It was refreshing recently to read an article by an evolutionist who recognized the intelligence of ancient man. There aren’t many of those kinds of articles. That’s because many evolutionists treat ancient people of thousands of years ago as unintelligent brutes who couldn’t match our cognitive capabilities today. Of course, this wrong belief stems from their worldview. They believe that man evolved slowly over millions of years from ape-like creatures. So, of course, they argue that modern man is more intelligent. But the more we learn about the humans who lived thousands of years before us, the more we realize that they were anything but unintelligent.
Well, this article, though written by an evolutionist, emphasizes how intelligent ancient man really was and how we have lost many of the skills they possessed. The article makes the admission that “it would be a mistake to think that our paleolithic ancestors weren’t as sophisticated or innovative in their thinking. Without a doubt, they didn’t have the voluminous depth and breadth afforded to us by our acquired knowledge, but they did have the same brains. And they used those brains to do some rather remarkable things.”
The article then describes some of these skills we’ve lost over time. For example, hunting and tracking animals. One researcher “makes the case that the art of tracking involves the same intellectual and creative abilities as physics and mathematics, and may very well represent the origin of science itself.” Another skill we’ve largely lost is knowing which foods are safe to eat and what to use from nature to medicate. These are highly important skills in a wilderness situation and rely on years of acquired knowledge that’s been passed down.
Navigational skills of the ancients are also listed by the authors. Most people nowadays can get around using a GPS, or reading maps on their smartphone, but our ancestors could get around without any of these technologies—not even a map. They used the stars and heavenly bodies for the purpose God had designed for them to be used—as “signs and seasons, and for days and years” (Genesis 1:14). And ancient people were able to travel hundreds of miles from Babel to spread out across the entire globe!
These are just some of the skills that this article highlights that point toward the intelligence and ingenuity of those before us. Ancient man was just as intelligent as we are today, but they had a different set of skills and emphases because they lived in a different world.
Imagine if the average American were dropped into Siberia. He probably wouldn’t survive for more than a few days! But Ice Age peoples, Noah’s descendants who lived after the Flood, not only survived in this barren world but thrived. They thrived because they had the intelligence and necessary skill set to survive in the world after the Flood.
The intelligence of the ancients confirms a biblical worldview, not an evolutionary one. Mankind has always been intelligent from the very beginning a few thousand years ago. All humans are descendants of Adam and Eve, made in the very image of God (Genesis 1:27). Some passages of Scripture give us an idea about the intelligence of human beings from the beginning (e.g., Genesis 4:22 says that Tubal-Cain was an instructor of craftsmen in bronze and iron). So it comes as no surprise to creationists that we read of examples of ancient man’s abilities to survive and thrive all over the world. Again, the evidence from ancient civilizations confirms God’s Word from the beginning, not man’s ideas about the past. See Don Landis's book called The Genius of Ancient Man for more information.
The influence of evolutionary thinking in people is often seen in social media comments that are made after we post articles or videos about the on-going construction of our Ark Encounter project. When some people see us using cranes, trucks, and power tools to build the Ark, they complain that Noah could never have built the Ark without all these things because he didn’t have them. They automatically assume that Noah had to build the Ark with just his bare hands or used a few simple tools. This is evidence of evolutionary thinking which assumes that pre-Flood man was unintelligent and uncivilized. But we don’t know for sure what kind of technology Noah and those maybe working for him could have used. After all, they had over 1,600 years to develop technology, and with people living to be vast ages. Imagine how much more technology we would have if past and present geniuses lived to be hundreds of years old!
We don’t know exactly what kind of technology ancient civilizations had before the Flood, but evolutionary thinking makes some people automatically think that the ancients could not be advanced.
Before anyone makes a claim regarding our construction of the life-size Ark in Northern Kentucky, I encourage that person to read my article “Answering Claims About the Ark Project.”
I encourage you to stay up-to-date on the latest construction at the Ark Encounter site at ArkEncounter.org.
You can learn more about the remarkable intelligence of ancient man in The Genius of Ancient Man, available in our store.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.
Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.