The Theological Hypothesis of Adam in Science?

Science
Theology

(Faizal Ali) #1

We had a lengthy discussion about that on Facebook, IIRC. I still believe you are being excessively generous when it turns out that what she denied was literally impossible turned out be be merely practically impossible. Any scientist who insists on believing that Adam and Eve is a well-supported scientific hypothesis deserves to be a laughing stock.


Listen: Gauger on the Limits of Evolutionary Optimization
(S. Joshua Swamidass) #2

No one I know called it a supported hypothesis.


(Faizal Ali) #3

Ann seems to think so.


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #4

Can you produce a quote?


(Ann Gauger) #5

@swamidass
Here is a pretty clear summary of what I have stated. #4 of Our Top Stories of 2018: A First Human Couple? New Evidence and Arguments | Evolution News


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #6

@Faizal_Ali, here is a quote from the article @Agauger posted:

This does not prove the existence of a first couple, but it shows how it could be possible. The claim that our population was never smaller than thousands is wrong. Nobody can claim a bottleneck of two could never have happened.

If that is @Agauger’s point, she is on solid ground, at least given current evidence. The only reason this statement is controversial is because others have wildly (and unscientifically) overstated the evidence against an Adam and Eve.

If you think she has said more than this, you’ll have to show us where. If she misspoke, she might retract it. I know she is hoping for positive evidence, but also is clear she has not yet found any.


(Faizal Ali) #7

Do you seriously think there is any reasonable chance that the human population went thru a bottleneck of two individuals?


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #8

In science we care about precision in evidential claims. We are not controlled by theological agendas, either for or against Adam and Eve. The claim @Agauger made there is defensible.


(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #9

And we can never be 100% certain that a single specially created serpent didn’t talk to that Adam and Eve. :sunglasses:


(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #10

Good night @Agauger It is getting late here on the East Coast. Pleasant dreams.


(George) #11

@swamidass,

It’s only defensible if, for some reason, it helps to assert a proposal that Adam & Eve were created 500,000 years ago.

I don’t know anyone who takes that proposal seriously.


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #12

Turns out that some people do value it. Not YECs, but thomists.


(Faizal Ali) #13

It is also “defensible” to say that we do not know for certain that there is not a species of tiny pink flying elephants inhabiting one of the moons of Jupiter. However, that is not sufficient to take such a claim seriously as a scientific hypothesis.

To say the belief in the plausibility of a bottleneck of two in the human lineage is not related to any “theological agenda” strikes me as a bit disingenuous, TBH,


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #14

Of course, the hypothesis of Adam and Eve is a theological hypothesis. No one disputes this, or at least they shouldn’t. Science considers theological hypothesis all the time. Perhaps Adam and Eve is just Maxwell’s demon to you, but we still have reason consider Maxwell’s demon even though he does not exist.

The hypothesis of a tight single couple bottleneck in the distant past, however, is not a theological hypothesis. It is a scientific hypothesis that might have theological importance. Science consider hypothesis like this all the time, such as the age of the earth.

Whatever we are doing in our hypothesis, the scientific analysis of the hypothesis follows methodological naturalism, and is not controlled by theological concerns.


(Faizal Ali) #15

Yes. One without the barest scrap of evidence to support it. Ann Gauger wants her followers to believe otherwise. And you seem quite happy to aid and abet her in that endeavor.


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #16

There is actually no evidence for it at this time.

If you think Ann has overstated the case, quote her here. I’ll be clear where I disagree with here. What do you think she has said that is misleading?


(Faizal Ali) #17

This video, for one example. Do you really think a Christian who believes in a literal Adam and Eve would come away from this lecture with the impression that Gauger believes there is no evidence for a bottleneck of two? She’s careful not to tell an outright lie, but her intent is clear:

YouTube


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #18

You are gonna have to be more concrete. What did she say that is misleading?


(Faizal Ali) #19

The entire lecture is misleading.

Maybe this will help clarify: Suppose someone from NASA agrees to speak at a conference and the concluding message of his lecture is this: “It remains possible that there is a species of tiny pink flying elephants living on Jupiter’s moon Ganymede. We have not yet ruled this out. Future research by NASA will help answer this question.”

He may not be saying anything that is factually wrong, strictly speaking. But would you not say it is misleading?


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #20

No one would care, unless scientists had been saying for decades they had definitive evidence against tiny pink flying elephants living on Ganyamede.

Right now, scientists have been saying for decades they had definitive evidence against a tight bottleneck of 2. They were not correct. That is what gave @Agauger her opening. That is why people actually care what she has to say, and why it is important. The fact of the matter may be that if you go back far enough into the past (say, 700 kya), we just don’t know either way from evidence. We still know definitively that there wasn’t a single couple bottleneck 6,000 years ago. @Agauger makes that last point too, which is important for YECs to hear.

So, no, in the larger context it is not necessarily misleading. It is a corrective to an overreach from other scientists. If she does, however, say something that is not true, please let me know. Until then let it be. Do you know the meaning of the phrase, “do not kill a mocking bird?”