mardi 31 mars 2015

How Smart Was Ancient Man?

1) Creation vs. Evolution : How Smart Was Ancient Man? · 2) Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere : Someone Considered Me Psychotic, Because I Know Cultural History of Early XX C. Better than He

1) Creation vs. Evolution : How Smart Was Ancient Man? · 2) New blog on the kid : Agnostic About God, Very Dogmatic About Neanderthals

I will quote a little passage from a novella:

A strange-looking animal was running across the open glade toward the forest. It looked something like a human being, but was entirely naked. Its body, except on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, was covered with reddish-brown hair, but on the head it was nearly black and long and matted; while on the rest of the body it was short and curled—nearly fur, in fact. Its arms were long, reaching below the knees, and the great toes, as it ran, stood nearly at right angles to the others.

The animal carried no weapon of any kind, if we except a club or staff broken from a dry branch, which it seemed to use in maintaining an upright position as it hurried toward a large tree with pendent branches which stood at the edge of the forest.

Just as the creature reached the outer branches, which extended nearly to the ground, a storm, which had been rapidly approaching, burst with great violence. There was a loud clap of thunder, a bolt of lightning tore the tree to splinters, and the animal fell to the ground, stunned by the shock. It lay unconscious for some time, and the thunder shower had passed, leaving the sun shining brightly, when it raised its head and sat up. At first it slowly rubbed its body and head, and then, reaching full consciousness, its attention was attracted by a roaring and crackling sound a short distance away.

The lightning had prostrated the tree and had set fire to a mass of brush and logs lying at its roots. The beast sprang to its feet in astonishment and alarm.

The animal was one of our primitive ancestors, and he now saw fire for the first time.

As his body, chilled by the recent rain, began to feel the warmth, he first drew near, but as the heat increased, he was compelled to withdraw to a greater distance. He gazed as if fascinated, however, at the curious sight for a long time.

When it began to grow dark, he was surprised to see that the forest for some distance around, remained nearly as light as day.

His feeble intellect, however, soon wearied of the new sensation, and he withdrew to an overhanging rock near-by. He knew of a small cave at its base with a narrow entrance, and of this he at once took possession, rolling against the opening some masses of stone lying near and piling in others after he had entered, until he had secured the opening against any dangerous animal. He gave little further thought to the phenomena of the fire, for man had not yet reached a development in intellect which permitted a consecutive train of thought for any considerable length of time. He slept soundly, but when he crawled from his refuge in the morning, the smoke still rising from the pile of logs and brush attracted his attention and recalled to his mind what had occurred the evening before. He approached the fire, which had nearly consumed its supply of fuel, but was smouldering still in a large decayed log and the ends of several poles which lay partly in a bed of glowing coals.

Not VERY smart, is he? Not exactly even Rahan style smart, though with little previous knowledge, and absolutely no match for John G. Hartnett.

That is more than I can say of his KNOWN author C. H. ROBINSON.*

This man considers that someone like Longhead had evolution for its author. But he knew he was himself the author of the precise Longhead we were reading about.

So, while an unknown "individual like Longhead" might in C. H. ROBINSON's view have had an author which was less smart than himself, to wit evolution, or perhaps even evolution is supposed to be a life force ultimately smarter not just than Longhead but than us too, the known novella character Longhead certainly had for its author C. H. ROBINSON who was way smarter than the Longhead he described.

Here see how the society of Longhead is described:

Most of the people in the group to which he belonged had short round heads, such as scientists call brachiocephalic, but this man was dolichocephalous, or longheaded, and this peculiarity had given him the name of Longhead among this group at the few gatherings of these people, which happened occasionally, more by accident than design, for they had no social organization whatever. They had no laws; no leaders; no permanent habitations and wore no clothing. They slept in nests built in the branches of trees at night, or sought shelter in any chance caves of the region through which they roved. This had no defined boundaries and they remained in the locality only because they found food fairly plentiful.

