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Were the first humans 90 feet tall?

There is an authentic hadith in islam that says that adam was 90 feet tall. Could it be possible that the first humans that ever walked this earth were 90 feet or so in height. What is the evidence for or against this statement?

Posted: June 18th 2011

Ophelia Benson www

As Dave Hitt said – this question seems just frivolous.

Posted: June 20th 2011

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Dave Hitt www

Can we just write off some questions as too silly to bother with? Maybe we should just reply with “Sheeeesh.”

That’s my answer to this one.

Sheeeesh.

Posted: June 19th 2011

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Tauriq Moosa www

The scientific responses have already been provided nicely by my fellow panelists. I would be interested in the notion of an authentic versus a false hadith. It reminds me of The Satanic Verses affair, with so many Muslims thinking that Salman Rushdie came up with the incident where Muhammad was deceived by “Satan”, therefore, making him (oh no!) human like the rest of us.

Whereas, we know it was spoken about in the biographies of Muhammad by people like al-Wāqidī and al-Tabarī. It was removed from the “official” Quran – which is itself one of many. Anyway, it would be interesting to assess why this incident is deemed false, even though it was spoken of by many “authentic” scholars, whereas other incidents were not.

The point being that speaking about an authentic hadith seems strange, since it is just as easy to speak of your hadith as inauthentic since you have as much evidence to justify authenticity in the Quran or the hadith as I do with, say, the Bible.

Notice too you are speaking about the hadith which has instructions to kill blasphemers and people like me, who have left Islam. I don’t doubt people believe it is authentic – enough that people like me have had their life threatened. But here the point is just because people believe it is authentic does not make it so.

Posted: June 19th 2011

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brian thomson www

There might not be evidence specifically against 90-foot-tall people, but there’s plenty of evidence in nature against any living creature growing that large.

If you look at the smallest insects, you can see how they are apparently fragile yet hardy: their legs are incredibly thin, and they are so light that some can fly with inefficient wings. At the opposite end of the scale: an elephant’s legs are thick and heavy, while fossils of dinosaurs show them to be even thicker – which put them at a major disadvantage against smaller, nimbler predators. Humans and most animals are somewhere around the middle of this scale. The smallest birds flit about seemingly at will, while the largest birds cannot fly at all.

The reason for this is simple geometry and physics. An object’s mass is directly (linearly) related to its volume, but the relationship between size and volume is not linear. If you have an object of a certain size, and you double its size in all three dimensions, its volume (and thus its mass) is not simply doubled: it is multiplied by a factor of 2 3 = 8. You would need legs 8x as strong, but the strength of a leg bone depends on its cross-sectional area of the bone, and that’s only increased by 2 2 = 4.

So, as you can see with the elephant, the legs need to become even thicker than a simple scaling-up would suggest. This makes them even heavier too. Your 90-foot-tall man would have legs so thick and heavy he would not be able to move at all. I’ll leave it others to have some fun with your notion of an “authentic hadith”.

Posted: June 19th 2011

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Eric_PK

Well, all of the archeological evidence shows that ancient humans (homo sapiens) were – discounting improved nutrition and medical treatment – pretty much as tall as modern humans are. If you go back to the ancient hominids, they tend to be less tall than modern humans as you get farther away from humans.

The evidence for this is archaeological and biological, and the extensive DNA studies have mostly verified the traditional scientific view of human evolution.

As for evidence towards 90 foot humans, I think there is none, nor do I think there is any evidence towards humans who lived 600 years.

Posted: June 19th 2011

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