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Prehistoric Desert Town Found In Western Sahara (15,000 Years Old)
Reuters ^ | 8-19-2004 | Reuters

Posted on 08/20/2004 9:10:09 AM PDT by blam

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To: DannyTN
They can tell it's 15,000 years old by the style of the engravings???

Yes, with a plus-or-minus 5,000 years error bar.

51 posted on 08/20/2004 1:30:27 PM PDT by VadeRetro
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To: VadeRetro; DannyTN
5,000

Thinking it over, I'll go for ten thousand.

52 posted on 08/20/2004 1:32:04 PM PDT by VadeRetro
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To: VadeRetro
"Thinking it over, I'll go for ten thousand"

LOL, yeah, me too.

53 posted on 08/20/2004 1:34:36 PM PDT by DannyTN
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To: DannyTN
Typically, when food is plentiful, there is little need for agriculture. Secondly, people don't necessarily equate planting seeds with growing plants -- and it's evident there are groups who, until recently, never made that connection. Most folks want to eat the seeds as they are a ready source of nutrients; burying potential food in the ground in the off chance you'll get something out of it much later might seem a bit queer. Besides, hunters typically don't stay in an area for more than a season (hunter groups typically have a circuit of camps they use throughout a year -- c.f., the plains Indians), and agriculture presupposes plopping yourself down for an extended period of time to work your fields.

Now, I'm inclined to think domestication of farm animals came first before agriculture. Herders are a lot like their hunter forebearers in that they typically move around from seasonal camp to seasonal camp (c.f., the Mongols of central Asia). I read of one anthropologist who believes people did not equate sex to childbearing until after the domestication of animals, making the connection through years of observation. After that, it might have occured to them that plants did something similar.

Even after agriculture was discovered, it wouldn't have been terribly attractive. Raising crops is time consuming for the amount of nutrition garnered. Hunter/gatherers can typically acquire their daily requirement in calories in just a few short hours (two to four, according to some anthropologists). Farmers work from sun up to sun down -- and even after harvesting most crops require additional work (threshing) to be made edible. Skeletons of farming folk in Europe from about 9000 B.C. show their lives were typically short and extremely painful, especially among the females whose skeletons show evidence of long periods kneeling (probably while grinding grain).

Agriculture would not have been attractive, and was probably taken up when population pressures depleted ready supplies and forced people to begin to grow their own food or starve.

I once read an interesting interpretation of the Fall in Genesis, in which it was an allegory for the transition from the hunter/gatherer existence (food readily available, not really much to worry about) to farming with all its commensurate drudgery.

54 posted on 08/20/2004 2:21:12 PM PDT by Junior (FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC)
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To: Junior
"Agriculture would not have been attractive, and was probably taken up when population pressures depleted ready supplies and forced people to begin to grow their own food or starve."

Agriculture would have started just as soon as someone ran out of something like watermelon that they wanted more of.

Besides, how long would it have taken for population pressures to mount? Assuming the population doubles every 100 years, in 2000 years (50 generations) you have 2 million people. In 4000 years (100 generations) you have 2 trillion.


55 posted on 08/20/2004 4:10:55 PM PDT by DannyTN
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To: DannyTN
Populations don't double every 100 years. Indeed, prior to a couple of hundred years ago, it took forever and a day for the population to double.

Historical Estimates of World Population

Google is our friend.

56 posted on 08/20/2004 4:56:02 PM PDT by Junior (FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC)
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To: Junior
"prior to a couple of hundred years ago, it took forever and a day for the population to double."

Based on what records? They are guessing based on an old earth mentality. "It had to be slower because everyone knows man has been around 300,000 years."

Reality is there have been periods where the population decreased. After the first 2000 years, there was this huge flood that decreased the population to 8.

Plagues, wars and famine have slowed down the growth periodically.

Even if the population only doubled every 1000 years, that still only leaves you about 100,000 years before you are in astronomical populations.

