Where are all the people?
Six billion people live on planet Earth. That sounds like a lot of people. Well, I would not want to invite them all to a barbecue at my house! However, they could all fit into an area the size of England, with more than 20 square metres each. Many of us live in cities, so we have the impression that the world is bursting with people. However, much of the world is sparsely populated.
Nevertheless, many wonder at how the population could have grown to six billion from Noah’s family who survived the Flood that wiped out everyone else about 4,500 years ago. When you do the figures, it confirms the biblical truth that everyone on Earth today is a descendant of Noah’s sons and daughters-in-law. Not only that, but if people have been here for much longer, and there was no global Flood of Noah’s day, there should be a lot more people than there are—or there should be a lot more human remains!
Many people have problems understanding growth rates of things. When the population doubles from 16 to 32, it does not seem like much, but when it doubles from three billion to six billion it seems like a lot more. But, it is exactly the same rate of growth. Given enough generations, the number of people being added with each generation becomes astronomical. It’s like compound interest on an investment—eventually the amount being added each year becomes very great.
To illustrate this, think of the story of the inventor of chess. His king offered him a reward, but instead of gold he asked for one grain of rice doubled for each successive square on a chessboard. The number of grains would have been 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 etc. The 10th square would have 512; the 20th, 524 thousand; the 30th, 537 million. The amount of rice on the last square1 would have been a number so great—vastly in excess of the total world rice harvest at present—that it would have represented wealth far exceeding that of the king. Such is the power of compounding. And population growth is compound growth—that’s why so many people are now being added each year. It’s not necessarily that people are having more children than they once did, or that fewer people are dying.
What causes population growth?
The population grows when more people are born than die. The current growth rate of the world population is about 1.7% per year.2 In other words, for every 100 million people, 1.7 million are added every year; i.e. births net of deaths.
Many assume that modern medicine accounts for the world’s population growth. However, ‘third world’ countries contribute most of the population growth, suggesting that modern medicine is not as important as many think.
Population growth in a number of South American and African countries exceeds 3% per year. In many industrialized countries with modern medical facilities, the population growth is less than 0.5%. Some relatively wealthy countries are actually declining in population.
The move from agriculture to manufacturing/technology has been a big factor in slowing population growth in industrialized countries. Farmers needed to have sons to help with the farm work. This was particularly necessary before mechanization. My own family records show that in the early- to mid-1800s in Australia, couples commonly had 8–10 surviving children. One couple had 16! And this was before the discovery of the germ basis of disease,3 aseptic surgery,4 vaccines3 and antibiotics. Opportunity to expand, combined with biology, saw growth in population of 4% or more, plus increases due to immigration. High rates of population growth were also seen in Quebec, Canada, from 1760 to 1790, following the British conquest of Canada in 1759,5 and well before the impact of modern medical knowledge.
In industrialized countries, the advent of social security pensions and retirement plans (superannuation) has probably been another major factor in the decline of population growth. These schemes mean that people do not see the need to have children for security in their old age. Furthermore, people can now easily choose how many children they have because of modern birth control methods, such as the contraceptive pill.
What growth rate is needed to get six billion people since the Flood?
It is relatively easy to calculate the growth rate needed to get today’s population from Noah’s three sons and their wives, after the Flood. With the Flood at about 4,500 years ago, it needs less than 0.5% per year growth.6 That’s not very much.
Of course, population growth has not been constant. There is reasonably good evidence that growth has been slow at times—such as in the Middle Ages in Europe. However, data from the Bible (Genesis 10,11) shows that the population grew quite quickly in the years immediately after the Flood. Shem had five sons, Ham had four, and Japheth had seven. If we assume that they had the same number of daughters, then they averaged 10.7 children per couple. In the next generation, Shem had 14 grandsons, Ham, 28 and Japheth, 23, or 130 children in total. That is an average of 8.1 per couple. These figures are consistent with God’s command to ‘be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth’ (Genesis 9:1).
