What will attract YECs and OECs?

To Visitors and Friends of Peaceful Science . Org:

The building up of this scenario, which is equally attractive to Pro-Evolution Christians AND Pro-Creation Christians, allows for both the miraculous and the scientific.

So the first thing that Pro-Evolutionists HAVE to come to grips with is: Adam & Eve are special creations - - plain and simple. Miracles are something Christians should be used to. There is no reason to think God can’t do it. Up to now, the only reason Pro-Evolutionists opposed Special Creation of Adam & Eve is because the choice was EITHER / OR - - there was no way someone discussed both Christian realities… and that someone is Dr. Joshua Swamidass!

But once you have special creation for Adam & Eve… even 6,000 years ago… or maybe 10,000 years ago - - but whenever you want it really - - we now have to make sure that there is sufficient Biblical explication that comprehends and embraces the idea that there was a large stock of humanity that evolved into Homo sapiens. And that it was this large stock of humanity that Adam & Eve joined to once they were expelled from Eden.

All the realities of the Bible can be embraced through the scenarios being developed by Dr. @swamidass. I have much optimism for the future of Christianity…

Below is text from a thoughtful writer with an Old Earther Creationist background:

Concluding Observations of an Old Earth Creationist
Joshua, thank you for the opportunity to take part in this conversation. It seems to me that if evolutionary creationists want to make EC more palatable, if not more attractive, to conservative evangelicals, then they would need to present evolutionary models that are compatible with a high view of Scripture. There are very good theological reasons for opposing the decoupling of Gen 1-11 from history—and this is not, I repeat, is not a slippery slope argument. OEC proponents such as @jack.collins and Fuz Rana are not merely being stubborn. The Bible, for all the diversity and variety within the canon, must be taken as a whole. One cannot dehistoricize the beginning without affecting all the other parts. The quest for the historical Jesus serves as a good analogy here. A few conservative scholars (Pannenberg, for example), want to deny the historicity of Christ’s virgin birth while affirming his resurrection. Most scholars (both on the left and the right) just scratch their heads at this approach.

So what might EC proponents do? Possibly three things, of which Jeff Schloss is trying to do the first two and you are attempting to do the third.

  1. Emphasize how evolution is compatible with teleology. Most popular Darwinists (both historical and current) have been infamously anti-teleological. One doesn’t have to embrace some of the more ham-handed versions of design in order to affirm purpose and intent. Perhaps more attention should be given to biological fine-tuning.

  2. Emphasize the importance of altruism and cooperation in evolution. Again, popular Darwinists often trumpet selfishness and cruel indifference as the primary features of evolution. Think of the movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey. The first hominid creature to fashion a weapon out of bone was the one who survived to reproduce. Perhaps more attention should be given to the role of cooperation and community.

  3. Present models that are plausibly compatible with an affirmation of the doctrine of inerrancy. On the biblical/theological side, this appears to be what John Walton is attempting to do. Your proposal intends to do the same from the scientific side of the discussion.

Darwinism undermined the traditional doctrine of creation in the areas of God’s providence, Creation’s goodness, and Scripture as reliable revelation. The three suggestions I outline above are intended to address each area respectively. Some within the EC community understand the concerns of conservative evangelicals. Others, quite honestly, seem to see the controversy as an opportunity to move evangelical theology to the left. OEC proponents, by and large, have no desire to be merely recalcitrant and obscurantist. We desire to identify correctly the essential features of our common faith and then hold to them faithfully. Show how an inerrantist can reasonably embrace evolution, and I think many will go wherever the science leads. Can it be done? We’ll see. There’s still a lot of work ahead.

This wording gives the impression that nobody was talking about escaping the either/or false dichotomy prior to Dr. Swamidass.

I would agree that I’ve never seen these ideas developed in such depth until Joshua took them on. But we don’t want to ignore the various people who had been talking in similar terms (at least on Internet forums) for many years before Peaceful Science was launched.

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I’m game … so who are they? When did they die? What did they write? We could have a “hall of fame” at this site for them… so people know there were precursors…

Give me the names and I’ll track down their writings.


It’s been years but the discussion I remember best was under the Darwin’s Doubt thread in the forum threads under the Amazon Book Reviews. Before Amazon changed the forum rules (even suddenly shutting down a prominent paleontologist who was simply responding in-kind to a very arrogant anti-evolution poster), that venue used to be a fascinating place, if you knew where to look. A small but very active group of scientists had a good time there. (To my knowledge, Meyer himself never participated.)

