Re: [asa] Improbability of Homo Sapiens?

From: Jim Armstrong <>
Date: Fri Feb 09 2007 - 10:52:43 EST

Hello again! Stimulating questions.

My take is thus:
1. Let's first try "yes". But the size of the universe and its spectrum
of possibilities given its myriad suns and environs, "improbable" does
not mean "impossible". The choice between those two terms is one we
cannot make with certainty without direct access to God's intent
(though many Creationists make that leap to an assertion of "impossible").

But the answer might also be "no" because it is quite possible that the
trajectory of the evolutionary aspect of Creation was purposefully
planned so that movement is somehow favored in directions that make such
outcomes possible. "Omniscient" trumps "improbable".

2. See the answer to 1. We just don't know with certainty. However, the
evidence that evolution per se is a reality appears to be pretty sound
(many independent lines of corroboration). And, there is evidently at
least one apparently evolutionary tree (here on Earth) of primates and
other thinking creatures. That suggests that such a process that has
this potentiality would not be necessarily unique to our particular
physical context (though the specific outcome might arguably be). So
again, "improbable" does not automatically equate with "impossible". We
just cannot say with certainty.

3. How? That's of course a huge and basically unanswerable question. If
your worldview includes an omniscient God, then He just knows. It is His
nature. In particular, He knows how to create an evolutionary design
that can bring forth a living, sentient, relational creature. In either
case, the result is stunning. It introduces into Creation a whole new
dimension, a thinking, imagining, resource-and-energy-exploiting (here
used in a positive sense), volitional element that brings with it a
whole new spectrum of possibilities - again countering that "improbable"

But one has to ask, if He CAN do that, why DID an all-knowing God use a
time-constrained and/or sequential process to bring it about? The answer
that suggests itself is that it is somehow interesting to the Creator.
The deeper question we can only speculate about is "why?". We like the
relational answer - that God somehow desires/needs our companionship.
But realistically, the gap between the relational abilities of
transcendent God and our own kind must be huge. To our (limited) way of
thinking, this scenario suggests that the outcome of a Creation that
embodies (in part) an evolutionary capacity might not be known; that the
results of the developmental process is of itself somehow of interest.
That, of course, brings into question the exact nature of the
"omniscience" often attributed to God in a blanket way. It also leans in
the direction of a process view of theology.

Or so it seemeth to me. JimA

Johan Jammart wrote:

> Quote
>> In 1986 the consensus among such biologists that the evolutionary
>> path from primitive Cambrian chordates, e.g. Pikaia, to homo sapiens
>> was a highly improbable event. For example, the large brains of
>> humans have marked adaptive disadvantages, requiring as they do an
>> expensive metabolism, a long gestation period, and a childhood
>> lasting more than 25% of the average total life span. Other
>> improbable features of humans include:
>> * Being the only extant bipedal land vertebrate. Combined with an
>> unusual eye-hand coordination, this permits dextrous manipulations of
>> the physical environment with the hands;
>> * A vocal apparatus far more expressive than that of any other
>> mammal, enabling speech. Speech makes it possible for humans to
>> interact cooperatively, to share knowledge, and to acquire a culture;
>> * The capability of formulating abstractions to a degree
>> permitting the invention of mathematics, and the discovery of science
>> and technology. Keep in mind how recently humans acquired anything
>> like their current scientific and technological sophistication.
> Few questions here that are important for my theological reflection
> (as it is my domain of interest) as it seem that the evolution to homo
> sapiens seems improbable.
> What if homo sapiens did not arise from evolution?
> 1) Is other form of intelligent life (like human intelligence)
> improbable with the evolution?
> 2) Is the evolution of humanoids improbable?
> 3) How could God knew that evolution would bring creature that will be
> able to have relationship with Him? Of course He is omniscient but in
> His omniscience He had to choose a process that would bring
> intelligent life.
> Blessings,
> Johan To unsubscribe, send a message to with
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Received on Fri Feb 9 10:53:50 2007

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