Here was my one, and hopefully only, post to them. Let’s see if they take me up on the invitation:
Some of us think Adam and Eve are a myth. Some of us think evolution are a myth. Either way, good science opens up space to engage larger questions together.
Hello. I’m S. Joshua Swamidass, the author of the GAE. Thank you all for this groundswell of interest in my work. I’ll look forward to seeing how the conversation develops as it becomes more informed. I admit, it is amusing at times to see such strong opinions about a book that most people here have never read. With that in mind, it shouldn’t be surprising that much of the objections here are what “could be” rather than what “is” in the book. A couple things to clear up,
First, this is a new advance in our understanding. It changes the game in this conversation, altering substantially how we understand the relationship between evolutionary science and traditional readings of Genesis. We thought they were in conflict, but they aren’t. Others have made contributions to this conclusion over the years, but this book ties all the pieces together, completing the scientific case.
Second, this book is written to anyone in society, not just Christians, which is why so many of the endorsers are secular scientists. Nathan, certainly, is not the only atheist endorsing this book. It follows the AAAS recommendations on engaging the public (https://www.aaas.org/sites/default/files/s3fs-public/content_files/Scientists%20in%20Civic%20Life_FINAL%20INTERACTIVE%20082718.pdf).
Third, both Nathan and I am a real scientist. In fact, I do affirm evolutionary science, and I liked Nathan’s book Human Errors. In fact, I bought a case of them to give to scholars at the workshop of my book. I’m really looking forward to his next book. I also am a practicing scientist, well respected in my field, though I am a computational biologist, not a “genomic” scientist (S Joshua Swamidass - Google Scholar Citations and https://swami.wustl.edu/swamidass_cv.pdf. As I explained, I’m following the AAAS guidelines on this. If you find it offensive what I am doing, I’d encourage you not to take a distrustful approach to science you don’t understand yet.
Fourth, it seems some of the commenters here are facing the “Humanist Dilemma” (A Humanist's Endorsement). See what an anti-religious scientist wrote,
“I will say that as a board member and past president of a somewhat prominent humanist organization , your endorsement of @swamidass ’ effort, and especially your clarity in how you did it, is not only consistent with humanist values, but nearly mandated by them . The challenge for me, as I already mentioned, is to find the balance between backing the effort and suggesting that the story of the fall, even nuanced with population genetics, is even worthy of consideration. I’m still working that through in my own head.”
This scientist is not alone. Here another atheist explains the dilemma another way: https://betterrightthanhappy.com/genealogical-adam-eve-an-attempt-to-reconcile-science-and-faith/. I understand it is hard to act ethically, for all of us. But the best of atheism is ethically guided by precisely this humanistic value. In the end, we have to be honest with the public about what science says, and in doing so we serve a common good. This common good is what I am after here, not just for Christians, but for scientists, and for atheists.
Fifth, will my book be misinterpreted? Of course it will! In fact, most of the critique and dismissiveness here is explained entirely as misunderstandings of my book and me, of course, but also misunderstandings of what the current consensus ini science really is. Will creationists abuse this book? Maybe, but that happens all the time. What I can tell you is that I will be very engaged in confronting misuse of my work to support anti-scientific ideas.
Sixth, a core value guiding me is honesty and forthrightness. This book is written from within mainstream science, as an honest account of what the evidence does and does not tell us. We owe it to society to give them such an honest account. If I made any mistakes in this book, also, I will retract them and clear the record. I will correct them in the next edition of the book.
We have an opportunity now to find a better way forward. We don’t have to agree with each other on everything to put the best science forward, and to make space for differences. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to good and encourage a better sort society.
If you’d like to discuss more, we are taking questions at Peaceful Science: https://discourse.peacefulscience.org.