Is Man Getting “Smarter”?

Modern Technology, Ancient Man, and the Explosion of Science

by on
Share:

Introduction

We live in a technological age. We see incredible inventions all around us that have been mastered since the Industrial Revolution. We have computers, phones, radar, heart stents, cars, jets, spaceships (and a space station!), and let’s not forget the brilliant invention called . . . air conditioning!

We might be tempted to say that man is getting smarter because we have all these great inventions and new gadgets at our fingertips. But are we? I suggest we need to exercise caution on this subject.

The Secularization of the Modern Mind

Our secularized culture teaches a strange history. We are told that we were once dumb brutes in an evolutionary past—no different from animals—but over the millennia we got a little smarter and came out of Africa and learned how to be farmers instead of hunters and gatherers.

Then we began building basic settlements and then civilizations and finally empires. So here we are sitting on top of the food chain because, unlike “other animals,” we have become smarter and smarter to become masters of our domain.

Do you realize this alleged evolutionary history is not recorded by ancient historians in any culture?

Okay, so this is a bunch of hogwash—man is made unique from animals and created in the image of God! But people believe these lies because this is what has been imposed upon them in secular schools, secular media, secular museums, and so on. Do you realize this alleged evolutionary history is not recorded by ancient historians in any culture? It is a modern fairly tale. It is a story that comes out of religions like secularism (including atheism and so on).

But as a result, kids of the next generation look at technology today and misunderstand it. They presume that, since we have more technology, we are “getting smarter” just like the evolutionary story says.

Is Man Getting Smarter?

The simple answer is no. What we have is a greater accumulation of knowledge from which we build the next set of technology. Do we have some brilliant people in our culture—yes. Do we have some people who are not so brilliant—yes. In fact, you might be able to name some (be nice!).

Did you know that in ancient times there were brilliant people (even after man’s fall into sin) and some who were not so brilliant? Let’s do a quick analysis of ancient brilliance.

Brilliance of Ancient Man

Did you know that, soon after the Tower of Babel, the ancient Minoans had designed and built structures with beams strategically located within the rock walls to absorb earthquake shock and to prevent collapse and structural damage?1

Did you know that the ancient Cappadocians built a number of underground complexes in what is modern-day Turkey? Derinkuyu, perhaps the most famous, is one of the largest that we know of. It is an underground, multistory building complete with an irrigation system to bring fresh water and ventilation to bring fresh air. Its depth continued to about 200 feet (60 meters) and could hold about 20,000 people with food supplies as well as their livestock! Journalist April Holloway writes:

The region of Anatolia in Turkey is famous for its underground cities, particularly in the region of Cappadocia where more than 40 complete underground cities and 200 underground villages and tunnel towns complete with hidden passages, secret rooms, and ancient temples have been found.2

In 2015, another underground city emerged in Cappadocia at Nevşehir that is now estimated to be larger than Derinkuyu!3

Did you know that ancient Romans engineered a cup utilizing nanotechnology that changes color wavelength depending on which direction the light enters the cup and based on the direction of the observer! It can be green or red. It is called the Lycurgus Cup.4

Furthermore, the way this cup was designed makes it possible to detect types of poisons. The reason is simple. When you add various liquids in the cup, it makes the wavelength change, and because it is so sensitive to certain things (like salt concentrations for example), the color again varies. When it holds water, it appears green; but when it holds oil, it appears red. If the cup changes colors when you think you are drinking water . . . beware!

Did you know that batteries were used over 3,000 years ago.5

Did you know that in Sacsayhuaman (also spelled Saksaywaman), ancient Peruvians displayed brilliant stone-cutting capabilities in their temples, walls, and structures?

Their ability is reminiscent of the charge in Solomon’s day to build the Temple:

And the temple, when it was being built, was built with stone finished at the quarry, so that no hammer or chisel or any iron tool was heard in the temple while it was being built. (1 Kings 6:7)

Stone cutting and building was intricate and precise.

So many other examples, like the building of the pyramids, Stonehenge, the Pont Du Gard aqueduct (50 km long), or even Noah’s Ark (you can now see a full-size replica at the Ark Encounter in Northern Kentucky) are merely a taste of ancient man’s brilliant achievements.

Explosion of Modern Technology—Built on a Biblical Worldview?

After the Flood, a godly worldview dominated. As cultures deviated at Babel and down through the ages, man abandoned a godly and biblical worldview (of what had been revealed from Adam down through Noah) in favor of man’s flawed ideas (i.e., forms of humanism). As they began worshipping ancestors and false gods, their general worldview deteriorated into many various paths of paganism.

This affected science and innovation in a general pattern. It caused technology to remain nearly stagnant—with a few exceptions of course. A mind and culture with little hope has little desire to grow in the knowledge of God’s world (albeit sin-cursed and broken). Many worldviews even deter science and technology because of their very nature (e.g., animism). Animism, for example, has spirit beings that help or harm human interests in the physical world. Thus causality, which is the basis for observable and repeatable science, is meaningless because aspects of nature are controlled by the spirits rather than by a God who has promised to uphold things in a consistent fashion. (For more on world religions read World Religions and Cults Volumes 1–2.)

As Christianity began to explode in Europe prior to AD 1400, people began returning to a godly, biblical worldview leading up to the early modern period. This gave them the proper understanding of the world around them. Acknowledging that our all-knowing (Psalm 147:5) and all-powerful (e.g., Jeremiah 32:27) God upholds the world (Hebrews 1:3) and that He has promised to do so in the future until the end (e.g., Genesis 8:22) gives us the basis for doing observable and repeatable science. This presupposition is vital to make science possible.

