Reconciling Humani Generis with the human genetic data showing that there never were just two first parents

Being cheeky because it is late :wink:

Dolphins have learned our language, but we have yet to learn theirs. Maybe they think we are the irrational ones. Lol.

All science is a conclusion, based on data known at the time the conclusions were arrived at. We cannot know the complete import of any scientific study - only that which is both revealed and comprehensible to us.

Man purports to know with certainty the complexities of the universe while many of the effects of aspirin, for but one example, remain a mystery.

We more often resemble the creature upon which our Lord rode into Jerusalem.

Well memory and imitation are impressive abilities. :wink:

And computers are rational, too, if we’re talking strictly about inferring rationality from phenomena.

Getting back to the OP: Can you present a hypothesis using the language in Humani Generis with a scientific theory that you believe is true?

How could life evolve without God?

Dolphins do not imitate our language. That is not physically possible for them to vocalize or use their hands. :slight_smile: But they do demonstrate that they have cracked our code. We have yet to crack theirs.

I will try and work on a summation so far later today that will tie back to HG and our discussions of rationality/emergence of culture, in particular the appearance of a sudden leap forward. I have some good examples of how such an appearance can be deceiving.

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This is an odd question given the subject of the book. Are you familiar with the book, or just shooting from the hip based on what you think the title means?

Another new species in today’s news:

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The article does not report a new species.

Rather, as it should, what it does report is in the subjunctive mode. We ought not elevate it beyond what it is, wishful thinking. From the article:

  • seems realistic
  • apparently procreated
  • It’s not clear whether
  • appears to have
  • seems realistic
  • is likely
  • always the possibility that we might discover
  • it could have been
  • Scientists aren’t totally sure
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OK we can continue to poke and prod at the scientific data (and it’s always breaking news!) but it seems you’ve been playing on the skeptical side of the field through this thread so I’m asking if you can “change teams” for arguments’ sake, since you’ve stated (correct me if I’m wrong) that you’re not yet outright rejecting HG. In other words, can you play “Angel’s Advocate” and present a hypothesis that harmonizes the theological language in HG with a scientific theory you believe is true, in such a way that you personally find genuinely plausible?

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I recommend clicking though the link in the article to the published study, which has some handy visual aides. (I looked at it last night). This is not the first ghost population found in the genomes of Africans or humans in general. In the sense of interbreeding, this population was more of a subspecies. A ghost population is any genetically distinct sub-population that no longer exists in whole in modern populations. It has been blended with other migrating humans. What can be determined from the genes is that the population branched off the human family tree before Neanderthals did, and rejoined/interbred with modern homo sapiens just as they were also leaving Africa and encountering Neanderthal populations in the Middle East.

I really recommend the book by David Reich that I linked to in the OP, and that was only published 2 years ago. African populations had been understudied until recently, so it is exciting to get more information than what is on his chapter on Africa.

It does not do well to poo poo something because it is couched in subjunctive language.

At one point in time it was postulated that there was a ghost population of homo sapiens in norther Asia that was ancestral to both Europeans and Native Americans, because that was the population that Native Americans were most related to genetically. It was a ghost until a boy found in Siberia had the DNA that matched both modern populations. In the case of the African Ghost populations, we probably have to settle for not identifying remains because of the low preservation rates due to climate. That does not mean that the species did not exist! DNA is our one window left to seeing it.

A ghost population is not “found” rather it is inferred. The “parents” of all ghost population are statistical models, not bones.

What I caution against is just this kind of leap from inference to reality, from “possibility” to “is”.

No, that’s why I brought it up, and called it a recent development.

Not true. However, I can say that I’ve been presented with no data which proves animal rationality (unless I wish to change the definition of rationality, such that animal behavior fits it.

No… I made a distinction: this is a behavior which was first observed in the 19th century (IIRC). That doesn’t mean that it began then. It merely means that it began to be observed at that point.

It’s a critical difference: if you assert that it truly only began recently, and if you posit that it’s proof of rationality, then you’re making the claims that (some) dolphins attained rationality in the 19th century. Is that the claim you’re making?

LOL! I’m gonna start calling you “Douglas Adams”…!

