Hominids Lived Millions of Years Ago, but How Can We Tell? (Videocast)

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July 26, 2012 Tags: Human Origins

Today's video features Joy Walters. Please note the views expressed here are those of the author, not necessarily of The BioLogos Foundation. You can read more about what we believe here.

Today we present the fifth entry in our on-going BioLogos videocast series. The latest episode addresses the age of recently discovered hominid fossils and how scientists are able to obtain those dates. The script was written by biology student Joy Walters, with help from BioLogos president Darrel Falk.

For more, be sure to read our FAQs How are the ages of the Earth and universe calculated? and What scientific evidence do we have about the first humans?, as well as our recent infographic How Do We Know the Earth is Old?.

Author's Note from Joy Walters

As I mentioned in my first post, I grew up skeptical of the whole idea of evolution. One contributor to my disbelief was the lengthy timescale for the “tree of life” that was presented with the theory. I would hear, for example, that dinosaurs lived hundreds of millions of years ago, but there was no explanation of why this was true; it was just given as a fact. No one explained the methods of dating, and so I thought biologists simply estimated the ages of species to fit their preconceived notions of how long it would take for one species to emerge from another. It also seemed like the ages were periodically revised and extended farther back in time, and I figured scientists needed to manipulate numbers to make evolution plausible. This, in my mind, made the theory both unbelievable and dismissible.

Once I learned about the techniques used to date fossils, I realized that my first impressions were wrong; the ancient ages of species are scientific determinations rather than scholarly conjectures. However, I have found in recent conversations that Christians remain skeptical of old ages and the evolutionary time scale. For this reason, I wanted the videocast to address the process of fossil dating (what the methods are and why they are accurate) while focusing on cases where hominid fossils were discovered and dated using these very methods. My hope is that Believers would be informed about the evidence for human evolution and its scientific grounding.

Commentary written by the BioLogos editorial team.


Joy Walters is currently a student intern at BioLogos. She is completing her undergraduate education at Point Loma Nazarene University majoring in Biology-Chemistry. She is passionate about engaging the natural world and pursuing a deep relationship with her Creator and Savior. In the future, she desires to attend medical school and use her skills as a physician to establish God’s kingdom by bringing healing, joy and hope to others.


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George Bernard Murphy - #71384

July 26th 2012

This was actually very good.

 The DNA evolves butit is only the Dust of the earth.

 Adam has breath of life.

I think of it as new software for the old hard drive.

 A lot of  NEW sophisticated stuff can be in that software. I think we got another infusion of new software at pentacost too.


wesseldawn - #71386

July 26th 2012

This is a really good video but tends to regress a bit near the end.

...to create whether with dust or natural selection is not important here…

I think it’s very important, either it’s dust or natural selection?

Or perhaps they are one and the same!

As I’ve stated before, the Bible does not say that man was ‘from’ the dust but rather that man was created of the dust (Gen. 2:7), meaning that man ‘was the dust (primordial soup)’. In the first state man was a soul/brute animal (2:7) only after it entered the garden did it get God’s image (Gen. 2:8) and was able to become ‘more than an animal’.

Evolutionists have been saying that all along (except for the garden part) and Christians vehemently fought them. Now however, we see this change as some Christians view the evidence. Yet I still see the attempt to hold onto a shred of the old creation ideas that will itself have to concede to error, just give it time.

We are clearly dualistic creatures: mortal soul (body/flesh) that got an immortal spirit.

Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. (Eccl. 12:7)

*the dust (physical body) shall return to the earth and the spirit shall return to God. 

I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselvesare beasts. (Eccl. 3:18)

Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth? (Eccl. 3:21)

At death the immortal spirit goes upward/returns to God (Heaven)/Paradise) but the spirit of the beast goes downward (the earth/returns to dust)! 


Roger A. Sawtelle - #71401

July 27th 2012

wesseldawn,

That quote from Ecclesiastes 3:21 is a question, not a statement.


George Bernard Murphy - #71388

July 27th 2012

Yeah Wess and another way to look at it is to consider the DNA and “dust of the earth” as being similar to a small radio.

Man’s soul is like the program content.

 I am sure there were many steps involved in building a radio.

But the stepwise  development of electronic parts never produced MUSIC.

WE ARE PROGRAM CONTENT. [And that is where we need Jesus to supply our material.

Edison could have tinkered with his radio for 10 lifetimes and it would never have sung a song.

 Because SONGS ARE NOT PRODUCED BY HARDWARE.

The evolutionists show how the hardware could be produced.

 God’s love they could never produce.


wesseldawn - #71394

July 27th 2012

This is a good analogy George…and without the proper radio parts the music is discordant…like people trying to convince themselves that evolution is wrong while the evidence screams loudly to the contrary…evolution first, God’s image afterwards.


wesseldawn - #71412

July 28th 2012

Roger,

It wouldn’t allow me to add this as a comment to your post #71401 so I will add it here.

