Thoughts on evolution

Thomas

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Scripture presents all humanity descended from the Primordial Couple, Adam and Eve, technically called monogenism — until recently a discredited theory in the eyes of evolutionists, who generally favoured of a Darwinian evolution of man based on polygenism — multiple sources.

Subsequent understanding now actually favours the monogenist argument, and as we know, scientists say they can trace humanity back to a single African woman.

Science however, can make no sure statement at this moment in time.

The Catholic Church follows this debate with interest, and has made no dogmatic pronouncement with regard to a monogenist or polygenist origin of humanity, and careful reading of recent documents refers not to 'Adam and Eve' but 'our parents' — Catholic theology currently favours phylitic monogenism — that we are descended from a single and close-knit social unit.

The speculation suggests that, at a given point in the evolution of the species, God infused those qualities into the soul that render the creature 'human' as distinct from the rest of the animal kingdom — in line with Hebraic teaching that uses the same term for human or animal souls — nefesh — which might be rendered 'life'.

This does throw up new issues for debate. It is axiomatic that original sin, or The Fall, is not and was not an 'inevitability' in the evolutionary process, nor was it accidental ... 'sin' requires the free act of the will to choose what it knows to be morally wrong ... the pagan and gnostic practice of equating sin with knowledge, and avoiding the moral dimension altogether, is an erroneous interpretation of Scripture, and misses the point entirely.

It is equally axiomatic therefore that a wilful and knowing action brought about the downfall of humanity.

My own personal speculation, of this moment, is that prior to the Fall humanity was collectively as well as individually conscious, and that no individual acted independent of the collective body — we were as one — a degree of unity that we can only dream about, but that all spiritual traditions talk of — a transcendental union.

Remember in Scripture, Adam and Eve fell, not one and then the other, so in this way I can read a collective sin, but that does not mean that the individual can shirk responsibility for it, as humanity is wont to do.

Likewise after the Fall they saw themselves as distinct and distinctly different creatures ... they saw themselves externally ... they lost sight of that collective interiority.

If such were indeed the case, it would actually reinforce the Catholic idea of Original Sin, as opposed to the Orthodox view ... but that is a technical argument among friends ...

The genius of the Hebrew Scribe was in presenting a moment in the evolutionary history of a species as a story about two people.

Thomas
 
Subsequent understanding now actually favours the monogenist argument, and as we know, scientists say they can trace humanity back to a single African woman.

Science however, can make no sure statement at this moment in time.

The Catholic Church follows this debate with interest, and has made no dogmatic pronouncement with regard to a monogenist or polygenist origin of humanity, and careful reading of recent documents refers not to 'Adam and Eve' but 'our parents' — Catholic theology currently favours phylitic monogenism — that we are descended from a single and close-knit social unit.

Thomas

I have to take issue with the idea you promote in error that the scientific community believes we are all descended from a single individual. The search for 'Eve' using genetics has traced human origins back to a small group of people but not an individual. This more in line with what you say is the current Catholic line you called phylitic monogenism. I trust this error was in good faith and not the Catholic church trying to take the credit where it is not due.

Tao
 
I am not debating the points here, but I am curious- it is a curiosity I have long had both for the religious and scientific debates. How do we know that other species do not have morals/ethics? How do we know that they do not know when they do something wrong?

Some other species certainly do have socially acceptable codes for behavior, and social consequences for not keeping them. Furthermore, studies of primate behavior has revealed that some of the other primates do understand lying, and manipulate other individuals (including humans) through lying. Now, perhaps one could argue that these other species don't know that lying is wrong, for example. But then, how could we know in either case? There is no way to know what the other animal is thinking. We *assume* whatever details makes the evidence for our case, whether that is seeing humans and other animal species as not very different, or whether it is seeing humans as quite distinct. It is all conjecture and faith.

Personally, I would consider myself both a follower of Christ and a Pagan. I'm not polytheistic, but I'm certainly earth-based. I never saw sin as simply knowledge, and I know some other Pagans who do not see it that way as well. So perhaps some Pagans view it that way and others do not. However, I do not separate humanity so much from the rest of creation. Humans have a particular role on the earth, but then so do all species. Yes, we are distinct, but so are all species. I don't think there is anything particularly different about us- any hard distinctions from the other animals. The more I have studied animal behavior and human behavior, the more this hunch has been confirmed. We are different by degrees rather than by certain traits.

