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Polygenism is Problematic – A Catholic Caution on another Aspect of Evolutionary Theory

October 23, 2013

102313In the blog last week, we discussed the Genesis account, evolutionary theory and how these can be reconciled with Catholic thought and teaching.

At one level, the genre for the Genesis accounts must be taken into consideration wherein figurative language is sometimes used to confer the sacred truths that God alone created everything out of nothing. Further, that God oversaw every aspect of creation with intelligence, and purpose, and that he created everything out of nothing, each according to its kind. However the genre, or literary form, of Genesis does not purport to be of nature of a scientific journal article, or of a comprehensive historical genre with exact dates and geographical descriptions. What Genesis tells us is true, but it speaks to us in a summary sort of way, more as a poetic description than an earth science textbook. (More on this HERE). As the Catechism states:

Scripture presents the work of the Creator symbolically as a succession of six days of divine ‘work,’ concluded by the ‘rest’ of the seventh day” ….”nothing exists that does not owe its existence to God the Creator. The world began when God’s word drew it out of nothingness; all existent beings, all of nature, and all human history is rooted in this primordial event, the very genesis by which the world was constituted and time begun” (CCC 337-338).

Material Sufficient Causality? Not! We also discussed that Catholics may be open to the scientific teachings of evolution but that they cannot accept it uncritically, without certain distinctions. Catholics are free to believe in some sort of evolutionary or gradual process as a secondary cause of biodiversity. But we simply cannot accept a theory which says that the sufficient cause and complete explanation of all life is the combination of natural selection and random mutations. The words NATURAL and RANDOM are positively meant to exclude intelligent activity by God by most proponents of the Theory of Evolution. Catholics can come to accept a kind of theistic evolution wherein God is the primary cause of all secondary causes. But we are not free to accept the Theory of Evolution as most commonly proposed without the necessary distinction that natural selection and random mutations are not sufficient causes or a complete explanation for the existence of all things as they are. (More on this HERE).

Here too the Catechism provides an important and balanced approach that respects the role of science but also announces its limits:

The question about the origins of the world and of man has been the object of many scientific studies which have splendidly enriched our knowledge of the age and dimensions of the cosmos, the development of life-forms and the appearance of man. These discoveries invite us to even greater admiration for the greatness of the Creator…..The great interest accorded to these studies is strongly stimulated by a question of another order, which goes beyond the proper domain of the natural sciences. It is not only a question of knowing when and how the universe arose physically, or when man appeared, but rather of discovering the meaning of such an origin: is the universe governed by chance, blind fate, anonymous necessity, or by a transcendent, intelligent and good Being called “God”? (CCC 283-284)

The Problem of Polygenism – There is also another matter which the Theory of Evolution gives rise to that a Catholic must be aware of and realize that he or she cannot give it uncritical acceptance. This is the usual premise in evolutionary theory of polygenism.

Polygenism is a theory of human origins positing that the human race descended from a pool of early human couples, indeterminate in number. Hence, this theory, Adam and Eve are merely symbols of Mankind. Rather than being an historical couple, they represent the human race as it emerges from the hominids that gave rise to them as they become homo sapiens, properly speaking.

This is opposite to the idea of monogenism, which posits a single origin of humanity in Adam and Eve. In this understanding, Adam and Eve are historical figures who actually existed and from them alone the whole of the human race is descended.

Polygenism is the proposed vision of almost all evolutionary theorists. It obviously flows from the theory. As life emerged from one-celled organisms, ultimately more complex forms of life arose to include fish, then reptiles, mammals, higher forms of mammals and early humanoid forms, and then the first homo sapiens. But, presumably this process did not occur only in one case. Rather, it is usually supposed that a larger, indeterminate number of this new species of Man arose. So what we had was an emergent group, rather than simply two individuals: Adam and Eve.

But this presents a problem for a Catholic who might wish to uncritically accept evolution, for, simply put, we cannot accept polygenism. Pope Pius XII in 1950 specifically addressed the problem of polygenism in the Encyclical Humani Generis:

[T]he Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter…..When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which, through generation, is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own (Humani Generis, 36-37).

Hence, it seems clear that a Catholic is not free to accept polygenism. There are some in theological circles who have attempted to assert that the Pope is merely saying it is not apparent how such a theory can be reconciled, but not actually indicating that such a view must be rejected. But this seems fanciful since the Pope says quite clearly that Catholics “by no means enjoy such liberty” and “cannot embrace” the opinion of polygenism. No later Pope or Council has chosen to distinguish or, in any way, limit the conclusion of Pius XII in this matter. Perhaps this does not preclude some eventual theory of polygenism that can be acceptable, but none has yet been offered.

Some Catholics will point to an oversimplified notion presented in the media some ten years ago that science has “proved” that all humans trace their origin to one woman. This woman was dubbed “Eve” or “Mitochondrial Eve.” But, most people have over-simplified understandings of this finding. It does not mean that there were not other women who predated this woman, and other genetic lines that died out. She is merely our most recent common matrilineal ancestor and seems to have lived at a time significantly prior to Y-Chromosomal Adam who is also an important fork in the genetic road. The point is that the theory of one woman is more complicated than the popular conception describes it. [1] It is not likely a resolution to the problem of polygenism.

The heart of the problem in terms of polygenism is, as the Pope notes, the doctrine of original sin as expounded in Scripture:

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned—….Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. (Rom 5:11, 19)

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive (1 Cor 15:22)

We are thus all linked not to a group, but to a man, Adam. And when he sinned, we sinned. Sin reaches us all since we all share one common ancestor. Further, it is hard to conceive a group of early humans, all sinning in such as way as all our ancestors went into this state commonly. Scripture says, sin came through one man. Scripture is inerrant in such a matter. We cannot simply set its truth aside.

Scripture also affirms our connection to the one man, Adam when it records that God sent one, Jesus Christ, as the New Adam. This sets up a parallelism: One Adam, One New Adam. God did not send a committee, or a squadron to save us which would be the parallel for polygenism and/or group sin.

So the problem of polygenism is a significant matter for Catholics who want to uncritically accept evolution or understand it in a simplistic and easy-going way. And herein is the central point of this and previous articles of mine on this subject: Namely, it is essential that we make proper distinctions and exclusions if we choose to embrace some aspects of the Theory of Evolution. The Catholic approach to this whole matter is carefully balanced. We are not fundamentalist and creationists but neither do we uncritically accept the Theory of Evolution. We must make proper distinctions, exclusions and clarifications in order to accept what I might term a theistic evolution as a tenable theory. Even here, Catholics are free to reject aspects of a theistic evolution on the grounds of science. But this last distinction (scientific objections) is beyond the role of the Church. Perhaps again, the old advice is helpful here: Seldom affirm, never deny, ALWAYS distinguish. We need to be careful and sober when it comes to Evolutionary Theory.

Perhaps it is good to conclude with the words of Pope Benedict which remind us that we are dealing ultimately with a deep mystery for which we must ultimately have great reverence:

The clay became man at the moment in which a being for the first time was capable of forming, however dimly, the thought of “God.” The first Thou that – however stammeringly – was said by human lips to God marks the moment in which the spirit arose in the world. Here the Rubicon of anthropogenesis was crossed. For it is not the use of weapons or fire, not new methods of cruelty or of useful activity, that constitute man, but rather his ability to be immediately in relation to God. This holds fast to the doctrine of the special creation of man . . . herein . . . lies the reason why the moment of anthropogenesis cannot possibly be determined by paleontology: anthropogenesis is the rise of the spirit, which cannot be excavated with a shovel. The theory of evolution does not invalidate the faith, nor does it corroborate it. But it does challenge the faith to understand itself more profoundly and thus to help man to understand himself and to become increasingly what he is: the being who is supposed to say Thou to God in eternity. (Creation and Evolution: A Conference With Pope Benedict XVI in Castel Gandolfo, S.D.S. Stephan Horn (ed), pp. 15-16)

Comments (127)

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Sites That Link to this Post

  1. Contra Mark Shea on Polygenism | the reproach of Christ | October 24, 2013
  2. Daily Links & Comments | William M. Briggs | October 25, 2013
  1. Brandon Vogt says:

    Msgr. Pope, thanks for the excellent thoughts! I highly suggest Mike Flynn’s article on Catholicism and polygenism along with Mark Shea’ follow-up piece Both show how it is not just possible, but reasonable and orthodox to believe both 1) there is one man from whom all humans are descended and 2) biological polygenism is true.

    • Thanks And congratulations on your new position with Word on Fire and Fr. Barron!

    • MP says:

      I think “I am not spartacus” and Rick Delano did a fine job refuting Shea in the comments. It is hard to defeat Magisterial documents on the special creation of Adam and the creation of Eve from his side. There are many other points made by both that Shea did not even attempt to address.

      • Brandon Vogt says:

        The key here is to define “polygenism.” That words is used in different ways in the scientific community, to describe different theories of human origins, and it’s not exactly clear what Pope Pius XII meant by the term. If it only means that homo sapiens did not originate from a single pair of humanoids, but that at some point in history, God ensouled a particular pair of humanoids and thereby created the first “humans” (defined in the theological sense as a body/soul combination), from which all other humans originated, then we’re able to reconcile both Catholicism and mainstream science.

        • MP says:

          Where is the room in this theory for the special creation of Eve from the side of Adam, as the Church has taught with Magisterial authority. This teaching has never been revoked.

          • Nicholas says:

            “The key here is to define “polygenism.” That words is used in different ways in the scientific community, to describe different theories of human origins, and it’s not exactly clear what Pope Pius XII meant by the term.

            Polygenism is first and foremost a word concept conceived of by scientists. God did not conceive of this word nor did any of the sacred authors, prophets and Apostles. Defining the word has nothing to do with various theories circulating in the scientific community. Theories are explanations or speculations NOT definitions. The word ‘polygenism’ is defined prior to the theory.

            Who has authority to define polygenism? The Pope and Bishops? This is a concept not found in all of Divine Revelation. The pope and bishops have no authority to define polygenism.

            And how could you claim that Pope Pius XII was not clear by what he meant by the term? He went on to explain what he meant by this ‘opinion’:

            When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which, through generation, is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.

            “If it only means that homo sapiens did not originate from a single pair of humanoids, but that at some point in history, God ensouled a particular pair of humanoids and thereby created the first “humans” (defined in the theological sense as a body/soul combination), from which all other humans originated, then we’re able to reconcile both Catholicism and mainstream science.”

            All hominids, all animals, all plants, and all microorganisms have mortal souls created by God at their conception in an act that defies Mother Nature. God would have had to create the grace filled immortal soul of a Male hominid and of a Female hominid in the womb of two separate Female hominid mothers who conceived from two separate Male hominid fathers (or maybe one Male hominid who knows? Maybe they were a groupie).

            Your notion is patently absurd in relation to Christianity, Judaism, and even Islam. And it blatantly contradicts Sacred Scripture. Pope Pius XII could not even conceive of your concepts because they are so outlandish as far as Christianity is concerned. But in mainstream science pretty much anything goes, so maybe your idea belongs there.

            Who wants to reconcile Catholicism with mainstream science? Mainstream science feeds garbage. It is a business. They make money. And the mainstream notions of first origins of the ‘homo sapiens’ (whatever they are) are always changing. One years its Africans the next it is a cross breed of Africans, Neanderthals, and whatever other creepie crawlies. These are theories. Evolution is just a theory of a biological mechanism assuming there are prototypes. Evolution resolves to an exchange of atoms. That is basically all it is. Who cares?

            Evolutionary theory does not have the ability to explain a first origin of life. The theory assumes living objects. The appearance of life (a living object moving on its own against the pull of universal gravitation) defies physical notions. As does the appearance of Adam and Eve.

          • Brandon Vogt says:

            “Where is the room in this theory for the special creation of Eve from the side of Adam, as the Church has taught with Magisterial authority. This teaching has never been revoked.

            Thanks for the comment, MP. The theory as I outlined it above leaves room for a historical Adm and Eve. Adam and Eve would be the first homo sapiens gifted with a rational, eternal soul.

          • Rick DeLano says:

            Umm, that wasn’t the question, Brandon.

          • Rick DeLano says:

            And of course there can never *be* a homo sapiens without a rational soul. So there were no homo sapiens before Adam.

        • James says:

          Hey Brandon! Is there any hard evidence for the existence of humanoids?

          • Rick DeLano says:

            Dogmas are lost, not through reversal, but through abandonment.

            We lost the Catholic oekonomia through the abandonment of the condemnation of usury.

            The entire world totters on the brink of economic collapse because of the metastasis of usury.

            We lost the Catholic cosmos through the abandonment of the condemnation of heliocentrism.

            Our children laugh at the stupidity of the idea that we are special, or significant, because of the logical development of Copernicanism.

            We are losing the Great Commission through the abandonment of the dogma of original sin.

            How is it that no one can see that when the Church accommodates Herself to the world, the world is plunged into darkness?

            Make no mistake. The modernists are targeting original sin.

            It is the last obstacle to the New Pantheon.

            Only the Traditionalists will resist.

            Everyone else will compromise, until the time comes for full surrender.

            Adam and Eve and Ted and Alice.

            Trust me, most will find a way to persuade themselves that this is Catholic.

          • Brandon Vogt says:

            “Hey Brandon! Is there any hard evidence for the existence of humanoids?”

            What do you mean by “evidence”? Empirical evidence? If so, it’s logically impossible to provide empirical evidence that humanoids existed without souls. The soul is not a material thing and thus can’t be detected or disproved by empirical evidence.

          • Rick DeLano says:

            There are no non-human humans, and the existence of non-human humans is the very least of the problems with the Adam and Eve and Ted and Alice “theory”.

  2. JohnR says:

    I’m quite sure that the Church has condemned polygenism. To support it would utterly negate original sin.

  3. Mike says:

    Just to play Devil’s Advocate, what if Mitochondrial Eve was actual Eve and Y-Chromosomal Adam was actually Noah. Those are the two bottle-necks of human ancestry history in science and in the Bible, no? It would at least somewhat explain the large difference of time, assuming that the years listed in Genesis are not literal.

  4. Robertlifelongcatholic says:

    It’s comforting to know I’m not a monkey’s uncle and I know everybody from Adam.

  5. Matthew Kennel says:

    It seems to me that we have to be very careful here, theologically. Obviously, original sin is de fide doctrine. But, when it comes to encyclicals, we have to carefully evaluate both the wording used and the level of teaching authority attached to the statements. I’m not an expert in these things (still working my way through Dulles’ Magisterium). But I don’t think that popes say things like “it is in no way apparent” mindlessly.

    Personally, I find Flynn and Shea’s speculations to be on target. For another helpful perspective, perhaps we could look at Catholic philosopher Edward Feser’s articles on this topic (http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2011/09/modern-biology-and-original-sin-part-i.html and http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2011/09/monkey-in-your-soul.html). Both are, I think, excellent attempts to embrace the findings of biology and the teachings of the church.

    • Rick DeLano says:

      It is strange to proceed on the unexamined assumption that the Faith is somehow required to “embrace the findings of biology”.

      Faith is above Reason, though never in conflict with it.

      The “findings of modern biology” are proposed to contradict the Faith, as it has been understood and handed on to us from the beginning.

      Why is it that the “findings of modern biology” are, apparently, accepted as the default position for truth today?

      It is weird.

      Twenty years ago “junk DNA as useless bits of residue” was the “finding of modern biology”.

      Today, “junk DNA” is suddenly understood to be neither junk, nor useless, nor residue.

      How many reformulations of Genesis are required, in order to “embrace the findings of biology”?

      Every decade?

      Every year?

      Every week?

  6. Thomas says:

    Many thanks for the article Msgr. Pope. Another article of interest by Kenneth Kemp, University of St Thomas, St Paul:

    http://www3.nd.edu/~afreddos/papers/kemp-monogenism.pdf

    Enjoy!

    Thomas

    • Brandon Vogt says:

      Kemp’s article is very helpful. The key as, as mentioned above, is to distinguish biological polygenism from theological polygenism. Read in context, it seems Pope Pius XII’s encyclical aims to condemn the latter.

      • Thomas says:

        Dear Brandon,

        I concur!

        Thomas

      • MP says:

        No one has yet addressed the special creation of Eve from the side of Adam. How can you ignore this binding teaching of the Catholic Church? This teaching alone removes polygenism from being a possibility.

        • Brandon Vogt says:

          MP, I addressed this above. The theory as I outlined it above leaves room for a historical Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve would be the first homo sapiens gifted with a rational, eternal soul.

          • Rick DeLano says:

            But Brandon, the question is whether Adam and Eve and Ted and Alice ignores the binding treating of the Church that Eve was a special creation, from the side of Adam.

            I could answer it, of course, but it has been asked of you- twice.

          • MP says:

            Brandon, so you agree that Eve was miraculously created by God from the side of Adam and did not in anyway evolve from any other creature or material?

