In a recent book, The Genealogical Adam and Eve , S. Joshua Swamidass, an Associate Professor at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, seeks to resolve the dilemma faced by believers. He makes a major contribution to the debate, taking both sides seriously. Swamidass is a Christian himself, and a well-established scientist in chemical bioinformatics and drug metabolism. He has clearly read widely and deeply in evolutionary genetics. He outlines his ideas with caution and many references to the literature. He deserves a hearing by anyone who is interested in a better relationship between science and religion.
A great turn of a phrase:
It may also make believers ask questions about their hierarchy of beliefs about Adam and Eve. Is the most important thing about them the time in which they existed, or something that made them objectively unique? Are they genetic ghosts, or ghostly ancestors?
A good catch on a major error in the book (soon to be explained in a blog post):
Confusingly, Swamidass describes his created Adam and Eve as “monophyletic” with evolved human beings, but by this he means “of the same biological type” (p. 85), rather than the more usual definition of “sharing common ancestry”.
And a nomination?
No doubt Joshua Swamidass will be on this year’s shortlist for the Templeton Prize.