Some of the names in that 10,000 post Amazon review forum thread were “real” and others were Amazon usernames. I would estimate about seven years ago for that particular discussion which I have in mind. I can definitely still remember the most prolific posters. Some of the atheist scientists who were very intrigued by the idea (because they’d never heard it before) was Dr. David Levin of Boston Medical School (who teaches evolutionary biology for future doctors) and Dr. Christine Janis of Brown University (who is famous for her textbook on comparative vertebrate anatomy.) I think most of the others used Amazon usernames as pseudonyms. I don’t know if those book review threads stay around forever or not. I do remember that Dr. Levin wrote the 10,000th post in that thread (which grew from his review of Stephen Meyer’s famous book) and there was a mini-celebration because everybody wanted to see what would happen. Amazon simply closed the thread at that number and Dr. Levin started a new one on the various topics being discussed from Meyer’s book. (Obviously, the idea of a special-creation Adam mating with contemporary hominids and becoming a genealogical ancestor of all humans today was just one of countless subtopics which appeared on the thread.)

Frankly, that discussion remains in my mind not because it was the first time I’d seen the idea discussed but because it involved such an interesting group of scholars, both atheist and Christian.

Because the Nephilim/Sons of God in Genesis 5 has long prompted speculation about HA’ADAMs contemporaries—and his Adamic line mating with other non-Adamic tribe(s)—it was not much of a leap to consider that Adam and Eve could be the ancestors of all humans today (even special creation ancestors) while not being our ONLY ancestors from their era.

I don’t recall if anyone used the terminology “genetic ancestor versus genealogical ancestor” but there were certainly people at least a decade ago saying that founder population statistics didn’t necessarily rule out the existence and specialness of an Imago Dei pair called HA’ADAM (“the red-soiled Dirt Man” as my Hebrew prof used to say long ago) and Ḥawwāh (mother of the living.)

I do remember Young Earth Creationists present in that Amazon forum thread going absolutely ballistic at the idea of non-Adamic tribes contemporary to Adam, even though that’s a very old topic. (Scholars have long observed that Cain wouldn’t need a mark-of-Cain and wouldn’t have built a city in another area if there wasn’t anybody to inhabit that city. At most, that “city” would just be a “family compound” otherwise, made up of his children and grandkids.)

I can’t recall anyone in those days ever going into statistical details. It was just general discussions of the fact that Adam and Eve could be genealogical ancestors to all humans on earth today and be the original Imago Dei ancestors of all humans without that conflicting with evolutionary biology.

Now you’ve got me curious, @gbrooks9, as to whether it is possible to find the earliest documented statement of the idea! To be frank, I had casually written about the aforementioned idea long before I read that Amazon discussion of it----but I would never claim to be the first to think of it. Almost anybody with the requisite theological background who has kept up with popular-level science periodicals would have thought of these possibilities. They are just too obvious.

Of course, based on my experiences at ETS [Evangelical Theological Society] and AAR/SBL, I would be among the first to admit that a great many theologians are very poorly aware of even general trends in current science. So I’m not trying to say that the idea was ubiquitous at that time. But I would also say that there is no way that I was the very first to think of it! I was no doubt an odd duck—but far from the only odd duck who speculated in such things.

By the way, I think in one of my first private messages to Dr. Swamidas, I mentioned to him how delighted I was to finally see a scientist of his caliber taking up this idea which had been batted around by various of us for years. (Joshua, I don’t recall if I made that comment to you in an exchange we had on Facebook or if it was some time later here on the Peaceful Science message system.)

Of course, it doesn’t matter who was first with the idea. What matters now is that Dr. Swamidas is no doubt the first well-equipped scientist to really run with this! He is in a position to bring many profitable outcomes from it, including the ideals of “Peaceful Science”.



Maybe Amazon deleted some of the less admirable posts? Now there are only 827!

Amazon.com: Darwin's Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design (8937485909912): Stephen C. Meyer: Books?encoding=UTF8&isInIframe=0&n=283155&ref=dp_proddesc_0&s=books&showDetailProductDesc=1#customerReviews

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Well that’s two potential members of the Hall of Fame!

When I referred to “review threads”, I referred to the standard format where a single discussion thread appears under one book review. The 10,000 post thread (the Amazon maximum) was under a review written by Dr. David Levin. Thus, there were 10,000 posts in the discussion spawned by Dr. Levin’s review—at which time Amazon closed that one review thread.

They were outstanding contributors to many such Amazon book review threads related to evolutionary biology—and they happened to discuss the “genealogical Adam” idea (though that term was never used) for a while using their real names while most other participants used pseudonyms/usernames. So that is why I named those two. Other scientists and theologians who participated can’t be identified by anything except their usernames.