Talk:Cradle of humanity/Archive 1

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Older discussion

This article needs lots of NPOV editing to reflect all relevant viewpoints. An accurate new opening is likely to be considered "contentious":

"The 19th-century evangelical Protestants who invented the term Cradle of Humanity made generalized but undocumented claims that the term originated in Mesopotamia in the second century, and that it was used by early Arab Christians to refer to a geographic area that falls within a 1,000 mile radius of the spot they believed to be the birthplace of humankind. No documentation of such a historical use has been forthcoming. Nevertheless, the term has been used not only in religious, but also in secular contexts, and may therefore refer to different locations, depending on the views of the user."

Does there really need to be a link to anything scientific from an entry like this? Neutral point-of-view seems kind of irrelevant with this kind of geography and "words written by Moses". It seems odd to drag evolution into a discussion of dragons and unicorns. Wetman 02:29, 29 Jan 2004 (UTC)

NPOV is never irrelevant. Do you dispute that Genesis was written by Moses? OTOH, I agree the last sentence seems out of place. I'll try removing it. See if it gets reverted. Anthony DiPierro 22:16, 29 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Dispute "Written"? Not really. But then Hebrew was being written in the time of Moses, you think? Might as well say it was "printed" by Moses too.The Iliad was not actually written by Homer. Oral tradition is perfectly acceptable: no dispute. The text we have was edited in Jerusalem, shortly after 622 BC, based on separate oral traditions from Israel and from Judah. Much 7th century editing of the Tanach is identifiable by a broad mainstream community of scholarship, analyzing texts over the last 150 years. Surely that's not the issue. The issue is that this article is just Sunday-School: not genuine history, not genuine geography, not genuine archaeology, not even genuinely representing the interesting though inconclusive arguments about the placement of an "actual" Garden of Eden. The history of that discussion is real and should be in Wikipedia, whether or not the "Garden" itself is. Wetman 17:18, 31 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Disparaging remarks (like:"this article is just Sunday-School: not genuine history, not genuine geography...") about an issue that obviously has attracted the interest of people and an entire region since as far back as the second century do not strike me as representative of a neutral point of view (NPOV). Culpwit
The radius of 1,000 miles from Eden as the limit of the Cradle of Humanity may have been 'fixed' by early Arab Christians "Fixed"? Fixed using a compass on a map? Fixed at '1000 miles' because an English mile was a meaningful measurement to those "early Arab Christians"? Fixed because the site of the "Garden of Eden" has been established? "Sunday-School" is a harmless, tolerant and good-natured expression for this childish nonsense.Wetman 21:53, 1 Feb 2004 (UTC)

People of the 2nd century were definitely acquainted with the Roman mile (1000 double-steps for Roman soldiers). The Romans placed "milestones" throughout their Empire along all of their roads. Our modern day word "mile" comes from the Latin term "millia passuum" or "one thousand paces". -- David Martindale, NY, USA


"Childish nonsense" is also a "disparaging remark" — don't you think? ;-) Sentinel 20:59, 02 Feb 2004 (EST)
Too sly to be authentically childish actually. Look at the opener:
The term Cradle of Humanity seems to have originated in Mesopotamia in the second century where it was used by early Arab Christians... The sentence seems to suggest that its author or somebody has a document that "originated in Mesoptamia in the second century" This is bogus. No such usage exists.
Look at this: the location described in the Bible book of Genesis as the birthplace of mankind. You innocents don't realize how much this location has been discussed, looked for, disagreed upon, wrangled over, through the millennia. Now adult sense would track this dialogue and give us the genuine history— which is the history of the discussion. Is that a new thought? That would be real.
Look at this: ...early Arab Christians who were the dominant inhabitants of Mesopotamia... There isn't even a Wikipedia entry covering Arab Christians. Why? Do you know the misunderstanding that is inherent in the idea "Arab Christians" in Mesopotamia in the 2nd century?
Look at this: By the arrival of the Ottoman period (1516 - 1918), the term had become well accepted throughout the majority of the empire,.. Look at "majority." The "majority" of the empire is supposed to show how knowledgable this is: "Not all, just in the greater majority." Nobody's fooled by that. One quote from an Ottoman source using the phrase "Cradle of Humanity" would be just terrific here.

