Religion And The Mt. Toba Eruption

I was recently checking on one of the blogs that I follow and came upon this little excerpt from a scientific paper and it got me going on a hunt for more information.  See blog link below and thanks to Mathildas Anthropology blog for the brain jog. http://mathildasanthropologyblog.wordpress.com/

“The depositional position of the tephra in the Jurreru River Valley, together with new chronometric and geochemical evidence, indicates that the ash is a product of the 74,000 year old YTT event (Petraglia et al., 2007). The recovery of Middle Paleolithic assemblages in dated deposits below and above the ash provides the first firm archaeological association, helping to resolve some of the uncertainty about archaeological associations in India. The recovery of Middle Paleolithic industries without major technological changes after the ashfall, indicate that populations survived the super-eruption. We have suggested, based on a variety of datasets, that modern humans were present in the Indian sub continent before the super-eruption, and that these populations survived this event.”

Searching a little further I found this Paper from the University of Oxford

“An area of widespread speculation about the Toba super-eruption is that it nearly drove humanity to extinction. The fact that the Middle Palaeolithic tools of similar styles are found right before and after the Toba super-eruption, suggests that the people who survived the eruption were the same populations, using the same kinds of tools, says Dr Petraglia. The research agrees with evidence that other human ancestors, such as the Neanderthals in Europe and the small brained Hobbits in Southeastern Asia, continued to survive well after Toba.” University of Oxford, UK
http://www.ox.ac.uk/media/news_releases_for_journalists/100222_1.html

Continuing my search a bit more I found the following information on the dating of the YTT (Toba event), and for you Young Earth Creationist’s (YEC’s) who erroneously think that C-14 dating is wrong, you will notice it didn’t make use of this particular bit of science.

“Toba ash has been dated using the K-Ar, the 40Ar/39Ar and oxygen isotope/biostratigraphic methods. The abrupt drop in sea water temperature was determined with the oxygen isotope (O18/O16) method. The diverse methods used on a variety of Toba materials are in rough agreement as to the dating of the event: it definitively took place sometime between 77,000 and 69,000 years ago.” George Weber @
http://www.andaman.org/BOOK/originals/Weber-Toba/textr.htm

Some research data was obtained from Science magazine @
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/317/5834/114 Subscription required for full article.

So basically what all of this stuff is saying is that modern type Homo sapiens were living in India sometime before about 75,000 years ago, and they were making tools and procreating and in general doing what humans do, and we have proof of this.  And then this same info is saying that after the Mt. Toba eruption—which is thought to have cooled off the earth and caused a 1000 year lengthening of a ongoing cold snap that the earth was undergoing at the time, and caused a human population bottleneck where breeding pairs, on earth, may have fallen to as low as 10,000 people.  In other words, near extinction of the human race—We were still around, albeit in smaller numbers.  Whew!

This is pretty reliable data and it shows once more that humans have been walking the earth for many tens of thousands of years and leaving evidence behind that men can find, research, and interpret to determine that we were not placed on a newly created earth by some sky-god only 6,000 or so years ago, and also confirms that the Adam and Eve story is just myth…they never existed.

Just sayin’…..
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Pre-History and the Religious Fundamentalist

A study published in the August 13th. 2009 edition of the journal Science has revealed that early modern humans living around the Southern tip of Africa some 72,000 years ago were using fire to shape their stone tools and weapons

“We show that early modern humans at 72,000 years ago, and perhaps as early as 164,000 years ago in coastal South Africa, were using carefully controlled hearths in a complex process known as heat treatment,” said study lead author Kyle Brown.

Until this point it was the widely held belief that humans began using heat to forge tools 25,000 years ago in Europe, the researchers said.

The study based its conclusions on pieces of silcrete, a type of stone that were found in various states of glossiness, indicating they had been treated with heat.

“Prior to our work, heat treatment was widely regarded as first occurring in Europe at about 25,000 years ago, We push this back at least 45,000 years, and, perhaps, 139,000 years, and place it on the southern tip of Africa at Pinnacle Point,” said study co-author Curtis Marean.

The study was conducted by researchers from universities in Cape Town, Africa, Liverpool, England, Wollogong, Australia, and Bordeaux, France.