Christians began systematically studying the world and how it works (operational science).

As a result Christians began systematically studying the world and how it works (operational science). Most fields of science were developed by Bible believers—even the scientific method was developed by a young-earth creationist, Sir Francis Bacon!6

As Biblically based science erupted, technology, knowledge, inventions, and innovation built one on top of the other. This brings us to the world in which we live, built on centuries of technology.

Biomimicry

Our technology continues to grow so that even non-Christian religious persons, such as atheists7 and Hindus,8 are joining in the technological increase built on a biblical worldview (whether they realize it or not). Though I could mention many areas of research, such as materials advancements, rapid geological processing, and biological advancements in medicine, I want to mention one in particular: biomimicry.

Biomimicry is a field in which scientists and engineers develop new technology based on observations of the way God designed plants, animals, and so on. In other words, it is mimicking design features from the ultimate designer—God.

  • Perhaps one of the most popular examples is Velcro. God created it first, and we can see it with plants like the cocklebur. Hence, George de Mestral mimicked this biological design.
  • More recently, bat sonar is being used in canes (Ultracane9) to help the blind detect obstacles.
  • Optical materials are being developed from bird feathers that have nanostructures (like the cup mentioned before) that utilize light, instead of pigment, to make color!10
  • Bombardier beetles (the ones that shoot “fire”) were used to develop pulse nozzles with a pressure relief valve system.11

Again, these few examples should whet your appetite to understand more about the amazing intricacies of God’s design in nature.

Conclusion

I humbly suggest that as the culture moves away from a biblical understanding of the world, so will they also miss out on certain scientific advancements—or at least delay them. Consider the unbiblical worldview of millions of years: researchers never thought oil could be produced quickly because they had been indoctrinated with the idea that oil production took vast ages. Yet oil can be made in 30 minutes from algae.12

Imagine if researchers in the 1960s had been thinking correctly (i.e., a younger age of the earth and thus rapid oil production at the time of the Flood) and had developed technology based on that truth. It could have revolutionized the oil industry in our current age! Instead, researchers only recently figured it out.

I want to encourage you to think biblically. The Bible makes sense of the world and makes sense of science and technology. Even so, we are in a world where the Bible comes under increasing attack, and secular scientists want to divorce science from the Bible (see “Is Science Secular?”). Science exists because the Bible is true. There is no reason to suppress this knowledge (Romans 1:18–21).

According to the Bible, man has always been brilliant—both in the past and in the present. The difference today is that we have more accumulated knowledge and technologies.

Footnotes

  1. Matthew Zuk, “The Minoan Civilization: Proof of Advanced Nature,” The Genius of Ancient Man, April 17, 2013, http://geniusofancientman.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-minoan-civilization-1.html.
  2. April Holloway, “The Ancient Underground City Discovered Beneath a House in Anatolia,” Ancient Origins, August 25, 2014, http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/home-owner-discovers-ancient-underground-city-anatolia-102001.
  3. Jennifer Pinkowski, “Massive Underground City Found in Cappadocia Region of Turkey,” National Geographic, March 26, 2015, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/03/150325-underground-city-cappadocia-turkey-archaeology/.
  4. Zeeya Merali, “This 1,600-Year-Old Goblet Shows that the Romans Were Nanotechnology Pioneers,” Smithsonian, September 2013, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/this-1600-year-old-goblet-shows-that-the-romans-were-nanotechnology-pioneers-787224/?no-ist. And “Nanotechnology and the Ancient Romans: A Breakthrough 1,600 Years in the Making,” AntiquityNOW, March 6, 2014, https://antiquitynow.org/2014/03/06/nanotechnology-and-the-ancient-romans-a-breakthrough-1600-years-in-the-making/.
  5. David Down, “Why the Electric Battery Was Forgotten,” Answers in Genesis, March 1, 1994, https://answersingenesis.org/archaeology/ancient-technology/why-the-electric-battery-was-forgotten/.
  6. Francis Bacon, The Works of Francis Bacon, vol. 2 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1819), 480–488.
  7. Consider that in an atheistic worldview, which is materialistic and naturalistic, there is no reason that tenets of science (e.g., logic, conclusions, knowing that natural law won't change in the future, and so on) should exist. There is no certain or foundational reason that an atheistic worldview should account for a rational universe where scientific inquiry is possible.
  8. In Eastern religions, all is one. The doctrine of Maya (so named in Hinduism) is that all things are really an illusion since all things are spiritually one (monism). We are supposedly deceived into believing material things exist. With this in mind, why should science and technology be of concern? Observable and repeatable science is impossible in this worldview.
  9. See “About the Ultracane,” Ultracane, http://ultracane.com/about_the_ultracane.
  10. “Birds Create Colors That Don’t Fade Using Nanostructures and Light, Say Researchers,” HNGN, December 22, 2015, http://www.hngn.com/articles/162678/20151222/birds-create-colors-dont-fade-using-nanostructures-light-researchers.htm.
  11. For more see Novid Beheshti and Andy C Mcintosh, “The Bombardier Beetle and Its Use of a Pressure Relief Valve System to Deliver a Periodic Pulsed Spray,” Bioinspiration & Biomimetics 2, no. 4 (2007): 57–64, doi:10.1088/1748-3182/2/4/001.
  12. Christopher Helman, “Green Oil: Scientists Turn Algae Into Petroleum In 30 Minutes,” Forbes, December 13, 2013, http://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherhelman/2013/12/23/green-oil-scientists-turn-algae-into-petroleum-in-30-minutes/.

Newsletter

Get the latest answers emailed to you or sign up for our free print newsletter.

Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Learn more

  • Customer Service 800.778.3390