57 posted on 08/20/2004 5:15:18 PM PDT by DannyTN
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To: DannyTN
Based on what records? They are guessing based on an old earth mentality. "It had to be slower because everyone knows man has been around 300,000 years."

It had to be slower because hunter-gatherer technology takes a lot more real estate to support a few people than does agriculture. It basically won't support cities at all.

Only a creationist would make an argument like yours. Most people have more pride.

58 posted on 08/20/2004 5:51:37 PM PDT by VadeRetro
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To: VadeRetro
"It had to be slower because hunter-gatherer technology takes a lot more real estate to support a few people than does agriculture. It basically won't support cities at all."

If it won't support them then the pressure is on to start agriculture.

What? People are going to stop having babies? I don't think so. They might start wars over resources and that might keep the population down. But then that sounds kind of familiar....

Genesis 6:13 - And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

59 posted on 08/20/2004 6:10:47 PM PDT by DannyTN
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To: DannyTN
If it won't support them then the pressure is on to start agriculture.

The pressure is on us to start interstellar space travel. We don't know how to do it. Hello?

What? People are going to stop having babies? I don't think so. They might start wars over resources and that might keep the population down. But then that sounds kind of familiar....

War, disease, famine. The population will stay down to the level supported by the food supply. The food provided by a plot of land depends upon how you are using it. If you don't have much technology, you won't get much food. That means you won't have that many people. Slowly, as your technology improves, your food supply improves and your population density can rise. You can have cities, specialists, schools, and even more technology. Success generates more success after a while, but it takes a lot of groundwork before you get a real visible liftoff.

I shake my head at how you support creation, Dan.

60 posted on 08/20/2004 6:20:27 PM PDT by VadeRetro
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To: DannyTN
People are going to stop having babies?

Fewer babies survive when there are environmental stresses. Each woman needs to have 2.1 children just to break even population-wise. Currently, much of the Western world is below this replacement rate. By 2050, if things don't turn around, the population will plateau and then begin declining. You seem to ignore reality in your calculations.

61 posted on 08/20/2004 6:28:32 PM PDT by Junior (FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC)
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To: dead

I'm not sure whether I'd more recommend

a vocabulary enhancement course

or

anger control classes.


62 posted on 08/20/2004 6:31:12 PM PDT by Quix (PRAYER WARRIORS, DO YOUR STUFF! LIVES AND NATIONS DEPEND ON IT)
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To: Junior
"Currently, much of the Western world is below this replacement rate.""

Show me evidence that man used birth control for 300,000 years and the argument about western birthrates might have bearings. Otherwise, current birthrate is completely irrelevant.

63 posted on 08/20/2004 6:34:09 PM PDT by DannyTN
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To: VadeRetro
"Only a creationist would make an argument like yours. Most people have more pride."

Only an evolutionist would expect people to believe human population stagnated in a hunter/gatherer mode for almost 300,000 years. And left no evidence of civilization at all.

64 posted on 08/20/2004 6:37:47 PM PDT by DannyTN
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To: DannyTN
And left no evidence of civilization at all.

Without agriculture there is no civilzation.

65 posted on 08/20/2004 6:39:23 PM PDT by js1138 (Speedy architect of perfect labyrinths.)
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To: DannyTN
And left no evidence of civilization at all.

Not of civilization, but there's a record. They left a record of very grudging progress that must have been invisible to those living at the time. No doubt you are unaware of the details, but I'm going to bed.

66 posted on 08/20/2004 6:47:34 PM PDT by VadeRetro
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To: DannyTN

Don't be thick. Life was much more iffy 300,000 years ago. Human beings, regardless of their beliefs, are not the top of the food chain. In addition to predators, disease, malnutrition, whatnot, took their toll. If we were to extrapolate your calculations to other species on this planet, we should be up to our eyeballs in flies, rodents, and guppies.


