Modern Human Sophistication: How Long Did It Take?


ScienceNOW: “The Long Road to Modernity” Yesterday’s humans weren’t as sophisticated as today’s humans—according to today’s humans.

In the evolutionary model, did human intelligence increase gradually or was it a great cognitive “leap” that led to our modern sophistication? That’s the question anthropologists are trying to answer based on a “hominid site” in Ethiopia.

The site is known as Gademotta, and archaeologists previously dated it to some 235,000 years ago. The “problem” is that the site is home to “Middle Stone Age” tools and weapons that are more advanced than evolutionists predict: objects evolutionists believe were designed by Homo sapiens no more than 195,000 years ago.

The existence of “intermediates” between H. erectus and H. sapiens is just a sign that we are all from the same created kind.

Meanwhile, Gademotta has been re-dated to 280,000 years old, which only aggravates the problem for evolutionists. What were such advanced tools doing supposedly long before modern humans arrived on the scene? Not only that, but a Kenyan site called Kapthurin, which also harbors Middle Stone Age technology, has been dated to 285,000 years old.

The answer is simpler than you might imagine. The University of California–Berkeley’s Leah Morgan and Paul Renne, who re-dated Gademotta, conclude that the tools were probably not created by H. sapiens after all, but rather came from intermediates between H. erectus and H. sapiens. Throw in a few fossils dated within a hundred thousand years of the sites, and the problem is “solved,” evolutionists declare.

As young-earth creationists, we’re much more skeptical of radiometric dating techniques and don’t believe such old ages are possible (and certainly not provable). We do believe, however, that both H. sapiens and H. erectus are fully human descendants of Adam and Eve, and thus made in God’s image. The existence of “intermediates” between H. erectus and H. sapiens is just a sign that we are all from the same created kind (along with Neanderthals); thus, associating advanced tool-making with these humans is unsurprising.

Additionally, the entire notion of what makes tools “modern” and otherwise is quite susceptible to not only evolutionary presuppositions, but also guesswork and speculation. Did one human civilization develop a new technology because it was actually more intelligent / more highly evolved—or was it just that their circumstances led to the discovery of the technology, while others’ never did?

For example, in National Geographic News’s coverage, Renne is quoted giving a “modern analogy” to the old/new tool dichotomy. “A modern analogy might be the transition from ox-carts to automobiles, which is virtually complete in North America and northern Europe, but is still underway in the developing world,” Renne said.

Perhaps an alien civilization that had its own evolutionary ideas might come to earth and believe ox-carts and autos represent the technology of two related but different species—one more highly evolved than the other. But, of course, all people groups are made in the image of God; none are more sophisticated or intelligent. Rather, circumstances and related factors determine what sort of technology we use, and situational dichotomy of technology extends back into human history ever since Babel.

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