Let us take the average of all births in the first two post-Flood generations as 8.53 children per couple. The average age at which the first son was born in the seven post-Flood generations in Shem’s line ranged from 35 to 29 years (Genesis 11:10–24), with an average of 31 years,7 so a generation time of 40 years is reasonable. Hence, just four generations after the Flood would see a total population of over 3,000 people (remembering that the longevity of people was such that Noah, Shem, Ham, Japheth, etc., were still alive at that time).8 This represents a population growth rate of 3.7% per year, or a doubling time of about 19 years.9
If there were 300 million people in the world at the time of Christ’s Resurrection,2 this requires a population growth rate of only 0.75% since the Flood, or a doubling time of 92 years—much less than the documented population growth rate in the years following the Flood.
Australian Aborigines—cultural traditions connect to Noah
In addition to population figures, there is much other evidence against the supposed long ages of Aboriginal occupation of Australia—the observed rapid deterioration of supposedly ancient paintings, for example.15
Furthermore, many Aboriginal tribes have stories, long predating their contact with Christian missionaries, of a global Flood, sometimes with startling similarities to the Bible’s account, but with sufficient differences to show that they were not recently incorporated into their folklore following contacts with missionaries.15 It is stretching credulity to suggest that these stories have been maintained by word-of-mouth for 40 to 60 thousand years, or that they were invented and just by chance have these incredible similarities to the Bible account.
The Aboriginal population and their stories are much more in line with their having been a nomadic/‘gypsy’ people who found themselves in Australia relatively recently—certainly after the biblical Flood.
A remarkable coincidence?
The Jews are descendants of Jacob (also called Israel). The number of Jews in the world in 1930, before the Nazi Holocaust, was estimated at 18 million. This represents a doubling in population, on average, every 156 years, or 0.44% growth per year since Jacob. Since the Flood, after which the world population was eight, the world population has doubled every 155 years, or grown at an average of 0.45% per year. There is agreement between the growth rates for the two populations. Is this just a lucky coincidence?
Hardly. The figures agree because the real history of the world is recorded in the Bible.
What if people had been around for one million years?
Evolutionists claim that mankind evolved from apes about a million years ago. If the population had grown at just 0.01% per year since then (doubling only every 7,000 years), there could be 1043 people today—that’s a number with 43 zeros after it. This number is so big that not even the Texans have a word for it! To try to put this number of people in context, say each individual is given ‘standing room only’ of about one square metre per person. However, the land surface area of the whole Earth is ‘only’ 1.5 x 1014 square metres. If every one of those square metres were made into a world just like this one, all these worlds put together would still ‘only’ have a surface area able to fit 1028 people in this way. This is only a tiny fraction of 1043 (1029 is 10 times as much as 1028, 1030 is 100 times, and so on). Those who adhere to the evolutionary story argue that disease, famine and war kept the numbers almost constant for most of this period, which means that mankind was on the brink of extinction for most of this supposed history.10 This stretches credulity to the limits.
Where are all the bodies?
Evolutionists also claim there was a ‘Stone Age’ of about 100,000 years11 when between one million and 10 million people lived on Earth. Fossil evidence shows that people buried their dead, often with artefacts—cremation was not practised until relatively recent times (in evolutionary thinking). If there were just one million people alive during that time, with an average generation time of 25 years, they should have buried 4 billion bodies, and many artefacts. If there were 10 million people, it would mean 40 billion bodies buried in the earth. If the evolutionary timescale were correct, then we would expect the skeletons of the buried bodies to be largely still present after 100,000 years, because many ordinary bones claimed to be much older have been found.12 However, even if the bodies had disintegrated, lots of artefacts should still be found.
Now the number of human fossils found is nothing like one would expect if this ‘Stone Age’ scenario were correct. The number found is more consistent with a ‘Stone Age’ of a few hundred years, which would have occurred after Babel.13 Many people groups could have used stone tools as they moved out from Babel (Genesis 11), having lost the technologies of metal smelting (Genesis 4:22) due to the Flood and the confusion of languages at Babel.
Immigrant peoples, when they settled in a new area, would have had an initial phase where they would shelter in caves, or have rudimentary housing. They would have made use of stone tools, for example, while they developed agricultural techniques appropriate to the local soils and climate, found sources of ores, and rediscovered how to manufacture tools, etc.
