Book Review: Origin of the Human Species
by Rich Deem

Origin of the Human SpeciesOrigin of the Human Species by Dennis Bonnette. Dr. Bonnette offers a philosophical analysis of the theory of evolution with particular application to human origins. Dr. Bonnette presents evolutionary theories (both theistic and non-theistic), along with creationists' explanations. Dr. Bonnette, being a Roman Catholic, defends the traditional Roman Catholic interpretation of human origins from the book of Genesis. Although he does not take an official position on the superiority of any one theistic model, his book seems most compatible with an old earth creationist approach. The book describes a "natural" or "philosophical" species, as a group of biological species that is functionally similar. This definition is probably closer to the biblical concept of "kinds" described in Genesis. From the examples given, a "natural species" would seem to correspond to the biological concept of a taxonomic class (above genera and orders), with some exceptions. Dr. Bonnette examines the philosophical possibility of evolution within a "natural species," primarily quoting what other philosophers and scientists have had to say about the subject. Dr. Bonnette defends the creation of the human soul as being incompatible with naturalistic evolutionary theories and requiring divine intervention. Another chapter examines the possibility of extraterrestrial life, abiogenesis, and panspermia. The final chapters examine the origin of human beings from scientific, philosophical, and theological perspectives. Being a biologist, I would have preferred more science input, although I recognize that philosophy often has a larger following, especially among non-theists. The book shows that no matter what major approach to life's origins is taken, the historicity of Adam and Eve can still be defended. For more information, see Dr. Bonnette's web site at A preview of the book's fifth chapter can be found at A Philosophical Critical Analysis of Recent Ape-Language Studies.

Origin of the Human Species
Last Modified March 13, 2005


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