Monday, August 15, 2016

Is a literal Adam and Eve credible?

Here. 

An English file can be downloaded from here.

74 comments:

Crude said...

Feser Deals with this nicely.

Hal said...

Nope.
It is not credible to believe that Adam was formed from the earth and Eve was formed from Adam's rib.

Crude said...

No, it is not credible to believe Hal.

Hal said...

Hah! Thanks for the correction.

It is not credible that Adam was formed from the earth and Eve was formed from Adam's rib.

B. Prokop said...

"It is not credible that Adam was formed from the earth and Eve was formed from Adam's rib."

One does not have to believe in those things to believe in a first man and woman.

A few years ago on this site I was quite vocal in my skepticism about an original Adam and Eve. (Ben and I went at it for several dozen postings, as I recall.) But my position has "evolved" since that time, and I now lean towards thinking they actually did exist, literally and historically.

It's still just a "lean", but I am quite comfortable with the idea.

Crude said...

Bob,

Well, good to hear on that. Hal's quite hopeless, though, hence his inability to even understand the question.

Hal said...

The question concerned a literal Adam and Eve. Not some other couple. Adam was formed from the ground and Eve was formed from his rib.

Joe Hinman said...

There is so much against the idea. It doesn't necessarily mandate literal six day creation b ut implies it. If you want to take the account literally it contradicts what we know scientifically.

Crude said...

And now you see why Hal's stuck: still derpin' it up, unable to read and comprehend the articles.

As i said: no, it is not credible to believe Hal.

Hal said...

Unless the article is referencing the Adam that was formed out of the ground and the Eve formed from his rib then its claim of a 'liteal Adam and Eve' is bogus.

Hal said...

Joe,
"If you want to take the account literally it contradicts what we know scientifically."

If the question concerns a literal Adam and Eve then doesn't it follow that the biblical account be taken literally? That is after all where the story of Adam and Eve is to be found.

oozzielionel said...

How literal does literal need to be? There is a wooden literal that has no wiggle room. There is a genre literal that takes wiggles a bit. There is theological content wiggle that wags a bit. Etc.

Crude said...

Unless the article is referencing the Adam that

I'd say you should read the articles before commenting, but that implies you could understand 'em. Rather less evidenced than miracles, that.

Hal said...

There are different levels of interpreting a text: literal, allegorical, analogical, etc. Not much wiggle room at the literal level. If the events in a narrative are not to be taken literally, they fall under one of the other types of interpretation.

Hey, I have no problem with people grappling with the question of whether or not there was a first human couple. But it borders on intellectual dishonesty if they stick the labels 'Adam' and 'Eve' on that couple if they cannot be identified with the criteria laid down in the biblical story: man formed from the ground, woman formed from the man's rib, lived in the garden of Eden until expelled because of following the serpent's advice, etc.

B. Prokop said...

"If the question concerns a literal Adam and Eve then doesn't it follow that the biblical account be taken literally?"

No, it does not.

Hal said...

Crude,
I'm responding to the question in the OP. Does the article linked to provide an affirmative answer? Does it make credible the claim that the man Adam who was formed by God from he ground and the woman Eve who was formed by God from the rib of Adam actually existed?

Hal said...

"No, it does not."

Yes it does. Otherwise you have no criteria for establishing the couple in the biblical narrative are the original human couple claimed to exist in the article.

Ilíon said...

"Is a literal Adam and Eve credible?"

What *isn't* credible is the atheistic (necessarily Darwinist) account of how human beings came to be. One of the amusing things about this is that to biologically get from apes to humans requires intelligent intervention of just the very sort the Darwinists pretend they have explained away. To put it another way, to actually work biologically, the Darwinistic account of up-from-the-apes requires a "literal" Adam and Eve scenario.

B. Prokop said...

"Yes it does."

Don't you just love the way atheists are always insisting that they are the only ones who know how The Bible ought to be read, and get all kerfuffled when believers won't read it their way?

oozzielionel said...

It is the literal (actual, physical, surgically removed) rib test of atheist hermeneutic orthodoxy.

SteveK said...

the Darwinistic account of up-from-the-apes requires a "literal" Adam and Eve scenario.