When I say "childish nonsense" I'm not being disparaging, Sentinel. I'm being diplomatic! Oh well! Carry on! Pay no attention to me! As you were, Brethren and Sistren! Wetman 04:10, 4 Feb 2004 (UTC)

C'mon Wetman, don't capitulate just yet! It's all about quality -- we need a good fight to establish that! Your challenges are well taken... Check the last entry at the bottom of the page from David Martindale: there's a refernec to a book on "Arab Christians" -- obviously Wikipedia is not yet complete... but we can get there. I am sure someone will provide you with a quote from an Ottoman text using the term "Cradle of Humanity"... Just give it some time... Sentinel 00:16, 05 Feb 2004, (EST)

Based on the latest addition to the article by 68.160.223.29 who added the section "Use of the Term", it seems that this matter has some resonance with people of the Middle East, who appear to be more concerned with the ambiguity of the term "Middle East" rather than the biological accuracy of the term "Cradle of Humanity." There also seems to be a desire, on the part of cultural scolars in the area, to have the world grant some recognition for the role the region played in the early historical development of man. I suspect that the loss of the Museum, Archives and Library in Baghdad, as a result of the recent Gulf War, may have played a role in the renewed debate on this topic.Sentinel 14:32, 30 Jan 2004 (EST)

Most of the websites found through google use this term to refer to East Africa, so I think we need to change the article drastically. Slrubenstein
However, depending on the context in which the user applies the term "Middle East," it may or may not include countries in northern Africa, southern Europe and various parts of Eurasia east of the Ural Mountains. This was the section that invented ambiguity where none really exists. I have moved it here. No one calls these areas part of the "Middle East." Feel free, though, to restore the text to the article, if it can be made justifiable. Wetman 17:18, 31 Jan 2004 (UTC)
Interestingly, though, the Wikipedia article on "Middle East" says this: ""Middle East" is still not a completely settled term and in some documents this area can also be referred to as the Near East. In some references, "Near East" also includes northeastern Africa. Moreover, the list of countries discussed in the context of Middle East is occasionally extended due to strong cultural, economic and political relationships to include such countries as Egypt (the rest of it), Turkey (European part), Morocco, Sudan, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and even Greece. It seems pretty clear that some European countries do get included in the term "Middle East" from time to time, and there is no dispute that Afganistan, Pakistan, etc. are east of the Ural Mountains, or that Egypt is a part of Africa. This does indeed show some measure of ambiguity regarding the term. I can understand that people of the region might find this rather irritating...


I agree with the last contibution, above. The mere fact that "parts of Egypt" and "parts of Turkey" are ususally included in the term "Middle East" has resulted in much confusion. It might also be useful to note that the Unit within the US State Department that handles what most people call the "Middle East" falls under the "Assistant Secretary of Near Eastern Affairs," even though all official public communications from that office describe the area as "the Middle East" in order to limit any confusion. Not surprisingly, issues relating to Afganistan and Pakistan are also handled by that department. There is definitely a fair case for stating that the meaning of the term "Middle East" is open to multiple interpretation. Sentinel 13:43, 31 Jan 2004 (EST)