Groups that descended into animism might never emerge from this ‘stone age’ of their development, because of the stifling effects of such things as taboos, and fear of evil spirits. One tribal group in the Philippines, for example, had a taboo against water, causing rampant disease due to lack of hygiene—before the Gospel of Jesus Christ rescued them from superstition.
Australian Aborigines—how long have they been in Australia?
When Europeans came to settle in Australia in 1788, it was estimated that there were perhaps only 300,000 Aboriginal people.14 And yet today we are told that the people have been here for 60,000 years or more. Now there is no way that a mere 300,000 people had exhausted the plenty of this large country so as to account for a long period of very low population growth. If we allow for one-third of the land area as desert, it means that there was only one person for every 18 square kilometres (7 square miles) of habitable land area—hardly overpopulated, even for a subsistence existence.
If 20 people had come to settle some time after the Flood, say 3,500 years ago, it would have needed a population growth of a mere 0.28% per year to produce 300,000 people. Such a minimal rate operating over 60,000 years could produce more people than there are atoms in the Milky Way Galaxy!
The real history of the world is recorded in the Bible, the Word of the Creator-God who was there in the beginning. This record shows that the world was deluged and destroyed (Genesis 6–9, 2 Peter 3) so that all people living today came from those who survived aboard Noah’s Ark. A study of population growth clearly supports this biblical record.
References and notes
- For the nth square, the number of rice grains = 2n–1 = 263 for the last square, or about 1019 grains! Return to text.
- Encyclopædia Britannica CD 2000, Trends in world population. Return to text.
- Proven/developed by the creationist scientist Louis Pasteur (see Louis Pasteur (1822–1895), Creation 14(1):16–19). Return to text.
- Pioneered by another great creationist scientist, Joseph Lister (see Joseph Lister: father of modern surgery, Creation 14(2):48–51). Return to text.
- Armstrong, H.L., More on growth of a population, Creation Research Society Quarterly 22(1):47,1985, citing Lower, A.R.M., Canadians in the Making, Longmans, Green and Co., Toronto, p. 113, 1958. There was little immigration in this period. Return to text.
- If r = % rate of growth per year, and the number of years of growth = n, then after n years, the population produced by the eight survivors of the Flood = 8(1+r/100)n. For a more comprehensive formula that takes into account longevity, number of children born and generation time, see Morris, H.M., World population and Bible chronology, Creation Research Society Quarterly 3(3):7–10, 1966. Return to text.
- It is possible that the births mentioned are not the firstborn; they could just be the sons leading to Abraham. This would shorten the generation times and make the population growth even greater. Return to text.
- This answers a common sceptical objection regarding the population at the time of Babel about 100 years after the Flood. This dating assumes that Peleg was named because of this event (Genesis 10:25)—see In the Days of Peleg. However, his naming could have been prophetic, like Methuselah, who died in the year of the Flood and whose name means ‘When he dies, it shall be sent’. If this is true, then Babel could have been some time after Peleg’s birth, but during his lifetime. Return to text.
- The ‘rule of 72’ states that dividing 72 by the annual growth (in %) gives the years to double the population. This is an approximation that makes the calculations easy. A figure of 69.3 is more accurate (100 x ln2 = 69.3). Return to text.
- Even if the population were a million, the low reproductive rate would not be sufficient to eliminate harmful mutations. The mutational load alone would have ensured extinction. For details, see ReMine, W., The Biotic Message, St Paul Science, St Paul, Minnesota, 1993 (see my review). Return to text.
- Some extend the ‘Stone Age’ to a million years or more. Return to text.
- Such as dinosaur bones in Montana, claimed to be over 65 million years old, but so ‘fresh’ that blood cells and hemoglobin are still present. See Sensational dinosaur blood report! Creation 19(4):42–3, 1997. Return to text.
- Osgood, A.J.M., A better model of the Stone Age, Journal of Creation 2(1):88–102, 1986 and Part 2, Journal of Creation 3(1):73–95, 1988. Return to text.
- The Australian Encyclopædia, 5th Edition, 1988, The Australian Geographic Society, Sydney, 1:230, 1988. There has been a tendency to revise this estimate upwards, possibly driven by the obvious inconsistency of the 300,000 figure with the belief in the antiquity of the Aboriginal population. Return to text.
