Review by Greg Neyman
© Old Earth Ministries
First Published 3 April 2006
Young earth creation science ministry Answers in Genesis ran an article in the June 2004 issue of Creation Magazine, in which the discovery of a 1,500 year old toothpaste formula was discussed (the article was the featured article on the Creation Ministries International website on 1 April 2006).1
The young earth author David Catchpoole explains that an Egyptian toothpaste formula from the 4th century AD was recently discovered, making it the oldest known toothpaste formula. The thing that Catchpoole emphasizes is that the formula contains Iris, which only recently in modern times has been discovered to be an effective agent against gum disease.
Catchpoole goes into a discussion of the Christian monks of that time, and how they were noted for their medical knowledge. He contrasts this by saying "For those who are used to thinking in evolutionary terms, i.e. who regard early man as 'primitive', such discoveries of the advanced level of technology in earlier cultures can often be a real eye-opener." He is right that this is an eye-opener, but it applies to young earth creationists as well, who like Catchpoole, are equally impressed with their knowledge.
This early toothpaste really has no implications for a young earth. Many other medical discoveries have been based on ancient medical practice. Many of the folk remedies that have been passed down through the ages have truth to them. People experimented with different plants, and found that some had beneficial side-effects. The early Egyptian who discovered this probably experimented with many plants before choosing the Iris.
An Egyptian man, from 1,500 years ago, who experimented with plants can hardly be called "primitive." Catchpoole calls this an example of "advanced level of technology." There is no technology involved! If the ancient Egyptians had a computer, now that would be "technology." All we are talking about here is herbal medicine.
The news of ancient toothpaste is no news at all. However, if Catchpoole finds a toothpaste formula written by a Neanderthal on a cave wall, that would be "eye-opening!"
1 Creation Magazine, Volume 26, Issue 3. Published on the Answers in Genesis website at answersingenesis.org/creation/v26/i3/toothpaste.asp, and on Creation Ministries International at http://www.creationontheweb.com/content/view/556
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