Well, I did reference it a few days ago, so we may as well…

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Okay, we can say inferred if you want. Either way, some inferred ghost populations have ended up being confirmed by archaeological finds, which lends credence to future inferences.

In the end, does it really shake your worldview that human origins are so fascinatingly complex?

I am still mulling over what I think a good solution is because I am not convinced that there is one given what I read as Pius’s intent: to preserve a fundamental doctrine of the Church while also allowing, with great reservations, Catholics to study the potential evolution of the body - as he saw it.

Just to be clear, I am not saying the issue is the Church v. science for me. My main sticking point has been how do you mostly avoid the heterodox opinions present in 1950 that Pius was concerned with. The is no question for me about the solidity of the science side of human origins. We know enough of the natural history to know we did evolve, and that is a much more fascinating true story to keep exploring.

It might be helpful to go back in time to the other formal statements of the Church to help resolve the issue, but I went with HG because that is the most up to date definitive statement. I highly doubt Pope Francis will come out tomorrow and be like, “FYI all, we are going to just go ahead and say that Genesis is 100% allegorical rather than 95%. K- Peace.” I can just imagine the melt down. :wink: (I don’t have melt-downs about Francis, but I am friends with people who do.)

That said, I do think that eventually the solution for the Church may be to make it an allegorical myth officially where Adam and Eve are not the literal historical people. There will have to be a new way to underpin the doctrine of Original Sin, but I am not sure what that will be. Perhaps the doctrine will be abandoned by all but the most traddy? (I am sure this paragraph will cause much pearl clutching for some readers, but this is just me predicting a potential future path for the Church to survive).

There does already appear to be a split between those who think that evolution should be accepted and does no harm to doctrine and those who think that evolution should be rejected. I am not in camp two; I used to be in camp one. A possible solution would be something like what was proposed in the Kemp article, but I am not there yet due to the sticking point I mentioned just above.

I am going to stop there fore now, and I will return to the evidence of rationality and culture in the archeological record with example tomorrow since that is really a completely different strand of the thread. :thread: However, as someone who has studied archeaology, I can say that it is always just a snap shot of what once existed.

Identifying the genre of the Adam and Eve story is an important thread in this discussion. The allegorical/literal dichotomy does not do justice to the topic. It is a myth, a story that we read to give meaning to our life. Even if it is completely factual history, we repeat it because it has meaning for us, because it is a myth. It is likely that it gives meaning to our lives because it was composed by someone grappling with similar problems in his own life. Whatever solution we come up with, it should be true to the original story; not 5% this and 95% that but 100% true (whatever that means).

Another part of this is original sin. This is standing in for some larger topics. Who is the Father we address in prayer? Do we all have one Father? Do we all share in the humanity of Jesus by being human? This is the condemnation of polygenism; we share one Father with Jesus our brother. This is the real issue, not just original sin. If we believe this, we have to understand the story in a way that supports this belief, because that is what it is about.

I have faith that what we learn from science will not conflict with what we know from faith. If we resolve the problems here, we will display our faith. We might be wrong, but God will always guide us to greater truth.

More spools of thread to try to hold our minds together.

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Adam and Eve are the first parents of Man…

That teaching goes all throughout OT and NT

man’s science has never disproved that…

It cannot even get the so-called ‘tree’ down solidly…


Painting with a broad brush and not providing examples is not helpful. Lots of people have opinions about science without actually having spent time learning about it. It is very clear that the smallest human bottle neck was probably in the 1000s of people. There is too much genetic diversity for there having only been two.

See posts from @Wesrock at the top of the thread with a possible theological solution to the issue.

These are theories… and not proofs…

I suggest that you learn more about how science works. In science there are only disproofs, not proofs. Proofs are for mathematics, where all the inputs are known exactly. In science there is always the possibility of undiscovered inputs, so all theories are provisional.

Newton’s theory of Gravity was provisional and was replaced by Einstein’s theory of General Relativity when more inputs were discovered. Einstein’s General Relativity is also provisional and will be replaced by a new theory of Quantum Gravity as and when scientists finish developing it.

No scientific theory is ever proved. All theories are “the best we have so far” and are always open to replacement by a better theory.

Mathematical theorems (note the spelling) are proved. Pythagoras’ Theorem will always be true.

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