- How long have Aborigines been in Australia? Creation 15(3):48–50, 1993. Return to text.
This is constructing a population model to fit what you think the bible says about history. Population growth follows an approx. exponential curve when there are sufficient resources to support it. Populations will oscillate about a stable equilibrium value after they have grown to a certain point. The rapid growth of population in the last 150-200 years is thought to be a result of the huge advances in agricultural technology. Extrapolating this growth into the past is unjustified
Using the estimations the creationists give (.5% and 4,500 years) numbers that don't quite work with history are obtained.
Example: The exodus. Now I think Exodus is complete mythology but if you use the figures above you get a population number that contradicts your model and reality. The exodus is estimated to have happened in 1440 BCE, 1060 years after the supposed flood is estimated to have happened. 8*(1+.005)^1060=1,582. Exodus says that there was six hundred thousand adult men, assuming the population was 50/50 (male to female ratio) thats a million people not counting children. Or is this a special case?
Creationist models always fall apart under the scientific lens. That's why no scientist worth his salt takes them seriously.
It seems like Mark D. has not read the article very carefully, but picked up the 0.5% figure and decided to run with that and ignore all else - not a very 'scientific' approach!
The article emphasises in several ways that population growth has not been constant. See, for example the section hearded "What growth rate is needed to get six billion people since the Flood?"
The growth rate immediately after the Flood, for example, was 3.7%. We don't know the growth rate for the whole 1060 years after the Flood, but a mere 1.5% would give a world population (not just Israel) of 57 million. Of course with little competiton for space and resources this sort of growth would be expected (or more). So getting 600,000 Isralites in Egypt is 'no problem'. But the Exodus population would have been more than that, including children, which is discussed in detail above in one of the responses to a comment, so Mark did not read the comments either, it appears.
Mark charges: "Creationist models always fall apart under the scientific lens. That's why no scientist worth his salt takes them seriously."
No scientist worth his salt would react in such a half-baked way to an article without actually carefully considering all the arguments put. But we are not talking science here anyway, but history and mathematics. See; It's not science! There are also plenty of scientists who accept the biblical account of creation, flood, etc.: Creationist scientists and the founders of modern science were biblical creationists.
There is also plenty of evidence for the Exodus, if you look in the right time-frame. What has been happening in archaeology is akin to looking for evidence for the American Civil War in the 1300s; 'look, there is no evidence that the Civil War ever happened!' See, for example: The Times of the Judges—The Archaeology: (a) Exodus to Conquest and (just a little bit of corroborating evidence): The walls of Jericho.
according to pastor Tony E, Adam was made from the ground which is mostly Brown, Red, Black, etc. Eve was made from His Rib (white), their children looked mostly Hebrew.
Very interesting article, I Loved it...
The pastor's idea is very simplistic, if he means it to be taken as a scientific explanation and not just a poetic statement. Our skin colour comes from a organic pigments manufactured by biochemical processes in our bodies. The main pigment is called melanin and it has no chemical relationship to the causes of the colour in soil or ribs.
However, the pastor's conclusion is probably near the mark; the first people would not have been 'white' or 'black' but somewhere in between.
i find it hard to come to grips with the idea that we have descended from an incestuous coupling of very close relatives. does this mean that our total gene pool comes from the genes of a total of 7 people and with no good mutations improving what we started with then by now we should have degenerated into chaos
thank you bill
This has to be my all time favorite article at CMI. I use it often and if I were to have only one article to show people at this website, this would be the one.
The article: "Where are all the people," should be a "must read" for every evolutionist with an open mind. It is fantastic! We need more people who think outside of the box....men who would take their stand on the side of reason.....men who prefer to believe God, the Eternal, rather than man, the temporal...as far as earth is concerned.
One the fascinating subjects that I have just barely skimmed is that of the Epigenome Project and its results to twins.
The apparent conclusion from the study is that the DNA of twins is more markedly affected when separated meaning that outside influences can change the DNA.
