Pharyngula

This should win a prize for the dumbest excuse from a creationist that I’ve heard in, oh, about 24 hours.

…don’t you find it interesting that there is NO recorded history prior to less than 10,000 years ago? If man has been around millions of years why the heck did it take so long to learn to write? Most kids are doing it by 2nd grade! Man evolved enough to suddenly figure out how to record his thoughts just a few thousand years ago? Hmmm.

This same creationist also makes a “marketing” argument, that creationism is better because it is easier to understand than evolution. He claims to have read both Darwin’s Black Box by Behe and Finding Darwin’s God by Miller, and that Behe’s book was easier and used a mousetrap to “get his point across”, while Miller’s book was too complex. That’s an interesting example of selective memory: both books deal with similar subjects on a roughly similar level. Behe’s book has details (some of which are wrong) of cilia and blood-clotting cascades and such, all of which seemed to have slipped out of this creationist’s memory. Miller’s book deals with similar subjects, but doesn’t make the stupid errors Behe’s does.

Yet all Mr Marketer remembers is that mousetraps don’t evolve.

I’m more concerned that if man has been around for 6000 years, why the heck didn’t anyone patent the snap-trap until 1897? Hmmm.

Comments

  1. #1 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    June 25, 2007

    all Mr Marketer remembers is that mousetraps don’t evolve.

    In other news, hardcore creationists admits to having mousetrap minds – they have all snapped.

  2. #2 David Marjanovi?
    June 25, 2007

    With agriculture you get the invention of “free time”.

    Precisely the opposite.

    However, agriculture made societies with more than 150 members possible, and so bureaucracy came into being. Sumerian writing was invented for bureaucracy — we have all the “transitional fossils” to show that.

    Chinese writing may have developed in connection to oracles. That’s what the earliest preserved Chinese characters were used for: writing questions like “will it rain” and “will it not rain” on two sides of a bone, putting the bone into a fire, and looking which side gets a crack from the heat. But of course this may be preservation bias.

  3. #3 David Marjanovi?
    June 25, 2007

    With agriculture you get the invention of “free time”.

    Precisely the opposite.

    However, agriculture made societies with more than 150 members possible, and so bureaucracy came into being. Sumerian writing was invented for bureaucracy — we have all the “transitional fossils” to show that.

    Chinese writing may have developed in connection to oracles. That’s what the earliest preserved Chinese characters were used for: writing questions like “will it rain” and “will it not rain” on two sides of a bone, putting the bone into a fire, and looking which side gets a crack from the heat. But of course this may be preservation bias.

  4. #4 David Marjanovi?
    June 25, 2007

    the of 65 million cabon dating tells us

    That’s not carbon, which only reaches back some 50,000 years. It’s chiefly potassium (one method) and uranium (another).

  5. #5 David Marjanovi?
    June 25, 2007

    the of 65 million cabon dating tells us

    That’s not carbon, which only reaches back some 50,000 years. It’s chiefly potassium (one method) and uranium (another).

  6. #6 Brownian
    June 25, 2007

    Doug, it is generally accepted that the Pliestocene epoch gave way to the Holocene epoch during that time period (the P-H boundary is usually given to be ~11,500 years BP.)

    Variously around the human-occupied world at that time we first start seeing humans settling down and practicing part-time plant husbandry to augment hunter-gatherer activities. Jared Diamond suggests that this was due to a need to ‘weather’ the glacial fluctuations characterising the climate at that time. For sources of evidence, I suggest the bibliographies of “Guns, Germs, and Steel” and “Collapse.” The global extinction of megafauna at that time would have also necessitated a greater reliance on plants as high-calorie food sources.

    Further, human cultures may have been ‘primed’ for such innovations back around 30,000 years BP. According to the ‘Grandmother Hypothesis’, an increase in life expectancy increased the proportion of post-menopausal women, who were then able to assist with child-rearing, material production, and most importantly, transmission of cultural knowledge and wisdom to younger members. This coincided with (and is thought to have led to) to a relative population explosion among modern humans world-wide: http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn6113

    To sum, it appears that cross-generational cultural transmission of knowledge increased about 30,000 years ago, leading to a population explosion of modern humans whose knowledge base began to accumulate exponentially. When these new cultural skills were tested by an increasingly fluctuating climate and a loss of large animal food sources, humans began to settle and practice more intensive forms of agriculture. Although agriculturists tend to work as hard if not harder than hunter-gatherers at procurring food, the ability to store food for lean times may provide a comparative advantage, but then requires a hierarchical social structure for allocation, and also creates some impetus for writing as a system of recording and tracking resources (in other words, what Stephen wrote.)

    The above is a rather simplified picture, and depends on some anthropological knowledge that is most certainly outdated by now, but this is a relatively conventional explanation for the question of “What interesting happened to the human species 10-30,000 years ago?”

    PS. Sorry for the lack of citations, but my manager keeps interrupting me with things I’m technically supposed to do as part of my job description which, for reasons I’m unable to fathom, doesn’t include posting on Pharyngula.

  7. #7 Greta Christina
    June 25, 2007

    What I really like is “Man evolved enough to suddenly figure out how to record his thoughts…” Does this lackwit really think that every human invention, from the wheel to agriculture to writing to Diet Vanilla Coke, has to be the result of evolution, or else evolution is bunk? Does he think the theory of evolution means we “evolved” enough to invent the printing press or gunpowder or the Hitachi Magic Wand?

    As to the “marketing” concept: Newtonian physics is easier to understand than relativity, too. That doesn’t make relativity wrong. And Newtonian physics is only easier to understand when you ignore the facts that don’t fit. Ditto creationism, but times 100. To make all the facts fit into creationism requires mental contortions that would make a French philosopher gasp in awe.

  8. #8 Brownian
    June 25, 2007

    Since Pat’s a ‘marketing guy’, I wrote the following on his blog:

    I suppose I might point out as a further example of ‘things that make you go hmmm’ that people have been selling and trading stuff for at least 10,000 years, but it took until the last forty years before we invented the infomercial, focus groups, Super Bowl commercials, and the ‘Where’s The Beef’ Lady.

    It’s nice to see that so far, there haven’t been any ID-sympathetic comments on his blog.

  9. #9 David Marjanovi?
    June 26, 2007

    If man has been around millions of years
    I never heard science claim that we have been around for “millions” of years.

    woozy above is right: that’s a matter of definition. If “man” means “everything closer to us than to the chimps”, 7 million years sound good. If it’s “Homo sapiens sapiens“, try 200,000 years. If it’s anything in between…

  10. #10 David Marjanovi?
    June 26, 2007

    If man has been around millions of years
    I never heard science claim that we have been around for “millions” of years.

    woozy above is right: that’s a matter of definition. If “man” means “everything closer to us than to the chimps”, 7 million years sound good. If it’s “Homo sapiens sapiens“, try 200,000 years. If it’s anything in between…

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