Antiquity is the world’s most respected and widely read academic journal in archaeology, our equivalent of Nature or Science. Its summer issue reached me last Friday and yesterday I brought it to the beach. On the first page of his editorial (entertaining, anti-po-mo, available on-line behind a paywall), Martin Carver attacks creationism and quotes a blog entry from March last year by Aard regular Chris O’Brien of the Northstate Science blog! After quoting Turkish creationist Harun Yahya and describing his propaganda efforts, Carver continues:

Here is Christopher O’Brien, a Forest Archaeologist in northern California, bravely setting out our stall : Just like other disciplines, he says, “archaeology is being used and abused by creationists of all stripes. It’s time to start pointing out the falsehoods. … “. First we must champion our own dating methods: “because many of us deal in time scales measured in millions of years, archaeologists must also fight the same inane arguments against the efficacy of radiometric dating methods as any palaeontologist”. Then we must not allow the numerous cohort of amateur archaeologists to try and prove the Bible was right after five minutes working as a volunteer on an excavation.

The archaeological reality of Jericho, he reminds us, no more “proves the Bible” than the archaeological reality of Troy “proves the Iliad”. “In the context of archaeology, the Bible is simply another historical manuscript (one of thousands throughout the world and across time) that may or may not be useful for aiding interpretation of the archaeological record”. Amen to that. And as a final abuse of archaeological reasoning, creationists seem to think there is an analogy to be drawn between an archaeologist’s recognition of intelligent design in artefacts, with their own identification of intelligent design in biological systems.

In other words, O’Brien shows that far from countering the benighted influence of creationism, we are providing it with ammunition. For the sake of our children, archaeologists must confront it, but confrontation of the tis-tisn’t kind won’t be enough on its own. To take the dating issue: the supposed moment the world was created has moved back from Archbishop Ussher (4004 BC, worked out from the Bible) to an origin about 10 000 years ago. Yahya is even happy to cite a 40 000 year old flute as proof that man did not evolve from something more primitive (primitive persons can’t play flutes). Radiometric dating may even be recruited to the creationist cause, proving that man is actually eternal and Noah’s flood could soon reappear as the explanation of the Pleistocene. And what would creationists say if they knew that we no longer believed in evolution as an explanation either — at least not for handaxes or human societies. No, the real case against creationism is that it is unimaginative, small-minded and dull.

Go, Chris, go!

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Comments

  1. #1 Z
    June 11, 2007

    Here is my comment (in swedish) on Dawkins versus Intelligent design.
    They might make the same mistake.
    http://enklabloggen.blogspot.com/2007/06/id-o-dawkins-gr-samma-fel.html

  2. #2 searchreality
    June 11, 2007

    I’ve been reading Harun Yahya’s books for years. And these books have expanded my horizon and changed may point of view to life. I strongly recommend this site http://www.harunyahya.org to those who search for reality.

  3. #3 Martina Wundsicht
    June 11, 2007

    I’ve been reading Aardvarchaeology for years. And this blog has expanded my horizon and changed may point of view to life. I strongly recommend this site to those who search for reality. It is pure truth and the beauty.

  4. #4 argun
    June 11, 2007

    When the subject of evolution comes up, many people imagine that this is a scientific problemand that for anyone less knowledgeable than scientists, Darwinism is impossible to understand. They assume its pointless to argue the issue, one way or the other. Indeed, Darwinists employ Latin words and scientific terms generally unfamiliar to the public in order to encourage this mistaken idea. They engage in complicated descriptions and frequently resort to demagoguery and hollow slogans in order to give the impression they are discussing a highly scientific matter.
    In fact, however, Darwinisms basic claim is completely unscientific, and its logical poverty is so obvious that even primary school age children can see it. According to Darwinism, in some unexplained manner, the first cell supposedly formed in the Earths primeval environment, in a pool of muddy water. And out of that single cell, a literally endless series of coincidences later gave rise to animals, plants, human beings and civilizations. In other words, all of mankind, as well as the entire plant and animal kingdoms, are supposedly the work of an ideal quantity of mud, a long period of time and plentiful coincidences.

