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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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jm

I predict this article will find many people taking exception to it. But I have to say I think is is exceptional!

It calls to mind this item from Mr. Frank Sheed:

Those scientists who work on human origins, most of them at least, find it difficult to see the human race as all descended from one couple. Men trained in palaeontology, anthropology, genetics, are practically unanimous in feeling that the frontier between animal and man could not have been crossed by one single individual or pair from whom all the existent races of men have descended....

For those not trained in any of these fields such unanimity must carry great weight. But can we simply accept it? We lend them our ears, we cannot give them our minds –- if for no other reason than they cannot give us theirs. They cannot give us the years of experience.... which have strengthened and enriched their minds, the habits grown instinctive, the reactions grown spontaneous. We can but weigh as much as they can convey to us… We can no more simply swallow scientists than we can swallow historians or theologians.

What we are hearing is the scientific orthodoxy of today, but scientific orthodoxies, like religious, have been known to change.... About the cradle of every religion, said Thomas Huxley, lie extinguished theologians like “the strangled snakes beside that of Hercules.” Surely extinguished scientists are as frequent.... [They tell us] to allow the descent of all men from [a single solitary] pair would go against all [proper scientific] mental habits.

But belief in God, in immortality, in God-made-man are not among those habits; we cannot be certain of the judgments, even the unanimous judgments, of minds which omit such habits .... A geneticist tells us that the emergence of a single pair is “infinitely improbable”; if we have followed his arguments we may agree, but with a proviso: “Unless God intervenes.” Is God’s intervention improbable? Our geneticist may ... well be irritated, even if he happens to be a Christian: God is not part of his scientific habit. To his scientific formation, so much has been contributed by the insights of men who regard God as irrelevant.... (p. viii).

He says a lot more in "Genesis Regained," written in 1969 but still relevant. Personally I can't reconcile Genesis and science very well. I have consigned it to mystery. But as unlikely as it may be for there to have been a first pair of humans, that seems no less unlikely than the idea of humans evolving from primitive life -- and people hardly seem to balk at that. The phenomenon of man is unlikely, no matter how you approach it.

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