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Table of Contents

Part I

Part II

Part III


Part V

Part VI

Part VII



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.
     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.
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.

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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.
     Moreover, there 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 unmanageable.
(69) 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 Series.
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.

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     Then 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 and 192.
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.

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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. . . .

     After considering 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.
76. Simpson, G. G., This View of Life, Brace and World, New York, 1964, p.272.
77. Ibid., p.285.

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Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights reserved

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