Evolution and Adam & Eve Reconciled? Maybe

Discussion in 'Reincarnation, Religion and Spirituality' started by SeaAndSky, Oct 5, 2019.

  1. SeaAndSky

    SeaAndSky Senior Registered

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    Adam & Eve and Evolution Reconciled? I thought it was interesting.

    The basic premise = apparently you can have the usual scientific paradigms regarding a very old earth, evolution (or at least gradualism) and also Genesis 2 with the creation of Adam & Eve. The first does not displace the second, instead the second occurs at some point while the first is going on. Actually, I had heard this idea before in some other sources, but this is the first time it has been put forth by a qualified scientist, peer reviewed, and verified--as a possibility not as a fact. I.e., it is plausible and cannot be disproved, but it also need not be accepted.

    Anyhow, this is an article from USA Today:

    https://news.yahoo.com/upcoming-book-leaves-scientific-possibility-110020688.html

    And a long quote from the article to let you know what is going on:

    "Swamidass is not peddling pseudoscience. Indeed, earlier this year, he and I teamed up on the pages of Science to rebut claims by evolution critics. In addition, "The Genealogical Adam and Eve" went through a rigorous process of open peer review, involving scholars from many diverse disciplines and even some secular scientists, including myself and Alan Templeton, a giant in the field of human population genetics. Invited to find fault in his analysis, we couldn’t, partly because the hypothesis is so narrow, but also because it appears to be correct.

    Surprising though it seems, it is scientifically tenable that, among our billions of other ancestors, we could all be descendant from a single human couple who lived in the past 10,000 years. In fact, as Swamidass carefully explains, this is almost certainly the case according to current estimates of the so-called identical ancestors point, a time in the past when all family trees converge into one common pool of universal ancestors. There are two clear reasons why this astonishing hypothesis is compatible with science.

    First, Swamidass acknowledges the undeniable scientific truth that the human population evolved from ancestor ape species and shares common descent with all living things. He is a defender of, not a dissenter from, modern evolutionary theory. Second, according to Swamidass, Adam and Eve could have been a special creation whose progeny slowly interbred with the human population that already existed outside the Garden of Eden — people who had descended through the normal evolutionary process. Some scholars have claimed that the Bible itself hints at the existence of these people when it speaks of the “Nephilim.” As interbreeding between the Nephilim and the offspring of Adam and Even continued, the “seed of Adam” could easily spread to all of humanity over thousands of years, and this universal ancestry would leave no genetic footprints.

    Therefore, as long as one reads the book of Genesis in a way that allows that the evolutionary tree of life existed alongside the Garden of Eden, and that humans derive their ancestry from both sources, modern science might actually be silent on the issue of Adam and Eve. The effect of this new realization is that Christians, Jews and Muslims can effectively move the Adam and Eve story from the column of miracles that science has soundly disproved — such as a recent global flood — to the column of miracles that science cannot disprove, like the virgin birth of Jesus."

    Another article with a lot more book reviews:

    https://www.ivpress.com/the-genealogical-adam-and-eve

    Quoting from one of the very numerous positive reviews from believers, non-believers, scientists and theologians:

    "This is one of those rare books that changes the conversation. With equal parts candor, humility, passion, and precision, Swamidass engages an incredibly controversial topic at the junction of biology and theology: the origin of human beings. Through the effective use of two key distinctions—the difference between genealogical and genetic ancestry, and the multiple meanings of 'human' across divergent areas of inquiry—he reorients and expands the space of possibilities while maintaining faithfulness and rigor with respect to traditional exegesis and contemporary scientific knowledge. The book's primary virtue is not that it offers the strongest version of a particular position or provides answers to every question. Instead, its strength lies in how Swamidass demonstrates that there is more to talk about in conceptualizing what counts as a position or an answer in the first place, and that the tenor of those conversations should be peaceful rather than fractious. A definitive achievement. Tolle lege."

    Cordially,
    S&S

    PS--I think the 10K yr timeline posited is too short and unnecessarily restrictive.
     
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  2. Speedwell

    Speedwell Senior Registered

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    I will only venture a personal opinion here, I don't intend to assert anything too strongly. I've come to understand that for years, decades, perhaps centuries, scientists have laboured over a treasured idea of a "tree of life" where each and every life-form can be traced back down a single line to a previous ancestral form, and ultimately to a single common ancestor of all life. In my view this model is unnecessarily simplistic and leads to unresolvable difficulties. One such difficulty is that it can be hard to decide upon which branch a particular type of creature properly belongs. From time to time there is a change of opinion and a creature will magically leap from one branch to a different one. This is dependent on the prevailing opinion at the time.

    As such the tree structure is arbitrary and not the best fit for the data. A better model is one where the branches criss-cross and form more of a mesh rather than a tree. In this way, such problematic lifeforms can now happily reside at a point where there is more than one path back to its origins. The crossing points in this mesh represent hybridisation or interbreeding.

    In terms of how this applies to human beings, it is known that there is a proportion of Neanderthal DNA in many humans today, indicating an interbreeding at some point in the past. We won't be able to apply names or labels to everything, but I think that it's fair to assume that over the vast timescales involved there must have been many cases of interbreeding between different types.