That bit from the Wikipedia article on "Middle East" goes back to 2002. Let's see this obfuscation mentioned in a standard geography text.Instead of claiming ambiguity, Wikipedia should report on the most conventional use of the term: U.S. State Dept., standard atlases, and leave it at that. Bosnia and Ethiopia and Algeria.... "Middle East" doesn't mean "places with a large Islamic population" such as Jersey City, New Jersey, or Tajikistan... Wetman 18:56, 31 Jan 2004 (UTC)
While it is true that the term "Middle East" should NOT mean places with a large Islamic population, the fact is that it has somehow come to mean exactly that, if those places also happen to be anywhere around the Mediteranean, the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea or the Arabian Sea, which, of course, Jersey City, New Jersey is not. The fact of the matter is that nowhere will you be able to find a definitive LIST of the countries that are to be included in the region defined as the "Middle East" to the exclusion of all others, the way you can find a definitive LIST of States within the continental U.S. to the exclusion of all others (take also the Caribbean Islands as an example, or anything like that). Whenever someone seems to be suggesting such a list for the "Middle East," even in respected geography sources, there always appears to be a reference to cultural ties, political ties, bla, bla, bla with other obviously Muslim countries nearby. After spending more than a day on researching the matter, I have come the conclusion that the term "Middle East" is not a geographical term at all... It is clearly either a cultural term or a political term. Universities (at least in the U.S.) that have departments for "Middle East Studies" manage the term as a cultural and political idea primarily and as a geographic one secondarily — much in the same way as they manage the term "African Diaspora." Sentinel 14:37, 31 Jan 2004 (EST)
That's sensible! ...Sources source, respected sources. No one has been able to cite one educated source for any of this garble, until User:Sentinel came up with some lists below. So the U.S. Dept of Education thinks Georgia is in the Middle East, but not Afghanistan! and the State Dept. lists Muretania! So if some crackerbarrel folk theologians think Somalia is in the Middle East, they're in authoritative company I guess.... Wetman 21:53, 1 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Can you believe it??! Sentinel 21:02, 02 Feb 2004 (EST)

What is the Middle East?

Here is a cross-section of what is "generally considered" to be the Middle East. Ranging from the super-sized, "let's get'em all" 31-country U.S. State Department's list to the demure, I-dotting, T-crossing International Airline Passengers Association's 14-country list.

U.S. Department of Education List

21 Countries
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, The Gaza Strip (Israeli-occupied terr.), Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, The West Bank (Israeli-occupied terr.), Yemen

U.S. State Department List

31 Countries (The Mother of all Lists of Middle East Countries!)
(…would be 32 if Gaza Strip and West Bank were not combined and called "Palestine." Please bear in mind that the U.S. State Department uses the terms "Middle East" and "Near East" interchangably... adding to the overall confusion)
Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine (Gaza Strip and West Bank), Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Western Sahara, Yemen
One feels compelled to ask if anything other than their Islamic populations provides a basis for grouping Mauritania with Tajikistan in any "geographic" sense.

Oxford World Atlas List

21 Countries
(Although the same in length, this list differs from the U.S. Department of Education’s list)
Afghanistan, Bahrain, Gaza Strip, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, West Bank, Yemen
Note the additional explanation:
"The term Middle East describes a loosely defined group of countries located where Africa, Asia and Europe meet. Geographically, the countries of the Middle East are all part of Asia, but opinions vary as to what countries make up the modern definition of the Middle East. Some sources consider Armenia and Azerbaijan to be part of the Middle East, while many experts consider them part of Europe. The same can be said for the island country of Cyprus. Egypt is also thought by some to be in the Middle East, as well as the northern African countries that border the Mediterranean Sea."

National Geographic / Magellan List

18 Countries
(The Gaza Strip and the West Bank are not specifically listed, otherwise the list would in fact be 20.)
Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen
Again a note is added:
"The Middle East is a loosely defined geographic region; the countries listed are generally considered part of the Middle East. These Middle East countries are part of the Asian continent, with the exception of Egypt, which is part of Africa, and the northwestern part of Turkey, which is part of the European landmass."
One cannot help noticing the evasive tone of this note: "the countries listed are generally considered PART of the Middle East" (In other words, the list could be longer… Obviously, no definitive LIST here.)