Full story found here: http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2009/08/13/stone-tools.html

or a longer version of story can be found at the link below.

http://www.physorg.com/news169391684.html
A story from October of 2007 at Science Daily describes earlier findings of this primeval human habitation site and relates that “After decades of debate, paleoanthropologists now agree the genetic and fossil evidence suggests that the modern human species — Homo sapiens — evolved in Africa between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago.”

Full story can be found here:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071017145252.htm

So the evidence just keeps adding up and the religious right/fundamentalists just stick to their old Bible stories as if nothing is happening.

Think about the ramifications, as regards Biblical history, of just these two discoveries alone…minus the thousands and thousands of other bits of evidence that we already have that totally refutes religion. Some people just never get it.

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Is Christianity Doomed?

Christians nowadays are in a very unstable position although they will deny it strongly.  Arguing philosophy and exegesis of the Bible is pretty much a waste of time now.  The thing that is killing religion in our times is science and the unstoppable uncovering of evidence that disproves most of the foundation of all religions. Judaism, Islam and Christianity are all irrevocably tied to the Bible. All that believers in Yahweh, Elohim, Jehovah, or Allah can do nowadays is say they don’t believe the sciences that contradict their theology.

The believers in God have to deny that we can accurately date tens of thousands of artifacts and human bones and artwork and structures that are scattered all over the earth and give live testimony to our civilizations verrry looong past.  The many evidences we have for our past are real and tangible and their provenance can be scientifically proven…and there is so much of it.  The followers of God and Allah sometimes say that it doesn’t matter what evidence there is, God is outside of the evidence and cannot be proven…or disproven.

Perhaps true.  But, what can be proven beyond a doubt, is that certain things that are described in the infallible ‘Word of God’ inspired Bible are not true and not infallible or factual and that a lot of the stories are not to be trusted as actually happening.  Another thing that stands out is the actual explanation of the supposedly unfolding drama is stupid. The most stupid part is that Satan knows he will fail because it’s part of the drama that God set up…preordained from the very beginning if you will.

If you believe the story of Gods plan you have to accept the fact that God actually created this WHOLE drama from the beginning. He created all Evil, Satan, the Demons, He set up the Fall, giving us Original Sin, He was the playwright, the creator of unimaginable human suffering and death. A loving God creates two humans and actually sets them up for failure and then kicks them out of his care and lets these poor people try to survive with nothing…that part of the story is both scary and a not very bright explanation of a Gods actions.  Wake up Christians…A true humane God would not do these things.

Some things to consider:

1.       We know that the flood described in the Bible never happened.

2.        We know that humans and civilizations were spread all over the earth in the time of the deluge and  Tower of Babel.

3.       We know that Neanderthals were walking the earth for tens of thousands of years before a supposed Adam and Eve were created.

4.       We know that Homo sapiens or ‘modern humans’ were walking the earth tens of thousands of years before the Biblical folklore was even thought of.

5.       We know that Moses did not write the Pentateuch.

6.       We know, although fundamentalists deny it, that there are many, many contradictions and falsehoods in the scripture.

7.       We know that the Hebrews conception of ‘God’ changed mightily over the years. They once had a pantheon of gods and worshiped idols at late as 500BCE.

8.       There is no evidence outside the Bible, in other historic documents or the archeological record, for a mass migration from Egypt involving hundreds of thousands of people.

9.       No evidence for Joshua’s knocking down of Jericho’s walls or destruction of Ai and other cities.

10.   Archeologists also have discovered that most of the large Canaanite towns that were supposedly destroyed by invading Israelites were either not destroyed at all or were destroyed by “Sea People”-Philistines, or others.

Just the first 4 things above are enough to prove the Bible false.

Religion is a construct of the human mind…its explanation of creation is a story from a very old tribe
of Sheep/Goat herders, in the language, and with the worldview, of the times it was written in.  The Old and New Testament scriptures are very different views of God, and how he treats and interacts with humans…they are not compatible…and not ‘Gods’ word.

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Egypt, Ethiopia and the Beginning of Biblical Time

Recent DNA Genome studies of the human race, from all over the world, have shown that, long ago, we all came out of Africa.  From North and South America, Australia, China, Asia, Europe, India–All the world’s bloodlines converge in Africa, and the approximate time they came out of Africa can be tracked. This technology is less than three decades old now and it has changed genealogy and criminology forever. Looking into our human past is now very easy and I’m sure many more uses will be discovered.

