The Humanity of Denisovans

You often insist that early hominids and Neanderthals were human. Many of us here disagree completely and point to modern man as being something spiritually different than his predecessor.

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Since this is more of a primer, I think it is worth mentioning that this question touches on the philosophies of mind-body dualism and monism. Weaving in and out of the debate is genetics and neurobiology. Is the mind different than the soul? Is the mind and body one in the same? These are the big, BIG philosophical questions that have been batted around in quite a few threads.

A Google search for monism, dualism, and neurobiology should get anyone on the beginning of a rather arduous path for those who are interested.


The way I look at this, it is not a factual question. Rather, it is a question of whether we should broaden what we mean by “human” to include earlier hominids. Evidently @Patrick thinks we should, while you are not so sure. I’m neutral on this. So I will just sit back and watch.

I have the impression that Denyse O’Leary (in posts at UD) does at least want to include Neanderthals.


Let’s imagine that a small tribe of Denosivans are found on a remote island. Do they have human rights or can we enslave them or make them our pets?


They should have rights. However, a glance at history tells me that we will treat them badly, even if we consider them to be human.


I’m not quite sure where “All Y’all” are going with all these references to various hominid groups.

There really isn’t much warrant for these kinds of wild excursions into deep hominid history.

Adam and Eve were assigned the role of tending to God’s garden. This is not a hunter-gathering theme. So, given the premises of Genealogical Adam (with the Pre-Adamites, and the arrival of Adam and Eve in their midst), a logical scenario is that somehow Adam and Eve’s knowledge of agriculture may have stirred some interest in the larger human community… and spread around.

If you look at the various histories of the origins of Agriculture, most of it focuses on a time period more recent than 12000 BCE, though some researchers are keen on 8000 to 7000 BCE:

So, to be generous, I usually throw the net twice as far, to 20,000 or 25,000 years ago.

But even as long ago as 25,000 years - - the Neanderthals are pretty much gone, right?

While no doubt someone will want to place Adam & Eve 100,000 years ago… I really don’t get the point of that … unless it is with the earnest desire to stir up a fuss.

There doesn’t appear to be a compelling reason to have to consider any other group of hominids for the purposes of Genealogical Adam.

And so all of these side discussions about human rights and so forth – they are explorations in the philosophy of human identity - - it doesn’t have much to do with @swamidass ’ discussions on Adam and Eve.


Here’s a good exhibit; I have brought the small-print details into greater prominence…



The Bible says A&E were created in a garden. Garden means a small piece of ground used to grow vegetables, fruit, herbs, or flowers. It would make no sense in a hunter gather society of what a garden was. Garden has to be after agriculture and animal domestication was developed to make any sense. Therefore this restricts GA to rather recent in human history to no more than 9,000 to 12,000 years ago in Asia. GA 25,000 years ago doesn’t fit with the Genesis story that you are forcing to match.

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Be careful here. Don’t make GA a white guy made in the image of God and make the Africans, East Asians, Neanderthals, Denosivans not in the image of God.

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Patrick brings up an interesting point:

Hopefully, modern society has advanced far enough that we would have the sense to leave them be, and to neither enslave them nor make pets of them. But does this challenge really address the issue of humanity? Could we not ask the similar question of any other newly found species found on a remote island? To assign the label of “human” we would expect them to be able to learn to speak, to write, to operate a computer and a telephone. We would trust them to learn to drive and have responsibilities. (All of this assuming they desired to integrate into our society… ) Whether Neanderthal or Denisovans are actually “human” or not has to do with whether or not they have a soul. So, if your friend, the Denisovan, offered to give you a ride to the chiropractor because your back was out, then, yes, he would be considered human. If you decided to walk instead, then no. :slight_smile:

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@swamidass … Is an issue that you address in your book? Is it anything you’d like to take up here? Or would it be a spoiler?

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As i said, im being generous by doubling the time frame. It is not mandatory.

It represents the very outer limit that someone could attach to the scenarios!

So there is little credibility to the notion of dealing with earlier forms of hominids!