Can Darwin and Eden coexist?

| 118 Comments

Apparently not at Bryan College (yes, that Bryan) in Dayton, Tennessee (yes, that Dayton), according to an article in yesterday’s Times. The college, founded in 1930, requires faculty to sign a statement agreeing to certain reactionary views on creation and evolution, including, “The origin of man was by fiat of God,” according to the article by Alan Blinder.

Several months ago, the college added a “clarification” to the effect that Adam and Eve “are historical persons created by God in a special formative act, and not from previously existing life-forms,” according to Blinder. There is a ray of hope, however: “Hundreds” of students out of a student body of approximately 700 petitioned the trustees and opposed the clarification. Two faculty members filed a lawsuit, arguing that the college charter does not permit the trustees to change the statement of belief. A biology professor, Brian Eisenback, called the clarification “scientifically untenable” and accepted a position at another Christian liberal arts college in Tennessee.

Others argue that a college is not a church and should not prescribe doctrine, but the trustees are determined to enforce their policy. The president, Stephen D. Livesay, noted

But this is Bryan College, and this is something that’s important to us. It’s in our DNA… [my italics].

I trust that I am not the only one who finds that allusion uproariously funny.

118 Comments

I went to a local Catholic church on Sunday evening for a presentation on Catholic doctrine and evolution. The speaker stated that the Catholic church neither actively opposes nor actively favors creationism (officially). He said that upwards of 95% of all Catholic scientists accept the scientific theory of evolution.

His two main points for the evening were that in Catholic Doctrine:

1. God created everything, in some manner that science can investigate and discover.

2. Adam and Eve were historical individuals and the ancestors of all of us.

That’s as close as I can remember to exactly what he said. Point #1 is unremarkable. Point #2 contains scientific implications that only became obvious in the last couple of decades. His source for #2 was a Papal Encyclical from Pope Pius in 1950.

The speaker certainly allowed that Adam and Eve were products of biological evolution from pre-existing hominids - he did not have any problem with that. He also did not mind that there were other hominids around at the time of the Garden of Eden. #2 does not strictly require a DNA genetic bottleneck, merely that after N generations A&E’s ancestry has to spread out through the entire population.

The discussion time did not get around to the difficulties with #2. I think the implication was that Adam & Eve are the biological ancestors of all living humans. That specification has to put them before roughly 50,000 BC in order for them to be ancestors of the Australian Aborigines. I wonder if Pope Pius thought of that?

By the way, a friend of mine is very proud and happy that Brian Eisenback was hired, and considers the complaining about him by Ken Ham to be a favorable recommendation.

Catholic doctrine doesn’t just require Adam and Eve to be among the ancestors of all living people. They have to be the exclusive ancestors. In other words, yes, it does require a bottleneck.

Well, there is an alternative: Adam and Eve’s genes could gradually replace all other genes in the population until none of the other people around at that time have any remaining contribution. But that would look just like a bottleneck as far as any genetic data could show, so it’s just as impossible to fit to reality. The genetic data show that at no time was there a population in the human lineage below 10,000 that contributed genetic material to the current population.

A fallback position is that there is something like an “original sin” or “soul” allele, and this is all that is required to become fixed, with other parts of the genome irrelevant. But there are difficulties with that notion too, as you can probably figure on your own.

And the DI isn’t protesting that they should teach the controversy at Bryan College?

Well, at least they’ll always care about teaching “both sides” as long as only science is being taught.

Glen Davidson

What President “Deep Throat” Lovelace noted was that words that he doesn’t understand tumble frequently out of his pie hole.

Having not suffered any flack in a few days let me ask the question about Bryan College: who cares?

This college is a roadside stop for homeschooled Bible thumpers on their way to careers in the service industry. The entire enterprise could fold up and nobody would notice. Even for those of us who are fond of creationist entertainment there’s not much to this story. I hate to admit it but it’s stories like this that make me miss old FL!

Floyd, come back, Floyd!

Doc Bill said:

Floyd, come back, Floyd!

OMG! What’re you smokin’ Dude?

The speaker certainly allowed that Adam and Eve were products of biological evolution from pre-existing hominids - he did not have any problem with that.

So if I may ask, did the speaker explain specifically how he reconciled his stated belief with:

Gen 2:7 (Adam direct creation),

Gen 2:21-22 (Eve direct creation), and

Gen 1:26-28 (the image of God given to humans only).

FL

Doc Bill said:

What President “Deep Throat” Lovelace noted was that words that he doesn’t understand tumble frequently out of his pie hole.

Having not suffered any flack in a few days let me ask the question about Bryan College: who cares?

This college is a roadside stop for homeschooled Bible thumpers on their way to careers in the service industry. The entire enterprise could fold up and nobody would notice. Even for those of us who are fond of creationist entertainment there’s not much to this story. I hate to admit it but it’s stories like this that make me miss old FL!

Floyd, come back, Floyd!

Summoned the stupid, did you?

You shall held responsible!

Glen Davidson

Um, there’s a missing “be” in there. Oh well.

Glen Davidson

Does the Catholic Church need Adam and Eve to be genealogical ancestors of us all? Or must we also all have genes from them? If so, which loci? We have an awful lot of ancestors who are in our genealogy but who we inherited no genes from.

