This letter responds to a review of In Quest of the Historical Adam published in Science
In Quest of the Historical Adam is an olive branch to the scientific community. The author is putting forward an account of human origins that includes Adam and Eve. But this account is also consistent with evolutionary science. The author invites a conversation about how to understand sacred and natural history together. If evolution is true, could we all still descend from Adam and Eve?
We could, but not in the way Craig proposes, what with all that about the first genetic humans and such. I’m not sure why scientists should be interested in merging sacred and natural history. Should we be equally concerned about Ask and Embla, Manu, Epimetheus and Pandora, and manifold other “first humans”?
John Harshman noted:
I’m not sure why scientists should be interested in merging sacred and natural history.
Particularly if knowing when or where this unobservable pair flourished has no effect at all on how we do our science. Whatever effects it may have on theology.
This is why we could care:
With rigor and honesty, may more scientists engage the many questions about Adam and Eve. In doing so, may more religious communities come to peace with evolutionary science.
That statement raises more questions than it answers, to my mind.
How large are the “religious communities” for whom A&E are the sole, or even the main, stumbling block to acceptance of Evolution?
How many scientists have sufficient exposure to A&E in their professional work that it would make any sense for them to “engage the many questions about Adam and Eve”?
How much contact do the scientists in (2) have with the religious communities in (1)?
How open are the religious communities in (1) to accepting opinions from outsiders?
Let’s not deceive ourselves. As long as large religious organizations like CMI or AIG exist there will be sustained misunderstanding of basic evolutionary science. It is mostly religious folk who should be engaging basic evolutionary science with rigor and honesty because many of them have frankly laughable ideas about what evolutionary science is about. This forum is a big testament to this.
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