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Monday, January 19, 2015

WHAT WAS INVENTED FIRST: GOD, FIRE, FARMING, THE WHEEL OR A BRIDGE?

I have only two simple solutions left for Humanity's greatest problems, so I thought I'd go back in time and enlighten you on Humanity's greatest inventions.  My final solution will be for death/Heaven, so this posting could be looked upon as a prelude to that ultimate.  Asked which is the oldest invention of Man--God, fire, farming, wheel or bridge--you might find surprise with the answer.

Let me begin with, perhaps, the most important creation of Humanity:  GOD.  For the more conventional (worldwide, the non-religious range from 10%-20%, with at least one survey showing that 84% do believe in God), hang with me here for a while, and I look forward to your comments.  First, I can't imagine chimpanzees inventing God.  Somewhere between them and Homo sapiens, some ancestor of us came up with this brilliant idea, some supreme power, to keep people honest.  

The nuclear (mother/father/children) family surely came at the very beginning, or we wouldn't be here.  At some point, extended families formed, where tasks were shared and security could be maximized.  Early societies ranged from 60 to 100, and were mobile, because there was a limit to the commons--they ate and hunted to a point of decimation and had to move on.  I suspect it was during this period that a leader invented God to keep the community together.  

But when? Primates came 85 million years ago, and our Hominoid chain diverged perhaps 15-20 million years ago.  It is said that orangutans actually branched off later, maybe 14 million years ago.  Donald Johanson (right) unearthed Lucy, the first human link, who was 3.2 million years old.  The earliest Homo genus, Homo habilis, evolved around 2.3 million years ago.  

Our brains grew and two pathways, Homo erectus and Homo ergaster, finally began to leave Africa around 1.5 million years ago.  Chances are high that our early roots did not look like Raquel Welch, for anatomically modern Homo sapiens only evolved probably around 200,000 years ago, but maybe as recently as 50,000 years.   Supervolcano Toba erupted around 75,000 BC, nearly bringing an end to human life, for there was a 6-10 year long winter due to the particulates blocking sunlight.  Plus, there followed a millennium long cooling period.  

Then again, maybe not, for the state of pre-archeology is that there are always opposing points of view, not unlike fundamental science today.   I say only because it takes light 100,000 years just to pass from one end of our Milky Way galaxy to the other end, and there are probably several hundred billion galaxies in our Universe.

My wild guess, then, is that God was invented by some Homo genus community one or two million years ago.  In any case, religion and a watchful God (in their minds) kept these bands of wandering Homo species together in a manner that could well have been a pivotal reason why we are here today.  Where did I find this theory?  I just made it up, but there are books on this subject.

There is very little question that fire was discovered before the wheel was invented.  Almost surely before God, some early ancestor saw the remains of a forest fire, found a cooked bird or bear, ate it, and thought, wow, this tastes okay.  It took another bit of genius to actually create fire, but that was inevitable after that accident.  

Again the surmisals are all over the map, but 1.8 million years ago seems reasonable, a contention by Richard Wangham in his book Catching Fire.

More recently, some more definitive evidence revealed that Homo erectus a million years ago invented fire in South Africa.  Why didn't they, then, dominate?  Here is the Wonderwerk Cave where cooking might have occurred:

Anyway, moving on, at some point these hunting/gathering societies finally figured out something called farming, and, who knows, it might have been around this period that the concept of God became prominent, for a stable community can both solidify the worth of religion and provide recorded evidence.  Most history books seem to say that the Fertile Crescent (Middle East countries with rivers, of what is now Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Syria, etc.) started farming around 10,000 BC.  However, the BBC reported that Stone age people in Israel collected seeds of wild grasses around 21,000 BC.  

But more so, there is a human body with rice, maize and salt embedded in rock which dates back to 30,5000 BC in  Sri Lanka.  Critical mass contagion could well have also spurred the beginning of a Deity. Hinduism is the oldest religion, said to have begun around 2000 BC.  There are signs that the roots of Hindu could well have come from Sri Lanka.  The cradle of civilization might now need to be shifted from the Middle East to this largely historically ignored spot on our globe, for this is where the concept of farming and a Supreme Being might well have begun.

Wheels were definitely a Homo sapien invention, for most scholars pinpoint a wooden-wheel for a vehicle in  Slovenia from 3150 BC (left), with a wooden Mesopotamian wooden wheel (right) for a potter, from around 3500 BC.  The oldest in China was only 2000 BC. Certainly, too, there were various potter's wheels around 4500 BC and other forms of wooden wheels as far back as 6500 BC. 

Let me end with a NASA photo showing a man-made bridge between India and Sri Lanka that is said to be 1.75 million years old, or as aged as any of the above:

Should this technological marvel be true, that would seal Sri Lanka as the genesis of humanity.  However, modern day technology might have mis-seen a myth, as retorted The Times of India.  So perhaps God came before fire or farming or the wheel or any bridge.  On the other hand, this intriguing prospect is why Sir Arthur C. Clarke (2001, the entire 124 minute movie if you click on it, but with a Pink Floyd perspective, which begins, appropriately enough, with the Dawn of Pre-Humanity) moved to Ceylon (independence came in 1948, but the name change to Sri Lanka occurred in 1972) in 1956 (some say this was because he was gay or a pedophile).  He passed away in 2008.  

Remarkably, just before his death, a massive gamma-ray burst reached Planet Earth after a 7.5 billion year journey as the furthest object that has been seen with the naked eye.  The world awaits 2038 when his archives will be published.

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