Skip to comments.Even Richard Dawkins is Right Sometimes (Is the Biblical story of Adam and Eve a myth?)
Posted on 11/29/2011 12:32:30 PM PST by SeekAndFind
For the last several months there has been a flurry of discussionmostly online, of courseabout the impossibility of a literal Adam & Eve (see, e.g., here and here and here). This ruling-out has been accomplished recently by the Human Genome Project, which indicates that anatomically modern humans emerged from primate ancestors about 100,000 years ago, from a population of something like 10,000. In short, science has confirmed what many of us already knew: there was not a literal first couple. So what else can we learn from this story?
Plenty, it turns out. Peter Enns, a biblical scholar who blogs at Patheos, has been following the discussion with some care. Lately he has done us all a great favor: written a series of posts pointing out recurring mistakes made by many of those doing the discussing. Many of these mistakes are rhetorically effective but collapse upon even modest inspection.
But not all of them.
On Friday, he listed one held mostly by the pro-science crowd: Evidence for and against evolution is open to all and can be assessed by anyone.
Enns declares that this is not so. The years of training and experience required of those who work in fields that touch on evolution rules out of bounds the views of those who lack such training, he writes.
This is true but it misses the point. The open-access-to-science cliché, usually trundled out by those who wish to contrast the transparency of science with the supposed obfuscation of religion, carries some truth.
Science actually is transparent in a way that religion is not. Thats because, in science land, there is nothing but to follow the evidence. Its out on the table, after all, able and willing to be poked and prodded and analyzed and figured out and held up and turned around and looked at from new angles. Also, what counts as evidence in science is pretty well-defined. And if you do become an evolution expert, you actually will see that 99% of all scientists back evolution for a reason: the evidence demands it.
This is the great generosity of science, and its great strength: It is actually all right there, ready to be seen and understood. It is relievedly explicit. It takes effort, sure, just as Enns suggests; its not easy to become a professional research biologist. But the reason biologists agree on evolution is because its a relatively simple matter to be objective about fossils and genes. Unlike the objects of religionthe divine and humanitys relation to itthe objects of science give themselves up for abstraction and analysis without a fight.
Therefore Richard Dawkins (for example) is right when he says, as he has on many occasions, that the evidence for evolution is there to be inspected by anyone. It is sitting out there on the table, waiting patiently for most of humanity to catch up to it, waiting to tell us its time to bid the historical Adam & Eve a final, if fond, farewell.
“It ain’t necessarily so...
“It ain’t necessarily so...“
That was my thought too. They didn't answer it, only kicked the can down the road.
“Science actually is transparent in a way that religion is not. Thats because, in science land, there is nothing but to follow the evidence. Its out on the table, after all, able and willing to be poked and prodded and analyzed and figured out and held up and turned around and looked at from new angles.”
A two word rebuttal:
That's been challenged in several recent papers.
They also assume that any non-genetic DNA is regulatory and that is not at all true. A lot of it is just junk DNA - possibly previously of use, possibly of future use - but currently in the genomic basement boxed up in chromatin.
Moreover the non genetic DNA comports exactly with what one would expect if humans and chimps diverged from a common population some six or seven million years ago, as does the genetic DNA. The pattern of little change in highly conserved DNA and more change in less conserved DNA and a lot more change in “junk” DNA is exactly what is observed in other animals of known common ancestry.
Basically people would rather believe humans didn’t evolve from other creatures. That’s not much of an argument.
So if some deity created humans but evolved everything else, why make humans so similar to other hominids and apes that so many people get confused?
Actually the big difference is that most creationists believe in micro evolution but not macro evolution. Most darwinists deny the distinction has any meaning. Hence your critique makes sense to you but not to a creationist. And the crosstalking continues.
Absolute and utter nonsense.
Moreover most creationists define “macro” evolution as a speciation event leading to the common descent of species.
Apparently they DO believe in the (semi) common descent of species - and thus “macro” evolution.
Would you consider the differentiation between a mouse and a rat to be a “micro” change or a “macro” change? How about between a gorilla and an orangutan?
What makes a human unique is that he has a soul. The story of Genesis is the truth and science does not contradict it, but instead supports it. The Big Bang theory is the same sequence of events described in Genesis. The universe is 13.7 billion years old, but was made in 7 days - those are consistent statements. Science has shown by Einstien, that time is relative to the frame of reference. The 13.7 billion year age is from an earth reference. Seven days is from the reference envelope of the entire universe. An excellent easy to read book on this is the Science of God by Gerald Schroeder who is a physicist
Adam obtained his soul when God breathed the breath of life into his nostrils. Whether there were other homo erectus on earth is not addressed in the Bible and not terrbily important. Events then began unfolding rapidly for humans once he has a soul with the beginning to farm, and the bronze age.
“with displays of the innumerable examples of transitional fossil sequences”
The displays you have seen are primarily artists renderings, NOT hard evidence. Remember that soft tissue, depicted in most of these displays, does not survive time.
The term “transitional” for creationists is usually employed to discuss transitions between, rather than within, species. The former transitions are clearly not innumerable if demonstrable at all.
The author appears to be ignorant of the media's seamless record of slanting and falsifying scientific data to support the establishment worldview. Remember global warming (cooling?) and the "scientific" proof that gays are born that way?
Macro-evolution (as opposed to micro-evolution) has never been proven methods that do not require begging the question. Recent discoveries on the previously unimaginable complexity of cellular organelles demonstrate the impossibility of macro-evolution.
...anatomically modern humans emerged from primate ancestors about 100,000 years ago
I am sure it was an oversight that you missed the explanation of the genesis of the 10,000
The Bible talks about a first couple, I agree. I don’t see anywhere that it talks about a “literal” first couple, though.
RE: Absolute and utter nonsense
Can you elaborate please?
So Michael Mann, prof of bullshit, at Penn State, has always been transparent with his published findings about global warming.
Most creationists believe that ‘macro’ evolution is something that hasn’t been observed. Like Santa Claus. It has a name but that doesn’t mean you believe in it.
Both rats and mice (Or gorilla and Orangutan) could be on an Ark of course so I’m not sure how that makes a point here.
Thank you for pointing this out. The specific revelation in scripture was not written as a scientific or even a complete text. All that is necessary for the account to be true is that God made Adam, a unique being with a soul made in God's own image. To force more precision onto the account than the facts require is a bad way to read scripture, especially when the general revelation of creation suggests that particular accounts are not likely unless God did some extreme messing with reality.
History is written by the victors.
And science is sold to the highest grant-bidder.