Your comment reminded me of the video below. It "argues" that there was no first human, but in a twist of irony they show you the first human in the video -- it's photo #4632 at the very least, but possibly before that. Start at 2:10 to see what I mean.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdWLhXi24Mo

B. Prokop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
B. Prokop said...

Hal's woodenly literalist reading of Genesis robs the text of its sublime beauty. What is he looking for here, anyway? A bus schedule? An IKEA assembly instruction sheet?

No, what we have here in Genesis is Wisdom... for those motivated to seek it. Wisdom does not "shout in the street" - she* quietly, yet persistently, works her way into our hearts, when we diligently seek her.

"Adam" comes from the Hebrew word "adama", meaning Earth. So the the Adam is formed from the adama ("From dust you were created, and unto dust shall you return." from the Ash Wednesday Liturgy). Woman is co-created alongside Man ("Male and female he created them.") The "rib" story is a midrash on the indissoluble union between a man and his wife, the equal dignity of the two, and the "not goodness" of the Man being alone (read my commentary on this subject HERE) - and has nothing to do with creation.

Word of advice: Read the text as it was intended to be read. Not like you want it to be read. You might be surprised at what you find there.

I just don't get it. How do atheists read Shakespeare? Do they think that when he writes "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" that Shakespeare is telling us that his beloved is a literal span of time?

* Don't get upset, Ilion. "She" is how the Old Testament refers to Wisdom. I'm not being fashionably PC here.

Joe Hinman said...

Hal said...
Joe,
"If you want to take the account literally it contradicts what we know scientifically."

If the question concerns a literal Adam and Eve then doesn't it follow that the biblical account be taken literally? That is after all where the story of Adam and Eve is to be found.

August 15, 2016 1:27 PM

the Bible does not ask the question "should we read this literally?" It doesn't come with an instruction manual on how to read it. No language is to be taken totally literally with no metaphor, all langue is metaphorical to some degree. It is not the literal aspect that gives meaning but metaphorical "wiggle room." That's why it takes so long for robots to understand simple tasks, they have no ability to understand metaphor.

questions of literalism are sked by modern people not by the Bible.

Joe Hinman said...

I think some people are misunderstanding or making assumptions about what they think jy position would be. Here it is: fundamentalist baggage equates truth with liberalism, equates biblical in that way. Trying to use the Bible as a science textbook is what fundamentalists think makes it true. The Bible was to written as a text book., it was written by people in mythological culture, that is a myth making culture,So we need to understand as myth first then figure out what myths are for and how to read them.

The issue of weather or not the Biblical authors believed the stories largely irrelevant for the purposes of this kind discussion. They could believe the stories as historical and still use mythological principles to wrote about them. The Hebrew writers/redactors were writing in Babylon in the exile. The OT we know largely comes from that time and place. They were turning Babylonian myth on its head.The structure of Genesis follows the story of Adam and Adappa from Akadian myth. But reverses all the principles, Instead of emerging from chaos it's created by orderly thinking God.

Hal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hal said...

"questions of literalism are sked by modern people not by the Bible."

Then your complaint should be directed to the author of the OP.

What is your answer to the question posed?

Hal said...

Joe,
"Trying to use the Bible as a science textbook is what fundamentalists think makes it true."

I would agree. Looks to me like that is what the OP is doing. That is one reason why I think the question is to be answered in the negative.

Hal said...

"Don't you just love the way atheists are always insisting that they are the only ones who know how The Bible ought to be read, and get all kerfuffled when believers won't read it their way?"

Do you simply want to throw around insults like Ilion or engage in a conversation?

The question in the OP refers to a literal Adam and Eve. It assumes a literal interpretation of the Genesis tale. This is just like the young earth creationist who links to a 'scientific' article claiming to show it is credible that there was a literal global flood.


Since you appear to reject such fundamentalistic assumptions, I find it strange that you think the question deserves a positive response. Can you explain why the answer should be 'yes'?

For the record, if you want to understand my personal views regarding how the Bible should be read, I would recommend checking out Robert Alter's excellent book "The Art of Biblical Narrative".

Ilíon said...

"* Don't get upset, Ilion. "She" is how the Old Testament refers to Wisdom. I'm not being fashionably PC here."

Even if the OT didn't refer to wisdom as "she" (and even if I didn't know that), when one personifies an abstraction or an impersonal entity, English does not requite that the personification be referred to as "he".