International Airline Passengers Association List

14 Countries
(Does not separately name the Gaza Strip and the West Bank as distinct from Israel, which would have brought the list to 16.)
Bahrain (State of), Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait (State of), Lebanon, Oman (Sultanate of), Qatar (State of), Saudi Arabia, Syria (Arab Republic of), Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen (Republic of)

It appears that every "authority" available has a different view of what constitutes the Middle East. Obviously, the people who invented the term "Middle East" did not make a list at the time and since then everyone has chosen to group the countries there together in whatever way seems to suit their particular needs. Unfortunately, every time they do that, they end up using the same term over and over again… There is probably no group of states that has more flexible boundaries than the "Middle East."

No wonder scholars from that Region are seeking to group the nations together under a different, possibly much older term, which will have less ambiguity associated with it.

Posted by Sentinel 18:26, 31 Jan 2004 (EST)

...and that term would be Cradle of Humanity eh. Wetman 21:53, 1 Feb 2004 (UTC)
At least that term is older than the not-clearly-defined expression Middle East ... and someone back then actually went to the trouble to define what they meant by it. Sentinel 21:07, 02 Feb 2004 (EST)


It might be good for someone to investigate the term "Cradle of Civilization," which ususally refers to sites in East Africa (Egypt, etc.) and, often describes an area that overlaps with the 15 so-called "Cradle of Humanity States" -- as Slrubenstein correctly suggests... Confusing as this all may be, I doubt that the proponents of either expression, would like to see their meanings swapped. Sentinel 15:13, 30 Jan 2004 (EST)

Sentinel understands me correctly (thanks!) At issue is NOT how one defines "the Middle East" (i.e., whether or not it includes part of continental Africa). At issue is whether "Cradle of Humanity" refers to where human beings evolved, OR where the "Garden of Eden" was. As I said, I googled it and the vast majority of references to "Cradle of Humanity" refers to sites where physical anthropologists and others have discovered the fossil remains of early hominids, and has nothing at all to do with the Garden of Eden. Slrubenstein
I corrected the article for NPOV, and deleted this material -- if it belongs in Wikipedia, then it should be in the article on the Garden of Eden, not here:

Origin of the Term

According to Judeo-Christian belief, as specified in the [[Book of A It might be good for someone to investigate the term "Cradle of Civilization," which ususally refers to sites in East Africa (Egypt, etc.) and, often describes an area that overlaps with the 15 so-called "Cradle of Humanity States" -- as Slrubenstein correctly suggests... Confusing as this all may be, I doubt that the proponents of either expression, would like to see their meanings swapped. Sentinel 15:13, 30 Jan 2004 (EST)

Sentinel understands me correctly (thanks!) At issue is NOT how one defines "the Middle East" (i.e., whether or not it includes part of continental Africa). At issue is whether "Cradle of Humanity" refers to where human beings evolved, OR where the "Garden of Eden" was. As I said, I googled it and the vast majority of references to "Cradle of Humanity" refers to sites where physical anthropologists and others have discovered the fossil remains of early hominids, and has nothing at all to do with the Garden of Eden. Slrubenstein
I corrected the article for NPOV, and deleted this material -- if it belongs in Wikipedia, then it should be in the article on the Garden of Eden, not here:

Origin of the Term

According to Judeo-Christian belief, as specified in the [[Book of is frequently used when the term "Middle East" would seem ambiguous. The lands of the Cradle of Humanity are clearly defined within an unmistakable geographic limit.

Some cultural historians in Cradle of Humanity states also find the thinking behind the terms Near East, Middle East and Far East offensive, since they are vestiges of British colonialism; a period when such expressions where coined based on the distance between England and the region in question. They often argue that, unlike the West Indies, where the present dominant culture was indeed largely formed under the influence of the colonizing powers, most of the dominant culture in so-called Near, Middle and Far East lands, predated the colonials and has actually survived their sometimes destructive influence.

Further, a growing number of etymologists, religionists and others have begun to acknowledge that, whether the term "Cradle of Humanity" is accurate or not from a biological standpoint, the region’s influences on language, culture and religion may well justify its preferred use over the controversial term "Middle East," which, from a geographical point of view, seems somewhat out of place.