It is still essentially human DNA but with catastrophic changes in this world's environment is easy to see how we can go from living in Eternity (in God's Likeness) to 900+ years after the Fall to 400 years just after the Flood, down to 200 years by Abraham and now a mere 75 years with those living to 90 being rare and not entirely explained how.
So if Environmental Changes affect your DNA to create such radical departures from God's original intent, what would those Changes be?
The Fall or the Sin of Adam- Death entered the world "as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin...." men live for hundreds of years because the world climate allows for an ideal growth environment.
The Flood- radically altered the world, allowing in more harmful radiation from the sun, more drastic changes in regional climates. Abraham's grandsire was 200+ years old, Abraham died after 175 (and Sarai was desirable by Abimelech sometime after turning 65.)
So in response to questions about genetic mutations and chromosomal deficiencies, I tend to think that closer you are to Creation the less likely you are to see major chromosomal deficiencies, the more likely you are to see sustained life spans.
Don, Thanks for the article. I think the best articles are the ones that pose a serious question like yours. This forces the reader to answer the question, as opposed to just rebutting a claim. You have generated many responses here, because your question bothers those evolutionists. Keep up the good "bothering"!
You certainly hit the nail on the head when you said the exponential function is not taught properly. If it was, so much 'learned wisdom' would be exposed as nonsense before your eyes as you so ably demonstrated. One thing I found very helpful in working out the doubling time was to divide 70 by the yearly growth rate in %. So the doubling time at 2% per year, is 70 divided by 2 and equal to around 35 years. In your article the growth rate of 0.28% has a doubling time of 70/0.28 equal to 250 years. So in 3500 years there are 14 doubling times. Starting at 20 that gives your approx 300,000 people after 3,500 years. Also plugging in doubling times to other areas apart from population you will see the errant nonsense spoken by 'learned' bodies in all manner of areas. What you will find is that exponents are very inconvenient, which is why they are taught so badly along with many other things.
I understand what you are driving at. It would help even more if you could say, from CMI research, what the population of the earth was at the end of each of the (say) 25 centuries from the flood to the resurrction of Christ when, as you say, it was 300 million.
Also how were they distributed across the globe?
Such detail is not possible and the article clearly takes a 'broad brush' approach where such detail is not necessary to make the point that the current world population is consistent with the biblical time frame, using very conservative assumptions.
I am curious, did The flood happen before or after Neanderthals, or the Young Earth estimated date of neanderthal fossils? Also, what group of people is it believed that Adam most resemble? Like did he look African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Nordic, Aborigine...?
As almost any of our articles on Neandertals say, they were post-Flood variants of the human kind (e.g. Neandertals: the changing picture).
We also consistently depict Adam not as typically ''European', 'Asian' or 'African'. He would have had features of various people groups or 'blends' thereof. His skin colour would likely have been moderately 'black'. Genetics studies could well assist in working out what Adam was like, but we can only infer such things when we only have present-day data to go on.
Thankyou Don for a clear explanation of the world's population growth to the present day.
When you read facts and figures about population growth one has to wonder what happened to basic logic of those who persist with long age theories.
Surely at the back of their minds a still small voice must be saying, "Hey, this doesn't make sense!"
I invite any doubters who may read this comment to look up Romans 1:18-23. I think verse 22 says it all. "Professing to be wise, they became fools,..."
Once the existence of a Creator is denied there is nowhere to go except to make up implausible reasons to try to fill in the gaps. As the gaps become wider the more implausible the solution until finally one drowns in a sea of doubt and despair because you have denied the reason for your existence.
This website is awesome! Another great article. Clear, precise, well constructed information. You have a lot of patience in answering your detractors even when they don't follow the very reasonable rules.
This is such an excellent article. It seems well near impossible to get this message and information out into the secular atheistic domain.The mathematics are so easy to grasp in this baby hating world we all live in today. All the alarmist horror stories of so called overpopulation and the nonsense of a little baby carbon footprint !
The real history and length of settlement of Aboriginal people should be known to all Australians. It was certainly liberating to the aboriginal students I have taught over 30 years in Darwin and Cairns ! They realised how they fitted into the big picture historically, that we are all related back to Noah and his family and all one blood ( back to the original parents of us all Adam and Eve, the ' mother of all living ' as the Bible clearly teaches ) regardless of superficial outer skin colour. It would do great good to counterbalance the evil racist propaganda of evolution and ape like human origins.
