Dabar Conference Paper Confidentially Available

This June, I’m giving an invited presentation at the Dabar confernce of the Creation Project.

This is a notable honor, and will give high visibility to a Genealogical Adam. All participants will have read my paper. The reformed theologian Jack Collins (of Covenant Seminary), and the philosopher Andrew Torrance (University of St. Andrews) are giving formal responses. I will engage these responses. Then there will be about 45 minutes of discussion (about 1.5 hrs total).

Any one interested in seeing my paper can contact me to receive a confidential copy. This paper may be developed, soon, into a book. Many people on the forum have already read my contribution. If you would like to see this, please let me know.

This paper acknowledges several of the contributors here: @anon46279830, @jongarvey, @vjtorley, @Agauger, and @Cootsona.

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And this event is the one that is by invitation only, yes?

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That is correct. There is an ASA workshop end of July, however, that anyone can join. Registration is open. I hope you can join us.


Andrew Torrance has this very intersting article published on Hud Hudson’s hypertime fall. Has anyone read about this yet? (PDF) Attending to the Story of Adam, Eve, and The Fall - Journal of Analytic Theology | Andrew Torrance - Academia.edu

Jack a key voice in the conversation. He has written this book:

I highly recommend his summary, published in PSCF: https://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/2010/PSCF9-10Collins.pdf. In an exchange the last couple days, he tells me that he finds this approach really helpful, and plans to cover:

  1. How this model lines up with his non-negotiables.
  2. My proposal on Original Sin
  3. Helpful suggestions to improve the model.

I hear from Geoff Fulkerson that there is high interest in my contribution. I’m also hopeful this will seal the deal on an IV publishing deal. Three people this last week (including my wife) have felt the need to emphatically insist I prioritize writing a book on this.

This looks like a very interesting conference. I wish you well with your presentation. Perhaps you can summarize the conference for all of us here afterwards. I want to note to you and the group, that separation of church and state groups like FFRF have no problem with either the conference or your participation as Dr. Swamidass, Professor of Genetics at WUSTL, Christian, and fine American.

I hope all can see the differences with having the sitting Director of the National Institute of Health giving the keynote address at the Biologos Christ and Creation Conference, a group that he founded.

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Thanks for the kind words @Patrick.

I absolutely do see the difference. We do not want to give the impression of the NIH officially endorsing a religious position.

I have a question. If I write a book, I will be seeking endorsements. Is there a way, in your view, that I can avoid conflicts and receive an endorsement for my book from Francis Collins? Is there a way to clarify that this is from him as a private citizen of high importance in the faith science conversation, without falsely giving the impression that the NIH itself endorses my position?

Maybe the answer is “no.”. If there is way for it to be “yes, in this way…” that would be good to know too. Peace.

How come the ones I am allowed to attend aren’t in America? (Mild exaggeration of the cultural differences between the heartland and the NE)

Will you attend? It would be great to see you.

I cannot commit to that one. I have a lot of roads I could be taking around that time.

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I see no problem with Francis Collins endorsing your book even writing the Forward. It just couldn’t be on official NIH letterhead.


I do however see a potential problem for you personally in the future as you try to walk this science/faith tight rope in the wind. I have read some of your recent technical papers. It looks like your work will attract the attention of secular Big Pharma if it hasn’t already. This potential big funding corporation will come down on you hard if you’re faith work is somehow distorted into being anti-gay, anti-birth control, anti-abortion, or anti-science. Although we are suppose to be only talking about origins, as you can see how discussions get into current social issues really fast. Do you see how Biologos immediately censures social issue discussions? It is because Templeton requires them too stay out of current social issues. You need to be mindful of backlash for things completely out of your control and unintended consequences. As my father use to say, “no good deed goes unpunished.”

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I am very hopeful that Jack Collins is willing to give GA a shot. His theoretical criteria, however, do not seem to even contemplate those “outside the garden” prior to Adam, much less the notion of a widely-dispersed “imago Dei” humanity prior to Adam.
I will be fascinated to know how he responds to that notion, should he take it up. He honestly seems to be only dimly aware, if at all, of similar proposals in Walton’s work.
I spoke with him in person once, and honestly found him to be rather peremptory, so don’t be surprosed if you get the impression of being “damned with faint praise.”
I certainly hope that’s not your experience, Josh --but just in case, be ready with vigorous counter-questions, to invigorate the situation, just in case.
Remember the great importance of this ground-breaking perspectival corrective, and press it home.
Collins has to get it, before he rejects or accepts it. That’s not always easy to know. I get the sense he’s not often confronted within his circles. My two cents.

