In the tempest in a teapot culture war of Young Earth Creationists versus Evolution and Science, I side unequivocally with Science and Agnostic Atheists (as far as they go). Young Earth Creationism (YEC) seems to be based on the lie that Evolution is somehow false. That lie has so corrupted YEC as a supposedly Christian movement that, in Christian terms, it now serves only the Father of Lies. The future of Christianity, if any, lies in accepting the actual (appropriately tentative) knowledge of God provided by Science. If Christianity and the human race have a long-term future, it will take the form of an Evolution and Abiogenesis and Big Bang version of Christianity. I don’t want to offend anyone, but, seriously, it is YEC that offends God and Truth and Science. It is only right that I and others try to defend them against YEC’s utterly false and evil lies.
In this blog, I intend to bridge the gap between Science and Christianity in my culture with what can only be primarily Science. The result may be a kind of Evolutionary Christianity with an Evolutionary conception of God as an emergent property of all Life on Earth. The existence of such a God might be sufficiently well-grounded in the Physics of 4-dimensional space-time and the Biology of the Evolutionary Tree of Life to satisfy even the most skeptical rational scientific atheist.
Let us begin by exploring what can be made of the concept of Adam and Eve as the unborn parents of all living human beings from an Evolutionary perspective.
There will not have been an actual individual adult human Adam created directly from dust. Rather, in my opinion, this element of the story symbolizes Abiogenesis – the fact that ALL life on Earth ultimately and originally arose from non-living matter. Similarly, the creation of Eve “from Adam’s side” symbolizes the very ancient evolutionary invention of sexual reproduction – and NOT that Eve was literally Adam’s clone.
We can narrow our search for Evolutionary Adams and Eves, first of all, by considering only those ancestors of all living human beings who are not also ancestors of living members of species other than Homo Sapiens. In our case, this takes us several million years into the Past to a species that was the common ancestor of both Homo Sapiens and the species of our closest living (chimp?) cousins. Of that common ancestor species, it seems there would have been a subspecies, if we roll time forward a bit, from which all living modern humans are descended and from which no living chimps are. We might consider the members of that subspecies our most ancient Adam-and-Eve-like “humanoid” progenitors, although, of course, not one of them could be considered Homo Sapiens. We might then consider all their descendants humanoid too. This would certainly include many branches of the humanoid family tree that have since gone extinct.
On another hand, let’s consider the fact that humans have only 23 chromosome pairs and our primate cousins have 24. We know from DNA analysis that two distinct non-human primate chromosome pairs are seemingly combined into one human chromosome pair. It seems there must have been a first humanoid with 23 instead of 24 pairs. We might consider this and/or any distinctively human mutation as a criterion of being human. We might consider the first male ancestor with 23 pairs (or whatever other mutation) to be a kind of Adam, and the first such female a kind of Eve.
Presumably, the 23-chromosome-pairs mutation was dominant. If someone with 23 pairs mated with someone of the same species with the old 24, the offspring would have probably had 23. Seemingly, the already-combined chromosomes of one parent would cause a similar combination of the other parent’s corresponding chromosomes when egg and sperm merged.
This may be as close as we can get to an idea of how there might have been individual Adams and Eves from whom all living humans are descended. Unfortunately for defining a single Adam and a single Eve, it seems there would be an Adam and an Eve for each distinctively human mutation. Perhaps we could consider only the last such Adam and Eve to be genuine.
On yet another hand, as we gaze into the Past, might we find a latest generation all of whose members with living descendants are also each a common ancestor of ALL living humans? This excludes branches of our humanoid family tree that have gone extinct. It should be the latest such generation to distinguish it from the billions of years of previous generations of ancestors from all of whom we are all descended.
Finally, a further demonstration that where and when we draw the line between human and non-human in the Evolutionary Tree of Life is ultimately arbitrary if we respect the rights of our ancestors to consider both their immediate parents and their immediate offspring to be of their own kind. Who am I or who are you to tell our ancestors of however long ago that we consider them human, but not their parents?
Here, then, a proof by induction that all Life on Earth is human:
Premise 1: You and I are human.
Premise 2: If an organism is human, so are its immediate parents.
Premise 3: If an organism is human, so are its immediate offspring.
Premise 4: All Life on Earth is descended from a primordial First Life.
Conclusion 1: (by Induction on Premise 2) All human ancestors, including the First Life, are also human.
Conclusion 2: (by Induction on Premise 3) All descendants of the (human) First Life are also human.
Conclusion 3: All Life on Earth (throughout all time) is human.
I know this last appears to be an absurd conclusion. After all, a similar proof could “prove” that all Life on Earth is any species we might choose. The point I’m making is that, indeed, all Life on Earth is inter-related. All Life on Earth that ever lived or will ever live is a more or less distant cousin of all human life.
Furthermore, if (a) personal God(s) exist(s), then He/They most likely exist(s) as some emergent phenomena of the root and branch totality of the Evolutionary Tree of Life from its beginning at Abiogenesis until now and possibly into the Future(s).
As for eternal life, our individual lives in time will end, but in the Past, we will never have never lived. Our lives as we live them will always exist and we will always be alive in 4-dimensional space-time, as will everything in the Evolutionary Tree of Life that ever lived. As for me, I think this satisfies any desire I might have for eternal life.