Table of Contents
Part I: Man in Adam and in Christ
Physical and Mental Deterioration
IN VIEW OF the popular presupposition that man has
generally improved himself in body and in mind, it is important
to know what actual evidence there is relating to this.
Considering man from the physiological
point of view, all that can be said with any assurance is that
modern medicine in its broadest sense (including public health,
etc.) has succeeded in extending the average age of civilized
man. But this needs to be carefully stated, for it does not mean
that man lives longer than he did before. It means only that
more people reach maturity, childhood sicknesses being better
controlled; and that more older people live out their years,
diseases of old age being under better control. The average age
has therefore gone up to around 60, compared with Greek times,
in which life expectancy seems to have been around 40 or less.
But on the whole three score and ten years remains a kind of
norm. Here and there people far exceed this figure, and now and
then one finds whole communities of "ancients" whose
life expectancy appears to be in the neighbourhood of 140 to
160 years. (64)
However, there is an almost universal
tradition that in the beginning man counted his years by centuries,
not by decades. An analysis of the biblical traditions regarding
the patriarchs up to the time of Noah has been undertaken in
another Doorway Paper, (65) and this analysis shows unequivocally that these
figures have every appearance of being trustworthy, since they
can be successfully treated by statistical methods, applicable
only with success where the data makes sense as a whole. Taken
as a whole, the ages given for the patriarchs may strike us
64. Communities of "ancients": I
have in mind the reports coming from the villages and hill towns
of the remote Soviet Caucasus reported upon in numerous publications
recently; for example in Life magazine in 1966, under
the title "161 Years and Going Strong," by Peter Young.
1 of 4
65. Custance, A. C., "Longevity in Antiquity and Its Bearing
on Chronology", Part I in The Virgin Birth and
the Incarnation, vol.5 of The Doorway Papers Series.
as absurd but there is
a remarkable inner consistency to all the figures when they are
related to one another in a conventional statistical manner.
Man's present viability has evidently declined tremendously.
may even be fossil evidence in support of the biblical thesis,
for many fossils of early man show the sutures of the skull to
have virtually completely closed, a circumstance indicating extreme
age. (66) Vallois
has drawn attention to the fact that an extraordinary number
of flint weapons have been found from prehistoric levels, considering
the amount of evidence of actual human occupation in the form
of hearths or actual fossil remains. (67) While it is true that the bones could disappear where
weapons might be preserved, it could also be argued that the
profusion of weapons and scarcity of human remains could result
from extreme longevity of the makers of these weapons. A man
who lived a thousand years might make 150 times as many weapons
during his lifetime as his modern counterpart. That men could
have lived to such great ages is borne out by the findings
of another Doorway Paper. (68)
With regard to physical strength,
some of the tools of primitive man would appear to us to be quite
Presumably the people who made them did not find them so. And
no one can look at the monolithic structures of antiquity without
marvelling at the masses of stone they seemed to be able to set
around at will.
In all these things man seems to
be a less remarkable creature today than he was in earlier times.
And this also applies to the diseases from which he suffered,
at least those diseases which could leave evidence of their presence
in his bones. Ales Hrdlicka made a special study of this question
and commented in connection with the earlier remains as follows:
There is no trace in the adults
of any destructive constitutional disease. There are marks of
fractures, some traces of arthritis of the vertebrae, and in
two cases (Lachappelle and the Rhodesian Skull) much less of
teeth and dental caries. The teeth in the remaining specimens
are often more or less worn, but as a rule free from disease,
and there is, aside from the above mentioned two specimens, but
little disease of the alveolar processes.
It appears, therefore, that on
the whole, early man was remarkably free from disease that would
leave any evidence on his bones and teeth.
66. Dawson, Sir William, Meeting Place
of Geology and History, Revell, New York, 1904, p.63.
67. Vailois, Henry and Marcell Boule, Fossil Men, Dryden
Press, New York, 1957, p.190.
