@pnelson published his next installment engaging the GAE.
I’m thankful to him for including this text:
Joshua Swamidass wonders why I reviewed The Genealogical Adam and Eve (GAE) unfavorably. Other ID advocates, he notes, such as Sean McDowell or Walter Bradley, liked the book. And scientists not explicitly affiliated with ID, such as the UK botanist and geneticist Richard Buggs, or Rice University synthetic chemist James Tour, also liked it.
And also for wishing me well:
Hence, I see no good grounds for starting the Adam and Eve conversation where Swamidass wants to begin it, with common ancestry as received knowledge. Nonetheless, as a fellow Christian, I wish him well in his project. I’ll find it a lot more significant if, or when, Swamidass defends the GAE scenario as true. A menu item? Not interested.
His piece backs off the critique of MN from his first piece (Paul Nelson: Which Rules? Whose Game?). I responded in a rejoinder to this (S. Joshua Swamidass: The Rejoinder for the Sapientia Symposium).
The GAE Does Not Assume Common Descent
He does however press the idea that the book assumes common descent. It does not. As I wrote, in my rejoinder:
Supposedly because of MN, I hinged my argument on the truth of common descent. This is just false My reasoning and conclusion do not depend on the truth of common descent. Even if common descent is ultimately false, now we know that it would not have been in conflict with the de novo creation of Adam and Eve.
Now, @pnelson clarified that he doesn’t think that I affirm CD because of MN, but that leaves intact my point that my argument does not depend on the truth of CD. Even if CD is false, we now know that if it were true it would not have been in conflict with Adam and Eve as I defined them.
I am not requiring people take CD as “recieved wisdom,” but rather invite people to enter the thought experiment. What if it were true? I’m not demanding we agree its true, but consider together what it would mean should it be true. That is the exact opposite of @Pnelson thinks it is.
The GAE Does Not Stand Alone
He also argues that the GAE “stands alone” with no one willing to take it up as true:
So we have a lonely hypothesis standing by itself in the center of the room, which no one, including its author, will own as true (meaning, as noted above, will put forward as the best established in the array of possible hypotheses for human origins). The cheese — the GAE hypothesis — stands alone.
This just isn’t the case.
Another is @jongarvey: Garvey Contemplates The Generations of Heavens and Earth, who has written his own excellent book on the topic.
As I recently pointed out to @pnelson:
One commenter on FB writes:
So [@pnelson is] using a passage about honesty to argue that someone who isn’t sure of something should pretend they believe it? I could point to a number of passages about humility that would apply to not taking a stance on something that you don’t have good reason to affirm.
Ogres Have Many Layers
On a deeper level though, I think @pnelson is on to something. The book has layers, just like an Ogre has many layers (The Genealogical Adam and Eve is Like an Ogre). Part of the reason it must be hard to respond to this book, it seems, is that he agrees with some parts of it, but disagrees with others. Perhaps clarifying what some of those layers might help us figure out where the conflict and the common ground really lies.