67 posted on 08/20/2004 6:56:28 PM PDT by Junior (FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC)
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To: dead

15,000 years ago that area of North Africa was not a desert, there were rivers, lakes, savannas, a lot of wildlife to hunt -- all arable land and habitable. (so what's with the rant?)


68 posted on 08/20/2004 6:57:21 PM PDT by RJS1950
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To: js1138
"Without agriculture there is no civilzation."

Except that fossils that were Argon dated at 160,000 years old, were found with lots of tools. This article from Berkley says they knew how to exploit plants. Maybe by exploit they don't mean agriculture. But still.

They had tools. They would have been at the top of the food chain. War, famine, pestilence could serve as limits to their population growth. But then again, pestilence would be less in a less populated world with less travel. Famine would be less in a less populated world.

There is absolutely no reason to believe man would be limited in his population growth.

It's a lot easier to believe that the argon test was wrong (and we now know that new rock can test very old due to excess argon), than it is to believe that man made no progress for 300,000 years and left almost no record.

Herto people

69 posted on 08/20/2004 7:01:36 PM PDT by DannyTN
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To: DannyTN

Spears are tools. Arrows are tools. Gathering is exploitation of plants. Agriculture is quite another thing.


70 posted on 08/20/2004 7:04:37 PM PDT by js1138 (Speedy architect of perfect labyrinths.)
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To: blam

Did they find the Sphinx plans?


71 posted on 08/20/2004 7:06:15 PM PDT by Jim Noble (Many will kill for socialism, few will die for it.)
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To: blam
I love the satellite photos that show old trade routes and town you can't see on the ground.
72 posted on 08/20/2004 7:06:46 PM PDT by farmfriend ( In Essentials, Unity...In Non-Essentials, Liberty...In All Things, Charity.)
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To: blam

Did they find the Sphinx plans?


73 posted on 08/20/2004 7:06:53 PM PDT by Jim Noble (Many will kill for socialism, few will die for it.)
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To: Junior
"If we were to extrapolate your calculations to other species on this planet, we should be up to our eyeballs in flies, rodents, and guppies."

Except that they all have predators. They have limited breeding grounds, they are killed by changes in weather, etc. Man with tools is the top of the food chain except for disease and parasites.

Sure without agriculture man would be limited by the food supply and periodic famine. But the earth is still capable of supporting a lot of men without agriculture, and we just don't see the record of lot of men having been around for 300,000 years.

74 posted on 08/20/2004 7:08:09 PM PDT by DannyTN
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To: js1138

Spears and arrows put you at the top of the food chain though.


75 posted on 08/20/2004 7:10:14 PM PDT by DannyTN
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To: dead

It wasnt always a desert.


76 posted on 08/20/2004 7:13:28 PM PDT by mlmr (Find a ring and put it round, round, round And with ties so strong your two hearts are bound...)
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To: DannyTN

How does being at the top of the food chain equate to civilization? Maggots are higher than us on the food chain, followed, I suppose, by birds that eat flies, followed, I suppose, by plants that are fertilized by bird droppings.


77 posted on 08/20/2004 7:16:58 PM PDT by js1138 (Speedy architect of perfect labyrinths.)
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To: DannyTN
Except that they all have predators. They have limited breeding grounds, they are killed by changes in weather, etc. Man with tools is the top of the food chain except for disease and parasites.

Two things. We are not the top of the food chain. Ask anyone who's come up against a shark, tiger or bear. Secondly, unlike other species, we tend to kill others of our kind.

And, don't discount diseases, famine or parasites. The Black Death claimed a third of the European population in the 1300s and a 19th century famine in China claimed millions.

Hell, people are one of the biggest hindrances to population growth. Even if you discount the 100 million or so who perished in the last century, you've still got the millions slaughtered by the Huns, the Mongols, the Saracens, the Crusaders. Then you have the tens of millions of Native Americans who didn't survive contact with the Europeans and their diseases.

Like I said, don't let reality interfere with your calculations.