        • Rick DeLano says:

          It most certainly does. But we apparently have to run it by apostates like Ayala first. Reason, after all, is above Faith, but never in conflict with Right Faith 😉

          • Nicholas says:

            “MP, I addressed this above. The theory as I outlined it above leaves room for a historical Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve would be the first homo sapiens gifted with a rational, eternal soul.”

            MP was not referring to the ‘historical Adam and Eve’, whatever the dog and pony show means by that.

            He was referring to the special creation of Eve’s body as in

            And so the Lord God sent a deep sleep upon Adam. And when he was fast asleep, he took one of his ribs, and he completed it with flesh for it. And the Lord God built up the rib, which he took from Adam, into a woman. And he led her to Adam.

            How does the rib of Adam magically transform into a union of M & F hominid gametes that grows in the womb of a hominid mother and pops out as Eve??? Some people love to bellyache that this verse uses poetry but that is really pushing it!

            And just what is a “rational eternal” soul?

            I assume by eternal you mean immortal.

            But rational? How does a soul reason? How can it be qualified as rational?

          • Rick DeLano says:

            Nicholas:

            A human being reasons. The rational soul is the formal cause of the human body. The animal or vegetable does not reason. The vegetative or sensitive soul cannot be the formal cause of the human body, since the vegetative or sensitive soul do not have in potency the act of reason.

            Your distinction between eternal and immortal is spot on.

          • Nicholas says:

            ‘A human being reasons”

            that was my point. It was a rhetorical question.

            The rational soul is the formal cause of the human body.

            agreed. The immortal soul (a spiritual object which has form) mediates anti-gravitational and unpredictable motion to and through the target, the Adamic body. The word cause always invokes two objects, one being a mediator and the other being a target.

            But I still do not agree with your qualifier ‘rational’. What is reason rooted in?

            “The vegetative or sensitive soul cannot be the formal cause of the human body, since the vegetative or sensitive soul do not have in potency the act of reason.”

            of course not. Souls (whether mortal or immortal) have no ability to reason. Reason is a process (set of acts) that necessarily invokes two or more objects. A soul is simple. It has no components. Thus it cannot reason.

            Reason is rooted in the atomic activity of our brains . Neurons (composed of atoms) ‘ignited’ by the immortal soul and stimulated by God (in the phenomenon of grace) mediate conceptualization which is the hallmark of reason. Adam had reason since he was given the type of brain that could identity and associate meaning between two or more objects of his environment. These meaningful associations between two or more objects are called concepts (ideas, notions, thoughts, etc.) Adam was also able to relate these meaningful and definite associations of two or more object as a word. All words are first and foremost concepts mediated by the atomic activity of our brains. Words are corresponded to string together a linguistic output of thought that is either rational or irrational. Criteria of rational statements is beyond the scope here.

            But no other animal with a brain, not even the mighty Neanderthal’s brain, or whatever other humanoids they dream up, has the ability to conceive of word concepts. Our brain configuration must be singular among all the creatures that ever roamed the Earth. All brains derived from Adam’s brain can conceive of words. Once Adam appeared he conceived words and applied them, e.g. he associated Eve with himself, conceiving her as ‘woman’.

            Whoever has the ability to conceive of the lexical concept has the ability to use them in all three modes of conveyance: utterance, gesture, and traced character. The ability of a human to change modes of conveyance, spontaneously, at will, is called modality-independence (a semiotics concept). Once Adam appears on Earth you better sure as hell believe that an alphabet comes not long after. He would have been tracing characters within a year after he hit the ground. Not long after there would be a proto-alphabet. In fact the first letter of the first alphabet was probably derived from Adam’s name. And this is one of reasons why I think that it is impossible to assume that Adam appeared 40, 50, 60, or 70 thousand years ago. Where is the 50,000 year old alphabet????

            Had Adam appeared 50,000 years ago we would have all been on a spaceship to Andromeda by now. There would have been computer by 44,000 years ago and so on.

            Something is not right in Denmark.

          • Nicholas says:

            or something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

            another thing you did Rick is reified a concept and qualified a verb with an adjective:

            “The rational soul is the formal cause of the human body.”

            An object such as a soul is not a cause. A cause refers to a dynamic concept that invokes two preexisting and predefined objects. A mediator (object A) imparts causal action to a target (object B). And there is the output (object C) in context to the Law of Causality.

            A cause is a verb, an action. A cause has no form and does not exist. Only objects, like mediators and targets exist. “Cause” is what something does (i.e. action), not what something IS. Specifically, “cause”, is the action that object A (the mediator) does to object B (the target) while interacting with the target.

            A cause cannot be qualified as formal. Form is a static concept. It can only qualify objects e.g. a body has a form. We also assume a soul has a form even though it is not physical. But a soul is not a cause.

            The concepts cause and effect invoke objects that exist.

            Effect also refers to a concept. Effect is the “change” realized by the objective target during the duration of the “causal action” imparted by the objective mediator. E.g. For the duration of life the immortal soul mediates anti-gravitational and spontaneous motion to and through the Adamic body. The output is the living object labelled Adam.

            The mediator and the target must both exist, before the mediator can perform “causal actions”, and before any “change effect” can be said to have been realized. This is one of the reasons why Aristotle’s Law of Causality in an explanation of ‘creation ex nihilo’. Creation ex nihilo defies all logical systems and even critical thinking and rational analysis. It is a miracle.

            But when one starts using terms like cause (and formal cause) one has to define the concept for the audience. This is one of the reasons why I DON’T like using Aristotelian and Scholastic jargon. They are just regurgitated. Its just assumed that the audience understands that the soul is the formal cause or whatever. But what have we learned? What does ‘formal cause’ even mean? Am I just dumb?

            No. No one is dumb. All our brains are derived from Adam. Learning is just a matter of choice. These concepts are not difficult if someone would just define them.

  7. Tailler Heuws says:

    A few years ago, reviewing the latest findings about ancient hominids, I found that it was quite conceivable for our first human parents (hominid with human soul) to have originated in what is Ethiopia/Africa today and then migrated throughout the world from that one location; there was sufficient time available for this expansion to occur if you conjecture that Adam and Eve were created tens of thousands of years ago. God’s plan would have them following the migration of food sources throughout the world (in my briefly developed opinion) and this, in addition to climate/geographical changes and the inspiration/help of God would have helped humanity populate the early world. Humans would have been intelligent enough to be curious, to seek, and to survive and to know/be inspired to do out of love and fear of God. Other, non-human hominids (let’s call them apes) would have eventually died off, for if their historical purpose was God’s preparation for humanity, then perhaps God allowed them to return to the clay as have many hundreds/thousands of other species throughout history. Many factors could have affected the development of “accidental” differences in the outward appearance of humans who, over many millennia, became geographically separated over time as groups went along their own paths throughout the world in search of food, new lands and God. Bottomline: there is sufficient evidence, in my opinion, to support monogenism; we can certainly conceive of all human life coming from one set of humans, Adam and Eve.

  8. Jun alonzo says:

    Good day to you msgr. Charles,
    Your explanation is very catholic, my heart is full of joy since i began to follow your blogs. Every now and then i share with my family and friends the profound virtues and information i get from your explanation on issues in anything. My day is not complete without reading your post.

    However, with the above topic of yours, it brought me back 24 years ago, as this was my very first question to our elders (not priest) in our catholic movement.
    I asked; (for he was discussing then the topic of 7 cardinal sins, and later touched the concept of original sin)
    1.) was adam a black man? Or white? If adam is a white man, was eve the first woman was likewise white skinned? Because, as well we all know, that if they are both white, their offsprings are all white skinned. The question i have raised was leading, logically, to the factual existence of different races.
    On the other hand, if after the fall of adam and eve, along with the curse of original sin god gave them, their offsprings will be black and then white, alternately (or with whatever god will give them skin color.) another conjecture is, either adam is white and eve is black…by the way, what is the color of clay? And rib or the Y-chromosome? (All my opinion). I am very comfortable in acceptance of having abel and cain had pregnant their siblings for propagation. ( but only in their races or lineage, their parents adam and eve was placed in the bible because they were the race chosen by god). Even in plants or seeds (science), if i have a mustard seed that i have bought in israel, clearly that seed was of origin in israel, and later i will decide that seed to be planted in the philippines, that seed i will put in the soil in philippines will grow also as a mustard seed, right?, and it will never grow and bear a fruit like grapes.

    I am a devout catholic msgr, charles, if we will stick with monogenism (though i am still open and can embrace it as a catholic) the questions of, if adam and eve are whites, how could they have black offsprings, or chinese offsprings? Even if we presume that, indeed, they have been given by god a different color or races as offsprings, the means to travel by sea and go to another land and propagate is clearly a question (since noahs time was ever recorded an ark to be built).

    in my opinion, the issue of negation of original sin in relation to monogenism, is somewhat inapplicable. Because until now,there are people or races that are alien to the existence of god (trinitarian god), much less the concept of original sin. If their lineage is of noah, there is no doubt that the existence of god (likewise the concept of original sin) will be passed on to them.

    Lastly, in the opinion of multitudes of angels, cherubs, arch angels, seraphim, they were all here before us, and they are in billions (countless), if i am adam the first and only man yet, and not yet falling to sin, will all these heavenly messengers be only guarding me? Quite a number of angels that do not have souls to guard then. Even then if we assume that after adam’s death of nine hundred years, their clan grew to 300 people/descendants,of adam and eve (considering that at aged 12 can already bear a child in the womb and be pregnant), there aren’t still enough souls for our guardian angels guard on.

    God bless you msgr. Pope

    • regarding diversity, I think if you study in the area of the distinction of between micro-evolution and macro evolution you will find you answer. Regarding the angels, different topic and wholly different reality: angels are pure spirit and hence the question of descent and procreation isn’t even on the radar

      • Jun alonzo says:

        Thank you for the insight msgr, i have read the micro and macro evolution. However, i wonder now if noah was,in any way baptized? To erase the original sin he had acquired from birth hence for his soul to be accepted in heaven (was there any catholic books i could read that noah practied baptism or aware that they have original sin?) i wish to be enlightened father, as i am also aware that prophets are all in limbo until jesus ressurection.
        Thank you.

    • Tailler Heuws says:

      I think that the answer is this: The first Parents had in their genes the potential for all varieties of “accidental” skin colors. This is so because Paradise is of the spectrum of Light and new creation would have that same spectrum in them, but that spectrum fractures after the Fall. God is very much about variety it seems – as is witnessed in the many varieties of flowers and birds and trees and grasses and so on. Why attempt to doubt the Creativity of the Creator with created logic (human logic)?

  9. Rev. Dr. Paul Haffner says:

    If you look at one of my books Mystery of Creation (published by Gracewing) you will see more support in favor of your article.

    • Thomas says:

      Dear Dr Haffner,

      I purchased your book recently whilst in Rome. I am very much looking forward to reading it!

  10. Sky says:

    If polygenism is true then I do not see how the equality of all members of the human race can be maintained. I wonder if scientists and teachers ever stop to consider this.
    Also, the more I think about the beginning of life the more I believe the simple Bible story is more likely than the way evolution is usually taught. It seems to me that mathematical probabilities demonstrate this. The earth has not existed long enough (even if billions of years) for all the intricate events that would have to happen to bring about life.
    Reason alone is sufficient to argue this. Even more glaring is the failure of the evolutionary theory to provide any explanation for unique qualities of nature such as beauty, harmony, music, color, etc. This is why some, like John Lennon did, despise the whole evolution idea. It isn’t a truly “human” or rational explanation.

    • L Reese Cumming says:

      Answer to first question: Equality is relative.
      Response to second concern: Reason is relative.

      • Darren Szwajkowski says:

        “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” If what you say is true than truth is relative. If truth is relative than this in itself is relative and contradictory. So, your premise is flawed by contradiction. Equality is not relative and reason is not relative because truth is not relative.

        From “The Blue Cross” by G.K. Chesterton

        ‘No,’ said the other priest; ‘reason is always reasonable, even in
        the last limbo, in the lost borderland of things. I know that people
        charge the Church with lowering reason, but it is just the other way.
        Alone on earth, the Church makes reason really supreme. Alone on earth,
        the Church affirms that God Himself is bound by reason.’

        ‘Reason and justice grip the remotest and the loneliest star. Look
        at those stars. Don’t they look as if they were single diamonds and
        sapphires? Well, you can imagine any mad botany or geology you please.
        Think of forests of adamant with leaves of brilliants. Think the moon is
        a blue moon, a single elephantine sapphire. But don’t fancy that all that
        frantic astronomy would make the smallest difference to the reason and
        justice of conduct. On plains of opal, under cliffs cut out of pearl, you
        would still find a notice-board, “Thou shalt not steal.”‘

        Read the entire story here: https://www.ewtn.com/library/HOMELIBR/BLUECROS.TXT

        • Nicholas says:

          Response to second concern: Reason is relative.

          Reason is not relative because it is predicated on objective reality.

          logic and math are relative since they are derived from pre-defined laws (made by subjective and opinionated humans) used in the context of a specific system of application. They only have the power to describe, never to explain.

          Truth and the act of verification (proof) is relative since observer is necessarily required to use their sensory system to make observations/comparisons/etc. in order to declare a statement as true or false…..or unable to be verified.

          But reason is never relative since it is conceptual. It is a distinct from sensation, verification, and derivational type systems such as logic and math.

          Faith is based on Divine Revelation, so it is greater than reason.

          • L Reese Cumming says:

            Relative to what came before it and what is believed will come after it.

          • L Reese Cumming says:

            No need to be too smart here. Reason comes from subjective reasoning all of the time. Just just ask the average American.

  11. Linus says:

    Needs to be repeated from time to time because some Catholics still aren’t getting the message.

    Linus

  12. Kay Carlson says:

    Creationists are not just “Young Earth Creationists.” Creationists believe God created the world and everything in it, visible and invisible. And evolution is not just about finches and fossils, beaks and bones anymore. It is about cell biology, genetics, chemistry and biophysics. I am open-minded about the age of the Earth, but I am happy to call myself a Catholic Creationist.

    I have blogged about the complexity of cells, trying to explain in understandable language. Here are two of my posts which try to give a general overview for persons not familiar with these subjects. They are at:
    http://womanatwell.blogspot.com/2013/01/microbiology.html
    http://womanatwell.blogspot.com/2013/01/beneath-surface.html .

    It is true biology has its own jargon, but with more videos and images of microscopic and sub-microscopic metabolism, it is easier to learn and understand.

    Mitochondria contain proteins which fit together to form a marvel of a molecular compound called ATP Synthase. In the first post listed above, I have a video of how one works and a picture of other compounds needed in the mitochondrial membrane to create the chemical gradient that moves the ATP Synthase machine. The picture is from the KEGG database (Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes) at: http://www.genome.jp/kegg/kegg2.html
    and if you click on the picture in my post you will see the amazing detail. All this is to supply energy for the other activities of the cell.

    The ATP Synthase in E. coli (bacteria that are familiar to us) is made up of six thousand amino acids (molecular sub-units) in specific order so that they can fold into the shape needed to form the ATP Synthase. There are 20 types of biological amino acids and in this case would have to be coded by about 18,000 DNA units called “bases.” These are the “steps” of the DNA “ladder” and consist of 4 types of molecules which are different from the amino acids. They are copied and converted into proteins by other biological machines.

    We do not have to accept totally materialistic, naturalistic neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory in any way, shape or form. Though “Billions of Years” is the supposed answer for everything, people have dim understandings of how long it would take for something like the mitochondrial system to form by chance. It would be beyond trillions upon trillions of years for the bases and/or amino acids to lie in the exact sequences needed, not to mention the mechanisms for copying and converting between them.

    • S.M. says:

      I agree with you completely, Kay–I think you’re exemplifying beautifully Msgr’s advice to “Seldom affirm, never deny, ALWAYS distinguish,” which, by the way, is excellent advice for anyone who wants to write a scientific paper. As a young-earth geologist who is also a Catholic, I just wish that other non-scientist Catholic bloggers would acknowledge that, while it may be reasonable to believe that 1) there is one man from whom all humans are descended and 2) biological polygenism is true (Brandon Vogt above), it is just as reasonable to believe that 1) there is one man from whom all humans are descended and 2) there was a single appearance of biologic kinds with built-in but limited potential for variation.

      After all, the logical implication of “directed evolution,” which seems to be the preference of many of the commenters here, is that overcoming the multiple barriers that exist to deleterious mutations must have required the supernatural intervention of the Intelligent Designer. And if the preference is for the explanation which requires the least amount of supernatural interventions, then a single appearance of biologic kinds with built-in but limited potential for variation is preferable to the number of interventions that would have been necessary for a one-celled organism to develop into the multiplicity of life forms that now exist.

