Re: mtDNA Eve and the determination of humanity

From: <>
Date: Wed Feb 22 2006 - 18:11:30 EST
Terry wrote:

Several quick reactions:

1. I, for one, don't have satisfactory answers to the issues. I (and

I think many of us) do indeed ask the hard questions. It's not that

we don't like the answers--it's that we don't see the answers. I

honestly don't know how to put all the pieces together. I don't think

your solution works. I don't think Dick's solution works. I don't

think the allegorical approach to Genesis works. I don't think the

accommodationist approach to Adam and Eve works (i.e. this is ANE

science). Various people on the list think they have satisfactory

answers (you, Dick, Paul Seeley, George Murphy). Of course, none of

you agree with each other and, for some of us, the holes that you all

poke in each other's arguments prevent us from accepting any of the


Fair comment. But at the risk of sounding just awful (being the B****d I am) it really isn't a situation where there are no answers. It is really a case of one not liking the answers profered. One real answer is rejection of the Bible (that is why I said I would be considered a B. )  But, it does seem that we can have accommodation (which undermines the message and truthfulness of god), we can ditch the genetic unity of mankind, or we can go with the genetic and archaeological evidence and make Adam really old.

But this concept which is widespread among Christians that mankind was created 100kyr ago is based upon the very highly dubious conclusion that mtDNA defines our species. If that is what we want to base our theology on fine, but we should know that  no other species on earth is so defined. The definitions involve interbreeding (either capacity or actuality)

One way to get answers, wrt ancient man is to do what I did and read nothing but anthro for about 5 years amassing a 500+ book anthro library along with thousands of articles stuffed into ones garage. If one wants answers, that is what it takes.



2. Just because you may have descended from a Neanderthal doesn't

mean that you're not human. Nobody, nobody, nobody is saying that

except for you. It's a straw man. I wish you'd stop saying it.<<<<

No, it is NOT a strawman so I won't stop saying it.  Hugh Ross DOES beleive that neanderthals are not human, that they are merely bipedal hominids.

   "While bipedal, tool-using, large brained hominids roamed the
earth at least as long ago as one million years, evidence for
religious relics and altars dates back only 8,000 to 24,000 years.
 Thus the secular anthropological date for the first spirit
creatures is in complete agreement with the biblical date.
"Some differences, however, between the Bible and secular
anthropology remain. **** The Bible not only would deny that the
hominids were men, it also would deny that Adam was physically
descended from these hominids.
 **** Even here, support from
anthropology is emerging.  New evidence indicates that the hominid
species may have gone extinct before, or as a result of, the
appearance of modern man.  At the very least, abrupt transitions
between [hominid]species is widely acknowledged. ~ Hugh Ross, The
Fingerprint of God, (Orange: Promise Publishing, 1991), p. 159-

"Some differences, however, between the Bible and secular
anthropology remain.  ***By the biblical definition, these hominids
may have been intelligent mammals, but they were not humans
.****  Nor
did Adam and Eve physically descend from them. (According to
Genesis 1:26-28 the human species was created complete and brand-
new by God through His own personal miraculous intervention.)  "~ Hugh Ross, Creation
and Time, (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1993), p. 14

"In modern evolutionary biology, humans are classified as 'hominids.'
This book uses that term to refer only to the bipedal primates that
preceded "modem humans." The term "modem human" is used where
appropriate for Homo sapiens sapiens, out of respect for contemporary
nomenclature conventions, ****although neither the authors nor RTB believe
that hominids prior to modem humans should be called human beings.)" ****

Fazale Rana and Hugh Ross, Who Was Adam?, (Colorado Springs: NavPress,
2005), p. 29

I have highlighted the relevant sentence. He has said this over and over and over. Thus, I wish you would cease saying it is a strawman when it isn't.  And this is the danger I see, if one defines spirituality based upon anything other than actual activity. If it acts like a human, worships like a human, it IS a human.





3. Chimps use tools--does that make them human? You've decided for

yourself that religious expression is what constitutes the image of

God. Not necessarily so. Perhaps in the course of evolving the mental

capacity for having a covenantal relationship with God there were

creatures along the way who had some religious sensibilities but

didn't have the sort covenantal relationship with God described in

scripture. Why is that a problem?<<<<

I have never argued for tools making a person human. If you can show where I have done that in the past 10 years I have been looking at the anthropological data, I will humbly stand corrected.  But as to religion, are we really to say that evidence of religion is not a sufficient cause for inclusion into the human family?  Wow, this is exactly what I have been worried about and exactly what you say is a strawman, you argue the position yourself. If engaging in religion is not a sufficient criteria for being a human, how exactly do we define human. Because if they are not human, then religion is just another animal activity and that raises in my mind the question of whether or not religion has any substance to it at all?  Tools have no metaphysical content or impllications.  And if religion doesn't either, that IS a problem. What are we doing here debating about nonsense?


>>>>4. Without necessarily endorsing Dick's views, I have to point out a

misunderstanding that you seem to have (or even a deliberate

distortion). The fact that Adam may have been placed in the middle of

already existing humanity (as a unique image bearer) does not lessen

the humanity of those around him. Neither does the presence of his

descendants (Adamites) lessen the humanity of those around him. None

of it lessens the application of the gospel of Jesus Christ to all

mankind. Various milder versions of Dick's view, say Derek Kidner's

proposal, don't do it either. Why is genetic linkage so important

(recognizing, of course, that the Bible seems to teach it and that

Christian theologians have traditionally held to it)? Does your own

view trace humanity back to a single pair? Why doesn't the MHC (and

other) data defeat that view?<<<<

I think the fact that the Bible seems to teach is should be reason enough. If our theology is a make-it-up-as-we-go where we are free to decide that today, we don't like genetic unity so we will all act as if it isn't actually taught, what is to prevent us from doing the same for any doctrine we don't particularly like?  Gee, I really don't want to be bothered gathering with other christians, so while the Bible tells me not to forsake the gathering with others, that isn't what is really meant and now I can sleep late on Sunday. It leads to a cafeteria style Christianity--take the things you agree with and ditch the things you don't agree with. If that is the way we want to do theology, fine, but we shouldn't say we base it on the Bible.

BTW Terry, you didn't answer my question, which was really directed at you. Why does the fact that mtDNA Eve's neighbor, who lived in the hut next door, failed to leave her mtDNA in us, mean she is not really a human? I simply haven't figured that one out. And, given the facts of genetics, the mtDNA Eve of today, will NOT be the mtDNA Eve of 1000 years from now.  It will be one of her descendants. So, mtDNA Eve gives us an ever changing individual who is our mother of all living and an ever changing definition of who is human.  Today it is some unknown individual from Africa. Tomorrow it will be some other unknown individual from Africa.  What a thing to base a theology of humanity upon!

Received on Wed Feb 22 18:12:15 2006

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