Here are three endorsements that will be particularly important to secular readers. The first two, by Philip Payne and Alan Templeton (!) are particularly important.
“In Judaism there is a blessing for almost everything. There is a blessing one should say upon encountering a religious scholar and a different blessing for encountering a secular scholar, as both types of scholarship are valued. In this book Dr. S. Joshua Swamidass earns both blessings. Dr. Swamidass is a scientist by profession and a devout Christian who thinks deeply about theological questions. He uses cutting-edge theory from population genetics concerning the difference between genealogical ancestors versus genetic ancestors (a small subset of the former) and applies it accurately and with rigorous scientific logic to the theological issues surrounding the biblical account of Adam and Eve. Many theological issues arise from Adam and Eve, such as race and racism, and Dr. Swamidass approaches these issues in a manner that values and incorporates both science and religion. Books dealing with science and religion often emphasize conflicts while others present them as non-overlapping methods of knowledge that are largely irrelevant to one another. Dr. Swamidass shows in this book how science and religion are both valuable methods of scholarship that can display a positive synergism in which neither discipline has to retreat from its fundamental principles in order to deepen our insight into the science/religion interface. Both scientists and people of faith should read this book to learn that conflict and irrelevancy are not the only ways in which science and religion can interact.”
Alan R. Templeton, Charles Rebstock Professor Emeritus of Biology and Statistical Genomics, Washington University in St. Louis, and Institute of Evolution and Department of Evolutionary and Environmental Biology, University of Haifa, Israel
“Scientific progress of many sorts, such as our growing understanding of the human genome, surfaces a myriad of challenging questions about the human condition and our origins. Around these questions, this book invites a better conversation. For both scientific and theological communities, this book offers common language and an inviting narrative, establishing a foundation for mutual understanding and respect. In doing so, Swamidass demonstrates a compelling vision of meaningful and constructive dialogue and what this dialogue can achieve. Here—in a multifaceted conversation between faith, science, and our shared experience—we can engage grand questions together. Trust can grow and, with it, new avenues for discovery might arise.”
Philip R. O. Payne, professor and director of the Institute for Informatics, Washington University School of Medicine
“This is one of those rare books that changes the conversation. With equal parts candor, humility, passion, and precision, Swamidass engages an incredibly controversial topic at the junction of biology and theology: the origin of human beings. Through the effective use of two key distinctions—the difference between genealogical and genetic ancestry, and the multiple meanings of ‘human’ across divergent areas of inquiry—he reorients and expands the space of possibilities while maintaining faithfulness and rigor with respect to traditional exegesis and contemporary scientific knowledge. The book’s primary virtue is not that it offers the strongest version of a particular position or provides answers to every question. Instead, its strength lies in how Swamidass demonstrates that there is more to talk about in conceptualizing what counts as a position or an answer in the first place, and that the tenor of those conversations should be peaceful rather than fractious. A definitive achievement. Tolle lege .”
Alan C. Love, professor of philosophy at the University of Minnesota
“I am one of the many scientists who have maintained that the existence of Adam and Eve as ancestors of all people on earth is incompatible with the scientific data. In this book, Joshua Swamidass effectively demonstrates that people like me, stuck in a specific genetic paradigm, were wrong. Ironically, I first learned the key calculation from Richard Dawkins, who wrote fifteen years ago in The Ancestor’s Tale , ‘I don’t know about you, but I find these dates [for the last common ancestor] astonishingly recent.’ I failed to appreciate the biblical ramifications of this fact. In writing this book, Swamidass removes our blinders. In a clearly written and highly accessible style, he shows how a traditional understanding of the Genesis narrative, including the sudden creation of Adam and Eve, is fully compatible with science. Creation through the evolutionary process is still central to the story, but the existence of two individuals—ancestors of us all—is now freed from what seemed like scientific inconsistency and placed, once again, purely into the realm of theology where it belongs.”
Darrel R. Falk, professor of biology emeritus, Point Loma Nazarene University
For reference, the endorsement by Lents:
“As a secular scientist, I was seriously skeptical of this book. Nevertheless, Swamidass has ably shown that the current evidence in genetics and ancestry is compatible with a recently de novo –created couple as among our universal common ancestors who then interbred with the rest of humanity that descended through the established evolutionary processes. In doing so, Swamidass aims to bridge a centuries-old divide between faith and science. In a world at war with itself, the need for such common ground is most urgent.”
Nathan H. Lents, professor of biology, John Jay College, CUNY, and author of Human Errors
I recommend pointing people to these endorsements and quoting liberally from them. I do not mean this to endorse an appeal to authority, but as a way for observers to know that Nathan is not alone in his support within the larger secular community.