Saturday, August 17, 2013

Biblical Anthropology and the Question of Common Ancestry

Alice C. Linsley

Since Biblical Anthropology concerns itself with cultural antecedents and human origins it is natural that a Biblical anthropologist would explore the question of common ancestry as it is posed by Evolution.

If humans and apes (or humans and pigs) share a common genetic ancestry there must certainly be evidence for that in the fossil record. Frankly, I do not see it. Instead, the evidence points to humans appearing suddenly and de novo about 4 million years ago. The Australopithecus afarensis and the more recent Australopithecus africanus show every evidence of being fully human despite the small cranium. I have argued here that, given the totality of other evidence that favors human identity, brain size is a less important indicator than the binary feature of the brain and of primitive thought.

For example, the cerebral hemispheres exhibit strong bilateral symmetry in structure and function. That said, the left hemisphere has some dominant features. The lateral sulcus generally is longer in the left hemisphere than in the right, and Broca's area and Wernicke's area are present only in the left hemisphere in greater than 95% of the population. Thus the human brain exhibits both functional and structural asymmetry in the binary feature.

Levi-Strauss and others have noted that the binary sets are the basis of complex thought about the world and a commonality among primitive peoples. Similarly, computer science demonstrates that great complexity emerges from binary language.

Abraham's Nilo-Saharan ancestors named in the the Genesis king Lists observed binary sets in the order of creation, such as east-west, male-female, day-night, dry-wet, raw-cooked, life-death, and heaven-earth. The regarded one of the entities of the set to be superior in some observable way than the other. The sun is greater than the moon. The male is large and stronger than the female. In other words, the binary feature of which I am speaking entails a greater-lesser aspect which is quite different from dualism.

The Yin Yang is often cited as an example of binary thinking, but as it is understood today it represents dualism. This was likely not the case originally. The yin-yang concept appears to be rooted in a much older binary framework related to the religion of Tian, the oldest name for the Creator in China. Tian means the Most High of the Anu. The Anu or Ainu did indeed hold a binary worldview which was based on their observations of the Sun. The Sun was held to be greater than the Moon, the light greater than the shadow. So in this view too, at least in its origin, there is dominance on one side.

Further, the Ainu whose great shrine city of Heliopolis was the point to which many ancient monuments aligned, appear to have regarded this binary feature as a fixed and unchanging characteristic of Nature. I'm wondering if indeed this is a general pattern in Nature?

Related reading: The Nilotic Origin of the Ainu; African Ancestry of Chinese; The Nile-Japan Ainu ConnectionBinary Sets in the Ancient World; A Kindling of Ancient Memory; The Binary Aspect of the Biblical Worldview; Questioning the Common Ancestry Hypothesis; Evolution and the Illusion of Randomness


  1. Great post. I would also mention that in addition to the sudden human appearance, seemingly sui generis, in the fossil record, there is likewise a sudden appearance of language. If human language was the result of a long, slow evolution, then we should expect to see early scribblings of nonsense, the beginning and intermediate stages preceding full languages) littering the world. Instead, what we see are fully developed languages, out of the blue. There is definitely something interesting in that.

    1. You make a good point.

      It is important to make distinctions between the various ways that archaic humans communicated. We know next to nothing about their spoken language(s), except that there appears to be a set a original shared phonemes, many of which were dropped from human speech as populations moved out of Africa. See this study:

      As populations moved they keep close to major water systems and long ridges (the high places). They left their symbols or signs in rock shelters. See this:


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