While I agree with the deleting of the quote from Genesis, etc. I think that the section on how the 1,000 mile radius came to be is interesting and useful for someone who wishes to know who came up with it. Also, I think that the portion on "Use of the Term" is helpful; obviously there is some ambiguity in the application of the term "Middle East" and some group of people seem to be using "Cradle of Humanity" as a perhaps less ambiguous alternative. Hence, I have edited and returned those portions of the article. Please feel free to object and undo. Culpwit

"Cradle of Humanity" in a scientific context?

Note the capitalization... Can anyone point to me a source where this term has been used in a "scientific context" to refer to a location in Africa? Anthony DiPierro 05:41, 2 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Try Google. The first few hits all refer to Africa, some capitalized, some not.—Eloquence 06:07, Feb 2, 2004 (UTC)
First hit: lowercase. Second hit: "CRADLE OF HUMANITY" and "Cradle of Humankind" Third hit: Eden. Fourth hit: Eden. Fifth hit: lowercase. Sixth hit: lowercase. Seventh hit book title. Can you be more specific? I'm looking for a scientific source, which uses the term "Cradle of Humanity" with that capitalization, in a way which is referring to Africa. Preferably in a way in which it is not ambiguous (part of a title which would otherwise be capitalized). It's mainly just a curiousity at this point. Anthony DiPierro 06:47, 2 Feb 2004 (UTC)
[1], [2], [3]. Political context (United Nations): [4] Note that many sources which use it in the biblical sense do not capitalize, so this is no proper way to disambiguate the context. It would be bizarre for one religion to claim trademark to the phrase "cradle of humanity", with or without upper case.—Eloquence 07:01, Feb 2, 2004 (UTC)
Hmm, OK. I wasn't thinking of trademark, but it seems like an odd enough term that it must have originated somewhere, and then been reappropriated by others. I'm also not sure whether the WP term should be capitalized. Thanks. Anthony DiPierro 07:22, 2 Feb 2004 (UTC)

What is the proof that "Cradle of Humanity" is primarily a religious term? The article claims that it was formulated by Christian Arabs, but provides no specifics. I am not rejecting the claim out of hand, but an encyclopedia article should provide specifics, and not make arguments without informing people about the evidence. Slrubenstein

Although the article credits early Christian Arabs with formulating the term (and the deciding on the radius), it also claims that during the the Ottoman period the term enjoyed wide acceptance (among Muslims?) and was used hundreds of years later by Protestant missionaries who thought that the term provided a common ground for discussion with the locals. Sounds like there's a lot of "religion" here. Do we really want this article to be any more religious, by adding more quotes from religious sources (like teaching manuals for 19th century Protestant missionaries, and proof that the "mile" measurement was used in the Bible?) Sentinel

I don't see it as a matter of the article being more religious -- or less religious. It isn't religious at all, it is an encyclopedia article about a term. The article currently claims that the term is primarily used by religious people or in a religious context. Well, fine -- but we have to make sure it is accurate. And the "evidence" that it is primarily used in a religious context is so vague that it is impossible to tell if it is accurate. This section has to be rewritten so that it is more precise and clear. Slrubenstein

Good point. Someone keeps editing introduction of the article to imply that the term is used primarily in a religous sense. It is clear that the terms "Cradle of Humanity," "origin of man," "cradle of civilization," "birthplace of mankind" do not all mean the same thing and mean different things to different people. However, this article posits that the term "Cradle of Humanity" (note consistent capitals throughout article) was coined in the second century to describe a geographic area that has no other currently used group name than "the Middle East," which is riddled with ambiguity. The fact that the people who coined the expression were "religious" and used a religious concept (that may not be popular today, or even correct) as the lynchpin for their term does not mean that the term is not used in the way the article describs. Interestingly, the term "West Indies," which the article also mentiones in passing is also based on a mistake... namely Columbus' assumtion that he found India by sailing West. The fact that the term is based on an error, does not mean that it is not used in the way it is used, by the people who use it. Those who object to using a term that happens to be based on an error, can always refer to the West Indies as the Caribbean, and for that matter to the "Cradle of Humanity" as the "Middle East" if they think that those terms are any less 'eroneous.' Culpwit

