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Human origins (1893) by S. Laing - PDF

Human origins

Human origins







Excerpt from the introduction:

The reception which has been given to my former works leads me to believe that they have had a certain educational value for those who, without being specialists, wish to keep themselves abreast of the culture of the day and to understand the leading results and pending problems of Modern Science. 

Of these results, the most interesting are those which bear upon the origin and evolution of the human race. In my former works, I have treated these mainly from the point of view of geology and palaeontology, and have hardly touched on the province which lies nearest to us, that of history and of prehistoric traditions. In this province, however, a revolution has been affected by the discoveries of the present century, which is no less important than that made by geological research and by the doctrine of Evolution. 
Down to the middle of the nineteenth century, and to a considerable extent down to the present day, the Hebrew Bible was held to be the sole and sufficient authority as to the early history of the human race.

It was believed, -with a certainty which made doubt impious, that the first man Adam was created in or about the year 4004 B.C., or not quite 6000 years ago; and that all human and other life was destroyed by a universal Deluge,' 1656 years later, with the exception of Noah and his wife, their sons and their wives, and pairs of all living creatures, by whom the earth was repeopled from the mountain-peak of Ararat as a centre. The latest conclusions of modern science show that uninterrupted historical records, confirmed by contemporary monuments, carry history back at least 1000 years before the supposed Creation of Man, and 2500 years before the date of the Deluge, and show then no trace of a commencement; but populous cities, celebrated temples, great engineering works, and a high state of the arts and of civilization, already existing. 

This is of the highest interest, both as bearing on the dogma of the Divine inspiration of the historical and scientific, as distinguished from the moral and religious, portions of the Bible, and on the still more important question of the true theory of Man's origin and relations to the Universe. 

The so-called conflict between Religion and Science is at the bottom one between two conflicting theories of the Universe—the first that it is the creation of a personal God who constantly interferes by miracles to correct His original work; the second, that whether the First Cause is a personal God or something inscrutable to human faculties, the work was originally so perfect that the whole succession of subsequent events has followed by Evolution acting by invariable laws. 

The former is the theory of orthodox believers, the latter that of men of science, and of liberal theologians. who like Bishop Temple, find that the theory of " original impress" is more in accordance with the idea of an Omnipotent and Omniscient Creator, to whom "a thousand years are as a day," than the traditional theory of a Creator constantly interfering to supplement and amend His original Creation" by supernatural interferences. 

It is evidently important for all who desire to arrive at truth, and to keep abreast of the culture of the day, to have some clear conception of what historical and geological records really teach, and what sort of a standard or measuring-rod they supply in attempting to carry back our researches into the depths of prehistoric and of geological time. I have therefore in this work begun with the historic period, as giving us a solid foundation and standard of time, by which to gauge the vastly longer periods which lie behind, and ascended from this by successive steps through the Neolithic and Palaeolithic ages, and the Quaternary and Tertiary periods, so far as the most recent discoveries throw any light on the mysterious question of " Human Origins."


The author illustrates the history of ancient civilizations. 

Some of the Contents:



 EGYPT.

 Historical Standard of Time^Short Date inconsistent with.Evolution — Laws of Historical Evidence — History begins with Authentic Records — Records of Egypt oldest — Manetho's Lists — Confirmed by Hieroglyphics — Origin of Writing — The Alphabet — Phonetic Writing — Clue to Hieroglyphics — The Rosetta Stone — Champollion — Principles of Hieroglyphic Writing — Language Coptic — Can be read with certainty — Confirmed by Monuments — Manetho's Date for Menes 5004 B.C.— Old, Middle, and New Empires— Old Empire, Menes, to end of Sixth Dynasty — Break between Old and Middle Empires — Works of Twelfth Dynasty — Fayoum — Thirteenth and Fourteenth Dynasties — Hyksos Conquests — Duration of Hyksos Rule — Their Expulsion and Foundation of New Empire — Conquests in Asia of Seventeenth and Eighteenth Dynasties — Wars with Hittites and Assyrians — Persian and Greek Dynasties — Summary of Evidence for Date of Menes — Period prior to Menes — Horsheshu — Sphynx — Stone Age — Neolithic and Palaeolithic Eemains — Horner, Haynes, and Pitt-Rivers

CHALDiEA. 

Chronology — Berosus — His Dates mythical — Dates in Genesis — Synchronisms with Egypt and Assyria — Monuments — Cuneiform Inscriptions — How deciphered — Behistan Inscription — Grotefend and Rawlinson — Layard — Library of Koyunjik  — How preserved — Accadian Translations and Grammars — Historical Dates — Elamite Conquest — Commencement of Modern History — TJr-Ea and Dungi — Nabonidus — Sargon I., 3800 B.C.— TJr of the Chaldees— Sbarrukin's Cylinder— His Library — His Son Naram-Sin — Semites and Accadians — Accadians and Chinese — Period before Sargon I. — Patesi — De Sarzec's find at Sirgalla— Gud-Ea, 4000 to 4500 B.C.— Advance of Delta — Astronomical Records — Cbaldsea and Egypt give similar results — -Historic Period 6000  - 7000 years — and no trace of a beginning


ANCIENT SCIENCE AND ART.