      • Nicholas says:

        Darwin inferred from an analogy in his single prototype speculation:

        Analogy would lead me one step further, namely, to the belief that all animals and plants have descended from some one prototype. But analogy may be a deceitful guide. Nevertheless all living things have much in common, in their chemical composition, their germinal vesicles, their cellular structure, and their laws of growth and reproduction. We see this even in so trifling a circumstance as that the same poison often similarly affects plants and animals; or that the poison secreted by the gall-fly produces monstrous growths on the wild rose or oak-tree. Therefore I should infer from analogy that probably all the organic beings which have ever lived on this earth have descended from some one primordial form, into which life was first breathed. (Origin of Species, n. 484)

        His speculation does not fall within critical thinking and rational analysis. It is sheer non-sense that a cell could start moving on its own from a rock or whatever molecules. Even if the molecules were aligned perfectly a sheer physical structure cannot just start moving on its own, freely, spontaneously, unpredictably, etc. Architecture cannot account from free, spontaneous movement in all directions against the pull of universal gravitation.

        Once God miraculously created the prototypes then there is change and it is unpredictable because life, living objects are unpredictable, free, spontaneous. And God may have miraculously guided heritability, mutation, and natural selection. But the prototypes and Adam and Eve’s appearance defy reason and rationale. The appearance of life defies reason. We will never find aliens because no other planet (and there are gazillions) has been locked in a relationship with God via the Spirit and Christ Jesus. When God sent forth the Spirit and ‘said’ Let there be light on thiss pre-existing astronomical object He accomplished an event that has never been done before and never will be done again except for maybe something similar in the creation of the New Earth.

  13. Stacy Trasancos says:

    A distinction needs to be clarified in these discussions. Of course if “polygenism” means there were human bodies walking around without human souls and then God infused a human body with a human soul — NO, we cannot accept that.

    The people who explore “humanoid” populations are not exploring polygenism. They are asking, “Is it possible that non-human populations gave bodily rise to the first man and woman?” It’s permissible to ask that question; it’s not permissible to contradict the dogma of original sin.

    Here’s why I think this is important: There is scientific evidence that pre-human creatures existed, and we must deal with that. There is still a fundamental question that evolutionary theorists are going to ask of Catholics. *Where is the line between human body and non-human body?* We need to be ready for that question in the future as it becomes possible for the human body to be >50% synthetic parts, and as scientists try to intermix genetics between animals and humans.

    • James says:

      Hey Stacey! I am interested in your statement, “There is scientific evidence that pre-human creatures existed”

      Can you please point to an article that gives hard evidence?

  14. Louis Cote says:

    Thanks for the insightful and balanced article.
    I agree that polygenism is problematic in view of the universality of original sin. Even if one posits a state of innocence where ‘communion’ with God also suggests a ‘communion’ of ALL human persons, the problem of original sin invariably revolve around there being ONE act of disobedience (hence, one punishment)…

  15. Anna says:

    ‘All those who are heavy laden, come to Me..’ to a yoke that is light and easy ,esp. in our times , in which science tells us, that time itself is an illusion ( and thus , telling us that may be our right to believe simply , the Word, in all its simplicity , for those who desire so , is right too ! )

    Knowing of our times , God has also given us , saintly visioanaries , such as Bl.Emmerich , who was shown the ever existing , beyond the veil scenes , from creation on down .

    ( Some of the animals and such or their nature , might also have been brought into our realm , by that ‘lowest ‘ of all animals , through our invitation ! )

    The glory of our First Parents , made in perfection , is what we see , in the ceartion scenes ..and to think , that The Father wills , to be in the ignomiy of the human condition, after The Fall , through The Son , to bring us back .

    Tthe Old Testament reveals how He waited and waited , against the ploys of the enemy , who kept trying to disrupt the plans and the family lines , of the Chosen People, plans to bring forth a holy couple, that would be holy enough ,to make the Immaculate Conception (and thus, The Incarnation ) possible , in freedom – Adam and Eve too would also been possibly privileged with immaculate conceptions , of total holy union of the two , in their similar roles , if not for the Fall ! !

    All glory and praise to Him !

    Mary , conceieved without sin, pray for us !

    • Nicholas says:

      Well said.

      the problem is that some Catholics CANNOT conceive of the manner of Adam and Eve prior to their sin. Blessed Anne does well to describe that based on her private revelations.

      Man is NOT an animal. Scientists define man as a type of animal. But Divine Revelation defines Man as a child of God. Our relationship with God is so radical that it even stimulates our bodies even after the Fall:

      {8:11} But if the Spirit of him who raised up Jesus from the dead lives within you, then he who raised up Jesus Christ from the dead shall also enliven your mortal bodies, by means of his Spirit living within you.

      The Fall made us more like animals and less like a glorious children of God. The difference between Adam and Eve before the Fall and after the Fall is like Day and Night.

  16. Nathaniel M. Campbell says:

    I’m a little concerned that you say that polygenism “obviously flows from the theory,” because that gets the scientific method backwards: polygenism is proposed because there is evidence for multiple genetic strands in the modern human population, not simply because theory suggested it. To take just one example: it has now been definitively shown that human populations (homo sapiens sapiens) descended from Eurasian ancestors of ca. 30,000 years ago share a small portion of DNA with homo sapiens neanderthalis — and that the interbreeding with Neanderthalis was not shared by other sections of the homo sapiens sapiens population, e.g. those that remained in sub-saharan Africa.

    Now, we could wander down the path of discussing the fact that the evidence also points to the so-called “mitochondrial Eve” and the so-called “Y-chromosome Adam”, which are two bottlenecks, as it were, in the genetic record. But such a wandering, however much fun it might be intellectually and however useful to scientific understanding, is not likely to be useful spiritually, because as Pope Benedict pointed out in the 2007 book “Creation and Evolution: A Conference With Pope Benedict XVI in Castel Gandolfo”, paleontology and genetics are useless for describing an event–ensoulment and then fall–that was spiritual. As Pope Benedict wrote:

    “The clay became man at the moment in which a being for the first time was capable of forming, however dimly, the thought of ‘God’. The first Thou that—however stammeringly—was said by human lips to God marks the moment in which the spirit arose in the world. Here the Rubicon of anthropogenesis was crossed. For it is not the use of weapons or fire, not new methods of cruelty or of useful activity, that constitute man, but rather his ability to be immediately in relation to God. This holds fast to the doctrine of the special creation of man … herein … lies the reason why the moment of anthropogenesis cannot possibly be determined by paleontology: anthropogenesis is the rise of the spirit, which cannot be excavated with a shovel. The theory of evolution does not invalidate the faith, nor does it corroborate it. But it does challenge the faith to understand itself more profoundly and thus to help man to understand himself and to become increasingly what he is: the being who is supposed to say Thou to God in eternity.”

    • Nicholas says:

      I’m a little concerned that you say that polygenism “obviously flows from the theory,” because that gets the scientific method backwards: polygenism is proposed because there is evidence for multiple genetic strands in the modern human population, not simply because theory suggested it.

      You are claiming that the scientific method is subjective NOT objective. In Scientific Method I thought one is suppose to “kill the observer.” Evidence is subjective. Is presupposes a puny sensory system. It is a matter of opinion. Your truth is my lie. Multiple genetic strands is my evidence that after Adam and Eve appeared they fell and inherited germline mutations. They interacted with the objects of the Earth and their DNA changed within their lifetimes. They had children who migrated and interacted with environments similar to those of the hominids and so evolved similarly. Then they cross bread across continents. Thank you for proving my assumption Science!!!

      Observation has little to do with the Scientific Method and tautologies such as math and logic are useless. All one does is make a statement of facts in an assumption and this is used to theorize. Kill the observer.

  17. James S. says:

    I’ll venture this speculation:

    A man has two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, and so on into the the past. He stands, as it were, at the apex of a pyramid of ancestors whose base grows wider and wider the farther it recedes into the past.

    A man has a neighbor who in turn has a neighbor and so on, so that every person on earth stands, as it were, at the apex of a pyramid of ancestors whose base grows wider and wider the farther it recedes into the past.

    At some point each of these pyramids must reach the first term, for if no first term existed there could be no subsequent terms, which we know to be false.

    It would seem that the bases of every pyramid of ancestors that has ever existed would share two points in common. These we call Adam and Eve.

  18. Nathaniel M. Campbell says:

    There’s also the fact that when “Humani Generis” was written, we didn’t have any of the actual genetic evidence for polygenism, which do have today. Watson, Crick, and Franklin didn’t even model the structure of DNA until three years AFTER Pope Pius wrote the encyclical. With all due respect to His Holiness, the Church has an obligation to reevaluate its attitude towards scientific evidence when that evidence changes. Applying “Humani Generis” to a vastly changed modern understanding of genetics simply doesn’t make sense — after all, that’s the same problem the Holy Office ran into with Galileo, i.e. applying older paradigms to newer evidence that doesn’t fit into the older paradigm.

    • James S. says:

      Nathaniel,

      It’s not clear that Pius XII would disagree with you. In the passage quoted above from Humani Generis he acknowledges that science has a proper role to inquire “into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matters.” Watson, Crick, and Franklin unlocked the structure of DNA, which is something that pertains to the body.

  19. Liam says:

    May I recommend the (orthodox) Catholic author and scientist Dr. Michael Behe for those interested in some useful insights into the Darwinian question? Dr. Behe’s “Darwin’s Black Box” is a fascinating and useful work.

  20. mdepie says:

    it is quite possible that “adam/eve” as the emergent couple that Pope Benedict refers to ,were surrounded by other protohumans that had very similar biological characteristics and their off spring than mated with the offspring of the protohumans, such that man made yet another evolutionary leap, humans subsequently reaching a point that they were sufficiently transformed to have spiritual concerns as Pope Benedict described. Admittedly this is speculative, and maybe a little oversimplified, but is both scientifically plausible, conflicts with no doctrine and avoids the absurd conclusion that incest was required to populate the planet. The later is impossible since incest according to Aquinas is not merely sinful because of a canon law restriction but is a violation of the natural law. The natural law can not be suspended by God anymore than God can do things like command us to torture people or hate him. The natural law and the associated commands ( like to avoid murder, rape, theft) spring from God’s very nature and the reality he created. Catholics do not hold to “divine command theory” that sins are sins because God says they are. He can not “overrule” aspects of the natural law since it would be analogous to contradicting himself. If he created the a world in which incest was required it would make God a commander of sin. This is impossible. The sort of Divine Command theory that God can make something a sin for a time and declare it something we should be doing at another time is closer to what Islam holds about the nature of morality and some Christians like William of Ockham, but its explicitly rejected by Aquinas.

    Therefore it follows that we must find a solution to “origin of man” mysterieis that is consistent with biologic polygenism and not requiring violation of the natural law, but can be consistent with the comments of Pope Pius XII and the teaching regarding original sin.

    It is interesting if you actually read Fr. Robert Barons book “And Now I see, a Theology of Transformation”, his conception of original sin is arguably a lot farther from the Church’s historical understanding of original sin, than biological polygeneism would be. For those interested I would suggest they read his book and see for themselves. At the risk of taking Fr. Baron out of context I offer a brief quote:

    “………But when we lose sight of this rootedness in God, we live exclusively on the tiny island of the ego, and lives become dominated by fear. Fear is the “original sin” of which the church fathers speak; fear is the poison that was injected into human consciousness and human society from the beginning; fear is the debilitating and life-denying element which upsets the “chemical balance” of both psyche and society.

    To overcome fear is to move from the pusilla anima (the small soul) to the magna anima (the great soul). When we are dominated by our egos, we live in a very narrow space, in the angustiae (the straits) between this fear and that, between this attachment and that, But when we surrender in trust to the bearing power of God, our souls become great, roomy, expansive. We realize that we are connected to all things and to the creative energy of the whole cosmos…”

    This is a kind of thing about being connected to the whole creative energy of the cosmos is a bit too “new age” goofiness for me, What exactly are you talking about when you talk about the creative energy of the cosmos? Aside from that, I would think the classic understanding is that original sin involves in some fashion “pride” the will to make our own rules ( Ye shall be as Gods…) not to mention that the conception of Fr. Baron does not seem consistent with a single “act” of disobedience or specific sin….

    In any case to be fair one should read the whole work and come to their own conclusions. My primary point is if Fr. Baron can be viewed as completely orthodox and somehow his views are consistent with the historical teaching regarding original sin, then it seems a small matter to reconcile some form of polygenism with the teaching regarding original sin.

    • Nicholas says:

      and avoids the absurd conclusion that incest was required to populate the planet. The later is impossible since incest according to Aquinas is not merely sinful because of a canon law restriction but is a violation of the natural law. The natural law can not be suspended by God anymore than God can do things like command us to torture people or hate him. The natural law and the associated commands ( like to avoid murder, rape, theft) spring from God’s very nature and the reality he created. Catholics do not hold to “divine command theory” that sins are sins because God says they are. He can not “overrule” aspects of the natural law since it would be analogous to contradicting himself. If he created the a world in which incest was required it would make God a commander of sin. This is impossible. The sort of Divine Command theory that God can make something a sin for a time and declare it something we should be doing at another time is closer to what Islam holds about the nature of morality and some Christians like William of Ockham, but its explicitly rejected by Aquinas.

      I agree with that the natural law is based on the Divine Nature and our relation with God established at Adam’s creation, but you have to define incest in context to moral theology. Moral theology considers various possible marriages between adults, to discern who may marry whom before God.

      1. Incest in the direct line occurs in a marriage between adults who are related by blood and by direct descent, parent-child, grandparent-grandchild, etc. This type of incest is intrinsically evil and gravely immoral in all circumstances regardless of intent. This interpretation is based on the Divine definition of marriage:

      {19:5} “For this reason, a man shall separate from father and mother, and he shall cling to his wife, and these two shall become one flesh.
      {19:6} And so, now they are not two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no man separate.”

      The definition of marriage includes the command to separate from father and mother to be joined to a spouse. Sexual relations within in the direct line does not fall within the definition of marriage thus it is not a marriage and the relations are intrinsically evil in all circumstances regardless of intent. If a father and daughter are the last two humans on Earth they would before God be morally obligated not to continue the human family.

      2. Incest in collateral line occurs in a marriage between adults who are related by blood, but not by direct descent, e.g. siblings, cousins, other relatives of blood. This type of marriage is not intrinsically evil and so the morality depends on the intention and circumstance. In the circumstances of the origins of the human family the children of Adam and Eve, of necessity and without sin, procreated the human race by a natural Old Testament marriage, one to another. They separated from Adam and Eve to join with a collateral spouse. We should be grateful.

      Soon afterward the circumstances changed so it would no longer be moral based on circumstances (but not intrinsically so)

      Abraham married his half-sister and this was not condemned in Scripture. Abraham was a holy patriarch, an O.T. Saint. Mary mentioned him in her very holy Magnificat.

      • Nicholas says:

        3. Incest by affinity is another consideration between adults related by marriage or adoption and not by blood.

  21. RichardGTC says:

    I would like to know if evolutionists have a polygenistic model for the evolution of horses and elephants and such. If they don’t, then, imo, it just something tossed in to discredit the bible account.

    • Nathaniel M. Campbell says:

      The simple answer is: yes, all species evolve polygenetically. Now, the mechanics of that are quite complex, i.e. there are many different mechanisms for genetic variation and evolutionary speed (e.g. “punctuated equilibrium”), so the development of any given species will not necessarily line up with the development of that of any other given species. But every single piece of genetic code that’s been sequenced, regardless of species, is consistent with the idea that the evolution of one species into another is a process that involves multiple stages of genetic variation over multiple generations.

      Speciation, i.e. what rules determine where the boundary lines are drawn from one species to the next, is still a very contentious subject in biology. That is, there are a variety of different and competing definitions that have been proposed, and as of yet, no single one has prevailed as sufficient to describe all taxonomies. One of the key areas of current research to help explore those boundaries is in comparing the genomes of closely-related species to determine just what the differences are and how those differences in genetic code manifest themselves. Another key thing to consider is that the genetic code itself is only half the story: the other half is the way in which genes are turned on and off (“expression”). That is, genes are the blueprints for the production of proteins. When a gene is turned on, it starts the process of producing the particular proteins for which it is coded, and those proteins then have specific functions in the organism. When the gene is turned off, it stops producing those proteins. Gene expression, i.e. when is the gene turned on and when is it turned off, are determined both by other genes (controlling regions) and by environmental factors. That’s why if you have a genetic predisposition to a disease, for example, it’s not guaranteed that you’ll get the disease, because there are many variables that determine when and how and if the genes whose proteins cause the disease are expressed.

  22. anna lisa says:

    I don’t need to know how the original sin was committed. What I can be certain of however, is that I, a human being, born into the family of man, committed my own original sin, a handful of years after I was baptized. When I committed it, I barely had (if any) understanding that God Himself had already intervened, effecting the remedy for it. I had will, understanding and memory. I *knew* I was violating my conscience.

    It doesn’t bother me when an evolutionist says that there has been *death* from the time the first organism lived on this earth. The death that must be feared is the violence to the soul, caused by sin.

    I’m always perplexed when an atheist throws the number *billions* into the conversation, as if this should intimidate those who understand that God created everything. If they say “13.5 billion!”, I say:”and perhaps 15 billion, my friend!” We’re talking about God after all.

