Answers in Genesis — Life After Babel

This is an astonishing adventure in history from the creation scientists at Ken Ham’s Answers in Genesis (AIG) — the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia.

Their title is Çatalhöyük — The First City After Babel?, and the author is David B. Smith, described as having a master of divinity degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and also a master of arts degree in Bible and cognate studies from Hebrew Union College — Jewish Institute of Religion where he studied archaeology and ancient Near Eastern history.

You never heard of Çatalhöyük? Neither did we. We’ll be comparing Smith’s version of history against this article in Wikipedia: Çatalhöyük, which tells us:

[Çatalhöyük] was a very large Neolithic and Chalcolithic proto-city settlement in southern Anatolia, which existed from approximately 7500 BC to 5700 BC, and flourished around 7000 BC. … The prehistoric mound settlements were abandoned before the Bronze Age. … Excavation revealed 18 successive layers of buildings signifying various stages of the settlement and eras of history. The bottom layer of buildings signifies as early as 7500 BC while the top layer is of 5,600 B.C.

The title of Smith’s article suggests that Çatalhöyük was the first city after Babel. When was that? In Answers in Genesis — The Ice Age, we described AIG’s information about how many human generations passed from the Flood to Abraham’s birth, and they said that “God’s judgment occurred at Babel sometime during the days of Peleg, who was the fourth generation after the Flood.”

As everyone knows, according to the Ussher chronology, the world was created in 4004 BC, and the Flood was in 2348 BC. So right at the threshold, we have severe chronological problems — Çatalhöyük existed not only before the Flood, but also before the world was created. Nevertheless, Smith says Çatalhöyük existed not only after the Flood, but after mankind was disbursed from Babel. We’re confused, but we shall persevere. Here are some excerpts from Smith’s article, with bold font added by us:

What if you could go back in time to visit one of the first settlements after Babel? Well, it’s possible! In Turkey, archaeologists are unearthing an ancient town that was abandoned and frozen in time. Its unique wonders speak of mankind’s ageless ingenuity.

So-called “Stone Age” people were more sophisticated than you might think. They farmed, herded animals, manufactured tools, created art, and performed many of the same everyday tasks you do. They divided their time between rural, urban, and international activities as we do (well, except for the airplanes).

International activities? That’s nice. Let’s read on:

Usually, ancient cities have multiple levels from different time periods, with each new layer demolishing the lower levels. This mound in Turkey was “Stone Age” from top to bottom. … It was a scene from the early years after Babel, frozen in time.

Yeah, okay. Smith continues:

Since we know that the Hittites ultimately ruled this part of the world, perhaps these were some of the first descendants of Canaan, the Hethites, who left Babel (Genesis 10:15). It appears that once their numbers had grown to sufficient size, they settled in this spot known today as Çatalhöyük (Turkish for “forked mound”).

Speaking of populations after Babel, we rigorously calculated the numbers in Answers in Genesis — The Ice Age. At the time of the disbursal from Babel there were only 81 human families in existence, and they scattered all over the world. But somehow there were enough to build Çatalhöyük. Here’s more from Smith’s article:

Images of cattle appear on the plaster walls throughout the Çatalhöyük homes. Wall paintings indicate that these were most likely wild and hunted as part of a religious ritual.

Religious ritual? This should be interesting, because according to what we previously learned from AIG, if this city was built and settled shortly after Babel, it was only four generations — maybe a century or so — after Noah and the Flood. The religious practices in Çatalhöyük should reflect the ghastly experience of the Flood. But according to that Wikipedia article on Çatalhöyük:

A striking feature of Çatalhöyük are its female figurines. Mellaart, the original excavator, argued that these well-formed, carefully made figurines, carved and molded from marble, blue and brown limestone, schist, calcite, basalt, alabaster, and clay, represented a female deity. Although a male deity existed as well, “statues of a female deity far outnumber those of the male deity, who moreover, does not appear to be represented at all after Level VI.”

Egad — they not only had a male deity, but also a female deity! How could that have happened so soon after the Flood? Didn’t those people learn anything from the global disaster? For some reason, Smith doesn’t mention any of that.

We’re going to skip the rest of Smith’s article. You can read it for yourself if you want to. Oh wait — we can’t omit this:

What attracted them here? The Konya plain is the largest plain in Turkey. During the Ice Age in the years following the dispersion from Babel, it was covered by a massive inland lake.

Ice Age? What Ice Age? There’s nothing like that in the bible. As is typical of creationists, AIG merrily ignores or invents facts whenever they need to. Hey, Smith: Were you there?