Absolutely loved this article thank you so much. This evidence on its own is compelling but when you combine it with others such as erosion rates of the earth it is astounding! Imagine how little standing room there would be if you calculated the erosion rates into it also (obviously not necessary though). Thanks again!
I have seen this argument multiple times before and find great error in the logic. You make the claim that if humans had been around for a million years then the population would be E^43. While disease, famine and war may reduce populations they are not they primary reason for populations remaining stagnant. Carrying capacity is a fundamental concept to population biology, and it is completely ignored in this argument. By the same argument you could say bacteria would cover the entire planet in a few weeks or mosquitos in a few years, and they don't even have wars. Once a population reaches carrying capacity, they can grow no more. They simply don't have enough resources to do so. Humans are not exempt either, and populations would have been limited by their local geography, climate, and food production abilities. Modern medicine did contribute to the recent population explosion, but not as much as improved food production and mass agriculture which does reach third world countries. Because of these new innovations the global carrying capacity has drastically increased. Thus I find this argument to be invalid.
Oh please! I have used the reductio ad absurdum here to show that the evolutionary premises are absurd (even ridiculously low population growth rates over such huge periods of time are a problem for the evolutionary scenario). I never for a moment would suggest that there could ever be 10^43 people; that's the very point!
Note what I wrote, "Those who adhere to the evolutionary story argue that disease, famine and war kept the numbers almost constant for most of this period, which means that mankind was on the brink of extinction for most of this supposed history.[ ref. 10] This stretches credulity to the limits." "Famine" covers your point about 'carrying capacity'. Also, I pointed out the extremely low population density of people on much of the earth, such that the carrying capacity has not been stretched over nearly all of man's history, even without modern agriculture. Your point was not ignored.
Furthermore, modern mechanized agriculture is even yet to impact some 'third world' countries (e.g. in Africa).
And it seems that once again there is confusion over population growth in modern times (millions per year) versus growth rate, for which there is no evidence that modern agriculture or medicine has had much to do with it, as explained in the article.
So I find your objections to be invalid.
As a follow-up to my earlier question. Wasn't there only about 300-400 years from the time of Jacob to the Exodus? For the Isralites to have grown to the size of 600,000 men alone in that time descended only from Jacob would have required an outrageous growth rate. Especially under slavery conditions. Or am I missing something here?
This seems rather tangential to the article.
Actually, according to Ussher's chronology, it was 215 years from Jacob's family entering Egypt to the Exodus. But was the required population growth rate needed "outrageous"? Note that when Jacob's family entered Egypt, Joseph was in charge in Egypt and he said to his visiting brothers, "take your father and your households, and come to me, and I will give you the best of the land of Egypt, and you shall eat the fat of the land." (Genesis 45:18) My emphasis. And when they came, Joseph said, "Settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land." (Genesis 47:6)
How many came to Eygpt? "All the persons of the house of Jacob who came into Egypt were seventy." (Genesis 46:27).
Genesis 47:27 says, "Thus Israel settled in the land of Egypt, in the land of Goshen. And they gained possessions in it, and were fruitful and multiplied greatly."
It was not until late in the sojourn in Egypt that oppression came upon the people of Israel, because the Egyptians became concerned at the way in which the Jews had prospered and grown so much in number (Exodus 1:8ff). But even with the oppression, the Bible records, "But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad. And the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel." (Exodus 1:12)
Even when Pharaoh ordered the midwives to kill the Jewish sons (and they didn't), the midwives explained to Pharaoh their failure to do so, "Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women, for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them." (Exodus 1:19) Verse 20 says, "So God dealt well with the midwives. And the people multiplied and grew very strong." So the Bible is clear that God was prospering the people of Israel in Egypt, even while they were being oppressed.