Would it be sufficient to have inherited one locus, say the Malate dehydrogenase enzyme (EC 1.1.1.37) (MDH), from Adam and Eve? Must one of our two copies come from Adam and the other from Eve?

This is really leading to all sorts of interesting scientific questions! But first we need the theologians to provide the detailed requirements.

As a private college I suppose they can hold whatever doctrines they want. However, if they try teaching biology without evolution they are going to be in a world of hurt. They can ignore reality and science if they choose, but there will be consequences and repercussions. How is their program accredited? Who is going to be reviewing the program? What if their degree is not recognized by graduate schools and other institutions?

Congratulations to Brian for standing up for science in the face of religious ignorance and bigotry.

Apparently the speaker at the presentation, did not. Nobody can.

FL said:

The speaker certainly allowed that Adam and Eve were products of biological evolution from pre-existing hominids - he did not have any problem with that.

So if I may ask, did the speaker explain specifically how he reconciled his stated belief with…

The speaker in question appeared to be paraphrasing the Papal Encyclical from 1950, as Carl mentioned. That encyclical says both that the Catholic church finds nothing unscriptural about a biological evolution of hominids (because evidently the ‘ensoulling’ is what makes us human), and it supports Adam and Eve as a pair of real people from which all humans are descended.

Because of that, your beef really isn’t with the speaker. Its with Pope Pius, and the RCC’s doctrine. If you think they are wrong, take it up with them.

Joe Felsenstein said:

Does the Catholic Church need Adam and Eve to be genealogical ancestors of us all?

Evidently yes. Don’t ask me why they need it to be this way, I don’t know, but apparently they do. Here’s the relevant section from Pius’ Humani Generis, with bold added by me:

When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains either that after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which through generation is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.[12]

Back to Joe:

But first we need the theologians to provide the detailed requirements.

Well, at least for the RCC, they’ve given pretty detailed requirements. Nobody after Adam and Eve could be descended from anyone else, and “Adam and Eve” do not represent a group of people.

Joe Felsenstein said:

Does the Catholic Church need Adam and Eve to be genealogical ancestors of us all? Or must we also all have genes from them? If so, which loci? We have an awful lot of ancestors who are in our genealogy but who we inherited no genes from.

Would it be sufficient to have inherited one locus, say the Malate dehydrogenase enzyme (EC 1.1.1.37) (MDH), from Adam and Eve? Must one of our two copies come from Adam and the other from Eve?

This is really leading to all sorts of interesting scientific questions! But first we need the theologians to provide the detailed requirements.

Yeah, I noticed that; the RCC statement has laid out some very specific (and falsifiable) scientific corollaries, perhaps not realizing in 1950 that they did so. Eric, thanks for the Humani Generis quotations.

eric said:

Joe Felsenstein said:

Does the Catholic Church need Adam and Eve to be genealogical ancestors of us all?

Evidently yes. Don’t ask me why they need it to be this way, I don’t know, but apparently they do. Here’s the relevant section from Pius’ Humani Generis, with bold added by me:

When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains either that after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which through generation is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.[12]

Back to Joe:

But first we need the theologians to provide the detailed requirements.

Well, at least for the RCC, they’ve given pretty detailed requirements. Nobody after Adam and Eve could be descended from anyone else, and “Adam and Eve” do not represent a group of people.

Well then their hypothesis is falsified. That was easy. Next.

eric said:

Here’s the relevant section from Pius’ Humani Generis, with bold added by me:

When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains either that after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which through generation is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.[12]

Okay, forget the genes for a moment and look at exactly what Pius said. “True manity” descends from Adam & Eve. Why cannot this condition be satisfied by their descendants spreading out through the entire human population over many generations? The last non-“True man” was some Torres Strait Islander before the European contact.

The RCC is stuck with “true manity” being conferred by mating with certain geneaologies, which is kind of weird to say the least. “True manity” is a cone of descent through time. Cain’s wife is not a “true (wo)man”, but their children are.

I’m not Catholic, by the way.

DS said:

Well then their hypothesis is falsified. That was easy. Next.

Just checking one more case …

I’m not a biologist like some of the assembled Pandati, but I did see the Adam and Eve point come up on the screen last Sunday night and I immediately knew it was going to be trouble. The audience was more concerned about being tagged as creationists just because they are Catholic, and how to correct that impression.

John Harshman said:

Catholic doctrine doesn’t just require Adam and Eve to be among the ancestors of all living people. They have to be the exclusive ancestors. In other words, yes, it does require a bottleneck.

Well, there is an alternative: Adam and Eve’s genes could gradually replace all other genes in the population until none of the other people around at that time have any remaining contribution. But that would look just like a bottleneck as far as any genetic data could show, so it’s just as impossible to fit to reality. The genetic data show that at no time was there a population in the human lineage below 10,000 that contributed genetic material to the current population.

A fallback position is that there is something like an “original sin” or “soul” allele, and this is all that is required to become fixed, with other parts of the genome irrelevant. But there are difficulties with that notion too, as you can probably figure on your own.

There is a 3rd alternative - there was no “Adam & Eve” as portrayed in Genesis, or any other religious mythology, and Homo sapiens is just the latest (but hopefully not the last) in a long line of evolutionary progression. There. From any perspective of reality, that solves the entire freaking “argument.” Of course, I don’t expect the Bryan College powers that be to accept that reality any time soon.

