Re: [asa] Theo-Neo-Darwnian Synthesis + Chromosome Fusion WAS Who do Adam & Eve represent? (Was: Was Adam a real person?)

From: Gregory Arago <>
Date: Wed Apr 16 2008 - 03:53:15 EDT

Yes, I agree with you John on the well-worded expression of David O's position. Not understanding 'exactly how' the stories mesh together is/can be what inspires further reflection, meditation and even scientific theorising on the topic. I am glad you have come to 'rest' with where you are while, as you already know, noting that I find the TE/EC position lacking because it gives too much credit to evolutionary biology (rep: natural science), while neglecting other evolutionary theories. David O's position is not heavy-handed with 'evolutionary philosophy,' which seems to permeate the TE/EC pov much more deeply.

  Credit given, I wonder if you could clarify why you would choose to call such a position a theo-neo-Darwinian synthesis (TNDS, for short), i.e. seemingly forcing Darwin into a position of professing theology, when he refused to speak about religion publically in his later years? Such a view would seem to be a 'tack-on' to Darwin rather than flowing from Darwin's thought.
  T. Dobzhansky and P. Teilhard de Chardin are the recognized pioneers of 'integrating' science and faith using evolution(ism), which you deem previously were 'wedged' apart for you, presumably by YECism or biblical literalism. Why not call it theo-neo-evolutionary synthesis (TNES) instead and leave Darwin out of it? This is partly about semantics, and partly about appeal to authority. After all, there are new evolutionists today and indeed some of Darwin's views are clearly and indefensibly obsolete
  Your curiosity about the 'mechanism of speciation' made me smile. Especially this sentence: " the chromosome fusion of a single member of a primate population would convey to it an adaptive advantage over the rest of the population?" Have you seen the blockbuster "The Matrix"? This is exactly what the character 'Neo' is, an anomaly 'designed/composed' by the system, (in the M3 we discover) 'the Architect.' The 'mating with other non-fused members' is fictionalised as the relation between Neo and Trinity.
  As with you, I see no way this can happen 'naturalistically' either. In the Matrix films, the term 'fate' is extremely important. However, in our discussion Providence and predestination, as well as others (for naturalistically-minded Christians, the only alternative may seem to be 'supernatural') become relevant. Again, there is no 'simply natural' explanation for what happened. One must appeal to an 'architect' or 'designer,' or 'mechanic' (if using mechanistic language), or some other non-naturalistic metaphor to open-up or uncover the deeper meanings or (historical) truths of how, when, why, where (and on the parallel thread), with who it originatively happened.
  Indeed, Neo was 'original' in his own way (though the film says he was something like a clone of previous anomalies).
John Walley <> wrote:
  This gets my vote as the best Theology/Neo-Darwinian Synthesis theory (or Theo-Neo-Darwinian Synthesis) that I have heard. I think the net-net is that we choose to believe that it meshed somehow but is impossible to tell exactly how. I guess that is where the faith comes in. Anyway this is similar to where my TE journey takes me as well and like you all I can say is that it works for me and I think I have concluded that that is about the best I can hope for at this point. It is somewhat anti-climactic but the after the initial joy of stumbling onto TE and the liberation it yields by removing the wedge between science and faith and integrating the two, I now find that it ultimately leaves me in the state of Job after God spoke to him out of the cloud where I feel like all I can do as well is put my hand over my mouth.
  As an aside, I have been wondering about the mechanics of the speciation into modern day homo sapiens sapiens. What plausible scenarios exist for how the chromosome fusion of a single member of a primate population would convey to it an adaptive advantage over the rest of the population? A chromosome irregularity of this type today would most accurately be described as a birth defect it seems.
  And how would this single sample successfully mate with other non-fused members such that only fused samples are selected and propagated with no known surviving hybrids in between? Maybe I am misunderstanding the process but I have wrestled with this and can't piece together how this could have happened naturalistically. Can anyone explain this or are their any theories on this and if so can someone direct me to any resources on it?
  -----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of David Opderbeck
Sent: Tuesday, April 15, 2008 10:28 AM
To: Alexanian, Moorad
Cc: Bethany Sollereder; Jack; George Murphy; ASA list
Subject: Re: [asa] Who do Adam & Eve represent? (Was: Was Adam a real person?)

  To me, it depends how the narrative is supposed to be understood and what you mean by "wrong."
  The narrative pictures God directly shaping Adam out of dust and forming Eve out of Adam's rib in a garden in Mesopotamia. Further, the narrative seems to presume that this pair is the actual fountainhead of all humanity.
  The fossil record and the record of molecular biology, however, seem to tell a different story of the gradual emergence of a group of people out of Africa, with no clear deliniation between "human" and "pre-human."
  It seems to me there are two possibilities: 1. one of these stories is true and one is false; or 2. the stories mesh together somehow.
  Personally, I very much wish it were possible to argue persuasively that the "scientific" story is false. But, while I don't think the scientific story can be "proven" to be true, it seems to be based on quite reasonable inferences from the empirical evidence.
  I also very much wish it were possible to argue persuasively that the Biblical story is false in the sense of being entirely non-historical even if true in another sense. Some are persuaded this is possible; at this point in my personal journey, I find this unravels too many things that are important to me.
  To me, right now, the stories have to mesh together in some sense somehow. The Genesis story isn't "literal" but it also isn't non-historical. It describes God's special attention to and relationship with the first pair to be fully and truly "human," perhaps even directly created by God. This first truly human pair can choose to obey God and thereby, in a sense, bring all the creation "into the garden" through their stewardship. Perhaps this involves also their headship over the rest of emerging humanity. But they sin, are cast out of their state of idyllic fellowship and into the slipstream of biological humanity. Yet they remain spiritually / federally the heads of humanity and we all are bound to them in this sense, in the same way that those who trust in Christ are bound to him. All of this is known to us only by revelation and it is opaque to science. It probably doesn't compeletly work, but it sort of works for now for me.

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Received on Wed Apr 16 03:54:59 2008

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