Ah well, here’s how the essay ends:

We may never be sure exactly what happened, but who knows what new clues await? … It is an exciting time to be alive, as the history of the people who scattered from Babel is still being pieced together, including the amazing people of Çatalhöyük.

So there you are, dear reader. Now you know how things were after the Tower of Babel. AIG is a great source of information!

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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22 responses to “Answers in Genesis — Life After Babel

  1. My brain hurts…

  2. If you take a look at Genesis 4:17-23, you will find that in a few generations after Adam there were products of civilization well before Babel. Well before the Flood, too. I don’t know how they reconcile that with the Flood story, let alone archeology. Anyway, this article mentions eggs of ducks and geese, so it seems that those species of the Anatidae baramin had already micro-evolved by then.
    These people have apparently hardened themselves to accepting contradictions in the the Bible, and in their own accounts, so that it is easy to accept contradictions with reality.

  3. Creationist John Woodmorappe, in his article, “The non-transitions in ‘human evolution’—on evolutionists’ terms” claims that the change from modern man, i.e., Adam and Eve, to Homo ergaster, Homo erectus, Homo heidelbergensis, and Homo neanderthalensis took place after the Babel incident, which is usually placed after the global flood and in the range of 4,000 to 5,300 years ago.

    The implications of this are huge: Woodmorappe’s perceived change from modern man to Homo ergaster would require a rate of evolution on the order of several hundred times as rapid as scientists posit for the change from Homo ergaster to modern man! This is in spite of the fact that most creationists deny evolution occurs on this scale at all. Now we see a creationist not only propose such a change himself, but he sees it operating several hundreds of times faster and in reverse!

  4. Charles Deetz ;)

    So this is basically a breezy review of the archeological information without any specifics of dates given. And three or four sentences that have to do with it perhaps being the first post-Babel city. Not even a creationist archeologist quoted or referenced who is doing work on this or reinterpreting the evidence. Shiesters.

  5. The whole truth

    “…the author is David B. Smith, described as having a master of divinity degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and also a master of arts degree in Bible and cognate studies from Hebrew Union College — Jewish Institute of Religion where he studied archaeology and ancient Near Eastern history.”

    In other words, Smith is totally brainwashed and likely can’t tie his shoelaces without help. There are so many things wrong with what he spewed that it would take all day to point it all out. One thing: As SC said, Smith’s dates for the existence of Çatalhöyük are weird since they contradict the alleged ~6,000 year age of the universe and Earth that YECs believe. I’m surprised that hambo hasn’t screamed ‘Blasphemer!’ and dropped Smith into the sea with a millstone hung around his neck.

  6. I’m confused. (not an unusual state!) If this city was Stone Age does that mean that metal working skills were lost in the Flood or that Noah built the biggest wooden vessel ever with stone tools? And where does this leave “The Ark Encounter” barn? Is Hammy going to admit that Noah couldn’t have built such a vessel?

  7. So, the latest inspired article from AIG has inspired some doubts in me. The only people who survived the flood believed in the God of the bible. Yet here he is talking about 4 generations after the flood people believing in female deities. Did the flood achieve nothing? How could these unbelievers be hanging around? Also, as Noah’s family spread out at top speed and with unsurprassed fecundity, they appear to have abandoned good parenting and let their offspring forget their god and boom, we got all the other religions and belief systems that are the curse of hambone’s existence. It’s almost like god’s murder of everyone in the world had no point. The ingrates appear to have forgotten all the lessons their loving god wanted to teach them by murdering everyone in the world via the flood. Isn’t this sacrilege, or worse? I am deeply confused and in need of further guidance from the geniuses at AIG!

  8. It is fun watching scientific historical research slowly paint mysticism into a corner. Slowly but surely the apologetics become more and more disconnected from reality. All they will eventually be left with is the need to force others into the fold by whatever arbitrary means are available. That won’t end well.

  9. @Dean
    Yes. It is truly fascinating how much is being learned about so many different things.
    Creationism provides a unifying force, by getting so many things wrong.
    I think that they made a strategic mistake when they decided to accept fossils as being real remains of once-living things. They should have held out for being deceptions of demons or frauds. Once setting that precedent, they have to accept the discoveries of archeologists. And the findings of astronomers, too. (There could be an easy solution to the ancient-starlight problem.)
    I wonder when the advances in the recovery of ancient DNA will attract their attention.

