30 May 2009

The flint axe that "destroyed" Creationism

The implement is considered the most important stone tool in the establishment of the geological antiquity of human kind. In April 1859, two English businessmen, Joseph Prestwich and John Evans, respectively interested in geology and archaeology, travelled to Amiens to search for evidence to prove the great antiquity of humans. They were searching for a specific type of stone tool which they wanted to extract themselves from undisturbed ground and which had to come from the same geological levels as the bones of extinct animals such as wooly mammoth and rhino. Accompanied by scientific witnesses and a photographer, they eventually discovered a flint axe, on April 27th 1859, in a gravel pit in St Acheul near Amiens.

Although it was impossible to date the implement precisely, the discovery dispelled the biblical view of Creation and provided evidence for a far more remote human antiquity than had hitherto been imagined. Our ancestors did not date back just 6,000 years; but to the era of ice age mammoths.
Of course, Creationists have subsequently moved the mammoths and dinosaurs up into the same 6,000 year window... More re its history and rediscovery at the link.


  1. I'm trying to figure out how this destroys any believe in Creationism, unless I've misunderstood the term to mean solely the earth-is-5000-years-old argument? There are definitely people who can and do believe in an old created earth. (Or is this under the heading of "Intelligent Design" instead of "Creationism," or something? I'm not trying to be snarky, I honestly had never heard of Creationism used to talk about *only* the young-earth theory before.)

  2. I believe what the article says is that in the 19th century (when the axe was found), the Biblical view WAS the young earth view. The Bible gave a timeline through generations from Adam and that was the accepted view (by Christians) until 19th century science revealed more about the earth's formation and antiquity.

    The axe "provided evidence for a far more remote human antiquity." I don't think the author meant to distinguish between Young Earth Creationists and Old Earth Creationists. Perhaps the title is a bit misleading.

  3. Since young earth creationists believe that Mammoths and humans lived together in the first place, this seems like the "evidence" only destroys a straw man.

  4. @anonymous - I believe it was different in the 19th century when the world was considered old, but man was assumed to have arisen only 6000 years previously. Mammoths etc were known to have been much earlier. This axe placed man with the ancient animals and thus undercut the prevailing Biblical view.


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