Determining population estimates before 200 BC is purely a science of ‘educated guessing’.
There are very few mainstream scientists and statisticians willing to stick their neck out to make accurate guesses; especially when taking Biblical estimates as a baseline for these calculations. Many fear ridicule and even more simply cannot accept the statistical accuracy such a text could provide.
I started researching population growth curves because I wanted to explain it better to the learners in my classroom. What I found surprised me. It is ALL guess work. No real numbers have been documented past 2400 BC. In this article I try to make sense of all the information I gathered in a way that will help me to explain it to my learners. I hope in the end it could help you as well.
In the Beginning…
The oldest written records would surely be the best place to start gathering information. For this reason I searched the oldest civilizations. I focused on the Sumerian, Egyptian, Hebrew and Chinese records, as these seem to be the oldest. At best what I could find here was genealogies, and so I used them as my baseline.
In this search I made many observations, some deductions but unfortunately also had to make some assumptions, which I hope will not interfere too extremely with the final result. I must also confess that I am not a statistician, and I had trouble deciding on the population calculations, as there are so many different statistical equations to use.
Question: What factors will lead to a population growing?
Answer: A populations grows when more people are born, than people are dying.
Some scientists/statisticians would like us to assume that the world population growth go beyond the range of the narrative of human history. To this effect some have stated that the total world population in 2000 BC was 27 million and it increased to 170 million by the year 0. This apparently indicates a growth rate of only 0.00091 (0.0091%), with a doubling time of 753 years. (World History Site). I needed to verify this somehow , as I do not agree with the statement.
I used a percentage increase calculator to calculate the number of births per year for this % growth rate and found that there was only 2457 births per year for 27 million people. If a third of the population was too old to have children and a third was too young then it leaves us with 9 million people. If half were male and half were female then 4.5 million couples could exist. That gives me 0.0005 babies per couple per year. Which means 10 000 year would pass for five babies to be born per couple or 2000 years per baby. This does not make sense to me! Or maybe my maths suck!
I wanted to confirm the population growth rate calculation, but I did not know where to start. I found that Calculating population growth rate in the simplest form can be done as follow:
P(t2) = Current population
P(t1) = Past population
t2 = current date
t1 = past date
= (170 000 000 – 27 000 000)/(27 000 000 x (0-2000)
Since it did not work I tried this Population Growth formula:
P = Total population after time “t”
P0 = Starting population
r = % Rate of Growth
t = Time
e = Euler number (2.71828…)
P= P0 × e ^(rt)
P= 27 000 000 × 2.71828^(0.0091 x 2000)
P= 27 000 000 × 2.71828^(18.2)
P= 27 000 000 × 70928456.268538
P= 19 1506 8319 250 517
Since at this point my head wanted to explode with numbers, I focused on something else for a while: Genealogies.
A great deal is made about the fact that the first few generations after the flood committed incest on a fairly large scale. If we accept that only 6 people that left the Ark were able to reproduce, then we will have to accept that it would be impossible for them to NOT have at least a percentage of incest. Though mostly brother-sister marriages. This is difficult to accept by Christian standards.
Anthropologist suspect the argument that the ‘bloodlines must be kept pure’ argument were used in ruling families,
There is however ample indications that incest were practices all over the world including in Peru, (Karens of Tenasserim), Africa (Azande and Egypt), Europe (Kaniagmut tribes), and the Middle East (Iran). Anthropologist suspect the argument that the ‘bloodlines must be kept pure’ argument were used in ruling families, while Psychologists have found that statistically ‘perpetrators of incest are often radically religious and moralistic’.
Psychologists have found that statistically ‘perpetrators of incest are often rigidly religious and moralistic’.
Bloodlines of Shem
According to Biblical records Shem was the original forefather of both the West Asian (through Peleg) and East Asian (through Joktan) people. Joktan’s family of 13 sons is the largest family of the early times – and then they disappeared from the Bible. Shem had 5 sons of which one was Lud. Some scholars have suggested that Lud’s descendants spread to areas Far East beyond Elam. According to Muslim historian Muhammad ibn Jarir al Tabari (915 AD) Lud married Shakbah, the daughter of Japhet and he had at least two sons: Faris and Jurjan.
Bloodlines of Ham
Bloodlines of Japheth
Chinese genealogies – Middle, Central and Far East
China is one of the world’s oldest civilizations. Written records of the history of China can be found as early as 1500 BC. In the Records of the Grand Historian and the Bamboo Annals there is a description of the Three Sovereigns and the Five Emperors (2852 – 2070 BC) and the Xia dynasty (2070 – 1600 BC). This is part of history that were most likely orally transferred through the generations up until the Shang dynasty (1600 – 1048 BC) when it was finally recorded.
The Three Sovereigns were considered to be god kings or demigods.
The Five Emperors were exemplary sages with great moral character, living to great age and ruling over a period of peace.
Three plus Five equals Eight = The Ark
The Xia dynasty started when Shun, the last of the Five Emperors gave Yu the throne. Their capitol was Yangcheng, they spoke old Chinese and had a monarchy. It existed in the same time that Abraham was called.
The earliest Chinese civilization shared a belief in One True God, Creator of the Universe.
There is evidence that the ancient Chinese had close ties to the Mediterranean hidden in their language. The Chinese language contains about 600 basic symbols that can be basic words, or be combined to form more complex words and concepts. This language and the people are at least 700 years older than the book of Genesis, yet the first Chapters of the book of Beginnings (Genesis) are clearly described in the Chinese symbols. AN in depth study of this would be fascinating, but I am only going to focus on three very important concepts or events as proof:
- The Flood
- The Tower of Babel
The story told by the pictures is very clear, and shows that there had to have been a link or a common source of knowledge.
Truax, E. A. 1991. Genesis According to the Miao People. Acts & Facts. 20 (4). Provides a very interesting take on the origin of the Miao Tribe according to their verbal traditions. You can read the full article Here. I am interested in the genealogies only.
Miao Genealogy (Translated to English)
On the earth He created a man from the dirt.
Of the man thus created, a woman He formed.
Then the Patriarch Dirt made a balance of stones.
Estimated the weight of the earth to the bottom.
Calculated the bulk of the heavenly bodies.
And pondered the ways of the Deity, God.
The Patriarch Dirt begat Patriarch Se-teh.
The Patriarch Se-Teh begat a son Lusu.
And Lusu had Gehlo and he begat Lama.
The Patriarch Lama begat the man Nuah.
His wife was the Matriarch Gaw Bo-lu-en.
Their sons were Lo Han, Lo Shen and Jah-hu.
So the earth began filling with tribes and with families.
Creation was shared by the clans and the peoples.
The Patriarch Jahphu got the center of nations.
The son he begat was the Patriarch Go-men.
Who took him a wife called the Matriarch Go-yong.
Their grandson and his wife both took the name Tutan.
Their descendants are given in order as follows:
Patriarch Gawndan Mew-wan,
Matriarch Cawdan Mew-jew;
Patriarch Jenku Dawvu, Matriarch Jeneo Boje;
Patriarch Gangen Newang (wife not given);
Patriarch Seageweng, Matriarch Maw gueh.
Their children, eleven in number, was each the head of a family.
Five branches became the Miao nation.
Six families joined with the Chinese.