Below are some short excerpts from a very smart lady writing of Egypt and Ethiopia in 1920’s/1930’s that I think is remarkably prescient. Science and archaeology seems to continue verifying her conclusions, as scientists have been saying for some time now that the Ethiopian area is probably the ‘Cradle of Life’, and we know that Egypt is the first truly great civilization. Much evidence coming out now that Libya, Egypt, and Ethiopia have been populated more than 10,000 years.

“Out of anthropology, ethnology, geology, paleontology, archaeology, as well as history, I have dug up an irrefutable arsenal of facts that Harvard or Yale or cowardly scholarship in our race dare not refute. How can a leadership point the forward way that is utterly ignorant of the past?”

“Stephanus of Byzantium, voicing the universal testimony of antiquity wrote, “Ethiopia was the first established country on earth and the Ethiopians were the first to set up the worship of the gods and to establish laws.” The later ages gained from this ancient empire, the fundamental principles upon which republican governments are founded. The basic stones of that wonderful dominion were equality, temperance, industry, intelligence and justice.”
*******
“The priests of Sais said to Solon, “You Greeks are novices in all the knowledge of antiquity. You are ignorant of what passed here or among yourselves in the days of old. The history of eight thousand years is deposited in our sacred books, but we can ascend to much higher antiquity and tell you what our fathers have done for nine thousand years. I mean their institutions, their laws, and their brilliant accomplishments.” Baldwin points out that neither Solon nor Plato thought this improbable. The Greeks could tell nothing of their progenitors and but little of the Pelasgian race that preceded them in Hellenic lands. “There can be no doubt,” says Baldwin, “that the Egyptians preserved old records of the early period of their history extending beyond Menes.” This knowledge was lost to our times by the destruction of the Alexandrian library and the fanatical zeal which destroyed all pagan manuscripts.”
*******
“Egypt falls into natural divisions, Lower and Upper. Lower Egypt stretches from the Mediterranean to the limit of the Delta. Upper Egypt extends six hundred miles south of the Delta to the first cataract. The broad plains of the Delta and the comparatively narrow valley higher up make up the divisions of Egypt. In the primitive days Upper Egypt was wholly Ethiopian. Bunsen says that the early monuments reveal the primitive Egyptian, with head low and elongated, the forehead not amply developed, the nose short, thick, the lips full and large, the chin short and receding. In those days the rulers of Egypt were wholly Ethiopian. Look at authentic plates of early Egyptian Pharaohs, they are undeniably Cushite. The Great Sphinx, emblematic of an earlier king, is the full featured Ethiopian type. Look at the astounding countenance of Cheops. The counterpart of such a face can only be found among Ethiopians today. He is a perfect representation of the Cushite Ethiopian race that cast such giant shadows on time’s dawn.”  Drusilla Dunjee Houston, writing in late 1920’s to early 1930’s, in public domain.

This is a pretty fascinating read for anyone interested in human beginnings and our path to civilization.  One thing I found interesting was that the Egyptians and Ethiopians were circumcising male children-before the Hebrews and their gods even thought about it.

“Circumcision was a rite universally practiced as a part of the religion of the old Egyptians, as long as the native institutions flourished. It was a rite of the ruling Ethiopian element. Under Greek and Roman rule it fell into disuse but was always retained by the priesthood and those who desired to cultivate ancient wisdom. Herodotus said that all Ethiopians circumcised. Lenormant calls it original with them. The Coptic Church practices it to this day. Abyssinians do the same. They did not adopt it from the Jews for they circumcise both sexes. Oldendorpe finds the rite in western Africa. It must be a relic of ancient African customs. It is older than Mohammed, who did not regard it as a religious rite. Southern Arabia had the rite from Ethiopia. Himyartic Arabs (Cushites), circumcise their children on the eighth day. Pocock found that other Semitic Arabs circumcise between the tenth and fifteenth years.”

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Moses and His Writings

I’ve written of this subject before, but no one seems to know the answer to it. If some Christian scholar out there in the ‘ether’ reads this and has a response. I would appreciate hearing from you.

Genesis 11:31. This verse describes Abraham as living in the city of Ur, and associates that location with the Chaldean’s. However archaeological evidence indicates that the Chaldean’s did not exist as a tribe at the time of Abraham, or Moses, for that matter; they rose to power as much as 1000 years later.

“And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.”

