Are Stone Age Hunter-Gatherers Evolving or Devolving?

first_img(Visited 8 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Anthropologists typically view stone age tribes as stuck in an eddy from primitive beginnings, never advancing into civilization.  Yet some tribes of hunter-gatherers in Thailand and Laos appear to have been farmers in their past, reports Science Now with apparent surprise:Traditionally, anthropologists thought that modern hunter-gatherer tribes like the Mlabri descended through the ages unchanged.  But an analysis of the tribe led by Mark Stoneking of the Max Plank Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, indicates that these communities are more complex than previously imagined. (Emphasis added in all quotes.)Genetic comparisons with other agricultural tribes, as well as studies of tribal myths, indicate that these people reverted to hunting and gathering after years of experience in agriculture.Stoneking can’t stay away from the E word, even though the evidence is against it: “hunter-gatherers have changed and evolved, particularly in response to interactions with agricultural groups,” he equivocates.  All evolution would have to involve change, by definition; but not all change is evolution, in the Darwinian sense.  Charlie did not intend to teach that humans were evolving downward into more primitive forms.  If that were the trend, we would all be bacteria in a few hundred million years.    Creationists predict that humans will always be found to be innately intelligent and capable, yet often degenerate because of sin.  People started smart and fell backward because of sin, but have always been fully human, made in the image of God.  Evolutionists believe humans are at the end of a long progression toward increasing complexity and intelligence, so they would expect some to be further behind in social evolution.  Whose prediction fit these observations?    The politically-correct view of tribal peoples is that they should be left alone; they are noble savages, in touch with their environment.  But if evolution is falsified, the picture changes.  Biblical creationists especially see them as descendants of advanced civilizations who once knew how to build ships and cities, mine metals and make musical instruments.  If so, it is not merciful to leave them in their lost and degenerate state.  Scientists, of all people, should mourn the foolish mythologies and needless diseases that enslave many of these people.  They should want to help them learn to think scientifically, to test claims by experiment.    This does not imply that civilization is better in every way, or that some civilized nations have inherent superiority over those who choose to live in a simpler manner.  But Christian missionaries know that natives are often eager to get modern medicines, for example, and learn more productive ways to find water and food.  And for tribes lost in pagan darkness, fear and superstition, the message of a loving and forgiving Creator God is often the most hopeful, joyful, liberating thing they have ever heard.  Watch the Ee-taow! films and see.last_img