August 14, 2009 | David F. Coppedge

Fire Technology Began Much Earlier Than Believed

A team publishing in Science1 claims they found evidence that humans were using fire treatment of stone tools much, much, much earlier than prior dates for cognitive abilities.  But they can’t seem to settle on just how early.  The dates vary by more than 100%.  One date, 72,000 years before the present, is about 50,000 years earlier than the previous record.  Kyle Brown of the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State said, “We show that early modern humans at 72,000 years ago, and perhaps as early as 164,000 years ago in coastal South Africa, were using carefully controlled hearths in a complex process to heat stone and change its properties, the process known as heat treatment.”  Sure enough, their paper stated that some items they found in a South African cave may date to 164,000 years before the present.  “Heat treatment demands a sophisticated knowledge of fire and an elevated cognitive ability,” the paper said, “and appears at roughly the same time as widespread evidence for symbolic behavior.”  The team figured that some of the stones examined would have had to be heated to 450° C.
    John Webb and Marian Domanski of La Trobe University, Australia, writing in the same issue of Science,2 repeated the 164,000 year figure without blinking an eye, and went on to explain the usual evolutionary scenario:

This use of fire as an engineering tool is an early step in the evolution of means by which humans could more effectively control their environment.  Heat treatment in Africa appears at roughly the same time as widespread evidence for symbolic behavior, signaling the development of increasingly complex cognitive ability.  By enabling the manufacture of more efficient tools, heat treatment may have played a key role in allowing early modern humans to spread rapidly from the relatively benign environments of southern Africa into the colder, more hostile environments of Europe.  The Neandertals in Europe apparently lacked this technique, perhaps giving the early modern humans an evolutionary advantage as they moved into Eurasia.

But wait; if humans in Africa had this ability 164,000 years before the present, the next signs of symbolic ability appear “starting around ~71 ka,” (71,000 years), according to the paper.  That’s a gap of 93,000 years – nearly 10 times the length of all recorded history.  Are they claiming that humans could work stone with heat on purpose, and shape spear points for hunting, but never learned anything else for nearly 100 millennia?  Apparently so.  And so did Science Daily, the BBC News and National Geographic News, without blinking an eye.
    Brown told National Geographic the significance of this “sophisticated technology” for the story of human evolution.  “These people were extremely intelligent,” he said.  “These are not the image of the classic cavemen, of brutish people that are stumbling around the landscape and, in spite of themselves, surviving.  These are the people that [may have] even colonized the rest of the world.”  NG only quoted one anthropologist, John Shea of Stony Brook University, who did not think it to be evidence of a “transformative event” that showed modern cognitive abilities had arrived.  Nevertheless, Shea “praised the study, saying it will inspire people to seek out other heat-treated stone tools undetected in the African record.”  Shea also declined to explain what a transformative event would look like that could turn an upright ape into a thinking man.

1.  Brown et al, “Fire As an Engineering Tool of Early Modern Humans,” Science, 14 August 2009: Vol. 325. no. 5942, pp. 859-862, DOI: 10.1126/science.1175028.
2.  John Webb and Marian Domanski, “Paleontology: Fire and Stone,” Science, 14 August 2009: Vol. 325. no. 5942, pp. 820-821, DOI: 10.1126/science.1178014.

Dear readers, what more evidence do you need that the Darwin-drunk evolutionary shamans have gone completely nuts?  Think about this.  (Prerequisite: don’t be automatically compliant and submissive when a “scientist” says something.)  They are asking us to believe that our ancestors had (1) all the bodily equipment that you do (including brain size), (2) the ability to learn technology and learn from experience, (3) the foresight to understand that heat-treating stones gave improved performance in tools, which they were skilled at making, (4) were “extremely intelligent,” (5) created decorative objects to adorn themselves, indicating aesthetic ability, and (5) had the ability to colonize the world.  OK so far?  Now, get this: they want you to believe that these full-size, full-brained, fully-modern people sat around in caves and hunted game for 93,000 years – never learning to talk to each other, never learning agriculture, never attempting to build a city, never learning to ride a horse, and never inventing anything better than sharp rocks.  On top of that nonsense, then they want you to believe that another 50,000 to 60,000 years passed by before the first idea of agriculture and civilization popped into their intelligent heads. 
    Let the insanity of that belief system sink into your cranium.  Who could possibly believe this tale?  Everything we know about human beings screams otherwise.  Put a small clan of feral humans together and they will begin communicating with symbolic language, investigating the environment, and finding ways to get more done with less work (unless they are government employees or sophomores).  Rest assured: any humans living in a mythical time 164,000 years ago would be under no obligation to follow the evolutionary timeline.  With fire and technology and language and intelligence, nothing would have made them wait tens of thousands of years for the signal to invade Europe or plant a farm.  And what would the signal have been?  A lucky mutation that switched on civilization?  Get real.  You know what would have happened: civilization would have ensued within a few centuries and we would be colonizing the galaxy by now.
    This story should also call for a serious “time out” about the dating methods they use.  Anything that produces a story this incredible cannot possibly be right.  Need more proof?  The BBC News article claims that humans were using fire to cook food 800,000 years ago.  That’s five times the craziness that red-lined the craze-o-meter before.  Try to imagine it if you can – 800,000 years pass by in this farcical fiction, with upright large-brained humans grunting over fire, then all of a sudden, they are irrigating plantations, mining gold, building ziggurats and marching armies against their neighbors.  Talk about belief in miracles.  Belief in a miracle would be tame compared to the faith it takes to accept their fairy tales.
    The commitment of evolutionary biologists to Charles DearOne and his tall tale has obliterated their common sense.  That commitment also requires commitment to Charles Lie-all and his promise of endless millions of years.  It forces them to make reckless drafts on the bank of time (07/02/2007) whenever they need to cover their credibility deficits.  Glutted with time they didn’t work for, they toss around their tens of thousands of years like government bailouts, hoping you won’t notice their policy is scientifically disastrous.  It counts on profits from futureware that never comes, taxes the credulity of the citizens, and burdens our children with intellectual deficits they won’t be able to repay.
    Their scheme depends on the gullibility of the public.  They keep hoping that the reputation of Science will prevent a revolt.  Welcome to Town Hall.

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Categories: Dumb Ideas, Early Man

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