As I was constructing The Argumentative Archaeologist, I came across a lot of interesting material relevant to Young Earth Creationist (YEC) claims about giants (there is a special fascination with supposed fossil footprints), and I became aware of a 1950 article by Clifford L. Burdick titled "When Giants Roamed the Earth." The article,* in the Seventh-Day Adventist publication Signs of the Times (Volume 77, Number 28, pp. 8-9), clearly lays out the degeneracy doctrine as it is related to giant humans:
"No wonder Methuselah lived so long. The rich soil was watered by gentle mists, that did not cut ravines and gullies and wash the forming soil into the ocean.
With a withering earth we see a withering humanity. Not only has man decreased in stature from a magnificent specimen ten or twelve feet tall, to an average today of less than six feet, but his average life has shortened from many centuries to little more than half a century. Where do we find any human evolution here?"
The physical evidence that Burdick offers for giants includes several purported giant human footprints (some of which, I believe, I already have entries for under "Anomalous Footprints" although the names may differ - I'll do some cross-checking later). The footprints of "giants" (some of which have been shown to be fabrications) are continue to be displayed in the Creation Evidence Museum in Glen Rose, Texas.
The last section of Burdick's article is worth reproducing, as it nicely ties together many of the elements that are still a part of YEC arguments about giants:
"The conclusions from these remarkable discoveries are crystal clear, but have far-reaching repercussions:
1. Degeneration, not evolution has been the fate of the human race.
2. Finding human tracks and dinosaur tracks in the same formation prove them contemporaneous, rather than separated by from 6o,000,000 to 120,000,000 years, thus collapsing the geological age theory.
3. Evolution has always leaned on the geological age theory for its main support; therefore with the collapse of the geological age theory, the generalization of organic evolution also collapses."
My investigation into the degeneracy doctrine and Bible giants in Industrial America is revealing a strong connection to the Seventh-Day Adventist church: I do not think it is coincidental that Ellen G. White was a Seventh-Day Adventist, Burdick's article appeared in a Seventh-Day Adventist publication, and Ben Carson was raised as a Seventh-Day Adventist. I haven't yet looked at if/how the degeneracy doctrine appears in other indigenous American religious movements, but I will not be surprised if it turns out to be rather limited outside of the Seventh-Day Adventist church and related movements. That's interesting.