Human history goes back almost 10,000 years. Which might seem like a long time, but it’s nothing compared to our prehistory. That stretches back to the earliest known modern human, who lived ~195,000 years ago. We are an ancient species. So ancient that creationists seem to have difficulty comprehending just how old we are. They seem to think that those from early history “ancient man”; failing to realise our prehistory is literally an order of magnitude more ancient than that.
And it isn’t just a few creationists who make this mistake. Every single one of the “big three” creationist organisations – each with millions of dollars of funding – have managed to make this mistake. They argue that “ancient man” was smart 10,000 years ago, despite the fact that – “man” and his intelligence – is more than a hundred thousand years older.
Answers in Genesis’ ancient man
Answers in Genesis is arguably the largest, most well-funded YEC organisation. Accordingly, it also has the most articles on so-called “Ancient Man”, with an entire section of their website devoted to the subject. Granted, many of these are discussions of Neanderthal intelligence (another controversy they invented) but there are still several pages on how ancient humans seem to be too smart for evolution. They’re especially big fans of an entire book on the subject.
The general thesis of this book – and most of the other articles on the subject – is the same that we’ll see from all the other creationists: Evolution says humans evolved from less intelligent being, so the fact that “ancient man” was doing intelligent things – like making temples – contradicts this narrative. Conveniently forgetting that palaeoanthropology actually reveals that modern intelligence emerged tens of thousands of years before the oldest temple. So there’s actually no contradiction.
Now, this sort of ignorance of science might seem like a rather harmless thing. It’s a fringe organisation not understanding how time works (even if they are wasting millions of dollars advocating for this misunderstanding). However, their favourite book on the subject – The Genius of Ancient Man – handily demonstrates the path that this sort of opposition and ignorance to science takes you down.
They come up with a list of how ancient man may have made these monuments, like the pyramids, demonstrating they must have been smart:
And no, those last few points aren’t just in there for a laugh. They go on to note:
In one fell swoop, AiG has demonstrated how bad their science is, and why it’s important to have good science. Otherwise, giants, magic, and a large labour force are all equal options.
The Institute for Creation Research is also very confused over how old humans are. They’ve published many articles on how ancient man was modern. Like how those primitive men made art indicative of language. Clearly, they must be modern! Which they were. All the art has been associated with modern humans, who arrived in the region around the time the art began being painted.
Or being amazed how humans in 3,000 BC acted modern by making a door. Because that is totally too young to behaving modernly. You might as well argue that Ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian artefacts are too advanced and so aliens must have helped. Or Jesus.
Again, it demonstrates total ignorance of the chronology they’re trying to refute. At least this time they didn’t invoke giants.
Everyone else has been making basic understandings about chronology. However, Creation Ministries International really takes the cake. Not only do they appeal to a fundamental misunderstanding of how time works, but they cite conspiracy theories as support. I suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised given this was the group that argued aliens are real. Except they’re demons.
Ancient civilisations and modern man is their article on the subject and it’s just baffling. Rather than appealing to well-proven examples of how smart ancient civilisations are, they talk about mostly nonsense. Like that well-known discovery of an Ancient Egyptian aeroplane. Oh, you haven’t heard of it? Probably because it isn’t a real thing.
The “plane” is actually a model of a bird from Saqqara, Egypt. Attempts to accurately recreate the bird (and throw it around) have shown it is an atrocious flyer. Some have managed to make a version of the model fly, but that involves modifying the design and material used in its construction until you get the desired results.
But maybe the Ancient Egyptians could have made it fly if they had the power. Which they totally did have, because according to creation.com “ancient man” had also invented a battery. Except that isn’t real. The so-called “Baghdad battery” is most likely a simple scroll container, mistaken by one man back in the 30’s and misunderstood ever since.
It turns out when you abandon science you lose the ability to separate fact from fiction. Perhaps this might also explain why they keep getting so confused over how long “ancient” really is.
Creationists don’t understand the ideas they’re criticising, as shown by their failure to grasp how ancient Homo sapiens is. To make matters worse some accept junk ideas in an effort to prop up their beliefs. It turns out when you start by assuming you’re right, you often aren’t right.