Doc Bill said:

What President “Deep Throat” Lovelace noted was that words that he doesn’t understand tumble frequently out of his pie hole.

Having not suffered any flack in a few days let me ask the question about Bryan College: who cares?

This college is a roadside stop for homeschooled Bible thumpers on their way to careers in the service industry. The entire enterprise could fold up and nobody would notice. Even for those of us who are fond of creationist entertainment there’s not much to this story. I hate to admit it but it’s stories like this that make me miss old FL!

Floyd, come back, Floyd!

“This college is a roadside stop for homeschooled Bible thumpers on their way to careers in the service industry.”

That’s the first time I’ve ever heard congress, red state legislatures, and Republican “strategist” jobs described as “the service industry”.

More like the disservice industry.

Daddy sang bass,

Mama sang tenor.

One of these days and it won’t be long,

I’ll rejoin them in a song.

I’m gonna join the family circle at the Throne.

Except if you are Adam and Eve. Their biological parents did not have a soul it seems.

Carl Drews said:

Okay, forget the genes for a moment and look at exactly what Pius said. “True manity” descends from Adam & Eve.

The RCC is stuck with “true manity” being conferred by mating with certain geneaologies, which is kind of weird to say the least. “True manity” is a cone of descent through time. Cain’s wife is not a “true (wo)man”, but their children are.

I’m not Catholic, by the way.

So one doesn’t, in their view, need any particular part of the genome passed on to be adequately descended from Adam and Eve. Strange, and too bad. I was looking forward to careful genetic studies leading us to discover what part(s) of the genome were the bearers of the Original Sin.

I actually think that Humani Generis was intended to convey the bottleneck scenario. But never mind. The important question is what part of the genome is linked to the soul. Souls presumably are highly advantageous, as they became fixed rather quickly in the population.

How does one distinguish a human without a soul from a true human with one? Would a person with a soul actually want to marry one without one? Would it be like marrying a zombie, except for the smell and the brain-eating?

There really are a lot of scientific questions to discuss with the church.

John Harshman said:

I actually think that Humani Generis was intended to convey the bottleneck scenario. But never mind. The important question is what part of the genome is linked to the soul. Souls presumably are highly advantageous, as they became fixed rather quickly in the population.

How does one distinguish a human without a soul from a true human with one? Would a person with a soul actually want to marry one without one? Would it be like marrying a zombie, except for the smell and the brain-eating?

There really are a lot of scientific questions to discuss with the church.

Reminds me of when I asked highschoolers to define human being. One inevitably came up with “has a soul”. But they rethought that in a hurry when I asked them if they decided which animals had souls by detecting the presence of a soul, or detecting whether the animal was human (then assuming he had a soul).

Keelyn said:

… Homo sapiens is just the latest (but hopefully not the last) in a long line of evolutionary progression.

Keelyn, I have this wonderful analogy. I know, I know, analogy never convinced anyone. But for those who already perceive the truth, an analogy is like a sweet dessert.

Consider the present-day Romance languages - Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, French, Romanian, and all their local varieties and dialects. All of them, yes all, are the direct genetic descendants of Latin, the language of the Roman civilization (roughly 500BC - 500AD). Now granted, in its day Latin was not one monolithic language, but it was the language of Rome. A few genes crossbred in, here and there contributing to divergence, but the common ancestor is Latin.

If I didn’t know this, and if you told me these very different modern day languages all had a common ancestor, I’d say you were crazy. No way! Not possible! It’s against all reason, all common sense, and all religion. Fifteen hundred years isn’t enough time for a common ancestor to produce these different offspring. (You’d need ‘deep time’, but the Earth is only 6,000 years old!)

Same with the various and sundry modern day species that inhabit planet Earth. They are so different, just like the different Romance languages, that I just can’t believe they all have a common ancestor. It’s against all reason, all common sense, and all religion.

And that’s how it will stay, as long as a mind refuses to think and reason.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make her drink. (But did you know that already?)

Matt Young Wrote:

I trust that I am not the only one who finds that allusion (“it’s in our DNA”) uproariously funny.

Darn, I was unable to post when there were no comments, now there are 25 :-(

Anyway, I don’t find it so much funny as an (unintentional?) admission of what I suspected of committed anti-evolution activists for ~15 years. Which is that they are ironically the very “dogmatic materialists” that they accuse “Darwinists” of being. If they truly think it’s “in their DNA,” they effectively deny free will.

In any case, let’s see if Bryan has the guts to make their statement truly unequivocal, as in: “The convergence, neither sought nor fabricated, of evidence, obtained independently of scripture, concludes that Adam and Eve are historical persons created by God in a special formative act, and not biologically descended from previously existing life-forms…”

That would eliminate the Omphalos loophole, whereby people sympathetic to “the anti-evolution cause” but still afraid of bearing false witness (i.e. believing that God can detect their dishonesty even if no other human can) would just say that they believe it in spite of evidence that not there (or not there “yet”).

If that isn’t enough irony already, I should acknowledge that I borrowed the phrase “convergence, neither sought nor fabricated” from Pope John Paul II, who used it to describe the evidence for evolution, and in particular, how he was impressed with it, and apparently aware that “creationism” does nothing but “seek and fabricate” and still cannot manage anything but comically divergent accounts, much less anything resembling a theory.

prongs said:

Keelyn said:

… Homo sapiens is just the latest (but hopefully not the last) in a long line of evolutionary progression.

