Not to steal their thunder, but it has to do with the felt need that Adam be the first human being ever. It is clear to me, personally and biblically, that this not a theologically necessary requirement for Adam.
That isn’t what “genetic ancestor” means in Joshua’s scenarios 7 and 8. As he says, it refers to some of our DNA, not all of it. Apparently it’s important that A&E be among our genetic ancestors, not that they be our sole (=first) ancestors. No idea why.
It is possibly important because it allows Adam and Eve, possibly, to convey some genetic benefit to all humans alive today? For me, this just gets far to speculative to place my feet down. I’m all for being honest with people about what the evidence allows, but I suspect that the Genealogical Adam (de novo or not) is going to be far more useful to theologians in the end. I think the main reason theologians wanted genetic descent was primarily because they didn’t know there were other types available that were more connected to the genesis text.
Why is any form of descent necessary? Some people dispose of descent in favor of some kind of delegation of authority or responsibility to Adam as representative of all mankind, able to make decisions (poor ones, it turns out) for all of us.
I favor number two or number three. The reason for that age has to do with fossils, and the desire for a genetic Adam has to do with the Catholic Church’s requirement for all of us to be descended from a first couple, such that we all inherit by progenitorship both our identity as human beings made in the image of God, and original sin. I am a Catholic. I did not have that viewpoint about human origins when I began. I had no fixed opinion and set out to see what the science said. I was surprised by what I found.
Joshua and I have gone round and round about this issue of human origins . He says his solution works for Catholic monogenism. For me it does not. The reason for monogenism is so the whole human race is one, the children of the first couple, with no distinction to be made, and that we all come from the same parentage.
We are not going to go around in circles again on this one right now. But this leaves the original question unanswered. It seems that the whole human race could descend genealogically from Adam and Eve, without descending genetically from him. This leaves the question open. Why do we need to descend genetically?
Of course, I only ask to understand you. For now, at least, I do not think your position is in conflict with the evidence. I am glad you are staking out that ground. Someone should, and I am glad it is you.
It’s pretty simple. The same DNA. You once said that with your model we might have no Adamic DNA left. The information I’ve seen says that any post-Adam introgression was rare, so we would all be 90% or more Adamic (roughly).
Yes but why would that be important? This the question I can’t clearly answer from your point of view. It can’t see the reasoning for why this would be important, except to take it as unexplained and brute fact of your values. I certainly make space for this, but I don’t understand it yet.
And I can’t see why you can’t see it. It is a protection against racism, among other things. Or it should be.
Thanks for the “molecular.”
@John_Harshman, i guess that means we can all go home now?
Note to self:
Apparently, i have found the one scientist who thinks everything is fine with the kind of American politics we find swirling around Evolution specifically, and Science generally.
Gauger’s answer seems obvious enough: because it’s Catholic doctrine. Humani Generis doesn’t allow for any other humans to exist at the same time as A&E. Now of course doctrine can change. I’d be interested in the theological reasons why sole-genetic Adam is necessary. Why can’t monogenism involve a population rather than just two individuals?
So far politics has had little influence on evolutionary biology, which is well insulated from creationism. NSF chugs along as always. Political attacks have been at the local level, in schools, and not on the practice of science. The Republican assault on science has been in other areas, most seriously on climate science, and I don’t think creationism has much to do with that. So as a problem for science, creationism is way down the list.
Why am I here? Because I’m an evolutionary biologist, and creationism annoys me personally. But I don’t confuse my personal interests with what’s important to science.
What’s the difference if we’re descended from a single couple or if we’re descended from a single population? We’re all related in either case, all a single species in either case.
People look for differences. Being from the same population won’t stop racism. Sadly even coming from Adam and Eve is not sufficient. In the 1800s there was this idea that Africans suffered under the curse of Ham in the Bible, that they were his descendants, and were therefore less competent in many areas. Sometimes even thought to be less humian. Obviously a false narrative and a very distructive one. If it can be shown that we differ in our DNA and it can be used to justify differences, there will be persecution, racism, or worse by a fraction of the population. If it fits their biases. If for example Africans had a higher amount of Neanderthal DNA then that would be used against them. How do I know? I have heard such thinking from a current researcher.
Then why not strive for increased scientific literacy instead of trying to mask the problem by arguing for one specific religion’s origin story?
But it’s Europeans that have the Neandertal DNA. What have you heard from this current researcher, and who is he/she? Anyway, since you agree that coming from Adam & Eve won’t stop racism, doesn’t that destroy your argument for Adam & Eve?
My understanding of monogenesis hinges upon the fact thay God made it so in Genesis 1:27, and made it equally true of men and women; not on any notion of the lasting significance of a common genetic inheritance or progenitorship. What I find the Adam story critical to understand is the common dilemma and propensity we share today to rebel against the implication that, as image-bearers, we have a duty to follow God’s wishes, along with an innate sense of moral shortcoming when we don’t --which leads us either to live in denial, or to a sense of despair at our own helplessness to that end. This is right where the “Jesus solution” engages and challenges us. There can only be, from this, surrender and reconciliation with our Maker and our calling, leading to salvation and joy; or continued denial, leading to consternation at the ennui of insensitivity, inultimacy and insignificance.
Adam, as the first human caught that clearly in the moral bind, did indeed rebel against the very first commandment, and brought the “knowledge of good and evil” to humanity’s common table. I think of him not just typologically, however, but also as contributing a heritable change to the human neocortex which has distorted his lineage ever since.
Are you talking about a genetic mutation originating in Adam, or something God caused in everyone as a result of Adam’s sin, or what? How is this change heritable? Please clarify.
I don’t see that implication. Why does bearing the image of God imply that we should follow his wishes?