Before I was banned from Catholic Forums for being a Creationist, or rather for voicing it, I sometimes debated against Rossum. It is a pleasure to see him again for debate, although indirectly.*
Possible Scenario (updated December 2008)
The following is a possible scenario how Adam/Eve could be reconciled with a population of early hominids/humans.
<< I just quoted decrees from the Council of Trent which are binding on all Catholics, which clearly state that Adam was "the first man", and "the whole human race" is descended from him. >>
So, how can we combine the evidence present in the world that God created with the given interpretation of God's word?
I start from the assumption that a "human" has a human soul, whereas a non-human does not. I also assume that a human soul is immaterial and its presence has no visible material effect, such as a change in DNA.
Here is one possibility. Start with a population of unsouled upright apes, call then "huma" because they are not quite human yet. God puts human souls into two of them, Adam and Eve (or puts a soul into one male, Adam, and clones a female, Eve, from him e.g. Genesis 2:21-23 "Eve from Adam"). Adding a soul does not change the original huma DNA at all. We now have a pair of humans, Adam and Eve, in a population of huma. Adam and Eve only mate with each other and have human children with souls. In order to avoid incest the children need to find mates outside their immediate family so they mate with some of the huma. This is possible because their DNA is compatible with huma DNA; the mating is open to the possibility of creating life.
God gives a soul to all hybrid human/huma offspring so all the children with at least one human parent are also human, i.e. they have a soul. Because only the descendants of the initial pair mate with huma, all the children from such matings are descended from both Adam and Eve since they will have both as grandparents, great-grandparents etc.
Over time the number of humans increases and the number of huma declines until the huma are extinct.
In scientific terms we have a large interbreeding population, as shown by the current level of genetic diversity in humans. Theologically all humans are descended from that first ensouled pair, as required by the Council or Trent.
You may or may not accept this particular scenario, but it shows that there is a way to reconcile revelation and science. It also avoids the problem of incest among Adam and Eve's children.
Rossum (a buddhist from Catholic Answers forums)
Impossibility 1 :
It is theologically rebutting that a human DNA in healthy expression in any individual should not have an immaterial soul. If you know CSL who believed – at least up to a point – this scenario, one correlate is that as there were soulless « anatomic humans » before Adam so again one could have soulless « anatomic humans ». Suggested in the creation scene of Narnia in Magician’s Nephew, suggested in scene in Last Battle where Ginger the cat looses its « talking animals’ » soul, suggested in the dialogue in Prince Caspian between Susan and Lucy about talking bears loosing their souls – as well as the « how horrid if people in our world would … » remark.
One correlate might be a kind of dehumanising attitude (not always cruel in act, but dehumanising in belief about the other), such as has been shown to Amerindians, indeed not by the Catholic Church but by some Spanish and Portuguese laymen as well as by certain French laymen temporarily in Brazil, some of whom were Calvinists. It is also present in modern psychiatry, as one can glean if not from personal experience, at least from the books of the late Tomas Szasz (I only heard about his demise the other day while reading a paper from CCDH, the French CCHR). And also in North Korean Camps (as well as was the case among Nazis).
This is also against the evidence that « even » Neanderthals in fact had souls. I say « even » because there are scientists who will not count « Homo Sapiens subsp. Neanderthalensis » but « Homo Neanderthalensis » as non-sapiens.
If they cared for an old toothless man and carefully buried him, they were very certainly human with souls and not at all « upright apes ».
Accepting this scenario thus also involves discarding not just anatomic but even civilised behavioral evidence that someone is in fact human.
Impossibility 2 :
« In order to avoid incest the children need to find mates outside their immediate family so they mate with some of the huma. This is possible because their DNA is compatible with huma DNA; the mating is open to the possibility of creating life. »
Such mating would be rape, exactly as non-fertile mating with a dog (which is of course also wrong because inherently non-fertile), since a biological being without a spiritual soul cannot consent to the mating. Consent means free will. Free will means the image of God.
As to avoiding incest the marriage of brother to sister or uncle to niece was not incest in the first generations after Adam and Eve.
Impossibility 3 :
The Neanderthal genome has the same gene of FOXP2 as we have. I am not saying that a being born of human parents with a damaged such gene is non-human. But I am saying that the capacity for language has a spiritual side (as being one of the clearest evidence we are spiritual and that there is such a thing as spirit) as well as having sides in anatomy of mouth and larynx and in – as discovered – genome. God might have wasted part of the anatomical equipment on non-human animals, but he would not have wasted the genome on a non-human also.
Impossibility 4 :
« God gives a soul to all hybrid human/huma offspring so all the children with at least one human parent are also human, i.e. they have a soul. »
This would leave each of them, as well as Adam and possibly Eve too, with one soulless and non-spiritual parent.
This again would be against the adage that a Son cannot be greater than his Father. Which evolutionism in itself is also.
Impossibility 5 :
Death before Adam. Some Church Fathers thought animals that are now carnivores were before the Fall (not just in Eden) vegetarians. Some thought that they were already carnivores in the efficient meaning of the word as in eating tissue from other animals dying before or to that end. None of them would have agreed that some animals simply died for no purpose at all, out of misfortune or by not being adapted enough.
Any hominid dated as existing before Adam is dead and therefore an example of what can only have happened after the Fall of Adam. Even carnivorousness cannot explain such deaths, since carnivores themselves are found among the fossils so dated and since an anatomically human being cannot have been created as food for carnivores if humans that are really such are the crown of creation. Besides, the toothless and buried Neanderthal was not dead from carnivore attacks, but of old age and sickness and probably bad digestion after having no teeth.
Despite the supposed 50.000 years ago, a very clear case of what can only have happened after the Sin of Adam.
Bpi, Georges Pompidou
Octave of Epiphany
End of Christmas Feast
* Rossum quote via Phil Porvaznik whom David Palm linked to:
Evidence for Evolution and an Old Earth
Reply to a Catholic Creationist (below, updated Dec 2008)