  10. Whenever the Curmudgeon quotes something from the AIG crowd I am astonished they can be so totally confused about everything. I wonder if Davey boy realizes that the idea that these guys had come up with a bunch of male and female gods less than four generations after the his favourite sky fairy wiped nearly everything out in a fit of envy is compatible with the view that people invent gods in their own image, rather than the other way round.

  11. “Its unique wonders speak of mankind’s ageless ingenuity.”

    How can he speak of human city engineering achievements so glibly? That’s exactly the sort of thing Yahweh hates, which is why he stopped the building of Babel in the first place.

  12. @Greatscot — “Yet here he is talking about 4 generations after the flood people believing in female deities.”

    Not only that, but since everyone supposedly still lived for hundreds of years after the flood, this “fourth generation” that came up with pagan goddess worship and all these other religions was contemporary to the time of Noah and his sons. Even the ancient rabbis were scratching their heads, trying to figure out how patriarchs like Shem could still be alive in the time of Abraham (based on biblical chronology), and wondering why they went into hiding.

  13. GreatScot says: “Yet here he is talking about 4 generations after the flood people believing in female deities.”

    That wasn’t Smith, it was me, quoting Wikipedia. Smith totally avoided the subject.

  14. Ceteris Paribus

    “David B. Smith, [is] described as having a master of divinity degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and also a master of arts degree in Bible and cognate studies from Hebrew Union College — Jewish Institute of Religion where he studied archaeology and ancient Near Eastern history.”

    A pity that David did not complete his education with a PhD. There are plenty of respected institutions of higher learning where for a mere couple of thousand dollars tuition and a semester or two of study, David could have been awarded the much coveted PhD in Sports Medicine to add to his CV.

    It would not have added anything to his prowess in biblical studies, but at least in Sports Medicine he could earn an honest living.

  15. Charles Deetz ;)

    I find this PDF to be the best summation of AIG’s interpretation of reality, and how much it hurts to try to connect it to reality:

    Click to access ice-age-map.pdf

  16. David Smith’s education clearly did not include the fact that the Anatolian Hittites spoke an Indo-Eurpean language, which according to the classification in Genesis would make them descendants of Japheth.

  17. @Paul Braterman
    But the story of Babel begins with the observation that the whole world spoke one language. I don’t know how to reconcile that with distinguishing between descendants of Ham, Shem and Japheth according to language family. For one thing, the concept of an Indo-European family of languages is a decidedly modern thing. And even just confining ourselves to languages of the Ancient Near East, Sumerian (which, by the way, is unknown to the Bible) is unrelated to any other known language.
    There is so much that has been learned in the last couple of centuries in so many distinct fields. It isn’t just the natural sciences.

  18. @Charles Deetz – That chart is truly hilarious. I especially enjoyed the parts where they casually drop in explanatory notes like “Humans enter Australia” and “Humans enter the Americas” and “Asshur builds four cities…”, all within nine generations and 350 years after the flood. Kind of gives new meaning to the phrase “doing it like bunnies.”

    Not to mention that the chart also points out that “The fossil record indicates that this era was rocked by constant flooding, supervolcanoes, massive earthquakes, and ‘super snowstorms’.” That was one tough crew, not least because some of them had evolved into Neanderthals within five generations and were roaming Europe just two generations before Abram.

  19. @TomS – “I wonder when the advances in the recovery of ancient DNA will attract their attention.”

    That’s kind of like wondering when today’s newspaper is going to attract the attention of your puppy.

  20. Of course. Out out of possibly misplaced charity to Smith, I was looking at the Genesis text in its own terms, not ours. The post-flood “generations” of Genesis, it was suggested by the Mishnaic rabbis, can be mapped on to different peoples; “Javan” (the Ionians), for example, is a descendant of Japheth, and Mizraim (an interesting name; grammatically dual, “the two Egypts”) and Cush (Ethiopia) both descended from Ham. But on examination, I doubt if even this scheme could be made to fit. It was presumably composed to support the mythical claim that the Canaanites and the Hebrews were different people, so one is ascribed to Ham and the other one to Shem.

    Which has led me completely off topic. Apologies.

  21. michaelfugate

    It is interesting how people talk about how fast technology is changing today, but can you imagine what the “post-flood” people encountered? Every day a new technology – stone tools one day, and iron-smithing the next. Or imagine waking up everyday and finding new species of plants and animals – it must have been confusing!

  22. What bull stuff! How can a city claim to be 9000-7000 years old when we all know the world is only 6000 years old. This is the absolute worst in historical “science.” And, really, was he there? Sheesh!