78 posted on 08/20/2004 7:17:18 PM PDT by Junior (FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC)
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To: Junior
Even after agriculture was discovered, it wouldn't have been terribly attractive. Raising crops is time consuming for the amount of nutrition garnered. Hunter/gatherers can typically acquire their daily requirement in calories in just a few short hours (two to four, according to some anthropologists). Farmers work from sun up to sun down -- and even after harvesting most crops require additional work (threshing) to be made edible. Skeletons of farming folk in Europe from about 9000 B.C. show their lives were typically short and extremely painful, especially among the females whose skeletons show evidence of long periods kneeling (probably while grinding grain).

Perhaps, but IIRC, many of the earliest civilizations show evidence that some of the grain was fermented and therefore, it is assumed that the inhabitants of these early towns had alcohol. Also available to hunter gatherers as wine when fruit was in season. It is suspected by some, (myself included) that a part of the reason permenent settlements were started around agriculture was the ability to make intoxicating drink.

79 posted on 08/20/2004 7:17:48 PM PDT by KC_for_Freedom (Sailing the highways of America, and loving it.)
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To: js1138
"How does being at the top of the food chain equate to civilization?"

It equates to population growth as long as there is enough food. Unless there is war, pestilence, global flood, etc. Even then man tends towards population growth. 300,000 years of no growth, doesn't sound realistic.

80 posted on 08/20/2004 7:24:12 PM PDT by DannyTN
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To: DannyTN

Good job defeating the arguments of about 5 evos. They are starting to shift to their favorite manuver when they are being challenged- personal insult in lieu of rational argument.


81 posted on 08/20/2004 7:24:14 PM PDT by Ahban
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To: KC_for_Freedom

Makes sense to me.


82 posted on 08/20/2004 7:28:08 PM PDT by Junior (FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC)
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To: Junior
"We are not the top of the food chain. Ask anyone who's come up against a shark, tiger or bear."

One on one without tools, maybe. But it's safe to say that man has killed far more sharks, tigers and bears than they have killed man. And sharks can't even survive in our natural habitat. Man has to go swimming in the ocear or seafaring for them to be a threat.

"Secondly, unlike other species, we tend to kill others of our kind."

Certainly man is a threat. But I'm supposed to believe man had 300,000 years of constant war that kept his population from growing to a point beyond where records of his existence are almost impossible to find?

"you've still got the millions slaughtered by the Huns, the Mongols, the Saracens, the Crusaders. Then you have the tens of millions of Native Americans who didn't survive contact with the Europeans and their diseases."

Look at that site on population statistics. Reality is that human population kept growing despite all those things. We had all those things and we still grew.

I'm supposed to believe that in a much more sparsely populated earth, man was even more limited in growth by those things. I would think he would be less limited due to the lower population. And in no case would I think he would stagnate for 300,000 years.

2000 years of growth followed by a global flood reducing the population to 8 followed by 4000 years of growth is much more believable.

83 posted on 08/20/2004 7:32:23 PM PDT by DannyTN
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To: Ahban

Thank You.


84 posted on 08/20/2004 7:33:44 PM PDT by DannyTN
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To: VadeRetro
War, disease, famine. The population will stay down to the level supported by the food supply. The food provided by a plot of land depends upon how you are using it.

You left out infanticide and voluntary & involuntary elder banishment/abandonment.

For our Creationist buddy, a later manifestation would be the infant/youth sacrifice rites of Moloch. Those things can really keep a population in check by internal, religiously enforced means.
85 posted on 08/20/2004 8:36:52 PM PDT by ApplegateRanch (The world needs more horses, and fewer Jackasses!)
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To: dead
LOL! Kinison was my fave.
86 posted on 08/20/2004 11:39:04 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Unlike some people, I have a profile. Okay, maybe it's a little large...)
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To: blam; FairOpinion; Ernest_at_the_Beach; SunkenCiv; 24Karet; A.J.Armitage; abner; adam_az; ...
Great article, although I doubt that this dating will hold. It'll probably turn out to be at most more like 5000-6000 years old.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on, off, or alter the "Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list --
Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
The GGG Digest
-- Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

87 posted on 08/20/2004 11:42:21 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Unlike some people, I have a profile. Okay, maybe it's a little large...)
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To: blam
"It appears that scientists have come up with the 15,000-years estimate judging by the style of the engravings and the theme of the drawings," Mustapha Ouachi, a Rabat-based Berber historian, told Reuters.

