Regarding Dennis Venema, he can answer for himself if he chooses on his own thread re: polygenism. Eddie wants me to directly challenge Venema’s genomics writings on BioLogos, but that is not what I am called on Earth to do.
In the end, it doesn’t really matter what I think of Venema’s biology, genetics or genomics. The point is the same one that GJDS has already made here along with many others elsewhere. Population genetics cannot disprove a historical Adam and Eve; it can only suggest a minimum bottleneck size, which doesn’t disprove THEM.
Besides, the more qualified person on this topic at BioLogos is James Kidder, who is a paleoanthropologist, rather than a genomicist.
GJDS was entirely correct: “on the biological question you now keep bringing up, the reference given by Gregory mentions these matters.”
Kemp’s paper deals with this directly. So I’ve done what I think is the responsible thing in deferring to someone who knows more about genetics and biology than myself.
For those who haven’t read the excellent paper “Science, Theology and Monogenism” by Kemp, who is a Catholic philosopher and TE/EC, here are a few highlights:
The foundation of Kemp’s monogenism/polygenism solution are based on this: “while it is true that all men are descended from Adam, the race nevertheless had a broad origin.” – Andrew Alexander (“Human Origins and Genetics”, 1964)
“there is no real contradiction between a theologically conservative (monogenist) account of anthropogenesis and the scientific insights of evolutionary biology and modern genetics.” – Kemp
“Discussion of whether there ever was a population bottleneck in the course of hominid evolution and, if there was, when and of what size is, in fact, on-going among paleoanthropologists.” – Kemp
“That account can begin with a population of about 5,000 hominids, beings which are in many respects like human beings, but which lack the capacity for intellectual thought. Out of this population, God selects two and endows them with intellects by creating for them rational souls, giving them at the same time those preternatural gifts the possession of which constitutes original justice. Only beings with rational souls (with or without the preternatural gifts) are truly human.” – Kemp
This is the same basic argument that has been supported by David Opderbeck, GJDS, Ben Yachov and Jon Garvey here on BioLogos, with figures like John Walton and Denis Alexander more or less in agreement. Lamoureux, Falk, Enns, Giberson and Venema (and apparently Kidder too) are against it, but it has not yet been confirmed that any of them have read Kemp, Flynn or Bonnette.
10,000, 5804, 2685, 229, 12, 4 –> the ‘group’ number simply doesn’t matter. One simply can’t overturn a theological doctrine using mathematical genomics.
So is Venema in particular correct while he sticks with the population number not <10,000? I don’t know and am not qualified to say one way or another, so I’m not going to commit myself to say anything. Others have used different numbers and in so far as they are only interested in the ‘biological human,’ the same response is due to them also as above.
Kemp, Flynn and Bonnette offer a third way, which allows people to maintain traditional Church teaching about historical Adam and Eve and also account for contemporary genetics. Based on that, I neither have to say ‘BioLogos is wrong about the science and the traditional theological account is right’, nor ‘BioLogos is right about the science and the traditional theological account is wrong.’ That polarising ultimatum is not necessary due to the new views available.
“there can be no theological objection to the claim that some one (or two) members of a prehistoric, biologically (i.e., genetically) human species were made sufficiently different from the others that they constituted a new theological species, e.g., by being given a rational soul and an eternal destiny.” - Kemp
Or, as John Stott put it, perhaps more believable for evangelicals who don’t or won’t read Catholics, as quoted here at BioLogos, this constitutes Homo Divinus.