What does science say about polygenism? Is it proven? Or not?


What does science say about polygenism? Is it proven? Or not? Just a question I thought I’d ask


I believe in one man and one woman created in Eden and cast to Earth.



There’s an interesting article on Wikipedia you might want to read.

I don’t think it’s a leading scientific theory. Not terribly interesting as its not really compatible with Catholic doctrine.


same here. I just wanted to know what others thought about polygenism and whether or not they found some document that allegedly proves it or doesn’t


Very true



The polygenism that science is competent to talk about (that is, the polygenism of hominins) isn’t the same thing as the polygenism that the Church talks about (that is, the polygenism of humans).

Science can’t say “at this point, there were ensouled humans on the earth”, so they aren’t able to discuss the theological case that the Church makes…


Unless you can time travel it is not really possible to know.


Genetic research has shown that mitochondrial Eve, and Y-chromosome Adam did not live at the same time. So yes, scientific evidence has proven polygenesis of humans. Not to mention 2-5% Neanderthal DNA in humans.

But this scientific evidence doesn’t answer the salvific questions which ask about the soul, the fall, when did salvation history start, and with whom did it start.


I don’t understand your logic. How does the fact that they lived at different times prove polygenesis?


Adam was made first :stuck_out_tongue:


I am not even going to address the theological problems of polygenism, the fact that it contradicts Catholic doctrine, nor the scientific evidence against it.

From what I have read, much of the literature promoting polygenism was used to support the idea of inherent superiority or inferiority of certain racial groups. It was putting a pseudo intellectual spin on outright racism.


Polygenism: The theory that, since evolution is an established fact, all human beings now on earth do not descend from one human pair (Adam and Eve), but from different original human ancestors.

Polygenism is a theory of human origins which posits the view that the human races are of different origins (polygenesis)

This ^ is not what Catholics are talking about in polygenesis.


That doesn’t prove anything.

These two notions have nothing to do with the question of the ‘real’ Adam and Eve, nor do they have anything to do (per se) with the question of polygenesis. Instead, they’re just cutesy nicknames for a couple reasonably-complex statistical / genealogical measures. :wink:

No. Polygenism (in its scientific expression) does not proceed from the observation that evolution occurred (in theory). It proceeds from the observation of genetic diversity in humans, leading to the conclusion that there was no point in time in which there only two ancestors from which humanity proceeded.


Kind of like “Adam and Eve”.


Wait a minute. Are you saying that the Catholic meaning of Polygenism is the same as the Wikipedia meaning of Polygenism?

  1. Science says that at no point has the population of Homo sapiens ever fallen as low as two. The lowest estimates I have seen are around 10,000 to 20,000 breeding pairs around 70,000 years ago. The number of alleles we share with chimpanzees indicate that the “more than two” population estimate goes as far back as our separation from our LCA with chimps.

  2. Science says nothing about how many members of a population of Homo sapiens were ‘true humans’ in the Catholic sense, i.e. possessing human souls. Souls do not show up in either fossils or DNA. It is scientifically possible (though not provable) for only two members of Homo sapiens to have had human souls at some point in the past.

It is worth noting that Adam had a physical body, with “nostrils”, before God breathed a soul into him.



No. The names “Adam” and “Eve” in the Bible stand for two real human beings who were the first two ensouled humans on earth.

The names “Y-Chromosome Adam” and “Mitochondrial Eve” in science stand for two real hominins who merely are the ancestors of all currently living humans.

Different concepts. They don’t assert the same thing. When we confuse the cute name with the Biblical concept, we think science is talking about theology … which it isn’t. :wink:

No. The Catholic meaning of ‘polygenism’ is a theological notion, and it speaks to the question of ensouled human beings. The Wikipedia version (i.e., the scientific one) speaks to the question of hominins, without reference to souls. Apples and oranges. :wink:


I have to disagree with your meanings of polygenism.

The Catholic meaning is based on the assertion that everyone alive today came from Adam - which is to imply Eve in the genesis as well. Genetics has proven that assertion to be wrong.

The “scientific”, as you call it, meaning of polygenism is outright quackery, according to Wikipedia definition, because evolution and a Catholic, or general, meaning of polygenism has been accepted as fact by all but fundamental Christians. There is no discussion of it not being true in science, just as there is no longer discussion of a flat earth…the term flat earther is one of quackery.


No it has not. Genetics shows that there is a MRCA (Most Recent Common Ancestor) for all humans. All humans are descended from that MRCA. Any of that MRCA’s ancestors are also common ancestors for all humans, though not the most recent.

As long as Adam and Eve were ancestors of the MRCA then all living humans are descended from them.

Science does not deny common ancestors; science shows multiple pairs of common ancestors of all humans.



I know what polygenesis is. I want to know how the fact that m-Eve and y-c-Adam lived at different times proves polygenesis, which is what you said.

Personally, I thought those two facts fit in very nicely with the Genesis account.

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