It does appear as a question, though I don’t see how that changes the meaning and it could just as easily be an exclamation mark.

“All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.” (Eccl. 3:20)

clearly we are all dust/beast as at death our body is buried in the ground from whence it came and the other verses cleary reveal that we also have another component that returns upward to God at death.

And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. (Gen. 1:24)

*man was one of the living creatures/beasts (of the dust/ground) that ‘the earth’ brought forth, the creature that later became Adam (when in the garden)


Francis - #71422

July 28th 2012

Early in the videocast (time 2:04 – 3:04), the dating of fossils reveals a reliance on where the fossils are found, specifically, on the sedimentary rock they “inhabit”. The study of the various layers of sedimentary rock (i.e. from sediment or dirt/silt deposited by water flows) is known as stratigraphy. The video shows sweeping vistas of the Grand Canyon and its layers. Moments later we hear “Any fossils found within the same layer must have been deposited about the same time or the same geological event such as tsunami or volcanic eruption.”

Now suppose a long long time from now some aliens - or at least some stratigraphic experts with no knowledge of catastrophic geologic events in twentieth century America - started digging somewhere in Oregon and found a bunch of interesting fossils in a distinct sedimentary layer 25 feet thick. And then they found other interesting things in other distinct layers above and below that 25 foot layer. Might not they unanimously conclude that the different layers resulted from separate catastrophic events that also were probably many years apart? I’d bet they would.

Why don’t we hear more about things like Mount St. Helens? Here’s what’s been found there:

“Up to 400 feet thickness of strata have formed since 1980 at Mount St. Helens…  A deposit accumulated in less than one day, on June 12, 1980, is 25 feet thick and contains many thin laminae and beds. Conventionally, sedimentary laminae and beds are assumed to represent longer seasonal variations, or annual changes, as the layers accumulated very slowly. Mount St. Helens teaches us that the stratified layers commonly characterizing geological formations can form very rapidly by flow processes.” – Steven Austin, PhD in Geology from Penn State

http://www.icr.org/article/mt-st-helens-catastrophism/

 

What does this say about the appropriateness of the assumption of old ages in stratigraphy (i.e. older and older the farther down you go in the layers)?

Why is that, when I Google “Mount St. Helens+stratigraphy”, none of the hits on the first page (other than two creationist web sites) address this question?


wesseldawn - #71424

July 28th 2012

Neanderthals (hominids) - co-existed and interbred with humans:

http://news.discovery.com/human/genetics-neanderthal-110718.html

http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1987568,00.html

I think I can explain this from the Biblical perspective.

I have established on other threads that man (translation = ruddy/red) was a product of evolution (of the dust/ground).

In Gen. 2:8 we see something unusual taking place as this one ruddy animal is put into the ‘garden of Eden (2:15)’ and gets a supernatural component (God’s image) to its nature (as Eden is Paradise/Heaven). 

While in the garden, Adam was given the job of naming all the other creatures in Paradise (a lofty position, perhaps because it was the first created beast? or some other reason!), however, no ‘suitable’ match could be found for Adam in the garden. So then God took drastic measures to obtain a help/meet (synonyms) for Adam.

During that time it says that God put Adam into a deep sleep, which interpreted is ‘death’. Adam’s supernatural component (God’s image) died at that time (and also later) as Adam found itself once more on mortal earth where man had originated.

But man/ruddy (Chimpanzee or other monkey-like creature) was not the same creature as it had been when it had first walked into the garden - as the garden by its nature had caused changes to man (beyond what creatures would be capable of on mortal earth/Adam)! I believe that Adam was at that time, Neanderthal (the missing link).

It has always been thought that man/Adam was a male but no where does it say that, only that man was an animal/soul. Evolution (by its nature) would have favored an asexual state, otherwise all species would have quickly died out.

Further the Bible says that a female (woman) came from one of Adam’s ribs, which is thought to mean bone (translation = as curved = DNA as it curves or twists!) but she was clearly ‘flesh and bone’ (Gen. 2:23) Only flesh and bone can produce flesh and bone!

Therefore, Adam ‘gave birth’ (2:23: taken out of man) to a female (she would have also been Neanderthal as her parent) as it states that she was “flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone” (Gen. 2:23). God ‘closed up’ the place where she came from, meaning that Adam no longer had the ability to give birth - it was a one-time event. From that time forward, Adam is mentioned as being male as all the female genes had been pooled into her.

We have no idea how long they were on the earth or if other creatures were around. They still had God’s image but it was in a dead state and so no doubt their animal instincts were ruling. They mated with other creatures (or perhaps even each other when she reached maturity) - the product, Neanderthal/hominid offspring.

For a time Adam and the woman lost contact but found each other again (Gen. 2:22) and Adam returned to the garden with her leaving Neanderthal offspring on the earth.

Evolution by itself cannot affect the kinds of drastic changes that occurred to man-Adam, it was supernatural intervention that was responsible.


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