Keelyn, I have this wonderful analogy. I know, I know, analogy never convinced anyone. But for those who already perceive the truth, an analogy is like a sweet dessert.

Consider the present-day Romance languages - Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, French, Romanian, and all their local varieties and dialects. All of them, yes all, are the direct genetic descendants of Latin, the language of the Roman civilization (roughly 500BC - 500AD). Now granted, in its day Latin was not one monolithic language, but it was the language of Rome. A few genes crossbred in, here and there contributing to divergence, but the common ancestor is Latin.

If I didn’t know this, and if you told me these very different modern day languages all had a common ancestor, I’d say you were crazy. No way! Not possible! It’s against all reason, all common sense, and all religion. Fifteen hundred years isn’t enough time for a common ancestor to produce these different offspring. (You’d need ‘deep time’, but the Earth is only 6,000 years old!)

Same with the various and sundry modern day species that inhabit planet Earth. They are so different, just like the different Romance languages, that I just can’t believe they all have a common ancestor. It’s against all reason, all common sense, and all religion.

And that’s how it will stay, as long as a mind refuses to think and reason.

It’s a good analogy, prongs. So, what is one to do? Oh, when confronted with a contradiction of reason, perhaps a little investigation and experimentation is in order – after some amount of study we can see that it all falls reasonably into place and it is not impossible, or unreasonable, or against common sense at all. But, I realize that for some, investigation is too difficult – it’s easier to just accept the dogma and remain ignorant. Denial is easy.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make her drink. (But did you know that already?)

Yes, I do know that. I also know that on occasion, the horse can lead the rider to water, as well. And one way or another, they will make you take a drink – whether you want to or not! :)

OMG! I can summon The Floyd?

Bar the doors, Ma, the exorcists are a-commin’!

Most exalted Floyd, granter of the impossible, numbest of skulls, please hear my petition for a 2014 Corvette Stingray C7, blue. Automatic is fine. Deliver to BR-549.

Thank you and praise be to the Floyd!

Just in case the connection of Coppedge and the DI has been forgotten…the DI heavily defended Coppedge who most knew all along was a YEC. But I don’t think Coppedge ever really told that to his exfellow employees. It was, I think, an expensive loss for the DI not just a failure to have a win in the “religious/ ID/ Creationist discrimination” column.

That’s why I posted that Coppedge comment…his desire to force those professors to accept and promote YECism…almost the opposite of what his lawsuit was about.

Precisely. It’s the pot calling the kettle a pot! What a hypocrite.

How did he find out about the secret orgies anyway? Did someone blab? Of course he once again got it backwards. It’s the founding fathers who used to have all the orgies. Likewise, it’s mostly the religious folks who are the terrorists. Man, that guy was ten kinds of wrong.

Gosh. Still can’t answer like I want to. Did get a chance to read everybody’s post, some were interesting (and long).

Not a lot of Panda unity this time I notice. Drews effectively answers the thread topic question “Yes”, but Luckett effectively answers it “No”. Both specific answers cannot be rationally true at the same time.

But not much I can do right now, other than notice the divergence of opinions. Interesting.

FL

FL said:

Gosh. Still can’t answer like I want to. Did get a chance to read everybody’s post, some were interesting (and long).

Not a lot of Panda unity this time I notice.

I love how this is the first thing FL jumps on. “Lack of unity.”

In fundamentalism, truth is absolute and context-independent (the modernist fallacy, which is ironic because fundies love to hate on modernism), and so must be accompanied by unity. Unity is the key. They can’t question, they can’t disagree, they can’t question; they must eschew all forms of rational inquiry in the elusive pursuit of magical truth-unity.

Free exchange of ideas with rational, respectful disagreements and complementary lines of reasoning? Oh the horror! Surely there could never be any truth worth knowing in such a divergent, unity-lacking jumble!!

And of course the log in their own eye condemns them. Fundamentalism is always the least unified branch of religion.

Any mythology can coexist with reality, that’s the point of myths. The real question is, can Floyd coexist with reality. And we all know the answer to that one.

david.starling.macmillan said:

FL said:

Gosh. Still can’t answer like I want to. Did get a chance to read everybody’s post, some were interesting (and long).

Not a lot of Panda unity this time I notice.

I love how this is the first thing FL jumps on. “Lack of unity.”

In fundamentalism, truth is absolute and context-independent (the modernist fallacy, which is ironic because fundies love to hate on modernism), and so must be accompanied by unity. Unity is the key. They can’t question, they can’t disagree, they can’t question; they must eschew all forms of rational inquiry in the elusive pursuit of magical truth-unity.

Free exchange of ideas with rational, respectful disagreements and complementary lines of reasoning? Oh the horror! Surely there could never be any truth worth knowing in such a divergent, unity-lacking jumble!!

And of course the log in their own eye condemns them. Fundamentalism is always the least unified branch of religion.

But we must believe exactly what FL tells us to believe, each and every one of us!

Why? Because if we do not, FL assures us, we will be tortured forever by his loving and just gods. Remember, FL cannot be wrong about such issues.

FL cannot offer any rational reason to believe what he says we must. He cannot offer any objective evidence to support his assertions. He cannot construct any coherent argument in defense of his preposterous convictions. He cannot distinguish his own delusions from those of other lunatics. He cannot even say why he himself believes what he does. All he can do is to shake his juju rattle and go all ooga booga on us.