 Evidence of Antiquity—Pyramids and Temples—Arithmetic Decimal and Duodecimal Scales—Astronomy—Geometry reached in Egypt at earliest Dates—Great Pyramid—^Piazzi Smyth and Pyramid-Religion—Pyramids formerly Royal Tombs, but built on Scientific Plans—Exapt Orientation on Meridian—Centre in 30° N. Latitude—Tunnel points to Pole—^Possible use as an Observatory—Procter—Probably Astrological—Planetary Influences—Signs of the Zodiac —Mathematical Coincidences of Great Pyramid—Chaldsean Astronomy—Ziggurats—Tower of Babel—Different Orientation from Egyptian Pyramids—Astronomical Treatise from Library of Sargon I., 3800 B.C.—Eclipses and Phases of Venus—Measures of Time from Old Chaldsean—Moon and Sun—Found among so many distant Races—Implies Commerce and Intercourse—Art and Industry—Embankment of Menes—Sphynx—Industrial Arts—Fine Arts— Sculpture and Painting—The Oldest Art the best—Chaldsean Art—De Sarzec's Find at Sirgalla—Statues and Works of Art—Imply long use of Bronze—Whence came the Copper and Tin—Phoenician and Etruscan Commerce—Bronze known 200 years earlier—Same Alloy everywhere—Possible Sources of Supply—Age of Copper—Names of Copper and Tin—Domestic Animals—Horse—Ox and Ass—Agriculture —All proves Extreme Antiquity


THE HISTORICAL ELEMENT IN THE OLD TESTAMENT. 

Moral and Religious distinct from Historical Inspiration—Myth and Allegory—The Higher Criticism—All Ancient History unconfirmed by Monuments untrustworthy—Cyrus—Old Testament and Monuments—Jerusalem—Tablet of Tell-el- Amarna—Flinders Petrie's Exploration of Pre-Hebrew Cities—Ramses and Pthom—First certain Synchronism Rehoboam—Composite Structure of Old Testament—Elohist and Jehovist—Priests' Code—Canon Driver—Results Book of Chronicles—Methods of Jewish Historians—Post- Exilic References—Tradition of Esdras—Nehemiah and Ezra—Foundation of Modern Judaism—^DifEerent from Pre-Exilic—Discovery of Book of the Law under Josiah Deuteronomy—Earliest Sacred Writings—Conclusions Aristocratic and Prophetic Schools—Triumph of Pietism with Exile—Both compiled partly from Old Materials Crudeness and Barbarism of Parts—Pre-Abrahamic Period clearly mythical—Derived from Chaldea—Abraham—Unhistoric Character—His Age—Lot's Wife—His double  Adventure with Sarah—Abraham to Moses—Sojourn in EgyP*—Discordant Chronology—Josephus' Quotation from Manetho—Small Traces of Egyptian Influence—Future Life—Legend of Joseph—Moses—Osarsiph—Life of Moses fall of Fabulous Legends—His Birth—Plagues of Egypt The Exodus—Colenso—Contradictions and Impossibilities —Immoralities—Massacres —Joshua and the Judges— Barbarisms and Absurdities—Only safe Conclusion no History before the Monarchy—David and Solomon — Comparatively Modern Date


GEOLOGY AND PALEONTOLOGY.
 Proved by Contemporary Monuments—As in History— Summary of Historical Evidence—Geological Evidence of Human Periods—Neolithic Period—Palaeolithic or Quaternary— Tertiary—Secondary and Older Periods—The Recent or Post-Glacial Period—Lake-Villages—Bronze Age— Kitchen-Middens—Scandinavian Peat-mosses —Neolithic Remains comparatively Modern—Definition of Post-Glacial Period—Its Duration—Mellard Read's Estimate—Submerged Forests—Changes in Physical Geography—Huxley —Objections from America—Niagara—Quaternary Period —Immense Antiqidty—Presence of Man throughout—First Glacial Period—Scandinavian and Laurentian Ice-caps Immense Extent—Mass of Debris—Elevation and Depression— In Britain—Inter-Glacial and Second Glacial Periods —Antiquity measured by Changes of Land—Lyell's Estimate —Glacial SSbris and Loess—Recent Erosion—Bournemouth —Evans—Prestwioh—Wealden Ridge and Southern Drift —Contain Human Implements—Evidence from New World —California

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