Of course, where a specific personification is historically and commonly "he", it probably is a case of PC to switch it. For instance, in English, the Sun is traditionally male and the Moon female, whereas in German, they are the reverse. Were someone the personify the Sun in English as "she" that would almost certainly be a case of over-active PC.

B. Prokop said...

Hal,

I'm not being insulting at all. I am pointing out that way too many atheists assume, and indeed insist, that there is only one way to read Holy Scripture - the woodenly literal way - and if the believer does not do so, he is somehow doing it wrong. But the last person in the world qualified to tell others how to read The Bible is a non-believer. If you want advice on how to interpret Scripture, you need to ask someone who takes it seriously.

But more importantly, the linked article does not "assume a literal interpretation of the Genesis tale". In fact, its author takes pains to say the exact opposite. On page 304, we read, "Foundational to Christian belief is the literal reality of Adam and Eve, and of Original Sin. ... However literally or figuratively one may read Genesis itself, central to St. Paul’s directly inspired teaching is that Original Sin was the act of “one man”, Adam". (my emphasis)

So a literal reality of Adam's existence is in no way dependent upon a literal reading of Genesis.

Hal said...

Bob,
What does "literal reality" mean to you? Were Adam and Eve actual living humans?

Walter said...

" If you want advice on how to interpret Scripture, you need to ask someone who takes it seriously."

I grew up in an evangelical Christian church that affirmed Young Earth Creationism and a literal interpretation of Genesis, and I would say that we took Scripture quite seriously. There is a range of interpretation of these texts even within Christendom.

B. Prokop said...

"Were Adam and Eve actual living humans?"

I lean toward saying they were. Had you asked me that question 2 or 3 years ago, I would have answered more skeptically. But as I said above, my view has since "evolved" on that subject. I now think it likely (though not certain) that they were real people. I remain open to good arguments for either position.

"There is a range of interpretation of these texts even within Christendom."

And right you are, Walter. What I was objecting to was the atheist habit of insisting there is only one way to read Scripture - the literal way. Non-believers have no say in this matter.

Victor Reppert said...

If we say "God is our Father" what do we literally mean? Does even the most fundy of fundies think that this is literally true in what I call the lead-footed sense?

Ilíon said...

" An English file can be downloaded from here."

Since when?

SteveK said...

Get it here

https://dialnet.unirioja.es/descarga/articulo/5244649.pdf

Hal said...

Bob,
"I lean toward saying they were. Had you asked me that question 2 or 3 years ago, I would have answered more skeptically. But as I said above, my view has since "evolved" on that subject. I now think it likely (though not certain) that they were real people. I remain open to good arguments for either position."

Ok. Then I'll go back to a question I asked you earlier: by what criteria are you going to identify a particular couple as Adam and Eve?

Hal said...

Bob,
"And right you are, Walter. What I was objecting to was the atheist habit of insisting there is only one way to read Scripture - the literal way. Non-believers have no say in this matter."

I don't see anyone in this threat insisting that the only way to read Scripture is at the literal level. In fact I was trying to show in my response to the OP's question how silly that is.
I'm rather bemused by how quickly these internet conversations can lead to such misunderstandings.

B. Prokop said...

"[B]y what criteria are you going to identify a particular couple as Adam and Eve?"

I assume they would have been the first male and female to be recognizably human.

B. Prokop said...

"I'm rather bemused by how quickly these internet conversations can lead to such misunderstandings."

But it was you yourself who introduced such misunderstandings. You wrote, "Unless the article is referencing the Adam that was formed out of the ground and the Eve formed from his rib then its claim of a 'literal Adam and Eve' is bogus." That, in and of itself, is an insistence upon a literal reading of Genesis. Why cannot one posit an historical Adam and Eve without demanding that Adam be formed out of the ground and Eve from his rib?

Hal said...

Bob,
So if someone claims that there was a literal resurrection of Jesus Christ they should not be expected to take the resurrection accounts literally?


"That, in and of itself, is an insistence upon a literal reading of Genesis. Why cannot one posit an historical Adam and Eve without demanding that Adam be formed out of the ground and Eve from his rib?"

Because the only account of the life of Adam and Eve says that is how they came into being. Also, look at the question in the OP. That is where the claim of a 'literal Adam and Eve' originated in this discussion.

Hal said...

"I assume they would have been the first male and female to be recognizably human."

While it is a necessary criteria it is not sufficient to identify that first couple as Adam and Eve.

