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The Puzzle of Ancient Man
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Japheth, remember to turn off the computer …

Published: 22 December 2006 (GMT+10)

Photo from Wikipedia. Released under the GFDL.

The Antikythera mechanism

The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient mechanical analog computer.

by

Today’s evolutionary worldview taught by most school systems promotes the belief in a history in which mankind has grown more and more intelligent as we have ‘evolved’ over time. Many people cannot conceive of technologically advanced people existing thousands of years before us.

Stories like Noah’s Flood have been categorized as myth by many who simply cannot believe a ‘primitive’ man like Noah could have built an ‘ocean liner’ sized vessel like the one described in Genesis 6.

From time to time a careful observer can spot news items that support the biblical creationist view. (This view holds that man was created as very intelligent and has degenerated rather than evolved since that time due to the effects of sin and the Curse because of man’s rebellion against God.)

Recently CBC News released a story1 about a device made between 150 bc and 100 bc that was discovered in 1901 in a shipwreck off the Greek island of Antikythera. An interesting point in the story showed that it was ‘embedded in rock’ and was first examined with x-rays to determine what was inside; a clear admission that rock formation does not take ‘millions of years’ as is commonly taught.2

The article describes the device in glowing terms with comments like; ‘…just extraordinary…’, and, ‘The way the mechanics are designed just makes your jaw drop. Whoever has done this has done it extremely well.’ Describing the machine as an analog computer, it states that it possesses a differential gear (commonly associated with modern automobiles) and was capable of tracking the movements of the sun, moon and eclipses. It’s also suspected of being capable of following planetary movement. The intricacy of the device is compared to an 18th-century clock.

The biggest point regarding the discovery is put well in the following quotes from the article:

The greater question puzzling scientists is how such a useful device could have disappeared entirely from the archeological record, so much so that no record of anything as complex appears for another 1,000 years.

London Science Museum's curator, Michael Wright states, ‘I find it as easy to believe that this technology survived unrecorded, as to believe that it was reinvented in so similar a form’.

… the ancients were in no way more ‘primitive’ or less intelligent than we are today.

These quotes highlight an important point. Some of the technology we are taught originated in the 1700’s may have been around thousands of years earlier, but just not recorded. So the intelligence to build such devices has been around a long time.

Technology has advanced quickly during the last 100 years primarily due to the recording and sharing of ideas. One can quickly ‘get up to speed’ and build upon the discoveries of others. But any one person or small group that was isolated would quickly revert to a ‘primitive’3 state within a short time period. (How many people do you know could build a house from scratch, or a cell phone or computer?)

Consider the amount of technological advance that has taken place in the last 300 years. We have been able to develop electricity, automobiles and computers in the form we have today within that time frame. Mankind could have accomplished a great deal in the first 1656 years before the Flood of Noah’s day. Of course, without an organized structure where ideas can be recorded and shared, technology cannot get very far. The absence of government and a police force that would punish lawbreakers would be a major limiting factor to the advancement of technology before the Flood. And we need to bear in mind that it was biblical Christianity and the assumptions that flowed from it that opened the door to the blossoming of science and technology in western Europe.4

Adam was created perfect, capable of speech (naming the animals in a very short period of time). Genesis 4:21–22 records metal-working, and musical instruments, within a short time after the creation date. Such tasks require a high level of intelligence and ingenuity, as does Noah’s making of the Ark.

So, while there may not have been laptop computers on the Ark, this new find, for those without the veil of evolutionary thinking and ‘millions of years’ clouding their thoughts, highlights that the ancients were in no way more ‘primitive’ or less intelligent than we are today.

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Further Reading

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References and notes

  1. CBC News, Scientists unlock mystery of 2,000-year-old computer. Return to text
  2. See Keys to Rapid Rock Formation, Creation 17(1):45, 1994. Also Walker, T., Rapid Rock, Creation 24(2):38–39, 2002. Return to text
  3. Note that by ‘primitive’ we do not mean the standard evolutionary ‘Stone Age caveman’ stereotype. See (a) Cardno, S., The mystery of ancient man, Creation 20(2):10–14, 1998; (b) Niemand, R., The Stone ‘Age’—a figment of the imagination?, Creation 27(4):13, 2005. Return to text
  4. Noah would have had considerable time to accumulate the ‘know-how’ of his age to take with him to the new world he was about to enter. Looking at the high level of ingenuity in the civilizations that sprang up shortly after the Flood, like Babylon and Egypt (while other groups of those dispersed at Babel, isolated from people possessing metallurgy and engineering knowledge, improvised with stone tools and sought temporary shelter in caves), gives us some idea of what that pre-Flood technology would have been like. Return to text

(Also available in Greek)


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