Evolution- inspire me~ please!


#1

I am a faithful Catholic who’s also trying to be understanding of evolution. Pleas explain how this is compatible with my belief. this thread is restricted to people who actually know something about evolution please. I DO NOT want creationist comments- that’s a pseudoscience.


#2

I think you need to explain why you think it might be incompatible with your faith in order to respond to any such concerns. There’s obviously a ton that could be said, but if you just look at the face of the Genesis account, it is striking that whereas God created a number of things ex nihilo (using the Hebrew verb “bara,” which means creation from nothing), when it comes to living organisms, He expressly made the creation through the mediation of apparently natural processes (e.g., ordering the land to produce vegetation rather than creating the first plants from scratch, as it were). If, like me, you read the Hebrew word “Yom” (commonly translated into English as “day” in this context) as literally meaning a long period of time, as is one of the literal meanings of the word in biblical Hebrew, then an evolutionary account (which can, but need not, incorporate an “intelligent design” component) seems perfectly natural to me.

I’m not a scholar of Augustine, but my general understanding is that he, long before there was any scientific motivation to do so, construed the Genesis account as including a vaguely evolutionary history of life on Earth, with the modern diversity of living forms being descended from initially created, biologically simple “germs.” (I certainly don’t think Augustine had anything to say about the mechanism of natural selection, though.)

Best regards,

CThomas


#3

I agree, you need to explain why you think evolution might be incompatible with Catholic faith. Because it isn’t. :slight_smile:


#4

The evolution of man is what we are concerned about. Catholic dogma states that we all originated from a single pair. Catholic dogma also states Adam and Eve had preternatural gifts.

This is where there is conflict.


#5

I don’t agree there is a conflict. The question at hand is simply how did the bodies of the first two humans come to exist, before God infused them with human souls.


#6

Nothing in evolution per se is inconsistent with either the descent of all living humans from a single pair of human ancesotrs or the possession of that original pair with supernatural gifts. There may be other scientific issues with the historicity of Adam and Eve as the first humans and progenitors of all living humans today, but I don’t think it is inconsistent with their evolutionary descent from other primates, or any other general principle of the modern evolutionary synthesis. At least not that I’m aware of.

Regards,

CThomas


#7

Well said, VociMike. Your e-mail (which crossed mine) put the point much more succinctly and clearly.

CThomas


#8

Another sticky point is Eve coming from Adam.

All living things have souls. Humans have immortal souls. So the issue is when did it jump form mortal to immortal.


#9

“God created men in His image.” That, I would think, would be where the jump was created.


#10

I started a thread to ask if we are looking deep enough for the answer.

Lot’s of good stuff here.


#11

Evolution has no disagreement with supernatural gifts since they are outside the realm of science. However, the evidence of our DNA indicates that at no time has the human population been as low as one breeding pair. The most recent human genetic bottleneck was about 70,000 years ago when the human population was reduced to between 1,000 and 10,000 breeding pairs (Stanley H. Ambrose (1998). “Late Pleistocene human population bottlenecks, volcanic winter, and differentiation of modern humans”. Journal of Human Evolution 34 (6): 623-651).

One possible resolution is if Adam was a member of a population of non-human upright apes who was given a soul. Eve could either have been miraculously created or just be another member of the same population. This scenario allows a larger breeding population and also solves the incest problem among Adam and Eve’s children.

There may be other scientific issues with the historicity of Adam and Eve as the first humans and progenitors of all living humans today, but I don’t think it is inconsistent with their evolutionary descent from other primates, or any other general principle of the modern evolutionary synthesis. At least not that I’m aware of.

Apart from the issue of population sizes there is no problem.

rossum


#12

I don’t think it’s incompatible at all- I just want more evidence for that.


#13

there is no conflict. the theory of evolution has no comment on preternatural gifts, and more and more research particularly in DNA and movements of populations suggests human descent from one mother. (there are arguments also against this theory, but as yet no proof either way).

I make a further suggestion to make this thread useful. Do not make a statement about Catholic belief that is not true. Do not make a statement about the theory of evolution that is not true, and provide scientific proof when making a scientific claim.

for instance, theories (and there are many, not one) of human evolution suggest descent from lower primates, not higher primates, and that developmental lines among primate groups separated much earlier and let to development of separate lines of higher primates including humans. I would have to see proof of any modern anthropologist who accepts human evolution directly from a line of higher primates.


#14

How do you think an evolved human went about gathering preternatural gifts and supernatural knowledge? He didn’t - this was gifted to him by a positive act of God.

So we are back to the point that at some point in time God decided to take living stock and confer these gifts upon him.

How does evolution account for Eve? It has been constant teaching for 2000 years that Eve came from Adam. Are you expecting a doctrinal reversal soon?


#15

The last I heard was that people evolved from small lemur-like animals.
Monkeys and apes developed along a separate line to humans.
So, where are the millions and millions of fossil missing links between small lemur-like animals and fossils of fully formed humans a million years old, or whatever?


#16

Unlikely. We share an identical error in the GULO gene (part of the vitamin-C synthesis system) with other apes and old-world monkeys. That tends to indicate that the new-world monkeys split off before we separated from the old-world monkeys.

So, where are the millions and millions of fossil missing links between small lemur-like animals and fossils of fully formed humans a million years old, or whatever?

If, as is probable, you suggestion is wrong then those fossils will not be there. On the standard explanation our ancestors would be some sort of ape. Indeed in scientific terms we are apes - Homo sapiens is classified in the Hominidae along with the other great apes.

rossum


#17

If Eve was miraculously created from Adam’s rib using Adam’s DNA then we would not expect to see any detectable effects in the DNA of current humans. Hence evolution cannot say anything on this point. This is in contrast to, say, the flood, where we would expect to see detectable effects now if it had been worldwide.

rossum


#18

Old world, New world? Can you explain this a bit more?
Can you show the identical error.

If, as is probable, you suggestion is wrong then those fossils will not be there. On the standard explanation our ancestors would be some sort of ape. Indeed in scientific terms we are apes - Homo sapiens is classified in the Hominidae along with the other great apes.

rossum

‘Some sort of ape’ is not very exact as evidence, though.


#19

They may exist, who knows??

It may well be that at one point, when the last pre-human “ape-oid” existed, that God decided to ensoul it’s next evolvement into Man. But that’s the point…1) Human ensoulment and 2) that all humankind decended from Adam and Eve.


#20

Yes, and white northern Europeans split form the Mediterranean - lactose intolerance - and whites split off from blacks in their ability to ward of the plague and they don’t get AIDS.


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