B. Prokop said...

"So if someone claims that there was a literal resurrection of Jesus Christ they should not be expected to take the resurrection accounts literally?"

Did you miss where I wrote that The Bible is composed of many different literary genres? The Gospels are not at all the same as Genesis, and need to be read and interpreted entirely differently. Would you read Two Years before the Mast the same way as Moby Dick? (In case you didn't know, one is fiction, the other is a memoir.)

Hal said...

Bob,

"Did you miss where I wrote that The Bible is composed of many different literary genres?"

No I didn't miss it. I happen to agree with that.
To believe in a literal Adam and Eve is equivalent to believing in a literal resurrection of Christ. But that amounts to reading and interpreting the Genesis account in the same way as one would the gospels.

That is precisely why I critiqued the OP's question regarding the credibility of a 'literal Adam and Eve'.

B. Prokop said...

Well, the entirety of our disagreement appears to revolve around differing understandings of what is meant by a literal Adam and Eve. I say it means an identifiable first set of parents for the entire human race. You say it requires a literalist interpretation of Genesis. Until we can get past using the same term for fundamentally different concepts, we ain't gonna make much progress here.

But for the record I have already (in my Aug 16th, 5:34 AM posting) provided the evidence that the author of the linked article does not agree with your interpretation, since he explicitly stated that it mattered not whether you read the Genesis account literally or figuratively.

Hal said...

Bob,
"Well, the entirety of our disagreement appears to revolve around differing understandings of what is meant by a literal Adam and Eve. I say it means an identifiable first set of parents for the entire human race. You say it requires a literalist interpretation of Genesis. "

You've misunderstood my position. I would agree with you that 'a literal Adam and Eve' would refer to real people. It is because of that agreed upon understanding that one is forced to interpreting Genesis literally. You've already done that by asserting that Adam and Eve were the parents of the human race.

The problem then arises with identifying the original couple with Adam and Eve. You can't simply assume that position is correct for others will disagree with you. For example, I could submit that the original couple is Pandora and Epimetheus.

I've asked you a couple times already what criteria of identity you are going to use to support your claim that Adam and Eve were the original couple? After all, the only thing we know about Adam and Eve is what is contained in the Genesis account. You are forced to finding those criteria by taking a literal interpretation of Genesis.

I think it wrongheaded to take the Genesis account literally because it leads to holding the view that a man was formed from the ground and his wife from his rib. That is why I answered the OP question with a negative. Even if one could show scientifically that all humans were descended from a first couple, it would not make it credible to think that first couple was Adam and Eve.

B. Prokop said...

"It is because of that agreed upon understanding that one is forced to interpreting Genesis literally."

I do not see that at all. Why are we "forced" to do so? Because you say so? Even the author of the article we're discussing disagrees with you on this.

We seem to be right back to where we were near the top of this discussion. This seems like a classic case of a nonbeliever insisting that the Holy Scriptures be read his way and no other.

David Brightly said...

Well, clearly, one man's literal can be another man's metaphorical.

Bonette offers a scientific defence of the idea that the entire human race is descended through a single couple---the eponymous 'Adam' and 'Eve'. Catholic doctrine has it that man's sinfulness is an inherited trait descending from Adam's act of ur-rebellion. This is a central article of faith and is taken quite literally. But one can still see it as myth. Human nature is sinful and human nature is inherited. If there was once a world without sin, and one hopes there might come again such a sin-free world, what better explanation could there be than that there was once an original sin?

Ilíon said...

"... what better explanation could there be than that there was once an original sin?"

While the term 'original sin' may be used to refer to Adam's sin, the doctrine (and term) 'Original Sin' is not actually referring to that sin, but rather to the claim that human nature itself has corrupted -- one might say, infected -- by sin, and thus by death.

Hal said...

Bob,
"I do not see that at all. Why are we "forced" to do so? Because you say so? Even the author of the article we're discussing disagrees with you on this."

You and the author of the paper have both already interpreted the Genesis account literally by claiming that Adam and Eve were a real human couple.


Ilíon said...

Here is (the Catholic) New Advent article on 'original sin': "Original sin may be taken to mean: (1) the sin that Adam committed; (2) a consequence of this first sin, the hereditary stain with which we are born on account of our origin or descent from Adam.