About the only traits I have not observed in other species that are common in humans is art and philosophy/religion. The former is debateable since we have a whole issue of what constitutes art, and what art is for one being is not the same as art for another. Does my horse see it as art when he prances around like a show-off, which he only does for an audience, and does without training? Or is he just goofing off? Having fun? Seeking attention? We can never know. We only know that in the sense of visual art, few animals seem to do this, although a few apes seem to become very focused and intent and have a conceptualization of a finished piece when they paint.

The latter... well, I have my ideas and others would have theirs, and no one could prove which was right. Some use the lack of religion among other species as evidence that they have no spiritual life, and that the human soul is distinct from the rest of creation. Others use it as evidence that humanity is the only species that divorced itself from God in its everday life, that we have continually driven the wedge further through time as civilization advances, and that all other species remain in perfect and constant communion with the Creator, indeed giving glory to God constantly and not asking for anything but that day's life in return- in short, they lead a more spiritual, more divinely inspired life. Humans must meditate and contemplate and study to reach the space within which little children and the animals and trees already exist. In having all the complexity of modern human society, we give up our intuitive connection to God and our innate moral compass (one that reaches far beyond rules and into a lifeway, a state of consciousness).

We can say definitively that in studying human history, the more complex and stratified (in terms of power and economy) that civilization became, the more distant God was perceived to be, the more stratified and removed from the masses religion became, and the more removed God became from the Earth in our minds. I don't think that it happened as Genesis literally states- that one moment we were in perfect unity and the next we were not. But it does seem clear in the human record that we once were much closer to having spirituality woven into the fabric of everyday life, in every moment and activity, much as I feel the rest of Nature is. Over time, we became more distant from each other, more stratified in power and wealth, more dominating over one another and over Nature. And this, I think, is our chief sin as a species... because along with it came the concept of being distant from God, of trying to force God's Creation into what we felt would best serve us rather than what God had given, of degenerating ever more into killing one another, exploiting each other and the Earth...

And I do think this was and continues to be disobedient to God's will, and obviously disobedient to Christ's teachings.
 
How do we know that other species do not have morals/ethics? How do we know that they do not know when they do something wrong?

Good points.

When I read that in the OP, I could not understand the complete lacking of what there really is. Just because one is at the top of the food chain at the moment also does not prove they are brightest bulb on the christmas tree. Take away the chains, weapons, bondage & cages, & humans will lose.

Elephant Paints Self Portrait

You:), path_of_one, of all will appreciate it as much as:) I.
 
Hi Tao —

I have to take issue with the idea you promote in error that the scientific community believes we are all descended from a single individual.
I did say that the scientific community has not made any definitive statement, but OK, the error is mine ...

The search for 'Eve' using genetics has traced human origins back to a small group of people but not an individual.
I remember the one woman theory? Anyway ... WE"RE RIGHT!! HA! (Sorry, Tao — I was going to add 'cue demonic laughter ... but then my Guardian Angel said 'you do, and I'll punch you in the ear.")

This more in line with what you say is the current Catholic line you called phylitic monogenism. I trust this error was in good faith and not the Catholic church trying to take the credit where it is not due.
Fie! Would we ever do a thing like that? (cue Liverpudlian accent "Calm down ... calm down! Remember The Fast Show?)

Actually, I'm one of those Catholics who has faith in God and science ... well, OK, more in God, with petrol at $130 a barrel! (Then again, if the Boss meant me to indulge my passion for big V8s (sadly, a thing of the past) then I'd wee 5 star ... leaded!)

But you're right ... Catholic thinking is in the light of science on this one.

Thomas
 
Hi Path —

How do we know that other species do not have morals/ethics? How do we know that they do not know when they do something wrong?
Good point ... and I think we have to introduce degree here, and then the argument passes beyond my knowledge.
Moral, immoral or amoral? I don't know ... I think, in short, it's a matter of participation by degree throughout all creation, but in that aspect, human nature stands at the pinnacle. "Because in him, it hath well pleased the Father, that all fullness should dwell" Colossians 1:19 — and that in Him, we too can participate in the fullness of all things. Flora, fauna and mineral life participates according to its station in life — it can participate in that fullness according to itself, but only human soul, and it is this that marks it human, can participate in that fullness, according to Him.

I think the role of the human is that all nature experiences itself in our nature ... or rather human nature can experience all nature, being constituted of mineral, flora and fauna life, as well as angelic ... I think we're 'top of the tree' but all that such an idea means is we have a responsibility to all forms 'below' us ... a responsibility to care and nurture, not to dominate and use ... the trick is to acknowledge the vertical and the horizontal relationship as equal.