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Already has.

They don’t really care unless their name somehow becomes associated with it. Notice that I do not talk about pharma related stuff here at all? I will not in the future, unless it really really makes sense.

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This might actually become a real thing I have to navigate. Would you consider asking your FFRF friends what the best way to manage this? Honestly, I believe our values and goals are aligned here. Both of us want to preserve the neutrality of government and science. I’d have more confidence I’m making the right moves if I had a chance to hear their take.

Would you ask?

Well, I got his written response. Two things.

  1. It could not be more positive, and he also offered some really helpful feedback, catching some errors in my references too. This is really a big deal.

  2. He referenced @jongarvey’s work on original sin, a blog from 2012, helping me define it better my model. Irenaeus (and others) on original sin | The Hump of the Camel

So that is something to celebrate. I’ve been getting a lot of emails the last couple weeks about the paper. I think it is going to be really interesting how this plays out.

I don’t think that you have anything to worry about. As for asking, I don’t think it is ever a good idea to ask Constitutional Lawyers hypothetical’s. When you have a nearly finished product, we can give it a quick glance. Right now FFRF is up to its eyeballs in egregious Church/State separation issues in the Trump Administration, that even Francis Collins doesn’t get the same response as it did during the Obama Administration. Look at the Trump Administration, the VP is a YEC, the Sec of Education is a Fundamentalist Christian who is really opposed to secular public education. The EPA chief is a climate change denier. Even HUD is run by Ben Carson, a seventh day advantage who says the pyramids were built by Joseph to store grain for the Egyptian Famine.

I really encourage you to have Dr. Collins do the forward in any kind of book that you produce. Collins is such a big name, he doesn’t even need to use the title NIH Director. Plus Collins actually cares about the church/state separation issues and is for secular education. Collins also endorses scientist who happen to be Christians in furthering their work. Most people know that if NIH give a grant to a scientist, it is on the merits of its research and not because that scientist is a Christian. I can’t even say that about NASA, as they just gave a grant to someone to research the effect the discovery of life on other worlds would have on religions.
So don’t worry about Collins or FFRF against you or Collins. With the stuff going on now, you and Collins look like Boy Scouts who do the right thing.

Another idea, is for you to take on a theology co-author like Adam and the Genome. This way you could stick to the science and the co-author can handle the theology questions. This will shield you from attacks from both sides - Ken Ham saying you are anti-biblical and Jerry Coyne saying you are anti-science. Done correctly your book can be well received from both secular science and Christians who are scientifically minded and technology oriented. Pull in your research and explain how a Christian does good science. Show how your work will help all people. Emulate Collins. WUSTL and your secular funders will support you and even highlight your work. Write it personally with your own story - make it about how a person with a background of this, becames a scientist and MD, is a Christian and doing good for humanity. Explain your research and the possible future it holds.

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Smart of Collins to find that blog post on Irenaeus. I’ve always thought it important (as far as any of my stuff is), but didn’t think to tag it with the “Genealogical Adam” category, so it’s my fault you’ve not been aware of it. That, at least, is now remedied.

I’ll be interested to see how you integrtrae it with your own original sin concept, which I find useful, if not exhaustive.

Hi @swamidass,

I very much enjoyed reading the paper you sent me. My main quibble with it was that at one point, you described the other humans who were contemporaries of Adam and Eve as not theologically human. I think it would have been better to omit that phrase, as some people might quote (or misquote) it against you, to unfairly characterize your position. Other than that, however, I thought that the case you put forward was cogently argued, even if I did not agree with it on all points.

[@moderators edit: deleted content moved to other posts: Results of Large Barcoding Effort and Language for a Civil Forum. In future, please stay on topic, and post substantial things like these in their own topic.]

Thanks for the advice.

What are your remaining disagreements? Are they fixable in this model?

8 posts were split to a new topic: Original Sin among Orthodox, Catholics and Protestants