Science OKs Adam & Eve?


(Albert Leo) #1

Continuing the discussion from God's use of natural laws & the Western scientific tradition:

[quote=“Eddie, post:173, topic:4380”]
But Dennis and others here (and in ASA venues, etc.) have said that there cannot have been original human couple at any time, not merely just 6,000 years ago. They have said that an original ancestral couple, if it existed, could not have existed as recently even as 150,000 years ago (the date sometimes given for anatomically modern humans). They have said that if there was an original couple ancestral to all human beings, that couple, based on population genetics calculations, would have to have lived something like 4 to 9 million years ago.

The key word here is “anatomically”. It seems certain that humans today must have descended (anatomically/genetically) from a population of thousands. But it is scientifically possible (tho unlikely) that the first human brain(s) to be programmed to operate as Mind could have belonged to just one person or one couple–who then could then invent a symbolic language by which through ‘programming’ could be transferred to other human brains. This is saying that our Noogenic ancestry could be traced to a single couple–possible tho unlikely.

Keep in mind that our biogenic evolution may NOT be making humankind more ‘fit’. Our Noogenic evolution, through medical science, has allowed ‘flawed genes’ to be reproduced. Question: Will we find ways (safe genetic engineering?) for noogenic evolution to cooperate with biogenic evolution?
Al Leo


(Andrew M. Wolfe) #2

Hi Al,

I don’t understand this concept of “programming.” Could you unpack it a bit?

Language is a social endeavor. The association of form and meaning develops in social contexts as humans navigate their environment together. There are singular inventors of particular words, even of large swaths of vocabulary (e.g., Shakespeare), but I find the notion of a singular individual originating an entire language (if indeed that’s what you’re saying) to be exceedingly unlikely. To me it strains the bounds of “possible.” But perhaps I’ve misunderstood your proposal?

Happy Sunday to you!


#3

Why would God mess with our brains?


(Albert Leo) #4

@AMWolfe[quote=“AMWolfe, post:2, topic:5254”]
I don’t understand this concept of “programming.” Could you unpack it a bit?
[/quote]

Not surprising. “Brain programming” is how human societies operate. It is the basic mechanism of Noogenic evolution. But do we know the biological mechanisms by which it operates? Not yet. It is still at the “speculation” stage. But not idle speculation, for it might suggest some areas of research not otherwise contemplated. (If Francis Collins were to get interested he might well become a factor.) Here is an excerpt from an earlier essay of mine:

“In the case of the sudden appearance of modern humans, marking the birth of the Noosphere, a basic biological mechanism may yet be discovered. One area of research that looks promising in this regard involves the brain methylome, as described by Gabel & Greenberg, Science V.341, 626-627 (2013). DNA methylation in mammalian genomes regulates gene expression, but it seems to have an added function in the brain where it is important in the maturation of neurons in the process of development. In the frontal cortex, methylation profiles are altered as synapses develop and are matured all the way from the fetal to the adult stage of life. In others words, this may be the mechanism by which the brain ‘hardware’ is being newly connected, i.e. ‘programmed’ by information acquired not from DNA but directly from the environment (in utero to old age) and by language from other humans so endowed. This epigenetic evolution is clearly Lamarkian in nature, rather than Darwinian. And it is purposeful, not the result of chance.”

The foundations for language were undoubtedly present before the GLF, just as it is in dolphins, parrots, etc. There is a recored instance of a group of deaf children in Central America who devised a new sign language quite different than ASL. But, if what I propose is anywhere near the truth, I believe it occurred over the span of several generations.

Al Leo


(Albert Leo) #5

@beaglelady God must have been “messing” with primate brains for some 3 million years, enlarging them from 300 cc (Australopithecus) to 1400cc.(Neanderthal) I’m sure you’ve followed Simon Conway Morris’ arguments that ‘convergent evolution’ shows that, if there is a ‘skill’ that promotes survival (flight, sight, hearing etc) evolution will try to provide it with whatever ‘materials’ are available. Intelligence is just one such survival skill. Larger brains can provide this, even if inefficiently wired. If brains can be more efficiently wired by learning during the development process in each individual, much of the enlarged brain may become redundant.
Al Leo


#6

Well, bacteria have always been and still are the dominant life forms on Earth. Just sayin’.


(Albert Leo) #7

Dominant in terms of what? Gross weight? Complexity? Their effect on environment? In their reflection of the nature/power of their creator?
Al Leo


(Wookin Panub) #8

It would not matter in the slightest if science didn’t ok Adam and Eve. Our authority should only come from the bible when relating to such matters :slight_smile:


#9

The are dominant in terms of number. And we rely on them! Of course they don’t reflect the nature/power of the creator, I never said that.

I guess what I most object to is the idea of God spending thousands and thousands of years being intimately involved in programming and wiring the human brain, and then suddenly cutting out to leave us to struggle with dementia, epilepsy, autism, schizophrenia and the like.


(Albert Leo) #10

Hi Beaglelady

I take it that your objection is NOT directed to God but to my ‘explanation’ of why he allows human brokenness, of which you give several examples. The explanation that I was taught as a child and which is accepted by most Christians today is the first humans that God created perfect (or at least unbroken) were disobedient, and it is this Original Sin that is passed down to all generations following Adam that is at the root of the brokenness we observe in our lives today.

As I pursued a career in science and became aware of the findings in astronomy, geology, and biology–and especially in the area of evolution–such a simplistic solution to the question of WHY humankind suffers these ills needed reexamination--NOT because it was in error from a moral standpoint, but because this new scientific knowledge could ADD to the robustness of God’s message. As I interpret it, this is, essentially, the goal of BioLogos.

Biological mechanisms known today are sufficient to explain the rapid increase in brain size that occurred with the primates during the pleistocene. Even though inefficiently wired, these larger brains were a clear exaptation–they had a potential much greater than was required to survive in the challenging conditions of that era. It can be postulated that the Great Leap Forward taken by Homo sapiens some 50K yrs. BP was the result of a relatively sudden re-wiring (programming) of their brain circuitry to operate more efficiently, and to invent a language by which this programming information could be transmitted to other Homo sapiens brains that were not yet so gifted. (The people of Nod in Genesis??) Currently there are only hints of a biological process that could accomplish this ‘programming’. But I would not bet on this God of the Gaps remaining for long.

I don’t see my proposal as God necessarily having 'cut out and leaving us to solve these problems’. On the contrary, I think it is clear that he has invited us to become Co-Creators with him. I sense that this is what strongly motivates the dozens of my colleagues (many of them agnostic) to work so diligently to design better pharmaceuticals to alleviate human suffering–one symptom of human “brokenness”.
Al Leo


(Albert Leo) #11

Then you do not subscribe to the goals of BioLogos; namely to harmonize science and the Bible. Too bad. Each one reinforces the other, when both are interpreted correctly.
Al Leo


(system) #12

This topic was automatically closed 6 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.