    The Church is right not to fear the theory of evolution. Studying our origins, and observing the marvelous complexity of creation is like decoding the poetry of God.

  23. Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh says:

    A few thoughts: First, the Church cannot, by decree, determine the facts of anthropogenesis any more than it can decree that the earth is at the center of the solar system. Pius XII’s carefully worded “Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin…” avoids that trap and, I think, leaves the door open for a reconciliation between the Tradition and polygenism. Since “Now it is in no way apparent…” follows the statement “…the faithful cannot embrace…”, I think Pius was – again very carefully – leaving that door open.

    I do not agree that, should polygenism be shown to be factual, that the doctrine of Original Sin is “condemned.” Only if we understand that the effects of Original Sin are inherited materially, that is, through physical generation from parent to child, from f1 to f2 generations and so on down the line, is there a theological road block. If, on the other hand, we understand that the effects of Original Sin impact us because we are part of the human race, then descent from the first sinning pair is not a theological necessity.

    Very good scientific explanations of the weakness of the “micro” vs “macro” evolution argument can be found at the website for the National Center for Science Education here: http://ncse.com/rncse/20/3/dissecting-disclaimer.

    Also, Rev’d Dr. Gareth Leyshon, a Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Cardiff, whose PhD is in astrophysics, has a good paper on this very question at http://www.drgareth.info/Polygenism.pdf. In it he states, “No one is obliged to believe in an original couple, from whom we all, exclusively, descend. We ARE obliged to believe that all humans share a common ancestor – but this is a finding which science has produced twice over, and it is hardly more radical that saying that all humans share the genetic code for humans!”

    • The church does not propose to by decree, determine the facts of anthropogenesis. But there are important theological issues to be considered before some whole hearted acceptance of what remains theoretical

      • Nathaniel M. Campbell says:

        Except again, polygenism has been slowly moving out of the realm of “purely theoretical” and into the realm of “evidenced-based findings” because of the vast amount of work done in the last two decades in genomic sequencing and comparative analysis between the genomes of different species. And the real thing to consider here is that it’s not just in terms of human biology — in fact, some of the most important work to confirm the notion of polygenism has been done in other organisms. For example, we actually know more about the inter-species genomic connections in fruit flies (genus Drosophila) than we do about hominids, because its a lot easier and cheaper to work on fruit flies, and they have been a model species for a century now.

        In other words: your objections to polygenism are based on out-dated information.

        Now, to switch roles from evolutionary geneticist (which is really my wife’s role — I just listen attentively at the dinner table) to theologian (which is where my actual training is), I’ve got to agree with Fr. Kavanaugh’s key point: it is not theologically necessary to posit a physical one-man-one-woman ancestral pair for all of humankind. Rather, what is theologically necessary is to recognize that fallenness is a spiritual trait common to all of humankind. Exegetically speaking, it belittles the symbolic/sacramental semiotics of Scripture to think that, just because St. Paul evoked the beautiful parallel of Adam / New Adam, “Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection”, therefore there must in fact be a literal and historical Adam for Christ to parallel. The parallel is not in a literal, singular man but in Humanity itself: since by Humanity’s choice to turn away from God, death came, so by Humanity’s recreation in the Incarnation came also the resurrection.

        I think that one of the most important theological avenues that needs to be explored today is a ressourcement of the notion of the Eternal Predestination of the Incarnation, which moves us away from having to identify a historical moment of Fall that the evidence is making less and less likely by the day, and towards a more holistic understanding of the human story as an evolution from fallenness to blessedness through the eternally predestined Word-Made-Flesh. As such, I’m talking more about an Eastern / Irenaean point of view than a Scotist one — and it is actually a point of view found also in the works of one of our newest Doctors of the Church, St. Hildegard of Bingen.

        • Nicholas says:

          I do not agree that, should polygenism be shown to be factual, that the doctrine of Original Sin is “condemned.”

          Polygenism in context to the origins of the human family cannot ‘be shown’ to be factual since the concept ‘to show’ invokes an observer with a sensory system. You would have to be there to see it for yourself. My interpretation is that the sacred author of Genesis 2 & 3 prophetically saw he described in Genesis 2 & 3.

          Except again, polygenism has been slowly moving out of the realm of “purely theoretical” and into the realm of “evidenced-based findings” because of the vast amount of work done in the last two decades in genomic sequencing and comparative analysis between the genomes of different species.

          You cannot convert a theory into a fact of the universal movie. Evidence based findings are subjective: subject to a puny sensory system. Your evidence is my proof that you are lying. See how that works? As far as I am concerned the scientists are proving that polygenism is a lie in context to the origins of the human family. They have abandoned critical thinking and rational analysis. They have failed to consider other concepts such as modality independence. And of course they do not bow down an inch to Divine Revelation which I suppose is fine. But they are addicted to math, logic, and evidence.

          Computer models, mathematical systems, logical systems, sensory systems cannot “prove” reality. Mother Nature and God’s Deeds just are. All these systems do is solve derivational type problems based on rules concocted by humans who hold a subjective bias toward everything.

        • S.M. says:

          Nathaniel, could I respectfully ask how genomic sequencing and comparative analysis between the genomes of different species prove polygenesis? It seems to me that it’s important to distinguish between evidence that supports a hypothesis, and evidence that proves it. And when you use the term “polygenesis,” are you referring to the common descent of all life from a single organism, or to something else?

          • Nathaniel M. Campbell says:

            (With the caveat that I’m an historical theologian, and that my science education on this is second-hand from my wife, who is an actual evolutionary geneticist [and a devout Christian]…):

            Polygenism / polygenesis refers to the idea that not all branches of the evolutionary tree are simple splits, i.e. species A splits into species B and species C, and then B splits into D and F while C splits in G and H, etc. Rather, it refers to the fact that sometimes, there are collisions, as it were, between different branches: e.g. species D may not simply be a split directly from B, but it may also include interbreeding from the original species A, or from species G (which split from C), etc.

            The way that genomic sequencing and then comparative analysis shows this happening is by tracing what chunks of DNA are shared between different species, which first involves, of course, identifying areas of the genome that are unique between species. As I’m sure you know, there are gigantic chunks of DNA–the majority of it, in most cases–that are identical between widely divergent species (e.g., if I recall correctly, humans share about 3/4 of our genetic code with dogs). On the one hand, this is in itself significant evidence of the common ancestry of all forms of life. On the other hand, the really neat thing is that different species can also evolve different ways of using those identical chunks of DNA — e.g. the expression of a gene may be different in humans than it is in dogs.

            If we hypothesize (based, for example, on fossil evidence) that species A split into B and C, and that B then split into D and F, but we also find that D has genetic material found in A but not B, that means that D interbred at some point with A. Or if we find that species D has genetic material found also in species G but not in A or B, then we know that D interbred at some point with G. What genomic sequencing and comparison has done is offered the genetic footprints to fill out the evolutionary tree that could only be guessed at from fossil evidence. Furthermore, it turns out that genetics are the mechanism for evolutionary change — the major piece of the puzzle that Darwin didn’t know about. (If you see people criticizing evolution based solely on what Darwin wrote in “On the Origin of Species”, it’s a giant red flag that they don’t actually understand the current state of evidence. Ask any biologist and they’ll be happy to tell you that several areas of Darwin’s ideas have, in fact, been jettisoned in light of new evidence.)

            Evolutionary splits are not always forked or straightforward. For example, B may branch off from A hundreds of thousands of years before A evolves into C. Or there may be several subspecies of A that compete and sometimes interbreed, but only one of which survives over the long haul. Or one subspecies may continue as basically A while another eventually evolves into B. Or…, or…., or…. There are a huge variety of paths that evolution can take.

            As I mentioned in another comment above, the tricky part in tracing out these different relationships comes in determining at what point B and C are, in fact, distinct species from each other and from A. If, as some definitions of speciation propose, the ability to interbreed is a bright line, then if B and C can interbreed, they may not be considered distinct species. In that case, we distinguish them as distinct subspecies, as in the case of homo sapiens: we know of at least three different subspecies, (1) homo sapiens sapiens (modern humans), (2) homo sapiens neanderthalensis, and (3) homo sapiens denisovensis (recently discovered in Siberia and eastern Asia). We know from the genetic record that ca. 30,000 years ago, homo sapiens sapiens migrated out of Africa and into Eurasia, where we essentially wiped out homo sapiens neanderthalensis, but not without first interbreeding. That’s why there are trace amounts (anywhere from about 2% to as much as 8% in some humans) of Neanderthal DNA in modern humans of Eurasian descent — but those trace amounts don’t occur, for example, in sub-saharan African populations of homo sapiens sapiens that never migrated out of Africa and thus never interbred with the Neanderthals. (A question science cannot answer, however, is whether Neanderthals were ever ensouled.)

            Finally, a theological note on the idea that humans are related to all other forms of life: this is, in fact, a perfectly orthodox view, as enunciated for example by the newest Doctor of the Church, St. Hildegard of Bingen. Her point of view (inherited in part from the great neo-platonic theologians of the first millennium but given her unique stamp) was that as the culmination of creation, humans are themselves microcosms of the entire universe (macrocosm). Our place on the great “chain of being” is unique because we can climb from the very lowest rung–the most basic of physical materials–all the way to the top, as children of God and heirs to his kingdom (made possible by the Incarnation, which Hildegard importantly believed was eternally predestined). Indeed, scientific study of the human body confirms that we are microcosms of the world: our guts, for example, are mircrobiomes in which we contain literally thousands of other lifeforms (mainly bacteria and “good” viruses known as phages).

            Animals also contain all lower levels of being, but they cannot reach into the spiritual realm of the soul, which is unique to humankind. That doesn’t mean, however, that animals lack emotion or some form of brute intelligence — after all, they are called animals because they too have “anima”, the breath of life. (One of the sad things to see is the way modernity has tried to alienate humanity from its place as a “social and rational animal”, as Aristotle put it. We share a great amount of natural affinity with animals, and we disrupt the natural order when we neglect that affinity.)

          • Nicholas says:

            As I mentioned in another comment above, the tricky part in tracing out these different relationships comes in determining at what point B and C are, in fact, distinct species from each other and from A. If, as some definitions of speciation propose, the ability to interbreed is a bright line, then if B and C can interbreed, they may not be considered distinct species. In that case, we distinguish them as distinct subspecies, as in the case of homo sapiens: we know of at least three different subspecies, (1) homo sapiens sapiens (modern humans), (2) homo sapiens neanderthalensis, and (3) homo sapiens denisovensis (recently discovered in Siberia and eastern Asia). We know from the genetic record that ca. 30,000 years ago, homo sapiens sapiens migrated out of Africa and into Eurasia, where we essentially wiped out homo sapiens neanderthalensis, but not without first interbreeding.

            We know? This is your theory. So Adam and Eve’s children wiped out the Neanderthals just prior to interbreeding? Was there a war? Did we rape their females? Or did we hunt them down and eat them? Were their marriages between Adam and Eve’s children and Neanderthals? Did we fight for a food supply like animals?

            Your superficial theory is preposterous non-sense. To assume that a child of Adam and Eve would breed with a Neanderthal is the height of folly. Would you go to bed with a Neanderthal female? Besides hybrids tend to be unhealthy and sterile. If anything the offspring of types would have gone extinct!

            What was the mechanism of the Neanderthals background extinction? A background extinction of a species such as the Neanderthals can only be justified with intrinsic mechanisms. An external source has no way of pinpointing a given species. The only intrinsic mechanism is aging. There is no question that all individuals age. The question is whether a species can age. By species, I mean ‘interbreeders’.

            A species reproduces exponentially unless limited by resources. That is clearly not the case with the Neanderthals. The Neanderthals of the Lower and Middle Paleolithic were nomadic hunters, migrating throughout Europe. They never ventured much beyond these boundaries. They never populated the world as ‘predicted’ by Malthus and Darwin. What stopped them?

            It is when the Neanderthals became sedentary in the Upper Paleolithic that they ran into trouble. They settled down and became more or less adapted to endemic diseases. When they settled down, their population became dense and the pyramid overturned (much like what is happening today). Over-density induces infertility and ultimately a background extinction. Psychologist John Calhoun reproduced this mechanism with his Utopian Universe experiment.

            That’s why there are trace amounts (anywhere from about 2% to as much as 8% in some humans) of Neanderthal DNA in modern humans of Eurasian descent — but those trace amounts don’t occur, for example, in sub-saharan African populations of homo sapiens sapiens that never migrated out of Africa and thus never interbred with the Neanderthals. (A question science cannot answer, however, is whether Neanderthals were ever ensouled.)

            DNA is just molecular chains. It is just a bloody string of atoms. After you inherit the gametes of your parent’s; you inherit atoms and molecules of your environment and your DNA changes. I have trace amounts of air DNA and dirt DNA, and food DNA, etc. When I live in the same area that a Neanderthal once lived I develop some of the same DNA structures because I am interacting with similar molecules and atoms. There is no Neanderthal DNA in modern humans. That is a subjective concept.

            And all Neanderthals were ‘ensouled’. All living entities have an object labelled a soul. Without a soul interfacing the body, an entity would not be able to resist the pull of universal gravitation. The two categories of souls are immortal and mortal. Neanderthals had mortal souls. They were infused with a mortal soul at their conceptions.

            Finally, a theological note on the idea that humans are related to all other forms of life: this is, in fact, a perfectly orthodox view, as enunciated for example by the newest Doctor of the Church, St. Hildegard of Bingen. Her point of view (inherited in part from the great neo-platonic theologians of the first millennium but given her unique stamp) was that as the culmination of creation, humans are themselves microcosms of the entire universe (macrocosm). Our place on the great “chain of being” is unique because we can climb from the very lowest rung–the most basic of physical materials–all the way to the top, as children of God and heirs to his kingdom (made possible by the Incarnation, which Hildegard importantly believed was eternally predestined). Indeed, scientific study of the human body confirms that we are microcosms of the world: our guts, for example, are mircrobiomes in which we contain literally thousands of other lifeforms (mainly bacteria and “good” viruses known as phages).

            Viruses are not lifeforms. They cannot move on their own against the pull of universal gravitation.

            But I agree that it is fascinating how we have thousands of microorganisms living within our bodies. This is where I assume they originated from.

            But the above is an argument from authority. And her views are irrelevant to the issue. Saint Hildegard is not (as far as I can see) suggesting a physical blood relation to the animals. She is suggesting some vague and ambiguous relation. A platonic relation! Like platonic love.

            Animals also contain all lower levels of being, but they cannot reach into the spiritual realm of the soul, which is unique to humankind. That doesn’t mean, however, that animals lack emotion or some form of brute intelligence — after all, they are called animals because they too have “anima”, the breath of life. (One of the sad things to see is the way modernity has tried to alienate humanity from its place as a “social and rational animal”, as Aristotle put it. We share a great amount of natural affinity with animals, and we disrupt the natural order when we neglect that affinity.)

            Well said. Only I would suggest that all animals have souls, just not the type of immortal souls.

          • Nicholas says:

            DNA is just molecular chains. It is just a bloody string of atoms. After you inherit the gametes of your parent’s; you inherit atoms and molecules of your environment and your DNA changes. I have trace amounts of air DNA and dirt DNA, and food DNA, etc. When I live in the same area that a Neanderthal once lived I develop some of the same DNA structures because I am interacting with similar molecules and atoms. There is no Neanderthal DNA in modern humans. That is a subjective concept.

            And solar light signals stimulating the body in certain latitudes and longitudes could induce mutations. If a similar species lives in the same regions they may develop similar DNA codes via light phenomenon. Radioactivity could also induce mutations. A neutron released from a naturally occurring isotope (radon) could enter a living body as a neutron and spontaneously change into a hydrogen atom while in the body possibly even changing a DNA molecule since one of the atoms in the DNA chains is hydrogen. Spontaneous evolution.

            Some areas have a higher background radiation.

            This is just brainstorming other routes to take.

          • Nathaniel M. Campbell says:

            Air does not have DNA, nor does dirt (or at least, dirt’s non-organic components). Deoxyribonucelic acids are complex molecules unique to organic life. You clearly have a very poor grasp of basic biology, which makes it difficult to take your critiques thereof seriously.

          • Nicholas says:

            Air does not have DNA, nor does dirt (or at least, dirt’s non-organic components). Deoxyribonucelic acids are complex molecules unique to organic life.

            I know! I was messing around. My point was that the components of DNA can pass into the body via air, dirt, food, chemicals, etc.

            I have a poor grasp of basic biology? Ok well let me put you to the test. Give me a single, clear, crisp, unambiguous, and restricted definition of life that can be used consistently and without contradiction in Science.

            What is life? What does this term refer to? What is a single dynamic criterion that can be universally ascribed to living entities (including God) and yet simultaneously exclude inert ones. If you cannot define the key term life right here and right now, how can you even have a basic grasp of biology: the study of living objects?

