Historians know better and an evolutionary biologist of Dawkins stature should know better; for the absence of evidence argument is a favorite ploy by the don’t-believe-in-evolution crowd who unceasingly point to the absence of fossil records as evidence of God’s hand in creation. Historians are more careful, acknowledging that there may be missing data, gaps in the written records to be bridged, and Eurocentric biases to be overcome. Western-centric exceptionalism is clearly a means of seeing only what we want to see. For example, many of us learned from our school histories that David Livingstone, the British explorer and missionary, discovered Victoria Falls in 1855. None of us would go so far as to suggest that the falls did not exist before then, when they turn up in the historical record of the West. But when we widen our viewing lens we learn that they were well known to Muslim scholars in the days of the Byzantine Empire and before that to the indigenous people of the region as the Mosi-oa-Tunya falls (“Smoke that Thunders”). From stone artifacts found in the region, we can be reasonably confident that they were known 50,000 years ago.
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