Genesis 14:14: This verse refers to Abram pursuing some surviving kings of Sodom and Gomorrah to the city of Dan. However the archaeology says that place name did not exist until at least 300 years later

“And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants,
born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.”

So is there any evangelical fundamentalist theist out there that can explain how Moses can be writing about these things long before they existed. Sure seems to be proof that Moses was redacted, revised or otherwise rewritten. So, that would mean that the Pentateuch was not clearly written by Moses, and is likely not the ‘Inspired Word of God.’ It was tampered with probably sometime after the Jews return from exile, as by then ‘Ur of the Chaldee’s’ was properly used and the original city of Laish…was renamed Dan.

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More Evidence Against Noah’s Flood

Floods do not form mountains, but rather erode them away. Walter T. Brown, In the Beginning, 1986

All Biblical dates that I have seen for Noah’s flood fall within a period of the earth’s history known to historians the world over, as the “Bronze Age” This is a period in our collective history in which we humans discovered and used the metals copper and tin to make Bronze.

It started around 3500-3000 BCE in the Middle Eastern and African areas, and lasted until we learned how to make Iron (about 1200 BCE, probably in Africa) and thus entered the ‘Iron Age’ This time span also happens to encompass the beginning of writing and keeping records…so we have written records of what was going on at these times; in other words this was ‘historical’ time.

In those times the impetus for the development of the Bronze technology was war. Bronze was used in most weapons of the time, such as spear points, arrowheads, swords, axes, helmets, armor, and shields. Production of these items, in the quantities needed for the armies of the time, required much infrastructure and many people devoted to the making of them. This was not a fly-by-night operation

According to recorded history there were six well-established cultures or ‘civilizations’ at the time of Noah’s Flood. They were: Mesopotamia (Sumerian), Indus Valley, Egypt, the Minoan, the ‘Holy Land’ area, and China. Archaeological records such as ruins of cities, tools, pottery, skeletal remains, weapons, and other artifacts support the written records that survive. These records all show that humans and civilizations existed in almost all parts of the world at the time of the flood, and that there was a worldwide population of possibly 100 million people.

The civilizations of the time were using Bronze tools and had the potters wheel, looms to made textiles, had invented the plow and domesticated draft animals, they also traded with peoples hundreds of miles away. In other words a cultural revolution was going on. Man was changing from herders and hunter-gatherers to settled agriculture and cities that could support the new technologies. An infrastructure was developing. The written record and Archaeology support this view. Records of the Sumerian/Mesopotamian civilization show a continuous ongoing culture from about 3350 BCE to a period well past the Noachian flood.

Mesopotamia had great prosperity and expansion during the flood period under Sargon the Great and his grandson Naram-Sin. The area was a thriving center of culture and advancing civilization. There is no evidence for a cataclysmic flood wiping out the entire culture and infrastructure.

Egyptian civilization is probably familiar to most of us. Egypt’s dynastic history started with the uniting of Upper and Lower Egypt by King Menes, around 3100 BCE. The Egyptian period known as the “Old Kingdom” lasted from 2800 to 2175 BCE. During this time many of the pyramids were built. There is no record, written or archaeological, for a monster flood destroying and completely interrupting this countries infrastructure or it’s monuments such as the Sphinx, the Step Pyramid, or the Great Pyramids, which were built before ‘The Flood’

China has a reasonably accurate history starting around 3000 BCE. According to texts from a Chinese book called “Shu King” and verified by archaeological records, China was undergoing a prosperous period around 2400 to 2200 BCE during the early Yaou Dynasty. They have no record of a cataclysmic flood interrupting their whole civilization and destroying the infrastructure of the country.

The Indus valley civilization has a well-known history dating back to perhaps 3100 BCE. By 2500 BCE there were two major cities, Mohendaro (or Mohenjo-Daro) and Harrapa, which rivaled Egypt and Mesopotamia in population and technologies. This great Civilization also encompassed maybe 100 smaller cities, towns, and villages, and didn’t fall until about 1500 BCE. They have no record of a worldwide civilization-destroying flood.

The Minoan civilization was probably as old as Egypt. Based on the Island of Crete, this civilization grew quickly and was highly advanced by 2500 BCE. By the middle of the second millennium it had an alphabet, used bronze tools, had pottery, textiles, advanced architecture, and had established cities around the Islands. It continued to grow and was a center for trade and culture until about the mid-1400’s BCE  when it was suddenly destroyed by the violent eruption of the Thera volcano. There has been no evidence unearthed from this civilization that shows a flood destroying their whole infrastructure, at any time in their existence.