            Life ___________

          • Nathaniel M. Campbell says:

            Except that the DNA found in the cells of things you eat does NOT enter your own genetic code. The fact that you think it does shows that you don’t actually understand the basic biology of DNA. If you don’t understand how DNA replication, mutation, and inheritance takes place, you have no hope of validly criticizing it.

          • Nicholas says:

            @ Nathaniel (below):

            Except that the DNA found in the cells of things you eat does NOT enter your own genetic code. The fact that you think it does shows that you don’t actually understand the basic biology of DNA. If you don’t understand how DNA replication, mutation, and inheritance takes place, you have no hope of validly criticizing it.

            “The fact that I didnt” is your statement of fact in an assumption. It is completely subjective. As far as I am concerned you are lying. You are circumventing. You are making a mountain out a mole hill. I made a deliberate error with words. I got a little wild and crazy. I like to have fun, because the air of sanctimony of this stuff is ridiculous.

            I know that air, dirt, food and chemicals do not have DNA. I explained myself. My point was that you have to be careful how you qualify DNA. DNA is just a chain of atoms. Of course cells replicate a copy of the molecule. What do they utilize in the replication?

            I could learn more about replication, mutation, and inheritance, but I’m not criticizing these. I have no problem with these. I am criticizing your assumption that the children of Adam and Eve descended from Neanderthals. I dont necessarily have to learn all the fine points. I would hope that someone like you would assume Faith and use your excellent knowledge of genetics to come up with a creative faith-filled solution to the problem instead handing our origin over to the scientists.

            BTW. I am still waiting for the definition of life.

          • Hmmm… Your comment is strange considering that the whole context of the quotation you cited the calling of the prebyteroi. Hence, even if you want to debate the meaning of the Greek term, it is not simply a reference to any Christian or disciple indiscriminately. The declaring of the sins, has the context of the calling of the elders, as we would say in the Catholic tradition the priest.

          • Nicholas says:

            Hi Monsignor!

            What are you referring to here?

            Is this meant for the comments on the new post on the 27 stages of sin by Saint Bernard?

          • Yeah, the comment got nested in the wrong thread. Sorry…!

          • S.M. says:

            Nathaniel, thank you for the explanation. If I understand you right, although not all branches of the presumed tree of life are simple evolutionary splits, you are still advocating a single original ancestor for all life, are you not?

            If so, then while the data you give certainly supports the idea of common ancestry, it does not appear to me to satisfy the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Similarities between the genetic makeup of organisms can just as reasonably be deduced to derive from a common designer as from common descent. The example I’ve seen is that of a software programmer, who reuses chunks of code in different projects, as opposed to remaking the wheel for every application he works on.

            And while the distribution of fossils throughout the world does supports the conventional geologic column, there is a lot of circular reasoning involved. Many people might be surprised to know that the geologic time scale is not based on radiometric dating, but on the presumption of evolution. The International Commission on Stratigraphy states, “Geologic stages are recognized, not by their boundaries, but by their content. The rich fossil record remains the main method to distinguish and correlate strata among regions, because the morphology of each taxon is the most unambiguous way to assign a relative age.” In other words, evolutionary stages are presumed in order to be able correlate strata by evolutionary stages..

            However, fossil distributions could also be reasonably explained by ecological zoning and by sediment-entrained transport during a catastrophic global marine transgression–a worldwide flood, in other words.

            It just seems to me that God, by His very nature, could have created the world in any way He so desired, including that described literally in Genesis or that described by the currently accepted old age/evolutionary paradigm. And while we can try to use science as a tool to try and understand how He created, science, by its very nature, can only deal with that pertaining to the senses, and so cannot be used to prove or disprove that which may have a supernatural cause.

            Which leads us back to Msgr Pope’s advice when discussing this subject: Never deny, seldom affirm, and always distinguish.

          • Nathaniel M. Campbell says:

            I should point out that I’m not denying that God created and designed the universe. What I’m trying to say is that God also created us in the image of his Logos, and that by the exercise of our reason and intelligence, we can explore the composition of that universe. That’s what the natural sciences do.

            And while it is true that “God, by His very nature, could have created the world in any way He so desired,” it is also true that God, by His very nature, would not have created that world full of false evidence that would lead us to *think* that species evolved when in fact He created the world in its current state some 8,000 years ago. The basic problem with an approach that says the overwhelming evidence of the natural sciences is dead wrong and misleading is that God created that evidence, and it is wholly unworthy of the nature of the God revealed through Creation and through His Incarnate Word and that Word’s Bride, the Church, to create such misleading and duplicitous evidence.

          • Nicholas says:

            And while it is true that “God, by His very nature, could have created the world in any way He so desired,” it is also true that God, by His very nature, would not have created that world full of false evidence that would lead us to *think* that species evolved when in fact He created the world in its current state some 8,000 years ago. The basic problem with an approach that says the overwhelming evidence of the natural sciences is dead wrong and misleading is that God created that evidence, and it is wholly unworthy of the nature of the God revealed through Creation and through His Incarnate Word and that Word’s Bride, the Church, to create such misleading and duplicitous evidence.

            God created evidence? Evidence is a concept that invokes an observer and an object the observer takes in via a puny sensory system.

            Evidence is of sensation, it is not conceptual. Evidence is subject to the sensory system. Evidence demands that what is truth today is demolished tomorrow, meaning that it was not TRUTH but just an opinion. And who in context to science has the authority to label a statement found on subjective evidence as ‘true’ or ‘false’. Who? Is there a Pope in the sciences? Is Science a Democratic Republic?

            There is no Divine authority and no authority whatsoever in Science thus there is no infallible certain truths.

            There is no one in science to validate a statement [derived from whatever thousands of logical systems, evidences, and supercomputers that human apes dream up and make] with a true sticky note or a false sticky note. Thus in context to science truth is at best that which suits the individual. Truth=Opinion in science. Evidence, validations, proofs and truths in context to science are sophisticated ways of saying that this is MY opinion.

            That is the problem. 1000 years ago they had proof that the Earth was flat and that the Earth was the center of the Universe. They even read this and translated this into Sacred Scripture. It was written in all their books. It was their truth.

            Truth: a concept that refers to a combination of proposition and of validation. The proposition is made by a subjective observer and the validation is processed by a biased human via a system predicated on predefined rules and/or axioms none of which exist, all of which are conceived by a stubborn biased human.

            Whenever a misinformed human attempts to PROVE any proposition,…this human is unwittingly stating with a caveat that his SYSTEM OF PROOF ultimately resolves to none other than his personal OPINION. PROOF = TRUTH = OPINION. Reality, or Mother Nature snubs her nose at all the sophisticated proofs that human apes conceive of.

            In reality, it is impossible to either prove or disprove. You cannot prove a consummated event. What is PROOF and TRUTH and EVIDENCE to one, is a LIE and BLASPHEMY and OBSCURITY to another. Proof is a PERSONAL OPINION in science. There is no more truth in ‘proof’ than what YOU decided is proof to YOU.

            The word “proof” is only applicable within the context of some respective axioms. For instance, if you are going to prove something via classical logic, then your “proof” is only applicable within that context of classical logic. For example, Quantum logic has proven (within its context) that a photon can be a particle and ‘a’ wave at the same time (i.e. wavicle). This clearly defies Classical logic. So this proof is only applicable within the Quantum domain/context. This means that “proof” only applies to TAUTOLOGIES. Proof is necessarily predicated upon a set of axiomatic rules which define and derive any respective proof derivations in that context. Proof is purely tautological.

            Tautologies encompass the pre-defined rules (i.e. axioms) of some System of Logic along with ALL their derivations. Eg. with the axioms of Arithmetic, we can derive that 520+54=574. This not an axiom, but rather a derivation…which is a tautology, because it is FOUNDED upon the axioms.

            Ergo, proof has nothing to do with reality. When any human attempts to apply the word “proof” to reality (i.e. sensory perception), their alleged “proof” resolves to none other than OPINION. Hence proof does not apply to reality (scientific method).

            Pure science is critical reasoning and rational analysis.

          • S.M. says:

            Nathaniel, I’m not saying that the overwhelming evidence of the natural sciences is dead wrong and misleading, I’m just saying that the evidence is often either equivocal or in conflict with other evidences. As I mentioned before, the distribution of fossils can equally be ascribed to either common descent throughout time or to ecological zonation and waterborne transport. In regards to the earth’s age, the radiometric decay products of certain elements form the basis of the currently accepted age of the earth, and yet there are other evidences that contradict those inferred ages. For example, there is an increasing body of discovery of biomolecules preserved in fossils whose ages derived from radiometric decay are so old that the material should have disappeared long ago. C-14 has also been found in materials whose conventional dates are so old that there should be no C-14 left.

            So it’s not that the evidence is misleading or duplicitous, it’s just that it’s often either equivocal or in conflict with other evidence. In criminal law, defendants cannot be found guilty unless the evidence against them meets the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. I just suggest that the evidence for the age of the earth does not meet that burden.

          • Nicholas says:

            Evidence is subjective. It is observer dependent.

            A bone found in the middle of the rock is ‘evidence’ for one and just an object to another. The word ‘evidence’ already embodies a theory. It is a subjective term. Evidence means that the juror has already made up his mind. The detective is already at the next step: giving his opinion about the bloody knife. “We have evidence that this is the murder weapon. The blood matches the victim’s DNA… etc., etc.” Now comes the coroner. “The victim died of an overdose. The victim was stabbed after she died.” So now, what was foolproof ‘evidence’ of ‘the’ truth is exposed as a lie when confronted with a different explanation. Evidence is used in a statement of facts in an assumption, e.g. we discovered this fossil, I assume that this fossil was a relative of all modern humans, and so on. We discovered that Neanderthal has similar DNA to modern humans, we assume that modern humans of Europe inherited genes from Neanderthal. The subjective evidence NEVER validates a hypothesis or theory. It is granted in the hypothesis and theory. But there is another hypothesis and theory that might be better or more rational or in accord with Divine Revelation.

            Another problem is that evidence cannot be used to evaluate evidence. This is a fallacious circular reasoning. And you pointed this out above in your example S.M.! We certainly don’t use the “legal system” to evaluate whether the “legal system” is right or wrong. And we dont use evidence to evaluate whether or not evidence is right or wrong. We instead need to go to the ROOT of the issue and showcase where the evidence, process of validation or or truth fails by explaining how it contradicts itself like you did S.M.!

            As far as the dating is concerned, the problem is that they assume decay rates are constant. This is irrational since all the atoms of the universe are connected by the continuous physical mediators of light and gravity. Discrete particles bullets bouncing off one another and inducing one another with a mystical ‘force’ is impossible. An isotope is literally linked to a light source. An isotope’s ‘rate of decay’ on Earth can change spontaneously pending the light signals it receives from the Sun at any given frame of the Universal Movie.

            They calculate these dates using a ‘fossilized’ model of the atom and equations made up at the time of horse and buggies. The output of the equations are only objective within their system of context. Outside this system…..like in reality….there are no truths or proofs or math equations or physical laws. They are irrelevant. They all resolve to opinion because they ultimately depend on the human senses.

            As far as the age of the Earth is concerned, that is assumed to what the Earth is. Just what is the Earth? How did it form? Where did it come from? I assume that is tens of billions of years old. But why I do is beyond the scope here.

          • Nicholas says:

            @ S.M.

            In criminal law, defendants cannot be found guilty unless the evidence against them meets the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. I just suggest that the evidence for the age of the earth does not meet that burden.

            And this is the problem. “Beyond reasonable doubt” is an axiom of Law. There is no provision for beyond reasonable doubt in Science. Science deals exclusively with existence. Mother Nature is not a court room where man-made axioms apply. Mother Nature just is. Same with God and all that He has accomplished.

            I’ve seen Catholics and Christians transfer politics, law, and religion into the study of science. I’ve experienced a theologian transfer Magisterial concepts into Science. He told me that the nebular hypothesis is in its broad outlines irrefutable. In other words it is like a non-infallible teaching. Then he preached to me that I should use my reason. Funny thing, there are hundreds of contradictions in the nebular hypothesis. That monster is so bloated with ad hoc hypotheses that I could make a career out of refuting it. So I ask myself who anointed him to proclaim that the nebular hypothesis is ‘irrefutable’? NO ONE!!! There is not authority in Science. In science it is every man for himself. It is ‘survival of the fittest’. And believe me the scientists know this all too well. Some will unethically do anything to get their hypoths and theories advanced.

            Science is all about critical thinking and rational analysis. Science is rational assumptions and rational explanations. There is no provision for evidence, systems of validations, proofs and truth in Science. Science points to objects, presents non-contradictory definitions, makes a statement of facts in a rational assumption, explains, and garners a conclusion. Then everyone goes home and gets on with their lives. Anything beyond assumption and explanation is religion, politics, law, prestige, money, fudging, etc.

          • Nicholas says:

            Evidence is in the eye of the beholder!

            You are summoned to court on account of murder. Someone claims they saw you at the murder scene. Yet you have an alibi. At the time of the murder you were at a hotel on the other side of town. And you have proof! You have the receipt of your rental. This is your evidence. And you have a witness in the maid. But the judge and jury are not convinced! They think you forged the receipt and paid off the maid. What will you do? Will you whine and bellyache that you have evidence!

            Evidence is subjective.

            You are summoned before God at death for personal judgment. God asks you why you did not believe his validated proposal that your were a child of Adam and Eve. Why (He says) did you not assume Faith and try and solve the problem using the grace signaled brain I gave you? He tells you that His Son died and rose from the dead to adopt you and redeem and this validated the entire Old Testament. He tells you that he gave you faith and Magisterial teachings via the Pope and Bishops that you are descended from Adam and Eve and inherited the defects of original sin. He even had Mary visit the Earth numerable times to help. He even gave saints private revelations to help. What will you tell God?

            Will you cry and bellyache that you had evidence that you were descended from a Neanderthal, hominid African and a Devonisian?

        • lago says:

          We can also say that what the term “polygenism” actually was associated with has also changed since 1950. In 1950, polygenism was associated with the lack of a common human ancestor. We can see from the wording Pope Pius that this was the principal objection.

          Today, polygenism does not deny the idea that humans share common ancestors. Therefore, while as you say, it may not be not theologically necessary to posit a physical one-man-one-woman ancestral pair for all of humankind, science actually asserts that it is highly likely that all of humankind actually can be linked to a one-man-one-woman ancestral pair after all

  24. ESG says:

    This post is a good illustration of “conservative” Catholic fundamentalism, that tendency to read Church pronouncements like delphic oracles that retain indefinite validity until they are officially overturned by a subsequent oracle. Sorry, that’s just not the way it works.

    Science has progressed a lot since 1950, and Pope Pius’s scientific literacy and theological creativity (on this issue) left much to be desired. I therefore treat this aspect of his encyclical with the same way I’d treat a papal pronouncement that claimed the earth was flat: “Thanks but no thanks, Holy Father. I appreciate your counsel, I take it seriously, but you’re just wrong here. You’re not the Pharaoh, and you’re not King Canute. You cannot make true what isn’t true. You can’t command the sun to rise, you can’t command the tides, and you can’t command genetics to be what they aren’t. Have a nice day.”

    Here’s the Church’s dogma. Sin exists. It has its origins in the fall of the devil and his angels, and at some point entered human history, and as a result we are all conceived and born into a broken world. Christ recapitulates humanity in Himself to undo this damage.

    What’s so difficult about that?

    • avoid inflammatory labels like fundamentalism. They shed more meat than light. They may make you feel good and superior but they not really address the issue which is raised by me, a non-fundamentalist.

      What you describe at the end of your comment is a strange logion since you seem to point to Original Sin then seem to set aside anay notion of the origin of it. Which of course is the whole point of this article. and hence your point misses the target altogether. If Pius was no scientist (I never claimed he was) it would seem you are no theologian.

      • Nicholas says:

        “Science has progressed a lot since 1950,”

        Really? How is believing in the existence of energy, space, forces, time, field, mass, black holes, (and now white holes!) 0D particles, warped space, dilated time, graviton balls, electron balls, proton balls, neutron balls, quarks, bosons, higgs, tachyons, mathematical equations, physical laws, dark matter, dark energy, Big-Bang …..etc. an advancement?

        and Pope Pius’s scientific literacy and theological creativity (on this issue) left much to be desired. I therefore treat this aspect of his encyclical with the same way I’d treat a papal pronouncement that claimed the earth was flat: “Thanks but no thanks, Holy Father. I appreciate your counsel, I take it seriously, but you’re just wrong here. You’re not the Pharaoh, and you’re not King Canute. You cannot make true what isn’t true. You can’t command the sun to rise, you can’t command the tides, and you can’t command genetics to be what they aren’t. Have a nice day.”

        I agree that Popes are not the best at science. But science has nothing to do with truth. Truth is just proposition and validation. Science makes a statement of facts in a rational assumption, and uses the assumption to explain and conclude. These processes have nothing to do with truth. And btw, genetics cannot be or not be. Genetics is a concept.