About the only traits I have not observed in other species that are common in humans is art and philosophy/religion.
The former I think is fundamental, in the aspect that we utilise art to re-present things, we are managing and communicating concepts, and then we explore them ... not only what things are, but what they signify.

... others use it as evidence that humanity is the only species that divorced itself from God in its everday life ...
True ... but then I would argue that only humans could. We participate freely — and that is the foundation of humaan morality. We are called to live within the Law because we choose to, not because we are made to.

and that all other species remain in perfect and constant communion with the Creator, indeed giving glory to God constantly and not asking for anything but that day's life in return - in short, they lead a more spiritual, more divinely inspired life.
Aquinas argued the point well — creatures who live to their perfection are 'more' in that sense than us, but the human potential reaches further than the creaturely, so the possibility for is is greater, higher than angels, as St Paul said, and St Thomas Aquinas demonstrated.

But that is not to say that all nature experiences degrees of beatitude — in the fulfillment of its given nature a thing realises its fullness, perfection, potential to be and its being. The higher might know more, but its delight is no more than the lowest, nor does the lower suffer any privation because of its low estate — God gives Himself to all equally, and without let or measure — all life knows the joy of living.

The idea of hierarchy is not unnatural, in fact it is utterly natural, and the idea of unhierarchy, which is chaos or anarchy, is disorder. The two exist in a tension, but without order and hierarchy, the world would run the risk, in any and every moment, of simply falling apart.

Humans must meditate and contemplate and study to reach the space within which little children and the animals and trees already exist.
Again, I disagree, but then I am Catholic, so hold the Mystical Body as the paradigm ... something that is revealed and given ... a Sacramental Grace.

and our innate moral compass (one that reaches far beyond rules and into a lifeway, a state of consciousness).
That is the fundamental sin ... man ignored which way the compass pointed, and chose to serve himself.

And I do think this was and continues to be disobedient to God's will, and obviously disobedient to Christ's teachings.
Agreed.

Thomas
 
I just want to jump in and add something...

I believe there was a Prophet Adam and that the story in Genesis is symbolic, not literal. I believe there were people before Adam and that this world is very old. Each Prophet of God, I believe, is the First and the Last, the Beginning and the Seal. Each Messenger from God represents God to mankind, I believe. A title of Adam may be the Father of mankind. That, I believe, refers to His being a Manifestation of God and representing God to mankind when He was on the earth. Mankind has been around a long, long time. Yes, we were created by God, each and every soul, but that doesn't preclude a very old and diverse planet with long-extinct species. God created me, God created you, God created Adam, and people before Adam. I didn't think I would go on that long, but that's my two cents.
 
Interesting, Dawud. I've actually heard that from a non-baha'i Abrahamic before. When is a tree not a tree? I think you bring up a point of view that appears in some ancient sources, but I don't remember where. I'm not sure that it has any impact at all upon the possibility of evolution, however it has the power to release all Abrahamics to consider other points of view of Genesis than just the ICR one.

Abrahamic ≠ ceramic
 
Interesting, Dawud. I've actually heard that from a non-baha'i Abrahamic before. When is a tree not a tree? I think you bring up a point of view that appears in some ancient sources, but I don't remember where. I'm not sure that it has any impact at all upon the possibility of evolution, however it has the power to release all Abrahamics to consider other points of view of Genesis than just the ICR one.

Abrahamic ≠ ceramic

Hello! I think it's cool you've heard that before. I realize I didn't say anything about evolution, but I mentioned a very old planet, opening the door to a long development. Couldn't the earth be considered the womb of mankind? It doesn't negate creation. God created me and I was born from a mother.

You asked, "when is a tree not a tree?" When it represents something else. Your life could be compared to a tree, and if your life brings forth good fruit, the tree is good. If it doesn't, then it's not a good tree, see the New Testament for tree symbolism. When is a cloud not a cloud? When it's symbolic of things that prevent people from seeing the sun? When is the sun not the sun? When it represents something else, a symbol for goodness, or a symbol for God, the Source of every good thing.
 
Scripture presents all humanity descended from the Primordial Couple, Adam and Eve, technically called monogenism — until recently a discredited theory in the eyes of evolutionists, who generally favoured of a Darwinian evolution of man based on polygenism — multiple sources.

Subsequent understanding now actually favours the monogenist argument, and as we know, scientists say they can trace humanity back to a single African woman.

Science however, can make no sure statement at this moment in time.