So what population growth rate would be needed in this 'mere' 215 years to get about 2.5 million people (the usual figure cited, allowing for women and children)? It is 5.0% (70x1.05215=2.5 million). According to the 'rule of 72' this is a doubling every 14 years. This is not "outrageous" at all. As the article says, natural population growth rates (excluding immigration) exceeded 4% in various places in the 19th century (before modern medicine).
I might also point out that the fact that Joseph could give the Israelites an area of the best land in Egypt when they arrived ~1706 BC is also consistent with the re-population of Egypt after the Flood. If the secular time-frame were true, there would hardly be any such land available after many thousands of years of population growth.
What about the population during Old Testament times? The 6 surviving child-bearing people after the flood started reproducing around 2,500 BCE and the Exodus from Egypt was around 1,450 BCE right? At .75% growth rate this would have meant only 10,000-11,000 on the entire planet during the exodus. And doesn't the Bible say Moses led 600,000 men out of Egypt (plus the women and children)? In order to reach the population of many millions in the 1,000 years would have required a much, much higher rate of growth. Also, the tower of Babel was built only 100 years after the flood wasn't it? Even at a whopping 5% growth rate, less than 800 people would have existed on the planet at that time, and most of them would have been children. It seems highly unlikely that a couple hundred adults could have built a tower so large that it threatened the heavens. Sodom and Gamorrah were destroyed a mere 700 years after the flood. I don't know if anyone has an idea on the populations of these cities, but again, even given an unreasonable rate of growth, this event alone would have been devastating to the world population at this early time. Even today when the world population is growing faster than ever known, the rate is only 1.7%. So the population during the Bronze Age just doesn't add up by any calculation that I can see.
The article clearly states, "Of course, population growth has not been constant. ... Hence, just four generations after the Flood would see a total population of over 3,000 people (remembering that the longevity of people was such that Noah, Shem, Ham, Japheth, etc., were still alive at that time). This represents a population growth rate of 3.7% per year".
Your question about Babel was answered in response to the first comment (Justin S., United States, 27 January 2012), but was also covered in endnote #8.
All this was in the two paragraphs immediately preceeding the point in the text where you found the 0.75% figure, but even the sentence with the 0.75% figure ends with re-stating the point that this calculated average figure for the 2500 years from the Flood to the earthly time of Christ was "much less than the documented population growth rate in the years following the Flood."
You say that "the world population is growing faster today than ever known", but you are probably confusing absolute growth (millions per year) with the growth rate, which is something quite different. This was also explained in the article (third paragraph).
BTW, population growth is based on the total population, not the breeding population, so the correct starting figure to use following the Flood is 8, not 6.
As for the very concept of a 'bronze age', see: The Stone 'Age'—a figment of the imagination?
I am an amateur creationist. It fascinates me to think that God may have miraculously created us so recently, as described in the bible. It seems to me that a common sense and "easy to understand" creationist argument would be the dramatic increase in world population, and the dramatic increase in technology over the past 10,000 years or so. Evolutionists claim that humans evolved from an amoeba to Einstein in 3.7 billion years. (That would be six miles on a time scale). Evolutionists claim that in the last 10,000 years (one inch on a time scale), human population has gone from 1 million people to 7 billion people, and humans have evolved from using stone tools to being able to create super computers that can fit into your pocket. It's too much of a coincidence that so much has happened so recently. Look at everything that has happened in the last "one inch" of history.
We Texans DO have a number for 10 to the 43rd power--it's one bazzillion!
Just kidding. I just discovered your site today, and am finding it very informative. On our drives to/from college in the late '70s, my sister and I frequently discussed Moses and Genesis versus what we were taught in school (I took several Geology classes and majored in Math). As my favorite Geology professor said, "I know God created it--I'd just like to know how He did it." He never taught geologic THEORIES as FACTS. Things have changed a lot since then, even in Texas! I always said that IF there was a "Big Bang", it was God snapping his fingers to begin the creation of everything we see and know. It's great to find a site with so much scientific information to refute many of the long-perceived FACTS put forth by evolutionists and atheists. You address topics that I had not considered before (like where all the people went--I'm certainly familiar with exponential growth, so should have thought of that one before now).