        “Here’s the Church’s dogma. Sin exists. It has its origins in the fall of the devil and his angels, and at some point entered human history, and as a result we are all conceived and born into a broken world. Christ recapitulates humanity in Himself to undo this damage.

        What’s so difficult about that?”

        Sin does not exist.

        Exist______________

        define it.

        You have oversimplified all things.

  25. Tailler Heuws says:

    I think that we need to remember one thing: God uses the miracles of conception and childbirth as some of the most important tools in Salvation history. Get past the accidents and focus on the substance.

  26. Dave S. says:

    The clay became man at the moment in which a being for the first time was capable of forming, however dimly, the thought of “God.” The first Thou that – however stammeringly – was said by human lips to God marks the moment in which the spirit arose in the world.

    Does Ratzinger’s comment suggest that what is actually ‘human’ is not at its deepest level a biological identity? Rather, what is most explicitly human is the ability to conceive of and wonder about God’s existence?

    If so, a question that stems from this is whether it can be said that the moment we think of as the creation of Adam (like Michelangelo’s work in the Sistine Chapel) occurred after Adam’s biological birth… and coincided with a moment in his cognitive development when he was the first being in God’s creation to “form the thought of God.”

    Thoughts?

    • Nicholas says:

      “The clay became man at the moment in which a being for the first time was capable of forming, however dimly, the thought of “God.” The first Thou that – however stammeringly – was said by human lips to God marks the moment in which the spirit arose in the world.

      Does Ratzinger’s comment suggest that what is actually ‘human’ is not at its deepest level a biological identity? Rather, what is most explicitly human is the ability to conceive of and wonder about God’s existence?”

      To be honest I think Ratzingers comment is sloppy and poetic. This was probably from “Introduction to Christianity”. He is probably borrowing the term ‘spirit’ from Rahner who as far as I could see did not unambiguously define this key term. He just brainstormed about it.

      Man (as concept) is a relation of God and immortal soul and Adamic body. Its a little trinity. The body of Adam, more specifically his brain has the unique ability to pick out definite relations between objects (abstract thought or lexical concepts). The ability is rooted in brain activity. Brain activity is ‘ignited” via the presence of the immortal soul and is stimulated by God in the phenomenon called grace. Once Adam is formed he has this ability, since it is described that not long after he names the animals. A prenatal who is murdered right after conception has no opportunity to conceive of God since the brain has not developed. Yet the prenatal is still Man, since he or she has the Adamic body (albeit not fully developed), an immortal soul and is stimulated by God in a singular relation not found among all living entities. Man is not defined on whether or not he conceives of the word God, prior to death. Definitions are static concepts. The concept Man is conceived of and defined by God Himself. The concept ‘Man’ is God’s intellectual property! It is God’s concept, He conceived it and it is recorded that He did: We shall make Man to an image of Us, to a likeness of us, etc. That is a Divine Word Concept. No one has the right to define Man other than God.

      If so, a question that stems from this is whether it can be said that the moment we think of as the creation of Adam (like Michelangelo’s work in the Sistine Chapel) occurred after Adam’s biological birth… and coincided with a moment in his cognitive development when he was the first being in God’s creation to “form the thought of God.”

      Thoughts?

      I answered this above. Thoughts do not ‘form’ and have no form. Thoughts are relations between two or more objects. Thoughts are mediated by brain activity. Two or more neurons make a connection.

      Adam’s creation is unique as is Eve’s. He had no biological birth. He walked out of the ground fully developed and stimulated by God in grace. He was conceiving word concepts as soon as he walked out of that hill. He would have conceived of God very quickly since it is written that God visited him in the Garden and instructed him, etc.

  27. Jun alonzo says:

    @fr.kavanaugh,

    Good to day to all of you,

    What you wrote really make sense, that god (yahweh) cannot by any means of his sacredness, will and power, lets the propagation of humans be thru incest, in any degree. Jesus condemns incest! (Doctrine of trinitarian god).

    The doctrine of original sin still applies to all first human pairs because we are one body (that we are created by god). Adam and eve story was placed in the bible by god only for the reason god wanted to emphasize disobedience thus it has consequence (and not to interpret adam and eve story in the creation of man). The personality and wisdom of trinitarian god never changes and will never change, especially in unity with him. That we ought to always bear in mind. (Adequate parables and stories of lost people, that god placed in the bible).

    We, in our catholic movement in the philippines, do interpret the bible for the study of god’s personality on salvation only (conformity of human mind, that has graces and virtues, to the trinitarian god).

    So, in the topic of creation and evolution of man, simple ways should apply, that is, the personality of god, who knows above all what is good for the soul and that is goodness and sanctity. Thus, if our first premise of propagation of man is the incestous acts of the offspring of the only couple adam-eve is very illogical of god to do. Again, adam and eve story in the bible was placed only for the reason of gods personality to point out disobedience (like we children of god, we inherited that goodness from god, that pointing finger of others wrong doings, and we seldom point the goods in others). Jesus condemns incest so why would he correct the god the father? The oneness of the personality of trinity god is ought to be our first premise in topic evolution of man.

    • Nicholas says:

      Incest is not intrinsically evil in the collateral line! I explained this above.

      You are oversimplifying. There are genuine problems when faced with the Genesis 1, 2, & 3 Scripts.

  28. Nathaniel M. Campbell says:

    One thing I find particularly disturbing about some of the comments here–though thankfully not in Msgr. Pope’s original piece–is the blatant dismissal of the exercise of human reason as not only untrustworthy but something to be denied. God made us in the image and likeness of his eternal Word, his eternal Reason (Logos). The dynamic of our creative and explorative faculty to try to understand the world around us, is a fundamental part of what it means to be made in the divine image. Those who blatantly disregard and denigrate the explorations of science also thereby blatantly disregard and denigrate that divine faculty.

  29. Nathaniel M. Campbell says:

    One final thought: it might be instructive to have a look at what St. Augustine had to say about this, in Ch. 19 of “De Genesi ad litteram” (“A Literal Commentary on Genesis”):

    “Non-Christians know something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge they hold to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for a nonbeliever to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of the faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehood on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although ‘they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion’ (I Timothy 1:7).”

  30. Anna says:

    Not read through all the posts , but think saw mention of how to avoid the possibility of ‘incest ‘ , in the Gen . model ; well, we have been blessed with the Dogma of Immaculate Conception , which , as per Bl.Emmerich , was an event of noncarnal union of parents of Bl.Mother ( likely that , post fall , the purity of love is tainted by what Bl.JohnPaul 11 calls the ‘antithesis’ of love – the ‘user’ mentality !

    We also know how Adam and Eve had atleast one son ,Seth, holy enough to be taken up ; it is very likely that they also could have had one or two, who were holy enough , to have brought forth children , in noncarnal manner too and thus , solve any issue of incest .

    True, we need not discredit science per se , in these matters and can rejoice in how we are shown the glory in God’s creation through such , as long as we also know that the big outlines are already there in The Book .

    That glorious event of The Immaculate Conception is something that The Church is possibly only beginning to reap the depths of graces – does not The Lord grant us memory / warmth of embrace of such pure love and unity , of our ‘grandparents ‘ Anne and Joachim ( parents of Bl.Mother ) to help the many aching hearts that yearn for such love , to make up for the lacks at at various levels !

    • Nicholas says:

      There is no issue of incest. Incest is not intrinsically evil in the collateral line only in the direct. Adam and Eve had many children:

      (Gen 5:4 [NET])
      The length of time Adam lived after he became the father of Seth was 800 years; during this time he had other sons and daughters.

      I agree with Mary’s virgin conception but there is no possible way that Seth and a daughter of Adam and Eve were as holy as Joachin and Anne. The holiness of Joachin and Anne and their virgin conception was the culmination of thousands of years of prayers, self-denial, and penance done by many Jews (including prophets) most of whom are not even listed in Scripture. It was also the culmination of everything God accomplished in the Old Testament including Exodus, all the wars fought, the Return from Babylon, etc.

      Remember how Blessed Anne said that Adam was anxious about the Virgin, but the Virgin never came in Adam’s lifetime. None of Adam and Eve’s sons and daughters were nearly holy enough. Many things had to be done to repair and heal the effect of Adam and Eve’s sin. I think it is nearly impossible to understand the consequences of their sin and they obviously did not understand at the time. But O Felix Culpa. Jesus has and will change everything including our current scientific notions.

      • Nicholas says:

        I forgot to mention that there is this Jewish apocryphal work called the Life of Adam and Eve wherein it states that Adam and Eve had 30 sons and 30 daughters. I obviously dont place a lot of weight on it since it isnt the Sacred Script, but I thought it was an interesting book. 🙂

  31. TeaPot562 says:

    Human cells contain cytoplasm. The genes in this material are always transmitted from parent to child through the ovum, never through the sperm from the male parent. Further, the genes in the cytoplasm change gradually over time, displaying a constant rate of mutation. Biologists have shown that all human population groups present on this planet, Aracanian indians in Chile, Aleuts in Alaska, tribesmen in Borneo, Laplanders, South African negroes, Maoris in New Zealand, Irish, German, etc. have a common female ancestor (ancestress?). The rate of mutation in the current cells suggest that this common ancestor lived about 2-3 million years ago.
    A possible geographic location for this ancestor might be in East Africa, allowing for differences in genetic values found in different ethnic groups and gradual dispersion of her descendants through different areas.
    Of course, this does not tell us at what point God created souls for human beings and the descendants of our first biological parents.
    The tendency or weakness displaying sin (theft, lying, murder) also seems to be present in all these populations.
    Current knowledge in biology does not conflict with a reasonable interpretation of the Genesis account. It does pretty much disprove the polygenism theory.
    TeaPot562

  32. David says:

    Monsignor Pope, Thank you for taking this matter up (again), in the detail you do, here!

    Pius XII writes ” the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam”. Something not explicitly addressed here is ‘an individual Eve’.

    The matter of the derivation of Eve from Adam has been addressed above to some extent. But, once Eve exists as well as Adam, the conditions for future ‘sexual reproductive genesis’ have been actualized. In some grammar (including Old English) there is not only ‘singular’ and ‘plural’, but ‘dual’. Adam and Eve are not strictly ‘plural’ or ‘poly-‘ but they are ‘dual’ or ‘di-‘. And they are two ‘individuals’.

    ‘Monogenesis’ is ‘mono-‘ as to ‘couple’, but necessarily a sort of ‘digenesis’ because ‘sexual’.

    What does Eve do when she has eaten of the fruit but Adam has not? Has/is she ‘fallen’? If not, why not? If so, ‘mankind’ is (it would seem) ‘half-fallen’, but not yet ‘completely fallen’. The complete ‘Fall of Man’, the ‘fullness of original sin’ awaits the additional sin of the as-yet-obedient, sinless Adam. It is a ‘dual’ ‘product’ or ‘result’ or whatever the best word is. And it is not necessary: Adam could (and should) have refused to ‘follow’ and ‘join’ Eve.

    But if, in terms of this account, it is not simply singular, but ‘more-than-one’, why could that more than one have not been ‘poly-‘ rather than ‘di-‘, plural rather than dual?

    Is the necessary requirement (pace Fr. Kavanaugh and N.M. Campbell, if I do not misunderstand them) not that every ancestor has fallen? And would that not be fulfilled by the fall of many as fully as by the fall of two?

    • Nicholas says:

      The matter of the derivation of Eve from Adam has been addressed above to some extent. But, once Eve exists as well as Adam, the conditions for future ‘sexual reproductive genesis’ have been actualized. In some grammar (including Old English) there is not only ‘singular’ and ‘plural’, but ‘dual’. Adam and Eve are not strictly ‘plural’ or ‘poly-’ but they are ‘dual’ or ‘di-’. And they are two ‘individuals’.

      But they are male and female. A dual is a variant of a plural and usually used to reference a pair of identical objects such as scissors, glasses, waters, etc. Last time I checked male and female are not identical forms

      🙂

      ‘Monogenesis’ is ‘mono-’ as to ‘couple’, but necessarily a sort of ‘digenesis’ because ‘sexual’.

      No. The relation is asymmetrical. Do I need to illustrate it?

      What does Eve do when she has eaten of the fruit but Adam has not? Has/is she ‘fallen’? If not, why not? If so, ‘mankind’ is (it would seem) ‘half-fallen’, but not yet ‘completely fallen’. The complete ‘Fall of Man’, the ‘fullness of original sin’ awaits the additional sin of the as-yet-obedient, sinless Adam. It is a ‘dual’ ‘product’ or ‘result’ or whatever the best word is. And it is not necessary: Adam could (and should) have refused to ‘follow’ and ‘join’ Eve.

      I assume that had Eve sinned and not Adam there would have never been a human family. Adam was the head of the human race. The Holy Blessing was in his body as well as Eve’s but their bodies and souls (as well as ours) changed after the sin. That is why we have forms more like animals such as hominids and less like glorious children of God as we were meant to be. Had Eve sinned and not Adam a propagation would have been inconceivable and impossible.

      But if, in terms of this account, it is not simply singular, but ‘more-than-one’, why could that more than one have not been ‘poly-’ rather than ‘di-’, plural rather than dual?

      Is the necessary requirement (pace Fr. Kavanaugh and N.M. Campbell, if I do not misunderstand them) not that every ancestor has fallen? And would that not be fulfilled by the fall of many as fully as by the fall of two?

      I dont understand what you mean here. Adam’s sin effected his entire posterity.

  33. Anna says:

    Not wanting to make ‘too much ‘ of these views , yet , may be in our times , we sort of need to ; hence making mention of this too – interesting that as per Bl.Emmerich again, it is Adam who plucks the fruit, to give to Eve and there in is, possibly a big mystery – as to what was the motivation ..and while God alone would know same , ours might be the need to discern….and need for repentance ( with gratitude ) as far back as that , for the weaknesses we see so prevalent in our times , of many who are not guarding The Garden or may be even distracted , into being participants , from ? unholy attachments of their own !

    As to ateast a couple of the many children of Adam and Eve , not necessarily Seth either – may be the younger ones that he trained 🙂 , still having the grace of bringing forth children , in noncarnal manner – well, possible , esp. considering that they did not loose the gift of immortality immediatley either , since they live for many hundreds of years afterwards !

    We are blessed in our times , since we are given better grasp may be , about the truth, to undo the lies by the enemy , even by using the same the Gen . account , to portray The Father as not all that good !

  34. justin says:

    Genesis Creation and Early Man by Father Seraphim Rose and The Doctrines of Genesis Chapters I-II by Father Warkulwitz are excellent in showing how evolution is incompatible with the Faith.

  35. David says:

    Nicholas,

    Thank you for the responses! In Old English grammar, dual can refer to two human persons. (The example that springs to my mind is in the retelling of Genesis in the Junius manuscript, after the event corresponding to Genesis 22:5, the dual is used to underline the fact that only the two of Isaac and Abraham go on further together.)

    Why would its asymmetry mean sexual reproduction is not a sort of digenesis?

    Your response as to the possible sequel to Adam properly refraining from sinning after Eve had sinned seems a real possiblity, but not the only possibility. (For example, might God have not derived another sinless virgin woman from the sinless virgin Adam?) In any case, not all humanity would have fallen, Eve’s sin(fulness) would not need to be transmitted (and so would not need to be ‘original’ in the sense or ‘originating’ further sin in others), but she would need redemption.

    “Adam’s sin effected his entire posterity.” And Eve’s sin, since (1) they both sinned and (2) they procreated children thereafter.

    But if “male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27), not as one monogamous couple, but more than one mongamous couple, and each and every individual of them sinned, then all their posterity would be affected, and i twould seem, in some sense, equally affected.

    Polygenetic procreation by sinful parents would produce (some sort of) “original sin” with respect to all offspring.

    I suppose one question (not as to Biblical history, but as to possibility) is, must the Blessed Virgin and so Our Lord derive (though without sin) from one unique sinful couple, in order for Our Lord to redeem (potentially) all their descendents, who are also His fellow humans?

    • Nicholas says:

      @ David

      “Your response as to the possible sequel to Adam properly refraining from sinning after Eve had sinned seems a real possiblity, but not the only possibility. (For example, might God have not derived another sinless virgin woman from the sinless virgin Adam?) In any case, not all humanity would have fallen, Eve’s sin(fulness) would not need to be transmitted (and so would not need to be ‘original’ in the sense or ‘originating’ further sin in others), but she would need redemption.”

      Yeah this sort of stuff is fruitless speculation.

      “Adam’s sin effected his entire posterity.” And Eve’s sin, since (1) they both sinned and (2) they procreated children thereafter.

      Right. They say that Adam is the head. Men and women have distinct forms and distinct roles but both Adam and Eve’s soul and body changed after their sin. That is the teaching of Trent. I assume that God modified of their germline cells. That is why our forms and DNA structures are similar to the hominids.