:D This subject has not escaped my interest. We hear so much about a "Mitochondrial Eve," and much less about a "Y-chromosomal Adam." I think in part because of practical issues with genetic testing of ancient archeological finds. It is easier, so I read and hear, to pursue the matrilineal (mother to mother) line genetically, something to do with the process for retrieving the genetic material. But there is a similar "father to father" line that at least in more recent samples is at least as definitive and distinguishing for determining genetic lineage.

Mitochondrial Eve (mt-mrca) is the name given by researchers to the woman who is defined as the matrilineal most recent common ancestor (MRCA) for all currently living humans. Passed down from mother to offspring, her mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is now found in all living humans: every mtDNA in every living person is derived from hers. Mitochondrial Eve is the female counterpart of Y-chromosomal Adam, the patrilineal most recent common ancestor, although they lived at different times.

She is believed to have lived about 140,000 years ago in what is now Ethiopia, Kenya or Tanzania.[citation needed] The time she lived is calculated based on the molecular clock technique of correlating elapsed time with observed genetic drift.

Mitochondrial Eve is the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of all humans via the mitochondrial DNA pathway, not the unqualified MRCA of all humanity. All living humans can trace their ancestry back to the MRCA via at least one of their parents, but Mitochondrial Eve is defined via the maternal line. Therefore, she necessarily lived at least as long, though likely much longer, ago than the MRCA of all humanity.

The existence of Mitochondrial Eve and Y-chromosomal Adam does not imply the existence of population bottlenecks or a first couple. They each lived within a large human population at a different time.

Mitochondrial Eve - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
I have to take issue with the idea you promote in error that the scientific community believes we are all descended from a single individual. The search for 'Eve' using genetics has traced human origins back to a small group of people but not an individual.
Dunno Tao...

Mitochondrial Eve (mt-mrca) is the name given by researchers to the woman who is defined as the matrilineal most recent common ancestor (MRCA) for all currently living humans. ...every mtDNA in every living person is derived from hers. Mitochondrial Eve is the female counterpart of Y-chromosomal Adam, the patrilineal most recent common ancestor, although they lived at different times.

Mitochondrial Eve is the most recent common matrilineal ancestor, not the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of all humans. The MRCA's offspring have led to all living humans via sons and daughters, but Mitochondrial Eve must be traced only through female lineages, so she is estimated to have lived much longer ago than the MRCA. While Mitochondrial Eve is thought to have been living around 140,000 years ago, according to probabilistic studies,[2] the MRCA could have been living as recently as 3,000 years ago.[3]
Mitochondrial Eve - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

^ Rohde DLT, Olson S, Chang JT (2004) "Modelling the recent common ancestry of all living humans". Nature 431: 562-566.

Sounds pretty explicit to me. I don't think Thomas (nor the Catholic Church) was trying to erroneously promote anything that isn't well promoted within anthropology. I agree there may be some confusion, even deliberate occasionally, because of the name "Eve," but "science" as you say is pretty darn explicit that there was not only one instance for the maternal side, but two. I have some issues regarding the statistical math used; but there is a strong sentiment among certain in the scientific community, including Dawkins, that a MRCA lived between 3 and 15 thousand years ago.

See: ^ a b c d e Dawkins, Richard (2004). The Ancestor's Tale, A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Life. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. ISBN 0-618-00583-8.

This is aside from the Common Ancestor Eve who is dated much further back in time, something like 140 thousand years or more.

Suggesting that it was a small group and not a single individual would throw the entire statistical model, and about 25 years or so of genetic research based upon it, right out the window.
;) :D
 
In having all the complexity of modern human society, we give up our intuitive connection to God and our innate moral compass (one that reaches far beyond rules and into a lifeway, a state of consciousness).

We can say definitively that in studying human history, the more complex and stratified (in terms of power and economy) that civilization became, the more distant God was perceived to be, the more stratified and removed from the masses religion became, and the more removed God became from the Earth in our minds. I don't think that it happened as Genesis literally states- that one moment we were in perfect unity and the next we were not. But it does seem clear in the human record that we once were much closer to having spirituality woven into the fabric of everyday life, in every moment and activity, much as I feel the rest of Nature is. Over time, we became more distant from each other, more stratified in power and wealth, more dominating over one another and over Nature. And this, I think, is our chief sin as a species... because along with it came the concept of being distant from God, of trying to force God's Creation into what we felt would best serve us rather than what God had given, of degenerating ever more into killing one another, exploiting each other and the Earth...

Good post, path of one.