68. "If Adam Had Not Died", Part III in The Virgin
Birth and the Incarnation, vol.5 in The Doorway Papers
69. Howells, W., Mankind So Far, Doubleday Doran, New
York, 1945, p.118
70. Hrdlicka, Alex, "Anthropology and Medicine," American
Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol.10, 1926, p.6.
he turned to later human remains and observed, "Such diseases
as syphilis, rachitis, tuberculosis, cancer (of the bone at least),
hydrocephalus, etc., were unknown or rare in these. . . ."
Subsequently he showed the gradual increase of other diseases
of bone and teeth, and speaking of the much later remains of
early man he concluded:
As we proceed towards men of
today, particularly in the white race pathological conditions
of the bone become more common.
In a similar
vein George A. Dorsey pointed to the evidence of degeneration
in the human body as it now is: (71)
There are more than mere structural
variations in our food canal: there are signs of degeneracy --
in teeth, in jaws and throat, and in the large intestine. Changed
diet does it. To digest raw food our ancestors had to chew it.
They had strong jaws, heavy muscles, sound teeth properly aligned,
big throats, and colons that could digest husks of grain and
skins of fruits and vegetables.
Of course, civilization
may account for some of these evidences of degeneracy. But civilization
is attributed by evolutionists to man's superiority, the other
animals not having evolved sufficiently to have produced it.
In this case evolution must be blamed ultimately, at least in
part, for the degenerate state of its highest achievement.
With regard to intellect, it is
not at all certain that we are making progress either. Though
it is contrary to popular belief, early man seems to have enjoyed
a greater average cranial capacity than modern man; and at times
the enlargement is quite remarkable. (72) It is true that the significance of this is not altogether
clear. Weidenreich presented a very convincing argument that
it had no significance whatever. (73) The only certain thing that can be said is that man's
cranial capacity has not enlarged but, if anything, grown somewhat
smaller. A few years ago the Journal of the American Medical
Association published a report in which it was shown that
extensive tests made over a period of some years indicated a
drop in intelligence levels of two or three points per generation.
(74) Of course,
the editors hastened to point out that there may not be any significance
in this; it may be due merely to the fact that the less intelligent
parents breed at a greater rate than the more intelligent ones,
so that on a statistical average this is what we might expect.
71. Dorsey, George A., Why We Behave Like
Human Beings, Blue Ribbon Books, New York. 1925, p.21.
72. Neanderthal Man, 1625 cc. cranial capacity; Wadjak Skull,
1650 cc.; Boskop Skull, 1800 cc.: See Howell, ref.69, pp.166
73. Weidenreich, F. von, "The Human Brain in the Light of
Its Phylogenetic Development," Scientific Monthly,
Aug. 1948, pp.103ff.
74. Decline in I. Q., reported in Journal of American
Medical Association, Nov. 2, 1946, p.518.
But this really gives
the position away, because this may always have been true, and
therefore the decline may always have existed, and to quote what,
I believe, were the words of Archbishop Whately, "An Aristotle
is but the rubbish of an Adam." It could be!
But this progressive
deterioration of the race has been observed in Great Britain
also. (75) In commenting
on these findings, Gaylord Simpson observed: (76)
I know of no evidence for any
considerable population that selection is favoring the more intelligent.
It is an unpleasant conclusion
that mankind as a whole, or at least a considerable segment of
it, may be evolving in the direction of less intelligence. Many,
including some scientists, have indignantly rejected that conclusion,
but the grounds for rejection are usually that there is no real
proof or that the situation is very complicated, or that there
are other possibilities (explanations?). That is all true, but
surely the proper procedure is not to reject what evidence we
have but to seek impartially for more and better evidence. .
the implications of this evidence, Simpson concluded, "Such,
then, is the human dilemma. . . As far as can now be foreseen,
evolutionary degeneration is at least as likely in our future
as is further progress." (77)
It is true that the evidence we
have regarding man's physical and mental development is in some
ways slight, yet it bears testimony always in the same direction,
namely, towards deterioration.
75. I. Q. Decline in Great Britain: see British
Journal of Sociology, June, 1950, pp.154-168.
Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights
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76. Simpson, G. G., This View of Life, Brace and World,
New York, 1964, p.272.
77. Ibid., p.285.