      “But if “male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27), not as one monogamous couple, but more than one mongamous couple, and each and every individual of them sinned, then all their posterity would be affected, and i twould seem, in some sense, equally affected.”

      I do not think you can possible read multiple first couples into that verse. I mean it is a singular ‘male’ and ‘female’

      “Polygenetic procreation by sinful parents would produce (some sort of) “original sin” with respect to all offspring.”

      Pope Pius XII condemned the idea of multiple first couples:

      “For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents.”

      Plus there are many allusions to a singular Adam in the Sacred Scrip:

      From the Wisdom of Solomon

      {10:1} This is he, who was formed first by God, the father of the world, who was alone when created; she preserved him,
      {10:2} and led him out of his offense, and gave him the power to maintain all things.

      From Sirach/Ecclesiasticus

      {33:10} Some of them, God exalted and magnified. And some of them, he set amid the ordinary days. And all men are from the ground, and from the earth, from which Adam was created.

      {49:19} Shem and Seth obtained glory among men. And above every soul, at the very beginning, was Adam.

      From the Prophecy of Isaiah

      {43:27} Your first father sinned, and your interpreters have betrayed me.From the Prophecy of Hosea

      {6:6} For I desired mercy and not sacrifice, and knowledge of God more than holocausts.
      {6:7} But they, like Adam, have transgressed the covenant; in this, they have been dishonest with me.

      From Job

      {31:33} If I have covered as Adam my transgressions, To hide in my bosom mine iniquity,

      From Romans

      {5:12} Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into this world, and through sin, death; so also death was transferred to all men, to all who have sinned.
      {5:13} For even before the law, sin was in the world, but sin was not imputed while the law did not exist.
      {5:14} Yet death reigned from Adam until Moses, even in those who have not sinned, in the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a figure of him who was to come.

      “I suppose one question (not as to Biblical history, but as to possibility) is, must the Blessed Virgin and so Our Lord derive (though without sin) from one unique sinful couple, in order for Our Lord to redeem (potentially) all their descendents, who are also His fellow humans?”

      Impossible. This is beyond faithful speculation.

      • Nicholas says:

        But if “male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27), not as one monogamous couple, but more than one mongamous couple, and each and every individual of them sinned, then all their posterity would be affected, and i twould seem, in some sense, equally affected.

        **** another thing I wanted to mention is that I think the male and female in Gen 1:27 should be translated with an article to invoke a single object, e.g. a male and a female He created them or the male and the female He created them.

        God creates objects with form NOT concepts. Concepts have no form and resolve to nothing. Concepts always invoke or embody an association between two or more objects. God created a male form and a female form (not a male concept and a female concept). In this contextual event the male and the female resolve to Adam and Eve.

  36. Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh says:

    Msgr. Pope writes: “The church does not propose to by decree, determine the facts of anthropogenesis. But there are important theological issues to be considered before some whole hearted acceptance of what remains theoretical.”

    If Pius XII was saying in Humani Generis that Catholics must believe that there was a single pair of human from whom we have all descended, then, indeed, he was attempting to “determine the facts of anthropogenesis.” The Church, however, does not have the authority to make such a determination; hence, Piux XII was not telling us that we must adhere to the ‘one pair’ theory or that polygenism is, now and forever, incompatible with Catholic teaching.

    There are, as you state, theological issues attendant to this and most other questions which engage both faith and science.

    I have looked at a summary of Fr. Warkulwitz’s argument against evolution. He states, “The Fathers and Doctors of the Church unanimously agreed that Genesis 1-11 is an inerrant literal historical account of the beginning of the world and the human species as related by the prophet Moses under divine inspiration.”

    This is not accurate. St Augustine did not hold to this view as evidenced in his “On the literal meaning of Genesis.”

    • Nicholas says:

      @ Fr. Mike

      “If Pius XII was saying in Humani Generis that Catholics must believe that there was a single pair of human from whom we have all descended, then, indeed, he was attempting to “determine the facts of anthropogenesis.” The Church, however, does not have the authority to make such a determination; hence, Piux XII was not telling us that we must adhere to the ‘one pair’ theory or that polygenism is, now and forever, incompatible with Catholic teaching.”

      The word fact needs to be defined for this paragraph to have any meaning.

      Fact ___________

      There are no facts in anthropogenesis! It is a scientific field of study. There is only a collection of papers that follow the scientific method (a method which not everyone agrees upon). The scientists who write these papers make a statement of facts in an assumption and explain why or how an event or phenomenon occurred based off that assumption. A statement of facts is an opinion presented in a form of an assumption. A statement of facts is an attempt to reconstruct scattered fragments of the Universal Movie. The statement of facts are taken at face value AS IF the statement is true. For the sake of argument I could state, “Assume Santa Claus existed at the North Pole 50, 000 years ago”. If Santa Clause did not exist at the North Pole 50, 000 years ago then the statement of fact is a lie.

      But there is no one in the scientific community who has the authority to place a true sticky note or a false sticky note on a statement of facts. A statement of fact is hit or miss. All one can do is justify a statement of facts using critical thinking and rational analysis. But one can NEVER convert a statement of fact into a truth. All proofs, validations and evidences built into the statement of facts are subjective and subject to error on the part of the humans who behold objects or conceive of axiomatic systems of verification/validation applied to their specific context of utility. But Mother Nature and God snub their noses at all sensory systems, logical systems, axiomatic systems, etc. And they snub their noses at the biases of those who testify to supposed facts. And they defy anyone’s personal agenda whether that person be a practicing Christian or an atheist. .

      The Popes and Bishops however do exercise an authority. This authority is the authority of Christ Jesus. Jesus has the authority to teach that a statement of facts (opinion) is true or false since He has witnessed every objects and their locations and all events of the Universal Movie. Only God has memory of all atoms of existence (and every object), all their locations and all their relations from frame to frame. It doesnt matter what field of study a statement of facts is made in. I do not care if it is anthropology or alchemy. The claims made by Jesus or anyone endowed with the authority of Jesus (Pope, Pope and Bishops, sacred authors) can correct a statement of facts put out by any biased and stubborn observer of any study of reality.

      The discoveries made by humans (e.g. a fossil) have nothing to do with science per se. They are remnants of true facts. They are the bounty of the human race. They belong to everyone and everyone uses them in whatever subjective manner they want. If they are invoked as evidence by an observer in a testimony that testimony is subjective. The interpretation of the fossil (or of the circumstances in which the fossil was found), on the other hand, is a statement of the facts: an opinion presented in the form of an assumption.Evidence is in the eye of the beholder. It is subjective. Subject to a sensory system or a rule-based system separate from reality. (Read my posts above).

      fact: all objects and their locations in a single cross section of time
      event/phenomena: dynamic relations of objects mediated by objects
      statement of facts: an opinion given in an assumption.

      Facts constitute what actually happened irrespective of knowledge or testimony. A statement of the facts is what the scientist is asking you to assume happened. A statement of the facts is what a scientist formulates. An assumption is what the you concedes for the sake of the theory.

      Theories are subjective and in contention. Like statement of facts they can never be converted into TRUTHS by the scientific community for all the same reasons I briefly pointed out above. All one can do is rationally justify a theory using rational analysis and critical thinking. Christ Jesus via Popes, Popes and Bishops, and sacred authors has corrects all assumptions and theories of all fields at will.

      It is EXTREMELY important for everyone to learn the distinction between a fact and a statement of facts in the context of science. In science, it is not the same for the bottle to be on the table as for the
      prosecutor to say that the bottle is on the table. One is a fact, the other a statement of the facts. By equating
      facts with assumptions in their papers (always in past tense), scientists are cheating on the scientific method. At worst they are frauds.

      In science and in theology we must consider all the possibilities that God or Mother Nature may have in store for us.

      “There are, as you state, theological issues attendant to this and most other questions which engage both faith and science.”

      But science has no manner or authority of correcting Faith or of even teaching facts.

      “I have looked at a summary of Fr. Warkulwitz’s argument against evolution. He states, “The Fathers and Doctors of the Church unanimously agreed that Genesis 1-11 is an inerrant literal historical account of the beginning of the world and the human species as related by the prophet Moses under divine inspiration.””

      So what? It still needs an authoritative interpretation. Genesis 1 is the biggest word game in the history of the human race. It is still for the most part undefined. So even if this priest invokes ‘literal history’ (whatever that means) he is far from the truth.

      “This is not accurate. St Augustine did not hold to this view as evidenced in his “On the literal meaning of Genesis.””

      Right. Saint Augustine wrote at least five interpretations of Genesis 1 and they all contradict each other!!! Whoever invokes the Fathers for an interpretation of Genesis 1 is parroting authority. He is a charlatan. He has not come to terms with the problems posed by those texts. Genesis 1, 2, & 3 are some of the biggest interpretive conundrums of history. All I will say is that in my opinion not everything is as it may seem.

      Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. And its rotting all over.

    • Nicholas says:

      God and Mother Nature eat up statements of facts and theories for desert. They crush them in the sands of time. Five hundred years ago no one will care about all our petty statements of facts and theories. They will toast to the fools who stated that such and such was a ‘fact’ and proclaimed such and such a theory. They will laugh at all the billions of words we spat out without even being able to define object and exist.

      But God’s Word will endure forever! The fog will be lifted and all will finally see what each Word meant. There will be clarity in the Kingdom of Heaven and they will rejoice in clarity.

      fact, true fact, truth: Every minute detail of what actually is, was, happens, or happened
      irrespective of witnesses or observers; A detailed film clip of an actual event that conceptually
      includes every frame for that interval of the Cosmic Movie.

      assumption, statement of the facts, lie: A subjective statement from a witness concerning an
      event or an object. A statement of the facts is either a description of an object or a narrative, an
      objective listing (usually chronological) of a series of events. A particular interpretation of the
      evidence or of an observation. The second phase of a scientific hypothesis.

      evidence: The set of objects that the scientists introduce in support of their statement of the
      facts. In science, evidence does not include testimony. Evidence is part of the hypothesis stage
      of the scientific method and not of the theory. Rates, ratios, and relations do not constitute evidence for the purposes of science, but are rather components of the statement of the facts. Conceptually, evidence is a tiny subset of true facts,
      authentic, brief portions of the Universal Film.

      theory: A particular version of how or why events happened; A particular film clip of the universal movie inferred from assumptions and reasoning; The second step of the scientific method. (Syn.: explanation, speculation, reason, cause, conjecture).

  37. Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh says:

    Nicholas – If ONE scientist disagrees with the “scientific method” then you are correct in saying it is “a method which not everyone agrees upon.” However, that ONE who disagrees simply does not matter. I would suggest that the great majority of scientists do agree on the scientific method. I will stand with them in what does or does not constitute the scientific method.

    This “not everyone agrees” could be used against Cell Theory, the Theory of Gravity, or the belief that the sun is the center of our solar system. I read from time to time about those who disagree with these scientific facts – and they are facts – but those who disagree are simply, and demonstrably, wrong.

    We may not fully know the facts of anthropogenesis – yet – but the facts are there. It cannot be that humans are descended from exactly one pair of first humans AND from multiple pairs of first humans. One of these is a fact, the other is not. The work scientists do now is helping us understand and interpret the evidence that moves us toward discovering one or the other fact in human development.

    The Church does not have the power or authority to say that THIS or THAT (but not both) is a fact in terms of anthropogenesis. The Church can’t say that water is made up of three hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, that DNA is not the material of inherited characteristics, or that the skin of a rhinoceros is composed of tiny fragments of diamonds. The Church’s authority is limited to that which has been revealed by God to constitute the Tradition of our faith. Molecular structures, chromosomes, and rhino hides are completely outside the scope of the Church’s legitimate authority. So are all other natural phenomena.

    As Msgr. Pope rightly mentioned, there are theological matters that come into play that we do have to consider carefully. I believe Pius XII carefully – and wisely – approached the question of polygenesis. And I await the work of scientists who will be able to clarify our history.

  38. Nicholas says:

    @ Father Michael

    “Nicholas – If ONE scientist disagrees with the “scientific method” then you are correct in saying it is “a method which not everyone agrees upon.” However, that ONE who disagrees simply does not matter. I would suggest that the great majority of scientists do agree on the scientific method. I will stand with them in what does or does not constitute the scientific method.”

    They cannot even agree on the word hypothesis!!! Their use of the word hypothesis violates the law of non-contradiction and disregards using the conceptual tools of critical thinking such as unambiguously defining one’s key terms in a dissertation. Here are five categories of the word hypothesis

    1. an objective or purpose; an investigative proposal or question:

    “ Objectives: State the purpose or hypothesis upon which the project is based.”

    “ Will students who attended at least two years of Montessori preschool have better reading
    comprehension abilities at the end of first grade than those students who did not attend
    preschool at all?”

    2. a prediction or testable statement (i.e., an objective):

    “ At the end of first grade, there will be a difference between the reading comprehension abilities
    of children who attended Montessori preschool and children who did not attend preschool at
    all.”

    “ A hypothesis is your question in statement form. For example, ‘Sargassum inshore will have
    fewer organisms than Sargassum offshore.’ ”

    “ The experimenter soon devises an experiment to test the hypothesis.” 93

    3. an assumption or guess:

    “ Hypotheses are single tentative guesses – good hunches – assumed for use in devising theory
    or planning experiment”

    “ to suppose” … “

    “assumption: something taken for granted or accepted as true without proof; a supposition.”

    4. an explanation.

    “ This hypothesis explains the isomorphism between the structure of experience and neural
    organization…”

    “ A hypothesis is an explanation with some evidence and testing behind it.” 98

    5. a theory:

    “ Any physical theory is always provisional, in the sense that it is that it is only a hypothesis…”

    “ hypothesis: a tentative theory about the natural world” (I have references on all these if you want)

    So what do they even mean by hypothesis? There ‘scientific method’ is a monstrous bloated offspring of the 16th century. Those who use the 16th century version of the sci method have yet to evolve. That is my statement of fact.

    “This “not everyone agrees” could be used against Cell Theory, the Theory of Gravity, or the belief that the sun is the center of our solar system. I read from time to time about those who disagree with these scientific facts – and they are facts – but those who disagree are simply, and demonstrably, wrong.”

    I do not know what you mean by ‘scientific fact’. Define fact and describe to me what qualifies a fact as scientific. I defined fact above and explained the difference between facts and a statement of facts.

    You just contradicted yourself without even knowing it. Which Theory of Gravity are you referring too??? Which Theory of Gravity is a ‘scientific fact’???

    0D gravitons,
    gravitational waves
    warped spacetime
    a mystical ‘force’
    fields upon fields of discrete particles
    energy (whatever that is)
    1D strings woven like chain mail (or in some other irrational manner)

    Which is the correct one in reality? Which is these six explains why and how an apple to the ground? Better yet what pulls an apple to the ground? Newton ran away like a baby when faced with this question. All he could do is describe the phenomenon via tautologous math. And mathematicians have masked the problem via tautology for centuries. They even reified space to mask the problem. Math can only describe. Math cannot explain why an apple falls to the ground, or how gravitational phenomena works, or what induces it to fall. These masked theories are divorced from reality have all been shown to be demonstrably true via tautologies such as math and logic. They are all ‘scientific facts’ and they all contradict one another. They are irreconcilable.

    Yet like I explained above in context to science there is only a statement of facts in an assumption. But there are no facts per se in science. I could write a tract on this. You have not addressed any of the issues I raised in my post. They all seem to have went right over your head. You are constructing straw mans by comparing me with an idiot who believes the Sun is the center of the universe, or who fails to attempt to explain the why and how of gravity.

    “We may not fully know the facts of anthropogenesis – yet – but the facts are there.”

    This is rhetoric. Who is we? What do you mean by facts? Do you follow Wittgenstein’s definition of the word fact? You have no definition of the word fact. A fact refers to a concept. The word needs to be narrowed down to a single meaning before anyone can even agree on an interpretation. Science defines facts based on criteria subject to sensory systems, and to axiomatic systems. These ‘facts’ are only objective in context to their systems. They flow from sense and axioms both of which are subjective and out of context in terms of reality. Beyond the system’s context there is no derivation, or proof, or validity or verification. Sensory statements, and logical statements are tautologous, thus they are useless. The hallmark of science is conceptualization. Is is conceivable? Is it possible?

    Divine Revelation and Magisterium corrects science on occasion via claims such as all the claims made concerning the first origin of the human family. These claims defy your scientific facts. God and Mother nature gobble up your scientific facts for dinner.

    “It cannot be that humans are descended from exactly one pair of first humans AND from multiple pairs of first humans. One of these is a fact, the other is not.”

    Agreed. So which one is it? According to Divine Revelation which one is conceivable or possible and which is inconceivable or impossible??? Get tough. Find the solution and decide before you go to God with your scientific facts.

    Dear Catholics: Get some bloody backbone on these issues. Find some creative solutions.

    “The work scientists do now is helping us understand and interpret the evidence that moves us toward discovering one or the other fact in human development.”

