If you've seen this elsewhere, I did not read it anywhere else or try to look it up anywhere else. I am finally finishing season 1 tonight (I posted about rewatching it a couple of times). So here's my new theory: we know people have been hanging out on this mysterious island for a long time with the Black Rock and the 4-toed statue. I think people have been inhabiting this place for 8,000 years. Why? Hurley was talking about what is in the hatch and he is kind of day dreaming of a hatch filled with food, electronics and such. At the end of his talk, he says that there will be twinkies inside for dessert. Why? Because they can last for like 8,000 years dude.
I know that's not much to base a theory on, but I know that the writers chose the information we get very wisely, and since it's tied to the numbers, why not.