As yet, there was not even family organization, for it was many ages after this time before it dawned upon man anywhere that the male animal played any part in the propagation of species. To the ordinary and usual phenomena of nature our primitive forefathers never gave a thought or question, but accepted them without speculation as to their cause or fear as to their continuance, so long as regularity obtained. The rising and setting of the sun were to him perfectly natural events of daily occurrence from his childhood, and had so continued during the recollection of the oldest members of the group, and it was only when eclipses occurred, breaking this orderly continuity, that he felt at all alarmed. It was natural for the moon to shed her soft light when not obscured by clouds, and even its waxing and waning occasioned no alarm, for this, likewise, had continued "since the fathers fell asleep." There was nothing strange about the gentle dew descending by night or rain falling from the clouds; these he had observed from his earliest youth; but when the loud thunders reverberated through the hills, and the forked lightnings flashed athwart the sky, frequently rending the giant trees of the forest or bringing sudden death to a comrade, this mysterious and dangerous display of an unknown power, was, to him, alarming, and he early attributed these and all other infrequent or unaccountable phenomena to supernatural beings with whom his fancy peopled the hills and forests, the rivers and the sky.

It was entirely natural to primitive man that in the spring the trees and plants should bud and send forth leaves and blossoms, to be followed later by fruit, "each after its kind." This, also, had always occurred from his earliest recollection and that of his elders, and it occasioned no thought upon his part. It was only when floods, drouths and other calamities interfered with this orderly sequence of events that any mystery was presented or any thought required. It is clear that among these common and natural occurrences, which were simply accepted without question because they had always happened, must be classed the bringing forth of young by all mammals. Man had always observed that the females of all the animals about him brought forth young, "each after its kind." This was to be expected and gave him no surprise, nor, in the then condition of his intellect, did it give rise to a thought as to its cause. Likewise, his own womankind gave birth to young, from time to time, just as did the other animals, and there was no cause for speculation or thought in regard to this; the occurrence was too common to be a mystery.

There being then no knowledge of fatherhood, there were no fathers, and for many generations no relatives were known except in the female line. Consequently, there was no family hearthstone; no paternal love; no marriage. The relations of the sexes was purely physical and were generally indiscriminate, as opportunity might afford; but doubtless, with some, this companionship was continued for a longer or shorter period, as circumstances or congeniality might induce.

Fatherhood unknown (we'll see this again in Clan of the Cavebear by Jean Auel, won't we?) and living things producing "each after its kind" (like in Holy Bible) is a naive observation of people who had no idea of fatherhood and knew not fire. Who had no laws and who could not think in concentrated fashion for very long.

Somehow, C. H. ROBINSON seems to want us to think the Biblical view is very, well, unprofound, primitive, based on thoughtless superficial observations one should think twice about etc.

So, let us read some from Holy Writ, how Genesis describes not just a very early but even the very earliest man:

Genesis 2: [6] But a spring rose out of the earth, watering all the surface of the earth. [7] And the Lord God formed man of the slime of the earth: and breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul. [8] And the Lord God had planted a paradise of pleasure from the beginning: wherein he placed man whom he had formed. [9] And the Lord God brought forth of the ground all manner of trees, fair to behold, and pleasant to eat of: the tree of life also in the midst of paradise: and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. [10] And a river went out of the place of pleasure to water paradise, which from thence is divided into four heads.

[11] The name of the one is Phison: that is it which compasseth all the land of Hevilath, where gold groweth. [12] And the gold of that land is very good: there is found bdellium, and the onyx stone. [13] And the name of the second river is Gehon: the same is it that compasseth all the land of Ethiopia. [14] And the name of the third river is Tigris: the same passeth along by the Assyrians. And the fourth river is Euphrates. [15] And the Lord God took man, and put him into the paradise of pleasure, to dress it, and to keep it.

