In the depths of Bruniquel Cave, France, lie an enigmatic series of circles. They are made from stalagmites, on which a residue accumulated since they were placed. Radiometric dating this coating revealed these circles predated the arrival of modern humans in France. Clearly, Neanderthals must have made them.
I found this fascinating because it was all that was in the cave. There was some burnt material – expected given that they had to light the cave – but apart from that nothing of note was discovered. There were no stone tools, debris, or leftover food. There was no sign anyone had ever entered the cave. Except for the mysterious circles. Nobody lived in Bruniquel Cave for a long period. Instead, it might people have occasionally visited the cave as part of a ritual. Could we be looking at the world’s first “church?”
Creationists viewed is as interesting for a different reason. They pointed to these circles as evidence of complex planning and social structure amongst the Neanderthals. In turn, this demonstrated that they were smart so they should belong to Homo sapiens. Which is something they’d been claiming for years.
Do you spot the delightful irony of the creationist perspective yet? Don’t worry if you haven’t, it took me a while to realise it as well. In fact, I had to have it pointed out to me by the author of the excellent Naturalis Historia blog.
The key point is that there’s no direct evidence of Neanderthals living at Bruniquel. Their presence is inferred from the age of the site. This, in turn, was calculated via radiometric methods; revealing it’s more than 170,000 years old. Such a date would disprove the young earth creationist perspective. As such, it shouldn’t be surprising to learn they both reject radiometric dating and its conclusions; including the date of the cave.
Without the date, there’s zero evidence of the Neanderthals living at Bruniquel. Zero evidence for the creationist perspective on this find. This is a fact they seem to have completely missed, or perhaps they’re just outright ignoring it. Either way, it doesn’t speak strongly for the depth of their understanding. Not that that stopped them writing several thousand words on the topic. Apparently, comprehending a subject isn’t a high priority for Answers in Genesis. Shocking, I know.