23 August 2011

[Cross-posted at IntoAllTheWWWorld.org]

As I mentioned briefly when I live blogged the Francis Collins presentation at the Christian Scholars Conference, some evangelicals do not accept the scientific conclusion that the human race descended from a pool of not less than about 10,000 distance ancestors rather than from one historical couple, Adam and Eve. NPR religion reporter Barbara Bradley Hagerty reports that this scientific and theological argument has come to a head in some evangelical circles. Hagerty writes,

But now some conservative scholars are saying publicly that they can no longer believe the Genesis account. Asked how likely it is that we all descended from Adam and Eve, Dennis Venema, a biologist at Trinity Western University, replies: “That would be against all the genomic evidence that we’ve assembled over the last 20 years, so not likely at all.”

It’s distressing to me that Hagerty would use the phrase “no longer believe the Genesis account” without further qualifier. I believe the Genesis account, I just don’t think it literally describes our genealogy. But, as is clear from the remainder of the article, such are the (I believe, sad) terms of this debate.

In any event, it’s a good article, and an important one. Perhaps most intriguing is the section exploring whether or not this is “a Galileo moment” for Evangelical Protestantism.

Hat tip to The Lead at Episcopal Cafe for bringing this article to our attention.

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