[16] And he commanded him, saying: Of every tree of paradise thou shalt eat: [17] But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat. For in what day soever thou shalt eat of it, thou shalt die the death. [18] And the Lord God said: It is not good for man to be alone: let us make him a help like unto himself. [19] And the Lord God having formed out of the ground all the beasts of the earth, and all the fowls of the air, brought them to Adam to see what he would call them: for whatsoever Adam called any living creature the same is its name. [20] And Adam called all the beasts by their names, and all the fowls of the air, and all the cattle of the field: but for Adam there was not found a helper like himself.

[21] Then the Lord God cast a deep sleep upon Adam: and when he was fast asleep, he took one of his ribs, and filled up flesh for it. [22] And the Lord God built the rib which he took from Adam into a woman: and brought her to Adam. [23] And Adam said: This now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man. [24] Wherefore a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be two in one flesh. [25] And they were both naked: to wit, Adam and his wife: and were not ashamed.

There is a similarity : the first man and woman are described as being naked and not ashamed.

But apart from that, the description is totally different.

Adam is:

  • communicating with his Maker;
  • well aware of language and of how to name and categorise things;
  • aware of geography (and presumably of cosmology as well);
  • told he has a wife and reacts with a prophecy about all of his (married) descendants, or of many of them at least;
  • told to procreate, meaning he and Eve understand perfectly well how children are made. This also means they are going to use sex for the sake of making children.

So, do we believe in Longhead and Broken Tooth or in Adam and Eve? We can't chose both for the very first man who knew what fire was. Longhead and Adam are too dissimilar.

We can note that some of the belief in Evolution comes from the story of Longhead and Broken Tooth. And that C. H. ROBINSON meant it to, back in 1913.

Longhead: The Story of the First Fire


First Impression, July, 1913


Here are the chapters in the index:

I.Introduction of Fire1
II.Weapons—Cooked Food—Companionship36
III.Germs of Social Organization62
V.Dawn of Invention, Art, Marriage, Religion and Government97

Now, if I do not believe C. H. ROBINSON on the item of invention of fire, I am obviously not believing him on the chapter five matter either. Even before (just possibly) reading it.

But I do believe this kind of stuff has been written much later than 1913 also, namely in diverse East European countries of the Warszaw Pact, while it lasted. And in Soviet Union even before there was a Warszaw Pact.

And though I believe a scientist can tell the difference between brachycephalic and dolichocephalic, in my book that does not amount to being able to reconstruct the story of a very long lost past.

However, if Adam and Eve are the true account, we are, fortunately, not dealing with a reconstruction:

Concerning the transactions of these early times, parents would no doubt be careful to instruct their children, by word of mouth, before any of the Scriptures were written; and Moses might derive much information from the same source, as a very few persons formed the chain of tradition, when they lived so many hundred years. Adam would converse with Mathusalem, who knew Sem, as the latter lived in the days of Abram. Isaac, Joseph, and Amram, the father of Moses, were contemporaries: so that seven persons might keep up the memory of things which had happened 2500 years before. But to entitle these accounts to absolute authority, the inspiration of God intervenes; and thus we are convinced, that no word of sacred writers can be questioned. (Haydock)

From Haydock comment (1859, this portion originally marked "A." presumably as in "author", thus George Leo Haydock) to chapter 3 of Genesis.

I find Genesis more believable than Evolution (irrespective of where inbetween I put Pagan myths) for the reason of preferring tradition over seven intermediates to be preferrable to reconstruction, but also for the fact that man as we know ourselves could never have evolved from something as dubmed down as Longhead. I wonder if Chesterton and Belloc got their prejudice against dolichocephalic physiognomies from this story.

Btw, if someone claims again that Tarzan is somehow not Evolutionist, because Anglo-Saxon culture wasn't ready for it, look at fact that Tarzan was created in 1912 and Longhead came in 1913.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre University Library
Tuesday in Holy Week

* Known and known ... I know for one thing he probably is NOT identic to the founder of the transport company or whatever C. H. Robinson, since I asked them and their founder died as early as 1909. Apart from that I have so far found no trace of C. H. Robinson on internet. Except of course, on the project Gutenberg, as author of this book.

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