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Creation 31(2):18–19, March 2009

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Where have all the people gone?


Compilation of images from stock.xchng and stockxpert Human population growth

According to the now-prevailing view, the first humans lived over a million years ago. If that is really so, where are all the trillions of people who should either be alive, or whose buried remains, potentially fossilized, should be found in vast graveyards scattered around the world?

As a child, I was raised to believe that Adam and Eve were the first two people created and I had no problem believing it. But later people said we evolved from apes and I started to have problems.

A big question arose in my mind, ‘How many millions of years ago could humans have supposedly begun evolving from apes?’

I worked out how many times the world’s population had doubled since the first man and woman. Allowing for past diseases, famines, pestilence, wars and infant mortality, the population would probably have doubled at about the rate of once every couple of hundred years, allowing for it to be much slower than the sixty to seventy years it took to double last time. Multiplying the number of times that the population doubled by a couple of hundred years should give a rough idea, give or take a few thousand years, of when the first two humans were either created or evolved.

Believe it or not, the world’s population has doubled only 31½ times since the first human couple appeared on earth. This gives 6,500 years. You can work it out for yourself on your own calculator.

A Maori lady died in New Zealand … at the age of 112, leaving 450 descendants

A lecturer on evolution once told me that there were never just two people because a whole population would have evolved. If that were so, then that would mean that the human population has doubled far less than 31½ times. But, to maximize believability of the evolutionary scenario, let’s say that the population started with only four people a million years ago. This would mean that the average time that the world’s population took to double was about 33,000 years (30.5 doublings). So it would have taken that many years to get to eight people, and another 33,000 years before the world’s population rose to 16. That is rather slow growth—by comparison, a Maori lady died in New Zealand in December 1984 at the age of 112, leaving 450 descendants.

Population growth is increasing currently at a rate of approximately 1.8% per annum (World Book Encyclopaedia), or doubling every 39 years.

Even if the average time that the population doubled in the past was as slow as once every thousand years (that is one twenty-fifth of the present growth rate), this would put the first pair of humans on Earth only 31,500 years ago.

Some people, not willing to believe that mankind was created only a few thousand years ago, claim that the world’s population has been almost wiped out many times. Clearly it has never been wiped out entirely. While some people will assert that the human population has been almost wiped out a number of times, without their providing any evidence to back it up, these same people get very agitated if we suggest that the population was nearly wiped out once by a great Flood in the time of Noah.

The world’s population was approximately 600 million in the year 1650 and increased to about 2,400 million by 1950. This means that it would have doubled twice in 300 years, at an average rate of once every 150 years.

Thanks to the Bible, we can trace the lineages of Jews and Arabs right back to the same patriarch, Abraham, who was born about 2167 BC and had six sons. His first son, Ishmael, was the father of the Arabs, and his second son, Isaac, was the father of Jacob, later called Israel, from whose twelve sons came the 12 tribes of Israel, better known as the Jews.

The World Book of Knowledge says that there are approximately 200 million Arabs in the world and about 18 million Jews.

This means that since Abraham’s time, his descendants through only two sons have doubled roughly 28 times at an average rate of about once every 150 years.

Now the Jewish people have undergone a tremendous amount of persecution and slaughter over the centuries. Hitler murdered over six million in concentration camps alone during the Second World War.

They must have lost many members through disease, infant mortality and starvation over the centuries just as other people groups have. Their history is replete with stories of battles and loss of life because of wars. Yet we find that their numbers have doubled a minimum of 23 times, at an average rate of once every 182 years.

We can calculate the rate of population growth starting from about 4,500 years ago, when, from the historical details found in the Bible, Noah and his family—eight in total—survived the deluge. That population has to double 29½ times to get the current world’s population of six and a half billion, at an average doubling rate of once every 152 years. Interesting, isn’t it? The Bible’s timeframe of history fits the data.

Helpful Resources

Refuting Evolution
by Jonathan Sarfati
US $12.00
Soft Cover
The Greatest Hoax on Earth?
by Dr Jonathan Sarfati
US $16.00
Soft Cover

Readers’ comments

Stephen T.
Someone recently told me that human population has remained relatively stable until recent times with the arrival of modern medicine, antibiotics, immunisation etc combined with increased food production methods. This, it is argued, has lead to a decrease in mortality rates, esp infant mortality rates which has lead to our relatively recent population explosion. What answer would you give to someone who makes this argument?
Don Batten
As mentioned in my response to S.R. of New Zealand above, the article Where are all the people? deals with these sorts of objections.
S. R.
Hi there,

I would just like to point out what seems like a potential flaw in the way this has been calculated. I may be wrong, but it seems that the way this is done is quite simplistic. I know the author has claimed to have allowed for "for past diseases, famines, pestilence, wars and infant mortality" while working this out, but exactly how did they allow for this? no explination is given as to what impact he is claiming they had. He also does not seem to allow for population stagnation which is well documented in most areas of the world throughout history. Some infrastructures are just incapable of supporting great numbers of people and there are many examples where this has lead to either stagnation or to a population decline. To suggest that there are no factors that could explain the current world population having grown over a longer period of time seems simplistic, even deliberatly so. I am not trying to troll or be one of "those people", it just seems that this is below the standard of the rest of the articles I have read on your site, while I may not agree with your conclusions, or in some cases, your arguments, they seem to me of a generally much higher standard than I have previously seen in any Creationist material.
Don Batten
There is an earlier article that goes into more detail and complements this one: Where are all the people?. I think you will find that the corroborating evidence there will fill in any gaps.
Andy J.
Nice article, this to me is absolute proof that through population growth the earth can not be millions of years old.

Just did the math, and it's spot on ...

Thanks … Andy
Don Batten
Thanks for the upbeat assessment of the article, but we would rather not talk in terms of ‘absolute proof’ when it comes to any hindsight view of history, including creationist ones. We would rather say the evidence is consistent with a young earth.
Nick de V.
“Believe it or not, the world’s population has doubled only 31½ times since the first human couple appeared on earth. This gives 6,500 years. You can work it out for yourself on your own calculator.”
Would you mind providing the formula/spreadsheet that supports this, I’ve tried finding such a sum on the web without success.
Thanks for the otherwise great article, I enjoy reading each new offering and love the way they validate my faith.
Don Batten
G’day Nick,

Here is the formula: 2 x 231.5 (2 people to start with and 31.5 doublings)

On a calculator it would be 2 (yx) 31.5 x 2

Hope this helps.

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