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Author Topic:   Ancient Human Art
David Carroll
Junior Member (Idle past 1583 days)
Posts: 12
From: Fairmont, West Virginia, USA
Joined: 08-22-2012


Message 1 of 10 (671417)
08-24-2012 9:48 PM


One thing that bugs me when I read Creationist literature is that the problem of putatively "ancient" human art is not discussed. I say to myself, "Okay, I see why genetic modification with common descent is a problem, I see why isotope dating methods is a problem, I see why the starlight issue might be a non-problem, but what about when we read in books that, say, the artifact Venus of Willdendorf is 30,000 years old, or that cave paintings in France are 20,000 years old?" Why do I never see Creationist scientists discuss the more recent past (or if they have, all apologies, but I've never seen it)?

HOW do scientists determine that cave paintings in France are x-amount of thousands of years old? How do they determine that some city buried in the Indus valley is x-amount of years old? And what are the problems or inconsistencies with the dating methods they use?

Do they say, "Well, considering the rate at which human art has developed, Venus of Willendorf is so primitive-looking that we place it at about 30,000 BC"? I guess this would involve sociological assumptions.

Do they use sociological assumptions? Assumptions about theories of art?

I'm completely in the dark here (*Al Pacino voice*). Any help would be appreciated.


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Adminnemooseus
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Joined: 09-26-2002


Message 2 of 10 (671419)
08-24-2012 10:09 PM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Ancient Human Art thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
Coyote
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Posts: 5540
Joined: 01-12-2008
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Message 3 of 10 (671423)
08-24-2012 10:33 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by David Carroll
08-24-2012 9:48 PM


Dating 101
Archaeologists use the help of a wide range of physical sciences in determining ages.

This can include a variety of radiometric dating techniques, but there is a lot more.

Stratigraphy, that is, soil layers, can be a great dating tool as well. Some events show up quite clearly in soils. For example, in the Pacific Northwest ash from the Mt. Mazama eruption ca. 7,000 years ago shows up clearly in a lot of sites. Layers above that ash are <7,000 years old while laters below that ash are >7,000 years. That is just one very simple example.

Pollen is another tool. Over time as climates change, so do the vegetation communities. Examining pollen can help to establish general ages. In some cases pollen can be radiocarbon dated, providing more precise ages.

Cultural sites can be dated by artifacts and other time stratigraphic markers. Time stratigraphic markers? Here's an example: back about 40-50 years ago beer and soda cans had pull tabs, and they were made of aluminum. People pulled them and discarded them by the millions. In a few thousand years those pull tabs will be a perfect time stratigraphic marker as they are very durable, very widespread, and lasted for a very short time. Archaeologists use various stone, bone, and shell tools--and occasionally other items--in much the same way to establish dates.

Here's another example; the Piltdown fossil find was originally thought to be real, but it was finally disproved by a type of dating that showed that different pieces were of considerably different ages. That method didn't establish a precise age, but did show that the various pieces were of different ages. That's called relative dating.

There are a lot of books, and a lot of good articles you can find on the web if you avoid the creationist sites. And we have several experts here on EvC who can probably answer any specific questions you might have.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.

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Jon
Inactive Member


Message 4 of 10 (671424)
08-24-2012 10:38 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by David Carroll
08-24-2012 9:48 PM


But Creationists complain about archaeological dating methods all the timeat least the YECs.

Love your enemies!

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greentwiga
Member (Idle past 776 days)
Posts: 213
From: Santa
Joined: 06-05-2009


(1)
Message 5 of 10 (671435)
08-25-2012 12:55 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by Coyote
08-24-2012 10:33 PM


Re: Dating 101
Your stratigraphic example is great. I am surprised that you did not mention the pottery dating method. Pottery is so durable when it has been fired that it is essentially unchanged from when it was used except for breakage. Pottery has very few constraints on it. Methods of firing, types of glaze and shapes of the pottery changed so often that it becomes a great marker. An additional good point is that it is fragile enough that a single piece would not last long enough to end in the wrong layer.

The pottery dating generates a relative dating system. One can know that pottery t is older than pottery s, which is older than pottery r, but not the exact date. Before the advent of absolute dating systems of tree ring, and semi-absolute dating systems of c14, archaeologists developed an extensive relative dating system with the backbone of the system being pottery. (C14 is semi-absolute because the raw absolute dates have to be corrected by tree rings.)

Sometimes the two systems don't completely agree. The relative system disagrees with the absolute system for the date of the Santorini eruption. Still, even with the various questions about the accuracy of each system, nothing even approaches a 10% error. For the YECers to be right, the errors would have to be greater than 90%. For example, the art dated to 40,000 BC would have to be redated to less than 4,000 BC, about an 86% error. This would have to be errors in all the different dating methods, even the non-radiographic methods.