We do not have any archaeological evidence from the Japanese culture, Native American culture, or the Black tribes of Africa that indicate a world wide flood at any time in their existence. Think about this. How could all these civilizations, tribes, and world-wide culture along with sooo many people suddenly disappear from the earth and then suddenly reappear all over the world and bring the same culture, arts, pottery design, architecture, writing, language, and artifacts that was unique to them and their part of the world?

The entire history of the world does not show…any…of the known civilizations to have a large gap in their chronology or technologies as a result of being destroyed by a worldwide flood. It is not plausible that they were destroyed, and within a few short years, reappeared in their original numbers and with the same abilities and infrastructure. All the inventions and culture of the people of the time…would have had to be reinvented by new inhabitants…that did not happen. It just didn’t happen people. cat

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Science…True…God…Not?

I have fielded lots of questions about beliefs in God and science. One person in particular had some questions that were similar to ones I hear all the time and that intrigued me. I thought I would make a column.

He writes:
” What do you do with the flaws in your faith-system? Is it adequate to you when the dogma of the last decade is replaced by the new and improved dogma of this decade? Not being negative, just asking. I am curious about how the new knowledge supercedes the old knowledge. And what about those who choose to cling to the old knowledge and call the new stuff heresy? ”

Like all inquiry of a scientific nature, if you put a theory out there, expect an immediate attack by your fellows…in your field. Those that have heavy intellectual baggage in one theory or another will probably give you grief. Those that don’t have hard opinions on your methodology yet OR are investigating something not quite on your target will wait till more evidence comes in. But, ultimately your stuff has to stand up to very close examination, and be repeatable by others, or many leaders in the field need to agree (not an easy thing to achieve). As a scientist you cannot just throw something out there and expect it will immediately be believed as true.

The reasons you are seeing sooo much change nowadays, is that investigational tools, new methods, computer technology, and the shear number of new investigational people is exploding. Like all scientific exploration, new work will have to stand-up to many people critiquing it before it is widely accepted in the community of science. Dating methodology for example has been put through the wringer, and is proven many times over…even though evangelical fundamentalists don’t believe it, and stand on their head trying to prove it wrong, and have been known to lie about the science.

He writes:
“I know the modernization of knowledge is inherent in the scientific inquiry process. If this is the foundation of your belief system, does it sometimes feel like you are standing on shifting sand? (Serious question).”

To the contrary, I feel pretty safe in believing what I do. I have been following science for about 50 years and I have seen the progression of science in the archaeological, and other earth sciences, from immediately disturbing and collecting of everything in sight; to today’s careful, methodical work that returns infinitely more information.

I have seen and followed the combining of different disciplines to attack old problems, people from widely divergent cultures unite and share information and life’s work. In short, I have been witness to an unbelievable explosion of knowledge and unity.

Even when governments and religions are at odds with each other…the scientists of each country and religion continue to work with each other. If anything the scientists are the ones setting the good examples of how to behave towards each other. Differing religions are continually at odds with each other unless science mediates

I feel that the believers in that old Hebrew God myth are the ones standing on quicksand. The basis (old myths and stories that are proven untrue) for their faith is being eroded day by day.

He writes:
“And I am curious about the flaws you have found in the Bible. Is there something I should know about? (Another serious question).”

Well over a hundred inconsistent stories or verses contradicting each other. Some stories being proven totally untrue, known manipulation of the contents of Scripture and the Bible, many anachronisms, wrong interpretations, Paul probably ‘inventing’ the religious theology behind Christianity. I found some independently, but most were found by Biblical scholars.

Jesus was probably a true historical person, but was he magical?

If we’re talking about a real God…the logic that should be evident…is missing. And yes, I can define the logic behind a God. Anyone can…as long as it is real logic.

There are no supernatural or magical forces in the world or universe today. Everything you see follows physical laws, even if we don’t quite know what they are yet.

Probably the most serious flaw is the religion itself. It lacks logic. The belief that a God–that created the whole universe–chooses to only reveal himself only to a wandering tribe of Hebrews, many tens or hundreds of thousands of years after humans evolved, and not tell the rest of the world, and stays mostly hidden to millions of people for such a long time is just silly and illogical. And yes I can define the logic of it.

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