    This is your statement of fact in an assumption. In other words it is your opinion. We cannot ‘discover’ the fact of what happened, since it is impossible to discover a concept referring to a consummated event!!! All a scientist can do in this context is rationally justify a statement of fact in an assumption and deposit an irrational or rational theory with a conclusion of personal belief. This is not a discovery.

    “The Church does not have the power or authority to say that THIS or THAT (but not both) is a fact in terms of anthropogenesis.”

    This is a meaningless statement. Circular. Do you love obscurity? The Pope, Pope and Bishops as well as the sacred authors do have the authority to claim that THIS was the fact and that anything contradicting this claim is a lie. The field of study is a moot point. God teaching us via sacred authors, the Pope, and the Pope and Bishops could not care less about all the categories of studies that human apes conceive of. Anthropogenesis is an artificial concept. No one who releases a paper categorized in this field has authority. As far as I am concerned it is on a par with the field of astrology or witchcraft. Claims of Divine Revelation and of critical reasoning and rational analysis are not bogged down by human authorities, P.H.D.s, awards, prizes, prestige, money or any artificial system of logic.

    “The Church can’t say that water is made up of three hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, that DNA is not the material of inherited characteristics, or that the skin of a rhinoceros is composed of tiny fragments of diamonds.”

    Irrelevant to the discussion. Rhetoric. If these were revealed then the Church could infallibly teach blah blah blah.

    “The Church’s authority is limited to that which has been revealed by God to constitute the Tradition of our faith.

    What God did and the inspired descriptions of what God did (in Sacred Scripture) constitute the Church’s domain infallibly and non-infalliby teachings that cross all conceptual bounds of philosophy, physics and biology. Hmm. Let’s see how God describes what He did via the sacred authors:

    From the Wisdom of Solomon

    {10:1} This is he, who was formed FIRST by God, the father of the world, WHO WAS ALONE when created; she preserved him,
    {10:2} and led him out of his offense, and gave him the power to maintain all things.

    From Sirach/Ecclesiasticus

    {33:10} Some of them, God exalted and magnified. And some of them, he set amid the ordinary days. And all men are from the ground, and from the earth, from which Adam was created.

    {49:19} Shem and Seth obtained glory among men. And above every soul, at the very beginning, was Adam.

    From the Prophecy of Isaiah

    {43:27} Your first father sinned, and your interpreters have betrayed me.From the Prophecy of Hosea

    {6:6} For I desired mercy and not sacrifice, and knowledge of God more than holocausts.
    {6:7} But they, like Adam, have transgressed the covenant; in this, they have been dishonest with me.

    From Job

    {31:33} If I have covered as Adam my transgressions, To hide in my bosom mine iniquity,

    From Romans

    {5:12} Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into this world, and through sin, death; so also death was transferred to all men, to all who have sinned.
    {5:13} For even before the law, sin was in the world, but sin was not imputed while the law did not exist.
    {5:14} Yet death reigned from Adam until Moses, even in those who have not sinned, in the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a figure of him who was to come.

    (Gen 2:7 [NET])

    The LORD God formed the man from the soil of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

    THIS verse explicitly describes a BIOLOGICAL origin.

    “Molecular structures, chromosomes, and rhino hides are completely outside the scope of the Church’s legitimate authority.

    But the interpretations and statement of facts built on studies of molecular structures, blah blah ARE within the scope of the Church’s legitimate authority such as the origin of the human family even the origin of the plants, animals and microorganisms.

    So are all other natural phenomena.”

    That is a lie. If Divine Revelation makes a claim concerning a natural phenomena the Church can draw from this claim and proclaim an infallible teaching. E.g.

    qui extendit aquilonem super vacuum et adpendit terram super nihili (Vulgate)
    He stretched out the north over the empty space, and hangeth the earth on nothing (DRV)
    ​​​​​​​He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; ​​​​​​he suspends the earth on nothing (NET)
    He stretches out the north wind upon nothing, and he upon nothing hangs the earth;
    He stretches out the North over empty space, and suspends the earth over nothing at all (NAB)
    He it was who spread the North above the void and poised the earth on nothingness. (NJB)
    stretching-out north over chaos hanging earth on without what? (Hebrew interlinear CHES 2.0)

    The Church could possible draw from this claim of Job and teach that space is nothing, and that space does not mediate gravitational phenomenon.

    Can you tie the bands of the Pleiades, ​​​​​​or release the cords of Orion? (Job 38:)

    The Church could possibly draw from this claim of God via Job that these star clusters are connected via a physical mediator.

    So. What is it that keeps the Earth from flying out into space? What ties the Earth to the Sun? What is the true statement of fact?

    0D gravitons?
    Warped Spacetime?
    Gravitational waves?
    a mystical force?
    a mystical field?
    energy? (whatever that is)
    1D strings woven like chainmail?

    What is the correct statement of fact?

  39. Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh says:

    “The Church can’t say that water is made up of three hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, that DNA is not the material of inherited characteristics, or that the skin of a rhinoceros is composed of tiny fragments of diamonds. Irrelevant to the discussion. Rhetoric. If these were revealed then the Church could infallibly teach blah blah blah.”

    No, this is not irrelevant. The point is that these things were NOT revealed by God. Therefore the Church cannot – has not the authority or competency – to decree anything about them, their nature, or their origins, other than to say that God is the creator of all things. Nor can the Church decree anything about the facts of human anthropogenesis. The Church can and does teach about the origins of all created things, the “perfect” nature of God’s original creation, the origins of sin, and the incapacity of humans to repair the damage and overcome sin.

    • Nicholas says:

      “No, this is not irrelevant.”

      In context to our discussion it is irrelevant. I have assumed everything you have raised in your posts.

      “The point is that these things were NOT revealed by God. Therefore the Church cannot – has not the authority or competency – to decree anything about them, their nature, or their origins, other than to say that God is the creator of all things.”

      You are not teaching me anything here. What have we learned? I’ve heard hundreds regurgitate something similar to this.

      “Nor can the Church decree anything about the facts of human anthropogenesis.”

      of course not. There are no ‘facts’ of human anthropogenesis. There are only remnants of facts (fossils) subjective interpretations of evidence, tautologous (inferences derived from rule-based assumptions) rates, ratios, and relations, statements of facts in assumptions, speculations and personal beliefs. The Church can correct any human ape who makes public a statement of facts or speculation or personal belief categorized in the MADE UP field of “anthropogenesis” if these are in context to the present human family’s first origin since our family’s first origin is explicitly REVEALED via the Sacred Script, the expressions of Sacred Tradition and previous Magisterial teachings. Just because a single Pope makes a plea to do some research and brainstorming does not cancel out all that has been passed down. Since Pius XII there have been several Popes and obviously there were many before him. Plus the Popes and bodies of Bishops can teach in unison. Pope Pius XII’s petty plea is irrelevant.

      It’s the 21st century. Everyone’s true colors are coming to light. Any child of Adam and Eve can parse all the information that is out there at the click of a finger and use their Adamic brains to figure this all out assuming faith and reason. This stuff is not too difficult. Anyone and your mom can figure this stuff out. It is just a matter of “will one assume Faith and apply critical thinking and rational analysis” or “will one not assume Faith and let the glorious scientists brainwash you with their contradictions” We have been programmed to let them shove their ‘statements of facts’ and ‘speculations’ right down our throats.

      We are being put to the test. God is proving us to be like the animals. A significant portion of the world thinks they are animals.

      I would hope that you and all Catholics would simply assume Faith and come up with a creative and breathtaking solution to all this. But no. We have to get all wishy washy and ambiguous.

      “The Church can and does teach about the origins of all created things,

      including the origin of the present human family. Thank you.

      the “perfect” nature of God’s original creation, the origins of sin, and the incapacity of humans to repair the damage and overcome sin.”

      this is not what we are discussing here. And besides some of the Sacred Text’s give minute details and are sweepingly complex and profound. And some of the Magisterial teachings are complex. I think this is an oversimplification.

  40. Nicholas says:

    @ Father Mike

    “As Msgr. Pope rightly mentioned, there are theological matters that come into play that we do have to consider carefully. I believe Pius XII carefully – and wisely – approached the question of polygenesis.”

    I have parsed practically ever possible theological matter that comes into play. I have considered everything.

    “And I await the work of scientists who will be able to clarify our history.””

    Pardon me Father, but I think this is irrational. Why should a grown man have to wait for a biased scientist (who he has never met) with a personal agenda to clarify our history? Honest to goodness I say this with all sincerity. Who anointed the scientists to clarify a crucial matter such as our first origin??? People stake their lives on first origins. Understanding our origins can transforms a person’s life. I stake my life on the belief that I am a child of God. Polygenism defies this belief.

    • Nicholas says:

      scientific fact: an observation or facts supposed learned by observing but never accepted as a true fact.

      a scientific fact equates to an OPINION given by a human ape with letters behind his name. Scientific facts are subjective, observer dependent. They are based on tautologies which are out of context in the face of existence. They are a regurgitation of what may be or what may have happened. They are subjective statements taken at face value subject to further correction at will.

      We qualify the word ‘fact’ with the ‘scientific’ so those with lab coats can feel good about their lies. Scientific facts are used to justify billion dollar baby-men projects such as Gravity B probe, WMAP, COBE, Planck Satellite, and all your particle accelerators of the world. They spend YOUR money on THEIR opinions and THEIR dreams. We donate to the pantheon of their particle gods and mystical forces. We support their belief in nonsense. We give them our hard earned money so that they can shove their facts down our throats and persuade the masses that we came from Neanderthals, or a single cell, or perhaps maybe even from outer space.

      God and Mother Nature ‘destroy’ scientific facts. Scientific facts are conceptual. They are wiped out when cultures and worldviews come to an end. They ‘die’ with the scientists. A thousand years from now no one is going to remember or even care about our scientific facts. Mother Nature is brutal when it comes to scientific facts and God is even more brutal if these impinge upon what He accomplished.

      From the Prophecy of Isaiah

      I have always been quiet; I have been silent; I have been patient. I will speak like a woman giving birth. I will destroy and consume, all at once.
      I will desolate the mountains and the hills, and I will wither all their grass. And I will turn rivers into islands, and I will dry up the pools of water.
      And I will lead the blind along a way which they do not know. And I will cause them to walk along paths with which they were unfamiliar. I will turn darkness into light before them, and crooked into straight. These things I have done for them. For I have not abandoned them.
      They have been converted again. Let those who trust in graven idols be greatly confounded, for they say to a molten thing, “You are our god.”

  41. Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh says:

    Nicholas: I do not agree that polygenism defies the belief that we are children of God. Being a child of God comes through the gift of Baptism, not through the generic path of our shared anthropogenesis.

    As to “who appointed scientists” to do science, I refer you to the first reading of today’s Office of Readings which says, in part, “For he gave me sound knowledge of existing things, that I might know the organization of the universe and the force of its elements, the beginning and the end and the midpoint of times, the changes in the sun’s course and the variations of the seasons.”

    The Theory of Gravity, Cell Theory, and the function of DNA are not “subjective, observer dependent. They are facts. They are observable and demonstrable to anyone who wishes to see.

    Thus endeth my responses to Nicholas’ concerns.

  42. Nicholas says:

    @ Fr Mike

    I saw you said you were done. Peace be with you Father. Thank you for being a good sport about all this. I know I have a certain way and I want to thank Monsignor for posting my comments too.

    And I still want to respond again:

    Nicholas: I do not agree that polygenism defies the belief that we are children of God. Being a child of God comes through the gift of Baptism, not through the generic path of our shared anthropogenesis.

    Fair enough. As far as if polygenism defies my belief that I am a child of God is my opinion. But my arguments are not based solely on my opinions, but on Divine Revelation and critical thinking/rational analysis. I added that in as if a personal plea. I dont think some people understand what is at stake here. This is a critical issue that penetrates right to and through the definition of Man.

    As to “who appointed scientists” to do science, I refer you to the first reading of today’s Office of Readings which says, in part, “For he gave me sound knowledge of existing things, that I might know the organization of the universe and the force of its elements, the beginning and the end and the midpoint of times, the changes in the sun’s course and the variations of the seasons.”

    I said “who anointed the scientists” as if comparing them to a Pope, Pope and Bishops, and sacred authors. In science there is no authority. It is every man for himself. There is no one to place a true label or false label on public statements of facts and theories.

    But I am not claiming that a scientist or anyone is unable to understand or know the mechanisms of the universe. Everyone should be able to understand them fairly simply. Einstein said that we should be able to explain the laws of Physics to a barmaid.

    The Theory of Gravity, Cell Theory, and the function of DNA are not “subjective, observer dependent. They are facts. They are observable and demonstrable to anyone who wishes to see.

    The Theory of Gravity (which ever one of the six or sever you are referring too) is not a fact. Gravity is a phenomenon. It does not even exist. All that exists are objects. Objects mediate attraction via objects and we conceptualize to understand gravity. But what are the objects that are the actors of gravity?

    Gravity is first and foremost a concept (a relation of two or more objects). Someone conceived of the word! Gravity is a verb, not a noun of reality. It needs to be defined prior even to the statement of fact or theory. In context to the Hypothesis and Theory, gravity is a consummated event that need to be rationally assumed and explained. But gravity is not a fact. Nor can we observe gravity at work. Gravity is mediated by invisible physical entities. All we experience is the memory of each frame of the apple in relation to the ground.

    Cell Theory is not a Fact for the same reasons I pointed out above.

    DNA function is a description of a Fact.

    As far as demonstrable is concerned what can that possibly mean? Gravity cannot be evidenced or even proven since it is a consummated event mediated by physical objects that fall out of the range of our sensory systems. On the other hand logical systems (such as Math) can be utilized to describe gravity but they cannot be used to explain or even evidence gravity. Gravity is a phenomenon of Mother Nature. A tautology such as logic cannot explain or prove or even discover a phenomenon. Tautologies are inferences derived from rule-based assumptions (axioms). They restate the premises in the conclusion e.g. 2 is a restatement of 1, 1. This system of arithmetic or any logical system only solves (or proves for slang) a derivational type problem. Outside of the system such as in Mother Nature it has no utility. There is no such thing as 2 deriving from 1,1 in Nature. Philosophers of the 20th century (Godel, Wittgenstein,etc.) derived from there logical systems the conclusion that all logic is incomplete. There are no laws out there. A law in reference to Mother Nature is at best a figure of speech. Logic cripples the mind by limiting the scope of one’s premises. Evolved humans move beyond logic. They are set free by critical reasoning which can also be used in context to Divine Revelation.

    Experiments that they run at the accelerators are all observer dependent. They take data and interpret it. The rules they use for interpreting the data are tautologous. Unfalsifiable/unverifiable. Only valid in context to the system, etc. They interpret their tautologous conclusions in any way they want too. And they run whatever experiment they want to. This is all subjective. There statements derived from data and logical systems are fancy ways of saying this is my opinion.

    Looking at a fossil is observer dependent. Your sensory system and conceptualization to understand will do whatever you will with it.

    Now I might be making much of all this but it is important for setting everything concerning polygenism into perspective. A Fact is distinct from a statement of facts, a theory, a personal belief, a logical proof, data collection, etc. The former is a true fact and the latter is at best an opinion and at worst a lie. In the real world your truth is my lie and my lie is your truth. That is reality. Science is about embracing reality. And in reality no one cares about anyone else’s opinion unless they are a spouse or friend, etc. Science can only kill the observer. And the only way to do this is to let go of sensory systems and logical systems in order to conceptualize what is possible or impossible; what is non-contradictory or contradictory, rational or irrational, etc. Truth, proof, senses, validations, derivations, demonstrations, evidence have little if any role to play.

  43. fugo says:

    its very long

  44. Antonello says:

    Could we not infer the Creation of Adam and Eve from that of the New Adam and the New Eve? The immaculate conception and the Incarnation are two special acts of God which brought about the birth of the New Adam (Christ) and the Creation of the New Eve (Mary) in a world inhabited by sinful human persons who were spiritually inferior to the New Creation. Those who descend from Christ through Baptism are called to be separate from the world and are called a chosen race. The first Adam and the first Eve could have been created by a special act of God in a world inhabited by human beings in a state of spiritual infancy (pre-moral) and necessitated a special grace from God to become conscious of good and evil without sinning. God’s special grace was the raising of the first couple to a state of spiritual knowledge through a theophany. This was the revelation of monogamous marriage and the sacredness of human life. It was a knowledge which was to be spread to all the human beings outside the garden (symbol of the Church = sacred space) through Adam’s priesthood as husband and father (God’s image) and Eve’s motherhood. Without the special mediation of Adam’s ministry, all the other human beings outside the garden would have reached the knowledge of good and evil without grace and would have sinned as soon as the first important moral choice presented itself to them due to the lack of knowledge and grace which Adam was supposed to pass on to them through his priesthood. Because of Adam’s fall, original sin was propagated through generation not only from Adam’s direct lineage (sons of God) but also from all the other lineages. Would this be compatible with Catholic doctrine?