I prefer to to think that the YECer have mis-interpreted the Bible than that all the various scientists have misinterpreted the science.

{Concerning the 3rd paragraph (Santorini eruption) - See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minoan_eruption#Dissent. - Adminnemooseus}

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Note about 3rd paragraph.


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NoNukes
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Posts: 9321
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 6 of 10 (671476)
08-25-2012 8:32 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by greentwiga
08-25-2012 12:55 AM


Re: Dating 101
For the YECers to be right, the errors would have to be greater than 90%. For example, the art dated to 40,000 BC would have to be redated to less than 4,000 BC, about an 86% error.

I'd consider that to be a 700 percent error. The creationist would claim that the true age of the artifact is 6000 years and would argue that you have measured the age to be 7 times greater than that (42000 years).


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal and hasten the resurrection of the dead. William Lloyd Garrison.

Choose silence of all virtues, for by it you hear other men's imperfections, and conceal your own. George Bernard Shaw


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Minnemooseus
Member
Posts: 3470
From: Duluth, Minnesota, U.S. (West end of Lake Superior)
Joined: 11-11-2001
Member Rating: 4.1


(1)
Message 7 of 10 (671478)
08-25-2012 9:46 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by greentwiga
08-25-2012 12:55 AM


Pottery, the index fossils of archeology?
The pottery dating generates a relative dating system. One can know that pottery t is older than pottery s, which is older than pottery r, but not the exact date. Before the advent of absolute dating systems of tree ring, and semi-absolute dating systems of c14, archaeologists developed an extensive relative dating system with the backbone of the system being pottery.

I think that distinctive to an age pottery use in archeology would be analogous to index fossil use in paleontology. As you said, both are used in stratigraphy relative dating, and once an absolute date can be achieved, then the pottery and the index fossils can also be used as an absolute dating tool.

Perhaps, when dealing with a young Earth creationist, one should focus more on the relative dating. I've gone around with Coyote on this before - I see it as being kind of useless to be citing real world old Earth dates to someone who's operating in an alternate time frame.

It's probably easier in geology relative to archeology, because geologic time ranges are vastly greater than archeology time ranges. The trick is to list a lot of relative dated events - "This happened, then this happened, then this happened, etc., etc., etc.". Then make the case that all those "this happeneds" add up to a long series of events requiring a time frame far greater than the YEC time frame.

Moose


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Dr Adequate
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Posts: 15473
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 3.9


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Message 8 of 10 (671479)
08-25-2012 11:17 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by David Carroll
08-24-2012 9:48 PM


Do they say, "Well, considering the rate at which human art has developed, Venus of Willendorf is so primitive-looking that we place it at about 30,000 BC"? I guess this would involve sociological assumptions.

Do they use sociological assumptions? Assumptions about theories of art?

They couldn't, really.

For one thing, artistic styles very often decline from their peak. The third or fourth generation of potters (for example) making a particular style of pot will start producing it in a stereotyped, stylized, and lazy way, they'll cut corners, they'll substitute inferior materials, they'll lose the original elan and be motivated only by the fact that there's a market for their wares.

So this would make it hard to look at two pieces and say whether one is a primitive approach to the other or a decadent regress from it. Once you know what the one or the other looks like by applying other dating methods, then you can use artistic style as a key to dating, but you can't just establish an a priori rule that good art drives out bad, 'cos it doesn't.

---

Here's a coin of Antialcidas (ruled 145-135 B.C.)

And here's one of Philip III Arrhidaios, two centuries earlier.

Now the interesting thing is that the designs on the reverses of both coins depict exactly the same thing. It's the same guy sitting in the same chair. But what a decline in artistic achievement!

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


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greentwiga
Member (Idle past 776 days)
Posts: 213
From: Santa
Joined: 06-05-2009


Message 9 of 10 (671658)
08-28-2012 9:33 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Dr Adequate
08-25-2012 11:17 PM


There is a big problem with using ancient human art. It typically can't be dated because it uses things like ancient red ocher to make the drawings. Carvings are similarly undatable. Scientists need to look at the provenance, the nearby clues. Is it buried above a layer of ash from a volcano? Below the ashes of a campfire? The range of possible dates can even be over a thousand years. Drawings on walls don't even have anything buried above them.
Thus, ancient human art makes a shaky, at best, argument. The primary sources, the volcanic ash and the campfire make better cases for an ancient earth.
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samreddevilz 
Suspended Member (Idle past 1277 days)
Posts: 7
Joined: 06-10-2013


Message 10 of 10 (701464)
06-19-2013 3:23 PM


One of my friends study in the Archaeology. There I can see the great instances of such Art Frames. Pleasure to see those! Great Experience.
    
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