  5. #5 Helena
    June 11, 2007

    I read Adnan Oktar’s Atlas of Creation. It is very obvious that fossils that are million years old are exactly as the same as their living ones. 30 million years old fox skull fossil is just like today’s fox. Willow leaf, dragonfly, crocodile, rabbit, hyaena, rhino, razorfish, ladyfish, sandfish, lamprey, horseshoe crab, seahorse, scorpion, sycamore leaf, seastar and other hundreds of species like these have fossils. The common point in these fossils is that they are all perfectly resemble their living species. After seeing this truth with my eyes, I cannot believe in evolution. If there was evolution, for example the horseshoe crab fossil which lived in Jurassic period (150 million years old) should have to be different than todays horseshoe crab. But no! It is perfectly the same. If one sees the truth with his/her eyes, there is no need to talk about other alternatives. The truth of Creation is infront of our eyes.

  6. #6 Marteena Rindquest
    June 11, 2007

    You forget goat. Is also same as God create Goat.

  7. #7 furiku
    June 11, 2007

    Helena, I think you ought to read up on evolution, as you obviously have no idea what you’re talking about. Forgive me if I’m unduly harsh, but as far as creationist arguments go, yours is certainly one of the weakest I’ve seen. May I suggest http://www.talkorigins.org as a good place to start.

  8. #8 Marteena Rindquest
    June 11, 2007

    Goat! Goat! God make Goat! Iä!

  9. #9 Rupert
    June 11, 2007

    I’ve found that creationists of thirty years ago are also identical to creationists of today. I can only give thanks to the Great Creator which has so perfectly designed them to completely ignore mere facts and scientific advances, the better to let them continue completely unchanged in their hard exoskeletons of delusion.

    What else can explain this?

    Praise be!

  10. #10 Z
    June 12, 2007

    ASIDE FROM background radiation and some meteorites,

    99.9 % of molecules on earth today, are probably all here
    since billions of years back.
    How do creationists believe it all happened? Is new materia, flesh, substance etc constantly being “magically added” to Earth?

    I do believe in God, the God who created evolution, among other laws of nature :)

  11. #11 MartinC
    June 12, 2007

    Furiku, I think you are being rather harsh to Helena. While her argument may indeed be mind-numbingly thick to anyone with an intellect superior to that of a carrot, it is not, unfortunately, the weakest creationist argument.
    Not by a long, long way.
    Actually, to me these types of arguments are a bit like asking someone their favourite song, my favourite ridiculous creationist argument does actually change depending on my mood. On one day I might like Charley from Godtube’s argument that Kangeroos hopped from the ark all the way to Australia (and getting over the awkward points such as the Indonesian seas close to the equator by floating on icebergs). Other days I prefer Kent Hovind’s idea that dinosaurs are actually just common lizards that have lived to an old age and that T.rex was a vegetarian.
    By the way do you know the worst creationist canard ?
    Here you go.
    http://tinyurl.com/32fblu

  12. #12 Martin R
    June 12, 2007

    Mai monsieur, ca ce n’est pas un canard. C’est un crocanard!

  13. #13 cfeagans
    June 12, 2007

    It’s always good for the blogosphere to have a journal cite a blog post, but it’s GREAT that it was Chris’ post at Northstate cited by Antiquity! I don’t know about other bloggers, but I always have that nagging fear that what I’m doing amounts to just so much graffiti. So when I get an occasional word of praise or link from another blog, its motivational.

    I couldn’t begin to know what the feeling is like to have Antiquity quote me!

    Well, done Chris!

  14. #14 Magnus W
    June 14, 2007

    The professors at my and other geology departments just got the Atlas of Creation sent to them personally from some one in Turkey. Rather frustrating the bock is really good looking it must be really expensive so they got some rich supporters. Apparently it had some nasty effects in Turkey but probably will have the opposite effect in Sweden just making the professors angry to the point where they start to show how ridiculous the ID movement is. Thinking about going to the press at the moment but it might not be worth it…

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