else abandon practices of considerable use. For example, there are several instances of people on Pacific islands suddenly deciding to taboo and kill off all of their pigs, even though pigs are their only big edible land mammal! Eventually, those Pacific islanders realize that pigs are useful after all, and they import a new breeding stock from another island.”34
Of course the Tasmanians couldn’t import technology like the Polynesians because they didn't have the boats capable of crossing 130 mile strait.
William McGrew compared the Tasmanian technology with that of chimpanzees and the Tasmanians barely won.
"Bill McGrew, author of the most comprehensive study of chimpanzee material culture, firmly believes that chimpanzee tool use is of considerable complexity. Indeed, in an (in)famous article written in 1987, he directly compared the toolkits of chimpanzees to those of Tasmanian Aborigines and concluded that they were at an equivalent level of complexity. For this comparison McGrew chose to measure complexity by counting 'technounits', which is simply an individual component of a tool, whatever material that component is made from and however it is used. So a hoe used by, say, a peasant farmer, comprising a shaft, a blade and a binding, has three technounits, while the suite of computerized robots operated by a modern car worker has perhaps three million technounits.
"When McGrew measured the technounits in the tools of the Tasmanian Aborigines and those of the Tanzanian chimpanzees he found that the mean number of technounits per tool was not substantially different. All chimpanzee tools and most of the Aboriginal tools were made from a single component. The most complex Aboriginal tool, a baited hide, had only four technounits."35
Now, if we are to consider abject poverty and lack of technology as a sign that these people don't have the image of God, then we can stop all attempts at evangelizing Tasmanian descendants. But can we realistically use this 'lack of technology' argument as a way to say early hominids lacked the image of God?
Consider if you and 7 others were the sole survivors of some earthly catastrophe. How much of today's technology would you be able to save? Coal and natural gas generate electricity and electricity moves the natural gas to the power plant. Do you know how to get coal or natural gas to your local power plant when electricity doesn't work? Do you know where the nearest coal mine is? If it is far, how are you going to eat for the days of travel? You can't get gasoline for your cars without electricity pumping it out of underground tanks. Do you know where iron ore is to be found? Do you know what it looks like? Do you know how to smelt it? Do you know what invention is required to make the rock give up its iron? How about farming? Could you and your friends farm without tractors and all the equipment that goes with it? How are you going to eat while the crop grows? While you are out hunting for today's food, the wildlife is feasting on your crops. I have seen that with my own eyes, squirrels can clean a peach tree bare of fruit in about 3 hours. Technology requires a large population and a surplus of food to feed the specialists. So, the long periods of technological stasis mean only one thing, they didn't have extra food so that someone could experiment.
I am under no illusions that people will change their mind in the face of these facts, that modern men with the image of God could be so lacking in technology, but technology requires specialists, time, and a larger population. So, when we look at the Australopithecines, who showed an ability to recognize a symbol for themselves, we need to think hard about whether or not we think they could have had the image of God. As I have said, I would believe Adam was an erectine or something close to it, but how are we to interpret the Makapansgat pebble with relationship to modern human qualities?
With all the evidence above, showing that small brains can carry a complete soul, I would contend that brain size is not of paramount importance. Brain organization is ASSUMING....
Is the Soul Immaterial?
....assuming consciousness arises from the brain, and I don't think it does.
The data above supports the view Gordon Simons and I advanced in our Quantum Soul article. All interpretations of quantum mechanics require that the observer is apart from matter, and not subject to the laws of quantum itself.. We show in that paper that no matter what interpretation of quantum one chooses, it unavoidably ends up running into consciousness and consciousness is required to solve a problem within the theory.
Physicist Stephen Barr says that the observer in quantum lies outside the material world:
"But this was only one of the remarkable reversals produced by the quantum revolution. In the opinion of many physicists-including such great figures in twentieth-century physics as Eugene Wigner and Rudolf Peierls-the fundamental principles of quantum theory are inconsistent with the materialist view of the human mind. Quantum theory, in its traditional, or "standard," or "orthodox" formulation, treats "observers" as being on a different plane from the physical systems that they observe. A careful analysis of the logical structure of quantum theory suggests that for quantum theory to make sense it has to posit the existence of observers who lie, at least in part, outside of the description provided by physics. This claim is controversial. There have been various attempts made to avoid this conclusion, either by radical reinterpretations of quantum theory (such as the so-called "many-worlds interpretation") or by changing quantum theory in some way. But the argument against materialism based on quantum theory is a strong one, and has certainly not been refuted. The line" of argument is rather subtle. It is also not well- known, even among most practicing physicists. But, if it is correct, it would be the most important philosophical implication to come from any scientific discovery."36
Now, here is the rub, if consciousness arises from matter, as materialists claim, then every single one of the above broken brains should be unable to have a normal consciousness associated with it. Break a few piano strings on a piano, and it won't play worth a tinker's darn. Rip out a few resistors and capacitors or chips from a computer and its ability is invariably lessened. But amazingly, one can't say that about a brain. Rip out half of it and it is still possible for the person to have a completely normal personality. This, it seems to me can only happen if consciousness, our soul, doesn't arise from matter.
It used to be that Christians believed in an immortal, immaterial soul. I fear among Christians in science these days we have accepted by default the materialist view that a material brain creates consciousness. If that is the fact, then I think we have walked away from the best arguments we have for our world view--evidence that the soul isn't material.
Not only can a small brain host a perfectly normal Homo sapiens, our study here takes an interesting turn in that it creates much evidence that the soul isn't material. God is spirit; He isn't material. We are made in His image, and that requires, in my opinion that our soul/consciousness be spirit as well.
We have shown here that brain size should not be barrier to believing that Adam was way back in time. My view is that Adam was likely an H. erectus, but he could have been habilis. I know some will note that fossilized H. erectus isn't found before 2 million years ago. That is true, but do you really think that the first fossil erectus was the very first erectus on earth? Fossilization is a statistical thing. Species get fossilized AFTER they are numerous and widespread, so that there is plenty of chance for a rare fossilization event to take place and preserve them. When a species is few, and limited to a small locale, it is unlikely that a fossilization event would happen. That will be discussed when we talk about the fossil record. For now, just know, that brain size is not the obstacle for an ancient Adam that everyone thinks it is--it is just a new concept, not an impossibility.
Next article: When did Adam Live Pt 3: Genetics
Next article: When did Adam Live Pt 3: Genetics
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