I have a question that I hope receives a serious answer:
I'm sure there cannot be an article on creation.com that refutes the effects of inbreeding, so my question is, aren't there very few retards in relation to the amount of inbreeding, if there were just 6 people starting to re-populate earth 4500 years ago?
Inbreeding may result in a far higher phenotypic expression of deleterious recessive genes within a population than would normally be expected. As a result, first-generation inbred individuals are more likely to show physical and health defects, including:
Reduced fertility both in litter size and sperm viability
Increased genetic disorders
Fluctuating facial asymmetry
Lower birth rate
Higher infant mortality
Slower growth rate
Smaller adult size
Loss of immune system function
I am not one to argue with the assumptions of how many children the first generations of Noah's decendants had, but I think (and I may of course be completely wrong here, but facts about inbreeding supports) the inbreeding would greatly severe the chances of having that many healthy children.
Do you have a comforting reply for a curious and possible christian in the making?
Probably the best starting point is Chapter 8, Creation Answers Book (I recommend the whole book). The most pertinent part is “First, the biological issue” (heading) and following. The word “inbreeding” is not used, but the concepts are covered. Summary: Inbreeding depression is only a problem when there are shared genetic defects.
Also, check out the research of geneticist Dr John Sanford. For anyone with knowledge of biology/genetics, I strongly recommend his book (see the article), which goes into much detail about how genomes are inexorably deteriorating. Of course this points back to less damage in the past, which is consistent with the biblical history, including that Adam and Eve would have had perfect genomes, fresh from the work of the Creator. The longevity of Noah and his sons indicates that this genetic deterioration (following the Fall in Genesis 3) had not progressed far at this time.
Furthermore, only first-cousin marriages were initially necessary after the Flood, which even today are practised in many parts of the world without frequent major problems.
Great article Don. Here's a question. Do evolutionists ever ask themselves these questions? How do they rationalise our population numbers?
Thanks Rob. I wrote in the article, "Those who adhere to the evolutionary story argue that disease, famine and war kept the numbers almost constant for most of this period, which means that mankind was on the brink of extinction for most of this supposed history." But this 'out' just does not wash. For one thing, "Even if the population were a million, the low reproductive rate would not be sufficient to eliminate harmful mutations. The mutational load alone would have ensured extinction" (footnote 10). The work of Dr John Sanford underlines the problem: Plant geneticist: "Darwinian evolution is impossible". Here is an in-depth review: From ape to man via genetic meltdown: a theory in crisis
How do you explain the many different races on Earth? How could they have evolved so quickly, in 4500 years? Were Noah's three sons and their wives mixed marriages?
Please see: How did all the different 'races' arise (from Noah's family)? this is from the Creation Answers Book, which I strongly recommend for answers to all sorts of questions like this.
In the article “Where are all the people?” population growth is extrapolated backward to show how today’s world could be populated by the few people on the ark.
What is the estimated population at the time of the Tower of Babel? If the time period is only about 102 years then a rate of about 5% would seem to get us to about a thousand people. This hardly seems to be a “city”.
Is it reasonable to consider a higher (or even much higher) growth rate, a different definition of “city” than our common usage, or to read the text as being a statement of the founding what would become a city?
Your calculations are on the mark.
The Hebrew word for ‘city’ (ir), does not mean city in our modern sense but indicated a walled settlement. This is explained in reference to Cain building a ‘city’ in the Creation Answers Book chapter on Cain’s wife.
What about the chronology? You have cited an Ussher-type time-frame. Ussher actually had it at 105 years after the Flood. This short time-frame for Babel seems to depend on the assumption that it happened at the birth of Peleg (his name means ‘division’ and the ‘earth was divided’), but these are not necessarily connected, as explained by Ruth Beechick, a modern chronologist). Floyd Jones, another modern chronologist and author of The Chronology of the Old Testament (available from the CMI store), puts the time frame as 340 years after the Flood, at the death of Peleg, rather than his birth (this means that the total time since creation to now is the same as Ussher).
Of course 340 years would be plenty of time to get lots of people (many millions). The time available therefore seems to be between 105 and 340 years without affecting the overall chronology (since the Bible does not actually give the date of Babel). The population considerations you mention would add to the weight of evidence that a longer time-frame makes more sense.