It’s becoming increasingly common to meet Christians, especially leaders in Bible colleges and seminaries, who reject the historicity of Adam and Eve. One popular view, espoused by well-known scientist Dr. Francis Collins and others, is that Adam and Eve were just representatives of a collective of 10,000 hominins (that is, if they even existed at all). Yet this kind of thinking is far from the biblical view of the first humans.
It will be interesting to see how AIG responds to the Genealogical Adam (http://peacefulscience.org/genealogical-rapprochement/). It gives them a literal reading, and sole-progenitorship. They may be left boxing shadows.
Why don’t you do a response? It is very much in your lane. It can put you on the map if AIG notices you and this forum.
I still think it is likely that devout, committed YECs are going to oppose anything that does not affirm a 144-hour creation period. By and large, they base their arguments on a literalistic interpretation of the Genesis account. And anything different from that commitment is perceived as a disbelief in “straightforward” Biblical teaching.
Does Dr. Collins refer to “a collective of 10,000 hominins”? I don’t recall him speaking of a “collective”?
I’m not sure you are reading the situation fully. Did you read my last blog post? There is a hidden order here:
The hidden order will be increasingly revealed as the die-hards die off.
Maybe, but there are also peacemakers everywhere, including in the older generation. A few of them will make good decisions before their time is up.
I’m still playing a long game with AIG, feeling out our situation. Just to give some back story here. AIG certainly already knows about me, but has yet to mention my name. This has been playing out over the last several years, and I want to understand this situation before I do anything large. This is a very sensitive situation, though the details I’ll give here need not be private.
Through the AAAS, I served as a science advisor to Concordia Seminary (LCMS Lutheran). AIG tried to raise funds of this partnership, saying falsehood that this was to “promote evolutionary ideas.” This is false, and they refused to retract even several of the seminaries demonstrated it was false.
David Menton at AIG (https://answersingenesis.org/bios/david-menton/) is LCMS and sent me an email because I was the AAAS science advisor, as the storm was building over this. Without giving any private details away here, I responded back to him in a surprising and truthful way, affirming the inerrancy of Scripture along with him. I’ve reached out to him several times since, but he has not had time to respond back. AIG seems to have backed of Concordia since then.
A local YEC homeschool group of over 100 kids had me as a speaker last summer, and at least one leader from a YEC ministry was there too. The kids loved me, and there is a group of YEC adults that have come to trust me in that context.
I’m frequently being asked to talk with YEC high school students. They have done surveys before and after a talk from me. They will go from 20% to 80% in a single talk, for the first time believing that faithful Christian can affirm evolution. That happens just about every time I talk to them. Basically greater than half of the YEC base immediately realize that Christians who are affirm evolution are not always “compromisers.” That is a foundational plank at AIG, and it is a necessary plank for the whole tent to stand up. The rift with BioLogos has only increased my credibility with them.
At one of my Veritas Forums last year, as was told that the local YEC/AIG group planned to protest it. They showed up, heard my 15 minute talk, and how I engaged with an atheist. They decided then not to protest. One of them came up and thanked me for being their. I reached out through a third party asking to meet them the next day, and they said roughly, “@swamidass is not the type of person they want to protest. They disagreed with him on evolution, but he is not the problem.”
Last year I befriended Dr. John Sanford, perhaps the most qualified and influential YECs at the moment. Soon I’ll be putting up some video of our interacts here at WUSTL. I give him a great deal of credit for taking the risk to see me and interact with me on camera. We disagree on a lot, but I think Sanford is honest and doing what his conscience requires fo him. I have a great deal of respect for him. It seems mutual. Though I don’t know what happened, he planned to reach out to AIG and tell them that I was not their enemy.
I know also that the exchange with Venema-Buggs-@agauger and myself was watched very closely by many people. The argument that ultimately arose TMR4A, unexpectedly, very closely parallels Jeanson’s argument for a recent mito-Eve and Y-Adam. It will not be coherent for him to make his case, but reject TMR4A.
This last six months I’ve reached out to Nathaniel Jeanson at AIG to discuss his genetic work. This has come to him now by several intermediaries. There has been total radio silence.
Though I know my name is known at AIG, there has been total silence about me on thier website.
So what is going on? My interpretation is that AIG is being wise. They are being smart. I am a scientist that is competent and kind enough to truthfully and honestly engage with the best of their best. Perhaps they want to avoid that scrutiny, or perhaps they intuit I might split their base. Whatever the case, the right move for them is to pretend I do not exist. That, it seems, is what they are doing. That seems wise.
Ken Ham, for all that vitriol directed at him, Ham is extremely good at what he does. He is no bumpkin. It is no easy task to become top of the YEC hill, and he has built an empire. No one gets to be king of the hill by picking fights that split their base.
I’ve been learning from him too. He has a 1984 brilliance to his rhetoric. He is a master of engaging his base with rhetoric. The way he uses language tilts the conversation in his favor from the get go. Most people meet on his own terms, and lose badly from the beginning. I think one reason that the AIG group chose not to protest me is because they could understand me; I used rhetoric tuned to Ken Ham’s song, and it made sense to them.
