,,Cantitatea totală de inteligență de pe planetă a fost mereu constantă. Numai populația a fost în creștere …“
Review of The Genius of Ancient Man: Evolution’s Nightmare
By Don Landis, general editor, with Jackson Hole Bible College
(Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2012) Reviewed by Lee Duigon
We might almost call this a coffee table book. It’s large (8 ½ by 11 inches) and chock full of glossy color photographs. You can probably read it in a sitting; but it’ll take you a lot longer than that to think it over.
Researchers at Jackson Hole Bible College traveled all over North and Central America, visiting archeological sites and museums, interviewing archeologists, curators, and historians, to put this book together. The scope of the book is worldwide, however, mustering evidence from every continent except Antarctica.
Evidence for what? That human beings, from as far back into history and prehistory as you’d care to go, have created buildings, art, and artifacts that could never have been created except by high intelligence and technical know-how.
But the book’s thesis can be stated more simply than that: The Bible is God’s Word, and therefore true in all particulars; and the archeological evidence is exactly what we should expect to find, according to the Bible.
Biblical vs. Secular Presuppositions
Ancient Man presupposes the literal truth of the Bible, and the book has much to say about that presupposition. It’s necessary to state this very strongly, because the world has a very different set of presuppositions.
A discovery in Turkey too recent to be included in this book, billed as “the world’s oldest temple,” has been making the news lately. This remark, from a mainstream “scientific” source, sheds light on the secular world’s presuppositions:
Each T-shaped pillar varies between 40 to 60 tonnes, leaving us scratching our heads as to how on earth they [the ancient builders] accomplished such a monumental feat. In a time when even simple hand tools were hard to come by, how did they get these stone blocks there, and how did they erect them? With no settlement or society to speak of, with farming still a far cry away in a world of only roaming hunter-gatherers, the complexity and developed blueprints of these temples represented another enigma for archeologists …[i]
It sounds like the scientists are trying to deny the testimony of their own eyes: because, according to the world’s presuppositions, this impressive monument has no business being there. People who were hard up for even simple hand tools, who had yet to develop a society, who had no settlements, hadn’t yet invented farming, and were nothing but mere hunter-gatherers … couldn’t possibly have built this temple complex! And yet there it is-meaning that either the temple itself or the presupposition is unreal. My money’s on the presupposition. The very existence of the monument proves that someone could and did build it.
Ancient Man introduces us to a plethora of archeological enigmas. Collectively-in my opinion, at least-they demolish the image of prehistoric man as an ignorant, impoverished savage without the imagination or the intellect to set one stone atop another. But it will take more than physical evidence to disabuse the secular world of this notion. “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Rom. 1:22).
A Few Foibles
We are a little leery of some of the text. For instance: “This book seeks to provide evidence that supports the truth of God’s Word and confirmation to your Christian faith” (p. 7). This might be taken to read, “We have seen A and B and C and D, and therefore God’s Word is true.” It opens the door for someone else to come along and explain the same evidence differently. But we can see this is not what the authors mean to convey.
“Through an apologetic method of presuppositions, openly claiming to believe the historical record of the Bible, fully embracing a bias in which we start with a Creator God, this book [the Bible] provides the only plausible explanation of ancient man and his intelligence,” we read on page 6. And on page 9, “God’s Word is the ultimate starting point for all knowledge and therefore the first place we should be looking for answers to any of our questions.”
The authors might have taken greater pains to avoid any suggestion that the strength of one’s Christian faith depends on the quantity and quality of physical evidence found in the world by scientists or other seekers. Who wins arguments with unbelief by “proving” the existence of God, or the truth of God’s Word? Such debates have been going on for centuries, and there is no profit in them. Faith, after all, is a gift from God: although it is not unknown for God to pry open a closed mind with a little piece of eye-opening data as the lever.
Meanwhile, two minor errors in the text jumped out at me.
In a chart labeled, “Priority of God in Sequence and Time,” we read on page 27, “c. 100 A.D., Aztec civilization thrive [sic] in Mexico, city of Teotihuacan built.” This is wrong. The Aztecs had nothing to do with the vast city of Teotihuacan; it was deserted centuries before the Aztecs’ ancestors came down from the north to settle in the valley which is now Mexico City.
The Coral Castle, a site in Florida, was created by one man from 1923 to 1951, who succeeded in keeping his methods secret and creating a mystery (See http://coralcastle.com/ ). But in Ancient Man we read (p. 51), “Mysteries such as the coral castle [sic] in Florida, supported by ancient legends of levitation, leave the possibility that anti-gravity could be achieved using certain frequencies of sound.” Anti-gravity? Such language does not make this book more credible and will probably hurt its case. We see a picture of the Coral Castle on page 90 as one of several “Mysterious Sites” demonstrating “the genius of ancient man.” Except that the Coral Castle isn’t ancient.
Such errors should have been edited out of the book before it was published, for obvious reasons.
