Note from EV: We passed this article from the Christian Science Monitor around yesterday: http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2011/1013/Caveman-cosmetics-Scientists-say-ocher-tool-kits-date-back-100-000-years. This is Mrs. W’s response:
It always bothers me when science treats “early man” as “less than man”. They are phisiologically and biologically us. There is no reason to believe that they could not conceptualize, symbolize, or plan ahead, as this article and countless others have implied. They are us, we are them. Granted, they were a less technologically advanced people, who, no doubt, spent much of their life just eking out a living and making sure their basic needs were met for their survival. However, they did have a lot of time, especially in the winter or bad weather, to sit around and perfect their existing technologies, hon their workmanship and craftsmanship, and, dare I say it, be innovative and creative. It is what we do as people. The creative spirit is part of the essence that makes us human. It is the part of us that is created in God’s image! To assume that human beings that existed 100,000 or even 200,000 years before us were incapable of complex thought or emotion is as shortsighted and egocentric as was the assumption that the earth is the center of the universe.
Perhaps, like Galileo, we need to turn our thinking around. Perhaps we need to assume that these people had music, games, art, religion, stories, and a heck of a lot of ingenuity. Certainly technology would have advanced considerably more slowly, in large part, because of the small numbers of people, and the difficulty in sharing new ideas with many people from other clans. And unfortunately, because the materials they used are completely natural, and the ideas undocumented, we have lost most of this evidence to time. However, I think the greatest evidence that early Homo Sapiens were thoughtful, creative, people, is that it is who we are today.