    The 10,000 year timescale is clearly inappropriate, when there are existing human societies such as the aboriginal people of Australia with a considerably longer history than that. Even in Europe there is cave art (example Chauvet Cave) where some of the works are dated to about 30,000 years ago.
    source: http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/chauvet/

    One idea which I came across which does lend some sort of support to a kind of "Adam and Eve" story is that at some point in the past, perhaps due to various natural catastrophes there may have been shortage of food or resources and the human population may have diminished to a very small number. I don't recall the figures stated, it may have been just a few hundred. We might look at the plight today of various types of animals, tigers, gorillas, rhinoceros, these are under enormous pressure and may not survive. Humanity may have been under similar pressure (for very different reasons) at some point. This could lead to the idea of tracing present-day humans back to a small group. In this scenario, that wouldn't be the point of origin, so much as the point of near-extinction.

    Well, just some ideas to think about anyway.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2019
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  3. Totoro

    Totoro Super Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Speedwell, I can agree.. I don't think there's a clear, definable single path to human beings as we currently exist. There's even some literature on "our side" to suggest that those on "the other side" have tried to usher along the development of life on this planet into a inhabitable "vessel" and even then, it was mostly trial and error or like painting through the proverbial keyhole.

    The thing that gets me, is in the bible, it says "let us create mankind in our image". People tend to think this refers to the holy trinity. Also in genesis, Cain killed able and goes to the land of Nod where he takes a wife. How can that be when Adam and Eve only had two sons? I think it's interesting nobody ever refers to this passage.. I only had a college professor say that the bible didn't mean people weren't here already and Adam and Eve were god's chosen people. I think that lends more towards the Jewish interpretation of the bible..

    All in all though, many people have speculated that all of this means that modern human kind descended from some sort of breeding program. Eden has been speculated to be a zoo like enclosure or the oasis of Mesopotamia. The "in our image" people refers to the scientists or aliens or whoever. The mark of cain was often thought that cain had red hair. Maybe this was myth explaining how red hair came to be but it could also be an introduction, in the sense of genes being from a foreign or even otherworldly place.

    I personally believe that that we all have common genetic ancestry, however I also believe that a majority of the evidence points to multiple migrations out of Africa. I actually believe that the different races are genetic human close "cousins" that adapted to their environments.

    We didn't have the DNA technology we do today, so for many years it was assumed that neanderthals were a distinct species. This has been disproven. I think though academically, you hear little on this kind of thing because they have their own agenda in suppressing the idea that we all didn't come from one out of africa migration because it will become the basis of racial bias. It may, but I also don't believe that there is any reason for it either. We should embrace our differences and rejoice in them and not use them for prejudice. The reason we exist as humans is to know linear time and to explore the differences in existence. We don't have those on the other side..

    I think it was interesting that they discovered that the decedents of "lucy" australopithecus, was living in Indonesia during the last ice age. It should have made bigger waves than it did. That was the longest surviving non homo sapiens. Many non homo sapiens species used tools as well as animals.

    I think the whole thing is fascinating. I know this is a Wikipedia link, it makes for really good reading.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interbreeding_between_archaic_and_modern_humans

    Going back to the bible, I think many of these pockets of humans developed their own origin mythologies that incorporated into the modern ones. I mean, maybe some humans did have language, went over the mountain and found people who were already there. We actually have no idea when language developed, because it predates written language. Its possible that language developed much earlier than previously though. I personally think the pyramids are much older that they are dated.

    But anyway, it's a good topic :)
     
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  4. SeaAndSky

    SeaAndSky Senior Registered

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    I think the relevant scriptures can certainly be interpreted in such a way as to include pre-existing humans--as others have pointed out. And, that is the point of the article and research quoted. I have not hesitated in the past to consider such people to be humans based on their art-work alone. Others also point to funerary practices and evidences of religion (as well as the usual creation and usage of primitive tools, weapons, etc.). However, as I read about Cro-Magnon man, it seems he/she lived in a very rudimentary fashion in terms of housing, abiding most often in caves, hunting and gathering. (I'm just reiterating something from the article I read yesterday). In any case, if something was different about the "new" humans being introduced--what was it?

    Interestingly, the biggest change that took place in the relevant time period was the development of agriculture and cities. It is no coincidence therefore, that Adam and Eve are placed in a garden to tend it, and after getting kicked out, to till the earth. Likewise, it is probably no coincidence that one of their sons (the black sheep of the family) establishes a city. Later descendants of the black-sheep were: Jabal (the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock), Jubal (the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe), and Tubal-Cain (the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron). So, the Biblical lore quickly adds animal husbandry, musicianship, and metallurgy to the list. Hmmm. What happened here? There seem to have already been the development and construction of ceremonial centers, and probably some rudimentary agriculture and taming of animals before the first cities (people had obviously advanced since the Cro Magnon era). However, there was definitely a sudden quantum leap forward (if civilization is to be considered "forward") beginning c 10,000 BC. And, suddenly there were not just people or cultures, but civilizations. There were cities, and armies, and rulers and laws, and temples and priests, and wealthy and poor, and writing (one of the greatest accomplishments of humanity), farmers and merchants and warriors and artisans and . . . . the list goes on.