According to FL, the only reason to believe what he says is fear. Our beliefs are to be extorted by threats of eternal suffering in hell. After all, that’s the Christian Way™!

DS said: The real question is, can Floyd coexist with reality. And we all know the answer to that one.

Well, we’ve constructed a society where he CAN coexist with reality, reaping its benefits constantly, all the while DENYING that it’s reality and encouraging (even forcing children) to believe in his particular myths rather than the realities that pretty much keep them all alive.

Actually, I wouldn’t have any other kind of society. He’s free to be as big a fool as he wants. And I’m free to call him a fool.

Please address this part:

Drews effectively answers the thread topic question “Yes”, but Luckett effectively answers it “No”.

Both specific answers cannot be rationally true at the same time.

FL

FL said:

Please address this part:

Drews effectively answers the thread topic question “Yes”, but Luckett effectively answers it “No”.

Both specific answers cannot be rationally true at the same time.

FL

In my opinion Carl Drews’ answer here is inconsistent with Pius’ encyclical as quoted here. To be specific, the idea that Adam is the “federal” head of humanity and that God put souls in people not descended from Adam is inconsistent with Pius’ statement that there cannot be any “true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him [Adam].”

To give Carl credit where it’s due, he appears to recognize this inconsistency because in a later post he points out that Francis’ position on baptizing (hypothetical) martians is also somewhat inconsistent with Pius’ encyclical. They, after all, would not be naturally generated from Adam either…so why would they need redemption? Francis’ position could be taken as a tacit acknowledgement that a “real person” does not have to originate from Adam.

That may be so. I guess I would parse my conclusion as a conditional: to the extent that RCC theology aligns with Pius’ encyclical, it is inconsistent with our modern understanding of hominid evolutionary bottlenecks. To the extent that RCC theology ignores the encyclical or treats it as nonbinding (i.e., just one pope’s opinion, not doctrine), it could be consistent with evolutionary understanding of hominid bottlenecks.

Please address this part:

Carl Drews effectively answers the thread topic question “Yes”, but Dave Luckett FL effectively answers it “No”.

Could you Christians get your story straight?

Sure Floyd, just as soon as you explain why IBIGOT is wrong about vegasaurs. He does read the same bible as you do, right? How could he possibly come to such a different opinion? Unless of course you made the whole thing up. Now that is good to know.

Additional commentary from Pandas. They are indeed interesting.

(I’m not ignoring Eric’s most recent post – it is a rare example of commendable Panda honesty and reflection. His post is food for thought vis-a-vis the thread topic question, so for now I simply leave it as it is.)

So here’s a previous statement by Eric instead:

Well, at least for the RCC, they’ve given pretty detailed requirements. Nobody after Adam and Eve could be descended from anyone else, and “Adam and Eve” do not represent a group of people.

Obviously that statement clashes with the “evolutionary bottleneck” scenario. IOW, Darwin is clearly clashing with Eden.

And no less a Panda than DS gives his stamp of approval to that very clash:

Well then their hypothesis is falsified. That was easy. Next.

See, DS knows the score around here. He KNOWS you can’t have both Darwin and Eden on the same Planet Earth. One of those items gotta be historically false period. DS says it’s Eden that’s false. So again the big clash is proven to be true.

This is important because RCC theology, (while some Catholics strongly agree with it and others less so), DOES at least officially agree with and accept the encyclical snippet that Eric quoted. That encyclical is quoted all the time when human origins comes up, and you can easily see a non-negotiable affirmation or echo of it in John Paul II’s “acceptance” of evolution.

So what I’m simply saying is simply that Eric’s posts in fact give a considered and yes, clearly ~conditional~ response that nevertheless still falls mostly into the “No” column (regarding the thread topic question), at least as far as the “official” RCC theology is concerned.

****

But I’ve left out somebody else: Keelyn. She also has food for thought, and hers aligns strongly with Luckett’s. (And of course, hers is an AUTOMATIC clash, an automatic incompatibility between Darwin and Eden.)

Let’s put it on the table:

There is a 3rd alternative - there was no “Adam & Eve” as portrayed in Genesis, or any other religious mythology, and Homo sapiens is just the latest (but hopefully not the last) in a long line of evolutionary progression. There. From any perspective of reality, that solves the entire freaking “argument.”

****

Keelyn’s words also fits very good with Mike Aus:

If my rudimentary grasp of the science is accurate, then Darwin’s theory tells us that because new species only emerge extremely gradually, there really is no “first” prototype or model of any species at all—no “first” dog or “first” giraffe and certainly no “first” homo sapiens created instantaneously.

The transition from predecessor hominid species was almost imperceptible. So, if there was no “first” human, there was clearly no original couple through whom the contagion of “sin” could be transmitted to the entire human race.

The history of our species does not contain a “fall” into sin from a mythical, pristine sinless paradise that never existed.

****

So now add it all up. Indeed Darwin necessarily clashes with Eden whether you’re Catholic, Protestant or Atheist. This is an Equal Qpportunity Clash.

In fact, Mike Aus shows pointedly that the huge clash actually involves the Gospel of Jesus Christ itself. For if the evolutionary “bottleneck” is historically true, then there never was a real Adam and Eve, and then there was never any Fall, and you know what Zindler said – no Fall means Jesus gotta go to the UNEMPLOYMENT LINE.

