Adam's Gene and the Mitochondrial Eve: A Nonincestuous Descent of Man from Adam and Eve
Reviewed by: Eric Jones
It’s become rather fashionable in literature today for authors to put a new spin on the link between science and religion. As both philosophies continue to collide, spin, and evolve into one another readers have been treated to books like Genome Scientist Francis Collins’ “Language of God”, which presents religion from a scientific point of view, along with rebuttals like Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion”, but nobody makes an argument quite like Ahamed V.P. Kutty. In his similar exploration of these worlds, Kutty presents evidence in the face of a religious question often overlooked among Christians, Muslims, and Jewish practitioners. The question is simple: If incest is a sin, and Adam and Eve were the first humans created by God to conceive and populate the earth, then wouldn’t their offspring be forced to mate with one another in order to achieve such ends? In essence, has God, or the creators of the Bible and Qur’an, created a situation where humanity must sin to survive? The answer, as always, is not as simple as the question.
As the title might have given away, this is a book of scientific research which takes the writings of biblical scripture into account in order to achieve an answer. As such, it assumes that the reader is also religious. But not blindly so, as an overwhelming amount of scientists are turning to religion to solve the questions that they themselves cannot, it is no small readership that Kutty addresses. And his writing is cleverly detailed from both points of view so that ministers of faith will find it just as interesting as those of science. Answering the proposed thesis leads the reader on a journey through many questions that befuddle even the most devout religious followers. Where is the biblical Garden of Eden? How does religion account for the theory of evolution? Who are the real Adam and Eve? Is the Bible meant to be taken literally, or as hyperbole?
Walking a middle path between the radical views of both science and religion is bound to offend fringe readers, but I think the majority of us tend to hold a similar middle ground. And for us, Kutty lays an overwhelming amount of evidence at our feet, which take all widely accepted viewpoints regarding the nature of evolution, the Garden of Eden, and the many different versions of Adam and Eve, into account. Often Kutty excludes the verbalized opinion that is so prominent in the works of his contemporaries, allowing the reader to connect the dots for themselves having looked over each textual exhibit. This layout is also helpful for quick reading, reference, and maintaining interest of laymen, like me, since all of these points are categorically organized and labeled. Each chapter begins with a clearly stated paragraph that elaborates on its title, and is often followed by the listing of evidence which lead the reader to the drawn conclusion. What Kutty is able to do, using this method, is clearly present his case without reducing anything to simple conjecture.
Although this method does have a few minor holes since using evidence connecting so many different sources is sometimes thin. For instance, the use of a theory in general relativity to explain how angels of heaven might be able to travel through wormholes to get between Heaven and Earth is, according to Kutty himself, “not readily acceptable but feasible”. In other words, there is only so much that science can explain. However, the research regarding DNA histories which trace ancestry back to an original Adam and Eve, (though admittedly not the Bible’s Adam and Eve) is extremely positive. These many cases often provide a jumping point for those who wish to examine the issues more closely through the inclusion, at the end of each chapter, of a detailed bibliography.
“Adam’s Gene and the Mitochondrial Eve” is brilliant. It constructs a dazzling house of carefully implemente
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