Is there a Catholic problem with basic evolution theory?

Is there a Catholic problem with basic evolution theory?

I am not a scientist. How would I know?

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Each human person is worthy of profound respect.

Pope Pius XII’s Humani Generis is pretty clear. Monogenistic forms of evolution are not in contradiction with the Catholic faith, but polygenistic models are. Though you’d have to explain more by what you conside basic evolutionary theory.

Broad topic.

Could you define basic evolution theory

From what I have read on CAF, Humani Generis is not a popular piece of information.

Because basic evolution depends on populations evolving from previous populations, I do not understand how monogenism existed.:o

Wesrock was posting some useful information on that from Kemp in another thread. It essentially boils down to only some in the large population being true humans.

Definition:
True Human: Having a rational soul
Proto-Human: Lacking a ration soul, but being able to procreate with true humans due to genetic similarities

To illustrate that point I’ve attached an image. For the puposes of the image, names surrounded by a green rectangle/oval are true humans with a rational soul. Names surrounded by a red rectangle/oval are proto-humans lacking the rational soul, but genetically compatible with true humans and able to have children.

In the first line we have proto-humans John marrying Margaret and beget proto-human Charlie. True humans Adam and Eve marry begetting true humans Cain, Abel, Child #3, and Child #4. Proto-humans Harold and Elizabeth marry and beget proto-human Morgan.

In the second line we have proto-human Charlie marrying true human Child #3 and begetting true human Travis. We also have true human Child #4 marrying proto-human Morgan and begetting true human Amelia.

In the third line we have true human Tavis marrying proto-human Stranger #1. (Let’s assume the strangers come from a different tribe.) They beget true human Joacquim. And true human Morgan marries proto-human Stranger #2, begetting true human Beth.

And in the fourth line we have true humans Joacquim and Beth marrying each other to beget true human William.

Now William, as a true human can trace his ancestry back to Adam and Eve in terms of his rational soul. But his genetic history also traces back to John, Margaret, Harold, Elizabeth, Stranger #1, and Stranger #2.
Hence there is a large population his genetic history traces back to, but a single monogenetic pair his rational soul traces back to.

So that’s one way of understanding how monogenism could exist from a large population.

Not at the moment. First. I need to listen to the basic evolution theories which are currently being discussed in regard to Catholic teachings. There are times when I think that the basic evolution theory is a moving target.

Thanks, mVitus.

To all, it’s a speculative proposal, not my own. It doesn’t propose itself to be true, it is simply putting forth an idea of how Church teaching on monogenism and the polygenism of the evolutionary theory of man can be reconciled. The idea is that a distinction can be made between what the Church absolutely teaches and requires on monogenism and what the modern data seems to indicate regarding a polygenism being the best model, such that the two are no longer in conflict.

Let me add that the Church clearly taught “no salvation outside the church” in language that at face value seems pretty clear. However, while absolutely true, the truth of that statement is nuanced and makes distinctions for the invincibly ignorant.

IMO, the danger of modern theory on the evolution of man isn’t itself the danger, but the idea that it’s accepted without knowledge of Catholic doctrine regarding our origins and original sin, brushing those things off as moral stories and not as history. I think the theory also allows for very traditional readings if one wishes, of Adam living in a literal garden and Eve being formed from a literal rib even. When they’re exiled from the garden, they’d enter back into a world/region populated by these “proto-humans,” whom their children may have interbred with, explaining the genetic diversity.

Evolution is both a fact and a theory. Evolution-as-fact is the observation that the genomes of populations change over time. Every time a member of the population dies, some DNA is removed from the population. Every time a new member is born/hatched/germinates more DNA is added to the overall population. Over long periods of time those changes may, or may not, be significant.

The cyclic changes in the beaks of Darwin’s finches will probably not be significant long-term, because they are cyclic. They are still evolution. The changes in what are now Polar Bears were significant in the long term as they changed from an earlier species of bear living a little further south.

The theory of evolution looks at the mechanisms behind the observed changes in population genomes. Random mutations, recombination (in sexual species) and Horizontal Gene Transfer (in Arche and Bacteria) introduce variation into the population genome. Natural selection, neutral drift, founder effect, sexual selection etc. reduce variation.

The processes are in rough balance, so there is some variation, but not too much. A crocodile will not lay a duck egg; it will lay an egg that is not genetically identical to itself but still hatches into a crocodile. In a stable environment the bias tends to be towards no change. In a changing environment the bias tends to be towards change, so as to adapt the population to the changed environment.