So the answer to the thread topic question HAS to be a big “No”, when you add it all up.

FL

But FL, it’s not just the ToE. All of modern STEM civilization has no use for gods. There are no gods in the theory of relativity, no gods in quantum theory, no gods in electromagnetic field theory. There are no demons in the germ theory of disease, no devils in genetically modified agricultural organisms, no ghosts in the ducts of our HVAC systems. No gods are to be found anywhere in reality, not just the theory of evolution.

So why the ToE? What makes it such a special focus of outrage? After all, there aren’t gods anywhere else in reality, either.

Floyd doesn’t know the score around here. He DOESN’T KNOW that you can have both Darwin and Eden on the same Planet Earth. All you have to do is to interpret the myth of Eden properly. Floyd refuses to do this. Therefore, he is forced to ignore all of reality in order to maintain his delusions. If Eden must be interpreted literally, then obviously it is simply false. Floyd simply cannot admit this. He has no explanation at all for any of the evidence, so he is forced to simply ignore it. For him, the “big clash” just must be true. He can’t imagine how anyone else would ever reconcile the two. He must somehow vilify those who have done exactly that. What he cannot bring himself to do is to admit that he is wrong and they are right. Fortunately that doesn’t matter, everyone can clearly see it. Reality is the arbitrator, whether he wants to admit it or not.

Clearly the Pope’s Eden cannot coexist with Darwin very well.

Mine can, though. As can the Eden of most Christians.

I differ from Carl’s explanation insofar as I find it unnecessary. It also has the disadvantage of being separately unattested by evidence, including scriptural evidence, even if you want to call that evidence. As such, it is likely to please nobody; but it is internally consistent, and also consistent with the massive body of evidence for common descent of all the species. It is one method of reconciling the obvious inconsistencies between the Genesis stories and observed real fact.

But I believe that it is unnecessary. Occam’s Razor should be applied. I favour a lesser explanation: Genesis 1-11 should be read as what it clearly is - fictive narrative, myth, allegory, legend, fable. These are stories told for thematic purposes, from which to draw a moral conclusion. They are like the parables of Jesus himself in that regard. (Of course, since their ultimate authors were multiple, possibly collegiate, and different people from Jesus, they’re not of exactly the same style. Why would anyone think that they should be?)

In ordinary Christian theology, original sin is a real condition and one shared by all humanity; but it consists of the universal depravity of all mankind, not of the story that our ultimate parents ate forbidden fruit, except in the metaphorical sense of a fable. “In Adam’s fall, we share all” - that is, we all share exactly the same sins of disobedience, imperfection, and oblivious disregard of the consequences of our acts and failure to act, as do all human beings. The sovereign grace of God, won through the redemption of Jesus Christ, and not through any merit of our own, is the only mending of this.

So regarding the stories of the Garden of Eden as fables told for moral purposes is not a denial of the doctrine of the redemption, as FL falsely claims. Jesus does not, as he puts it, go to the unemployment line. On the contrary, Jesus died and was resurrected for the several and individual burden of sin that we all bear because we all commit it, and do so because we are human. It is true that we inherit our humanity from our ancestors; but original sin is not some intangible taint derived from them, and thus visited on us vicariously. Original sin is part of being human; being human, we share in it. (The idea of merely vicarious guilt actually denies the justice of God, and thus is blasphemous.)

The observed history of the Earth, of life, and of the descent of all species including our own, is perfectly consistent with this reading of the scriptures and also with the doctrines of Christianity.

The false, fraudulent and heretical doctrine that certain of the scriptures must be read literally rather than metaphorically is the view only of some late and schismatic sects on the Protestant fringe. It acts as a barrier to the acceptance of the Faith in the minds of many who imagine it to be Christian doctrine, and for that reason alone is a grievous sin in itself. This is especially so insofar as the cause of its adoption in those sects is plainly nothing more than their adherents’ pride in their own understanding - false pride, for they do not understand either scripture or the observed evidence.

What this boils down to is that the answer to the head question is in fact “yes”. Darwin and Eden can co-exist. FL misrepresents me as saying “no”.

What I say “no” to - what Carl Drews also says “no” to - is the denial of real evidence in favour of a false interpretation of the scriptures.

FL said:

Additional commentary from Pandas. They are indeed interesting.

(I’m not ignoring Eric’s most recent post – it is a rare example of commendable Panda honesty and reflection. His post is food for thought vis-a-vis the thread topic question, so for now I simply leave it as it is.)

So here’s a previous statement by Eric instead:

Well, at least for the RCC, they’ve given pretty detailed requirements. Nobody after Adam and Eve could be descended from anyone else, and “Adam and Eve” do not represent a group of people.

Obviously that statement clashes with the “evolutionary bottleneck” scenario. IOW, Darwin is clearly clashing with Eden.

And no less a Panda than DS gives his stamp of approval to that very clash:

Well then their hypothesis is falsified. That was easy. Next.

See, DS knows the score around here. He KNOWS you can’t have both Darwin and Eden on the same Planet Earth. One of those items gotta be historically false period. DS says it’s Eden that’s false. So again the big clash is proven to be true.

This is important because RCC theology, (while some Catholics strongly agree with it and others less so), DOES at least officially agree with and accept the encyclical snippet that Eric quoted. That encyclical is quoted all the time when human origins comes up, and you can easily see a non-negotiable affirmation or echo of it in John Paul II’s “acceptance” of evolution.

