I need a drink after reading this piece by Ann Gauger. I can’t believe this, she seems to really believes her Biocomplexity paper represents reality. This is not blind faith. This is not science. This is nuts! According to a software simulation of a contrived model, Gauger is concluding that the Adam and Eve of the Genesis story could be the sole genetic ancestor of mankind 500,000 years ago. Adam and Eve were a Middle eastern Homo Erectus husband and wife pair who were the first real humans - the Christian Image of God. And what sin did this Homo Erectus first couple commit? They were naked because it took another half million years to invent clothing. And what about the talking snake? And what about the genocidal reset of Noah’s ark and the global flood?. Is Christian thought and theology going backwards centuries? What’s next Christian Flat Earth Societies?
The emphasis on genetic sole-progenitorship does indeed require justification. Scripture does not talk about DNA.
I’m guessing Gauger does not understand the difference between genetic and geneological ancestry. Hopefully she drops by for another of the occasional remedial lessons she receives here.
I think she is entirely correct on this:
I have come to a conclusion. Perhaps if I had thought about it more carefully at first I would not be surprised. But it has only recently occurred to me that a great deal of the disturbance about evolution — yes, no, theistic, atheistic, guided, unguided, young earth, old earth, Darwinist , near-neutralist, whatever! is about human origins. Where did WE come from? Are we descended from primates or not? And what did God have to do with it?
Nobody except specialist scientists would care if a little tree frog was descended from a lobe-finned fish, or was instead specially created with his special poison glands, unless it also had implications with regard to our origin. Not many would care except evolutionary biologists and entomologists if someone claimed that butterflies were descended from a hybridization between onychophorans and insects (an idea that has been refuted, by the way). Most people wouldn’t even know what that meant. They don’t think about where butterflies came from at all.
However, people really do care about our origin, and specifically, whether or not we share common ancestry with apes. They may not put it in so many words, but that’s what their concern with evolution amounts to. People care about their own identity and origin, and aversion to the idea of monkeys as ancestors runs deep in some.
I honestly totally agree with @Agauger here. I think she is correct, and this is why bringing this part of the conversation to resolution has potential to rework the entire conflict, making the whole ID debate irrelevant, making even Ham’s Ark Encounter irrelevant.
I don’t think a majority of Ham-ites would be particularly moved by the possibility of an Adam and Eve a few hundred thousand years ago. This would still not match well with a literalistic interpretation of Genesis 1-11. I do think there are some carefully-thinking Young Earth Creationists that do consider a literal Adam and Eve as more important theologically than evolution of butterflies or whether or not the flood was regional or global. For those smaller number of YECs, I think this has the potential to be significant.
As far as ID goes, I think a literal Adam and Eve is something a majority of them can agree on. Opinions on evolution within the ID tent vary from Behe to our friend, Paul Nelson, with Gauger leaning more toward the Behe end of the spectrum. We see the importance of a literal Adam and Eve to her, and I believe many ID proponents feel similarly.
And by “literal”, we mean separately created, sole ancestors of all humans. Right? It seems an odd thing for God to do, allowing all that evolution of hominids, hominins, other species of Homo, and then just drawing a line separating late H. erectus from slightly different late H. erectus. One must also consider the conserved allelic diversity and, more simply, other genetic similarity that must be imported into the created species. How does Gauger deal with all that?
This is Christian thought at its worst. Christianity is in decline for many reasons, and now we have several of its thought leaders trying to homogenize a story written thousands of years ago with the results of the human origins science of ancient DNA. It can’t be done. It is making these Christian thought leader look old, stupid, and completely out of touch with reality. We live in a secular scientific world where ancient fictional stories shouldn’t have any impact on our lives. With that I wish all of you here at PS a Happy Thanksgiving.
So do I. After 160 years, the main reason people deny evolution remains “I ain’t no stinkin’ monkey.”
That is harsh. Perhaps you have not seen how bad it can get.
Which makes it all the more impressive when integration is actually done.
As long as no twisting of truth is involved, I see nothing wrong with attempting a synthesis of natural revelation with one’s interpretation of special revelation, even if the end product feels awkward.
I really like how @Agauger puts it and will likely be quoting her going forward.
I really like how I put it. I think you should be quoting me.
It could be more irrelevant?
For YEC it is about rejection of genesis. Man evolving is just another point. yet for many others it is likely its the common descent claims with primates that allows them to question evolutionism.
Thats important in how one sees ones self.
Yet the origin debates are very much about christian conclusions on biblical accuracy.
Is this a sign that Gauger & Co. are admitting defeat when it comes to animal evolutuion?
I doubt she would agree with that exact language, but it sure gives that impression!
I don’t think they are admitting defeat. This article, however, really seems to admit irrelevance. That’s a good thing too.
I think that @Robert_Byers1 speaks for many on this too.