The title of this post is kind of clunky, but necessary.
When I first heard this news about a week ago, my immediate thought was “How long will it take for someone to email me that this specimen is from the nephilim?” I now have my answer. This morning my email box contained this link, which breathlessly proclaims “what has been discovered in China is the skull of a giant, but nobody in the scientific community would ever dare to use that sort of terminology.”
If only they had read the actual report (and in some cases, even the archaeo-porn media added the most important detail).
Here is the short scientific summary of the skull. It was written by the same folks who published the find in long form under peer review. Here is the summary:
Ni Massive cranium from Harbin
I have highlighted a few lines in the summary, the most relevant of which is this (note the boldface):
“The Harbin cranium has a large cranial capacity (ca. 1,420 mL) falling in the range of modern humans, but is combined with a mosaic of primitive and derived characters.”
So the skull has a cranial capacity of people like you and me. Or your mom and dad. It’s not a giant human relic. It’s only “gigantic” in relative proportion to other ancient humans in the human evolutionary tree discussed for a very long time by the scientific community. They’re excited to have found something so large (like our craniums) that old, when other specimens are more “chimp like” in size.
So much for that. Please — let’s read the material for what it says, not what we want it to say.
I’m not a scientist, so I can’t evaluate the human evolutionary line for validity. But I know faithful Christians with a high view of Scripture who can, and have, and embrace human evolution. One of those is S. Joshua Swamidass, who believes Adam and Eve (and their descendants) were historical people not in the genetic-evolutionary line of other paleo-humans. If you find this subject interesting, I recommend his book to you, The Genealogical Adam and Eve: The Surprising Science of Universal Ancestry. I would not talk about the nephilim the way he does (but to be honest, he doesn’t take a position; he just alludes to what others have said). But he’s a real geneticist, not a dabbler, and his book has been reviewed by atheists — who don’t like his faith, but cannot assail his science. I’ve also interviewed Josh on my podcast: Part 1 and Part 2. He blogs and podcasts at Peaceful Science. I’ve been a guest a couple of times on his podcast.