This explanation for how the find was dated makes no sense. You can't scientifically date objects to 15,000 years ago based on style or theme--scientists do radiocarbon dating, they aren't art historians who analyze aesthetic style or theme trends, and neither do art historians have any way of dating a style to 15,000 years ago. Of course it's Reuters reporting this, so who knows what Ouachi or the scientists he's citing actually said. . .

88 posted on 08/21/2004 12:50:56 AM PDT by Fedora
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To: Junior
A few years ago a tribe was discovered in the Amazon that was living a basically stone-age hunter/gatherer existence. They'd never had contact with the outside world until their discovery. And, they weren't the first tribe found in that region who'd never encountered more civilized races.

You have to be careful with this one, as the Tasadays (the prototypical tribe of this kind) were discovered to be a hoax. A better example, familiar to all of us, would be the American Indian. The vast majority of tribes remained hunter-gatherers right up until...well, as long as we let them.

You can't make the assumption that a life of cities and agriculture is happier than a nomadic life. If there's enough land to sustain you, why would you want to settle in one spot? And that's the rub. Agriculture developed first where there wasn't enough land to sustain a nomadic existence for the population.

Of course, when the Magic Book tells people that the giant grownup in the sky created the earth a few thousand years ago, you aren't going to get anywhere with argument.

89 posted on 08/21/2004 3:17:50 AM PDT by prion (Yes, as a matter of fact, I AM the spelling police)
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To: Junior

Even after agriculture was discovered, it wouldn't have been terribly attractive.

Thru some recent reading, I learned that at least one of the western Native American tribes actually abandoned a quasi agriculturally dependent lifestyle in favor of a hunter/ gatherer one when they got horses. Don't recall the name of the tribe, but the source is an old novel, Sacajawea by Anna Lee Waldo.

90 posted on 08/21/2004 3:45:20 AM PDT by elli1
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To: Junior

You are making the point that this is probably not a 15,000 yr old TOWN, per our current understanding of the term.

Hunter-gatherer tribes usually don't create "towns", nor do they have the time and resources to have carvers etc., except in the most rudimentary ways such as the flint knappers and basket weavers.
Agriculture allowed for the introduction of such divisions of labor. The rise of towns, villages and hamlets came after that.

I hope the story is true. It would be marvelously fascinating to know that at roughly the same time that there were folks blowing ochre over their hands onto cave walls, there were others living totally different lives.

I'm still wondering abou the "name" part. After 15000yrs, what did they do, ask the old timer down the road what the name of the place was?


91 posted on 08/21/2004 4:08:05 AM PDT by Adder (Can we bring back stoning again? Please?)
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To: Adder

They didn't give a name. They did say it was found near a modern town and gave that name.


92 posted on 08/21/2004 4:35:56 AM PDT by Junior (FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC)
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To: prion
Agriculture developed first where there wasn't enough land to sustain a nomadic existence for the population.

Jared Diamond Guns, Germs, and Steel makes the point that the ancient Near East had a wonderful combination of factors, most of all a set of wild grasses which (although not nearly as productive as their modern descendant cultivars) had highly edible seeds.

There tends never to be "enough land" in a fertile valley in that it will either overpopulate or attract raiders by dint of its very fertility.

93 posted on 08/21/2004 5:28:33 AM PDT by VadeRetro
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To: Fedora; blam; VadeRetro; Junior
"You can't scientifically date objects to 15,000 years ago based on style or theme--scientists do radiocarbon dating, they aren't art historians who analyze aesthetic style or theme trends, and neither do art historians have any way of dating a style to 15,000 years ago."

