Information icon.svg The 2018 moderator elections:
The Election booth is now open until 26 November!
Read the campaign slogans here!

Forum:Has anyone else noticed the correlation between the Garden of Eden creation story and the Agricultural Revolution?

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

I was thinking about history lately when I came up with a rather peculiar realization. There are a few correlations between the Garden of Eden creation story and the agricultural revolution.

Firstly, the Eden story takes place at the same time that Young Earth creationists claim the world began, which is what most scientists recognize as the agricultural revolution.

Secondly, the emphasis on agriculture (the garden) and naming/gaining dominion over animals, which was the agricultural revolution was all about. (Not to mention the "forbidden fruit", likely some sort of poisonous fruit.)

Third, the role of a snake as a villain. Snakes were one of the animals that remained antagonistic and uncontrollable to humans, as well as being deceitful and deadly.

Fourth, "the woman fucks it all up". The Agricultural revolution was when women started getting the shaft in human society, relegated to domestic chores as opposed to the leadership-like role they held during mankind's hunter-gatherer nomad days.

Lastly, the exile from the garden. Humans often left their homes to form new villages. (This is a bit of a weaker correlation, but still.)

Any thoughts?— Unsigned, by: Wolvenreign / talk / contribs

The shift from hunting/gathering to agriculture may well be a prominent layer in the account written in Genesis. No doubt there are other layers as well, and since it is a story, or accretion of stories, the layers are interwoven, unlike distinct soil horizons. I believe some scholars have connected the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil to the onset of self-awareness, which predates settled agriculture by very nearly a gazillion years, if not scores or hundreds of millennia. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 17:38, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
"the leadership-like role [women] held during mankind's hunter-gatherer nomad days" is supported by exactly what evidence? SophieWilder 20:21, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
Good question. All I remember from my reading about surviving Kalahari hunter-gatherer cultures was that the women were responsible for a lot of the "gathering" part, to the extent of memorising the locations of individual plants over the course of hundreds of miles of the annual nomadic trek. See the sprout in the spring; come autumn, find the tuber among the welter of dried stems, that kind of thing. Also, at night, a married woman venturing even a single pace from the family werf (which amounts to a nest in the grass, easily missed by civilised eyes) was the height of impropriety. Not exactly a leadership role... Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 20:37, 4 March 2013 (UTC)

Ah, I believe I was mistaken about the leadership role women played in the pre-agriculture days. Quite silly of me to bring that up from a mere conversation I had with someone I had considered intelligent. My mistake. Still, I think there may be some culturally misogynistic link between Eve's role as the tempted and the idea of women in those days. Perhaps it is merely a sexual allegory, as well. Who can say? I'm just speculating, really.— Unsigned, by: Wolvenreign / talk / contribs

The advent of agriculture as "The Fall of Man" is a beloved trope of Marxists and, curiously enough, (early) Jared Diamond. See here for a refutation. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 23:29, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
[ec]I, for one, would be interested in reading what that erstwhile intelligent-seeming person had to say about it, if you feel like sharing that. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 23:32, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
Sounds like it might be the usual ancient matriarchy stuff. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 23:35, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
Heh. If one is willing to call William S. Burroughs a practical anthropologist and pharmaceutical researcher in South- and Meso-America as well as north Africa, here are his words:
"If you find yourself in a matriarchy, walk, do not run, for the nearest border. If you run, some latent queer cop is liable to shoot you."
(Loosely quoted from unreliable memory...) Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 23:45, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
Hmm. I'm not sure I see a lot of refutation in that livinganthropologically link. It does criticize Diamond's lack of scrupulousness in citing sources, and points out that many hunter-gatherer societies had been pushed into marginal situations by the time notes could be made of their ways. That still seems like a (perhaps tenuous) way of saying agriculture is not quite the bees' knees, even though it made specialist industry possible. I'm not widely-enough read to add much else, so I'll lurk and read for a while. Thanks, Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 00:03, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Actually, the meat of the criticism is really in the next post, specifically: "The problem with Jared Diamond’s Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race is it lumps together all forms of gathering and hunting, then assumes this is a basic human model with enormous evolutionary depth. From this single model–the hunter-gatherers–there is one transition to another single model, that of agriculture." Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 01:19, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

You state: "Firstly, the Eden story takes place at the same time that Young Earth creationists claim the world began, which is what most scientists recognize as the agricultural revolution."

Most scientists believe the world came into existence with the agricultural revolution? Could we have some links for this remarkable claim? I'm guessing (or at least hoping) that you can't mean this agricultural revolution - which I must admit that I thought you meant at first - so then you mean this one in the neolithic? But even then it's not really when "the world began".

Or are you using "the world began" in two different senses in your statement?--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 08:45, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

Ah, my apologies. What I meant was that Young Earth creationists were claiming that the story of creation happened when most credible scientists recognize the agricultural revolution began. I'm somewhat quoting off of a Dawkins BBC film, in which he confronted a faith school teacher and said, "You do realize that the creation story happened around the time that most scientists recognize as the dawn of the agricultural revolution?". Again, this is somewhat sloppy on my part. I must apologize. -Wolvenreign 09:41 5 March 2013 (EST)

I guess Dawkins was speaking generally. According to YEC's the earth was created on October 23, 4004 BC, while the beginning of farming was a little earlier, happened at different places at different times and is a bit less exactly dated. :-)
But even if they were at about the same time - so what? If we take any arbitrary point in the past we should coincide with something - especially if we are relaxed enough about how we define "coincide".--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 15:01, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

Well, if you consider the curses inflicted by God on Adam and Eve, there is some correlation between them and changes in human society and physiology during the agricultural revolution. Adam is cursed with having to work at thorny and unfruitful ground (agriculture), and Eve is cursed with the pains of childbirth (there is evidence that anatomical changes made birth much more painful at around the time of the agricultural revolution, I believe that I heard that in Peter Watson's book The Great Divide). Sorry if this is a bit of a necropost. (Agrajag (talk) 18:55, 8 August 2014 (UTC))