For example, if a new herbicide is introduced into an area, the DNA of weed populations will change so as to limit the effects of the herbicide. The DNA of individual weeds won’t change, but the DNA of the population as a whole will. Less resistant plants will tend to die earlier; more resistant plants will tend to survive longer and produce more seeds carrying their resistance into the next generation. Over generations, resistant DNA will increase as a proportion of the DNA of the population.

I am not a scientist. How would I know?

By asking questions.

HTH

rossum

This post 5 is very interesting. Thank you. However, I cannot get the valuable diagram to appear in my reply.

Here is a link about the diagrams used for evolution.
evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/evo_07

Comparing the philosophical diagram to the Science of Human Evolution necessary speciation event – Is the first line, “proto-humans John marrying Margaret and beget proto-human Charlie” a true speciation event? Is it the same type as the Homo(human) Pan (chimpanzee) split? This particular speciation event developed into two separate lines of evolving descent. On line includes our hominin ancestors.

While I am not a scientist, when I landed on CAF, two participants on CAF taught me some basic stuff. In addition, I was editing some articles which included some science.

Please note that I do not have any problem with philosophy. Nonetheless, I know that philosophy should not be confused with science such as the basic evolution theory.

Note the reference to two CAF participants in post 9. They never got tired answering my questions. The best lesson was when your friend had my head on a platter for not doing my homework.

Father Spitzer gives some basic info on evolution here: [at minute mark 38:00]

youtube.com/watch?v=D_47Y-c21zc

I am a bit confused with your question. To answer it correctly

  1. The theory of evolution needs to be defined scientifically. Not specutively etc.
  2. Then it needs to be broken down and examined from Catholic view points

Were the 2 CAF people educated from a scientific stance, regarding the theory of evolution?
Is their knowledge scientifically solid?

Why would you be editing articles on the theory of evolution , which include some science, if you are not conversant on the topic?

The diagram made by mVitus is focused on individuals. The Berkeley diagram is on a more macro level, where each line represents a population group of the species (It’s a simplified diagram, but that’s okay). So the two diagrams are apples and oranges

The proto-humans and true humans would not be different biological species. From the POV of modern biology, Adam and Eve would be the same species as the proto-humans. Same physiology, same DNA genes. If anything was observed in the transition from 99% protohumans and 1% human population to a 100% human population, it wouldn’t be changes in the biological species, but changes in behavior as rational thinking presented itself in a population. This would be changes over time within a single population, not a split between two groups of the same species that, separated, becomes two new species. The humans and protohumans would have been part of the same population, and over time and interbreeding, the population shifts to all true humans.

[This isn’t to rule out allele drift or later divergences after the appearance of “ensouled” humans, but I’m trying to keep this simple, where further allele drift is not the cause of the emergence of rational thought, but of rational thought leading to new behaviors and preferences which leads to further changes in allele frequency, or at least play a role in that.]

I have an idea for a new diagram to help illustrate this, but I’m on my phone right now…

A simplified diagram to show what I mean. This diagram is still on a macro level, but if we wanted to look at what’s going on at the individual level, the zoomed in section would look something like mVitus’ family tree, but for thousands of individuals of which Adam and Eve are two and which, over time and after many generations, becomes less and less protohuman and more and more true human until all of the living population is true human, to which all true humans can trace a branch of their tree back to Adam and Eve.

There is definitely a conflict, which is why threads like this appear on a regular basis. There is no Church teaching that aligns with proto-humans. It all started with Adam and Eve.

Ed

The Church does not teach that.

"Adam and Eve: Real People

"It is equally impermissible to dismiss the story of Adam and Eve and the fall (Gen. 2–3) as a fiction. A question often raised in this context is whether the human race descended from an original pair of two human beings (a teaching known as monogenism) or a pool of early human couples (a teaching known as polygenism).

"In this regard, Pope Pius XII stated: “When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains either that after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parents of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now, it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the teaching authority of the Church proposed with regard to original sin which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam in which through generation is passed onto all and is in everyone as his own” (Humani Generis 37).

“The story of the creation and fall of man is a true one, even if not written entirely according to modern literary techniques. The Catechism states, “The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents” (CCC 390).”

Source: Catholic Answers

Ed

What HG states:
37. When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents

The model I provided requires that all true men have their nature’s origin in Adam and that Adam was a real, single historical figure who committed original sin. So I would hold that the model is consistent with the dogma provided in HG.

Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which, through generation, is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.

The model also advises that all true men have original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by Adam and which, through generation, is passed on to all and is in everyone (every true man) his own.

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