The "Great Leap Forward"

(Albert Leo) #1

In an otherwise clear exposition of the reasons for considering the Adam of Genesis as generalized humankind, Collins makes a statement that could be misleading: “Thus, in their own way, many advocates of a literal reading of Genesis fall into a similar trap as those who let the purported findings of science drive their theologizing.” The latest scientific evidence that humankind appeared suddenly as a Great Leap Forward should not be considered as “driving” theology, but is surely is not a “trap” and should be taken into account in considering how Genesis 1-4 can be consistent with evolution and genetics.
Albert Leo, Ph.D.
Pres. BioByte Corp.

Adam as “Everyman” | The BioLogos Forum
(Preston Garrison) #2

What event(s) are you referring to a Great Leap Forward?

(Albert Leo) #3

Hi Preston
I am not sure my previous reply was sent, and so I am repeating it.
Jared Diamond, the anthropologist, coined the phrase, Great Leap Forward, to describe the sudden appearance of human culture: art, music, language, etc. Even Dawkins used it and admitted (like Alfred Wallace, evolution’s co-dicoverer) that current evolutionary theory cannot explain it. I recommend Ian Tattersall’s “Becoming Human” and Simon Conway Morris’ many books and essays. I have developed it from my perspective in a presentation available on my web site: Just ignore the material on my book, Tu-nu-yah, and click on ‘science & religion’.
best regards,
Al Leo

(Preston Garrison) #4

I happened on a paper recently on the same question, although it identifies the big transition as being after the Ice Age. The earlier date seems to apply mostly to Europe, where the most investigation has been done. I am inclined to agree with the importance of the later period, since that is when signs of religion, and value in general, became widespread. The whole issue of PTRSB that this appears in is of interest.

Neuroscience, evolution and the sapient paradox: the factuality of value and of the sacred

I’m guessing the abstract will appear with this. (but it didn’t.)

(Albert Leo) #5

I missed your response and the reference to Colin Renfrew’a paper in Phil.Trans. Belated thanks for sending it. Every one of the facts Colin presents are, to my mind at least, best fit into a consistent picture if one postulates that humanity appeared in our Universe at the dawn of a new era: the Noosphere, an era that follows upon the Cosmosphere (initiated ~13 billion yrs. BP) and the Biosphere (began on Earth ~4 billion yrs. BP). As a species, Homo sapiens appeared in Africa ~200,000 yrs. ago possessing a 1,300 cc brain that was a clear exaptation–with the number of potential neural circuits exceeding today’s most powerful computers, and far beyond the requirements of stone age life. About 60,000 yrs. ago Homo sapiens began migrating through the mideast and thence to Europe and Asia. After that migration had begun (~40K yrs BP) some sort of epigenetic change occurred in the brain(s) of a very small segment of the population which ‘programmed’ the billions of brain cells so that, by means of the newly enabled language capability, the ‘mutation’ could be rapidly spread–not with the glacially slow pace of (Darwinian) evolution of Homo biogenies, but the explosive pace of the Lamarkian evolution via Noogenes (Dawkins’ memes).

The dispersal of the newly ‘programmed’ Homo sapiens into Europe was especially quick and effective, and human culture was seen as taking a Great Leap Forward. The (verbal) transfer along the pathways taken to Asia was slower, and the cultures in India and China developed in slightly different directions. For those ‘unprogrammed’ Homo sapiens who had already reached Australia and Tasmania, perhaps a separate epigenetic event was required, which then was reinforced when contact with the western branches was established. (Would this fit in with the Aboriginal ‘Dream Time’ legends?)

Preston, I realize that all of the above may be nothing more than speculation–but I hope not IDLE speculation, if it spurs on discussion of how human origins can be reconciled with Christian Faith.
Al Leo