From the earliest times the latter sense of the word was more common, as may be seen by St. Augustine's statement: "the deliberate sin of the first man is the cause of original sin" (De nupt. et concup., II, xxvi, 43). It is the hereditary stain that is dealt with here ...
"

Hal said...

David,
"Bonette offers a scientific defence of the idea that the entire human race is descended through a single couple---the eponymous 'Adam' and 'Eve'. Catholic doctrine has it that man's sinfulness is an inherited trait descending from Adam's act of ur-rebellion. This is a central article of faith and is taken quite literally. But one can still see it as myth. "

Of course one can see it as a myth or an allegory or even a metaphor. But if one is going to claim that Adam and Eve were real humans they are also interpreting the text literally.

B. Prokop said...

"But one can still see it as myth. Human nature is sinful and human nature is inherited."

That was my position on the subject for decades. But lately, I'm not so sure. Admittedly, I've seen nothing "scientific" to cause me to move towards a more theologically conservative view here. It's more a case of coming to terms with purely philosophical and/or theological arguments in favor of a literal Adam and Eve.

Victor Reppert said...

The question I had in mind was the idea of a single original couple who broke their relationship with God. The other details are, to my mind, window dressing.

B. Prokop said...

"The question I had in mind was the idea of a single original couple who broke their relationship with God."

I agree. That's why I said that I've been swayed mostly by theological argument to accept them as an historical fact rather than just a philosophical construct (as which they remain very useful).

Hal said...

"The question I had in mind was the idea of a single original couple who broke their relationship with God."

So then I take it that you really didn't mean to refer to Adam and Eve in your question even though the article link explicitly does so?

Also, the scientific evidence used in the article can only substantiate the credibility of an original human couple, it can't indicate anything about a broken relationship with God. So it would seem that the answer to your OP question would still be a 'no'.

Victor Reppert said...

Obviously the scientific evidence can't support that part. But that doesn't make it incredible. Science has been thought to have refuted the claim by being able to make a case against an original human pair, and if the article is right, the negative case has not been made.

Hal said...

"Obviously the scientific evidence can't support that part. But that doesn't make it incredible."

I think it is the story as related in Genesis that makes it difficult to believe. Even those who take literally the parts that depict Adam and Eve as real humans and the sundering of their relationship with God seem quite unwilling to accept that Adam was formed from the ground and Eve from Adam's rib.

"Science has been thought to have refuted the claim by being able to make a case against an original human pair, and if the article is right, the negative case has not been made."

I agree that there is an interesting scientific question regarding whether or not there was an original human couple from which all humans descended. Have to admit to taking a rather dim view of using science to support or disprove religious claims. So even if there were very strong scientific evidence excluding the possibility of an original human pair I see no good reason why a Christian should be troubled by that evidence.

B. Prokop said...

"So even if there were very strong scientific evidence excluding the possibility of an original human pair I see no good reason why a Christian should be troubled by that evidence."

Neither do I. We are agreed on that.

David Brightly said...

Well, OK, but that is not Bonnette's position. For him it's crucial to Catholic doctrine that the ur-couple existed. So he sets himself the task of reconciling three things: an ancient mythic picture of the origin of human sinfulness; the classical-medieval metaphysics of substance and form; modern scientific genetics. The resulting three-way train wreck is hardly a pretty sight.

Hal said...

David,
Pretty much agree with your assessment. Very similar to an early earth creationist trying to use scientific evidence to support the claim that a global flood occurred. But at least the creationist is more consistent. Bonnette claims one need not read Genesis literally, yet his claim depends on a literal reading: a literal Adam and Eve.

Ilíon said...

"So even if there were very strong scientific evidence excluding the possibility of an original human pair ..."

It's logically impossible for there to be "very strong scientific evidence excluding the possibility of an original human [being]" which *also* happens to be true.

To say, There Was No First Human (as the link to which SteveK earlier linked pretends to argue) -- which claim *is* what naturalism does and must assert -- is *also* to say, There Are No Humans Now.

B. Prokop said...

It's probably time to close down this "discussion", 'cause there sure hasn't been any dialog. Hal has been told multiple times that there is no requirement to read Genesis literally, and even shown the citation from the article where no less than Bonnette himself (the author of the premise) explicitly says so. Yet Hal continues to repeat that "his claim depends on a literal reading".

