Here are my critical thoughts concerning the article 'IN THE BEGINNING'. I've included abridged quotes for others to follow along.
“Geneticists studying the DNA of today’s world population have discovered that Homo sapiens went nearly extinct sometime between 195,000 and 123,000 years in the past.”
My initial though here is: Why the large time gap? That's 72,000 years. Furthermore, even 100,000 years allows for unimaginable amounts of population growth (which I'll expand upon further, below)
That is not a “gap” it is an UNCERTAINTY in the estimated time. It could be 195,000 OR 123,000 ago OR anything in between, say 150,000 years ago.
Also, why did they nearly go extinct? The Biblical account of Genesis states that a worldwide flood occurred; of which only a small family led by a man named Noah survived (along with the animals populated in the Ark).
There are many reasons for extinctions in the past. Impacts of meteorites, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, earthquakes, Climate change, Drought etc, The research, this conclusion was based on, was referenced too on my article, you can look that up on the internet.
The bible is an historical book and very incomplete and does not provide enough information so we use other kinds of historical records such as archeology and genetic research to find out what happened in the past.
“They lived on the coast and must have understood the rhythm of the tides...Some clever individual might have noticed the connection between the moon cycles and the tides and could predict when it was time to go back to the shore to gather the shellfish...The observation that the sun and the moon influenced what happened on earth and that that knowledge could be used to predict future happenings evolved into astrology.”
However, this goes beyond just measuring the patterns of star formations and tides, and into the realm of divination (horoscopes, zodiac, etc.). Why did this evolve into divination? Furthermore, such supernatural ability would require evidence -- convincing evidence; not just happening to be right every once in a full moon (no pun intended).
These people were not educated but they were not dumb. The moon and sun were “gods” Some clever person put up some large stones and indicated with other stone how the shadows changed and after a while returned to the same spot (a Year) It took probably many years before the pattern was discovered but then a smart person eventually put two and two together and noticed the seasons, then predicted the next season by comparing it with past experiences . If your food supply depended on going to the beach at low tide, then after many such occasions someone might have noticed that the position of the moon was connected with the tides and predicted when it was a good time to go for food by looking at the moon.
Who gave these human survivors such occult knowledge?
It is not OCCULT knowledge, it is practical observation over a long period of time. Trial and error!
"Obviously, because of their cognitive abilities, humans looked for such signs in their environment to predict the future. And eventually when they spread out through the world they learned to predict many events such as seasons, weather and even calamities such as floods and other disasters...The individuals who could predict some things would not always be correct but one could always blame an external force (gods) when things would not pan out..."
How were they able to predict floods and other sudden disasters? Again, this goes beyond measuring weather/star patterns and into the realm of divination. Furthermore also, those claiming to have such supernatural abilities would have to be right far more often than they were wrong in order to be credible. For instance, within a population's estimated 50 year lifespan, someone would have to possess a convincingly high success rate of predicting disasters in order to be believable. You couldn't just be right 10% of the time, and blame gods for the other 90%. No majority would ever buy that.
“look at these dark clouds. The last time we saw this it rained so badly we were flooded out of the valley. Lets not take a change this time and climb up to the caves higher up in the mountain”.
“See those smoke columns just over the horizon? Last time we saw that, fire and brimstone came falling out of the sky, better go to find shelter”
“See that lightstreak (comet) in the sky? Our Shaman told us during the last feast dance that he heard from his father’s father who heard it from his forefathers that one of those streaks long ago hit the earth creating earthquakes and fires and nearly killed everybody. The next time it happened we made offerings to that god (streak) and it went away. So next time we see that streak we better prepare for offering our best animals or perhaps our sons.”
To answer the rest of your comment no they would not have to be right far more often, to be credible. Many psychics today are believed, even if they are more often wrong than right, people remember when the “predictions “ are right and they forget when they are wrong. This is a very common characteristic, you can look that up in psychic research. Yes the majority actually buys that.
"During the ages before any written language was invented, the “knowledge” was passed on from generation to generation by song and dance and storytellers. Shaman would train their offspring or pupils...Because of the lack of permanent records this knowledge must have evolved in fits and starts and therefore progress must have been very slow. When finally written down in “recent” times these rules became the “laws” which governed food and behavior. Yes, the last 8000 years, are recent compared to the previous 100,000 to 200,000 years."
I'll address the subject of Shamans in the next paragraph of the article...
Back to the 100,000+ estimation made by the geneticists. As I mentioned, this allows for a major, unsustainable period of population growth.
For example: Say you have 8 human survivors (4 men, 4 women) after a near-extinction event. Say that they reproduce and double their population after every 25 years. Here's a conservative estimate of what such a worldwide human population would look like:
Basically, by the time you'd hit year 1,000, this potential human population would reach 8,796,093,022,208 people! Obviously, this doesn't factor in disease, war, choice on whether or not to reproduce, etc. However, it is utterly asinine to suggest that our human population has existed anywhere near 100,000 year
Better look at your “obviously”. Disease, starvation, wars , predators etc. indeed decimated poulations until recently. I don’t think that in those days they used birth-control! The death of women and babies was so great that to even just sustain the population humans had to reproduce at an enormous rate. If your reasoning would hold for humans it would hold for any other animal as well and most of them are more proliferate than humans., this world would have been overrun by an “asinine” amount of rabbits by now. Since we have overcome many of the threats to human life in the last few ages we are indeed running the risk of overpopulation in the next century and it won’t be pretty.
I will use the word Shaman for the leader who used his knowledge and cunning to impress the rest of the tribe. They would see this person as having supernatural powers...
Why would they see this person as possessing supernatural powers? What sufficient evidence could such a person present/display towards a population focused on food, shelter, and survival? Because the leader simply told them? There would have to be more at play here than just speech craft and ceremony. Other factors would have to be involved in order for a population to be convinced of supernatural work at play (i.e. actual supernatural elements at work)
Since not everybody is as bright. Not so long ago clever Magicians were believed to have supernatural powers. People still listen to psychics who read cards, or pretend to talk to the dead, and believe them. So a Shaman who looks at the moon and says, lets go to the beach the tide is low, and got that knowledge from his father and told him to keep it a secret, was thought to have divine powers, and yes, they would believe him. When he predicted a flood by the cloud cover, sometimes, it would happen and some “unbelievers” would drown. Next time, would you take a chance? If the prediction does not happen (such as the many end of the world predictions we have had over the recent time period) you can always say “ I prayed or made an offering, that’s why it didn’t happen.”
I would love to get some comments from you after you read this. I'll be sure to acknowledge your contribution if you wish. The more, the better, we all learn from that.