You make a sensible argument, Culpwit. But, I think there is no need to assume that someone is trying to "hijack" the term "Cradle of Humanity" as the exclusive label for a group of countries in the Middle East OR for a location in East Africa. There is no reason why the term cannot be used for both. Earlier, someone pointed out that with or without capitals, the term is used by both groups. I think the current version of the article shows both views. However, I am the first to agree that the term "Middle East" can be a bit of an enigma and that people in that region have a right, if they so choose, to revert back to a term that supports their perceived identity — even if it is based on flawed assumptions of the past — like the West Indies: The people of the West Indies would certainly not be amused if someone decided to rename their beloved Cricket Team (for example) using a more "correct" term... Sentinel 21:44, 02 Feb 2004 (EST)

Seems quite obvious, that the scientific use of the phrase will also change whenever they make new discoveries of homonid fossils that are even older than those found in Ethiopia. If older fossils are found, say in southern Australia, that will then become the new evolutionary "cradle of humanity" won't it; at least the 2nd century meaning of the expression will stay the same.-- David Martindale, NY, USA

News Flash

The U.S. State Department now considers Djibouti also to be a part of the "Middle East"/"Near East"... With Sudan already on their list, it's just a matter of time until they include Eritrea, Ethiopa and perhaps even Somalia after all. Sentinel 14:27, 03 Feb 2004 (EST)

Small changes

1) Headings should not be capitalized (individual words which are capitalized in normal use are capitalized in headings, too, of course). See Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Headlines.

2) I dispute the characterization of the creationist view as the "religious view". It should be made clear that this view is only held by some religious people, and this is best accomplished by simply labeling it as what it is -- the creationist view.

3) If you claim in the last paragraph that a "growing number" of scholars use "Cradle of Humanity" in preference to "Middle East", I'd like to see some evidence for that. Which scholars? Where? Since when has their number been growing? Citations please.

—Eloquence 09:45, Feb 4, 2004 (UTC)

I am still concerned by the claim that Christian Arabs coined the term to refer to countries (which didn't exist at the time) within a 1,000 mile radius of a particular point. I haven't been able to find any proof for this. But I will give someone a couple of days to provide the proof before I delete this claim from the article -- along with the discussion of what constitutes the "Middle East" (a term that was used neither in Biblical times nor in the 2nd century CE), interesting material but material which belongs in an article on "the middle east" and not here. Slrubenstein

The article does not claim that the countries existed at the time when the term was coined. It says the "lands" that fell within a 1,000 mile radius of Eden were viewed by the Christian Arabs as belonging to the "Cradle of Humanity." It then says the the countries that TODAY fall within that radius are...X, Y, Z... Regarding the coining of the term, I recommend the following texts: "Arab Christians — A History of the Middle East," by Kenneth Cragg; and "L'impact de la religion sur l'ordre juridique, cas de l’Égypte, non-musulmans en pays d'Islam," Éditions universitaires, Fribourg 1979, XVI-405. Since the term "Cradle of Humanity" is obviously used by some who find the expression Middle East ambiguous (others find it offensive) it makes sense for the article to include sentences which explain WHY those people find the term Middle East ambiguous (or offensive). Or are you suggesting that the term Middle East is not ambiguous (and not offensive) to anyone and therefore no one has the right to use an alternative term? -- David Martindale, NY, USA

Since many people today use "Cradle of Humanity" in a very different way than the earlier Christian Arab usage, I think it would be helpful to provide a page citation from the books you mention in the article itself. As for "the Middle East," I just think discussion of the term here is unnecessary and irrelevant. If the term is ambiguous, the solution is not to explain why some people find it ambiguous, the solution is to use a term that isn't ambiguous. In any event, I myself am not saying the term is ambiguous (although it may be). For present purposes, the point is that the term is imprecise. If "Cradle" was used to refer to lands within a circle with a thousand mile radius, provide a map that is in form a circle -- include major geographic features (rivers, mountains) and contemporary political boundaries. Nothing wrong with this -- and you do not need to use the term "Middle East." By the definition given, "Cradle of Humanity" and "Middle East" are simply not isomorphic. I just see no need to use the term. Slrubenstein