So what I’m simply saying is simply that Eric’s posts in fact give a considered and yes, clearly ~conditional~ response that nevertheless still falls mostly into the “No” column (regarding the thread topic question), at least as far as the “official” RCC theology is concerned.

****

But I’ve left out somebody else: Keelyn. She also has food for thought, and hers aligns strongly with Luckett’s. (And of course, hers is an AUTOMATIC clash, an automatic incompatibility between Darwin and Eden.)

Let’s put it on the table:

There is a 3rd alternative - there was no “Adam & Eve” as portrayed in Genesis, or any other religious mythology, and Homo sapiens is just the latest (but hopefully not the last) in a long line of evolutionary progression. There. From any perspective of reality, that solves the entire freaking “argument.”

****

Keelyn’s words also fits very good with Mike Aus:

If my rudimentary grasp of the science is accurate, then Darwin’s theory tells us that because new species only emerge extremely gradually, there really is no “first” prototype or model of any species at all—no “first” dog or “first” giraffe and certainly no “first” homo sapiens created instantaneously.

The transition from predecessor hominid species was almost imperceptible. So, if there was no “first” human, there was clearly no original couple through whom the contagion of “sin” could be transmitted to the entire human race.

The history of our species does not contain a “fall” into sin from a mythical, pristine sinless paradise that never existed.

****

So now add it all up. Indeed Darwin necessarily clashes with Eden whether you’re Catholic, Protestant or Atheist. This is an Equal Qpportunity Clash.

In fact, Mike Aus shows pointedly that the huge clash actually involves the Gospel of Jesus Christ itself. For if the evolutionary “bottleneck” is historically true, then there never was a real Adam and Eve, and then there was never any Fall, and you know what Zindler said – no Fall means Jesus gotta go to the UNEMPLOYMENT LINE.

So the answer to the thread topic question HAS to be a big “No”, when you add it all up.

FL

But, your “clash” is utterly irrelevant. To rational and reasonable Christians (which probably consists of the majority) who accept the Garden of Eden story for what it actually is, an allegory (a fictitious narrative), the “clash” with reality is unimportant. Allegories clash with reality quite frequently and are expected – Genesis and the Garden of Eden are no exceptions. What is important is the point of the story – nasty as it is. And for those delusional minds, such as yours, who insist that the story is a record of actual historical events, the “clash” is also irrelevant, as reasonable and rational people should not and cannot take people who deny reality and facts seriously.

The real reason why Floyd has to keep the “clash” going is so that he will have an excuse not to study nay science. All he has to do is study the myths, even though he hasn’t got a clue what they mean and still misses the point entirely. When asked, what if it isn’t true, what if it’s a myth, what lessons does it teach, Floyd replied basically: “Well if it is true then it must be true.” You can find my response to that little bit of hell on the BW. Long story short, Floyd is just too stupid to understand science, but he still needs to be the authority with all the answers, so what’s a mediocre false prophet to do?

FL said: So what I’m simply saying is simply that Eric’s posts in fact give a considered and yes, clearly ~conditional~ response that nevertheless still falls mostly into the “No” column (regarding the thread topic question), at least as far as the “official” RCC theology is concerned.

Well, no not really, because the original thread topic is about Bryan College, which is not Catholic. They are not bound by RCC doctrine, and are unlikely to take any Pope’s proclamations as theologically authoritative.

So now add it all up. Indeed Darwin necessarily clashes with Eden whether you’re Catholic, Protestant or Atheist. This is an Equal Qpportunity Clash.

Um, no, that’s an illegitimate generalization. Your sect and Bryan College’s sect does not represent all of Protestantism. Nor do Dave, Keelyn, or myself represent all of atheism. You can certainly say that some sects have determined that evolution is incompatible with their theology. You can also say that some atheists think evolution is incompatible with Christianity writ large, even the theologies of those sects that don’t overtly reject it. That, however, does not imply the conclusion you want to reach - that all protestants, catholics, and atheists recognize a clash. Very clearly there are many Christian sects as well as some atheists (I don’t know whether they are a majority or minority) who don’t think they clash.

So the answer to the thread topic question HAS to be a big “No”, when you add it all up.

I gave you a nuanced answer and you steamrolled over it. You’re incorrect. It’s a “no” for catholics who accept Pius’ encyclical as doctrine. That may be most of them, but OTOH there is some evidence that group doesn’t even include the current Pope. It’s also a “no” for some fundamentalist protestant sects too, like yours and whatever sect the Bryan College trustees belong to. It’s obviously not a “no” for the many Bryan students and professors opposed to the addendum, as well as millions of mainstream protestants and some unknown percent of atheists.

According to adherents.com (referencing Encyclopedia Britannica) there are three major traditional branches of Christianity: Catholic, Protestant, “Other Christians”, Orthodox, and Anglicans.

I strongly concur with Dave Luckett’s comment, which is an excellent articulation of contemporary reformed theology. I only have time to offer two comments at this time.

My first comment is in regard to this statement:

Dave Luckett said:

The sovereign grace of God, won through the redemption of Jesus Christ, and not through any merit of our own, is the only mending of this.