At least we have a clear statement of the book’s argument: “If man was made in God’s image, then he was created intelligent. If intelligent, then there should be evidence of this intelligence. If man gathered at Babel and God confused man’s language as a tool to scatter mankind over the earth, then commonalties and a connectedness will be found in all areas of the planet … in religion, construction, and purpose” (p. 11). And, “This is exactly what is found.”
The pictures carry the ball for a touchdown. We might at first quibble over the inclusion of examples from historical times, such as Petra and the Taj Mahal (p. 89)-but in every case we are talking about very large and intricate structures that were built without such modern resources as electricity, gasoline engines, computers, etc. At least we don’t know of any electricity, heavy machinery, or electronics involved in their construction. But the fact that they are there at all proves that whoever built them somehow had resources sufficient for the job: resources at least as effective as our own.
If the Tower of Babel story in Genesis 11 is true, then the people who spread out over the earth would have carried the culture of Babel with them. So we find monuments reminiscent of the original Tower in Egypt, Central and South America, Polynesia, and Europe. We also find stories about the Great Flood in all these different places. A chart on page 76 shows cultural traditions reflective of the Biblical account turning up in places as diverse as China, India, Lithuania, Hawaii, and Peru.
Take a Good, Long Look
What really matters here is that the evolutionary view of human history is shown to be wrong. This is the view that prevails in our time, that most of us grew up with, and that few would dream of questioning. It’s not that this view of history is so persuasive. It isn’t. But we take it for granted because it saturates our culture. So we ignore evidence that’s all around us-evidence that testifies to the full humanity of early man: evidence that has been ignored for a very long time.
One thing we need to do as readers is to look at the pictures in this book as if we’ve never seen them before-really look, with an open mind.
On page 81 is a photo of the most ancient artifact featured in this book, a painting from the Chauvet cave in France. The painting depicts prehistoric horses, bulls, and rhinoceroses. Look closely. The ancient artist’s mastery of line might remind you of the technique of Matisse, or Picasso-a few simple brush strokes, executed with genius, impart life and motion to the subject.
Not only does this argue for a very high degree of intelligence; it also implies an artistic tradition of some depth. Whoever executed those paintings learned from other artists and their work. There is nothing “primitive” about it.
You can have fun with this book if you also have a computer, logging in the names of various ancient cites illustrated in the text and learning more about them. Very likely you never knew there were pyramids on the Canary Islands. Or check out the pyramids at Meroe in Nubia (now Sudan)-much steeper than the more famous Egyptian pyramids, built some centuries before the birth of Christ.[ii] Whence came the technology to build these monuments? As you read up on one site after another, you’ll find yourself pondering that question again and again. And then there are the almost laughably colossal megaliths of Baalbek, in Lebanon-some weighing 1,500 tons and measuring 68 X 14 X 14 feet.[iii] How did the ancient builders move them into position? We would be hard put to do it today with modern construction equipment.
Warning: As you surf the Internet, you will encounter many websites devoted to the pictured archeological monuments. Quite a few of those websites are pure New Age mumbo-jumbo.
The authors of Ancient Man address this problem. “The New Age community, with its extremes of occult and shamanism, has been working with the data for some time. They have been amassing information and presenting it to promote their premises and conclusions. Theorizing in mysticism and aliens, these premises and conclusions are diametrically opposed to those of the Christian faith” (p. 11).
If you want to research some of the more obscure material touched on in the book, you’ll soon discover a preponderance of New Age claptrap. The New Agers are ahead by default: mainstream historians and anthropologists, et al., don’t seem to want to write about Out-of-Place Artifacts (“OOPARTs”) and baffling monumental structures. The fact that many of these sites are devoid of readable inscriptions also inhibits speculation. The field has been left wide open for space brothers, spirit guides, mystic powers of levitation, and what not.
Ignore the moonshine. The sites are there for everyone to see.
You’ll Like It
We’re happy to have The Genius of Ancient Man in our library, and recommend it for yours. It strikes me as especially suitable for young Christian readers: it ought to get their imaginations cranking. But adults will enjoy it just as much.
The peoples of the ancient world did accomplish some amazing things. If they all fanned out from Babel, they were already civilized when they started. They already knew how to build, how to create art, how to perform the calculations that made their achievements possible. They remembered the Flood that destroyed all humankind except for their ancestor, Noah. Through Noah was transmitted the knowledge of God and His creation of the heavens and the earth. But because Babel was an impious experiment, motivated by an obsession to become as gods themselves, and because the passage of time and space corrupts and damages knowledge, the peoples of the earth, wherever in the world they settled, still kept Babel in their hearts, and strove to resurrect it.
The remains of this are everywhere.
Lee Duigon is a Christian free-lance writer and contributing editor for Faith for All of Life. He has been a newspaper editor and reporter and is the author of the Bell Mountain Series of novels.
Categories: Articole de interes general