We are not smarter than our ancestors…

I love me some nerd TV.  You know… History Channel, Discovery Channel, ect.  I’ll watch most of the shows they offer, except for those few like Monster Quest that put out a lot of theory and hype but give you ZERO resolution at the end.  Those are most un-fulfilling.  But the others I like, even if it’s only to make fun of the “experts” that frequent such shows.

One of those is Ancient Aliens.  I love this show.  Mostly because I like to make fun of those “experts.”

Without fail, they all assume that prior to modern time human beings were incredibly dumb. They couldn’t possibly be smart enough to build all of these amazing things on their own.  Aliens must have intervened! They show and demonstrate all of these architectural marvels and ingenious mechanical devices that are way beyond the scope of what ancient people should be smart enough to do.

Hey “experts,” how about this?  What if… and I’m just throwing this out here… but what if, these people were actually as smart as we are??  I mean, all of our modern technology was developed in the last 200 years, right?  So, a society focused on improving technology and developing science has the capability to develop some pretty neat stuff in a relatively short amount of time.

So let’s do a little math, shall we?  Secular anthropology tells us humans in their current physical form evolved about 200,000 years ago, but their intelligence factor only reached maturity about 50,000 years ago. If we go with a conservative mature creationist view (the view that God created everything as mature things and not infant,) we get about 8,000 years.  For the sake of my argument, I’m going to take the smallest number here.

Modern technology developed in less than 200 years.  Our best archealogical understanding of ancient technology only gives us about 2,000 years in a few specific societies.  Beyond that, it’s all guess work.

But here’s what we do know.  Around 150 CE, Mesopotamian societies had an electrolosis machine. At around 3,000 BCE, we have the Egyptians, and we know they had an excellent architectural skill.

Who’s to say that at some random 200 year period (that’s all it took for us) during that 8,000 year stretch, that people couldn’t have developed some semblance of technology close to ours? Societies fall, knowledge and science gets lost., and the next millennium has to start over.

And let’s take for a moment the 50,000 year date. How many times could this 200 year cycle of technological development have occurred and then been lost?

Are we actually conceited enough to think that in 8,000 to 50,000 years of human history, we’re the first society smart enough to figure these things out? How many disasters have there been to wipe out these advanced societies? All it would take would be a good ioniclly charged meteor to crash onto our planet. The electromagnetic disturbance would fry every computer, and the atmospheric fallout would kill most of the population.  Within two generations, all modern technology would be forgotten.

Here’s my theories.  I believe that there was a certain amount of advanced pre-flood (Adamic) technology.  We have plenty of folk-stories to support this, two of which are Atlantis and the ancient astronaut theories.  The flood wiped it all out.  Noah and his family no longer had the technology, but they had the knowledge of the technology.  And this knowledge was passed on into the societies of their descendants.  They tried to mimic and recreate some of this tech, and sometimes succeeded in marvelous and ingenious ways.  Perhaps they reached an advanced stage in their attempts and some catastrophe wiped it all out.

But there’s been plenty of history for the cycle to have occurred numerous times. And before any of you suggest it… yes, I have at least two story ideas based off all of this.


About Keven Newsome

Keven Newsome is an musician, theologian, and a bit of a nerd. He enjoys a variety of musical genres, from Christian rock to movie soundtracks to KPop. A former band director, he plays about a dozen instruments, given a couple of weeks to practice up. His theological work has included a book on multi-generational ministry and a thesis on the theology of communicating with the dead. As for his nerd-card, he enjoys the fandoms of The Legend of Zelda, Doctor Who, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Lord of the Rings. With a music degree from William Carey University and a theology degree from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Keven actively serves in ministry as both pastor and worship leader.

21 comments on “We are not smarter than our ancestors…

  1. I love how your brain works, sweetheart!! But if you ever start to look like that “one” guy with the crazy hair, I’ll have you committed. 😛

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention the nuclear powered manna machine. Lol!

  2. Ooh, Keven, you and I could have some interesting talks about Creation and science :). I love this stuff. And YES, there is so much evidence that our ancestors were smart. Maybe smartER. Neanderthal Man actually had a larger brain than we do, although he’s made out to be “dumb.” Secular scientists just want so bad to have evolution be true that they ignore the evidence to anything contrary to that.

    Cool post, Iguana.

    • They did, however, make arrowheads less refined than Cro-Magnon Man did. Still not something you’d want stuck in your gizzard, but Cro-Magnon was as subtle in working flint as any, say, First American hunter. And he painted better than many who call themselves artists in our decadent society.

  3. fascinating. What makes me wonder is why we only find shards of pottery and no plastics or other modern paraphernalia of technology. I agree that knowledge could have been lost with wars, invasions and disasters, and it also occurs to me that knowledge of the highest advancement was most likely horded by those in power, not unlike modern universities. So records would be scarce at best.
    Fascinating discussion.

    • Plastics do biodegrade, even if it takes a very long time. And the potential amount of time I’m talking about would certainly be adequate. The pottery we have is no more than 5,000 years old at the most, and I’ve proposed a possible 50,000 year range. And also, how do we know they didn’t develop something more environmentally friendly than plastic?