I'm reminded of an anecdote science fiction writer Isaac Asimov once told. He was quietly sitting near the back of the room as a lecturer expounded upon the supposed meaning of one of his stories. When it came time for questions, he rose up and said the lecturer had gotten everything wrong, and that the story did not at all mean what he said it did. Somewhat miffed, the lecturer demanded to know who Asimov (who had not yet identified himself) was for anyone to take his opinion seriously. Asimov responded "I am Isaac Asimov, and I wrote that story." The lecturer responded, "Well, just because you wrote it doesn't mean you know what it means!"

Seems like Hal has taken a page from that lecturer's notebook.

Hal said...

Ilion,

You do realize there is a difference between 'original human pair' and 'original human being', don't you?

Hal said...

"Hal has been told multiple times that there is no requirement to read Genesis literally, and even shown the citation from the article where no less than Bonnette himself (the author of the premise) explicitly says so. "

Well, if Bonnette says so it must be true.

If you claim there is a literal Adam and Eve then you have already interpreted the Genesis story literally.

David Brightly said...

Ilion gives us a nice example of how the discrete categories of the Aristotelian forms collide irreconcilably with the continuities of genetics.

Ilíon said...

B.Prokop, missing the point: "You do realize there is a difference between 'original human pair' and 'original human being', don't you?"

You do you realize that you can't have an 'original human pair' without first having an ontological 'original human [individual]', don't you?

Why do you have this seeming need to protect scientism?

========
David Brightly: "Ilion gives us a nice example of how the discrete categories of the Aristotelian forms collide irreconcilably with the continuities of genetics."

What Ilíon actually gave us is a nice example of how Darwinism "collide[s] irreconcilably" with logic; to put it another way, that Darwinism is illogical and incoherent.

David Brightly: "Ilion gives us a nice example of how the discrete categories of the Aristotelian forms collide irreconcilably with the continuities of genetics."

Gentle Reader: think about what David Brightly has said here (and think about the intellectual dishonesty of what he has said): he is agreeing with me -- while trying simultaneously to pretend that I am in error in saying it -- that "To say, There Was No First Human -- which claim *is* what naturalism does and must assert -- is *also* to say, There Are No Humans Now"

Of course, we all know why David Brightly has a need to protect scientism.

Ilíon said...

Oh, my! I have no idea how I confused B.Prokop with Hal. I'll never forgive myself for that!

At least not until tomorrow.

B. Prokop said...

" I have no idea how..."

It was a once-in-a-trillion-years random quantum flux, rearranging the ones and zeros of your comment by sheer chance into a superficially intelligible yet utterly contrary to original intent faux posting.

In a multiverse, such things are bound to happen - in fact, they must!

Hal said...

"Why do you have this seeming need to protect scientism?"

You need to direct your criticism toward Bob and Bonnette.

A good example of scientism is taking fictional characters such as Adam and Eve and trying to use genetics to prove they existed.

Ilíon said...

"... In a multiverse, such things are bound to happen - in fact, they must!"

Or, in a more prosaic universe, it may be that my email inbox had notifications for responses from 'Hal' and 'B.Prokop' and 'David Brightly'. Meaning to open the one from 'B.Prokop', I accidentally clicked on the one from 'Hal'. Thinking I'd opened the one I meant to open, I read the content but didn't glance at the handle, and composed by response to that content before coming to VR's blog.

Hal said...

"You do you realize that you can't have an 'original human pair' without first having an ontological 'original human [individual]', don't you?"

Even assuming your ontological categories to be correct it is not logically necessary that there be an original human pair from which all humans are descended.

David Brightly said...

Here is an analogy. Think of the spectrum of white light running from red through violet from top to bottom as here. Suppose you accept that any place in the spectrum can be assigned to one of the seven primary colours: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. Then there must be a topmost blue, yes? But, on the other hand, suppose you think the transitions between the primaries are vague and indistinct. Then there is no topmost blue. Likewise, the Aristotelian holds that every living thing that ever existed has either a vegetative, an animal, or a human soul, and so some living thing must count as the first human. The Darwinian geneticist, conversely, holds that the transition from animal to human is vague and that therefore there cannot be a first human. Bonnette's project appears to be one of unifying or reconciling these opposing views. This isn't credible---the two views are logically incompatible. And this conclusion is independent of whether one favours Aristotelianism over Darwinism or vice versa.