RJS has a great and discussion-provoking post today on being human after Darwin, one post in a series on the seemingly wonderful book, “Theology After Darwin”.  Today’s post is her reflections/summary of a chapter in the book that was written by Francisco Ayala entitled “Being Human After Darwin.”  In her summary, RJS looks at four biology transformations that have been postulated as having occurred in the transition from animal to human.  It’s an interesting take and one that I chimed in on, as usual.  I think the key when thinking biologically about these issues is that the difference between animal and human is not one of kind or quality, but is instead a quantitative difference.  The key focus in the previous sentences is on biology.

I have included the link below and my comment as well.  Per usual, if you want to discuss over here, feel free.  Otherwise, head on over…


“The first transformation, to me, is irrelevant to what it means to be human as it doesn’t speak of our uniqueness in any way. The second and third transformations are relevant, but we must consider that biologically speaking, we’re different in a matter of quantity, not quality. Mind and culture are observed in other animals, just not to the degrees that we see them in humans.

As to Ayala’s position (or RJS’s summary) on the brain-mind transformation specifically, it doesn’t make sense that the DNA sequence would not be complex enough to specify a mind, again biologically speaking. What else is there? The complexities of our brains arise from the DNA sequence which codes for the RNA and proteins that make us up. Even if we allow for top-down causation (which I absolutely do), that causation will be absolutely dependent upon our DNA.

Wonderful topic, and one that should give rise to a great discussion. And it shows me that we clearly need a book for the Christian audience on what it means to be human…”

Comment by Justin Topp — October 5, 2010 @ 11:40 am