For most of my life, discussion of the nature of redemption has focused of reconciliation – that (per the Confession of 1967)

The United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America said:

In Jesus Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself. Jesus Christ is God with humanity. He is the eternal Son of the Father, who became human and lived among us to fulfill the work of reconciliation. He is present in the church by the power of the Holy Spirit to continue and complete his mission. This work of God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is the foundation of all confessional statements about God, humanity, and the world. Therefore, the church calls humanity to be reconciled to God and to one another.

My second comment is in regard to this paragraph, in particular the sentence I’ve emphasized:

Dave Luckett said:

The false, fraudulent and heretical doctrine that certain of the scriptures must be read literally rather than metaphorically is the view only of some late and schismatic sects on the Protestant fringe. It acts as a barrier to the acceptance of the Faith in the minds of many who imagine it to be Christian doctrine, and for that reason alone is a grievous sin in itself. This is especially so insofar as the cause of its adoption in those sects is plainly nothing more than their adherents’ pride in their own understanding - false pride, for they do not understand either scripture or the observed evidence.

I could not have said this better. Fundamentalists are certainly free to adopt a literal interpretation, even though plain objective observation of the physical universe show that this literal interpretation is in error. Fundamentalists thus also fall into error when they elevate their literal interpretation of Genesis to an essential tenet.

Carl Drews said:

But you’ll notice that Jesus included realistic elements in the story to make it familiar to His listeners. There really were cities called Jerusalem and Jericho. There really were merchants who used donkeys in first century Canaan. There really was a despised foreign class called “Samaritans.” The story contains historical truth.

You reminded me of a thought I had in church back when I used to go with my grandmother. It occurred to me that it would be awesome if someone opened or renamed a newspaper The Daily Bugle in NYC. So if someday in the future the city turned to ruins our descendants would discover it. Among the ruins they also find fantastical stories about a hero and evidence of a historical Peter Parker who lived there. I thought it would be a pretty neat long con troll.

SWT said: Fundamentalists are certainly free to adopt a literal interpretation, even though plain objective observation of the physical universe show that this literal interpretation is in error.

Fundamentalists are free to adopt any position, even if it denies the physical universe. Even it they are logically inconsistent.

But others are free to point out inconsistencies.

For example:

Many people insist that the Bible say that Moses is the author of the Pentateuch. But all but a very few point to the description of the death and burial and future status of Moses as prophet in Deuteronomy 34 and conclude, by “mere human reasoning”, that Deuteronomy 34 was written by someone else. Even though God could have told Moses. Even while rejecting “mere human reasoning” for “post-mosaica” and “a-mosaica” not being written by Moses elsewhere in the Pentateuch. Even bringing up the possibly that Moses could have been told about the future and the distant.

Others are free to point out the authorship of all of the Pentateuch except Deuteronomy 34 is not a consistent stance concerning “mere human reasoning”.

For example:

The acceptance of modern science concerning heliocentrism as over-ruling the plain text of the Bible. But refusal to accept modern science concerning evolution, which is much less so against the plain text of the Bible.

TomS said:

For example:

The acceptance of modern science concerning heliocentrism as over-ruling the plain text of the Bible. But refusal to accept modern science concerning evolution, which is much less so against the plain text of the Bible.

Of course creationists would argue that the Bible isn’t explicitly geocentric but is explicitly creationist.

It’s hard to make them see otherwise, because their standard is not preponderance of evidence, but plausible deniability. They’re fine with the Biblical authors believing in geocentrism as long as there’s even a slight chance that the geocentric passages aren’t explicit.

eric said: In my opinion Carl Drews’ answer here is inconsistent with Pius’ encyclical as quoted here. To be specific, the idea that Adam is the “federal” head of humanity and that God put souls in people not descended from Adam is inconsistent with Pius’ statement that there cannot be any “true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him [Adam].”

To give Carl credit where it’s due, he appears to recognize this inconsistency because in a later post he points out that Francis’ position on baptizing (hypothetical) martians is also somewhat inconsistent with Pius’ encyclical. They, after all, would not be naturally generated from Adam either…so why would they need redemption? Francis’ position could be taken as a tacit acknowledgement that a “real person” does not have to originate from Adam.

Agreement all the way down. My answer does not attempt to adhere to the Pius encyclical. The “Martians” remark by Pope Francis did not attempt to follow the encyclical either.

Dave Luckett said:

I differ from Carl’s explanation insofar as I find it unnecessary. It also has the disadvantage of being separately unattested by evidence, including scriptural evidence, even if you want to call that evidence. As such, it is likely to please nobody; but it is internally consistent, and also consistent with the massive body of evidence for common descent of all the species. It is one method of reconciling the obvious inconsistencies between the Genesis stories and observed real fact.

Agreed, although I would point out that most hypotheses begin as statements unattested by evidence. Scientific hypotheses are tenuous hunches by researchers. I am more concerned that I’m drifting into non-falsifiable territory. How does one test hominid fossils for the presence of souls? Look for some kind of worshipful behavior in their campfire remains?

Carl Drews said:How does one test hominid fossils for the presence of souls? Look for some kind of worshipful behavior in their campfire remains?

One can find evidence for spiritual beliefs, perhaps in an afterlife, in the presence of grave goods going back to the Neanderthals. Does this mean they had souls? I dunno. Possibly FL will endarken us.

To check fossils for souls, you’d need fossilize feet (i.e., the skulls wouldn’t do it!)…

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on May 22, 2014 9:06 AM.

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