Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Welcome to the human family - you're a Neanderthal

In the May 2010 edition of New Scientist ( Australia ) the editorial has a piece about "Welcome to the human family. It speaks to the question of whether there is any reason not to allow Neanderthals into the fold of homo sapiens?

After talking about how Neanderthals have a common ancestor with modern humans and how the descendants went their own ways only to 'reconnect' about 50,000 years ago in the Eastern Mediterranean. Their point? "This pattern wouldn't necessarily merit separate species for most animals, so why for us and Neanderthals?

Fair enough in their line of thinking, however it is interesting what they bring into the discussion regarding the concept of being human.
It is more than "ecology and genetics: we are human because we think, talk, love and believe" and later the editor states that this includes "language and art" It is then we read a startling admission - "if that's not human, then what is?

As Christians we would agree to much of this, adding that humanness is being created in the image of God, able to have self-reflection, rationality, ability to reason and love and care, to have and be aware ones own of self conscious.
Still, how do you account for all that on a materialist worldview? that's the humdinger.


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