Friday, February 20, 2004

One Man's Ceiling...

is another Man's Floor. So goes the Paul Simon song. In an earlier debate with Ed from Dispatches over the appearance of modern humans he claimed that human artwork goes back at least 330,000 years. This contradicts the claims of Old-Earth Creationists that humanity began no more than approximately 50,000 years ago. I searched for this purported 330k year old artwork and found that it is referred to as the Golan Venus. Here is a photo: Evidently
The figurine was found in 1981 by Prof. Na'ama Goren-Inbar of the Hebrew University between a "sandwich" of basalt strata, the lower one 800,000 years old, the upper one 233,000 years old. Goren-Inbar reported that more than 6,800 worked flints were found at the site, but the grooved figurine was the only one in basalt.
Further tests were done to determine whether the so-called artwork was carved. Also, potassium-argon dating was done on the layers of rock the piece was found in. I will not comment on the proposed dating for the actual specimen until I do a bit more research. For the time being let's just be content with contrasting that find with this one: This is reported to be 30,000 years old and is carved from ivory. The article states:
Other scientists studying human evolution have a couple of theories about these and other early artifacts found at four different German archeological sites. The objects are considered the oldest examples of figurative art in the world. (emphasis added)
At first blush... which of the two really look like a designed piece of artwork? There are at least two questions that need to be answered: 1) Is the specimen shaped the way it is due to intelligent action and, 2) What is the most reliable dating for the specimen? In the meantime, here's another comparison to make: "Thor's Hammer" vs. Mt. Rushmore

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