Those like Bill Nye who bother to engage with Young Earth Creationists will often refer to the fossil record as evidence for both the age of the earth and to discount the contemporary co-existence of human beings and dinosaurs. On the AiG website, to explain the absence of human fossils that one might expect to find as result of a catastrophic flood and the absence of coinciding human and dinosaur remains, Bodie Hodge, Ken Ham’s son-in-law, has offered what he and apparently others at AiG take as a reasonable solution to this problem.
Sit Still, Fossilize and Think About What You’ve Done
According to Hodge, human beings are just too darn fast to fossilize properly. Human beings do not fossilize like other creatures. Why? Because, according to Hodge,
Fossilization is a rare event, especially [the fossilization]of humans who are very mobile.
Am I taking this statement out of context? Of course, I am but I am not making it up. Still, in historical science, context is only relevant as a rhetorical device and as a defensive posture. You see human beings who are “very mobile” (as compared to other animals, I guess — like sloths, tortoises, and albatrosses) ran to places where fossilization is less likely. It is almost like these rebellious ante-deluvian’s did it deliberately to make life difficult for Ken Ham. One fossil with a dinosaur would make all the difference. Couldn’t one of those damned people just tripped near a Raptor?
But then again, according to Hodge’s fantastic scholarship, it is obvious that human beings would choose not to dwell near dinosaurs in the first place. (Here, the Creation Museum gives us a false impression of the relationship between human beings and dinosaurs much like chilren’s book give a false impression by depicting shiny happy animals in the ark.) See Hodge’s “Top 15 Illustration Problems” — No really, he’s serious.
Even though ante-deluvian dinosaurs were vegeterians there immense size would still pose a danger to the average human being — or so Hodge argues. The Bible does not explicitly rule this out. Therefore, according to the strict rules of Historical Science, it can be read into the gaps. In academic terms, we call this practice eisegesis and the folks at AiG have made an art of this intepretive method.
Still, given the sudden and catastrophic nature of the flood event, shouldn’t we expect to find more human fossils in common layer with all the other pre-deluvian kinds that were drowned in the flood. No, of course not.
Anarchic Abstinence and Human Clumping
According to Hodge, we should not expect to find human remains scattered about the earth. Why? Because humans tend to “clump together.” In less erudite circles, the technical term “clumping” is akin to the common understanding of human beings as gregarious creatures. Human beings “clump” like birds “flock” and cows “herd” or “congregate.”
Although the term “clump” does not appear in the Bible, and the verbal form “to clump” even more rarely, it is believed to be derived from the fact that Adam was formed from the dust of the earth and we can be restored with dirt and Jesus’s spit.
N.B. Clumping is not explicitly condemned in the Bible. Nevertheless, one should be careful about clumping with the wrong people.
Yet, there must be something different between “clumping” and “flocking” that I am missing that makes it less likely for humans to fossilize than other gregarious creatures who seem to submit to the fossilization process with much more success. Perhaps, it is where we choose to clump.
But I am a novice in the field of historical science. Although, I have had some experience with eisegesis. (I once read myself right into the book of Daniel and spent a week declaring myself “the son of Man” and even started to build a compound to separate myself from the compromised Christians but, as Rudyard Kipling wrote, that’s another story.)
Hodge’s own explanation is that before the flood the human population was rather small. From whence does he draw this learned conclusion? Well, it is clear as the post-deluvian sky (or the post-deluvian earth), God had commanded people to “be fruitful and multiply”. We are also told the people were openly rebelling against God or something like that (no need to get caught up in the details and miss the flood for the raindrops — as any good exegete knows details only matter when they support your position, Scripture is for “edification”, after all). So, of course, it is safe to conclude that they would openly reject this command to be fruitful and multiply. So, God flooded the world because people were refusing to procreate.
The pre-deluvian era was a godless and sexless time. No wonder people were so violent and murderous with all that pent up procreative energy. Lamech may have taken to himself two wives but no way was he going to “know” them in the biblical sense. The sons of the gods may have taken the daughters of men but for doubles tennis and square dancing.
I’m serious. That is, I am serious about Bodie Hodge’s fantastic scholarship and incredible claims, in this post, he writes,
It seems doubtful that there were many hundreds of millions of people before the Flood. If the world was indeed bad enough for God to judge with a Flood, then people were probably blatantly disobedient to God’s command to be fruitful and fill the earth. Moreover, the Bible says that violence filled the earth, so death rates may have been extraordinarily high.
To the folks at AiG, it seems self-evident that when human beings are rebelling against God they are sexaully immoral. Sexual immorality here is of course best understood as defiant abstinence.
Perhaps an analogy might be helpful here: sexual immorality is to defiant abstinence as observational science is to historical science. It is all so fantastic, isn’t it?
A quick glance at our own North American culture shows us that when people reject God, the next thing to go is their sex life, then dancing, then they stop drinking. Eventually, people will be just sitting around reading their Bibles to figure out how they can take their defiance just that one step further. After all, God promised not to flood the world again. But I digress.
If we take Hodge’s historical reconstruction together with Hodges wonderful insights about human clumping and dinosaur avoidance seriously, we begin to get a picture of the pre-deluvian world that God justly condemned.
So in the pre-deluvian world, we find a community of celibate human beings not unlike the Benedictines.
Thus, in one fell swoop, not only has Hodge justified his belief in a Young Earth but he has justified the Reformation. If a theory such as Hodge’s is not an exemplary example of the value and coherence of historical science, then I do not know what is.