The situation with YECs is very complicated. I’ve made some important allies in the movement, some at very high levels. One even took the risk of asking permission to bring me to his institution (it was opposed by the higher ups). The problem right now is that the only leading YEC who was willing to appear with me in public has been Sanford (and also @pnelson, but he is ID). He might be the only one who can (and wants to) build bridges across the isle, without facing substantial profession repercussions. YEC institutions (and donor bases) are not friendly to those who seek peace.
So what should I do now?
I’m watching and waiting…looking for more allies in YEC. I really like Sanford. I point students to Todd Woods, because he is honest. I tell them truthfully that I don’t care what they personally think about the age of the earth, but see no use for false arguments. Jesus, I’ve found, is greater.
For the moment I have my hands full with DI, BioLogos and RTB, and we are not even an organization yet. At some point it may make sense to engage AIG more directly, but I think they will wisely delay as long as possible. I’m a new sort of person, and they have a strong position in the current Four-View regime. The current regime is at an equilibrium that favors them, and I do not think they want to unsettle it. They certainly aren’t going to willingly rock the boat by drawing attention to ignorable Peaceful Science. It may take us growing substantially, and establishing ourselves as the Fifth-View before they engage.
If RTB and OECs move to a Genealogical Adam model, that would also change the landscape, fairly dramatically.
What ever the case, we need to find more peacemakers in YEC. Also, when they do come by here, treat them kindly. For us to bridge this gap, some of them may need to do things that risk their professional safety. This is a complex mind-field to navigate. We do not control the situation. At some point, I might more be more determined in getting Nathaniel Jeanson’s attention. Right now, though, it seems AIG is wise enough not to wrestle with a porcupine. That is good.
So let’s watch and wait.
Interesting. I’ll watch your back from the atheist/secular science side, although I don’t expect much from that direction. Thanks for cluing me in and if I can providing aide and assistance, please let me know. Darwin had a bulldog in Huxley, perhaps I can offer the same. As long as you have an atheist saying that the science is neutral on God, and you affirm both the science and God, they can’t accuse you of being an atheist. Continue to align yourself with Collins, WLC, Hugh Ross, and stick with the biological science that you are doing. Jeanson is no match for you.
Remarkably, it didn’t seem that Venema was a match for Jeanson. Everyone called it a draw, which means Jeanson won. Did you watch their debate at SEBTS?
To be clear, I am being entirely honest with people. I am trying to treat them with kindness and include them. It was equally risky for me to bring Sanford to UMSL as it was for him to come. I’m not lying either when I say:
I think what you are seeing @Patrick is that peacemaking can unsettle the current deadlock. It is a very potent force, much stronger than sarcasm and ridicule.
The most important thing to do is be peacemakers, and to look for more peacemakers right now. As a Christian, I’m certain God is raising them up. As an Atheist, you can see them as random mutations if you like .
I do appreciate that. I’ve been surprised lately as some people have become very aggressive and even tried to attack me professionally with whisper campaigns about ID advocacy and closet YECism. Consistently, for now at least, these have been non-scientists and my colleagues immediately recognize the scam. It is still very dastardly. I may need help if I am misrepresented and someone is stupid enough to believe a know-nothing whisper campaign. And I appreciate the offer. Thank you @Patrick.
I also want be clear about this. It is not my goal to convince people against their conscience to affirm evolution. I do not think that is right. I am a Christian that affirms evolutionary science. I explain it to anyone who wants to know, but I never give talks for the purpose of convincing them evolution is true. When science, I just care about giving an honest account.
Yes, I did. I got in and even sent in a question that was asked. A softball for Venema who slammed it. I think Venema was very good but too gracious to Jeanson. That Biologos graciousness can get nauseating at times when one is used to Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens savagely obliterating the other side.
Yes, I can see the usefulness of the peacemaker now, at this time. I am from the time when atheist were in-the-closet" and silent. It was Dawkins and Hitchen who gave us our voices. Their sharp militant sarcasm and ridicule was needed at the time to equal the playing field. Now that there are more voices like Coyne, Dennett, and a lot of others not afraid to speak out, a softer humanistic approach can be useful. Although I still want to have the FFRF constitutional lawyers to put the fear of litigation into any anti-science initiative anyone might try to start.
Just keep publishing peer-reviewed papers in top journals. Doing real and substantial science is the best way to be convincing.
6 posts were split to a new topic: Venema and Jeanson SEBT Debate
2 posts were split to a new topic: Evolution Education in Turkey
Most viewers will proclaim victory for their “side” regardless of the quality of the arguments. If YECs conceded a draw, quite possibly Venema dominated.
I haven’t seen it, though.
Yes, the point is that they are thinking that Jeanson stood toe to toe with a scientist and came out unscathed. Not good.
I saw Henry Morris debate Stephen Jay Gould at Princeton in 1980. I was convinced Morris completely dominated–none of this toe-to-toe stuff! Of course, I was a fervent YEC at the time.