    Here is an interesting article about the City: https://www.ancient.eu/city/ It is a very worthwhile read. It gives the following dates: 6500 BCE Jericho is the first major walled city, with a population of about 2,500, but it focuses on 4500 BCE and Uruk in Mesopotamia as having more of the characteristics of a city and especially points to the fact that it actually has written records to back up its history. But this is just looking at the currently accepted timelines. What about Gobekli Tepe? It is 1000s of years earlier than this. However, I'm not going to try to get too specific time-wise, except to observe that Cro-Magnon Man is dated from c 40,000 BC to c 10,000 BC (https://www.britannica.com/topic/Cro-Magnon) and therefore continued his/her hunter-gatherer ways for a very long time). What is remarkable is that after being a hunter gatherer seemingly for around 30,000 years, humanity suddenly made a transition starting around 10,000 BC (when Cro-Magnon is alleged to have faded). So, what happened? Seemingly ceremonial centers, initial agriculture, cities and "civilization" exploded onto the scene (relative to the long wait before) in a relatively short period of time--a few millennia--starting just about the time modern humans began to replace Cro-Magnons--and perhaps as their new "blood" began to suffuse through the human genome.

    So, were these new people the descendants of Adam & Eve as their descendants intermarried with the surrounding folks and began to spread something "different" through the pre-existing humans on the face of the earth? This seems like as good an explanation as any, whether they were created (or enhanced) by the God of the Bible, the Annunaki or the Aliens of 2001. But what was this change? It is hard to say, but I think it could have included a heavy increase in spiritual sensitivity coupled with a tremendous increase in Left Brain capabilities. I assume there was also at least some advance in Right Brain capabilities as well, but to me what happened after c 10,000 BC is definitely very Left Brain (with Right Brain serving to enrich the new insights received from a much more advanced analytic ability). Suddenly humanity became an artificer, creating works of great complexity--including most of what we denote as civilization. Something Cro-Magnon man, for all his/her virtues had not done.

    Just my 2 cents based on an interesting article.

    Cordially,
    S&S
     
  5. Speedwell

    Speedwell Senior Registered

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    I think if we want to focus on a transition which was occurring about 10,000 years ago, the single most important factor would be the receding of the last Ice-Age.

    Indeed, it changed not just the people but the land too. Fishing trawlers in the North Sea regularly pick up remnants of life there, such as teeth of lions or sabre-tooth tigers, which inhabited the land there, under what is now the sea. An area nowadays called Dogger Bank, a shallower part of the sea, is also a site from which archaeological finds emerge. There was a thriving human population in the part of the land connecting the British Isles with Continental Europe. In this context, the region is named Doggerland.

    As the ice receded, different lifestyles became possible in previously frozen regions, while some habitable areas were lost over a relatively short timescale, homes and hunting-grounds disappeared beneath the rising sea.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
  6. SeaAndSky

    SeaAndSky Senior Registered

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    Hi Speedwell,

    It definitely was a period of transition. However, as climate changes, temperate zones may well move north or south and land may be exposed/inundated, but this does not eliminate the ability of humans somewhere on the globe to cultivate and civilize. (BTW--Such inundations, whether gradually caused by warming trends or catastrophic--some of latter of which apparently were the result of celestial impacts--may well have been the origin of many flood myths around the globe). Plus, people farm in all sorts of climates. So, there would have been someplace that this could have been taking place despite the Ice Age.

    Consequently, I don't think any of that explains the sudden explosion of building, agriculture, technology, law, cities, etc. starting around 10,000 BC and rapidly gathering steam thereafter. E.g., after 30K years as Cro Magnon hunter gatherers, over a relatively brief few thousand years we've got huge stone constructs, villages, agriculture and then cities, etc. I'm probably over-simplifying the human lineage here by just mentioning Cro Magnons (who were also--as now know--enriching their own genome via Mr. & Mrs. Neanderthal et al.) but if anything it was even longer.

    So, why such a radical change after such a long time? Different mythologies have different actuating causes for the sudden change in the way people acted and lived. It might be Prometheus bringing the gift of fire to mankind, or Dagon agriculture, or some other supernatural entity intervening in human affairs. In this particular case, it is another sort of divine intervention, but something definitely seems to have happened outside of climate change. This is not to dismiss climate change as a facilitating factor, but I don't think all the eggs can be put in that one basket.

    Cordially,
    S&S

    PS*--Wherever I use terms like sudden or explosion or rapidly, etc. it is used relative to the vast amounts of time that preceded this change. Actually, like population growth, I assume that the affected human population grew more-or-less geometrically subject to the usual forces of attrition via disaster, starvation, war, etc. and that their pace of development in terms of skills, etc. grew in like fashion subject to the limitations of their tools and knowledge. But, once again, beginning from a small number, it could take a long time to completely saturate and transform the human genome.
     

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