  4. My dearest Keven,

    I tend to agree with a lot of what Kathleen suggests but……..I think that the past belongs in the past and even though some of the things people tell us may sound credible, that doesn’t mean that it is true. The proof is in the pudding. and as we all know, science is not exact, and is forever changing as the wind blows.If you want to find out what happened in the past, just wait a little while. It is a proven fact that History repeats itself. It is fun though, to speculate on what may have happened in the past. After all this is a speculative fiction site.LOL

    • I’m only suggesting the possibility of such a thing, not that it is actually factual. But I think accepting the possibility is certainly reasonable. There’s no proof either way, only speculation.

  5. I have been saying much the same things on my own blog, which compares science fiction and fantasy with biblical concepts. Atlantis was considered fiction when Plato wrote about it, and unknown before then. Today you can scarcely find a sci-fier who doesn’t think it exists. I have also heard from many archeologists who have actually studied historic artifacts and determined that tech values have risen and fallen constantly, all through world history.

    I eschew alien-god theories for many of the same reasons you do. It’s based on evolution, which itself is a popular bit of science fiction. It assumes ancient peoples were stupid, when lots of evidence exists that they were as smart as us–and yes, maybe even smarter.

    Thanks for the great article.

    ~ VT

  6. My dearest Keven,

    You speak the truth. As I said, it is fun to speculate. Everyone has an opinion and to squelch any of them is just wrong.

  7. My dearest Keven,

    It is so funny how things that people thought were just daydreams are actually happening. None of us know the truth, but it is most certainly great fun to speculate!

  8. my dearest Keven,

    I did want to thank you for a great article, I got so tied up in my own opinion that I forgot. Sorry!!!!!!!!!!

  9. While I applaud the direction you took this, it is not where my mind went.

    I’ve often found myself buying into the evolutionary bias that things started simple (stupid) and got more complex (smarter) with time, even though I actually believe the reverse. I think we’re getting dumber and more corrupt (in the mundane sense) with every generation we’re removed from that perfect, original creation. Like multiple copies of copies, we’ll all break down eventually, bodies and minds. Entropy is humanity’s destiny.

    Yes, turtles are a bit morbid. I’m the one who has to live with me.

    On the bright side, it’s the power of God’s perfect, regenerative creation that has kept things going as long as they have. He is a truly amazing designer and the original optimist. hehe!

  10. Great post, Keven! I too like to watch that show and shake my head whenever in their arrogance they assume that humanity could not have been so intelligent back then to have come up with this stuff. It’s just like the arrogance of other scientists that declared “there’s nothing smaller than an atom” and then they found out what the atom is made of, so then “there’s nothing smaller than an electron” and now they’re finding things even smaller than that in the nucleus and electrons. Just because you can’t see it, that doesn’t mean it’s not there. And perhaps that includes a certain Grand Ol’ Deity that Just Everyone Seeking Undergoes Salvation with? 😉

    And don’t forget about the theory of the pre-Adamic race that Lucifer was to have been watching over here on this planet before he rebelled against God. Then when he rebelled and God bound him and the one third of fallen angels that joined him to this planet the pre-Adamic race also joined in the rebellion and became disembodied spirits that go over the earth (demons), and then after time God created Man. Man was created in God’s own image, so Man wasn’t just another creation and when God put Man in charge of the planet with Lucifer and his minions still around, well Lucifer just couldn’t take that, so he had to trick humanity into giving him back his planet. Thus when he took over the form of a serpent to trick Eve into eating of the fruit.

    That’s a big theory with lots more details I’ve just put in as small a nutshell as I could make it, but considering that there are various Biblical passages that can attribute to this (I’ve heard two separate speeches on it that gave numerous passages and showed things quite well, my notes on both speeches are lost though, and a book I have which covers the subject in one of its chapters doesn’t have as many scripture references unfortunately – which surprised me considering the way the person uses the Bible very heavily to prove spiritual and Biblical things), then this is a valid enough theory to throw back at them and doesn’t deny the limited amount of time that God has had Man around for, so therefore that pre-Adamic race in that time could have come up with a number of things on their own too.

    Denial of God is proof of arrogance.

  11. We do know that the ancient Romans had indoor plumbing and a pre-flood society had air conditioning. If anything, I’d say we’re getting dumber; sure, we can make a million iPhone apps, but could we make an aqueduct system that extended for miles which much drop few inches a mile out of nothing but brick and mortar?
    They could do more with less, and this made them brilliant. So here’s a cheer for our “stupid” ancestors!

  12. Sorry took me awhile to find this one … I agree with Keven, and also .. No fair on the story ideas!! I had one based on the cyclical advancement followed by destruction .. almost 2 yrs ago and even began development, unfortunately, I wrote it in 1st person. So I plan rewriting it 3rd, someday!

  13. FINALLY!
    I have been trying to prove to people things like this for quite some time now. Modern society is so ignorant and evidently MUST be the best at everything. Nice article very enjoyable and another good point to add on a rainy day of argument.

  14. I totally agree with Keven. We went through the dark ages and a lot of knowledge was destroyed by people who didn’t think it matters. Think about the libraries of Alexandria that accumulated all the knowledge of the world. This too was later destroyed.

    It took until this last century that we discovered how to make hydraulic cement like the Romans. By the way, the aqueduct is still around but the buildings, even concrete, that we build won’t last over a few hundred years. We still don’t know how the Pyramids were built. All we can do is speculate.

    I heard or saw something a few years ago that the Incas (I believe is correct) could perform brain surgery and their knives surpassed in quality surgeons use today.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: