Answers in Genesis Struggles to Make Sense of Vast Numbers of Stone Age Artifacts

How many stone age tools and associated artifacts are there and what are the implications of their existence? I raised those questions in a series of posts in the past year (Trillions of Stone Age Artifacts: A Young Earth Anthropology Paradox and How Rare are Stone Age Artifacts? A Visit to a Stone Tool-Making Center in Kathu, South Africa).   Earlier this summer, Dr. Terry Mortenson, representing the creation apologist’ organization Answers in Genesis, responded to the first of these in an article, Trillions of “Artifacts”—Who’s Really Got the Problem?, published on the Answers in Genesis website.  To this point I have not responded directly to Morten’s article. Rather, I have been working on a series of additional articles that will examine Stone Age artifacts at several locations and address some of the original questions that I had posed in those first two articles.  At the same times these will indirectly address some of the serious misconceptions and errors contained in Mortenson’s article.

While I have not published a direct response to Mortenson, two other bloggers ( and have written excellent critiques of Mortenson’s ill-advised attempt to sweep Stone-Age artifacts under the desert sand or just outright dismiss their very existence. Both have provided much more comprehensive and articulate responses than I could have written.  I very much appreciate the considerable effort both have put forth and  I encourage you to read Mortenson’s original article and these responses.

I am in full agreement with these critiques and have reblogged the intro to each of their critiques below.  Both identify similar significant problems with Mortenson’s understanding of the stone artifacts and demonstrate that Answers in Genesis still has a Stone Age artifact problem.  Trillions of artifacts are REALLY a problem for creationists

Stone tools from a single site, a mere fragment of the trillions of artifacts across Africa

For more than 2 million years the pinnacle of human technology was stone tools. During this period – known as the stone age – trillions of artifacts were made by our ancestors in Africa. The Naturalis Historia blog (one of my favourites) noted that this poses a bit of a problem for young earth creationists. They claim the stone age was only 500 years long. How could trillions of artifacts be produced in such a short period of time? Answers in Genesis (AiG) tried to defend the young earth model; arguing:

  1. Even if you use the evolutionary length of the stone age (~2 million years) there are still too many tools.
  2. Most of these trillions of artifacts aren’t actually artifacts, but natural formations
  3. Large parts of Africa weren’t inhabited by hominins, so you can’t estimate stone tools for the whole of Africa.
  4. Most of these artifacts can’t be reliably attributed to the stone age anyway.

Unfortunately for Dr Mortenson, the author, these arguments don’t have a scrap (or perhaps a stone flake) of veracity between them. Naturalis Historia is right, let me explain why.

Continue reading here..

A few weeks ago published an article responding to Mortenson’s work entitled:

Terry Mortenson concedes: ‘Stone Age’ tools are a problem for YEC

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Answers in Genesis generally does well not to acknowledge its best critics, because doing so exposes their audience to the fact that theirs is a ministry rooted in pseudoscience, which is ultimately damaging to the cause of Christ. If we abhor the truth as it pertains to the natural world, how are we to persuade anyone that we hold the keys to God’s kingdom?
Continue reading here..

Cover image from Scerri et al. 2014 artifacts from KAM1 sight in Saudi Arabia

2 thoughts on “Answers in Genesis Struggles to Make Sense of Vast Numbers of Stone Age Artifacts

  1. Nice example (unless you are a YEC fundamentalist Christian which case they will assume that professing Christians are in bed with the atheists and that that is always shocking and appalling) of non-Christians and Christians reaching the SAME general conclusions about science (and about YEC excuses and religiously motivated counter-claims).


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