Beneath The Roman Roads

Roman Britain - campaigns 43 to 84Many young Earth creationists contend that humans are getting dumber, and have been doing so since the Fall. They also believe that non-creationists believe that humans were dumber in the past. This is not completely untrue: our ancestors a million or so years ago had relatively smaller brain sizes to their bodies, a quality which seems to predict intelligence reasonably well. But when talking about the more recent past – the last few tens of thousands of years, say – this does not hold. Nobody is saying that a hunter gatherer 15,000 years ago, or a peasant farmer from late antiquity/the “dark ages,” was inherently less intelligent than somebody today. Continue reading

Senseless Doggerland

Doggerland, at some point during its sinkingAt the beginning of this month a wealth of information was announced about the fauna, flora, geography, and habitation of the landmass in the North Sea known as Doggerland, which sank beneath the waves between 18000 and 5500 BC due to post-glaciation rising sea levels. As you might expect from a description like that, the news reports have been full of references to a “British Atlantis.” Several weeks later, Mr Thomas’ amusing article – Making Sense of Britain’s Atlantis – does the same.

What’s to be made sense of? According to Naturalis Historia, quite a lot if you’re a young Earth creationist. Most importantly, note that during the height of the last glaciation the land – though at its greatest extent – would have been uninhabitable as it would have been as barren as any other part of Northern Europe. Today also it is uninhabitable, but for the more immediately obvious reason that it’s underwater. So it could only be settled (as we now know beyond a shadow of doubt that it was) in the between-times, during which it would have been in the process of drowning. There’s thus not a great deal of time for that to happen in (~10000 years is still plenty, just much shorter than the full ice age etc), but naturally the young Earth creationists find themselves compressing all this time into perhaps a hundred years, tops. N.H. points out that this and other cases of underwater habitation in such a short period just after the Flood/Babel present a bit of a problem. Continue reading