They think that the latest findings in paleoanthropology and genetics render a literal pair of first true human parents to be “scientifically impossible.” The prevailing assumption underlying media reports about human origins is that humanity evolved very gradually over vast periods of time as a population (a collection of interbreeding organisms), which itself originally evolved from a (human/chimpanzee) common ancestor millions of years ago.Therefore, we are not seen as descendants of the biblical Adam and Eve.
Such calculations rely upon many assumptions about mutation rate, recombination rate, and other factors, that are known to vary widely.
All of this entails retrospective calculations about events in the far distant past, for which we have no directly verifiable data.
Such methodology produces, at best, solely conclusions, based on available evidence and the assumptions used to evaluate the data.
There is the inherent possibility that an unknown factor will alter the conclusion, similarly as was the unexpected discovery of black swans in Australia, when the whole world “knew” all swans were white.
That is today’s typical view of a literal Adam and Eve.
Yet, contrary to current skepticism, a real Adam and Eve remain credible—both in terms of Catholic doctrine and sound natural science.This universal evolutionary perspective leads many Catholics and others to conclude that a literal Adam and Eve is “scientifically impossible” for two reasons: First, paleoanthropologists deny the sudden appearance of intelligent, self-reflective, fully-human primates, but rather view the emergence of consciousness and intelligence as taking place slowly and incrementally over long periods of time.Second, in light of recent findings in molecular biology, especially from studies based on genetic data gleaned from the Human Genome Project, it is claimed that the hominin population (the primate group from which modern man is said to have arisen) has never had a bottleneck (reduced population) of a single mating pair in the last seven or more million years: no literal Adam and Eve.Molecular biologists use computer models in an attempt to validate such hypotheses and reach conclusions about genetic conditions in early primate populations.In this process, some researchers have committed the logically invalid move of inferring from particular data to the universally negative claim that a literal Adam and Eve is impossible.Many succumb to the modernist tendency to “adjust” Church teaching to fit the latest scientific claims—thus intimidating Catholics into thinking that divinely revealed truths can be abandoned—“if need be.” This skepticism of a literal Adam and Eve begs for four much needed corrections.