Science, the Hebrew Calendar, and
the "Adam Gene"
Probably the most accurate calendar in the world, in terms of keeping time precisely, is the Hebrew calendar. It's also the oldest calendar in continual use. Its starting date - the "head of the year," Rosh HaShana, "the first day of the seventh month" (Numbers 29:1) - is the birthday of the legendary first true humans, Adam and Eve.
Now, in two "very well-conceived studies," University of Chicago scientists recently concluded that a gene that plays a crucial role in giving mankind human intelligence first came on the scene fairly recently in human history. As best as they can estimate, they believe it first occurred approximately 5,800 years ago.
[September 9, 2005. Scientists discover a "brain-building gene" in human beings and calculate that it "arose about 5,800 years ago." This just reported today in two "very well-done" University of Chicago-sponsored studies appearing in the journal Science, and then in The New York Times (p. A-14) and other newspapers.]
According to the Hebrew calendar, it was 5,766 years ago.
Using the Common Era or CE calendar, this year is 2005-2006. The CE calendar begins with the anniversary of the b'rit milah or circumcision of the baby Jesus, Yeshu ben Yosef, on January 1st. January 1st is eight days, counting according to the Hebrew method of reckoning days, beginning with the evening, after December 25th, which Christians celebrate as Jesus' birthday. December 25th is just a few days away from the winter solstice (in the northern hemisphere, where most of humanity lives), December 21st. In fact, the secular New Year is, in some ways, a celebration of the solar new year, or of the return to six months of increasing daylight following coinciding with the winter solstice.
Besides this solar New Year and the January 1st festivities that commonly mark a) the b'rit or b'ris of Jesus and/or b) the end of one calendar year and the beginning of the next one, the people of Israel, and others who follow the Hebrew calendar, have Rosh HaShanah. It began the year that this piece was written on the evening of October 3rd, 2005, or the first day of Tishrei, 5766.