Since you mentioned Genesis and how G-d seems to have gotten farther away from humans, I couldn't help but be reminded of the story of the Tower of Babel.

I think most people associate that with the confusion of languages, but that is a small part of that story. Symbolically, since Eden G-d had gotten further away from humanity. Along comes the Nephilim and their offspring and G-d gets still further away. G-d opens the heavens and pours out a flood, and gets still further away. By the time of Nimrod, the argument to build the Tower was not only for safety should there be another flood, but to reconnect with heaven. In one myth, Nimrod stands atop the newly completed Tower and shoots an arrow into the heavens, to finalize the connection or to kill G-d I don't know. And once again G-d put more distance by destroying the Tower.

I haven't tried to make it work out formally, but for a long time I have seen in this a set of stages of the dawning of humanity in the human brain. Conscious awareness could be said to be at Eden, when the eyes were opened to right and wrong. By the time of Babel, humans were agricultural. Babel was in historical Sumeria. Civilization began here. The institutional religion our friend is so set against was formally started here. War as an art began here. There was such an explosion of technology that came out of this moment in history, not to be rivalled since. Even today we continue to build on the foundation of thoughts laid out at that point in time.

And we did so by pushing G-d away.

I don't have a point with any of this. You reminded me of it with what you wrote.
 
Babel was in historical Sumeria. Civilization began here. The institutional religion our friend is so set against was formally started here. War as an art began here. There was such an explosion of technology that came out of this moment in history, not to be rivalled since. Even today we continue to build on the foundation of thoughts laid out at that point in time.
.

China had already had agriculture for 4000 years at the point you say civilisation began. ;)
 
Speaking of civilization, there was an ancient civilization in South America that in bone-dry desert mountains, they irrigated fields to grow cotton and they traded their cotton at the coast for fish. They lived almost entirely on fish and had some pretty big cities.... I read that in a book called 1491.
 
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Not middle-eastern? :p

In the sense of city building, weapon making, metallurgy, warfare, the wheel, mathematics, astronomy, written language, codified law; they are one and the same.

Besides, what has any of this to do with Mitochondrial Eve?

Or do you disagree with Dawkins?
 
Speaking of civilization, there was an ancient civilization in South America that in bone-dry desert mountains, they irrigated fields to grow cotton and they traded their cotton at the coast for fish. They lived almost entirely on fish and had some pretty big cities.... I read that in a book called 1491.

Immigration to the Americas is its own brand of controversy. Some hold as inerrant the dogma of no immigration previous to the Clovis people, others point to artifacts that sure do resemble the Solutrean culture, and others still point to an anomolous find in a cave far south on the Pacific coast of either Peru or Argentina (I'd have to look it up, but its around here somewhere at CR...). The prevailing hypothesis is a trek from Siberia across the Bering Straights through a presumed but undemonstrated pathway through the glacier. A seaborn hypothesis is gathering some support, suggesting immigration in seal skin boats from Europe sailing across at the foot of the glacier as the most likely explaination of how Solutrean points made their way into America.

But the cave find in South America just goes against all of the prevailing hypotheses...
 
Dear Readers:

I once found indisputable evidence that the ancient worlds of the different continents shared both languages and products. It was an orange hardback book in a dusty community college library. Unfortunately that book has disappeared from the stacks of the old lib. (Perhaps the library staff became disgruntled and careless over budget cuts or lost their temper over lack of shelving and office space.) Maybe some new person put in on the 'Free Book' rack by mistake. In my overconfidence in the library's permanence I never thought to take down the book's ISBN number. If you or anyone you know has seen an orange hardback book that solves the world's anthropological mysteries, please contact me. Thank you.
 
Immigration to the Americas is its own brand of controversy. Some hold as inerrant the dogma of no immigration previous to the Clovis people, others point to artifacts that sure do resemble the Solutrean culture, and others still point to an anomolous find in a cave far south on the Pacific coast of either Peru or Argentina (I'd have to look it up, but its around here somewhere at CR...). The prevailing hypothesis is a trek from Siberia across the Bering Straights through a presumed but undemonstrated pathway through the glacier. A seaborn hypothesis is gathering some support, suggesting immigration in seal skin boats from Europe sailing across at the foot of the glacier as the most likely explaination of how Solutrean points made their way into America.

But the cave find in South America just goes against all of the prevailing hypotheses...

I wish I remembered the name of the book, but it was pretty clear to me, at least from a recent book, that it's accepted that there was immigration to the Americas long before the Clovis culture.
 
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