Definitions of Humanity are rather irrelevant

I had to take a picture of these postings in another category in order to make an important clarification:

[Click on image to enlarge for maximum view.]

[ See thread here:
Dreher: Did Adam And Eve Really Exist? ]

I think @cwhenderson and @swamidass would agree that the issue of Neanderthal “man”, Denisovian “man”, and so on, is rather irrelevant to the issue of “Genealogical Adam & Eve”.

While the GAE scenarios are designed for maximum flexibility, to broaden it’s potential appeal, intentionally broadening a scenario in order to be wrecked on the rocks of disputation seems most unkind and disingenuous to boot!

Nobody here thinks the GAE scenarios work best for any period of humanity older than 10,000 years ago. The greatest time of compatibility is more recent than 10,000 years - - probably somewhere about 6000 or 7000 years ago.

There are no controversies about Neanderthal in this period. Human evolution is more or less stable by this time, and any questions about what makes humans conform to a definition of humanity is equally true about the 6000 to 7000 years time period as it would be for the current period.

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It is the biblical literalists who are responsible for establishing the dates for GAE since it is more about accommodation of original sin and A&E. Science is silent on the timing of GAE. A shared genealogical ancestor is scientifically possible for any human population at any point in human evolution, so the driving force behind the <10,000 year time point has to do with theology.



The intersection between theology and science can be confusing. And some people try to make it more confusing than necessary by raising distracting topics like Neanderthals, and other branches of the hominid group.

But in this case, the way out of the confusion is to look to when a Scientist would think the first agricultural family would most likely have arrived. < This is a conclusion or hypothesis generated by Scientific professionals.

Needless to say, there would to some who prefer to imagine Adam & Eve as the first “really good agriculturalists”… while others might think it is more comprehensible that Adam & Eve were rather unpracticed. The writings in Genesis don’t give us much to go on.

But there is nothing in Genesis that would convincingly place Adam & Eve thousands of years before the rise of agriculture, wouldn’t you agree Mr. T?

A Scientist (especially the capitalized ones) would think that there was no such thing as the first agricultural family, not even “the first really good agriculturists”. It happened gradually and independently in many places.

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A Christian who is scientific would certainly be influenced by either the general evidence that there was a first family to practice agriculture … or that there evidence for a first to practice very good agriculture.

There is always a first for SOMETHING.

Bill Craig would go with a GAE 500 kya.

IMHO, an additional requirement increases confusion. As others have mentioned, agriculture appears to have arisen in steps and in different areas. For example, I am sure that domestication of different species happened at different times and in different areas. Do we time this with wheat/barley domestication in the Middle East, or maize domestication in the Americas?

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He would? Based on what science ? Or even what biblical text?

That conclusion doesnt conform with anything except a preference.

He thinks that Image if God is unique to AE’s lineage and that it is a rational mind. There is evidence of a rational mind going back into the ancient past, so that is why it shifts him more ancient.

A rational mind goes back to Homo Erectus at 1 to 2 million years ago.

At times, some of us wonder whether Homo sapiens can be said to have rational minds.


about half.

What evidence would that be?

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If I were an expert on origins of Human agriculture, or thought I was, I would be able to look for the most convincing pattern.

I used the word OR intentionally when I mentioned the 2 most likely patterns:

  1. first group to do agriculture with great skill;
  2. first group to do agriculture with low to moderate skills.


Your objection is based on your proposal for a third scenario: that multiple regions had groups who first practiced agriculture SIMULTANEOUSLY.

Anyone who holds to this view probably isnt a YEC… so I dont see the point… except it pleases you to throw shoes into machinery.

Similar to my response to @John_Harshman above, I don’t think such speculations carry much weight unless they represent an Evangelical/Creationist world view.

The views by @Agauger are the closest to being relevant… and yet even she is perfectly happy to confound parts of Genesis (here I am thinking of her comments favoring a deep timeframe) in order to acquire a 2 person bottleneck!

In essence, she goes way off the Biblical reservation in order to arrive at a contradiction of the science that shows humans evolving from primates.

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Some emphasis mine:

I can’t claim to speak for John, but I suspect his objection was that you suggested there was general evidence that there was a first family to practice agriculture, when you don’t have such evidence - only as deduction from there being agriculture now, and none in the distant past. You certainly haven’t referenced any evidence.

Oh, and I note that you shifted from “family” to “group” - and that you didn’t quote your original claim in your reply, making this harder to spot.

I doubt there is anyone who holds such a view. Agriculture didn’t appear overnight, so it doesn’t make sense to talk of simultaneous appearance.

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No doubt you are correctly describing what motivated @John_Harshman’s initial response.

But let’s look at what I actually wrote:
"A Christian who is scientific would certainly be influenced by either

  • the general evidence that there was a first family to practice agriculture
  • or that there evidence for a first [family] to practice very good agriculture."

Please note that I start my point by saying "… EITHER … "
And I offer the two evidence patterns that one might most likely to encounter. This is more a definitional matter . . . since I don’t know which pattern is more supported by the evidence.

And even though I don’t have the evidence at hand, I would wager that Harshman’s third possibility is the least supported by the evidence at hand.

As for your concluding comment:

My sentiments exactly. John throws that out there in order to de-rail the discussion.

Why agriculture? Why not stone tools, or airplanes?

Also, you claim that definitions of humanity are irrelevant, yet you are arguing for the relevancy of defining humanity as agriculturalists. That seems to be a bit of a contradiction.

My objection would be the arbitrariness of agriculture. Why pick that technological advancement out of all of the advancements man has made? Was humanity a different species before we discovered antibiotics or the steam engine? Why would humanity be a different species before we developed the technology of agriculture?

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If I am speaking to a YEC, I use the term “family”, or “kinship group”. If I’m speaking to an agriculture specialist, I would tend to use the term group, because it is more neutral, and it would keep the discussion “on topic”.

I give you full permission to continue to construe my comments with the word “family” or “kinship group”… I’m not running away from any of my recent statements. I would have thought you neutral enough that you would explain how using a different term changed my meaning in any significant way when you chose to criticize my change. I can’t imagine any different meaning that could be obtained from using the term “group”… since I already presume that Adam’s kinship group eventually penetrated every region of human habitation.

No, it’s based on independent, not simultaneous, origins of agriculture. I might recommend Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel which, among other things, discusses the origins of plant and animal domestication.

Anyone who holds to what view? And how is YEC relevant?

Unusually hostile for so early in a discussion. Why?