It helps tremendously that the "scientific establishment" believes civilization started 15,000 years ago.

Pick a date that is much older than that and you better have extremely good science to support it or the establishment will ridicule you as a quack and pull your funding.

Pick a date that is much younger than that and you might as well be digging up your grandmother's grave. Nobody wants to hear about it. It's not newsworthy, and there goes your funding.

But pick a date, say right at 15000 years that is what the establishment believes is the beginning of civilization and then you have the ear of the news, as well as the ear of the scientific establishment. If you introduce anything at all that's new, you better make sure that your work enables enough of the establishment to say "I told you so". And your funding's assured.

94 posted on 08/22/2004 3:46:10 PM PDT by DannyTN
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To: DannyTN
It helps tremendously that the "scientific establishment" believes civilization started 15,000 years ago.

As I recall, it's more like a bit over 6000, for civilization as in "real cities." There are places like Jericho that may have been inhabited earlier than that but they weren't very big. The whole Neolithic Revolution from the earliest domestication of cereal grasses is generally placed in the last 10-12K years, so the find announced in this article seems to be pushing the envelope. I say "seems to" because it needs a better article.

Pick a date that is much older than that ...
Pick a date that is much younger than that ...
But pick a date, say right at 15000 years ...

There was no predisposition for the current consensus (whatever it is). It was arrived at by following a preponderance of evidence. It has changed over time as the evidence picture changed. Nineteenth-century writers on Egyptian Dynastic history used chronologies which yield older dates than those now given for things like the initial unification of Egypt, etc. This does not show creationist-style dogmatic inflexibility.

95 posted on 08/22/2004 4:29:58 PM PDT by VadeRetro
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To: VadeRetro
15,000 is the date used by the recent book "The long Summer: How climate changed civilization". I also ran across the number 15,000 several times on Friday when researching for my posts then. A lot of sites and articles are using 15,000.

Do a google on "Civilization began 15,000" and you get a lot of hits. But it is still controversial, do a google on "Civilization began" and you get stuff all over the board including a lot of hits for 6000.

Of course, you already know what I think the first cities appearing 6000 years ago means.

They may have pushed the envelope a little, but it's not like there was noone else claiming 15,000 years ago to give them credence.

"This does not show creationist-style dogmatic inflexibility. "

No, but then since the scientific community doesn't have "the word of God", I wouldn't expect them to show complete inflexibility. Then again, this does show a tremendous amount of evolutionistic group think. That article presented no real evidence that the city was 15,000 years old. It's a date picked because of popular opinion, not hard evidence.

96 posted on 08/22/2004 5:24:53 PM PDT by DannyTN
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To: DannyTN

But the academic establishment currently believes civilization started 5,000+ years ago in Sumeria. 15,000 years ago doesn't fit into any current theory. The archaeologists promoting this dating of the find are going against the established theory.


97 posted on 08/22/2004 5:25:15 PM PDT by Fedora
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To: Fedora; VadeRetro
Beat ya, see post 96. But here are some 15,000 year links to prove my point. Mexico 15,000 2003 Book "The Long Summer: How Climate changed Civilization" uses 15,000
98 posted on 08/22/2004 5:32:16 PM PDT by DannyTN
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To: Fedora; VadeRetro
Let's try that again... Beat ya, see post 96. But here are some 15,000 year links to prove my point.

Mexico 15,000
2003 Book "The Long Summer: How Climate changed Civilization" uses 15,000
Ethiopia 15,000 years

99 posted on 08/22/2004 5:33:22 PM PDT by DannyTN
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To: DannyTN
Regarding The Long Summer, 15,000 years ago is when temperatures began to rise. Nothing in the book's Amazon page indicates that the author thinks civilization goes back that far.

I think you're using Google too robotically.

100 posted on 08/22/2004 5:38:04 PM PDT by VadeRetro
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