Broader "Use of the Term" Section Needed

I have removed the following material, which I believe is unnecessary in an article on "Cradle of Humanity." Some of this material may belong in an article on the Middle East Slrubenstein

==Use of the term==
The expression Cradle of Humanity is frequently used when the term "Middle East" would seem ambiguous. The lands of the Cradle of Humanity are clearly defined within an unmistakable geographic limit. However, depending on the context in which the user applies the term "Middle East," it may or may not include countries in northern Africa, southern Europe and various parts of Eurasia east of the Ural Mountains.
Some cultural historians in Cradle of Humanity states also find the thinking behind the terms Near East, Middle East and Far East offensive, since they are vestiges of British colonialism; a period when such expressions where coined based on the distance between England and the region in question. They often argue that, unlike the West Indies, where the present dominant culture was indeed largely formed under the influence of the colonizing powers, most of the dominant culture in so-called Near, Middle and Far East lands, predated the colonials and has actually survived their sometimes destructive influence.
Some scholars subscribe to the view that, in spite of the term's inaccuracy from the standpoint of evolutionary biology, the region’s influences on language, culture and religion may well justify its preferred use over the controversial term "Middle East," which, from a geographical point of view, seems somewhat out of place.

Note that the term "Cradle of Humanity" in the above sense is also ambiguous, because it deponds on identifying a location that may not exist, and, if it does exist, is not known with any certainty. Slrubenstein

It would be appropriate to mention that the section deleted by Slrubenstein explains how the term IS BEING USED RIGHT NOW and WHY those people prefer to use it instead of the alternative. It is not explaining how the term SHOULD BE USED by everyone else, which would be, of course, a matter of personal preference. Some will prefer one ambiguous term over another for their own reasons. The assumption that an encyclopedia article should not explain how an expression is being used by the group of people to whom the expression seems to matter most is not reflective of a Neutral Point of View. -- David Martindale, NY, USA

David, that is exactly what Slrubenstein is bothered by: If there is going to be a section called "Use of Term" then it should not only describe the use by one group. Clearly, the introduction of the article shows that there are at least two views regarding the meaning of the term. Hence, it would stand to reason that there will also be more than one way in which the term is used. Don't you agree? I'm not saying that we should eliminate the section completely, but perhaps it needs to be expanded to include to capture a wider range of use situations. Sentinel 15:32, 06 Feb 2004 (EST)

So what are you waiting for, Sentinel? Why don't you expand the "Use of the Term" section so that it shows a wider range of viewpoints? Culpwit

Take a look, Culpwit... Sentinel 10:24, 07 Feb 2004 (EST)

There seems to have been some back-and-forth on whether the non-Creationist view and use of the phrase Cradle of Humanity is Evolutionary, Scientific or Paleoanthropological. I have edited the headings back to "Evolutionary" and "Evolutionist" because there are many scientists to whom this entire discussion is pointless. Some particle physicists and cosmologists actually consider evolution to be completely "unscientific." Obviously, their opinion does not make it so, neither does their refusal to accept evolution as a science make them any less scientists in their own field. Hence it would be inaccurate to say, "the Scientific View is this or that," with regard to material that will be completely rejected by some scientists. Also, saying the "Paleoanthropological View" is not adequate, since it is not only this narrow grouping of scientists that accepts evolution. There is nothing wrong with saying that the non-Creationist view is the "Evolutionary View," is there? Most scientists that perform the actual research and develop the theories in this constantly changing field of human knowledge are quite prepared to call themselves evolutionists, or evolutionary scientists, since the field involves the cooperation of so many different disciplines. Using any other term would either exclude some of the participants or include scientists who do not participate. -- David Martindale, NY, USA